|A small circle: War Games|
31 comments25 Jul 2006 @ 00:56 by i2i : Ambassador John Bolton's remark:
25 Jul 2006 @ 01:00 by i2i : Saja El-Akhras:
25 Jul 2006 @ 01:12 by i2i : Children send messages on missiles:
25 Jul 2006 @ 01:15 by i2i : Commentary about John Bolton's remark:
25 Jul 2006 @ 14:03 by koravya : Children
What kinds of minds are teaching the children of the world,
that War is our natural course of development?
The children are doing what they are told to do.
The children of Africa are firing the guns they are given.
And the children of the United States are
pressing the buttons on their video war games.
Previews for tomorrow.
Nobody is negotiating anything,
except for the timetable
for expanding circles of death.
Here is something to watch.
Never take away my Hope.
Never lose Heart.
Never, ever, ever,
give credence to the fools.
25 Jul 2006 @ 17:56 by jobrown : No kiddin' , koravya,
no kidding!.... There are places/countries on Earth where the Peoples -for third-fourth generation- have been forced by these WAR MONGERS, to live imbedded in these ORCHESTRATED War/s!!!
"....Previews for tomorrow.
Nobody is negotiating anything,
except for the timetable
for expanding circles of death. "
No kiddin', koravya, i2i & all the rest of my sisters & brothers!.... Isn't it time for the Global Family to throw out/fire /get ridd of those who do NOT choose brotherhood, equality with ALL, with true freedom for All, but war instead. Let them who live by the Sword, die by the sword and leave the rest of us to live the peaceful, loving life we know is not only possible, but in perfect harmony with our God-given Nature -when not ripped off of it!
25 Jul 2006 @ 20:31 by i2i : Koravya's feedback
Very interesting - thank you, John...
Koravya's comment, above, links to a site dedicated to the promotion of "WE," a documentary inspired by Arundhati Roy's words, specifically her famous "Come September" speech (which I posted for reference in its integrality below,) where she spoke on such things as the war on terror, corporate globalization, justice and growing civil unreast all over the world.
The site comes with some codes one can copy and post for those who wish to embed some of the video clips (including a full feature of the entire film) on their blog or web site.
In light of the recent happenings in the Middle East, the site also pulled this relevant segment from the film in which Arundhati Roy speaks about some of the recent history of the conflict.
25 Jul 2006 @ 20:56 by i2i : Come September
This is the transcription of Arundhati Roy's lecture delivered on September 18, 2002 at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico:
Quite often these days, I find myself being described as a "social activist." Those who agree with my views, call me "courageous." Those who don't, call me all kinds of rude names which I won't repeat. I am not a social activist, neither am I particularly courageous.... So please do not underestimate the trepidation with which I stand here to say what I must say.
Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around.
Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonise us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and non-fiction are only different techniques of storytelling. For reasons I do not fully understand, fiction dances out of me. Non-fiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as non-fiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they're engaged in. John Berger, that most wonderful writer, once wrote: Never again will a single story be told as though it's the only one. There can never be a single story. There are only ways of seeing. So, when I tell a story, I tell it not as an ideologue who wants to pit one absolutist ideology against another, but as a storyteller who wants to share her way of seeing. Though it might appear otherwise, my writing is not really about nations and histories, it's about power. About the paranoia and ruthlessness of power. About the physics of power. I believe that the accumulation of vast unfettered power by a state or a country, a corporation or an institution - or even an individual, a spouse, friend or sibling - regardless of ideology, results in excesses such as the ones I will recount here.
Living as I do, as millions of us do, in the shadow of the nuclear holocaust that the governments of India and Pakistan keep promising their brain-washed citizenry, and in the global neighbourhood of the War Against Terror (what President Bush rather biblically calls 'The Task That Never Ends'), I find myself thinking a great deal about the relationship between Citizens and the State.
In India, those of us who have expressed views on Nuclear Bombs, Big Dams, Corporate Globalisation and the rising threat of communal Hindu fascism - views that are at variance with the Indian Government's - are branded 'anti-national'. While this accusation does not fill me with indignation, it's not an accurate description of what I do or how I think. An 'anti-national' is a person who is against his/her own nation and, by inference, is pro some other one. But it isn't necessary to be 'anti-national' to be deeply suspicious of all nationalism, to be anti-nationalism. Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap peoples' minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent, thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film-makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the 'Nation', it's time for all of us to sit up and worry. In India we saw it happen soon after the Nuclear tests in 1998 and during the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999. In the United States we saw it during the Gulf War and we see it now, during the 'War against Terror'. That blizzard of Made-in-China American flags.
Recently, those who have criticised the actions of the U.S. Government (myself included) have been called 'anti-American'. Anti-Americanism is in the process of being consecrated into an ideology.
The term 'anti-American' is usually used by the American establishment to discredit and, not falsely - but shall we say inaccurately - define its critics. Once someone is branded anti-American, the chances are that he or she will be judged before they're heard and the argument will be lost in the welter of bruised national pride.
What does the term 'anti-American' mean? Does it mean you're anti-jazz? Or that you're opposed to free speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant Sequoias? Does it mean you don't admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons, or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?
This sly conflation of America's culture, music, literature, the breathtaking physical beauty of the land, the ordinary pleasures of ordinary people with criticism of the U.S. Government's foreign policy (about which, thanks to America's "free press," sadly most Americans know very little) is a deliberate and extremely effective strategy. It's like a retreating army taking cover in a heavily populated city, hoping that the prospect of hitting civilian targets will deter enemy fire.
There are many Americans who would be mortified to be associated with their government's policies. The most scholarly, scathing, incisive, hilarious critiques of the hypocrisy and the contradictions in U.S. Government policy come from American citizens. When the rest of the world wants to know what the U.S. Government is up to, we turn to Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Howard Zinn, Ed Herman, Amy Goodman, Michael Albert, Chalmers Johnson, William Blum and Anthony Arnove to tell us what's really going on.
Similarly, in India, not hundreds, but millions of us would be ashamed and offended if we were in any way implicated with the present Indian Government's fascist policies, which, apart from the perpetration of state terrorism in the Valley of Kashmir (in the name of fighting terrorism), have also turned a blind eye to the recent state-supervised pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat. It would be absurd to think that those who criticise the Indian Government are 'anti-Indian' - although the Government itself never hesitates to take that line. It is dangerous to cede to the Indian Government or the American Government or anyone for that matter, the right to define what 'India' or 'America' are, or ought to be.
To call someone 'anti-American', indeed, to be anti-American, (or for that matter anti-Indian, or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those that the establishment has set out for you: If you're not a Bushie you're a Taliban. If you don't love us, you hate us. If you're not Good you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists.
Last year, like many others, I too made the mistake of scoffing at this post-September 11th rhetoric, dismissing it as foolish and arrogant. I've realised that it's not foolish at all. It's actually a canny recruitment drive for a misconceived, dangerous war. Every day I'm taken aback at how many people believe that opposing the war in Afghanistan amounts to supporting terrorism, or voting for the Taliban. Now that the initial aim of the war - capturing Osama Bin Laden (dead or alive) - seems to have run into bad weather, the goal posts have been moved. It's being made out that the whole point of the war was to topple the Taliban regime and liberate Afghan women from their burqas. We're being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission. (If so, will their next stop be America's military ally Saudi Arabia?) Think of it this way: In India there are some pretty reprehensible social practices, against 'untouchables', against Christians and Muslims, against women. Pakistan and Bangladesh have even worse ways of dealing with minority communities and women. Should they be bombed? Should Delhi, Islamabad, and Dhaka be destroyed? Is it possible to bomb bigotry out of India? Can we bomb our way to a feminist paradise? Is that how women won the vote in the U.S.? Or how slavery was abolished? Can we win redress for the genocide of the millions of Native Americans upon whose corpses the United States was founded by bombing Santa Fe?
None of us need anniversaries to remind us of what we cannot forget. So it is no more than coincidence that I happen to be here, on American soil, in September - this month of dreadful anniversaries. Uppermost on everybody's mind of course, particularly here in America, is the horror of what has come to be known as Nine Eleven. Nearly three thousand civilians lost their lives in that lethal terrorist strike. The grief is still deep. The rage still sharp. The tears have not dried. And a strange, deadly war is raging around the world. Yet, each person who has lost a loved one surely knows secretly, deeply, that no war, no act of revenge, no daisy-cutters dropped on someone else's loved ones or someone else's children will blunt the edges of their pain or bring their own loved ones back. War cannot avenge those who have died. War is only a brutal desecration of their memory.
To fuel yet another war - this time against Iraq - by cynically manipulating people's grief, by packaging it for TV specials sponsored by corporations selling detergent or running shoes, is to cheapen and devalue grief, to drain it of meaning. What we are seeing now is a vulgar display of the business of grief, the commerce of grief, the pillaging of even the most private human feelings for political purpose. It is a terrible, violent thing for a state to do to its people.
It's not a clever-enough subject to speak of from a public platform, but what I would really love to talk to you about is Loss. Loss and losing. Grief, failure, brokenness, numbness, uncertainty, fear, the death of feeling, the death of dreaming. The absolute, relentless, endless, habitual unfairness of the world. What does loss mean to individuals? What does it mean to whole cultures, whole peoples who have learned to live with it as a constant companion?
Since it is September 11th that we're talking about, perhaps it's in the fitness of things that we remember what that date means, not only to those who lost their loved ones in America last year, but to those in other parts of the world to whom that date has long held significance. This historical dredging is not offered as an accusation or a provocation. But just to share the grief of history. To thin the mist a little. To say to the citizens of America, in the gentlest, most human way: Welcome to the World.
Twenty-nine years ago, in Chile, on the 11th of September 1973, General Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in a CIA-backed coup. “Chile shouldn't be allowed to go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible," said Henry Kissinger, Nobel Peace Laureate, then the U.S. Secretary of State.
After the coup President Allende was found dead inside the presidential palace. Whether he was killed or whether he killed himself, we'll never know. In the regime of terror that ensued, thousands of people were killed. Many more simply 'disappeared'. Firing squads conducted public executions. Concentration camps and torture chambers were opened across the country. The dead were buried in mine shafts and unmarked graves. For seventeen years, the people of Chile lived in dread of the midnight knock, of routine 'disappearances', of sudden arrest and torture. Chileans tell the story of how the musician Victor Jara had his hands cut off in front of a crowd in the Santiago stadium. Before they shot him, Pinochet's soldiers threw his guitar at him and mockingly ordered him to play.
In 1999, following the arrest of General Pinochet in Britain, thousands of secret documents were declassified by the U.S. Government. They contain unequivocal evidence of the CIA's involvement in the coup as well as the fact that the U.S. Government had detailed information about the situation in Chile during General Pinochet's reign. Yet Kissinger assured the general of his support: “In the United States as you know, we are sympathetic to what you are trying to do," he said, “we wish your government well."
Those of us who have only ever known life in a democracy, however flawed, would find it hard to imagine what living in a dictatorship and enduring the absolute loss of freedom really means. It isn't just those who Pinochet murdered, but the lives he stole from the living that must be accounted for too.
Sadly, Chile was not the only country in South America to be singled out for the U.S. Government's attentions. Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, Peru, Mexico and Colombia - they've all been the playground for covert - and overt - operations by the CIA. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been killed, tortured or have simply disappeared under the despotic regimes and tin-pot dictators, drug runners and arms dealers that were propped up in their countries. (Many of them learned their craft in the infamous U.S. Government-funded School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, which has produced 60,000 graduates.) If this were not humiliation enough, the people of South America have had to bear the cross of being branded as a people who are incapable of democracy - as if coups and massacres are somehow encrypted in their genes.
This list does not of course include countries in Africa or Asia that suffered U.S. military interventions - Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia. For how many Septembers for decades together have millions of Asian people been bombed, burned, and slaughtered? How many Septembers have gone by since August 1945, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary Japanese people were obliterated by the nuclear strikes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? For how many Septembers have the thousands who had the misfortune of surviving those strikes endured the living hell that was visited on them, their unborn children, their children's children, on the earth, the sky, the wind, the water, and all the creatures that swim and walk and crawl and fly? Not far from here, in Albuquerque, is the National Atomic Museum where Fat Man and Little Boy (the affectionate nicknames for the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) were available as souvenir earrings. Funky young people wore them. A massacre dangling in each ear. But I am straying from my theme. It's September that we're talking about, not August.
September 11th has a tragic resonance in the Middle East (West Asia) too. On the 11th of September 1922, ignoring Arab outrage, the British Government proclaimed a mandate in Palestine, a follow up to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which Imperial Britain issued, with its army massed outside the gates of the city of Gaza. The Balfour Declaration promised European Zionists a national home for Jewish people. (At the time, the Empire on which the Sun Never Set was free to snatch and bequeath national homes like the school bully distributes marbles.) Two years after the declaration, Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary said, “In Palestine we do not propose to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-old traditions, in present needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit this ancient land."
How carelessly imperial power decreed whose needs were profound and whose were not. How carelessly it vivisected ancient civilisations. Palestine and Kashmir are Imperial Britain's festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modern world. Both are fault-lines in the raging international conflicts of today.
In 1937, Winston Churchill said of the Palestinians: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly-wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." That set the trend for the Israeli state's attitude towards Palestinians. In 1969, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said, “Palestinians do not exist." Her successor, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said, “What are Palestinians? When I came here [to Palestine] there were 250,000 non-Jews, mainly Arabs and Bedouins. It was desert, more than underdeveloped. Nothing." Prime Minister Menachem Begin called Palestinians “two-legged beasts". Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir called them “grasshoppers" who could be crushed. This is the language of Heads of State, not the words of ordinary people.
In 1947, the United Nations formally partitioned Palestine and allotted 55 per cent of Palestine's land to the Zionists. Within a year they had captured 76 per cent. On the 14th of May 1948 the state of Israel was declared. Minutes after the declaration, the U.S. recognised Israel. The West Bank was annexed by Jordan. The Gaza Strip came under Egyptian military control. Formally, Palestine ceased to exist except in the minds and hearts of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian people who became refugees.
In the summer of 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Settlers were offered state subsidies and development aid to move into the occupied territories. Almost every day more Palestinian families are forced off their lands and driven into refugee camps. Palestinians who continue to live in Israel do not have the same rights as Israelis and live as second class citizens in their former homeland.
Over the decades, there have been uprisings, wars, intifadas. Tens of thousands have lost their lives. Accords and treaties have been signed. Ceasefires declared and violated. But the bloodshed doesn't end. Palestine still remains illegally occupied. Its people live in inhuman conditions, in virtual Bantustans, where they are subjected to collective punishments, twenty-four hour curfews, where they are humiliated and brutalised on a daily basis. They never know when their homes will be demolished, when their children will be shot, when their precious trees will be cut, when their roads will be closed, when they will be allowed to walk down to the market to buy food and medicine. And when they will not. They live with no semblance of dignity. With not much hope in sight. They have no control over their lands, their security, their movement, their communication, their water supply. So when accords are signed and words like 'autonomy' and even 'statehood' are bandied about, it's always worth asking: What sort of autonomy? What sort of state? What sort of rights will its citizens have?
Young Palestinians who cannot contain their anger turn themselves into human bombs and haunt Israel's streets and public places, blowing themselves up, killing ordinary people, injecting terror into daily life, and eventually hardening both societies' suspicion and mutual hatred of each other. Each bombing invites merciless reprisals and even more hardship on Palestinian people. But then suicide bombing is an act of individual despair, not a revolutionary tactic. Although Palestinian attacks strike terror into Israeli civilians, they provide the perfect cover for the Israeli Government's daily incursions into Palestinian territory, the perfect excuse for old-fashioned, nineteenth-century colonialism, dressed up as a new-fashioned, twenty-first century "war."
Israel's staunchest political and military ally is and always has been the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government has blocked, along with Israel, almost every U.N. resolution that sought a peaceful, equitable solution to the conflict. It has supported almost every war that Israel has fought. When Israel attacks Palestine, it is American missiles that smash through Palestinian homes. And every year Israel receives several billion dollars from the U.S.
What lessons should we draw from this tragic conflict? Is it really impossible for Jewish people who suffered so cruelly themselves - more cruelly perhaps than any other people in history - to understand the vulnerability and the yearning of those whom they have displaced? Does extreme suffering always kindle cruelty? What hope does this leave the human race with? What will happen to the Palestinian people in the event of a victory? When a nation without a state eventually proclaims a state, what kind of state will it be? What horrors will be perpetrated under its flag? Is it a separate state that we should be fighting for, or the rights to a life of liberty and dignity for everyone regardless of their ethnicity or religion?
Palestine was once a secular bulwark in the Middle East. But now the weak, undemocratic, by all accounts corrupt, but avowedly non-sectarian Palestine Liberation Organisation, is losing ground to Hamas, which espouses an overtly sectarian ideology and fights in the name of Islam. To quote from their manifesto: "We will be its soldiers, and the firewood of its fire, which will burn the enemies."
The world is called upon to condemn suicide bombers. But can we ignore the long road they have journeyed on before they arrived at this destination? September 11th 1922 to September 11th 2002 - eighty years is a long long time to have been waging war. Is there some advice the world can give the people of Palestine? Some scrap of hope we can hold out? Should they just settle for the crumbs that are thrown their way and behave like the grasshoppers or two-legged beasts they've been described as? Should they just take Golda Meir's suggestion and make a real effort to not exist?
In another part of the Middle East, September 11th strikes a more recent chord. It was on the 11th of September 1990 that George W. Bush Sr., then President of the U.S., made a speech to a joint session of Congress announcing his Government's decision to go to war against Iraq.
The U.S. Government says that Saddam Hussein is a war criminal, a cruel military despot who has committed genocide against his own people. That's a fairly accurate description of the man. In 1988, he razed hundreds of villages in northern Iraq and used chemical weapons and machine-guns to kill thousands of Kurdish people. Today we know that that same year the U.S. Government provided him with 500 million dollars in subsidies to buy American farm products. The next year, after he had successfully completed his genocidal campaign, the U.S. Government doubled its subsidy to 1 billion dollars. It also provided him with high quality germ seed for anthrax, as well as helicopters and dual-use material that could be used to manufacture chemical and biological weapons.
So it turns out that while Saddam Hussein was carrying out his worst atrocities, the U.S. and the U.K. Governments were his close allies. Even today, the Government of Turkey which has one of the most appalling human rights records in the world is one of the U.S. Government's closest allies. The fact that the Turkish Government has oppressed and murdered Kurdish people for years has not prevented the U.S. Government from plying Turkey with weapons and Development Aid. Clearly, it was not concern for the Kurdish people that provoked President Bush's speech to Congress.
What changed? In August 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. His sin was not so much that he had committed an act of war, but that he acted independently, without orders from his masters. This display of independence was enough to upset the power equation in the Gulf. So it was decided that Saddam Hussein be exterminated, like a pet that has outlived its owner's affection.
The first Allied attack on Iraq took place in January 1991. The world watched the prime-time war as it was played out on TV. (In India those days, you had to go to a five star hotel lobby to watch CNN.) Tens of thousands of people were killed in a month of devastating bombing. What many do not know is that the war did not end then. The initial fury simmered down into the longest sustained air attack on a country since the Vietnam War. Over the last decade, American and British forces have fired thousands of missiles and bombs on Iraq. Iraq's fields and farmlands have been shelled with 300 tons of depleted uranium. In countries like Britain and America, depleted uranium shells are test-fired into specially constructed concrete tunnels. The radioactive residue is washed off, sealed in cement and disposed off in the ocean (which is bad enough). In Iraq it's aimed - deliberately, with malicious intent - at people's food and water supply. In their bombing sorties, the Allies specifically targeted and destroyed water treatment plants, fully aware of the fact that they could not be repaired without foreign assistance. In southern Iraq there has been a fourfold increase in cancer among children. In the decade of economic sanctions that followed the war, Iraqi civilians have been denied food, medicine, hospital equipment, ambulances, clean water - the basic essentials.
About half a million Iraqi children have died as a result of the sanctions. Of them, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., famously said, "It's a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it." 'Moral equivalence' was the term that was used to denounce those who criticised the war on Afghanistan. Madeleine Albright cannot be accused of moral equivalence. What she said was just straight forward algebra.
A decade of bombing has not managed to dislodge Saddam Hussein, the 'Beast of Baghdad'. Now, almost twelve years on, President George Bush Jr. has ratcheted up the rhetoric once again. He's proposing an all-out war whose goal is nothing short of a regime change. The New York Times says that the Bush administration is "following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat of Saddam Hussein." Andrew H. Card, Jr., the White House Chief of Staff, described how the administration was stepping up its war plans for the fall: "From a marketing point of view", he said, "you don't introduce new products in August.' This time the catch-phrase for Washington's "new product' is not the plight of Kuwaiti people but the assertion that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. "Forget the feckless moralising of the peace lobbies," wrote Richard Perle, a former adviser to President Bush, "we need to get him before he gets us."
Weapons inspectors have conflicting reports about the status of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, and many have said clearly that its arsenal has been dismantled and that it does not have the capacity to build one. However, there is no confusion over the extent and range of America's arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons. Would the U.S. Government welcome weapons inspectors? Would the U.K.? Or Israel?
What if Iraq does have a nuclear weapon, does that justify a pre-emptive U.S. strike? The U.S. has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. It's the only country in the world to have actually used them on civilian populations. If the U.S. is justified in launching a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, why, then any nuclear power is justified in carrying out a pre-emptive attack on any other. India could attack Pakistan, or the other way around. If the U.S. Government develops a distaste for the Indian Prime Minister, can it just 'take him out' with a pre-emptive strike?
Recently the U.S. played an important part in forcing India and Pakistan back from the brink of war. Is it so hard for it to take its own advice? Who is guilty of feckless moralising? Of preaching peace while it wages war? The U.S., which George Bush has called "the most peaceful nation on earth," has been at war with one country or another every year for the last fifty years.
Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They're usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there's the business of war. Protecting its control of the world's oil is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. Government's recent military interventions in the Balkans and Central Asia have to do with oil. Hamid Karzai, the puppet president of Afghanistan installed by the U.S., is said to be a former employee of Unocal, the American-based oil company. The U.S. Government's paranoid patrolling of the Middle East is because it has two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. Oil keeps America's engines purring sweetly. Oil keeps the Free Market rolling. Whoever controls the world's oil controls the world's market. And how do you control the oil?
Nobody puts it more elegantly than The New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman. In an article called "Craziness Pays" he says "the U.S. has to make it clear to Iraq and U.S. allies that... America will use force without negotiation, hesitation or U.N. approval." His advice was well taken. In the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the almost daily humiliation the U.S. Government heaps on the U.N. In his book on globalisation, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman says, "The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas... and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp." Perhaps this was written in a moment of vulnerability, but it's certainly the most succinct, accurate description of the project of Corporate Globalisation that I have read.
After September 11th, 2001 and the War Against Terror, the hidden hand and fist have had their cover blown - and we have a clear view now of America's other weapon - the Free Market - bearing down on the Developing World, with a clenched unsmiling smile. 'The Task That Never Ends' is America's perfect war, the perfect vehicle for the endless expansion of American Imperialism. In Urdu, the word for Profit is fayda. Al Qaeda means The Word, The Word of God, The Law. So, in India some of us call the War Against Terror, Al Qaeda Vs Al Fayda - The Word Vs The Profit (no pun intended).
For the moment it looks as though Al Fayda will carry the day. But then you never know...
In the last ten years of unbridled Corporate Globalisation, the world's total income has increased by an average of 2.5 per cent a year. And yet the numbers of the poor in the world has increased by 100 million. Of the top hundred biggest economies, 51 are corporations, not countries. The top 1 per cent of the world has the same combined income as the bottom 57 per cent and the disparity is growing. Now, under the spreading canopy of the War Against Terror, this process is being hustled along. The men in suits are in an unseemly hurry. While bombs rain down on us, and cruise missiles skid across the skies, while nuclear weapons are stockpiled to make the world a safer place, contracts are being signed, patents are being registered, oil pipelines are being laid, natural resources are being plundered, water is being privatised and democracies are being undermined.
In a country like India, the 'structural adjustment' end of the Corporate Globalisation project is ripping through people's lives. "Development" projects, massive privatisation, and labour "reforms" are pushing people off their lands and out of their jobs, resulting in a kind of barbaric dispossession that has few parallels in history. Across the world, as the "Free Market" brazenly protects Western markets and forces developing countries to lift their trade barriers, the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer. Civil unrest has begun to erupt in the global village. In countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, India the resistance movements against Corporate Globalisation are growing. To contain them, governments are tightening their control. Protestors are being labelled 'terrorists' and then being dealt with as such. But civil unrest does not only mean marches and demonstrations and protests against globalisation. Unfortunately, it also means a desperate downward spiral into crime and chaos and all kinds of despair and disillusionment which, as we know from history (and from what we see unspooling before our eyes), gradually becomes a fertile breeding ground for terrible things - cultural nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and of course, terrorism.
All these march arm in arm with Corporate Globalisation.
There is a notion gaining credence that the Free Market breaks down national barriers, and that Corporate Globalisation's ultimate destination is a hippie paradise where the heart is the only passport and we all live together happily inside a John Lennon song (Imagine there's no country...). This is a canard.
What the Free Market undermines is not national sovereignty, but democracy. As the disparity between the rich and poor grows, the hidden fist has its work cut out for it. Multinational corporations on the prowl for 'sweetheart deals' that yield enormous profits cannot push through those deals and administer those projects in developing countries without the active connivance of the state machinery - the police, the courts, sometimes even the army. Today, Corporate Globalisation needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, preferably authoritarian governments in poorer countries, to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. It needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice. It needs nuclear bombs, standing armies, sterner immigration laws, and watchful coastal patrols to make sure that it's only money, goods, patents and services that are globalised - not the free movement of people, not a respect for human rights, not international treaties on racial discrimination or chemical and nuclear weapons, or greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, or god forbid, justice. It's as though even a gesture towards international accountability would wreck the whole enterprise.
Close to one year after the War Against Terror was officially flagged off in the ruins of Afghanistan, in country after country, freedoms are being curtailed in the name of protecting freedom, civil liberties are being suspended in the name of protecting democracy. All kinds of dissent is being defined as 'terrorism'. All kinds of laws are being passed to deal with it. Osama Bin Laden seems to have vanished into thin air. Mullah Omar is said to have made his escape on a motor-bike (They could have sent Tin-Tin after him). The Taliban may have disappeared, but their spirit, and their system of summary justice, is surfacing in the unlikeliest of places. In India, in Pakistan, in Nigeria, in America, in all the Central Asian Republics run by all manner of despots, and of course in Afghanistan under the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.
Meanwhile, down at the Mall there's a mid-season sale. Everything's discounted - oceans, rivers, oil, gene pools, fig wasps, flowers, childhoods, aluminum factories, phone companies, wisdom, wilderness, civil rights, ecosystems, air - all 4,600 million years of evolution. It's packed, sealed, tagged, valued and available off the rack. (No returns). As for justice - I'm told it's on offer too. You can get the best that money can buy.
Donald Rumsfeld said that his mission in the War Against Terror was to persuade the world that Americans must be allowed to continue their way of life. When the maddened King stamps his foot, slaves tremble in their quarters. So, standing here today, it's hard for me to say this, but 'The American Way of Life' is simply not sustainable. Because it doesn't acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.
Fortunately, power has a shelf-life. When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within. It looks as though structural cracks have already appeared. As the War Against Terror casts its net wider and wider, America's corporate heart is haemorrhaging. For all the endless empty chatter about democracy, today the world is run by three of the most secretive institutions in the world: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation, all three of which, in turn, are dominated by the U.S. Their decisions are made in secret. The people who head them are appointed behind closed doors. Nobody really knows anything about them, their politics, their beliefs, their intentions. Nobody elected them. Nobody said they could make decisions on our behalf. A world run by a handful of greedy bankers and CEOs who nobody elected can't possibly last.
Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market-capitalism, American-style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature.
The time has come, the Walrus said. Perhaps things will get worse and then better. Perhaps there's a small god up in heaven readying herself for us. Another world is not only possible, she's on her way. Maybe many of us won't be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen very carefully, I can hear her breathing.
25 Jul 2006 @ 21:57 by jobrown : You know, i2i, first I tried to see !
this article as "nothing but Informative" -which you might have noticed, but it just continued to bugg me. The ONE statement that really is the very culprit of errounous thinking by any human (in this case the article writer)is this: that ONE person/group would have suffered more deeply than any other person/group in a similar predicament!!!
HOW THE HELL does one measure "the Jewish" suffering to be "worse" than for instance the suffering of the Polish people or the Gypsies in the SAME FACILITIES, tortured by the same Gestapo???!?!?!??? Beats me!
This kind of "thinking" is nothing but licking the butts of today's WORLD OPPRESSORS!!!...who orchestrated the "Jewish suffering" in the first place, so they could justify ALL they had planned to accomplish in the future, which we all are still witnessing today... AND still they are using the Jewish People as their Hammer over the heads of the rest of the World! WHEN ARE WE GOING TO WAKE UP????
What makes the article writer to totally ignore the SUFFERING of for instance American NAtives, almost totally eradicated in/from their own God-given Lands, the lands we call United States of America ( & Canada and some parts of South America as well)the fragment that managed to escape eradication were put into RESERVATIONS!!!... now,.... let's talk about suffering and injustice.... just thinking about the Natives for a moment!.... not to get into ALL THE REST of HUMANS with this similar fate... like for instance the Armenians!....
"... Jewish people who suffered so cruelly themselves - more cruelly perhaps than any other people in history ..." and then it goes on: "Does extreme suffering always kindle cruelty?"
NO IT DOESN'T,is the answer to that Rhetoric Q! ONLY ONE GROUP;the one who orchestrated the "Jewish suffering" ( with some fifty million other people to suffer. Of course, their suffering doesn't really count... Gentiles as they all the rest were/are!... "less than a Roach" isn't that what the Talmud says?... )in the first place, has been doing it to ALL of Humankind -still at it, btw!... forgive my sarcasm! NO, they are NOT Jews themselves... they are nothing but evil ,selfish bratts from time immemorial, with longstanding headquarters in the Mediterranean /Middle East area, but by no means are/were they only there. BULLIES have always been found all over the Planet!
What hope does this leave the human race with? With the mindset of the article writer; there is NO HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NONE!!!
But thank goodness; ther's more of us who are NOT this idiotic & cruel as this writer -obviously- is, DESPITE some good Information -probably in an effort to bolster the evil poisonous emotional blackmailing of the article!
We Shall Over-c-o-o-ome!... I thinks it's time for that again!/A-d
26 Jul 2006 @ 18:59 by i2i : Trying to see
I don't know, maybe you are trying too hard there, blueboy :-}
A case of negative afterimage, perhaps?
Afterimages occur because visual cells become fatigued and cease to respond when they have been stimulated unmovingly for a sustained period of time. - i.e. if you stare unblinkingly at a speck on a wall, the cells in your eye will tire and cease to respond to the visual information. Whole portions of the wall and even of the room may seem to disappear.
It's a fascinating phenomenon on which I commented here on Flemming Funch newslog.
Anyway I posted "Come September" on this thread because it is central to the documentary presented on the site that Koravya had recommended, and I like to follow through, whenever I can, on what people (especially John whom I like and respect) are saying and where they are coming from with the input they choose to contribute on my blog - as it is, I found Koravya's comment a very relevant contribution.
You are of course entitled to your opinion, but in so far as I am concerned I did not particularly see any "evil poisonous emotional blackmailing" in Arundhati Roy's lecture (???) nor did I see anything "that would cause me to jump to the conclusion, like you have, that the author of the lecture is either "idiotic" or "cruel" or insensitive to the plight of the non-jewish Polish people or the plight of the gypsies tortured by the Gestapo, or that she "totally ignores the suffering" of the American native Indians or that of any people on Earth - actually most of what I've been able to find about the author points to the contrary.
I agree with you on that one though, "bullies have always been found all over the Planet," yes, and violence and hatred have often been known to beget more hatred and more violence, which was I think the point of the author's rhetorical question. I do not think that it means that there is no hope.
27 Jul 2006 @ 00:14 by i2i : NeW LoNg coMMEnt bY BlueBOy
This thread is open to polite conversation and civil debate - abusive behavior will not be tolerated.
Everybody's got an opinion and that's fine. Just simply repeating oneself—rather loudly—over another person's comment is SHOUTING.
Q: How does one measure Human suffering?
A: I do not think that Human suffering is measurable.
Q: Does the question relates to this post?
A: It does. Suffering is suffering is suffering is suffering - especially when it comes to children. I think it is something most people understand and agree on.
Q: Do I have any interest into turning this thread into a comparative study between the suffering of the Jewish People and the suffering of other people?
A: I don't. But obviously blueboy does! If blueboy wishes to explore the topic and join her voice to the madness, I am not stopping her. Have a ball. NCN is a large place. Plenty of forums to go around, including, potentially, blueboy's own blog, or even the Asylum.
Personally, I think the question is ludicrous. It is not even part, as blueboy makes it seem, of any major supportive arguments of Arundhati Roy's lecture, 9 words out of 6,237, which were the starting point of blueboy's inflamed rhetoric on that issue.
The quote "...Jewish people who suffered so cruelly themselves - more cruelly perhaps than any other people in history ..." is nothing to go ballistic over.
1. The Jewish people DID suffer cruelly.
2. There are those who have suggested—rightly or wrongly so is not the point—that the Jewish people suffered more cruelly than other people
Arundhati Roy's point is that if point 1 is true (as it is)——and, even more so, if point 2 is true (as "perhaps" it is - the nine words blueboy didn't like)——then the expectation is that the Jewish people should be in a position that allows them to identify with other's suffering and "to understand the vulnerability and the yearning of those whom they have displaced... "
Have the Jews as a people suffered more, less, or just as much as any other people? It's not really the point here. It's a false debate that has been exacerbated—at some times trivialized in the cause of anti-semitism, at other times politically exploited in the name of Zionism—at either extremes of the political spectrum. I was hoping that this post would be able to take us further and beyond.
28 Jul 2006 @ 04:42 by koravya : Interpretations
I first encountered the writing of Arundhati Roy a couple of years ago through her essay, The Algebra of Infinite Justice. This was in a book of readings provided in the textbook for my Composition 2 course. This is a course in how to write argumentative essays. All of my students had to learn how to articulate their opinions about various current events and issues, and how to provide and document evidence in support of their chosen positions. So here was Arundhati Roy’s essay, written in the immediate aftermath of the September eleventh event, published September 29 in the Guardian.
Read it yourself. See how you like the way she uses the English language and how she connects the dots. Some folks in the class liked what she said and some didn’t. I taught this course several times, and always looked forward to reading the response essays.
Along around that time, I ran across her novel, The God of Small Things, on the bookshelf of the Goodwill Store near here. She took me back to those South Indian villages I had known, creating conversations in the language of thought I had there heard, creating characters and scenarios that spoke from the hearts of people from that area as I had known them. She is a gifted writer.
And she is a gifted thinker. The list of her essays is rather long, and I’ve just now read through The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky. She has a way of recognizing some fundamental truths, as they are expressed by others, and of stating them herself in patterns of words that lead a reader into new understandings.
This video around her speech, Come September, is masterfully put together by its author. A rhythmic cutting back and forth from her face articulating her words and thoughts, and images from the world that we read about in our newspapers and watch on our screens. There is no bias for Jew or Palestinian in her speech. There is anger of the most perceptive and penetrating incisiveness towards the perpetrators of violence and death. There is compassion for all of those of any and every religion who suffer the wrath inflicted by the madness which has infected the power brokers of our human destiny.
Every one of us, as a reader, brings something from wherever we got it into whatever we encounter in our quest for truth. We all got our triggers.
All of this cacophony about Jews and Palestinians rather belies the fact, it seems to me, that it is the innocent who are being murdered. And the murderer is the war machine.
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky
A List of Essays by Arundhati Roy
29 Jul 2006 @ 21:45 by Hanae @126.96.36.199 : Moving beyond the tip of the Iceberg
"Our tendency is to be interested in something that is growing in the garden, not in the bare soil itself.
But if you want to have a good harvest, the most important thing is to make the soil rich and cultivate it well."
Interesting article, here, from Pugwash online (Conferences on Science and World Affairs):
The political causes of war lie not in the difference (or even clash) of interests but in the elaborated political will; the readiness, organisational and psychological ability of one, some, or all sides in the conflict to try to resolve the conflict violently, to gain more than is achievable through dialogue, limited pressure and compromise...
War is always useful and even profitable to certain clans, strata, groups, elites, leaders. There are various forces interested in any concrete war...not even a victory, but just the process of engaging in war...
For at least partial elimination of some major causes of war in the twenty-first century several priorities are to be agreed between nations.
Thinking of the elimination of the causes for war one should reverse the problem and ask: What are the political and economic factors that produce peace? What can be done to promote dialogue and tolerance, equality and stability, just living standards and good social administration? Peace is not simply an absence of war, not a short interim period between regular conflicts.
* Recognition that Peace is Indivisible.
* Equity and Social Justice.
* Global Thinking.
* Non-violence in National and International Relations.
* Cultivation of Moral and Ethical Attitudes in International Affairs.
* Overcoming Disproportional Economic Disparity and Inequity Between Nations.
The most effective way of “fighting against war” is to work for peace, justice, dialogue, mutual understanding. And such positive work cannot be accomplished once and forever. It is an ongoing and endless process, which requires every generation to combine its best efforts to gain peace, to create peace and to enjoy peace.
30 Jul 2006 @ 01:42 by i2i : The dehumanization of war
Thank you Koravya and Hanae for the bit of sanity on this thread.
The debate about the image (Photograph by Sebastian Scheiner/AP) has, of course, become part of the propaganda war that is running alongside the conflict, but more to the point than either anti-whichever side tirades by blueboy (above) or by enora (who in her rather typical fashion has erased all her comments in a fit of anger) what struck me the most about the photos of the Israeli girls is the depiction of the dehumanization of war.
Lisa Goldman has attempted to put the image in some kind of context. She writes on her blog, "On the Face: Putting Things in Perspective," that she has done some research into the circumstances around the photograph being taken, calling people who were there. She says that the children were from Kiryat Shmona, which is right on the border with Lebanon and had been hit by Hizbullah rockets. According to the account, some of the parents wrote messages to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and then they handed the markers to the children who started drawing Israeli flags on the shells. The photographers, looking for a powerful image, had found one. Some bloggers have wondered if the media was culpable for perhaps coaxing the children into writing on the missiles, though Goldman's related account suggests it was the parents who invited the children to write messages.
A commenter somewhere made the following observation:
I think the scariest part of that photo is the sight of the woman in orange/pink in the background who is smiling insanely. Is it because she has just manipulated something? Or because she's really pleased that the kids are writing something on the bomb? Is she a journalist/photographer or a resident?
But don't let these observations stop another anti-whichever side tirade. However it happened, and for whatever reason, this is a very powerful image.
On a related issue, a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tones of oil has spilled into the Mediterranean after five out of six oil tanks at the electricity plant in Jiyeh were destroyed by Israeli bombs. The spill has hit more than 60 miles of the Lebanese coast from Jiyyeh to Shekka, north of the capital.
To be fair, an Israeli warship damaged by a Hizbullah missile on July 15 may also have spilled diesel oil into the sea, according to the Lebanon Environment Ministry.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a simple two-sided conflict with all Israelis (or even all Israeli Jews) sharing one point of view and all Palestinians another.
IN BOTH COMMUNITIES, there are individuals and groups who advocate either:
1. a two-state solution,
2. a total territorial removal of the other community,
3. a binational solution a of a single secular state encompassing present-day Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
I think most parties in Israel are supportive of solution number 1 (solution number 3 is most definitely not a solution to most Israeli for the obvious reason that it is estimated that demographically Palestinians could become the majority as early as 2010 or so.)
There are extremist parties like the Jewish National Front (an offshoot of the Kach, unfamous for its incitations to racism in Israel - Kach was outlawed by both the Israeli and US governments in 1994,) and individuals, some of whom are members of NCN (you know who you are,) who have been adamantly supportive of solution number 2 and who are calling for "cleansing the region extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean from the goyim (non-Jews) and thus guaranteeing a Jewish majority of no less than 90% throughout the land of Israel."
Such an extreme "solution," known as "transfer," the dream of part of the Israel right, could hardly take place in cold blood. It would require some extreme situation, a regional conflagration, for instance.
30 Jul 2006 @ 02:42 by i2i : I think people can read the article for
themselves, enora, and reach their own conclusion.
[This was in response to enora's last comment above, before the comment was deleted by its author.]
The title of this post is "War Games" and its focus is mainly about the dehumanization of war. As pointed out already in my earlier comment, the point is that "however it [the scene captured on the photograh] happened, and for whatever reason, this is a very powerful image."
I think Koravya said it best: "We all got our triggers. All of this cacophony about Jews and Palestinians rather belies the fact, it seems to me, that it is the innocent who are being murdered. And the murderer is the war machine. "
In her article, Lisa Goldman worries (as I do) "about the climate of hate that would lead people to look at it and automatically assume the absolute worst - and then use the photo to dehumanize and victimize." She wonders "why so many people seem to take satisfaction in believing that little Israeli girls with felt markers in their hands - not weapons, but felt markers - are evil, or spawned by an evil society."
She also wonders how "people would feel if Israelis were to look at a photo of a Palestinian child wearing a mock suicide belt in a Hamas demonstration and conclude that all Palestinians - nay, all Arabs - are evil."
30 Jul 2006 @ 17:30 by koravya : Peace Camp
Thank you, i2i, for the story behind the picture.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the adults of the New Civilization Network
could engage in a dialogue roughly equivalent to that shared by
the teenage Palestinian and Israeli girls of the Glorieta Peace Camp?
What is anybody looking for in here anyway?
A venue for shouting and screaming and pointing of fingers?
All of these flags and lines in the sand that we rally around
and point our fingers and shake our fists across, are all
reflections of our fears and our hatreds and our ignorance.
As we grow up, we are taught how to think.
By our parents, our relatives, our friends, our neighborhood, our school,
our religious establishment…..
And as we grow, our neighborhood expands, and we learn how to read,
some of us, and before long, we are presented with challenges to our
learned and accustomed ways of thinking, of putting stuff together,
so that we can find what we are looking for.
And what is it that any of us is looking for?
A friend. Someone who appreciates our ways of thinking.
Someone we can show a picture to, with whom can we have an understanding.
Just for a minute and a half,
Imagine yourself a Palestinian or Israeli girl at this camp.
The shells are falling on your village, both of your villages.
Now talk to your friend.
Glorieta Peace Camp
The following article is from this morning’s newspaper.
July 30, 2006
Camp in Glorieta Brings Israeli and Palestinian Girls Together
By Erica Cordova
Journal Staff Writer
GLORIETA— Maya Hochstadter tightly squeezed the hand of her new friend, Raz Ben-Ari, tears streaming down her face, as the girls spoke Wednesday of their fears about returning home to Israel.
They both had just completed three weeks in the peaceful confines of Glorieta's Creativity for Peace Camp, which each year brings together a mix of Palestinian and Israeli youths.
For Hochstadter, the latest round of violence in the Middle East struck close to home.
Back in Israel, her friend Hadas, also 16 years old, learned a couple of weeks ago that her brother— Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19— had been kidnapped when Palestinian militants crossed into southern Israel from Gaza.
In response, Israeli soldiers pushed their way into Gaza seeking Shalit's release— part of a sequence that has included war along the Israel-Lebanon border. Shalit is believed to remain in militants' hands.
"At first, we didn't know if he was killed or kidnapped," Hochstadter said. "It was hard. It takes time to sink in."
The peace camp is sponsored by the nonprofit Creativity for Peace, founded by Rachel Kaufman of Glorieta. It is in its fourth year on a 55-acre site in the foothills of Glorieta Mesa.
Its goal: to promote understanding among Israeli and Palestinian youths.
For several girls, it was the first time they'd been face to face with someone from "the other side."
And no time was wasted.
During art classes, intense sessions known as "dialogues" and other camp events, the 12 Palestinian and Israeli girls expressed their fears, spoke of the dangers they face at home and worked to gain each others' trust.
This year's camp faced unusual difficulties.
Participants were in New Mexico when the differences the camp tries to overcome provoked another round of violence in their part of the world.
Working her hands in clay on July 9, the second day of camp, Diana Fraija, a Palestinian from Tulkarem, created a pot that featured impressions of her fingerprints to take home to her village.
Later, she and the other girls would spread out in a circle and work on a project called "One Bowl Serves Many."
Each girl made a coil to add to a large pot that was fired with shades of purple, green and yellow.
"The place here is so beautiful," said Fraija after the girls finished the pot, intended as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. "No soldiers. No checkpoints. It's exciting. I feel like I'm dreaming. I don't want to go back."
After the pot was finished, the girls walked to their quarters to relax before a hike.
Fraija and Jwana Ghaleb Mohammad, also Palestinian, paired up to talk about the violence back home.
"It's the first time we meet an Israeli girl," Fraija said. "We can't just imagine how they are. It's so nice to be around them."
She said home means checkpoints, raids and random arrests, and she almost felt guilty for spending time in America.
"There are millions of them that haven't experienced peace. They will never know what peace means."
Ghaleb Mohammad— who wore a black and white shemagh, a shawl-like symbol of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said she consoled herself by talking about the suffering in her country.
"I want to send a message as a Palestinian person that we want our peace," she said. "I like my land. I don't leave my land."
Danger at home
Midway through camp, Sylvia Margia, a staff coordinator, learned that her own two children were in danger in northern Israel.
Margia has volunteered with Creativity for Peace the last two years. Part of her job is to recruit girls ages 15 to 17 for the camp.
Margia said her ex-husband was taking care of her children— Jhony, 12, and Aia, 7— when Hezbollah-fired rockets started falling near his home close to the Israel-Lebanon border.
She advised him to take the children to Nazareth with her mother, only to find out later that the town was another target of the rockets.
"I talked to my parents and my family to be sure that they are reporting to me," Margia said with tears in her eyes, debating whether she should go home.
Margia said this session was more difficult than last year's because of the war.
She and Anael Harpez, the other camp coordinator from northern Israel, said they were afraid for their children and feared that their homes might be destroyed and that campers would be in danger upon their return.
"I never imagined this," Harpez said. "I'm scared about losing the people that I love."
Harpez will stay in America for three more weeks to help with a second Creativity for Peace session with 12 more Israeli and Palestinian girls.
She said her son phoned her and advised her to stay in New Mexico until the war is over.
Harpez said, "Where I live, rockets have fallen every day. I'm staying for the second camp and I'll decide what I'll do after that."
'A lot of fun'
During a bowling outing in Santa Fe, Liat Esther, 15, from Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in northern Israel, gave a high five to Fraija, her new Palestinian friend. They danced to music playing in the background as other campers bowled.
"We have a lot of fun together," Esther said. "I love these girls. They are amazing girls. I just enjoy being around everyone. I always have fun with them. It doesn't matter what we do."
But home remains heavy on her mind.
"It feels wrong sometimes," Esther said. "I feel safe right now, but I feel like I should be with my mom and friends. It's a bit scary right now, but I know we'll be OK. At least we have shelters."
At Wednesday's closing ceremony, teary-eyed Ben-Ari volunteered to sing a peace song. She said she'd heard that at least three rockets had hit her town: "The government has some kind of (base) there so they are always bombing."
The girls paired up and exchanged written wishes for their new friends and buried them near a peace pole.
Most girls sobbed and hugged one another tightly as they prepared to go their separate ways.
"I'll really miss you all. I know I might not see you again. Thank you for everything," Esther said
Creativity for Peace
To contribute to peace in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis. Creativity for Peace brings adolescent girls from Palestine and Israel out of the violence and conflict of their communities into the safe New Mexico countryside for a three week summer program that teaches leadership and communication skills and promotes understanding and trust. Our program results in the development of deep friendships, which lead to reconciliation and a true desire for social justice and peaceful coexistence not only among participants but also throughout the communities to which they return.
Our population is composed of Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel, Palestinians living in Palestine, Bedouin, and Druze: five ethnic groups and four religions. Our participants are girls aged 15-17 who speak Arabic, Hebrew, English and other languages. Members of our constituency want to meet and understand the “enemy” and create innovative means of finding peaceful coexistence.
Trained dialogue and reconciliation facilitators, professional counselors, art therapists, and professional artists staff the program. The Director is a psychotherapist who has been working in Israel and Palestine for many years. All staff is interviewed and come highly recommended by other professionals. An extensive network of volunteers supplements and enriches the staff while minimizing expenses.
31 Jul 2006 @ 20:43 by Hanae @188.8.131.52 : Jane Elliott's experiment
"All of these flags and lines in the sand that we rally around
and point our fingers and shake our fists across..." how arbitrary and how artificial they are.
Jane Elliott’s "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" classroom exercise on the meaning of discrimination comes to mind: link
In the 1960's homogenous farming community of Riceville, Iowa, Jane Elliott came to the realization that many of her students harbored subtle and not so subtle prejudices against black people despite the fact that many of them had never even seen a black man before. So where did these prejudices come from? And, more importantly, how could she make them understand how arbitrary and unfair they were?
In a now famous exercise, she divided her class based upon the color of the students eyes and bestowed upon one group privileges and on the other group impediments.
Here is a description of one such exercise:
"The diversity lesson begins as a group of participants approach a registration table. Elliott is rude to the blue-eyed participants and puts collars on them. Then the participants are separated into two rooms based on their eye color. The blue-eyed room has only three chairs for 12 participants, while the brown-eyed room has plenty of chairs for all. Before the groups are joined together, Elliott instructs the brown-eyes to treat the blue-eyes as inferior. When the blue-eyes enter the main room, they're forced to sit in the middle, as if they're on display for all to see. Posters on the walls belittle the blue-eyes with such phrases as, 'If I have but one life, let me live it as a brown.'"
Elliott contended at the time that "a person who has been raised and socialized in America has been conditioned to be a racist" and that people lived "in two countries, one black and one white."
What was true of blacks and whites at the times for America (and is still true nowadays in many parts of America and of Europe,) is also true, I feel, of the world at large and equally applicable to all inexcusable treatments of people who are different, whoever and wherever they are, especially in such parts of the world, like for instance in the situation between Israel and the Palestinian people, where abuses are committed and divides are enforced and regulated on the basis of ethnic or racial differences.
31 Jul 2006 @ 21:55 by jobrown : Jane elliot's
'Experiment' was/is incredible. I've seen all the Documentaries w/Comm entary doc's several times. I've been writing articles here on NCN about it. (no responses/comments!... ) I gave people the links where to buy the Tapes ( for teaching purposes, coz the set costs -if memory serves- over 500 :- USD )
I think Elliot's Experiment really made it clear how grown-ups can change a child's life in just about fifteen minutes of indoctrination!
I think every person in the world "should" be obligated to see them -and learn from them WHAT NOT to do/become!They hold up -not only in issues of race, but discrimation, invalidation of other people -on "Whatever" basis! It's enough that someone is a "neighbouring Tribe" to label them as "enemy" thus justifying a status quo where constant adveserial relationship is cultivated -even with lies... maybe MOSTLY with/ through lies and half-truths about "the Other One/s" ; the idea is of course; always make them susupicious!... Oftentimes -or at least eventually- both sides end up doing this to eachother! But knowing that, can't we overcome that? Can't we tell to ALL Kids the real truth about us All; that we are all made from the same substance; call it cosmic energy, or Stardust, or God's Will, or whatever! W e are all made equal in God's Eyes. We are all made Divine. Only our own actions will eventually put some dents to this very Truth about us all; each & everyone ever born!
Jane Elliot was able to do it!....
31 Jul 2006 @ 23:34 by i2i : Links and follow-up
- Peace Camp: Koravya posted a follow-up entry to his comment about the Glorieta Peace Camp, here on his blog: Creativity for Peace.
- Reg. "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes": There is a PBS program (viewable online), here, A Class Divided, about "what Jane Elliott taught the children, and the impact that lesson had on their lives"
(You'll need either Windows Media or RealPlayer to watch the videos.)
1 Aug 2006 @ 03:40 by koravya : Overview
The teen-age girls are on their way back to their villages now. Dad and mom and brother and sister and aunt and uncle and grandpa and grandma and the whole bunch await you with open arms and are eager for your stories. Three weeks altogether with people from the other side in a safe environment. A screaming shell slices through the midnight air and lands near enough to shake the windows of the little house. But mother, it’s not my friend who is doing this, or anyone in her family. Unless she has a brother or a cousin who is a soldier or a volunteer who has been seduced or conscripted by the political agenda of the war machine. The soldiers have been seduced into fighting for a lie. How far back and how deeply this lie goes into primal fear is as old as war itself, but we, the vanguards of civilized thought are supposed to be beyond all of that, and some of us are. But the conniving intellect of the power mongers, have injected an evil venom into the minds of trusting souls. In one sense, this is nothing new, and in another sense, the developments of the last four hundred years, the history of central banking together with the astronomical advances in technology, have made today’s version of the great beast into the most monstrous perversion of human purpose and destiny that the Life of the Earth has ever had to deal with.
The slaughter of the innocents is as old as history in virtually every corner of the globe. The Guardians of Life have our job cut out for us. Now comes the roar of a rocket launcher, and the fading shriek of a missile scorching its way to the village on the other side.
Here’s an article that may be picked apart
for various details of historical accuracy.
It might also provide a sense of perspective
to someone who is looking for a bigger picture.
Who are the puppets?
1 Aug 2006 @ 16:44 by i2i : David Ickle
Hmm... I try not to judge or dismiss any material presented on the sole basis of its author reputation, but I think I'll make an exception in the case of David Ickle and make a strong point of distancing myself from the author of the article to which a link is provided in the above comment.
Wikipedia has quite a lengthy page about David Icke:
David Vaughan Icke, pronounced /aɪk/ (born April 29, 1952) is a former professional football player, reporter, television sports presenter, and British Green Party national spokesperson. Since 1990, he has been what he calls a "full-time investigator into who and what is really controlling the world."
The Green Party distanced itself from him in 1991 after he announced that he was "the son of God," and a "channel for the Christ spirit." He began to dress only in turquoise and maintained that the world was ruled by a secret group called the "Global Elite", or "Illuminati", which he linked to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic hoax. In 1999, he published The Biggest Secret, in which he wrote that the secret world government consists of a race of reptilian humanoids known as the Babylonian Brotherhood, and that many prominent figures are, in fact, reptilian, including George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie.
Icke has stated that Diana, Princess of Wales was killed because she had discovered that Charles and Camilla had had a child who had been sacrificed in a satanic ritual. Icke has also written that, according to Christine Fitzgerald, a confidante of Diana, she believed that the British royal family was connected to reptiles and that she had seen them shape-shift.
Icke has further claimed that a small group of Jews, namely the Rothschild family — who are really a "reptilian humanoid bloodline" — secretly financed Adolf Hitler and supported the Holocaust. As a result, Icke's speaking tours at one time attracted the interest of British neo-Nazis such as Combat 18, and he continues to face opposition from Jewish and anti-racist groups such as the Anti-Defamation League in Canada. Icke has strongly denied that he is an anti-Semite, stressing that the Rothschilds are reptiles, not Jews.
Icke argues that he has developed a moral and political worldview combining a passionate denunciation of what he sees as totalitarian trends in the modern world with a New Age spiritualism, amounting to what Michael Barkun, Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University, has called "New Age conspiracism." According to Political Research Associates, an American research group that tracks right-wing extremists, Icke's ideas are popular in Canada, where the New Age aspect of his philosophy overshadows his more controversial beliefs. He received a standing ovation after a five-hour speech to students at the University of Toronto in 1999, although his books were taken off the shelves of Indigo Books across Ontario after protests. He is the author of 20 books explaining his views. More Here >
So, er, "when eating with the devil, make sure and use a very long spoon," the saying goes, and, in so far as I am concerned, the usual disclaimer applies in this instance:
"The opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of either 'A Small Circle' or NCN at large," etc. That kind of things.
I must say I am not sure why Koravya posted this link to David Ickle's article here, or what his own beliefs are with regard to David Ickle's theories, or where he thinks he is going with that. The problem I have with the article itself is that as Koravya pointed out the article needs to be "be picked apart for various details of historical accuracy" and although "it might [possibly] provide a sense of perspective to someone who is looking for a bigger picture," the article is so tainted with Ickle's sulfuric history with regard to conspiracy theories that the credibility of the entire piece suffers as a result, independently of any "details of historical accuracy" that may or may not be picked apart from the article.
It will be interesting to see what kind of feedback the topic generates, if any. (I am willing to consider adding an expansion to this thread into Tangencies on the topic of David Ickle and his writings if the issue generates any interest.)
1 Aug 2006 @ 22:41 by Hanae @184.108.40.206 : The Blame Game
Regardless of its political and historical origins, the present basis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be summarized in the competition between two legitimate concerns, and the fact that each side studiously ignores the concerns of the other.
Another problem is that despite much talk about it, very little investment really is placed in promoting and protecting workable solutions, huge investments however are made in advancing non-solutions whose main aim is not peace but an escalation of the conflict based on one-sided propaganda that the other side is to blame and that, with enough time or force, the other side can be pushed into the sea (the anti-Israel final solution) or into the desert (the anti-Arab Palestinian final solution.)
Ideologues and propagandists for either side have built up a great literature of blame. Hundreds and thousands of pages "prove" conclusively that one side or the other is exclusively to blame for the conflict—I mean, no need to go very far for that, lol, just read the blogs of our own NCN’s resident ideologues, whose blogs are, for all practical purpose, exclusively dedicated to this purpose—each new event is assimilated to this literature.
Meanwhile billions of dollars are invested in the "war machine" based on the "who is to blame" game, and very few genuine efforts ever are really believably invested in solving the problems, or, if any progress seems to be about to take place, one side or another will sabotage it at the last minute through one act of provocation or another.
The sad reality of this duplicitous game is that the innocents are the victim. The conflict is NOT a conflict of the Palestinian people (or the Arab world, or the Muslim world) versus the Israeli people. The conflict is not about "occupation" or about "terrorism" or about "Israel defending itself." The conflict is about two visions of the conflict and the way to put an end to it, the vision and hope of those (both in Israel and in the occupied territories) who genuinely want a two state solution, and the ideology of those (both in Israel and in the Arab World) who are for a winner take all solution.
I read somewhere on NCN, here (I found this, following up on blueboy’s comment, as I was looking for instances of Jane Elliott’s name being mentioned on NCN,) that "wars only happen when enough people take sides" and that we should therefore abstain from taking sides, because "there is only one side – us!"
Although I can relate with the spirit in which such a statement was made and the good-will which inspired it, I must however disagree here with the form of the statement if not with its essence.
There ARE two sides!
Those against violence and for protecting the rights of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis are on one side.
Those who justify violence and look for which side is to blame are on the other side.
You’ll know them by their fruits.
3 Aug 2006 @ 07:11 by koravya : Referencing
Thank you for the referencing. I actually had no idea about the background of the person who wrote the article I referenced. What I read was a reference to the House of Rothschild, and by extension, a window into the complexity and insidiousness of the international banking system which has fastened a stranglehold on the mechanisms of history, the history that all of us have been trained to interpret in terms of kings, and presidents, and dictators, and parliamentarians, and all of those other pawns of the political infrastructure. To paraphrase, give me the right to control the issuance of money, and I care not what form of government you have. The line of this thread which began with those little girls writing with markers on the instruments of death, and proceeding through serendipity into the girls of the Creativity for Peace campground, has taken me, and perhaps yourself if you wish, for who knows how these threads may proceed?, into the arena of social, political, and psychological control over populations. The world therein is concerned with populations, not individuals, or insofar as individuals are concerned, with those in a closed circle. The family, as we all know, is a sacrosanct institution. You know who your family is, and you know who the outsiders are. Extending the family into everyone seems like an impossible task, yet for those of us who have a sense for it, the path is clear. Just today, I read an article by Gordon Parks, from a time when he was commissioned to write a story for Life about the favela of Rio de Janeiro. He went with an interpreter, and as a good journalist must, he got into a house, and got to know a family, and wrote about them. When twilight began to fall in the evening, he and his interpreter knew that they had to go back, to the other side of Rio, to their five-star hotel, with its beautiful lobby and elevators and women in evening gowns and their businessmen friends; they had to go back for it was dangerous for them to be in the favela at night; they were the other. Gordon got to know that favela family so well that he sought medical help for a very sick young man, twelve years old and four times his age already. We hear these stories so often. At the time of that writing, seven hundred thousand lived in the favela. Multiply that by how many times for today’s world? Dare I say that this all very sad about what is going on today between the Israeli people, and the Palestinian people, and the Lebanese people, and the Hizbollah people, and how many times shall I write down how many different peoples? Sadness is trivial. All of these peoples have been conned, and they are continually being ripped off by the money machine, a.k.a. the war machine. It is all propaganda. Tell the people to care for one another. Huh? Why not? What is all of this noise about we gotta put one over on them? Who gets to enjoy the lobby of the five star hotel? Who gets to be living in a closet forever?
Here is a book that one might begin to look through for beginning to understand the history and mechanisms of the International Banking Establishment. Along with related references.
The creature from Jekyll island
The Mandrake Mechanism
The Money Masters
The Rothschild dynasty
Thank you for the follow-up. "A window into the complexity and insidiousness of the International Banking System" seems to me like a major topic that deserves a thread of its own.
Clicking on the link below will expand the present comment to a new thread specifically dedicated to that topic for those interested in following through on that issue:
The International Banking System
The post is also internally accessible to all NCN members through the Tangencies Blog which Newslog is available in the Workgroups menu.
3 Aug 2006 @ 15:10 by jobrown : Just got this in.
Seems like it could be a good explanation what is happening in humans, to so totally lose track of all what's good in us. Haven't really had a chance to read it carefully yet. But do it (for) yourself and use to your Life's advantage what's good in it -and skip the rest, eh? http://www.salvation-of-humans.com/English/01_01_presentation-eng.htm
15 Aug 2006 @ 00:37 by sengul @220.127.116.11 : aferin
ben musluman ve turkum bu sayfayi yeni buldum atila ve boraya tesekkur ederim tekturk bu arkadaslar. biz bu kadarmiyiz muslumanlik islamiyet bu kadar basit yerlerde anlatilmaz ,ingilizce yazmadim cunku adamlar terbiyesiz tahammul edemem.kendine saygisi olan alelen kufur etmez bunlara neyi anlatacaksiniz ahlaksiz pislikler
21 Aug 2006 @ 18:57 by Hanae @18.104.22.168 : Nineteen Eighty-Four Now!
Because 2006 is 22 years too late.
War is Peace (Ministry of TRUTH)...
And WarBloggers are righteous!
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