Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Terror and justice

How could people bomb innocents like those who were victims in Madrid on 3/11 asks one of the survivors? They were 'normal' people, he says. One can only agree with such a sentiment. How could one disagree? One has to however, seek answers. It's not about feeling sympathy for bombers, but it's about trying to understand in order to prevent further suffering.
Of course, for the sake of decency, as well as honesty, one should before anything else put things into perspective. On march 11th 2004 in Madrid, 191 people were killed and 2050 wounded. On september 11th 2001 in New York, 2974 died. On July 7th 2005 in London, 52 people were killed and 700 were wounded (source: Wikipedia). If we were to count the numbers of people killed in bombings by western forces and others supported financially as well as militarily by western nations, where would one start? In the Second Lebanon War of 2006 over a thousand lebanese lost their lives under israeli fire. In the invasion phase of the 2003 Iraq war, 7,299 iraqi civilians were killed. 290 Iranian civilians were killed when the airliner they were travelling was downed by USS Vincennes during the Iran-Iraq war. (Source: Wikipedia).
Coincidentally perhaps, today in Spain, some of those responsible for the March 7th attacks were condemned while simultaneously a bill has been approved which formally condemns Franco's dictatorial and terrorist regime. Though of course the mainstream media does not link the two events, what comes to mind is a certain paradox. We all accept justifiably, that those responsible for the deaths of 191 innocent civilians in Madrid should be brought swiftly (and democratically) before the law, and yet condemning an equally (in numbers no doubt more) horrifying period of spanish history, takes over thirty years, and still there are those who complain (mainly right-wing conservatives). This seems to me to be a fitting example of the double-standards with which our media and authorities treat history and contemporary events.
On this day, the BBC aired a programme dealing with the upcoming Annapolis Israel/Palestine peace conference. Several commentators from the region or elsewhere were questioned. None of whom I had personally heard of. None but one palestinian commentator mentioned the hypocrisy of the 'offers' made by Israel and the US to the palestinians. Commentators such as Amira Hass, the israeli journalist who lives in and reports from Gaza, Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has spent thirty years living in and reporting from Beirut on the middle east and the arabo-muslim world, Noam Chomsky, who has written extensively and with excellent sourcing about the 'conflict' and US-Israeli rejectionism, Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, or Meron Benvenisti, former Jerusalem mayor and proponent of a binational state were not interviewed.
Recently, the US congress was censored in it's attempt to officially recognise the ottoman genocide of Aremenians in 1915 by Turkey and it's lobby. At least it's relatively uncontroversial to speak of a turkish lobby in the US. Meanwhile, Israel continues to deny the Armenian Holocaust and the Ukrainian Holocaust (for example). It is up to historians to decide what is holocaust and what is not, and not politicians, according to Israel. Maybe it should apply this wisdom to all holocausts.
Mr Zapatero has claimed, that justice has been done. But where are Bush, Blair, Howard, Aznar, Berlusconi and all the others before them? Are they behind bars?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mobilisation in Aotearoa


A series of protests against this week's anti-terror raids have taken place across the country.

As many as a thousand people joined a march in Whakatane to complain about children being caught up in the police operation.

A good sign perhaps. I just hope the solidarity will be the same if and when the police are heavy-handed against muslims.

Murder of Lucky Dube, 17th October 2007

Born into a single-parent family, times were tough for a black boy born into poverty under the Group Areas Act and the pass laws of the time. Dube's parents had separated before he was born. His mother was the only breadwinner in the family and was forced to relocate to find work, leaving Lucky and his siblings, Thandi and Patrick, to be cared for by his grandmother.

Dube began working as a gardener at the age most children enter school. He later joined a school himself. Although clearly underprivileged and despite being taught in
Afrikaans, he excelled and joined the school choir. He was a natural performer and when the choirmaster walked out of the practise session one day, Dube took over. His popularity among his teachers and peers grew dramatically, according to his website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do you know the truth about Lockerbie?

Robert Fisk

After writing about the "ravers" who regularly turn up at lectures to claim that President Bush/the CIA/the Pentagon/Mossad etc perpetrated the crimes against humanity of 11 September, I received a letter this week from Marion Irvine, who feared that members of her family run the risk of being just such "ravers" and "voices heard in the wilderness". Far from it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ahmadinejad at Columbia

Since President Ahmadinejad of Iran was invited to Columbia University in the United States, I think the least we can do, in the interest of free information, is to listen to what he had to say. I would be very interested in having a debate about his speech, and more precisely his answers to the questions put to him. I would certainly have issues to raise with him if I was given the chance, most noteably on gays and women's rights in Iran.
It seems to me, however, that, whatever we may think of his honesty, he clearly answered the questions put to him by Lee Bollinger in his utterly subjective introduction to Ahmadinejad.
For now, I have one question: If President Bush of the United States was invited to speak at an iranian university, would he go? More importantly, what would he say?

Thursday, October 04, 2007