Jan 8, 2008 at 06:40 o\clock
Nov 21, 2007 at 10:27 o\clock
I watched a DVD documentary called "Gaza Strip", a film by James Longley. There was no narration, just a camera rolling in the Gaza Strip, following the lives of some who live there, particularly young boys and women. It wasn't easy to watch. Nor is it easy to explain. I was saddened, distressed, angry, at what the Israelis are doing to these people - bulldozing their homes (or them if they get in the way), blocking off their roads, not letting them leave, firing gas canisters of poison into groups of children, shooting children in the head, leaving bombs for children to play with. These are the actions of descendants of holocaust victims. Apparently there is no compassion. Having stolen this land from the people who lived there, they are trying to drive them out, just as the Germans did to them. It disgusts me. I currently have no words to describe what I feel after watching this movie.
If you watch this and come away unmoved, you have no heart.
Nov 17, 2007 at 01:40 o\clock
I never intended neglecting this blog for so long, but other matters have taken up all my time. I will still be busy with them at least until February. After that I hope I will have far more time to consider updating a blog.
I've just finished reading an excellent book on the state of affairs in Iraq - The Occupation: war and resistance in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn. If you want to know what's truly going on in Iraq I urge you to read it. In a word, it's chaos. After 4 years of occupation nothing has improved - at all.
I'll outline or quote a few points that struck me while reading it.
"The suicide bombers were usually non-Iraqis, with the majority coming from Saudi Arabia and others from Jordan, Syria or Egypt. They were motivated by Islamic fundamentalism and hatred of the occupation." This 'war' is breeding more hatred and, therefore, more terrorism. Moreover, "an investigation into 300 young Saudis, caught and interrogated by Saudi intelligence on their way to Iraq to fight or blow themselves up, showed that very few had any contact with al-Qaeda or any radical organization prior to 2003". Congratulations, America.
There are a lot of incidences of trigger-happy Americans who shoot anyone they think is remotely suspicious out of nervousness. Perhaps understandable, but hardly creating positive feeling towards them. Even someone holding a camera is shot because it might be a gun. Even someone fixing their TV antenna can be shot dead by US soldiers. "A US patrol had beaten an elderly man half to death with their rifle butts because they thought a mortar had been fired from the window of his house." With Americans it's always shoot first and ask questions later. Such incidences happen daily. It is made worse by the fact that many Iraqis do not understand what is being shouted at them by US soldiers and so do not obey instructions and are shot dead. Anyone may be thought to be a suicide bomber and shot dead immediately. One victim was a brain surgeon on his way to hospital.
"So many people were being killed in Iraq every day for so many reasons that the outside world had come to ignore the slaughter (if it was even reported) and Iraqis themselves were almost used to it. The death of a thousand people in a stampede during a Shia religious festival in September 2005 was only a one-day wonder abroad." (It didn't make the news here. Who cares, after all, about a few muslims? Only American deaths are important.)
Iraqi farmers had their orchards destroyed - part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who did not give information about guerillas - regardless of whether these farmers were likely to know anything or not. Their livelihood destroyed, these farmers are more likey to help the guerillas than give any future aid to American soldiers.
Fraud and corruption is rife. Millions have gone unaccounted for. To give a small example, an American soldier was put in charge of some funds but gambled away the money. Nobody knew if he had lost 60,000 or 20,000 dollalrs because no record was kept of how much he received in the first place. 1.3 billion dollars "was allocated for arms procurement under Iyad Allawi, but it had been siphoned off abroad in cash and disappeared".
Four years of occupation and Iraqis still don't have basic infrastructure. Electricity supply is scant and unreliable. The people of Baghdad were getting only 3 or 4 hours of electricity a day. Almost everyone had a generator to provide enough if only for air-conditioning as temperatures soared. Oil may have been cheap but people had to wait 7 or 8 hours in the heat to get it at the official price. The black market was quicker but more expensive and it's not affordable for many to run a generator. Businesses closed as the owners are afraid for their lives and stay home.
If all these few 'minor' examples of the chaotic everyday life of occupation were not enough, the Americans seem intent on humiliating the Iraqis in every possible way. They abolished the red, white and black Iraqi flag and chose a new unwelcome meaningless replacement. It bore "a sinister resemblance to the Israeli flag". That act alone would be enough to push enraged Iraqis to acts of violence. How would the yanks like it if someone abolished their precious flag and imposed a new one that looked like, say Mexico's or Russia's? The americans are un-fucking-believable.
Aside from outlining the difficulties encountered as a result of the occupation, the book is excellent in explaining the complex politics of warring factions within Iraq - a complex problem which the americans have no hope of solving and only exacerbate by their continued occupation of Iraq. The Iraqis didn't want Saddam, but neither do they want the Americans. Their patience has worn thin.
Jul 8, 2007 at 03:30 o\clock
Included in the book is a timeline of America's involvement with Saddam Hussein. Let me duplicate it for you, as I don't think such examples can be repeated often enough for those who are either ignorant or have a short memory.
1979: Saddam seizes power with US approval; moves allegiance from Soviets to USA in Cold War;
1980: Invades Iran, then the “Unicycle of Evil”, with US encouragement and arms..;
1982: Bush-Regan regime removes Saddam's regime from official US list of state sponsors of terrorism;
1983: Saddam hosts Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Agrees to “go steady” with US corporate suppliers;
1984: US Commerce Department issues licence for export of aflatoxin, usable in biological weapons, to Iraq;
1988: Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, gassed; [note that US does nothing]
1987-1988: US warships help destroy Iranian oil platforms in Gulf and break Iranian blockade of Iraq shipping lanes, tipping war advantage back to Saddam;
1990: Invades Kuwait with US permission. [yes, US permission]
And then the US, nearly 20 years later, decide to execute Saddam for crimes against humanity. All very suspect, yet convenient.
I have nothing but contempt for the US government, its foreign policies and the spread of their corruption.
Jun 29, 2007 at 02:38 o\clock
We always hear about suicide bombers and how many Israeli soldiers and civilians are killed. We never hear about Palestinian casualties or why Palestinians might be taking the extreme act of killing themselves to make a point. This link is just one story of many similar that we never hear about:
Israeli troops raid Nablus at: