Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Its all about the New World order stupid

October 3, 2007

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Less health care for the children maybe all the teeth in the childrens mouth will fall out and they will no longer be able to eat-get my point-the new world order.

Iraq is More Important then Health Insurance for Kids

I’m a little confused. Someone unconfuse me.

1 bill.  1 bill for health insurance. 1 bill to help millions of poor children get insurance. 1 bill that Bush just vetoed.

Fact: Bush has spent, or will spend $700 BILLION for a war in Iraq.  Bush feels spending $35 billion is too much money to insure 4 million poor children who are without healthcare right now.

Fact: Bush has given $50 BILLION in subsidies for huge oil companies but feels not enough americans deserve health insurance.

Are children the bottom feeders?  I’m a single mother, I only make 40K a year.  I’m told I make too much for state insurance, yet, my taxes go to pay for medicare for ADULTS who are capable of working so they can have health insurance.  My taxes.  I can’t afford the $700 a month premium at my work to insure my daughter.  I had to take a policy with a $2,500 deductible in order to afford any kind of insurance. 

I feel freaking duped by our government suddenly.  Can’t they for once just agree that our kids should come first. 

This saddens me. Seriously saddens me.  It’s no wonder we can’t get our priorities straight.

Here’s to all those poor children, sorry kids, no medicines for you today, hopefully you’ll survive another day.

Thank you President Bush, thank you.

http://leesaann1173.wordpress.com/

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Read story below: Bush vetoes child health insurance plan

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war photographer

September 25, 2007

war photographer

Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever.

breaking the silence Truth And Lies In The War On Terror – John Pilger

September 10, 2007

51 min 50 sec 

 http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-4527835028345509000

John Pilger dissects the truth and lies in the ‘war on terror’. Award-winning journalist John Pilger investigates the discrepancies between American and British claims for the ‘war on terror’ and the facts on the ground as he finds them in Afghanistan and Washington, DC. In 2001, as the bombs began to drop, George W. Bush promised Afghanistan “the generosity of America and its allies”. Now, the familiar old warlords are regaining power, religious fundamentalism is renewing its grip and military skirmishes continue routinely. In “liberated” Afghanistan, America has its military base and pipeline access, while the people have the warlords who are, says one woman, “in many ways worse than the Taliban”.

In Washington, Pilger conducts a series of remarkable interviews with William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and leading Administration officials such as Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. These people, and the other architects of the Project for the New American Century, were dismissed as ‘the crazies’ by the first Bush Administration in the early 90s when they first presented their ideas for pre-emptive strikes and world domination.Pilger also interviews presidential candidate General Wesley Clark, and former intelligence officers, all the while raising searching questions about the real motives for the ‘war on terror’.

While President Bush refers to the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq as two ‘great victories’, Pilger asks the question – victories over whom, and for what purpose? Pilger describes Afghanistan as a country “more devastated than anything I have seen since Pol Pot’s Cambodia”. He finds that Al-Qaida has not been defeated and that the Taliban is re-emerging. And of the “victory” in Iraq, he asks: “Is this Bush’s Vietnam?” 

A clash of interests

September 10, 2007

People talk about a clash of civilisations, but the real clash is between irreconcilable agendas, strategies and policies.

 Soumaya Ghannoushi

Relations between civilisations, some argue, are rooted in conflict and the desire to eliminate each other. For an embodiment of this chronic inter-civilisational hostility all you have to do is reflect over the tension reigning between the Muslim world and the “west” filled with the sound of sirens, F-16s, bombs, and gunfire, and the voices of pre-emptive strikes, sacred wars and insane violence.

On the Muslim side this view finds its staunchest champions among groups like al-Qaida, who see themselves as locked in eternal religious and civilisational warfare with the infidel west.

On the opposite side of the trench stand rightwing and liberal elements, who, though strongly averse to Bin Laden’s religious metaphors, subscribe to his reading of western/Islamic relations nonetheless. The absence of harmony between the two, these claim, is grounded in their different value systems, with one based on rationality, freedom, individualism and progress, the other on fatalism, religious myth, literalism, intellectual rigidity and despotism. The two are simply irreconcilable.

Shallow stereotypes apart, there is no denying the many differences between what are conventionally referred to as Islamic and western civilisations. The same would indeed be true of Indian, Chinese, or any other great civilisation. Each has its distinctive historical experience, system of meaning and order of references, without which it cannot be described as a civilisation.

It is naïve, however, to infer from this essential fact of particularity that civilisations exist as islands swimming in isolation from each other. Far from being pure or homogenous, civilisations are amalgams of manifold intellectual traditions and historical influences. The linear reading of history that regards the present as a rupture with the past is too simplistic to account for the complexity of historical processes.

When we speak of Muslim civilisation for instance, we do not mean a monolithic separate block, but the great repository of an astonishing range of sources, Persian, Byzantine, Chinese, Indian, and other, assimilated within the Islamic symbolic order and through the medium of Arabic, its lingua franca.

And while those on the northern part of the dispute insist on positing a dichotomy between the “west” and “Islam'” the truth is that the Muslim moment is an integral part of that which was to succeed it in Europe. While it was heir to the great civilisations and high cultures of the east, Islam acted as the bridge between antiquity and modernity.

European civilisation is in this sense not only Judeo-Christian, but Judeo-Christian-Islamic, the latter incorporating the rich heritage of the east in its folds. This is still the case even if the notion of European identity was largely elaborated in opposition to the Muslim other: Saracen, and later Turk.

Islam and Muslims were part of Europe’s past. Today, they are an undeniable part of its present. As “natives” in eastern Europe, or as recent immigrant communities settled in the continent since the 1940s, they number at least 15 million and are Europe’s largest religious minority. Islam does not stop at Europe’s imaginary frontiers, at the Mediterranean to the south and Turkey to the east, but is part of its internal fabric. The Muslim factor is in many respects a European factor.

While the western proponents of clashes of civilisations regard Muslim presence in Europe as a threat to its security and a danger to its mythical pure identity, their Muslim counterparts see it as a transit through a “house of war”. On both sides, shallow, disfigured and reductionist interpretations of history and identity, past and present prevail.

If we go beyond the realm of theories to that of current affairs, how can we explain the crisis of relations between “Islam” and the “west”?

Whatever the zealots in east and west may say, the answer to the question lies neither in cultures and ways of life, nor in norms and values, but in the world of politics, with its stakes and calculations. Take the debacle with Iran consuming the attention of politicians, strategists and journalists today. Only a simpleton would believe that the country is being dragged to the UN and threatened with military attack to defend civilisation and enlightenment. The conflict has little to do with religion, or culture and much to do with geopolitics and the balance of powers in a highly sensitive region of the world. The ongoing diplomatic feuds and potential military battles are being fought neither for reason nor for freedom and progress, but for dominance, Israel, and oil.

Some might argue that powers are entitled to pursue their own interests. Though true, this is by no means an absolute proposition. Such entitlement depends largely on the legitimacy of the interests in question. We must distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate interests. Legitimate interests can only be part of a balanced relationship that recognises and meets the needs of both sides. I might have an interest in assaulting you and expropriating your property. But is my interest legitimate? I think not.

The Middle East is the crossroad of three continents and the container of the world’s biggest oil reserves. That Europe and the US should seek access to such an important part of the world is only natural. Some ask what is the problem with them pursuing their vital interests. The problem is when strategies are based on a strict calculation of individual interest, heedless of those who stand on the opposite side, their needs and aspirations. The problem is when these interests are pursued with an egotistic will to domination in rejection of the value of mutual benefit. The problem is when an entire region is viewed wholly through the prism of interest, its people either as vehicles, or as obstacles to its attainment.

Yes, there are clashes, and bloody borders. But these are not between civilisations, cultures, ways of life, or value systems, but between irreconcilable agendas, strategies and policies. In these rampant power games, “civilisation” turns into nothing but a fig leaf behind which interest hides its nakedness.

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/soumaya_ghannoushi/index.xml

If we could embrace this

September 10, 2007

If we could embrace this

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

by John Lennon

Farewell to democracy

September 10, 2007

 Soumaya Ghannoushi

Soumaya Ghannoushi is an academic and freelance writer. She is a researcher at the University of London. She studied philosophy for her bachelor and masters degrees, then specialised in Oriental studies.

Friendly dictators have nothing to fear. The Bush administration is back to its old ways in the Middle East.

So much for all the noise about democracy, reform, and good governance. The Bush administration has quietly tucked the file of political reform in the Arab world away. Friendly dictators have nothing to fear. The administration is back to its old ways. What matters in the region is not political change but stability (a euphemism for the preservation of political and military interests), and the flow of oil at the lowest possible prices.

The Bush administration had assumed that its invasion of Iraq would tip the existing balance of powers in the region upside down. Neighbouring Arab regimes would have to comply with American/Israeli dictates, or be ousted and replaced by new more domesticated, more docile “elites”, responsive to Washington’s demands and compatible with its vision for the region. Hand in hand with the heated battles fought by armies on the ground was a cold war waged with the slogans of democracy and reform, and promises of freedom and progress.

The truth is that the Americans were never committed to democracy in the region. To them, it was a convenient instrument for the construction of a new Middle East tailored to fit their strategies. That Anatoly Sharansky, the former Israeli illegal settlements minister who stands to the right of the far right Ariel Sharon, was the inspiration for Bush’s democratisation project is a symptom of the deadly flaw at its core. The American president, though not exactly known for being a voracious reader, is widely reported to have recommended Sharansky’s book to just about everyone he met. He quoted it almost verbatim in the inaugural speech of his second term. The book, he declared, was part of DNA. “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy,” he told a Washington Post journalist, “read Natan Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy. It’s a great book.”

Three factors underlie the administration’s decision to abandon its much vaunted democratisation project and return to the game of maintaining the status quo, of aiding and abetting “good” dictatorships – a policy to which the US had been firmly committed since the cold war:

1) The occupation of Iraq and toppling of its president did not unleash the era of affluence and prosperity prophesied by Bush and his neocons. Iraq did not exactly turn into the envy of the Arab world. If anything, Iraqis and Arabs found themselves in the unlikely position of lamenting the passing of Saddam’s years, brutal as they were.

2) Ballot boxes became a fearful prospect where the administration’s proteges often found themselves at the bottom of the race, if not outside it altogether. Instead, it was the “hardliners”, the nationalists and Islamists, who are more responsive to the interests, demands and aspirations of their people than to those of the White House, who got the lion’s share of the votes.

This was the case in Egypt, where in 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and largest Islamic movement in the Arab world, succeeded in winning approximately one-third of the votes, in spite of the wide violations that mired the process and even though the organisation had confined itself to contesting 144 out of the 454 parliamentary seats to avoid aggravating the government. The same scenario was replicated months later in the Palestinian legislative elections which, much to Washington’s horror, ended up bringing Hamas to power. The Bush administration could take no more. Democracy, it transpired, was not for the likes of those who voted in the Egyptian and Palestinian elections.

“Either you elect the elites and rulers we need, or no democracy, reform, or change for you!”

3) A shift in priorities occurred in Washington. Confronting the Iranian “threat” shot up to the top, while reform sank downwards. Instead of tyrannies and democracies, the region became divided into “moderates” lined up against the “Shia crescent”, and “extremists” favourably disposed to it. Along with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, which had until recently been dismissed as a Wahhabi terrorism incubator, found itself rehabilitated and promoted to the ranks of friendly moderates.

In her recent visit to the country, the American secretary of state demanded that the Egyptian government release Ayman Nour, the pro-US leader of the al-Ghad party. Listening to her, one would have thought that Mr Nour was the only political prisoner languishing inside Egypt’s packed jails. In fact, days before the Ms Rice’s visit, the authorities embarked on a renewed wave of mass arrests, targeting prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the non-violent Islamist group that is the country’s strongest opposition force.

It is worth noting that although the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest party affected by the ban, scores of other political forces suffer the same fate: 12 such parties have recently had their licensing requests refused by the Egyptian authorities. In addition, the long-awaited municipal elections were postponed for fear of a repeat of the legislative elections’ outcome, while the state of emergency in force for 26 years was renewed. Yet, with all the repression, corruption and tyranny, Mubarak’s regime was hailed a shining model of moderation.

Two years ago, Ms Rice confessed, without being subjected to sensory deprivation or cross-examination, that the US has been the chief impediment to change in the region.

“By now, it should be clear that decades of excusing and accommodating tyranny for the sake of stability, have only led to injustice and instability and tragedy,” she said. “For too many years – 60 to be precise – American presidents were on both sides of the aisle. By the way, Democrats and Republicans were prepared to have a policy of exceptionalism in the Middle East concerning democracy.

“We were prepared to say, well authoritarian regimes are there either because the Middle East, well they don’t really want freedom, or we want stability or any number of reasons that we have. We have not to push the democracy agenda in the Middle East.”

Now that the administration has decided to revert to its old ways in the Middle East, Ms Rice should take the stage once more and say, “We have supported tyranny in the past and we continue to support it today. Forget all the nonsense about democracy, reform, or change. You see, when push comes to shove, our interests must prevail.”

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/soumaya_ghannoushi/index.xml