If I had to give a Christmas message this is it. The following news stories, one from Agence France-Presse and one from Antiwar.com, are meant to be read as a couplet.
Iraq Christians mark Christmas under threat
Christians United for War
Both were published on the same day, 24 December, 2009
For what it is worth nowadays, this can be found on the Wikipedia:
The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
From Information Clearing House: Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, and co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a group which had openly defied economic sanctions from 1996-2003 by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq.
Do go to this link to see the two videos of her very moving and inspirational presentation
From Gaza to Pakistan
The Cost of War Abroad and at Home
First Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, NY November 6, 2009
Two time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly discusses her experiences in Gaza and Pakistan, and helps evaluate the costs of war-making from the perspective of those who bear the brunt of suffering caused by war.
Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, and co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, a group which had openly defied economic sanctions from 1996-2003 by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq.
Sponsor: St. James Church Peace and Justice Committee
Posted November 11, 2009
The Assyrian Christian population of the Middle East – Antiochian, Catholic and Orthodox – is now a fraction of what it once was, and the story of the genocide practised upon them remains largely untold. – blurb from repeat broadcast on Australia’s ABC Radio National’s Religion Report
Check the link to the podcast and / or the transcript now available.
Also check April DeConick’s Forbidden Gospels blog. I know April has taken a special interest in the fate of the Assyrians and posted more extensively on their plight.
I posted an alert to this same broadcast when first aired back in May last year, along with a fuller treatment of the meaning of the word genocide. The same program at that time discussed Christian minorities more generally throughout the Middle East, also linked on that earlier post. The podcast for this other interview is no longer available but the transcript is. For the earlier program and the additional discussion and links to Christian minorities in the Mid East see the post titled Unknown Genocide and Christians in Iraq.
Why is my grief mingled with anger and not pride? And why am I continually haunted every Anzac day by the recollection of a very different Anzac day service tone so many years ago? (more…)
It’s happening at last. Iraqis are finally coming together to form a united front for American values like liberty, the right to bear arms, to rid their country of foreign influence, and terrorists too, at last.
From The Associated Press comes the report: Six Iraqi insurgent groups announce formation of a “political council” to liberate Iraq
Yep, it’s a propaganda video and transcript. But until we begin to listen to all sides are we not doomed to be at war without end / to the end?
A message (in English) from the Iraqi resistance
(How many in the west fed on mainstream media — that for economic and nationalist reasons tend to be megaphones for official government or corporate press releases — even know who their governments are fighting in Iraq?)
Evolving as we did in small close-knit bands, evolution appears to have failed to equip us with an instinctive universal moral compass when it comes to the fates of masses of foreigners. It seems only the more enlightened about the true nature of “masses of foreigners” can summon some level of outrage. (more…)
An interesting set of historical echoes in a MidWeek article. (Not sure about all of Don Chapman’s analysis, especially on Iraqi attitudes to democracy and their nation — thought some recent evidence would have suggested otherwise — but an interesting recap of some facts nonetheless.)
….. according to Micahel Scheuer, former CIA head of their bin Laden unit. (Why? Our leaders don’t care to understand Islamic extremism, dismissing it ignorantly as hatred of Western culture). Check The Age article at:
The links in this post are of real-life here-and-now importance, I think, more than most others on this blog. They point to recent radio discussions about Christians in Iraq but their importance is not just for the sake of the people directly concerned, but also for the potential they carry to inform us about today’s role of Christians in the U.S. and some closely related nations. (more…)
America has without question successfully exported their way of life to the Emerald City in the Middle East, Baghdad, enjoying as it does the equivalent of 2 Virginia Techs every day!
Amazing. Conquer a country and then select the loyal and the willing, the politically correct, often the youth with no experience, to run the country, flick off with scorn anyone with real knowledge or skills relevant to the country, — then set up your new ruling body in a sealed off area that is a little america, where once a year they have a cultural evening of entertainment to show what the culture is like on the outside — that’s how Rajiv Chandrasekaran discovered the US has misruled Iraq from the “green zone” in Baghdad! He discussed his experiences in “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone” (2007). Haven’t read it, but listened to a lengthy interview with him on Late Night Live last night.
Among the highlights:
A young man less than a year out of college with no experience in the stock market was put in charge of getting Iraq’s stock exchange up and running again. Result: he had it shut down for a year despite many locals willing and able to get it going immediately.
At the time of massive unemployment Bremer’s first task as he saw it was not to create jobs but to sit down and re-write the TAX laws.
Americans are so fearful of being poisoned that they import all their food into the Green Zone from outside Iraq. This includes pork and ham which of course is offensive to local Muslim workers in that zone.
Many employees in the Green Zone demonstrate not the slightest interest in life or the country outside concrete walls of the Green Zone.
But one thing not in the book, the comment on the recent bombing inside the Iraqi parliament — now that could well be a turninng point, as the bombing of the Shia mosque was that triggered the sectarian war. Without the most basic security able to be given the (supposed) rulers . . . .
And despite all the hype at the time on how hard it would have been to get past the security to blow themselves up, Rajiv explained it was not difficult at all. The only places where one goes through endless security checks is the entries to American areas. The parliament was being guarded by Iraqis with minimal checks.
This was originally planned to be my main blog but it is too painful by half to maintain the way I once intended. Just to hear the news brings pain. But it is the most important one in intent so must get back to it somehow.
Meanwhile, do have a look at Robert Fisk’s latest. And keep in touch with http://informationclearinghouse.info
We did what we could in the streets back in 2002 and 2003/4 to stop all this shit but I can’t believe our warnings of what would be the consequences of US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were so underestimated. Well, we got it pretty right with Afghanistan (we warned women would not be better off, that the drug trade and warlords would return, and that we’d have to settle in for a long long very long war just like the Russians and the Brits before us) — but who could have foreseen that Iraq would descend to worse than a war for liberation (or civil war if that’s what you were predicting). Trust old Negraponte from his days as ambassador to Honduras to be given just a few months in Baghdad to see the same rival killings in his wake, only on a worse scale. — How encouraging to see Shias and Sunnis come together on the 4th anniversary of the American invasion to demand the liberation of their country! How “surprise surprise” to see not a hint in Washington that it even was the 4th anniversary of the “liberation” (Russian and Nazi style) of Iraq.
I gave the following little spiel on ABC’s Bush Telegraph Country Viewpoint radio segment back at the start of the 2003 Iraq war. It looks much better on the good version — ABC’s online site here.
My son decided to join the army at time of the East Timor troubles when people were coming out into the streets begging our government to send our armed forces over there. My son saw service in the army as something to be proud of, an honourable duty. He now faces the prospect of going as part of a conquering force to Iraq instead of joining the liberation force in East Timor. How will he look back on his experience there? If he dies or is maimed there, what will have been the point of that?
I will support my son and hope for his safe return of course, but I have been doing all in my power, and will continue to do all I can, to oppose this war in Iraq. All the advice of our intelligence and foreign affairs experts is that this war is only going to make us less safe from terrorism. Why do Bush and Howard reject the advice of their experts?
In Toowoomba I have been involved with hundreds of others here in public rallies and last weekend more than a dozen of us stood in the rain as part of a worldwide candlelight vigil for peace. At every one of those rallies two things have been stressed; that Saddam has to be dealt with, and our argument is not with our troops and they must always be supported. So why does Howard continue to misrepresent our case accusing us of being naive about Saddam and betrayers of our troops?
Most of the world can see clearly that this war is not a last resort to justify what will inevitably mean the slaughter of thousands of innocents, and no clear case has been made for Saddam being a threat to us. The inspectors were, even if slowly, making progress. It seemed to me it was Bush who was the one not cooperating with the inspectors since he kept saying he would not tell the inspectors all he knew about where the illegal weapons sites were.
I’d rather pay extra taxes to keep pressure on Saddam than see my son come back in a body bag or to have him live with memories of butchery of conquered civilians and soldiers alike, with Australia’s place in the world being less secure than ever before.
If the details of the arguments of this work are not always persuasive the author nevertheless achieves his stated purpose: to demolish any illusion among his fellow Americans that the US is in any way “exceptional” in its place and role in the world. Rather, he argues that it is rapidly following in the wake of the demise of past imperial powers Spain, Holland and Britain. The extraordinary rise and influence of extremist religious tendencies; the financialization and extreme indebtedness of the economy as “real wealth production” is outsourced; and the inevitable decline and gradual replacement of the economy’s main fuel resource, are the three main streams that Phillips sees as once having broken their banks over previous leading imperial powers and that are now beginning to deluge the US. (more…)