Vridar

2010/09/11

Sept. 11: A Day Without War

Sabra and Shatila massacre
Image via Wikipedia

September 11 came 5 to 7 days late for the Palestinian refugees in 1982. It is a most telling indictment that so much can be made of a September massacre of Westerners when up till 2001 the West scarcely registered a damn about massacres of Arabs and others, such as the slaughter of Arab civilians by pro-American thugs backed by Israel and the U.S.A.

Sabra and Shatila massacres

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

Does anyone really have to ask “Why do they hate us?”

Sept. 11: A Day Without War

By Amy Goodman

September 08, 2010Information Clearing House The ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States should serve as a moment to reflect on tolerance. It should be a day of peace. Yet the rising anti-Muslim fervor here, together with the continuing U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the escalating war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), all fuel the belief that the U.S. really is at war with Islam.

Sept. 11, 2001, united the world against terrorism. Everyone, it seemed, was with the United States, standing in solidarity with the victims, with the families who lost loved ones. The day will be remembered for generations to come, for the notorious act of coordinated mass murder. But that was not the first Sept. 11 to be associated with terror: (more…)

2010/06/17

WikiLeaks is Asking for Urgent Help

Filed under: Activist resources — Neil Godfrey @ 9:30 am
Tags: , ,
Logo used by Wikileaks

Image via Wikipedia

This is from David Heath of ITWire:

Following the arrest of the person suspected of leaking the “Collateral Murder” video, WikiLeaks feels that it is under attack and is seeking urgent support.

iTWire received the following message in the past few minutes, it’s meaning is very clear.  We ask readers to assist where they can.

WikiLeaks may be under attack.

You were generous enough to write to us, but we have not had the labor resources to respond.

Your support is important to us. Please read all of this email to understand what is going on. We apologize for not getting back to you before. It is not through any lack of interest on our part, but an enforced lack of resources.

One of our alleged sources, a young US intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, has been detained and shipped to a US military prison in Kuwait, where he is being held without trail. Mr. Manning is alleged to have acted according to his conscious and leaked to us the Collateral Murder video and the video of a massacre that took place in Afghanistan last year at Garani.

The Garani massacre, which we are still working on, killed over 100 people, mostly children.

Mr. Manning allegedly also sent us 260,000 classified US Department cables, reporting on the actions of US Embassy’s engaging in abusive actions all over the world. We have denied the allegation, but the US government is acting as if the allegation is true and we do have a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government.

Mr. Manning was allegedly exposed after talking to an unrelated “journalist” who then worked with the US government to detain him.

Some background on the Manning case:

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/06/11/transcript-daniel-ellsberg-says-he-fears-us-might-assasinate-wikileaks-founder/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/leak/
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/state-department-anxious/
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/06/143011.htm

[ note that there are some questions about the Wired reportage, see: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/13/video-wikileaks-foun.html#comment-809677 ]

WikiLeaks a small organization going through enormous growth and operating in an adverserial, high-security environment which can make communication time consuming and the acquisition of new staff and volunteers, also difficult since they require high levels of trust.

To try and deal with our growth and the current difficult situation, we want to get you to work together with our other supporters to set up a “Friends of WikiLeaks” group in your area. We have multiple supporters in most countries and would like to see them be a strong and independent force.

Please write to friends@sunshinepress.org if you are interested in helping with Friends of WikiLeaks in your area. You will receive further instructions.

We also have significant unexpected legal costs (for example flying a legal team to Kuwait, video production. Collateral Murder production costs were $50,000 all up).

Any financial contributions will be of IMMEDIATE assistance.

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Support

Please donate and tell the world that you have done so. Encourage all your friends to follow the example you set, after all, courage is contagious.

Julian Assange
Editor in Chief
WIKILEAKS

(more…)

2010/01/16

3 answers to fatuous and ignorant remarks on Haitians

Filed under: Activist resources,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 12:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

Why the Blood is on Our Hands by Ted Rall:

You’d think Haiti would be loaded. After all, it made a lot of people rich.

How did Haiti get so poor? Despite a century of American colonialism, occupation, and propping up corrupt dictators? Even though the CIA staged coups d’état against every democratically elected president they ever had?

It’s an important question. An earthquake isn’t just an earthquake. The same 7.0 tremor hitting San Francisco wouldn’t kill nearly as many people as in Port-au-Prince.

Our Role in Haiti’s Plight by Peter Hallward:

What is already all too clear, ­however, is the fact that this impact will be the result of an even longer-term history of deliberate impoverishment and disempowerment. Haiti is routinely described as the “poorest country in the western hemisphere”. This poverty is the direct legacy of perhaps the most brutal system of colonial exploitation in world history, compounded by decades of systematic postcolonial oppression.

Help Haiti: The Unforgiven Country Cries Out by Chris Floyd:

The relentlessly maintained, deliberately inflicted political and economic ruin of Haiti has a direct bearing on the amount of death and devastation that the country is suffering today after the earthquake. It will also greatly cripple any recovery from this natural disaster. As detailed below, Washington’s rapacious economic policies have destroyed all attempts to build a sustainable economy in Haiti, driving people off the land and from small communities into packed, dangerous, unhealthy shantytowns, to try to eke out a meager existence in the sweatshops owned by Western elites and their local cronies. All attempts at changing a manifestly unjust society have been ruthlessly suppressed by the direct or collateral hand of Western elites.





Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

2009/12/25

Christmas message

Filed under: Activist resources,Iraq,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 8:15 pm

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

and

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.”

2009/11/12

Kathy Kelly video — a “must watch” (yep, even I support some Church sponsorships!)

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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

2008/05/17

Macro and Micro religious extremism

It is easy to identify and deplore the micro religious extremists, those who believe in chopping off heads and limbs and whipping the flesh in between those extremities or just stoning the whole lot because that’s what some ancient holy book requires.

If we think of decapitations as the working out of a micro fundamentalist/extremist vision, then I submit that a people who believes in the complete displacement by one race with another race (whom they regard as “the chosen people”) in a land because of what some ancient holy book requires is macro religious extremism.

If we are dismayed over a Wahabi court in Saudi Arabia making life and death distinctions by applying ancient religious injunctions over who persons were allowed to have sex with, then presumably we will be also dismayed over a governments and whole peoples justifying ethnic cleansing and displacement, and declaring one race as especially chosen with rights to do this, because of their devotion to an ancient holy text of theirs.

So we have the president of the United States pronouncing that his nation is fully on the side of macro religious extremism. Let’s call it racial religious extremism, justifying the displacement of one people with another on the grounds that the winners are “the chosen people”. As reported in Haaretz:

“Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you,” Bush said.

You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on America to stand at its side.”

He noted that Israel’s Declaration of Independence “was the redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses, and David – a homeland for the chosen people in Eretz Yisrael.”

And the original inhabitants? As with the Biblical Canaanites, they are not worthy of humanizing. They are only defined as “terrorists” or “havens for terrorists”. And the society created by the chosen people in this ethnically cleansed land will be reserved for one race only, despite the few token exceptions of Arabs who are allowed to remain as citizens, with equal rights at least on paper:

“Israel will be celebrating its 120th anniversary as one of the world’s great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people.”

“America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary.

The President might also have reminded his world audience that contrary to his professed past visions of a Palestinian state, the government he was backing as 307 million strong on the grounds of his own macro religious extremism is by its own charter implacably opposed to any such state. The illegal settlements in the occupied territories will continue until a Greater Israel is restored fully to the territories worthy of a Chosen People and in full accord with an ancient religious text.

If it is worth going to war, paying the price of state-sanctioned killing, in order to liberate women from Wahabi extremism and end barbarous legal and social customs among the micro religious extremists, is it really justifiable to stand up for macro religious extremism?

I have attempted to do my little bit to help inform a wider audience of the realities on the ground in Palestine and Israel with two new pages on this blog: Palestinian news sources and Replies to ADL propaganda.

2008/05/14

Answering Zionist propaganda of the Anti-Defamation League

Facts and statistics can be spun in a way to tell lies and lying propaganda can consist of an overload of fineprint factual reports. The mass of factual detail can be so overwhelming that readers are numbed from any feeling of hope that they could possibly find the time or resources to personally investigate each claim. (Jacques Ellul, Propaganda)

The ADL has published one such list of facts that in fact is a source of ignorant lies and racial prejudice. It is a list of multiple scores of terrorist attacks on Israelis in an effort to demonstrate that there is a Palestinian genocidal campaign to drive Israeli Jews into the sea.

Since this list appears to be widely circulated on the net, and since it made its appearance in a comment on one of my blog posts, I decided I had the time to begin a detailed point by point response to each of the facts on this list. I do not dispute the facts presented, but when only half the facts are presented then we all know that a half truth can be as good as an outright lie. I have in each case begun to cite the facts missing from the ADL report, most of them sourced by mainstream western (US, UK, Israeli) media reports.

I’ve also included links for a “Palestinian right of reply” to some of the common charges levelled against Palestinians and Arabs generally by the ADL.

And since it received 1352 hits within just 24 hours of this lil newbie blog posting the page and bringing it to the attention of one and two other blogs, maybe it will be of some use to a few here too . . . .

Replies to ADL propaganda

2008/05/11

Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 8:15 pm

I was about to do a search for a list of these when I see the work has already been done! Fantastic! I have had the good fortune to have met Jews from some of these organizations and we have organized local community public dinners where they can speak and demonstrate what they are doing in Israel and Palestine.

What they are doing is hard, very hard, with incredible obstacles, which makes them all the more modern day heroes.

Please check out this Wikipedia site. It is really a fantastic breath of hope in a very dark beast:


Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

2008/04/18

Israel’s birthday and God’s gift from the Nile to the Euphrates

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 6:14 am

Manifest Destiny?

12/04/08
By Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom
Copied with permission from the Israeli peace activist site Gush Shalom (my links no longer default to new windows!)

NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim.

But the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy. (more…)

2008/03/11

A slightly revised parable of the pounds for modern times

Traveling through Thailand one cannot avoid the national focus on the Thai king as benefactor of the poor, the good shepherd of all his people. (Sound familiar to any of us raised in company of a religious tradition with Mid-Eastern roots?) So on a long drive back to Bangkok from a beach resort this evening I could not help but compare the wealth of royalty, multinationals, religious institutions (hidden in real estate and treasure troves of sacred trinkets and ornate architecture and statuary) and a relatively few locals with the mass of ordinary citizens eking out what seems to this new outsider to be surely very little more than subsistence wages.

I found it hard to relate to the arguments that (1) the multinational intruders sincerely believe that their operations are doing much more than tokenism in raising living standards, or that (2) the royal and its subsidiary establishments are moving mountains as fast as they possibly can. I still have a hard time swallowing the Dalai Lama’s giggling suggestion that a village without even public sanitation should raise funds for a Buddha statue or temple on some rationalization that made Jesus’ “you have the poor with you always” quip sound banal.

So what does my Western Christian tradition have to offer as an alternative?

A thought experiment started working itself out on my drive back to the home of my hosts. . . . . 

The New Testament is not alien to the thought of a central government or any rich company or person instituting a plan to assist in money creation. We all know the parables of the talents and pounds in Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27. But those had to do with the rich man’s money and methods by which he utilized his employees or staff to make him even richer. And the poor timid bugger who did his best not to take any risks with losing someone else’s money got sent off to suffer death by torture.

But maybe with a little tweaking perhaps this antiquated Christian parable can still inspire some virtue.

My slightly tweaked parable for modern times:

What if the king in the parable, instead of distributing his money to his servants to see how much they could increase the royal coffers in his absence, opted rather to distribute a small portion to each and every citizen who had an idea how he/she could use the money to establish some enterprise that would make a better living for themselves and their friends and kin.

Then when the king returned he had his servants check how each recipient had done. Those who had done well with the money on behalf of themselves and their loved ones were offered reasonable terms by which they could repay the loan without interest. Those who had managed to improve their lot a little were offered more appropriate repayment terms. Those who had not managed to succeed with their hoped-for enterprises were offered consolations and best wishes that some time still not too distant they might still make good. Till that day, the topic of repayment was not even raised.

So the king would lose a few bucks in the short term. But balance that against the mushrooming prosperity and living standards within his kingdom, and the wealth that would inevitably still find its way to the royal coffers.

A morality parable for an alternative to a mercantilist / capitalist system that current Christianity appears to favour?

2008/02/28

for the sake of peace, think of ourselves as animals

Filed under: Activist resources,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 9:11 pm

Australian Customs ship, Oceanic Viking, has just returned with film footage of recent Japanese whaling for government ministers to study.

Campaigners against cruelty to animals know how to get their message across. Graphic footage works. It is even said to have helped turn public support against the Vietnam war.  Nothing worse than eating dinner and being confronted with footage of clubbing seals that look so damnably cute, mulesing sheep which still have that damnable iconic image of innocence, spearing and shooting whales until they eventually stop struggling against their fate, screaming naked children fleeing napalmed villages.

I can’t quite fathom the ethics that prohibit the publication of graphic pictures of humans being dismembered at times when governments call on publics to back their next war.

Why don’t we campaign for community standards that will favour the contempt of media for failing to show — “show”, that is, graphically — both sides of a story?

Anti-war campaigns rightly need to be salted with comedy, funny masks and silly costumes. But we anti-war campaigners could also take a leaf from the campaigners against cruelty to animals. Sure it upsets people. But that’s good. It should.

2007/12/17

3 problems with recognizing the state of Israel’s “right to exist”

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 5:08 am

Historical Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of Israel has generally been portrayed in the western mainstream media as a sign of an Arab anti-Jewish hatred and wish to drive Israel “into the sea”. What is not often conveyed by western leaders and media are the reasons Palestinian and other Arab peoples have often refused to recognized Israel, and the fact that on several occasions they have conditionally offered to recognize Israel.

  1. Israel is a Jewish state, meaning it is a racial state, and this means that other racial or religious minorities do not in practice have equal citizenship rights. The world has come to deplore other states such as apartheid South Africa and nazi Germany using race in preference to truly democratic principles as the essential rationale for their existence.
  2. Recognizing Israel as a new state would mean accepting Israel’s refusal of the right of return for the refugees and their descendants who were expelled from territories Israel now controls from past wars. In other words, ethnic cleansing will be accepted as a legitimate fait accompli.
  3. To recognize Israel carte blanche means accepting their occupation and control over much of the West Bank, and ongoing “bantustan-ization” of Palestinians. Both Palestinian and Arab leaders have publicly agreed recognize Israel in her pre-1967 war borders. But Israel refuses to recognize any such borders as final, arguing it has both security and biblical-historical justifications to expand its “living space” (cf. lebensraum).

This is not to deny that there is a widespread anti-Jewish sentiment among many Arabs. But anti-Arab racism on the part of many Jews is just as tangible. Western media works against peace in the Middle East as long as they simplify Arab reasons for unconditionally accepting Israel’s right to exist (i.e. with present borders, a race-based state, ethnically cleansed) as a matter of irrational hate against Jews. Western media also works against peace while it refuses to openly criticize the real wrongs (and racism) of Israel. The above stumbling blocks to Arab recognition of Israel are discussed more openly and constructively in Israel than they are in the black-and-white simplistic reporting of mainstream English-language media.

2007/11/24

Gaza (the reality behind myth of “God’s will” for modern Israel)

Filed under: Activist resources,Israel-Palestine,Politics & Society,Terrorism — Neil Godfrey @ 10:51 am

5 minute video:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15693.htm

Independent article:
UN official discusses impact of the siege of Gaza

2007/11/22

A “Where the Parties Stand” Chart and 48 hour election toolkit

Chart showing where the parties stand on the following issues:

  • Ratifying Kyoto
  • Strong short term targets to cut greenhouse pollution
  • Repeal of Workchoices
  • Dental cover in Medicare
  • Significant increase in public education
  • Broadband to rural Australia
  • Indigenous life expectancy
  • Troop withdrawal from Iraq

48 hour election toolkit

2007/11/10

“I’d love to vote for the Greens, but I don’t want to waste my vote”

Filed under: Activist resources,Australia,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 4:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Following is an excerpt and two YouTube video clip links from a Queensland Greens notice to party members concerning the coming election:

(more…)

2007/11/03

myths of war, grapes of wrath

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…)

2007/10/29

Do politicians deserve to go to heaven?

Filed under: Activist resources,Australia,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 7:03 am
Tags: , ,

Loved the spin on this sad survey by the Australia Institute to see what the public thought of Australian politicians:

http://www.tai.org.au/documents/downloads/WP106.pdf (more…)

2007/10/20

Millenarians and Nationalists

As a past student of American history and society I relished catching up with more recent publications a couple of years ago and one of the more interesting was America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (2004) by Anatol Lieven. Sharing some notes from one section of this book — a discussion of the link between millenarian religious beliefs and American nationalism — with anyone else interested. (more…)

2007/10/17

Eggheads need more clowns and theatre

Filed under: Activist resources,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 6:47 pm

A year or so ago a friend and I had a little stall at an International Women’s Day function in a park with the usual literature and a nice quota of friends and few newbies taking a look. But nothing beat the results we got when we decided to hold up silly masks in front of our faces and walk through the streets and shopping malls handing out our little pieces of paper spiel. (more…)

The (World) Social Forum (WSF)

Filed under: Activist resources,Politics & Society — Neil Godfrey @ 5:53 pm

Election is under way again in Australia hence adding a few more resource links for associates and interested persons over next few weeks.

Costello labels the Social Forum as an “extreme left wing group” consisting in “very large part of former-communists”.

This is part of his attempt to smear Julia Gillard for being a former organizer of Social Forum.

Facts about Social Forum: (more…)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.