Tuesday May 06, 2008

Connecting News Sources

As I was driving back from Java One in San Francisco Monday evening, I listened to the BBC report on KQED.

The BBC carried a 5-minute-long report on Iraq, describing the "conflict" there and the immense rise in poverty and lack of basic services, without once managing to mention that taboo word: "occupation".

In the morning, Financial Times carried a picture on the front page describing how sophisticated military equipment was being used to create an exclusion zone around the oil terminals in southern Iraq, from whence 1.5  million barrels of oil were carried away every day on British, Australian and American ships.

For how long can a country be dispossessed of its resources, supply the world with vast quantities of oil and live under military occupation by foreign powers, with vast parts of its population reduced to abject poverty with every passing day?

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Occupational Hazards

Another Washington Post report ("US Raid of Baghdad Sadr City Kills 49"), published only yesterday, should make it plainly clear why vast majorities of Iraqis want US occupation of their country to end. (For 2-year-old Ali Hamed's picture, in the aftermath, see here.)

From the Iraqi perspective, besides the inhumanity of even a single occurrence of it, the killing is hardly an isolated accident. In fact, the regularity of such "incidental" killings are so predictable that it seems to have been judged by most US media to be no longer "news worthy," and we hear of it not, in the regular course of our life, in this land.

[If you wonder why I'm writing this, see here.]

Thursday Jan 04, 2007

The Barbarians, Beautiful Basra and Natural Law

The beautiful city of Basra has a sad history involving, among other less glorious moments, multiple British occupations over the last 100 years or so.

So, in that context, I wonder why some news reports from Basra take so long to get to me and why it has become taboo to report and aggressively investigate this video on the BBC. Why have such crimes related to occupation been overlooked or forgiven simply because they may have occured some months prior to the start or conclusion of investigations, and what sort of people actually manned the video cameras which capture them? (You have to watch the whole video to understand the meaning of these questions. Wikipedia does have a short mention of the incident in its entry on Basra and also here. Or perhaps, we need to turn to the Swedish media for an investigation.)

Note that we purportedly live in the 21st century and not "1984" when talk of human rights comes from the same institutions and corners where the greatest violations seem to be tolerated and propagated.

Occupation and aggression begets resistance, ultimately by all means. No matter in which part of globe and what part of history you look, people will resist occupation when occupiers overstay and stretch their welcome to its natural limit. To borrow a phrase from the author of Leviathan (a certain Mr. Thomas Hobbs), the premise that overstay leads to resistance is surely a "natural law," if there ever was a "natural law." If this "natural law" applies to guests in the West, how much more true should one expect it to be in the guest-welcoming East with occupation even when occupiers are originally invited and welcomed--and truer yet when uninvited and unwelcome?

Basra's distinguished history includes other sad moments such as the Battle of Camel some 1400 years ago. However, despite war and occupation, like for all ancient  and honorable cities, there has been millenium when Basra has lived in peace and prosperity -- exactly what she deserves and wants again if left to her own account.

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