Category Archives: middle east

freedom of the press?

remember this story? effectively, CNN made a decision to air video clips depicting insurgent fighters targeting us soldiers. and then … oh outrage flew about. hmmm. why? coz we wanna take the blue pill? y’know – just look away and hope it’ll all go away?

maybe if none of the tax paying americans see exactly what is going on in iraq, then … well, maybe the government could keep a lid on this thing until after the election? RIGHT. and if you believe that … well, i got some land to sell you. ha ha.

so … given that the clips shown BLACKED OUT any scenes actually showing a us soldier getting shot … what’s the problem? do we kid ourselves as to what, indeed goes on during war? and … are those who oppose CNN’s decision to air the clips telling me they its only disrespectful to the sacredness of life to watch death when its real … as opposed to staged (ie fictional) purely for entertainment?

PTOSH! take your blinders off. the only way to put an end to all this suffering is to acknowledge it … that means witness the suffering. oh – but i guess that’s asking to much ain’t it? you’d all rather be watching monday night football, or desperate housewives or something equally as assanine.

image originally uploaded by chicawhappa

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Filed under humanity, ideology, iraq, middle east, politics, sociology, war

a primer on iraq

in march of 1933, feisel I, then british-assigned monarch of iraq, had this to say about his country:

‘There is still — and I say this with a heart full of sorrow — no Iraqi people but an unimaginable mass of human beings, devoid of any patriotic idea, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatever.’

in 1959 historian hanna batutu wrote the following of iraq:

“For four days and four nights Kurds and Yezidis stood against Arabs; Assyrian and Aramaean Christians against Arab Muslims; the Arab tribe of Albu Mutaiwat against the Arab tribe of Shammar; the Kurdish tribe of al-Gargariyyah against Arab Albu Mutaiwat; the peasants of Mosul country against their landlords; the soldiers of the Fifth Brigade against their officers; the periphery of the city of Mosul against its centre; the plebeians of the Arab quarters of al-Makkawi and Wadi Hajar against the aristocrats of the Arab quarter of ad-Dawwash; and with the quarter of Bab al-Baid, the family of al-Rajabu against its traditional rivals, the Aghawat.”

so … if we read these thoughts correctly, we begin to see the tribal forces at play in the region known as iraq. did you know, dear reader, of such a tangled and complex historical context in iraq? did you really think it would simply take removal of saddam hussein to “correct” the region? how naive, indeed! and did the region need correcting at all, any more than the usa needed ‘correcting’ during its own civil war? any more than canada required ‘correcting’ during the FLQ crisis?

and … dear reader, what do you think happened to this region in the post WWI period, when victors of the great war carved up the lands of the defeated ottomans? well, exploitive distribution, of course. with western interests in mind. does it surprise you to know that little regard was given to involving the iraqi people in the formation of their own fate?

its interesting, isn’t it? learning that colonial interest in mosul-kirkuk did not surface until AFTER discovery of oil in this region? and that oil – and western dependence on same – motivated the brits’ invasion and subsequent occupation of iraq during WWII?

historical context. sociologic context. tribal underpinnings of the populace. when one considers iraq, one MUST consider context. and so, that means … what? simply, that one must consider the current uprising of insurgents in its context. the region and peoples of iraq have suffered occupation and domination for very much of the past 748 years. knowing this, king feisel I’s remarks, made 73 years ago seems so very fitting today.

and … it leads me to ask. what does america think its doing, in iraq? and why are we, the world, so surprised at the reaction of iraqis?

and, more importantly. this begs me to ask. through what process does a mass of humans become a nation of people? can external and culturally alien entities impose such a process on the population of iraq? how much of a nation’s development and social progress must simply originate from WITHIN? and what can the west do to assist? and that line separating domination from guidance? do we know where it exists? do we even know it exists, at all?

image originally uploaded by lotse

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Filed under historical analysis, humanity, iraq, middle east, politics, war

298 reasons to hate the west

abu ghraib files

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Filed under human rights, humanity, middle east, politics, Uncategorized, war on terror

11/9 – a post about 9/11

i recall vividly the moment i heard about the crash. 08:10 – it was a wednesday morning – we were driving under a bridge, on the perimeter highway – lupin driving me home after a 12 hour nite shift (my 2nd nite – my 2nd 12 hr shift in as many days). i did not sleep that day. we stared at the telly screen, dumbfounded. a colleague at work worried that his mother – who lived and worked in NYC – did not survive the crash. he had no news of his mother for a few days. each of those days we worked together, the anguish swirled in him. things turned out ok for that family … but i remember the anguish of those early days.

for me, the anguish of that day swells, with each passing year. with each passing year, life tumbles past us, the way leaves glide upon gentle breezes. and moments pass. moments from which death has banished those dearly departed. they say time heals all wounds, but with time, the wound gapes ever feels as though, i think, with each year that passes, the dearly departed shrink further and further from our grasp. from our mind’s grasp.

when do we forget the sound of their voice? the way touching them made us feel? when do their images start to fade in our minds? and … we ask the question … why? for eternity — WHY? each joyful moment, forever after, has a bittersweet taste. can joy without our dearly departed truly feel like joy? or does it feel plastic and contrived? like, sort of surreal. for us – survivors left behind – a tomorrow exists. can we live with that?

stunning photographs captured horrorific moments – remember these?


and the OUTRAGE


they caused?


and … how soon, we never saw them anymore? well … LOOK. take a good LOOK.

do you ever ask yourself, why? why the desperate urge to sanitize these deaths? considering the extremely graphic and disturbing images seen at the liberation of the concetration camps after WW2, why did these pictures trigger such outrage? 11/9 IS. irrevocably. do we want to remember it? or are we going to have dinner with that big white elephant on the dining room table? i, for one, don’t care to dine with the big white elephant. been there, done that. i choose to live in brutal reality. death = life. the value of life lies in the eternity of death. (does that sound sort of too surreal, maybe?)

i had the wonderful privilege of seeing the north american premiere of this movie: the falling man. it traces the origin of the photo, from the photographer thru to the journalists who sought to identify the ‘falling man.’ but, more interesting that this, the movie speaks to the whole denial of death, despite the massive loss of life on 11/9.

its true – for the most part, we only wanted to see images of the rescue workers sifting thru the rubble. we desperately wanted to turn our heads away from the terror and ugliness and such a death. why? are not those who made a choice and resolved to plummet to their death … are not those people victims just the same as those who did not make that choice? do we honour their memory by denying the way they died? i think not.

i ask myself. what would i do? what would you do? would you make a phone call? who would you call? what would you say? what would course thru my mind moments before such a horrific death? we cannot begin to imagine having to make such a choice. death by fire or death by sudden deceleration? no escape. only escape to death. so — what of the falling man photo? when i look at it, i am stunned by the stark contrasts that converge there: the bright sun and a solitary, free falling figure, almost perfectly aligned with the vertical axis of the tower. and then reality – a person, falling to his death. and death, DEATH.

that feeling you have? that uncomfortable feeling?
its called humility
… because …
death is a most humbling experience.

what do you see in the falling man photo?

what do you see, in all this?

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Filed under historical analysis, humanity, middle east, politics, sociology, war on terror

israeli recovery?

read in a recent news item, shimon peres quoted as saying israelis have not yet recovered from the holocaust. ok. at the risk of being labelled … i will ask what others may be afraid to … WTF??? one wonders … really, really wonders … when does the world get to hear about the OTHER holocausts that have taken place since WWII? or are we just supposed to keep whining about something that happened over 60 years ago at the expense of everyone else?

the irony is … for a people that are heard saying ‘never again’ … they sure seem so guilty of breaking that vow. just sayin’ is all. (don’t lynch me, ok? last time i checked it was a free country and so … this is what i think. so deal with it!) and … well, i guess we’re not supposed to think of bosnia … rwanda … all those places where mass genocide has occured.

it really is true … the more things change the more they stay the same. how sad. how truly sad. i think our children are hearing the phrase ‘never again’ … but these seem hollow words … with no actions to back them up.

the word hypocrit comes to mind …

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