Monthly Archives: July 2007

Amnesty International Protests Israel Demolition Policies

The Lebanon Daily Star reported that Amnesty International urged the Israel government to cease demolishing homes of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley. The Israel army claims buildings are being destroyed in a “closed military area” but the result has created fear among inhabitants that their not merely their homes but livestock and fields will be wiped out.

On one hand, the Israel government is negotiating with President Abbas in an effort to increase the popularity of Fatah and make people less likely to support Hamas. But, policies of demolishing homes merely add to the popularity of Hamas and hurt the reputation of modern Palestinians. When will the Israel government come to its senses and go all out to support moderate Palestinian leaders!

Canadian Court Holds Off on Terror Charges

A Canadian court has held in abeyance charges against two Muslim Canadian boys who were charged last year with participating in an alleged Muslim terrorist attempt to seize Parliament, hold politicians hostage and behead them one by one until the Canadian government agreed to evacuate its forces from Afghanistan. Canadian police initially arrested 14 adults and the two youths in their gathering up of alleged terrorists.

It is interesting that despite massive police forces deployed to gather information against the alleged terrorists, they have been unable to provide such data to a court that would lead to any conviction. The story makes for great headlines, the problem is whether the headlines are the story rather than the story leading to honest headlines.

China No Economic Threat

Vice Premier Wu Yi told visiting American Secretary of Treasury Paulson that China would never be an economic threat to the United States. She argued that China has 1.3 billion people and although a few hundred million are entering the middle class, the vast majority of Chinese people live in rural areas where the economic boom has had limited impact.

There is some validity to what Wu Yi argues, but she fails to recognize other factors. Yes, rural areas are lagging behind, but what happens twenty years from now when they catch up? It is already evident that within five years the gross national product of China will surpass that of the United States. I suspect by mid-century China will become more economically powerful than the United States.

PM Gordon Brown Urges War on Poverty

New Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England urged the world to focus on dealing with issues of poverty, ill health and education because there was increasing evidence of an emerging world crisis. The goal of halving infant mortality by 2015 which was set several years ago will not be achieved until about 2050. Thousands of children die each day due to hunger, inability to obtain proper nutrition or war and violence.

Brown is setting an example for other leaders. Just imagine if we ceased fighting in Iraq and used the $120 billion we could save in a war against poverty! Of course, one can never elicit patriotic fervor to serve in an army fighting against poverty, it makes more sense getting people excited to fight in wars where they can get killed.

Language Issues in Turkey

Mayors in areas of Turkey which include minorities such as Kurds or Arabs or Assyrians and Armenians are being arrested and threatened with jail because they allowed use of other languages in court proceedings or when people came to a government office to fill out applications. The Turkish government only wants Turkish used in government agencies even though in some areas most people speak languages other than Turkish.

It is the same story we hear about in America. I always find it ironic that American high schools make children take a foreign language in order to graduate but we don’t allow those speaking a foreign language to speak it in order to graduate. Weird.

Child Abuse Rises During Deployments

Researchers at the University of North Carolina uncovered evidence that child neglect rises substantially in families where on member has been deployed to serve in Iraq. They concluded child neglect was 42% higher when one spouse was absent fighting in Iraq than when both were home. Mothers were three times more likely to neglect a child when her husband was absent overseas.

The study is simply one additional outcome of Bush’s crazy war in Iraq. We continually uncover evidence of post traumatic stress among those fighting and now we have evidence of how an absent spouse can lead the mother to neglect children or become depressed. I suspect none of this is of any concern to the Bush/Cheney team. Most probably, Dick Cheney would regard this information as evidence of weaknesses among spouses.

Rumsfeld at Tillman Hearing

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will testify at the congressional hearing being held into the circumstances surrounding the death of Pat Tillman, the former football star who was accidentally killed by his comrades. The committee is attempting to determine if there was a deliberate plan to use Tillman’s death to stir up public support for the Iraq war. So far, General Kensinger has been reprimanded for his failure to get at the truth.

Unfortunately, we will never get at the real truth which most probably involves Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld using Tillman’s death for their own political purposes. I am certain Rumsfeld will never reveal the truth.

Violence and Rape in the Congo

World wide attention focuses on the Middle East or events in Europe, but rarely is there much concern about what is happening in Africa. The country of the Congo is one example of how this avoidance of interest impacts people. The Congo is beset with an ongoing civil war resulting in thugs and gangs constantly entering villages and subjecting people to torture and abuse. An observer in the Kivu area of the Congo reported: “Women are brutally gang-rpaed, often in front of their families and communities. In numerous cases, male relatives are forced at gunpoint to rape their own daughters, mothers or sisters.”

It is estimated over a million people have been killed in the Congo since 2000, but the remainder of the world goes along its daily business uninterested. A Lindsay Lohan event garners more attention than a gang-rape event.

Arms Deal Aimed at Iran Says Rice

Secretary of State Rice admitted the recent arms deals costing billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt, and Israel were aimed at thwarting the power of Iran which she claims is the main destabilizer of the region. Of course, Iran has just responded by signing an arms deal with Russia which provides for the sale of hundreds of jet plans.

There is something flawed in the Bush/Rice logic. Iran has not created chaos in the region, it was American policy in Iraq which created turmoil. Does anyone really believe the Saudi Arabian army or air force could successfully fight against Iran? This is fantasy thinking. A more logical policy would be to reduce the sale of arms and encourage nations to work for cooperation. As long as the mad war in Iraq continues, turmoil and chaos will reign in the region.

New Zealand Questions Emergency Room Patients

The New Zealand Ministry of Health Family Violence program has introduced compulsory questioning of any woman brought into the emergency room in order to ascertain if she was the victim of family violence. The women are questioned in a room which has a curtain, the husband might well be on the other side, but women are being forced to discuss the reasons for their presence in the emergency room.

One can applaud the desire to protect women, but there is something rather extreme in demanding women talk while in an emergency room. The setting appears dangerous to the physical health of women since husbands or boy friends could overhear conversations.