Monthly Archives: September 2007

Fight For Women’s Rights In Rural Turkey

Rural Turkey continues being the main supporter for those in Turkey who wish to restrain the rights of women. Teachers in southeast Turkey encountered dozens of women who were hiding their daughters in sheds to hid them from teachers seeking to foster the idea of education for women. There is a split among the parents of women in this region, some accept the forces of modernity including the rights of women to an education while others fight against this prospect. Mujhan Sahin, a female teacher from the region commented: “There is a prejudice against women in the region. They should not read, go out or stand on their feet.” She noted this attitude was conveyed to her parents who defied tradition and educated their children. As a result of Ms. Sahin’s efforts, over 20 girls were allowed to attend school.

Ironically, Kurds in Turkey remain the most conservative elements of the population even as many within their ranks fight for the right to belong to the nation of Kurdistan.

Iran And Russia — The Unknown Equation

As the world attempts to deal with possibilities of Iranian possession of nuclear weapons, an unknown factor is the attitude of Russia toward this outcome. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavnov, recently stated that his nation found “unacceptable the prospect of Iran equipping itself with nuclear the nuclear weapon.” However, President Putin has concerns at the prospect of American involvement in oil development in the Caucus region and may decide to reach out to Tehran for its oil resources. A French diplomat commented: “Recently we often have the impression that Moscow is taking us for a ride” on the Iranian nuclear issue.

The aggressive policies of President Bush create anxiety within many nations. Russia has extensive economic relations with Iran and even urged that nation to enrich its uranium within Russia. The United States turned down Putin’s offer to share in developing a missile defense which only served to antagonize the Russian leader. Perhaps, if Bush viewed long term developments within the world as important in policy formation, the United States might be more prone to be more sensitive in relations with other nations.

Immigration Wars In England

British politics is being impacted by arguments concerning immigration. On one end of the political spectrum, the right wing racist British National Party is urging restrictive laws on immigration while the Conservative Party is attempting to determine how to appeal to the electorate. David Cameron, head of the Conservative Party, is siding with those in his party urging a swing toward anti-immigration in order to siphon votes away from the BNP. Many critics argue such an appeal might gain votes but runs the risk of turning away moderates who are not satisfied with the Labor Party.

There are now 200,000,000 migrants living in countries throughout the world. This world wide phenomenon is creating serious political issues as demagogues vie for votes by appealing to the baser instincts in people.

India And China Fail Burmese People

Burmese troops were in complete charge of the capital as they beat and terrorized anyone who dared oppose the military junta. A UN envoy did get a chance to visit with opposition leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi but military leaders refused to have anything to do with those from the outside of their controlled nation.

Critics are noting the failure of China and India to take strong action in defense of the rights of Burmese people. India’s economic expansion requires new sources of energy and they are looking fondly south to Myanmar as a major source. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “We have strategic and economic interests to protect in Burman. It is up to the Burmese people to struggle for democracy, it is their issue.” Of course, in the history of Indian independence thousands of people fought alongside Indian leaders.

Chinese Leader Backs Democracy_ Which One?

Premier Wen Jiabo of China urged communist party leaders to support a new China dedicated to ideas of progress and reform. He wants a nation with “distinctive Chinese features and reform and opening-up; we can surely build Chinese unity and a modern socialist country of prosperity, democracy, high ethical standards and harmony.” Chinese leaders continue employing words such as “democracy” while stifling free speech and imprisoning dissidents. Perhaps, it is time for leadership to implement words into action.

Police Fire Away At Burmese People!

A 23 year-old Burmese journalist provided The Independent a first hand account of the murder of dozens of innocent Burmese by police. Forty monks and about 20,000 people met at Jakhasan Street about 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. The monks said: “Just pray, don’t shout, don’t throw stones. Pray for peace, protection and love.” People cried as they walked and prayed. They were soon joined by thousands of others who walked along with love and peace in their heart. There were rumors the Swan Ar Shan(paramilitary plan clothes men) were in their ranks ready to provoke violence.

The crowd reached police lines. The police approached beating their batons on shields. Some in the crowd began to run while others remained quietly in prayer. No one shouted. The police began firing, first rubber bullets and tear gas. People began running and screaming. The journalist tried taking pictures when the police grabbed them. One of the soldiers said they were students so the soldiers grabbed the camera and let them go. By now, everyone was running as the police fired indiscriminately into the crowd. “it was as if they were on drugs. They seemed liked mad people, not normal.” The police fired and fired away as dozens fell to the ground.

This is life in Myanmar, the year is 2007. And, the world stands idly by, watching but not acting.

When Is Reality-Reality?

Jonathan Cook, writing in al-Ahram, believes Israel’s recent air attack in Syria is linked to broader foreign policy goals. He argues many American neo-conservatives consider either cowing or defeating Syria as step one in their goal of destroying the present regime in Iran. The Bush administration is divided between pragmatists like Condi Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates who want to involve Syria in any peace process versus neo-conservatives led by Dick Cheney who seek to reorganize the entire Middle East.

Cook charges the Israel Mossad and top military leaders have been fostering the idea of Iran being months away from developing atomic bombs making it imperative to destroy their nuclear facilities. Therefore, it was necessary to take care of Syria whose airspace had to be used in bombing Iran. Despite Syria’s assistance to American intelligence during the Iraq war and its desire for peace with Israel, American turned a deaf ear to Syria. This led Syria to purchase arms, including anti-missile weapons from Russia. Israel then argued Syria was arming for war.

The recent air strike by Israeli planes in Syria is a blatant violation of international law, but no protests came from Washington D.C. which is quick to blame Iran or its enemies of violating international boundaries. The air attack was most probably aimed at weapons destined for Hezbollah. Stories circulated by American officials claiming Syria had nuclear facilities are too ridiculous to fathom.

Cook argues a “reality” is being created by the American media of a Syrian-Hezbollah-Iran axis close to possessing atomic weapons. Neo-conservatives have stretched the boundaries of reality by claiming Shiite Iran is supporting Sunni al-Qaeda. American media is continually presenting stories concerning Iran’s atomic weapon development even though the IAEA has found no evidence of any such achievement. The drum beat goes on creating a new reality of an atomic bomb Iran which must be immediately halted.

Japan Waffles On Myanmar Sanctions

The Japanese government is upset at the killing of a Japanese journalist who was covering events in Myanmar, but it is uncertain what to do about it. Prime Minister Fukuda urged the Burmese military to investigate the shooting. A spokesperson said: “We will strongly demand(the military government) not to repeat an event like the again. Unlike other nations, Japan has made no move to impose sanctions of the military junta. However, there are rumors Japan might recall its ambassador from Myanmar.

It is sad when the murder of someone is described as “an event.” An event is going to a concert, a murder is the death of a human being. Myanmar is governed by a bunch of thugs who has stolen billions from their own people and killed and slaughtered thousands. Those are not events, they are the murderous actions of some sick criminals.

John McCain: Only Christians Should Be Presidents!

John McCain’s efforts to pander for right-wing Christian votes reached a new level when he told the nation of his belief that only Christians were qualified to run for the presidency. He claimed the “Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.” McCain said, “I admire Islam. There is a lot of good principles in it. But, I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, I prefer someone I know who has a solid grounding in my faith.”

There is NO mention in the Constitution of the United States of America about God or Christian principles. The men who wrote the document were quite clear they were NOT establishing a nation based on Christian principles. Actually, the Puritans regarded the Old Testament as of equal importance to their religion as the New Testament. I guess McCain believes Senator Joseph Lieberman had no right to run for the vice presidency. McCain has insulted millions of Americans, the tragedy is he doesn’t realize he insulted them.

Desmond Tutu, South African Leader Denounces China

Bishop Desmond Tutu, the famous South African cleric, told a Swedish audience he personally would boycott the Beijing 2008 Olympics unless China uses it s leverage over the government of Myanmar to insist on respect for democratic principles and a halt to violence against monks. He referred to Burma’s leader of the democratic opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the “Nelson Mandela of Burma.” After his speech several members of the Swedish cabinet marched in support of the Burmese people.

Bishop Tutu has raised the only available weapon left to thwart Burma’s military junta-force China to use its influence and economic power in Burma to demand the respect for law and order.