Tag Archives: civil war

Cry The Beloved Country Of Somalia

The old saying about the evil men do lives on after them is all so evident in what is happening in Somalia. In the 19th century, European colonialists invaded east Africa and carved out the nation of “Somalia.” Naturally, in the process that brought together diverse peoples who were more clan centered than having feelings regarding the nation of Somalia. The area became a playground during the Cold War for the Soviet Union and the United States to engage in a struggle for supremacy. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration became convinced terrorists were in Somalia and urged the Ethiopian government two years ago to send in an invading army. This outside force drove an Islamic government which was in the process of attempting to create some semblance of law and order.

The Christian invaders left several months ago which resulted in the current civil war among Muslim groups and clans to determine which will sit in the capital of Mogadishu. During the past three months over 200,000 people have fled the city to join an estimated half million refugees. Perhaps, the best thing the outside world at this juncture can do is simply allow Islamic groups to vie for power and wait until the dust settles.

Death And Destruction In Sri Lanka Continues

After decades of fighting, the government of Sri Lanka has finally defeated the Tamil Tigers and confined them in a narrow area in the northeast portion of the island. Reports that thousands of innocent civilians were trapped in the narrowing circle of insurgents led to promises there would be a “no-fie zone” to avoid further casualties to the innocent. The Sri Lanka government has not kept its promise and hundreds of civilians are being killed as artillery shells pour into the area and rip apart the bodies of civilians as well as the remaining Tiger forces. Gnana Gunalan, a doctor in the area, notes: “most of the people have shell blast injuries and gunshot injuries. Some people have lost their limbs, others have lost other parts of their body, some people have wounds in the abdomen, some in the chest.”

The Sri Lanka government turned down an appeal by the United Nations to provide more time for the evacuation of civilians. The government now denies anyone wounded to be taken to larger medical facilities away from the “no-fire zone.” Is this the best way to end a civil war– by hate and violence? We suggest the Sri Lanka government read how Abraham Lincoln handled the end of a civil war.

Evo Morales Wins Bolivian Vote

Bolivian President Evo Morales easily won a recall referendum and promised to press ahead with his plans to nationalize business and to create a socialist centralized state such as exists in Venezuela under his good friend, Hugo Chavez. Morales said he would work to redistribute land and take over large business corporations. “We’re heere to move forward with the recovery of our natural resources, the consolidation of nationalization and the state takeover of companies.” Morales is the first leader of Bolivia who comes from the indigenous majority of the population. However, the voting also witnessed the re-election of regional governors who oppose his reforms and want autonomy for their resource-rich provinces. Each side now believes it has won the support of the people of Bolivia.

If Morales follows through on his program of change and centralization, he is bound to create conditions for civil war. Eastern sections of the country will not stand by idly and allow Morales to take over business and farm operations. There is bound to be fight which might result in open civil war.

There is no question reform is vitally needed in Bolivia but a civil war would tear apart the nation and if Morales won, there would be a mass exodus of skilled people and their money. Hugo Chavez has money to throw around, but that money is not infinite and any sharp decline in oil prices will leave Chavez with promises made that can not be kept. Morales should seek a middle way in which poor people finally attain greater access to wealth, education and power, but not at the expense of tearing apart the nation.

Morales should not ignore what happened to Cuba.

European Union Expresses Concern Over Sri Lanka

The European Union expressed “very serious concerns” about reported human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. There are constant reports of abductions, enforced disappearances and unexplained kilings since December, 2005, when hostilities resumed between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. The had been a quiet period of peace for more than three years in the twenty-five year old war which has raged on the once peaceful island. A six member EU group visited the island and told its government about concerns regarding human rights violations. The EU group also sharply criticised Tamil Tigers for their violation of human rights. The European Union comment came shortly after a US State Department report which cited alleged government abuses including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and the denial of fair trials.

At least 70,000 people have died as a result of this civil war, but most Western groups interested in human rights issues tend to remain quiet about the conflict. The Israel-Palestinian conflict has probably resulted in less than 7500 dead, but it holds center stage on the anger output of critics of that conflict. Expressions are loosely thrown around such as “genocide” but rarely do these same people express any anger or concern about the death of 70,000.

It is always fascinating how one conflict becomes the center of concern and another is simply ignored despite the fact more people die in it.

Spain Will Officially Recognize Franco’s Evil Dictatorship

For the first time since the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, a bill will be introduced by members of the Spanish Socialist party to condemn the evil dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The “Law of Memory” will state for the first time that Franco committed atrocities and killed thousands of people without fair trials. The opposition conservative Popular Party opposes the bill because it reopens old wounds and will divide Spanish people. Socialist MP Diego Lopez Garrido noted: “The law will provide a definitive reparation and recognition for those who suffered in the civil war.” In declaring actions of military courts which condemned thousands to death and prisons as “unjust” and “illegitimate,” the law will allow family members to sue for reparations.

For many of us raised in the thirties and forties who hated fascism and Nazism, this law is a long overdue action. Conservatives are correct in stating the law will divide people, but so did American laws which condemned slavery or incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. The price we pay for confronting evil is to make supporters of evil feel uncomfortable. Which is more important — recognizing evil done to people or worrying how perpetrators of evil feel?