A US war game/scenario being reported by The Intercept is pretty revealing for the lack of even the slightest re-thinking of what the Global War On Terror (GWOT) is really all about.
The US military’s game is about violence-for-violence, tit-for-tat.
The main result from this – anti-intellectual – attitude and policy is that there are about 80 times – yes, times – more people killed today than in the year 2000. Just consult the Global Terror Index and you’ll find that the figure is about 32,000 people, predominantly in the Middle East and not at all in the West.
Measure that against the roughly 400 killed and 700 wounded in the year 2000 (figures then available at the US State Department homepage, however, as it seems, later taken down).
I say a few things about that here on Russia Today.
The video is inside the article but can also be accessed here.
While reporting to the UN on Israel’s violation of basic Palestinian rights I became keenly aware of how official language is used to hide inconvenient truths. Language is a tool used by the powerful to keep unpleasant realities confined to shadow lands of incomprehension.
Determined to use the rather modest flashlight at my disposal to illuminate the realities of the Palestinian ordeal as best I could, meant replacing words that obscure ugly realities with words that expose as awkward truths often as possible. My best opportunity to do this was in my annual reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the General Assembly in New York.
My courageous predecessor as Special Rapporteur, John Dugard, deserves credit for setting the stage, effectively challenging UN complacency with language that looked at the realities lurking below the oily euphemisms that diplomat seem so fond of.
Of course, I paid a price for such a posture as did Dugard for me. Your name is added to various black lists, and doors once open are quietly closed. If the words used touched enough raw nerves, you become a target of invective and epithets. In my case, this visibility meant being called ‘an anti-Semite,’ even ‘a notorious anti-Semite,’ and on occasion ‘a self-hating Jew.’
Strong Zionist pressures have now been brought to induce legislative bodies in the United States to brand advocacy of BDS or harsh criticism of Israel as prohibited form of ‘hate speech.’ In April of this year pressures broad to bear by the British Jewish Board of Deputies led the University of Southampton to cancel a major academic conference on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
In relation to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the clarifying/offending words are ‘apartheid,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘settler colonialism,’ and ‘annexation.’ The UN evades such invasions Read More »
The Paris march for unity on Sunday, January 11, 2015 attracted more than a million people and world leaders including Germany’s Merkel, Britain’s Cameron, Turkey’s Davutoglu, Israel’s Netanyahu, and Palestine’s Abbas, among others. This extraordinary action by leaders and citizens is in response to perhaps the bloodiest week in the last half of a century in France with 17 dead.
It began with the killing of 12 people at a previously little known satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo.” French President Francois Hollande warned that the threats facing France is not over even after the three perpetrators were dead.
The threat is real, however, not only because of information gathered by various intelligence agencies, but also because the violence and what has followed indicates a rift in the way Europe, and in fact the world, is moving in the context of fierce contestation of different ethics/values people are willing to die and for some – to kill for.
This article is an attempt to argue that the motto “Je suis Charlie”, while commendable in terms of solidarity with victims of senseless violence, transform the killing into politics of identity with potentials for further deadly conflict in the present context if certain existing signs are properly understood.
Arguably in response to the killing in Paris, there are reports of Muslims becoming targets of more frequent attacks: women’s veils have been pulled at, pork thrown at mosques Read More »
Coming from Malaysia, the two neighbors are incredibly different. Indonesia, richer in ancient cultures, larger in territory, an archipelago of thousands of islands, has GDP/capita 3,500 and Malaysia 11,500; three times+ more. Products of brutal Western colonialism, Dutch for Indonesia, English for Malaya, which became Malaysia. Exploited, robbed, impoverished. Both hoped that World War II, fought for democracy-human rights, would end that in 1945, but got wars to keep colonialism instead–till 1949 and 1957, respectively.
Both had been occupied for 3 1/2 years by Japan going south to beat the US-imposed boycott, heading for oil resources in Indonesia (Malaysian oil not yet discovered). There was a difference: Indonesia’s future leader, Soekarno and his no. 2 Mohammad Hatta had lived in Japan, made friends and met the Dutch returning to “their” colony fighting as a free country – no such freedom in Malaya.
So, why the difference? It is almost like a social experiment.
The key is the local Chinese minority, in Malaysia used by the English against the Malay majority, as exploited workers in the tin mines, and as capitalists with their gangs in Penang and Singapore; in Indonesia also in the army and in the PKI, Indonesian Communist Party, the largest outside the Soviet bloc. Hard working, well organized, clever with money, they attracted much of the same hatred and violence as Jews in Germany and Armenians in Turkey – both ending with genocides.
So also in Indonesia, the massacre of 1965-66; planned by US think tanks and the CIA with the Indonesian government. Standard CIA tactic: rumors of imminent coup from the left, perhaps organizing some–the coup against Gorbachev 1991–and then a massive, well prepared, coup from the right. Half a million or so killed, General Suharto in power for three decades, giving USA the free access to the economy they wanted. Pillaging started and lasted; like under Yeltsin in Russia.
Riots came in 1969 to Malaysia, but the reaction was totally different: the New Economic Policy. Forty percent of Muslim Malays lived in misery, 35 percent of the economy was in English, and 20 percent in local Chinese hands. Majority Chinese from Singapore had left in 1965 and now Malaysia has a GDP/cap 55,200 by far no. 1 in ASEAN – some are still in the 1,000s.
The Malaysian government did not turn on the Chinese but lifted the bottom Malays up by positive discrimination – like across race and gender faultlines elsewhere. Read More »
Look at the violence in Gaza today, DR Congo (6 million dead), Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia etc: Isn’t it obvious that the world needs a completely new approach to conflicts?
We’ll never rid the world of conflicts, conflicts is part of human and social life. Conflict-prevention is a meaningless term.
But we can rid the world of most of its violence. If we want, if we educate each other and if economic and other interests stopped supporting killing as a tool in conflict-management.
Unrealistic? Hopelessly idealistic? Well, look at the places above and try to find the realism and hope there.
Look at the conflict not at the parties and the violence
It requires almost no intellectual effort to take sides in a conflict between A and B. If both parties use violence, that means endorsement of the violence – the justification both need: “They threaten and kill us, therefore we threaten and kill them.”
Those who support a conflict party who use violence also support violence. As long as violence continues, there will be no process towards peace – only more hate, traumas, suffering, wish for revenge and destruction.
Violence – not the conflict – becomes the main thing and tit-for-tat the rule of the game, with an increase in the violence for each round. Scorpions in a bottle, feeding each other.
Both those who are outside a conflict and debate it – for instance, 99% of the media debates – and the conflicting parties on the ground feed on violence. If A did not use violence against B, how would B justify its own killings?
Gaza today – both parties lose
This is where we are in Gaza today when reports tell that around 800 civilians have been killed without any positive effect, both losing.
It’s not about evil, it’s about desperation coupled with traumas coupled with a lack of insight and education.
This wrong-headed attitude is indicative of conflict and peace illiteracy: among the parties, our media and our decision-makers. Innocent people on both or all sides normally pay the price for it.
The world needs a completely different approach. It’s embedded in the UN Charter and called peace by peaceful means.Read More »