(February 25, 2008)
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From the much appreciated Gotcha crowd
"Ç'est la vie" with a cedilla (Blips #65)!? And "vous" with a French name! Quelle Schweinerei affreuse!
I may yet cancel that contract, though, since at least you know enough about Shaw to call him Bernard Shaw, sans George. [You may what? Ed.]
Lancaster, United Kingdom - February 13, 2008
Iraq: Is anyone ever going to get it?
One hears from many sources, particularly those lively partisans actively involved in the presidential election, that Iraq has now been "pulled off the front pages" and the nation is now more concerned with the recession (euphemistically referred to as "problems with the economy") or grievances concerning health care and immigration.
If this is actually true, it is yet another indication of the dunderheaded priorities that make one ashamed to be an American. The loss of over 4,000 lives and a casualty count that rises every day due to a war, which, it has now been proven, was launched on a fatal, false premise, is not the kind of thing that can be easily sloughed off.
Horrendous death tolls and the continuing danger which confronts US troops both in Iraq and Afghanistan are not minor problems that can be overshadowed by mischievous capitalist maneuvers that now threaten homeowners or the value of the American dollar. Important as immigration issues may be, they do not compare with catastrophic foreign policy decisions that have cut short the lives of thousands of Americans, threaten the stability of an entire region in the Middle East, are harbingers of internecine conflict for years to come and, if intensified, may bring about unimaginable devastation on American soil.
Let's get our priorities right! The primary concern in this eighth year of the new millennium has got to be the cessation of hostilities and the preservation of young, American lives through wily and empathic negotiation. "War is hell," and so long as we ignore its diabolical consequences we may all find ourselves on a speedboat heading towards the River Styx.
Malibu, California, USA - February 23, 2008
Samantha Power's Selective Amnesia: Dimitri Oram's Samantha Power's A Problem from Hell - Feb. 26, 2007
I read with contempt the book review by Dimitri Oram, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power.
Ms. Power has a total recall of the grotesque genocides of the 20th century in which 180 million victims were liquidated, beginning with the Armenian genocide in which she conveniently omits the 1.7 million Greeks killed in that genocide. She has total recall of the crimes of the Holocaust and those of Pol Pot, however, she omits any reference to the 1.5 million Serbs liquidated by their Croat, Muslim, and Albanian Nazi neighbors 60 years ago. This is no editorial accident; her convenient amnesia of these events reveals a sinister contempt for equal human rights. She has gone out of her way not to report the crimes against Serbs.
In the October 1996 issue of The New Republic, Ms. Power spewed hate speech like a sewer. Her poison penmanship was vile and unattractive. In her article Power reserved her best racist shot for Jovan Zametica whom she described as having "a Muslim father and a half-Serb, half-German mother and like the Turkish Janissaries, he has been over compensating for his 'impure' blood ever since." Usually closeted bigots only use such language behind closed doors, but apparently Ms. Power spent too much time in Bosnia as her kind of race-baiting "impure" ideas is what caused the Bosnian Civil War.
Jovan Zametica considers himself a Serb, regardless of the racist way Ms. Power described him. He is an accomplished scholar with a degree in History and Politics from the University of Liverpool, a Master's degree and Ph. D. in International History from Cambridge University. Ms. Powers's journalistic credentials pale in comparison, but what her article did reveal was her real talent for manipulating the emotions of prejudice.
The "Janissaries" were the elite Storm Troopers of the Ottoman Empire. Their "slave tax" forcibly took Serbian sons at the age of five from their parents and sent them off to Turkey where they were trained to hate and murder. As young adults, these "Janissaries" were sent back to the Balkans to liquidate their Serbian parents whom they no longer recognized. The Serbs gained their freedom from these Muslim terrorists in 1918 after WWI. The war cost the Serbs 52% of their adult male population, another piece of history omitted from her book. The Holocaust took another 27% of the Serbian population compared to 14% of the Jewish population in Europe. How shocking that Ms. Power never mentions this important Balkan history that has happened in my lifetime and directly influences current events in the region.
Power and her ilk at the Human Rights Center at Harvard shockingly ignored the fact that 107% of the electorate voted in the first Bosnian election in which Muslim President Izetbegovic won by "44,000 votes." The Human Rights Center made damned sure that Bosnian Muslims in the United States and various other countries were able to cast their ballots while they looked the other way as 410,000 Bosnian Serb refugees who fled to Belgrade were denied the same right. A pox on Samantha Power and on all of the houses at Harvard.
Los Angeles, California, USA - February 23, 2008
(The writer is the author of 5 books on the Balkans including the 1992 book, Kosovo.)
Another Pandora's Box: Kosovo
To the Editor:
Since US President George W. Bush has recognized the illegal independence of Kosovo, nations of the world can now recognize the Puerto Rican Independence movement and indeed recognize Puerto Rican & Hawaiian INDEPENDENCE from the U.S. as valid. But, it opens a new door, in which the nations of the world can recognize any STATE in the UNION (USA), which declares its independence as a separate country or nation. But they should go even further in recognizing Normandie, Brittany, Corsica, and the Basque regions along the Pyrenees that have long been occupied by France as INDEPENDENT NATIONS.
The above could now also be applied to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.
Any country that recognizes Kosovo is now open to the very same standards that it has set. By having its own territory being open to question, and allowing for the partition of Spain and the independence of Catalonia and Basque's lands in the Pyrenees. Perhaps, now is the hour when Catalans can demand their right to nationhood immediately. It would seem that the US plan to break up countries in Latin America, including Venezuela, has backfired, and can be used against the U.S. itself. After all what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, is it not?
Kenneth T. Tellis
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - February 18, 2008
Secret Societies in Africa? Baffour Ankomah's articles on Swans
I thoroughly enjoy reading New African and as a high school educator in the U.S., I've often incorporated articles from the magazine as source in my Social Studies syllabus. I grew up in South Africa where I was in the United Democratic Front, fighting and bearing the full brunt of the Apartheid government of successive National Party governments. I came to the U.S. in 1999. Africa always and still is close to my heart -- as is the rest of the world community.
I write in response to Baffour Ankomah's article on "Secret Societies."
My syllabus for African History focuses attention on those political values that would shape the character of any society so that it would afford the most just system of government for the people. Contextualized against the backdrop of varied econo-socio-political conditions in any particular society one would find it hard to argue against democracy as a system that holds greatest promise for our global society.
In the face of great powers throwing their weight around in the world -- with scant regard for the principle and values informing their notion of justice -- one immediately recognises the need for one's notion of democracy to be clearly spelled out in terms of what political values inform our concept of democracy.
This leads me back to the question posed in Ankomah's article: "...doesn't Africa also need its own secret societies....?"
If weighed against the fact that democracy immediately ceases to be when one of its fundamental values, namely equality, is omitted, I cannot in good conscience argue for tolerance of secret societies in my society. As Ronald Reagan is cited on page 17 of the article, such secret societies in the USA actually run the elitist government! That in my opinion is why the U.S. fails to be democratic!
More dangerous is the threat that such organizations pose when they are not likely to be open to critique from peers, simply because they operate so nontransparently. Another concern is that they tend not to be consultative about how their decisions are reached and how it would impact the very people they are governing.
It now ought to be abundantly clear that the West does not hold up a worthy example of good governance, especially if one judges it against the history of our very violating and violent Modernity. Throw into the mix an abundance of economic resources and soon it would be crystal clear that no prosperity is to be expected from such myopic leadership. Kleptomania would soon be the order of the day...as it has been in the West and consequently those whose political character they shaped through colonialization, all over the world.
One hear only about the corruption of those countries outside the First World -- simply because only officially-sanctioned media is given an opportunity to report -- independent voices are increasingly finding themselves marginalised while globally the world community live their reality out in a conditioning condition -- a conditioning process which we are not paying remotely enough critical attention to.
Secret societies for Africa is no solution.
New York, New York, USA - February 21, 2008
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