Talking points for 8 April

Many thanks to all of you that took part in last night’s programme on the Olympic torch relay.  Over 200 comments on the blog and collectively you helped produce a sparkling on air programme which is well worth a listen on the podcast if you missed it.

Today we’ll be focussing on whether women should tell their employer if they want a baby? You’ve been talking about it and Chloe’s blog post yesterday already has great comments. Are you affected?  Let us know by the usual channels or post on the blog.

Also how have you been affected by the rising cost of food?  Mark mentioned it briefly in his early blog on Monday and it’s something we will definately lookat this week.  In the meantime it’s worth reading this interesting article on what’s behind the crisis by Paul Krugman in the Herald Tribune.

In terms of other stories – here’s a couple of quick suggestions to think about before our midday meeting. 

Should the international community intervene in the situation in Zimbabwe? Most read story right now on BBC news online is that Zimbabwean police have arrested at least five officials for allegedly under-counting votes cast for President Robert Mugabe in last month’s election.  Is it time for outside help?

Close behind on the most viewed/emailed stakes is the UN expert who stands by Nazi comments. Do you agree with him?

Finally returning again to that olympic torch.. We mentioned yestrday how one texter to BBC radio said it reminded him of  “Its a knockout.”  Have a read of this article by Giles Smith in the Times.  It may make you smile.


15 Responses to “Talking points for 8 April”

  1. April 8, 2008 at 10:54

    I believe that the International Community delayed for the case of ZIM, just like they have done so in the d=case of Darfur, BUT were quick to respond to the protests in Lhasa. My question is how did ZANU-PF know that the votes were given to MDC if they do not know the results and if this is not another case of vote rigging by Mugabe. Please, let us do something.If we are to create pressure groups like the STUDENTS for FREE TIBET, then why not for ZIM. Id rather that some influentila people speak out other than keeping silent at the time when all humanity is suffering at the hands of an octagenerian who thinks he holds all the resources in ZIM

  2. 2 Abdalla from Dallas
    April 8, 2008 at 11:00

    How can international community just sit and watch what is happening in Zimbabwe? Isn’t the situation there similar to what happened in Kenya? There is a double standard on the part of the international community it seems to me.

    I call on USA and UK to dispatch envoy to South Africa to press President Mbeki to take a strong stance on Mugabe. Words can’t do much on this dire situation, it’s time to act just like what international community acted in the aftermath of Kenyan controversial elections.


  3. 3 Ana
    April 8, 2008 at 11:04

    A lot of the discussion on Have your Say has been about Islam and it’s limitations.
    I think it is well worth starting a discussion about a positives changes.
    Please read this story on Orphans in Sudan.
    I found this incredibly moving and proactive from the Fatwa Council.

    Could we maybe have a discussion about what Islamic leaders are doing for the well being of the less fortunate in the listener’s community?
    Ana Manrique Sevilla

  4. 4 VictorK
    April 8, 2008 at 11:18

    Re ‘Should the international community intervene in the situation in Zimbabwe?’ – no.

    There’s no genocide and so it should be treated as an internal matter. The people of Zimbabwe took up arms against white rule (which form of government, in retrospect, wasn’t such a bad thing); let them do the same to free themselves from Mugabe’s rule. It isn’t the business of ‘the international community’ (meaning Britain, the US and other Western nations – the only countries that give a damn about such things). In any case Iraq and Afghanistan have discredited the US when it comes to intervening; Britain, as the former colonial power, would have to be mad to intervene and not anticipate that it will lead to paranoid screams from all Africans that this is an attempt at re-colonisation and to put the white minority back in power; it might even provoke a new guerilla movement to fight the ‘neo-colonialists’. The most that should happen is to give political refuge to any white Zimbabweans who want it, given the racist intimidation and oppression they face. Mugabe got one thing right, though: he told Tony Blair to ‘keep your Britian’ while he, Robert Mugabe, would ‘keep my Zimbabwe’.

    Western nations should – in the absence of genocide or unwarranted invasion – learn to mind their own business when it comes to the affairs of other countires. Colonial interventions in the modern age deserve to be punished and deserve to fail. The Iraq and Afghan disasters are no more than what the Coalition has earned; and the same countries will get a lot more of the same if they fail to learn the lesson of those two calamities and attempt another war of high-minded liberal imperialist aggression in Zimbabwe. Let the African Union sort out Zimbabwe; and if they don’t care enough about the country to do anything why should ‘the international community’ be more concerned?

    p.s. – could WHYS be occasionally less driven by ‘popular’ issues and do more of the driving in addressing issues that aren’t in the news as much as they ought to be? Zimbabwe, to be honest, is unimportant – relatively speaking. Much less so, certainly, than the situation in the DR of the Congo. Xinjiang province in China ought to be getting as much attention as Tibet. Chechnya is a far bloodier conflict than Iraq and the Russians have even less justification for their presence their than the Coalition has for its being in Iraq.

  5. April 8, 2008 at 12:21

    Kate here.
    I’ve been very interested in the stories regarding the attempts by phycisists to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang in an attempt to discover the make-up of matter.


    In the light of the blog already on the site concerning religon and science I want to ask if scientific progree will ever render religion redundant?

  6. April 8, 2008 at 12:30

    Close behind on the most viewed/emailed stakes is the UN expert who stands by Nazi comments. Do you agree with him?

    I can see the similarities of Israel actively using collective punishment on Gaza, attempting to form what could be seen as a mass Warsaw-type ghetto; Sealed boarders and all.

    I think he made an important point that:
    “If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison,”

    This is entirely true, and even more-so with the increased scrutiny that has begun to come down on China primarily due to it’s spotlight in the Olympic Games.

    Israel’s ability to avoid having their policies held up to international law and morality.

    This was the strongest point made in the article.
    Despite both sides having ‘cases’, I don’t think you can argue against certain parallels with the Israeli/Palestinian and Nazi methodology and ideology.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  7. 7 VictorK
    April 8, 2008 at 12:32

    Re the UN investigator’s likening of Israel to the Nazis: no surprise there.

    The UN is institutionally anti-Western and its view of Israel (which, despite its location, is part of the Western world) is often no more than a reflection of the rampant anti-semitism of the Arab and Muslim worlds regarding the Jewish state.

    The Nazi analogy, to my knowledge, has never been used of China, despite that country’s Communist Party having some 30 million deaths to its credit; the fundamentalist Arab government of the Sudan has never been described as ‘Islamo-fascist’ despite having slaughtered some 3 million Africans over half a century in an overt campaign of race-based genocide; and when did the UN call the late Assad, the Syrian Fuehrer, a Nazi – never, not even after he murdered 20,000 people in a single day in Hama. But Israel, for fighting a defensive war against Palestinian terrorists, which has claimed fewer Palestinian lives over 20 years than were lost in Hama on a single day, is just like the Nazis!

    It wouldn’t be difficult to draw up a list of countries in the world that have seen more civilans murdered by their governments (often in peacetime) in the past twenty years than Palestinians have died during the course of their ‘Intifada’. North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, China, Cuba, most of Latin America, most of Africa – in fact, most countries on the planet. But only the Jewish state is to be singled out for blame and to be compared to, of all regimes, that of Nazi Germany. There is a suitable Nazi analogy to be made though, and that is with the UN’s hostility to the Jewish state.

    Surely it’s time to abolish the UN, an ineffectual Western-funded travesty of an institution, which has become a forum for the most irresponsible kind of antisemitism, anti-Westernism and thirdworld posturing? The useful parts of the UN – such as UNESCO and the WHO – could be reconstituted as international organisations accountable to those countries prepared to fund them. The remainder needs to have a stake driven through its heart.

  8. April 8, 2008 at 12:34

    Kate here.
    I’ve been very interested in the stories regarding the attempts by phycisists to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang in an attempt to discover the make-up of matter.

    National Geographic just had a wonderful article on this! It was quite an interesting read. It amazed me, the sheer size of the ATLAS atom smasher. While the physics were a bit over my head, it would be pretty interesting to see this first-hand. I am also eager to see what discoveries if any come from this project.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  9. April 8, 2008 at 13:04

    @ Zimbabwe:

    I agree with VictorK on this one, leave it alone. No need to intervene in anyone elses messes right now. Let them work it out themselves.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  10. 10 Xie_Ming
    April 8, 2008 at 13:42

    The Nazi analogy concerning Israel is far more extensive than the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, it includes racial/ethnic pretensions and imperialist aims.

    The New York Times has long banned such Nazi allusions on its blog, so they are well known.

    Because of the well-known characteristics of political Zionists, it will become necessary to have a separate and continuing thread to handle this topic, it it is raised.

  11. 11 Xie_Ming
    April 8, 2008 at 13:54

    Concerning intervention in Zimbawe, VictorK (above) has made valid points.

    In general, as momentary passions are expressed for various causes, it would be well to examine the rationale that might support or reject the cause.

    We see far too much media-potentiated emotional inflation.

    If a response seems rationally justified, Is the usual technique not rather to arm the rebels? Or, further east, to send in assassins?

  12. 12 Xie_Ming
    April 8, 2008 at 14:10


    Science and religion are in different domains and should remain so.

    Religion and other philosophy seek to find meaning, explanation and purpose in man’s existence. Science may seek some explanation, but generally does not address these issues.

    Organized religion, however, is concerned with power, with enhancing its organization, and with promoting the elite. In this, it is political and may clash with science when the ideology by which it wields its power seems challenged.

    Organized religion seeks to symbolically manipulate the values of of the community and is very intolerant of anthing that may weaken the ideological monopoly it seeks to establish. Science is thus seen as a threat.

    Since most people are obedient authoritarians who welcome being told how to behave, science is unlikely to render organized religion redundant, and the human desire to find unity with the universe is a mystical, rather than a scientific search.

  13. 13 Xie_Ming
    April 8, 2008 at 14:23

    Several posters from Kenya have raised a point related to the World food situation:

    Well-fed, middle class, “protesters” have the time and resources to go about the World interfering in activities that are none of their business, but that help give meaning to a generally parasitic existence.

    Whales are a source of food. Some types consume enormous amounts of herring, etc. Chasing whaling ships in fast boats does not appear ecologically sound. Would it not be better to eat more whale?

    Baby seals look cute. As they grow older, they eat enormous quantities of a dwindling fish supply, and many would happily eat a human if given the chance. Would you rather have photos of baby seals or have fish to eat?

    What ever happened to the Peace Corps idea? Surely, we can find useful activities for underemployed protesters?

  14. 14 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 15:35

    Xie Ming:

    Hezbollah does the raised arm salute. They have conducted international terrorism. Saying that Israel is nazi-like is like saying that the US is nazi like becuase nazis wore clothes too. There’s far worse things going on on earth right now, yet Israel is consistently singled out for criticism. If Israel were anything like the Nazis, there would be no Palestinians. They would be gone. Let’s not forget that Jordan killed more Palestinians in a couple weeks back in 1970 than Israel has killed in 40 years. You can ignore that fact if you like. So if people are saying Israel is a genocidal/apartheid regime or whatever defamatory statement you’d like to make, then Israel is pretty darn bad at what you accuse them of doing.

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    April 8, 2008 at 16:41

    April 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm
    “The Nazi analogy concerning Israel is far more extensive than the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, it includes racial/ethnic pretensions and imperialist aims.”

    There is no mention in the foregoing of body counts or of genocide, nor of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

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