16
May
08

Blank Page No.7

Steadying themselves for the weekend take-over are Bob in Australia and long-time WHYSer Abdelilah in Morocco. Remember Blank Pages have two goals. 1) Talk about what issues and stories in the new that you want to. 2) Come up with suggested stories, guests and questions for next week’s programmes. All yours.


239 Responses to “Blank Page No.7”


  1. May 16, 2008 at 19:53

    Hi. I am Abdelilah Boukili from Marrakesh city, Morocco. I am an English teacher. It is always a pleasure for me to send my comments to WHYS and to share the views of the others from different parts of the world.

    This weekend, it is a great pleasure for me to be moderating this page along with Bob from Australia – four days after WHYS well-deservedly won the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Award in GOLD.

    You’re welcome to suggest any topic for debate . Bob and I will be delighted it to put it on the blog while the WHYS team is having a well-deserved weekend rest.

    The topics I’d like to share are of various nature.

    What should be done to settle political conflicts? Should it be by diplomatic negotiations or by the resort to armed actions? The Middle East is a case in point. There are Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq where violence lives with diplomatic initiatives side by side.

    Is the world heading towards an economic crisis in view of rising food and oil prices while the climatic changes are threatening to be catastrophic for different regions? What should be done to redress the situation?

    Can the cancellation of the foreign debts of poor countries be of any help for them, as they can’t compete with stronger economies?

    How can the technology gap between rich and poor countries be narrowed, especially in the field of the internet?
    http://www.liberiaitech.com/theperspective/2007/1007200702.html

  2. 2 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 19:58

    Good evening Abdelilah & Bob,

    i hope that this weekend on Blank Page 7, will be an interesting
    weekend….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  3. 3 selena
    May 16, 2008 at 20:08

    Hello Abdelilah and Bob,

    I hope you both have an enjoyable weekend.

  4. 4 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 20:13

    @ Abdelilah (and Bob):

    WHYS well-deservedly won the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Award in GOLD.

    Congratulations to the Bloggers and everyone else who made
    this possible…..

    Regards,
    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  5. 5 bobinqld
    May 16, 2008 at 21:00

    Greetings from sunny Queensland, Australia and welcome to “Blank Page 7”!

    Well, it WOULD be “sunny Queensland” except for the time difference which means that this is the middle of my night and it’s pitch dark outside. I’ve crawled out of bed to introduce myself and post a few ideas that may be worthy of discussion, then my plan is to go back and snuggle next to my wife for a few more hours, leaving you in the capable hands of Abdelilah until around 0100 GMT.

    Anyway, there are a few things that caught my interest today and I’ll toss them out to see if anybody else wants to discuss them.

    First off, I awoke Friday morning to the World Service telling me that President Bush had made a speech in the Knesset comparing the idea of negotiation with terrorists (or states that support terrorism) to the appeasement of Hitler. His actual words were:

    “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals,” said Mr Bush in his speech.

    “We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement.”

    …and the BBC story is at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7403386.stm

    This has created a stir because this can certainly be viewed as an attack on Barrack Obama and his policy of negotiation with Iran. However, leaving aside US domestic politics for a moment, is President Bush right?

    Was Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of appeasement early in his first term when he negotiated with Ireland and the IRA? Many Protestants in Northern Ireland probably thought he was–but the tactic worked and we now have relative peace in Northern Ireland.

    Bush’s speech was to mark the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel. Prior to statehood, Menachem Begin was the head of the terrorist organisation “Irgun” which used terrorist tactics (such as the bombing of the King David Hotel) in its campaign for the creation of Israel. Begin went on to become Israel’s 6th Prime Minister…and win a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Can military action alone ever defeat terrorism, or is negotiation always needed eventually, no matter how unpalatable it may seem?

    On the topic of American politics, I was recently discussing the Primary process with some friends when one of them rolled her eyes and asked “Is that STILL going on?” Another (and American) took umbrage and asked “Why are you rolling your eyes–this is democracy in action”. A third (okay, it was me!) asked if it’s “democracy in action” or “democracy in slow motion”? What do you think? Is the lengthy process of primaries and caucuses a fascinating political process or an over-long exercise in spending money on pointless campaigning…before the REAL campaign starts. Does it find the BEST candidates or simply those who can stand the pace?

    In Zimbabwe, they’ve named June 27th as the date for the “run off” election: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7404603.stm

    Ironically, this announcement came around the same time as it was announced that inflation there has created the need for a $500 million bank note–this in a country that was once one of the most prosperous in Africa. What should be done about the situation there? What CAN be done? Would outside interference in the affairs of Zimbabwe be appropriate concern about a corrupt and inept government…or a new installment of the sort of colonialism that has plagued Africa for a couple of centuries.

    Finally for me…football/soccer. Yet again the spectre of violence has appeared when a riot erupted in central Manchester after the failure of the giant video screen on which fans were watching coverage of the UEFA Cup final: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/7402858.stm

    I’ve seen some people trying to justify this reaction because of the “importance of the match”. On the other hand, some have criticised it because “it’s only a game”. In this day and age, is either view accurate? Surely football on this level is now big business–several teams are even listed on the stock exchange. If it IS big business, how can this level of violence and destruction be justified? If events staged by, for example, a bank provoked this much trouble, how long would they be allowed to continue? Why is football treated any differently?

    Well, time for me to haul myself back to bed and leave you in the good hands of Abdelilah until my morning. Have fun and see you all soon!

    Bob

  6. 6 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 21:09

    @ Bob,

    thanks for the information…..

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  7. 7 steve
    May 16, 2008 at 21:09

    Why would someone think Bush was referring to Obama? I thought it was Carter, who went to talk to Hamas and got a fool made out of him.

  8. May 16, 2008 at 21:19

    Concerning the situation in Zimbabwe, I think current President Mugabe is heading for a political suicide for his country. Now one of the poorest countries in the world is having the largest of impoverished billionaires. With two banknotes each costing $500 million, you can be overnight a billionaire. I wonder how many million dollars it costs to print a banknote.

    It’s so ironic that there is a cry on the part of the international community to intervene in Burma to save the cyclone victims, while the rest of the world is standing watching Zimbabwe eating itself out.

    The deadline of 90 days set by Mugabe to hold presidential run-off elections is just a play for time to gather more force to challenge MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. But if he respects the will of his people through transparent elections under international supervision he should honourably step down in the case of defeat. He has no need to inflate votes in his favour after the unheard of economic inflation.

  9. 9 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 21:30

    Abdelilah (and Bob):::

    Re:
    BURMA, It is sad that so many people in that country could died, because of the Military Junta, not giving enough notice about the storm…and also by STEALING the food from the innocent people, provided to them from international aid agencies and governments around the world.

    Re:
    ZIMBABWE, It is sad that a country that once could provide its own food to the country, now is unable to feed themselves. And also, has a leader, who is trying to put the country on the footing of political suicide, by staying in power…..

    Re:
    BUSH REMARKS, It is normal to lash out on (people) i.e. Barack Obama, who could changed this United States of America from a “dictatorship in theory” to a Democracy.

    Thanks,
    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  10. 10 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 21:33

    @ Steve:

    Bush should have talk about Jimmy Carter than Barack Obama….Carter, was
    the one who talk to a terrorist group….

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  11. 11 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 21:54

    @ Abdelilah (and Bob):::

    According to news media i.e. Al-Jazeera’s website, the run-off for
    Zimbabwe will be 27 June2008….

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  12. May 16, 2008 at 22:03

    Thanks Dennis for the info.

    What matters, regardless of time or deadline, Can Zimbabwe enjoy fair elections? The political situation there has become a suspense for all those interested in the future of the country. Needless to say, if the army is behind Mugabe, it will use whatever means to stay him in power. the international community looks impotent or uninterested because Mugabe regime is just a danger to Zimbabwe. It poses no threat to the regional balance.

    Big brother South Africa is just giving Mugabe a slap on the wrist, by for example preventing the shipment of Chinese arms to him through its ports. Mugabe may not have enough ammunitions to wage a war in case of invasion, but he has plenty of them to repress his people while still in power.

  13. 13 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 22:21

    I saw this story about the Taliban and Afghanistan:

    Here is the link:
    http://origin.www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/05/15/f-rfa-puddicombe-taliban.html

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  14. May 16, 2008 at 22:26

    Hello to my two Precious friends Abdelilah and Bob and a very good luck to both of you guys with this very special mission Inshallah ! :-)… To expand Precious Abdelilah’s question about what the ultimate way to solve political conflicts anywhere around the world could be… I do remember that I saw once a drawing by the Palestinian murdered artist Naji Al Ali… In the drawing Mr Al Ali features ‘peace negotiations’ as a man who’s giving support to Israelis and patience to Palestinians… To reach a fair and total peace in the Holy Lands is (in my opinion) the ultimate dream that all of us are eagerly looking forward to seeing coming true… BUT it has to be a JUST peace, a peace of EQUALS, not a peace of SUPERIORS and INFERIORS… As a Middle Eastern citizen I often get pretty disguisted by how much dishonest and biased the successive US government can be as a peace moderator in the Middle East, because simply you can’t be an honest and unbiased moderator when you keep always standing by and supporting only one side, you can’t be an honest and unbiased moderator when you always try to impose the conditions of one side on the other side… Patience has limits right ?! For how long can we be patient and wait for Israel and the honourable US government to give our rights and our occupied lands back to us ?! Isn’t it time for a unilateral declaration of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on East Jerusalem, the Gaza strip, and the whole West Bank ?! Because simply we just got fed up with the ‘wait and see’ policy… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  15. May 16, 2008 at 22:38

    Hi Lubna.
    As long as there aren’t balanced solutions in the Middle East, the problem will continue. It is favoritism and suspicions that are behind the current conflicts in the Middle East. When all parties come to establish friendly relationships, then things can be solved. It’s not an impossibility that the Israelis and the Palestinians can be brothers, defending one another, instead of fighting endlessly. Europe was a warring continent. The enemies of the past are now close allies. There is the example of Germany and France. In other parts of the world, there is Japan and the USA. All parties should look ahead. The 1948 Nakba ( catastrophe) can be a matter of the past if there are current solutions. It is now a reference to all parties because it’s a symbol of the current deadlock.

  16. 16 Zak
    May 16, 2008 at 22:38

    Go ahead and talk like that president right out his backside: I really wonder if anybody doesn’t know what countries president I’m referring to here. One thing for sure he doesn’t represent the majority of the people.

    Kind of like the situation in Zimbabwe, Mugabe doesn’t represent the will of the people yet he will use oppression to bait and switch for the opposition. He says today that ‘the last election was a disaster’: just what kind of disaster can we interpret that to mean? Did he mean like the election in Kenya was a disaster, no. Or was it his political misfortune and henceforth if he loses the same thing will happen in his country as the disaster in Kenya. That’s what I hear him saying. He’s a tyrant and letting everyone know what will happen if they vote him out of power.

    But he’s calculated his move now and the opposition is powerless, if they go ahead with the election as planned they know the climate won’t allow change. But there’s too much animosity stay out of the race and now the MDC’s bluff has been called, the people know he’s weak and likely he will lose.

  17. 17 steve
    May 16, 2008 at 22:39

    @ Lubna

    Israel offered the lands back immediately in 1967 and the arabs refused to even negotiate, so Israel decided to hold onto them (The Nos of Khartoum). At no point then or before then did the arabs give any consideration to the Palestinians, as Egypt and Jordan had been occupying them for the prior 19 years

  18. 18 selena
    May 16, 2008 at 22:59

    @Lubna and Steve,

    Is there some teensy weensy bit of common ground upon which you can both stand.

    Steve, can you stop referring to what the Arabs did or didn’t do? What is it you want Lubna to understand, not about Arabs, but about you and your unquestioning support of Israel?

    Lubna, what can Steve do that will convey to you that he, not Israel, is ready to make a movement from the past?

    It really starts here. If you two can’t see any way forward, there is not much hope.

  19. May 16, 2008 at 23:06

    Hello Precious Steve… And thanks soooooo much for your reply… Actually I was talking about the Oslo’s peace negotiations… And how about the 2002 Arab league initiative which offered Israel a perminant peace and a total normalisation of the diplomatic relationships between it and all Arab countries in return of going back to the borders of the 4th of June 1967, fair enough eh ?! Precious Steve, as a Jewish American citizen I’d be sooooo much interested in hearing your assessment of the role played by your government as a major peace moderator in the Middle East (honest, dishonest, biased, unbiased, fair, unfair, ect., ect.,??!). With my love. Yours forever, Lubna. PS, THANK YOU Precious Abdelilah…

  20. 20 Dennis
    May 16, 2008 at 23:27

    @ Abdelilah,

    Sorry for the late return of the message, you
    left for me….please accept my apologies!

    To answer your questions:
    1)Zimbabwe, elections will probably be not free and
    fair.
    2)South Africa thinks that Zimbabwe will behave
    themselves…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  21. 21 steve
    May 16, 2008 at 23:43

    @ Lubna

    The 2002 Proposal also includes the “right of return” which would mean the end of Israel, so of course Israel isn’t going to agree to that. My views on the US as a broker? It’s a difficult thing because obviously the US and Israel are allies. So yes, I would say it is biased in favor of Israel, but not so much so that would make any result unreasonable, and a much better broker than say Iran would be.

  22. 22 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 00:16

    Saudi Arabia rebuffs Bush on the oil issue!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A..

  23. 23 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 00:21

    I found a link about Saudi Arabia rebuffs Bush on the oil issue….

    http://www.afp.com/english/news/stories/newsmlmmd.b8989387ce445ea90ede0a038129eca5.3e1.html

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  24. May 17, 2008 at 00:29

    @ Dennis

    The oil issue you suggest is pertinent. it can be discussed from different points of views, especially its ramifications on the world economy and how it affects poor countries. Oil can also be discussed as an economic weapon. The current prices are still seen as low by many. Previously the Iranian president considered that oil should be at $150 a barrel. it’s reaching that target within the current price at about $127 a barrel.

    For Saudi Arabia not bowing to the US demand for increased oil production can raise the question if it doesn’t want to be seen as the US economy puppet and it is trying to get US concessions on matters related to the situation in the Middle East.

    Too many questions can be raised concerning this matter.

  25. 25 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 00:29

    diplomacy vs military action:
    Former President Jimmy Carter accomplished in one day by diplomacy what hasn’t been possible with all of the censures, sanctions, closures, missiles, and bombs have failed to accomlish in so many decades. My vote definitely goes for diplomacy. Steve, if you’ve mentioned it, then either I have not seen it or I have forgot: what is your opinion of Jimmy Carter’s meeting with Khalid Mash`al? Btw, I keep missing you on other threads, though I still hold you in high regard for your ability to maintain composure when you debate with us por-Palestinians. You’re turning out to be something of a cool pro-Zionist.

  26. 26 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 00:42

    diplomatic vs military action:
    But then, I began to think about the rest of the world outside of the Middle East. Diplomacy seems to be making progress in China, where the big fat carrot of the Olympics has worked inasmuch as it has trained the eyes of the world on China. What will happen to Tibet as a result is still a question.

    And then there is Myanmar. Diplomacy sounds so pretty and so safe, but in the absence of forceful action, people are dying. It seems that only an invasion would have got needed supplies to those who needed them in time to save their lives. After the supplies had got to the people, then what? Stay and fend off the junta so that elections can be held? Leave once the most pressing danger had pressed?

    The international community has been exhausting diplomatic efforts to put a stop to the genocide in Darfur, but it has got us next to nowhere.

    Back in the Middle East, it seems that every time a negotiation has been reached, someone does something offensive against someone else, and Tit begins the next phase of the relay of violence, followed by his twin, Tat. Whatever biases I may have – and happily – I think that this is a sentiment that is shared by most people viewing the situation in the Holy Land.

    Here is yet another interesting question: What would it take to convince the U.S. to sign the Kyoto Treaty? I assume that diplomatic efforts have been underway in that regard, but we all know the result.

  27. 27 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 00:49

    Hey Shirley:

    I think many people in the US think Jimmy Carter is crazy. I have no problem with him speaking to Hamas, I don’t see how any harm can come from it given he’s not a US government official. I realize there will always be back door negotiations, and of course even Israel is talking to Hamas, though some backroute way, indirectly. There’s some kind of communication. However Carter is crazy if he thinks Hamas would make peace with Israel. That would be like Bin Laden making peace with Israel, simply isn’t going to happen, so he’s misguided.

    What did Carter accomplish though? Jimmy Carter said he felt hopefully that Hamas would do some kind of truce thing, and then Hamas stated immediately after that hamas will never accept israel.. It’s like they tried to embarrass him.

  28. 28 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 01:13

    There already has been a crisis in terms of food and fuel prices in so many parts of the world. The amount of people who depend on government and internaitonal aid in order to eat, have clothing and shelter, and stay warm is staggering.

    In some places, politics has removed the ability of people to be self-sustaining. In Palestine, for example, farmers are losing their lands and crops to settlers and Israel through illegal land grabs and violence. Aquafers have been drained by settlers who have been filling swimming pools and using so much water for other purposes. In Sudan, government-backed Janjawid have ethnicaly cleansed Darfur, leaving the people of Darfur at the mercy of aid organisations.

    In other places, people are facing natural disasters. In some cases, the inadequacy of the land to support life has resulted in people depending on aid for food and water. In others, draughts have left many throughout Africa without potable water and crops. In Myanmar, the water has been contaminated, crops destroyed, and homes and possessions lost. In still other places, the land’s ability to support life has been wastefully exhausted through careless and thoughtless exploitation.

    The topic of food was raised during the discussion on the Amazon, where it was pointed out that crops used for biofuel and cattle actually consist of edible foods. It has also been discussed in the context of the economic crisis that has been gripping the global community; and some were quick to point out how wastefully too many people live.

    I think that when we as a collective global society realise that we cannot last long by exploiting the word’s resources, we will find it much easier to obtain life’s necessities – not just for the wealthy, but for everyone.

  29. 29 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 01:43

    Steve,
    I had heard that Khalid would accept the 1967 borders. Did he retract such a statement? Did I hear incorrectly?

  30. 30 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 01:50

    @ Shirley

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080423/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflictuscarterpalestine_080423112836

    “on Monday Carter said Hamas told him it would recognise Israel’s right to exist such a deal was approved by a Palestinian vote.

    Just hours later Meshaal told a press conference in Damascus that Hamas would not recognise the Jewish state and would insist on the right of return for 4.5 million Palestinian refugees.”

  31. 31 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 01:55

    Thank you, Steve. I wonder what gave Carter the impression that Khalid had agreed to the 1967 borders.

  32. May 17, 2008 at 01:58

    Dear friends,

    Now I am going to couch after happily moderating this page and others while my partner Bob in Australia will be rising from his sleep. It’s a wonderful world. When it is dark in some regions, it is light in others. But on this blog, light must be shed on everything. Nothing must be kept in the dark.

    So see you in 10 hours from now. I am sure I will enjoy your company for two other days: Saturday and Sunday. While hopefully, Bob will keep moderating till Monday, Australian time permitting.

    For those who live in my sphere have a good night. For those who live in Bob’s have a good day.

  33. 33 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 02:02

    Abdelilah:

    GOOD NIGHT AND ENJOY YOUR TIME OFF….

    —–
    Welcome Bob to the office….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  34. 34 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 02:49

    Morning all! Armed with my second mug of tea (after a somewhat broken night’s sleep) I’ve been reading through all your comments–some interesting conversations developing!

    Diplomacy vs Military Action

    For those of you who (for reasons I understand) think that diplomacy is either pointless or “giving in to terrorism”, what other options can you think of? Certainly, 60 years of armed stand-off (with some military action) hasn’t got us very far–and I hope nobody is going to propose all-out war! Even if that could be justified, I can’t think of any case in history where an army has been able to defeat a few determinined terrorists.

    Now, on the other side of the coin, is one of the problems with the Israeli/Palestinian situation in particular the “factionalisation” of the Palestinian side? No one group even comes close to speaking for all Palestinians and, as soon as one leader starts a negotiation he is denounced as a traitor by other groups. Is there any conceivable peace plan that all (or at least a majority) of Palestine could unite behind?

    Thinking a bit larger, even if the USA (and the west in general) wanted to open a dialogue and try to resolve the root issues that have spawned groups like Al Qaeda, would the same splits on the Islamic side make negotiations pointless? Do the Suni and Shi’a branches of Islam need to resolve their own difficulties before their can be meaningful dialogue with outsiders?

    On Zimbabwe:

    Why do we think South Africa isn’t taking a greater lead in censuring Robert Mugabe? Does his stance that he is battling colonialism gain any credence with a nation that can’t feed its people?

  35. May 17, 2008 at 02:57

    Does anybody wonder why the US treats the Saudi’s so differently then the rest of the Middle Eastern countries. They get royal treatment and asked politely to please feed our addiction? What I know is that Saudi Arabia made a bold move many years back shortly after forming OPEC. OPEC was originally formed as a conglomerate. All of the members would agree on a yearly output and set the price. It didn’t work because all of the other members were cheating. They would say they were only going to produce “x” barrels of oil, but in the end they would produce a few million barrels more to take in more money. So Saudi Arabia said, alright, everybody tells me how many barrels you can possible produce in a year, then we will set the total amount. On the surface this looked like they were loosing money. However the position of power it placed them in was immense. That is why 17 Saudi national can take part in a terrorist strike on the US and the US invades Afghanistan and Iraq and never mentions Saudi Arabia.

    So why should they cater to us. We are broke and over borrowing. There are three emerging economies in China, India, and the EU that has better potential and more secure monies. To the Saudis oil barons we are the old crack ho’s at the door step in the middle of the night.

  36. May 17, 2008 at 03:05

    Really the options aren’t “diplomacy vs. military action”. The options nobody seems to understand it that it is “diplomacy vs. genocide”. If you are not talking to a hostile group, then your only other option is the kill every last one of them. You are not talking to them, you don’t know what their demands are, you don’t even know which ones are offering legitimate aid.

    Here is a fun game to play. Get a buddy. Sit face to face, blindfolded and with music blaring in a set of headphones. Start swinging at each other. The game ends only when somebody says, “stop”. Of course you won’t see it or hear it because you can’t.

  37. 37 Shirley
    May 17, 2008 at 03:12

    Hi, Bob
    It is hard to wrap my mind around the Carter thing. I was so hoping that it provided a way forward, and now we are back at square one. Regarding inter-Palestinian factionalisation, itmight help to allow elections to take place there, and then accept the results when they come in. The way that the international community acted when Hamas was elected was despicable. How would people in the U.S. react if the world had acetd the same way towards George Bush because he had invaded Iraq and caused such devestation there, and acted to threateningly towards other regions? When the people air their voice, it is undemocratic of us to demand other than their choice. As it stands, our refusal to accept the choice of the Palestinian people for a duly elected leader has resulted in factional discord and violence. The next time they have an election, I highly suggest that we butt out.

    I don’t see the Sunni/Shia division in Islam as a barrier to fihting al Qaeda. We won’t mind at all if al Qaeda disappears from the face of the earth. However, killing off all of them will only breed more of them. Saudi Arabia has an interesting solution of capturing them, feeding them well, allowing them rest and repose, and re-educating them about a more veracious version of Islam than what al Qaeda was teaching them. Of course, the Saudi version of Islam could never suit me, but it’s a start if it’s turning guys off to al Qaeda.

    It is worthy to note that there was virtually no Sunni/Shia strife in Iraq until the U.S. opened the doors to it by practically inviting al Qaeda in and failing to secure Iraq’s borders from foreigners who have their on agenda in this mess. At least it’s easier to make money on the black market selling guns in Iraq, if that’s your line of business.

  38. 38 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 03:33

    @Dwight in Cleveland

    Your game analogy is a good one–but stretching it even farther, how do we persuade one player or the other to take off their blindfolds and headphones?

    @Shirley

    I certainly agree with what you say about outside interference in the middle east being one (of many) sources of the problems. If any party is perceived as being “in the pocket” of outsiders, than can only be a de-stabilising influence.

    However, regarding Sunni/Shia strife under Saddam Hussein, was it really a lack of problems or just that Saddam’s oppressive regime masked issue like that? Certainly it has been made far, far worse by outside influences but even without the outsiders, I suspect the power vacuum left after Saddam’s overthrow would have resulted in any simmering problems that existed in Iraq flaring up.

    I hear what you say about selling guns in Iraq….when I was in Baghdad during the first Iraqi war, I was offered AK47 rifles (sometimes with ammo) for about $50. This seemed to be the going rate!

  39. 39 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 03:35

    Bob:

    Good Night !!!

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  40. May 17, 2008 at 03:57

    bob,

    That is the million dollar question. The only answer I can see is to have a third party enter the room and pull them off. But that party will need to be seen as unbiased. Secondly, a period of not hitting each other. “what does it take to change the essence of a man?” “Time. I need time to change.” Third I would say that an outline of what is impossible should be defined. The Israel’s are not going to pick up and leave the land. That is insane. At the same time, the Palestinians can not live in this impoverished oppression for eternity either.

    I really don’t know the answer, but I do know if you are not listening you can’t know when you have went from winning a war to being a callused monster.

  41. 41 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 06:26

    Well, as it’s a bit quiet now (probably too early for Europe and African time zones and too late for the Americans) I’m going to take this chance to dash out to the shops…back in about an hour!

  42. 42 viola anderson
    May 17, 2008 at 07:24

    Lubna, are you Palestinian? I quote: “For how long can we be patient and wait for Israel and the hororable United States government to give our rights and occupied lands back?” It’s a pertinent point that you, an Iraqi with totally justifiable issues of your own concerning the U.S.’s occupation of your country, feel that what is happening with Israel and the Palestinians is happening to you.

    Can you explain so I can understand better from what perspective you view the Israeli/Palestinian issue?

    Thank you.

  43. May 17, 2008 at 07:49

    Good morning gang… To Selena my love : If Precious Steve says that he’s totally and fully ready to accept the declaration of an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state; its dignified and honoured capital is East Jerusalem; and it includes East Jerusalem, the Gaza strip, and the whole West Bank, then that’s enough for me… And to Precious Steve : You can’t judge someone by making comparisons to another one eh ?! Why can’t you just say that the US government is a biased and dishonest peace moderator in the Middle East and end the subject ?! And may I remind you that Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, so how can Iran replace the US as a peace moderator in the Middle East ?? :-). Aren’t there any other possible alternatives or replacements who can be more honest and more neutral than both the US and Iran in your opinion ?! As for the 2002 Arab league initiative, I do believe that what was meant by the ‘right of return’ is that ALL Palestinian refugees anywhere around the world should have the right to return to the newly formed, independend, and fully sovereign Palestinian state… But even if I were wrong, if Israel was really serious about reaching a perminant and fair peace, why wouldn’t she say that : “I do fully accept the initiative, but I just can’t accept the right of return of Palestinian refugees to the 1948 lands”?? Unfortunately I’m feeling totally hopeless about the Israeli intentions towards reaching a fair and perminant peace in the Middle East… But when it comes to you Precious Steve, the story is quite different… I do really wanna hear from you… What’s your take about what I asked from you to accept ?! Hearing your thoughts as my Precious friend will surely matter alot to me… And To Shirley my love : Are you receiving my too many messages that I’ve been sending to you ?! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  44. 44 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 08:04

    And back from shopping!

  45. 45 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 08:20

    Over my post-shopping mug of tea I’ve been scanning through all the messages so far. Doing it that way (rather than one at a time) I’ve been struck by how often this discussion of today’s problems refer back to things that happened years ago: sometimes a couple of years, sometimes 60+ years ago. This isn’t just true of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but also applies to so many other areas of the world. Africa was split up politically without thought about tribal lines, India and Pakistan are an arbitrary division, the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait is a pure invention….there was even once almost a war between Canada and the USA as to whether that long border should be on the 49th or 54th parallel!

    Not that it means anything, but our ancestors, both recent and ancient, have a lot to answer for about the way they drew lines on maps without considering people.

    Having said all that, I think the keys to the resolutions of so many problems have to be forgetting the past and starting from where we are today. Easier said than done, I know, particularly if you are on the side that lost land. However, looking at any recent conflicts that have actually been solved, the resolution has always involved dropping old conflicts and animosities.

  46. May 17, 2008 at 09:18

    Hello Precious Bob… Why don’t you tell us what you bought during your shopping trip ?! :-)… And to Viola my love : Am I Palestinian ?! No, but I’d be really sooooooo proud and sooooo honoured if I were… When I was in high school, one of my best girlfriends “Ruaa” was a Palestinian refugee who’s originally from the Gaza strip, and also I do have a very Precious friend named ‘David’ who’s a Jewish Rabbi living currently in Jerusalem… With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  47. 47 Pangolin
    May 17, 2008 at 09:39

    Considering the stress evident in getting the standard agricultural system to feed the world it would be a good time to review non-standard agriculture for potential. The Cuban system, permaculture, bio-char agriculture, the one-duck revolution in rice growing and some of the other odd corners of farming all have ideas. Who is producing the most food with the least need for outside inputs? Which ideas are common and which are unique? How do we fill all those empty bellies?

    As to dealing with “terrorists.” It’s just a label for other people designed to deny their essential personhood. You can kill a “terrorist” without shame even if she is a seven year old girl. You don’t negotiate with terrorists for the same reason you don’t negotiate with the beef steers in a feedlot; you intend to kill every one of them.

    You negotiate with people who have power to harm you. While they are negotiating at least the negotiation team is distracted from killing you. Perhaps you can find a solution that is cheaper to both parties than continued war. The first thing that has to be discarded in a negotiation is deception. Deception is a commitment to continued war.

    It is obvious that both the current Israeli and US governments are committed to continuing the war with the Palestinians and other arab peoples. They refuse to tell the truth about the most obvious facts.

  48. 48 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 09:56

    LOL! I’m not sure my supermarket shopping list merits a discussion in a world forum….but the menu is pasta with a homemade tomato and herb sauce tonight…and roast lamb tomorrow.

    I suppose my shopping trip does have a tenuous link to a possible topic for conversation. One of the things that has struck me since moving from the UK to
    Australia is how much more emphasis is placed on locally sourced produce down here.

    In the UK I was used to the way supermarkets would source food from all over the world–fruit and vegetables often came from thousands of kilometres away with little or no regard for the carbon footprint. However, without really trying, all the fresh meat and vegetables I bought today came not just from this state but often from within 100 km. of where I live.

    Obviously, much of this isn’t altruism–it’s just easier to work that way in Australia. We have a year-round growing season and the ability to grow everything from tropical fruits to temperate fruits depending how high up the mountain range you go.

    Anyway, what are other people’s thoughts on the way foods are shipped all over the world these days. On one hand, there’s the carbon footprint of carrying food 10,000 km just so the British can have fresh green beans in winter…but there’s also the contribution these exports make to countries where the food is grown…for example, the green beans I mention often went from Kenya to the UK.

    So…lots to think about–is it greed to risk the environment to get year round fresh veg…and are the exporting countries benefiting from globalisation…or being exploited?

  49. 49 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 10:16

    @Pangolin

    Before my retirement I worked for many years for a television news agency that supplied stories to broadcasters all over the world, including both Israeli and Arabic TV stations. I was on the technical side of things but one rule drummed into us was to NEVER use the word terrorist–it was always “guerilla fighter” or similar. It was a truism that “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”.

    However, I detect that in recent years this situation may have changed. There are now groups that use the horrible word “terrorist” to describe themselves. I’m getting onto dangerous ground here, but I would also say that, in many cases, these groups are not fighting FOR a tangible cause but simply against “the secular west” in general (and the US in particular).

  50. 50 Pangolin
    May 17, 2008 at 10:32

    My maternal grandfather was born in Hebron, family name Eli. That’s all I know of him as my mother was orphaned in the 40’s. Why are those who stayed in Hebron, named Eli, labeled terrorists when I am not?

    Every person was presumably something before he/she was a “terrorist.” What? Did they choose to change or was change thrust upon them? I’ve heard a US Army chief warrant officer insist that usually change was thrust upon them.

    Is it possible that “terrorists” use weapons because we refused to listen to them when they were just concerned people? Maybe the whole 9-11 thing was just a four jumbo jet method of saying “can you hear me now?”

  51. 51 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 11:09

    Good luck Abdelilah & Bob with your Blank Page!

    Re Pres. Bush and negotiating with terrorists: I think his remarks were ill-considered. A state that lacks the will or means to defeat terrorists has little choice but to talk to them. This was Britain’s case, where the will was lacking – not a single Sinn Fein-IRA leader was assassinated, though the SAS were perfectly up to the job – and the New Labour government largely sympathised with the IRA’s goals (but not their methods) and disliked the Ulster Protestants and what they stood for (faith, country, tradition, Queen – i.e. ‘the forces of conservatism’ that Blair described as something that had to be destroyed). The President’s overheated rhetoric about appeasement and good vs. evil was itself an attempt to appease his hosts, which does make you wonder about who’s the Alpha-State in this political relationship.

    Re Zimbabwe: I have yet to see concrete proposals from Morgan Tsvangirai for constitutional reform that would (hopefully) prevent any future leader of Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai included, degenerating into a Robert Mugabe. It can’t just be politics as usual if Tsvangirai wins. If there was ever a state that needed a regime of checks and balances Zimbabwe is it. Don’t be surprised if a President Tsvangirai turns out to be worse than Mugabe: Africaqn leaders have a talent for disappointing that way. There should be no external intervention, at least not from the West.

    @Lubna: yes, the Americans are partisan, and the entire Arab and Muslim world is also partisan when it comes to Israel-Palestine. But the Palestinians (and as Viola noted, you write as if you were one) need to understand that progress can only begin from the established political realities of today. Two of those are that the Israelis will never surrender a square inch of Jerusalem and there will never be a right to return. There is no point arguing against those positions, because argument won’t change a thing. If you and your fellow Palestinians (?) refuse to accept both of these points then you must admit that you are more interested in demanding the impossible than with negotiating a realistic settlement based on the options that are actually available. In which case, who really should be blamed if the Palestinians remain refugees forever? (I’ve just seen a later post from you. So you’re not a Palestinian. Why, then, do you use plural pronouns like ‘we’ and ‘us’ and ‘our’?).

    @Bob, re forgetting the past and ancestral sins. No, I think we should very much remember the past. The past is the only solid ground we have to stand on. That’s where the facts lie that enable us to understand what the issues are and why they are. Action needs to proceed on the basis of present-day realities, but the past does give an important perspective on those realities.

    You’re right about states being invented with no proper thought being given to who should be within their boundaries. The result in places like Africa has been multi-ethnic and multicultural nightmare-states that have failed in almost everything because it’s impossible for alien and hostile peoples to act together for the common good (i.e. as a genuine nation). But the strange thing is that even though these borders were imposed by colonial powers for administrative convenince, those who succeeded to the colonial powers have preserved the borders intact religiously. Most African countries, it’s clear to me, should be balkanised and if united should come together as a federation of small sovereign ethno-states. But practically no African leader is prepared to countenance such a thing. The fault lies not with the colonialists, who administered their colonies for their convenience, but with their successors who refuse to re-draw the borders of the states they inherited for their convenience.

  52. 52 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 11:25

    @Pangolin: the bottom-line is that in the modern world only states have an immediate right to use violence. Others can acquire a secondry right to use violence against the state in certain circumstances. States that attack ‘their own people’ forfeit their legitimacy and are liable to violence from their people. States that commit genocide or mass murder against those they rule are also liable to violence form other states to put an end to their violence and to the government behind the violence. But in all cases all options for ending state violence peacefully should have been exhausted before other individuals, groups or other states can respond with counter-violence. Where those options don’t exist then violence as an immediate response is justifed.

    Terrorists are those who are non-state actors and who are not engaged in responsive violence against a regime that has used violence against a population that the terrorists are a part of and acting on behalf of. The 9-11 bombers were terrorists because they were not suffering oppression and if they were the only government that they would have had a natural right to attack would have been that of Saudi Arabia. The IRA were terrorists because there was no state violence being used against the Catholic population of Ulster. The 7/7 bombers in London were terrorists because they suffered no oppression and were acting on behalf of the people a foreign country (if not the peoples of several foreign countries). The Palestinians are not suffering violence – they are usually the instigators – and are not interested in a peaceful resolution: that makes them terrorists in my book.

  53. 53 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 12:07

    @victor

    Perhaps “forgetting” the past was the wrong choice of words. What’s the point of history if we don’t learn from it.

    However, I do believe it will be necessary to stop dwelling on the past wrongs–which exist on both sides–and look towards a fresh future before than can be any hope of peace.

    @pangolin

    If anyone is branding EVERY resident of Hebron as terrorists I would unconditionally condemn that attitude. I also agree that it is necessary to try and understand the motivations of the terrorists–nobody could plan and execute something like the 9/11 attack without power reasons. However, there is a very fine line between trying to understand the reasons and actually condoning such actions…and, whatever the reason for the attack, such an action should NEVER be condoned.

  54. May 17, 2008 at 12:15

    I have a weird mind puzzle. Let’s look at the Austrian case as an example. If one of those kids should grow up and become a sexual abuser, drunk, or violent, who is at fault? Who should be held responsible?

  55. 55 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 12:57

    @ Dwight

    Everyone should be held accountable for their actions, no excuses. Those kids if they become what you say, it is their fault.

  56. May 17, 2008 at 12:59

    Hi Lubna! in IRaq this Abdi in Kenya
    Asalam Aleykum?
    Having read carefully I do agree with you that the US are biased and cannot be allowed to mediate in the Middle East Peace deals.Secondly us as muslims we feel that we are been discriminated against becuase of our religion.look at our muslims brothers and sisters in Somalia they had been suffering for the last 17 years due to lack of stable government.Look at the palestinians,look at the the damage the US has caused to Iraq,look at at the possible inversion of Iran by the US very soon.
    I am throughing out a challenge to all WHYS listners to strongly condem and right about this in all Media Blogs especially the most frequent read blogs like this one….

  57. 57 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 13:24

    @ Abdi:

    “Secondly us as muslims we feel that we are been discriminated against becuase of our religion”

    There’s a great difference from feeling you are discriminated against vs. actually being discriminated against. Let’s not forget what’s going on in Darfur, muslims are killing each other. Iraq, Muslims are killing each other, yet you’re focusing on the west.

    Would you like to be a copt in Egypt? Would you like to be a non muslim in a Muslim country? Talk about feeling discriminated against! Not all Palestinians are Muslim, some are christian, and they are facing the same “treatment”, yet somethign tells me there’s never been a Palestinian christian suicide bomber before. Are you sure it’s the west discriminating against Muslims?

  58. May 17, 2008 at 13:25

    Hello Precious VictorK… I’m surely not Palestinian, and I do write as if I were one… And you’re neither Israeli nor Jewish (as I remember you said once !), but you do write as if you were one(at least that’s how I see your post ! :-), and a hyperactive one indeed (a medical term, sorry ! :-), because my Precious friend David (a devout Jewish Rabbi currently living in Jerusalem) is one million times more resilient than you when it comes to discussing this issue and many other related issues… It’s a very serious mistake to believe that imposing false and wrongful realities on the ground by using excessive force and claiming that the passage of sooooo much time (although 60 years is only a very little time in my book) will cool the cause down, make it die slowly, and force the Palestinian people to just simply give up their legitimate rights and lower their chins down… I’m a very proud Iraqi young women until my bone marrow, and the name Palestine is deeply engraved on my pericardium, if that’s a crime or a bad thing, then go and hang me for it ! :-). With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  59. 59 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 13:25

    Hi Abdi!

    As one of the guest moderators this weekend, I thought I should let you know that I approved your post because, on balance, I think you express a valid opinion. I suspect that even most Americans would have to concede that their country has an official stance of supporting Israel. I’d have to agree that this probably precludes them having an effective role as an “honest broker” in any Middle East peace deal.

    However, I thought I should just remind you that the purpose of WHYS is to promote discussion among people from all over the world, with all sorts of opposing views. While it’s completely acceptable for you to be critical of American policies, I’d like to ask you to be careful not to let this become rude or aggressive towards the many Americans who post in this blog–some of whom will agree with you and others who will disagree.

  60. 60 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 13:27

    @Steve,

    Everyone accountable for their actions?? You are opening up a can of words there, Steve.

    When did that ever happen?

  61. 61 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 13:44

    @ Selena

    I’m not saying THEY will accept responsibility, I’m just saying that society shouldn’t say “oh, they were abused, hence you must expect them to do this, and they are hence not as culpable”. Unless you have a gun to your head, you are responsible for your decisions.

  62. May 17, 2008 at 13:55

    @ Abdi,
    I think this blog is not one sided. It caters for all views. People are free to voice their opinions. But they can’t be assured that the voice of those who oppose them will be silenced.

    Concerning the situation of the Muslims around the world, it’s rather naive to consider outside forces as the sole responsible. Politics is a hard and complex games. But some Muslims should live by their own standards, that is not to foster violence, which is against their religion.

    It’s true that the Palestinians suffered a great deal under the occupation, because they can’t their free state. But in a turn of events, the Palestinians are becoming their own oppressors because of the divergent attitude between Hamas and Fartah leading to the bloodiest conflict between them, leaving tens of deaths.

    Many Muslims need further introspection to be true to their religion and to show the peace they preach.

  63. 63 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 13:56

    @Abdi: do you realise how it sounds when you claim that Muslims feel discriminated against when the bulk of them live in Muslim countries like…Somalia? And most Muslims living in the West enjoy rights and freedoms that they could only dream about if they were still in the Muslim world.

    The inability of many Muslims to think beyond Islam, and their habit of thinking like paranoiacs in terms of plots and conspiracies against Islam, is amazing. You need to understand that most of the world isn’t interested in Islam or in anything that Muslims have to offer apart from oil. I for one would like to see Coalition troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow. It’s not the business of the West to attempt to bring a better life to non-Westerners.

    If you want to fret over a real grievance why not ask yourself why, despite there being dozens of Muslim countries, Muslim governments and peoples never lift a thing to assist their ‘brothers and sisters’ in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Somalia, Xinjiang, and Chechnya. Muslims are always ready to provide aid by the tongue but never with the hand. Instead Muslims in trouble always turn to ‘the world’ or ‘the international community’ – meaning the Wes. And despite deep Muslim hatred of the West – a combination of religious bigotry and implied racism – they expect us to shed our blood and spend our wealth in coming to their aid! Shouldn’t the Umma feel humiliated by that? Isn’t it time for Muslims to look after their own?

  64. May 17, 2008 at 14:06

    @ steve, but that is all they have ever known. You are a product of your own parents and what they had taught you is right and wrong. you are 80% more likely to smoke if your parents smoke. 90% of us will work in the same class of work as our parents did. Even though here in the US we have “free choice” to be whatever we want when we grow up. This is true of racisms, sexism, and even political ideals. How do you know what is right and wrong?

    Children are born a blank slate with very few instincts. The rest has to be taught. It just won’t compute when you tell the kids that they now can’t do what they have seen done their whole lives. Why should they think abusive drinking and rape is bad. By what standard do they have to judge that to be true?

    To me that is what makes these types of crimes so heinous. The torment goes on, sometimes for generations.

  65. 65 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 14:12

    Did anyone hear about this? Chavez called Merkel a political descendant of Hitler.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1644005320080516?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

  66. 66 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 14:20

    @ Lubna: and isn’t the close identification of many Muslims with the Palestinians evidence of how biased they are in the conflict? Neither the US or the Muslim world is fit to act as honest-broker on this issue. They play a role as interested but important parties to the conflict.

    You avoided the question I put to you. Do you accept that Israel will never surrender any part of the city of Jerusalem, which is as sacred to the Jewish people as Mecca is to Muslims, and do you accept that Israel will never concede a right of return, since to do so would mean the end of the Jewish state. If ‘you’ (standing in the place of the Palestinians) don’t accept these two propositions then what follows logically is that there can never be a negotiated settlement.

    I don’t think I’ve ever written about Israel as if I identified with that country, since I don’t. There are things about it that I don’t like, such as the terrorism of the Stern and Irgun gangs and the bombing of the King David Hotel. But I think it and its neighbours should be judged by the same standard. On that basis Israel is a better country, by far, than any of its Mid East neighbours. That is simply obvious. And Israel makes a greater contribution to science and the arts, to civilisation, than all of its neighbours combined. Israel has justified its existence; there’s not much point, though, to several of its neighbours. I don’t think that the Palestinian case is as strong as its supporters would like us to think. I do think that the Palestinians already have a state: Jordan, and if they are not prepared to accept Israel’s existence within its present borders then they don’t deserve a state of their own. There is also this consideration: given what we see of the Palestinian Authority, wouldn’t a second Palestinian state collapse into anarchy and bloodshed? Why are people so eager to condemn the Palestinians to such a fate? Wouldn’t they be better off being ruled by established states like Egypt and Jordan (i.e. let them annex Gaza and the West Bank). Statehood for people who are not ready for it is a recipe for disaster.

  67. 67 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 14:21

    @Dwight in Cleveland

    This is the old “nature or nurture” argument. Children are certainly partly the product of their upbringing but, having raised several of them, I can state pretty definitely that, even from birth, they’re all individuals and have their own personalities. Add to this the number of children who are able to overcome adversity as they grow up and I think I have to agree with Steve that people, in the end, have to be responsible for their actions.

    (As an aside, I heard an item on the World Service a week or two back that found child soldiers that were re-integrating with their communities and families far better than anyone expected.)

    @Steve

    Well, that’s our second Hitler analogy in as many days! As a pure aside, somebody told me today about “Godwin’s Law”. This is probably old news but it was new to me….I’ll leave everyone to do their own Googling!

  68. May 17, 2008 at 14:23

    @ Steve,
    There is no wonder if he called whoever head of state or politician whatsoever. Chavez isn’t new to slandering political figure. He once called Pt George Bush the devil. He called former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a “fascist”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7089131.stm .
    Calling Chancellor Merkel a political descendant of Hitler is an upgrade of insulting style.

    Maybe his best sport is to verbally attack politicians he doesn’t like. By creating controversies from time to time he assures himself of media exposure. Public slandering isn’t politics. He’d better hire comedians and sarcastic critics to do this job for him instead of falling into behaviours beneath his presidential status.

  69. May 17, 2008 at 14:27

    I have to step away for awhile already, But one question that accompanies the Everybody is responsible for their own actions camp. At what age? Is a 6 yr old responsible for sexual assault? At what mentality level. Can a mentally handicapped person be charge for shop lifting? We used to get a retarded guy to buy us beer when I was 14. should he have been culpable for contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

  70. 70 John in Germany
    May 17, 2008 at 14:32

    @Steve.
    That will please a lot of people, all around the world, i thought he took it back though.
    correct me if i’m wrong. The lady is not going up my street, but she is certainly not going that way either. A sad thing the political descendants of that man, still run around due to the use of V men. That is why the German higher courts would not ban the NPD. Makes sense, you cannot compromise your informants, can you?.

    Lets face it Chevaz will be calling a lot of people a lot of things before his spring runs down, when that happens lets hope that there is no-one there to wind him back up again.

    There is a fear in Germany of not being politically correct all of the time, the whole world is still watching and waiting for the slightest in correctness,one can feel it here all the time. However life has to go on.

    Chavez should leave that lady alone, she tops him by mountains. it took me along time to concede, she is good for a politician.

    John in Germany.

  71. 71 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 14:36

    @Steve: I was more interested in this story tucked away in the one you linked to:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL1684309820080516

    The United Nations is to send a special racism investigator to the US, who will visit several American cities as part of his remit.

    The impudence of this is beyond words. Will the US really allow such a flagrant violation of its sovereignty (I’m assuming that the interloper hasn’t been invited by the US government)? It’s time for the Americans to pull out of the UN – which will hopefully mean its bankruptcy and permanent demise – and to tell it to relocate to another a country that deserves it.

  72. 72 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 14:37

    What does accountability mean?

    A poor person robbing a store for a few dollars will get more jail time and in a much harsher prison than a rich person who robs the elderly of all their savings.

    When the poor person sees this, what respect can s/he have for society and its rules?

    Politicians kill innocent people through their decisions. Are they ever held accountable?

    Accountability is a lovely word but what does it really mean?

  73. 73 John in Germany
    May 17, 2008 at 14:55

    @Selena
    Accountability is as flexible, and as unobtainable as a high pressure hose let loose, and it has thousands of meanings according to your position in life . And of course if you have a good lawyer that can prove insanity, and you are placed in a private sanatorium- it means freedom.

    John in Germany.

  74. 74 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 15:01

    “At what age? Is a 6 yr old responsible for sexual assault? At what mentality level. Can a mentally handicapped person be charge for shop lifting? We used to get a retarded guy to buy us beer when I was 14. should he have been culpable for contributing to the delinquency of a minor?”

    There are rules that say in most cases, minors cannot be charged as adults. They won’t be let off scott free either, they have a separate court system. 6 year olds can be held liable in civil actions (torts) if they are able to contemplate the consequence of their actions. In law school you learn about assault/battery and a classic example is of a young child that pulls the chair from out under an adult. The child is held liable for a battery if they realize that the action of removing the chair will cause the adult to hit the ground.

    For mentally retarded people, if they cannot understand the criminality of their actions, they aren’t held criminally responsible, because they in some cases are not aware of their action being criminal or prohibited (though that’s not alwasy the rule even for competent adults, as you don’t have to be aware something is illegal for you to be charged with a crime). But courts require someone to be mentally competent to stand trial, otherwise it would be very hard for them to defend themselves or have a defense built. If the person that bought you beer were able to contemplate that what he was doing was proscribed, and did it anyways, then he would be liable for his crimes. If was living on his own planet and would have bought beer for a tree, then he likely wouldn’t be.

  75. 75 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 15:03

    @ s elena

    so don’t vote for politicians. i don’t, because I know they are the least qualifed people to be leaders. White collar criminals get punished very heavily these days. But should that be a basis for not respecting the laws, if you think things aren’t fair (no adult should think life is fair, it’ isn’t fair, deal with it) if you think things aren’t fair? Crime would be rampant. You’d get mugged every day going to work.

  76. 76 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 15:04

    @John in Germany

    Accountability is certainly flexible but this doesn’t mean it’s not a real concept. As the level of responsibility increases so should the level of accountability.

    Just as an example, earlier today our 3 year old son poured the dregs from a tea cup into our butter dish. He knew this was a naughty thing to do, but did it anyway. I held him accountable for his actions and made him help me clean it up. A year ago, he probably wouldn’t have known that playing with liquids was against the rules and he wouldn’t have been accountable.

    A simplistic example I know…but I believe the principle holds true as people get older and the transgressions bigger.

  77. 77 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 15:05

    @ VictorK

    Is the UN also going to send a sexism investigator if Hillary doesn’t get the nomination?

    An ageism one if Mccain for some reason doesn’t?

  78. 78 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 15:08

    @ Abdelilah Boukili

    My apologies, it appears the BBC forgot to take away my moderating rights from Thursday, hence my posts are automatically getting approved. I will log out so it won’t do that.

  79. May 17, 2008 at 15:25

    It’s OK Steve. It’s Bob who was having his doubts when he found out posts getting into the blog without his moderating them.

  80. 80 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 15:32

    @ John

    Yes, accountability seems to mean different things to different people. And, to my mind what that really means is, I have to be held accountable to your rules, however unjust they may be.

    Do I want to be held accountable to your rules? If I don’t and I am the person robbing the store, then we have a problem.

    That problem can only be solved by force, unless you try to see my position and agree to relax your rules.

    The trouble with that is you are unlikely to see my position, if you are looking at me from a position of strength.

    Sadly, as I see it, nothing will change unless you see why I am robbing the store. Your muscle won’t stop me and my negative view of your justice is reinforced by the break you give your friend when he robs my aunt of her savings, which was a hundred times more than I got from robbing the store.

  81. 81 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 15:34

    LOL! Yup…after 12 or 13 hours at it, I was getting punch drunk and confused! Good to have an explanation…and no problem at all!

  82. May 17, 2008 at 15:43

    Hello again Precious VictorK, and thanks sooooo much for your reply… Oh, you do seem to have forgotten lots of things Precious, so let me just remind you with them : East Jerusalem according to the INTERNATIONAL LAW and the UN RESOLUTIONS is an OCCUPIED LAND… So the Israeli presence there is unfortunately (Please don’t you be depressed ! 🙂 ILLEGAL and should be discontinued, period… But hey, do the international law and the UN resolutions ever apply to Israel ??? You answer that question for me please Precious VictorK ! :-)… And in my opinion it’d be absolutely impossible and totally unrealistic for the Palestinian refugees to go back to Israel i.e. the 1948 lands… What kind of peace do we want to reach to in the Middle East ?! The peace of equals or the peace of the master and the slave ?! Please correct me if I am wrong Precious VictorK, but I do believe that according to your Middle East ambitious peace plan, one side would always impose his conditions and the other side should only nod his head and always say YES ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  83. 83 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 15:48

    @ Bob

    Now you have to explain to me why puring tea into the butter dish was naughty 🙂

  84. 84 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 15:52

    It’s been said that however bad, stupid and incompetent politicians may be, they could never be the worst people in their society. Since if they really were bad, stupid and incompetent, then how much worse must the voters have been who freely elected them to office? I don’t think that voters can take the view that the politicians they have aren’t the politicians that they collectively deserve. And if they don’t like them they need to vote for someone else or organise new parties (and funding isn’t really an issue: there are enough discontented wealthy voters to cover the costs of several new parties).

    @Steve: I wouldn’t put it beyond the UN to investigate sexism and ageism in the US on however weak a pretext. The whole exercise is part of the moral war against the West that the UN has been a part of for years. Racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and prejudice against the disabled are all to be found at their most virulent in non-Western countries. But whenever dealing with these ills the UN and the left foucs on the West, and on the pre-eminent Western nation-state, the US, and have managed to establish a narrative that characterises Western civilisation as uniquely racist, uniquley bigoted, uniquely oppressive and uniquely evil. The West, according to this way of thinking – which is pretty much orthodoxy in the developing world – is wealthy because it exploited other countries; only Westerners ever traded slaves, and plantation slavery only existed in the US; imperialism and colonialism are the main features of Western history, and there was no imperialism or colonialism in any other part of the world, etc.

    I’ve always thought that a big part of the hostility that Israel faces – not for being no worse than its neighbours, but for being much better than them – is that it is viewed as an outpost of the West in the developing world. The UN can vote that ‘Zionism is racism’ while never using the ‘R’ word about genocide in Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Chechnya, and so on.

    The UN needs to be reformed in order to reflect its members’ financial contribution, moral and politcal weight, and readiness to provide soldiers for military operations. Otherwise it should be ended.

    @Selena: accountability is real. Here in Britain the House of Commons has just lost a court case and as a result the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will both have to disclose previously confidential financial information about state funding of their expenses. They have no exemption from laws that apply to other people. In most countries of the world the government is not subject to the law and no citizen who valued his life would bring a court case against it, just as no judge who valued his salary would rule against the authorities.

    Accountability for me means two related things: the rulers are also subject to the laws that they pass; and the ruled have the ability to enforce the law against their rulers. Accountability in this sense exists in practically every Western society. And when there are failures of accountability the machinery exists for making those failures good and making accountable those who ough to be but aren’t because of some loophole or other.

  85. 85 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 16:16

    @selena

    Perhaps I forgot to mention that there was also about 200 grams of butter in the dish at the same time! I enjoy buttered toast with my tea in the morning, but prefer to keep them separate! 🙂

    @VictorK

    I agree with much of what you say, but one section really jarred.

    You said the UN has to be reformed to reflect “its members’ financial contribution, moral and politcal weight, and readiness to provide soldiers for military operations.”.

    This thought really worries me. What you seem to be saying is that might–financial and military–equals right. While acknowledging that there is a lot wrong with the UN as it stands, I fear this equation would only make it worse.

    I suspect you’re thinking of the American financial contribution as it stands now, but would you still like this formula in 10 or 20 years if China decide to out-contribute the United States?

  86. 86 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 16:16

    @ My darling dear Lubna (!) – it’s not what I think; it’s not even what the UN thinks according to the resolutions it’s passed. It’s what we know the Israelis will and will not do. They won’t give up Jerusalem in part or in whole. They won’t accept a right of return. Both are non-negotiable for Israel. Now, that may be entirely wrong and immoral, but that isn’t really the issue. The Israeli position on these two points is very clear. The Palestinians have two realistic options: accept this, and negotiate about the remainder; or reject these positions and know that they will never have a negotiated settlement of any description. There is a third option that is not very realistic: defeat Israel in war and take everything from them (which sometimes appears to be the real ambition of the Palestinian side).

    p.s. – why is Jerusalem, a city founded by Jews and holy to them, of such importance to the Palestinians?

  87. 87 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 16:26

    @Bob: I understand your concerns. That’s where the moral and political ‘weight’ come in. A democratic UN member should count for more than an undemocratic one; and a country with a track record of non-aggression and good internal government should count for more than one with a record of military adventurism (which would hurt the likes of Britain and the US unless they come to their senses) and of failed social and economic policies (Lebanon may be a ‘democracy’, but we can do without too much influence from that class of nation).

    I don’t believe nations are equal or that they should be treated equally; I do think that ‘good’ countries should have more influence than bad or indifferent ones. This is a position that may shock some people but which they perhaps are in greater agreement with than they realise. Whenever there is an international disaster the call goes out across the world for the West (not China or Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or Malaysia) to take action. Why – because people recognise the moral quality of Western civilisation and expect something from it that they don’t from anyone else.

  88. 88 bobinqld
    May 17, 2008 at 16:28

    Well bloggers, it’s been very interesting but it’s after 0130 here so I’m heading to bed and leaving you with Abdelilah. See you all tomorrow!

  89. 89 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 16:49

    Here’s a lack of accountability:

    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080516/NEWS01/805160422

    TO protect himself from disciplinary action, he changes the rules to make text messages to be “private”

  90. May 17, 2008 at 16:57

    Hello again Precious VictorK… Oh goodness ! You’ve just called me ‘dear’ and ‘darling’ ! Be aware Precious, this will impose so many commitments on you from now on, can you handle them ?? 🙂 :-)… In this life, all I do really care about is what’s and what’s not right and what’s and what’s not moral… Please forgive me for being so irrational and unrealistic, but that’s who I am !! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  91. 91 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 17:20

    Victor,

    We can cite many instances where accountability is seen to be done. The point I am making is accountability cannot be generalized in its present context.

    In every society on earth, democratic societies included, accountability works for some and it doesn’t work for others. What I would like to see is a discussion about why we accept this and how to get a better outcome.

    In your post to Lubna, you appear to have accepted that Israel will get what it wants without having to be held accountable for any of its actions. I agree that in the short term that is likely to be the case.

    Even here most of us are entrenched in our positions. Some can make a first move and others can’t.

    Don’t we want society to be the best it can be and not just the best that it is presently?

    That flies in the face of evolution, if we believe in evolution… and we may not.

  92. 92 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 17:24

    Good Night Bob! Sleep Well…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  93. 93 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 17:50

    Zimbabwe Update
    ————————————

    Threat causes Tsvangirai to postpone return to Zimbabwe!

    Are the elections in Zimbabwe on 27 June 2008, will be free and fair (or)
    a Robert Mugabe show on how to steal an election…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  94. 94 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 17:59

    CNN is reporting that Senator Ted Kennedy of the U.S. of Mass. (long spelling), is reported that he is in Boston General Hospital….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

    (WE SHOULD ALL HOPE THAT HE WILL MAKE A FULL RECOVERY).

  95. 96 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 18:34

    @ steve,

    I saw the link that you made available…..It does not surprise me that
    Hamas has BIGOTED AND ANTI-SEMITIC views.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  96. 97 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 18:39

    @ Lubna: (I’ve decided to ration my use of ‘darling’ and ‘dear’ for now). ‘Commitments’? I never saw that coming. I thought we were just, y’know, blog buddies…

    It’s a wise saying: ‘Do right, and fear no man; don’t write, and fear no woman.’

  97. 98 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 18:41

    BREAKING NEWS:
    CNN/AP

    Spokesperson for Kennedy, has suffered a seizure….

    Dennis-Madrid, U.S.A.

  98. 99 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 18:43

    @ VictorK:

    It is a good and wise decision to do some rationing…about the words “darling..”

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  99. 100 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 19:04

    @ Dwight and anyone else interested:

    # 55 Dwight in Cleveland May 17, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    The case in Austria, who kept his daughter and her kids (his grand-children by the proxy of incest)….

    Responsibiltity of it should be held on Mr. Joseph Fritzl….

    Interest of full disclosure: In the state of New York, there has been 2 cases of what happend in Austria…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  100. 101 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 19:07

    @steve
    May 17, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    The reason why he made this “decree” regarding text messages being made private. Was because he is under Criminal Indictment from the Justice Authorities in the State of Michigan.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  101. May 17, 2008 at 19:23

    Oh Gosh Precious Victork ! I did freak you out, didn’t I ?! :-)… Well, it all depends on your potential intentions pal… As I said before, I do love all WHYSayers soooooo much, and they’re all soooooo Precious to me no matter how much I agree or disagree with them… But according to Iraqi social traditions I can’t say “VictorK my love” or “Bob my love” for e.g. :-)… As for what your potential intentions were when you addressed me as ‘darling’, this is a completely different matter that I’ll leave for you to think of :-)… As for the saying you mentioned, in my opinion you men should never underestimate the power of intelligent women ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  102. 103 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 19:28

    It would be an interesting concept, that the United Nations would send a (sexual
    harassment) investigator if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination.

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  103. 104 VictorK
    May 17, 2008 at 20:00

    @Lubna: my intentions were always honourable! I just thought I’d have a go at addressing you as kindly as you address me and others. I did think ‘darling dear’ was a good equivalent for ‘precious’, but if you think it a bit too much that’s another reason for dropping it.

    So, what terms(s)would it be appropriate for male bloggers to use when addressing you?

  104. May 17, 2008 at 20:22

    @Steve

    Forget what the “law” say. I can tell you that laws can be very hypocritical or at the very least grey. Let us take retarded. To what extent is having the inability to learn right from wrong any different then never being taught right from wrong. Or in this case that something very wrong is in fact right. Their whole life they not only believe that the heinous acts of their grandfather was right, but it was their reality. The next day the switch is flipped, “hello, all that stuff you though was right, it is wrong.”

    The point is there are two ways that you can arrive at a point of “not being able to understand the criminality of your actions.” A retarded person has no capacity to learn. A repressed person has never been exposed to the knowledge. The end result is the same!

    The laws say, “blah, blah, blah” the laws used to say we were a colony of England, and they used to say a black man was a piece of property. Laws do not often take into account reality. This is especially true when it comes to understanding the depth of the human psyche.

    Picture having two computers and a piece of software that works on the new windows 64. One computer is an old 386 from 1986, the other is just off the shelf at Best Buy, but you bought it with a Linux formatted hard drive. (Got it for a bargain.) Neither machine is going to run that piece of software. One machine hasn’t the capacity. The other requires retraining. It’s reality is not what rules that the software has even been taught to follow.

    This subject applies to the greater discussion. Their whole lives Israelis are taught to hate Muslims, The Palestinians are taught to hate Jews. Some white kids grow up in families where the “N” word flows like Old Milwaukee at a NASCAR race, and talk of “repression” flows at some black family reunion like BBQ sauce over chitterlings. There are a lot of things that we do that are against the law that we feel are stupid because our parents or some other instructive force used to do them.

  105. May 17, 2008 at 20:32

    @ bob,

    Lol, it is almost evident somebody with a more left idealism them mine ultimately compared me to Hitler or Moa Tse Tung. The far right usually end up calling me “communist”, dirty hippie, or delusional flower. I get about an equal number of both. So I must be doing something right, or is that left?

    @Dennis,

    Joseph Frizl is gone. I am interested in stopping the cycle of abuse that will certainly continue these children. These particuler children will prbably recieve specil attention because of the media exposure. But the senerio is repeated in every abuse case. Not only that it is repeated in almost all of our households as our parents teach us racist, sexist, or other self centered values.

  106. 107 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 20:39

    Story idea: Joseph Fritzl….In my home state of New York, Dewitt (Suburb) of The City of Syracuse….We had an Joseph Fritzl on the lose and his name is JOHN JAMELSKE and he kidnapped many ladies and held them under a concrete bunker….

    I would love to expand on what society could have done to stop this type of person….

    For example, Having a Mental Health Service, Community Organisations and family members that were concern for the welfare of society.

    (I WILL INCLUDE MORE INFORMATION THAT IS RELEVANT TO THIS STORY, I WANT TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS IF I CAN).

    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  107. 108 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 20:46

    @ Dwight,

    I have to agree with you 100%, that the kids (and Ms. Fritzl and her Mother)….are getting (receiving) UN-NECESSARY attention….

    I hope that they can get the approriate care for the term of the recovery…..

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  108. May 17, 2008 at 21:00

    @Dennis

    Man, I don’t have the silver bullet to that problem and it pains me. Because really you are asking, “how do you stop humans from being animals?” It is why we make these arbitrary laws that do more to make us feel like we did something then actually solving the problem. Is throwing the father in jail going to stop the cycle of abuse. Abused children will almost always seek out one of two situations. One where they can be abusive, or one where they can be abused.

    I can think of one solution, but it leads down a road that ends in a much worse situation. It is certainly not a road I would advocate. It would be something like mental competency test to become parents. (lol, and I wonder why people whip out the Hitler term every now and then.) But I bring it up to make a deeper stab at identifying the problem. There are many people out there becoming parents that aught not to be. I would even go one step further and say that our policies in the US even encourages it. But that is a different can of worms. (Now I am blaming the state for the problems. Therefore I am a freeloading hippie.)

  109. 110 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 21:10

    @ Dwight:

    Thanks for the support!

    Regarding: Sometimes the state is at fault for some of the troubles…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  110. 111 Pangolin
    May 17, 2008 at 21:41

    I see some common themes in the thread. What are the causes of violent behavior? Is it useful to assign moral labels to violent behavior? Do the labels we use help us to prevent future instances of that behavior? And finally, is it useful to listen to others who who engage in behavior that we abhor?

    Is it in some way useful to talk to “terrorists?” If we listen to violent criminals do we learn anything of use? Regardless of who is right should Hamas and the Israeli’s talk to each other or should they just lob explosives until one side runs out?

    Didn’t Europe try that in 1914? Did we learn nothing?

  111. 112 Venessa
    May 17, 2008 at 21:49

    My brother and I certainly grew up in very poor conditions. My parents divorced when I was 6 and it involved a lengthy custody battle. When I was 9 my father was murdered. All the money that was left to my mother in the long run was blown on drugs. To be honest most of my early childhood years are blurry and the pieces I do remember do not make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Just a few of the things that followed my father’s death included many nights of abuse from her boyfriends, living without electricity and water for extended periods of time and on many occasions the only meal I ate was the government subsidized lunch provided by the school. I’ve been locked in rooms for days, lived with locked food cupboards, beaten until bruised and witnessed drugs being bought, sold and consumed. My mother felt like she was done raising children by the time I was 16. I can’t say I was totally saddened by that but I did not have any family that would help me either. On my own I graduated on time in the top 5% of my class and paid my way through college; purchasing my first home by myself when I was 25. Now I’m 30 and a little less than a year ago I married someone who can handle the ups and downs of being with me. In my short experience I have less fingers and toes to count than all the people in my lifetime (related and friends) that have already tragically died from suicides, drug overdoses and poor decisions.

    I am responsible for the person I become regardless of the less than ideal upbringing I had. Sure, it was tough and with certainty I can say I still pay for it in my adult life. That doesn’t mean I need to go out and hurt someone else or think that I am owed by society for allowing such atrocities to happen. Blame shouldn’t be used as a justification to wrong others. The reality is that life is not fair and ugliness will happen no matter how vigilant you try to be. At the end of the day an individual is responsible for the choices they make.

    Ultimately whatever decisions a person makes will result in the consequence the society you live in deems necessary. The choice is yours to live within those confines.

  112. 113 steve
    May 17, 2008 at 21:50

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/17/church.shootings/index.html

    Gunman shoots several people outside of a California Church that his son attends.

  113. May 17, 2008 at 22:04

    Oh Precious VictorK, it’s really OK my good friend… I was only joking with you… You (as all WHYSayers) are my Precious friend, and I do totally trust your apparant as well as your potential intentions (except when it comes to the Arab Israeli struggle-only joking, I swear ! :-)… You may address me as you please and as your own social culture implies you to do… Lots of love and blessings to you from Baghdad… And Good Night to my two Precious friends Abdelilah and Bob… Yours forever, Lubna.

  114. May 17, 2008 at 22:20

    Dear Lubna and VictorK ,

    You may have divergent views. This will just enrich the debates on this blog. But let not your divergent views impoverish your friendship. What matters is the power of the argument and the way it is expressed.

    It’s always interesting to see East and West in march on this blog. They may not take the same path and seek the same horizon. But it is he clarity of the vision that decides all.

    It’s also better to talk to the persons we differ with than to turn our back to them and refuse any conversation. Needless to say, the survival of humanity should be based on live-and-let-live principle, for everyone to enjoy the right to life and the pursuit of happiness. The world would be monotonous if there were no varieties of cultures that make it different and special.

  115. 116 Pangolin
    May 17, 2008 at 22:38

    @Venessa- Have you considered that you might have won a genetic lottery that your mother lost? Looking at dogs, every dog is genetically a wolf and can interbreed but obviously the Labrador “breed” behaves differently than the Queensland Heeler or the Fox Terrier.

    My father is a lifelong alcoholic, I cannot tolerate alcohol or recreational drugs and my half-brother committed suicide partially due to drug addiction. I have no doubt that my poor ability to handle stress or my ability to avoid the common societal response are genetic. I can pretend moral superiority to people who drink but throwing up after three drinks does have an aversive quality they lack and I have.

    The pretense that our behaviors are entirely moral and voluntary lies in simple defiance of the facts. To be born high upon a mountain and claim you’ve climbed up there fools nobody but yourself and possibly your neighbors who have also been high-born.

  116. May 17, 2008 at 22:45

    @Venessa,

    First, let me say that you are an outstanding human being. You not only graduated in the top 5% of your class but you also graduated in the top 5% of your circumstances. I call it the “Will Smith” or “the lottery” line of thought. It is common for me to hear, “I did it. So should everybody else.” You wouldn’t expect everybody to run as fast as an Olympiad, hit a ball as well as a professional, drive a car as well as a NASCAR driver. The fact that you had the ability to graduate in the top of your class says that you were more equip then many others before you.

    Or anybody can “win the lottery” and get the American dream. It is even more common to hear those stories in a place like this. Not too many drug dealing street thugs in a BBC chat room I recon. If there are I would like to hear your point of view. But, the truth is for every one that has the capacity to rise above it all, there are a thousand that don’t.

    Sounds like your parents weren’t there; I would find it hard to believe that nobody was. Why did you believe the path you took was any better then the one your parent’s had taken? How did you know that was not how everybody else lived? Why did you make the decisions you made and not the ones others had made? Using the scientific method you look at too seemingly identical scenarios that turn out different. The only thing you know for certain is that the scenarios were not identical.

    One last thought to ponder. Let us put a slow person in your situation. You know the type. We all have friends that just don’t have it going on upstairs. (If you don’t have a friend like that, My name is Dwight, Glad to meet you.) Do you think they would have been able to follow your path?

  117. 118 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 23:12

    @ Vanessa

    You have done well and I am very glad to meet you.

    @Dwight

    You have said it eloquently. Not everyone is well enough equipped intellectually, emotionally and physically to cope with all the “s—” thrown at them.

    It is good when someone has the ability to see the bigger picture and rise above past and present circumstances. But not everyone can do that. We are on a road lacking of compassion if we think that everyone can cope readily with negative events.

    However, I think there is always a tendency to believe that if we can do it others can do it too.

  118. 119 selena
    May 17, 2008 at 23:15

    @Pangolin

    You post is eloquent as well! I wish I could write as well as you and Dwight. 🙂

  119. May 17, 2008 at 23:43

    @Pangolin
    You are picking up what I am laying down here. You put it so much more eloquently and shorter then I did. If we can figure out what makes a baby go from being a blank slate to a bigot, drug dealer, rapist, terrorist, or an accordion player then maybe we could develop policies that addresses this root cause. We see that bad parenting is not the only cause, because as Vennessa pointed out that she made it in spite of not having parents. However, we can’t blame intellect alone as we know many brilliant people have turned to crime, abuse, or playing an accordion.

    Man I have always wanted to be a drunk. I have always had a little envy to those who could do it. To have no other desires, to be able to shirk off all other responsibilities for the quest of the one thing to make them happy. To drink. I like to drink, a lot. But I hate hangovers. I now have a 1 yr old that likes to get up even earlier when I drink. I have always ended in a conundrum. I either was working too hard to find time to drink. When I was just drinking I wasn’t making enough to pay for it. So that sent me back to work, where I couldn’t find time to drink.

  120. May 17, 2008 at 23:45

    lol, For the record I used the word “eloquent before seeing selena’s post. They say “Great minds think alike.” Then again so do mindless people.”

  121. 122 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 00:10

    @ Venessa:

    I read your story….Your are a brave lady!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  122. 123 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 00:19

    Regarding the United Nations sending a Representative to the United States, I support the idea totally….

    Why could have this happend in the 2000 or 2004, elections in the U.S.A.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  123. 124 Venessa
    May 18, 2008 at 00:22

    Life is not black and white. For those extenuating circumstances society has laws to handle “gray areas” questioning an individual’s “behaviors are entirely moral and voluntary,” right?

    I make no assertion to say how someone else lives their lives, but I do stay out of jail and I’m not hurting people. Certainly everyone is an individual and reacts quite differently in every situation but it seems more common now to take the easier path of blaming someone else. I’m also not saying that there aren’t any valid cases; I just find it hard to believe there aren’t a number of people out there doing just that.

    @Dwight

    No, you’re right I wasn’t totally alone. Financially, yes – 100%. I recognize how lucky I am to have been reached out to by some very generous people in my life (none of which were related to me or were paid to be there). I made no indication that the path my parents took was wrong or that mine was better. By all means people should be very much free to live the life that makes them happy. Whatever that may be (drinking yourself to death or never eating brocolli again)it’s up to you.

  124. 125 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 00:27

    @ selena,

    thanks for moderating you did and i hope you are doing good!!!

    A person who is less financially off will get a longer sentence in the prison sentence. Since they usually have FEWEE Resources….And often have to get legal advice from a legal aid (public defender), who has about 150+ cases at one time to deal with. The number is a general and not accurate, depends on where you are living.

    If you have resources (MONEY), and swindle the elderly out of there savings, they will likely get a slap on the wrist and some form of probation and or community service.

    Politicians are they held accountable for their actions….NO, except in an “extreme” times, when they are going up for re-election…

    Accountability is a lovely word but what does it really mean? It does not mean that much when it is boiled down..Since society is of the mind, you can do what you want and pretty much get away with it.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  125. 126 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 00:31

    @ Bob:

    I loved the story about tea and the butter dish…I told that to someone else and they enjoy that…

    Regarding what you eat for your meals is important to us! Because we want you to have energy to work for your shift.

    Shopping is something that should be enjoy!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  126. 127 Venessa
    May 18, 2008 at 00:38

    @Dwight

    By the way, I’m sure I have a few loose up there, nice to meet you. 🙂

  127. 128 Will Rhodes
    May 18, 2008 at 00:51

    http://willrhodes1961.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/post-traumatic-stress/

    Maybe this could be up for debate this week?

    Using the Quran as target practice. 😦

  128. 129 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 01:06

    @ Will,

    I think that it would be a great debate…..

    About the idea of using a Quran as target practice….All due respect to you, BAD BAD IDEA…. 😦 😦

    I miss not seeing your posts!

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  129. May 18, 2008 at 01:18

    @ Will Rhodes,

    About using the Quran as a target practice.

    This is to be added to the incident when an inmate at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp accused US guards of flushing a Koran down the toilet in 2002, newly declassified FBI documents revealed.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4581383.stm

    If we have to continue digging into the matter, we can also evoke the Danish cartoons about Prophet Mohammed.

    What sounds embarrassing to the US government is that its soldiers whose mission is to establish peace are fueling controversies and tarnishing the image of the US among the Muslims.

    The US army has its share in scandals through its undisciplined soldiers. For example in Japan US soldiers were found guilty of gang raping a school Japanese girl in various parts of the world in 2002.

    The debate can also generate into the military ethics and the standards US soldiers should observe in foreign countries.

  130. 131 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 01:33

    @ Abdelilah:

    I have to agree with you totally……

    Dennis>Madrid, U.S.A.

  131. 132 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 01:37

    @ Abdelilah Boukili
    @ Will

    I think that there should be a debate about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…

    It is an important and pertient subject that the World Have Your Say team should investigate for an upcoming show, also we should discuss on the BLANK PAGE.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  132. May 18, 2008 at 01:56

    @ Venessa,

    I am personally holding some broccoli between my cheek and gum that I have had there since I was 8. I have been waiting for the right moment when I know I won’t get caught by mom to spit it out.

    Society, and really the functionality of the system dictates what is right and wrong paths. Let’s face it. If you are alone adrift on a sailboat you don’t need laws to dictate what is right and wrong. Laws are used to define what is right and wrong. A system of laws and policies are used to allow a community to interact functionally. The whole idea of WHYS and these debates being here is to discuss the grey areas. The things that effect our world where right and wrong are not so clearly defined. Palestine and Israel, Iraq, Iran, Hillary or Obama, Burma, China and Tibet, Sudan. And why does it matter that a few internet bloggers are discussing these issues. Because many of us have children to teach, or friends, or even adults to influence. We are talking and learning. To be honest I will argue my point here until it looks less hopeless then Hillary’s chances at the presidency. But I go back and think about all the points raised. It may change the way I let my daughter raise me.

    Back to the original question. Who is responsible for ensuring the Austrian children don’t continue the cycle of abuse? We know they have the potential to be pretty twisted. How do we encourage more citizens to choose the path Venessa took and less the path of her parents.

    @ Will Rohdes

    The story outlines the problem with the whole war. In order to fight an enemy from the American perspective, we need a defined enemy. The trouble that our legislators and executives keep getting us into situation where our soldiers can’t tell the difference. In past wars the militaries lined up on the battlefield, each had artillery and men dressed in different colors. There was no confusion about who your enemy is. In the wars of recent years, those lines weren’t so clear. So soldiers in a quest to define who their enemy is create criteria. Internally we each must justify. If you are not killing enemy then you are just a killer. In Iraq and Afghanistan many soldiers have grouped all “towel heads” together and they identify being Muslim as the cause. Man you are asking young boys to kill and this adminstration has not given them a clear defined reason as to why. Nuclear weapons weren’t there. Liberation seems to have made things worse. Osama is no longer a prime target. First it was the Sunnis that were the problem, remember the “Sunni Triangle”. Now it is the Shia in “Sadre City”. no wonder they are frustrated.

  133. May 18, 2008 at 02:11

    Dear friends,

    Now it’s time for Bob from Australia to take over. I’m going to sleep.

    My turn will be at 15:00 GMT. It was a pleasure to be moderating today for about ten hours (from 15:00 GMT to 01:00 GMT).

    The topics and the comments were interesting and thought provoking.

    See you soon.

  134. 136 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 03:23

    Bob:

    I have a question that you may have talk about:

    Why does some news organisations have different names when its
    comes to a “terror-related” story…

    Such as homicide bomber for example….

    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  135. 137 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 03:28

    Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Night!

    I’m just reading through all the discussions that happened while I was asleep–it looks like an interesting night and I’ll be replying to a few points once my caffeine level reaches the right point.

    However, sitting here in a Sunday morning reflective mood, I had a thought which I’ll toss out for discussion.

    As I write this, my 3 year old son (born in the UK but now living in Australia) is watching an American made cartoon on a Japanese branded television that was actually made in Korea. I’m typing this on a Japanese-branded laptop that was actually made in China but which depends on American-designed chips (manufactured goodness knows where) to work.

    What I’m typing is part of a current affairs discussion with people from literally around the world. In other windows on my computer are a discussion site for readers of an author I like, a social networking site where I can keep in touch with friends and my extended family and a couple of highly specialist discussion forums to do with sound engineering.

    Since moving to Australia, a colleage in the UK asked me for a sound effect that he knew I could put together from my library. I got the request, edited and mixed the sound, and emailed it back to him faster than I could have dubbed it to CD and driven it to him.

    My point is that I’ve heard various separate discussions about elements of this. Globalisation is always a big topic but it tends to be about the economic aspects. WHYS had a good discussion about the Internet and politics on Friday and one of the business shows on the World Service talked about social networking a few weeks back.

    However, my Sunday morning thought is that really all these things are linked–and are rather rapidly changing the world we live in. Let’s remember that the modern internet is less that 20 years old. Imagine where we might me in another 20 years!

    A few years back, through my role as a TV engineer, I was invited to participate in a “think tank” about where technology is going. By far the most interesting person there was a man employed by the British phone company as a “futureologist”. His job was to predict technological trends to help the phone company plan their network structure to be ready for demand.

    One of his predictions I remember is that, through a mix of internet and virtual reality, by around 2025 it will have ceased to be important where you live. I might be in Australia, but my best friend might be in Jordan–and we may agree to meet for a coffee in a “virtual” New York restaurant, then both go to our virtual jobs in Wellington and Reykjavik.

    The same man also predictied the end of national governments as we know them by around the same time–once everyone lives in a virtual world, how can they collect taxes–and without tax how can you have a government?

    I’d stress that, although this is future-gazing, the, a large phone company is factoring these predictions into its network design plans.

    …which brings me around to my central point. A lot of yesterday’s debate was about whether negotiations between the two sides in the Palestinian/Israeli can ever produce results–or even happen. Yet that’s what’s happening right here. People with radically different views are talking to each other. There’s no meeting of minds yet–and none of us are in a position to set policy–but it’s early days for this sort of thing. Where might we be in a few years or a decade? Can entrenched hatred last when people become friends, even if only via the web?

    Where will it all end up? Who knows! But (showing my age in my choice of quote) “The times they are a’changing”.

  136. 138 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 03:44

    @Dennis

    Regarding the choice of words by different news providers, this is a very good question.

    A fairly simple change of words can have a major effect on the meaning and impact of a story. The classic example is that one side in a conflict might describe themselves as “freedom fighters” while the other side may call them “terrorists”.

    I haven’t actually heard the example you quote (“homicide bomber” ) but my guess is that the news provider you refer to may have decided that “suicide” bomber may provoke at least some sympathy for the person detonating the bomb. I’m not sure they’re right, but I suspect that’s the reasoning.

    Something that has to be remembered is that EVERY news report you hear is biased in some way. In many cases it is a very deliberate bias caused by a specific editorial stance being taken by the broadcaster. In other cases, even where the broadcaster does it’s very best to be even handed (and I’ll include the BBC in this) it has to be remembered that stories are selected and written by people who will have their own views on the world.

  137. 139 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 03:51

    @ Bob [3.28am]

    I absoletely loved and enjoy your message, and i agree with that
    totally…..

    Bob, thanks for moderating for the weekend, in case
    you are not doing it , when i sign back on!

    Good Night!
    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  138. 140 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 03:57

    @ Bob,

    I need to say thanks for answering my questions…

    I would like to further this item: I know that ALL news providers (television, radio and newspapers) are all biased in one way or the other.

    I know about biased in the media, because my local media services are biased!

    Dennis-Madrid, United States of America

  139. 141 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 05:10

    @Bob

    I haven’t read through the entire set of entries. Understand from your entry that Israel/Palestine is ‘on” again.

    I am sure many are aware of the Bush/Obama and others exchanges regarding Bush remarks in Israel about talking with terrorists and radicals and taken amiss by Obama. My last entries were about conflict resolution as a process.

    I am “fat, crazy and old.” 230 pounds, schizoiaffective disorder, major depression type on 1 mg of Haldol a day and months away from being 66 years old.

    Why would anyone want to read further and consider what I might have to say and could contribute? I read through entries last weekend and was struck by the amount of negative remarks about “low class, selfish, stupid” etc. Very sad.

    I have lived my life continuing to deal with being molested in adolescence. Some people consider me a fine poet. I have been able to work. I have contributed as a
    political activist.

    I do suggest that sexual abuse of children, boys and girls, is a topic which WHYS might find enlightening. I look forward to finding Vannessa’s entries and reading them.

    Virginia in Portland, OR.

  140. 142 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 05:13

    A few comments on the overnight chat:

    @Dwight 8:32 PM

    I might have managed to hold a bit of idealism until my mid-50s but I also have a fair bit of the cynicism of age. Although I genuinely believe that the Middle East conflict will EVENTUALLY have to be solved by negotiation, I’m not holding my breath. A good part of my views are actually caused by my total belief that a conventional army can NEVER defeat a small band of determined terrorists/freedom-fighters/guerillas. Look at what the Taliban did to the Red Army in Afghanistan. Consider how the British Army (and police) never defeated the IRA. Look how Hezbollah bounced back from the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Heck, look at how a few thousand “insurgents” are tying up 125,000 troops from the most powerful country in the world in Iraq.

    Nope. It’ll have to be negotiation. Someday. The only thing that gives me hope is the knowledge that sometimes these things can surprise you with their speed.

    @Dennis 12:31 AM

    Don’t worry about me getting enough food! As my hobby is cooking, I’d probably be better off losing a few kilos! (Well, delete the probably from that sentence!) Sorry, but I’ll never love supermarket shopping though!

    @Various (About using the Quran for target practice)

    Appalling.

    Alas, as Abdelilah says, this is just the most recent in a long line of incidents that do no good at all for the image of the American military in the Islamic world (and, by extension, the rest of the world).

    I do wonder if part of the problem is using the military (who, after all, are trained to fight) in a police or prison guard role? Beyond that, I don’t have any links to post, but I’ve seen a number of stories about the US military having to compromise a fair bit on their own published standards for education in order to fill their recruitment needs. Finally, are the generals and politicians sending the wrong signals down from the top with their endorsement of practices like “waterboarding”. Personally, I believe that, in this sort of fight, “civilised” countries need to be very careful not to lower their standards of justice and ethics, no mater how expedient it may seem at the time. Perhaps there’s a broader discussion here.

    @Will Rhodes Dwight and Dennis (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

    Good Topic! Why not start us off by posting your views in here to get us started.

  141. 143 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 05:25

    @Vannessa

    Difficult beginning. I can understand why you do not remember much of that time. Am glad to know where you are now and how you came to be there.

    I have always been thankful I gave my only child up for adoption so that she was not in “foster care lottery” when I began to be hospitalized. She was adopted into a large and loving family.

    The people who supported me, and my sister who still does, joked about “it all being character developing.” Then there is “Roseanne” and that show’s comment: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

    If I may ask you, what is one of your favorite jokes?

    Virginia in Oregon

  142. 144 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 05:26

    Hi Virginia in Portland

    Well, I’m only 10 years off your age and not exactly skinny myself! My weekend grocery shopping even became a topic here!

    I’d already picked up on President Bush’s comments about negotiation and posted about them (rather negatively) right back at the beginning of this Blank Page. You didn’t expand on your views on conflict resolution in your current post, but I suspect you and I may find some agreement.

    Regarding child sexual abuse, this has been touched on this weekend but mainly regarding the recent case in Austria which is rather specific. It certainly is a valid topic and I suspect you may get some takers on a more general discussion of the topic.

  143. 145 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 05:42

    Bob in Queensland:

    I am sorry for not reading your responses! I have had a long day.

    I am making Spaghetti on Sunday (Eastern time) and getting ready for my move @ the end of the month.

    I will respond to all OVERNIGHT dispatches, when i wake up….

    Thanks for your understanding,
    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  144. 146 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 06:11

    @Bob in Queensland

    Conflict resolution is described for those interested in an introduction in a Wikipedia entry. A recent development in the social sciences. I sent the “standard” text out of Harvard to Sinn Fein in Belfast in the months leading up to the negotiations of the Good Friday Agreement. Content analysis of The Irish People immediately revealed its helpfulness.

    I did review your postings re Bush’s comments in Israel and subsequent responses.

    My comment on child sexual abuse was another way of phrasing PTSD. Current practice in mental health is to refer to “the original trauma.” I always used my own phrase for various note takers “the precipitating incident.”

    Again, everyone could benefit from a discussion of PTSD.

    @VictorK It is clear that you did not read The Irish People out of New York City from 1980 till it stopped hard copy publication several years ago and that you know few of the details and little of what went on “on the ground” during “the Troubles.” Of course Tony Blair did not have Gerry Adams assassinated! But did you follow the refusal of the US to grant him a visa until Clinton was in office. And “our own” BBC TV would not allow Adams’ voice and used a voice over when his sound bites were on the news. For instance, who is Pat Fincuane? Who is Richard Clark Johnson? Who was it that said: “Every person has a part to play?”
    The answer is Bobby Sands to the last question.

    Please do not insert what you feel are “facts” so as to make points for your view of a history which you did not follow from 1978 to the present.

    Virginia in Oregon

  145. 147 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 06:32

    @Virginia

    One bit of detail about your post. It wasn’t the BBC that refused to allow Gerry Adams’ voice to be used; it was actually a law passed by the British Government because Sinn Fein were a prohibited organisation at that point. Indeed both the BBC and Independent Television in the UK circumvented this law by using pictures of Adams with his exact words spoken by an actor. Needless to say, this circumvention was not popular with the government and many speeches were made about giving terrorists and their supporters “the oxygen of publicity”.

  146. 148 f0rTyLeGz
    May 18, 2008 at 06:48

    Abdelilah (and Bob):::

    I am still in shock that the world stands by wringing their hands, while the people of Burma are suffering in the dark, with no current, food, or water. Thousands a day are dying from lack of attentionn. Their government in my opinion, is mentally ill. It is tiime for all of us to quickly agree on taking their power away, and saving a couple of million lives.

  147. 149 adam in portland
    May 18, 2008 at 07:22

    @ PTSD
    We just did an on air show on this topic few a, unfortunately we did not get to hear from very many countries. I would like to hear about PTSD treated and untreated from others arond the globe. Many poice officers for example suffer from PTSD, it would interesting to hear from them. Sadly I suspect many many citizens of war torn countries like Iraq, Boznia, D.R.C. etc suffer undiagnosed and untreted PTSD symptoms.

    @ everybody
    The whole whole east meets west thing is something that has been keeping me glued to the show for over a year now. Real dialog between real people, not beurocrats with agendas. thanks to everyone who helps keep WHYS an award winning endevour on and off the air.

  148. 150 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 07:37

    @Fortylegz

    I share your shock (well, in my case it’s more like extreme frustration than shock) at the present situation in Burma but have to admit to being at a total loss to suggest a workable way to sort things out. Even if there was the political will to invade Burma, that would take time…and create a war zone. Providing humanitarian aid when fighting is going on is even more difficult! If anyone can come up with workable, concrete suggestions, they get my vote to become “King of the World”.

    @adam in Portland

    I suppose that, besides different places in this day and age, you could also look at different attitudes over history. Think of the dismissive way soldiers suffering from “shell shock” were treated in World War I?

    I’m no expert (so please correct me) but I suspect the modern-day attitudes and treatment in some of the places you mention won’t be that far different from what happened during and after the 1914-18 conflict.

  149. 151 John in Germany
    May 18, 2008 at 09:08

    @Selena

    That is the problem, different rules for different people, in our own area we are accountable to the regulations and rules applying.

    i abide by my statement, and understand fully what i wrote. when the day comes that everybody is made equally accountable for their actions, Then my statement is null and void. When Promi bonus, political neutrality, financial advantage, are swiped overboard then, it means nothing.

    @bobingld

    Some family’s use the free method of brining up their children, which makes accountability different in their surroundings. It is all a matter of where you shoot from.
    Why be complicated, when simplicity is completely adequate to understand life?.

    Since joining Whys, i have had conformation of a basic truth, it is easy to tell from which side of the fence we write. That is what makes it so interesting to read every little bit that is written. Whether long and interesting, or just a one liner, most look straight ahead, and not up or down.

    Have a nice day, and peace to all.

    John in Germany.

  150. 152 Pangolin-California
    May 18, 2008 at 09:36

    re: PTSD It seems to me that we acknowledge PTSD only when it is suffered by persons who were wearing a uniform or perhaps in a plane crash. I would suggest that this condition is far more common in the general population than this simplified pop psychology would suggest. Better treatment of mental health problems is desperately needed here in the US.

    Connecting to technology new abilities in magnetic resonance imaging are allowing a deeper understanding of functional properties of the brain. It’s shocking how much of who we are connects back to our physical wiring. It’s also suggests that we should all be chivvied into learning to play a musical instrument as children simply to encourage a certain improved coordination in brain function.

    Bringing it back to globalism and what we all have had for breakfast I saw an interesting thing at our farmers market this morning (Saturday). Our local cherries are ripe but one seller of fruit was selling very little. His price was $3 US per/pound which was a full dollar over last years price. Normally a vender with cherries is mobbed and today he was standing alone at his booth as shoppers walked past. Free-range eggs are now up to $4.50 a dozen which is two full dollar over last years price.

    My normal breakfast of 2 eggs (local), brown rice (local), butter (California) Chai tea (imported and packaged) w/milk (CA) and sugar (commodity) is close to double last years price. NPR tells me several times a week that inflation is relatively low. I think confidence in governments is going to flag a bit if they keep up the happy talk. Yours and mine.

  151. 153 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 09:36

    @Bob in Queensland: thanks for the correct account of why the voice of Gerry Adams was not allowed. And how it was got around to some extent. When Madeleine Albright was Secretary of State, there was pressure to declare Sinn Fein a terrorist organization on the State Department’s list. I let her know what a mistake that would be, as I am sure many others did.

    PTSD is not only for men and for war trauma. So let’s not narrow the discussion inside those parameters. And shell shock etc has been recognized as a war problem for a long time. Erik Erikson specifically addressed it as an aftermath for WWII veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area in the latter part of the 40’s.

    Virginia in Oregon

  152. 154 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 09:52

    @Pangolin

    Regarding the price of food, I was wondering if you have any idea why prices in your area have gone up so much? Are there any specific factors like bad weather or a drought that could account for it, or do you think producers and wholesalers are just “gouging”? From the lack of sales of the cherries, it sounds like the free market may force a reduction if they’re not selling.

    @Virgina

    Regarding Sinn Fein, I start by saying I was living in and around London for many years of the Irish troubles so my views are coloured by that. However, the Sinn Fein situation is not clear cut. No, they were not terrorists themselves (though several prominent members had be active members of the IRA. However they WERE the self-professed “political arm of the IRA” which is why they were able to speak for the IRA when negotiations started.

    While I’m on the topic, earlier you mentioned the newspaper “The Irish People” Do be aware that this was (and is) published by Noraid. Noraid claims they were raising money for the “families of political prisoners” but it is an absolute fact that most of the money they raised went to buy guns and bombs for the IRA. There are two sides to every story and Noraid/The Irish People certainly give one of those sides. However, do realise their political stance when considering the accuracy of what they say.

  153. 155 Pangolin-California
    May 18, 2008 at 10:06

    @ (Various) Using the Quran as target practice

    A nasty little secret that the media ignores is the degree to which the US Armed Forces have been infiltrated and controlled by certain factions of conservative Christianity. These Christians have been given free rein to institute a system of hazing of non-believers, liberal Christians, traditional Catholics or non-Christian religionists.

    In particular the US Air Force Academy has several legal complaints regarding harassment of cadets who did not participate in vocal group prayers of the Baptists type. While the US and world media largely ignore the danger of US nuclear weapons in the control of a religious faction it is certainly not lost on Islamic political groups.

    No sane muslim believes that the use of the Quran as a target was an accident or not condoned by at least part of the US chain of command. While the soldiers in question will certainly be disciplined for being caught other soldiers are being indoctrinated elsewhere by their superior officers in the Christian superiority of US forces.

    The inability of the US to deal honestly with internal conflicts is spilling out to the rest of the world. It’s not pretty and certainly not functional.

  154. 156 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 10:17

    @Pangolin

    Regarding the links between the US military and conservative Christianity, it’s not been entirely ignored by the media, at least outside the US. I know I’ve read several stories on this topic. I couldn’t immediately find a BBC link (though I’m pretty sure I’ve see it there too) but one report is: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hj_WduJSd-7xIcenAGMSPeoCsImQ

    An internet search brings up quite a few links, but many are from organisations involved on one side or the other. How real do you think the problem is? How does this mesh with the supposed separation of church and state in the USA?

  155. 157 Pangolin-California
    May 18, 2008 at 10:49

    @Bob-Queensland. I live in the Northern Sacramento Valley which produces enormous amounts of rice, almonds, walnuts and fruit as well as many specialty crops. The farmers I’ve talked to are mostly impacted by the cost of fuel, fertilizer and pesticides; petroleum products. Likewise the cost of feed is up for the chickens. Labor prices and availability have been good as immigrants that were working construction are now looking for agricultural jobs.

    While we had a fierce gale this winter that knocked down a lot of almond trees other orchards were not as badly affected. Almonds are going to be more expensive this Christmas. Firewood however is cheap. A late freeze after pollination may have damaged some fruit but I don’t know how much.

    Pollination of crops including almonds seemed to go well despite colony collapse disorder. Tens of thousands of bee hives are imported to my region every year to pollinate the almonds. The wild beehive at the end of my driveway appears to be doing well surviving the winter nicely. Non-honeybee pollinators are doing just fine in the garden also.

    Snow pack is reported to be down overall but that was largely in the southern Sierra Nevada. Our local snow packs were good but they are melting fast. Today’s temp 38 C, yesterday was 41 degrees. It isn’t likely to rain more than once or twice between now and October.

    The seller of cherries had reason to look glum because he has to pull them from his trees fast in this heat. The price he needs to cover his fuel costs may not be within the budgets of local buyers. Selling the fruit wholesale he’ll get less than half the retail price.

    Today’s shopping list: 2 pounds cherries($6), 2 bunches chard($2), scallions($1), cilantro($1), sprouted peanuts($2.50), 2 pounds organic carrots ($4), 2 bags prepared salad greens($2) and a large coffee ($2.50) total: $21. No gas or parking as I rode the bike the mile and a half to the market. Crazy prices even by my standards. Gas was $3.93/gallon this morning.

  156. 158 Pangolin-California
    May 18, 2008 at 11:16

    @Bob- Church-state separation is the official policy of all government agencies but in particular para-military organizations, police, sheriffs, prisons abuse the law habitually. Judges assign attendance at drug treatment groups that are religious based or run. Police harass religious minorities. Prison treatment and privileges and qualification for parole may be dependent upon the prisoners religious fervor.

    Several different religious organizations actively promote evangelical activity in schools and both my children have complained about religious discussion by teachers. The local junior high has a science teacher who is a professed creationist that we can’t get fired. This is in California; it is much, much worse in the south and if flyover states where student religious clubs can practically run the schools. Abuse of religious minorities in schools runs rampant.

    The problem of evangelism in the ranks of the military is real and serious. At least the local vets for peace group thinks it’s very serious. There is a very real fear among peace activists that the first religious faction to posses a nuclear weapon will be rapture-ready Christians in the US.

    I’m of atheist/Buddhist persuasion and I think that many of America’s Christian’s are more than a bit unhinged. They scare the **** out of me.

  157. 159 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 12:40

    If you have time, look through this. I’m really astounded by how irresponsible, or dishonest some people can be. This is about people and their financial situations. People, who obviously don’t make much money, with massive debts, people saying they cannont afford gas to drive to work (yet probably spend money on shoes, clothes, and handbags)…

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0803/gallery.real_stories/index.html

  158. 160 VictorK
    May 18, 2008 at 12:50

    @Virginia: if you have a point to make you should state it directly and not attempt to argue by insinuation and implication. Your post addressed to me was unhelpfully vague and a little confused. Please do try to be a bit more coherent in the future.

    Re: using the Koran as target practice. Deplorable and I’m sure the soldier in question will be disciplined. But people shouldn’t try to make the actions of one person bear too great a weight of interpretation. After all, let’s not forget that Muslims have blown up entire mosques (which would have contained many copies of the Koran) without a hint of protest or outrage from the rest of the Muslim world, or that when the West Bank was controlled by Jordan several Jewish holy places were for years deliberately used as public toilets, and in Somalia Muslim militamen used the figure of Christ on the crucifix in an abandoned church for target practice(a story that was hardly reported on). If insults t religion are bad then insults to all religions should be condemned, not just to Islam.

  159. 161 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 13:01

    Thanks for the link, Steve. There are some interesting “case studies” there.

    One thought occurred to me reading that. I suspect the USA has, in a strange way, been hit harder to the fuel price increases than many other places.

    America has always enjoyed cheap gas/petrol but the difference in other countries is not so much to do with the price of the fuel itself but rather because of high tax on every gallon/litre.

    When I left the UK last August, the price of petrol there was just under a pound ($2.) per litre (around $7 a gallon). Of this price, about 80% was tax (at a flat rate, not a percentage of the price).

    This meant that the price of fuel was very painful…but already factored into everyone’s budgets and life style. What it also mean is that, since the fuel cost is only 20% of the pump price, if this goes up by 50% the effect on consumer costs is only about 10%.

    In the US, because little of the pump price is tax, a 50% increase in wholesale gas cost is also more or less a 50% increase to the consumer. Even though the actual cost is still less in the US, that must be a big “ouch” for gas buyers.

    I’ve probably explained this badly….so I hope you understand what I’m getting at.

  160. May 18, 2008 at 13:16

    Hello to my 2 Precious friends Abdelilah and Bob… Well, what can I say ?! I’ve just learned that the assistant chief of Al Nahrain University in Baghdad Prof. Dr. Ayad Jasim Al Khafaji had be assassinated in Baghdad a few days ago… Such a great shock and a horrific loss ! And the thing that really disgusted me and hurt me the most is that although this horrific crime took place a few days ago, I only knew about it today… It just passed by soooo silently and nobody really cared about it… What am I supposed to feel or do ?! Just cry ?! Feel angry, sad, upset, disgusted, or just indifferent ?! Or should I just ignore what I heard today and go on with my life as if nothing happened at all ?! Yesterday I was almost happy and relatively peaceful… But today ?? I’m really sooooo sorry to bother all of you my Precious friends… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna..

  161. 163 VictorK
    May 18, 2008 at 13:23

    I’m listening to President Bush speaking at the World Economic Forum in Egypt.

    What I’ve heard of his speech is extremely depressing. A manifesto for US cultural imperialism and future aggression as he lectures his audience and the wider Muslim about how they must democratise, grant women equal rights etc. because that’s what God wants. As if it were any of his business how other people run their countries, or anyone cares what God tells him.

    He’s well-intentined but completely fatuous, I’m afraid. At least he only has a few months left of his term. I just hope that McCain is not as much of a democratic extremist.

  162. May 18, 2008 at 13:59

    @ VictorK,

    One of the reasons of the unpopularity of the US administration among Muslims is that it is trying to dictate to them how they should govern themselves. It amounts to asking them to become secular like Turkey. There are social practices that aren’t approved even in Muslim countries like the harsh treatment of women in countries like Saudi Arabia.

    Concerning this subject, Muslim women enjoy varied levels of freedom. In Morocco, women are much freer. It has become normal to see them in top positions, as ministers in the government or heads of other public institutions.

    It’s the will of the people that can change things. In Kuwait, no woman was elected to parliament although about half of the voters were women.

    In general, attitudes to women are general even in democratic countries where governments, parliaments and executives in corporations are largely male.

    The USA also has no means to impose democracy in Muslim countries, especially in the Gulf States, where it has massive interests. It will be unthinkable to let down the ruling families down there and to seek to replace them with new rulers that can be democratically elected but whose policy is anti-American.

    Imagine the Middle East became ruled democratically with hardliner Muslim parties, wouldn’t the USA seek to fight them and curse the day when it put pressure on the current rulers to open the door for free elections and constitutional rules?

  163. 165 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 14:10

    @ bob

    It’s not just gas. This people are chosing to live beyond their means. Notice how they’re complaining about gas prices but still drive an SUV? Same went for the homes they have or had. One Family just completely revealed the idiocy that was involved, they were “shocked” that big homes came with big expenses. Like theyd idn’t contemplate the real estate taxes, or the cost of energy for heat and cool the home.

    I can only imagine the credit card bills that the people featured have.

  164. 166 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 14:18

    @Abdelilah

    Your final paragraph is SO right. Before President Bush spends any more time demanding democracy in the Middle East somebody should quote him the old saying: “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it”.

  165. 167 VictorK
    May 18, 2008 at 14:34

    @Abdelilah: I agree completely with your comments about George Bush and Muslim attitudes to the US in that respect.

    Osama Bin Laden is just as entitled to say that a higher power has told him how the nations of the earth should be governed and that the US must change its ungodly ways, if necessary by force and terror. Why is he an extremist lunatic and George Bush someone to be taken seriously?

    I take the view that democracy is a means, not an end, and that any other form of government that secures the same ends as democracy (freedom, order and prosperity) is just as legitimate, whether that government be monarchical or authoritarian. Hong Kong under British rule was never a democracy; but it was one of the best run, freest and most prosperous societies on the planet.

    The problem with George Bush’s position is that it makes most of the governments of the world rightly apprehensive towards the current American administration, since they don’t meet its standard of political acceptability. Which of them will he choose to invade next in the name of democracy and freedom? This is not the way to win allies.

    It was also pretty tactless for him to have spoken as he did in a country whose ruler has been in power for 27 years.

  166. 168 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 14:35

    Regarding the posts about Bush’s speech to the World Economic Forum, BBC have now posted some details here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7406868.stm

  167. 169 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 14:42

    Bob (Queensland)
    May 17, 2008 at 3:33 am
    It is hard to say whether Sunni-Shia strife was repressed in Iraq by Saddam. In many other countries, we do seem to be able to co-exist in relative peace. There were also demonstrations at the beginning of the occpation that said “No Sunni, no Shia, yes Islam.” This wasn’t done as a suggestion to abolish the sects, but to show inter-sectarian unity. A lot of the stability in pre-occupation Iraq was the result of Saddam’s heavy thumb, though; and I am not Iraqi, so it is still hard to say.

    You do bring up a very important point in your May 17, 2008 8:20 am post. The arbitrary drawing of lines yesterday by the world’s powers in places where they did not exercise any rightful sovereignty has come back to bite those of us who follow on the backside today. Some peoples were left stateless in the sense that they were included as part of a nation that did not represent them. It is not the fault of the Kurds that there is no place called Kurdistan, that no-one wants them, and that either non-Kurds or Kurds acting as puppet leaders rule over them. The same can be said of so many groups in Africa and Asia. What is so wrong about allowing for the re-drawing of lines, the re-definition of a country, and the formation of new nations? We have no problem allowing people to do so in Europe. I foten wonder whether the way that we are forcing everyone in Iraq to come together as one centralised, unfederated county is proper after we have inserted so much sectarian strife for our benefiss. And yes, I blame us. Who sponsored those sectarian militias in the first place? The introduction of certain persons at certain times to Iraq does not seem to be coincidental to me.

  168. 170 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 14:45

    Interesting article about even feminists are hesitant to hire child bearing age women.

    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article3952759.ece

  169. 171 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 14:47

    @ VictorK

    You make the mistake of thinking Bush means what he says. He’s a politician, they rarely mean what they say. He’s saying that stuff just to speak, he thinks someone wants to hear it. That’s all.

    You know the saying, “how do you know if a politicians is lying? his lips are moving”

  170. 172 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 14:51

    @steve

    Very good point!

    ….which forces me to ask: Do we think he was really addressing the audience in front of him or has he given up on international affairs and saying what his spin doctors tell him middle America wants to hear?

  171. 173 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 15:05

    @ Bob

    Probably what he thinks Americans want to hear. My only hesitation is that since he’s not up for reelection, he might be saying it for posterity reasons. LIke he wants to be remembered as the “Great Democratizer” <— deliberate Bushism.

  172. 174 Bob in Queensland
    May 18, 2008 at 16:07

    Well, bloggers, it’s getting late down here in Australia, so I’ll say good night and hand you over to Abdelilah. Have fun and see you soon!

  173. 175 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 16:15

    Bob in Queensland
    May 17, 2008 at 8:20 am
    I was discussing the concept of container gardening with my family yesterday. I myself have been thinking about it for several years now, because it is easier to keep fresh plant food around using containers that can be brought indoors during cold weather. I might be able to do some container gardening once I get the supplies. However, my famiy has devoted more of their living space to trinkets, their collection, and their display so that these occupy the space affected by incoming sunlight. Beginning a container garden, in their case, would require that they move things around and storein closets and the basement some of the things that they have been displaying, as well as change their focus from flowering plants that do not produce anything edible to plants that produce food. Even the outdoor garden space leaves food-bearing plants as an aftertought. All of these things have been on my mind as I consider how to shape my life in the years to come.

    I have seen that it is possible to actually have a fruit-bearing citrus tree in a rather large container, as well as several fruits, vegitables, grains, tubers, etc. If I, a city dweller in a simple apartment, could develop the ability to maintain such growing potential, how difficult could it be for others who have their own outdoor space and larger housing than do I? And how hard could it be for people with more land available to them to devote some space to community gardens? Os it vitally necessary that we ship our food in from faraway locations? Or are we as a society just being lazy or enjoying certain comforts and placing those comforts as heavier priorities than local food production? Isn’t that selfish and lazy, anway? And if communities can come up with their fod, what prevents us from producing other life-necessities independently as communities? I feel that the first step that one takes towards exploiting another is to base one’s lifestyle on self-sihness and laziness. In the our case, the way that we westerners grow crops in other people’s lands using methods that raze their lands of natural resources and deplete their soils of nutrients is indeed exploitation. Our hiring of locals or workers from under-represented groups to harvest the crops while paying them slave wages and committing human rights abuses against them in our labour practises is also exploitation.

  174. May 18, 2008 at 16:33

    Hi everyone,
    I am taking over while Bob in Queensland is getting to sleep. I will be with you till 01:00 GMT when Bob will take over again.

  175. 177 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 17:08

    Lubna,
    May 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm
    You’ve said that it is impossible for Palestinian refugees to return to the 1948 lands. I partly diagree. I think tht there are many who would be able to return and re-build their homes and lives there. There will be cases in which the Israelis have indeed built cities atop those that they wiped out when they ethnically cleansed Palestine. However, this is not true in all cases: some should have the ability – and the right – to return. I also think that another intrinsic part of the right to return is the right to compensation where that right is either impossible to fulfil or the person whose right it is desires some other solution, whether that be to return to 1967 Palestine or to remain where they are.

    Bob,
    May 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm
    An interesting quesiton to add to the equation would be how much the U.S. really has contributed to the U.N. financially. I have heard that we have not even paid our dues for several years.

  176. 178 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 17:47

    Will,
    http://willrhodes1961.wordpress.com/2008/05/17/post-traumatic-stress
    Thank you for your sympathy. That story rattled me, too. Abdelillah, I am curious about why you made the connection between the shooting and graffiti-ing of a Qur’an and the flushing of another down a toilet to the European cartoons against Prophet Muhammad. (May 18, 2008 at 1:18 am) I will admit that I have not seen those cartoons, so I honesly don’t know what they depict. I have only heard that they depict a nuclear mushroom cloud eminating from Prophet Muhammad’s turban. Bob, I agree with your May 18, 2008 5:13 am comment about military personnel being asked to perform a police role. Troops are trained to fight and kill. It is their job to be deployed to the frontlines of a battle between twoclearly opposing parties. A different kind of training is required of peacekeeping forces and police officers. The connection between evangelistic conservative Christian and the military is shocking to me. There was also something about Bush’s comments in Israel that had me quesitoning again whether the U.S. is actually a functional theocracy.

    Twisting that topic to mix it in with another (Myanmar), I would ask you whether you feel it necessary to use a military invasion to bring supplies to the people of Myanmar (May 18, 2008 at 7:37 am). I myself have been mulling over what it would entail to breach the sovereign and territorial integrity of Myanmar to make drops in various places. Surely there can’t be so many military troops to guard very many places all at the same time? Also, would it really be a breach of Myanmar’s sovereignty? I personally view a country a consisting of a people and being subject to the will of the people. Granted, other forms of government exist besides democracy, and not all governments that are not democratic are evil. I just haven’t taken the time to work my mind around that kind of exception to my current way of thinking.

  177. 179 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 18:01

    Salam, Lubna
    I haven’t got anything at all from you. Have you heard from Mark? He was going to try to give you my email address.

  178. May 18, 2008 at 18:01

    @ Shirely

    The connection between the shooting and graffiti-ing of a Qur’an and the flushing of another down a toilet to the European cartoons against Prophet Muhammad is that they the Quran and Prophet Muhammad symbolize Islam. As you know, for Muslim there is no separation between the Quran and their profit. Attacking either is attacking their religion. For the incidences about the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, they may be seen as premeditated. Muslims are sensitive about their religion. Non-Muslims find it a target to condemn Muslim terrorist groups. But as the majority of Muslims don’t sympathize with them, they see such attacks as sending the wrong signals about what their religion stand for.

    So the common point is the discretion of Islam through the publication of incidents that spark reactions of disproportionate magnitude.

  179. May 18, 2008 at 18:02

    Hello gang ! Please guys, close your eyes and imagine this scene with me : A young Arab Muslim immigrant, standing in a busy street in a large European city, and enjoying himself by shooting directly at the Bible (The holy book of Christians)… What would your reaction be guys ?! What are we supposed to do about this guy ?! Will you guys accept a sincere apology from him and his peers ?! And more importantly, will you guys judge all Arabs and Muslims according to this young man’s action ?! To me as a practicing Muslim, all holy books are sacred and respect-worthy, but is that how the ‘OTHER’ sees my Islam and my holy book ?! Respect-worthy ?! I wonder… I can say that I will never judge the marvellous US citizens by the actions of only one American bloke… With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna.

  180. 182 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 18:13

    @VictorK

    Britain was responsible for the deaths of many nationalists.

    “IRA are terrorists because Britain was not acting against the Catholics of Ulster.”
    What media reports did you read? That statement is not true.

    @Bob in Queensland

    Thanks for your comments about living in and about London during the time that IRA was active and fighting. I lived through the DC riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. And came to understand how one lives in a zone of conflict.

    I know that NORAID/The Irish People were and are active Republicans. As am I.
    Where did “my” funds go and to what purposes?

    Adams was brilliant to develop “the political arm” of the IRA. How does one transition from “Bloody Sunday” to the election of Bobby Sands as MP to the first and second ministers of the 6 county government sitting at the same table?

    Towards the end of my active correspondence, I was sending bcc to Sinn Fein Leadership of communications to the Prime Minister. And then I just addressed them both up front. An Phlobacht published a short piece of mine before the Good Friday Agreement which stated “community policing” would be the stumbling block – as it was for 10+ years.

    I trust you will smile when I say I sent $25 one time with the specific request it be spent on a plant/flowers for the SF offices there in Belfast.

    The whole food discussion was a good read.

    Thanks for the “craic.”

    Virginia in Oregon

  181. 183 steve
    May 18, 2008 at 18:15

    @ Shirley. If Israel “ethnically cleansed” Palestine, why are 20% of Israelis Arab?

  182. 184 Virginia Davis
    May 18, 2008 at 18:22

    @ Shooting at the Quran

    Is there anyone out there who empathizes with the shooter? The American of the Quran? The young Muslim of the Bible? Of those who are driven to act violently towards objects, property, or even other people? It took me 20 years after a number of snipers shot at drivers on LA freeways to figure it out for myself.

    Please note: I am NOT writing about organized violence of solidering and war.

    I am writing about “empathy” – walking in another’s shoes?

    Virginia in Oregon

  183. 185 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 19:02

    I am just getting in, I am reading some of the post from overnight (and the hours i was gone)……

    Please forgive me if they are not in specific order of time!

    Good Evening to you, Abdelilah
    ————————
    @ Lubna,
    Dispatch May 18,2008 6.02pm

    RE: SHOOTING THE BIBLE

    I am not an avid reader of the bible, but it wouldn’t me that much, but in the United States Bible belt, it would not make those people very happy. Probably there wouldn’t be violence, but people like Rush Limbaugh would make it a daily topic on his show.

    @ Lubna,
    Dispatch 18 May 2008 1.16PM

    RE: DEATH OF AYAM JASAM AL KHAFAJI

    I am sending my condolences & sympathy to Mr. Al Khafaji, friends and family.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  184. 186 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 19:24

    @ Bob
    Dispatch: 6.32am 18 May 2008

    Just to make sure my “dear friend” has enough food to eat and about shopping, i used to enjoy it a-lot, until recently, because my budget is not the same…..

    @ Fortylegz
    Dispatch: 6.48am 18 May 2008

    I have to agree with your commentary, that the military government (junta) having a mentally ill, they are bona-fide psycho-paths.

    @ (Various)

    Quran as Targeting Pratice

    Example: If that would happend, there would be violence around the world in particular, the Islamic and Muslim world, within minutes (hours)…Many injuries and deaths would happend…and many peoples businesses would be destroy by the rioting.

    And the International community: European Union, United Nations among the others, would have to quickly settle this strife…..

    Dennis-Madrid, U.S.A.

  185. 187 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 19:44

    @ Pangolin-California 10.49AM 5/18/2008

    It is very distorting that prices of food, continues to rise….price of gas is rising.

    I know, On Saturday, 17 May, 2008, I had to get my new eyeglasses and it cost us $ 50.00 dollars for gasoline [petrol] to fill up the vehicle….

    **************

    @ Bob in Queensland 2.51PM 5/18/2008

    BUSH AND HIS SPIN DOCTORS

    Bush honestly has given a care about foreign affairs (relations) for a long time, because he believes in “cowboy” diplomacy.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  186. 188 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 20:09

    @ Steve 5/18/2008 (2.08PM)

    Most of the world has been living there means, for many years!

    Also in the purpose of full disclosure: I know most of my family, lives beyond there means at 100% percent….

    ******************************

    @ VictorK 5/18/2008 (1.23PM)

    Bush at the World Economic Forum in Egypt, he is not a very good communicator, has disorganized thoughts and articulation problems…and most of the time, a very poor concept on the English language.

    ********************************
    @ Virginia 5/18/2008 (5.10AM)

    I saw your story, I don’t know what to say….

    So I am saying a very simple thought: I hope you will get all of the help, you will need to get thru this time of your life.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  187. May 18, 2008 at 20:44

    @shooting objects.
    If I remember right Islam has a version of the Ten commandments. I could go off googleing, but I think they had a commandment that went something like, “To keep lands peaceful we shall not worship idols.”

    Since worship is defined as give divine reverence or supernatural power. Also, since idol means a representation or a symbol. When Muslim are angered over the destruction of a Quran are then not violating their own rules? The same is true of Christians being angered over the destruction of a bible. It is especially true of “Christian Americans” that get bent out of shape over the destruction of a flag.

    It is questions like these that have made it impossible for me to take religious doctrines seriously.

  188. 190 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 21:19

    Hello, Steve. I said that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestine because the Zionist militias did indeed force a very substantial amount of Palestinians off their land in order to move in to those same locations. What occurred in 1948 is ethnic cleansing, much as what occurred in Rwanda and former Bosnia. Of course there are still Palestinians living inside Israel, just as the targeted ethnic groups f Rwanda and former Bosnia are still there. This is actually one of many good starting points from which changes towards peaceful co-extistance can be made.

  189. 191 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 21:21

    Abdelillah,
    I undersand that for us, there is no distinction between Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an, since the Qur’an and the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad form two of the fundamental bases of Islamic belief and practise. What I am not sure about is what aspects of the protrayal of ProphetMuhammad in those cartoons you consider to be blasphemous to the same degree as the desecration of the Qur’an. I do not necessarily disagree with you; I am just curious about the reasons for your opinion on the subject as (presumedly) a fellow Muslim. As I said before, the only cartoon that I am familiar with in any way is the one that depicts a nuclear mushroom cloud eminating from the turban of Prophet Muhammad, and that is through descriptions of the cartoon.

    Dwight,
    Islam has codified nearly everything that has anythong to do with every aspect of life, whether it be a normal day or a special occasion. We do have rather standard lists of required practises and of grave sins. The precise number will change based on sect (required practises) or scholar (grave sins). Worshipping only God, not assigning partners or parts to Him, and not worshipping other than God is the most central belief in Islam. For one to call himself a Muslim, adherence to this belief is a must. Where an Islamic state exists, one must not make his belief in any other system public to such a degree that he puts the safety or the stability of the Islamic government at stake.

    None of this precludes holding certain objects as revered. We have tremendous respect for various objects or symbols. The Qur’an is one of these. It is impermissible, for example, to allow the Qur’an to come into contact with a ritual impurity or to destroy it. If we are copying it, of course, we can erase or pres the delete button. We can also dispose of copies that are no longer useful due to severe decay in condition by recycling the materials on which it was written or cutting it up in such a way that the letters on each piece no longer make sense as parts of the Qur’an. But we cannot make a display or disrespect towards it by ripping it, breaking the cover, burning it, etc. This is not because we worship the Qur’an, but because we believe that God commanded us to show respect for it.

    This is not to say that you should take religion seriously. I am only asking that you respect our respect for our sacred objects and symbols and understand that our respect for them doesnot equal worship.

  190. 192 Aida
    May 18, 2008 at 21:38

    @Victor K:
    “The IRA were terrorists because there was no state violence being used against the Catholic population of Ulster”

    You wrote this yesterday…. But all i can say is WHAT???? Aside from the fact you base almost all your opinions on fiction not fact – this one stood out. Only people who have no idea what happened in Northern Ireland will say that with so much conviction. Where do you think the IRA came from? What were the condition under which the Troubles began? Why did the larger part of Ireland breakaway to from the Republic and the rest remain mired in violence?

    Here is a quick History lesson (and before you rebuff this – i suggest you go away and do some research): And no, I’m not Irish, British, Catholic nor Protestant, I am an Indian who bothers to inform myself….

    Northern Ireland was a patchwork of Catholic and Protestant populations – it did not gain independence along with the rest of Ireland because the Protestants were afraid of being a minority in a Catholic country. Being members of the elite descended from the English settlers of the previous centuries, they persuaded their Protestant bothers in the British Government to hold onto Ulster and accord them, the greater share of power in the New Northern Ireland. The fear of being overwhelmed by the growing Catholic Ulster population (demonstrated to this day by the Right Rev Ian Paisley) led the new Northern Irish protestant government to deny Catholics equal rights, access to services or land. This was the root of the Troubles – simple fear-led oppression. It has been replicated around the world before and since. The IRA grew out of this – (it has since morphed into mafia -style organised crime syndicate, but it’s original fighters were ordinary catholic men and women who quite rightly objected to the denial of their rights.) Got it?

  191. May 18, 2008 at 21:44

    @ Shirley,

    As I understand, for Muslims, blasphemy isn’t limited to the Quran, but also to the Prophet Muhammed. As messenger, he is also sacred among the Muslims. The cartoons that depict him with a nuclear mushroom cloud emanating from his turban suggests that Islam is a religion of terror and the terror is inspired from the Quran.

    The incidences of the desecration of the Quran and the cartoons may look separate. But for many Muslims, they look as degradation of their religion. There was also a Dutch film about the Quran that sparked anger around the Muslim world http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7309838.stm

    In short, Muslims don’t want their religion to be insulted either by using the Prophet or the Quran for that purpose. And by whatever means, cartoons, films, books (like the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie) or individual acts as those that happened in Guantanamo or Iraq.

    What I believe is that the religion of the others should be respected and it shouldn’t be used for gratuitous provocations.

  192. May 18, 2008 at 22:07

    On the theme about Zimbabwe started by blank page 7 moderator Bob in Queensland, here is an update. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has delayed a return to Zimbabwe because of concerns about a plot to assassinate him. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7406172.stm

    Does this mean Mugabe is seeking any means to stay in power, even by killing his strong political opponents to cause disarray in the oppositions, which ones leaderless will have no strategy to fight him?

    How should the international community deal with Mugabe if he’s proved to sponsor and order political assassinations in addition to the current brutal treatment of the opposition supporters?

  193. 195 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 22:59

    @ Abdelilah (and Bob)

    Morgan Tsvangirai, Regarding his return to Zimbabwe….

    Robert Mugabe is trying to stay in power, any way possible! He is taking a page out of the GameBook, about staying in power one-way-or-the-other….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A..

  194. 196 Dennis
    May 18, 2008 at 23:17

    @ Bob on Behalf to Virginia
    Dispatch: 18 May 2008 @ 6.32AM

    The BBC and Independent Television in the United Kingdom, they follow the law about the Irish Republican Army (Gerry Adams) and not violating any rules….
    —————
    @ Bob in Queensland
    Dispatch: 18 May 2008 @ 3.28AM

    Foreign Stuff i own, is pretty much in my home is made outside the United States….
    Including the Computer, i am using right now….
    ———————–
    @Pangolin-California
    Dispatch: 18 May 2008 @ 11.16AM

    Church-State Separation is an great idea in a perfect way…to keep all parties separated.
    ———————
    @ Pangolin
    Dispatch: 17 May 2008 @ 10.38PM

    I have the same problems about Drinking Alcohol and Taking Recreational
    Drugs, Because I have many problems about this! Since my family has many
    of the same problems.

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  195. May 18, 2008 at 23:23

    @Shirley and Abdelilah Boukili

    The whole thing still seems “wishy-washy” to me. One of my incarnations is as a system designer. One of the rules of efficiency is that everything must have a purpose and any exceptions must be clearly understood and defined. I would assume the reason Mohammed would not want you to worship things is to avoid unnecessary conflict and/ or turmoil over things that on the grand screen of life don’t matter.
    I guess that is why even though I am at best agnostic, I consider myself Christian. The general message is that nothing man has created is sacred. Not a bible, not a building, not even a land. The church exist inside the body. I believe this is why you do not see Christians getting upset over silly activities of the unenlightened. Well that and the whole tolerance and turning the other cheek thing are sensible.

    The problem at hand is one of culture and perspective. It is one that I am not sure would be easy to rectify. Despite our international face currently, the US is an amazing experiment in peace and tranquility. We are millions of divers people and neighborhoods living next to each other. Race, religions, creeds, sexual ordinations, political perspectives, or any other identifier all live together in one giant “melting pot”. It just doesn’t occur to us that somebody should be put to death because they defaced a book that runs off the printing presses at a rate of a thousand an house. Now break into our house and get caught stealing our TV, we all think we have the right to shoot you in the back as you run away.

  196. May 18, 2008 at 23:44

    @ Dwight

    As you know, in Western societies people are brought up according to secular principles. Religion is considered as a personal matter. One is free to embrace any religion or be atheist without any fear of prosecution or persecution. However, in many Muslim communities and societies, religion is the core of their existence and identity.

    Personally, I think some Muslims overreact to views from the West that are critical to their religion because they see them as a form of crusade, aimed at annihilating it. There are many Muslim clerics and scholars who still view western/modern ways with suspicion.

    Perhaps by ignoring incidences about their religion that occur from time to time, Muslims can spare themselves the criticism they get from those who don’t understand their culture. Now there are many Muslims who are growing indifferent to the way Islam is portrayed in some circles. They consider this just as bad publicity, not worth much attention.

  197. 199 steve
    May 19, 2008 at 00:38

    @ Shirley

    Do you then admit that the arabs ethnically cleansed Jews from muslim countries at the same time, and afterwards? Particular after Israel won the 1967 war, it got really bad for Jews in muslim countries.

  198. May 19, 2008 at 01:10

    That is why poking fun at each other’s absurdity is healthy. I have to admit when I saw Mohammed with a bomb under his turbine I busted up laughing. I was not laughing at Islam, or Muslims, or people of the Middle East. I was laughing at the absurdity. When you break it down, I know of no other demographic group that is willing to strap a bomb on themselves just to kill their enemy. The Concept is perplexing, illogical, and ignorant to be honest. In my analytical train of thought, the concept of waging war is remove an enemy from the earth in an attempt to make it a better place for, well me. Me and my friends and family. If I kill myself then who cares what the world is like. “The key to winning a war is not to die for your country, but to make the poor bastage die for his country.”

    So when I see a symbol of that culture doing something that seems preposterous, it is humorous. To most Muslim Mohammed doesn’t condone such behavior. But there are Muslims out there that obviously believe that he does. The cartoons are geared towards poking fun at that mentality and the people who hold and advocate that behavior.

    We here in the west find the that train of thought incomprehensible and we don’t understand it. It is Human nature. What we don’t know, we fear. When people take to the streets to defend that mentality it only escalates that cycle of fear. Especially when they call for the death of a kind hearted teacher for simply letting a child name a teddy bear the most common name in the region. Psychologically that can only yield one kind of reaction. Defensive. Now add that to battlefield stress. Reactions are anything but predictable.

  199. 201 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 01:15

    @ Dwight May 17,2008 @ 2.06PM

    Regarding what your parents have done in life, you will do:
    My brother has a journalism degree in 2002 and as of Friday, 16 May 2008, he graduated with his law degree…Congraluations to him!

    I am going to Community College in effective on 2 June 2008 (classes start)….

    Dad is a former mechanic!
    **********************
    @BobinQld May 17,2008 @ 9.58AM
    FOOD IN MY HOUSE:
    Most of it comes from where i LIVED.
    **********************
    @BobinQueensland May 18,2008 @ 9.52AM
    The price of food is costing my family, a month an average
    of $ 400.00 for a family of 3 (which is getting less than 1 year ago).
    and i do you a lot of coupons and look for sales!
    **********************
    @Steve May 18,2008 @ 2.45PM
    Because they are she will have kids!
    **********************

    Thanks,
    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  200. 202 Pangolin
    May 19, 2008 at 01:22

    @Church-state separation- Here in the US, the vast majority of Christians are completely ignorant of the wars of the Reformation or the circumstances surrounding them. Therefore they miss the imperitive the behind the constitutional seperation of church and state.

    @Quran- The problem with arabs being mortally offended by the destruction of a Quran is that if give others a lever to use on them. If somebody can make you angry on cue, they, in a sense control you. The other side of rules that dictate the treatment of Quran is that they can lead to the priests dictating every action you take during the day. If every Quran was magically destroyed at once Islam would hardly stumble as it is memorized. The physical book is a token.

    @Bush in Egypt- God only knows who Bush thinks he’s addressing; probably “his base” back home. The US government is effectively stalled until Jan. 21st 2009.

    @American debt- The extent to which people are encouraged to live beyond their means in the US is staggering. Insanely trivial fads like nail salons prosper while our roads crumble and the fish in our rivers vanish. Please quit lending us money world. We’re just going to use it to gamble.

  201. May 19, 2008 at 01:45

    @ pangolin, I removed a part about a weakness is knowing what infuriates your enemies. My post was getting long if you can believe it. Thank you for saying it.

    @ Dennis, Congrats to your brother and much success to yourself. as I said, being here in a debate style blog chatroom is a slanted control group for psychological studies. The fact we are here sets us apart. I do have a question. My father was a carpenter and then a factory worker. I did both while on my quests to become a rock star or a pirate. Neither of those worked out.

  202. May 19, 2008 at 02:14

    Dear friends.

    It’s time for me to quit as Bob will take over.
    It was my great pleasure to be moderating along with my partner Bob over the weekend. In fact he was over the blog about 14 hours a day (from 01:00GMT to 15:00 GMT) while I was at it just 10 hours (from 15:00 GMT to 01:00 GMT).

    I hope WHYS team, especially Ros and Mark, will be impressed by the quantity and the quality of the posts.

  203. 205 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 02:38

    Thanks Abdelilah Boukili for your times moderating the World Have Your Say blogs!

    Dennis

  204. 206 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 02:40

    @ Dwight
    Dispatch May 9,2008 @ 1.45AM

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  205. 207 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 02:59

    Thanks Bob for moderating BLANK PAGE NO.7…..

    I am going to bed, i have to go to the dentist on Monday!!!!

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  206. 208 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 03:01

    Another Weekend over 200 dispatches….

    GOOD JOB FOR EVERYONE!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  207. 209 f0rTyLeGz
    May 19, 2008 at 03:09

    Shirley, You say that, “I am only asking that you respect our respect for our sacred objects and symbols and understand that our respect for them doesnot equal worship.”

    Shirley, with all due respect to you as a person, you have no right to expect me to respect what you think is holy and sacred. Why should I HAVE to act towards your supernatural fantasies the way that you want me to behave?

    Why do you get to write the rules about how I am supposed to act with regards to a thing? A thing that you believe is super-special?

  208. 210 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 03:19

    Hi all!

    I’ve taken over for the last run before the BBC team get in. It looks like lots has happened overnight and I’m still reading all the messages I missed while I was wasting my time sleeping! I promise to get back to you all as soon as I’ve finished catching up!

  209. 211 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 03:56

    @ Bob in Queensland,

    Someone wrote about the item, so i did a bit of informational
    research:::

    I was going to type this before I forgot to do this:

    The United States and Great Britain WAR OF 1812!

    “Battle of Ogdensburg”

    I am writing this as someone comes not to far, from one of the places that Britain, took in the War of 1812, Ogdensburg (New York)….

    You want any further information: GOOGLE AND/OR WIKIPEDIA will have further information (WAR OF 1812) and or Ogdensburg

    Dennis
    Madrid, U.S.A.

  210. 212 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 04:02

    @Shirley 5:08 PM

    It would certainly be difficult to come to any sort of agreement on the return of Palestinian lands (and I won’t limit it to 1948 but, rather, include ALL the shifts over the past 60 years). However, this is an example of the sort of thing that will have to be resolved before there’s any chance of peace. Neither side will ever to totally happy.

    An analogy I will toss in is Cyprus. I spent about six months there in the late 1970s not too long after the Turkish invasion. People on both sides of the UN-guarded divided had fled homes and lost everything, creating huge resentments.

    However, now (30 years on) it is beginning to look like there may be some kind of settlement and the property issue is being addressed. Nobody will be completely happy…but it has to happen.

    @Various regarding the shooting of the Quran/Bible

    I think one of the problems on this is that there is a major cultural difference here. With the rather ironic exception of the American right, most of the supposed Christian parts of the world are becoming increasingly secular and simply don’t understand the strength of feeling that such events can engender. Statistics show the fewer and fewer people in “Christian” countries (again with the exception of the USA) actually practice their religions at all. This means that there is simply no common understanding

    That said, as I point out earlier, the exception to the above is the American Christian right. I sincerely hope the individuals whose action provoked this discussion DIDN’T understand what they were doing–but I fear that if anyone in the world can realise the feelings a book can inspire it might be American Christians.

    Somebody yesterday said the Christian right in the USA scared them; as a non believer myself I would expand that to say that I’m frightened by anyone who takes ANY belief to an extreme position.

    @Virginia Davis 6:13 PM

    When you say the British State was guilty of crimes against Irish Catholics I think you have to specify the time period. Historically you are absolutely right : there were grave injustices a hundred years and more ago. However, if you’re talking about the period more recent times you’re very wrong. When the British army was in Ulster in the 70s, 80s and 90s (the times I remember–I’m not excluding earlier, I just wasn’t there) they spent as much or more time protecting catholics from the excesses of the protestants as they did chasing the IRA. Remember the violence when they wouldn’t let Orange Men parade through Catholic communities?

    This is yet another example of what I was saying yesterday about having to move on from the past. Don’t forget history…but as long as you dwell on past injustices there can be no resolution.

    @Steve 6:15 PM

    It may not have been a full “ethnic cleaning” but certainly a lot of people were forced off their land and, to this day, live in refugee camps. My visits to places like Sabra and Shatilla in Lebanon are burned indelibly in my mind.

    @Dennis 11:17 PM

    Just for clarity, the ban on Gerry Adams appearing on British TV ended many years ago. He now turns up as regularly as any other politician.

    @Fortylegs 3:09 AM

    You respect things held sacred to others (even if you don’t believe) for the same reason my wife (alas a smoker) doesn’t light up in non-smokers’ houses or I (a meat eater) cook a vegetable option when I invite a vegetarian to to dinner. Civilised people respect and even enjoy the differences between people. Despite my post yesterday morning about the way the world is coming together, I hope this never means it becomes a homogenised unity where everyone thinks and acts the same. After all, what could we discuss in here if we all agreed on everything! However, there’s a difference between healthy debate and a lack of respect.

  211. 213 Amy
    May 19, 2008 at 04:04

    Bob and Abdelilah –

    Great job this weekend!!! I do so love to read and digest everyone’s opinion on the wide range of subjects that are covered on the blank pages. It’s been a very busy weekend so I haven’t had time to add my 2-cents worth to anything, but it has been great reading.

    I would love to see PTSD discussed on air (or on a separate section) as I was diagnosed with it a little over 4 years ago – and I am a stay at home mom! I think it would be interesting to get input from people who you do not normally think would have it (i.e. police, soldiers, etc.)

    Have a great week everyone!

    Amy in Beaverton, Oregon

  212. 214 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 04:09

    @Everyone

    I thought I’d share a new definition of frustration. That is typing a post as long as my one at 4:02 AM and having my wife’s dog jump on my laptop while I’m on the last section and delete the whole thing!

    @Amy

    Thanks for the kind comments and I know the BBC WHYS team read through the weekend discussion so they will see the various requests for a discussion of PTSD. As an aside, you live in a beautiful part of the world–I had a summer holiday in Oregon when I was about 12 (prehistoric times) and still remember it fondly!

  213. 215 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 04:10

    Bob in Queensland

    I, should have that point more clearly….

    Gerry Adams, is a now a promising politician!

    Thanks for your note!

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

  214. 216 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 04:13

    Bob,

    You are allowed to make mistakes in life!

    Post @ 4.02AM , Where was the mistake?

    (thanks for moderating this weekend)

    Dennis>>>Madrid, U.S.A.

  215. 217 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 04:23

    @Dennis

    LOL. The big mistake in the 4:02 AM post is that it should have been at about 3:45 AM except I had to type the whole thing over again when the dog deleted the original version!

  216. 218 Amy
    May 19, 2008 at 04:30

    Bob,

    I understand the frustration – I have had that happen before not because of a dog, but because of my daughters. I hope you decide to return to Oregon sometime (and I would love to see all of my WHYS friends to drop by!) We had unusually hot weather this weekend (nearly 100 F on Friday) but the flowers didn’t all die so that is something.

    I have visited Queensland when I was 18 for the Expo there and loved it and have a good friend here that is from Brisbane. I hope to return there to show my daughters what a beautiful country Australia is and how friendly the people are.

    Amy

  217. 219 selena Jacobs
    May 19, 2008 at 04:35

    Bob and Abdelilah

    It is late here but I had to get up because my cat hasn’t come home. She is never out this late.

    So, I will take the opportunity to say thank you for a great weekend. I loved every post. There is so much to learn.

    You “guys” are awesome, as my little friend says.

  218. 220 viola anderson
    May 19, 2008 at 05:47

    Regarding the shooting of the Quran and other such incidents: We should all try to distinguish between the symbol and the reality. I’m no expert on symbolism but I am fully aware that a photo of a person is not the person, so shooting the photo means nothing except whatever meaning I or others put on it. The Quran is not the religion of Islam. If Islam does, indeed, express reality it can’t be harmed by shooting the Quran. A passing annoyance at some people’s childish behavior is all that is called for.

    I suspect the real problem is that the person shooting the Quran is expressing contempt for those who follow the Quran and that is what people are actually responding to when they are overcome with rage.

  219. 221 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 06:20

    On a related topic, I notice that there’s now a verdict in the assault case against a US Marine in Japan.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7404114.stm

    This is an old story but, read in conjunction with the discussions we’ve had about the Quran shooting, rumours of the right wing Christian problem in the military and other incidents I wonder if the real topic should be whether there may be problems with the recruitment and training policies of the American armed forces?

    Do bloggers think there is a genuine problem? Or is it down to trained fighters being used in a policing role? Or, perhaps, given the size of the US military, are these incidents rare enough to simply reflect the same level of problems as in the general population?

  220. 222 f0rTyLeGz
    May 19, 2008 at 07:25

    Hi Bob,

    Many Westerners don’t have this notion of respect for magical things that some Muslims demand of non-believers. In democracies we debate every little belief and custom of our own, and of others. It is a free press we luxuriate in… as we are doing right here.

    Personally, I will always find it hard to “respect” any culture that treats their women like things, but their holy book as if it were a human being… a man human being.

  221. 223 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 07:56

    @FortyLegz

    I’d go as far as to say that MOST westerners don’t share or even understand the Islamic concept of respect for symbols. However, I don’t think that’s justification for going out of one’s way to show disrespect.. By all means discuss and debate–as we’re doing here–but this can be done without being “rude or aggressive” (to quote the rules of this blog). I'[d say that using a copy of the Quran for target practice was a deliberately provocative act that comes under the “rude and aggressive” category

    Forgetting the religious connotation for a moment, let’s say a bully in the playground grabs another child’s favourite teddy bear and tears its head off. Is that acceptable behaviour even in a society where we debate beliefs and customs? I’m not a believer in any organised religion myself, but I’d say the Quran shooting fails the “playground test”.

    As for the treatment of women under Islam, I’m personally in agreement with you. However, to coin a cliche, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Also, it’s also wrong to lump all “Islamic cultures” together–there are huge variations in the attitudes towards women from country to country.

  222. 224 Pangolin
    May 19, 2008 at 09:19

    @Quran and US military training.

    First, blaphemey is somewhat fashionable among certain US subcultures. That is ANY kind of blasphemy as there are those who are of the “nuke the gay whales for christ” opinion. Muslims should be thankful that there aren’t any remotely phallic Islamic symbols. To a certain degree I would say that the offense could have been a) intentional and b) casual. They would be just as glad to offend any other church, sect, belief, philosophy or artistic ethic.

    Second, the raw material that the US armed forces have to train is the pig-ignorant american teenager (I have one myself). I live in a college town and I must say I have seen some defiance of common sense by college students that beggars the imagination. Just for starters we can’t seem to communicate the idea that the train always wins and it can’t stop if you sit on the tracks drunk. Also if your roomate hasn’t moved for the last twelve hours he/she might be dead; please check. IMHO there is something very wrong with the two-working parent economic model.

    These kids are proud of the fact that they don’t read unless they are required to. The world around them is a magical place where lawns are mowed and food is placed in the stores by brownies while they sleep. A party is not a celebration of achievement but a payment of their due rights by their elders. Technology is essentially magic.

    If we send these children into your country expect something like really, really well armed football hooligans on three-day bender. Don’t anger us or we’ll send them to you next.

  223. 225 Virginia Davis
    May 19, 2008 at 09:27

    @Bob in Queensland

    You are quite right about the Irish and history. Too much. And not enough “moving on.” Living out in the country in Co Kerry during the summer of 1978, “the Great Hunger” of 1847 was talked about as if it had happened not too many years ago.

    As for the last 50 years, it all depends on who is telling the story. There are too many instances of British against Catholics to defend the point of view that there did not exist collusion and discrimination by “the securocrats.” Best to agree to let it be.

    You relate being well-traveled. Oregon is beautiful.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  224. 226 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 10:14

    Well, the BBC team seem to be at work and have posted their first talking points, so I’m going to bow out and treat myself to a glass of good Aussie wine and some dinner.

    On behalf of Abdelilah and myself I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to a spirited and entertaining weekend and, on a personal note, I’d like to thank Abdelilah for helping me through my first experience with moderating in WHYS.

    See you all online!

  225. 227 VictorK
    May 19, 2008 at 11:42

    Thanks Abdelilah and Bob for another great Page!

  226. 228 VictorK
    May 19, 2008 at 11:42

    @Virginia Davis: you claimed I wrote that the “IRA are terrorists because Britain was not acting against the Catholics of Ulster.” And went on to comment:
    “What media reports did you read? That statement is not true.”

    Of course, what I did in fact write was that “The IRA were terrorists because there was no state violence being used against the Catholic population of Ulster.” There was no campaign of intimidation of terrror by the British government against the Catholics of Ulster. That’s a simple fact. There were Protestant and Catholic paramilitaries perpetrating sectarian violence, but I take it that you understand the difference between an illegal militia and the state?

    @ Aida: The number of people who opine about Northern Ireland while having the sketchiest knowledge of the facts is remarkable.

    There was discrimination against Catholics in that province by the Protestant majority. They controlled the government of Northern Ireland because they were a majority (not because of conspiratorial nonsense about how “…they persuaded their Protestant bothers in the British Government to hold onto Ulster and accord them, the greater share of power in the New Northern Ireland”). Catholic demonstrations against that discrimination and for civil rights were the first stage of the troubles to come. Northern Ireland had not, prior to that time, been ‘mired’ in violence as you imagine.

    The British government imposed direct rule on Ulster (i.e. it stripped the Protestant majority of its right to continue ruling the province) in response to the growing violence between Catholics and Protestants there, because it had no confidence in the will of the Protestants – in light of their past record – to manage the situation with an degree of fairness, and also – ironically – to protect Catholics against Protestant paramilitaries. Throughout direct British rule there was a progressive dismantling of the discriminations and handicaps suffered by the Catholic minority, leading to the current position of power-sharing government. Anybody who thinks the British state was routinely inflicting violence against the Catholic minority is fantasising. The so-called ‘Bloody Sunday’ incident was a matter of imposing law and order in a critical situation, with unfortunate consequences due to human error, but was hardly an example of state terror.

    Even you cannot give any examples of ‘state violence’ against Ulster’s Catholic minority (and by ‘state’ I mean the British state). If your position is that discrimination and lack of civil rights justifies violence and murder then I’d suggest that you read up on the teachings of a countryman of yours by the name of Gandhi.

    The sub-text to your post and Virginia Davis’ has hostility to Britain. Yours, presumably, as an Indian and hers as, I believe, an African-American. It would be better if people did not comment on one issue on the basis of feelings they have about an entirely separate issue (British colonialism etc).

  227. 229 Ros Atkins
    May 19, 2008 at 12:49

    Great stuff Abdelilah and Bob – your hard work this weekend is appreciated. Let me know when you want to do it again.
    cheers,
    Ros

  228. 230 Jonathan Rasmussen
    May 19, 2008 at 13:12

    @ Abdelilah Boukili: You suggested Hugo Chavez might “hire a comedian” to insult foreign leaders rather than lower himself to that level of discourse.

    It occurs to me that we have one accomplished clown in the United States who will be looking for work in January. Perhaps he should send his resume to Venezuela and apply for the position….

  229. 231 Virginia Davis
    May 19, 2008 at 13:38

    @VictorK – You simply have a bias and use your own definitions to demonstrate that bias. From my point of view, my own bias, you are wrong and I am right.

    However that is too simplistic. I am not anti-British and as for my ancestry, it is Welsh and English.

    And to answer your insults on my thinking, I became an historian at Reed College here in Portland with an undergraduate degree in that subject

    I suspect you like the last word. Well, have at it then.

    Virginia in Portland, OR

  230. May 19, 2008 at 13:39

    There exist a world unspoken and unknown. It is a world that anything can happen to any one, pet or human and it never known but to the victims. Unspeakable crimes are committed and they are sanctioned. For almost everything you are told and programmed can not exist, it does.

    World War III is in it’s constant. Spies aware or unaware are committing every crime, even that impossible, germ warfare of human trojans, implanted human beings with radios committing whatever crime the government using them wishes with pure anonymity. Tsunamis, earthquakes and natural events are calculated and bombs inserted just a 100 feet below the surface are aligned and detonated to where they are man made. All of this exist because nuclear weapons can not be used.

    The mass of a countries propaganda demanded to be spoken and thought. That dictated by radio frequencies, on the internet, on the telephone, read in books, watched on DVD, VCR, in movies, in school text, wrote by individuals, spoken in conversation and the very items of thought are controlled items of information. The repetition of this dogma at every frequency of human involvement causes automatic synchronism for the majority. This includes all ones senses and involvement by the majority. People like me and that wrote by me, you are taught to ignore.

  231. May 19, 2008 at 14:02

    Sure Ros.
    It will always a pleasure to moderate the blank page again.
    Last weekend moderation with Bob from Australia was a big fun. We both enjoyed it.
    Also many thanks to all those who contributed with their suggestions of topics, responses to them or inquiries about clarifications.

  232. 234 Shirley
    May 19, 2008 at 14:04

    Hello Fortylegs,
    A brief note that the religion of Islam holds women in high esteem, even if so may Muslims do not.

  233. 236 Dennis
    May 19, 2008 at 14:34

    Thanks Bob and Abdelilah…..

    It was a fun and joyous weekend!

    Over 230+ postings ….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  234. 237 VictorK
    May 19, 2008 at 14:49

    @Virginia Davis: apologies for having mistaken your background. I thought you had said something about it on another thread. Perhaps it was a different Virginia.

    The substance of my point, though, was that claims of oppression of Ulster Catholics by the British state were untrue. Do you, as an historian, have any evidence to support such an allegation? Please share it if you do. I don’t think it’s a matter of my wanting to have the last word (though magnanimously conceding the last word to me is, I can’t help noticing, a useful tactic for slipping off the hook and not having to justify your claims). It’s about getting the facts right and challenging false or misleading statements.

    I will understand if you choose not to respond.

  235. 238 Bob in Queensland
    May 19, 2008 at 15:39

    @Ros

    Thanks for the kind words. I also enjoyed the weekend, especially working with Abdelilah. I’d be a pleasure to do it again when you need us…though maybe a few weekends off might be a good idea family-wise!

  236. 239 Virginia Davis
    May 19, 2008 at 16:31

    Again, your bias is that Ulster Catholics were not oppressed by the British government. This bias is contradicted by housing patterns, by “walls” separating nationalist and loyalist neighborhoods. This bias is contradicted by employment statistics in the police forces and in the shipyards.

    My bias is that “the British securocrats” supported the status quo which the loyalists sought to maintain and which the nationalists sought to change.

    This allegation of bias in Belfast, for example, can be demonstrated physically/geographically in the distribution of housing and statistically by the overwhelming numbers of loyalists employed going into and continuing until ten or so years ago in the police forces and in the shipyards.

    For current issues of concern from a Republican point of view I suggest you look at some of the major stories at the Sinn Fein website.

    As Henry Ford said: “History is bunk.” What is important is today and tomorrow.

    Virginia in Oregon


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