Talking Points for July 28

Good Morning from Priya in London. Thank you ZK and Katharina for the weekends massive blank page.

A few ideas for today’s programme:

2 explosions in Istanbul have killed 16 in what was already going to be a tense week for the country. The Turkish Constitutional Court begins deliberating today on whether the ruling AK Party has engaged in Islamist activities and should be closed.

The issue is whether the popular, democratically elected government is too religious, too Islamic, and therefore anti-Turkish. If found guilty, the party currently in power could be banned.

Arguably Turkey has taken it’s biggest leap forward since it was founded by Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Prime Minister Erdogan has forced through legislation improving individual rights, womens rights and the rule of law in country once notorious for its coups, all this despite being an ‘Islamist’.

So, is it true that religion is incompatible with democracy? Are religious governments better or worse than secular ones?


More die in blasts in Iraq. With talk of withdrawals of foreign troops, and attention turning to Afghanistan, what is it like to live in Iraq? If it is safer, is it safe enough? We’ve talked about it before, but I’d like to hear from Iraqis all over Iraq…

This US journalist complains that the truth is still being hidden… 


Is downloading music for free immoral? Should culture be free? Or is it stealing? And from whom?


Should the healthcare you receive be dependent on your lifestyle?
If you smoke, or drink, or eat junk food or if you engage in high risk activity (be it free running, mountain climbing or promiscuous unprotected sex), should you be entitled to the same healthcare as the people who do make efforts to look after themselves?


Karadzic and al Bashir, both accused of genocide, both got very different reactions… here is an article on the subject that I thought was interesting.

And if the Karadzic himself is no longer at large, has he ultimately succeeded in his separatist dream? While they rejoice that the “Osama bin Laden of Europe” is caught, how culpable is the international community for keeping his dream alive?

43 Responses to “Talking Points for July 28”

  1. July 28, 2008 at 09:19

    It has to be said thaat democracy is not institutionized merely by a change in regime. Atleast we all have realized that given the developments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iraqis and Afghans are the through wheels of democracy. Imposing a puppet regimes in these countries has only deepened the conflict. America has already failed.

  2. 2 John in Germany
    July 28, 2008 at 09:35

    In no way do i condone terrorists, or terrorist actions, but cannot stop a question from running through my mind.

    Could it be that, people are getting fed up with the rhetoric of the politicians, followed by-No Action. Of course maiming and killing is not the answer, but throwing words and promises at us. Appeasing despots and such, with no action, can cause violent ready persons to act, with the results that we have seen over the last few days in Turkey and India.

    Most of us are sick and tired of smart people grinning at us from the TV, promising us the world, and just giving us lies. People that coldly and calculating stand by and watch their own Dying from brutality, sickness and hunger. Because no one cares, and if they do they are not allowed to act. (Burma).

    Thank heaven that some do follow their words with actions, and do care. To those we can say thank you. To the others, have you a conscience?, can you live with yourself in peace?, or does your drive for power kill your self respect, and respect for others?.

    John in Germany.

  3. July 28, 2008 at 09:36

    Concerning the blast in Istanbul,i think it is naive to always attribute violent activities to Islam. Those who use religion to instill violence are devilish.

  4. 4 Pangolin- California
    July 28, 2008 at 09:41

    I must say I am saddened to see bombings spread to nations where they are not familiar and frustrated at the attacks on the Shia pilgrims in Iraq. Honoring peaceful pilgrimages was a long tradition in many societies and to see it desecrated shames everybody.

    On food prices I was shocked to see bulk brown rice at over $1 US per pound at the local market yesterday. Dry beans were also generally over $1 per pound with only lentils and dried peas under. My county exports massive amounts of rice and yet this is the local price.

    What this means for the poorer people in the world who have to purchase imported grains for daily survival is severe. I’m not sure what could be done as very many people do not have access to soil and water to supplement purchased foods with home gardens. Where is your government on food price inflation?

  5. 5 Mohammed Ali
    July 28, 2008 at 09:53

    @religious and secular government: religious governments are wicked, do not have values for human life. They blindly some antique and unreasonable laws written by some unknown men. Secular government is the best for any country. It takes human values high, it adapts to present day reality, protects people regardless of which religion, sex, creed, etc you belong.

  6. 6 Jack Hughes
    July 28, 2008 at 10:00

    We hear a lot about the “international community”. Can someone define this please ?

    Am I part of this “community” ? Some people expect a lot from me if I am.

  7. 7 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 10:09

    Religion and democracy are best when kept away from each other. Religious goverments under the guise of democracy have no real concern for the rights of their citizens as seen by numerous examples all over the world. Though secular democratic goverments are not necessarily better because of abuse of the democratic process in some certain instances, state and religion should be separated.

  8. 8 Mohammed Ali
    July 28, 2008 at 10:10

    @health care, this should be equal for all person regardless of one’s life style. No matter we do, everyone cannot be compel to live the same life style. What may seem a bad life style for one person may be good for another person.

  9. 9 Roberto
    July 28, 2008 at 10:45

    Religion and democracy are best when kept away from each other.

    ——– Turkey wrestling with this very problem.

    Courts will apparently be ruling on whether the AKP party, considered an Islamic party, is to be banished. AKP recieved 46% of the vote in the last election. Abdullah Gül is the head of the party and current president of Turkey.

    Don’t know much about the politics of Turkey except to know things get brutal there and like Mexico, I doubt it’s been a representative democracy.

    Whole world walking on egg shells around bombed out terrorist strikes trying to deal with the global Islamic reformation/civil war.

  10. 10 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 11:12

    @Jack: ‘international community ‘ means ‘the West’, at least when money, food aid and troops are needed. Also when blame is to be handed out.

    But I suspect you already knew that.

  11. 11 John in Germany
    July 28, 2008 at 11:19

    Religions have been the biggest cause of wars since the beginning of mankind.
    Because we tend to become radical over our religious, or non religious believes, and our political inclination.

    It would be nice if they could be kept out of politics but it wont work (look at Turkey).

    John in Germany

  12. 12 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 11:19

    Of course religion is compatible with democracy, since democracy is simply machiney. The question misses the real point about democracy. To quote Norman Davies:

    “Hitler’s democratic triumph exposed the true nature of democracy. Democracy has few values of its own: it is as good, or bad, as the principles of the people who operate it. In the hands of liberal and tolerant people, it will produce a liberal and tolerant government; in the hands of cannibals, a government of cannibals. In Germany of 1933—4 it produced a Nazi government because the prevailing culture of Germany’s voters did not give priority to the exclusion of gangsters.”

    The neocon aspiration to democratise the Middle East was (is?) lunatic because it was plain enough to anyone who wasn’t a dogmatist that democracy, for most of that region’s states, would lead to Talibanesque government. Those governments would have been just as democratic as any other.

    Democracy is a means, not an end, and not something to be worshipped in its own right. Undemocracy, in some circumstances, can also be good.

  13. 13 Jack Hughes
    July 28, 2008 at 11:21

    @Priya – you wrote

    “how culpable is the international community for keeping his [Karadzic’s] dream alive?”

    “Culpable” means blameworthy. Who do you mean ? Who do you blame ?

  14. 14 Katharina in Ghent
    July 28, 2008 at 11:55

    @ Victor:

    This debate is not about democracy or not, this is about which place religion should have in a government, democratic or not.

    My answer is that religion should not have any place in a government. This is not about religious freedom but about the possibility to hold the government accountable or not (which admittedly is easier in a democracy). If your political leader starts claiming that God/The Scriptures have instructed him to do certain things, then he can impose almost anything he wants because it’s “divine”.

    If there is not God, then the ruler is lying, if there is a God, then he has given us humans all the means to govern ourselves. Religion should stay out of the government.

  15. 15 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 12:16

    @Katharina in Ghent July 28, 2008 at 11:55 am
    One of the questions was whether religion was incompatible with democracy. That’s what my point was addressing.

    There is a very unforutnate tendency to conflate all creeds under the head ‘religion’, as if there weren’t huge cultural differences between different faiths. A religion that is committed to subjugating those of another faith and a religion that is committed to peace and love for people of all faiths are going to have very different conseques for democracy. Democracy+Islam=unpleasantness (e.g. Algeria). Democracy+Other Faiths=?

    In any case, there is only one religion whose supporters say it must permeate every single aspect of society, cannot therefore be separated from the state, and who reject secular democracy as heretical, one religion whose bearing on democracy is a significant issue in the world today. The question would have been more to the point if it had focused on the relationship between Islam and democracy.

    Turkey’s problem is that it has a secular elite, opposed to Islam, who are the custodians of the country’s equally anti-Islamic Kemalist traditions. The Turkish people seem to be increasingly religious, and in this they have ‘democracy’ on their side (which is why one of the questions is simply false).

  16. 16 Robert
    July 28, 2008 at 12:24

    Religion as an institution should not be involved with democracy. Democracy is about debate and points of view. Religion has one set of law, those of God, no debate, no room for intepretation. The two are therefore incompatable.

    If religous people want to take part in democracy then I am all for it. To work at its best democracy needs to have input from all concerned and faith has as much right to speak as others. The right to speak doesn’t mean the democracy must do as they say, but needs to at least consider it before accepting or rejecting he proposal.

  17. 17 selena
    July 28, 2008 at 12:27

    “In any case, there is only one religion whose supporters say it must permeate every single aspect of society, cannot therefore be separated from the state, and who reject secular democracy as heretical, one religion whose bearing on democracy is a significant issue in the world today.”


  18. 18 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 12:38

    Selena: please be serious.

  19. 19 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 12:44

    Selena simply stated the obvious. Turn on your Television or Radio. Log on to any news its there. What selena said is a statement of fact.

  20. 20 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 12:47

    Nelsoni: eh?

    What are you talking about?

    Examples, please.

  21. 21 Roberto
    July 28, 2008 at 12:51

    Religions have been the biggest cause of wars since the beginning of mankind.

    ————- Would’ve thought this old wive’s tale put to rest a long time ago.

    Wars are territorial disputes and have been going on tens of thousands of years before written history. Religion, race, tribe, clan, nations, economics just tools to organize the brigades and raiding parties.

  22. 22 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 12:56

    Victork13. Giving you answers will just veer all of us off the talking point and I would not want to do that. I think Selena’s post was more of a rhetorical question.

  23. 23 John in Germany
    July 28, 2008 at 12:56

    Even the most basic religions, has interfered in the way of life of many people.

    Even the most peaceful of religions interfere in the political life, sometimes to the good, mostly for their own ends, and good.

    God be with you all.

    John in Germany.

  24. July 28, 2008 at 12:59

    Actually, political parties and the concept of right and left have been the cause of the present day wars.

  25. 25 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 13:07

    Nelsoni: if you can’t support a claim then that’s a good reason not to make it.

    Selena’s post was simply wrong and mischievous (as I think she knew). Yours took it seriously, supported it, said it was obvious, alleged that there was documented proof of it.

    And when asked to substantiate an obvious point which the radio and television is full of, you start making excuses?

    Let’s try to converse like adults here, with some regard to truth, logic and evidence.

  26. 26 nelsoni
    July 28, 2008 at 13:34

    Victork13, I chose not to respond to you because I have no intention of turning the Blog into a two way argument. Selena’s post was a rhetorical question. So let’s it leave at that and focus on the talking points. Further posts from you to me on this subject will be ignored.

  27. 27 victork13
    July 28, 2008 at 13:52

    Aaaah, Nelsoni!

    Did you see my advice to Tom about blogging?

    Leave behind your resentment about some long-forgotten (at least by me) post in which I said something that enraged you, and focus on the conversation before us. That would be the adult way to conduct matters.

    I feel tempted to set up a seperate thread on the art of being a competent blogger.

    Blogging to say that you’re not going to say anything is so odd!

    At least you have the satisfaction of saying you’ll ignore me.

  28. 28 Dennis
    July 28, 2008 at 14:00

    Congrats! to Priya….

    It is sad the Turkey, had the bombings over
    the weekend..And the Turkish authorities, will
    do the correct thing, and not start accusing
    parties, countries and or other people for what

    Iraq: it will continued, with the foreign troops in iraq or not in the country.

    Karadzic: he will be going to the international court of justice very shortly, in reference, maybe weeks not years….

    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  29. 29 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 14:09

    Hi guys, did you hear the news of the effect of the current crude oil crises on some europian companies and economies during the 6.00am (gmt) on the bbc this morning? did you hear what the politician and the businessman on the programme said? Is it any dfifferent from what I started talking about yesterday on this site? This is what I thought we would pick up and talk on but once again no. I thank Jesus Christ once more for our membership on this site because John from germany just said it all that the POLITICIANS are just feeding us with rhetorics and not prepared to take ACTIONS to stop,rectify or remedy the various situations? Now the big question is should we sit down unconcerned and allow them to continue to treat as like fools? Please, guys let’s wake up and begin to hold them accountable and if we find them not performing we sack them. In this new order we must not only talk about the news but must make sure by our collective efforts that the correct thing is done. Talking alone is the old order of jounalism. The new order demands from us that we get involved to implement policies that are good for mankind. To say we can only talk about it and leave it there for the policy makers to take it up and implement is fast fading as the way forward for today’s jounalism. We must start getting involved to demonstrate the practicality of the ideas we by our strategic positioning gather quite easily. In this direction I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the bbc for the news about the admission of the japanese version of cycling into the olympics. It is a step in the right direction but I’d want the bbc to go deeper into this scandal. The cycling association chairman is being economical with the truth. But we(the bbc) owes it as a duty to get to the bottom of this scandal. And I’m telling you that you’d find nothing but greed and corruption at the bottom of it. Guys, we must start standing up to be counted for the progress of humanity under democracy otherwise we would have ourselves to be blamed when democracy itself is pushed aside as the accepted norm of governance in the near future.

  30. 30 Lubna
    July 28, 2008 at 14:27

    My dearest Priya : Salaam… Unfortunately most Iraqis are still till now PRISONERS OF FEAR despite the fact that the security situation on the ground all over the country has significantly improvement since rather a long period of time… Those terrorist attacks that have taken place earlier today causing tens and tens of civilian Iraqi casualties in both Baghdad (in my beloved district Al Karradah) and Kirkuk have come to show us ordinary Iraqis that it’s still rather a long time a head of us before we can feel fully safe and pursue our daily lives in a way which is as close to normal as possible… Since a while I always keep asking myself this question : ” Why are we ordinary Iraqis still till now prisoners of fear despite the current significant improvement in the security situation on the ground all over Iraq ?!”… Well, may be it’s those sporadic terrorist attacks occuring from time to time in Iraq that can be the answer to my question, may be… Baghdad in particular and Iraq in general have been dressed in black since yesterday to commemorate the annual Hijri anniversary of the martyrdom of the 5th generation grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Al Imam Mosa Al Kadhem, the seventh Imam in Shia Islam… The security situation down here in Baghdad has been pretty tense since yesterday, and extremely tight security measures are being imposed on the ground by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces‏, most main roads and bridges in Baghdad are being blocked since yesterday‏… May dear Allah protect us all, Amen ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  31. 31 John in Germany
    July 28, 2008 at 15:16

    HI Alveraz.
    Bosnia? and on top of that do you know a church that is left?. i do not, unless by convenience.
    Before i am accused of being atheist, which i am not, the following,. Religions are not perfect they are run by people.,and they certainly mix in politics at all levels.

    Some of the Blogers here are profis, and we should be able to learn from them, i mean us green,uns. One i note has his own Blogers page, so he should be perfect.
    i enjoy reading all of your comments, only agree with half, but can live with that.
    But remember we are humans as well, and can easily get snobby, and one sided until we get a good jog from the Top.

    John in Germany

  32. 32 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 15:38

    my heartfelt condolences to the family of all the victims of these bombings. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.

  33. 33 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 15:42

    the world is now paying for the irrational decision of one man in anger(bush). He even went ahead to doctor intelligent information about iraq just to invade it and look at the cost to us all today. But my question is really this can one pay a ransom for the life on another? no amount, not even all the money in this world can pay for the life of one human being, as far as I am concerned.

  34. 34 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 15:45

    Now we have another one like him only that he is on the democrats side now. Jesus, please save us we are pleading unless in your own divine wisdom you are really bringing everything to an end.

  35. 35 John in Germany
    July 28, 2008 at 16:05

    Sorry to leave you on your own kpellyhezekiah.
    But here in old Germany it time for the evening meal. On top of that we have Schutzenfest (translates in my computer to shooting match, not really right but it will do)in the area where i live.

    A point before i go, Sadly we don’t need Jesus’s help, we can manage that on our own without any trouble.

    Have a nice evening. or whatever the old clock dictates.

    John in Germany.

  36. 36 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 16:14

    last week on bbc WHYS programme there was the discussion as to why obama was not being criticised. Well I am one person who has been critisising him ever since I started hearing and reading from him. Since he started his race with clinton, I’ve seen in him a man who is totally inexperienced to assume the presidency of the US and the events in iraq today proves so. I want mr.obama to answer these questions of mine. “Sir, please, are you going to pull the US troops out of iraq within 18 months after you assume office and leave the ordinary iraqis to continue to live in a perpetual state of fear of terrorism so that they cannot go about their ordinary daily businesses of life in peace and tranquility?” Is iraq going to end up like somalia that the US pulled out of leaving that poor country in its sorry state up to today? The problem of iraq is not the pulling out of the US but how that country can go forward in peace and good governance(I’ll prefer they choose democrary) so that they can contribute to the progress of mankind.

  37. July 28, 2008 at 16:16

    Hi Akbar here in Tehran
    Religion is not incompatible with democracy or parliamentary rule so long as it is pushed into the background.
    You go to Church on Sundays or you don’t! No one asks why you were absent. That is the Church of England.
    Catholicism unfortunately is not so lax. People living in Spain, Italy or France or threfore less happy.
    Judaism is probably the only religion to have survived to this day and is the cornerstone of the Bible. The 613 precepts of Moses are valid for Muslims.
    Shia religion, if indeed there is such a thing, is so full of fetish, folklore and superstition that it has clearly deviated from orthodox belief. As we have it in Iran, it is an unbearable tyranny that should be abolished, lock, stock and barrel.

  38. 38 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 16:26

    the whole world is now paying for the cost of the war in iraq. This is the bottom line and the whole truth about the current high crude oil costs and its final products to consumers the world over. It is all because of the irrational dicision of bush who against all advice from Germany,Frace,etc to desist, went ahead. Guys the US is paying through its nose and we all have been drawn into it. My first clue was given me by no ordinary person but my own present head of state mr. Kuffour who said the world must help the US to come out of its economic crisis. Guys, this politicians think we are kids. Something and quite a lot can be done about the present high cost of crude”s final cost to we the consumers.

  39. 39 kpellyhezekiah
    July 28, 2008 at 16:53

    can someone tell me the quantity of crude oil that iraq was producing daily before the invassion by the US and what it is producing today? Basic economics tells us that when supply is reduced in a market where there is a growth in demand price naturally rises. But the real question is should we the final consumers be paying the incredible prices we are paying for it now?

  40. July 28, 2008 at 17:00

    Religion is great for ruling souls in the “here after”

    No one knows whether the Gods or one big God is Good or very savage. There seems to be widening proof that who ever figured out the food chain and evolution has nothing to do with kindness and goodness.

    Religions and their earthly representatives have lately been proving quite vividly that they are all quite strange and do more to spread death and savagery upon mankind …….. than anything else.

    In a gentle way please note and see that those of us here in simple, humble persuits observe that there are devils that hide in robes and prey upon young boys and girls to find sexual pleasure, (Christian leaders). Then there are the wonderful bearded ones who inspire honor killings, castration of young women, and killing of all infidels and Islamic people who do not see things exactly the way they perceive the rules of the great unknown to be the way they perceive TRUTH. They do not cast a good light on the religious road to enlightenment.

    I say to all those deep knee benders: have the common decentcy to go quietly blow yourself up in order to make a statement about your beloved Allah. Do it without bothering any innocent citizens of the earth trying to struggle to simply raise their families. Please leave life and living to those who deserve to live, love, laugh, and enjoy their fellow citizens on earth.

    You wierd ones……go find your reward in the here after as quickly as you can. If there really is a God or some entity that cares, he or it would greatly appreciate you goodness at getting out of the way and leaving air, water, food, and lifely pleasures to those who more readily appreciate it.


  41. 41 Katharina in Ghent
    July 28, 2008 at 18:52

    @ Victor:

    You want examples of Christianity influencing politics? How about this: Ireland, where a simple divorce was impossible until a few years ago because the church said so; where pregnant women had to “travel” to England to have an abortion, where birth control was unheard of until recently etc. As much as I abhor muslim extremism, Christianity used to be no better, we just managed to shrug it off.

  42. 42 selena
    July 28, 2008 at 20:05

    Christianity set out to conquer the world and did. Bringing the word of Jesus to the heathens has been high priority for two thousand years.

    George Bush believes he is doing God’s work. Tony Blair was a Bush follower. Do you think Bush is not mixing his religion with politics? The saga continues!

    Does the history of Christianity not tell a tale of a religion that believes itself superior and has a mission to bring all people to Christ?

    Why wouldn’t other religions behave the same?

  43. 43 Roberto
    July 28, 2008 at 22:59

    Christianity set out to conquer the world and did.

    ——- Oh, the rhetorical hue and cry.

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