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Archive for the tag “Gaza”

Been through this movie before?

I’ve just “shared” three appeals for peace on Facebook — one from a Christian, one from a Muslim, one from a Jew.

People say that “religion” is responsible for most of the violent conflict in the world, so how come it is the secular politicians who are fanning the flames of conflict in the world, while is is the “religious” people who are calling for peace?

Remember what happened 100 years ago tomorrow?

19140804I’ve just been reading about it in this book, an hour by hour account of that day, with what led up to it, and the aftermath. Come tomorrow, when I’ve finished the book, I’ll review it (now finished, review here)  but what disturbs me is that nothing has changed. While the world media’s spotlight is on Gaza this week, they haven’t stopped killing people in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. Three civil wars and a quasi civil war in Gaza.

But what are the world’s politicians doing about it? Are they trying to urge the warring parties to get together and try to find a peaceful solution? No, they are grandstanding and making threats against each other, just as they did a century ago. Back then it was called jingoism, and it’s much the same to day.

We don’t want to fight
But By Jingo! if we do
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the guns
we’ve got the money too.

What can ordinary people do to promote peace when the politicians of the world’s most powerful nations are in the driving seat and driving in top gear to hell?

For what it’s worth, here are some of the appeals for peace:

But what is happening?

With Syria buried in the news, hopes fade for ending world’s bloodiest war | Al Jazeera America

What are other countries doing? Supplying arms to the combatants, that’s what.

Church leaders express concern about the sabre-rattling rhetoric: Statement by the diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in Australia regarding the situation in Ukraine:

The Church is concerned that much of the rhetoric appearing in the media is biased and ill-informed; based upon the geo-political aspirations of certain stakeholders, which can only lead to further conflict and, God forbid, outright war.

And even some retired politicians recognise the danger — Ex-chancellor Schmidt slams EU over Ukraine – The Local:

Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt said on Friday the Ukraine standoff recalls the lead-up to World War I and blamed the “megalomania” of EU bureaucrats for sparking the crisis.

For the moment, these are separate conflicts, but remember that the Second World War started when a lot of separate smaller conflicts coalesced into one big one — Italy versus Ethiopia, Japan versus China, Germany versus Poland. And suddenly it became a free-for-all.

Can we learn the lessons of history, before it’s too late?

 

 

 

One of the reasons that I am concerned about the Israel-Palestine conflict is that one of the effects of it is to drive Christians out of the part of the world where Christianity started. But like other conflicts it illustrates the poison of competing nationalisms. There are also parallels with the disintegration of Yugoslavia — also the result of competing nationalisms, which were fanned by bigger nations, as predicted by Samuel Huntington.

Clarissa's Blog

A nuclear power is waging an endless war on a tiny area that wants to gain its freedom from the big and powerful neighbor. There is a forced and cruel displacement of people from the lands they have inhabited forever, a genocide. The nuclear power is using anti-Muslim sentiments to consolidate the persecution of the people who fight for independence. The inhabitants of the small area are using terrorism to defend their right to independence, bringing their acts of terror into the very heart of the powerful conqueror. The appalling poverty plagues the people who have almost lost all hope for having a state of their own. The land has been destroyed by endless war.

Of course, you must have realized by now that I’m talking about Russia and Chechnya, right?

As the recent flare-up of the conflict between Israel and Palestine intensifies, everybody is plastering their Facebook pages, blogs…

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Turkish autopsies reveal aid workers shot from behind

Turkish autopsies reveal aid activists shot from behind:

On Friday, the Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine released preliminary autopsy results for the nine Turkish men killed in the Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara. The findings have generated almost as much controversy as has Israel’s actions. The results show five of the dead were shot in the back of the head or in the back, reported the Guardian. They were all shot at close range, and most were shot multiple times, with 30 bullets found in the bodies of the nine men. A British citizen who witnessed the raid first hand told the Guardian Israel appeared to have a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy.

The British government’s response to this has been muted, perhaps because of the behaviour of British police in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Gaza clash of civilizations gets most media coverage

Though its originator died last year, the media coverage given to the Gaza conflict shows that the “clash of civilizations” thesis put forward by Professor Samuel Huntington is still valid.

The Guardian reported Ugandan rebels kill scores of civilians in Congo and Sudan:

Between last Friday and Sunday, rebel fighters killed 13 people in attacks on three villages in north-east Congo. A spokesman for the Congolese army said tracking the rebels, who are renowned for their bush skills, was difficult due to the lack of roads in the area. The worst attack occurred at Nagero, the headquarters of Garamba national park, where the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, was believed to be hiding. Among the eight victims were two park rangers and the wives of two wardens.

Kony, a self-proclaimed mystic, began his rebellion in northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni in the late 1980s, but soon turned on the local population. More than 20,000 people, mostly children, were kidnapped, becoming sex slaves, porters or fighters. At least 10,000 people died, while 1.6 million were forced into displacement camps.

But by far the greater media coverage is given to the intercivilizational conflict in Gaza, whereas the one in central Africa is intracivilizational, and therefore attracts less media attention.

Where there is a local conflict that does not involve different civilisations, there is less interest and participation by other countries – in Rwanda or the Congo, for example. Though other countries have become involved either in supporting one side or the other in the conflict or in trying to bring about peace between the belligerent parties, these are usually neighbouring countries from the same civilisation.

Huntington likened the different civilizations to geological tectonic plates, and predicted that most conflicts, and the most severe ones, would take place on the “fault lines” between civilizations. Gaza is on one of the fault lines, and the north-east Congo is not.

Congo church massacre: witnesses

Though the death toll and the destructiveness has been comparable, the conflict going on on the borders of Uganda, Sudan and the DRC has had far less media coverage than the comparable conflict of Israel and Gaza. This tends to confirm the “clash of civilizations thesis of Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, who died last week.

The Times – Congo church massacre: witnesses:

Attackers hacked to death scores of people who sought refuge at a Catholic church in remote eastern Congo the day after Christmas, officials and witnesses said on Monday, and the Ugandan army and a rebel group accused each other of carrying out the massacre.

Survivors and witnesses said the killings occurred close to Congo’s border with Sudan, near to where the armies of those two countries and Uganda began an offensive this month to root out the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, according to Ugandan army spokesman Capt. Chris Magezi.

A UN spokesman, Ivo Brandau, said 120 homes were set ablaze in the area and that thousands of people have fled for fear of further attacks.

The latest massacre is part of an upsurge of violence that has lasted a week. The Times – LRA rebels rampage in Congo:

Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels killed almost 200 people in a campaign in northeast Congo, a UN agency said in a report released Monday.

Since December 25, the rebels have killed 40 people in the Faradje district, 89 around Doruma and 60 in the Gurba area alone, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Professor Huntington argued that in the post-cold-war world, violent conflict would come not from ideological friction between nations, but from cultural and religious differences among the world’s major civilizations.

He identified those civilizations as Western (including the United States and Europe), Latin American, Islamic, African, Orthodox (with Russia as a core state), Hindu, Japanese, “Sinic” (including China, Korea and Vietnam) and Jewish.

While not every conflict since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s has been a conflict between civilisations, it is the inter-civilisational clashes that get the most media coverage. The Lord’s Resistance Army represents a conflict within the African civilisation, even though it crosses national borders. It therefore draws less media coverage than the Israel-Palestine one in Gaza, even though the number of deaths is roughly the same.

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