Tuesday, August 15, 2006
- over a million Lebanese civilians displaced, many to return to destroyed homes and communities
- over 1,000 Lebanese dead, the majority civilians (of all political and religious backgrounds)
- over 3,500 seriously wounded
- Red Cross vehicles, UN outpost and hospitals deliberately targeted...
... in all the numbers above, UNICEF has been estimating about a third are children.
Oh, the major roads, bridges, power stations, docks, airports and other infrastructure - bombed to small pieces.
What was accomplished? Is Hezbollah gone and fnished? Seems like they're stronger than ever and now a majority of Lebanese people support them (from a small minority in June). Is there a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian State question? No. Are Israeli citizens (who also should not be targets) safe from future rocket or suicide bomb attacks? No.
Maybe it's time to try something else. Maybe it's time to elect a new US government. Maybe it's time to put money and political pressure into a solution for people rather than political posturing for leaders and states. Maybe it's time to stop state-sponsored violence when states simply name the enemy 'terrorists'. Maybe it's time for millions of us to hit the streets and scream.
Maybe it's time to give peace a chance.
personally, i would prefer it if they used the more secular terms, ''crimes'' and ''criminals''; a better discrimination is required.
Sometimes I wonder how we call ourselves civilized.
yes, inclusion is the right way forward, not exclusion.
it's like that word ''extremism'' - what does it mean? i know what we'd like it to mean today, something intrinsically bad, possibly evil. it's merely semantics - extremism could be a movement for good. in the early part of the last century, socialists would be regarded as extremists.
good debate, no rant. :o)
I guess the "something new" has to be completely anti government, no - not in the form of a hot headed rebel, no - not taking up arms or such crap... we ned to become "anti government" by becoming "pro-local".
In other words, we have to invest in our local communities, make them important and more self sufficient and tell the government to serve us if they wish and forget about ruling us altogether.
But it wouldn't clean up the mess we've already created for ourselves as a world. What a web of deceit and violence.
You Yanks should work to install a more reasonable government - it may be discouraging and easy to think nothing might change, but it would. Do you think Al Gore would be doing what George Bush is doing today? Even slippery old Bill Clinton looks like a frigging saint these days.
Hey, we want to love America - we can make up really fast if things move to more sanity. Same goes for Britain Ian - give Tony a golden handshake and move to a less rigid place and we're back to waving at the Queen (I still do of course, just love the old bird.)
Zee and Madcap - I'm a big supporter of building community through local action and cooperation - it has the potential to affect the big picture as well. In the end the politicians act on what will keep them elected...
And, no, Al Gore wouldn't. He's got SENSE. That's why I voted for him.
btw, the monarchy is a bit of an anachronism though, isn't it? i mean, bless 'em, they seem a decent bunch at the moment but it's all in the luck of the draw - undemocratic.
with regards to local politics, in Britain at least, if there's one thing universally considered doing a worse job than government, it's local councils! also, i can't help thinking that local self-sufficiency will create more of the ''us and them'' mentality that already exists with facilities, healthcare, housing and employment (etc.) and what of our large immigrant communities in certain regions? you're in danger of enforcing the perception of ''ghettos'' and ''no-go'' areas. i'd be afraid it would be a step in the wrong direction, a direction away from integration and assimilation and more towards cultural instability.
I think wars are about resources/money. The present war is primarily about oil. Oil fuels the world as we know it, people travelling from everywhere to everywhere. A life of living locally uses far less oil and other resources in order to sustain itself, which would take away the drive behind these attempts to conquer.
I don't think that a push towards local sustainability will effect social relations negatively. Actually, I suspect that unless we stop galloping through resources like we are, it's going to become a very bitter war just for enough to feed ourselves, very much "us against them".
I can't help but cast back to Austria and Germany in the late 1800s, early 1900s. They were very urbane, intellectual, artistic, broad-minded cultures, and yet within a few decades everything had disintegrated and the Holocaust was ushered in. They didn't lack for exposure to the broader world, so I can't help but think that hate has more to do with innate human nature than with a lack of global experience.
The internet changes the whole picture. To be able to share information with people around the world, and understand where they're coming from, that's an incredible tool for building welcoming societies and communities without burning through vast amounts of petroleum.
I think we need both: strong local and regional activism and to work at national and international politics (even if just to vote). Our community of Nelson (about 20,000 in and around) has a cooperaative health centre; a cooperative bank; a cooperative natural food store (5,000 members); a cooperative affordable housing society; a cooperative social service agency and many activists in the environment, land use and poverty sectors. (By cooperative, I mean owned, operated and run by members, all non-profit).
These things really are slowly changing the way it works here. Politicians who ignore all this people-power are getting bit in the behind.
but i fully agree about the ecological issues of energy conservation. there is no reason to waste energy.
For instance, if my town has it's own water station/treatment facility, then if there's a disaster with the water quality 6kms down the road in the next community we're in a far better position to be helpful than if we're all on the same waterline.
it's all very well a neighbouring community being in a good position to help but would it readily do so? before it could, it would have to consider its own position first, the democratic view of its members, the co-owners. there's no guarantee they'll be obliging. fundamentally, it's privatisation of essential resources.
The water question is very close to home. Unfortunately (in my view) our local water treatment serves an area approximately 200 kms in all directions. There are probably 1.25 million people all depending on the same water treatment facility system. If something goes wrong, ALL of us have contaminated water. I believe we've set ourselves up to be widely vulnerable to Nature or malice.
So, my husband and I are looking for a house with an independent water supply (a well and preferably a rainwater cistern, too). Would we supply our neighbours in a crisis? Yes. But we also encourage other people to collect rainwater, too, or dig wells if they have the property to do so. That's just acknowledging that if something can go wrong, it will, and being prepared as best you can. Not keeping all your eggs in one basket.
As for self-sufficiency, it may be easier to conceive of in western Canada than in the UK. I live in the Columbia River Basin - an area that is certainly as large as 'most' of England I suspect. There are 150,000 people here.
Where we live, outside Nelson, (come on over Chive and Madcap), the City has its own hydro system, with our own dam (1895), we get our water from a community managed water system (60 homes), heat mainly with wood in an environmentally sound stove and as noted above, cooperative structures abound. Now, if it comes to it, food production will be tough (especially for me!).
I don't mention this stuff as a 'survivalist', as I actually think mankind will continue to stumble through change and adjust as we go. I'm not a believer in the big disaster overnight theory of it all. But regional self-sufficiency does offer the ability for people to affect their own environment and society and to be part of changing the larger system.
As the Nelson Brewing Company slogan says: THINK GLOBALLY - DRINK LOCALLY!
Ian I was trying to pronounce it this way: MORE self-sufficient local communities.
Gary, the ending of your last comment rings a bell - it's a pseudo-punk-folk-rock-nonsense group I'm thinking about. Their name is Gogol Bordello, a sweet outfit. They have a song called: "Think locally, fuck globally".
Don't know if they ment to say Love globally and misspelled it somehow... or if they just wanted to say "fuck the globalization craze".
Either way works for me I guess.
By the way, the lead singer from Gogol plays a great role in the movie EVERYTHING ILLUMINATED. Fine film too.
Did you notice that Hezbollah got relief supplies in faster than the US got relief supplies in for the people after katrina? That's why their popularity is growning, they provide what the people need.
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