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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Some war...

Photo from: Israeli attack on Qana that claimed nearly 100 civilian victims.

Okay, a month or so passes:
- 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.

My reaction: standing up and clapping for your words. Esp. when I read "maybe it's time to elect a new US government".
Time for peace , to give it a chance !!
best wishes
I agree with a change of regime--Bush has done nothing but destabilize the entire world, He gave Israel the green light to do what it did to civilians. I am tired of anyone the US disagrees with or fights being called a terrorist. I would love to see peace, but I wonder how that will happen even with an Administration change--too much of the world now distrusts and depises the US. That will take a while to rebuild.
we could do with joined-up foreign policy: we can't have our delegates going into these situations to broker a peace agreement while Monkey Boy and the Poodle are going on TV still spouting about 'axis of evil' and islamic terrorists.

personally, i would prefer it if they used the more secular terms, ''crimes'' and ''criminals''; a better discrimination is required.
Well, the problem is that if they used "crimes" and "criminals", they would have to include themselves. However, I am no fan of Hezbollah or any organization (terrorist or not) that espouses extremism. That only causes trouble.

Sometimes I wonder how we call ourselves civilized.
good questions.

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)
Peace would love to stand up so all soldiers could stand down.
hmm, yes, Elizabeth is right - I wonder myself quite often lately if humanity has some kind of "birth defect" ...
Oh and Gary - I have little faith in elections and government left, actually it dwindles by the hour.
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.
I'm leaning very strongly towards Zee's solution. If we live as locally as possible and give our governments and businesses a mandate to keep out of other countries, I think that would go a long way towards minimizing these conflicts.

But it wouldn't clean up the mess we've already created for ourselves as a world. What a web of deceit and violence.
Great comments.

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...
Hezbollah does seem stronger than ever.

And, no, Al Gore wouldn't. He's got SENSE. That's why I voted for him.
Criticism is waxing evermore over Blair's position and the back benches are already beckoning; trouble is the Poodle is still the best political leader we got in the running (i was thinking about the poor guy the other day - you know, it's hard to say 'disproportionate' when your tongue's stuck up where it shouldn't be.)

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.
tWe have he reverse Midas touch, everything we get near turns to caca.
Yes indeed, we need new leaders with new ideas. Nothing was accomplished, and the only thing they hoped to accomplish was to expand this operation, but when BushCo and Blair realized the public backlash and Olmert got his ass kicked publically they backed off, for now. I am still waiting for them to regroup and expand this thing.
Ian, I can't speak for Zee, but here's my reasoning behind favouring "localism".

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.
Interesting thoughts all. Madcap, you're really working this through, aren't you? I'm inclined to believe that these struggles have much less to do with religion than with power and nationalism/tribalism. Religion is a great rallying cry and justification for doing the crap that gets done as people (men mostly) struggle over who's in charge and who gets the stuff. It's all complicated by cycles of revenge and the inability to forget or get past what has taken place.

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.
they won't affect social relations - until the system fails, perhaps through no fault of the people (flood, drought, fire, epidemic etc). then the self sufficient community will require the help of the outside world. better they had co-operation from the outset.

but i fully agree about the ecological issues of energy conservation. there is no reason to waste energy.
Well, I haven't used the term "self-sufficiency" in this discussion. My goals are for producing whatever we possibly can as a family, then as a small community, then as a province and country. "Localism" rather than "globalism". I think when each family is very self-productive it gives us a stronger base to work from when we want to come together as a larger group.

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.
zee began this by using the term self-suffient, i think you have used self-sustainable, which can be regarded as synonymous.

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.
Maybe I've got a different outlook, living in Western Canada. We absolutely take care of our neighbouring communities in a disaster. Absolutely. There would be no question of whether but only of how. I have close relatives in the UK, and I realize that there seems to be less of that mindset there.

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.
Interesting. Here's another tidbit - I spent many years working for the Red Cross and some of it was disaster relief work (international/domestic). In the vast majority of disasters, most of the early help and most of the cooperation is from the people affected and surrounding communities (everywhere in the world). Looting, crime and apathy are the exception, not the rule. People often recall these times as the time they felt closest to their neighbours.

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!
Madcap - you speak my mind, I don't have anything viable to add to your points.
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.
Gogol Bordelo - one of my favourites. START WEARING PURPLE!

By the way, the lead singer from Gogol plays a great role in the movie EVERYTHING ILLUMINATED. Fine film too.
Yeah, you're the man Gary!
The song I posted on my blog is from that movie!
Excellent post, and it's past time we gave peace a chance but hopefully it isn't too late to start.

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.
Yeah POP, Hezbollah may be some bad dudes at times, but if New Orleans had a crew of them on hand a year ago, some poor folks would be voting for them today.

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