Presidential Candidacy Announcement and Excerpts
Announcement of Candidacy 2
Announcement of Candidacy for President of the United States
We are living in a time of great tests of our humanity, which also present great opportunities for transformation. The war in Iraq is a veil that shrouds our creativity and our potential for prosperity. It cuts us off from the world at a time when it is imperative that we acknowledge our interdependence and interconnectedness.
This is a moment with a profound feeling of destiny. America has been an extraordinary international power to manifest that which we focus our energies upon. This power is true of individuals as well as nations.
In a way, when we focus on terror, we bring to ourselves that which we fear. We focused on terror in Iraq and paradoxically helped to create the circumstances, which have propelled Iraq into civil war and chaos.
The prestigious Lancet report on excess casualties in Iraq estimates that the war in Iraq has caused 655,000 Iraqi deaths, and that 20% of those deaths are a direct result of the actions of coalition forces.
This war sacrifices the lives of innocent Iraqis, the lives of our troops, and the physical resources and good will of our nation. We are sacrificing our financial future, borrowing money from Beijing to occupy Baghdad in a war that military generals and the Iraqi Study Group have concluded is impossible to win militarily.
We are focusing our resources on the power of destruction rather than the vision of a world in which we want to live: A world of prosperity and peace, equity, beauty and justice. It is time for us to stand together to bring the troops home and stand by the people of Iraq through implementing a real policy for the security, recovery, reconciliation and restoration of their nation.
We as a nation have the opportunity to embrace the challenges of our time and take a new direction, starting with ending the war in Iraq. The leaders of my party have said that they will not stop funding the war, and are openly supporting a supplementary appropriations bill for an additional one hundred and sixty billion dollars ($160,000,000,000), on top of the $70,000,000,000 that was appropriated to Iraq for financial year 2007, back in October of this year. This would bring war expenditure for 2007 to $230 billion, double the expenditure of 2006, and by far the largest appropriation of the war so far.
Today, I announced my candidacy for President of the United States in a quest to call my party to courage and integrity on this issue. This is a journey upon which I hope you will join together with me to ensure that our country calls forth our great potential with the same courage of our forefathers and mothers who birthed the vision for our great nation.
You can see a video of my Announcement speech on www.kucinich.us (Our site has undergone its own transformation!)
Our campaign will change the direction of the Democratic Party, the war in Iraq and our nation.
Please join me to help make this great turning possible.
Dear Friends, Below are some excerpts from my official announcement of my candidacy for President of the United States, given at Cleveland City Hall, Tuesday, December 12, 2006. A full transcript can be downloaded from this link: Presidential Announcement PDF. In peace, Dennis
On October 1st Congress appropriated $70 billion for the war in Iraq. The money is in the pipeline right now to bring the troops home. Unfortunately our Democratic leaders have already announced they will support an additional appropriation for the war of up to $160 billion dollars. Not only are we not listening to the voters and taking steps to withdraw our forces quickly, we are actually planning to spend twice as much on the war as we did last year!
We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation. We are expected to take a stand. We are expected to assert our constitutional power as a co-equal branch of government. We are expected to do what we said we would do: Get out of Iraq and bring the troops home.
At this moment, people’s trust in government is on the line. Trust in the Democratic Party is on the line. What does it say if only one month after the voters gave us control of Congress on the issue of Iraq, that we turn around and say we will keep funding the war?
What kind of credibility will our Party have if we say we are opposed to the war, but continue to fund it?
Einstein once said “the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” Yet that is what we are in Washington with respect to Iraq. Even though we know that our presence in Iraq is totally wrong, we seem unable to do anything about it, except keep spending more money for the war. We must end this march of folly. Together we are going to change this and rescue our nation.
This is a moment that we need to call our Democratic leaders to courage. This is about leadership, clear vision and integrity. The people were behind us in November. They are behind us now. We must stand by our word and bring the troops home now.
I ran for President in 2004, not just to challenge the war and Democratic Party policy, but to bring forth a message: Fear ends. Hope begins. My candidacy will call forth the courage of the American people to meet the challenge of terrorism without sacrificing our liberties and everything that is near and dear to us. My candidacy will inspire hope for a new America, where social, economic and political progress is grounded in work for peace.
My stand for peace is not simply being against the Iraq war. It was against all war. We have the right to defend ourselves, but our leaders have confused offense with defense. America has separated itself from the world; put itself beyond the reach of international law. We must reunite with the world. We must rally the world in the cause of human unity, in the cause of the survival of the planet facing challenges from global climate change, nuclear proliferation and from useless war. I believe that as human beings we have evolved to the point where we can settle our differences without killing one another.
I am the only member of the House and the Senate running for President who has consistently voted against funding for the war, based on a principled opposition and thorough research.
A leader must have not just hindsight, but foresight. The prophet Isaiah said “Without vision, a people perish.” I am stepping forth at this moment because I believe, as did Lincoln that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”
I fully expect to be win, because when the American people hear this clarion call for a new and true direction, this call to confirm their intent, their power, I am confident that they will respond as powerfully, as they did just one month ago, to demand that America quickly change course in Iraq and to demand a leader who will make it happen.
So...yeah...definitely only seeing this bootleg if at all, the more I hear about this movie the more I am like what the hell did I expect?...
Apocalypto: The Cinematic Logic of Genocide
Apocalypto: The Cinematic Logic of Genocide
by Juan Santos
Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto is not a mere adventure tale, it’s not just another excruciatingly brutal portrayal of apocalyptic violence for its own sake, and the Village Voice is dead wrong when it says that unlike Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto is “unburdened by nationalist or religious piety,”— that it's “pure, amoral sensationalism.”
Despite its extreme brutality Apocalypto isn’t just Gibson’s latest snuff film with a religious theme. The film is a morality play, and there are only two things one needs to remember to get a hint of the ugly moral intent behind Mel Gibson’s depiction of the Maya.
The first is that, despite Gibson’s vile portrayal of the Maya as a macabre cult of deranged killers straight out of Apocalypse Now!, there is no evidence that the Mayan people ever practiced widespread human sacrifice, and they certainly didn’t target the innocent hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists Gibson chooses to portray as the victims of a Mayan death cult.
Gibson knows better. He studied the terrain in depth and had no practical limit to the funds he could expend on research. His portrayal is a conscious lie, one he uses to justify the premise that the Mayan city states collapsed because they deserved to collapse, and that they deserved to be replaced by a “superior” culture in the genocide known as the Conquest.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within," is how Gibson puts it. In other words the Conquest was not genocide but a moral comeuppance; the civilization didn’t fall, in the final analysis, from climate change or inadvertent soil depletion or even war – it was conquered in god’s wrath against the forces of evil. And Gibson’s made sure you see the ancient Maya as a force of profound evil.
Here’s a taste of the standards Gibson used in conjuring his image of the Maya. The LA Times quotes production designer Tom Sanders:
"We had an archeologist, Dr. Richard Hansen, onboard," said Sanders. "It was really fun to say, 'Is there any proof they didn't do this?' When he said, 'There is no proof they didn't do that,' that gives you some license to play.” And “play” they did. Rex Reed calls the racist portrayal of the Maya Gibson’s “huge cast of spear-carriers from the Oom-Gawah-Bwana School of Dramatic Art.”
In a stunning interview with Chris Garcia of the Austin American Statesman, Julia Guernsey, an expert on Mayan culture at the University of Texas says of Gibson’s agenda, "’We got the Jews last time (in 'The Passion of the Christ'), now we'll get the Maya.’ And to highlight that point there's a lot of really offensive racial stereotyping. They're shown as these extremely barbaric people, when in fact, the Maya were a very sophisticated culture… I hate it. I despise it. I think it's despicable. It's offensive to Maya people. It's offensive to those of us who try to teach cultural sensitivity…”
The other hint you might need to remember is this. No matter what happens in this film, the Spanish don’t show up at the end, at the collapse of the Mayan civilization, to “save” anything at all.
Hundreds of years would pass between the collapse of the Mayan city states and the American Holocaust. For the sake of empire the Spanish would sacrifice 95% of the population in Mexico, a horror they would achieve in a mere 100 years. Hitler’s holocaust, with its 20 million dead, pales: the Conquest of the Americas by Europe would claim 100 million lives. There is no more savage genocide in the history of civilization.
But if you’re looking for savagery, the holocaust against the Mayan people doesn’t stop there. The most recent wave ended a mere decade ago. A quarter of a million innocent Maya were slaughtered in Guatemala by a death squad regime backed by the Gibson’s cohorts on the Christian Right, including Ronald Reagan and apocalyptic fanatics like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. It’s called “The Silent Holocaust” by those who know of it.
The Maya have suffered a modern apocalypse more brutal than anything in Gibson’s sadistic imagination, more brutal than even he would dare bring to the screen. It’s a tale he would refuse: its demons aren’t “savage” Mayans in horror movie drag, they’re Christian death squads backed by fundamentalist leaders using old school Spanish methods. A British anti-war organization writes:
”Working methodically across the Mayan region, the army and its paramilitary teams, including 'civil patrols' of forcibly conscripted local men, attacked 626 villages. Each community was rounded up, or seized when gathered already for a celebration or a market day. The villagers, if they didn't escape to become hunted refugees, were then brutally murdered; others were forced to watch, and sometimes to take part. Buildings were vandalised and demolished, and a 'scorched earth' policy applied: the killers destroyed crops, slaughtered livestock, fouled water supplies, and violated sacred places and cultural symbols.
”Children were often beaten against walls, or thrown alive into pits where the bodies of adults were later thrown; they were also tortured and raped. Victims of all ages often had their limbs amputated, or were impaled and left to die slowly. Others were doused in petrol and set alight, or disemboweled while still alive. Yet others were shot repeatedly, or tortured and shut up alone to die in pain. The wombs of pregnant women were cut open. Women were routinely raped while being tortured. Women - now widows - who lived could scarcely survive the trauma: The presence of sexual violence in the social memory of the communities has become a source of collective shame.”
Gibson hasn’t told the story of the hunted refugees fleeing Christian death squads a decade ago. His ancient hunters are nothing more than figments of his imagination, racist stereotypes of ancient Mayans who existed nowhere but in his own delirium tremens. They are his own demons chasing his imaginary hero / victim / alter ego, Jaguar Paw, through a “savage” jungle.
The framework of the story is deeply embedded in Gibson’s extreme right wing religious and political views. He casts Mayan priests and leaders as demonically malevolent at a time when interest is growing world wide in Mayan politics – the Zaptistas – and in Mayan spirituality and prophecy. The subtext of the film and its social context involve the Mayan prophecies of the end of an age of destruction, and the beginning of another around 2012 C.E., an age that can lead to harmony between humanity and the Earth.
The biblical counter-vision is of a righteous world-destruction carried out by a vengeful god who destroys all living creatures, a vision embedded in the Apocalypse of Saint John, the Book of Revelations, which was the inspiration for the film’s title.
The Maya who survived the killing in Guatemala and elsewhere kept their spiritual traditions alive - including their prophecies of the end of this age - despite 500 years of intensive efforts to eradicate them. Right wing Christians see hell-driven New Age plots at every turn, and understand attacking other culture’s spiritual traditions not as cultural genocide but as legitimate “spiritual warfare” at a time of approaching apocalypse.
Gibson brought Apocalypto to life on the propaganda front of a spiritual war, a deadly serious culture war between those who would protect and defend the Earth’s ability to live and those on the Christian Right who want to “bring on” Armageddon.
The larger stakes are the future of life on planet Earth in a time when the industrial civilization of the West is seen by many as on the brink of collapse and when the world’s most respected scientists see Earth as on the verge of ecological destruction, a sentiment that is deeply shared by the living Mayan wisdom keepers whose indigenous spiritual tradition Gibson has chosen to paint as evil.
The survivors of the most recent wave of genocide haven’t seen Apocalypto yet – no Maya has, not even those who had the bit parts Gibson reserved for them, or who worked as extras and maids.
One can’t help but wonder how Apocalypto will play to Guatemalan audiences, but one thing is a sure bet: Mayans will be deeply disturbed to see their culture portrayed as a madhouse of killing, while those who supported the death squad regime of the Christian fascist Efraín Ríos Montt will take solace: their view of the Maya as subhuman will be “justified” by the film, and so will their genocidal reign of terror.
Racist stereotypes, after all, serve one function and one function only – they serve as a story, a script that justifies the use of violence against a targeted group, whether the weapons of the oppressor are the sword and cannon, the gas chamber, the M16, a lynch mob’s rope, or a camera.
One viewer understood and embraced Gibson’s intent in its entirety, saying Apocalypto:
“Pretty much precisely describes the whole point of the civilizations of such “noble savages” as the Mayans, if you ask us. There isn’t one, there wasn’t one, and there never will be one. Those bloodthirsty mongrels and many others before and after them were brutal, savage, cruel and entirely without redeeming qualities, and the best thing that ever happened to this planet was when they were wiped out, never to be heard of again.
In fact, we owe the Spanish Conquistadores an eternal debt of gratitude for having wiped that blood-curdlingly bestial, brutal blight upon humanity off the face of the planet because, had they not done it, we would have had to do so ourselves.”
The son of a Holocaust denier, Gibson defended his father in a 2004 interview, and, in the wake of his recent drunken tirades against Jews, Gibson can ill afford charges of propagating racism against Indians. The film’s PR campaign has carefully skirted potential opposition and negative exposure. Despite that effort Mayan activists who’ve seen nothing more than the film’s trailer denounced the film the day before it opened.
Ignacio Ochoa, director of the Nahual Foundation, said "Gibson replays, in glorious, big budget Technicolor, an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact needed, rescue."
The Indians who’ve seen the film itself have been a carefully chosen crew; Apocalypto, for all its epic pretensions, premiered in an Oklahoma casino, and certainly not for an audience of American Indian Movement activists. The initial Latino audience was chosen just as carefully. A Beverly Hills-based PR man arranged screenings of the film for the Los Angeles Latin Business Association – not for Mexican and Central American migrants who know the Maya, not for indigenous minded Chican@s, and certainly not for LA’s substantial community of Mayan refugees.
The Latin Business Association obligingly gave Gibson their "Visionary” Award. But it’s too late for Gibson to hide behind such contrived honors. Even the LA Times pointedly noted, “ it's one thing to acknowledge a work's… merits and quite another to proclaim Gibson a ‘visionary,’ especially at a time when the immigration debate has reminded Latinos that virulent racism is only a few drinks away.”
Genocide is even closer than that. Ask the Spanish. Ask the death squads. Ask Mel, behind the camera or behind a small glass. It’s just a shot away.
Juan Santos is a Los Angeles based writer and editor. His essays from 2006 can be found at: http://the-fourth-world.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at: JuanSantos@Mexica.net.
Published on Monday, November 27, 2006 by the Associated Press
Documentary Films Rattle Business World
by Jacob Adelman
Starbucks Corp. was one of the companies that turned down interview requests from Nick and Mark Francis when the brothers were shooting their documentary about rampant poverty among Ethiopian coffee growers.
But after "Black Gold" attracted attention at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the coffee giant invited the British brothers to its Seattle headquarters as it prepared for a barrage of bad publicity.
"Black Gold," now being screened at festivals and art houses, is the latest in a growing genre of documentary films shaking up the business world. They are taking critiques of corporate power that would once have been the province of newspapers and magazines to movie theaters and DVD shops, where they're finding an increasingly receptive audience.
The trend, which started with "Roger and Me" in 1989 and more recently featured "Super Size Me" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," is forcing some corporate targets to counterattack — and, some say, even change business practices — to dodge claims of unfair wages, unhealthy products or environmental degradation.
"When you're talking about a documentary, it's something that's being presented as if it's fact, so that's a huge problem for companies," said Paul A. Argenti, a professor at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University.
Michael Moore's "Roger and Me" left a lasting blemish on General Motors Corp. for closing its plant in Flint, Mich., and leaving rampant unemployment in its wake.
Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary "Super Size Me" assailed McDonald's for pushing high-calorie meals, while last year's Enron film by Alex Gibney showed how internal avarice and corruption brought down the world's largest energy company.
The films are finding an eager audience, said Erik Schut, editorial director of TLA Entertainment group, which runs a chain of video rental shops on the East Coast and operates a DVD mail order service.
"These are not Hollywood-style films," he said. "So the fact that people are responding to them, that says a lot."
Jon Else, who teaches documentary filmmaking at the University of California, Berkeley, believes the growing interest in corporate-critical documentaries is a reaction to the extremes of wealth created by an untamed free market.
Nick Francis said "Black Gold" stemmed from the brothers' outrage about the poverty that persists among Ethiopian growers even as multinational coffee sellers make huge profits.
The brothers put the final cost of the movie at $760,000 and said its financing was typical for films of the genre, relying on grants, small donations and pro bono production help.
This year's "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers" from director Robert Greenwald was bankrolled by thousands of individual donors who responded to a fundraising e-mail from the filmmakers.
Despite the relatively small budgets, many of the films have drawn big attention.
Starbucks sent an e-mail to employees in the United Kingdom characterizing "Black Gold" as "inaccurate and incomplete" before it played at the London Film Festival. At Sundance, the company distributed a statement saying it believes "coffee farmers should make a living wage and be paid fair prices."
Nick Francis believes "Black Gold" also helped prompt an upcoming meeting between the chief executive of Starbucks and the Ethiopian prime minister. Starbucks spokeswoman Audrey Lincoff said the film and the meeting were unrelated.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reacted similarly to Greenwald's "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" when it was released in 2005. The company kept a log of what it called the film's "numerous inaccuracies" and shared it with reporters and on its Web site, spokeswoman Marisa Bluestone said.
Wal-Mart also made its workers available for a rebuttal documentary, "Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why that Drives Some People C-r-a-z-y," which portrays the corporation sympathetically.
Spurlock suspects his 2004 documentary "Super Size Me," which showed the unhealthy effect of a strictly fast food diet, helped influence McDonald's Corp. to add healthier items to its menu.
"McDonald's is launching its new 'Go Active! Adult Happy Meals' nationwide," he wrote on his Web log when his movie first began generating buzz. "Coincidence? Yeah, right," he wrote.
McDonald's has consistently denied any connection between the film and changes to its menu.
"Super Size Me" is one of the relatively few business-related documentaries to find broad distribution. Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films picked it up after it won Spurlock a Sundance documentary directing award in 2004.
It went on to earn $11.5 million at the U.S. box office, making it the biggest moneymaker in the genre. "Roger and Me" earned $6.7 million at the U.S. box office. "Sicko," Moore's film on the pharmaceutical industry, is due out next summer.
Even less broadly distributed documentaries are finding wider interest than a liberal screed in The Nation or an expose in The New York Times Magazine with similar ideas might reach.
"You get a lot of bang for the buck when you make a movie," Else said. "You get a lot of eyeballs."
Web sites for documentaries like "Black Gold" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" list dozens of screenings each month at repertory theaters, universities and churches where they're presented by advocacy groups and often followed by discussion sessions.
"They become events in themselves," Nick Francis said.
Else said the filmmakers are akin to the rabble-rousing reporters who took on the railroad empires and mining giants of the early 20th century.
"These guys are doing what any good crusading journalist would have done in a time when everyone was reading the newspaper everyday," he said.
© 2006 Associated Press
Diaries: Live from Palestine
Massacre in Beit Hanoun
Yousef Alhelou, Live from Palestine, 8 November 2006
One day after the Israel army declared that it had pulled out and completed Operation Autumn Clouds in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, 24 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, 19 people were killed and at least 45 were injured as a large number of shells were fired at the town. Another five Palestinians were killed in Jenin, northern West Bank by Israeli army fire.
The series of incidents began at 6 a.m., when eyewitness said that dozens of tank shells and missiles landed simultaneously in a small and limited area in Beit Hanoun. Ambulances found it difficult to evacuate the wounded. According to Palestinian sources, some of the shells landed on a house, killing 11 members of one family called Al-A'athamein, including a nine-year-old child and a 73-year-old woman. Israeli sources confirmed that artillery shells were fired Wednesday morning. Incredibly, they said it was not yet known whether the matter was a technical error or a human one.
Sources in Gaza reported that some of those killed were hurt after shells hit a group of civilians who arrived to aid those hurt in the first barrage. Residents in the area were called to donate blood for fear that the number of casualties would be higher. Khaled Radi, a Palestinian Health Ministry official, said all the dead were civilians. He said seven children and four women were among the dead.
Radi also said at least 45 more were wounded, all civilians. Four hospitals are treating the wounded across Gaza. Emergency and first aid director in the ministry of health, Dr Moa'aweyah Hasanein announced that the latest round of Israeli war crimes in Gaza has resulted in a new massacre in the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Nineteen innocent civilians, including seven children and four women, have been murdered brutally as they slept in their own house. This brings this week's toll alone to around 80 Palestinian martyrs and more than 350 have been injured.
In a huge demonstration outside the morgue at the Kamal Adwan hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, thousands called for revenge. Hundreds of Palestinians began marching in the northern Gaza Strip, in protest of the IOF operation in Beit Hanoun. The protestors chanted slogans against Israel and demanded revenge.
President Mahmoud Abbas declared a three-day mourning period, closing schools after the horrific massacres against civilians in Beit Hanoun northern Gaza. "This is a horrible, ugly massacre committed by the occupation against our children, our women and elderly in Beit Hanoun," he said in a statement. "We urge and call the Security Council to convene immediately to stop the massacres committed against our people and to uphold their responsibility to stop these massacres." During an emergency meeting of the Palestinian cabinet, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced that efforts to form a national unity government have been suspended after "this awful massacre."
The labor syndicate in Gaza called today for general strike and to urged citizens to visit the families of the victims and wounded people in hospitals. The government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, appealed to the international community to mobilize and stop Israel from carrying out such massacres against unarmed Palestinians. " Israel is a nation that has no human values and is a disgrace to the modern world," he said.
Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim referred to the trend of similar incidents, saying that killing constitutes a policy and a target for the Israelis. He stated, "I have no words to describe the ugly Israeli massacre in Beit Hanoun this morning." According to Naim, "This massacre is added to another massacre which the town has only just emerged from. This morning's operation only proves that killing is Israel's target, and this is proved by the massive fire at the medical teams arriving at the area." Naim added that more proof was the inclusion into the Israeli government Avigdor Lieberman, who openly calls for the killing Palestinians.
"The massacre in Beit Hanoun proves that the Israeli government is committing war crimes against civilians," said Israeli Knesset member Talab El-Sana after the incident. "Palestinian children and women are murdered in their homes and in their beds. Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are war criminals who failed the first war and are committing war crimes in the second war." He called for "the end of the ongoing slaughter" and said "tanks cannot kill the dream of a people aspiring to independence and freedom."
Mohamed A'athamnah, 37, said, "The Israeli army claims that they pulled out from our town. They are not physically here but their smells and their bad image still here, they continue their brutal, horrific massacres against civilians in Beit Hanoun and in all the Palestinian territories. They want to achieve victory here after they were defeated in south Lebanon. They only understand the language of force. They are vampires who don't know mercy; the bodies of children scattered everywhere in the site ... God be with us, the whole world turns a blind eye."
"It is the saddest scene and images I have ever seen," 29-year-old Majed Kafarnah said. "I saw people coming out of a house covered in blood. I started screaming to wake up the neighbors." Mona Al-Zanoiun, 41, said, "They destroyed the houses above our houses, killed women and children; they are criminals, they murder us in cold blood. Where is the international community and Security Council to see these massacres? We do not want them to send us food; we want them to take brave actions to stop these crimes." She described what happened to the town as akin to a tsunami and destructive earthquake.
Nidal Mater, 53, said, "Once again they commit massacres against civilians, but they will not break our sprit. We will not leave our land; all of us are ready to die for the sake of freedom." He added, "they use their arsenal to kill children and women. They are cowards; hatred has been engraved in our hearts and we will never forget. Where is their democracy? I wonder, are they just human beings like us? They destroy our agriculture fields, water, electricity networks and infrastructure -- we cannot recognize our streets. Destruction is everywhere, even mosques, which are considered holy places, destroyed!"
Noor Masoud, 14, stated, "My message to the Israeli army is, well done -- every day you prove to us that you are the most polite army of the world." She was crying when she spoke and added, "If you ask the trees and walls in Beit Hanoun they will tell you how merciful the Israeli army is! It's so funny when the Israeli government expresses its regret following this horrific, awful massacre."
Mahmoud Nasser, 33, said, "We rush from one mourning tent to the other because of the operation that only ended yesterday and already we have to deal with a new massacre. Difficult images, dead children, injured children with their faces torn. It's unbelievable." There was an ugly scene in the town's hospital as well, where mothers cried out as they carried their injured children. He added that all of Beit Hanoun "is busy with only one thing, moving the dead and wounded. All this between puddles of blood, lots of blood and body parts, next to some of the bodies were the schoolbags and sandwiches of children preparing to go to school."
Um Zeyad, 42, said that she had lost four of her children in the incident: Muhand, Mahadi, Arafat and Saad. "I am proud to be the mother of the Shahids [martyrs]; it is a great honor and we pray to Allah to compensate us," the bereaved mother said. She added two days ago "the Israeli army stole $1800 from my sister's house; another woman in the same house tried to prevent him from stealing the money, but he hit her by this gun to her head and she lost consciousness. The soldier refused to allow a woman to bring water, 42 of us were women and children trapped in one room."
I asked a man about what had happened and he started crying. Another man said, "It's normal to see a woman cry but it's very hard to see a man cry." He added, "We lost our houses, family members, loved ones and they destroyed our agricultural fields, citrus trees and olive trees, which are our only income. Today Palestinians united against one enemy."
I am feeling relaxed and pretty satisfied for the moment...nice...
If you wear this shirt which spells out "We Will Not Be Silent" in Arabic while trying to get on a plane you run the risk of it causing various airport employees to go insane and ask you to change your t-shirt in order to board your plane and even buy a replacement "safe" t-shirt for you! Yay...
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Hahaha...man i just like this graphic so I had to post... ;)
Great interview...very informative, read this...
North Korea has warned that increased US pressure over its reported nuclear test would be considered an act of war. We get analysis from North Korea expert and University of Chicago professor Bruce Cumings.
So is this guy for real, part of the leftward shift in Latin America and away from their satellite status to the "Colossus to the North" or just another wolf in sheep's clothing a la Lucio Gutiérrez...
The leading local polling companies (which, however, failed to predict the outcome of the last three elections), say Correa of the Alliance País (AP) has a comfortable lead over the following two candidates -- the centre-left León Roldós and right-wing banana tycoon Álvaro Noboa -- who are neck and neck.
The latest polls by the Informe Confidencial and Market firms show that the left-leaning Correa has 30 percent ratings, compared to 19 percent for Roldós of the Ethical Network-Democratic Left and 18 percent for Noboa of the Institutional Renewal Party of National Action (PRIAN)...
Correa, 42, a self-professed admirer of Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chávez, is against resuming stalled talks on a free trade agreement with the United States and is opposed to extending a contract that leases an air base and port in the western city of Manta on the Pacific coast to the U.S. military, while he proposes the creation of a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution...
Correa has spent over one million dollars in the campaign, making him one of the three big spenders, along with Noboa and PSC candidate Cinthya Viteri, who is fourth in the polls.
With catchy, creative ads that target the middle and upper-middle classes, and especially the young, Correa has become by far the favourite in that sector of the population. Surveys indicate that only 10 percent of his votes will come from the poor.
Some political analysts call that a paradox, as an "anti-establishment" candidate opposed to closer ties with the United States would be expected to have greater backing among lower-income voters...
But analysts say that what could really hurt Correa, who has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Illinois, are revelations that despite his centre-left stances, among those financing his campaign are Guayaquil multimillionaire Isidro Romero Carbo, former president of the Barcelona football club and the representative of Coca Cola in Ecuador, and Ronald Wright, the owner of Supermaxi, the country's biggest supermarket chain.
It has also been reported that he has the backing of people with links to former president Gutiérrez, businessmen in favour of a free trade deal with Washington, and politicians tied to sectors that he has lashed out against in the campaign.
Great interview...very informative, read this...
Bosnian Elections Redraw Old Battle Lines
Citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina went to the polls this Sunday, in a general election for the country's presidency and entity parliaments. Bosnian Serbs also voted for their republic's president, while voters in the Muslim-Croat Federation elected cantonal parliaments. Preliminary results indicate a surprise development on the Bosnian political scene. The mainstream Imperial media, however, continues to filter the results through a Manichaean lens of "nationalists" and "moderates," meaningless political categories that are, furthermore, applied erroneously.
Here are the facts of the election. The Union of Independent Social-Democrats (SNSD) swept the elections in the Serb Republic (RS), easily winning the presidency and a comfortable parliamentary majority. This is almost unprecedented in the postwar political history of the Bosnian Serbs. Furthermore, SNSD's candidate Nebojsa Radmanovic easily won the race for the state presidency.
In the Muslim-Croat Federation, the main Croat party (HDZ) suffered a major setback when its candidate for president lost by a wide margin to a Croat from the Social-Democratic Party (SDP). It retained, however, its regional dominance in Croat-majority cantonal parliaments.
The biggest winner on the Muslim side was Haris Silajdzic, leader of the Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina (SZBiH) and the soi-disant "Patriotic bloc," who trounced his rival Sulejman Tihic of the formerly ruling SDA. Even though Silajdzic's party still came second to SDA in elections for the federal parliament and cantonal assemblies, there is much significance to his triumph over Tihic – not least that Tihic was the chosen successor to both the presidency and party leadership after the death of Alija Izetbegovic.
The Manichaean Lens
Most Western media, however, presented the election as a watershed between "Bosnians" who favored "unification and Europe" and the evil Serbs who "supported separation."
Take for example UPI, which declared that "Bosnia's Serb and Croat nationalists were leading in president ballot-counting Tuesday, while Muslims were favoring a unionist." (UPI was led to believe that HDZ's candidate for presidency was winning.)
BBC correspondent Nick Walton (writing as a private citizen for an online forum) claimed that "The election results suggest a certain retreat of nationalism among the Muslim and Croat communities."
Ian Traynor at the Guardianthought that "Muslim and Croat seats went to politicians keen to build a unified country based on civil rather than ethnic rights."
Aida Cerkez-Robinson of the AP wrote that "Muslim Bosniaks [sic] and Catholic Croats supported politicians who want to unify the Balkan nation … while Serbs backing a candidate whose party advocates ethnic division."
It was the AP's "context" paragraph, following the old lie of "200,000 dead," that perhaps exemplified the fatally false assumption of the Western press and the Empire about Bosnia:
"Muslim Bosniaks, the largest ethnic group, generally back a united country, as do their Roman Catholic Croat allies. Their ultimate hope is that Bosnia … will join the EU when its political and economic reforms are completed. But many Serbs still cling to beliefs that sparked the war – namely, that their half of the country can secede and become independent."
Their "Nationalists" and Ours
AP, of course, has it exactly backwards. It wasn't the Serb desire for secession, but the Muslim desire for a centralized country, that caused the war. The Bosnian Croat branch of Croatia's ruling party supported the Muslims as a tactical ploy to weaken the Serbs in the then-unresolved conflict in Croatia proper. But for years now, Bosnian Croats have been feeling the pain of being a minority in a Muslim-dominated "citizen state."
Nebojsa Radmanovic is a social-democrat candidate of a party that doesn't have "Serb" in its name. Its leader, Milorad Dodik, was the first Western-sponsored prime minister of the Bosnian Serb Republic, then praised as a "moderate" and a "reformer." SNSD has not allied itself with either the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) – once led by Radovan Karadzic – or the Radicals, both routinely described as "hard-line nationalists" by the Imperial press. In fact, Dodik's guest of honor at the party convention was Boris Tadic, the pro-Imperial president of Serbia.
However, since Dodik and the SNSD are strong defenders of the Dayton constitution and the Bosnian Serb Republic, and staunch opponents of the Muslim-favored policy of centralization, they are labeled "nationalists."
On the other hand, Haris Silajdzic is supposedly a "moderate" because he calls for a "single Bosnian nation." While the idea of a political arrangement blind to ethnicity and religion, where one man or woman equals one vote and all have the same political and civil rights, sounds swell on paper, in practice it is the smokescreen for the late Izetbegovic's ideology of Muslim dominance. As the largest ethnic group in Bosnia (though Serbs are a close second), Muslims would naturally come to dominate any system based on a simple majority.
Had Bosnia's three ethnic communities merely quarreled over distribution of territory, the 1992-95 civil war would have been much shorter, or may not have happened at all; it was Izetbegovic's insistence on ruling all of Bosnia that started the war in the first place, and kept it going for so long. That idea, unfortunately, survived the Dayton Accords and is animating Haris Silajdzic even now.
The "Last Unexposed Nationalist"
Silajdzic owes his political career to the war. During the conflict, he was the foreign minister of the Izetbegovic government, traveling the world with demands for help against "aggression" and "genocide" in Bosnia. The man who originated most of the outrageous propaganda one-liners of the war ("40,000 Muslim women raped," "200,000 Muslims killed," etc.), Silajdzic has used his unquestionable talent for demagoguery to articulate a Muslim nationalist position through simple language of hate.
In his narrative, the mythical multi-ethnic Bosnia and its "Bosniaks" were innocent victims of Greater Serbian aggression and genocide, from which they heroically defended themselves without any outside help. The West had a moral obligation to support their Just Cause, but failed to do so because of "sympathies for Serb aggressors," which resulted in the evil, imposed Dayton agreement (never mind that Silajdzic was one of the principal negotiators in Dayton, drawing the maps alongside Wesley Clark and Richard Holbrooke). Dayton, avers Silajdzic, was a pro-Serb treaty that robbed the "Bosniaks" of military and political victory supposedly within their reach, and "rewarded aggression and genocide" by establishing the Serb Republic.
To anyone who actually knows anything about the Bosnian war, this is not merely absurd, but downright insane. But while Serbs and Croats have questioned their leaders' actions since the end of the war, the Muslims have remained in a state of self-righteous anger, a misguided belief that theirs was the sole just cause in the war, that they deserved a unified Bosnia as their own nation-state. Izetbegovic's choice of "Bosnia" for the Muslims national identity, and "Bosnian" for their official language – which, in truth, differs only slightly from the politically purged Croatian developed by the nationalists in Zagreb – implies Muslim ownership of the country, in which Serbs and Croats should accept their proper positions of subservient minorities. Any similarity with the relationship of Islam toward other faiths (convert, submit, or die), is purely coincidental… or is it?
One Bosnian reporter described Silajdzic in February 2000 as the "last unexposed nationalist" in Bosnia:
"Silajdzic's nationalism is very skillfully packaged in a story of tolerance and multiethnicity … he had introduced into the language of the Bosniac [sic] nationalistic politicians the same post-totalitarian, humanistic speech that has dominated Western political thought as far back as 1945 and was completely adopted upon the collapse of the Soviet Union."
Even though he split from Izetbegovic in 1996 to form his own party, Silajdzic always aspired to succeed "Grandpa" as the "First of Bosniaks." His party was the junior partner in every postwar government, whether allied with the SDA or with the SDP. Earlier this year, he was able to muster enough political strength to assemble a coalition of political "leftovers" and defeat the proposed amendments to the Bosnian constitution. A major factor in Silajdzic's political comeback was certainly the complete lack of retribution from the embarrassed Americans – authors of the amendments – which did not go unnoticed by Muslim voters. Nor did he exactly suffer from an endorsement by the religious leader of Bosnia's Muslims, reis-ul-lema Mustafa effendi-Ceric.
Though the SDA still has a slim lead in the parliament and in cantonal governments, Silajdzic's victory in the presidential poll means he will now be a senior partner in any coalition with Izetbegovic's chosen successors, reversing their previous relationship and making him, indeed, the new "First of Bosniaks."
As Nedim Dervisbegovic of Reuters observed, the election "set the scene for test of strength between Silajdzic and those who want a single Bosnian nation and Dodik, who insists a federation of two mini-states is the maximum that can be expected."
Farce in the Margins
One other thing this election did was demonstrate how completely marginal the Bosnian Croats have become. After all the votes were counted and it became clear that the incumbent Ivo Miro Jovic of HDZ was routed by Zeljko Komsic of the SDP, Jovic refused to recognize Komsic's victory, claiming he was not a "true Croat" and was elected by Muslim votes.
Not going into who may have appointed Jovic to judge anyone's "Croat-ness," it is entirely possible that Komsic won because Muslim votes for him overwhelmed the Croat ones. There is no way to tell. The Federation's electoral system does allow for that possibility, but Jovic wasn't bothered by it before the election.
Marginalized as they may be, it would be a horrible mistake to underestimate the Bosnian Croats. They are still capable of tipping the scales between the Muslim integrationists and Serb autonomists, and it may well be up to them to decide the victor in that political struggle.
It's Still 1991
Outside observers are trying to present the situation in Bosnia as a conflict between "nationalists" who "live in the past" and "democrats" who seek the future of EU and NATO. But the true conflict in Bosnia is between different nationalists – Serbs and Croats on one side, seeking autonomy from the central government, and Muslims on the other, seeking a strong central government they would control. In a sense, despite the horrors and devastation of war, despite the nearly 11 years of peace, in Bosnia it is still 1991, and the struggle for defining the country into or out of existence is nowhere near over.