Mark Twain and the Sins of Our Race

War Foretold

When I resorted to Mark Twain’s writings I attempted to escape, at least temporarily from my often distressing readings on war, politics and terror. But his “The Mysterious Stranger”, although published 1916, still left me with an eerie feel. The imaginative story calls into question beliefs that we hold as a “matter of course” – a favorite phrase of his. It summons the awful tendencies of “our race”: our irrational drive for violence, be it burning ‘witches’ at the stake or engaging in wars that only serve the “little monarchs and the nobilities.” 

As the Iraq war rages on, Twain’s words ring truer by the day. “The loud little handful will shout for war…Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will out shout them and presently the anti-war audiences will thin and lose popularity. Before long you will see the most curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men. And now the whole nation will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open.

“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after the process of grotesque self-deception.” 

Twain, whose genius undoubtedly surpasses time and space, wrote the above passages nine decades before the world’s leading statesmen, President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair forged their case for war, based on falsities and refused to examine any refutations; they rallied millions, investing on their ignorance and blind patriotism to carry out a war whose outcome is akin to genocide. Continue reading “Mark Twain and the Sins of Our Race”

Advertisements

Galloway’s last punch at Blair

Sense & Insensibility
Galloway’s last punch at Blair
Shahnoor Wahid

If you are wondering who has most gall among the present lot of British MPs then you will invariably end up with the name George Galloway, the Labour MP, for a number of reasons. This gregarious and wickedly witty MP with a runaway tongue is known for his anti-Bush and Blair utterings, which, at times, even his staunch supporters find difficult to digest.Galloway has an everlasting reservoir of invectives, all tailor-made, to launch his attacks on his two prized political enemies. He has been the most vocal critique of the Iraq policies of Britain and the USA, and he never tried to hide his feelings in private or in public.

But many across the world found his way with words not quite palatable, which, more often than not, touched upon the profane, to say the least. But, no doubt, this burly politician is pure entertainment to the non-political and non-partisan audience. Continue reading “Galloway’s last punch at Blair”

Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War

Joao Silva for The New York Times

On March 11, 2004, Miad Matar got $2,000 from Sgt. Guadalupe Sorola after her husband was killed by American forces at a checkpoint in Iraq.

By PAUL von ZIELBAUER

Published: April 12, 2007

function getSharePasskey() { return ‘ex=1334116800&en=f824038cf51e05bc&ei=5124’;} function getShareURL() { return encodeURIComponent(‘http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/world/middleeast/12abuse.html’); } function getShareHeadline() { return encodeURIComponent(‘Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War’); } function getShareDescription() { return encodeURIComponent(‘The military has paid $32 million to Iraqis and Afghans for noncombat-related killings, injuries and damage.’); } function getShareKeywords() { return encodeURIComponent(‘United States Armament and Defense,Iraq,Afghanistan,American Civil Liberties Union’); } function getShareSection() { return encodeURIComponent(‘world’); } function getShareSectionDisplay() { return encodeURIComponent(‘International / Middle East’); } function getShareSubSection() { return encodeURIComponent(‘middleeast’); } function getShareByline() { return encodeURIComponent(‘By PAUL von ZIELBAUER’); } function getSharePubdate() { return encodeURIComponent(‘April 12, 2007’); } In February 2006, nervous American soldiers in Tikrit killed an Iraqi fisherman on the Tigris River after he leaned over to switch off his engine. A year earlier, a civilian filling his car and an Iraqi Army officer directing traffic were shot by American soldiers in a passing convoy in Balad, for no apparent reason.


Multimedia

A Sampling of Civilian ClaimsGraphic

A Sampling of Civilian Claims Continue reading “Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War”

Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw

April 10, 2007

Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw

BAGHDAD, April 9 — Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, took to the streets of the holy city of Najaf on Monday in an extraordinarily disciplined rally to demand an end to the American military presence in Iraq, burning American flags and chanting “Death to America!”

Residents said that the angry, boisterous demonstration was the largest in Najaf, the heart of Shiite religious power, since the American-led invasion in 2003. It took place on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, and it was an obvious effort by Mr. Sadr to show the extent of his influence here in Iraq, even though he did not appear at the rally. Mr. Sadr went underground after the American military began a new security push in Baghdad on Feb. 14, and his whereabouts are unknown. Continue reading “Huge Protest in Iraq Demands U.S. Withdraw”

Growing Islamophobia

President Bush reacting to the unearthing of the alleged bombing plot over the Atlantic August 10 remarked: “This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.”

On Aug. 7, during a press conference from his ranch in Texas, he said terrorists “try to spread their jihadist message – a message I call … Islamic radicalism, Islamic fascism”. A moment later, he said “Islamo-fascism” was an “ideology that is real and profound”. White House spokesman Tony Snow told the “Atlanta Journal-Constitution” Aug. 11 that the president will continue to use the phrase.

This is not the first time that Bush and members of his Administration have used this deliberate coupling of Islam with evil ideologies or actions, such as fascism or terrorism. Bush referred to “Islamo-fascism” in his address to the National Endowment for Democracy, Oct. 6, 2005. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) addressing Christians United for Israel (CUFI) held their first Washington-Israel Summit in Washington D.C., July 2006, declaring “Islamic fascism is a mosaic…” Continue reading “Growing Islamophobia”

Qur’an Desecration – The Raw Story

THE PRESS
Newsweek report on Quran matches many earlier accounts

RAW STORY

Contrary to White House assertions, the allegations of religious desecration at Guantanamo published by Newsweek May 6 are common among ex-prisoners and have been widely reported outside the United States, RAW STORY has learned.

Several former detainees at the Guantanamo and Bagram airbase prisons have reported instances of their handlers sitting or standing on the Quran, throwing or kicking it in toilets, and urinating on it.

Where the Newsweek report likely erred was in saying that the U.S. was slated to acknowledge desecrating the Quran in internal investigations, and in relying on a single anonymous source to make grave allegations. But reports of desecration are manifold. Continue reading “Qur’an Desecration – The Raw Story”

Why I am saying sorry for London’s role in this horror

The state failure to issue an apology for a crime as monstrous as the slave trade diminishes Britain in the eyes of the world

Ken Livingstone
Wednesday March 21, 2007
The Guardian

Next Sunday marks the bicentenary of the abolition of one of history’s greatest crimes – the transatlantic slave trade. The British government must formally apologise for it. All attempts to evade this are weasel words. Delay demeans our country. Recalling the slave trade’s dimensions will show why. Conservative estimates of the numbers transported are 10-15 million; others range up to 30 million. Deaths started immediately, as many as 5% in prisons before transportation and more than 10% during the voyage – the direct murder of some 2 million people.

Conditions imposed on survivors were unimaginable. Virginia made it lawful “to kill and destroy such negroes” who “absent themselves from … service”. Branding and rape were commonplace. A Jamaican planter, Thomas Thistlewood, in 1756 had a slave “well flogged and pickled, then made Hector shit in his mouth” for eating sugar cane. From 1707, punishment for rebellion included “nailing them to the ground” and “applying fire by degrees from the feet and hands, burning them gradually up to the head”.

When in 1736 Antigua found there was to be a rebellion, five ringleaders were broken on the wheel, 77 burned to death, six hung in cages to die of thirst. For “lesser” crimes, castration or chopping off half the foot were used. A manual noted: “Terror must operate to keep them in subjection.” Continue reading “Why I am saying sorry for London’s role in this horror”

Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA

The Associated Press
Friday, March 9, 2007; 12:20 AM

GUATEMALA CITY — Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate “bad spirits” after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

“That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture,” Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday. Continue reading “Priests to Purify Site After Bush Visit”

Axis of Evil denies Unity Govt.

JERUSALEM, Feb 17 (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have agreed to jointly shun a Palestinian unity government unless it meets international conditions, Olmert’s office said on Saturday.

An official in Olmert’s office told Reuters that the agreement was reached in a telephone conversation on Friday between the two leaders.

“We won’t recognise a unity government that doesn’t explicitly accept the conditions. This is the joint U.S.-Israeli position,” the official said, confirming Israeli television reports.

U.S. officials had no immediate comment.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah reached a power-sharing deal with Hamas leaders to form a unity government in talks in Mecca earlier this month.

The unity government agreement makes no explicit commitment to recognise Israel or renounce violence, as demanded by Israel and the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators.

US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official

Published: Jan 10, 2007
Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA website

Tehran, 10 January: Head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), Mahmud Mohammadi Araqi, said here Wednesday [10 January] that the US is currently pushing the strategy of sowing discord among Muslims to reach its ominous goals in the Middle East.

Mohammadi Araqi made the statement while speaking to IRNA in an exclusive interview.

“Following failure of the US policies in the Middle East region and victory of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Lebanon against Israeli invasion (July-August, 2006), the US has currently pressed ahead with strategy of causing discord among Muslims,” he said. Continue reading “US pushes strategy of sowing discord among Muslims – Iranian official”

Cost of War

Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America’s Rape Of Iraq –  At Least 655,000 + +


Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s Rape Of Iraq 3,018


Cost of America’s War in Iraq

$357,730,483,761 till the seond this was posted

In April, 2003 an intergenerational team of Niko Matsakis of Boston, MA and Elias Vlanton of Takoma Park, MD created costofwar.com. After maintaining it on their own for the first year, they gave it to the National Priorities Project to contribute to their ongoing educational efforts.

http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182 

George W. Bush: A Symptom of Disease

By Charles Sullivan

01/12/07 “Information Clearing House” — – Sometimes you look around and wonder how things could have gone so wrong so quickly. America has become the antithesis of everything she purports to be. We are the greatest purveyors of violence the world has ever known; the largest weapons dealers on earth; and death and misery are our principal exports. Everything is for sale here, even men’s tormented souls—at least, those who still possess them.

Our imperial leader, an impish little man with clear sociopathic symptoms, is incapable of empathy for the struggles of the common people, as those born into wealth and privilege often are. The man with his finger on the nuclear detonator is mentally ill, incapable of remorse—a fact that should terrify every world citizen. I do not say this out of malice or to demean the president; it is simply a statement of fact based upon quantifiable evidence that any student of psychology would easily recognize. Continue reading “George W. Bush: A Symptom of Disease”