Monday, August 27, 2007

Darfur: when 'peacekeeping' means colonialism

It's true that an image can be worth a thousand words - just take a good look at the image above. It's a photograph of two UN Belgian troops who were caught trying to roast a Somali boy, yes, you got that right, ROAST him! This was an atrocity committed during the UN operation unfortunately entitled 'Restore Hope'. And what did these two 'peacekeeping' paratroopers receive for such a hideous crime? A month in prison, and the loss of a week’s wages.

Such crimes by UN troops in Third World countries are not isolated incidents, indeed, UN 'peacekeeping' forces, throughout the world are notorious for establishing such patterns of abuse. This is in fact a natural situation that foreign elite 'peacekeeping' forces find themselves in when confronted by events on the ground they cannot really begin to comprehend.

Of course, the boy in the photograph will never receive any real justice for the crime committed on him; this is mainly because UN forces are totally unaccountable to African people. The road that led UN troops to his home in Somalia was paved with so many good intentions by liberal interventionist in the West - all because such UN missions are deemed to be a good thing even if a 'few' Africans are brutalised on the way - this is what the people of Darfur have to look forward to.

Read on:

Darfur: colonised by ‘peacekeepers’. Spiked Online. 2007.

U.N. 'peacekeepers' rape women, children. World Net Daily.

U.N. suspends peacekeepers amid sex abuse charges. 2007.

New Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Peacekeepers in Africa. The New York Times. 2007.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Save Darfur: a Chatterati's wet dream

The cause of peace in Africa can never be served by self-righteous liberals in the West who constantly make events on the ground in Africa sound far worse than they really are. These liberal interventionists honestly believe that people will only care about Africa if it can be presented to us in the most horrific way they can imagine.

George Clooney has been one of the worst culprits of only presenting Africa to us in the most lurid, and in many cases, the most inaccurate way possible, it doesn't seem to bother Clooney, who is by no stretch of the imagination an expert on African civil wars, seems to think his hot air on Darfur is beyond criticism and interrogation.

Clooney, and the rest of the Chattering classes in the West have cynically adopted Darfur as 'Our Righteous Cause'. They insist that the civil war in western Sudan is just a simple case of savage Africans trying to wipe out another set of African victims. The propaganda they use is to over exaggerate the scale of the suffering because it suits their morality tale, which is ready-made for simpletons. Indeed, Clooney has nothing of real substance to say that can actually clarify what is precisely going on in Darfur, his constant labelling of the civil war as a genocide is meant to flatter the listener and their sense of self-serving anger. It simply hasn't occurred to Clooney that his demands for Western military intervention in Darfur comes at a time when there was, and still is, a marked decline of armed conflict in the Darfur region.

The Chatterati like Clooney have got what they wanted, 26,000 heavily armed UN personnel roaming around Darfur, telling the Sudanese what to do in their own country. As far as I'm concerned, this is just as cynical as the Bush administrations military adventures in the Persian Gulf. Activists that support the latest UN interventions in Darfur are really no more than western apologists for militarism as a final solution in someone else's country, and to someone else's civil war, all just for their own moral self-gratification.

Save Darfur activists appear actively to distort public understanding of the complex debates that surrounds the question of Darfur, worst still, the relentless good victim verses the evil/Black Nazis presentation of the conflict is in fact having perverse effect on the ground. Indeed, an official from the American State Department back in 2004 told the world's press that instead of standing up and fighting the Khartoum government, the rebel faction the Justice and Equality Movement; "are doing everything possible to keep it going. The S.L.A. has never stood up to the army the way the S.P.L.A. did in the south. Instead, they’ve been very content to sit back, let the village burnings go on, let the killing go on, because the more international pressure that’s brought to bear on Khartoum, the stronger their position grows".

Mahmood Mamdani is an expert in African political affairs, he is also professor of Government at Columbia University, and author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror. In a recent essay he explores how Save Darfur activists have slowly transformed the Sudanese civil war into a platform for self-righteous moral posturing. I agree with much of Mamdani's sentiments regarding Save Darfur activists - for they have managed to systematically reduced a complex African civil war, that involves many armed factions and government troops fighting over land, water and grazing rights, down to one single word - 'genocide'. As far as Save Darfur activists are concerned, Darfur can only be described in lurid and exaggerated terminology. Mamdani talks about how newspaper 'writing on Darfur has sketched a pornography of violence’, he adds that liberal interventionists are 'fascinated by and fixated on the gory details, describing the worst of the atrocities in gruesome detail and chronicling the rise in the number of them. The implication is that the motivation of the perpetrators lies in biology (“race”) and, if not that, certainly in “culture”.

Mamdani rightfully calls this the 'pornography of violence', it's for hardcore Save Darfur activist who think nothing of exaggerating the facts about how many people have died in Darfur. Take for example the Save Darfur Coalition who also work closely with Clooney, and all their international campaigns on TV, in the cinema, and their full page adverts in the press, have thought nothing of exaggerating mortality rates in Darfur. The worst thing about all of this, is that very few people will be 'aware' of how Sudan is literally being prostituted by Western interventionists, who appear hell bent on trampling over any Third World countries national sovereignty.

Original source material from here.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's celebrate the freedom of flight

At a time when hundreds of miserable anti-flying protestors are descending on Heathrow airport at it's most busiest time of the year, hell bent on causing disruption - I think it’s high time we start to combat such eco-puritanism by celebrating our freedom to fly

As far as I’m concerned, what I’ve always found completely astonishing, is the fact that a machine of such size, weight and power, can transport me over great distances, at such high speeds, in the most inhospitable environment, with such safety, and at such a cheap price - that, in mine eye, can never be 'unethical', on the contrary, to me, that is nothing short of a miracle.

I’m constantly struck by how blasé most people appear to be when it comes to aviation safety, coupled with their low prices. I was at Heathrow airport only a week ago waiting for my £54 return flight to Shannon airport in Ireland with my fiancée, we always grab a coffee at the Costa Coffee, then sit by the windows so we can read, or watch the planes land. I’m constantly astounded each time I see one of those giant machines come swooping down from the clouds and touching down so smoothly on the runway.

I always find it heartening to know that modern flying has developed into the safest form of mass travel known to mankind. Indeed, the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, Patrick Goudou reassured his audience at a recent EU/US International Aviation Safety Conference in Prague that ‘aviation remains the safest mode of travel’. The latest safety report from the International Air Transport Association also confirms that when aviation safety is concerned, Western-built jets are amongst the safest in the world with only one accident per 1.5 million flights – that is certainly a tremendously low accident rate by any stretch of the imagination, especially for something as complex as flying.

Even after having to endure all of Heathrow’s strict and tedious security procedures, nothing it seems can be more thrilling than the moment when your jet arrives at the runway, the engines are put into full thrust and you accelerate to a speed of 160 mph in three seconds flat, and off you go. Even though I might only have a rudimentary understanding of the science involved in flying, I still find myself astounded by the sight of the disappearing ground at Heathrow, and the rapid approach of the clouds – I think it’s about as close to miraculous as it will ever get.

Happy holidays to you all!

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