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    Amir Taheri: Pests in freedom's way

    15mar05

    THROUGHOUT the debate that preceded the liberation of Iraq two years ago, supporters of Saddam Hussein claimed that any attempt at removing him from power by force would trigger an explosion in "the Arab street". As it turned out, the explosion they had predicted did take place, but only in Western streets, where anti-Americans of all denominations, their numbers inflated by the usual "useful idiots", marched to keep the Baathist butcher in power.

    More than two years later, however, the Arab street seems to be heading for an explosion. From North Africa to the Persian Gulf and passing by the Levant, people have been coming together in various "Arab streets" to make their feelings and opinions known. These demonstrations, some big, some small, have several features in common.
    Unlike the rent-a-mob marches concocted by the Mukhabarat secret services, this latest spate of demonstrations was largely spontaneous. Nor are the demonstrations controlled by the traditional elites, including established opposition groups and personalities.

    In almost every case, we are witnessing a new kind of citizens' movement, an Arab version of people power in action. But the most important feature of these demonstrations is that they are concerned not with imagined external enemies be they Israel or the US but with the real deficiencies of contemporary Arab societies. In almost every case the key demand is for a greater say for the people in deciding the affairs of the nation.

    It is, of course, far too early to speak of an "Arab spring".

    It is not at all certain that the ruling elites will have the intelligence to manage the difficult transition from autocracy to pluralism. Nor is it certain that the budding democratic movement would produce a leadership capable of mixing resolve with moderation. The deep-rooted Arab tradition of political extremism may prove harder to dissipate than one imagines.

    What is interesting is that there are, as yet, no signs that the "Western street" may, at some point, come out in support of the new "Arab street".

    Over the past two weeks several Western capitals, including London and Paris, have witnessed feverish activity by more than two dozen groups organising meetings and marches to mark the second anniversary of the liberation of Iraq. The aim is not to celebrate the event and express solidarity with the emerging Iraqi democracy, but to vilify George W. Bush and Tony Blair, thus lamenting the demise of Saddam Hussein.

    I spent part of last week ringing up the organisers of the anti-war events with a couple of questions. The first: Would they allow anyone from the newly elected Iraqi parliament to address the gatherings? The second: Would the marches include expressions of support for the democracy movements in Arab and other Muslim countries, notably Iraq, Lebanon and Syria?

    In both cases the answer was a categorical no, accompanied by a torrent of abuse about "all those who try to justify American aggression against Iraq".

    But was it not possible to condemn "American aggression" and then express support for the democratic movement in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world? In most cases we were not even allowed to ask the question. In one or two cases we received mini-lectures on how democracy cannot be imposed by force. The answer to that, of course, is that in Iraq no one tried to impose democracy by force. In Iraq force was used to remove the enemies of democracy from power so as to allow its friends to come to the fore.

    That remnants of the totalitarian Left and various brands of fascism should march to condemn the liberation of Iraq is no surprise. What is surprising is that some mainstream groups, such as the British Liberal-Democrat Party and even some former members of Tony Blair's Labour Government, should join these marches of shame.

    The Lib-Dems at their spring conference last week found enough time to reiterate their shameful opposition to the liberation of Iraq at some length. But they had no time to take note of what looks like a historic turning point in favour of democracy in the Middle East. As for those Labour ministers who resigned from Blair's cabinet in protest against the toppling of Saddam Hussein, there is as yet no sign that they might express any support for freedom marches in various Arab capitals.

    The situation is no better in continental Europe. Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister, has yet to show the same degree of activism in support of the Arab democratic movement as he did in 2003, when he fought desperately to prevent the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. For his part, France's President Jacques Chirac, who in February 2003 proposed an emergency summit to save Saddam Hussein, and appeared almost daily on television opposing the liberation of Iraq, is yet to give the slightest hint that he might favour the demise of any more tyrannies in the region.

    Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?

    Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism? Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?

    Those interested in the health of Western democracies would do well to ponder those questions.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...5E7583,00.html
    How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin. -Reagan

  • #2
    Good article, good read. It's been two years and the time to vent about the war is over with. I cant understand such stubbornness, personally. I think it is in everyone's best interest now to see Iraq succeed, and to see change in the region - unfortunately, a good majority of the anti-war crowd is ignorant to the fact that war isn't a video game. Real people die, real money is used, and real consequences ceme with your actions. No one promised a picnic. No one promised a prosperous Iraq two years after liberation. Progress takes time, and it needs the support of Americans, Europeans, Australians, and Arabs alike.
    Warpox exposes himself | Editorial 1 4 | 2Pox

    Comment


    • #3
      This article is nothing short of ridiculous - being opposed to invading a country run by a third rate dictator that poses no threat to the nation invading does not equate to "supporting Saddam Hussein".

      A great deal of euphoria seems to have over taken this board to the point that many of you seem to forget that this war has killed upwards of 150 000 civilians and seriously wounded upwards of 10 times that amount and its not over. While you all pat yourselves on the back it might do well to remember that this war has killed in just two years half the innocent people Hussein's govt killed in 30 years. While you may all think this is justified - I suspect their are millions of Iraqi's who think the loss of their families, limbs and homes was too high a price to pay.
      "Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race."

      -Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        ^^ I agree with both Tricia and Bri on this one. The war was not worth the effort, Arabs are just as confused about politics today as they were 20 years ago. Arabs have yet to "come together" in a positive way like the Indians and the Chineese and the Europeans. How many more times will America be forced to bail out an Arab coutnry because it recieves no support from its relatives and neighbours? But Bri is right, its time to take out the trash now, and move past the Iraq war aspect of the Middle East issue. That part of the world will always be under attack until they learn to share with each other and get along like good children. Which I DOUBT that part of the world is capable of. The reason you say euphoric undertones have taken over this board Tricia is probably because that very thing is happening. I can speak for many when I say there is a time to rebel and a time to work and fix issues. Even though the purposes of the Iraq war were horribly wrong, there are positives that CAN come out of it. And one HUGE one is that a person with the equivalent of a grade five education like that of Saddam Hussein's is no longer in control of one of the worlds naturally richest regions Iraq. And that part of the world is learning that using terrorism will only get you hurt, and that is the only language those people understand. A huge negat8ive has taken place that we can do nothing about, but we can do something about the fate of Iraq NOW. And my advice is that we do it, for the greater good of the world. You can stay blinded by hate, or move on to make sure this never happens again.
        One convienient location...... somewhere in Africa.

        Comment


        • #5
          Almost pointless. The answer to his question about why people are quicker to denounce unilateral invasion of a country on false pretenses than to praise alleged democracy on the move in Iraq is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a second. It is obvious that the attack on Iraq was far more troubling news, and people respond to trouble more than good news.

          Next, as far as trends in the world, attacking countries cos you feel like it is far MORE of a concern to the average world citizen than people getting together on street corners is a bonus. I would expect that would be obvious.

          He is seriously asking "why is everyone mad at us killing hundreds of thousands, on our own initiative, and raping some and maiming untold numbers, instead of celebrating the fact that some of the survivors of our attacks are on the street corners talking about things more openly?"

          What a stupid question. Do I have to answer that??? Imagine me asking "why are you so mad I broke in your house and killed your mom and brother? Now that the ol' bitch is gone, YOU DON'T HAVE A CURFEW, you lucky devil!!"

          What a stupid question. What a callous and chauvanistic sentiment.

          If the overall point of the article is that we should be happy with the lies, deception, and profiteering in and over Iraq because now the Arabs are on street corners, I say HELL NAH. These trends are dangerous and they are being used on US. They didn't just lie to Iraq before attacking the citizens. They lied to us. This CANNOT become acceptable because of people on street corners. Is this man on crack???

          Another example of saying something incredibly stupid in very smart language. Fools 9 out of 10.
          Would you let the system sit (shit) down on your head again? NO, DREAD, NO.
          Would you let the system
          make you kill your brother man? NO, DREAD, NO
          .

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps the most negative result of this war is the further deterioration of the U.N.'s effectiveness.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rainstorm
              Almost pointless. The answer to his question about why people are quicker to denounce unilateral invasion of a country on false pretenses than to praise alleged democracy on the move in Iraq is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a second. It is obvious that the attack on Iraq was far more troubling news, and people respond to trouble more than good news.

              Next, as far as trends in the world, attacking countries cos you feel like it is far MORE of a concern to the average world citizen than people getting together on street corners is a bonus. I would expect that would be obvious.

              He is seriously asking "why is everyone mad at us killing hundreds of thousands, on our own initiative, and raping some and maiming untold numbers, instead of celebrating the fact that some of the survivors of our attacks are on the street corners talking about things more openly?"

              What a stupid question. Do I have to answer that??? Imagine me asking "why are you so mad I broke in your house and killed your mom and brother? Now that the ol' bitch is gone, YOU DON'T HAVE A CURFEW, you lucky devil!!"

              What a stupid question. What a callous and chauvanistic sentiment.

              If the overall point of the article is that we should be happy with the lies, deception, and profiteering in and over Iraq because now the Arabs are on street corners, I say HELL NAH. These trends are dangerous and they are being used on US. They didn't just lie to Iraq before attacking the citizens. They lied to us. This CANNOT become acceptable because of people on street corners. Is this man on crack???

              Another example of saying something incredibly stupid in very smart language. Fools 9 out of 10.
              Please tell me that you're not really that fucking stupid.
              How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin. -Reagan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tricia
                This article is nothing short of ridiculous - being opposed to invading a country run by a third rate dictator that poses no threat to the nation invading does not equate to "supporting Saddam Hussein".

                A great deal of euphoria seems to have over taken this board to the point that many of you seem to forget that this war has killed upwards of 150 000 civilians and seriously wounded upwards of 10 times that amount and its not over. While you all pat yourselves on the back it might do well to remember that this war has killed in just two years half the innocent people Hussein's govt killed in 30 years. While you may all think this is justified - I suspect their are millions of Iraqi's who think the loss of their families, limbs and homes was too high a price to pay.
                YOU seem to forget that poor ol' Saddam Hussein has probably killed in the neighborhood of 2 MILLION (that's 2,000,000 for you liberals out there) people. If that qualifies as "third-rate", what, in YOUR estimation, qualifies as first-rate?
                Where do you get your 150,000? The best guess is at MOST 18,670. While you're whining and pissing and moaning about them and pissing on the graves of the U.S. soldiers, remember which leader is being held and going on trial for crimes against humanity.
                The point of the article is to point out that there are damn fools out there who can't see what's going on. Their so wrapped up in themselves and their hatred for Bush that they REFUSE to see the positive. If Bush had a "D" after his name, it would have been the best thing to happen to Iraq and there would be no question about the WMD issue.
                Sad part is that you liberals can't fucking decide whether the wepaons were there or not. First you said they were, then you said they weren't, then you said they were, but they were stolen, then you said they weren't there and recently you go back to the claim again that they were there, but they were stolen.
                Furthermore, there has been no establishment that Bush lied. Only the liberals, blinded by their vile, putrid hatred have spun that conclusion.

                And while you're throwing numbers around, how about showing us how many innocent civilians your beloved "freedom fighters" have killed?
                Last edited by Master Chief; 03-16-2005, 11:08 PM.
                How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin. -Reagan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rainstorm
                  Imagine me asking "why are you so mad I broke in your house and killed your mom and brother? Now that the ol' bitch is gone, YOU DON'T HAVE A CURFEW, you lucky devil!!"
                  hhahahaha, good shit man.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Master Chief
                    Please tell me that you're not really that fucking stupid.

                    I doubt that would be worth it, and I doubt you'd know what that means.
                    Would you let the system sit (shit) down on your head again? NO, DREAD, NO.
                    Would you let the system
                    make you kill your brother man? NO, DREAD, NO
                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tricia
                      This article is nothing short of ridiculous - being opposed to invading a country run by a third rate dictator that poses no threat to the nation invading does not equate to "supporting Saddam Hussein".

                      A great deal of euphoria seems to have over taken this board to the point that many of you seem to forget that this war has killed upwards of 150 000 civilians and seriously wounded upwards of 10 times that amount and its not over. While you all pat yourselves on the back it might do well to remember that this war has killed in just two years half the innocent people Hussein's govt killed in 30 years. While you may all think this is justified - I suspect their are millions of Iraqi's who think the loss of their families, limbs and homes was too high a price to pay.
                      It still shocks me at how naive you are to the reality of things. "Saddam posing no threat?" Show me how Saddam wasn't the least bit dangerous. I guess mass graves weren't proof enough for you. Grow up little girl.

                      Speaking of living in euphoria where the hell did you get those numbers. I'm guessing 150,000 "civilians" (<---- a civilian would not include the ones attacking our troops cause those are called insurgents and terrorists) represents the amount of people who got small abrasions and cuts during the war cause that many has not died.

                      Secondly, you don't care about Iraqi people. I love how you pretend you do. You don't. No one is buying this sympathy card you are playing so do us all a favor and play the reality card which is people die in wars, it's happened since the dawn of humanity so deal with it or commit suicide cause you're on the wrong planet. Now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go enjoy some beer jerky.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        She pulled 150,000 from her ass. That is insane. Besides, Saddam directly and indirectly killed millions since he took office. Iraq is showing progress. This old lady will never learn, Plastic.
                        Warpox exposes himself | Editorial 1 4 | 2Pox

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rainstorm
                          Almost pointless. The answer to his question about why people are quicker to denounce unilateral invasion of a country on false pretenses than to praise alleged democracy on the move in Iraq is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a second. It is obvious that the attack on Iraq was far more troubling news, and people respond to trouble more than good news.

                          Next, as far as trends in the world, attacking countries cos you feel like it is far MORE of a concern to the average world citizen than people getting together on street corners is a bonus. I would expect that would be obvious.

                          He is seriously asking "why is everyone mad at us killing hundreds of thousands, on our own initiative, and raping some and maiming untold numbers, instead of celebrating the fact that some of the survivors of our attacks are on the street corners talking about things more openly?"

                          What a stupid question. Do I have to answer that??? Imagine me asking "why are you so mad I broke in your house and killed your mom and brother? Now that the ol' bitch is gone, YOU DON'T HAVE A CURFEW, you lucky devil!!"

                          What a stupid question. What a callous and chauvanistic sentiment.

                          If the overall point of the article is that we should be happy with the lies, deception, and profiteering in and over Iraq because now the Arabs are on street corners, I say HELL NAH. These trends are dangerous and they are being used on US. They didn't just lie to Iraq before attacking the citizens. They lied to us. This CANNOT become acceptable because of people on street corners. Is this man on crack???

                          Another example of saying something incredibly stupid in very smart language. Fools 9 out of 10.
                          Not trying to be a hard guy bro, but do you think that Saddam deserved the postion he demanded of his people for the better part of 30 years?? Come on now, I understand fully that this war was over oil and not for the people but as I say, some good can come of this for the betterment of the region.
                          One convienient location...... somewhere in Africa.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BriMcFly88
                            She pulled 150,000 from her ass. That is insane. Besides, Saddam directly and indirectly killed millions since he took office. Iraq is showing progress. This old lady will never learn, Plastic.
                            I dont know about that, I believe she is a little low on the number of dead Iraqi's. But to say they were ALL innocent may be a bit of a stretch.
                            One convienient location...... somewhere in Africa.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am not saying that NO good can come out of this. I am saying the ends don't justify the means. Plain and simple.

                              As for the article, it was asking why nobody was as quick to cheer Arabs on streetcorners as they were to denounce gov't lies and atrocities. I thought that was an INCREDIBLY stupid and pseudo-racist question. It is the same "kid glove" treatment they apply to Blacks, foreigners, etc., when it suits them. The question is plainly stupid.

                              The fact that this fool wrote a piece of bullshit in the "good ol' boys" mentality does NOT mean that NO good can come out of the destruction of Iraq. It just means that lying to the world and planning a war for deceptive purposes is not OK, even if Arabs end up talking on street corners. Ask how many of them would've traded in their mother, son, daughter, neice, hand, foot, house, business, education, etc., in order to congregate on street corners. I doubt many would.

                              And shit, it's not hard to figure. I wouldn't either. Neither would you, nor Bri.

                              And this has NOTHING to do with Sadam. It is not Sadam suffering and having his house bombed. It is not Sadam whose family is dead (well maybe him too, partially), it is the CITIZENS who bear this attack on them. Sadam was never the problem we had with the war. But EVERY time we mention the suffering masses, illusionists bring up Sadam! Sadam is not in Iraq. Let's talk about Iraq, and who'se suffering there. They still matter!

                              If the US wanted Sadam, they could have gotten him the same way they've gotten every servant-gone-bad that they ever SET UP. They usually assassinate the figure or else force him to accept his replacement. They've done that in Africa, South America, Indonesia, and the Middle East. Every time a puppet falls out of favour with them (happens often) THEY DON'T START A FUCKING WAR AND BOMB THE CITIZENS.

                              This has NOTHING to do with Sadam. Bombing citizen's homes has NOTHING to do with Sadam.

                              The question is "Why have they not toppled THIS leader the SAME WAY THEY TOPPLE ALL OTHER LEADERS THEY DISAPPROVE OF? Why have they started a war in this particular case??"

                              I tell you the answer is NOT found anywhere near Sadam. It is found near Oil reserves, OPEC, and geo-strategic positioning for regional domination, AS THEY HAVE SAID THEY INTEND TO DO.

                              So, in a war launched against the citizenry, to destabalize and take over economic interests, why do we keep coming back to this inane question of if Sadam was a bad guy?????

                              Yes, he was bad, like his bosses. Now they are attacking his people much like he did. There have been far more deaths per capita and tortures and everything else, on a weekly or daily basis than there was under Sadam. This is war. And the toppling of Sadam DID NOT REQUIRE A WAR.

                              Securing control of the REGION REQUIRES A WAR.


                              So why are we at war again?

                              And what the FUCK does Sadam have to do with ANY of this??????


                              Peace
                              Last edited by Rainstorm; 03-17-2005, 02:37 PM.
                              Would you let the system sit (shit) down on your head again? NO, DREAD, NO.
                              Would you let the system
                              make you kill your brother man? NO, DREAD, NO
                              .

                              Comment

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