Saturday, February 25, 2006


South Dakota Wades in

Yet another freedom was lost in America this week. The right of women in South Dakota to own their own bodies. The State repossessed women's bodies when it outlawed their right to choose abortion. The law does not even permit abortion in the event of rape or incest.
Frankly, those women deserve that. They voted these people into power and so they must accept the consequences of that.
But this decision has far reaching consequences all over the world.
When Bush came to power he and his friends decided that the United States would withhold money from various charities and UN sponsored programmes which offered abortions in some of the poorest countries in the world.
Note the word "offered" because very often religious fundamentalists confuse the word with "forced".
That was a crippling blow to women in those countries. Yes, absitnence and "just say no" might work well in South Dakota, but it doesn't work in the Congo. It fails miserably in Dafur, and doesn't stop rapists anywhere in the world.
For women in impoverished countries, withholding abortion is akin to a death sentence. Giving birth is a risky business where there is no amblulance standing by to whisk you off to hospital if things go wrong, no painkillers to dull the pain and no blood transfusion service should you need one.
But there is more to it than that.
These same charities provide many other health services to women. Some even as simple as a clean place to give birth, a light to see by, or a small bottle of antiseptic. Perhaps it pays for the woman to be stitched up after birth so that she doesn't suffer from obstetric fistula (look it up if you want to know). Perhaps they offer contraceptive injections or condoms.
Without the funding they cannot provide this.
By withdrawing this funding the United States condemned more women to needless death. This is not a question of "abstinence" it's a question of life or death.
So this week's back-step from freedom can be expected to have further far reaching consequences - and once again the little folk will suffer.

Friday, February 24, 2006


For the love of God, define democracy!

Aren't you just sick of the American's fanatical demands for democracy? Their unrelenting quest to turn the whole world into one large, Big Mac Munching DEMOCRACY!!!
What is democracy, though?
And I really think we need to find out before the death toll reaches two million.
If my schooling serves me correctly, democracy is a Greek word coming from two words - demos - meaning people and cratos meaning rule.
The Americans like to add stuff into that. Things like... "Freedom to choose your own leaders" and political freedoms, and freedoms of speech and freedom of ...well, freedom. FREEEEEEEEEE DOM.
Personally I feel most people don't need democracy. It's a messy business at the best of times. Majority of folks don't understand the issues and shouldn't be let out with a ballot paper. You only have to look at the countries where women get the vote to see this in action. Do they vote for women? No. They continue to vote for men, who continue to screw things up - royally, by spending squillions of dollars on big war machines and taking food from the tables of the citizens to do so. Not much has changed since Robin Hood was a robbing in the hood.
But seriously, what is this democracy the US and its allies insists the rest of the world should have at any cost? We all know by now - thanks to the journalistic talents of people like Greg Palast - that democracy in the United States just doesn't exist any more. Yet, Anaconda Rice is still jackbooting herself around the globe, strong arming nations into joining the schoolyard bullies to DO AS US SAYS, NOT AS US DOES.
Isn't it just criminal, though that when the people do exercise their right to vote, and the US doesn't like the results, the regime swoops in to effect a change more favourable to Washington?
Yes for...whoever you like...just make sure it's whoever WE like.
This is not something new. This reaction to Hammas' victory is exactly what the US has been doing for decades.
I don't mind that they withhold their own funds - they have every right to do that - but if they hold that as the axe over the people's heads - like they did in post second world war Italy and Japan and... and.. - that is not freedom. That's coercion.
And if they then go around to OTHER countries and "persuade" them to do the same... that's further removed from "by the people for the people".
And this little debacle in Palestine has yet a further twist to it. Israel - that armed to the teeth 51st state of America - is now stealing the Palestinians' own money!
And the United States hasn't said a word about that! Oh no! Democracy didn't go the way we like it, so we'll just fine tune it some!
That's just wrong. And American taxpayers who are handing over their hard earned dollars to this crazy government, should think about that. They're arming a right wing nation that is stealing from its people. Oh yeah, but that's what their own government is doing anyway.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


What's in the name of Islam?

I, like many other westerners have watched with bemusement, and a growing sense of outrage, the backlash from the Muslim world at the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
It's pretty hard to say exactly when my own mood swung from indulgence to major anger. I've always found demonstrations that turn into flag burning reminiscent of the goblins in fairy stories who, when thwarted, would jump up and down and stamp their feet.
Don't get me wrong. I am all for making a mass statement.
But rabble rousing is just so third world.
While I have no doubt that Muslims have been getting a raw deal, I have to wonder that the logic of this global outrage at the publication of a few sketches.
Yes, yes, yes, I understand that it's against their religion. Yes I get that. Really, I do. But in the greater scheme of things which does more harm to the world view of this vilified group, a cartoon of the Prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, or the fact that this is what angers them to the point where they will pour on to the streets waving their fists?
Like many westerners, I have to wonder where all this zealous defence of Islam as a peaceful religion was when Christian children were being beheaded, western tourists being blown apart, women having acid thrown into their faces or being gang raped by order of a Sharia court, women being dragged from hospital beds or jounalists having their throats cut on television. Where were all these "good" Muslims then?
I have no dout they existed then. I don't believe for one second that the acts of these crazed fundamentalists represent the majority. But there was no outrage then.
I have seen westerners protesting the war in Iraq. Yet it seems that atrocities carried out in the name of Islam are met with resounding silence.
Despite the pleading of "infidels" from all spectrums of religion, science and media, the Taleban's wanton destruction of ancient Buddhist relics went ahead without so much as a murmur from the moderate Muslims. Where were these defenders of the faith then?
When some head-swathed maniac gets himself on television yelling that westerners should die, when children are used as mules to carry limb tearing, death dealing explosives, where are these folk? Why are they not standing up then and saying "NOT IN THE NAME OF ISLAM"?
That to me is far more shocking than a cartoon. But make no mistake, the cartoon has done its job of ripping the veil of piety from the face of religion and showing boths its faces to the world. Neither of them are looking any good.

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