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The Mudcat Cafesj

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Nickhere BS: Taleban Blow Up Schools (145* d) RE: BS: Taleban Blow Up Schools 08 Feb 09

But you're correct on another point Teribus - it isn't right that it's left to yourself or BBRuce to start threads on Darfur etc.,

I suppose that most Catters are way more familiar with the wars in Iraq, Afgahanistan and Palestine - these have all been covered extensively in the media and the war in Palestine has been going on so many years that most people have had time to read up on it, inform themselves about it and so feel in a position to make some comment on it. There's a lot of material around about it from all viewpoints and then some.

On the other hand there are dozens of conflicts that flare up round the world, like the one in Georgia, that are over almost before you get any idea of what's really going on. They are also often less well-covered by the media, at least after the initial furore. The Darfur situation is a case in point - it got reasonably well-covered in the first few weeks then the media circus moved on to more 'interesting stuff' though it's not as if the Janjaweed suddenly thought better of their murderous actions.

A journalist, Joe Sacco, who covered the Bosnia war intensively, made this point about Sarajevo. Though people were still dying there, the main focus of the war shifted to Gorazde as the action was far more intense, and the chance of getting that 'scoop' drew the journalists in droves. A very similar stinging criticism of the media can be found in Danis Tanovich's "No Man's Land" - about the war in Bosnia.

On a more recent note, I think "Blood Diamond" has done an excellent job in alerting people to the moral pitfalls in buying a diamond thanks to the backdrop of corruption and slaughter in the Democratic Republic of Congo (and as I've noted elsewhere, any country with the word 'democratic' in the title probably isn't). Personally, I'd haul China over the coals for their dismal human rights record - far more executions than the USA (though a bigger population admittedly), the annexation of Tibet which has never been properly addressed. It warmed my heart to see the protests over the Olympic torch last year. Then there is the Communist Party's suppression of religion, the fact there IS only one party, and no democratic vote as we understand it, etc., etc., I think countries that call themselves civilized should either call China to account or break off relations over these issues. But the lure of the Chinese RNB (Chinese currency) is proving stronger than morals in almost all cases.

I am not a person who believes it better to protest against no regime if we're not going to protest against them all, in the interests of fairness. Though I believe in fairness, I also realise people have limited time and energy so different groups can focus their efforts in different areas. Occasionally they can combine their energies on one - as was done with South Africa - if it helps tip the scales.

I have written numerous times to the Iranian government protesting over the treatment of jailed trade union activists and the beating of women trade unionists. Though these efforts don't seem to make much difference, you'd be surprised how they do trickle into a government's consciousness - 'we;re not well viewed by the rest of the world" Now they mightn't care much about my views, but they might worry about the effect of such lobbying at home on my own own government by like minded people on relations between the two governments. In the past, these protests (I wasn't the only one protesting, I hasten to add) have effected the release of activists or shortened their sentences or lightened their treatment. Another country I'd like to see real pressure applied to is Burma.

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