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Re: [existlist] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role

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  • John Taft
    James, Well written, I can t find one iota of contention about your thoughts on your perception of the relation of the Palestinians and the Israeli s. This is
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 6, 2002
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      James,

      Well written, I can't find one iota of contention about your thoughts on
      your perception of the relation of the Palestinians and the Israeli's.

      This is the 70% that makes up American thought, which though has
      preconceived ideas about what an Israeli is and same for a Palestinian, yet
      basis their perception on the actual situation that is in play. Suicide
      bombers are terrorists to the receiving party, even they may be political or
      religious heroes to the sending party, this is all that matters.

      I can't help feel that the moderate Palestinians are going along with what
      is happening in the hopes of getting a windfall gain at no expense of their
      own, hopefully not though, and I hope they are just the silent majority that
      only wants fair play.

      John
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
      Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 8:51 PM
      Subject: [existlist] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role


      > From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
      > Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      > To: "Wisdom Forum" <WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role
      > Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 14:23:39 -0800
      >
      > Tommy wrote:
      > >>The point is though that they do not. What I am calling your
      > attention to is not the question of whether it is right or wrong to
      > kill other people but the scale of the action that is being employed
      > by the Palestinions. Perhaps if they had nuclear weapons they would
      > nuke Israel in a grand, final gesture of hopelessness. But the point
      > is, they do not. They don't even have any tanks!<<
      >
      > In don't think that the scale of the Israeli actions are disproportionate
      to
      > the threat. The Israeli's have not wantonly been killing women, children
      or
      > the unarmed. They have engaged in battle with men firing at them with
      > AK-47s. The Palestinians should not start a fight with a superior force
      and
      > then claim the fight is unfair. Just look at the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
      > They found themselves in a similar situation. I'm curious to know if that
      > is an especial feature of Arab or Islamic culture. I'm really growing
      > increasingly curious about the value system such acts express. And I
      think
      > it's a good thing that the Palestinians don't have nuclear weapons, since
      > they seem to be prone two what I might regard as irrational acts. I'm not
      > as concerned about the Israeli's, however, employing the nuclear weapons
      > that they do have against the Palestinians, because as far as I can see,
      the
      > Israelis appear to be behaving rationally.
      >
      > The U.S. certainly does not refrain from using B-52, B-1s, Tommahawk
      Cruise
      > Missles, AC-130 gunships, daisy cutter bombs, bunker buster bombs and
      > thermobaric bombs against those who do not have them. What rationale
      would
      > the Israelis have to leave their tanks and armored personnel carriers at
      > home when they go off to fight. And Tommy, that you could even complain
      > about this point makes me wonder about your views, when the entire object
      of
      > warfare since the practically the dawn of time has been to have better and
      > more sophisticated weapons than your opponent and to use them to you
      > advantage to defeat your enemy. Surely you remember the passage from the
      > stone age to the metal age, and the passage from bronze weapons to iron,
      > from calvary to armored tanks. Why should the Israelis commit suicide to
      > satisfy your idea of fairness in a fight.
      >
      > And I think all this talk about Palestinian "hopelessness" is pure
      > propaganda and non-sense. You should examine it more carefully. Take,
      for
      > instance, the 18 year old girl who decided one day to become a suicide
      > bomber. She was engaged to be married and was planning to go to college.
      > In what way was she hopeless? I don't think hopeless people have video
      > cameras and TV sets for the purpose of making and showing suicide bomber
      > last wills and testaments. American TV interviewed one of the families of
      > one of the early suicide bombers and he seemed to come from a nice home,
      he
      > was educated, he had nice clothes, his family was well fed, oddly enough
      he
      > had a think for Disney knick knacks and had a lot of Mickey Mouse statues,
      > posters and memorabilia in his room. In what sense was he hopeless. In
      my
      > book, truly hopeless people are starving, homeless, lack basic comforts,
      > wear tattered clothes, etc. None of these indicia of hopelessness apply
      to
      > the Palestinians that I have seem. Rather, I suspect there is something
      > going on behind this unsupported rhetoric of hopelessness. People are
      just
      > making choices about how to achieve their aims. That 18 year old girl was
      > offered a choice--get married and got to college or go straight to heaven
      as
      > a suicide bomber. She choose to go straight to heaven. The choice was
      > hers. To lay the blame on others for that choice is simply bad faith.
      >
      > Tommy said:
      > >>A country can only take responsibility for its actions if it has a
      > border and an army capable of defending it. Palestine has neither of
      > these things but its people are discriminated against on account of
      > their race and culture and confined into refugee camps which have
      > become their permanent homes.<<
      >
      > But the Paletinians do not yet constitute a country, and I think you are
      > wrong about this. The Palestinians Authority, I believe, has a security
      > force of some 30,000. What have they done with it. Absolutely nothing to
      > secure peaceful co-existence with its neighbor, Israel.
      >
      > I have been reading Kant's Perpetual Peace lately and come across these
      > worlds "We ordinarily assume that no one may act inimically toward another
      > except when he has been actively injured by the other. This is quite
      > correct if both are under civil law, for, by entering into such a state ,
      > they afford each other the requisite security through the sovereign which
      hs
      > power over both. Man (or the people) in the state of nature deprives me
      of
      > this security and injures me, if he is near me, by this mere status of
      his,
      > even though he does not injure me actively; he does so by the lawlessness
      of
      > his condition which constantly threatens me. Therefore, I can compel him
      > either to enter with me in a state of civil law or to remove himself from
      my
      > neighborhood....All mem who can reciprocally influence each other must
      stand
      > under some civil constitution." And here the Israelis are with respect
      to
      > the radical Palestinians--either they we place themselves under a civil
      law
      > with the Israelis, or the Israelis will be compelled to attempt to remove
      > them from the neighborhood.
      >
      > Tommy wrote:
      > >>The situation is directly analogous to that of South Africa ten years
      > ago. There is almost universal agreement after the successful
      > election of the ANC to power that what Mandela and his black
      > compatriots did was just and right. But look at the right wing press
      > prior to the fall of apartheid and you will find all sorts of
      > justifications for its continuation, mainly based around the general
      > premise (however well disguised) of "you can't trust the blacks". The
      > violence that was taking place in the townships, both black-on-white
      > and black-on-black, was cited as one of the reasons that the blacks
      > weren't to be trusted. This is exactly the argument Israel is using
      > to justify its continued racist oppression of a subjugated people.<<
      >
      > But Tommy, the situation is nothing like that in South Africa. The ANC
      was
      > negotiating with the white majority government peacefully. The ANC was not
      > fire-bombing restaurants or killing civilians, as far as I recall. Even
      the
      > blacks in the white townships were fighting the South African security
      > forces, I don't recall them bursting into wedding and banquets and killing
      > every white person they could find, although there were no doubt instances
      > of lawless murder motivated by racial hatred. The two situations are
      > incomparable. No one is saying you can't trust the Palestinians. Even
      the
      > right wing is saying there are Palestinians who want peace and who they
      can
      > negotiate with, but it may be highly likely that Yasser Arafat is not that
      > person. Arafat is no Mandela. I think he's amply proved that. Mandela
      > rejected even his own lifelong mate and wife when it became apparent that
      > she was involved in a political murder, whereas Arafat is the sponsor of
      > murderers.
      >
      > If he were a leader the stature of Mandela, I believe this conflict would
      > never have reached the level of violence and wanton destruction that it
      has,
      > and what's more, it would have resulted in a final peace by now. Arafat
      has
      > done absolutely nothing effectieve to indicate a willing to make peace
      with
      > the Israelis or to stop suicide bombing. At best, he plays lip service to
      > peace when he speaks English for the Western press, but when he speaks
      > Arabic to his supporters he's ordering them to Jihad, Jihad, and more
      Jihad
      > and acquiring weapons and bombs from Iran.
      >
      > Tommy wrote:
      > >>Back to communicationalism: we must trust the Other (currently being
      > defined, generally, as "Arab", "terrorist", "Al-Quaeda" etc.) not to
      > nuke us or otherwise make our citizens dead and our countries
      > uninhabitable. This trust will not be achieved by preventing the
      > Other from developing "weapons of mass destruction", such as those
      > possessed in the large part by the US and Israel, but by ensuring
      > that the Other has as much of a stake in the overall health and
      > wealth of the world as we do. This quite patently not presently the
      > case. We will only begin to understand all the reasons why the Other
      > doesn't feel as if s/he has as much of a stake in the overall health
      > of the world as we do once we start taking on board the factors that
      > go into the decision of someone to strap explosives to his or her
      > body to attack an oppressive enemy.<<
      >
      > The great statesman Henry Clay once said "Cultivate calmness of mind but
      > prepare for the worst." Ronald Reagan prudently observed that we should
      > "Trust but verifiy." The stakes are too high to be naively optimistic, or
      > to allow ourselves to be misguided by idealism. I agree that the other
      > should have as much at stake in the world as do we. What's more, I think
      > that they do have as much at stake in the world as we do but that they
      > motivations and reasons for action are very different from what you
      suppose,
      > Tommy. You know, Osama bin Laden did not seek to wage war against the
      U.S.
      > because he was poor, or that Arabs were poor or suffering, but because
      U.S.
      > troops are in what he regards as the sacred land. Bin Laden and his Sheik
      > friends are multimillionaires. They have more money than you and your
      > neighbors can even dream of. They are not poor and desperate. And
      neither
      > are the terrorists. Many of them were educated, had jobs, family and
      money.
      > They are engineers and computer programmers. They are motivated by
      > hopelessness or desperation and you should stop deluding yourself that
      they
      > are. You've been listening to their rhetoric far too long and not
      observing
      > the facts. They have thousands of dollars to spend on bombs, millions on
      > weapons, and plenty of cash to feed and equip armies of terrorists.
      >
      >
      > Tommy asked:
      > >>Dropping communicationalism for the moment and thinking instead about
      > pragmatic solutions to the problem of the Middle East, why don't you
      > create a homeland for the Jewish People in America and let the
      > Palestinians have Palestine? It would be cheaper in the long run and
      > there is really quite a lot of land in the US, a lot of it better
      > than what you will find in Palestine. And you folks do seem to get
      > along remarkably well with one another. Just think of the economic
      > benefits of having all those clever people under the one roof so to
      > speak. Sharon could be given a ranch in Idaho. We in Europe will
      > agree on our part to change our immigration laws to permit more Arabs
      > to settle here (there already are quite a few, especially in France).<<
      >
      > Palestinian Muslims as well as Muslims from all of the world are free to
      > immigrate to America and have been welcomed here, as have been Jews from
      all
      > over Europe. They have all been guarantee the equal protection of the
      laws
      > and life free from discrimination and persecution because of their race,
      > creed or national origin. There are about 3 million Arab Americans here
      and
      > 8 million Jewish Americans. And that is more Arabs than are in the West
      > Bank and more Jews than are in the entire state of Israel. They all
      already
      > have a homeland here. The only thing asked of them--in addition to paying
      > taxes, of course--is that that respect the creed that this is one nation
      > under God with liberty and justice for all, or in other words they pledge
      > allegiance to the constitution of the United States, which requires a
      > separation of church and state. Because this is one nation, there cannot
      be
      > other nations within it--except for Native American Tribes, which are
      > themselves sovereign nations which pre-existed the U.S. We know from our
      > history, in particular the Civil War, that we cannot have separate nations
      > in the U.S. and that once a state enters the Union, it cannot leave. I'm
      > sure we'd take in the rest suffeing in Israel today, as this country is
      > already home to over 24 million people who were not born here, but were,
      of
      > course, welcomed. To be sure, they'd have to agree to live in peace and
      > obey the laws of the land, but that's not a very burdensome requirement
      > after all.
      >
      > And I'm serious, as usual.
      >
      > Chris
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Tommy Beavitt
      > Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 3:37 PM
      > To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role
      >
      > At 9:47 am -0800 4/4/02, Christopher Bobo wrote:
      > >Tommy observed:
      > > >>I don't think we can reasonably complain that people who have lived
      > >for more than a generation in a refugee camp take exception to their
      > >plight, strap explosives to their bodies and obliterate a handful of
      > >those who must directly be considered their oppressors.<<
      > >
      > >I do and I think we must so complain. The world is populated with
      > >people who believe they have gotten a raw deal from one party or
      > >another. If all the aggrieved peoples of the world were to start
      > >strapping explosives to their bodies and obliterating those who they
      > >considered their oppressors, there would be mountains of dead people
      > >all over the world and no end to the carnage. Which is why such
      > >conduct is clearly beyond the pale of any notion of civilization and
      > >is so unprecedented. Perhaps all Europeans in Africa would be piled
      > >together and slaughtered. Perhaps all Chinese in Tibet or Singapore
      > >would be next. All Koreans in Japan might feel inclined to start
      > >killing Japanese. Native Americans would start killing everyone is
      > >sight who wasn't a native American. Under your philosophy, we might
      > >as well just nuke the planet and be done with it now.
      >
      > The point is though that they do not. What I am calling your
      > attention to is not the question of whether it is right or wrong to
      > kill other people but the scale of the action that is being employed
      > by the Palestinions. Perhaps if they had nuclear weapons they would
      > nuke Israel in a grand, final gesture of hopelessness. But the point
      > is, they do not. They don't even have any tanks!
      >
      > A country can only take responsibility for its actions if it has a
      > border and an army capable of defending it. Palestine has neither of
      > these things but its people are discriminated against on account of
      > their race and culture and confined into refugee camps which have
      > become their permanent homes.
      >
      > It is only Israel that can be considered capable of acting
      > responsibly to change this situation because only it has both borders
      > and an army.
      >
      > The situation is directly analogous to that of South Africa ten years
      > ago. There is almost universal agreement after the successful
      > election of the ANC to power that what Mandela and his black
      > compatriots did was just and right. But look at the right wing press
      > prior to the fall of apartheid and you will find all sorts of
      > justifications for its continuation, mainly based around the general
      > premise (however well disguised) of "you can't trust the blacks". The
      > violence that was taking place in the townships, both black-on-white
      > and black-on-black, was cited as one of the reasons that the blacks
      > weren't to be trusted. This is exactly the argument Israel is using
      > to justify its continued racist oppression of a subjugated people.
      >
      > Dropping communicationalism for the moment and thinking instead about
      > pragmatic solutions to the problem of the Middle East, why don't you
      > create a homeland for the Jewish People in America and let the
      > Palestinians have Palestine? It would be cheaper in the long run and
      > there is really quite a lot of land in the US, a lot of it better
      > than what you will find in Palestine. And you folks do seem to get
      > along remarkably well with one another. Just think of the economic
      > benefits of having all those clever people under the one roof so to
      > speak. Sharon could be given a ranch in Idaho. We in Europe will
      > agree on our part to change our immigration laws to permit more Arabs
      > to settle here (there already are quite a few, especially in France).
      >
      > Only joking. Kind of.
      >
      > Tommy
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • james tan
      From: Christopher Bobo Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com To: Wisdom Forum Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re:
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 7, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
        Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
        To: "Wisdom Forum" <WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role
        Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 21:49:34 -0800

        Tommy wrote:
        >>It seems to me also that your argument tends in the direction of
        regarding there to be some kind of inherent racial element here, eg.
        Arabs are inherently unstable whereas blacks are inherently
        peace-loving. I don't think that is the case. While I am no
        determinist, I do believe that behaviour such as suicide bombing or
        necklacing (the treatment given by blacks to other blacks who
        collaborated with the apartheid oppressors) is elicited by the
        situation within which choices such as "shall I get married or go
        straight to heaven?" are made.<<

        Taking this, your most grievous accusation against me, I will attribute it
        to your fatigue before bedtime. I do not now, nor have I ever believed that
        people are inherently one thing or the other because of their race or
        ethnicity. What I am trying to understand is what I suspect may be learned
        cultural differences that manifest themselves in different ways in different
        people. There is no doubt that there are good people and bad people of
        every color, race and creed. What I think we are discussing are the
        attributes, inclinations, characters, decisions and actions of political
        leaders chosen to guide particular societies. Necklacing and suicide
        bombing are very different things. Necklacing was directed at people
        believed to be guilty of specific wrongful acts, whereas suicide bombing is
        directed against people innocent of any wrongdoing under any rational
        account. And that is a huge difference. Still, I think necklacing
        suspected collaborators is morally wrong, although not as reprehensible as
        suicide bombing weddings, banquets and restaurants.

        Tommy said:
        >>There my objection breaks down and so does yours I suppose since we
        cannot, as Sartreans, ever say of somebody that they are inherently
        this or that. It is the choices they make from moment to moment
        within the contingency of their situation and how these choices are
        viewed from without.<<

        I think we must make a distinction here. It is true that we may not know
        what lies deep inside the character of Arafat as a man. But as a political
        leader, we must judge him on the ground of practice by what he does, even
        more so than by what he says. What he has done in leading his people has
        taken them into the horrific realm of murderous terrorism and plunge them
        into the abyss of a mindless war. And even you must admit, the Israeli
        aggression is a response to suicide bombing and not the cause of it. The
        bombing preceded in time the military incursions of the Israelis. And
        that's a simply fact.

        Tommy wrote:
        >>The Palestinian Authority is not doing these things either. There is
        some question of whether it is using its influence over the other
        groups sufficiently proactively. But that is completely a moot point
        since its ability and will to use this influence diminishes daily due
        to the emasculation it has been receiving from Sharon's Israel.<<

        Again I think you are buying a load of political propaganda and hogwash.
        Arafat called for Jihad and started supporting suicide bombers and
        glorifying them long before there was any emasculation of his position by
        Sharon's Israel.

        Tommy said:
        >>Your point about the Palestinians having TVs and Disney toys rather
        than wearing rags and starving is, I am afraid, not worthy of you.
        There is a fundamental point about occupation in terms of how humans
        see themselves and behave which is not a simple sliding scale of
        personal involvement in consumerist technological advances.<<

        I think this is a relevant point. At what point does political oppression,
        which comes in degrees, warrant murderous violence? Just because you find
        the occupation rude, disrespectful or hurtful to your feelings does not
        justify one in killing innocent men, women and children. If the oppression
        rises to the level of starvation, mass murder, or genocide, then one ways
        more warrant for extreme and violent actions. My point is that the
        Palestinians are utterly lacking in the degree of justification, if any
        there could be, for the heinousness of their actions. In the course of
        human history, many people have endured much worse without stooping to the
        levels of murder and mayhem that the Palestinian suicide bombers have
        inflicted. Many peoples throughout time have achieved their political aims
        without blowing up innocent civilians. The sooner they realize that these
        actions are utterly unacceptable and unjustifiable from any civilized
        perspective the better we will all be. I doubt seriously if European Jewry
        on the way to the their near extermination ever thought the solution lay is
        killing innocent German children in pizza parlors. I don't even think the
        blacks of apartheid South Africa engaged in such tactics.

        We have a saying for the person who occupies the top political position in
        the U.S. That saying is that the buck stops on his desk. He can't pass
        around the blame. He takes his office with all the burdens of
        responsibility that it brings with it. The buck stops on
        Chairman/President/General Arafat's too. He's responsible for what goes on
        under his authority, the buck stops on his desk. He doesn't get to make
        excuses, he only gets to accept responsibility and to act responsibly, in
        accordance with the rights, privileges and powers of his office as leader of
        his people. Sadly, he doesn't seem to realize that.


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Tommy Beavitt
        Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 4:08 PM
        To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role

        >At 2:23 pm -0800 6/4/02, Christopher Bobo wrote:
        >The ANC was negotiating with the white majority government
        >peacefully. The ANC was not fire-bombing restaurants or killing
        >civilians, as far as I recall.

        That is right. What we call the ANC today was not, prior to the fall
        of the apartheid system run by white supremacists, fire-bombing
        restaurants or killing 'civilians'. But others were.

        The Palestinian Authority is not doing these things either. There is
        some question of whether it is using its influence over the other
        groups sufficiently proactively. But that is completely a moot point
        since its ability and will to use this influence diminishes daily due
        to the emasculation it has been receiving from Sharon's Israel.

        If the western world were to grant the PA the moral authority it
        granted the ANC it may very well be that we would say of it in
        retrospect (once the vision of a Palestinian state has been
        achieved), "it negotiated with the Jewish majority government
        peacefully".

        The only legitimate question, it seems to me, is whether Mandela is a
        man of integrity similar in inherent moral stature to a Gandhi or a
        Luther King while Arafat is fatally flawed.

        There my objection breaks down and so does yours I suppose since we
        cannot, as Sartreans, ever say of somebody that they are inherently
        this or that. It is the choices they make from moment to moment
        within the contingency of their situation and how these choices are
        viewed from without.

        It seems to me also that your argument tends in the direction of
        regarding there to be some kind of inherent racial element here, eg.
        Arabs are inherently unstable whereas blacks are inherently
        peace-loving. I don't think that is the case. While I am no
        determinist, I do believe that behaviour such as suicide bombing or
        necklacing (the treatment given by blacks to other blacks who
        collaborated with the apartheid oppressors) is elicited by the
        situation within which choices such as "shall I get married or go
        straight to heaven?" are made.

        Your point about the Palestinians having TVs and Disney toys rather
        than wearing rags and starving is, I am afraid, not worthy of you.
        There is a fundamental point about occupation in terms of how humans
        see themselves and behave which is not a simple sliding scale of
        personal involvement in consumerist technological advances.

        Anyway, I have written far too much here. A few words would have
        sufficed. I am off to bed.

        Good night!

        Tommy








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      • Eduard Alf
        james, I can see your point, but I tend to agree with Tommy on the aspect of Palestinians with TVs and such. In a society, those who are in the middle class
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 7, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          james,

          I can see your point, but I tend to agree with Tommy on the aspect of
          Palestinians with TVs and such. In a society, those who are in the middle
          class are usually those who have the time, connections and inclination to
          act. Those at the lower ranks are too busy trying to survive to do
          likewise. Those who participated in the 9-11 terrorism were well educated
          and could hardly be said to be suffering. Yet they were more open to the
          "meme" that suicide has its own reward.

          My other fear is that, if Israel military withdraws from their latest
          advancement into the occupied territories, it will be seen that terrorism
          does indeed have a result in causing change. If there is no positive
          indication of security for the Israeli state by the Arab League, this will
          go on forever. You can see the some of the thinking now in the references
          to the American revolution. "Give me Liberty or Give me Death". The point
          is being made that if the Americans took such action [in essence terrorism]
          against Britain, then why not the Palestinians. Of course the situations
          are not the same, but you can see how this is going.

          As to Arafat, I think that in his old age he is unable to take positive
          action. I think that he was a prisoner within his own community, even
          before the Israelis laid a siege on his headquarters. It may well be that
          he is not capable of acting responsibly even if he wanted to. Unfortunately
          he is the only figure head that is available. Perhaps the actions of the
          Israelis in regard to preventing him from travelling, and the visits by
          American spokesmen, may actually do him some good.

          eduard


          -----Original Message-----
          From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
          Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2002 7:02 AM
          Subject: [existlist] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role


          From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
          Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
          To: "Wisdom Forum" <WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: Re: [WisdomForum] Re: A Real Life Application? The Media's Role
          Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 21:49:34 -0800

          Tommy wrote:
          >>It seems to me also that your argument tends in the direction of
          regarding there to be some kind of inherent racial element here, eg.
          Arabs are inherently unstable whereas blacks are inherently
          peace-loving. I don't think that is the case. While I am no
          determinist, I do believe that behaviour such as suicide bombing or
          necklacing (the treatment given by blacks to other blacks who
          collaborated with the apartheid oppressors) is elicited by the
          situation within which choices such as "shall I get married or go
          straight to heaven?" are made.<<

          Taking this, your most grievous accusation against me, I will attribute it
          to your fatigue before bedtime. I do not now, nor have I ever believed
          that
          people are inherently one thing or the other because of their race or
          ethnicity. What I am trying to understand is what I suspect may be
          learned
          cultural differences that manifest themselves in different ways in
          different
          people. There is no doubt that there are good people and bad people of
          every color, race and creed. What I think we are discussing are the
          attributes, inclinations, characters, decisions and actions of political
          leaders chosen to guide particular societies. Necklacing and suicide
          bombing are very different things. Necklacing was directed at people
          believed to be guilty of specific wrongful acts, whereas suicide bombing
          is
          directed against people innocent of any wrongdoing under any rational
          account. And that is a huge difference. Still, I think necklacing
          suspected collaborators is morally wrong, although not as reprehensible as
          suicide bombing weddings, banquets and restaurants.

          Tommy said:
          >>There my objection breaks down and so does yours I suppose since we
          cannot, as Sartreans, ever say of somebody that they are inherently
          this or that. It is the choices they make from moment to moment
          within the contingency of their situation and how these choices are
          viewed from without.<<

          I think we must make a distinction here. It is true that we may not know
          what lies deep inside the character of Arafat as a man. But as a
          political
          leader, we must judge him on the ground of practice by what he does, even
          more so than by what he says. What he has done in leading his people has
          taken them into the horrific realm of murderous terrorism and plunge them
          into the abyss of a mindless war. And even you must admit, the Israeli
          aggression is a response to suicide bombing and not the cause of it. The
          bombing preceded in time the military incursions of the Israelis. And
          that's a simply fact.

          Tommy wrote:
          >>The Palestinian Authority is not doing these things either. There is
          some question of whether it is using its influence over the other
          groups sufficiently proactively. But that is completely a moot point
          since its ability and will to use this influence diminishes daily due
          to the emasculation it has been receiving from Sharon's Israel.<<

          Again I think you are buying a load of political propaganda and hogwash.
          Arafat called for Jihad and started supporting suicide bombers and
          glorifying them long before there was any emasculation of his position by
          Sharon's Israel.

          Tommy said:
          >>Your point about the Palestinians having TVs and Disney toys rather
          than wearing rags and starving is, I am afraid, not worthy of you.
          There is a fundamental point about occupation in terms of how humans
          see themselves and behave which is not a simple sliding scale of
          personal involvement in consumerist technological advances.<<

          I think this is a relevant point. At what point does political
          oppression,
          which comes in degrees, warrant murderous violence? Just because you find
          the occupation rude, disrespectful or hurtful to your feelings does not
          justify one in killing innocent men, women and children. If the
          oppression
          rises to the level of starvation, mass murder, or genocide, then one ways
          more warrant for extreme and violent actions. My point is that the
          Palestinians are utterly lacking in the degree of justification, if any
          there could be, for the heinousness of their actions. In the course of
          human history, many people have endured much worse without stooping to the
          levels of murder and mayhem that the Palestinian suicide bombers have
          inflicted. Many peoples throughout time have achieved their political
          aims
          without blowing up innocent civilians. The sooner they realize that these
          actions are utterly unacceptable and unjustifiable from any civilized
          perspective the better we will all be. I doubt seriously if European Jewry
          on the way to the their near extermination ever thought the solution lay
          is
          killing innocent German children in pizza parlors. I don't even think the
          blacks of apartheid South Africa engaged in such tactics.

          We have a saying for the person who occupies the top political position in
          the U.S. That saying is that the buck stops on his desk. He can't pass
          around the blame. He takes his office with all the burdens of
          responsibility that it brings with it. The buck stops on
          Chairman/President/General Arafat's too. He's responsible for what goes
          on
          under his authority, the buck stops on his desk. He doesn't get to make
          excuses, he only gets to accept responsibility and to act responsibly, in
          accordance with the rights, privileges and powers of his office as leader
          of
          his people. Sadly, he doesn't seem to realize that.


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        • CLSeaWasp@aol.com
          The U.S. really screwed up the Angolan war. I m pasting below an article that I recieved via email about recent investigations into the US involvement. It s
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 7, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            The U.S. really screwed up the Angolan war. I'm pasting below an article that
            I recieved via email about recent investigations into the US involvement.
            It's very interesting.
            Claire ;D


            Published on Sunday, March 31, 2002 in the New York Times

            From Old Files, a New Story of U.S. Role in Angolan War

            by Howard W. French

            In the summer of 1975, with the cold war raging and the
            memory of Saigon's fall terribly fresh, the United States
            sponsored a covert operation to prevent another Communist
            takeover, this time across the world, in Angola.

            The effort failed to keep a Marxist government from taking
            power but ushered in a long and chaotic civil war, involving
            American, Chinese and Russian interests, and Cuban and South
            African soldiers.

            Now, coinciding with the death last month of Washington's
            longtime rebel ally in Angola, Jonas Savimbi, a trove of
            recently declassified American documents seem to overturn
            conventional explanations of the war's origins.

            Historians and former diplomats who have studied the
            documents say they show conclusively that the United States
            intervened in Angola weeks before the arrival of any Cubans,
            not afterward as Washington claimed. Moreover, though a
            connection between Washington and South Africa, which was
            then ruled by a white government under the apartheid policy,
            was strongly denied at the time, the documents appear to
            demonstrate their broad collaboration.

            "When the United States decided to launch the covert
            intervention, in June and July, not only were there no
            Cubans in Angola, but the U.S. government and the C.I.A.
            were not even thinking about any Cuban presence in Angola,"
            said Piero Gleijeses, a history professor at Johns Hopkins
            University, who used the Freedom of Information Act to
            uncover the documents. Similarly, cables of the time have
            now been published by the National Security Archive, a
            private research group.

            "If you look at the C.I.A. reports which were done at the
            time, the Cubans were totally out of the picture," Dr.
            Gleijeses said. But in reports presented to the Senate in
            December 1975, "what you find is really nothing less than
            the rewriting of history."

            Cuba eventually poured 50,000 troops into Angola in support
            of a Marxist independence group, the Popular Movement for
            the Liberation of Angola. The group held the capital in the
            months just before independence from Portugal, declared in
            August 1975.

            But Dr. Gleijeses's research shows that the Cuban
            intervention came in response to a C.I.A.-financed covert
            invasion via neighboring Zaire, now known as Congo, and
            South Africa's simultaneous drive on the capital, using
            troops who posed as Western mercenaries.

            The United States gradually switched its support to Mr.
            Savimbi's movement, Unita, and continued to support it
            intermittently during nearly two decades of warfare.

            Dr. Gleijeses's research documents significant coordination
            between the United States and South Africa, from joint
            training missions to airlifts, and bluntly contradicts the
            Congressional testimony of the era and the memoirs of Henry
            A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state.

            The work draws heavily on White House, State Department and
            National Security Council memorandums, as well as extensive
            interviews and archival research in Cuba, Angola, Germany
            and elsewhere. It was carried out in preparation of Dr.
            Gleijeses's recently published history of the conflict,
            "Conflicting Missions, Havana, Washington and Africa,
            1959-1976" (Chapel Hill).

            The book strongly challenges common perceptions of Cuban
            behavior in Africa. In the 1960s and 1970s, when Havana and
            Washington clashed repeatedly in central and southern
            Africa, Cuban troops in the continent were typically seen as
            foot soldiers for Soviet imperialism.

            In fact, Dr. Gleijeses writes, Cuba intervened in Angola
            without seeking Soviet permission. Eager not to derail an
            easing of tension with Washington, the Soviets limited
            themselves to providing 10 charter flights to transport
            Cubans to Angola in January 1976. The next year, Havana and
            Moscow supported opposite sides in an attempted coup in
            Angola, in which the Marxist government, Cuba's ally,
            prevailed.

            After reviewing Dr. Gleijeses's work, several former senior
            United States diplomats who were involved in making policy
            toward Angola broadly endorsed its conclusions.

            "Considering that things came to a head over covert action
            in the U.S. government in mid-July, there is no reason to
            believe we were responding to Cuban involvement in Angola,"
            said Nathaniel Davis, who resigned as Mr. Kissinger's
            assistant secretary of state for African affairs in July
            1975 over the Angola intervention.

            Mr. Davis said he could find no fault with Mr. Gleijeses's
            scholarship. Asked why the story of America responding to
            Cuban intervention in Angola had persisted for so long, Mr.
            Davis said: "Life is funny. What catches on in terms of
            public debate is hard to predict."

            The United States denied collaboration with South Africa
            during the Angolan war, but it was quickly discovered by
            China, an erstwhile American ally against the Marxists in
            Angola, and was suspected and deeply resented by
            Washington's main African partners.

            --
            Dan Clore




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