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The Tale of a Teddy Bear

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    The Tale of a Teddy Bear by Ian Buckley http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/messages What does this tale signify? I refer - of course - to the story of
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2007
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      The Tale of a Teddy Bear
      by Ian Buckley
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/messages


      What does this tale signify? I refer - of course - to the story of
      Mrs. Gibbons and her imprisonment in Sudan over the case of the toy
      bear named 'Muhammad'. Granted, Muslims in Sudan take their religion
      seriously, and the appellation 'Muhammad' is more an honorific, not a
      common or garden name as understood in the west.

      Indeed, we must note in passing that - in former days in Western
      Europe - anything that savoured of blasphemy was once quite severely
      punished. Even during the age of steam and machinery, the restored
      Bourbon monarchy in France introduced the death penalty for sacrilege.

      But the wealthier classes of the West have other gods to worship now,
      hence they are unable to have empathy with those who put their faith
      first.

      Though maybe such people are in reality less content than the average
      Sudanese peasant. As British politician and diarist Alan Clark wearily
      commented : 'I've got £700,000 in my Abbey National Crazy-High
      Interest account. But what's the use? Lay not up for thyself treasures
      on earth.'

      As is so often the case, a seemingly trivial event was the trigger
      that activated and re-awakened deeper discontents. The arrest and
      brief imprisonment of Gillian Gibbons must surely be seen in a much
      wider context.

      Mrs. Gibbons became a symbol of the distant but omnipresent enemy that
      has looted, degraded and bombed Sudan. World Bank, IMF, NATO - a
      litany of control. But who in Britain, who in the USA, even remembers
      the cruise missile raids on Sudan? The major pharmaceutical plant in
      Khartoum was destroyed by thirteen Tomahawk missiles, for no reason
      whatever, except possibly to distract attention from the
      Clinton-Lewinsky affair. Operation Infinite Reach they called it, a
      name that sounds like hubris, as the Greeks would say.

      There has never even been a simple apology for the destruction of the
      Al-Shifa plant, which therefore joins an extremely long list of
      ignored crimes. Here we are beginning to see some context for the, er,
      over-reaction of Sudanese officials. Such as they feel that their
      country, culture and religion are under threat. Who is to say that
      they are totally wrong?

      It goes without saying that the plight of Mrs. Gibbons received
      twenty, nay a hundred times, the coverage in the media than was
      allotted to the fate of Iain Hook. Iain Hook, who, huh - as the
      victims of the establishment media might say! As a UN official, Iain
      Hook would ordinarily have been considered to be more 'important' than
      a junior schoolteacher, but not when the agenda is concerned.

      What does the mainstream media dish up? A sludge of trivia here, a
      spice of propaganda there, and a flavouring of war fever permeating
      the whole broth. It is some sort of awful commentary on the state of
      the mass media when one considers that reading Sir Richard Burton or
      Sir John Glubb provides more sensible and sensitive comment on the
      Arab world than the tendentious junk poured out today.

      Not to forget historian Alan Moorehead, who said this, ironically
      enough in reference to Sudan in the 1880s : 'If this state had been
      governed entirely by greed, by inhumanity and by crude emotions it
      would not have continued as long as it did; the bulk of the people
      were not crying out for liberation as the Europeans liked to imagine
      they were.'

      'This was the atmosphere of war, when all things become exaggerated
      and touched by propaganda. It was scarcely possible for any man,
      particularly if he was a public figure, to take a detached view, or to
      argue the case for the Arabs : to have done that would have meant
      being branded not as a liberal, not as a realist, but as a traitor.'

      *********************************************************************

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