Monday, 18 August 2014

Put your money where your mouth is.

On September 1st the people of Beslan, North Ossetia will mark the tenth anniversary of the
Beslan 2004
Beslan massacre. On what was the first day of the new school year, Chechen separatists stormed a school containing over 1100 people. In the following 52 hour siege 334 of the people lost their lives, 186 of which were children.

The actions of the Chechens followed the UN and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya and were alleged to be an attempt to gain recognition of the independence of Chechnya.

In the aftermath of the Beslan Massacre the then American President George Bush offered condolences and condemning those behind what was described as the merciless slaughter of Innocents said  at a UN Security Council meeting 'We must do all we can to disrupt each stage of planning and support for terrorist acts'  Bush is also on record as stating 'the atrocities in Beslan reinforce the need for free nations to work together for peace and security.” Bush's sentiments were echoed by other world leaders.

On 1st September 2005, UNICEF marked the first anniversary of the Beslan massacre by calling on all adults to shield children from war and conflict. But it would seem that UNICEF's call has not been heeded.

Ten years ago the press was robust in its condemnation of the horror and unspeakable cruelty that was witnessed in Beslan. However the horrific irony is that this is the same press who have shown ignorance and bias with their reporting of the situation in Gaza.

Today Gaza is a place associated with horror and unspeakable cruelty yet the current US President, Barrack Obama pays mere lip service to the horrors dealt against a population held hostage in what can only be described as an open air prison.

The reason for Obama's silence could be the fact that this so called leader of the free world and 2009 Nobel peace prize winner is complicit in arming the Israeli military, one third of the US foreign aid budget is used to fund Israel in its endless merciless slaughter of civilians.

On a visit to Belfast last year, Barack Obama addressed approximately 2000 people in the Waterfront Hall. In the current phase of the US backed genocide in Gaza there have been just over 2000 deaths. When Mr. Obama looked out over the crowd at the Waterfront Hall he was looking at the representative death toll of the past number of weeks, a death toll he has persoanlly supported. 

During his visit Obama famously asked ' What's the craic', well here's 'craic' Mr Obama.

'Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $121billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance.'

Furthermore 'In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package for the period from FY2009 to FY2018. During his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Obama pledged that the United States would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress.'

So how's that for craic?

The cynical side of me wonders if the situation would be different if Gaza contained oil or other resources. It is absolutely hypocritical for the US to acknowledge the slaughter of innocents in the case of Beslan yet directly fund the slaughter of innocents in Gaza. But then again this is the same USA who ignored the genocide in Rawanda 20 years ago, despite privately acknowledging this was  genocide.

So maybe the next time an American president is lauded on Irish soil by our political leaders
A Mexican wave for Obama
as a great peacemaker and leader, people should realise that accolades are being heaped upon a person who funds war crimes by those who apart from being spineless are useless into the bargain. But then again if you stand for nothing you'll fall for anything, and they think we're all that gullible that we'll just blindly follow their lead. 

Sorry to disappoint!

On August 13th 2014 the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed an independent commission to investigate possible war crimes in Gaza. I fail to fathom the need for any independent commission when you take into consideration the nature of the targets which have been attacked, these have included hospitals, schools and United Nations facilities. On that basis alone it clear these attacks have been carried out with no regard for civilian life.

Despite the propaganda peddled by Israel, it's apologists and the majority of the media, with the exception of a few such as Channel 4's Jon Snow, whose honest and responsible coverage showed an integrity and professionalism that many lacked, the scale of the carnage was evident to the outside world through the use of social media.
Jon Snow - This man deserves a humanitarian award.
The Crimes of War Education Project states that Civilians and civilian objects are protected under the laws of armed conflict by the principle of distinction. Under this principle, parties to an armed conflict must always distinguish between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand, and combatants and military targets on the other. I doubt the weapons that America supplies to the Israelis differentiates between a member of Hamas, and children playing football on a beach because its evident that the Israeli troops don't.

To date the United Nations have refused to impose economic sanctions on Israel. In contrast the events surrounding the MH17 Malaysia plane crash in Ukraine on July 17th has brought economic sanctions against Russia in an attempt to coerce the Kremlin to back down in Ukraine. These sanctions have been endorsed by the European Union despite Russia's  very fragile economic climate. Yet it would seem Israel remains free to do as it pleases despite their continued attacks on a mostly civilian population.

At a local level our politicians have done what they usually do with most situations, and that is to take opposing positions and pay lip service. The 'Christian' DUP have come out in full flight supporting Israel by setting up a 'Friends of Israel group' in Stormont, and have held their inaugural meeting in the 'parliament' building. So does this mean that as taxpayers we are funding this meeting, unless that is the DUP privately hired a function room. 

In contrast the DUP wanted an event that was booked for the Ulster Hall which was to be addressed by British MP George Galloway forced out of the council owned venue, despite it being a private event. The DUP said it had concerns over comments about Israel made by Mr. Galloway. Oddly I don't remember any complaining voices when Ian Paisley was part of the rabble that launched the 'Ulster Resistance' there in 1986, or indeed when loyalist killer Michael Stone was released from prison to attend a loyalist rally there in 1998.

Sinn Fein have publicly taken a differing opinion from the DUP, they've come out condemning the genocide in Gaza, and organised a number of events in protest at the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Derry Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has even taken up a special role in the European Parliament in relation to Palestine and will visit there next month. 

Yet Sinn Fein do what they do best and ride two horses, at the 2013 Ard Fheis Sinn Fein passed a motion. The motion - (106)  by the Pól Kinsella Cumann, Derry was as follows:

'This Ard Fheis extends our continuing solidarity with the people of Palestine and urges full support for the boycott and divestment (BDS) campaign of Israeli goods and services, including Caterpillar, particularly those involved in settlement activity. This Ard Fheis particularly views with concern the activities of Cement Roadstone, an Irish company, and calls for an investigation into their activities and the activities of all such companies in collaborating in human rights violations.

This Ard Fheis also calls for an end to all trade with Israeli agricultural companies complicit with Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and apartheid. This Ard Fheis calls on the incoming Ard Chomhairle to ask all comhairli ceantair and cumainn to join with others supporting broad-based campaigns working towards ending agricultural trade with Israel that finances and rewards the destruction of Palestinian farming.

Despite this motion being passed a quick search of the Sinn Fein website brings up the result that Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey welcomed Caterpillar to Belfast last year saying 'This is welcome news for West Belfast.' I'm sure the people of Gaza are jumping with joy too Mr Maskey! 

And on the point I'll take you back what I said about our political leaders when I called them spineless and useless.

Oddly for once it would seem that the SDLP have found their balls, well not when it comes to local issues as the splinters from sitting on the fence must be painful, but it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge SDLP MP Mark Durkan in his letters to both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister, 'there appears to be a huge contrast between what governments are doing and saying in terms of calling for sanctions against Russia and the rather inert response to the conflict in the Middle East.'

Despite the prevarication by the politicians it would seem that the ordinary man and woman in the street has risen to the support of the beleaguered people of Gaza. And this is how people can make a difference.

There are many people who are now boycotting companies tied to the Israeli murder machine. The impact has been so great that Israel has been forced to change the bar-code that identified it's produce. Governments are powerful in many ways when you consider the control held over the mainstream press and their influence on our lives, however one thing that they cannot do is tell us how to spend our money, and that is a weapon that every person can wield.

Put your money were your mouth is and boycott Israeli goods until it stops it's genocide in Gaza, and by the same token maybe Mr.Obama should practice the peace he preaches and stop funding war crimes against the people of Gaza.

Lets play spot the warmonger!

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