Tuesday, February 27, 2007


"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."
~ Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 1843.

A couple of very interesting incidents today, not particularly related to Kurdistan directly, but interesting. First one from the UK's Independent:

The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, found himself face to face with the reality of Afghanistan yesterday when a suicide bomber killed up to 20 people outside the base where he was staying, including an American soldier. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the attack had directly targeted Mr Cheney.

The Vice-President was unhurt, but the attack was a potent symbolic blow. More than five years after the overthrow of the Taliban, the US cannot prevent a suicide attack on its most heavily guarded base when its second most senior leader is inside.

By the way, as of this writing, Google News has just over 2,500 reports on this incident.

The other incident is similar, from the Boston Globe:

Rebels fired on Sri Lankan military helicopters carrying six foreign envoys Tuesday, slightly wounding the U.S. and Italian ambassadors and sending the group screaming and running for cover.

The government said it was a deliberate attack, but the rebels said they did not know diplomats were on board.

Seven Sri Lankan security personnel were also hurt, but the envoys from Canada, France, Germany and Japan escaped without injury.

"We were extremely lucky to be able to escape. I could see the grenades or something like that falling and exploding," German Ambassador Jeurgen Weerth told The Associated Press after returning to Colombo, the capital.

The Tigers regret the attack. I regret that the "diplomats" still haven't bothered to offer solutions to the problems that have caused the LTTE to have to establish itself in the first place. The best thing that could happen might be if these foreign meddlers butted out. Then perhaps a peace could be brokered within Sri Lanka similar to that finally achieved by Nepal.

But the US has "strategic interests" in Sri Lanka. "Strategic interests" always means arms sales and military training, which, in turn, means big bucks for the war industry . . . like Lockheed Martin.

It seems to me that the German ambassador is way out of touch with reality, mistaking mortars for grenades. And that's my point: I find it interesting that the people responsible for the violence in this world are now getting a slight taste of it. Does anyone think that this will be enough for these elites to willingly clear their portfolios of war industry stock or, better, to start addressing the grievances of the people on the ground so that demand for war industry product will slow to a trickle? Especially Daddy Warbucks himself--Dick Cheney?

Did Cheney bother to meet with the relatives of the Afghan civilians killed? Probably not, from AFP:

In his two-hour meeting with Karzai, Cheney pledged continued US support to Afghanistan "in providing security, reconstruction and the war on terror," a statement from the president's office said.

The US vice president left Afghanistan shortly after the meeting.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush had personally asked Cheney to make the lightning visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that there was never any question of abandoning the talks with Karzai.

"He certainly wasn't going to leave before he finished doing his business," Snow told reporters in Washington.

I guess not. Hamid Karzai had something to say about the matter, again from AFP:

Condemning the suicide attack, Karzai said that the struggle against terrorism would be more effective if it were focused on "its roots, the source" -- a likely reference to neighbouring Pakistan.

Too bad Pakistan is such a good ally of the US. How else is it allowed to get away with murder? And in that Pakistan closely resembles another country with which it enjoys a cozy relationship--Turkey.

Does anyone think that these elites will have an idea of what it was like for Kurdish villagers to get bombed by the Turkish army that these guys supported and continue to support? Or will they have a better understanding of what the daily situation for the people is like in Afghanistan, particularly when NATO forces are bombing weddings, or what it's like for many in Baghdad right now?

Does anyone think these elites will stop playing games with the lives of innocent people?

Don't bet on it. By the way, Google News only lists a little over 550 articles on the Sri Lanka incident.

And that reminds me of something I saw last week from the AP, carried on Canada's Globe and Mail:

Some 8,000 hard-line Buddhist monks and lay supporters paraded the streets of Sri Lanka's capital demanding the government scrap a ceasefire with Tamil rebels on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of its signing.

[ . . . ]

The rebels said a series of recent military operations by the Sri Lankan army had pushed back hopes of restarting peace talks.

"We expected the international community to keep the Sri Lankan state on track, but at this moment we are disappointed," rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.

The hard-line ethnic Sinhalese monks — a powerful political force in the country urged the government to formally end the ceasefire, saying it favors the Tamil Tiger guerrillas.

"This ceasefire is a serious threat to the country's unitary status," Wakamulle Uditha Thera, a spokesman for the monks, was quoted as saying by The Island newspaper.

What the hell is that about "unitary status" of the country? Who in the hell does the spokesman for the monks sound like? So much for all that religious-sponsored BS about "peace," eh?

I mean when Buddhists start sounding like Buyukanit, then it should be obvious that it's time to shed the illusions.

In Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, it looks like a crackdown is underway against DTP, consistent with the current worldwide US and Turkish-sponsored crackdown against Kurds and in preparation for this year's elections in Turkey. Kurds under Turkish occupation are not represented in the Turkish parliament and the Ankara regime has been working overtime for the last year to make absolutely certain that DTP doesn't come close to the ridiculous 10% threshold.

On Monday, a prison sentence of a year and a half was handed to Aysel Tugluk and Ahmet Turk, leaders of the DTP, for "distributing Kurdish-language party materials praising imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan." More at Jurist. Note that a year of the sentence is for distributing materials in Kurdish language while half a year was imposed for "praising" Ocalan. Of course, the word "praising" would have to be defined here because in Turkey, simply referring to Ocalan as "Mr." Ocalan is considered "praise."

Looking at the way the sentence is divided up, it's a greater crime to use Kurdish than to "praise" Ocalan.

In related news, it looks like the wife of Amed's extremely popular mayor, Osman Baydemir, is also facing a prison sentence of two years for the crime of defending underage children, from TNA:

The wife of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party's (DTP) controversial Diyarbakir mayor faces 2 years behind bars following charges filed yesterday of interfering in the judicial process.

The Tarsus Public Prosecutor's Office, in the country's south, completed an indictment against lawyer Reyhan Yalcindag Baydemir, deputy chair of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and wife of Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, who has gained a profile with several legal challenges over allegations of links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and several Kurdish figures.

The indictment accuses the lawyer of interfering in the judicial process through remarks defending a group of children who stood trial on charges of burning a Turkish flag during Nevruz celebrations in the southern province of Mersin two years ago.

The indictment said that lawyer Baydemir, making a press statement after a court session, told reporters that these children were not offenders but victims, adding that this was a plot in which these children were used as tools.

Another DTP mayor, Zulkuf Karatekin has to pay YTL3,000 for "helping a group of women who two years ago planted trees to mark the birthday of Abdullah Ocalan, inmate leader of the PKK." Apparently, this DTP Bad Boy allowed a municipality vehicle to be used for the tree planting.

I guess the YTL3,000 is supposed to reimburse for the gas.

In spite of all of this repression by the Ankara regime against Kurdish efforts to participate fully in the political process, the fascist Turkish state remains America's great "Model of Democracy" for the Middle East.


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