Welcome to Bennett's Study

From the Author of No Land an Island and Unconscionable

Pondering Alphabetic SOLUTIONS: Peace, Politics, Public Affairs, People Relations




UNCONSCIONABLE: http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/author/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/book/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/excerpt/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/contact/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/buy/ SearchTerm=Carolyn+LaDelle+Bennett http://www2.xlibris.com/books/webimages/wd/113472/buy.htm http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx? http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dark irony: why care about theirs when they treat our dead with disdain we show theirs

Malians and Algerians
Careless outrage about blue or brown-eyed dead; not about massacre of innocents
Editing, comment, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett

obert Fisk has been Middle East correspondent with The Independent (UK) for more than thirty years. He is an Arabic speaker and one of few Western journalists who interviewed Osama bin Laden. Fisk began his journey as a journalist while studying at Yardley Court preparatory school, Sutton Valence School and Lancaster University. He later took his doctorate (thesis: ‘A condition of limited warfare: Éire's neutrality and the relationship between Dublin, Belfast and London, 1939–1945’) in Political Science at Trinity College, Dublin (1983).

I’m always interested in Robert Fisk’s analysis of current affairs. Late last week he reflected on events in Algeria and Mali and the West’s convenient forgetfulness and its careless appraisal of the actors and issues involved and the historical context that bears on the situation. This is some of what Fisk had to say.  

Algerians opposed French overflights
Collateral damage Blue Eyed or Brown Eyed?

“Odd, isn’t it,” Fisk writes, “how our ‘collateral damage’ is different from their ‘collateral damage.’’’

Fisk recounted his exchange with “an old Algerian friend in the aviation business.” He asked his friend what he thought of his country’s raid on the In Amenas gas plant [BP gas field in the Sahara] and the friend answered triumphantly:

‘Brilliant operation, Robert … We destroyed the terrorists!’ [But the innocent hostages?, Fisk asked, What about their deaths?]

‘Poor guys … We had thousands of women and children killed in our war [in the 1990s] – terrible tragedy – but we are fighting terrorism.’

And there you have it,” Fisk continues. “Our dead men didn’t matter in the slightest to him. And he had a point…

For we are outraged not by the massacre of the innocents, but because the hostages killed by the Algerian army – along with some of their captors – were largely white, blue-eyed chaps rather than darker, brown-eyed chaps.

Had all the ‘Western’ hostages – I am including the Japanese in this ridiculous, all-purpose definition – been rescued and had the innocent dead all been Algerian, there would have been no talk of a ‘botched raid.’

If all those slaughtered in the Algerian helicopter bombing had been Algerian, we would have mentioned the ‘tragic consequences’ of the raid, but our headlines would have dwelt on the courage and efficiency of Algeria’s military rescuers, alongside interviews with grateful Western families.

Bombing of Iraq
Déjà vu?

“When George W. Bush and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara kicked off their war crimes with a full-scale invasion of Iraq, we didn’t care a damn about the Iraqis.”

A hundred miles from Baghdad, Al-Kūt (or Kut al-Amarah) is the site of a notable British defeat in the Iraqi theatre of operations during World War I (1914–1918); and in the 1990s, troops of an anti-Iranian militia, the Mojāhedīn-e Khalq, were stationed near the city. Al-Kūt was involved in little fighting during the initial phase (2003) of the Iraq War but was the scene of political violence afterward.

Fisk continues numbering “their” dead: “Ten thousand in a year? Twenty thousand? Or, as George Bush put it, ‘Thirty thousand ─ more or less.’

“More or less what?” Fisk asks. But we know, since the start of the Bush-Blair Iraqi adventure, “exactly 4,486 American military personnel died in the war.…

So you know whom we care about and whom we don’t care about.
Nigerians flooded

Watch carefully in the coming weeks, therefore, for the growing ‘Roll of Honor’ of French troops in Mali, interviews in the French press with their relatives, statistics of the wounded.

And don’t waste your time searching for details of dead Nigerian soldiers – or, indeed, dead Malian soldiers – because there will be no details of their sacrifice.

From the Middle East, the whole thing looks like an obscene television remake of our preposterous interventions in other parts of the world. French troops will be in Mali for only ‘several weeks,’ [Francois] Hollande and his cronies tell us. 
·         Isn’t that what we said when British troops first appeared on the streets of Northern Ireland, and then spent decades fighting there?
 ·         “Isn’t that what the Israelis said when they marched into Lebanon in 1982 and stayed for another 18 years?
 ·         Isn’t this what we thought when we invaded Afghanistan? That our chaps might not even hear a shot fired in anger?
 “It was incredible to watch that old rogue Bernard Kouchner this week, mischievously demanding that British troops on the ground in Mali assist in France’s fight against Islamist [Wikipedia notes religion in Mali: 90 percent Islam, 5 percent Christianity, 5 percent Indigenous] ‘terror,’” Fisk writes. “[Kouchner’s] eyes were alight with both cynicism and patriotism – a peculiarly French characteristic – as he played his 1914 entente cordiale ‘we’ll-be-in-Timbuktu-by-Christmas’ routine.

“But why are ‘we,’ the West, in Mali?

“How many readers – hands up, oh virtuous and honest folk, could actually name the capital of Mali two weeks ago?”

Officially the Republic of Mali (French: République du Mali, population 14.5 million), Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa bordered on the north by Algeria, on the east by Niger, the south by Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the southwest by Guinea, and on the west by Senegal and Mauritania. Its capital is Bamako.

n perhaps a kind of dark, circular irony, Fisk asks, “Why should we care about the Algerians when they treat our dead with the disdain we have always shown for the Muslim dead of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of Palestine?”

Sources and notes

“Algeria, Mali, and why this week has looked like an obscene remake of earlier Western interventions ─ we are outraged not by the massacre of the innocents, but because the hostages killed were largely white, blue-eyed chaps rather than darker, brown-eyed chaps” (Robert Fisk),
Friday, January 18, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/algeria-mali-and-why-this-week-has-looked-like-an-obscene-remake-of-earlier-western-interventions-8457828.html

Fisk’s article also on January 19 at Stop the War Coalition, at http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/middle-east-and-north-africa/2190-algeria-mali-and-why-this-week-has-looked-like-an-obscene-remake-of-western-interventions-

Wikipedia notes

Bernard Kouchner

Bernard Kouchner (b. November 1, 1939) is a French politician and physician. From 2007 to 2010, he was the French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the center-right Fillon government under President Nicolas Sarkozy, although he had been in the past a minister in socialist governments.

Kouchner was born in Avignon to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother and began his political career as a member of the French Communist Party (PCF), from which he was expelled in 1966 for attempting to overthrow the leadership. On a visit to Cuba in 1964, Kouchner spent the night fishing and drinking with Fidel Castro. In the protests of May 1968, he ran the medical faculty strike committee at the Sorbonne. Kouchner was co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, doctors without borders) and Médecins du Monde. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Kouchner

Robert Fisk (b. July 12, 1946)

Fisk holds more British and International Journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. He has also been voted International Journalist of the Year seven times. He has published a number of books and reported on several wars and armed conflicts.

Algerian War

An important decolonization war, the Algerian War of Independence {aka the Algerian Revolution) was a revolution against France by the Algerian independence movements (1954-1962), which led to Algeria gaining its independence from France.  The conflict was also a civil war between loyalist Algerians who believed in a French Algeria and their insurrectionist Algerian Muslim counterparts.

After Algeria’s independence was recognized, Ahmed Ben Bella became popular and more powerful and in 1965, he was deposed and placed under house arrest (and later exiled) by Houari Boumédiènne, who served as president until his death in 1978. Though a one-party state, Algeria remained stable until a violent civil war broke out in the 1990s.

“For Algerians of many political factions, the legacy of their War of Independence was a legitimization or even sanctification of the unrestricted use of force in achieving a goal deemed to be justified. Once invoked against foreign colonialists, the same principle could also be turned with relative ease against fellow Algerians.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War

Entente Cordiale

The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on April 8, 1904, between the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic.

Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent conflict between the two nations and their predecessor states, and the formalization of the peaceful co-existence that had existed since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

The Entente Cordiale, along with the Anglo-Russian Entente and the Franco-Russian Alliance, later became part of the Triple Entente among the UK, France, and Russia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entente_cordiale

Britannica and Wikipedia notes

Kūt al-ʿAmārah

 Kūt al-ʿAmārah is a city in eastern Iraq, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Baghdad, lying along the Tigris River.

Al-Kūt is best known as the site of a notable British defeat in the Iraqi theatre of operations during World War I (1914–18). Following a rapid advance from the south in 1915, British forces under Major General Charles Townsend occupied Al-Kūt on their march toward Baghdad. Military reversals led the British to retreat to Al-Kūt, however, where they were surrounded by an Ottoman army on December 8. British forces surrendered on April 29, 1916, and about 10,000 British and Indian soldiers were captured. Other British forces retook Al-Kūt in February 1917.

In the 1990s troops of an anti-Iranian militia, the Mojāhedīn-e Khalq, were stationed near the city. Al-Kūt was involved in little fighting during the initial phase (2003) of the Iraq War but was the scene of political violence afterward.

Al-Kūt (population 2002 est.: 380,000).is a trade centre for agricultural produce grown in the surrounding area, where the Kūt Barrage diverts river water into irrigation canals. Al-Kūt’s prosperity has always depended on the Tigris River’s course changes. Following a period of decline, the city revived when the present river system became established, making Al-Kūt a river port. 


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


No comments:

Post a Comment