Why did our European and US governments invade Afghanistan? How many of us can recall the general rhetoric of a Just War fought in the name of an ‘Enduring Freedom’ to liberate Afghan women from their burqa and Afghan men from their long beards, as well as bringing to justice bin-Laden? The Afghan campaign has been a half military success, with US and Nato generals blaming each other for the other half failure, while bin-Laden, if not dead by natural cause, can celebrate Bush’s most evident flop. The Afghan war, while facilitating a new form of old corruption in the cities and capital, has increased the suffering of the rural population, often caught in battles of which they are only the victims. Yet some say that Afghanistan is now a better place since it is on the route toward democracy, though a fictional and corrupted one. Continue reading
I spent last week in the US. While there I had the opportunity to read more US newspapers than usually I do. An article on the Washington Post, which appeared last Saturday, 1st of December, has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the effects of the War in Iraq beyond the visible damage and tragedies. Actually, despite the entire piece being interesting, it was a small part of it that forced me to stop and think. The article, Spurred by Gratitude, is a short report on ‘Bomb Lady’, alias Dr Anh Duong , a 47 year old Vietnamese scientist, mother of the first thermobaric US bomb, and other new US military killing toys used during the, quite terrorist in itself, War on Terror. A nice lady who seems to use her personal experience of Vietnam, her gratitude to the US, and her knowledge for developing the most lethal weapons for her adoptive country in the hope that they can be a deterrent against any force which would wish to confront the US. She declares that she is against the war and does not ‘want [her] kids to think violence is the answer’, and that the US uses weapons only for good reasons. And how does she know this? Of course, she has a blind trust in the US government and believes that they would never misuse her toys of death. I am sure that actually the monthly check she receives aids in her blindness and is the best guarantee of the good intentions of Bush&Co. Continue reading
Do you remember Darfur? Probably many of you will recall the name of this region of Sudan. Some of you shall remember the malnourished children and the suffering of the refugees at the border with Chad, displaced by one of the most lengthy and horrible genocides. Yet you hear about Darfur less and less, because meanwhile other terrible events have happened, both natural disasters and human troubles, such as the endless suffering in Iraq and more recently Burma.
The genocide in Darfur is still happening now, while I am writing. Yet the tragedy is today classified as back-page-news, hidden behind stories that can attract main advertising companies and sponsors to the various newspapers and T.V. programs. So if here in Aberdeen teachers have organised a rally of red-Tshirted children to support the freedom-struggle of the Burmese monks, I discovered that few of my students have any idea of what is happening today in Darfur. Continue reading
The BBC has started an interesting project focusing on the disastrous war in Iraq. In one its web pages it is monitoring the effects of the war, week by week, by looking at casualty figures, the pressure on hospitals and quality of life for ordinary civilians.
The war in Iraq has been a disaster; Bush gifts Americans and British people with grief and a dark future of fear, and the Iraqi people with genocide and a multilateral civil war. The only happy guy, were he not dead, would be Mr Osama bin-Laden, who would have seen his corporation and franchise of terror wealthy as never before. But we know that the Bush family is very used to exchange gifts with the bin-Ladens. It is a long tradition, which this time, probably, has its Freudian side.
However, if President Bush still believes that his controversial surge strategy in Iraq is succeeding, it can only mean that he is still speaking to god. Yet, as an anthropologist, I suggest that this god can only be Kūkā`ilimoku Ki`i Hulu Manu, the Hawaiian feather-headed war god.
Ms Oriana Fallaci, Mr Bin-Laden and the late Mr Zarqawi have something in common. No, it is not their scary faces and the fact that all are candidates for the grave, with Zarqawi recently downed by American missiles and the journalist Fallaci battling cancer. Rather it is their love for interviews, fatwas and explosive (read the New Yorker article ‘The Agitator’). As an academic, I would have not spent time writing this piece except for one reason: like Ms Fallaci, I am a Florentine myself. Florentines are famous for being adept sarcastic polemicists as well as viscerally politically incorrect. Ms Fallaci certainly is both. Tonight, I feel very Florentine. Continue reading