Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Find one that you can speak out for and do so"

Two people who did check Mikey Likes It! yesterday wrote to ask, "Where was the silly?" (That's a summary.) Mike wasn't in a silly mood once he started writing. He was actually in that mood when we first started speaking and after he had discussed it a bit, he said, "You know what, forget it?" I didn't think he would but he was being silly and wanting to avoid the subject that bothered him (see "") so I assumed that's how he'd be when he wrote. He wasn't and he shouldn't have tried to be. If he's bothered by something, he should talk about it. Which is what he did.

"Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel To Run For President" (Democracy Now!):
In political news, former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel has become the first Democrat to officially announce he will seek the party's nomination for president in 2008. Gravel served in the Senate from 1969 to 1981. Gravel who was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and is vowing to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. He said "President Bush's mistake is not worth the life or maiming of one more American soldier."

This falls under our "announcement" item. Sometimes we pick an extra item (in addition to the two usual items) because we feel it offers something worth noting. In this case, Gravel is declared. He has entered the race. It's worth noting, whether you support him or not, because it could raise the level of the debate. I'm not playing coy. All I know about Gravel is the above plus a John Nichols article.

"Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Chinese Men At Guantanamo" (Democracy Now!):
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from two Chinese Muslims who are being held at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay even though the government acknowledges they were mistakenly detained. The men have been held for more than four years. Lawyers for the men said they should be immediately released but the Bush administration has refused the request. Officials say they have been unable to find a country that will accept the men after their release. Both men are Uighurs and do not want to return to China out of fear that they would be imprisoned and tortured.

The Surpreme Court has abdicated their responsibility. You have two prisoners "held for more than four years" and they're still being held. Even though they should never have been imprisoned to begin with and the US government admits that. If it is not the Court's role to step in and make a determination, than whose role is it? The entire situation with the Guantamano prisoners is like the internment in WWII of the Japanese. For those who are unable to make any judgement that doesn't come to them via the evening news on corporate television, the instance above is clear cut. Wrongly imprisoned for four years and still imprisoned and the Court has abdicated their role by refusing to offer a ruling that would have been just.

"Nepalese Police Shot Dead One Protester" (Democracy Now!):
In Nepal, pro-democracy protests are continuing for a 13th day. On Monday police shot dead one protester. The BBC is reporting police in Nepal have arrested 25 government officials for demonstrating against King Gyanendra inside the Home Ministry. Among the detained are four high ranking officials. This marks the first time civil servants have been arrested for joining opposition protests against the king.

Nepal has had little attention from the mainstream media when you realize how long this has been going on. There's someone who always screams (and I do mean "screams") about Darfur (and there's Nicholas Kristof who whines) but there's little concern over Nepal. With regards to Kristof, it appears to result from the fact that Darfur involves Christian's being killed. He just won the Pulitzer for, I'm assuming, his "ONLY I EVER TALK ABOUT DARFUR!" Maybe the prize money can be used to purchase more sex workers? Kristof did do that to "free" them. That was so disgusting and appalls me to this day. Not him, he wasn't appalled. As with everything else, his attitude is, "I'm the ONLY ONE dealing with the serious problems of the world!" If that is true, it's equally true that is his coverage is often times more harmful to his cause than not.

Did he deserve the Pulitzer? No. But those prizes don't go to the deserving, they go to the big names at big papers. It's the equivalent of turning on the Grammys last March and seeing Perry Como win for "best pop vocal male" -- and worth about as much.

On Darfur. If I see a story of interst, I'll highlight it. But unlike the New York Times, I won't, for instance, pretend that what goes on in Gaza isn't genocide as well. There are many tragedies going on in this world, war and genocide. I don't know that screaming that you're the only one addressing something helps anyone. But I do think some of the outrage fits the typical US position to see crimes of genocide and otherwise when the victims are Christians and to look the other way when they are of a different religion. If you're going to scream that no one else is talking about Darfur, you might want to check to see if you're writing about other tragedies because they go on around the world. In terms of the Gaza Strip, tragedies has gone on so long that many don't even bat an eye anymore. If you're screaming but not covering the occupied territories or another area of conflict, then maybe you should grasp that everyone will talk about what they choose to. Genocide is going on in Darfur. My focus here is Iraq. I may note, as above Nepal, but I would like to note Israel more. (I think Rebecca's going to be doing that and, if that's the case, that's fine and I'll use my limited time on something else.) Our government is illegally occupying Iraq. That's my main focus here.

Here's an Iraq news roundup from C.I.:

Violence and chaos (planned) continues. In Baghdad, the Associated Press notes, a bomb went off resulting in the death of at least two (Iraqi police officers) and wounding at least six. A separate bombing incident would claim addition lives. Xinhua reports that four civilians were dead and twenty-two were wounded. Also in Baghdad, four workers at the Sunni Endowmen Authority were shot at -- Bahrain News Agency reports two dead and two wounded. Still in Baghdad, AFP and Reuters announce that twelve more corpses were found. In addition to those twelve bodies, Ireland's BreakingNews.ie notes that two more corpses were found in Iraq -- both had been shot in the head. Al Jazeera notes that a Shia cleric died in Baghdad -- the victim of a drive by shooting. In Basra, a drrive-by also claimed the life of an Iraqi "police officer walking near his home." Reuters informs that, in Baiji, "a police colonel" and "two policemen" were wounded by gunmen while, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed with two others wounded. A police officer was also killed in Irbil, KUNA notes, and at least six civilians were wounded. There is still no word on 3 kidnap victims: Salah Jali al-Gharrawi (AFP -- kidnapped April 4th) or Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal (Sumariya TV -- kidnapped February 1). And Tom Lasseter reports for Knight Ridder that despite warnings "more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods," the US ignored the warnings.

Peace Quote (from me):
There are many areas in the world in need of assistance and attention. Find one that you can speak out for and do so.