Category Archives: Colonialism

How Many More Wars Do You Want, Anyway?

Pick a number, then vote McCain:

Some context:

Sarah Palin said two things which can be pegs for an attack ad of this kind:

1. War with Russia could happen over the Georgia conflict

2. Soldiers going to Iraq are fighting the people who killed thousands of Americans on Sept. 11.

Logical Absurdities: Only Anti-Government Sentiments Are Political

So, US Iraqi war veterans who oppose the political mission, though presumably they support the troops [themselves, their comrades and friends], aren’t allowed to march in a Veterans Day Parade in Long Beach.

“They do not fit the spirit of the parade,” she said. “The spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done. We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq.” Parade coordinators work hard to keep the event free from politics.

This is the absurd double standard that plagues people cursed with an inability to understand paradoxes.

I remember the early 1990s and how hard it was to make it through the relativist paradox of elements of post-modernism. As an early post-modern zealot, I rejected absolute truths because I rejected any truth as being able to be absolute. I was trying to embrace that concept while rejecting the arguments that have supported the human misery that resulted from absolute truths: white supremacy, genocide in the Americas, heterosexism, two millennia of imperial Christianity.

But at the same time, there is the relativist paradox that rejecting absolutes is itself an absolute.

This inability to contend with the modernist-postmodernist tension shows up in the “support our troops” nonsense, whereby anyone who rejects Canada’s presence in Afghanistan doesn’t support the troops, even though the troops didn’t make the politician send them there.

It also shows up in the more single-minded culture in the USA. If you oppose the government, you are being political. Yet it is not a political act to support it. So a Veterans Day parade is for apolitical people.

It also shows up in this surreal Flickr group, America, America!

It is hard to fathom:

About AMERICA, AMERICA! 1200+ members & growing! **** WE ARE NOW A GROUP OF 1200+ MEMBERS! AWESOME! YAY! WOW!
GOD BLESS AMERICA, AMERICA! THANKS TO ALL OF OUR MEMBERS, OUR FAMILY!
****************************************************************************************
OUR PERMANENT THREAD IS FLAG DAY, PLEASE ALL MEMBERS POST ALL PHOTOS OF OLD GLORY IN THE “FLAG DAY” THREAD! We are building the biggest best collection of American Flag photos on Flickr!! Let’s do it together!!
****************************************************************************************
THESE THREADS ARE CURRENTLY OPEN FOR POSTING:
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL,
MY HOMETOWN;
SPORTS STORIES;
SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER!
PLANES, TRAINS AND MOTOR VEHICLES
FLAG DAY (PERMANENT THREAD)
Anyone who posts in any thread receives a special award and will be eligible for front page exposure!

GROUP RULES: NEW RULE, POSTING LIMIT IN POOL 1O PER DAY! Any pictures, photoart, digital art that depicts the good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom! Photos and photoart that depict patriotism, the spirit of America, family life, and that which shows the ways God has Blessed America and the world. Please *NO POLITICS OF ANY KIND*, *NO CAMPAIGN PHOTOS FOR ANY PARTY*! NO AMERICA BASHING, NO rude or BAD LANGUAGE, and NO nudes. This is a wholesome family oriented group about America and the people who make her the greatest nation in the world.
If you have a gripe about something, write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper -THIS is NOT a forum for anger. Thanks and enjoy! Fantartsy AKA JJ

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ANYONE who blocks administrators will be banned from the group and all their photos WILL BE REMOVED!JJ/ administrator

GROUP MOTTO: FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN OR LOVE THE IDEALS OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE FOR WHICH AMERICA STANDS. Thanks to each and every member for making this a great AMERICAN group! JJ and all the administrators and helpers!

Beyond the planes, trains and motor vehicles fossil fuel worshiping, the philosophy of the group is similarly blind to the reality that they themselves are expressing a political view of supporting the government, an act they ban by definition. I remember in the 1980s Bruce Springsteen said blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.

The good and positive things about America or any place that loves freedom, however that is defined by the group leaders. Patriotism, the spirit of America, family life [defined again I suspect by the group leaders], how God has blessed America and the world [again, defined by the group leaders]. No politics of any kind shows they have no sense that their whole group is a political expression of rigid, uncritical conformity with the government line.

And yes, America is the greatest nation in the world. I’m always wondering what criteria people use to say that. Constant overt and covert invasions and subversion of other countries for over two centuries? Largest military expenditure? Only country to use nuclear weapons on civilians? Economic imperialist supporting multi-national corporations creating global feudalism with half the world’s 6.6 billion people in the world dying on less than $2/day?

Anger and “gripe” belong in newspapers. And while they have the right to have Flickr group that shows blind support of America’s junta, saying they brook nothing political is just silly.

They also say this for a current event:

fantartsy (a group admin) says:
04 Nov 07 – YAY!!1000+ members!!** .VETERANS’ DAY THREAD, open for 2 weeks only! Post a photo of the veteran you want to honor> ANYONE FROM ANY COUNTRY may post in this “special” thread!OPEN NOW! JJ/admns

I suspect that if Iraq Veterans Against the War members try to post pictures of events that are critical of the policy in Iraq, those pictures will be removed.

USA vs. Iran and Cubazuela

When w.Caesar should be gracefully entering his presidential lame duck status and thinking about who to pardon [whoops, he already got on that with Scooter Libby], he is instead feeding warm, bleeding horse meat to the dogs of war.

From today’s Washington Post:

In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one. …With yesterday’s actions, which included the long-awaited designations of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, Bush made clear that he is willing to seek such leverage even without the support of his European allies.

I seem to remember the rhetoric in late 2002. Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and that despite all the OCD midnight rifle barrel cleaning, w.Caesar only wanted peace, until the UN Security Council wouldn’t sanction the US invasion plans making him invade with his ethereal Coalition of the Willing instead of Old Europe.

Life is rarely this simple: listen to politicians so that we can believe the opposite of what they say. w.Caesar is good for that.

Moving on to our own hemisphere, w.Caesar can’t stand anti-neoliberal, democratically elected leftist governments in Latin America.

Responding to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that Hugo Chavez is a “threat to regional stability,” Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez affirmed that Hugo Chavez is indeed a “tremendous threat” to the “empires of the world,” and assured they would continue to be a “greater threat” as time goes on. “Of course he [Chavez] is a threat to the stability of the empires of the world, for those who consider themselves the world police, for those who think they have a right to invade countries and massively murder the population,” replied the Venezuelan vice-president to a recent statement made by Robert Gates during a visit to El Salvador. …

Gates then warned that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was mainly a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the people of Venezuela.” According to Gates, Chavez “has been very generous in offering their resources to people around the world, when perhaps these resources could be better used to alleviate some of the economic problems facing the people of Venezuela.”

Gates should have said the word “rich” when he called Chavez a “threat to the freedom and economic prosperity of the rich people of Venezuela.” Conveniently, Gates ignored all domestic economic and social reform in Venezuela.

I’m not entirely comfortable with Hugo Chavez’s desire to have decree power. When he has such legislative support, I’m not sure it’s necessary. The USA criticizes Venezuela as being dictatorial, despite its electoral unambiguity compared with Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 and hundreds of other jurisdictions with Republican electoral fraud this decade. Add to this a steaming pile of soft fascism in the USA and we get a sense of US hypocrisy: w.Caesar’s signing statements asserting which parts of legislation the executive branch will not obey, and this tasty list of Amnesty International’s worries about the land of the free and the home of the brave that sounds quite a bit like Chile after 9.11.1973:

  • Secret detention
  • Enforced disappearance
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Outrages upon personal dignity, including humiliating treatment
  • Denial and restriction of habeas corpus
  • Indefinite detention without charge or trial
  • Prolonged incommunicado detention
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Unfair trial procedures

So then yesterday when w.Caesar warned the world that there will be a transition coming in Cuba [presumably when Castro dies], but Cubazuela responded assertively:

“He spoke like an imperialist and a colonialist,” said Venezuelan parliamentarian Saul Ortega about Bush’s statements. Ortega assured that the reaction to these threats will be increased unity among the people of Latin America. “In response we have to close ranks in defense of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination,” he said.

Vice-foreign minister Rodolfo Sanz assured that the United States was making a mistake with their statements towards Cuba and maintained that the “times have changed.”

“We aren’t going to sit here with our arms crossed before some diabolic adventure,” he said. Sanz assured that the Cuban people can count on support from nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, among others, stating that “Cuba is not alone.”

The boldness of the Latin American political economic agenda in the last decade is a testament to the recovery of economic shock, terror and genocide visited upon them by Milton Friedman and his neoliberal storm troopers over the last 35 years. Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine‘s final chapter talks about how when people or cultures rebuild their communities and name their oppressors when they recover from shock. This is the spirit in which Cubazuela has responded to w.Caesar’s signaling of regime change in Cuba. Let’s be honest. The US corporate interests in Cuba are legion. Cuba will become the next Haiti as Canada and the US have squashed hope into desperation there.

Words like diabolic, imperialist, colonialist, sovereignty, self-determination and the simple phrase–times have changed–indicate that a Grenada-style hemispheric military excursion into Cuba will not easily guarantee the Republicans’ retention of the White House or a recovery of Congress.

Cuba is indeed not alone. The whole hemisphere is tilted against w.Caesar with the exception of business/media elites and the apolitical or ignorant, RRSP-hoarding, gadget-worshipping [dwindling numbers of the] middle class in NAFTAland and Latin American compradors.

And with the record oil profits that w.Caesar has facilitated as he helped oil pass $80 a barrel, he has ended up funding Venezuela’s upgrading of its military.

Back to Naomi Klein, however, to follow her thesis: war is good for corporate profitability and the GDP. Peace impairs economic growth. So it might not even matter to the disaster/conflict capitalists that a war with Iran or Cubazuela is just, desirable or winnable. It’s just another opportunity to bankrupt governments and shift public wealth to global corporations.

Luckily the other Naomi [Wolf] and thousands of others including sitdownfortheconstitution.org have started what will hopefully be a 54 week campaign for Americans to steal back their constitution.

The rest of our hemisphere better get on [not off!] our asses and support them in their attempt to stifle w.Caesar’s soft fascism before it grows horns and starts sending Blackwater mercenaries into US streets. Oh, I forgot. It is already be too
late for that since they’ve been in New Orleans.

Note to TransLink: Your Riders Are Not Customers

I went to the TransLink website just now to search for the word “customer”. I found 376 references.

I also have noticed that in recent days a canned announcement pops onto Skytrains regularly asking “Skytrain customers” to not leave their lame faux-news free daily newspapers [Metro, 24] lying all over the trains cluttering them up and creating a slipping hazard for most everyone.

As part of the large trend to commodify all things public and common, riders are no longer riders, we are customers purchasing a service: mass transit. As customers we are told the class of our existence on what used to be public transit.

Now the new TransLink board is being appointed by a gang of mostly business-folk, a board not accountable to the token Council of Mayors who will be “consulted” on decisions. Public money spent by unaccountable directors appointed by mostly business interests.

If you resent being classed as a “public” transit customer instead of a co-owner of a commonly held public “public” transit system, you had better start paying more attention to the Campbell neoLiberal government’s agenda to sell us [and everything held in common] down the river.

And it would help to read Naomi Klein’s new book to get a primer on the last few decades of rationale behind the premier’s manifestation of neoliberal cancer. And if you don’t have time to read it all, you can get the 6 minute primer here.

And a few facts to make you wonder just what price we pay for a privatized, deregulated world.

Crossing the 49th: Dangerous for the Majority of Canadians Now

Alison Bodine had it right when she explained the intimidation intent of the Canadian Border Services as they nabbed her the other day: “This was a bit of a test, to see what happens when they arrest someone who isn’t agreeing with their current foreign policy.”

Carrying literature opposing Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan and an extremely threatening book of Ansel Adams photos, she was detained by Canadians. Her possessions were confiscated a few days ago when she was entering the country. When she returned to claim them, they arrested her with no intention of releasing her before her September 17th hearing. After a significant impromptu rally and her participating in radio interviews from jail, it appears the feds’ red faces found the gumption to actually release her.

Since the majority of Canadians oppose our presence in Afghanistan, driving south then returning with literature critical of our mission there may land any of us in the pokey.

Border Services claim she was misrepresenting herself. Perhaps she was. Perhaps it was all just a misunderstanding. If it wasn’t, it is intimidation…and a warning to us all to toe the line.

And after the agents provocateurs in Quebec last month, the establishment doesn’t have a great deal of goodwill to waste here.

What is Your Definition of "Easily" and "Overwhelmingly"?

On the homepage of Robbins Sce Research, it says:

“Harper popular as PM, Canadians easily support Afghan extension. Jun 29, 2007”

The poll it links to says Canadians support an Afghan extension based on this question:

“The United Nations is desirous of having Canada extend its participation in Afghanistan past the current term ending in early 2009. Are you agreeable to extending Canada’s involvement?”
Yes 52 %
No 48 %

I have a hard time seeing how 52-48 “easily” supports anything. Plus, every other poll I’ve seen in the last several weeks has support for Afghanistan about split.

But then it gets worse. On the commentary of that poll it says:

“Canadians overwhelmingly support an extension to Canada’s participation in Afghanistan.”

OVERWHELMINGLY! 52-48?

Astonishing.

And then the commentary continues:

“The PM may want to change his Defense Minister. ROBBINS likes current Conservative House Leader Van Loan for the job. Although non-descript, he is excellent in the House of Commons and can articulate a reconfigured Canadian involvement in Afghanistan.”

How is this unbiased polling? The first thing that popped into my head is that the third sponsor of this poll, requesting anonymity, is Van Loan.

So, what do you think they mean by “easily” and “overwhelmingly”?

Harper: Canada to Leave Afghanistan in 2009…You Missed it, Right?

Well, after a weekend to thoroughly digest Prime Sinister Harper’s speech to mark the end of Canada’s sad and waning 39th parliament, I feel moved to grumble about something he didn’t bother to mention formally and officially.

I was going to talk about how he frames taxation as slavery from which we need emancipation, despite all the rich social, educational and health services we receive and largely take for granted: “Largely as a result of our tax reductions in budget 2006, tax freedom day arrived Wednesday, four days earlier than last year.”

Instead I want to comment on what he said in a rare moment when he stooped to speak to the press. So many emails from the PMO describe Harper’s upcoming schedule. “Photo op only” has become scripture.

So instead of in a formal political speech to end the session of parliament, Harper, on a Friday at the end of the week’s new cycle, mutters that Canada will leave Afghanistan in 2009.

Huh? I kid you not:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who once insisted that Canadian troops will stay in Afghanistan until the job is done, now says the military mission will end in February, 2009, unless the opposition agrees it should be extended.

The acceptance that the mission’s lifespan may be limited comes as the Prime Minister faces growing opposition to Canada’s combat role in the Afghan south – a decline in support that has been particularly pronounced in Quebec.

“This mission will end in February, 2009,” Mr. Harper said yesterday at a rare House of Commons news conference held to mark the end of the spring sitting.

Isn’t this major news? The most significant Canadian military mission in decades, the most controversial episode of Canadian imperialism will end because Harper said quietly that we’ll stay past 2009 only if all parties in parliament agree.

The NDP is opposed to our presence. Unless they see the light of imperialism in the next dozen or so months, our support for our troops will be supporting them home.

The Globe and Mail covered it on Saturday. Thanks.

But the volitional decision to end our occupation of Afghanistan and cease our imperial agenda there was not plastered all over the front pages of the Sunday and Monday morning papers.

This is a major victory for sanity in Canada. It is also a major reversal of Harper’s militarism in the face of growing national opposition to the stupidity of what we have been trying to convince ourselves we could do there.

And Harper’s embarrassment over his decision to radically change his entire war prime minister image made him squeak it out on a Friday afternoon in Ottawa in front of reporters, for whom he holds shocking and tremendous disdain.

Thank God for Harper that they haven’t skewered him for it. Lucky man.

Maybe Harper’s American Idol speech ending “God Bless Canada” has returned to save him from having to blush over changing his over-inflated sense of his military legacy.

The poor fool.

More "Support the Troops" Brainwashing on CanWest Global

I’m glad I “support our troops” because if I didn’t, maybe I’d be a threat to the free world or something. And since I’m not as talented as the 22 Minutes folks who quite effectively ridicule [see “I support our troops”] all the rhetorical sheep claiming to support the troops, let me just say that disagreeing with government policy in Afghanistan/Haiti/wherever does not mean I hope our soldiers there get slaughtered. Unless you’re intellectually stunted, I mean.

So here is a domestic news story with a military angle. A farmer has a legitimate disagreement with the government regarding his neighbour, a military base.

It has nothing to do with Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan or the creep of Soft Fascism up from w.Caesar land. It has to do with ditches.

And in the end, the reporter, thank god, lets us know that the farmer still supports the troops. I suppose the alternative would be that because of a ditch problem, he hopes the Taliban slaughter all Canadians in Afghanistan, kill all literate female Afghans, blow up more North American corporate and military imperial landmarks, outlaw anything other than radical Islam and invade and occupy Canada because they hate our freedom. Or something.

The effect of the “support our troops” lunacy is to separate us from them: those who support the soldiers from those who wish them all to die. No. Not at all. The job of that phrase being used in the corporate media and government is to make sure that anyone who questions the government policy of the current and previous political party taking part in the Afghan debacle is seen as someone who wishes the troops to all die. The troops are employees of our government, following orders to go here or there and do this or that, not forcing now 3 prime ministers at gun point or anything to send the Canadian Forces somewhere.

The illogic is astounding. But the continued use of this phrase is part of the Soft Fascism creep of the truly evil people in our country.

And the fact that it goes largely unchecked in our country means they are winning. Its smooth inclusion in this issue that is totally unrelated to Canada’s presence in Afghanistan, is part of the brainwashing of corporate media.

It’s time to read 1984 and Brave New World again, eh.

=====

Farmer takes government to court; [GLOBAL NATIONAL Edition]
KEVIN NEWMAN. Global News Transcripts. Toronto, Ont.: Apr 5, 2007. pg. 1

KEVIN NEWMAN: They’re known as Canada’s elite fighting force – highly trained, deployed in a moment’s notice with stealth and deadly force. Tonight, an update on a story that we first brought you two years ago. A farmer from the Ottawa valley who dared do battle with Canada’s commandos, and won, kind of. Here’s Peter Harris.

RON MAYHEW (Farmer): Starting all over again.

PETER HARRIS (Reporter): Ron Mayhew found out the hard way, how difficult it could be to take on Canada’s elite fighting force, JTF2.

MAYHEW: Everybody around here thought it was the RCMP musical ride moving in here beside us. Thats what we were told.

HARRIS: He’d owned this land since 1984. In the early 1990s, Canada’s secret military unit, Joint Task Force 2 moved in next door.

MAYHEW: I have no idea how it escalated the way it did. I just don’t understand it. It makes no sense to me. You’re being watched there now, too.

HARRIS: Ten years ago, the government came on to his property and dug these two trenches. Hundreds of metres long, because they had water problems on their land. It’s like a creek.

MAYHEW: Well, it’s about four feet deep. Five feet deep along here they dug.

HARRIS: And this digging led to piles of clay on his land where he hoped to grow vegetables.

MAYHEW: This is just grey subsoil, grey clay. And when they dug it out, they took it and spread it over, or at least, oh was it twenty, twenty-five feet.

HARRIS: After years of promises and threats to take his land, and nobody cleaning up these ditches, Ron Mayhew took the government to court.

MAYHEW: Well, they jerk you around, I guess. They keep jerking you around and jerking you around. Finally I said, well, partly because of my age, I said I can’t continue this on much longer. I want to leave something for my kids.

HARRIS: They finally settled, enough to cover his costs, to repair the land and fill in the ditches that have been left for so long.

MAYHEW: There’s the finality about it. That chapter is done and now we can go on and do repairs, do what we have to do, and enough to do what I wanted to do ten years ago.

HARRIS: Despite his fight against the government, he still supports the troops, but is glad this fight is finally over. In Ottawa, this is Global National’s Peter Harris reporting.

NEWMAN: And that’s Global National for Thursday. I’m Kevin Newman. Local news is next on most Global stations.

Your Ignorance and Lack of Empathy

To Mindelle Jacobs:

Your lack of empathy for structural abuse and discrimination against women is only superseded by your ignorance of the realities of the plight of millions of women in Canada.

Despite many reality-challenged “facts” you seem to believe, the fact that you believe Canada to be a nation that has moved beyond racism and colonialism means your qualifications to comment on Canadian society are completely lacking. I am ashamed of your ability to spout such ignorance in Canadian media.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Jacobs_Mindelle/2006/09/24/1888704.html

Despair over cuts to women’s groups

By Mindelle Jacobs

The way critics are wailing over possible cuts to women’s programs, you’d think the Harper government was preparing to force females into burkas.

One group, the National Association of Women and the Law, closed down earlier this month because it didn’t get federal funding.

The little-known Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action thought it was going to have to close last week. But its grant application was approved on Thursday, it announced on its website.

So much for those women-bashing Tories, eh?

Still, the movers and shakers in the women’s movement are waiting with baited breath to see if Status of Women Canada, a federal agency that bankrolls women’s groups and promotes gender equality, is on the chopping block.

If it gets the boot, will the rights of Canadian women be in danger? Will their life choices be curtailed? Hardly. Women in this country are better off than ever before.

This endless quest for gender equality is quite tiresome at a time when virtually all the significant barriers to women’s accomplishment have been smashed.

In my mind, the one major remaining roadblock in the path to women’s equality is the lack of a national day-care program. But, given the Tories’ unwavering opposition to such an initiative, that is a battle for another day.

That issue aside, the left-wing crowd is working itself into fits of despair at the thought of cutbacks to women’s organizations.

“This government clearly has no interest in the status of women,” bleated NDP MP Irene Mathyssen on Wednesday.

That’s right. The Harper government will be banning girls from school, prohibiting birth control and ordering up burkas any day now.

Get a grip. Yes, some women are having a hard time of it. And women’s groups are quick to blame systemic societal barriers. Nonsense. Bad choices lead to miserable lives.

If a woman studies hard and goes to law school, she will have far more financial autonomy than most men. Her decision to challenge herself is the key.

A woman who gets pregnant, drops out of school and hangs out with losers has less opportunity in life. But that’s not society’s fault.

One of Status of Women Canada’s main goals is improving women’s economic autonomy. But do we need a federal agency to tell women to stay in school and make wise career choices?

The agency also puts out mind-numbing reports, like the recent one on gender equality.

The paper harps about the ongoing pay gap between men and women, without pointing out that men tend to choose higher-paying jobs because they’re socialized to be the breadwinners.

It’s disingenuous to complain that women working full time only earn about 70 cents for every dollar men make if you’ve deliberately chosen to work as, say, a low-paid restaurant hostess.

Status of Women Canada also supports the loony idea of placing “gender specialists” in federal departments to measure the impact of proposed policies on the equality of women.

I’d say that’s not the best use of our tax dollars.

Before it lost its funding, the National Association of Women and the Law worked “to end racism and colonialism.” Yeah, there’s a lot of that happening in Canada.

Poverty, violence and discrimination “which still affect all too many women” require specific legislative measures, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action wrote Bev Oda, the minister responsible for the status of women, recently.

The open letter was signed by 31 women’s groups that supposedly represent Canadian women. But 22 of the organizations are from Quebec.

If we really want to help marginalized women, let’s put money into concrete initiatives like Head Start programs, affordable housing and retraining grants. Enough of the gender-equality navel-gazing.

– mjacobs@edmsun.com

E-mail Mindy Jacobs at mjacobs@edmsun.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to mailbag@edmsun.com.

Afghanistan, September 11, 2002 and Land Mines

Afghanistan signs the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines on September 11, 2002 while Iraq, Israel and the USA (and 46 others) still have not.

With North America (at least) dwelling on commemorative events surrounding the first anniversary of September 11, 2001, odd ironies were at play elsewhere in the world as that day, Afghanistan signed the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

There are still unanswered questions about who is functionally in charge of Afghanistan (and if the big W is pulling strings, or the big W’s string pullers, whatever) and why that day was chosen. What kind of political value would there be, and for who, to orchestrate that event on that key day? Is it a sign of the White House’s total domination of the enemy that is/was Afghanistan that they signed on that day?

146 countries have signed, ratified, or agreed to be bound by the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines. They are listed here.

49 countries haven’t signed the treaty as of this month, including some notables: Iraq, Israel, and the USA.

And while political posturing prevents more countries from signing, Canada’s light shines as an example of how other states COULD operate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham attributes, “much of the remarkable progress achieved to date to an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between governments, international organizations and NGOs.”

I wonder who will sign on September 11, 2003.