Gaddafi, MidEast Turmoil & Indonesia

Feb 28th, 2011, in Featured, News, by

Due to lack of time and motivation there are going to be more of these informal posts, which, I will endeavour to exclude from the RSS feed/mailouts/Facebook page [so far failing at that], so you'll have to actually check the site to see if anything new. It's better than nothing and the best way to go forward I think as we have a small community here that likes to talk about all sorts of things.

......

A few things on the middle east turmoil which have landed in front of me and might be of interest. I don't keep track of world news or any news much at the moment so plenty I've probably missed but here goes:

This video is very popular in the Arab world apparently, even though it's an Israeli made thing:

My favourite comment (from an American) on the airstrike on protesters in Libya:

.......But still: Qaddafi and his sons ruled in the old way, with nothing but their strong right arms. God bless the simplicity of these noble desert peoples! God keep them safe in their own countries, and out of ours! I'm struggling to think of a previous event in which someone has called in an airstrike on the mob. Grapeshot for a demonstration - yes. Machine guns? Naval artillery? It's all been done. But an airstrike? Now that's got to be some shock and awe. You're just peacefully out demonstrating with your picket signs, ski masks and sharpened agricultural tools, when a MiG blasts in out of nowhere and gives you some GPS-guided love. Wow! Qaddafi, like the honey badger, just doesn't give a sh*t.

By the way, my favourite (apparent - I just saw it on a blog once, no link) quote from Quaddifi, from years ago I think, sort of referencing his Africa first policy:

May God keep the Arabs well, and far away.

And to try to tie this in to the theme of this site - Indonesia - here is "Indonesia: An Example for Egypt, or a Democracy in Retreat?" by Robin Bush of The Asia Foundation, which seems to boil down to:

Indonesia has come a long way in a relatively short time and deserves much of the praise that is rather belatedly starting to come its way. It does provide an important example for Egypt, as a Muslim country that overthrew a dictator and integrated Islamic parties effectively into its democratic system. And, it has much to offer the region in the way of leadership on democratic transitions and reform. However, if it is to truly become a credible leader on regional and international platforms, it will have to confront head-on its own glaring problems in the areas of human rights and corruption. Many of the gains that Indonesia made in its reform process were made 10 years ago and have not advanced since. Now, a second wave of reform is needed to ensure that the country is able to live up to its tremendous potential – for the good of its own citizens and for the global community.

In the words of Madrotter... EnJoY!!!!!


129 Comments on “Gaddafi, MidEast Turmoil & Indonesia”

  1. avatar Arie Brand says:

    The problem lies with the reaction of the ‘authorities’ who expelled the boy that took the flag down and which is symptomatic for a certain leftlib mentality towards treason of their own heritage and values.

    No ET – the problem lies with those right wing bloggers and media that tried to cause a big stink about this. I have looked a bit further into this ‘flag incident’ and the facts, as far as I have been able to ascertain them, seem to be this. The flag had been put up by a student, with permission from the school authorities, in a hallway (not on a flagpole outside the school) together with other exhibits to celebrate the ‘cinco de mayo’, that is the commemoration of the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This seems to be habitually celebrated in the US by Mexicans. You will remember that Napoleon III tried to interfere in Mexican affairs and set up a puppet regime in Mexico while the US was otherwise engaged (i.e. in the Civil War). Ultimately that led to the misadventure of that Austrian archduke, the Mexican ‘Emperor’ Maximilian, who was executed as a consequence of his French patron’s folly.

    So this whole thing could in no way be construed as an ‘insult to the US’.

    The school authorities said that, on other occasions, they had for instance allowed the display of a German flag without this causing any problem (but then there are no German ‘illegal aliens’ in that neighbourhood – are there).

    The flag was taken away by a student who threw it in a trash can and by the time an attempt was made to recover it it had been taken away by the local garbos. Now you don’t have to suffer from ‘political correctness’ (in Texas an unlikely affliction anyway) to judge that that would be American patriot had behaved offensively. According to this hero’s own information he had been suspended for three days (not ‘expelled’ as you have it) and been obliged to pay for the flag. Rightly so. In addition I would have subtracted a few points from his mark for history.

    Apparently the school has been harassed by callers and emailers who had been egged on by those who are always on the lookout for left/lib transgressions.

    I will not deny, ET, that such transgressions exist. I have on occasion protested myself against them, particularly when they seemed to involve a distortion of history. You can find examples of my protests on this very blog.

    However, overall they seem to me insignificant in comparison with the deliberate attempts of pollies and media figures to speculate on ‘popular sentiments’ because those sentiments are always right wing, particularly when it comes to refugees and migrants. If you want an Australian example I refer you to the shameful “Tampa Affair” through which John Howard obtained another electoral victory.

  2. avatar Odinius says:

    Just want to add that Cinco de Mayo, like numerous other ethnic and nationalist holidays that American immigrants have brought with him, is also widely celebrated by people who are not from the ethnic or national group in question.

    Like St. Patrick’s Day, pretty much everyone between the ages of 16 and 35 goes out for Cinco de Mayo and gets drunk. Most major entertainment and beverage companies have large advertising campaigns based on it.Pretty much all schools have some minor, alcohol-free celebration of it for the kids, just like they do for every other major immigrant holiday.

    Tearing down an innocuous Cinco de Mayo-related flag in a public school, because you “don’t like Mexican stuff,” is completely, utterly stupid. And many other things.

  3. avatar ET says:

    @ Arie Brand

    However, overall they seem to me insignificant in comparison with the deliberate attempts of pollies and media figures to speculate on ‘popular sentiments’ because those sentiments are always right wing, particularly when it comes to refugees and migrants. If you want an Australian example I refer you to the shameful “Tampa Affair” through which John Howard obtained another electoral victory.

    & Odinius

    Tearing down an innocuous Cinco de Mayo-related flag in a public school, because you “don’t like Mexican stuff,” is completely, utterly stupid. And many other things.

    There is more behind this flag raising incident than popular right wing propaganda and targeted ethnic intolerance.
    The situation at the Mexican border re. drugs, people and weapons smuggling is becoming more and more critical and has spilled over to national politics. It is costing the American taxpayer billions of dollars with no end in sight but affects mainly those who live in the area. The flag incident had become a symbol for the fact that the border cannot be secured and that many US citizens who live there in the line of fire feel that they are being betrayed by their own government.
    Maybe this recent letter from congresswoman Kay Granger to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security can shed some light.

  4. avatar Odinius says:

    ET,

    Mexico is close to being a failed state. But Mexican-Americans have been in the US for centuries–large parts of the US were Mexican until annexed after war. The places you mention are exactly those places, and in almost all of them, somewhere between 40-80% of the people living there are of Mexican heritage.

    And seriously, as any American knows, Cinco de Mayo is firmly in the “excuse for everyone to party” quilt, and has been for decades now. Should kids tear down St. Patrick’s Day flags or burn things that are green? Because Cinco de Mayo is exactly like St. Patrick’s Day in the US now. It’s a day when a bunch of flags go up, beverage companies put out giant campaigns to get people buying their products, adults get wasted and kids have little “let’s all feel good about our heritages” celebrations at school. Where I grew up we had one each for Italians, Greeks and Portuguese too.

  5. avatar ET says:

    Odinius,

    This phenomenon of ethnic strife or xenophobia vis-à-vis Mexicans in the area is new. I have lived in Arizona for some time during the early nineties and never noticed problems. Many border police were – and still are – from Mexican descent because they are fluent in Spanish. Going in and out of the US in Nogales was a piece of cake and many Americans went there shopping. There was even an entire street lined with dentists catering for the American pensioners who retired in Arizona but couldn’t afford the exorbitant fees on their side of the border. Tex/mex food was a staple everywhere and Cinco de Mayo was almost as much a reason for celebration as the 4th of July.
    All of this seems to have changed now. The entire north of Mexico has become a lawless wasteland where drug cartels and people and weapon smugglers call the shots. This situation of which the US citizens in the area, including the naturalized ethnic Mexicans, are the prime victims is getting on people’s nerves and leads to incidents which are blown out of proportion. Many feel abandoned and betrayed by the downplaying of the problems and the immigration policy of the Obama administration.

  6. avatar Odinius says:

    Yes, the situation in Mexico is very dire at the moment. It reminds me of Colombia in the 1990s, captive to narcoterrorism.

    The issue with Mexican-Americans has been simmering for a long time, though. Perhaps not in Arizona back then, but certainly in California, where during the early 1990s recession then Governor Pete Wilson made the “threat” of illegal immigration a cornerstone of his political career. More, really, than any other Californian governor since.

    The problem stems from four sources IMO:

    1. Mexico’s problems, as you mention earlier, and their spread over the border
    2. Illegal immigration, viewed as uncontrolled or uncontrollable
    3. The bad economy, notice these things only flare up in recessions
    4. Good old fashioned, long-established anti-Mexican racism, notice no one complains about the other illegal immigrants, of which there are many

    These four factors interact in a unique way. Illegal immigration is only considered a problem, for most people, when the economy is bad. This is exacerbated by the sense that Mexico is falling apart and the border is poorly controlled, while the long tradition of mutual distrust and prejudice across that border means that socio-economic fears related to the economy and immigration hone in on people from Mexico.

    Taking down a Cinco de Mayo display at a school, which is a pretty innocuous display of the “let’s all celebrate each others’ heritage” tradition in the US, doesn’t signify legitimate concerns about the scope and process of in-migration, or worries about the implications of Mexico’s implosion on American society. It’s #4.

  7. avatar ET says:

    Good old fashioned, long-established anti-Mexican racism, notice no one complains about the other illegal immigrants, of which there are many

    Practically all of them are Latinos, speak Spanish, come from other Middle American countries and transit through Mexico which does nothing or is not able to do anything to prevent it. This acerbates the problem because the average Anglo American doesn’t know the difference between Mexicans, Hondurese, Guatemalese etc. They all look and talk the same and cross the same border illegally. This is the reason why most border patrol agents are of Mexican stock because they are able to sort them out.

  8. avatar Odinius says:

    Supposedly 56% of illegal immigrants are from Mexico, and another 22% from the rest of Latin America. So yeah, illegal or undocumented immigration (whichever normative term one prefers) does have a “Latino face.” But even still, Mexicans account for just over half, yet get probably 99% of the racism. Plus the majority of Mexican immigrants are in the US legally. Mexicans make up 10.3% of the population, which translates to more than 30 million people, and only around 6 million are illegal. That means 4/5 Mexican Americans are legal citizens or permanent residents.

    Then, as you can see, there really is a long tradition of anti-Mexican racism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Mexican_sentiment

  9. avatar David says:

    She’s a real comedian

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