Category: politics


Earlier this month I just happened to be switching channels just in time to hear the USA’s president verbalize an unprecedented defense and rationalization of the white supremacists’ actions in Virginia that left one woman dead. To be honest, I was not particularly surprised–or even shocked–by these proclamations.

I knew instantaneously that I had tuned in to history in the making. For never before had an American president come to the defense of racist Americans who wanted nothing better than to marginalize, alienate and eradicate minority ethnicity such as my own black people.

Ever since the Republican convention in the summer of 2016, it became succinctly evident that the now 45th US president had no personal appreciation for black America, and by extension, minority America. He has been an unscrupulously driven businessman who mastered the art of doing things his way. By giving him the victory on election night, those fifty eight million Americans gave this president the ultimate green light for the rest of his life.

Losing the election was the last sane mechanism by which he could have been stopped. Alas, that did not happen.

Now more than ever, president 45 does not give a damn about any opposing critique or opposing sentiments.  In this president the stage is being set for the opening of the modern day portal of cruel racial divide and prejudice in the United States of America.

But to be fair, it is not this president who is responsible for the feelings of racial hatred and renewed will for white dominance once more in American communities. It is my view that ever since the Civil War, the American society never really pursued or attained closure as regards the issues of race and slavery in particular. There have always been at least one in three white Americans who have felt a sword piercing their nationalist hearts every time the civil rights activists made breakthroughs in racial equality.

These Americans have for years allowed their displeasure and inner condemnation of minority groups to lie dormant, pretty much as a mighty volcano which has not erupted in years or decades. Instead, they have heeded the palliative of polite American education.

I feel also that having a black person occupying their highest position in the land for the last eight years have lit some serious fires in the emotional furnace of many a white American. And some black ones too, unfortunately.

Race issues in America is not over. In fact they are far from over. The truth is that president 45 is just giving voice–and face–to the pent up anger, hatred and disapproval of blacks and other minority groups by a silent majority of rural, middle class Americans. These are the ones who turned out to register their desire to make America white again, to make America’s leaders white again, in the last presidential elections.

I can’t help but think that if President Obama had known his successor was going to make it his priority to undo his legacy, Obama just might have showed a different persona and power which the oval office afforded him.

We must face the unspoken truths that America has a race problem. It has always had a race problem. But just having periodic laws passed by congress along with a few photo ops with white and black leaders have not–and will never–bring America to the finish line where race is concerned.

Leaders in congress, in the White House, as well as in the media and business establishments must open their mouths in admittance of this socially chronic non-communicable disease which is silently killing America’s future. Citizens across the fifty united states must be able to discuss all their hate, hurt, pain and gains in truth-and-reconciliation town hall meetings and forums.

An immediate solution might not be reached but tensions will mitigate because people of all colours would no longer need to pretend that America is not divided or that race is not really of consequence in America.

It is quite possible that a more racist supporter of white dominance can occupy the White House in the future, and that other such like-minded leaders could start to emerge from their various closets across the spectrum of gender and economic employment industries.

Now more than ever the state of the union matters because the race is definitely not over in America.

 

 

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SVG: A Country Politically Divided

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The 2015 general elections are over but the traditional two-party contest has left St Vincent and the Grenadines a politically divided country. The outcome has shown that the governing party, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) was returned to power with 8 seats, while the New Democratic Party (NDP) won the remaining seven seats.

The result is a carbon copy of the 2010 general elections results.

And that is political history being made in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Here is why. On all previous occasions in SVG when a political party won an election with only a one seat majority in parliament, that party has always lost the very next general elections. Even the NDP was counting on history to repeat itself. But history recreated itself instead.

The interesting thing to note is that both parties won the exact seats or constituencies which they won (or lost) in the 2010 general elections.

But the reason for this post is to stress the obvious deterioration in the levels of peaceful campaigning and acceptance of results by the party which has been striving to take the reins of power in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the NDP. Now, before I comment further on my observations on this, I am going to share my own political experiences as an enthusiastic voter when I attained the age of eligibility to cast my ballot.

I first voted in the 1994 general elections. Which party did I vote for? What factors contributed to my decision in 1994 when I was a virgin voter? Well, it goes back to the year 1984, when as a young child I sat on the wooden bench in the backyard kitchen with my mother as she peeled the ground provisions for that day’s lunch. Campaigners from the NDP passed by. They were sharing out the relevant posters and leaflets with the candidates contesting the elections.

It was the first time I was seeing and getting to know who James Mitchel was. “The man who would become prime minister,” according to my mother. And sure enough the NDP won the elections. I was just in Junior 2  at the time(grade 3 today).

Then, courtesy of the Vincentian newspaper and the Government Information Service (GIS) I was able to follow much of the workings of James Mitchel and his ministers. I give them credit for bringing electricity and telephone service to my childhood rural village. I also give them credit for the construction and opening of many, many roads, clinics, post offices and schools across the island. They also  helped many suffering elderly people to finally access pipe borne water right in their own homes.

But as an aspiring student growing up in the 80s and 90s I always felt that the government of the day was not seeing or valuing the human resource potential in the country. I remember thinking just how hard–if not futile–it was to continue one’s education after completing secondary school. And even getting to secondary school was a stressful competition. Just one mark in the then Common Entrance Exam often ended the education pursuits of many ordinary students.

Getting into the sole Form 6 at the St Vincent Grammar School (A’ Level) was another competitive big deal. Throughout all of SVG, only one or two annual scholarships were being given out. And often times, the awardees would have surnames which inferred that their parents already had finances which could have paid their way through university in any case.

Additionally, by 1994 I had begun to feel that our prime minister was somehow taking the country for granted. This conclusion came specifically from more than one Independence Day parade and speech ceremony which James Mitchel would have missed because he was overseas at the time. Yes, leaders need to travel, but certainly you can reschedule or designate someone to take your place when your country’s Independence Day comes around.

Nevertheless, the NDP was being celebrated nationally as the government of choice. But I was learning at school that we had a democratic system. I was not seeing democracy at work if the same party was winning all the general elections. I felt stifled. I felt that NDP owned the country. You should know that in the 1989 general elections the electorate gave ALL the seats in parliament to the NDP.

That in itself was historic!

So for five years, from 1989-1994, St Vincent and the Grenadines had absolutely no opposition in parliament. As young as I was, I realized that was NOT a good situation for any people–not even if you are a supporter of the ruling party. It was in that time that former owner of the Vincentian newspaper, Edgeton Richards, started his weekly column called People’s Parliament, which attempted to be a national opposition voice in the country.

So, with all these experiences, when I voted for that first time in 1994, I voted for an opposition. Now, a sad thing about the electorate’s voting pattern in SVG, is that persons always feel that they must vote for the same party all the time. But I think that kills democracy.

The NDP won the 1994 general elections, quite comfortably I might add. I felt bad but now there were three opposition members in the parliament. Then in 1998 the bell rang again and Vincentians went back to the polls. I voted the opposition because it was evident that the NDP was running out of capital projects, the leader was not an ordinary Vincentian who mixed with commoners, and the human resource continued to be ignored.

But I felt the sense of disappointment, shame of defeat and confinement once again to the political wilderness as a supporter of an opposition party for a further five years.

But whether or not our party won, we all rallied, respected, and rated the country’s prime minister as our prime minister. Then in 2001, sensing that hope was about to give birth to much needed political change, I voted once more for the opposition.

This time the change came.

I recalled that on that night, March 28, 2001, the broadcasters of the results did not say that a new government had come to power in the country. They just ended the broadcast as though nothing significant happened.

Today, in 2015, supporters of the NDP are feeling the agony of political defeat. It is hard to bear. But I know how it feels. In the days leading up to the general elections, I heard a radio announcer on Nice radio, literally cursing, and using the word “hell” in order to campaign for the NDP. I thought how disturbingly sad. The radio was traditionally an instrument of good will. Now, because of politics, people are cursing on it.

Throughout various communities, supporters of the two main parties also seemed ready for a physical battle which could start at any time. In North Leeward, the ULP candidate said that he had to resort to pulling his gun after getting no relief from the throwing of bottles on the roof of a shop where he and his supporters had run to for cover from NDP supporters.

In that same constituency, the NDP candidate, who later retained his seat in the 2015 general elections, declared that there are some places he is afraid to go to hold political meetings.

And do not talk about Sion Hill. The street alone separated the ULP’s red from the NDP’s yellow. It was tit for tat campaigning there. Although the NDP leader retained his seat in that constituency, it was interesting to note that his margin of victory was one of the narrowest in the entire general elections. And he ran against a very young ULP candidate.

The NDP is also claiming that the ULP stole the elections by cheating and so winning the Central Leeward seat, now being represented by Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Luis Straker.

On the morning following the elections, the NDP asked supporters to gather at the Layou Police Station to witness the recount of the votes. I saw a video clip of the leader of the NDP right up in the face of Luis Straker. The atmosphere and the body language, as well as words being spoken, suggested to me that the political leader of the NDP was getting ready to physically hit the ULP’s candidate for Central Leeward, Luis Straker.

Today, NDP supporters are protesting in the capital city, Kingstown, outside the prime minister’s office, hours before the ULP holds a public rally in Kingstown where the portfolio of ministers will be announced. I also heard citizens in Kingstown saying that NDP supporters were talking of shooting individuals, as well as saying that they intend to burn down houses.

Now, having supported a party in opposition in years gone, I know it is painful to see your party still in opposition after an election, but the animalistic verbal utterances are dangerous signs of reaching a political cliff.

And we must remember that active politicians of the two main parties are pretty much like Hollywood movie stars.  They play a certain public role. But whatever the results of elections are, their bread is already buttered (as we would say in our Vincentian culture). The prime minister alluded to the fact that the leader of the opposition (NDP leader) is being paid $180 000 per year. That works out to about $15 000 every month.

Wow!

Politicians are on easy street but it is sad that it is the commoners who are more and more literally ready to kill their fellow Vincentian for a political party. And for most citizens, their individual lives will experience very little visible, measurable or permanent improvement, no matter which party is in government.

The Supervisor of Elections here in SVG just released a statement of her reflection on the 2015 general elections. In it she speaks of being verbally harassed at her office by NDP supporters and their lawyers. She cites an instance where she gave a public figure in the NDP permission to take pictures of one of the ballot boxes during the recount in the Central Leeward constituency, only to find out later that the person used that footage on social media as their evidence that a ballot box was stolen.

The Supervisor of Elections had to be given direct police protection and escort as she moved about to fulfil her duties. In fact, armed police guards had to be deployed when the ballot boxes and other election documents were being transported from their respective constituencies. Such was the case before the leader of the ULP could have been sworn in as the country’s prime minister for a fourth term.

The question is: How many other general elections can St Vincent and the Grenadines peacefully survive in the future? Steps must be taken now to preserve democracy in our electoral system if we are to give future generations any possibility of living in this country.

The vast majority of Vincentians alive today remember the events leading up to the Grand Beach Accord that paved the way for general elections in 2001, ending an historic reign as government for the New Democratic Party (N.D.P.) which began in 1984.

Whether or not you are a person intrigued by politics, or you are an independent observer you have to give Jack his jacket and admit that the NDP’s seventeen year run as a governing party ushered in a new era in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

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Newly sworn in Prime Minister James Mitchell in 1984

It was during this time in our history that the transition occurred which brought our country in step with the majority of other developing nations in the region and around the globe.

Led by its founder, James Mitchell, the NDP took the office of government a mere five years after we achieved political independence from Britain. In fact, it was the St Vincent Labour Party (SVLP) led by incumbent Prime Minister Robert Milton Cato, that the New Democratic Party overwhelmingly deprived of another term in office.

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From Prime Minister to Opposition Leader: Milton Cato makes his way to Parliament after his defeat in the 1984 elections

It stands to reason, therefore, that the then Milton Cato government must have been deficient in the provision of certain key political and economic indicators for the citizens of SVG. James Mitchell, back then a relatively youthful man with a vision for national development, courageously took the oath of Prime Minister for this young multi-island state.

The NDP’s tenure will certainly be remembered for the many widespread capital projects and infrastructural changes which they pioneered. Every nook and cranny on the mainland and in the Grenadines benefited from one of the many hundreds of rural concrete roads which they cut and/or paved.

In 1984 the NDP won 9 of the 13 parliamentary seats up for grabs. When the electorate went back to the polls in 1989, Vincentians gave the James Mitchell government an overall grade of A+. All  fifteen constituencies went to the New Democratic Party. The NDP had split two constituencies on the grounds that the geographical area was too wide for the respective individual representatives to adequately represent in parliament and for timely executed projects.

Take a look at the candidates who contested the July 25, 1984, general elections on the NDP ticket, as they appeared back in 1984.

 

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IMG_20140804_133346         IMG_20140804_133402     IMG_20140804_133434

IMG_20140804_133444           IMG_20140804_133501       IMG_20140804_135557

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Images courtesy the Vincentian newspaper at SVG National Archives

Not too long ago Vincentian politics was a harmless process filled with virtuously fun- filled activities for the whole family, but today it is literally lynching or killing the very humanity that it seeks to govern.

A decade or so ago we used to have some pleasant motorcades. Both parties used to tour our small island in peace. Until one incident when a lady got hit in her eye from a stone thrown by a supporter of the other party.

Two things happened on that day. The lady never saw from that eye again, and St Vincent never had another political motorcade.

We probably need another political party in the mix here in St Vincent and the Grenadines because it seems this two-party system is driving a clear line of malice, hatred and damning injury left, right and centre.

The last two or three general elections have been splitting our usually friendly and happy citizens further and further apart. Put simply, our two-parrty politics is teaching Vincentians to see only colours; we are technically colour blind now.

I have had the actual experience of driving a red vehicle and slowly becoming conscious that people at the side of the road are actually “throwing words” (cursing) at me because they automatically think I am a supporter of the Unity Labour Party which is the governing party at this time.

On the other hand, during a general elections in recent history a gentleman was driving his yellow passenger van and attempted to drive through an intersection where the Unity Labour Party was having a street meeting. According to the driver, a supporter from the Unity Labour Party threw a stone and smashed his front windscreen to pieces.

For those of you who don’t know, yellow is the colour of the New Democratic Party which is currently the Opposition in parliament.

The most serious charge against our modern Vincentian politics happened last Saturday at the funeral of a political activist within the New Democratic Party, but who was a one-time political colleague of the Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves.

Elwardo “EG” Lynch was a member of the Ralph Gonsalves Movement for National Unity (MNU) before he crossed the political divide and took up arms with the New Democratic Party (NDP). He was the Opposition’s voice in that he was moderator of the NDP’s daily radio call-in programme.

According to the Prime Minister, he was invited by the family of the deceased to not only attend but to make some remarks in so far as paying a tribute to his long time friend and colleague in politics.

No sooner had the Prime Minister been invited to the podium than there was immediate heckling—long, loud and livid. One woman, who must have been a magician,  seemed to have pulled out of nowhere a yellow bell. She rang it for all its worth.

To “ring the bell” is a political jargon which means that the Prime Minister announces the date for the next general elections. So these “mourners” were challenging the democratically elected leader to call elections. What a way to respect the dead and the bereaved family—not to mention the presence of God.

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And as if that was not enough, she passed it on to another who continued in the fiasco. The daughter of the deceased tried to no avail to put out the fiery political fire.

A funeral was transformed into a political town hall meeting for the Opposition.

A sacred place of worship was dishonored in a most unapologetic manner.

Everyone has been airing their views on the matter. Like with other national issues involving politics, those on the opposition support the action while those supporting the governing party has condemned the assault on our leader and on a holy institution.

And I think this is the problem slowly eating out the inner societal organs of our political and human identity. As soon as a Vincentian has formed a political opinion and supports a particular party it seems to be a vote of no return. Apparently our politics has no escape clause. No one is allowed to retain an independent mind and vote for a different party than the one they supported in the last elections.

As a people we are learning to hate and destroy our own family, neighbours, friends, colleagues and associates. It is no secret that the fierce campaigns we witness in these times drive an intolerantly cruel rift between persons who at other times were getting along as the best of friends.

Members of the same household stop sharing rooms or amenities; patrons stop riding with certain vans or stop buying at certain shops; worshipers stop sitting next to other “brothers and sisters” in the House of the Lord because of a difference in opinion on politics.

So critical has become the Vincentian political warfare of the twenty first century that I am pretty sure if the volcano were to erupt during the next political campaign, many Vincentians would prefer to stay in their homes and die than to go to a shelter and share residence with people who support “the other political party”.

Even without the fuel of politics the Vincentian society is falling headlong into a new abyss of moral and social decay. There is a very visible increase in gun violence and homicides by gun; some bold and daring robberies and drive-by shootings are becoming the order of the day.

Just a fortnight ago a prominent businessman was held at gun point, forced into the trunk of his own vehicle, driven to a remote location, beaten, stripped naked, robbed and tied up. He was left for dead. Police later found his vehicle with some damage.

Fortunately, that businessman lived to tell the tales.

It is clear to me that St Vincent and the Grenadines has a disaster in the making which is far more destructive and costly than the flash floods of Christmas 2013, than a hurricane, earthquake or volcanic eruption. With the steady rise of the temperature in our political thermostat, we will soon be our own worst enemy and reason for extinction as a civilization worthy to inhabit this part of the peaceful world.

Will Vincentians ever rise to the political independence and maturity to stop politics from lynching our identity and the little dignity we have left?

 

 

(picture courtesy Searchlight newspaper)

Military coups and other political warfare are generally uncommon in the Eastern Caribbean, but thirty years ago when Bernard Cole and cohorts rebelled against the Maurice Bishop government  in October 1983, killing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by firing squad, the whole Caribbean sat up with panic in their future expectations.

I was just a child back in 1983 but the event still stands out in my mind. One reason it stands out is that Grenada is my neighbouring country, so that uprising was like bad news coming home.

Another reason it stands out is that my mother had come home after spending the night by a friend, telling of the news footage she had seen on television of the American troops landing during their invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

Thirty years ago few Vincentian families had television so anyone who related TV news or any related experiences were esteemed very highly. The phenomenon of viewing and hearing simultaneously was still a delightful hypnosis.

Maurice Bishop

 

From what I have been able to garner, Mr Bishop had sided with communist philosophies so his government was a good friend of Russia and China. However, even as his country was benefitting from the building of the international airport through communist financial assistance (via Cuba) it seems Maurice Bishop began to sense that looks were deceiving.

He began to have a change of heart and wanted to sever ties with his communist allies. But members of his government such as Bernard Cole and his wife would not entertain any back pedalling on political philosophies.

Effectively, then, Maurice Bishop was thinking of the future welfare of Grenadians rather than any immediate personal gains.

So things came to a head in October 1983. Reports are that Maurice Bishop was overseas when he heard of the planned rebellion against his leadership. He was told not to return to Grenada. One of the main reasons he was in the USA was to beef up support to avert any military upheaval in Grenada.

However, Maurice Bishop was determined to lead from the front and to be on the ground in his country to face whatever crisis was in the pipeline. He flew in unannounced.

He was subsequently arrested as he tried to go about his governing business.

On October 19, 1983, Maurice Bishop and a few members of his cabinet were taken to the colonial fort in the capital city of St Georges.

There he was put in front of a firing squad and shot to death.

His body was taken from the fort but to this day has never been found.

On October 25, 1983, United States President, Ronald Reagan, ordered US military forces to invade Grenada so as to restore democratic rule and governance.

Bernard Cole and his followers were subsequently arrested and prosecuted. They were sent to prison, but given no death penalty.

October 25th is now a public holiday in Grenada to commemorate the invasion for liberation by the US military on the island.

The international airport was renamed in Maurice Bishop’s honour.

You know, five years ago, I was in Grenada. On that particular visit I went to the fort and saw the place where Maurice Bishop last stood alive. It’s an eerie feeling standing in a spot where you know someone as important as a Prime Minister was killed in cold blood.

Some bullet holes and marks are still evident on those fort walls.

In the Caribbean we are washed in so much democratic freedom and civil liberties that we don’t have much connection to civil unrest or death from political struggles. Such things for Caribbean people are really only lived through the movies.

As far as I know, Maurice Bishop has been the only democratically elected leader (Prime Minister) who was killed in office.

And it happened so very near to my home country!

Maurice Bishop and the historical events of October 1983 in Grenada must never be forgotten whether 30 years or 300 years after.

 

 

In July last year  I wrote about a rather spiritually ignorant Hugo Chavez who said his cancer is not going to kill him. “It is not time to die” he had said at the time.

One year later, and many trips to and from Cuba, the same Hugo Chavez is right now battling for his life in Cuba. He is on a respirator, breathing through a hole pierced through his neck.

Not many days ago, our own country’s prime minister participated in a prayer vigil for the recovery of Hugo Chavez. It shows that even his regional counterparts are sensitive on the matter of his mortality and the inevitable end of every man born of a woman.

Below is an extract from Caribbean 360 which shows the critical nature of Mr Chavez’ illness and its political realities on the ground in Venezuela.

“We trust that, with the help of God, we are going to be victorious,” he said. “And that sooner rather than later, we will have our president here.”

The Venezuelan government did not say when Chávez will return home, or whether he will be ready to begin a new six-year term next month.

But Minister of Information Ernesto Villegas said the nation needs to be prepared for all eventualities.

“We trust that, with the love of millions, the Commander will respond quickly and return before January 10,” he said.

“But if not, the nation needs to be prepared to understand it,” he added. “It would be irresponsible to cover up how delicate the situation is now and will be in the days to come.”

Chavez undergoes tracheotomy in Cuba after fourth surgery – Caribbean360

SOPA Resistance Day!

Image by ~C4Chaos via Flickr

Many Internet sites were today protesting the passage of two bills, PIPA and SOPA, as they attempt to add their voices to the moot of combating Internet piracy.

It is right for creators of any intellectual property to have legal ownership and to ultimately benefit financially from their creations. However, the placing of such content on the Internet brings certain new conditions to the table. Over the years the Internet has really become the information highway.

I recently was walking in town and saw office space now empty because the video renting and DVD selling businesses just were made obsolete. Even attending a cinema show now is a declining affair because people can so easily access videos and music files on their own. The Internet has made many middle men in the distribution process irrelevant. But the Internet has also opened the common sense eyes of the common man so that he can be cheaply informed and make critical decisions that are needed.

A friend of mine was shopping and sent me pictures and names of products to “google” so that she can buy the one that is best suited to her needs. Such is the immediacy of the Internet.  The proliferation of information technologies and their variously far-reaching effects on our daily living are not going to be undone unless one has a time machine.

The world of business and content creation must know that the rules of sharing information has been forever changed by the use of the Internet.

The legislative response to preclude persons downloading or uploading copy right content has been the creation of the SOPA and PIPA bills. The idea by the US Congress is to make US based Internet search engines and providers act as cyberspace police. They would have to keep an eye on each user of the Internet on their service.

Now, with literally millions of people using social networks, Google Search, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines, how practical is it to expect each user to be monitored sufficiently in real time to prevent them from copying or publishing somebody else’s intellectual property  with the owner’s prior permission?

Well, the development today is that some key supporters of the SOPA and PIPA bills have withdrawn their support. The White House as well seems to have distanced itself from these bills.

And this is another thing. Congress wishes to push such public-contempt bills in a presidential election year. The public of Internet users needs to let their strong opposition be heard.

There has to be global simple education on the damages of Internet piracy. That process will take a long time and will require all primary and secondary Internet service providers to be on board.

Any attempt to enact legislation that regulates practical use of the world wide web by common people must be drafted really by those common people; at least with minimum 51% contribution from Internet search engines and providers. As it is now, SOPA and PIPA must be stopped even in its early stages. This is one abortion that is justified and civilly legal!

Iran: An Apocalyptic Countdown

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been headlining the halls of international fearful relations for decades now. The USA acting as the unitary world police of global peace balancing has been unable to halt Iran in its determination to be a thorn in the flesh of the global community.

I remember when I first became cognizant of Iran as a not too friendly a nation; it was when I heard news reports that Iran wanted to remove Israel off the world map. That I thought was inhumanely heartless. Should the policy makers in Iran step into hell they probably would neutralize the heat due to the ice box cold heart they possess.

Several months ago I was breathing a sigh of relief when I saw that the Iranian presidential elections was likely to have a winner other than the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. My hope was short lived when the Iranian supreme leader intervened and declared Ahmadinejad the winner.

The Iranian president has put a face to the Iranian’s anti western ambitions and is doing a tremendous job of it unfortunately. They have continued to enrich uranium in their quest to create nuclear energy. That is tantamount to creating nuclear weapons. Of course, the Iranian’s official take on it is that the rest of the civilized world has no need to worry about Iran using its nuclear capabilities to create world war three.

They would have to forgive me as I find that hard to believe. Off the record i am certain that Mr Ahmadinejad and the Iranian dark knights would admit they can’t give up an opportunity to have nuclear energy to fuel their infrastructural services and not fulfil their dream of removing Israel. Maybe it is that the nuclear energy they speak of is to diffuse Israel.

The UN has been trying for years as well to get its inspectors on the ground in Tehran to see first hand what exactly Iran is doing where nuclear activities are concerned. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seems likely to have clearance to visit in the up coming weeks.

Is that going to be another run in the maze visit?

The sanctions and blockade on Iran by the United Nations have been a slippery knot around Iran’s dogmatic neck. That knot has been tightened over the last few weeks as President Obama was able to collude with his American allies and extend the UN sanctions against Iran.

Now even though America used its resources to rescue some Iranians from pirates at sea, the response from Iran was that act was a mere humanitarian gesture and does not change the pending wild west showdown between the two nations. How do the Iranian populace feel about their government I wonder.

Two other recent developments concerning Iran is worth mentioning in this post. The first is that it seems as the sanctions realities begin squeezing the life blood in Iran, president Ahmadinejad has flown to my neck of the woods actually. He is currently in Latin America. His first visit was to his Venezuela’s counterpart, Hugo Chavez.

Of course the rest of the world is paying close attention to everything these two presidents do. Both have made audacious statements at the UN during past presentations to the Assembly. But what is the nature of Iran’s relationship with countries in Latin America?

The world of politics would dictate that leaders are always negotiating something. In fact, politicians only have friends so long as their interests are being advanced through such associations. Sad to say, pragmatically speaking, there is a whole lot more that the mighty USA could be tangibly doing for countries in the Caribbean and the Latin American geographic spread. Is it that Iran, following the lead of Cuba, will step in to be a Don and godfather to this often neglected part of the world?

Make no mistake about it, the Caribbean and Latin America are struggling with some basic socio-economic problems and threats that they will welcome help in solving. That’s politics I guess. However, many regional leaders would want at least to give the US the benefit of the doubt.

The second incident has to do with another January assassination of an Iranian scientist directly connected to Iran’s nuclear thrust. The USA has categorically denied involvement; however, Israel, who is usually co-blamed by Iran for such attacks, has indicated that they would not be shedding any tears over the assassination. Can you blame Israel?

It seems to me that the patient diplomatic efforts of the Obama administration is not even scratching the  force shield of Iran. It seems likely that yet another US administration is sliding into history with Iran still shaking its boxing glove at any new challengers who dare to step into the ring.

The rhetoric of Islam and Iran’s own cold statements over time definitely signal that with its acquisition of nuclear energy and capabilities it would be akin to a chess player manoeuvring his opponent who must then shamefully crown the successful intruder.

Iran is not going to retire from the world scene. The more it gets the more it wants. It is bent on proving that it can survive amidst all imposed sanctions. Iran is prepared long ago to be the world’s pariah. Iranians need to follow their Islamic brothers in Libya, Egypt and Syria and initiate their own people’s revolution. Better must come. What quiet diplomacy has been unable to achieve, some old fashion people power will shake the regime and bring full transparency of Iranian domestic policies and agenda.

If not, the world will not live to regret it.

 

Several hours ago an infuriating viral fire was ignited by a video shot on location in Afghanistan.

At centre are several foreign troop soldiers standing at ease urinating. And that would not be any big deal except that these soldiers were clearly urinating on the dead bodies of some Afghan fighters.

The military in the US has announced that it has identified at least two of the soldiers in the grotesque footage. All stakeholders in the US mission in the region have not minced their opinions in calling for the soldiers in the video to be properly and severely disciplined.

But I want to consider the reality of war zone life and the practicality of abiding by internationally agreed combat guidelines.

It is the person who is in the active kitchen who always feels the unyielding heat. Most of the soldiers “in harm’s way” as so often stated in its politically correct manner are very young adults who really should have their whole lives ahead of them. Instead, they are subject daily to death and mayhem.  Undoubtedly, few  of us who have a “civilian” status can ever understand the psychological terrors these young people have to deal with every day.

I am not saying the decision to urinate on dead bodies was a good one; but I am saying that in the often unfriendly, hostile and deceptive environment that these fighters are asked to fight for the free world, they are being asked to carry a stressful burden that many of us will or probably can never really understand.

These soldiers will see their friends with whom they enlisted and have bonded as kin being injured, maimed or even killed right before their helpless eyes. It is quite probable that they may at times even feel emotionally and otherwise isolated from their western homes and ideologies. In the heat of battle, not sure whether or not they would be alive at sunset and with all of the inner  turmoil of war growing in them, who knows, if they would invariably decide to cope with such pressures in ways that are in contravention of military ethical codes.

It is my humble opinion that in the war zones of the world many unthinkable or immoral actions are perpetrated. This, I believe, by all fighting factions. It is really unlikely that a person can genuinely wage war against another without having some deep seated anger and even hatred in their heart towards that enemy.

War is not a rehearsal or sitcom.

So who knows what foreign troops, who are often called “imbeciles” have been subjected to by persons cultured in war totally differently to their formal military academy practices and protocols of the west.

Even more interesting than identifying the soldiers in the video would be to identify who exactly shot the video and why it was posted to You tube instead of being delivered to the relevant superior officers of the soldiers involved. Hmmm.

This is an opportune time for us once more to think of the price of freedom….or …..the price of war.

Most of us in the western world have a very easy time expressing our religious views and practices. However, the oil-rich African nation of Nigeria is becoming the battle ground for one of the world’s critical modern day contest for religious supremacy.

Christianity, which is quite common in the Caribbean is under violent attacks from Muslims. over five hundred Christians have been killed during the past year in Nigeria. The country is geographically split between the Muslims, who occupy the north, and the Christians who are more populous in southern Nigeria.

On Christmas Day alone, scores of Christians were killed when a car bomb was detonated near a church during services.

The group of Islamists carrying out these deadly acts of violence against their Christian countrymen call themselves a name meaning “Western Education Is Evil”. Their aim is clear: to make all of Nigeria one nation of Islam. in other words, no other faith or religious sect must be allowed to flourish in Nigeria.

The Christians in Nigeria have commented that they will take actions to protect themselves. It means that Nigeria is most likely about to face off with a religious war that can shatter its international image and world tourism prospects. Of course, the economic fall out given its status as an oil producing giant, is not going to comfort or stabilize investors wallets and confidence in Nigeria.

The government has been ridiculed and criticized for being unable to take corrective action to stem the killings of Christians by the Islamist group the government calls Boko Haram. Its beloved president, Goodluck Jonathan, is facing the defining challenge of his presidency. His critics are insisting that he is incompetent and incapable of dealing with the Muslim group carrying out the attacks.

The western world has to be wary of the jihad focus of the Islamic world. While Christians as well would endeavour to see all the world united under the umbrella of Christ, they would not be blowing other religious sects to eternity in order to realize their earthly goal.

This is a time when Christians from other nations must meet in prayer and offer united spiritual support to their siblings in Nigeria. After all, when one sees his neighbour’s house on fire one must wet his own house down.

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