Archive for the ‘Nuclear Waste’ Category
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Tags: Apartheid, Ashkelon, Balfour Declaration, Christian Zionists, Ethnic Cleansing, Günter Grass, Germany, Goldstone Report, Grass, Holocaust, Iran, Israel, Israeli Nazi Forces, Israeli Terrorism, Jews, Judaism, Middle East, Nobel Prize in Literature, Occupation, Palestinians, Plan D, Religion, Resistance, War crimes, Zionists
Art of Resistance – A Comment on Günter Grass
By Gilad Atzmon
Outrage in Germany, Nobel Laureate Günter Grass has, once again told the truth about Israel being the greatest threat to world peace.
Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, sparked outrage in Germany on Wednesday with the publication of a poem, “What must be said,” in which he sharply criticizes Israel’s offensive approach towards Iran.
Once again, it is the artist rather than the politician, who tells the truth as it is. Once again it is the Artist rather than the academic who speaks out.
”Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” Wrote Grass.
In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also calls for an
“unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.”
Israel and some German Jewish prominent voices were quick to react. The Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of ‘What must be said.’
“What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statements reads.
Pretty outrageous, don’t you think? In the open Israel together with its supportive Jewish lobbies (AIPAC, AJC) are pushing for a new global conflict. Yet, shamelessly the embassy defies criticism tossing in the air the old blood libel. The appropriate timely question here is why Israel and AIPAC are pushing for a world war and a potential nuclear conflict just before Passover? Can they just wait for another Yom Kippur (atonement day)?
The Israeli Embassy continues,
“in the past, it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate.”
Isn’t it really the case? Every military expert suggests that Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran could escalate into a nuclear conflict. If anything Grass tries like others, including your truly, to prevent Israel from celebrating its lethal symptoms once again.
The Israeli embassy noticed though that “Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted.”
Correct, and so it should be. Israel is a racist, expansionist state, it doesn’t have room amongst nations.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany also called the poem an “aggressive pamphlet of agitation.” I wonder, is it really aggressive to try and restrain an aggressor?
The German newspaper Die Welt, which apparently obtained an advance copy of Grass’ poem, published a response by rabid Zionist Henryk Broder, the country’s most prominent Jewish writer. “Grass always had a problem with Jews, but it has never articulated it as clearly as he has in this poem.” Broder said “Grass has always had a tendency toward megalomania, but this time he is completely nuts.” I would expect Germany’s leading Jewish writer to come with something slightly more astute.
Border however may be correct when he notes that Grass is “haunted by guilt and shame and also driven by the desire to settle history, he is now attempting to disarm the ’cause of the recognizable threat.’”
Wednesday’s poem is not the first time Grass has come out with critical views of Israel. In a 2001 interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he offered his own solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas,” he said at the time. “The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped — it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.”
Broder contends that such a statement is “no less than a demand for Israel to not just cede Nablus and Hebron, but also Tel Aviv and Haifa. ” he continues, “Grass does not differentiated between the ‘occupied areas’ of 1948 and 1967.” Needless to say that from an ethical perspective Grass is correct-there is no difference between 1948 and 1967. The Jewish State located itself on historic Palestine on the expense of the Palestinian people. I guess that Grass understood already in 2001 that the Jews only State must be transformed into a ‘State of its Citizens’. Israel should embrace the true notion of peace, universalism and inclusiveness. But I guess that we shouldn’t hold our breath for it is not going to happen soon.
- Günter Grass Attacks Israel in New Poem (3quarksdaily.com)
Tags: Fishing, Founding Fathers, Johann Hari, Nuclear Waste, Pirates, seafood, Somalia, William Scott
You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menace of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell — and some justice on their side.
Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can’t? In his book Villains of All nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence to find out. If you became a merchant or navy sailor then – plucked from the docks of London’s East End, young and hungry – you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O’ Nine Tails. If you slacked consistently, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.
Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century.” They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.” This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.
The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.
Yes: nuclear waste.
As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”
At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood.
We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”
During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?
This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a ‘tax’ on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.
No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country’s territorial waters.” During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?
Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause – our crimes – before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia’s criminals.
The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber?
Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent newspaper.