Sunday, April 12, 2009

That Deep Hole We Need Out Of

Grammar just wouldn't work for me this morning, so forgive the title, but it's what I want to post about. (There I go again.)

In watching stories giving a glow to the heroism of Cpt. Richard Phillips, for all of us who have been made aware of the source of Somalia's piracy there is a bad taste. We can admire a person's bravery in exchanging himself for his crew, while still wondering why we can't begin to redeem the harm our Western businesses have done to the country.

With many of you, I learned about the dumping in Somalian waters - that has led to piracy necessitated by the need to make a living - from The SideShow on January 11th. Avedon found and posted then about the hideous waste shoveled off on the failed nation.

Johann Hari says "You are being lied to about pirates: "In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and 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. [...] At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. [...] This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent 'strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence'."

Over the past eight years of pro-business crimes from the maladministration just past, crimes were ignored as long as they were committed by the business interests. This went on all over the world, to our great detriment. This morning in the Dallas Morning News, Fareed Zakaria commented, in an interview, about the steps President Obama is taking toward regaining a place in the world's esteem.

President Barack Obama
stirred a lot of controversy with his remarks in Turkey about religion in America. Did they backfire?

What Obama did was a much-needed corrective to a growing mixture of religion and politics in this country that has taken place over the last three decades, and that is wholly inconsistent with the American tradition. He is not saying that America is not a country with a majority of people of Christian [faith]. ... What he's saying is that America is not a Christian nation in the sense that it is not a nation-state whose politics is infused with Christianity. ... That was entirely the point of the founding fathers in their effort to separate religion from politics.

Why did a foreign audience need to hear this?

It would help them better understand America because what Obama said is true: We are a secular democracy and not a nation defined by religion. ... I think it would make it more difficult for the Osama bin Ladens of the world to claim that [Americans] are waging a crusade and that this is some kind of holy jihad because, rightly, the United States is not a religious symbol. It is a symbol of democracy.

What kind of influence do you think his trip will have?

I think Obama's trip, in general, both in Europe and in Turkey, is going to have a substantial effect in lessening the intense anti-Americanism that had been building across the world. In Turkey, in particular, which has gone in the past 10 years from being a staunch NATO ally with a very strong sentiment of pro-Americanism to almost Egyptian-Jordanian-Arab levels of anti-Americanism. I think this trip will dampen that. ... Turkey has a very complex problem. As Turkey has democratized over the years, it has also become more intensely Islamic – not in ways I think that are deeply dangerous or damaging to its constitutional fabric. But you are now seeing in Turkey a much more normal and natural expression of a devoutly religious country. In some ways, it resembles the debate we are having here.

The injustices of the war criminals who occupied our White House were extended in all directions. They have shown all too clearly the damage the promoters of business At All Costs are ready and willing to do.

It has been a lesson to us all, and to the world, in how badly we need to keep controls in place to preserve the health and safety of the world. When profit is the object of worship to our leaders, no crimes are beyond them. We are all in danger from unleashed greed and criminal inclinations.

Today we celebrate the Risen good impulses, and I like to acknowledge the planting/growth aspect of burial in the earth, rising in three days, like my magically fertile beans. It is great to have a redeemed good will toward men to celebrate today, as well.

What did you expect, chocolate bunnies?

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