Archive for July, 2009
There is one aspect to the middle east conflict which could easily be forgotten because it doesn’t involve weapons, that of cultural subjugation. Recently, Israel has been working on two specific areas of this; the first being the erasing of the “Nakba”, the Palestinian “day of distress”, from deletion from textbooks to attempts at banning commemorations outright. The second of these is the alteration of road signs so that Arabic, and equally Historic, names are deleted.
I’ve been having a slow realisation over a period of some months that the UK government seems to be quite happy to receive small amounts of condemnation for policing tactics, if it makes the risk of injury and inconvenience in taking part more widely known about. It seems the police in particular are hoping that events like the G20 will just serve as a lesson, as people who feel outraged also consider their own interests in getting involved.
Its a while since I last saw a news story unfold that clearly highlighted the difference between a majoritarian and minoritarian view point and their affects on two groups of people who are clearly equal in their claim to citizenship. But today saw the Chief Executive of Corby Council telling the media that they are acting to protect the majority from a council tax rise by not simply settling with the small number of people who’s lives they are claimed to have ruined.
When it came in to effect, the Kimberley Process was hailed as a triumph in the struggle to stop Africa’s mineral, and specifically diamond, wealth on internal conflict and human rights abuses. Overseen by the UN, it is possibly one of the most monumental and well established “Ethical Consumerism” labelling schemes that there is. Sadly, as the BBC recently reported, all is not going well for Kimberley Certification.
This month has seen the 40th anniversary of the first human visit to the moon, and so discussions of Space Travel have been in the news. The one which caught my eye was the announcement of a 12-week consultation on giving the UK its own Space Agency, much like NASA. Space is an area of fascination, but beyond specific scientific benefits, is investment in space travel really a great thing.
It might seem perverse, given the extent to which Academic Collaboration has proven itself vital in the discovery and confirmation of climate change existence, current effects and likely future outcomes, but the imperative of Academic Collaboration is probably one of the biggest root causes of Climate Change within the Academic World.
Now is potentially the most dangerous time in the battle to keep the BNP out of Parliament, and from expanding their presence on town and county councils. After Griffin’s arrival speech in Brussels, demanding that immigrants’ boats be sunk whilst at sea, its very tempting to just accept the BNP’s victory as a done deal. However, the BNP haven’t yet won at Westminster, and they’re hardly likely to be resting anytime before May 2010’s General Election.
Perhaps the biggest ongoing argument over the Gaza offensive that Israel launched at the start of this year has been willingness of Israel to allow injured Gazans to get treatment. Those who support Israel all know the line by heart; Israel has been happy to let injured civilians pass through the border into Israel and receive treatment in its hospitals.
Having written a long winded rant about air transport a few days ago, I thought I’d actually make use of a bunch of reports I have saved on the current situation for the development railways from Africa and Asia to Britain. As with anything that involves railways, its not so much the engineering that has the effects, its the wider political and social impacts that railways have by their presence or absence.
The tired old analogy of Iraq as the new Vietnam now not only looks like hyperbole, but appears to be targeted at the wrong war, the one many of those, myself included, had happily forgotten. Thousands of years of history seem to have taught the Americans and the British nothing, as they find themselves almost hopelessly bogged down in Afghanistan.