Random thoughts from a radically wrong world

Category: World News

Who can (really ) end the cycle of violence?

November 2012, Gaza.

Four years after “Operation Cast Lead” which costs the lives of more than 1400 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, Israel is at it again. This time, it is called “Operation Pillar of Cloud”.

The whys of this new attack have already been debated in newspapers, on TV, radio and on the blogosphere.

If you still watch TV or anything owned by the Corporate/Mainstream media, you would have heard countless of times that Israel had no other choice and had to defend itself against Rocket Fire coming from Gaza and its terrorist organisation: KHAMAS (the letter k has been added for pronunciation as well as special effects). You would also be bound to believe that between “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008/2009 and “Operation Pillar of Cloud” in 2012, all had been quiet on the Gaza waterfront. Four years of sun tan, ice cream and picnics on the beach for the Palestinians.

If you dig further, the upcoming January 2013 elections in Israel, the need to show deterrence and invent a justification before a forthcoming aggression on Iran, the itch to test the new Muslim brotherhood led Egyptian government, the hardly hidden excitement to try out their latest toy “The Iron Dome” or the imperialist tactic of trying to divide even more Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have all been named as possible reasons for “Operation Pillar of Cloud”. A combination of all those things probably explains best the Israeli Government new ‘outing’ in Gaza.

Having looked into things a bit further, away from the profit driven spectacle that our news channels have now become, you would also have found out that things, in fact, for the Palestinians, have not been that rosy between the two Israelis “Operations”. As a matter of fact, 314 Palestinians have been killed since 2009.

You would also have found out that since the recent ‘conflict’ started on November 14th, approximately 23% of the fatalities have been children.

Now that the roots of this latest war have been established (at least partly) and debated endlessly, the media’s focus has shifted to the urgency of “de-escalating” the conflict and work on a ceasefire. What needs to be done, as soon as possible, is to stop the violence and end the loss of life, on both sides.

A ceasefire was agreed on late on Thursday 22 November (see text here) but every sensible commentator knows that it will once again only be a stop-gap before another Israeli assault. The real urgency is to find a real and concrete solution and end the violence, all in all, for good. As Noura Erakat said on a panel on MSNBC recently (see here first video at 07:13): “If all rocket fire were to stop today and aerial missile strikes, and Israel’s ground offensive were to stop, the violence against the Palestinians would continue unabated”.

So who is to make sure that Israel becomes accountable for its actions, stops building more colonies in occupied Palestinian Territories, ends the longest occupation in history, its apartheid policies both inside and outside the Green Line, dismantles the wall (in accordance with the 2004 ICJ ruling on the wall), stops targeted (aka extra judicial assassinations).

As usual, we are presented with the same options and the same team of negotiators and possible saviours.

Number one negotiator in chief is of course the only superpower on earth remaining, the democracy and freedom lover, the “honest-broker”, the one and only United States of America.

Hillary Clinton “dashed to the Middle East” to try to broker a ceasefire the Washington Post is telling us. Superwoman, flying to the rescue of people in need!

Clinton, Secretary of State, of a State, that is actually funding Israel’s latest adventure.

While Clinton talks to Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, US planes, drones and apache helicopters are carpet bombing the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Since 1976 Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid and has received since the end of World War II around $115 billion in economic aid. Aid to Israel, a country of around 8 million inhabitants, has averaged about 25% of all US foreign aid.

The US also gives Israel 60% of the US foreign Military Financing (FMF) funding which also makes it the largest recipient of US military funding.

Crucially, the US also provides Israel with Diplomatic Support. Since 1972, the US has used its veto at the Security Council to protect Israel more than 43 times. It did so again last week when it blocked a UN Security Council Statement calling for a ceasefire labelling it “unbalanced”.

Outside of Israel/Palestine, the USA is also very active in occupying Iraq, Afghanistan and drone bombing Pakistan and Yemen.

So who else could end the violence and save us?

The United Kingdom, also involved in war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and that has in its history invaded 90% of the world’s countries?

The recently Nobel Prize Winner, the European Union, that is slowly becoming more and more of a poodle of the USA, and that includes countries that have been involved in more wars and atrocities in their history than the rest of the world combined?

Or maybe the Middle East Quartet, led by the irrepressible Warmonger in chief Tony Blair?

Can violence and war junkies states that have been engaged in state terrorism for decades and are actually directly or indirectly responsible for much of the world’s violence really be in charge of world peace? Are we really to believe this? Have they and their huge media apparatus fooled us for good? Have we lost the capacity to concentrate on historical facts and actions instead of words? Does a War criminal only needs a smile, a suit and a tie to become a dove?

The only answer possible to this question is no, they can’t.

So what does this leave us with?

Us, the people.

But how can we do it?

By regaining the power and changing the policy. To do so, we first have to get rid of the present policy makers.

A good start would be for us to break this habit of believing that anyone on TV, in office, with a white suit or a uniform knows better than us and is an authoritative voice not to be challenged. It might take a while as we have been taught to respect those father like figures from the earliest age, from our first classes in school, from our first steps but it is possible and necessary.

We have to be sceptical, challenge power and look for the truth ourselves. It is available, if we do spend enough time looking for it. We have to stop believing that we do not have the choice. We do.

Then, once we have managed to wash ourselves clean of years of brainwashing, we have to break the system as we know it and start all over again. Representative governments have never equalled democracy. They have never meant democracy and have actually often been the total opposite of it. Ancient Greece would laugh out loud at the idea. We have to re-write the rules that have been written by oligarchs (when you have a chance, try to read various countries constitutions, you’ll be surprised) to make sure that their power will not ever be challenged and to make certain that the people will never be able to take it way from them. (the real meaning of democracy). How else can we explain that in 200 years of representative democracy, only the rich (the 1%) have governed with the poor (the 99%) never having had the chance to be in charge of their own destiny?

To live in a world where justice, equal rights and freedom for all will be the main motto, we first have to break away from what is radically wrong. What name we will give this new world? What type of world would it really be in practice?

We do not know yet but it will certainly be better than this one.



Understanding Regarding Ceasefire in Gaza Strip

An ode to Sumud


is being bombed again

Our TV screens

trying to fool us again


thinks it can gain

by afflicting pain


the ones that know pain


on the other side

of the wall


have conquered pain

more than once


have faced it

again and again

And They

are ready to do it again

Because They

do not fear


are not scared


are almighty



and They

will prevail


the will of the oppressed

will always

be stronger


the will of the oppressor

The Jewish State 

that never was

And its allies 

that will be remembered

Have not


learned the lesson

The people of Gaza

The people of Palestine

are patient

and steadfast

They know

that a bully

never wins

They know

a bully

is scared

They know 

a bully

is shortsighted

And they know

a bully

has no future

They are smiling

patiently waiting

aware and conscious

That they

have already won.





Zebda: “La Palestine resonne au plus profond de notre histoire”

Le groupe Zebda, nouveau parrain du Tribunal Russell sur la Palestine, parle pour l’une des premieres fois de sa chanson sur Gaza “Une vie de moins“.

Frank Barat: Vous avez sorti en octobre, en collaboration avec Jean-Pierre Filiu, “une vie de moins” une chanson et un vidéo clip ayant pour sujet la bande de Gaza. Comment est née cette collaboration entre un prof a Science Po et un groupe de musique Toulousain?

Zebda: Nous avons rencontré Jean Pierre à la fin des années 90, lors d’une tournée avec l’alliance française en Syrie, Jordanie et Liban il était à cette époque là diplomate et déjà grand connaisseur du monde arabe, nous sommes tout de suite devenus amis et nos différents échanges nous ont amené à cette collaboration.

-Pourquoi avoir fait cela maintenant?

Nous voulions dire que si la Palestine a disparu des écrans de télévision elle n’a pas disparu de nos consciences et qu’en parler reste très important pour nous. La chanson existe depuis quelques temps mais nous voulions absolument des images pour l’accompagner nous avons donc confié cette tache à Ali Guessoum qui sans aucun moyen a réalisé ce magnifique clip.

-Le CRIF a récemment attaque le groupe disant que cette chanson “risquait de promouvoir la haine”. Que répondez vous a cette accusation?

On ne voit pas en quoi cette chanson est un appel à la haine, ça ressemble surtout à la pression qu’ils ont l’habitude de mettre dès qu’on critique la politique de l’état d’Israël, c’est une véritable OPA sur le langage qu’il mène depuis des années on a plus le droit de parler de la question palestinienne sans être taxé d’antisémitisme ou de pro-islamisme larvé, nous répondons que nous préférons la parole au silence et que leur attitude nourrit tous les fantasmes et les amalgames.

-Quelles ont été les autres réactions autour de vous?

Nous avons reçu énormément de messages de remerciements et de soutiens, essentiellement de personnes, de collectifs qui sont loin d’être des extrémistes, cela signifie pour nous que la chanson joue son rôle, qu’elle accompagne le sentiment d’injustice, qu’elle fait exister l’émotion que cela provoque, elle est donc à l’opposé d’un appel haineux.

-Que signifie “Palestine” pour le groupe ZEBDA?

Palestine, résonne au plus profond de notre histoire car depuis notre enfance on en entend parler dans nos familles. Dernier symbole tragique d’une colonisation, d’une sorte d’apartheid, l’injustice perdure mais la résistance aussi, Palestine devient pour nous une forme d’identité politique pour une vision du monde dans lequel on vit.

-Avez vous déjà été jouer en Palestine? Si non, aimeriez vous le faire?

Non jamais mais nous voudrions vraiment le faire.

-Quel est le rôle des artistes dans la société d’aujourd’hui, a votre avis?

Le rôle des artistes est d’accompagner la vie des gens, de mettre des mots, des images, des sons sur leurs émotions et leurs ressentis, et puis de temps en temps de libérer la parole.

Obama or not it is business as usual in Israel.

4 more years!

After a presidential campaign that lasted 2 years, costs billion of dollars, interested very few people and that the corporate media turned into a tight race (in terms of the popular vote), finally, we have a winner: Barack Hussein Obama II!

Obama should be proud. He defeated one of the worst ever candidate (republicans and democrats combined) to postulate for the job of “Puppet master of the world” in a campaign that turned out to be one of the most degrading for the whole political class. An incredibly divise campaign, full of slogans, one liners, bigotry, plain racism and sometimes total lunacy. A campaign empty of any content and actual programme for the future. The only thing Obama did well, during this campaign, is not to use his favorite slogan again: “Yes we can!”. A very sensible decision as, after 4 years (2008-2012) of actual and factual “No I won’t!(change a thing)”, most US citizens would have somehow felt a bit insulted having to listen to this throughout the whole campaign one more time. No, Barack, people are not that stupid.

In Israel (sometimes called the “51st State”) meanwhile, business continues as usual.

For all the talk about how much Netanyahu wanted Romney to win, the fact is that the re-election of Obama does not and will not change the slightest on the ground. Netanyahu, called Obama (“his sworn enemy” if you watch too much TV), congratulated him and lauded his re-election. Because that is what you have been taught to do, as a professional politician. Be a phoney at all times. Smile, shake hands, have a laugh with, go on holidays even, with people you don’t care for the slightest, people you don’t agree on anything with, people you actually despise. Or maybe I’m wrong. All professional politicians come from the same mould. They are all made with the same ingredients, using the same recipe. They are therefore all alike. The secret deal they all make with each other is to sometimes, at least publicly, act like they do not agree on things. It is important to entertain the illusion, for the masses, that they have a choice and that politicians are different. There are good ones, bad ones, average ones. It’s like cars. We have a choice. But really, at the end of the day, we don’t. Politicians are like programmed robots craving for the same fuel. Obama and Netanyahu are not different.

So what did Netanyahu do before, after and during Obama’s re-election?

First, he merged his party, Likud, with Yisrael Beiteinu, the party of the actual Foreign Minister, Avidgor Lieberman ahead of the next Israeli general election in January 2013. While it would be wrong for anyone to focus on Lieberman, because he is only saying publicly what most Israeli politicians are keeping for more private conversations, it is still important to understand what this coalition means for the Palestinians. Lieberman has called for the sacking of Abbas and dissolving the Palestinian Authority (Israel, as Abbas’s employer and the PA’s creator, could do this without notice, after all, we are going through a recession right now), which is bad enough when you consider than Obama and the rest of the Western World do believe that Mahmoud Abbas is the right man to lead Palestine towards a new round of “peace negotiations” with Israel. Lieberman has also called for some Palestinian Political prisoners to be drawn in the dead sea, has called for a population transfer of Israeli Arab citizens (aka 48 Palestinians) for  bombing all the PA institutions in Ramallah (which already happened prior to him, while Ariel Sharon was in power) and for Hamas to be fought the way the USA fought Japan during the second world war (remember Hiroshima? Nagasaki?) . The list is endless. If the Lieberman/Netanyahu coalition is victorious in January, the Palestinians’s situation will turn from really bad to incredibly worse.

But maybe the radical European Union will decide that such a racist, ultra nationalist, islamophobic government has to be dealt with is not welcomed. Who knows, they did this in 2000 when Jorg Haider “Freedom Party” was about to join the Austrian government, and as the EU has never been about double standard, we have hope.

The next thing Netanyahu and his government did, actually on US election day, is to announce the construction of 1,285 new housing units, in occupied East Jerusalem and across the green line in the illegal mega colony of Ariel. Ironically, Israel also announced that it might expand settlement activity as a sanction if the PA seeks a UN upgrade at the General Assembly. Israel does have such a great sense of humour.

But if “settlements are a threat to peace” as Obama has often said, what type of a response the newly re-elected president of the world is going to give his Israeli nemesis?

Is he going to stop sending $3 billion dollars yearly cheques to Israel? Is he going to call for sanctions against the rogue state? Or maybe, something he is really good at, a good old regime change? For freedom, peace and democracy.

No he won’t. Because Obama or not. Business in Israel’s continues as usual.

Word of the Day: Oligarchy

Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “a few”, and ἄρχω (archo), meaning “to rule or to command”) is a form ofpower structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.

Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public servitude to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, but oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.





Obituary: Sandy is no more.

Sandy stayed in the limelight for about a week.

Sandy, the tropical cyclone with a sweet sounding name came into everyone’s life late October and left this planet without saying goodbye a few days later. Sandy lived her life to the full. She was brash, loud, angry, noisy and had a very destructive personality. To put it bluntly, Sandy was nihilistic. She came, she saw, she killed, destroyed, damaged and then, vanished. Everyone will be happy to hear she is no more. She will definitely won’t be fondly remembered. But let’s not be too harsh on her as no one can deny that she has served a purpose and has taught us a few important lessons.

1) The corporate media (also known as the manufacturer of consent) of the Western World does not care the slightest about people that pay their TV license in other countries (Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic). Those people’s lives are not supposed to interest us. We are not supposed to care. So, the media simply blank them out of our screens. They are forgettable people.

2) It is always useful for presidential nominees to have a disaster in the few weeks leading to a presidential elections. Why? Because, it takes people’s mind away from the emptiness of the overall debate and from presidential campaigns that around this time start to run on empty. It distracts them and allows the nominees to try very hard to be the saviour of the day. Also, it is a lot less costly for them than a war.

3) It gives apolitical people a slightly more interesting topic of discussion than “The X factor”, “Big Brother” or “Dancing with the stars”.

4) It reminded people, once again, after Katrina, the 2004 tsunami and many others natural disasters that, if we continue to disrespect nature in this way, she’ll be back with a vengeance. And it might only be the start. “The revenge of nature” might be a show that will enjoy a run never heard of before. It will actually probably be a show that will outlive us all. And please, don’t mention Kyoto, The Toyota Prius or Green light bulbs. Those are soundbites. Nature won’t buy it. Nature does not watch TV.

But finally, what’s the biggest and most important lesson Sandy has taught us? What should we take out of the rubbles?

Sandy was angry, yes. Very angry. But why? Why so angry? And why angry at us, simple folks that are simply trying to live a normal simple life? Because, let’s not fool ourselves, Sandy’s anger was directed at us. It was her way to tell us that we could not hide any longer, we had to face our responsibilities.

Sandy called us to account because she was dismayed about the fact that we only show love, compassion and solidarity when a disaster occur. Sandy did not want to have to do this, but she found that it was the only thing she could do to open our eyes on the endless potential of human civilisation.

And it worked.

People showed amazing courage, love, solidarity, kindness, compassion, intelligence, generosity towards one another for a few days. People with power offered others to re-charge their phones, people with food gave it away, people with shelters had others sleeping on their sofa, bed, floor. Street kitchens spread like mushrooms all over affected areas. People, working hand in hand, together, outperformed huge NGOs. The result of a grass root approach, from the bottom up, horizontal, uninterested, without leaders and free. Not from the top-down. The real meaning of people’s power. A People’s union.

On the grander scheme of things, Sandy asked us all a question: “If you can do this in these type of conditions, why stop when things get back to normal? Isn’t life better this way? More exhilarating? Full filling? Loving? Empowering?”.

Sandy is now gone but she’s got brothers and sisters who expect us to answer this question the right way.

Our future depends on it.


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