Friday, February 25, 2011

Titan is back, February 25, 2011

This has been a very stormy week and there is much for a nasty blogger to write about. If it appeared that we had enough trouble in the world with political turmoil, Nature found it necessary to step in with a 7.2 Richter earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand. The death toll is expected to reach the hundreds and a major city has been struck a frightful blow. In the picture above we see the the effects of the shock. Here is a view of the center of the city and an aerial view.
Debris litters central Christchurch after it was struck by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake

The disaster is hard to comprehend--what happens in such an event is that the soil and rocks are liquified and the city just slides. I recall seeing the signs of the Good Friday 1964 earthquake in Alaska thirty years later during a tour of Anchorage. We should all try to think what we can do to support these unfortunate people.

The revolutions in the Arab world continue, but whereas in Tunisia and Egypt there was not major carnage we see that Bahrain and Libya are a different story. Amnesty International has put out a diary of the wave of demand for change and the repressive response.  I recommend subscribing to the RSS for continuous updating by email.

I would like to report some good news from Congo.  A commander has been sentenced to prison for ordering his troops to commit mass rapes.

Nearly  twenty years have passed since the bloody war in the former Yugoslavia but impunity for the war crimes committed has yet to be removed.  Please act to support witnesses who are being intimidated in  Croatia.

Before I get on to the local scene I would like to put out a call to protest the actions of the government of Norway that are leading to the extinction of the wolf population of that country.  Norway projects an image of a liberal and progressive nation, yet they continue to hunt whales and wantonly destroy wildlife.  Please
respond to this call for action
I would like to add to the call for action the comment  that in my native Minnesota timber wolves have been reintroduced with the positive effect of controlling the rodent population.  If here and there some predation of cattle occurs, compensation is paid and it is regarded as a good investment in ecology.  In Alaska, on the other hand wolves are being hunted down and zoologists predict a calamity if this  is not stopped. 

The first subject for a rant is the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution denouncing the settlements in the West Bank.  I realize that if it had passed, it would have made little difference on the ground in the short term, but it is still disgusting to see the Obama administration giving in to lobby pressure and joining the Likud.
I think it means that we should understand that we cannot expect any politician in the world to go out on a limb to solve our problems for us.  The only time we have seen a settlement imposed was in the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia and later Kosovo, and that came about because there was a real interest in suppressing instability in Europe.  In this case, the so-called international community dragged its feet until a quarter of a million people were killed.  I wonder how many will have to die in Libya before they move.  Certainly no one is going to lift a finger to bail us and the Palestinians out of the pit that we have dug for ourselves.

There has been a lot of verbiage expended on the acceptance of the Jerusalem Prize by the novelist Ian McEwen.  Many of my good friends believe that he should have rejected it.  I beg to differ and think that the fact that he stood up and told the Israeli establishment a few home truths about their treatment of Palestinians and their misguided policies was a worthy thing to do.  I append a link to his Web site which contains the full text of his acceptance speech.  I invite you to be the judge.

As I watched the events in Egypt and elsewhere unfold, I asked myself why the insistence on violence by the Hamas and others in the Jihadi community persists when it is clear that it is the nonviolent protest that succeeds.  No amount of stone throwing or even missile attacks or suicide bombings is going to end the Occupation of the West Bank and the building of settlements.  People like Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama have tried to get this across to the Palestinian leadership but to no avail.  The continued armed struggle just plays into the hands of the occupiers.  I wonder if any of them have read the work of Gene Sharp  and his advice to revolutionaries around the world.  Indeed the nonviolent demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrakh and Bil'in  do not appear to be going anywhere, but eventually they will have their effect. 

MY POST ON THREE DEAD CHILDREN has been republished on the  Only Democracy blog  and I hope it reaches a wider audience.

Let us wind up with some lighter news from Andy Borowitz and of course some cultural upgrading from our guru in Washington Gene Weingarten.

1 comment:

  1. Thasnks Arkee. I love your blog and now writing to the Norwegian authorities about teh kiiling of the wolves.

    Lots of love, Yael