You probably remember the uproar that was caused by the publication of Danish cartoons that some Muslims found offensive. Demonstrations around the world were massive. According to Wikipedia there were over 100 deaths. Now let’s leave aside the controversy over how offensive those cartoons were. To me the point is that when Muslims want to organize and protest over something that is dear to them, they do.
Presently there are 16 million Muslims in the European Union who are watching their brothers getting massacred in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain and now Libya. Demonstrators who die for the liberation of their country from cleptodictators who have been violating human rights and stealing for themselves and their own families for decades. So why not massively demonstrate against them? Muslims are a political force in Europe. If Muslims organzed and obtained the support of the rest of society they could very well influence foreign policy in Europe towards democratization of North Africa and the Middle East. Myself for example, I am a secular Jew, and I gladly would join a demonstration against Muammar Gaddafi. A demonstration for democracy in Libya. A demonstration for the end of violence and free elections throughout the region. But so far demonstrations are very timid. In London for example yesterday, as their people were getting murdered only 200 went to a demonstration for Libyan liberation.
As the Danish cartoons show it is not lack of organization that is preventing Muslims for demonstrating because that time they were very well organized and even extremely violent. A violence that goes on even 5 years after the publication. So what explains this lack of support for Muslim brotherhood? Could it be that Imams themselves are concerned that these demonstrations in the Arab world are mostly political, secular and in favor of democracy and modernization which they oppose? I know Muslim friends of mine in Europe are glued to Aljazzera and Twitter as I am on the issue of the Arab revolts. Why don’t they organize and influence EU foreign policy?
- Why Are the Muhammad Cartoons Still Inciting Violence? (nybooks.com)
- Massacres in Libya As Protests Grow (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- 5 arrested over Danish cartoon daily terror plot (windsorstar.com)
Why doesn’t NATO help the Libyans get rid of Gadaffi?
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Middle East with No Comments
First I recommend that you read the life of Muammar al Gaddafi on Wikipedia. After you are done, you may wonder how such a disgusting human being can still be the ruler of Libya. Now that the people of Libya are being massacred by Gaddafi, and clearly want to see him to go, should not NATO send a few fighters over Libya and turn the tide? I am not saying that an immediate attack makes sense; that may lead to nationalism and even more innocent civilian casualties. But the US and the EU could send a clear message that said: stop killing your people, democratize, give freedom to the press, or we will act. the USA almost killed Gaddafi in 1986, so he would probably get the message. The difference between Gadaffi and other dictators is that he has been a sponsor of international terrorism as in the case of the tragic flight over Lockerbie where 270 people died. In any case Gadaffi may fall out of the pure will of its own people but should he continued killing as he has been doing I think EU and USA should seriously consider a military option. The threat of use of force this time could accomplish more than the actual use of force has accomplished in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Assange is not the point, Wikileaks is
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Middle East with No Comments
It is becoming common for people to say they don’t like Wikileaks because they can’t stand Assange. This is misleading. Few sympathize with Assange as a character. Most of us, myself included, have never met with him. But the issue here is not Assange, his hair or whether he does, or does not have, the ability to have sex with women while they are asleep. What is crucial instead, is the wealth of information that we have learned thanks to Wikileaks. Here’s a good summary from The Guardian. And yes, it is a lot of information. And there is much more. No matter how many experts out there say that “they already knew it all”. Because regardless of whether some experts really “knew it all”, the average Mohammed, Rui or Juana did not. And they are angry. It’s not suprising then that Foreign Policy calls the Tunisian revolt “the first Wikileaks revolution”. Wikileaks has been a catalyst for change in Egypt, Tunisia and in lesser degrees in many other countries. Wikileaks revelations will likely continue to outrage demonstrators and activists around the world for quite a while. And all that change we owe to the diplomatic service of the United States which turned out to be a group of remarkable journalists, the courage of one soldier, and the entrepreneurial spirit of everyone who worked at Wikileaks, including Julian Assange.
Egyptians fought bravely, ousted Mubarak and gave power to the military. But it turns out that USA effectively controls the Egyptian Army. It financed it, trained it and should it go into conflict with it, it can easily defeat it. So Egyptian people, whether they are aware of this or not, gave considerable power to USA. In Latin America and other parts of the world, giving power to US backed military would have been seen as a huge step back in time. So this situation must change quickly and in favor of the Egyptian people. It could also change in favor of US and EU foreign policy in the region.
Egyptians deserve speedy and easy visibility on how democracy will be instituted. Also USA has to be very careful not to be associated with the Egyptian military, but instead with the democratic forces which hopefully will take power. It also needs to prevent the brewing of another Mubarak from inside the military, a military who like Hugo Chavez, after trying to take power as a military leader changed clothes and took power through elections but behaves as a military dictator. The Egyptian people, USA, Obama and Clinton in particular, can emerge as winners in this revolution but there are many obstacles ahead.
After failing promoting democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, USA has a chance to do in Egypt with $50bn what it could not do wasting $1 trillion. It can fund the stabilization of Egypt and prevent the rise of terrorism and Hamas type forces to arise out of discontent. Egypt can become what Iraq never became but it is still one of the poorest nations on earth on a per capita basis and it quickly needs a stabilization fund. Right now what the new government has to prevent is food shortages and provide basic necessities for all. That needs short term EU and US Aid. In short, President Obama can do with Egypt what the Neocons wanted and failed to do with Iraq. Helping Egypt at this moment would be greatly appreciated around the world.
Lastly as soon as things calm down, we can all do our fair share and consider Egypt for our next holiday destination. This will help re start the economy.
Nina is pregnant :)
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Paternity with No Comments
We have known that Nina, my wife is pregnant since December but we waited until the 12 week sonogram to announce it. In this video you see the sonogram. It is crucial because you can discard a number of common diseases from the morphology of the baby. Interestingly a big nose and a well shaped back neck (nucha) are indications of a non Down syndrome child. Other results come in the blood tests.
As you can see we are very happy! Nina is radiant.
Baby 12 weeks from Martin Varsavsky on Vimeo