Monday, October 17, 2005

Democracy Now! and Uri Avnery

Good evening. We'll start off with two items from Democracy Now!

Sunnis Contest Reports Iraqi Constitution Has Passed
U.S. and Iraqi officials are predicting Iraq voters approved the country's new constitution during Saturday's nation-wide referendum. The constitution could have been rejected if two-thirds of voters in three or more of Iraq's 18 provinces voted against it. But reports indicate only two Sunni provinces voted no. Sunni Arabs are overwhelmingly opposed to the constitution, fearful it could ultimately lead to their exclusion from oil-rich Kurdish areas in the north and Shiite areas in the south. Authorities estimated a turnout of at least 60 percent. Sunni leaders contested the early predictions, saying independent monitors had concluded a sufficient amount of voters voted against the constitution. No foreign election observers were present to monitor Saturday's vote. Representatives of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq reported turnout to soldiers and officials at a command center located on a U.S. base. A U.S. Army Specialist told the Post: "We have to hold their hand to do everything around here."

So is anyone buying that the election, with ballots "counted" by kerosene lamps is valid? Didn't we do a little manipulating last time? It's a joke and, if you read The Common Ills Sunday night, you know that Allawyi is saying it is civil war time in Iraq.

U.S. Kills 70 in Ramadi Bombings
Also in Iraq, the U.S. claims military strikes have killed 70 insurgents near the town of Ramadi yesterday. But witnesses say at least 39 of the dead are civilians. A local hospital official told the Washington Post U.S. warplanes attacked bystanders gathered around a burning U.S. vehicle on the side of a road, killing 25. In a separate incident, U.S. air strikes killed 50 people hiding in a building. Witnesses say at least 14 civilians were killed. The attacks occurred after five U.S. Marines were killed in a roadside bombing in the city on Saturday.

"Come vote! We give you democracy! Then we blow you up!" is that the administration's slogan? Seems like they can't claim we've "turned the corner" when the day after the election, they're bombing Ramadi. If you read this in a book and it was a made up story, you'd laugh about how stupid this occuyping country's leaders were. But it's not a book and it's not made up and when I heard that story today I was thinking about all the Demmy Hawks in Congress and online (and on the radio in some cases) who keep justifying the occupation and arguing that we have to stay. Even though the Iraqis want us out. Even thought the American people want us out.

Elaine and I are doing the same two items so be sure to check her out.

Wally started his site and I mentioned in yesterday's post but in case anyone missed my good buddy, our good buddy if you're a Common Ills community member, Wally has started his own site. It's called The Daily Jot. It's just a "jot" of something in the news. Wally doesn't want to get bogged down in long entries. This is his first semester as a college freshman. So it's a thought or a jot.

There's a lot more I could say here about how Wally is a real buddy and stuff but I think I'm going to interview him for Wednesday. He's cool with it and Beth's on both our asses to get an interview done and up. She's right, it will help promote Wally's site and that's important to me and to the community. Wally's always done right by me.

So I'll be doing another interview it looks like. I was really wanting some time off from that. I was hoping to get one in with Seth but he's real busy and that doesn't look like it will happen. I wasn't planning on doing an interview last week but Gina was talking to Ruth and Ruth mentioned how much Tracey enjoyed the interviews and when Gina passed that one, I called Ruth and we were talking and all when I thought, I should interview Tracey. Ruth loved the idea. Tracey loved it too and I got a really good interview because Tracey's such a smart young woman. Even my sister liked it but that might just be cause Tracey took up for her in it. :D

I'd love to do one with Seth and help promote his site but he's busy and so it seemed like maybe a time to pull away for a bit from the interviews. I'm not a typist -- can you tell? And those are a pain in the butt to type up.

Now for something Betty passed on to me. This is from CounterPunch and it's "What Awaits Samira?" and it's by Uri Avnery:

A few days ago, at a conference in Europe, I met a charming young lady. Intelligent, well educated, versed in several languages, and, well, very attractive. After a few hours of shopping, she was as elegant as a model, dressed in the very latest fashion. She happens to be a Shiite from Baghdad, where she has now returned. Let's call her Samira.
What struck me most about Samira was her pessimism. The situation is bad, she said, and, whatever happens, it is going to get worse.
For a young, professional woman, the outlook is bleak indeed. The Shiite community is in the grip of the ayatollahs, who are out to enforce a rigid religious attitude towards women. Perhaps not as strict as in the Taliban's Afghanistan or in Khomeini's Iran, but strict enough to make it impossible for a woman to dress as she likes or to pursue the career she wants. Already, Samira is hiding her profession from her neighbors in a well-to-do part of Baghdad, for fear of attracting the attentions of one of the numerous armed militias.
What is life like without a regular electricity and water supply in 40 degrees Centigrade, dependent on generators and improvisation, in a perpetual state of fear, while tanks roam the streets? It's very, very bad, she says, and not getting any better.

The prospect for Iraq? She sees several possibilities, all of them bad. Perhaps a break-up of the state. Maybe a civil war. Certainly an ever growing bloody insurgency. No chance at all for a new, prosperous, democratic, multicultural society.

Have a good night.