Blog of Mass Distraction

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Safety and Stability

I've been thinking about a lot of stuff lately so this post will be a little scatter-brained, but that's why it's my blog. Please note that some of the stuff is a little disturbing, fair warning.

The opposition in the House of Commons has settled down a bit. Harper and the opposition members were disrupting the progress of parliament since they tried to hold a confidence vote, which the Liberals summarily lost and did not recognize. They've agreed to let Parliament get on with things for the next few days since Martin and Finance Minister Ralph Goodale have said they will deliver a budget on thursday of this week and that will be a confidence vote. Just to clarify, when government operates it must do so with the confidence of the House of Commons. Official confidence votes, such as votes on important matters of national interest or budget votes etc. if lost or ammended to by the opposition are supposed to instigate elections. So it seems all parties will be trying to call in as many MPs as they can for the upcoming budget vote this week.

In the US, Bush's nomination of John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN has been stymied by not being approved by the Senate Foreign Relations panel. Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio sided with the Democrats stating he had heard enough about Bolton to question his approval as Ambassador to UN.1 The panel has agreed to let his nomition go to the Senate for an approval vote without their recommendation. This is a bit of a slap in the face for Bush, who's been trying to leave his mark in his second term with the selection of hard right wing appointees to key positions.

In Uzbekistan, President Karimov has been trying to calm things in the country and ease tensions and criticism from other countries because of recent violent outbreaks.2 Protestors have been against the government authoritarian rule and demanding certain prisoners be released. The government has said those prisoners are members of outlawed religious extremist groups. Rioters that broke into a prison in the city of Andijan were fired upon by government forces. Numbers vary but between 100 and 300 are believed to have been killed because of the incident. President Karimov, who has been leader since 1990, tried to defend the use of force as a necessary reaction. Unrest continues in the country.

I've also been reading about the genocide that occurred in Rwanda a decade ago. I should probably mention that some of the descriptions are graphic and disturbing so be warned. Anyway, one thing that I've noticed in the witness descriptions of the killings in Rwanda is how similar it sounds to some of the other stuff I've read. For example, the following accounts are from three different countries:

I) [...] had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off, and their eyes poked out. They were killed by slitting their throats, and pulling the tongue out through the slit. ... a 14 year old girl who was gang raped and then decapitated, her head placed on a stake at the entrance to her village as a warning.

II) [They] moved [...] hacking with machetes. Some people died immediately, while others with terrible wounds begged for their lives or the lives of their children. No one was spared. A pregnant woman was disembowelled and her fetus severed. ... Children begged for their lives and received the same treatment as their parents. Genitalia were a favourite target, the victims left to bleed to death.

III) people whose families had been hacked to death by [...] or who had crawled from under a pile of bodies of trapped civilians cut to pieces with machetes and mutilated by [them] ...

One of these countries is Rwanda and depending on which books you've read you'll know what the other two countries are and which description fits with which country. The Rwandan attacks were 10 years ago, the others were 20 years and 30-40 years ago. I do of course have great respect for the various authors of the books that I've taken these witness accounts from and I don't think people are aware of the kind of slaughter, devastation and mayhem that goes on in the world; and who is supporting it. The attackers in at least two of these countries (Rwanda being one) were supplied and tacitly supported by the French and the Belgians. Apparently the trade in arms is more important than trying to stop massacres.

1. Voinovich joined Democrats in questioning Bolton's suitability for the post.
2. Skirmishes continue in Uzbekistan.


  • When you state "how similar it sounds to some of the other stuff I've read", in reference to the killings. Is this merely an observational footnote or is there some kind of conclusion that you are hinting at (i.e. conspiracy theory vs. history repeats itself)?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:31 PM  

  • I don't believe in conspiracy theory. This is history repeats itself. These massacres happened decades apart not only in different countries, but on different continents.

    By Blogger csguy314, at 9:53 PM  

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