VIOLENCE AS POLICY November 10, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights.
Violence is the modus operandi of an unjust and violent society.
In Afghanistan, we are told that Australian soldiers are “hunting a rogue Afghan gunman”. The “hunt” involves the use of drones and Special Forces. A retired General is quoted as saying that gunman is unlikely to be a sleeper Taliban because otherwise he would have shot the Karzai. The purpose of the exercise, we are told, is to capture the ANA soldier to find out why he opened fire on his Australian military trainers. Apparently coming form Tahkar province, it would be interesting to know whether the suspect is a Tarig or part of the minority Pashtun population of that northern province. Long story short: not only are we participating in a civil war but we do not have a clue about the society and people. Since the rationales the Government is using to support the continued participation in a military occupation of another country are not credible there has to be other reasons for continued involvement, and these should be the focus of public debate? The noble mission of training the Afghan National Army to continue to prosecute the civil war has now become problematic and deadly.
The use of violence and violent opposition is the norm for invaded countries. At home, violence was used to evict occupiers of public space in Melbourne. The Occupy Melbourne movement is taking the matter to court to find out whether the implied constitutional freedom of speech applies.
Sometimes ongoing violence is such a feature of the landscape that it attracts no interest as news. Occupied Palestine is not newsworthy. Noam Sheifaz writing on his blog (via War in Context) reports:
Palestinian activists are increasing their efforts to expose Israel’s segregation policy in the West Bank, as well as violations on their civil and human rights. In a message to the press, the Popular Struggle Committee announced that on November 15, Palestinian activists “will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement’s Freedom Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public buses in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military control since 1967. Among other restrictions, they can only vote in elections to the Palestinian Authority, which has very limited power on the ground. They cannot travel out of the West Bank or receive visitors without Israeli permits, and they are tried in military courts, which curtail the rights of defendants. Jews living in the West Bank enjoy full citizenship rights.
Not content to occupy Palestine, at the expense of its native population, historically made possible by Imperialism and Colonialism, Israel is claiming the prerogative to occupy the Eastern Mediterranean, to arrest people in international waters and seize their property. Israel claims their blockade is legal, or at least follows conventional practice for a nation state, but does not subject those captured to an open trial.
Trial procedure can be tricky. For one thing the accused should be properly represented. This did not happen in Zuccotti Park, but nonetheless voices were heard that not otherwise to be expressed. Also Chris Hedges and Cornel West made interesting observations before they were arrested on the public street outside Goldman Sachs. They did not get to face a judge in a trial process either. Here is the video, via You Tube: