12 September, 2006

"feet of clay"

"the flickering butchery" (Robin Blaser, from "Pentimento"):

"In October 1950, the first year of the Korean War, American soldiers massacred tens of thousands of innocent people in the North Korean city of Sinchon. In perhaps the most horrifying incident, US soldiers led 900 residents, including 300 women and children, into an air-raid shelter. After the victims passed three days in thirst and fear, the GIs poured gasoline into the dark, confined space and threw in a match." link
"They destroyed our city twice and they are threatening us a third time," 52-year-old Ahmed Dhahy told IPS in Fallujah, the Sunni-dominated city 50km west of Baghdad.

"They want us to do their job for them and turn in those who target them" [snip]

Fallujah was heavily bombed in April 2004 and again in November that year. The attacks destroyed 75 percent of city infrastructure and left more than 5,000 dead, according to local non-governmental groups.

But following the heavy assaults, resistance fighters have continued to launch attacks against U.S. and official Iraqi forces in the city. Fallujah remains under tight security, with the U.S. military using biometric identification, full body searches and bar-coded ID's for residents to enter and leave their city. [snip]

"There used to be resistance attacks against the U.S. and Iraqi forces in Fallujah daily," added the [city police] captain. "But now they have increased to several per day. Many soldiers have been killed and their vehicles destroyed. So it is clear that the security measures they have taken in Fallujah have failed." [snip]

"There are so many arrests and killings, and collective punishments such as random shootings, violent inspection raids, repeated curfews and deliberate cutting of water and electricity," Mohammed al-Darraji, head of an Iraqi human rights group in Fallujah called The Iraqi Centre for Human Rights Observation told IPS.

"What is going on in this city requires international intervention to protect civilians and to punish those who seriously damaged Fallujah society and committed serious crimes against humanity," al-Darraji added. His group has been monitoring breaches of the Geneva Conventions in the city since the April 2004 siege.

"There is a long list of collective punishments that have turned the city into a frightful detention camp" Dahr Jamail
. . . blamed for the massacre of 111 prisoners . . . Colonel Ubiratan Guimaraes, a former military police commander who oversaw the invasion of the Carandiru prison in 1992, was found wrapped in a towel and with a single bullet wound to his chest at around 10pm on Sunday. . . . The group behind the attacks - the First Command of the Capital faction - has vowed to target high-profile public figures in what it says is a fight to improve prison conditions in Brazil.

. . . widely detested for his role in the Carandiru bloodbath . . . in 2001, [Ubiratan] was sentenced to 632 years in jail for his part in the killings. The ruling was overturned last year.

The colonel's hardline stance on crime also earned him fans. He was part of the "security lobby" in Sao Paulo politics and was running for his third term as a state deputy, receiving 56,000 votes in the last elections. His re-election was seen as a foregone conclusion. In his campaign he preached a hard line against crime, blaming the recent attacks in Sao Paulo on an excessive respect for human rights. He even used the number "111" in election propaganda to attract voters angry at high crime and a weak justice system. link
Rights advocacy groups in the United States are calling for the United Nations to take note of the gross human rights violations being committed in their country.

A coalition of human and civil rights organizations Monday sent a 465-page report to a key United Nations committee, which details ongoing abuses of human rights across the United States. [snip]

The report documents various forms of human rights abuses in the United States, which include police brutality, abuse of immigrants, racial discrimination, and the use of torture in prisons.

"Prisons are one of the largest growth industries in the United States," according to the AFSC. With only five percent of the world's population, the U.S. holds about 25 percent of the world's prison population.

"The principle offender is the prison system," says McClary, who co-authored the report, entitled, "In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police Brutality and Abuse in the United States."

"Because prisons are a closed system, operating in secrecy, the public does not comprehend the extreme forms of abuse, violence, and racism practiced daily behind bars."

The report, which is a rebuttal to the official U.S. response to the UN committee, documents many cases of unjustified police shootings, use of excessive force, extraction of coerced confessions, rape, strip searches, and racial and gender profiling.

Immigrants face sexual and physical abuse when they are detained at the borders and airports and immigration laws fail to respect their right to due process, according to the authors of the "shadow report." link
Another Iranian newspaper has also been closed down - political monthly Nameh has also been shut for blasphemy and insulting religious figures.

The paper's editor, Majid Tavallaei, said it was closed for publishing a poem by dissident female poet Simin Behbahani, according to an Associated Press report.

According to the CPJ [Committee to Protect Journalists], Iranian courts have closed more than 100 publications since 2000, most of which were reformist. Last month the Iranian government urged the judiciary to clamp down on dailies that spread "lies". link

"Simin Behbahani (Khalili) was born in 1927 in Tehran, Iran . . .She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997, She was also awarded a Human Rights Watch-Hellman/Hammet grant in 1998, and similarly, in 1999, the Carl von Ossietzky Medal, for her struggle for freedom of expression in Iran."

O, the shamelessness of the brute –
offering me a corpse
and asking me to accept it!

(from "Banu, Our Lady")


"More people will die as a result of pollution unleashed by Israel's bombing of the Lebanon than perished in the month-long war itself"

'In the struggle, people overwhelmingly were altruistic. They were clear they were striving not to subjugate anybody but to throw off the shackles of oppression and injustice, to usher in a new age of freedom for everyone.

"I naively believed that come liberation these ideals and attitudes would automatically be transferred to how you operated in the new dispensation. And there's no question at all, it is a very disillusioning moment when you discover that we jettisoned very, very quickly those high ideals and this sense that you were there for the sake of a struggle and not for your own aggrandisement. The most devastating thing is discovering that we are ordinary, we are so human. We have succumbed to the same kind of temptations. We are not a special breed. We have feet of clay." Desmond Tutu


when is a hole not a hole
in the ground or not

there at all - nation's psyche

frayed - numb to

fascist aspiration
fettered ache


Blogger Nanette said...

This is so excellently put together - quite devastating, each one building on the other. Sort of reminds me of one of those videos you see (usually within another show about some futuristic society) where the screen moves quickly, first this picture, then that, and seemingly random snips of speech, but taken all together they tell a story.

Am off to reread this.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

thanks, N! montage is certainly one way of looking at what's (trying to be) going on here

collage/assemblage as well, obviously, but I like that you got a sense of motion from it

it's (always isn't it?) all about the stories -narratives - tales we tell ourselves

12:02 PM  

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