Friday, December 23, 2005

Top 6 Friday - People of 2005

While the Christmas list should probably be who is the greatest reindeer. I’m afraid all you Blitzen and Rudolf rival fan clubs members are not going to find out where my loyalties lie. Instead you are going to see who I consider the greatest people of 2005 to impact on the world. Also remember that this is from a western person perspective so great people in other regions may be missed. While it is debatable if multiple people can share a single place I have decided I don’t care. Worthy winners are worthy winners. 6. One of the great events of this year was the Iraq election. The Iraqi people finally have gotten to ability to shape their own future. This is down mainly to one man George W Bush. While the war in Iraq is a shockingly badly planned affair, the reason for the war was a blatant lie, the continuing state of Guantanamo, the spy affairs, patriot act and his poor response to Hurricane Katrina may indeed get him a place on the muppet person list. The election is a truly great achievement and with his commitments on AIDS in Africa and aid to Africa justifies his position on the list. 5. Having the aided the election is Iraq, started the commission of Africa, headed the Gleneagles summit which implemented many of the commissions proposals, got agreement on the EU Budget, held presidency of the EU that saw Turkey start talks to join the EU, won the election, guided the UK through the 7/7 attacks, helped win the Olympic bid for London that and many other reforms have made Tony Blair worth his place on the list. The anti-terror laws that he tried to pass however move him down the list a bit. 4. If the list was the people who most annoyed me in 2005 Bob Geldof’s and Bono’s self righteousness would insure that they would be well placed however this is the list of the best. And with their highlighting of the plight in Africa they deserves their place. They have guilted Governments into helping. In the world today pop stars are the ones with the power to shape public opinion. Bob and Bono have used this to highlight Africa and created a mass movement that has started a process of change that will hopefully result in a better deal for Africa. 3. Palestine is a chicken and the egg conflict. Can anyone remember which came first? A Palestine bomber blows up a café in Tel Aviv so Israel seeks revenge and sends in the helicopters to bomb Palestine homes. Resulting in another Palestinian wanting revenge and blowing up a café this spirals into a situation where no one knows where it all begins. It takes a brave man to decide to make a stand to stop the cycle. Ariel Sharon took that step. By taking the brave decision to pull the settlements out of Gaza he risked losing the support of the country and his party. But he persisted and has truly achieved something. Even though he had to leave his party and start a new one, The popularity of his decision can be seen in the fact that his new party is riding high in the opinion polls. 2. While it is hard to have the courage of your convictions with a billion people audience with a government, country or army behind you it is another thing to do it without any of that. To live in an area ruled by the treat of violence and to stand up in an area where standing up is not acceptable is something truly amazing. The McCartney Sisters and Bridgeen Hagans showed true bravery. After the Murder of their brother Robert instead of staying quiet as would be expect they stood up to the terrorists. With a natural talent for PR they stood up for everyone without a voice. They did something that the British Government, Irish Government, SDLP and Kevin Myres could never do. They turned traditional IRA supporters against them and they touch Irish America tainting the image that Sinn Fein have worked so hard to build. This lead to a situation which forced the IRA to give up their weapons something that I don’t think would have happened without them. I cannot say enough about these ladies they are truly great. The story of their struggle for justice is inspiring. The fact that they were forced to leave their homes really makes their story a Shakespearian tragedy a story I hope one day is told so that it can inspire generations to stand up to injustice. 1. The people of Ukraine, Iraq (Kevin of Disillusioned lefties suggestion) and Lebanon are the true changers of their society. By showing what people power can do they have freed (or will free) their countries from tyranny. With the hundreds of thousands that marched in Lebanon against Syria and the millions who voted in Iraq. They are the greatest people of 2005 joint winners. This is the 250th Dossing Times post. Think of all the time wasted writing these posts. I say it adds up to a week if not more.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your landmark post. Merry Christmas.

United Irelander said...

Good list though I think I'd put the McCartney Sisters at number 1.

Congrats on the milestone and have a great Christmas!

CK said...

Ariel Sharon should be in the Hague for the crimes he has committed against the people of Palestine. The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is a farce.

Jennifer Loewenstein wrote a great article that deserves being read by as many people as possible.

Very well informed, in a very direct, fair and just way Jennifer Loewenstein wrote:

If anyone collects HotPress Michael D. Higgins wrote a great article on the joke that was the withdrawal during the year. I do not have a subscription to post it here.

Loewensteins article is below:

A great charade is taking place in front of the world media in the Gaza Strip. It is the staged evacuation of 8000 Jewish settlers from their illegal settlement homes, and it has been carefully designed to create imagery to support Israel’s US-backed takeover of the West Bank and cantonization of the Palestinians.

There was never the slightest reason for Israel to send in the army to remove these settlers. The entire operation could have been managed, without the melodrama necessary for a media frenzy, by providing them with a fixed date on which the IDF would withdraw from inside the Gaza Strip. A week before, all the settlers will quietly have left ­with no TV cameras, no weeping girls, no anguished soldiers, no commentators asking cloying questions of how Jews could remove other Jews from their homes, and no more trauma about their terrible suffering, the world’s victims, who therefore have to be helped to kick the Palestinians out of the West Bank.

The settlers will relocate to other parts of Israel ­ and in some cases to other illegal settlements in the West Bank ­handsomely compensated for their inconvenience. Indeed, each Jewish family leaving the Gaza Strip will receive between $140,000 and $400,000 just for the cost of the home they leave behind. But these details are rarely mentioned in the tempest of reporting on the “great confrontation” and “historical moment” brought to us by Sharon and the thieving, murderous settler-culture he helped create.

On ABC’s Nightline Monday night, a reporter interviewed a young, sympathetic Israeli woman from the largest Gaza settlement, Neve Dekalim - a girl with sincerity in her voice, holding back tears. She doesn’t view the soldiers as her enemy, she says, and doesn’t want violence. She will leave even though to do so is causing her great pain. She talked about the tree she planted in front of her home with her brother when she was three; about growing up in the house they were now leaving, the memories, and knowing she could never return; that even if she did, everything she knew would be gone from the scene. The camera then panned to her elderly parents sitting somberly amid boxed-up goods, surveying the scene, looking forlorn and resigned. Her mother was a kindergarten teacher, we are told. She knew just about all of the children who grew up here near the sea.

In the 5 years of Israel’s brutal suppression of the Palestinian uprising against the occupation, I never once saw or heard a segment as long and with as much sentimental, human detail as I did here; never once remember a reporter allowing a sympathetic young Palestinian woman, whose home was just bulldozed and who lost everything she owned, tell of her pain and sorrow, of her memories and her family’s memories; never got to listen to her reflect on where she would go now and how she would live. And yet in Gaza alone more than 23,000 people have lost their homes to Israeli bulldozers and bombs since September 2000 — often at a moment’s notice ­ on the grounds that they “threatened Israel’s security.” The vast majority of the destroyed homes were located too close to an IDF military outpost or illegal settlement to be allowed to continue standing. The victims received no compensation for their losses and had no place waiting for them to relocate. Most ended up in temporary UNRWA tent-cities until they could find shelter elsewhere in the densely overcrowded Strip, a quarter of whose best land was inhabited by the 1% of the population that was Jewish and occupying the land at their expense.

Where were the cameramen in May 2004 in Rafah when refugees twice over lost their homes again in a single night’s raid, able to retrieve nothing of what they owned? Where were they when bulldozers and tanks tore up paved streets with steel blades, wrecked the sewage and water pipes, cut electricity lines, and demolished a park and a zoo; when snipers shot two children, a brother and sister, feeding their pigeons on the roof of their home? When the occupying army fired a tank shell into a group of peaceful demonstrators killing 14 of them including two children? Where have they been for the past five years when the summer heat of Rafah makes life so unbearable it is all one can do to sit quietly in the shade of one’s corrugated tin roof — because s/he is forbidden to go to the sea, ten minutes’ walking distance from the city center? Or because if they ventured to the more open spaces they became walking human targets? And when their citizens resisted, where were the accolades and the admiring media to comment on the “pluck,” the “will” and “audacity” of these “young people”?

On Tuesday, 16 August, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that more than 900 journalists from Israel and around the world are covering the events in Gaza, and that hundreds of others are in cities and towns in Israel to cover local reactions. Were there ever that many journalists in one place during the past 5 years to cover the Palestinian Intifada?

Where were the 900 international journalists in April 2002 after the Jenin refugee camp was laid to waste in the matter of a week in a show of pure Israeli hubris and sadism? Where were the 900 international journalists last fall when the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza lay under an Israeli siege and more than 100 civilians were killed? Where were they for five years while the entire physical infrastructure of the Gaza Strip was being destroyed? Which one of them reported that every crime of the Israeli occupation ­ from home demolitions, targeted assassinations and total closures to the murder of civilians and the wanton destruction of commercial and public property- increased significantly in Gaza after Sharon’s “Disengagement” Plan - that great step toward peace - was announced?

Where are the hundreds of journalists who should be covering the many non-violent protests by Palestinians and Israelis against the Apartheid Wall? ­Non-violent protesters met with violence and humiliation by Israeli armed forces? Where are the hundreds of journalists who should be reporting on the economic and geographic encirclement of Palestinian East Jerusalem and of the bisection of the West Bank and the subdivision of each region into dozens of isolated mini-prisons? Why aren’t we being barraged by outraged reports about the Jewish-only bypass roads? About the hundreds of pointless internal checkpoints? About the countless untried executions and maimings? About the torture and abuse of Palestinians in Israeli prisons?

Where were these hundreds of journalists when each of the 680 Palestinian children shot to death by Israeli soldiers over the last 5 years was laid to rest by grief-stricken family members? The shame of it all defies words.

Now instead report after report announces the “end to the 38 year old occupation” of the Gaza Strip, a “turning point for peace” and the news that “it is now illegal for Israelis to live in Gaza.” Is this some kind of joke?

Yes, it is “illegal for Israelis to live in the Gaza Strip” as colonizers from another land. It has been illegal for 38 years. (If they wish to move there and live as equals with the Palestinians and not as Israeli citizens they may do so.)

Sharon’s unilateral “Disengagement” plan is not ending the occupation of Gaza. The Israelis are not relinquishing control over the Strip. They are retaining control of all land, air and sea borders including the Philadelphi corridor along the Gaza/Egypt border where the Egyptians may be allowed to patrol under Israel’s watchful eye and according to Israel’s strictest terms. The 1.4 million inhabitants of Gaza remain prisoners in a giant penal colony, despite what their partisan leaders are attempting to claim. The IDF is merely redeploying outside the Gaza Strip, which is surrounded by electrical and concrete fences, barbed wire, watchtowers, armed guards and motion censors, and it will retain the authority to invade Gaza on a whim. Eight thousand Palestinian workers working in Israel for slave wages will soon be banned from returning to work. Another 3,200 Palestinians who worked in the settlements for a sub-minimum-wage have been summarily dismissed without recourse to severance pay or other forms of compensation. Still others will lose their livelihoods when the Israelis move the Gaza Industrial Zone from Erez to somewhere in the Negev desert.

The World Bank reported in December 2004 that both poverty and unemployment will rise following the “Disengagement” even under the best of circumstances because Israel will retain full control over the movement of goods in and out of Gaza, will maintain an enforced separation of the West Bank and Gaza preventing the residents of each from visiting one another, and will draw up separate customs agreements with each zone severing their already shattered economies– and yet we are forced to listen day in and day out to news about this historic peace initiative, this great turning point in the career of Ariel Sharon, this story of national trauma for the brothers and sisters who have had to carry out the painful orders of their wise and besieged leader.

What will it take to get the truth across to people? To the young woman of Neve Dekalim who can speak her words without batting an eyelash of embarrassment or shame? As the cameras zoom in on angry settlers poignantly clashing with their “brothers and sisters” in the Israeli army, who will be concerned about their other brothers and sisters in Gaza? When will the Palestinian history of 1948 and 1967, and of each passing day under the violence of dispossession and dehumanization, get a headline in our papers?

I am reminded of an interview I had this summer in Beirut with Hussein Nabulsi of Hizbullah ­ an organization that has had nothing to do with the movement for Palestinian national liberation whatsoever, but one that has become allied with those it sees as the real victims of US and Israeli policies and lies. I remember his tightly shut eyes and his clenched fists as he asked how long Arabs and Muslims were supposed to accept the accusations that they are the victimizers and the terrorists. “It hurts,” he said in a whispered ardor. “It hurts so much to watch this injustice every day.” And he went on to explain to me why the Americans and the Israelis ­ with their monstrous military arsenals ­ will never be victorious.

Simon said...

Why are people against Isreal in the country but also against the IRA. The nationalist have as much if not a greater historical link to the land they are on up north. So why do people not support the IRA but do support palestine bombers.

I will stick with sharon in the list a step however small is a step.

CK said...

I'm not concerned with a stronger link or claim to any territoty, I am concerned with a people's right to inhabit their property, to not be subject to the will of political machines and lobby groups, for people to be reprsented, to belowed allowed vote, form political parties, to have a faith, to not be collectively punished, subject to curfews, shot randomly in the street, having their refugee camp style homes crushed and have this action against the largest group of displaced persons on the planet justified by a government that is as bad as the suicide bombers it seeks to stop and accepted by a world blinded to these injustices.

Simon said...

justified by a government that is as bad as the suicide bombers it seeks to stop and accepted by a world blinded to these injustices.
I agree Isreal is as worse if not worse then the bombers but sharon has made an attempt to correct this. Hence why I put him on the list.

Eamonn said...

Yes, CK lets all blame Israel. Lets lock up Ariel Sharon, for crimes committed against Palestine. Heaven knows the Palestinian authorities aren't contributing to the problem in the slightest. Its America and the Jewish lobby that secretly controls all world governments, and all the major media networks. What we're witnessing is the greatest use of mass media propaganda since the WW2.

Lets look to Michael D. Higgins for a fair and balanced view. Lets agree that merely fixing a date for withdrawing the IDF would magically have made everything run smoothly. Lets dismiss any possibility that ordinary Israelis caught up in this god awful mess might feel some sincere regret in having to leave their homes, where ever that home might be located.

And lets join hands with CK and Saint by declaring the Israeli government worse than terrorist suicide bombers.

Simon said...

And lets join hands with CK and Saint by declaring the Israeli government worse than terrorist suicide bombers.

Ok lets but you better not have cooties.:)

In my opinion in Isreal no side is blameless. Both have equal responsiblity. That fact that the Isreali government have some sort of cabinet and army may make one expect more measured responses from them. but that a trivial difference.

If you believe that terrorism is always wrong then critise De Velara because he approved of terrorism and that is why we have the Republic of Ireland and not the United Kingdom.

Life is not always black and white. I sit squarly on the fence on Isreal palestine realations.

palestine has a right to freedom and demorcracy isreal has a right to security.