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Freedom of speech comes with no strings attached…

Month: August, 2014

Gaza, apartheid, and politicians of the cloud cuckoo land

In the 1980s, President Reagan of the US and Prime Minister Thatcher of the UK committed their governments to the South African apartheid regime, an action which was later entitled “constructive engagement“. This engagement meant that the US and the UK would veto all impositions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against the South African regime. Their populist justification for this action was constructed based upon their belief in free trade and the anti-Marxist nature of the apartheid government.

Thatcher, one of the most hated Prime Ministers of all time for whom British politicians held a state funeral in 2013, declared the African National Congress (ANC) a terrorist organisation. Her spokesperson said once that anyone thinking that the ANC would ever form a government in South Africa was “living in a cloud cuckoo land“.

By the 1990s, everything changed. The under-pressure politicians, although not happy with it, decided to support the public consensus over the issue and imposed sanctions on the apartheid government of South Africa. Britain’s extensive investments in South Africa meant that any sanctions against the regime would result in considerable impacts on the economy. And that was the reason why the apartheid regime of South Africa failed, and fell eventually.

Unfortunately, however, the nature of politics never changed in Britain or the United States. David Cameron and George Osborne (UK chancellor of exchequer) both cried during Thatcher funeral. This meant only one thing to me: ‘they would have done the same’.

And indeed, they are doing the same; in Gaza.

But unlike them, I have learnt my history and hence am confident that they will fail just as well. As they did in South Africa, in Vietnam, in India, and so on and so forth. Colonialism will no longer work. Oppression will no longer work. People who couldn’t see then, can see now. After all, we live in the era of telecommunications. Politicians may never learn; nonetheless, the history won’t hesitate to repeat itself.

Last word:

You can wake someone who is sleep, but you can never wake someone who pretends to be sleep.

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On resignation of a Tory minister over Gaza

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As an opposition to any form of conservatism and capitalism, I generally have no common perspective with Tory politicians. Nor have I forgotten the expenses scandal Baroness Warsi got away with in 2012; or for that matter, her warning to Labour on “allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships”. However, I believe in redemption where people try to right their wrong doings. If there is one conservative politician who can be said to have tried to accomplish this goal and regain some public respect; it would be Baroness Warsi, who seems to have prioritised humanity over political interests. Earlier today, in an unprecedented action, she tendered her resignation to Prime Minister Cameron, stating:

Particularly as the Minister with responsibility for the United Nations, The International Criminal Court and Human Rights I believe our approach in relation to the current conflict is neither consistent with our values, specifically our commitment to the rule of law and our long history of support for International Justice.

I salute Sayeeda Warsi for her reputable action, and urge other ministers to stand in solidarity with her.

 

PS: Photo from the BBC.

Can Obama be stripped off his Nobel prize?

The short answer is “No”.

Right, now if you are still reading this, it means you want to know more.

In the last few days, a number of my friends and acquaintances have asked me to start a campaign addressed to the Nobel committee on this issue. I did a bit of research on it, an it appears that the prize is irrevocable on the basis of Nobel Prize constitution.

Despite receiving numerous petitions throughout its history, the committee has refused to change this clause of the constitution. It is, however, important to appreciate that the committee is usually vey cautious and vigilant in awarding the prize and normally does so some 20 years later. In many cases, the people who really deserve to receive the price die, and again on the basis of the constitution, the prize cannot be awarded to a person who has passed away. The most notable example of this was Mahatma Gandhi whom despite 5 previous nominations, never received the award and was assassinated in the year he was shortlisted for the prize. Although in his recognition, the committee decided not to award the prize in 1948 all together.

For no apparent reason, they didn’t uphold this practice with regards to Obama. I really believe that in the case of Obama, the prize was given for no arguable reason. In other words, it was given as an encouragement, rather than an appreciation/recognition. This itself was in breach of the Nobel Prize constitution. But then their decision is final and cannot be appealed. Not the most democratic institution, ey?

I believe they know they’ve made a big mistake, which will seriously undermine the integrity of the prize, but there isn’t much they can do about it now. All I can say is that our future generations will see this and laugh at us, just as we laugh at our previous generations now when we hear that Adolf Hitler was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee just before the outbreak of WWII. Of course Obama and Hitler could not be compared indiscriminately and haphazardly, nevertheless the integrity of the prize is damaged even further.

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