Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Harvard's Pipes, Uruknet, Dissident Voice, Elections, Tsunami

1) The article below is a fawning presentation of

Daniel Pipes as an embattled intellectual besieged by
professionally incompetent and ideologically driven
scholars of Middle Eastern Studies. The author does
not mention Pipes' extreme views, such as advocating
camps for Muslim Americans. The fact that this
appears in Harvard's alumni magazine is especially
troubling -- another brick in the edifice of
mainstreaming the extreme in American letters:

http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/010540.html


2) This is one of the voices of the resistance -- the
website below is using the same name that the former
Iraqi government used as its ISP address prior to the
2003 US/UK invasion:

www.uruknet.info


3) A dissident website entry:

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Jan05/Alam0102.htm


4) Here's one explanation to the refusal of many
Iraqis to participate in elections while under US
occupation -- the possibility that said elections will
lead to a government which will render legal decisions
taken by Paul Bremer concerning the privatization of
Iraqi state assets:

Friendship Across Frontiers
(FAF)

c/o BM.FAF, London WC1N 3XX
Tel: 020 8398 3266; Website: www.fafgb.org.uk; email:
info@fafgb.org.uk

Patron: Tam Dalyell Esq MP
(Father of the House)

Ref: 159.12.04

5th January 2005

ELECTION - SELL-OUT

Despite the lawlessness and carnage which has
prevailed since the occupation, the US/UK and their
surrogate Interim Government (IIG) are poised to hold
elections in January 2005. Why and what are the
reasons for such eagerness?

It cannot possibly be to establish democracy. Such an
ideal notion has to evolve and flourish over decades
and generations and most certainly not by the use of
force!! The conduct of the enforcers of democracy,
the occupying Armies and their surrogate mercenaries,
has left deep rooted bitterness among the population,
particularly the inhabitants of Najaf, Fallujah and
others. Indeed these towns will always be remembered
for the atrocities inflicted. Not too dissimilar to
Hallabcha back in the eighties.

Then if not for democracy, could it be for oil? Yes
partially, but more alarmingly was what Paul Bremmer
then (Viceroy of Iraq) did to prepare the grounds in
cooperation with the IGC for a gigantic sell-out of
all Iraq’s assets. The grand privatisation of
schools, hospitals, water, electricity, transport,
industry and even museums. To embark on such a
sell-out you require a legitimate (preferably an
elected) government to sanction the award of
international contracts, and a few to Iraqi
contractors.

Naturally Iraq’s local contractual participation could
not possibly match that of the International
Contractor (IC) and their Army of mercenaries
(totalling 20,000). Indeed Iraq’s involvement will be
to provide cheap labour to maximise the IC profit and
the salaries of the Iraqis will be spent on imported
consumer goods which have already swamped the market
since March 2003.

Hospitals since occupation have been further deprived
of essential medicine, electricity is sporadic, clean
water below acceptable standards, pollution at its
worst. All essential amenities have been neglected in
order to be sold-off in poor repair. Market forces
are operating freely to dismantle the industrial and
manufacturing base which Iraq has managed to build in
the past 30 years. Iraq had a socialist based economy
and provided a secure economic future to all, despite
the Iraq-Iran war, and years of sanctions. Most
Iraqis are owner occupiers but not for long though as
evidently these achievements will be set aside by
market forces, leaving little or no protection for the
needy and vulnerable. Post March 2003 Bush/Blair and
their minority Interim Government (IIG), proclaimed
one of the benefits of occupation was to liberate the
Iraqi people from the tyranny of a dictator and to
impose their kind of democracy. The reality is to
legitimise the treacherous sell-out of all of the
country’s assets.

In comparison, understandably the Scottish felt let
down by Secretary Hoon for dismantling the four
regiments. Yet can anyone imagine what the Iraqi
Nationalists felt when Bremmer and the collaborators
on the IGC dismantled the whole Army and police,
totalling 500,000, affecting the lives and that of
their dependents (2 million) who are left with no
prospect of jobs, income or future!! Perhaps the
Iraqi people will realise that such a future will
await them too if the election is allowed to take
place under occupation.

To achieve the crucial objective of occupation the
Interim Government (IIG) is not entitled under the
Transitional Administration Law (TAL) to sign
international contracts. The body that will
eventually take over after elections under occupation
– the Transitional Government (ITG) in accordance with
Bremmer’s TAL Art 25(a), (c) and (e) will provide the
compliance of formulating (a) foreign policy, (b)
fiscal policy and (c) managing the national resources
of Iraq. To eliminate the risk factor to IC of
invalidating agreements reached with ITG, this
election under occupation is desperately needed. This
election will provide legitimacy and pay-back to (IC)
the financial backers of the neo-conservatives, who
covertly provided the lies and deceit to the Bush
administration enabling them to embark on their
illegal unilateral war which terrorised the world and
destabilised the region.

These neo-conservative policies and objectives must be
halted by discouraging an Election under occupation.
The carnage and lawlessness will eventually stop when
all foreign armies and their surrogate mercenaries are
no longer present on Iraqi soil. Fair Election and
occupation are totally incompatible.

Riad El-Taher
Chair


5) Tsunami account:

Tempo
Jan 11-17, 2005

National

Lost Kampung
History Goes Dead in Our Village

Tempo journalist Nezar Patria searches for his family
house in Banda Aceh.

IT is unimaginable: the house has now been utterly
destroyed! A month ago I could still have a nice sleep
on the second floor of the house. Now it has been
reduced to only a piece of concrete wall pointing
skyward. The roof tiles have flown away God knows
where. The windows have also disappeared, leaving only
the window frames. Even the doorframes have come
loose. In the sitting room, the chairs are upside
down, all covered by black mud. A Chinese ceramic
vase-a family legacy-has broken into small pieces.

Mum's favorite garden has also disappeared. Carnation
and other flowers as well as the rich green Japanese
grass have also vanished. From every corner, piles of
wood garbage seem to be vying to get into the house.

The sea is about 5 kilometers away but one large
vessel-half upturned-has been washed away to the front
of our house. Pressed underneath it, an automobile-the
owner is unknown-is broken. The iron fence has
collapsed. Outside the garage door, two cars are on
top of each other like two pieces of newly toasted
bread. One of them belongs to our family and the
other, to a neighbor.

On top of our car lie the dead bodies of Yusuf and
Nurhayati, our close neighbors. This couple and one of
their grandchildren have lost their lives. A dead body
wearing jeans is found in the gutter. I cannot
identify this corpse as the head lies in the water
channel.

Not a single house in our neighborhood still stands on
my visit to Kampung Mulia, Kuta Alam district, Banda
Aceh. All buildings have been flattened to the ground.
I thank God the family of my elder sister, who live in
our house, are safe. The boundary between one house
and another has vanished. I can find only a field of
mud in which rubble and debris are submerged. The
village road and alleys have disappeared. Suddenly, I
lose space. And also history.

Built about 35 years ago, our house is one of the
earliest in this neighborhood. This area used to be an
outlying part of the town. There were only one or two
houses apart from the wooden hut, an inheritance from
my mother's family. Only a decade later did this
neighborhood become a densely populated residential
area. Lines of houses have sprung up, separated from
one another with crowded walls. Five years ago, when
town planning was still poor, shops began to emerge
among these houses.

I grew up in this village, which shares a border with
Peunayong, the only Chinese neighborhood and also an
ever-noisy market. The residents in our village are of
mixed origin. Generally, they came from many places in
Aceh. At the back of my house live A Lung, a tofu
boss, and his family. They are Chinese and came to
this area earlier than us. His ancestors came to Aceh
while the Aceh War was still raging.

I remember them as good neighbors. We regularly buy
soybean milk and tofu from them. Their house lies next
to a formerly local small prayer house, Al-Anshar,
which has now become a half-completed mosque. We used
to have a blackout in our town. A Lung would then
light his kerosene pressure lantern when there was an
outage. He would take this lantern to the door of the
prayer house so that locals performing their sunset or
evening prayer would not do so in the dark. Now Lung's
house has also been devastated. I don't know whether
he and his family can save themselves.

I also see the house of Bang Zaini, a neighbor
opposite our house. It was completely destroyed. Bang
Zaini is a senior civil servant and is quite popular
in our village as Mas Tom. I don't know the origin of
this nickname. According to my sister, he and his
family are safe. They ran to the second floor of a
building some 300 meters from their house.

The water, said my sister, Rita, came rolling very
fast. It was about 5 meters high. Luckily, she, her
husband and her two children could still run to an
elementary school building not far from the house. "A
vessel was turning like a top as huge waves were
carrying it," she said. She was separated by only a
distance of some 200 meters from this raging seawater.

Rita's husband quickly broke open the door of the
school building and then they all ran to the second
floor. Only in a matter of seconds later did seawater
fill the entire first floor, submerging all the
pupils' desks and chairs.

Our village has now entirely disappeared. It is not
clear how many residents are safe. I walk to the
border area of Lampulo, a village at the edge of
Krueng Aceh. Only a few buildings still stand. A
graveyard at the border of the village has been
flattened to the ground. Only graves with flat grave
stones remain. There are no longer any fences and
frangipani. In a house, there is a dead body, lying
face downward, with black bruised skin. It has been
almost two weeks since the disaster struck this area
but thousands of dead bodies in the villages are yet
to be carried away for burial.

Wherever you go, you will find that other villages are
in the same situation. These villages generally lie
about 5 kilometers away from the coastline. In Ulee
Lheu, an old seaport in the western tip of Banda Aceh,
seawater dragged away all living and dead things and
dumped them to the center of the town. Likewise,
residential areas in the eastern part of the province,
such as the new residential areas in Jeulingke,
Peurada, Kahju and Cadek, protruding to the beach of
Krueng Raya, have all been completely devastated.
Dozens of densely populated villages in Banda Aceh
have suddenly been wiped off the map.

"One generation of fishermen from Meuraksa has
disappeared," said Ramzi, 34. He is perhaps the last
generation from the old region in Banda Aceh. They
lived in groups and are related with one another. They
keep the tradition of a coastal community. Ramzi has
counted only 98 people safe in Deah Teungoh, his
village in Meuraksa district. About 170 families in
this village have been confirmed missing. Some of them
may have saved themselves or they may be included
among the 50,000 dead bodies of the residents of Banda
Aceh and Aceh Besar that were buried up to Saturday
last week.

I stand in contemplation in front of our house. Our
villages have vanished now. There are no records left.
I spend the entire afternoon looking, though
eventually in vain, for family pictures and other
photographs that have recorded my childhood in the
piles of rubble. A flock of pelicans are flying over
our village, a rare sight before the disaster struck.

The smell of the sea reaches now even the devastated
residential area in the city. Bitter. Suddenly I lose
space. And also history.


6) In case you're in DC:

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University

Cordially invites you to attend
The Kareema Khoury Annual Distinguished Lecture in
Arab Studies

Iraqi Nationalisms and the American Occupation

given by

Juan R. I. Cole
Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian
History
History Department, University of Michigan

Thursday, January 27, 2005
6:00 pm
Intercultural Center Auditorium
Georgetown University
37th and O Streets, NW





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