Don Nash - I think that I am beaten. I would never have believed that I would be a stranger in my own country. The social outcast and political pariah. I would never have believed that I could be forced to move from my own neighborhood. Unable to find suitable housing, and the welcome mat that was once on the front door has been unceremonially taken away, and the old place is being rented to criminal junkies. In my neighborhood, criminal heroin addicts are preferable to political dissidents. Especially dissidents that speak out and make the unacceptable political waves. I rank lower on the social ladder than heroin addicts, go figure. Somehow, waging a preemptive genocide on an Islamic people has become fashionable and perfectly acceptable. If one speaks out against this atrocity well then, shame on me and my bad for opening my big mouth.
David R. Hoffman - It is sanctified by words during the best of times, when it is not needed; It is ignored by deeds during the worst of times, when it is needed most; It is presented as the bedrock of American freedom; It is in reality as fragile as a pane of glass; It is praised when one requires its protections; It is scourged when one’s foe demands those same protections; It is promoted as a vibrant, living document; It is dying a slow, but certain, death. With apologies to Charles Dickens for paraphrasing the opening sentence of his immortal classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, this opening passage describes the demise of a single document: The Bill of Rights.
Don Nash - My country is in serious violation of the Geneva Convention and the charter my country signed to become a participant with the United Nations. It is to our shame. The preemptive war being waged on Iraq that was initiated by George Bush, is illegal, it is immoral, and it is unjust. The military of my country is being used by lying politicians to commit cold blooded murder on innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. It is to our shame. Are the good people of the United States of America, to be considered by the world at large as no better than war-mongering savages? Without moral context, without moral authority, and without the good sense to recognize deceit by my nation’s leaders. It is to our shame.
Jonny Burnett and Dave Whyte - Legislation passed since 1997 by the UK government have created 28 new offences that apply exclusively to immigrants or those seeking asylum. That figure more than quadruples if we add in the number of new offences aimed at those seeking to employ, aid, or assist those designated ‘illegal’. Powers to enforce these laws include new powers to detain and imprison; the separation of children from their families; and the denial of welfare assistance. The insistence that failed asylum seekers will be made to work without pay while awaiting deportation should be read as a harbinger of the more extreme excesses of New Labour’s ‘workfare state’. It is this kind of explicitly xeno-racist reform that has prompted Amnesty to accuse the British government of failing to abide by the Geneva Convention.
Hafizur Rahman - They say that public men and women, particularly those managing affairs of state, are roughly divided into two types: hawks and doves. Unlike the hawks, the doves don’t go boasting about themselves, because somehow it is considered infra dig to be known as a dove. Not so long ago the expressions were widely used, but then after the end of the cold war, nobody was keen to be known as either. Now however, the policies of President Bush have revived the two terms and the hawks there are having a whale of a time. Last week I read in a Gulf newspaper that, in one of the cities there, a hunting hawk flew away with a cheque for a thousand dollars. While it was clearly stated in the report that the hawk was a bird, it was not clarified whether the bird was a hawk in the political sense also…
Vladimir Ryzhkov - The new political system created by Putin in the wake of the Beslan disaster will have no legal foundation in the Constitution, and this will have disastrous consequences for the country. Nor will Kremlin-appointed governors enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Poll after poll has shown that a majority of Russians either don’t understand Putin’s proposals or don’t approve of them. Most voters want to carry on electing their leaders because they understand that elected officials care more for the interests of their constituents than appointed ones do. The Beslan tragedy made clear that the Kremlin-appointed leaders in Chechnya and Ingushetia have no connection with the people, and are therefore utterly impotent.
Michael Hasty - What is true of the media’s treatment of Warren Commission critics can be equally applied to anyone who questions what is sometimes called the media’s “metanarrative” — the official media version of events. Usually this is accomplished by what Catholic theologians call “the sin of omission.” So, for example, the startling and uncomfortable fact that a Zogby poll found that half of New York City residents believe that the US government either had fore knowledge of, or was complicit in, the 9/11 attacks has been quickly stuffed into the media’s “memory hole.” But the great irony in the media’s rejection of “conspiracy theory” is that the metanarrative requires mainstream news consumers to subscribe to a far less credible “coincidence theory.”
M. Junaid Alam - The most irksome and identifiable feature of the anti-American American is his flagrant abuse of the First Amendment. He deviously twists and distorts his constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech by exercising this right – at a time when an important event is underway, no less: the war in Iraq, and more broadly, the so-called war on terror. It should be obvious to the reasonable American that, in times of war, speaking one’s mind is quite a dangerous and reckless act: there is, after all, only so much free speech to go around, and, as our soldiers are busily bringing it to inferior races via cruise missiles and cluster bombs abroad, there is little left for consumption at home.
Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland - The reception accorded to Tony Blair at his party’s national conference this week says more about the Labour Party than it does about the prime minister. If ever a party got the leadership it deserved, British Labour is that party. By any normal criteria, Blair would be considered an electoral liability. Since taking office in 1997, Labour’s membership has halved to a 70-year low; most Britons opposed the war in Iraq and want their troops brought home; Labour’s social policies have no popular support, and it stands in opposition to its traditional constituency on every major issue - be it the National Health Service, education, or public services. But Blair has the support of big business, and that is all he needs, as far as Labour’s apparatus is concerned.
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