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Partial Justice Is No Justice

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For crimes he committed against humanity, Saddam has been sentenced to death by hanging.

“The former Iraqi leader was convicted over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

“However, some legal experts have argued that Saddam Hussein’s ongoing trial for atrocities committed against the Kurdish population should be allowed to reach a verdict before he is executed.”

But the “legal experts” and the international media are missing the bigger picture: Partial justice is no justice at all. His execution, even if carried after the verdict of his Kurdish case, will deprive the world of a man who could well be tried for crimes he committed in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. During the eight-year war, through international backing, he used chemical agents not only against the Iranian army, but also against Iranian civilians.

The execution of Saddam means the end of a process of justice, which, if pursued ideally, could have even dragged high-profile warmongers such as the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, for his backing of Iraq’s army and chemical program during the war. Unsurprisingly, however, Rumsfeld’s involvement seems only to be the tip of the American iceberg: Donald Reigle, the head of a Senate Committee reports:

UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq‘s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.

The report continues:

The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record.”

Unfortunately, this devastating record doesn’t end here. America, through countries like the Saudi Arabia and Italy, conducted most of its aid in a bid to make sure Iraq won; because, Iraq’s defeat in the war, in Rumsfeld’s words, “would be contrary to U.S. interests.” America even voted against a Security Council resolution condemning Iraq’s use of chemical agents during the war.

But it wasn’t only these countries that were involved in making the bloodbath happen. Germany, U.K., France and Spain have all had their fair share of monetary profits in return for the blood of the 20,000 Iranian soldiers and thousands of civilians who lost their lives.

It seems as if today everyone has forgotten about the souls of these individuals and those who lost their lives as a result of the Iranian retaliation. This rotten system, which does almost nothing other than ensure corporate benefits, is endangering the percipience of humankind. We are no longer noticing all the bad that’s being done because bad is no longer “bad.”

Take, for example, the “aid” that is being given to the poor countries of the world. For every dollar given in aid to poor countries, 13 dollars are squeezed out in various forms; and this voracious corporate appetite is being supplied form the stomachs of the 780,000,000 people who starve to death every year due to a shortage of food. These are the people who neither contracted the aid nor received any portion of it.

Peace, amity, humanity—all are becoming mere political gibberish and are losing their true values…to me at least.

Further Reading:

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Umm…

I live in Pakistan, a third world country in South Asia. We have frequent power shortages, internet service interruptions, etc. Often these shortages and interruptions get prolonged and cause huge problems for the public. Businesses can’t run, people can’t use electric appliances and bloggers like me can’t update their blogs. This has been the prime cause of the dormancy of MyScribbles.

However, lately, the situation has improved, although not completely. This will enable me to do my best to update MyScribbles regularly. My apologies in advance for any shortcomings.

Kabul Still Submerged in Darkness

Even after promises from the minister for water and power, Kabul is submerged in darkness.

Ismail Khan, the minister for water and power, had promised he would ensure a steady, 24/7 supply of power to the Afghan capital a couple of months ago…but that was when he needed a vote of confidence form the country’s parliament. Now, however, not only Kabul has no steady power, but also the situation has worsened: long-term power outages and irregularities in the supply schedule have left the residents of the capital in total darnkess.

Kabul is currently undergoing the hottest spell of weather this summer. The irregularity in the supply of power means people are deprived of the use of fans and other cooling appliances. Also, they can not use other devices of daily use.

Before this chaos in the supply of power, parts of Kabul used to get five hours of electricity every other day. Many families and businesses around the city, therefore, had made a burdonsome move and purchased generators to make up for the deficiency of power.

Many neighborhoods had also, through help-yourself cooperative funding schemes, purchased generators to power light bulbs and TV sets for a few hours at night.

For more information, read the related links below.
Related Links:

Disturbing News From Iran

This bit of news, depicting the maltreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran, has almost gone unnoticed.

HERAT CITY, June 18 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Bodies of seven Afghans, killed in the Iranian city of Shiraz, have arrived … The seven people, who were members of the same family, had gone to Iran to seek the hand of an Iranian girl for a boy named Noor Ali. However, father of the girl, in connivance with his associates, allegedly shot dead all the seven people, including the would be bridegroom, his mother, two brothers and three cousins. Read the rest of the story here.

 

Comments and analysis on this issue will be posted shortly.

June 20: World Refugee Day

June 20 was the World Refugee Day. Did anyone notice it? Despite being an Afghan refugee and a member of the largest single refugee group in the world, I didn't notice it come and go. Although I do not believe in the symbolic efficacy of the day, I do believe that if such days are marked properly with awareness programs, a real change can be brought about in the lives of refugees.

I believe that in an overwhelming number of cases, people become refugees when the profits of a multinational corporation are at stake or when a number of immoral, corrupt leaders play dirty politics on the international arena. However, I also strongly believe in the power of the collaborative strength of the human beings as an agent for real change. Therefore, when a day such as this is used to educate the general public and urge them to take action, it can have a real impact on the lives of the refugee population of the world.

The people, especially those of the first world, must know that by donating money to charities and/or feeling sorry at the plight of destitute people shown on their TV screens, no significant change can be brought about. Begging cannot be finished by giving money to beggars; it doesn't fulfill the beggar's consistent need for money and facilities. As the old Chinese saying goes: "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

Real change comes when the root causes are addressed. And when the root causes are corrupt politicians or corporate profits, the people must mobilize to fight them and strive to create an environment in which refugees are able to earn a subsistence.

Holocaust Denial According to International Laws

First it was Ernst Zundel who was put behind bars for two years. Then it was David Irving who was sentenced to a three-year term in prison. Their crimes? Stating that less than six million Jews were killed by the Nazis in concentration camps during World War Two. While both the trials produced an uproar in the media, there was a greater hype about the various aspects of freedom of expression after the David Irving trial. Some equated his prison sentence to a blow to freedom of expression, while others praised Austria for imprisoning the “hatemonger”. However, even after all the hype, what didn’t happen was a clarification of the fact whether his imprisonment was really a blow to freedom of expression or not. This post attempts to explain this ambiguity in the context of international and European laws.

 

First, it is important to understand what Holocaust denial is. Wikipedia, one of the leading electronic encyclopedias, says:

Holocaust denial, or Holocaust revisionism … is the belief that the Holocaust did not occur as it is described by mainstream historiography. Key elements of this belief are the explicit or implicit rejection that, in the Holocaust:

    • The Nazi government had a policy of deliberately targeting Jews, people of Jewish ancestry, and the Roma (also known as Gypsies) for extermination as a people;
    • Over five million Jews were systematically killed by the Nazis and their allies.
    • Tools of efficient mass extermination, such as gas chambers, were used in extermination camps to kill Jews.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

However, this is a resolution not a treaty, which means it is not legally binding. Another covenant, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is legally binding on as many as 150 nations, guarantees freedom of expression by saying:

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice,

However, there are some limitations to this freedom. These limitations, called “duties” or “responsibilities”, are for:

  • The respect of the rights or reputations of others;
  • The protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.

Granted these freedoms and limitations, it can be reasonably argued that, as defined by the definition cited above, Holocaust denial is not internationally illegal. Yet, as many as ten countries in Europe have laws prohibiting it.

A look at the European laws reveals that there are at least two legal codes—the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union—safeguarding freedom of expression. Nonetheless, none of these two is legally binding. The former, having been signed by all EU members, has the following restrictions to the freedom of expression:

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Again, Holocaust denial (according to the above definition) doesn’t constitute an offense according to European laws. This can lead us to the conclusion that Holocaust denial– regardless of the verity of what is claimed–is completely in accordance to the international and European legal codes of conduct. And, any limitations restricting an individual from exercising the freedom of expression in shape of Holocaust revisionism, is an infringement of international law.


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Afghanistan Clinches Four-Nation Soccer Tournament

The Kabul-based team, Arman-e-Kabul, nailed a convincing two-nil victory over the team from Iran to clinch the four-nation soccer tournament organized by the National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan. Teams from Iran, Tajikistan, Pakistan and the host country, Afghanistan, participated in the tournament. Attended by over 30,000 spectators, the final was a symbol of national pride for Afghanistan as they won their first international tournament since the 1930s.

The first goal was scored by Ali Hazara in the first half. The second half saw a more aggressive play due in part to the rough physical contacts between the players which led to Iran protesting and stopping play for a short time. They resumed, however, only to concede another goal, this time from the Afghan captain, just a few minutes before finish. Shams Amini, the Afghan goalkeeper, was able to successfully thwart all attacks from the Iranian ranks till the end.

The victory whistle brought a boisterous ovation to the milieu which continued until the prizes were given away by Kareem Khalili, deputy to President Karzai. Despite the blast in Kabul which killed four that day, it was hard for the commentators to calm the excited crowd down in respect to the Afghan national anthem.

In a TV interview jut after the whistle, Ali Hazara, the key Afghan player, said in an excited tone, “I feel very happy about this achievement. The credit goes to the entire nation. Congratulations to all!” He was speaking in Hazaragi, a regional language spoken primarily by the historically repressed Hazara ethnic group.

The Chairman of National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan, Anwar Jigdalek, congratulated the nation for the victory and praised their support. He attributed the victory to the players’ hard work. He further said, “This tournament was a call for peace among the neighbors of Afghanistan. It was also a call for national unity and solidarity among the people of Afghanistan.”

Ali Rawazi, the Iranian captain, thanked the National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan for holding the event. He said, “We are happy to have been invited to this tournament. We are satisfied by the way it was organized. We would like to have the Afghan team visit Iran in the future.”

Another team participating from Afghanistan, Omed-e-Kabul, stood fifth followed by Pakistan’s NWFP while Tajikistan stood third.

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Welcome!

I no longer update this weblog due to academic and other preoccupations. However, feel free to browse through its older entries. Thanks.
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