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This week and next in New World Notes, #68 (June 16) & #69 (June 23):
George Galloway is a sitting Member of Parliament of the U.K., Scottish-American by ancestry and accent, liberal-Left in politics, a man whose words are spoken unminced; a comforter of the afflicted, afflicter of the comfortable, and a genuine pain in the arse (pronounced "oss") to Established Power on three or four continents.
This year alone, he's been denied entry into two countries because of his danger to public security. The countries are Israel-controlled Palestine (Gaza)--whither he had lead a convoy of 110 vehicles and 350 Commonwealth volunteers attempting to bring relief supplies--and Canada.
demonstrates Canada's new "Hail Victory" [in Afghanistan] salute.
Bottom: Nominal "Opposition" leader Michael Ignatieff said that he
"didn't lose any sleep" over the decimation of Lebanon in 2006.
Oh, yes. Canada's Conservative government has been trying its hardest to out-Bush Bush--in warmongering, privatizing everything, destroying public services, destroying civil liberties, and transferring wealth from the rabble into the hands of a better class of people.
Not that Galloway would play partisan politics in a foreign country. Besides, as he sees it, Canada's governing Conservative Party (headed by PM Stephen Harper) and the supposedly opposition Liberal Party (headed by MP Michael Ignatieff) are "two cheeks of the same arse." The U.K. has three major political parties, Galloway explains, "and if it were anatomically possible we'd have three cheeks of the same arse!"
George Galloway discovers the New World
Galloway's Celtic temper remains provoked at Ignatieff's remark on Israel's 2006 aerial bombardment of Lebanon's civilian infrastructure. Canada's Liberal Party leader announced that he was "not going to lose any sleep over" the destruction of southern Lebanon. Galloway seems to have lost plenty.
Had he spent more time in North America, I'm sure Galloway would by now be less surprised at our politicians' peculiar combination of moral cowardice, lack of principle, love of re-election, shamelessness, and delight in advancing the interests of anyone who has money to spend.
Too bad Galloway missed Candidate Obama's address to the AIPAC convention last year. He would have learned something humbling. Namely, that when it comes to combining freedom from principle with freedom from shame, the tired old pols of Old Europe can't begin to compete with us freedom-loving North Americans!
Expelled from Britain's governing Labour Party for his antiwar views and Palestinian sympathies, Galloway was returned to Parliament by constituents as a member of the Respect party.
Well, they never heard of you, either!
Under Harper, Canada had also forbidden entry to several American nuns and to nonviolent peace activists Kathy Kelly and Medea Benjamin--grave dangers, all, to Canada's citizens. To be fair to Harper, I admit that Kelly and Benjamin are convicted criminals. Trespassing, I believe. I can't speak for the nuns.
Galloway had been invited to address, on March 30, a conference sponsored by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War.London, February 2009: The caravan prepares to depart.
Now, I affirm that I am not making this up. The Canadian government later informed Galloway that he had been kept out because of his recent attempt to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, following the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Bush-Blair "last hurrah" attempt to smash what was already a starving concentration camp back to the late Stone Age. I'm paraphrasing.
I never heard the details of the government's explanation. My guess is that Galloway's convoy had neglected to stop at Haifa and pay Customs duties on all the wheelchairs, bandages, blankets, diapers, building supplies, antibiotics, insulin, soap, the 12 ambulances, and the fire truck they were attempting to import. I assume that amounts to smuggling.
The world's most inept smuggler has been denied entry into worse dictatorships than Canada. Egypt, for instance. Still, the refusal of a British Commonwealth country to allow entry to a seated Member of the U.K. Parliament is most unusual. Maybe they were afraid he'd say something impolitic at the peace conference?
Perhaps that Israel--like the United States--is a blood-stained nation-state guilty of War Crimes, Crimes of Occupation, Crimes Against Humanity, "ethnic cleansing," and good, old-fashioned Bloody Murder--in Israel proper, in Sabra & Shatila refugee camps, elsewhere in Lebanon, in Jenin refugee camp and everywhere else in Palestine--most recently in Gaza, where those who survived the massive bombing and shelling of December-January are now back to merely being starved to death.
Ariel Sharon visits Jerusalem: two views. (Cartoon by Steve Bell.)
Galloway might also say that every illegal white-phosphorous bomb and cluster bomb dropped by the Israel Defense Forces on innocent Arab civilians was paid for by Americans' tax dollars and transshipped through the U.K. In fact, I'm pretty sure he would.
He might say that one country in the Middle East already has been "wiped off the map." That the name of that country is Palestine. That its wiper and ethnic cleanser was not Iran but Israel--with enthusiastic support and 100% funding by the U.S., U.K., and Canada under Harper.
That to call the sociopathic monster, Israeli General and later PM Ariel Sharon, a "butcher" would be grossly unfair to the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union.
Bottom: Beirut suburb of Thaniye, Lebanon, 2006
Indeed, in calling Sharon a "monster" I'm probably being unfair to the Creature from the Black Lagoon--who never pretended that his homicides were committed with the blessing and approval of Almighty G-D Himself. Nor did he expect repayment from the U.S. Treasury for his expenses.
Up, up and away! (Where's my trial balloon?)
OK, I'm getting carried away here. . . . George Galloway does that to me.
Maybe the world would be a better place if more Americans turned off the damned telly and got carried away more ourselves.
Say, carried our fat osses into the streets in November 2000, demanding that President-elect Gore be installed as President instead of that sociopathic little cowboy-manque' who--despite huge amounts of election fraud--was able to play Presidente only following a coup d'etat spearheaded by five still-unhanged traitors who to this day presume to wear the robes of "justices" of the Supreme Court of what used to be a nice little Republic.
To put it as delicately as possible.
And yes, in case you missed it: Gore received the majority of popular votes in Florida. And would have been inaugurated as President had the Florida recount not been halted by the coup. Perhaps Fox News forgot to mention the unofficial but highly accurate recount conducted by The Roper Organization at the behest of a consortium of major media news organizations. Perhaps, after paying for it, most of them forgot to mention it.
Transatlantic views of Sharon. Top: Sharon as Goya's Saturn (from
The Independent). God of the Harvest, not of War, Saturn nonetheless
had the unhappy habit of devouring his own children.
Bottom: Time Mag. puff-piece. "Soldier and Statesman" sounds
ever-so-much nicer than "International Terrorist and War Criminal."
Who in the U.S. would dare to call him that? Certainly not I! G.W. Bush
called Sharon "this man of Peace." At least it was "this man" and not
"the Prince"! As they say in Canada, thank God for small favors, eh? The
top illustration comes closer to Galloway's view and, I confess, my own.
I'm not saying that Gore would have been any great catch, understand. Only that I consider a spoiled rich graduate from an elite prep school who spent his career serving the interests of the rich and powerful, can't speak worth a damn in public, and was lawfully elected to be preferable to one of the same, installed in the White House by a CABAL of conspirators through force, fraud, betrayal of the public trust, and treason. Others may disagree.
"But to return to Madness . . . ":
The words we'll hear this week and next are a barn-burner of a speech Galloway gave in Toronto in late 2006--right after U.S. voters, in a stunning repudiation of the cowboy-commandante, put both houses of Congress into the hands of the Democrats--and thereby caused nothing whatsoever to change. But we hadn't realize this last part yet.
You'll be pleased to hear that the tone of Galloway's speech is not unrelieved indignation. There's also much humor, including a very funny true story involving that most underrated figure of the second Clinton administration, Monica Lewinsky.
Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):
- June 23--George Galloway (2): on Palestine
- June 30--Afghanistan: "And Now For Something Completely Different"
This program's music:
- June 16: David Rovics, Hummer
- June 23: David Rovics, Jenin
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Q: How does the Shatila massacre differ from My Lai?
A: No, it wasn't the religious preference of the majority of the men actually pulling the triggers on--or shoving the bayonnets into--the bodies of hundreds or thousands of helpless, unarmed, civilian old men, women, children, and babies. In both massacres, at-least-nominal Christians get the credit for doing most of the tough, hands-on work. Sharon's Israel Defense Forces, rather, designed the lighting and guarded the studio gates to prevent any "extras" from walking off the set--and then said to a Lebanese militia charmingly named the Phalange, "Have fun, boys!"
No, the difference is that, the day before the massacre, U.S. special ambassador Philip Habib did not tell the world that the United States guarantees the safety of the old men, women, children, and babies of My Lai. For more details, hear George Galloway in this adventure-packed installment!
I used to (but no longer) wonder how Habib--an Arab-American and a distinguished US diplomat--felt the morning after Sabra and Shatila. He had successfully negotiated the departure (to Tunisia!) of the camps' armed young Palestinian men. I never heard of his attempting to defend what had happened, which makes me suspect that he was a good man. This was the first of two times he was betrayed by the President of the country he had, apparently, very ably served. The same President: Ronald Reagan. Habib is said to be "The Envoy" celebrated in Warren Zevon's song.
Habib's Wikipedia entry is worth reading, if only for the reminder that once there was a time when a sense of honor and a longing for justice in the world were not incompatible with a career in the U.S. State Department. That time may have been short, and it may have been long past by 1982. But there must once have been a time.