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Re: [casi] The sun, reportedly, stopped shining.

Dear Felicity & All,

Iraq would hardly be the first country to stock A.I.literature, even without
sanctions. Although, wouldn't some (privileged?) Iraqis have access to the
net? Still, I have no problems with someone not knowing
about a subject. When people claim to know Voltaire, or Shakespeare,
having viewed the covers of a few books, I find annoying, esp. if those
authors are then rubbished. Educated criticism is a different matter

Sickening misdeeds are not excused by diverting to similar situations
elsewhere - which may equally deserve condemnation. If I am a wife-beater,
my behaviour is not mitigated by claiming 1000's of people act similarly,
e.g. in Italy or China.

Did I interrogate Gaz about his political allegiances, like some callous
Grand Inquisitor? I think not. He had already, in effect,
declared his politics, when writing to Gabriel of Voices, U.K., 1st June,
some days before I "demanded" answers from Gaz: "There are those who will
deny any and every progress made in Iraq since 1968! To them
the sun stopped shining on Iraq ever since Saddam or the Ba'athist came to
power!" - I might add that any personal information I ask, of anyone on the
List, can likewise be asked of me.

CASI as an open forum to learn and exchange? I agree. Yet, to be effective,
this must include international politics, with warts and all,
not meaningless, watered-down & sanitised platitudes. Rose-tinted glasses
may be appropriate in some contexts - probably not on the CASI
list (apologies if my views have been unduly harsh!).

Greetings,  Bert.

>From: "farbuthnot" <>
>To: Bert Gedin <>,,
>Subject: Re: [casi] The sun, reportedly, stopped shining.
>Date: Thu, 06 Jun 2002 14:07:10 +0100
>Friends - a late response to which I too was not returning, but how can
>Amnesty Reports be read in Iraq? Even the Lancet can't and remember when
>Iraqi representatives at the UN asked for the latest Report of I think, the
>Human Rights Commission, they were refused it. Yes, maybe the government
>not allow Amnesty Reports (probably pretty definitely) but the west
>disallows school books, medical journals and text books etc.
>I am still deeply uneasy by second and third hand Reports. No bigger game
>being played re oil, minerals and strategic interests than ongoing
>currently. Wrongful imprisonemnts, tortures, executions are certainly
>harrowing and sickening but not confined to Iraq. Texas, Guantanamo Bay,
>Palestine the deafening western silence on Rwanda comes to mind - and
>imprisonments -10,000 estimated 'disappeared' in the US currently, mostly
>whose family know not (or lawyers) where they are. I only say this as we
>in danger of getting into 'them and us.'
>Lastly, this list is surely not about having to declare one's political
>allegiances as demanded of Gaz? It is just as surely about pulling in the
>same direction, whatever our political (or none) allegiance. It has been
>thankfully and refreshingly thought-police free - what would be next? Our
>religious (or not) beliefs? Our nationality, colour, affiliations?
>Let's get on with CASI being what it is - an open forum from which we all
>learn, exchange; discrimination free and about not being 'neutral on the
>moving train' of sanctions, which crushes the most vulnerable against the
>Best, f.
> >
> > Dear 'List',
> >
> > As a long-time campaigner against sanctions/bombings of Iraq, also as an
> > A.I. member, I have been thoroughly apalled by the virulent attacks on
> > Amnesty, on this site. A.I. works to promote human rights everywhere,
> > exclusively for Iraq. The sanctions issue, although not entirely
> > ignored (esp. by A.I. of U.S.A.), many would agree, has not had the
> > attention it deserves. But, therefore, to gloss over governmental
> > injustices, pretending they don't exist, is blatant dishonesty, perhaps
> > to oneself. I must admit that the reports I have read, about wrongful
> > imprisonments, torture, branding, amputations, executions etc.,
> > in Iraq, were all harrowing and sickening. Such wicked practices, nor
> > sanctions & bombings, can never be justified.
> >
> > About 6 months or so ago, Ghazwan queried A.I.'s record re. sanctions.
> > He confessed to his ignorance, re. A.I., admitted to never having read
> > any reports. I tried my best to clarify some of the issues. Then the
> > director of New Zealand Amnesty stepped in with an excellent account,
> > rendered anything I might have had to say superfluous.
> >
> > If "human rights", nowadays, a familiar phrase, means anything at all,
> > then people must work together to achieve them, locally, nationally &
> > internationally. Regrettably, mistakes have been made, on rare occasions
> > serious ones. But A.I. works in some 150 countries, often under
> > difficult circumstances, at times in great danger from those with few
> > scruples. Frequently, the causes are unpopular, where the world seems to
> > care little, or not at all. It is easy enough, for someone like Ghazwan,
> > hurl irresponsible abuse & accusations, despite his shallow knowledge.
> > agenda is crude anti-Amnesty propaganda. - I have no problem with
> > being a Ba'athist, if he is, but - if so - at least he should have the
> > decency to declare it.
> >
> > I have forwarded Ghazwan's letter to A.I. in London. They may consider
>him a
> > time-waster. On the other hand, they may, having passed by the insults &
> > crudities, seriously consider some of the points he is making. - "People
> > ...ignore and/or use A.I. reports to further their
> > political agenda." Make your mind up, Ghazwan!
> >
> > Greetings,
> >
> > Bert Gedin (Birmingham, U.K.).
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
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