Friday, July 28, 2006

Sixteen years after the coup

Yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of the Coup - coup attempt, in reality, since it didn't succeed. Manning didn't bother to show up, as usual - but thenm whether he knew anything about it or not, he is probably the biggest beneficiary from the tragedy.

As the anniversary approached there were the usual calls for a special commission to look into it. And, as usual, it was ignored. The coup is the last issue for the NAR, and only NARites (whatever party they support) care about it any more. Both the PNM and the UNC have been in bed with Bakr, so it isn't in their interest to have people look too carefully at the issue.

I have a hard time thinking of any day as the anniversary - in a certain sense it's with me every day, or almost every day. The anniversary is just another day (or rather, set of six days) in which to remember what happened. It's hard to summon additional intensity for something that is ever-present.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Time flies

Over a month has passed since I last blogged. A lot has happened since then, and yet it feels like nothing has changed.

The summer has flown by. I don't know how it is that we are in the final week of summer classes. I am at a loss to figure out where the time has gone. In a sense I am glad to be almost done with teaching, but in another sense I'm unhappy with all the things I didn't get done. We may go the Michigan next week, which means that I will have even less time available to get things done. In the next couple of days I have to put together the visa stuff before we run out of time.

Then there's the Israel-Lebanon war. War is always terrible, and yet I find it impossible to tear myself away from it. CNN shows that it's the network for war coverage, but as Atrios point out, why aren't they covering the Iraq war with this level of enthusiasm. Granted, Iraq is a lot more dangerous for journalists, but there's also a virtual media blackout on Iraq. Much like some of the wars in Africa, it has become a forgotten war. Maybe it's not a matter of the networks bowing before the Bush administration's desire to forget the toll of the war - maybe it's just that the public doesn't care about the civil war/quagmire.

I have mixed feelings about the Israel-Lebanon war. On one hand, I find Israel's actions despicable - bombing hospitals and ambulances, but also waging war against civillians and infrastructure. On the other hand, I also find Hezbollah's actions despicable. So when both sides are acting despicably, do you seek moral equivalency and say "well he started it"? I can't do that. It doesn't matter who started it. It doesn't matter who had the moral high ground to begin with. As it stands now, both sides are barbaric. War is barbarism, but equivalent military units engaging one another at least has some send of symmetry (not that I have ever seen a war like that). Once one side has the might in firepower human nature is to cheer for the underdog. It's difficult when you realise that the underdogs aren't people you can support.

People say "what is Israel to do after 6 years of rocket attacks". Does that mean that once this is over Lebanon is entitled to do to Israeli infrastructure what Israel has done to Lebanon's? Does that mean that, once you tally up the dead, that Hezbollah can kill x Israelis to even things up? Of course not. Just as Israel is not entitled to count the rockets attacks as justification for this war.