IN AUSTRALIA, Anzac Day is a means to promote militarism and nationalism. It marks the day when Australian forces invaded Turkey in 1915, entering World War I.
Sixty thousand Australians were killed in that war and nearly 16 million people died worldwide. It was no event over which to rejoice.
Anzac Day was initially used during the war to recruit people to fight on the other side of the world. In 1916 and 1917, Anzac Day became a means of supporting conscription.
Continue reading Anzac Day glorifies war
THIRTY-TWO Australians have died needlessly in Afghanistan. All of them were young, in their 20s and 30s, and have left young families behind. If there was some point to their dying, if they had sacrificed their lives for a worthy cause, then at least their loved ones would have some means of consoling themselves.
But that isn’t the case. They have died for nothing. They have died because one man’s vanity led to him thinking that he could do better than the old Soviet Union, the British Empire and even the much reviled Genghis Khan.
That one man is George Dubya Bush.
Continue reading Afghanistan: lies and damn lies. No statistics
PROFESSOR Zhang Weiwei is not particularly well-known around the world. An author and former translator for the Chinese supreme leader Deng Xiaoping, Zhang is, however, a very important figure in China.
He has written a ground-breaking book, The China Wave – which has not, as far as I can make out, been translated into English – about China’s way of approaching development and one that is attracting great interest in his home country.
In an interview with the one news service that seems to have a knack for ferreting out the interesting and the newsworthy – Al Jazeera – Zhang made some very interesting observations.
Continue reading The China wave
THE push for democracy in Burma by the West has been going on for just one reason: resources.
Burma has gold, copper, tungsten, timber and oil in abundant quantities. All these years, the political situation and tight economic sanctions have not permitted exploration by Western companies. But now oil companies in the US are straining at the leash and waiting anxiously for the change to fly into Rangoon.
The Americans have already lifted some sanctions on Rangoon even though the only move towards a less rigid form of government has been an election in which the National League for Democracy was allowed to contest 45 of 664 seats.
Continue reading Burma: the gold rush has begun
A MONTH and two weeks from now, it will be three years since Sri Lanka won its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, effectively ending the campaign for a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
But there has been no movement on achieving a political solution to put the minority Tamils at ease. Instead, the triumphalism that has pervaded the country has seen the government act in a manner that can only serve to remind the Tamils that during the days when the Tigers were in the ascendant they were at least not marginalised in the way they are right now.
The Tigers had ensured that the north of the country was more or less completely occupied by Tamils. Now, the army is everywhere in the north and Sinhalese people are being resettled in large numbers to change the population mix. And, to rub it in, there are signs in many places that are only in Sinhala, a language that Tamils, cut off from the rest of the country for decades, cannot even speak.
Continue reading Three years on, Sri Lanka still bleeds