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Jun-04-2011 06:24printcomments

Genocide 101: Tragedy in Uzbekistan

Examining the events of 13 May 2005 and the correlation with events in Sri Lanka, Palestine, Iraq, and other nations.

Prison camp in Uzbekistan
Prison camp in Uzbekistan

(SALEM, Ore.) - In a series of recent articles I have written about the Genocide of Tamil people in northern Sri Lanka, I have learned a great deal about not just this tragedy, but also similar terrible events in places like Uzbekistan.

The dead in Andijan, Uzbekistan

The largest commonality in each of the modern cases of Genocide is religious oppression. The second swath of common ground is the use of the term "terrorist" to describe the people dying en mass.

This terminology is very familiar in the American paradigm; the Bush government in fact made it dinner table conversation while waging wars on governments in the Middle east that never raised a finger toward us.

Anyone who examines the history of said 'terrorist' organizations may serve themselves and others well if they admit that in each case, the people comprising these organizations, which are in some cases genuine political governments, were in fact first victims of egregious murderous human rights violations; massive killings; suffering terrifying bombing campaigns, being forced to cross checkpoints often manned by military operatives with a tendency to humiliate and harm civilians, implementation of curfews, torture and more.

One thing is certain, no governments can make the alleys run red with blood more
effectively than Israel. 'Operation Cast Lead'; Israel's 2008/09 attack on Gaza

Genocide/War Crime states showing religious or cultural oppression:

Iraq - Christian vs. Muslim & Christians

Palestine - Zionist Jews vs. Palestinian Muslims & Christians

Sri Lanka - Buddhist Sinhalese vs. Tamil Hindu & Christians

Uzbekistan - Uzbek government vs. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Rwanda - Hutu vs. Tutsi

Northern Ireland - Protestant vs. Catholic

This simple fact that each group evolved due to political and religious hegemony, can be corroborated by many watchdog groups ranging from the United Nations, to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other similar agencies.

One World View on Human Rights

As the news editor of Salem-News.com, I believe advocating for human rights is not any display of journalistic bias. I am talking about a system where there are no favorite races, religions or cultures; this is essential toward the survival of the human race. The matter is not up for debate. Frankly, I feel like the nation and world I was raised in, where racial bigotry and prejudice are absolutely not tolerated, is in many ways a thing of the past. Now it is a world of one language cultures, one religion governments, it is all wrong and doomed to fail because each time people are subjugated they respond and it often isn't pretty.

Read more about 'Vik' Arrigoni: Thousands Celebrate the Life of
Vittorio Arrigoni
by Daniela Domenica Loffreda Salem-News.com

However I also have faith in the new generation, and sadly that increases with the hardships that very generation faces. I wish it could take place some other way. Kids are forced to grow up way too fast in too many parts of the world.

I cite these events but not without full realization of the fact that both the Cambodia Khmer Rouge Genocide of the 1970's, and the Nazi Holocaust numbers, dwarf any referenced above. Of course there is Tibet, Kashmir, Burma, Lebanon; and the list of nations that have suffered world level injustice is a mile long, it is as long as the list of those countries that have simply brushed off accusations, often with the endorsement of the U.S.

Through a variety of established mechanisms and existing educational tools, ranging from photos and film to first-hand accounts, we are supposed to learn lessons and progress away from sicknesses like these, and instead we remain routed in the same destructive behavior that we were guilty of in the Crusades. In all truth I blame the news media as much as anything for today's problems.

Simply put, journalism should never be measured in dollars and cents, and rules that once attempted to maintain media integrity; 'payola' and 'plugola' laws, are very ineffective. Even through the 1980's, U.S. mainstream media had bureaus all over the world, and even if they were already sold out in many respects, there were more reporters in the field and a better chance at getting real information.

Stay Human

Human beings belong to a single race. What we fail to do, in the words of the late Gaza Activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is simply to, "Stay human". All of the national borders and lines on maps do nothing to change that need. "People are people so why should it be, you and I should get along so awkwardly"

I often tell people about an exercise I covered for a news story in Mexico titled 'Disaster have no Borders' and it included Arizona and California fire agencies, the US military, Mexican Army, and fire agencies from Baja California and Sonora. These emergency responders know the importance of familiarity and friendship and they cross train (at least then- during the Clinton mostly non-war years) and support each other.

So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done - Depeche Mode 'People are People'

It seems that the best thing for the world in retrospect, in recent years, was the peace and love movement of the 1960's. I'm not talking about drugs and free love; I'm talking about peace activism and religious enlightenment. There was a time, through men like Gandhi, when people paid attention and listened, but today our religious leaders are not the same.

Today they justify their time in the Hitler Youth; they preach proper behavior which equates to population control, while holding their hand out for money, and contest people's personal choice. They root for war and justify taking human lives for various reasons, they support capital punishment but oppose abortion. They modified God's words from 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' to 'Thou Shalt Not Murder' in order to justify their need for war, which is a blood thirst.

That, when they're not busy defending themselves in court for sexually abusing children in their clergy. I know there are good men in religion but they can be hard to find sometimes.

I love God but I lament the earthly violence committed in the name of books that bear his name. I fail to believe that God ever wants human beings to wage war. I do believe that God allows us the right to defend ourselves and our families from a brutal attack, and Gandhi did too; but this is a last ditch effort, and one that must be stated. And it is that principle which allows for the concept of resistance. When people are treated unjustly for a certain period of time, to a particular degree, they follow their natural tendency to fight back.

Visualize Whirled Peas

Those sentiments and ideas of the 1960's certainly spilled into the 1970's, but the ending of the Vietnam War caused radical swings in social behavior and the evolution of the young urban professional or 'Yuppie' as they came to be known.

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
Help me understand

This generation that protested war in the 60's and 70's discovered in the 1980's that they could abandon those principles and instead earn a very comfortable living; after all they had gone to college to avoid the draft, and they became the people who in many cases, they had demonstrated against.

Certainly not everyone went this route, and those who continued their vigilance found troubled times, as our writer M. Dennis Paul, who was associated with both the Black Panthers and the Weathermen during this time, learned in the hardest ways. However his enduring spirit is a light in the fog today and he is far from the only member of his generation who stayed true to the music; in fact our staff of writers is comprised of many people who never forgot what this life and our time in this world is about.

I despise the actions of people who in any context, root for or promote war while representing themselves as religious leaders. However I respect the peasant who knows that without raising arms, he has no chance of raising his family in peace.

In countries that are poor and totally outgunned by government forces, resistance fighters tend to become suicide bombers. They do not do this to die and have dozens of women as American ad agency developed lore suggests; they do it because their mom and dad are dead and occupational forces just bulldozed their family home with a two-year old brother inside who is crushed, but the family hears their last screams. These people see that blue and white star and they see rage and it is a justified rage.

Uzbekistan

The terrible killings on 13 May were reportedly tied to the arrests and subsequent trial of several businessmen. Demonstrators at first asked for 23 local businessmen who were arrested 23 June 2004[1].

The businessmen under arrest faced charges of "extremism, fundamentalism and separatism." Police would later charge them with being members of Akromiya, an organization the government has designated and banned as terrorist.

Those who were arrested denied the charge, claiming their arrests were tied to their growing support among the local populace. According to Wikipedia, some suggested that the arrests were part of a purge of allies of Andijan's long-time provincial governor, Kobiljon Obidov, who had been impeached and replaced with Saydullo Begaliyev, allegedly at the behest of President Islam Karimov.

What the history books regard as The Andijan Massacre in Uzbekistan, took place 13 May 2005, when Uzbek Interior Ministry and National Security Service forces fired wildly into a crowd of protesters[3].

HRW most recent addition to Uzbekistan exit list

Bonnie Boyd - Foreign Policy Blogs Network

June 6, 2005: Peace Corps suspends activities in Uzbekistan, after the visas of 52 volunteers were not renewed by Uzbekistan's government.

September 13, 2005: The U.S.-based International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) has its activities suspended in Uzbekistan by court order, after a difficult year in which some workers were not approved. IREX was active in the region for forty years, first under Soviet and then post-Soviet regimes; it often works with USAID funds. Its mandate includes education, independent media, and civil society initiatives.

November 5, 2005: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) , the first foreign news agency to set up a bureau in Uzbekistan, leaves. Monica Whitlock, a BBC journalist, is accused of ‘complicity with terrorists’.

December 12, 2005: Uzbekistan refuses to prolong or renew RFE/RL 's press accreditation.

February 10, 2006: Freedom House loses its last appeal to remain in Uzbekistan; a six month moratorium is imposed on their activities. Freedom House is a well-respected NGO that works toward transparent elections and government procedures. In May of 2005, some Freedom House meetings were disrupted and Freedom House was incredibly accused of being Wahhabist.

March 6, 2006: Eurasia Foundation, which promotes media freedom and democratic initiatives, leaves after being accused of improper registration and meetings held without Uzbekistani permission.

March 17, 2006: The government of Uzbekistan advises the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that their services are unnecessary, and that they should leave within 30 days.

April, 2006: American Bar Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) is asked to leave for providing legal aid to unregistered organizations.

May 2, 2006: Counterpart International, an NGO funded by USAID, was asked to leave Uzbekistan. During their Uzbekistan operations, they distributed USD 80 million in humanitarian and medical aid.

May 31, 2006: Global Involvement Through Education is banned for proselytizing youths. The American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study(ACCELS) is shut down for illegally sending more than 100 Uzbekistani students to the U.S. for education–unbeknownst to the Uzbekistani government–and also failing to keep appropriate financial records.

IRIN's article about ACCELS also mentions two other NGOs under Uzbek fire: Hungary's faith-based NGO Magyar Okumenikus Szeretetszogalat, working with disabled women and families with disabled children, was under investigation.

France's COFUTIS, operating since 1996 in Uzbekistan, was engaged in sand-stabilization projects to mitigate airborne erosion around the Aral Sea. Their activities were also called into question.

July 8, 2006: Winrock International charged with illegal publishing activities and insulting the Muslim beliefs. Winrock is an aid organization that helps develop infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. Winrock first came to Uzbekistan in 1994, and was involved in increasing grain yield/production. In August of 2006, the government announced an investigation into Winrock. They had published manuals available to other NGOs and another manual called “Islam and Women.” Since I have not seen this manual, I am only assuming it was supposed to bring Winrock's aggregate experience with Islamic communities to the many experts who volunteer their time to Winrock's excellent programs.

July 12, 2006: Urban Institute is charged with moving outside their purview during a homeowner rights conference, by discussing socioeconomic conditions in Uzbekistan.

July 14, 2006: Central Asian Free Exchange (CAFE) is closed down due to proselytizing, apparently including activities in towns they say they have never entered; having an unregistered logo; and lacking an internet license.

August 9, 2006: Internews, an NGO that specializes in developing news outlets around the world, has its Uzbekistan bank accounts frozen. Two of its journalists sentenced for illegal distribution of videos–however, their sentences were commuted. By October 19, 2006, Internews was asked to leave Uzbekistan.

August 23, 2006: Crosslink International forbidden to operate in Uzbekistan. They have worked with microfinance and poor rural families in the state since 1992. They were charged with activities inconsistent with their charter, donating funds without recourse to Uzbekistan banks, and giving aid to a church under the cover of another grant. Crosslink is a faith-based NGO.

August 29, 2006: The Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD) is charged with ‘proselytizing‘ and making internet available without a license. PAD was set up in 1999 to aid Uzbekistan's professors in developing internet skills and world contacts with others in academia.

This article from Mosnews also states that two NGOs from the Republic of Korea, the Korean Foundation for World Aid and the Institute of Asian Culture and Development, were forced to leave.

February 26, 2007: WorldVision International is asked by Uzbekistan to supply more information about their activities.

Today: One can only wonder how Human Rights watch lasted as long as it did[2].

While a defector from Uzbekistan's secret service placed the number of people who died from the government attack at 1500, other sources estimate that the number of people shot was 5000, with several hundred dead among them.

The government claimed they killed 187 people, yet no one is sure and it was widely reported that bodies of the dead were buried in mass graves.

The Uzbek government initially claimed that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan organized the unrest and the protesters were members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to Wikipedia, which also states: "The Uzbek government eventually acknowledged that poor economic conditions in the region and popular resentment played a role in the uprising."

It led to extreme, indifferent brutality and bloodshed by soldiers shooting into a crowd. This is a crime that could only be classified as Genocide, which means that Karimov and his thugs are war crime suspects and should be arrested and tried. However we live in a time when the United States deems it acceptable to simply Murder world political opposition leaders, so again there is little room for surprise.

Of course it is also noteworthy that the Bush regime in the U.S. was friendly with Karimov. One interesting piece of information comes from Ikrom Yakubov, a major in Uzbekistan's secret service who defected to Britain in 2007. He says the government "propped up" Akramia, which the Uzbek government blamed for sparking the incidents that led to the protests. He believes that the attacks were a pretext to repress dissenters. According to Yakubov, President Karimov personally ordered government troops to fire on the protesters.

These protesters were of course, once again, totally outgunned by the military forces gathered to confront them. A great deal of violence had ensued after the arrests of the businessmen. Tempers were high and this is always problematic in these situations. However opening fire on the unarmed, torturing, abusing prisoners; these actions never lead to anything but temporary resolutions.

I witnessed detainees in Iraq loaded aboard a noisy helicopter for what may have been their life's last ride, being brutalized by American military 'contractors' while hooded and bound. These men had lives and relationships before the US occupation of their country that claimed up to a million and a half Iraqi people. (The Soviet occupation and war in Afghanistan may have cost a third less deaths) If they live, they will never forget what 'American' means[4].

Governments that have excessive access to funding utilize long range ballistic missiles, or highly trained jet aircraft and crew to disburse deadly weapons on their enemies, of whom up to 95% in many cases are ultimately civilians who fall under the insulting 'collateral damage' designation. If and when these battered people raise an arm in resistance, they are terrorists by definition and their rights on this earth vanish[5].

Human Shields

And, this nonsense of state terrorism governments committing Genocide and using the term 'Human Shields' is enough to launch a war in itself, I deplore anyone who ever uses it in this context.

If you want to know what a 'Human Shield' is, then ask someone who has been one, like our writer Ken O'Keefe who led the Human Shield operations into Iraq when the 'Shock and Awe' campaigns began.

By placing living western people at various locations in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Ken and his teams spared numerous Iraqi facilities from bombs, thus helping maintain a portion of the nation's infrastructure.

That my friends, is a Human Shield, not a child killed during a massive bombing of civilian sections of Gaza City.

The story of the killings in Uzbekistan is very under reported.

As in the case of Sri Lanka, very little information was released to the public about what happened but for somewhat different reasons.

However there were reports that got out, and on 20 June 2005, The BBC said: "There are still disputed versions of what happened in Andijan, with the Uzbek government insisting that the eastern city saw an attempt by radical Islamists to seize power." [6]

They cited leading human rights groups' claims that hundreds of civilians were deliberately shot by government forces and killed in what Human Rights Watch called a "massacre".

Uzbek Reporter Galima Bukharbaeva was interviewing demonstrators in Andijan when President Islam Karimov's troops rolled into Bobur Square and opened fire.

Later, fearing arrest, she fled Uzbekistan and enrolled in Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She was one of Committee to Protect Journalist's (CPJ) 2005 International Press Freedom Award recipients. This is her account of what happened:

It was only after I had stopped running that I realized I could have been one of the men, women, and children falling around me. I reached for my backpack to take out my notebook only to find that a bullet from an AK-47 rifle had torn through it, punching a neat hole in the face of Che Guevara on the cover. My press card from the Institute for War & Peace Reporting was also shot through.

It was just after 5:20 p.m. on Friday, May 13. Minutes before, I had been moving through the 10,000-strong crowd, listening to the speeches and laughter of people exhilarated by their sudden defiance of years of Soviet-style oppression. Now I was shaking with an animal fear. I had covered fighting once before in Afghanistan but always from a safe distance. Here, I was among a handful of local reporters in the square who had to dive for cover from a hail of bullets that came without warning.

I had rushed to Andijan from my home in Tashkent on Friday morning after news that armed men had attacked government buildings and stormed a prison to free 23 local businessmen on trial for allegedly forming an Islamic resistance group. Thousands of unarmed civilians poured into the streets after the uprising, protesting freely for the first time against repression, poverty, and unemployment. Political trials are nothing new in Uzbekistan. The accused businessmen, however, were well-educated, influential, and organized. They denied belonging to any Islamic group.

Up to 5,000 supporters had gathered outside the court in the final days of the trial and the authorities were nervous. They began arresting demonstrators outside the courthouse on May 12 and confiscating their cars. This, according to Sharif Shakirov, whose two brothers were among the 23 men on trial, provoked the armed uprising the following day. The rebels stormed the jail and freed the prisoners, but Shakirov would never celebrate his brothers' release. He was killed in the attacks.

By early Friday morning the rebels had taken a local government building on Bobur Square and barricaded themselves inside. A few residents ventured out to watch the standoff. As the day wore on they were joined by thousands more who vented their frustration with President Karimov's authoritarian rule and economic mismanagement. The protests were peaceful. Parents brought their children to see the unprecedented spectacle. The rebels expected that the army would move against them to retake the buildings, but the crowd had no inkling of its fate.

From nowhere, a column of eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers surged onto the avenue alongside the square. Atop each vehicle special forces soldiers in black flak jackets sat in a circle, their weapons pointing out.

Without warning, the soldiers opened fire into the crowd. Bodies fell like mown hay, row upon row. People in the center of the square ran in all directions, but soldiers had blocked off side streets. A helicopter clattered overhead, pointing out those trying to escape to the troops below. I don't know how I escaped. I just ran. "They think we are just dirt," a woman cried to me.

That night, witnesses later told me, soldiers finished off the wounded lying in the blood-washed square. Opposition and human rights groups say up to 1,000 people were killed in Bobur Square and a nearby border town the next day. Karimov says some 30 Uzbek soldiers and 137 other people were killed.

Neither I nor the other five reporters and one photographer in Andijan that day could stay to count the casualties. Like many others much worse off than me, I became a refugee. The prosecutor in Tashkent has opened a case against me for working as a journalist without proper accreditation. It would be dangerous for me to return while the present government is in power. The authorities will want revenge for my reporting and testimony to the U.S. Congress about the Andijan killings.

After slipping out of Uzbekistan, I went with my colleagues to a refugee camp in neighboring Kyrgyzstan to which some 500 Andijan residents had fled. Many of them recognized us from Bobur Square and began weeping and shouting: "They're alive."

A beautiful young girl, Nailya, turned to me with tear-filled eyes and asked: "Do you think we will ever go back home?"

I held her gaze and said: "Of course, we will go back." But I could not say when[7].

Crime of a Poet

An article titled 'Poetry and Ideology in Central Asia published by The Power of the Past, tells the story of how an unknown local poet named Haydarali Komilov, appeared on the Radio Liberty (affiliated with Radio Free Europe) news program last of Nosir Zokirov, a popular stage actor turned journalist.

He read his poem on the massacre titled “Nima qilib qo’yding oqpadarlar?!” (“What have you done, you wretches?”) in which he highlights the sins of Karimov and his regime, saying that they are hypocrites who have abandoned their faith and “whitewash what is haram.” To the soldiers who fired on the protestors Komilov asks, “I can’t understand it – are you not Uzbeks like us?/Or just the impudent puppets of a president?/Do you have parents or are you a dog?/You have bitten your own people, you wretches!” The poet boldly subverts Karimov’s argument about the murdered protestors being Islamic fundamentalists and invokes the vocabulary of Islam – “haram” designating something proscribed in Islamic law, literally Arabic for “forbidden” – and equates un-Islamic (haram) behavior with a rejection of Uzbek-ness. The poet was arrested but then released and forced to publish the poem along with a letter (falsely) claiming that the journalist, Zokirov, had forced him to recite the poem on air. Zokirov was sentenced to six months in prison, and Radio Liberty was banned from operating in Uzbekistan[8].

In a Central Asian Survey published in September 2007, Sarah Kendzior's Poetry of witness: Uzbek identity and the response to Andijon,

Like most cities in post-oviet Uzbekistan, Andijon has suffered a severe economic decline as well as political and religious repression. Andifon's practising Muslims were among the prime victimes of a 1998 national which required all places of worship to be approved by the government, resulting in the closure of 2158 of the city's 2200 mosques.

The former Silk Road city is the birthplace of may prominent Uzbek writers, including the >i>jadidist Abdullhamid Cholpon, whose visage today graces an Uzbek Website featuring Andijon-themed poetry[9].

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister
Audronius Ažubalis (l) with Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister Elyor
Ganiev in Tashkent, 1 June 2011. (OSCE/Tatyana Baeva)

40 days after the massacre, The BBC stated that Europe's security body; The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said an investigation was needed to get a "full picture" of what happened on 13 May. The OSCE renewed calls for an independent inquiry into the crackdown on protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijan. This seemed to offer hope that the OSCE would press for accountability.

Flash forward to last Wednesday; OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, emphasized the importance of greater co-operation to enhance security in Central Asia and the OSCE region as a whole.

"Ažubalis noted the significant role Uzbekistan plays in Central Asia in creating security and stability in Central Asia. He noted that Central Asian countries are facing similar challenges, such as terrorism and extremism, as well as drug trafficking, and joint regional efforts are needed to address them." [10]

There is absolutely no mention of the terrible event from 2005, as if it never happened. This seeming acceptance of a government guilty of state terrorism against its own citizens is glaring.

Sanctions over the Genocidal event were temporary, as mentioned in this open letter, Human Dimension Implementation Meeting - Open Letter from The international association of independent democrats against authoritarian regimes

At the end of October, the European Council resumed its discussion about the EU sanctions against Uzbekistan, imposed after a bloody suppression of the popular uprising in Andijan in May 2005. As of four years ago to this day, the only sanction remaining in force is the arms embargo against Uzbekistan. Other sanctions, such as the ban on entry into Europe of a number of Uzbek officials, have been removed despite the fact that Uzbekistan has failed to meet most of the conditions set by the European Union.

During the lifetime of the sanctions, Uzbek and international human rights activists urged the European Union to enforce benchmarks set to address the appalling human rights situation in Uzbekistan. These benchmarks included an independent investigation into the Andijan events, the release of all imprisoned activists and an end to harassment of representatives of civil society, simplification of rules for the registration of non-governmental organizations, the accreditation of the staff of Human Rights Watch, and access to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights.

In light of the deteriorating human rights situation in Uzbekistan, we believe that the lifting of sanctions last year ago was not only a mistake, but has surrendered an effective chance for the EU to influence Uzbekistan’s government[11].

Now you're punching and you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fist

Of course what more would we expect of Europe, land of the Versailles Treaty and nations that look the other way while diabolical white supremacists like Hitler take power and begin murdering people by the million? Where Willie Messerschmidt designed the high performance ME-109 as a plane for the German Civilian Flying Club... and then provided them to the fascist bastards in Spain to, once again, crush a resistance of 'insurgents' and, I'm quite sure, terrorists who inspired people and still do by the million, actions remembered in poems and songs like Bella Ciao! That is not to say that Uzbekistan is in Europe either, but the lines are blurred and that is fine, it would just be far better if the OSCE had the gumption to put its foot down.

The lack of information that is generally tied to these events is a hallmark of Genocidal governments. I discussed this recently at length in the Tamil Genocide, highlighting particular journalists who were murdered by government forces[12].

Image from the wake of the Massacre at Andijan
Poetry and Ideology in Central Asia - The Power of the Past

In Uzbekistan, emerging from a chilly position in a long Cold War, media never had become what it had in Sri Lanka. That of course made controlling the information an even easier task for the government. And to what end? Only to be exposed to those who know and plenty of people do know[13].

But then the legacy of Palestine in recent years is enough to prove the opposite; that even when horrific crimes against humanity are widely exposed in the U.S., it still generally makes little difference. Well, today, finally, it actually is making a difference, but almost every nation on earth has backed that quest for freedom with the U.S. and a few select nations holding back.

Sri Lanka has progressively moved from tolerance to intolerance and the 'terrorism' brand enabled the Sinhalese dominant government to enlist the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, to cripple the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by disallowing their ability to travel internationally.

This meant the group could not attend its own peace talks after the decision to hold them in Washington D.C. was announced. This is like a bad joke in history that many people overlooked.

But then look at Gaza and Hamas; the elected government of Palestine that, like the LTTE, was declared 'terrorist' when in fact they have killed only a fraction of the number of people that Israel has in so-called 'defense' of its citizens. The Hamas police academy was the first place in Gaza struck by Israel during 'Operation Cast Lead' in 2008 and 2009. That highly organized military assault left more than 1400 people dead and among those, were approximately 400 children.

The Israelis used illegal weapons, as the Sri Lankan government also stands accused of. In Gaza, thousands were maimed and melted and left permanently disfigured and there are statements from doctors claiming that they saw injuries the likes of which could not even be described. In Sri Lanka the Tamils languish out of site and out of reach of journalists unless they are supervised by Sinhalese military forces.

How about Iraq, where walls were erected to divide the Sunni and Shi'ite communities for the first time in history. Also, when you examine the history of Rwanda; another nation with a terrible past of Genocide, you find that the division was implemented, in that event by colonizing Europeans, who placed a higher value on the Tutsi, who were lighter complected and taller, than the Hutu. European made them identify their cultural heritage, it was not their own idea, but look at the division it brings. That of course greases the wheels of oppression- as occupational forces take political power away from the indigenous residents.

We human beings better get things figured out and fast.

References:

_________________________________________________________

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Anonymous June 5, 2011 7:16 am (Pacific time)

Martin is simply reflecting what the majority of Americans, and I would also include Europeans, feel as being reflective of actual and proven reality. It is you Tim King who fail to see that reality, but maybe you do and you just don't care about current domestic events. Of course no one wants to be humiliated in any fashion, don't you see the rather stark differences in treatments by the western societies with those based on Sharia Law happening in real time, not as per your historical revisionism? That is what we are all tired of. Political correctness is getting people killed, and this correctness is not coming from the people, but primarily from the left and judicial activists. We are heading for a conflagaration, I don't see anything that will stop it outside of a significant change of political leadership at the top, and right away. You have lofty goals of wanting to help the weak and oppressed, but the domestic problems are of such a intense nature, and worsening, the masses are focused on these problems. Ergo, absolutly nothing will be changed by us overseas until we resolve these domestic issues of ours. Giving Obama a second term will only make things worse. He and his staff have proven themselves to be most harmful to America.


Anonymous001 June 4, 2011 7:30 pm (Pacific time)

Religion that gets usurped by angry and vindictive men seems to always be used as a tool to hurt others. Real voices of the Jewish people will strive for peace and a resolution to the conflict in Palestine.  Warmongering Zionists know that the end is near for their shallow world view. " When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always."  -- Mahatma Gandhi


Colli June 4, 2011 1:28 pm (Pacific time)

I think that Martin's main point is that Islam appears to be the least tolerant of all religions. Whether that is true I really cannot say. I believe that the American G.I. is probably a much kinder and much gentler soul than the soldiers of many countries and I speak in generalities here and I am sure there are some who are not. To the point of the article though, genocide after genocide all in the name of God makes one sick to his very soul. I have asked before but I will ask again . . . Why is it difficult for all men to see that we worship The Creator, The Great Spirit, and The God. Why does what we call Him matter. Allah, Jehovah, Christ, Yahweh, or whatever must be less insulting to Him than taking a human life in his name. I do not know if God weeps but if He or She does, then humankind must be causing God to cry a river! Good article Tim and excellent points made. Colli


Anonymous001 June 4, 2011 9:59 am (Pacific time)

Good writing, Tim!


Martin June 4, 2011 10:26 am (Pacific time)

I'm 67. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18.I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps after college, 2 years of that in Vietnam. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired. I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor;" of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers;" of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery;" of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Koran and Shari'a law tells them to. I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance. I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last 50 years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

Editor: Martin, the Muslims have killed a tiny number of Americans, whereas the Americans have laid waste to hundreds of thousands of Muslims.  I can't find any logic in your statements.  Americans back Israel's Genocide of Palestinians.  I see you were a Marine, I am sorry that you ended up as a person who points fingers and says they would be happy to be one of those guys at Abu Ghraib made to stick his face in the ass of another man to be sadistically photographed by good old red blooded Americans.  I don't think you would like that at all, you would be demeaned and humiliated like they were and you would speak out.  Maybe life would be easier if I saw it as you do; you could not be more sorely mistaken in your view of people, good luck.

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