Friday, January 23, 2009

Follow-up questions

1. Barack Obama was absolutely correct to take steps to close down the Camps at Guantanamo as one of the first moves of his presidency. The Camps are a stain on America, a stain on humanity.

But it will be interesting to see the extent to which those European liberals who have clamoured so vocally for its closing are equally vocal in welcoming the released inmates to their shores.

And, as inmates are released but cannot be returned to their home states because they will be tortured or executed there - such as the ethnic Uyghurs, who cannot be returned to China because of the routine detentions and extra-judicial executions of those Uyghurs who call for the self-determination of their 8 million-strong people, or the Algerians, whose government imprisons its lawyers simply for calling attention to the impunity of its judiciary - it will also be interesting to see the extent to which the liberals' loathing of George W Bush for his war crimes is transferred to these other regimes, whose carceral systems make Camp X-Ray look like Sunday School.

2. In yesterday's Independent, Robert Fisk rather uncharitably criticised Obama for not using the word "Gaza" in his inauguration speech. (Note: For this, Fisk not surprisingly gets plaudits from Respect [sic].) Well, it's odd to say this, Robert, but Israel-Palestine isn't actually the centre of the world. Why did Obama not mention the war in Sri Lanka in his speech, which parallels, but is far more brutal than, the one in Gaza? Or the war in Congo, which has now claimed 5.4 million people and intensified in the same period as Operation Cast Lead?

3. I notice that David Miliband has provoked the ire of India and what we might call the India Lobby in mildly suggesting a solution needs to be found to the Kashmir and Jammu situation. Miliband is probably the most Eustonite of Labour Front Benchers, and hence is held in particularly low esteem by the Indecents. Kashmir is a hot topic for Islamists, probably fourth after Palestine, Iraq and Chechnaya in the litany of oppressed Muslims, although it provokes less sympathy among the Islamists' white leftist useful idiots. Now Miliband appears to be siding with the Islamists, will they take up his cause? And will claims that the India Lobby tries to silence all "dissent" about Kashmir start flooding the Indecent blogosphere?

That's all.


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Re Gitmo - another small issue:


kellie said...

Marc Ambinder on the ins and outs of Guantánamo and interrogation policy changes.

Removing the symbol is important and good, even though (and because) it was a distraction and a distortion of the real issues of prisoner abuse and security.