November 15, 2006

Big Brother Is Your Friend

Addressing the rich and wealthy crowd at last night's dinner for the American Australian Association in Sydney, Rupert Murdoch warned Australians:
"First and foremost, Australians must resist and reject the facile, reflexive, unthinking anti-Americanism that has gripped much of Europe. I am well aware that the Iraq war was and is unpopular among many Australians. And I am well aware that not every Australian sees the current American administration in a favourable light. But wars end. Administrations come and go."
Based on the evidence, I would have thought that is was the PRO-US crowd that were "facile, reflexive, and unthinking". Nevertheless, John Howard obligingly picked up the Big Guy's mantra:
"If the coalition leaves Iraq in circumstances seen as defeat, the ramifications of that throughout the Middle East will be enormous. It will embolden the terrorists and extremists not only there but also in our own region, especially in neighbouring Indonesia. We need to remember what is at stake here, not only for Iraq and the Middle East but also for American power and prestige around the world. We also need to remember that good friends stick by each other in the difficult times as well as in good times."
Ah, yes. Good friends. Sticking together. Like glue.

Meanwhile, in Istanbul, the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative had a more optimistic message:
Leaders from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds on Monday announced a United Nations initiative to resolve the conflict between the West and the Muslim world.

They issued a framework for their effort, prepared over the past year, that singled out the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a primary source of the deepening split.

“No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge among people far removed from the battlefield,” Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said at a news conference. “As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation, and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses and in dance halls, so long will passions everywhere be inflamed.”

The report was drafted by 20 scholars and other leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Mohammad Khatami, the former Iranian president, and others from many nations. It calls for collective action on issues of education, youth and immigration.

Members of the panel and Mr. Annan emphasized their view that the causes of tensions are primarily political, not religious...

The Alliance of Civilizations Initiative was the idea of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, who suggested it six months after terrorist bombings in Madrid killed 191 people in 2004.

“We’re going to immobilize extremists, prevent their actions,” Mr. Zapatero said here. “Nobody should doubt our victory.”
More here:
Criticism of US policies, though at times oblique, is a major feature of the document and hits on themes that have angered representatives of the Bush administration in the past. For instance, in a discussion of Al Qaeda's attack on the US on Sept. 11, the report states: "Later, these attacks were presented as one of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq, whose link with them has never been demonstrated, feeding a perception among Muslim societies of unjust aggression stemming from the West."

While that is indeed a common view in Muslim countries, it is unlikely to gain the favor of the current US administration, whose representative to the United Nations, John Bolton, is an ardent supporter of the invasion of Iraq and a frequent critic of the world body.
Beazley applauds from the sideline:
"Rupert Murdoch's speech was superb."

1 comment:

Yzerfontein said...

South Africa gave you the word apartheid (seperateness), now we'll give you the word "saamheid" (togetherness).

Well done Desmond Tutu.


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