10th May2011

The world needs to find peaceful ways to resolve conflict

by admin

Nowadays when you turn on your television or radio or even read the newspaper the world is in conflict. Osama Bin Laden, Gaddafi, Mugabe, the Middle East; but what always comes up in these conflicts is….yes the US. The US is arguably the most powerful state in the world since the end of the Second World War.  According to analysts, its control is declining but it still enjoys a lot of power in the United Nations Security Council and has the most sophisticated weapons in the world. Former president of the US declared a “war on terror” or “terrorism” during his term of office and used it as a justification to invade Iraq and Afghanistan even though the UN General Assembly had voted “NO”. The US under Bush and Britain under Blair still invaded anyway. Millions of civilians were killed in the process and it is not surprising that today the US owns the majority of the oil ports in that country. What is terrorism? There is no universally agreed or legally binding, criminal law definition. Confused?  I am too!! Bush defined terrorism as acts of violence meant to create terror on civilians. Let’s look at this again, acts of violence meant to create terror? When the US invaded Iraq, were those not acts of violence? According to international law, the war on terror is not a declared or justified war. It is also important to note that international law is not binding, meaning countries can choose to ignore the law like the US and Britain did. You be the judge.

Recently the leader of Al-Qaida was assassinated by the US (assuming of course that he did exist in the first place and if so, that he is dead). What was the role of international law in the sovereignty of Pakistan? I believe the US has violated the sovereignty of Pakistan; yet no one seems to be concerned about that. Is it acceptable for the US to continuously invade countries, disregarding the sovereignty and terrorizing civilians just because of the “war on terror”? Mind you: the now international icon and Nobel peace prize winner, Nelson Mandela, was once called a terrorist by the US. The point is that anyone who does not agree with the US will be labeled a terrorist. But the real terrorist is the US government which has continuously supported dictators in the Middle East when it was convenient for them, resulting in the oppression of Palestinians. Hence, the formation of Al-Qaida as a Sunni Muslim military movement which needs to return to Palestine. The act of September 11 happens every day in the Middle East on innocent Palestinians; the only difference is that September 11 happened in the US!! But an even greater number die in the Middle East, in Africa and other parts of the world. Should we be shaken because it happened in the US? You be the judge.

The idea of international peace is a wonderful one but so long as international law is not binding and countries can choose to ignore the laws, we will not get international peace. I was stunned by the fact that almost everyone I know was celebrating the death of the Al-Qaida leader as if the agency of the dreams and the needs of millions of Palestinians will go away. As if his death is the end of “terrorism”. News reports said he was “unarmed” although people around him may have been armed. But was there really a need to kill an unarmed man and celebrate it? Again Gaddafi’s son and grandson were killed in another mission of the US to terrorize the world. What then gives the US the right to disregard international law and undermine the sovereignty of states and kill people? You be the judge.

The point of this piece is to show that we need more peaceful ways to resolve conflict in the world. I mean if democracy indeed is what the US is promoting, then if one is communist let them be. I am not in any way trying to justify the mass killing or 9/11 or any form of violence but I am saying that the whole reason we have terrorism is because the needs of Palestinians are not taken into account! They remain a scattered nation with no place they can call their own and it is about time that the long conflict in the Middle East be resolved by peaceful means. If indeed democracy is about equality and prosperity, it should not be that because one country holds a permanent seat in the Security Council, it holds more power than the rest in the General Assembly. It is human nature that we have different views. It is inevitable but does it mean that we always have to go to war each time we disagree? You be the judge.

But while thinking about this, think about how vague the concept of terrorism is and how we have come to accept that any description given to us by the US and Bin Laden is a product of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US themselves!

Tokelo Nhlapo

10th May2011

WALE screening of ‘Enjoy Poverty’

by admin

As part of the Wits WALE festival, the Wits Department of Media Studies invites you to:

A screening of ‘Enjoy Poverty’ and  Q & A with Dr Patience Kabamba

Dates: Thursday 12 May, 14-16hrs; Saturday 14 May, 10-12hrs

Venue: Appollonia Lecture Theatre, Wits School of Arts, East Campus, Wits University

Enjoy Poverty (2009) is a provocative, documentary-style film made by the Dutch artist Renzo Martens. Critiquing the Western production of images on Africa and focusing specifically on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the film controversially suggests that poverty is a natural resource that can be exploited by Africans. For further reading on the film, please check here.

“Never before has a film affected me so much or created such indifference within me. It took hours before I could process what I had seen. Before I could try to make sense of it” (www.artreview.com on ‘Enjoy Poverty’).

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the Congolese anthropologist Dr Patience Kabamba from the University of Johannesburg.

For further details, please contact Dr Last Moyo (last.moyo@wits.ac.za) or Dr Wendy Willems (wendy.willems@wits.ac.za)

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