Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rebuffs Obama’s peace message

March 22, 2009

In a video message on March 20, 2009, Pres. Barack Obama tried to reach out to Iran, reminding the hard-line Islamic country to show its greatness not by way of arms, but through peaceful means.

His offer to normalize relations with the mullah-dominated country is a campaign promise he had to fulfill—a radical digression from Pres. George W. Bush’s policy of non-negotiation towards a regime known to be part of the “axis of evil” that threatens to wipe out Israel.

Obama’s peaceful diplomacy is what most of the Western world wanted. Yet, this presidential gesture delivered in time for the Persian new year of Nowruz is looked upon as a form of “surrender” which the “hard” Muslims expect from the “soft” Americans. Iran thinks the United States, saddled by economic problems, is wearied by terrorism and preoccupied by the Iraqi and Afghan wars; it doesn’t have the enough strength to fight. That’s why Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to rebuff the US president.

“He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed…Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime? Even the language remains unchanged.” —-Yahoo News/ AP (03/21/09, Dareini, A)

Iran finds a new sense of self-importance learning of Obama’s conciliatory stance to patch up the strained relations between the two countries. Denying terrorism and the Iran’s race to produce nuclear arms, Khamenei lashed on Obama by mentioning a litany of Iran’s grievances against the United States.

Amid calls of “Death to America” from his audience, the cleric-leader dwelt on long standing hostilities since diplomatic ties were severed after the fall of the pro-US Shah government about 30 years ago.

Many have some inkling on know how the Iranians are taking Obama’s peace overtures. Iranians opposed to the cleric-controlled government may support him. But others may look at his peace suggestion as a sign of weakness. Like other warlike Muslims in other parts of the world, Iranians don’t respect a man who looks like a wimp even if he is the president of the United States. (Photo Credit: Polyphake; Photon Trap)=0=

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Israeli air strikes leave 200+ dead in Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008

As Pope Benedict XVI calls for renunciation of violence during the holy season of Christmas, Israelis and Palestinians are on a bloody confrontation again in the Gaza Strip leaving at least 200 dead and injuring about 400 more. This is the result of heavy air strikes conducted by Israeli troops against militant Palestinian targets in Hamas-dominated territory a week after a 6-month ceasefire truce expired.

The resumption of bombings and killings on Saturday, December 27, 2008, is supposed to be Israel’s retaliation to months of Hamas’ mortar fires and indiscriminate rocket launches which terrorize about ¼ million Israelis who live in the area.

Hamas infrastructures and installations had been destroyed and many security officers were killed or hurt. Gaza residents had been on the state of panic as the death toll rose and the wounded victims flooded hospitals and clinics.

“The offensive sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation.”— YahooNews.com; AP (12/28/08 Barzak, Brahim)

Hamas, the radical group considered by Israel as a terrorist organization, called for revenge, but Isreali military authorities had been firm in their stance. In spite of the call for calm, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak vowed to widen the military offensive if needed. Israel did not set a time-line on when the air strikes would end.

The long-standing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has taxed peace-makers for decades, but a solution has been consistently elusive. Extremist Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East who support the Palestinians call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. (Photo Credits: AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AFP; AP/ Mohammed Zastari) =0=

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Iran’s Ahmadinejad & the Impotence of the United Nations

September 24, 2008

Side by side with the financial crisis rocking America, the threat of terrorism showed its ugly head when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a controversial speech in the United Nations (UN) in New York City today September 23, 2008, highlighting the impotence and hypocrisy of current world politics. His allusion to a pessimistic outlook of America is as though the United States is alone in its march towards a rough ride into the future.

Faced with a global economy, exploding population, dwindling resources, differing value judgments and relativist view of truth, America shares its problems with everybody. This is what is happening in the current economic crisis. The financial flu sweeping the United States is threatening to be a world pandemic of economic and political woes whose end result for the world is scary to imagine.

Wishing bad things to happen for America isn’t good to the peace and stability of its global neighbors. Just as the full-blown effects of the present US economic downturn are starting to be felt, the world waits on the edge; nobody knows how it will end. But even without this, Iran has been suffering under the current Islamic regime of Ahmadinejad. Outside the UN headquarters, he is met by protests and jeers by those who disagree with him.

The United Nations (UN) has been inutile in convincing Iran to stop its nuclear program. Effective in fighting certain world problems, UN is “forced” to give air time to Ahmadinejad whose horrific support for terrorism and promotion to destroy Israel sends goose bumps to decent people worldide. Most observers doubt Ahmadinejad’s hyperbolic rhetorics and many don’t believe his vitriol and clever pretentions. With a sluggish UN, few nations however speak up and stand against his way.

For not suspending its uranium enrichment, three rounds of UN sanctions hasn’t deterred Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. It’s this type of UN sanctions that Sadam Hussein endured until after 16 unheeded resolutions which led to the Iraq war that was supported albeit lamely by the UN.

The possibililty of nuclear war is ever more real in the current stockpiles of weapons whose oversight is increasingly becoming more difficult. Serving as a political tool and a weapon of intimidation, the acquisition of nuclear arms by unstable countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea is a scary step towards the planet’s destruction. It encourages terrorists and extremists to work harder to destabilize the world and make the nuclear cloud closer to reality.

With rogue nations sitting side by side in UN in “cooperation” with those committed to make the world a peaceful place, the challenge of diplomacy is ever more complex and daunting. The world body cannot even agree on who are the terrorists. Having reckless leaders like Ahmadinejad who denies the holocaust, lacks accountability, threatens Israel, and wages proxy wars (Hezbollah and Iraq) could be the signs of what lies in the future. It’s at this late hour that world is learning. Sooner or later, it must wake up and confront the reality at hand. Photo Credits: Ben Heine; Nickolette22; MihaiRomanciuc)=0=

Land domains and the language of peace

August 31, 2008

As pretty as the sea shells that dangle in the wind along pristine shores of Gubat, Sorsogon, the sound of Bicol is as musical as Waray. It’s the language of neighbor-islands that is as wonderful as the photo of polished cowries adorning the shell décors crafted by Gubatnons in the Southern tip of Luzon.

To me, it’s not the differences in how we speak that counts, but the similarities that can help us move on as a nation. By the similar language we speak, we must be blessed in harmony the Warays.

In Apolonio Baylon’s insightful explanation why geography is important in the ultimate solution of the Mindanao strife, I find language as a plus factor for peace. Do Moslems and Christians speak the same language too? We all must seek such commonality more than our difference. We must transcend beyond ethnicity and religion to overcome the barriers of bias and hate.

Sharing a language and redefining territorial boundaries as proposed in MOA-AD may determine how much gold the earth’s bowels can give us, but in finality, the initiatives for peace between us is the way to go in coming to terms with each other— in banishing animosity in our soul. Greater than ourselves and undoubtedly more precious, we must all work for peace. =0=