Archive for December, 2009

Protests in Iran

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Over 6 months ago, we had a post about the protests going on in Iran, and how the moderate majority were clashing with the fundamentalist/extremists who run the government.  These protests are still going on, with another upsurge in protester activity happening this week.

The people who are protesting are regular people, people like you and me, who want to be part of a peaceful world community.  Right now, they are fighting against a repressive regime… a regime that is trying to silence the protesters with violence and censorship.  These people – the Iranian people struggling for their freedom – are our brothers and sisters, and they need our support.  We need them to know that they are not alone, and that the world supports them in their efforts to attain freedom and democracy.

Here are a few videos that the citizens have been able to sneak out despite the Iranian government’s crack-down.

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Morgan Spurlock, creator of Super Size Me and the TV show 30 Days, embarked on a quest to find the so-called leader of Al Qaeda in his latest documentary: Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

Where is OBL

His journeys brought him to Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Israel.  He talked to people on the street, relatives of suspected terrorists, and embedded with the US military for a day.  While he broached some serious issues, the overall tone was lighthearted and whimsical, thanks mostly to Spurlock’s affable personality.

One key point, recurring throughout, was how “extremism nourishes itself in the darkness” and “violence is birthed by economic dead ends.” Terrorist organizations find their recruits in kids with no jobs and no positive outlook… youth who are susceptible to their propaganda.

A big part of reducing terrorism can be achieved by addressing the underlying socio-economic conditions.  This point is reiterated by a US military officer (named Williams) who says with counter insurgency “killing doesn’t work.”  Instead, you need to focus on the people – give them clean water, medical clinics, schools… so that the Taliban cannot take hold.

Ultimately, what the filmmaker realized in his quest, is that the vast majority in the countries he visited (and the vast majority of people all around the world) are just like us.  Our world is full of regular people, trying to raise families and make ends meet, wishing nothing more than to live in a peaceful world.

UFC and the Marines

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The mixed martial arts league UFC, which pits two competitors against each other in an octagonal cage for sports fighting, relies upon sponsorship as one source of revenue.

One of their sponsors is the US Marine Corps, who’ve had a working relationship with the UFC for several years.  At least one UFC event was held for the troops, with the crowd being all military personnel and the funds raised going to help the war veterans (the UFC stepping up to do something the US government didn’t do).

Last night, during a pay-per-view event, they ran a 2-minute ad by the Marines (see below), which drew parallels between the UFC fighters and the soldiers in the Marines. The tag line was something like  “Some warriors fight in the cage, others fight all over the world”, and they showed clips of MMA fighters training, spliced in with military exercises.

This was a preposterous ad to watch… as if there is no difference between the two…  fighting is fighting is fighting…  the same honor, the same noble fight… just two skilled opponents dueling it out to see who is superior.  This  is just ABSURD!!!

In the UFC, the two combatants are usually fairly evenly matched.  Each is a willing participant, and they fight under a set of rules, watched by a ref and judges.  They fight for glory and competition and entertainment.

The US Military, on the other hand, is a powerhouse of well trained, well funded soldiers, and they attack the weakest possible enemies out there.  Their opponents are not willing combatants…  they are predominantly innocent victims and casualties.  The goal of the US Military is to beat their opponents into lifelessness, and then keep on beating until someone finally makes them stop and they move on to the their next victim.

While the Marines themselves may indeed be brave, the cause they fight for (despite the lies we are told) is not about honor or liberty, it is about making huge amount of profits for private interests, while at the same time causing untold amounts of suffering.  Billions in precious resources are squandered every year.  There is a huge toll on human lives, and the infrastructure of the invaded country.

To draw parallels between the UFC and the Marines is a disgusting act, and it shows just how desperate they are getting to suck in new recruits.  We need to keep war out of sports… in fact, we need to keep war off our planet entirely.

Peace DOT u4Ya

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

A new subdomain has been setup – as part of Stanford’s Peace Initiative.

The Peace Initiative is designed to coordinate peace efforts by having companies and organizations add their contributions to the growing peace movement to a specific subdomain – peace DOT [company’s URL].

This is a great initiative… coordinating individual peace efforts means we can be stronger, united.  Over the next two decades, we will undergo some remarkable changes to our world… humankind is coming together like never before, and soon we will be able to end institutionalized warfare and end extreme poverty forever.

Check out those who’ve already become involved in the Peace DOT Initiative by clicking here.  Facebook, SourceForge, and SafeWay are some of the big names who’ve signed on.