Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Iraq & apathy

I don't pretend to know much about world politics.

But I have a big problem with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, where the U.S. administration kept on and on about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posing a serious threat... only to have the same U.S. administration admit, how many months later, how many unnecessary civilian deaths later, how many millions of dollars better spent elsewhere later, that there were indeed no WMDs found.

I also don't understand how the eye of the U.S. settled on Iraq, when they were supposedly hunting Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 masterminds. They bombed Afghanistan, wrecked it, and the country has yet to recover... then suddenly the eye of Mordor swiveled and set its sight onto Iraq. (Can't you just picture that eye from the LOTR movies? )

I smell a "the end justifies the means" excuse coming up from the U.S. Administration...

... but wait... WHAT "end"???

I stumbled across a blog that provides an excellent inside look at what goes on in Iraq right now. Check out Baghdad Burning: riverbendblog.blogspot.com The latest article, at this time, describes her visit to a government office, where she is scolded for not wearing "proper attire" for a female. It's amazing to read that such behaviour (being hung up on covering women's heads, etc) is starting to flourish since the occupation. My impression that that entire region was totally in that rut before the occupation. So much to unlearn and relearn... The author writes well... next thing you know you'll find you've spent 3 hours or more just going through her postings!!

From Baghdad Burning, I found another few links worth reading... there are definitely so much more similar blogs out there, but if you are like me, any link will do so long as it gives me a flavour of what's out there.

Here's an excellent article on the speech Dubya should have given during his inauguration. I haven't surfed beyond that article, but here's the author's main page.

And here's a hard look at the U.S. occupation motives/reasons/excuses: Free Iraq

Maybe the above will help you learn a bit more of what is going on in the world today...

Why am I pointing you to these sites? Well... I feel one of humankind's great failings is apathy. And I feel Malaysians score really high in that angle.

Ask yourself: Do you really care about what is going on in Iraq? So what if there's probably nothing you can do right now that would impact that mess... do you actually have an opinion? If not on Iraq, then other stuff like... oh say... the way the Malaysian government (mis-)handled providing aid to the victims? The raid by JAWI on a nightclub, targeting Muslims only? The way your neighbourhood is kept safe/clean, or not? The way things are going on in your workplace?

I can already hear most people going "Yeah, yeah, yeah: I disagree with so much of what is going on. But what can I do?" "It's not the Malaysian way to voice protests."

And with such a defeatist attitude, apathy thrives

Get an opinion, folks! And even better: make sure it really is your opinion, and not you just regurgitating what you read/heard in the papers/tv/unverifiable emails, ok?

This reminds me of yet another Reader's Digest jewel: someone was raised by his parents, his dad in particular, to NOT make unsubstantiated statements of opinion. For example, after the author for some reason burst out that he "didn't like Van Gogh", he was asked why: he couldn't answer. Neither could he name any of Van Gogh's works. He was then ordered to "report back" to the dinner table the following day, and back-up his statement by not only citing 5 Van Gogh works, but by also providing his opinion of those works, and how they compared to a contemporary artist of that era.

wow... imagine such a scenario happening as you were growing up! I doubt you'd be among the multitudes that seem to swallow hook, line and sinker whatever the establishment spoonfeeds them.

Once you have an opinion, and I mean a logical/critically thought out opinion, it will follow that you will feel strongly for things that are happening: different causes like Iraq, or the many different aspects of the environment, or the lack or corporate governance in the government or your workplace. This will help you "think global, act local"

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead (1901-1978), American Anthropologist

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