Category Archives: politics

Fake News

Hoax – Word of the Day

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From the dawn of time to the Lock Ness Monster, to Joseph Goebbels, Lavrentiy Beria, the Vietnam lie, the Watergate Seven, to Weapons of Mass Destruction, to the constancy of daily lies pedalled across the world by politicians, media, businesses, rogue scientists, fundamentalist religious types (remember Jim Jones, David Koresh, Pat Robertson), or the hoax about a hoax – the radio show of Orson Wells which featured his War of the Worlds alien invasion, and which was said to have created mass panic and evacuation of New York, now proven to be an invention created from a handful of hysterical phone calls and an attack on a civic facility thought to be an alien fortress. It certainly helped Wells and the radio station maintain popularity and gain sponsors.

Hoaxes, scams, fake news have all been around since Adam (a story which includes a scam). Generally they fall into two categories, harmful (weapons of mass destruction), and harmless (Loch Ness Monster). They are all fabrications, lies. It is difficult now to believe anything that is reported in mainstream news, at least until it has been checked. But then, people can be fake in their relationships, pretending to be someone or something.

Black Lives Matter, #Me Too, are also testimony to how fake news, lies, fabrications distort race, gender, and destroy individuals and relationships. In Australia the plight of indigenous children removed from families, based on cultural arrogance and self serving mythology, and the devastating findings of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse has shown how fake reputations, scams and lies enabled vulnerable children to be broken.

Yet, I remain optimistic. In my daily journey I meet many, many people who restore my belief that most people value each other at some level, that the human endeavour is still somehow linked to the golden rule (treat others as you would want to be treated), no matter how we might feel that that is tenuous, the anecdotal evidence is strong. Importantly, I remind myself that there, as the old saying goes, but for the grace of God there go I! Who am I? No one is perfect, and so we need to gentle with each other.

Lies will continue, there will be hoaxes, scams, fake news and distortions. Our response surely must be to discern the truth, but also to hold each other in the space of love, trust, healing, and above all, to listen. The power of listening can be healing in itself, and in the long term the way to truth. To listen to the vulnerable (and who is not vulnerable in some way?), the broken (and who is not broken in some way?), to listen to each other generously and deeply. That way myths come undone, lies are made plain, pain is held, anxiety understood, vanity deconstructed, fear disarmed … in the end, in a world where fake news and distrust could overpower us, we have each other, not bury our heads in activity, but to value each other, build trust, support, resilience, that will enable us to face the world together. Together we can rise above fake.

”No one can lie, no one can hide anything, when s/he looks directly into someone’s eyes.” Paul Coelho

”A lie cannot live.” Martin Luther King Jnr.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Nefarious Activists?

Nefarious – Word of the Day

 

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Image: techviral.net

Black, grey white hats – hacking of course!

White Hat hackers are ethical hackers, they simply use hacking techniques to test software and security systems. The Grey Hat hacker is not malicious, but occasionally violates ethical principles and laws. Black Hats are the bad guys, they are nefarious, according to law enforcement agencies and commercial interests, they infiltrate systems, wipe, steal and disrupt. Or do they?

As often happens with any fear of wrong doing or alleged crime, truth is often the first casualty. Black Hats are simply lumped in together. So consider Gary McKinnon, formerly known as Solo, who hacked ino 97 US military and NASA systems between 2001 and 2002, altering and removing data. Mckinnon claimed he was looking for information about UFOs, extraterrestials, and chemical suppression processes. Extradition to the US from Britain was attempted but in the end refused. McKinnon remained free, and in the ensuing investigations, it transpired that the sensational claims made against him were inaccurate. But then we had Kevin Poulson who committed fraud and theft using hacking skills, he was caught and sent to prison, but now works at The Daily Beast and has been an editor at  Wired.

So, two different motives appear, one to find information that is being hidden from the public, the other to do the equivalent of the old bank robbery. Both are considered to be crimes, however, in my mind, McKinnon was not seeking gain, whereas Poulson’s sought financial gain through theft. I have some sympathy for Mckinnon, and none for Poulson.

Anonymous is a loose collective of what are referred to as hacktivists, they are  amorphous and ever changing, and they have specialised in cyber attack, especially in matters of justice and claims to avenge corruption and injustice. It is typified by the headless man symbol – meaning there is no central leader or leadership, and in public the use of the Zorro mask is now synonymous. Many have referred to the group as a cyber Robin Hood. Their main purpose has been to temporarily shut down websites and services as a form of protest. anonymous has exposed pedophile groups, sweat shops, cheating spouses, racial profiling, racist political groups, corrupt politicians and more. They led cyber attacks on Scientology, Westboro Baptist Church, and commercial interests who have been show to behave unjustly. They have been supporters of Wikileaks, Occupy and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Wikileaks is a group that operates a website and who post hacked or leaked material, mainly suppressed material from around the globe, it has also set up a research wing looking at the material it posts. It was founded by Julian Assange, who has been the subject of an extradition battle by the US. Although it has had a controversial history thus far, and some alleged nefarious dealings with Russian interests, Wikileaks has also exposed commercial and government lies, duplicity, and deception around the globe. Wikileaks has exposed nuclear dsiasters, environmental abuses,government corruption, military attacks on civilians, plots and threats, and police corruption. Basically taking up the role of an independent watchdog.

These groups are indeed nefarious, but the one’s I really don’t like are those that are just common thieves. The rest, while motives are mixed, and methods questionable, at least they have sought a way to make governments and commercial interests accountable. in my view it is laughable when western government agencies protest about the crimes of hacktivists and in particular the shady methods they use, I see that as the kettle calling the pot black. So it all depends on where you are standing as to how you might see this issue, but I for one see a glimmer of good in the work of Anonymous and Wikileaks. Governments become arrogant, and as has been shown by hacktivists, they lie to the people, even to themselves, and that means power has been corrupted.

The US and its allies speak of hacktivists as terrorists. I beg to differ, it’s a little childish to exaggerate the issue. Besides, in my view these people have done exactly what Mark Felt, Daniel Elsberg and others before them have done, but in a global and accessible way using the internet. In that sense, hacktivists are whistleblowing. We may not like their methods or their attitude, but just look at some of the results.

For me, the work of the hacktivists is more about getting to the truth and preserving freedom of speech. While truth is relative, freedom of speech is sacrosanct and should be defended no matter what. How did keeping the Iran nuclear leak in 2009 suppressed protect national security? It didn’t. Freedom of speech is far more important than someone’s opinion that government should be protected at all costs.

Some related quotes I like:

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”  Harry Truman speaking to Congress August 8, 1950.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell

Speak your truth!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under history, life, Philosophy/Theology, politics, quote, Whistleblowing

Elegant Humanitarian

Elegant – Word of the Day

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Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993), a personification of elegance. Certainly petite, refined, beautiful, and yes, elegant. But no matter who or what, we place that descriptor upon people or objects, it is our perception of them, not as they see themselves or how they experience themselves. We know that to be true because at times we are sometimes aware that we don’t see ourselves as others see us. Having said that, I’m happy to say that I think she’s elegant. I really enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but have seen most of her movies over the years. One of the contributing factors to her elegance was her stance, dress and movement – as a child she had learned ballet, and this was clearly formative.

She was ten when WW2 broke out. Her English/Austrian father was involved in the 1930s with the Dutch and British Fascist movements. Ironically hepburn and her mother were involved in fund raising for the Dutch Resistance, though by the time the Germans had invaded Holland, her father had left the family for England then on to Ireland. The war left an indelible imprint on her, she recounted the horror as a child of the invasion, the fighting, the death of family (an uncle was executed as a reprisal), seeing Jewish people being transported, especially children her age, firing squads and more. The food shortages were severe at the end of the war and Hepburn suffered acute anemia, repiratory problems, and edema which resulted from malnutrition.

Hepburn had a long association with UNICEF, having been one of the recipients of international aid in areas devastated by the war. Her formal association began in the 1950s when she narrated two radio programs for them. In 1989 she was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. She served in that role until 1992, travelling to Ethiopia, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Sudan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Somalia, to promote aid programs and listen to needs on the ground. She advocated for clean water and vaccination programs in particular, lobbying the UN and national governments.

During the Bangladesh visit she was observed hugging children who were covered in flies, she had no aversion, only compassion.

Two of my favourite Hepburn quotes are:

“Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicisation of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanisation of politics.”

“The ‘Third World’ is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.”

I think her true elegance was in her humanitarian work, that she loved the unloveable, wasn’t afraid to get dirty, was passionate in her advocacy and lobbying. She brought a gravitas, dignity and integrity to the role. Which brings me back to the comment I made earlier, elegance in looks is about perception and description, but elegance in behaviour is something more, it is that inner beauty we speak of, embodied, tangible, and lived, it is real. Hepburn lived her humanitarian work. Hepburn once quipped that ordinary working women could achieve her fashion look easily (and told them how). I think everyday people can achieve her lived elegance in compassion.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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One of the Great Negotiators

Negotiate – Word of the Day

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Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961) a Swedish Diplomat, economist and from 1953 – 1961 he was the UN Secretary General. He was also a deeply spiritual person, a contemplative who loved the medieval mystics. His book ‘Markings’ a journal of his spiritual struggles was posthumously published with a foreword by his friend, the poet W.H. Auden. He called his diary – negotiations with himself and with God.

Hammarskjold was propopsed by the British Foreign Secertary Anthony Eden who was impressed with Hammarskjold’s work in diplomacy and economics. The vote was almost unanimous in the Security Council and Hammarskjold was announced as the next Secretary General. The American and Soviet delegates thought Hammarskjold was harmless. He was reelected in 1957.

Hammarskjold was unaware of the nomination, and in fact thought the media report was a joke, and because it was announced on April 1st, he quipped that it was a bad April Fools joke. But it was indeed true.

Hammarskjold believed that relationships were important and that example was one of the best forms of leadership. He tried to meet as many employees at the UN as possible, he ate regularly in the staff cafe, he refused to use his private lift and opened it for general use, he established the meditation room (which he helped to design) which was to be for withdrawal and reflection, a place for silence, and a multi-faith space. He prevented FBI intervention at the UN that his predecessor had allowed at the height of McCarthyism. And he brought order and regulatory process to an organisation in crisis.

He was an able negotiator. He made some impact on relations between Israel and the Arab states. In 1955 he successfully negotiated the release of eleven US airmen who were prisoners from the Korean War. In 1956 he played a major role in ending the Suez Crisis, There are many other negotiations that he was involved in, and which demonstrate his capacity to work hard and achieve a positive outcome. Not everything was plain sailing though, the Congo was unresolved, interrupted by his death, and the Soviet interference and then occupation of Hungary was frustrating for Hammaskjold as there was little he could do to bring a resolution forward.

His role in the Congo Crisis was cut short by his death as the result of a plane crash travelling to Congo. There are those who still believe that Congolese rebels associated with mining interests were responsible for the plane crash, but no substantive proofs have come to light, including a UN 2015 investigation into the matter. Hammarskjold made four visits to the Congo. It was, as history has shown, a tangled web of politics and power plays. The USSR and the Americans had their own people on the ground and were manipulating much of the power play. The Congo had become factionalised on independence, and the popularly elected Prime-minister Patrice Lumumba was murdered. It was utter chaos.

J.F. Kennedy said of Hammarskjold: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.” Kennedy was reflecting on Hammarskjold’s death and on his own resistance to Hammarskjold’s policy in the Congo.

Extreme left and right views are critical of Hammarskjold, and in the main these revolve around the immpossible situation in Hungary, and the seemingly intractable problem in the Congo. But for me they are the proof, by comparison, of the majority of successes he was part of and integral to. His record stands as testimony to his great ability to network, form key relationships, to maintain a consistent approach, and to believe the best in people. His commitment was to keeping peace and finding better ways for nations to negotiate their differences. He formed the UN Emergency Response Group, and initiated the first Peace Keeping force. He was posthumously awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1961.

His strength came from his contemplative stance, especially meditation, and his sheer passion for peace in the world. His personal belief was that selfless service to humanity was crucial. Whatever you may think of him, he was one of the great negotiators of the 20th century.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

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Retrospective On Liberty

Retrospective

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Eugene Delacroix (1798 – 1863)  “Liberty Leading The People” and my favourite Delacroix painting.

The louvre will host a retrospective of his most famous and also his scandalous works in July this year. It is billed as a once in a generation tribute to Delacroix, consisting of 180 works. Alexandre Dumas wrote that: “The genius of Delacxroix is not debatable, it is not demonstrable, it is something one feels.” Delacroix was acknowledged in his lifetime as the leading painter of the Romantic school, but not one who was idealistic, instead he was noted as being passionate about passion. Clearly his paintings are from the heart.

This painting is significant in France because it depicts the the 1830 revolution against Charles X. Liberty leads the people under the Tricolour – liberty, equality, and fraternity, over the dead bodies of struggle. Liberty is a type, a depiction of liberty goddesses. Liberty became a symbol of France and the Republic known as Marianne. Liberty has a long history and was early represented by the Roman goddess Libertas. Ever since there have been various representations, none so grand as the gift of France to the US which we all know as the Statue of Liberty. Latvia has the Freedom Monument in Riga, which is quite impressive to view.

The most poignant for me was the short lived Goddess of Democracy errected by the Democracy Movement during the protest in Tiananmen Square, the hastily constructed statue re-ignited the focus of the waning passion of the movement, only to be crushed by the Peoples Liberation Army (an oxy moron if ever there was one), as the protesters were dispersed, the statue was destroyed, but working from footage of the protest replicas appeared in – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, and several in the US.

The statues, the painting, show how symbols can work to unite, galvanise, enthuse and encourage peopel to a cause. Delacroix shows how the principle of liberty is noble while the destruction of the Goddess of Democracy shows how little liberty is valued by those who hold power. This of course, was the irony of the first French Republic which degenerated into infighting, murder, and the macabre spectacle of the overworked guilotine. True liberty is hard won, and even harder to keep.

What I like most about the painting is the sense that liberty, equality and fraternity are important, and history shows we are drawn to these values to the point that we will gather and fight for them even if we have little chance of winning. The Goddess of Liberty, in whichever form she appears, is a torch, a beacon of hope to rally around. But I don’t see one at the moment! Perhaps this time around we won’t have a singular unifying symbol, but rather, many symbols.

In a more personal sense it raises the question as to what matters most in our lives. In daily practical application will I practice these values on public transport and in public spaces, at home, and in my work? Will I speak justice into the public space? Will I hold more than just my liberty as precious? Will I stand with others? If the WordPress community is any example, then my hope is well founded that I/we can hold and live those values.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under art, community, history, life, mindfulness, Mythology, Philosophy/Theology, politics, quote

Juxtaposition For Change

Juxtapose

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(Image: https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2015/06/01/17/food-waste.png)

 

I find this image a powerful juxtaposition, and clearly this was the intention, and full credit to the artist who constructed it because it really sends a message. The date in the URL indicates that this artistic comment was prior to, and part of, the European change forcing supermarkets to donate their superceded fresh food to charities working with the homeless and destitute. The Guardian 5.2.2016 reported that the French government had legislated to make supermarkets give unsold food to charities for redistribution, instead of destroying it or dumping it. According to the Guardian, at that point French had been wasting 7 million tonnes of food annually.

In the UK Tesco, according to the Daily Mail, June 4, 2015, voluntarily has offered to give food to charities as part of a waste cutting process. And into 2018, it is the food charities in Australia that are being proactive in pursuing the supermarkets to donate to groups like Foodbank. and similar work is being done in the US and elsewhere.

In some countries there has been a clever utilization of technology whereby there are apps to help groups, individuals and companies to strategically donate.

It is a win-win. The supermarkets can sign off on community charity work, the supermarkets can deal with waste as an issue, the charities are now receiving the help they’ve only ever dreamed about, and the people in desperate need are receiving help. The only note of sadness is that it has taken a crisis of waste to shame the govenrments and supermarkets into action. But at least they’ve now taken action. And to think that most of it (though not all, because in some countries it was utilized in farming) was destined for landfill.

It’s not new, but it is a renewal of an older idea that has returned out of necessity. I’m really taken with this new found advocacy that has sought to influence how community works and how commercial interests behave. What excites me most is that it has been a grass roots process to get the supermarkets and governments to cooperate in such a venture. It tells me that people power is still a legitimate force, that there is a conscience in many places across the world, that ordinary people can influence poltical and commercial process, and that we can be creative in response to needs.

It gives me hope that we are not giving up, that we can tackle the big issues and make headway. It also tells me that we can do more. If we can influence food policy, surely we can tackle even bigger issues, like dealing with developing world debt, disease, poverty, homelessness, refugees, and even war.

Food is not all that we waste. We waste time, money and ability. There has been, in Australia, a diminishing of volunteering, there has been a lack of commitment to helping those charitees working with refugees, the homeless, and those in poverty. But if we can change food policy, surely we can change other avenues of social and economic need. To me there is more to be done at the point of cause. why is there wasted food in supermarkets? So, it’s about tackling the big questions of how we can effect change in society, especially for the most vulnerable. And when you lose heart because change seems impossible, such achievements as this give hope for the long haul, that, in fact, change is achieveable, it only takes, energy, passion, time and effort on our part. Let’s not waste our time!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

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When Truth Disappears

via Daily Prompt: Disappear

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Daniel Ellsberg.

Last week I watched the movie “The Post”, it has a stellar cast with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, Spielberg directing. For me the technical side of the movie was irelevant, because what was more important in this movie was the story itself, the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Ellsberg, who had served in the marines in the late 50s, joined the Rand Corporation as a strategic analyst focussing on nuclear strategy. He completed his PhD in economics in 1962, and then in 1964 went to work at the Pentagon as assistant to John McNaughton. He then went to Vietnam for two years, working for general Lansdale through the State Dept. It was while in Vietnam that Ellsberg began to question the US involvement in the war.

When Ellsberg returned from Vietnam he returned to the Rand Corporation, and in 67 he contributed to the top-secret study on the Vietnam war commissioned by McNamara. This study was completed in 1968 and titled The Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg now understood the war to be one of US aggression and not one of support for a legitimate govt. under attack, and was therefore an illigitimate war under the UN Charter. Ellsberg could see from the study that from Kenedy to Johnson to Nixon the US Administration had known they would never win the war the way they were fighting it, so they were simply face saving and condemning a generation of young men to death while destroying another country. Ellsberg with help from a colleague, made secret copies of the Papers. In 1970 he tried to persuade selected US senators to bring them to the senate floor as evidence. This failed, and in 1971 he sent a copy to the NY Times correspondent Neil Sheehan, who published an excerpt with teh promise of a serial. The Nixon Administration sought a court injunction, and succeeded. Ellsberg then gave the papers to The Washington Post, and several other newspapers, who printed them. Another injunction was sought, but the Administration lost and the ruling allowed freedom to print, and they did.

As an aside, Nixon aide Erlichman authorised the formation of “The Whitehouse Plumbers”, Hunt and Liddy, as they were infamously known, to break into Ellsberg’s Psychiatrist’s office and get his files, they did but found nothing worth using against Ellsberg. This action was recorded on tape, and was the undoing of the Administration’s attempt to convict Ellsberg. Notably, shortly after this, the “Plumbers” raided the Watergate office of the Democrat Party, and so Nixon’s fate was then sealed.

The publication of the Pentagon Papers were deemed by the US Supreme Court to be a right of free speech and this ruling was seen as a landmark case. The publication damaged the war effort and was part of the turning of the tide, it shocked a nation that they had been so blatantly lied to by successive administrations. The truth had been a casualty, the truth had disappeared.

But then, isn’t that the story of politics?

  • The fabrication of stories to create a power block in Argentina 74 – 88, which included the systematic murder, rape and torture of citizens deemed to be in opposition to the Junta.
  • The illegal coup by Pinochet based on the projected fear of communism, also resulting in systematic murder, rape and torture of citizens deemed to be in opposition to the Dictator.
  • El Salvador – ditto.
  • Bush Jnr., Blair, Howard and the cooked up (the never found, mythical weapons of mass destruction) need to invade Iraq (not forgetting Somalia and Afghanistan before that).
  • The current rhetoric coming out of the US and UK on Iran is going the same route.

The truth has disappeared in politics, and when truth disappears we should be concerned to restore the truth. I do not believe that governments have any right to hold documents in secret. The argument that secrecy protects the government and security is clearly an oxymoron. Secrecy in government is about staying in power and hiding unethical and criminal behaviour, as a series of whistleblowers have shown over the decades.

Whistleblowing is a dangerous role in any society, and one where any govenrment can cast you as the enemy, but one that some people take seriously as the only action they can take for the good of the people. Ellsberg, Felt, Bukovsky, Ponting, Silkwood, Wright, Vanunu, Serpico, Gun, Manning, Asange, Snowdon, and dozens more have surrendered their own safety and rights to expose the lies that governments and corporations (sometimes colluding) concoct for their own puposes. Sadly, while many western governments have legislated to give some protection of whistleblowers, it usually falls short of full protection and such legislation is still prejudiced in favour of governments and corporations.

Daniel Ellsberg set up “The Truth-Telling Project in the early 2000s, but that is now defunct (though other groups now use that name for other puposes). He spends time writing about the importance of whistleblowing, and supporting those who take that step.

The Pentagon Papers release and whistlebowing in general reminds me of that famous dictum of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good (men – sic) people do nothing.” And that beautiful quote from Ann Frank: “How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Let’s not be ostriches, let’s be truth tellers where we are, let’s make truth reappear.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Core Values

via Daily Prompt: Core

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Are there any angels in Politics? Gandhi, but so few others. No one is perfect, as the saying goes, and perception is probably 9/10 of the problem.

There are a number of political biographies that I read in my teens and twenties, and which have haunted me ever since. Martin Luther King Jnr., Sukarno, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandella, Steve Biko, And Patrice Lumumba (photo above). My blood still boils at the injustices they have suffered.

It was the early 1960s, African nationalist movements were in full swing, independence was coming. The Cold War was the context, and African minerals were the agenda, especially uranium, and the West would do anything to preserve their access. If you then place a leader who is a strong nationalist in power and who then pursues independence and who rails against the old colonial powers, you have the risk of losing those minerals. What to do? Kill that leader of course. But first make sure that his country, and then the world, see that leader as deeply flawed, incompetent, corrupt, a communist, an extremist, anti-western, and so on. Then shoot them.

Lumumba was a Pan-African, he wanted to see an interdependent cooperative Africa, and to be free of colonial control. He believed that african nations could be great nations under their own people. He was intensely critical of the colonial powers, in particular, Belgium, who had ruled his own country Congo and had a murky record in governance of Congo. He was for nonalignment – the stance of not choosing sides between the US and the Soviet Union. His main principle of governance was “National Unity.”

No sooner had independence been grudgingly and conditionally granted to Congo by Belgium, that Lumumba had won government with his party Mouvemnet National Congolais (MNC). But then a crisis developed over political direction and dependence on Belgium. Lumumba began to extract Congo from colonial trade and patterns, this caused anxiety in the US, UK, and Belgium, all who were worried that this young primeminister would turn to the Soviet Union for trade and support. The western nations are implicated in wanting to remove Lumumba, but none have been directly connected to the firing squad that murdered him.

Lumumba was deposed, arrested and imprisoned by the military, tortured and later shot. The man who was behind this was Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko (with western suport), who installed a government under his own control, and later in 1965, he overturned that government and became direct military ruler of the Congo until 1997. The only real winners in all of this were the western powers, notably, Congo has never thrived, it has given western nations its minerals at great cost to itself.

Patrice Lumumba had strong core vlaues, his was a selfless desire to lead Congo into a strong independent nation, he wanted his people to have access to health and education, he had hopes to provide modernization, and decolonialisation. He wanted Congo to benefit from its own natural wealth. He talked of an egalitarian community where everyone was valued. For this he was painted as a communist and as a dangerous leader. For these values he was murdered.

In his famous speech before independence, a speech highly criticized by western leaders, Lumumba said: “The colonialists care nothing for Africa for her own sake. They are attracted by African riches and their actions are guided by the desire to preserve their interests in Africa against the wishes of the African people. For the colonialists all means are good if they help them to possess these riches.”

How prophetic! He was absolutely right. He is still right.

Patrice Lumumba’s life ended in tragedy, but it wasn’t completely in vain. He inspired his people to seek the best for Congo. Many of his political ideals have been picked up across Africa, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his thinking has been embraced on a number of fronts.

For me, Lumumba’s story is a reminder that there is a cost for integrity in political leadership.  For Lumumba there was no other way, there would have been a cost for him personally had he caved in to Mobutu and the West. He was true to his vision and core values. He was far from perfect, but he died for his vision for the future of Congo, and that vision lives on.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under Economics, history, Philosophy/Theology, politics, quote

Rebel Without A Gun

via Daily Prompt: Rebel

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James Dean? Che Guevara? Arafat, Mobutu, who?

Mohanda Karamchand Gandhi, the quiet revolutionary, and was living proof that violence isn’t requisite for societal, especially political change.

Trained in law in London from 1888, then he initially served the Indian expatriate community in South Africa for twenty-one years, and it is during this time that he formed his social and political views. He opposed the race laws that affected his people, which brought physical and political retribution against him, but he persevered, and peacefully, influencing people and decisions where he could.

But in 1915 he returned to India. There he immediately threw himself into the fight for independence from Britain. Gandhi used law, legislation, and commincation to take the fight through the people for Indian sovereignty. He harnessed the people and the process. Again he was gaoled, and targeted by the British administration. Yet his response was always peaceful protest. He organised peaceful protests, trade boycots, local product fidelity, and more. He hit the British economically, administratively and politically, a very astute leader. One high point was the famous Salt March in 1930 where Ghandi organised a boycot against the British salt tax, he and thousands who joined him along the way, marched 388 kms from Ahmedabad to Dandi on the coast, it captured the nation and wounded the British image irreparably. The administration loathed Gandhi, and Churchill branded him as seditious and dangerous, a Hindu Mussolini! He was a true rebel, but without a gun.

Indian independence arrived August 15, 1947. It was tainted for Gandhi by the seprate agreement of the British to allow the partition of India to include East and West Pakistan as separate states for Muslims. Gandhi opposed the move. Many died in the process, but civil war did not erupt.

Gandhi believed that love could win over hate. His life is testimony that it can, and it can bring down empires and open the door to new visions. His patience won out in the end.

Sadly he was assasinated on January 30 1948, but his life was clearly not in vain. He has been a model for many others of many cultures and beliefs, and an inspiration for peaceful protest for change (Aung San Suu Kyi and Benazir Bhutto come to mind). But he, I’m sure would be the first to acknowledge that what mattered was that he’d managed to inspire his own people, that’s my kind of rebel, peaceful, loving, grass-roots based.

Two quotes of his that I love are:

“the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”

“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, Economics, history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, politics

3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

Margaret Mead

1024px-Margaret_Mead_(1901-1978).jpg

One of the many inspiring things Margaret Mead observed and commented on was about the capacity of small groups to change the world. She said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I don’t know about you, but that last line is wonderful and hopeful, and that really speaks to me.

 

Thanks for the nomination to the challenge from Soul Write Empire

Rules for nomination:

Thank the nominating blogger

Post three quotes (one per day)

Nominate three bloggers each day.

My nominations are:

Crazartt

Nasuko Japan

Tracy Muso

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, mindfulness, politics, quote