I think this video of a 12 year old girl and her aunt that were caught in Tskhinvali says it all. Apparently there are “grey areas in war” when your subjects to don’t play their perscribed roles.
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By Sean — 8 years ago
Ukraine’s Orange Revolution might not have provided stability, but it sure has increased the entertainment factor of its presidential elections. They’re far more entertaining that Russia’s stuffy, no contest campaigns. Despite the high fun factor, Ukrainian voter disillusionment is high, while the candidates, hoping to jostle into a competitive pole position, are getting down and dirty. What a bunch of party poopers.
By Sean — 13 years ago
For the past few days Russian news outlets have been filled with stories and condemnations. The issue: the Nighline’s broadcast of an interview by Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky with Shamil Basayev, the most notorious and wanted man in
. Basayev is a terrorist and he admits it. A proclaimed Chechen nationalist and Muslim, he’s been fighting for Chechen impendence for the better part of a decade. In the last few years Basayev has been the mastermind of some of the largest terrorist attacks in Russia . In October 2002, his fighters took the Odintsovo Theater in Russia hostage. The attempt by Russian security forces to gas the theater led to the deaths of 129 people. In September 2004, Chechen rebels took the Moscow hostage. The incident left 330 adults and children dead and 700 wounded. A few days later, the Russian passenger deaths were blown up by Chechen terrorists, killing 89. Basayev is absolutely unapologetic. When Babitsky asked Basayev about how he justifies the horror of Beslan, he threw the blame back onto schoolof Beslan as a whole: Russia
“It’s not the children who are responsible. Responsibility is with the whole Russian nation, which with silent approval gives a yes. A nation that feeds their grasses who ravaged
. They collect food, things for them, they supply them. They pay taxes. They give approval in word and in deed. They are all responsible. And in Beslan, to be honest, I didn’t expect this. But in Beslan, the issue was either stop the war in Chechnya or have Putin resign. Just one of those two things. Carry out one, and all people are released, no questions asked. Get it? There wasn’t more to it. Well, you can ask why I did it. To stop the killing of thousands and thousands of Chechen children, Chechen women, and the elderly. Look at the facts. They have been kidnapped, taken away, murdered.” Chechnya
“On the logical plane, the Manichaeism of the settler produces a Manichaeism of the native. To the theory of the ‘absolute evil of the native’ the theory of the ‘absolute evil of the settler replies.” (Wretched of the Earth, 93).
be ruled by Shari’a law. But if we are to believe his own words, Chechen independence is key. Chechnya
It is this wedding of Islamism and nationalism and its increasing influence on Chechen rebel forces that has led many
watchers to declare that after the Russian security forces killed Aslan Maskhadov in February, they had no one to talk to. Maskhadov, a moderate nationalist, was seeking a cease fire and peace agreement with Russia . Now, Basayev is their de facto leader. His position is clear. Moscow Moscowmust leave . He isn’t interested in talking. And Chechnya isn’t interested in talking to him. Moscow
Fanon states that there is a point of no return in anti-colonialist struggles. A point where the violence reaches such intensity that violence itself becomes a force of unification. Or as Sartre put it: “The only possible way out was to confront total negation with total negation, violence with equal violence; to negate dispersal and atomisation by an initially negative unity whose content would be defined in struggle” (Critique of Dialectical Reason). There is no sign of a coming dialectic between Chechen and Russian. Their own unity as Russians or Chechens is based on an absolute disavowal of the Other. An internal positivity predicated on an external negativity. For the Chechens, this point was reached sometime during the long drawn out campaign of Russian destruction and brutality. People say that the Chechen capital,
, is little more than rubble. Thousands have been killed. Thousands have fled into the neighboring regions of Grozny Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Abkhazia. Over the last 15 years Chechen desires for political self-determination but economic dependence have transformed into absolute rejection of anything less that absolute sovereignty. It can be said that the point of no return for them was a long time ago.
For the Russians, however, if reconciliation was ever a desire, it was obliterated by Beslan. In the Russian eyes, the slaughter of children only reconfirmed inhumanity of their foe. Morover, the slaughter of children was an psychological affront to the entire Russian family. It struck the heart of its patriarchal structure. It made them seem weak, feminine. As Paul Starobin put it in an interesting article on Putin for the Atlantic Monthly:
“The Russian Orthodox and Islamic cultures are both patriarchal. As a man, and as
‘s symbolic father, Putin is supposed to protect women and children. His tormentors were triumphant when he acknowledged that he had “suffered immensely” from the Beslan ordeal. They had pierced his shield and made him seem womanish. “Putin screamed like a stuck pig,” Basayev crowed in a statement posted on a Web site.” Russia
Hence the Russian government’s outrage over the Basayev interview. At the end of the program, Ted Koppel made an obligatory statement about free speech as if to make a distinction between our “free” press and the unfree Russian society. When threatened, you can always count on Americans to wrap themselves in the ideal force but materially bankrupt shards of the American Constitution, as if it had universal application. Koppel said, “Freedom is speech is never an issue when a popular person expresses an acceptable point of view. It is of real value only because it guarantees us access to the unpopular, espousing the unacceptable. Then, we can reject or accept it, condemn it or embrace it. No one should have the authority to make that decision for us. Not our government and certainly not somebody else’s.” I’m sure Koppel channeled Thomas Jefferson himself for this little speech. While I applaud ABC for airing the Basayev interview, until Koppel dares to air an interview with an American equivalent and takes the heat from “our government,” I can’t help to see his overtures to “free speech” as a pompous and laughable farce.Post Views: 1,358
By Sean — 11 years ago
The US has rejected Russia’s offer to cooperate on the missile shield. Kommersant reports that in the an interview with CNBC, Secretary of State Rice stated that “I think the Russians, after a period now of just saying no, no, no to what we intend to do in terms of missile defense, decided to come up with some of their own ideas. Now, we don’t agree; we believe that we still need to continue to move forward with the Czech Republic and with Poland.” The response comes in regard to the proposals Putin offered when he and Bush met in Kennebunkport. During a joint press conference Putin blindsided Bush with the following:
“We support the idea of consolidating our forces with regard to the Gabala radar station. And the idea is to achieve this through the Russia-NATO Council. But our proposal is not limited to this. We propose to establish an information exchange center in Moscow… A similar center could be established in one of the European capitals, in Brussels, for example. This could be a single system that would work in real time… In this case, there would be no need to place any more facilities in Europe – I mean, those facilities in the Czech Republic and the missile base in Poland. And if need be, we are prepared…to modernize the Gabala radar station. And if that is not enough, we would be prepared to include in this system a newly built radar station as well, an early warning system in the south of Russia.”
According to Kommersant Bush met these words by staring at Putin “in surprise and even let his smile fade for the first time throughout the entire first 15 minutes of the press conference.” It seems that Putin failed to mention any of these during their talks leaving Bush “to have been caught flat-footed again.” Bush bounced back by reasserting that Poland and Czech Republic should be part of a missile system no matter what the outcome.
Rice’s announcement is simply a reiteration of that opinion though she conceded that “U.S.-Russian cooperation could make a gigantic leap forward.”
The announcement also came on the cusp of “Sea Breeze 2007” in Odessa. The operation is the 10th of its kind. Last year’s was canceled when war broke out between Israel and Hezbollah. The U.S. and Ukraine along with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Canada, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Germany, Romania, and Turkey are staging military exercises in the Black Sea. The maneuvers feature a personnel of 2,500, 22 naval ships and numerous airplanes. The U.S. and Ukraine are providing the bulk of the personnel. About 1,000 are Ukrainian while the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are providing about 700. The exercises last until 22 July.
But Sea Breeze 2007 was met with a chill from the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU) and the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) joined by the Black Sea Cossacks and United Fatherland. A few hundred protesters at two separate rallies voiced opposition to the presence of NATO members in Ukrainian territory. While PSPU members shouted slogans of “We Don’t Need NATO” and “NATO, get lost”, at the joint KPU, Black Sea Cossack, and United Fatherland rally speakers regaled their members with visions of inter-Slavic war. “We oppose the deployment of foreign troops on our soil, because that could lead to war between Slavic peoples,” prophesied Black Sea Cossack leader Oleg Dryanin.
The only violence was a small scuffle between police and PSPU members who refused to take down their tents despite a court order. The cops were unleashed to clear the area.
There is no doubt that tensions between the U.S. and Russia are going to make some see year’s Sea Breeze far more ominous than year’s past.Post Views: 379