IRA lays down arms

July 28 2005 is a momentous day. A day where peace is given a chance. Lets all be optimistic, the prospect of peace is a very real one for the first time in a long time. The IRA’s pledge to lay down arms is a very significant start. In the South African struggle the ANC’s call to lay down arms was also a strong starting point that led to further progress in the negotiation. I think that further concessions on all sides of the debate will now be forthcoming.

The bomb blasts in Egypt

This is way too late to be relevant. Even as an activist, and an African one at that, I am guilty of ignoring the enormity of the bomb blast in Egypt. I had so much to say about the London attacks but when it came to the resort bombing I was silent. Why is that? Am I insensitive, Anglo-centric or just plain racist. I sound as if I am being hard on myself, and that’s okay, I just felt that I was ignoring the blasts in Egypt. I have examined my feelings about both incidents and I feel repulsed by the violence, equally in both cities.

The main-stream media gave more prominence to the London bombings and so maybe more viewers were influenced or concientised to these incidents. I think the former incident got more coverage than the latter simply because by the time of the second incident, the third if you count the failed attempt of 21 July, we were de-sensitized to the events. This must be it, if not, than maybe it something darker…

Thus the importance of this type of media, the blogesphere in particular is so important. We, the bloggers, people with opinions and views can be more powerful than the main stream media in
influencing opinion. The big problem though is the lack of access to computers, Internet facilities and literacy skills. We are making progress, but so much more needs to be done.

A Tale of Two Cities-Jerusalem and Ramallah

In 2002 I wrote a speech for my son that he was going to recite at school for a speech contest. He won the school contest and won again at the combined school level. We knew that the speech was good, but the events that followed surprised us. A local newspaper carried an article about the contest and run a copy of the speech. My son was really excited about seeing his name in the paper, the excitment lasted a few days and thereafter we thought noting of the speech again. But a few weeks later my wife got a call from a local radio station asking us if we would allow my son to recite his speech on the radio. The show’s host had read the article in the paper the previous month and was doing a show that week on the Middle East. We agreed. The host asked that I sit in on the show with my son.Needless to say the speech was well received and we were asked to remain on air for another hour to answer questions on a phone- in show. We learnt from the host that the show was broadcast on the World Space satelite to a number of countries. I summit the speech here for your consideration in the hope that the dialogue will continue.

I greet you all in the name of peace.

Charles Dickens once started a famous book by writing:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of amazement, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Well, in the context of my speech, let me take some literary license and say, it is the worst of times, it is the worst of times. It is the age of ignorance and foolishness; it is the epoch of disbelief and insanity. It is the season of darkness and a winter of hopelessness and despair.

What one event or situation can bring such hopelessness and such despair? In the age of opportunity and enlightenment, why should I a mere student speak with so much fear about anything?

I speak so fearfully because of a specific conflict, a conflict so dangerous that no one can ignore it. I speak of a tale of two cities.
Two cities where all hope is gone, where insanity reins and where blood flows. What are we to do , when children die in their mothers arms, where guns and tanks are normal, when laughing children are considered dangerous and teenagers are listed” as enemies of the state.A walk in the park is no longer just that, it is a dance with death.

I speak of the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah, in Israel and Palestine, cities at war. Each is struggling to survive in a sea of uncertainty. Each having a moral right to existence, each wanting to do so at the exclusion of the other. Fear rules the day, everyday activities become minefields. Morning greetings that normally mean noting more see you later take on a new meaning, because goodbye might be just that, goodbye, forever, final. The future seems so far away, peace seems so impossible.

What is the solution? What will we do to make sure that this is the last generation that has to witness this struggle? Who amongst us remembers a time when the conflict was not before us? Will we let history continue to judge this generation by our failure to find a solution? It is a tragedy that in a land that claims to be so important to three of the world’s important religions, that hatred, death and intolerance have so much hold.

The solution is not a peace plan by America, nor is it a UN conference on peace, it is a solution driven and carried out by Israelis and Palestinians. What the people of this region needs, is not our condemnation, but our support. No amount of military force, suicide bombers or occupations can solve this problem.

I cannot be so bold as to suggest that this is not a complex problem, but let me appeal to your sensitivities, are you not appalled by the killing, the maiming, the blood and the death. How much more reports do we need to hear, how much more bodies do we need to see. I believe that we have had enough, we need to reflect and then we need to act. We need to speak out in out churches, mosques and our synagogues, so that we can make a difference. We have to begin talking.

We South Africans have a unique perspective on this issue. We too have fought a long and hard battle for freedom. We too were robbed for decades of our basic human rights. We too fought in the streets, in our schools, and in our factories. In the end however, we sat down and talked. We engaged each other in dialogue and in the end we won. Surely this must be the message to Ariel Sharon, to Yasser Arafat and to the people of Israel and Palestine.

I wish to end my speech by remembering the expression that says:

“Evil triumphs when good men say noting”

Thank you all
(copyright: Sunny Morgan) sunnysnetmail@yahoo.com

The bomb blasts in Egypt

This is way too late to be relevant. Even as an activist, and an African one at that, I am guilty of
ignoring the enormity of the bomb blast in Egypt. I had so much to say about the London attacks but
when it came to the resort bombing I was silent. Why is that? Am I insensitive, Anglo-centric or
just plain racist.
I sound as if I am being hard on myself, and that’s okay, I just felt that I was ignoring the blasts
in Egypt. I have examined my feelings about both incidents and I feel repulsed by the violence,
equally in both cities.
The main-stream media gave more prominence to the London bombings and so maybe more viewers were
influenced or concientised to these incidents. I think the former incident got more coverage than
the latter simply because by the time of the second incident, the third if you count the failed
attempt of 21 July, we were de-sensitized to the events. This must be it, if not, than maybe it
something darker…
Thus the importance of this type of media, the blogesphere in particular is so important. We, the
bloggers, people with opinions and views can be more powerful than the main stream media in
influencing opinion. The big problem though is the lack of access to computers, Internet facilities
and literacy skills. We are making progress, but so much more needs to be done.

A tale of two cities-Jerusalem and Ramallah

I wrote this speech for my son’s school speech contest in 2002, it seems that it is still relevant
today.

I greet you all in the name of peace. Charles Dickens once started a famous book by writing:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of amazement, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

Well, in the context of my speech, let me take some literary license and say, it is the worst of times, it is the worst of times. It is the age of ignorance and foolishness; it is the epoch of disbelief and insanity. It is the season of darkness and a winter of hopelessness and despair.What one event or situation can bring such hopelessness and such despair? In the age of opportunity and enlightenment, why should I a mere student speak with so much fear about anything?

I speak so fearfully because of a specific conflict, a conflict so dangerous that no one can ignore it. I speak of a tale of two cities. Two cities where all hope is gone, where insanity reins and where blood flows. What are we to do , when children die in their mothers arms, where guns and tanks are normal, when laughing children are considered dangerous and teenagers are listed” as enemies of the state. A walk in the park is no longer just that, it is a dance with death!

I speak of the cities of Jerusalem and Ramallah, in Israel and Palestine, cities at war. Each is
struggling to survive in a sea of uncertainty. Each having a moral right to existence, each wanting to do so at the exclusion of the other. Fear rules the day, everyday activities become minefields. Morning greetings that normally mean noting more see you later take on a new meaning, because goodbye might be just that, goodbye, forever, final. The future seems so far away, peace seems so impossible.

What is the solution? What will we do to make sure that this is the last generation that has to
witness this struggle? Who amongst us remembers a time when the conflict was not before us? Will we let history continue to judge this generation by our failure to find a solution? It is a tragedy that in a land that claims to be so important to three of the world’s important religions, that hatred, death and intolerance have so much hold.

The solution is not a peace plan by America, nor is it a UN conference on peace, it is a solution
driven and carried out by Israelis and Palestinians. What the people of this region needs, is not
our condemnation, but our support. No amount of military force, suicide bombers or occupations can solve this problem.

I cannot be so bold as to suggest that this is not a complex problem, but let me appeal to your
sensitivities, are you not appalled by the killing, the maiming, the blood and the death. How much more reports do we need to hear, how much more bodies do we need to see. I believe that we have had enough, we need to reflect and then we need to act. We need to speak out in out churches, mosques and our synagogues, so that we can make a difference. We have to begin talking.

We South Africans have a unique perspective on this issue. We too have fought a long and hard battle for freedom. We too were robbed for decades of our basic human rights. We too fought in the streets, in our schools, and in our factories. In the end however, we sat down and talked. We engaged each other in dialogue and in the end we won. Surely this must be the message to Ariel Sharon, to YasserArafat and to the people of Israel and Palestine.

I wish to end my speech by remembering the expression that says: “Evil triumphs when good men say noting” Thank you all

London bombers identified in less than seven days!

I heard on Sky News that the London bombers have been identified. I watched most of the press
conferences from the start of this tragedy and the one constant from the authorities was that they
would catch the bombers. The police, all 43 branches of them, were resolute in that one objective,
and that resolve has now paid off. Within less than 7 days they have pieced together what they
believed happened on the morning of the 7th of July 2005. We wait to see what further development
unfold.

London under siege!

Was it not just a short time ago that we saw the devastation in New York. I can clearly remember that day in Sept 2001, and now again we look at London and see it all over again. Whilst writing this I am listening on the TV to a speech by the queen commemorating the veterans of WWII. It is indeed poignant to note that these very people that she is commemorating, some even in the audience witnessed the London Blitz sixty years ago! and now again they are witness to bombs going off inLondon. What is it that they say about history? that it has a habit of repeating………

My heart goes out to the many who have died, the hundreds who have been injured and the many more who will be traumatized about this for some time to come. In the hunt for the perpetrators, in the many Q&As to follow, in the analysis and the dissection of the reasons for the attacks one must not loose sight of the larger issues at stake. Whilst not condoning these attacks in the least, the British authorities must ask this one question before all others:
” What drives men and women to such hatred that they will risk life and limb to kill and maim.”

G8 meeting only a day away, are they listening?

With the much vaunted G8 meeting at Gleneagles in Scotland only a day away, one wonders if the leaders are listening. On the other hand, are we, the world activist community not being naive in thinking that even if they were listening that they would act. The agendas for such meeting are complex and varied. Every one of the Group of Eight members go into these meetings loaded with issues. Are we to expect that they will put the African issues on the table. There are always hidden agendas, secret meetings, offers, counter-offers, secret deals and negotiations. The G8 is primarily about power and who wields it. It is about protecting the status quo, not about upsetting it. If itserves the G8 than it gets discussed.

We may see Africa on the agenda, not because of the important work of Live8, Bob Geldof, the “Make Poverty History” campaign, or any of that! It will get on the agenda primarily because it will serve the purpose of the G8 and its beneficiaries. The instruments in the G8 arsenal, The World Bank, the IMF and the WTO wield much power, and if this arsenal is unleashed on Africa than the uninformed may erroneously reason that Africa is at last receiving attention from the G8. Quite on the contrary, this much needed attention will come at great cost. So called calls for action against corruption, good governance, all these are noble and worthy, but are they the real reasons, or is the G8 setting Africa up for a fall. Are they dictating what sort of leaders Africa will have to install. Or are they suggesting weak and effective leaders that will pander to the agenda of the G8 in future. Gleneagles is not about Africa today, it is about Africa for the next decade or two. Are the seeds of progress being sowed now, are are we the sowing the seeds that will reap a harvest of devastationin the next twenty to thirty years.

If by some stroke of magic the G8 leaders arrive at Gleneagles tomorrow with a a genuine desire to help Africa to pull it self out of the part of self annihilation, than what they have to do is level the playing fields with regard to fair trade. Open their markets to African products, spend money in Africa on developing African businesses, open avenues to pass along skills and assist African governments to educate its people. Stop selling weapons to despotic leaders, stop making secret deals with corrupt officials, stop pilfering Africa’s best talent and above all, treat Africa as an equal!