Derrick O'Keefe's blog

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former rabble.ca Editor Derrick O'Keefe is a writer and social justice activist in Vancouver, BC. He is the author of the new Verso book, Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil? and the co-writer of Afghan MP Malalai Joya's political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. Derrick also served as rabble.ca's editor from 2007 to 2009. Topics covered on this blog will include the war in Afghanistan and foreign policy, Canadian politics, media analysis, climate justice and ecology. You can follow him at http://twitter.com/derrickokeefe

Afghanistan war debate heats up in the U.K.

| July 14, 2009
An increasingly common image in the UK.
LONDON – The war in Afghanistan is the top story here, following a sudden spike in U.K. soldiers killed. With 15 dead in just over a week, more British troops have now died in Afghanistan than in Iraq. The British anti-war movement marked the grim milestone with a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on Monday, July 13. 

While protesters hit the streets, the government in the U.K. is using the recent rash of casualties to ramp up its campaign for a prolonged, expanded war in Afghanistan.

The major U.K. newspapers are, unsurprisingly, solidly pro-war in their editorial lines, but some of the public’s anti-war sentiment is allowed to seep into their pages. Monday’s Guardian newspaper, for instance, was a study in contrasts. The front page featured a ham-fisted war boosting headline, 'Public support for the war in Afghanistan is firm, despite deaths.'

One had to read on well into the article to discover that, in fact, this new poll had found more people opposed to the war than supportive of it (47 per cent to 46 per cent), with a clear majority of 56 per cent in fact wanting troops brought home by the end of 2009. But on the letters page, it was a different story, with all four letters featuring cogent arguments for British withdrawal from Afghanistan. (One reader, furthermore, took the paper to task for their Orwellian headline in today's letters section: "The pie chart included also does not appear to bear the headline out. A total of 56% believe that troops should be pulled out now or by the end of the year. Again, is this 'firm support'?")

Then, of course, there is the matter of Afghan opinion, which has been turning steadily against the occupiers for some time now. It’s bad enough that U.S. and Canadian elites seem blithely unconcerned by the history of Afghan resistance to foreign domination, but for the British it’s just ridiculous. After all, they spent a good chunk of the 19th Century fighting (and ultimately) losing ‘counter-insurgency’ wars in Afghanistan. And yet the war continues today, with no end in sight. And so it goes in the U.K., as in the vast majority of the NATO countries with troops on the ground as part of the occupation in Afghanistan. There is broad support, or at least sympathy, for the demand to bring troops home. But it remains difficult to mobilize big numbers around the issue and, thus far, it has proven impossible to change government policy which seems bent on repeating the bloody lessons of history.

But activists will keep working to shut down the war machine. The Stop the War Coalition here in the U.K. is stepping up their efforts in response to the renewed public discussion of the quagmire in Afghanistan. This Saturday campaigners will hit the streets across the UK to collect petition signatures and spread the anti-war message.

Derrick O’Keefe is editor of rabble.ca

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Comments

"Global warming" oops, "climate change" is a hoax perpetrated by those who want to run your life. The fact that they have to sue in an attempt to win a legal and not scientific battle says it all.
Don't even get me started on the lies about "consensus". Refusing to listen to anyone who disagrees with you is not "consensus". And one thing more we must stop war. Because, our climatic condition and global warming are happen for war.

Malaysia will writing
Shag rug

just had another thought,

here's the 'alternative' meaning and identity in this area;

we are also treated to a plethora of magazines and ads for private new age lifestyles, so-called 'green', independent life coaches and tarot readers, who will connect to you to your 'true self'...

for a price, of course.

it has struck me that both of these options- the myth of militarized 'faith', 'democracy' and 'patriotism' masking worship of the gun, elitist rule, and a sell-out of sovereignty, as well as the myth of personalized 'earthy spirituality' that masks privatization of relationships as well as earth's resources- both options are perhaps fostered by the same structures and forces.

the same structures and forces which are destroying real community, economy, and ecology.

[note to self- insert some good adjectives in last phrase].

then, we have efforts like rabble and associates where people and groups are trying to work through some kind of collaboration around the commons, human and labour and ecological rights, participatory democracy, peace, and justice for all peoples and species.

while this is set off with babble, uniting people through sex.

[note to self, that last word might need quotations]

just a few thoughts here,

local papers cover festivals. this included a 'gate rededication' event at CFB Trenton.  so we were treated with photos of a little girl tucked into a war plane by her parents, and a pre-teen boy learning how to fire a C-1 Howitzer, and other outrages.  the latter photo included a soldier looking like he was massaging this missile-looking thing in front of the kid, and the kid was smiling.  just lovely.

i'm hoping the editors were intending to offend the public, because in that they were effective.

the problem is that there is a sector of the older population here which lives in the WW2 past. events are glorified and dramatized.  there is a plethora of war memoriam nostalgia.  even at a local theatre there's a summer show recreating the troop entertainment radioed to Normandy.

add that to the drama of caskets riding along under the 401 bridges, and you've got the makings of meaning and identity for small town residents.  sad, really.

part of the remedy is to disassociate WW2 from what is going on in Afghanistan now. 

 

 

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