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Tom Friedman: Globalization and the deprived

Friedman got it terribly wrong about Iraq. But on many things, he is **the** American prophet. All credit to him for this fantastic article.

The government should hire this man and establish 1500 such schools. To read the entire article, you must register(free) in NY Times website.

<<The Shanti Bhavan school, with 160 students, was started by Abraham George, one of those brainy Indians who made it big in high-tech America. He came back to India with a single mission: to start a privately financed boarding school that would take India's most deprived children and prove that if you gave them access to the same technologies and education that have enabled other Indians to thrive in globalization, they could, too>>

http://nytimes.com/2004/05/20/opinion/20FRIE.html?hp

But they should use LINUX insted of WINDOWS. (Ok, this sentence was just a flame)

Karthik
Thursday, May 20, 2004

If you want to set India back 30 years then ask them to use Linux or Windows, instead ask them to use Inferno OS.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Wow.  Thats amazing.  Why doesn't this happen in america?  Don't get me wrong, i'm not flaming america, I just think its going to prove something when a country a lot lower on the food chain can do this sort of thing.  Glad to see its happnening though.

vince
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"Why doesn't this happen in america?"

This rarely happens in the USA, or anywhere else in the "Western World" (for lack of a better term), because it's not likely to yield profits within a three-month period, nor is it likely to make you a millionaire by playing games with stocks and compensation packages.

In other words, greed. You know, the one they say is good for the world?

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, May 20, 2004

In reasonable education systems it happens, not typing speed lessons I grant you.  Not since commercial subjects left secondary schools in the UK in the 60's.  My mother was a commercial subjects teacher in a secondary school amongst other things.  A lasting image is of a classroom of girls thumping away on a lot of black typewriters with the letters obscured by caps.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, May 20, 2004

<"Why doesn't this happen in america?">>

You are wrong to say it does not happen here. I am not M$ fan, as Philo can testify. But Bill Gates has given millions to establish dozens of schools in New York. This, apart from commendable contributions to fighting AIDS in Africa.

Actually, the higher standard of living in America means that there are more people who can afford to give to others- and they do.

But Americans are known to be a bit tight when it comes to giving to people outside their country. A survey on the "compassion" of countries actually put Americans down somewhere in the bottom - after almost the entire Europe. This again may not apply to all- as the Bill G study proves. On an average, they are worse than other rich countries.

Karthik
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Wow. Nasscom is still paying that PR firm to spin globalisation.

The comments here about why America doesn't do this are either incredibly stupid, or inserted by paid PR staffers masquerading as random posters.

America has much better schools and universal education for all, obviating the need for this type of thing, which just proves how backward India really is.

Spare me this drivel
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"The comments here about why America doesn't do this are either incredibly stupid, or inserted by paid PR staffers masquerading as random posters"

Apparently, it's easier to just label people around us as stupid, rather than presenting arguments of our own. Work is such a drag, ain't it?

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, May 20, 2004


This doesn't  happen in the US because the government works to make everyone "equal".


Whether that means "equal"-ly screwed in terms of education is up for the observer to decide....

KC
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"The government should hire this man and establish 1500 such schools."

Assuming you mean the federal government, it's not their job.  :-)

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 20, 2004

The problem with doing that in America is that the money he made here goes a whole lot farther in India.

Mike Swieton
Thursday, May 20, 2004

A survey of compassion puts America below almost every country in Europe?  COuld you explain that in terms of some definitions and methodologies?

Counter-example- per the Economist a few years ago, Americans are by far the biggest charitable givers in both absolute amounts and relative to income.  Granted, most of this is probably done at home, but one still might see it as evidence of compassion (or guilt, I suppose).

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Also, I didn't bother to register to read the article.  The OP indicates that this guy set up the school to prove the principle...did he prove it or does he just hope to?

There are many reasons that people or groups of people fail at education, lack of money and other resources, cultural disdain for learning, poor nutrition during early development and yes, genetically ingrained low intelligence.  Does the person mentioned in the article address the majority of these?  Does he cherry-pick the best students in the poor area or does he work with a good random sample?

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004



Good call Philo.... the 10th Amendment trumps all.


It's good to find a geek/techie who has actually read portions of the Constitution.  I'm beginning to think there aren't many of us around.

KC
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Providing an elite education is something the government of India has made a fair job of. The Indain Institutes of Technology, whose graduates are competing with you in the job market are on example of this. If you live in the UK you will probably find your doctor is another example. As somebody who works with many Indian teachers of English I can assure you that the standard there is very high too.

Where the Indian state governments have failed abysmally with one or two exceptions (Kerala is the obvious one but  it had a high standard of literacy before the Communists took over the government because it was ruled by an enlightened Hindu Maharaja instead of being part of British India), is in providing educatin for the rural masses. It has been said that the culprit is the model of the British Edcational system but Sri Lanka whose elite were more profoundly westernized than the Indian elite, has a much better record of providing education and basic health care for all.

To make this one individual act of philanthropy and excuse for globalization is weak, even by Friedman's standards.  Luckily for India's poor the crazier excesses of globalization are likely to be delayed for some time, and the untouchables who drink water from the gutters aren't goiing to have to pay the Fat Cats of the British water companies for the privilege.

Incidentally, if you do want a good book on globalization avoid Freidman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree", it is both turgid and economically unsound. P. J. O'Rourke's "Eat the Rich" (or "All the Trouble in the World) is just as flawed on economics (he hasn't even heard of an ecological footprint for example) but you'll be laughing so much you won't care.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

---"It's good to find a geek/techie who has actually read portions of the Constitution."---

Err, KC, Philo is a (JC) Juris doctorae. You do have to read a bit of the Constition for that, even if it's only the excerpts that come on Fortune Cookies.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

---" A survey on the "compassion" of countries actually put Americans down somewhere in the bottom -"----

The figures apply to the Federal Government. In fact they are even worse than they seem, as a large chunk of Foreign Aid about $4bn (?) goes to three million Israelis and an equal amount to seventy million Egyptians. That takes more than half the budget and much of the rest is also targeted, either politically or as an outlet for US agricultural surpluses.

On the other hand, as has been pointed out, Americans are among the most generous in the world when it comes to private giving (though a skewed tax scheme complicates things there).A lot of donations to developing countiries is channelled through the churches, and I am sure the figure would be a lot greater if Amerioans travelled more.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

The federal government?  So is that comparing American direct foreign aid to the size of the us economy or population?

I take it you are an anti-globalization person.  I'm never quite sure what that entails.  Is it basically a belief that free trade hurts poor people in other countries?  Is the belief that free trade basically provides the best hope for lifting these people out of poverty that which you consider unsound economics?

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"I take it you are an anti-globalization person.  I'm never quite sure what that entails.  Is it basically a belief that free trade hurts poor people in other countries?  Is the belief that free trade basically provides the best hope for lifting these people out of poverty that which you consider unsound economics?"

You should consider that one may be anti-globalization, not because of the concept (which sounds valid), but rather because of its implementation (which looks flawed).

The fact is that "globalization" is not driven by a desire to "lift people out of poverty"; the main (and, says the cynic in me, prolly the only) reason behind it is to take advantage of the state of poverty in which these people are.

The current trend of worry about the increasing salaries in India should be more than enough evidence. What we have going on is not "globalization", but rather "shopping-for-misery" - "Salaries in India are increasing. Ohmygod! We must find us another miserable country, in order to keep our profits."

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Name withheld.

According to ( http://www.nationmaster.com ):

Economic aid per head
(1) Luxembourg $352.30...(8) UK $74.88...(20) US $23.76

Economic aid ( per $100 GDP)
(1) Denmark $1.04 ...(8) UK $0.29 ...(21) US $0.06.

Economic Aid (amount)
(1) Japan $9.1Billion (2) US $6.9B...(5) UK $4.5B

Apparently they get the figures from the CIA Factbook.  I suspect, certainly on the basis of Americans I've met, that they are more charitable on an individual level but don't like their government doing it for them. 

A cynic writes
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Karthik was referring to direct foreign aid. The figure as a proportion of GNP is incredibly low - and part of that goes to rich Israelis.

The poor in developing countries tend to be hurt by unfair trade. Agricultural subsidies to rich western farmers can make it impossible for the poor to compete. The real danger though is that the WMF and various think tanks are pressurinzing South Asian governments to dismantle basic protection for the poor, to cut down on health andi infrastructure expenditure, and to privatize utilities such as water and sell them off to Western multinationals.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Sorry, not WMF (whatever thiat is ). I meant WB (World Bank).

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Yes, Yes.  As Stephen said, i was referring to the foreign aid by the government.  Individual Americans are usually kind.

Karthik
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Paulo

I don't consider it relevant what the motivation is.  Peoples motives, in economic terms, tend to be very selfish.  The motives behind socialism sounfd much more admirable than those behind capitalism or economic liberalism but the result is that fewer people tend to have their needs met under socialism.

Also, I don't think businesses go out to perform "globalization".  I think they are just looing for business/profits and :globalization" is a derogatory term to those who are against free trade.

As for rich countries barriers against agricultural imports from poorer countries hurting people in poorer countries, isn't that an argument for free trade, rather than against it?

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Stephen-

you keep harping on the aid that goes to Israel.  We all know you have no love for that country but I think the reason so much aid goes to Israel is fairly obvious.  They are surrounded by neighbors who want very badly to kill them and so they must spend a disproportionate amount of their money on defense.

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

When the Saudi government proposed two years ago that all Arab countries make peace with Israel on condition that it retired to the 1967 borders and negotiations were made over a staggered right to return or compensation in lieu, the Israeli govenment made sure the idea was dead in the water.

Israel has had a definitive peace for the asking since about 1992-1993, when Arafat realized he'd blown it by supporting Saddam and the the Gulf States were no longer going to bankroll him. However Sharon came to power as a result of a deliberate ploy to derail the peace process, and there is little chance of him giving up his plans for a Greater Israel.

The reason that I mentioned Israeli aid, is that it shouldn't be taken into account when talking about total American Foreign Aid. Take it away and the figures are even worse than they already are.

As for the reasons for it they are votes, votes, and more votes. The Israeli lobby may not have a strong vote base but it is well organized and has real financial clout. Those that don't support it rarely win re-elecion. And the Christian Zionists can call out 20 million votes, the vast majority of whom seriously believe that they will all go up to heaven when Armageddon happens, and that the first step is for the state of Greater Israel to be refounded  whereupon we will have war with the anti-christ (who takes the form of the UN, EU, Arabs or whoever is the villain du jour). These are Bush's core power base, and have members at Cabinet level including Ashcroft. Now if my country's National Security depending on someone who believed that his fate was to ensure Armageddon happened so he could levitate up  heaven in the buff, I'd be worried, and as that country is the most powerful nation in the world I am worried.

The worst thing is that America's support of Israel has been  and is the main factor for it being perceived as the enemy throughout the Mulsim world, which otherwise would naturally gravitate towards it. After all they didn't fly the planes into the WTC out of envy because Makkah doesn't have a baseball team like the Yankees.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"I don't consider it relevant what the motivation is.  Peoples motives, in economic terms, tend to be very selfish."

In that case, stop using arguments like "free trade basically provides the best hope for lifting (poor) people out of poverty". Your argument should be "free trade basically provides the best hope for lifting (poor) people out of poverty, as long as it's in the interest of the agents that are promoting free trade".

BTW, this, that you apparently consider an after-thought, should be our primary goal as a race. Yes, I know - it's easier said than done.

Free trade (or globalization, or whatever-you-wanna-call-it) can, indeed, be useful. If implemented correctly. As can socialism, or capitalism. However, we (humans), have a pretty miserable track record of ever implementing anything correctly. As Quino once wrote "If it's true that to err is human, we are achieveing a truly astounding level of humanity with each passing day".

"I think they are just looing for business/profits"

There's nothing wrong in looking for profit. The problem is when you only care about profit.

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Name witheld,
                      Interesting that you consider "Globalization" a term of abuse. It was originally a favourable term, and even now I would say it is neutral.

                      In poorer countries it means much more than free trade, which in general I am in favour of. It means the dismantling of any controls over multinational companies, the taxing of the poor to favour the rich. George Monbiot may sometimes be controversial, but I would say he is correct in this article.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1218982,00.html

I can give you some other examples of this kind of  ignorance or unconcern for the realities of the poor should you wish. Probably not an evil agenda, simply voodo economics applied with no grasp of or interest in reality.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 20, 2004

For the left, Globalization is of no benefit. For the right, its only benefits. There seems to be no middle ground

Karthik
Thursday, May 20, 2004

I'm on the right, the libertarian/classical liberal right and I think Globalization is mostly a positive thing.  Like free-trade there are a small percentage of people who are hurt by it in the well-circumscribed short term but most people benefit long-term.

I do realize that globalization was original a positive term.  So was "Politically Correct" (there are still people who use the term without irony).  It is my belief that these days the term is used almost exclusively by people who are agin it!

As for taxing the poor in a third-world country to benefit the super-rich...I can't get behind that.  I'm not sure that is a necessary consequence of globalization.  Sounds more like a consequence of a corrupt government.  Do you have examples?

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Stephen:

I imagine we could debate the Israel thing until this thread is deleted.  I share many of your concerns.

I would point out though, that the reason those guys flew planes into the WTC was they were pissed off that American troops were in Saudi Arabia guardian holy sites.  I'm sure they're natural hatred of Israel was in there somewhere but it was not the stated reason for Al Quaeda's war against us.

I also disagree that in the absence of Israel the Arabs would have a natural affinity for the US.  The Arabs, as a group, suffer from a massive inferiority complex and thus have a naturally complex envy/hate view of the most powerful nation on earth.

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, May 20, 2004

My post wasn't meant to rag on the united states.  Personally, I think its the best country in the world.  I just think is sad that a country as great as the US, which encourages liquidity between classes focuses so little on leveling the educational playing field. 

Stephen, if I were you, I wouldn't worry so much about our leader's faith, I'd worry whether a whiney little bitch like yourself could find a job.

vince
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"I just think is sad that a country as great as the US, which encourages liquidity between classes focuses so little on leveling the educational playing field."

I don't know what you mean by this.  America pours massive quantities of cash into universal public education.  The problem is we don't get a commensurate product for the money spent, compared to other nations.

Maybe you refer to the fact that the politically entrenched teachers' lobby destroys any attempt at reform before it has a chance to be considered.  A current example is the attempt to shut down voucher programs for independent schools, as they may actually encourage public schools to do a better job.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"Israel has had a definitive peace for the asking since about 1992-1993, when Arafat realized he'd blown it by supporting Saddam and the the Gulf States were no longer going to bankroll him. However Sharon came to power as a result of a deliberate ploy to derail the peace process, and there is little chance of him giving up his plans for a Greater Israel."

Sharon has Arafat to thank for his position.  Arafat was first in line to derail the peace process.  He has absolutely nothing to gain from it, as it would lead to a democratically elected Palestinian leadership, which would leave no place for him.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 20, 2004

The point is, ladies and gentleman, is that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

Thank you very much.

Gordon Gekko
Thursday, May 20, 2004

"The reason that I mentioned Israeli aid, is that it shouldn't be taken into account when talking about total American Foreign Aid. Take it away and the figures are even worse than they already are."

Well, if we are going to do that dear friend, we should also remove the European's aid to the Palestinians. Oh, but that would reduce their foreign aid to zero. Hm.

sputnik
Thursday, May 20, 2004

Stephen:

I would also like to point out that Sharon, unlike Arafat, is in power because of genuine democratic action.  He is there because the voters of Israel, correctly in my opinion, decided that with current Palestinian leadership there is no hope for negotiated peace and so they need to concentrate on security.  If the Palestinian leadership changed to a bunch of friendly peaceniks who basically said "hey let's stop all this and just decide on some borders and recognize each nation's rights to exist here etc." well, sure Sharon would still want a greater Israel, but the voters would put him out on his ass.

When Arafat rejected the best offer he was ever going to get despite the protests of many of his top negotiators, did the Palestinian people vote him out of office?  Of course not.  They simply don't have the opportunity.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, May 21, 2004

Dear Name witheld,
                                The Palestinians would probably vote Arafat out of office if the Israelis stopped making a martry out of him but it would be because they considered him too moderate. Hamas would win any  election in the occupied territories overwhellmingly at present since the Palestinians have found that moderation got them nowhere.

                                That Arafat was offered a viable Palestinian State at Camp David is a myth that the Israeli lobby has been doing much to spread around. Arafat is a lousy negotiator - he took too much on trust at the original Oslo agreements - and he should have treated the Israeli offer as the starting point in a discussion over price at the local souk, but he would have been overthrown within a week if he had accepted the "generous offer."

                                  If  the Israelis had offered a fixed timetable for withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, and thus the establishment of a Palestinian State, and provision was made for the ongoing discussion of the Right of Return, or compensation in lieu, then Arafat would have had no trouble controlling Hamas, or the more extremist groups amongst his followers.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

Stephen:

Yes, I know that people on your side of the issue like to pretend that the Palestinians didn't receive a "generous offer".  The Americans who were actually in the room on behalf of the Clinton administration (whatshisname Ross who is always going on FoxNews?) describe what sounds like a pretty good offer.  A short time later the intifada starts up again using as an excuse the fact that ( who was it Sharon?) visited a muslim holy site.

Of course Hamas would win if Arafat could be voted out of office.  I think you inadvertantly prove my point.  If the Palestinians were given the freedom to choose they would choose the party bent on the destruction of Israel.  They really make no secret of this.  This is why the Israelis choose Sharon to lead them.  Back in the days of Oslo, when peace looked more promising, whom did the Israelis vote for?  Someone who they thought wanted to make peace.

The sad thing is that the misery of the situation is made eternal because everyone ignores the basic fact of the situation, that is it is two groups of people fighting over the same peice of land.  Obviously both sides think they are right.  Obviously each side thinks it behaves in a more moral manner (personally though I don't think that Israel should ever have been started it is clear to me that the Israelis have behaved in a much better manner ever since...it isn't even close. They haqve shown remarkable (stupid actually) restaraint) but the fact is that no one really has a right to any piece of land.  People take land by force and then defend it from others until that day that someone takes it from them.  That is the story of history.

We in the US and Europe like to pretend this isn't so because it was our ancestrors who actually did the dirty work.  Now we can sit back anbd act all morally superior.

So I say, be honest with eachother.  You hate eachother and both want the same patch of land.  Duke it out and make no apologies.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, May 21, 2004

I really fail to see how the Israelis have shown remarkable restraint. They have started two wars (1956 and 1967) to the Arabs one(1973 - 1948 was so mixed up you can't really say who started it), are killing many more Palestinians including innocent women and children than the Palestinians are killing Israelis, and have extended the amount of land they occupy to three times what they were granted under the UN Partition Plan.

Palestinians in the occupied territories frequently find themselves arbitrarily deprived of their land and have their houses bulldozed because of the actions of friends or neighbours, whilst no one ever suggests that the family of the Rabins's assassin or of Israeli extremists who murder Palestinians should lose thier land.

The Palestinians were under the impression that Israel was sincere when it said at Oslo that it would give back the Occupied Territories in retiurn for acceptance by the Palestinians and other Arabs of the 1967 borders. When it found that the Israeli government had no intention of honouring its side of the "land for peace" it turned to the radicals. From Oslo up to 2000 the Palestinians had refrained from violence, despite cases of deliberate provocation, including the machine gun attempt at the Al-Aqsa mosque, by Israeli extremists.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

And perhaps it would be time to try and get this one step back on track.

Whether justified or not, USA suport for Israel has been overwhelmingly the course for dislike of America in Arab and Moslem countries (until the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq added fuel to the fire). I have lived in the Middle East for much of the last ten years and no other issue is brought up as muchwith regard to the US.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 21, 2004

Remarkable restraint is in comparison to how every other nation in history would respond to being surrounded by neighbors intent on destroying them and neighbors constantly sending terrorists to kill its citizens.  Imagine the Romans, the Nazis, the Japs of the same era.  Imagine the colonial Britons.  Hell imagine the US of the 19th century.  Throughout history great powers have refused to put up with that crap.  The Israelis could easily drive all the Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, out up defenses and kill anyone who tried to cross back in.

It never ceases to amaze me how people fail to see other's points of view.  If you favor the Palestinians in the conflict then all their behavior is explicable (they only turned to the radicals once it became "clear" that the Israelis would never honor land for peace?  Huh?  How did that become clear to anyone not predisposed to believe it?)

As for your arab friends always bitching about US support for Israel and that's why they hate us...fine.  Frankly I wonder why we, the US, are so concerned about that.  I think the Arabs should worry about why we fear them.  One of these days some arab terrorist is going to manage to set off a nuke on US soil.  Then you are going to see what lack of restraint is.  Combine unprecedented military power with fear on that level and I shudder to think of the consequences for the middle east.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, May 21, 2004

No set of people is going to be popular if they go along and take somebody else's land. You must remember that at the end of the nineteenth century there was scarcely a Jew in Palestine. A survey party was sent off to see if Palestine was a suitable site for the new Zion, and the report came baxk "The Bride is beautiful, but she is already taken." The british seriiously considered offering the Jews Uganda (even thinking of consulting the Ugandans didn't come into it). Fortunately for the Ugandans, and unfortunately for the Palestinians that plan came to nothing.

There have always been extremists among the Palestinians, just as there have been among the Israelis. It is however a matter of fact that the Palestinians held their extremists in check between Oslo and 1999 because they were under the impression that they had been offered withdrawal in return for recognition.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, May 22, 2004

I agree with you, the Jews should never have attempted to establish a home land in that particular place.  Somewhere in the new world would have worked out better.  I entirely understand the Arabs problem; they finally get rid of their colonial masters after finally getting rid of their Ottoman masters and then, BTW, a bunch of Jews, sorely victimized by the Nazis, have decided they need to start a country in the middle of what you consider your territory.  The funny thing is, I get the impression that a lot of early zionists were under the impression that the Arabs would welcome them because they only wanted to work together in a beautiful left-wing kind of way.

Still, at the end of the 1990s they were offered a contiguous country, with a little bit of land swap and no right of return to what is now considered Israel.  The Palestinian negotiators originally didn't deny this.  They just complained (disingenuously, in my opinion) that the offer wasn't in writing.  The Israeli side claims they would have put it in writng if the Palestinian side said they were going to accept it.

Instead, Arafat, who cannot accept peace for whatever reason, got his people to start up the intifada again with the excuse that Sharon (I think) dared to visit a site holy to Muslims and Jews.  I think he was looking to break the record for worst over-reaction in history.

name withheld out of cowardice
Sunday, May 23, 2004

Actually the Zionist return happened well before the second world war, and the original zionists were hardly left-wing. Do an internet search on the Stern Gang for example. The Arabs were not necessarily much more angelic, and there were a fair number of massacres of Jews by Arabs and vice-versa throughout the twenties and thirties.

We've hijacked this thread unfortunately, and I was hoping to reply to the original topic, so perhaps we should let this peacefully degrade. I suspect that one thread or other will gyrate around to the theme in the next couple of days.

You do keep saying, "Sharon, I think." The fact that it was Sharon who went to Temple Mount which is also the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque and not somebody else, is anything but marigina. Sharon was already responsible for massacres of Palestinian civilians in 1957, but it was the massacres of thousands in the refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982 that explains why Sharon is considered a war criminal by all Arabs and many more. The actual massacres were carried out by the Lebanese Christian Falange, but the Israeli troops under Sharon's command had complete control of the area, and were instructed not to intervene.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, May 23, 2004

If you want to stop talking about it on this thread, that is fine with me, but you keep saying things that require responses.

I am aware that the Zionist movement started before WWII.  In fact it was shortly after the Dreyfus affair.  My point was that the reason the rest of the world decided to bless the idea of a Jewish state was because of guilt over the Holocaust and the feeling that it could have been avoided if the Jews had a country to go to.

As for Sharon being a war criminal, I'm not sure how a visit to a holy site by a war criminal means it's now okay for Arabs to start blowing up people again.  Visit by offensive person justifies murder of people who are of the same race as the offensive person?  Please explain this to me...in another thread if you like.  You can call it "Justifications for murder" or "two wrongs really do make a right"!

name withheld out of cowardice
Sunday, May 23, 2004

If you look at what happened after Sharon's visit to Temple Mount you will see that things escalated (which of course is what Sharon wanted to happen in the first place).

I think the basic problem was that Barak overreacted. He never had shown anything but contempt for Arab culture, and morever was worreid about being branded as a weakling by Likud. In the end he satisfied nobody, losing the support of the Isreali left and the Arab Israelis whilst not winniing over any of the rightwingers who decided they  preferred the real McCoy. Arafat certainly didn't set things in motion; with hindsight you could say he would have done better to actively oppose the intifada, but it must have appeared difficult to make Palestinians understand why he was doing the Israelis work, when they wer not giving anything in return.

The myth that Arafat was responsible reached its most grotesque stage a couple of years later when Sharon bombed most of the Palestinian police stations and, having completely surrounded Arafat in his compound, and left him incommunicado, then complained that the wasn't doing anything to stop the terrorists.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 24, 2004

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