Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

The US-supported Middle East Bully Invades Gaza

January 6, 2009

Israel is lucky they are the favorite client state of the US. It invades Gaza and US reaction is mute. Even the US press is relatively subdued in its reactions with some major news agencies having no commentary at all regarding the invasion.

When Russia made their incursion into the Abkhazia region of Georgia in August 2008, the US nearly went ballistic. The US press condemned it, too, without verifying the history and situation of the region. Abkhazia is historically distinct from Georgia and its people are not Georgians ethnolinguistically but related to the Russian North Caucasus. They even differ in religion. It was only Stalin who added it to the old Georgian SSR of the former USSR and when it broke up Abkhazians held on to their Russian passports.

And it was Georgia, bent on ending the autonomy earlier granted to Abkhasia, who started the crisis. Its armed venture against Abkhazia was prepared with US and Israeli help.

This was the same hypocrisy as the shootdown of KAL 007. Reagan was bristling but when one US warship shot down a Iranian airliner which was flying over Iranian territory the reaction was mild. And it conveniently forgot that Israel shot down a Libyan airliner in 1973.

Everybody knows Israel has nuclear weapons. South Africa, when Mandela came to power, surrendered 8 atomic bombs that Israel gave to the apartheid government in exchange for its use of a secluded South African island for nuclear tests. Yet when the US invaded Iraq in 2003 its primary “reason” was Saddam was on the verge of acquiring WMDs. Ho-hum!

This is the double standard in the world. Obviously, the US has the most foreign invasions of the last century but the US media blithely ignores that most of the time. But when an foreign incursion is made by a state not their ally the condemnation is fast and strident.

Israel has no right to be in Gaza. It is Palestinian land from time immemorial. I say the UN decision to divide Palestine in 1947 was wrong because it is a contravention to the declared principle of the UN regarding the right of self-determination of nations. They never consulted the Palestinians then. The Jews had no right to half of Palestine. Maybe it was just the payback of the British to Jewish capital that was instrumental in its rise to being the strongest country in the world in the 1700s and 1800s.

After the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967 Israel formally annexed conquered Palestinian territories which is a direct violation of UN statutes. Yet Israel was never expelled from the UN because the US protects Israel.

60 years after the division of Palestine the Palestinians still does not have a state of their own. It is because Israel opposes it and I wonder why it should be Israel’s decision. Nothing will move because Israel still occupies Palestinian territory and Israel doesn’t want to give it back (the problem if Israeli settlers and the holy sites). Here you have a people forced into diaspora forcing other people into diaspora. Maybe there is no word for justice in the Hebrew and Yiddish languages.

And all of these incongruities are not fully exposed because US media generally supports US foreign policy. And US media dominates the world.

That’s the reason why most Filpinos do not understand this issue.

Sheer hypocristy and double standard, I say.


Reflect Rather Than be Outright Ashamed To Be Filipino

October 24, 2008

I cannot fault FilAm Liberal Democrat (FLD) for being ashamed to be a Filipino. But this is self-defeating. We have only one country—and let’s not make any mistake about it. Philippines is again the odd man out in another unflattering way. We are out touch with rest of the world. Just like Sarah Palin, we are out of the league. I’ve got this feeling that if polls were taken here in the Philippines, Palin will have higher favorabilty rating than even Barack Obama. Talk of identification. That’s how out of touch this country is. Rather than condemn, we have to do something.

I invite you to weigh in. Just what is fundamentally wrong with country? I will blog on this later after I attend to some urgent matters. We cannot bask in our virtue and uniqueness and simply dismiss that we and the Georgians are right and to heck with those from 68 other countries.

See you later.

Beacons of hope & exemplars of the soul’s triumph

August 25, 2008

The pessimists in us are not happy about 15 Filipino athletes coming to the Beijing Olympic Games. They think it’s a waste of time, money and effort sending the delegation with a dismal chance of winning. Yet considering the support we have for sports, it’s a wonder that we have a contingent of brave competitors willing to sweat it out for the glory and edification of the country.

Like Laos, Kiribati, Uruguay, Myanmar, Liechtenstein, Yemen, Zambia, and many others, Philippines went home wanting of an Olympic medal. But for sure all these countries are richer in experience and hope. To be part of a world where cultural differences is transformed into a gesture of friendly competitiveness is an accomplishment by itself.

To be the best in the field isn’t everything. By our participation in the games, we affirm the universal aspiration for excellence and our desire to connect with people. By cooperating with China’s hosting of a tantalizing “coming out” party which wowed the world, we bouy up cooperation and friendship among nations. We demonstrate that winning and losing are life-realities that all of us must contend with.

We salute the cash-strapped people of Zimbabwe whose hyperinflation and economic hardships didn’t deter their athletes to bring home 4 medals. We admire Malaysia and the small West African country of Togo which brought a silver and bronze respectively.

Turbulent Georgia, which nurses wounds from separatist South Ossetia and suffers border conflict with neighbor Russia, won 6 medals. Moslem Iran, threatening Israel and the world with its nuclear program basked in victory with two well-earned medals. Our southern Asian partner Indonesia celebrates success from 5 impressive wins, one of them gold in badminton.

Amidst the dominance and superiority of the United States with 110 medals (eclipsing China in total number but not in the count for gold,) the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain with barely a million people produced for the first time a gold medal winner in track in field. Jamaica, a Carribean country of 2.5 million brought home a spectacular win of 11 medals, 6 of them gold. War-torn Afghanistan with a population less than half of the Philippines, won a taekwondo bronze in the 17-day grueling competition.

With 85 million of us, how come we’re lagging behind these countries? How come winning an Olympic medal seems to be so unreal— a pipe dream for us? The answer probably lies in our attitude, endurance, and value judgment. We need to trust ourselves more. We must support and appreciate the sportsmanship of our athletes. We must believe in our capacity to win, stirring us to fight as a team and as an individual for our own self-fulfillment and survival.

The aspiration of humanity to excel and be part of a cause greater than its own is part of the Olympic tradition. In a time when we doubt ourselves if we can go beyond what others expect of us, our athletes stand as beacons of hope and exemplars of our soul’s triumph. Even if our athletes didn’t win, in the field of dreams, their hearts shine as bright as the torch and the gold of the Olympics.


Eric Ang—Shooting; Ryan Paolo Arabejo—Swimming;
Daniel Coakley—Swimming; Henry Dagmil—Track & Field; Hidilyn Diaz—-Weightlifting; Rexel Ryan Fabriga—Diving; Tshomlee Go—Taekwondo; Mark Javier—Archery; Miguel Molina—Swimming; Sheila Mae Perez—Diving; Mary Antoinette Rivero—Taekwondo;
Christel Simms—Swimming; Harry Tanamor—Boxing;
Marestella Torres—Track & Field; JB Walsh—Swimming. (PhotoCredits: AFP/NicolasAsfouri; Reuters/OlegPopov; Reuters/MikeBlake)=0=

Russian-Georgian Conflict: a separatist debacle, a thirst for oil & a show of military might

August 19, 2008

After a week of fighting and violence that left more than 1,500 dead and 158,000 Georgians flushed out from their homes, Russia’s bullying posture over a small-state neighbor is showing. Supposed to aid the rebellious region of South Ossetia, the Russians went on a campaign to support the separatists and dominate Georgia, a small sovereign state of 4.6 million people.

Sheltering US-supported oil lines which bypass Russia and Iran thus reducing the dependence of fossil fuel from the Middle East, Georgia has strategic importance for Europe and the world. The country is backed by Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania which consider the invasion a chance to stop Russia’s geopolitical design in the region.

The Russian attempt to annex the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia brings a sharp rise in the Poland’s determination to forge a missile defense accord with the US. Originally intended against Iran, the deal is now planned to include a defense against Russia.

Analysts say the Russia-Georgia dispute doesn’t only involve unresolved territorial borders which has been simmering for sometime. They say it also includes political assertiveness, a flexing of military muscle by Russia on surrounding smaller neighbors so it can control the region’s oil supply on which a large part of Europe is dependent on.

There are three key pipelines that run through Georgia. The biggest, designed to bypass Russia, is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, or BTC, which transports about a million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian Sea through Georgia to ports in Turkey. From there, the oil is sent to Europe and other destinations around the world.

There is a lot of concern in America about Russia’s willingness to use oil and gas for political ends,” said Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group, a former State Department officer who has studied Russia and its economy.

Kupchan further said, “There is precedent for such worry. In 2006, Russia cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine when that country refused to accept a price hike. As a result of the move, Europeans from France to Finland were left out in the cold.” ABC World News (08/16/08, Martin,R.)

In spite of Russia’s promise to withdraw from Georgia (a staunch ally of USA who sent support troops in Iraq,) Russian soldiers are still causing destruction and fear in at least a third of the country. On Aug 19, 2008, in spite of a ceasefire agreement, the Russians captured 20 Georgian troops in Poti, a seaport city in Western Georgia.

Leaders of Europeand USA and other countries are scrambling to contain the war with negotiations and political maneuverings. This underscores how governments with KGB influence can wantonly use military aggressiveness at the expense of peace of innocent lives. It also reminds the world of the dividends gained from the fall of the Soviet Union which may come to waste when the cold war returns because of reckless actions of a few. PCredits: AP/AFP =0=