Thursday, May 31, 2007

Do lifers have the right to die?

Hundreds of prisoners serving life sentences in Italy have called on President Giorgio Napolitano to bring back the death penalty.

Sentencing someone to death for horrendous crimes is an act of justice. But keeping them alive through the life sentence can be bad for both the convicted and the state. Life sentence means for many prisoners the end of life itself as they have to keep locked in tiny cells the rest of their lives. They have little to hope for as their horizon is limited. There are cases of people who commit suicide because of continuous depression and hopelessness. Lifers must have this feeling.

For the state, they remain just a burden on the treasury and the taxpayer, especially those put in maximum-security prisons.

If in some countries, euthanasia is allowed for the terminally ill patients. Hara-kiri is a ceremonial of ending one’s life. In Japan, more than 30,000 commit suicide annually. A lifer should have his/her wish fulfilled if they should to change their life sentence into a death sentence. Keeping them alive itself amounts to torture. Such prisoners should have the right to choose between life and death as they are sentenced just to waste themselves inhumanely like keeping an animal in a cage.

Life sentence or death sentence will always remain problematic. Abolish or restore death sentence? Abolishing both death and life sentence for a limited period of imprisonment? There will be no easy choice by the legislators and the public. Lifers must have their choice respected, to die or keep alive till the last breath.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

China share fall and economic prospects

China has had unprecedented economic growth in its history. It has become a major economic rival on the world scale. Its economic expansion in the West as well as in Africa allows it to have assets. Its economic success isn’t without difficulties. It is likely to have a great impact on the environment. The majority of its population are unlikely to benefit from China economic boom in the foreseeable future.

China markets have entered the world of liberalisation and speculation. With them markets become unpredictable as they can go out of control. Buying shares in the hope of big returns is one of the biggest risks as a plunge of their values spread like a fire. The current “crush” in shares should be seen just as minor stroke as Chinese economy can recover through its huge investment. The danger is when it slumps through excessive speculation and unfavourable international trade. International economy has become intertwined with the Chinese on many levels.

The Chinese can’t afford to regress to the Mao era when all the economy was in the hand of the state. Chinese government still needs to create more enterprises to allow people to benefit from them. They can’t depend on healthy return from shares while lazily drowsing on their sofa. It’s just an equivalent to the fully communist era when the Chinese depended on the state to do everything for them without having the freedom for personal initiative and the right to pursue personal prosperity through one’s hard work.

At 05:22 PM on 30 May 2007

Iraq security situation , the New Far West

The latest kidnappings brought attention to Iraq, which has become the land of big adventure by all accounts. It is the most dangerous for its citizens, let alone foreigners. There are countless incidents of bomb attacks, which daily make the news but go unnoticed as people have become weary of the continuous bloodshed without any end to it in the horizon. The Far West in the USA was a dangerous land, at least as it was portrayed in movies. It took a lot of courage to get there as there were risks of attacks from the Red Indians (fighting for their land) as well as from gangsters who set all kind of ambush to anyone in sight.

Now in the 21st century the scenario is being repeated in Iraq. As in the Far West the risk was taken to get hold of gold and other riches, not to forget the vast lands, the New Far West (Iraq) is becoming a land of speculation and adventure for contractors as in the long run their investment can bring them the benefits of the black gold Iraq possesses in vast quantity.

There have been countless incidents in which Iraqis queuing for a job in the police forces, makeshift jobs or whatever were the victims of deadly attacks. Death seems to be one of the responses Iraqi workers get for their applications for a job - be it with the government or with particulars. It’s dreary to live in a country where even the needy are a target of attacks simply because they belong to a section of society whose enemies want to inflict on it any possible damage out of revenge or to spread terror among its members. It’s no wonder if big contractors are the target of attacks or kidnapping. They become a strong card to play for settling many issues.

There have been “heroic” attacks even inside the green zone, in the parliament, ministries and mosques. So it seems Iraq has no safe place, especially in Baghdad, the area where there is a concentration of foreigners of all kinds. This put in question the level of security in Iraq as those in charge of security are infiltrated by militias and other groups. This put in question to what extent security forces can be trusted at the highest level. There can be the risk even of security personnel acting as double agents, ostensibly working for the government but at the same time acting as facilitators for those who get deep into the green zone.

Maybe Iraq will go down in history as a land for adventure, getting in it and out of it safely must be seen as an achievement. But the situation in it won’t deter speculators and adventures. In it, they can relive and have the taste of the Far West that exists just in movies. When the situations returns to normal, they can reap the rewards for what they have endured. Who knows, one day Iraq skies will be shining with fireworks in celebration instead of the choking smokes from bombs. That's just a dream!

At 04:54 PM on 30 May 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TV Kidney competition and ethics

The kidney competition on Dutch TV is very absurd by all standards. Human organs, in this sense, are likely to become a part of a person's will. So we may one day find in a person’s will statements like this, “as for my liver, it goes to my brother in law, my heart goes to my partner” etc.

There were shocking instances on the media like people committing suicide on the internet or the famous case of the self-confessed cannibal, 42-year-old computer expert who admitted that he had met a 43-year-old Berlin engineer, Bernd Brandes, after advertising on the internet, and had chopped him up and eaten him. So the media is running the risk of becoming a means of demeaning human life. There may one day be legal advertisements of people ready to sell their body parts or to act as intermediaries for those wishing to get them.

There may be competitions for childless couples to get a desired child by entering a competition. So human beings are offered in parcels through organs or in their entirety through children.

China has been criticised for the sale of the organs of executed people. It is a flourishing market of such a “trade” as patients can get the “goods” they want without being on the waiting list or going through the legal procedures.

In Holland, it must be a shame to see a competition of this kind. It is as shocking as seeing a person violently dying. People should live and die in dignity. Death as well as organ donation shouldn’t become commercialised to the point dying people are valued for what healthy organs they can leave to those on the waiting list. For those wishing to donate their organs, there are other means like charitable organisations. There should be no such nonsensical competitions where the dying are paraded before media viewers as a night show.

At 03:14 PM on 29 May 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Closing RCTV, a new era of Chavez dictatorship

Freedom of expression and dictatorship don't go hand in hand. Chavez is emerging as the successor of Castro in dictatorial practices. Shutting RCTV channel is only the tip of iceberg of wide censorship in Venezuela. Chavez, seeking to be a personality cult, needs channels that broadcast only his speeches and praise his policies.

As he refuses internal criticism, the best thing for him is to shut the mouths of his opponents by closing any channel practicing freedom of expression in any form.

But Venezuela isn’t the only country to crack on freedom of expression. One-party regimes as in China give little space for criticism. To ward off the rise of criticism they simply impose censorship. In china, the internet is the most censored site. Maybe Chavez will take the lead of China and start closing any site deemed as publishing ideas not to his tune.

The message Chavez is sending through his approved channels is that he is there to stay. He is preparing all the means to go unchallenged. This is a familiar policy with dictators. They call for democracy when not in power. When they grip it, they find it hard to relinquish it. It won’t be surprising if another day he will amend the constitution making himself a president for life. He must have learnt a great deal from his “godfather” Fidel Castro, who despite his age and frail health is still “el presidente de Cuba”.

At 03:39 PM on 28 May 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

BBC WHYS footprints in Africa

WHYS trip to Africa was very successful. It brought Africa to the eyes of the world from the perspective of ordinary people, especially the listeners. In a precedent, most of the team took a backseat leaving WHYS listeners from the countries visited take the floor as presenters and participants. They left the rest of the team deal with the technical aspects of broadcasting, including Richard Bowen whose voice wasn’t heard in conjunction with that of Ros.

The shows presented from Africa were an opportunity to get close to African people, not as portrayed in the news but by listening to them directly. It was a kind of celebrations as listeners were speaking to listeners, setting the agenda and expressing their divergent views. What attracts me in the shows is that Africans despite their difficulties ranging from corruption and social problems are lively people. WHYS through its different trips to many countries across the major continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA succeeded in bringing people together and to share views.

For me, the trip to Africa raised my curiosity to know more about the countries visited by browsing BBC country profile and checking other websites about them. The period spent by WHYS in these countries was, for me, more or less an opportunity to know about the history and geography of these countries.

Perhaps the most memorable part of this trip was the broadcasting of WHYS from Issa’s house. This gave the programme a special touch, as it was possible for listeners to see his house on the blog. That gave the impression that all the listeners were in his house, not only WHYS team and the neighbours. What was impressive was when Issa and the other participants talked about their day-to-day lives regarding among other thing their difficulties with their energy and running water. The casual atmosphere in which the program was run from Issa’s house was a real depiction of a local atmosphere, mixing African hospitality, hopes and worries.

There were previous “long” trips to India and the USA. But with each trip WHYS grows into more appeal. But the trip to Africa was really something special showing the world what the people in this continent aspire for.

Through the three countries visited -Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya- Africa seems a continent still plunged in difficulties but it has wonderful people who are very welcoming. The hot discussions showed how the Africans are passionate about their state. Maybe with more democratic development, the Africans will have a chance to have their say at home regarding their political, economic and social matters. With more integration, African countries can have their say on the world stage. Some African countries, like DR Congo, should come to their senses instead of remaining at the mercy of internal wars, calling for peacekeeping forces which can only observe a ceasefire or stop bloodshed but can’t force reconciliation unless the parties have the will to do so.

But one thing that remains is that despite the joviality shown throughout the programmes, these countries like the rest of Africa still have a long way to go for general prosperity. WHYS is about to end its trip in Africa, but Africa needs to really start its trip for progress and prosperity by confronting its deep-rooted problems. It can't continue to blame its problems on colonialism. This could have been accepted in the first decade of its independence, as emerging countries needed a firm ground to stand unshaken. The majority of African countries have been independent for more than thirty years. They can’t spend a longer period blaming it all on “imperialism” and “colonialism” while they continue either fighting with one another or turning their backs to one another, not to mention the absence the national cohesion among its different political forces.

So as the WHYS team bid farewell to Africa after linking it to the world for two weeks, Africans need to fortify their existing links. All that is needed is to talk and listen to one another without shouting or fighting. Africans from their independence split too much blood, with more deaths than during the colonial era or fight for independence. Now with the era of stability and emerging democracy, Africans have the chance to have a rich life in parallel with their natural and cultural riches.

Get this widget | Share | Track details

An extended vesrion of the debate on the status of Africa

Get this widget | Share | Track details

At 03:32 PM on 25 May 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Economic status of African women, a case of inequality

The economic status of women in Africa has been inferior to that of men. There are very few successful businesswomen as the major economic activities are in the hands of men. Because of illiteracy and traditions, many African women have limited economic scopes. It is rare to find women at the top of the executives in key economic sectors like banks and companies. In many African countries, women are limited to selling their goods in open-air markets.

In Morocco, more and more women go out for work. There is now a substantial number in public services, mainly education and health services. But very few of them are heads of services as men still dominate key sectors in the country’s economy.

Illiteracy is still dominant among women in the countryside. Girls are sent to cities to work as maids because of their parents’ poverty. Women who leave for the city usually to work in food factories or continue working in farms.

There are associations, especially NGOs, whose aim is help this category of women. The loans provided to women starts at about 2000 MDH ($ US 200). There have been success stories as the loans helped women to have their own income from the skills they have, be it animal raising, sewing, making carpets and so on. Banks remain reticent at offering bigger loans to this category of women unless they produce substantial guarantees.

Small loans are just a small step for women to have a good economic start. The current generations of women missed on many things like education. It will be better to offer good educational conditions for today’s girls not to be street sellers or hired farmers like their mothers. Women should be helped to set up their projects through financial institutions like banks. They should not be faced with more obstacles because of gender and lack of academic education.

Listen to the conversation on African women's economic status in Africa:

Get this widget | Share | Track details

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Renewed clashes in Lebanon

The recent clashes in Lebanon show that the seeds of trouble are in this country's political and religious structure. It is a country torn by political differences that make it regularly exposed to clashes of minor and major magnitude. Lebanon seems to have entered a phase of endless violence since the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. The irony of the situation in Lebanon is that the antagonists look outside their country for support. The current government is supported by the West, mainly the USA as it is supported by Saudi Arabia. The “strong” opposition led by Hezbollah is supported by Iran and Syria. Adding to this there is the problematic issue of the Palestinian refugees as there are sections in the Lebanese political class who want them to leave the country while Israel is refusing the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland. This adds to the internal tension.

Lebanon needs to be cleansed of foreign interferences as the Lebanese need to unite for their country instead of remaining divided into sections with different foreign allegiances to countries like Syria and Iran.

Without national unity and immunity from foreign interference, Lebanon is likely to continue being like a volcano that needs to emit its lava from time to time. Any section, Palestinian refugees, political parties can be manipulated by these forces for their political ends. As there are political views in Lebanon that are vehemently opposed, violence eruption will continue being triggered from one side or the other. This should be taken for granted.

Uganda and Asians

“The Last King of Scotland" brought to the world’s attention the history of Uganda, which was known until the 90s of the last century as a troubled country. This film was very forceful in depicting the state of Uganda, which witnessed one the worst atrocities in Africa, with more than 300,000 killed by Idi Amin’s forces.

One of the scenes in this film is the expulsion of more than 80,000 Asians although their commercial activities were the backbone of Ugandan economy. That added just to the economic hardship of Uganda, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Thanks to the return of stability under the current government, it is estimated that more than 15,000 have arrived in the country.

Last month there were attacks on the Asians as it was reported by the BBC

Linking the past with the present, there are questions to ask like:

How good are the relations between Ugandans and Asians? Is there any risk of a repetition of their forced expulsions from Uganda, in other words, will they continue to be the scapegoat for the economic problems the country is suffering from?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Reaction to Gaddafi's interview on BBC haveyoursay

The Libyan leader has taken part in a Have Your Say special recorded at the Oxford University Union. These are the questions I sent for an answer from him.

Colonel Gaddafi,

1) Do you still believe in the possibility of Arab political & economic unity, now your main focus is on Africa through the African Union, whose creation you were behind.

2) It seems that the Arab Maghreb Union is practically a piece of paper. Do you think the regional unity among Arab Maghreb countries can be a reality, now there are just ministerial meetings between Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Tunisia without any summit among the heads of states since 1994?
Click to view comment

Colonel Gaddafi,

Do you still believe in the political and economic integration of North African countries ( Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Algeria and Tunisia) under the Arab Maghreb Union which was created in 1989? Or will this Union remain just an occasion to remember the date of its creation without implementing its basic objectives? Needless to say the peoples of these countries have seen little implemented on the ground because of among other things the issue of Western Sahara.
Click to view comment

This is what he had to say when asked by a Tunisian student, Tarik, at Oxford University:

Get this widget | Share | Track details

Muammar Gaddafi was evasive in answering Tarik's question on the state of the Arab Maghreb Union. He just have good wishes its leaders, distancing himself. One of the impediments to its becoming effective is the issue of Western Sahara. But he was behind the issue as he was the main supporter of the Polisario through arms and money. He let it down later, but the problems he caused are continuing. Unfortunately, he made no statement on how he stands now on the issue of Western Sahara.
Click to view comment

On the issue of Israel-Palestinian conflict this is what he said:

Get this widget | Share | Track details

Gaddadfi learnt to sound and be moderate through hard ways. He’s started to see the reality of the world as it is after past international isolation, sanctions and US military strikes. His reconciliatory attitude towards Israel is an indication of his deep changing attitudes towards the notion of Arab Nationalism. His notion of Isratine is unlikely to be a reality as there is little indication that radical Israelis and Palestinians cherish the idea of a confederate Isratine.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ghana, a country with potentials

Ghana must pride itself on becoming a stable and democratic country after years of instability. Like many developing countries, it has some of its best citizens living abroad because they can’t exploit their potentials at home. In an interview with the BBC HYS on the occasion of Ghana 50th independence anniversary, President John Kufuor appealed to Ghanaian expatriates to return to their countries and work for its development.

Ghana has now the basis for progress as it has got rid of the spectre of military dictatorship. It has a democratic president who believes in the rotation of power through limiting the terms of presidency. I had the chance to put a question to his Excellency on BBC WHS. This is what he had to say about my question to him on this issue:

Get this widget | Share | Track details

Ghana produced many outstanding figures; the best known is Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General. Ghana has major roles to play on international stage through its presiding over the African Union. With more hard work, African countries can become a leading example on how to rise from internal fighting and waste of golden opportunities to reasonably developed nations. While Europe is worried about its aging population, Africa has a largely young population. Investment in human resources through the good management of its natural and cultural riches will bring it to a safe shore.

Ghana for many is a country which has one of the best football players. If they can build strong football teams, they can also build a strong economy. It’s all about team spirit and fair play. Match fixing and inside dealing benefit just the corrupt few. People want what to cheer about and to have a good share of what is available in the spirit of cooperation, fraternity and equality.

Let’s hope that Ghana will continue on the right path and Africa will have more countries that set the example for good governance, instead of remaining like a patient needing different prescriptions from different foreign doctors like the World Bank and the IMF.

Here is part of the conversation on Ghanaian expatriates that was broadcast on BBC WHYS

Get this widget | Share | Track details

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Alan Johnston

It must be a hard experience for the family and friends of BBC Alan Johnston to mark his birthday without knowing much of his news. Nobody would have liked his birthday to be marked in such a way after it was a private occasion. What is more worrying about him is the current situation in Gaza. It's the irony of fate that Alan Johnston was a reporter of the events there. Now he's linked to them as whatever sort of violence taking place there must be of concern to his relatives and friends.

Nobody would want his birthday to be brought to notice in such a fashion. But it must be celebrated at least symbolically. It is the continuation of hope that Alan is safe and the certainty that he will have many happy returns, while his 45th birthday will continue to be marked as an occasion for remembering that no one is immune from harm despite unlimited goodness. It will also be remembered that in a strange way, Alan has become the friends of many who used to follow his reports, wanting to know more about him than the events he has covered.

Alan will remain assured that as his reports reached all corners of the globe, what he has come to has resonated worldwide. It has made everyone of different creeds and nationalities concerned about him. We all wish you well. Your modesty will make you more humble about the support and sympathy you received from the thousands who know you personally or who got involved with you’ve come through without ever meeting you. We all hope to see you back as soon as possible and like other correspondents of the BBC, you will be presenting shows of BBC WHYS and I will have the opportunity to speak to you.

Once again happy birthday.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Nigeria, the happiest nation on Earth.

Nigeria is one of the outstanding countries in Africa. It has the potential to be a superpower in Western Africa as it is the case for South Africa which is the dominant force in Southern Africa. The bad image Nigeria has is that it is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, giving little confidence to international investors. Public money is burnt in the same way as oil wells are abandoned sending their fumes in the air, as well as the dripping oil pipes while the poor Nigerians are left to eke out a living from dismal sources.

Nigeria is the first exporter of oil in Africa. But the striking facts about Nigerians is that despite their problems, a survey has found out that they are the happiest people. Maybe they should export the secret of their happiness to the rest of the world, especially to affluent countries where the rate of happiness is very low.

I still remember a BBC WHYS show presented by Ros Atkins in a Nigerian restaurants in London. The Nigerian participants were audibly foaming with anger at one another. They left the listeners with the impressions that the Nigerians can’t live in peace as they can’t disagree without getting angry. The following day Ros announced that after the show the participants became jovial and shared a merry Nigerian meal. I wonder if the British can get angry at one another and in no time forget about it.

Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world, but it may also be the most populated with happy people. They surely joke at what looks distressful which drives serious pedantic thinkers mad with rage.

listen to part of the show on BBC WHYS
Get this widget | Share | Track details

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sports and politics

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has ordered the country's cricket team to pull out of a scheduled tour of Zimbabwe in September. Should sport and politics be intertwined?

Sports should be used as a political weapon to isolate regimes that have no respect for human rights. As teams represent their countries, team from democratic ones shouldn't play against those living in a dictatorship. Anything is good to put pressure on Mugabe to reform his regime. As economic sanctions failed to change his dictatorial approach, sport boycott will have a moral effect on the Zimbabwean public, which has been seeking a new political team to lead the country democratically.

Sport can be an effective means to isolate Mugabe. Any achievement will be wrongly attributed to him as he can use it to show Zimbabwe's "great successes" in international sports under his leadership. It doesn't make sense to hold a trophy or a medal from a dictator who has no team spirit. Sports will become a propaganda machine. It's easier to form sport teams as a facade for his regime than to tackle the deep troubles of the millions of Zimbabweans living below poverty line.

Questions to Ed Hussain and reaction to his answers

At 06:10 PM on 26 Apr 2007,


Hi Ed,

What does coming to normal life mean to you?

1) How do you stand on controversial issues in UK like the wearing of the Niqab in schools and public places?

2)What advise do you give to young Muslims who are on the brink of becoming extremists?

3)How do you evaluate religious tolerance in UK, especially between the church and the Muslim communities?

4) Do you believe in religious freedom? If so do you think a Muslim has the right to change his/her religion?

5) Do you think your change of attitude towards extremism will serve as an example to radical Muslim, some of whose battles seem difficult to win?


question to Ed Hus...


At 07:15 PM on 26 Apr 2007,

I listened to Ed Husain account of his “epic “journey in Islam. He must have learnt how to take the right direction the hard way by living extremism and knowing what it means when tested it against reality.

What comes out of his conviction as he stated on WHYS was that religion shouldn’t be politicised. One can achieve religious enlightenment by embracing a religion for spiritual guidance and not seeing religion as a weapon to achieve political power. Before becoming religious, one should be a person with all what human values entails. As he said when one falls into extremism, nothing seems right but one’s own convictions. Those who embrace extremisms just shut themselves to the riches of humanity. They, out of ignorance, keep living prisoners of their narrow beliefs. The world is a wonderful place to live in because there are different types of believers.

The world will become more beautiful if faith is kept personal and if there is interfaith dialogue. In multi-faith countries like UK, it’s a must to be tolerant and open. Otherwise this leads to seclusion and vehement hate of the rest.

Ed Husain must have considered it as a sin, during his radical period, to sit and talk to a non-Muslim during his erroneous radicalism. What made it possible to him to speak on WHYS to Muslims and non-Muslims wearing a beard and a suit? Simply his return to normal life.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Child Kidnapping and parents' responsibility

The kidnapping of Madeleine brought to notice the degree of protection children should have from their parents. The worst thing that can happen to parents is to have their children come to harm. Child kidnapping is stressful experience for the parents as a part of them is lost. Parents should be very attentive to their children. They should never leave them alone or with a person that can’t be trusted.

It is totally wrong to leave very young children alone unguarded. They can be attacked or kidnapped. There are cases in which infants were abducted by people wishing to have children as they can’t have their own. In some troubled countries, at least in the past years, children were abducted by armed groups to make of them child soldiers.

Even in normal societies, it can be difficult to offer total protection to children when they start going out unaccompanied as it may be the case when leaving home for school or for playing. Overprotecting children can be detrimental to their psychological make-up as they can’t grow easily to be independent adults. Children should be exposed to reality from young age to know how to cope later in life. They should also be taught how to avoid strangers. But the case of three-year-old Madeleine McCann shows even in supposedly secure places with CCTV and security guards, kidnapping can happen.

Perhaps the best thing to do is never to take one’s eyes off their children, one way or another. Children by nature can go where their curiosity leads them as they can be easily lured by strangers. Parents should foresee the consequences of leaving their children unattended.

Listen to part of the conversation on BBC WHYS

Parent protection ...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sarkozy's victory, the prospects of Franco-Moroccan relationship

The victory of Sarkozy must be come as good news for many governments in Europe, and especially to the US. Sarkozy American style policy on economic matters can bring the two countries closer after the cooling of relationship between the countries following US invasion of Iraq.

France and Morocco are close allies on many issues. France is Morocco’s first economic partner. It has stood by it concerning the issue of Western Sahara. President Jacque Chirac has been a close friend of Morocco through his numerous official and private visits. Sarkozy is familiar with Morocco through his official and private visits in recent years. He’s a known quantity to Moroccan politicians and he has a good knowledge of Morocco. As a member of Chirac’s government prior to his presidential campaigns and subsequent victory, he’s likely to continue on the same path as his predecessor reinforcing the existing political and economic partnership.

However, there remain worries about his attitude to immigration. Many Moroccan immigrants in France must be disappointed by his victory as they are suspicious of his reconciliatory tone in contrast to his harsh measures following suburb riots in 2005.

Whatever, Morocco had troublesome relationship with France when the socialists were in power under Francois Mitterrand. The victory of Sarkozy must have spared Morocco the worries it might have, had Royal won, She who proved inexperienced in international politics. The most hilarious blunder she made when she still thought Talibans were still in power in Afghanistan!
Significance of Sa...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sarkozy, France's president elect

Sarkozy won the presidential elections to become France’s new president. It's must be seen as a new era in French politics as Sarkozy is of the relatively young generation. With the departure of Jacques Chirac, France should be set for a new style of government. Sarkozy deserves his victory. Royal made many blunders in her campaigns. This must be seen as prelude to what president she would be if she had won. Because of his accumulated political responsibilities, Sarkozy has enough experience. This will allow him to deal with issues nationally and internationally.

Sarkozy's victory shows politics in France is still a male domain. Royal failed to convince the majority because of her blunders. The voters must have made the right choice. Her party must have made the wrong one, first by thinking a female candidate can restore it to power and second by choosing Royal who seemed inexperienced about international politics. The lesson to learn from these elections is that experience and personality matter and not the ideological cliché of equality b/w sexes.

France regardless of who won should be an example for undemocratic countries where there are no change of president or the elections are carried under fraud and violence. If Royal had won, she would be the first female president. But Sarkozy will be known in history as the first French president of immigrant origin. Being so, he should solve the problems of the immigrants instead of resorting to harsh measures in response to their just demands for equal treatment socially and economically.

Friday, May 04, 2007

About the man who married a goat

The story of the Charles Tombe who was forced to marry goat Rose shouldn’t come as a surprise to some. There are many who practise bestiality with their pets at least in secrecy. In Holland, The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party hit the headlines when one of its political principles was to legalise bestiality. (It was discussed on WHYS ).Now the goat is dead .On this sad occasion, it should send a letter of condolences to Mr Charles Tombe. It also should send him another goat after his bestial marriage was short and not rosy enough. It should help him to raise his “son-in-law”, now he’s a widower. And why not help the kid to come to Holland to be raised along its political principles.

One problem that could have risen is this. Had Mr Tombe been the first to die, would “Mrs” Rose be entitled to inherit him according to the local customs as they were married according to them?

Tony Blair's legacy

With Tony Blair the Labour Party have never had it so good. T. Blair broke many records as the youngest prime minister in the 20th century, as the first Labour PM to win three successive general elections. As UK lived under the brand of the "New Labour", now it needs a new PM that can correct T. Blair's mistakes and refurbish the actions that put UK among the nations to contend with. Before T. Blair, the Labour Party was in a mess. He rejuvenated it. After him, it needs a new look to keep new before it has the fate of other parties that have never taken power for decades like the Liberal Democrats.

For many outside the UK, Tony Blair will be remembered as the one whose foreign policy towards Iraq made UK look just a like a close follower of the USA. On this he has sailed on the same boat as George Bush. It dominated political debates at home and abroad, triggering his unpopularity among many. Because of his foreign policy on Iraq, he made UK on the blacklist of Islamic terrorists. But his decision to reduce British troops from Iraq for a possible withdrawal can atone for having sent them in the first place.

Tony Blair will be probably be missed by Bush who may have difficult times with the new PM should he decide a 360° turn to distance himself from the legacy of Blair. Blair rejuvenated the Labour Party. Now he is going to step down before becoming too old to lead the country. Politics is like athleticism. You should retire before you're too old. Blair leaves while he's in good form.

Now he has left his footprint in UK and having in power long enough to fight opponents abroad at home, Tony Blair can be an adviser on international policy, especially at the United Nations. Flamboyant politician like him at a relatively young age, will find it difficult to be a spectator to sit behind. He can follow the lead of former politicians and publish his memoirs in Downing Street. Many will be curious to know more about him. He arrived to power in a spectacular way. Now he leaves it with flying colours as his popularity isn’t currently as low as that of his close friend George Bush.

It remains to see how the future Prime Minister will fair. One thing is sure UK is historically a close ally to the US under either Labour or Conservative governments. Tony Blair in his approach to foreign policy, especially Iraq, is just a continuation of what the relations between UK and USA should be. History will tell how Blair influenced George Bush. Now the prevailing view is that Blair has been just at his beck and call.

One of the other things that will be missed about him is his eloquence and sense of humour. He has all the chances to keep in stardom after leaving office. It is unlikely that he will easily fall in oblivion. UK now has three prominent prime ministers dating back from the Second World War: Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and the last but not the least: Tony Blair. Historians will keep talking about them.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Getting rid of plastic bags

Traders in a Devon market town claim they will be the first in Europe to be entirely free of plastic bags. This move should be carried out all over the world.

Plastic bags have infested all markets and in every country. They aren’t just a means to put goods in them. Supermarkets and the like use them for commercial effect. They design them as a part of marketing and putting on them their trademarks. Customers then become walking publicity as they display where they got their goods.

In old days, people used to carry their baskets to the market. They used buy goods according to their daily needs. Now things have changed. They seek to do the weekly shopping, using their cars. Each item is put in a plastic bag. Plastic bags add just to the burden of local councils having to deal with increasing waste.

What is needed now is to return to paper bags. They can be more costly for the retailers, but they are cheap enough as they can be recycled, causing little damage to the environment. More woodland should be farmed for this effect. Customers should be encouraged to take their own bags with them when they want to go shopping. Manufacturers should design durable and reusable bags for each kind of shopping. Bags for clothing, bags for food items and so on. This proposal can be far-fetched. But nothing should look hard to implement for the sake of the environment. What is needed is the adaptation of new approaches at the personal level. Scientists alone can’t change the world by raising the alarm. Customers and sellers should get involved to make cities and homes environment friendly. The first step is to make plastic bags disappear from shopping centres.