Friday, January 30, 2009

Compensating human rights victims

Many countries around the worlds have tried to turn a new page concerning human right abuses in the past as a means to foster national reconciliation and to compensate the victims or their relatives.

Morocco is the first Arab country to compensate for the victims of human rights abuses between independence in 1956 and the end of King Hassan’s reign in 1999, during which 592 people were killed, the Equity and Reconciliation Committee. Some received more than USD 300,000 in compensation.

Money is just a means to compensate the victims, but there is no money to compensate for the lost years in imprisonment under torture. Many leave the prison in critical health conditions and die just after receiving their compensation.

For Morocco, the compensation of former victims of human rights abuses has been a success. Outstanding political prisoners have become involved in politics, by joining existing or newly formed political parties. Many exiled politicians returned. At least the compensations have secured political stability in Morocco – although the Islamists, hundreds of whom are now in prison, still constitute a dangerous factor for the regime in Morocco.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is the BBC right not to air DEC Gaza appeal?

The BBC is under pressure to air a charity appeal for aid to Gaza after other channels agreed to broadcast it.

This has led to different responses from different personalities as well as from the public.

The BBC controversial position on whether it should show the DEC appeal is giving it more publicity than it needs as this has become one of top news reports on the BBC and other major news channels.

Those who support the BBC decision can argue that the BBC should keep its impartiality by reporting the situation in Gaza objectively. It will set a precedent if it shows the DEC appeal as there are other disastrous areas in the world needing major help because of politics like Zimbabwe -a completely run-down country on all levels.

The BBC has to keep its impartiality when it comes to political conflicts. The tragic events in Gaza were the results the political enmity between Hamas. The BBC doesn't have to show the DEC appeal as it may amount to the incrimination of either Hamas or Israel or both.

It's enough for the BBC to make objective reporting about the ongoing events in Gaza for the public to make their own judgement. The DEC can use other media outlets and emails to get the donations it needs.

However there must be exceptions when human lives are in danger. It’s not a question of being or not being impartial but being indifferent. As there are viewers who shrug at the sight of suffering and dying people, there are others who feel compassion. These people should be given a chance to help through the DEC appeal. That could have gone unnoticed if the BBC wasn’t adamant that it’s out of question to show the appeal on air.

Tony Benn of DEC said "If you wont broadcast the Gaza appeal then I will myself"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gaza and the international community

As long as Israel is ready to kill the civilian Palestinians which it sees as collateral damage and as long as Hamas sees the death of the Palestinians as martyrs for its cause, there will be no lull between the two sides.

Hatred between Hamas and Israel is so deep that no UN resolution can stop them fighting. Each side will find an excuse to kill and attack in the name of survival.

Hamas can keep its morale high through protests worldwide, which are likely to change nothing. Israel will continue its attacks knowing in advance that its fight will be limited within Gaza as no Arab country will step in to fight with it and the international forces can’t get in to establish peace without its agreement.

As such the UN resolutions whether soft or harsh will have no effect on Israel policies as countless events similar to those in Gaza have shown.

On the whole, the Israeli actions in Gaza are likely to deepen the hatred towards Israel and to make Jews around the world feel unsafe. They can be the source of growing of anti-Semitism.

However it’s not too late to close this Gaza bloody chapter if all the parties come to their senses and agree to a ceasefire which should be sustained by allowing people in Gaza the freedom of movement and to be guaranteed their basic needs. Mutual and sustained attacks are likely to prolong the damages on both sides and to make any peace agreement unachievable.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Israel on the defence against defenceless Palestinians

The Israeli politicians say that their war on Hamas will go on whatever it takes. This means they have given themselves the right to have a free hand. But as long as there are the laws of wars, going beyond them must be a crime against humanity.

However as long as it’s unlikely that Israel can face international sanctions from its allies, mainly the EU and the USA - its major economic and political partners, it will continue to bombard Gaza at will. The irony is that NATO was able to intervene militarily in ex-Yugoslavia to stop ethnic cleansing there and the international forces led by the USA invaded in Iraq. Now the international community is watching Israel pound its bombs in civilian areas and “calmly” asking for a ceasefire. As such Israel isn’t just defending itself but it’s being defended by its allies on behalf of which it is waging a war against Hamas.

In short, Israel in its history of bloody attacks is used to the pattern of diplomatic condemnations and angry wide public protests. It has a deaf ear to them because the drones of the engines of its weapons and the sounds of the explosion are louder than them. Israel doesn’t need justifications as it has no one to account for its actions. It’s the law of the strong against the weak, not the modern laws of war.

Israel has the right to defend itself, but not at the expense of the innocent civilians caught in the fire attacks. The Israelis exposed to Hamas rockets have only fear to deal with, considering the casualties when contrasting 14 Israeli killed by Hamas rockets versus 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israel sophisticated weapons in the past seven years.

Israel can reserve the right to respond to those who attack it, but not through indiscriminate killing which it euphemistically can call collateral damage.

The best way for Israel to defend itself is not to allow extremism grow around its borders and beyond, by being realistic about its approaches to its conflict with the Palestinians. One of the approaches can be for it to speed up the establishment of a Palestinian state and not to use Hamas and Iran as an excuse for further delays.

World Have your Say on TV

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four