Every year the American historian William Blum publishes his “updated summary of the record of US foreign policy” which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders.
I recently discovered that a vast numbers of gay-male erotic fiction available as ebooks, is written by females. On some ebook sites they are in the majority.
This isn’t obvious because most female authors use a first name that can be either male or female, Sam, Chris, Lee, Max, Jo, Jude, Billy, Des… And the others usually use only their initials.
A librarian told me that libraries are expected to have a quota of gay fiction, so to make up the numbers they order a job lot of cheap gay erotica. She wasn’t concerned that these titles, mostly written by women, had little or no social, literary or emotional value. In my opinion these sorts of books have no place in a public library, which should be offering titles that contain a story that’s about more than romance and sex. They should have at least some social and psychological truth that will be of assistance and informative to both young and older gays.
Most heterosexuals think that now homosexuality has been decriminalised, gays no longer have any problems. This is wrong. In many ways problems have increased because with increased visibility has come increased harassment and persecution. In some respects it was easier to grow up in a 1950’s small town than it would be today, because if something isn’t talked about, it doesn’t exist for most people.
Does the preponderance of female porn writers matter ? Yes, because female authors are in no position to offer a balanced view of life for gays. These women have had no personal experience of what it means to grow up as a gay male in a heterosexual world, and can never imagine the thousands of pressures, constraints, fears, and other subtle problems that affect a gay male. Their stories can never contain advice or support to either young or older gay men on how to live happily in the intellectually and socially hostile environments that are our homes, schools and cities.
It wouldn’t be so bad if these women advertised their gender and lack of personal experience on the blurb, instead of deliberately concealing this information. Their books should be clearly labelled “For females who are turned on by male on male sex”.
It also matters because these trite, stereotypical erotic fantasies present a false picture of what it means to be same-sex-oriented, that not only shapes and perverts the ideas and opinions of heterosexual readers, but also influences the life choices of young gays who have a restricted choice of good reading matter relevant to them.
Heterosexual porn is rife everywhere, but there are billions of other books, films and TV programmes that tell the truth about the diversity of life as a heterosexual. These billions of books, written by heterosexuals for heterosexuals, offer readers insight into what it means to be a heterosexual man or woman, and provide an enormous range of behaviour models. Virtually every book, film and TV program about living and loving, working and reacting, making social contacts and choosing a job, is aimed at heterosexuals. Gays have to search for anything useful in handling their problems, and even if they find something, they’re often too frightened to access it in case parents, friends, teachers… discover they’re…shock horror… ‘queer!’
Stories like “The Geography Club” by Brent Hartinger, in which the reality of the loneliness, fear and misery of being gay in schools everywhere, is so poignantly evoked, along with ways to combat this and survive happily, are the sorts of titles libraries should hold.
The vast majority of fiction available to heterosexuals of all ages is good, real, sensible and useful, only a tiny bit of it is fantasy porn. With gays it’s the opposite. They’re drowning in porn while suffering a famine of books, films and stories that support and teach gay youth and adults how to live, act and behave in the real world without denying themselves.
The effects of this deficiency doesn’t just affect gays. The misery is spread.
Despite decriminalising legislation, organised religions have ensured that little has changed in public perceptions and attitudes regarding same-sex-orientation, so most gays still remain securely in their closets, enduring unrelenting submersion in heterosexual culture, mores, beliefs and behaviours, with the result that most gay men deny their true natures, consider suicide, suppress their natural urges, and marry a woman, which then creates enormous problems for both husband and wife until, in their forties usually, the man gets the courage to finally live his life as his mind and body have always subconsciously desired. I’ve had too many letters from men in early middle age who have finally dared to be themselves, not to feel angry that both they and their wives have had to endure such misery for so long.
Half of all youth suicides are by gay boys, although they make up only 5-10% of the population. They need good literature, not some female’s homosexual erotic fantasy.
Despite falling Youth crime rates in Queensland the Attorney General introduced the Youth Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 into parliament on 11 February 2014. This signals a return to ineffective and oppressive treatment of children who, for the most part are victims of intellectually and culturally poor, as well as often violent family and social backgrounds.
The Bill makes amendments to key components of the Youth Justice Act 1992 .
- Allow repeat young offenders to be publically named throughout proceedings. This will not apply to first time offenders;
- Open the Children’s Court to the public, this is to create transparency in the youth justice system;
- Create a new offence for committing an offence while on bail for another offence. This proposal will target repeat offenders and seeks to hold them accountable in relation to their legal undertaking not to re-offend while on bail;
- Make juvenile criminal histories admissible during sentencing of adult offenders. This will allow childhood findings of guilt for which no conviction was recorded, to be admissible to courts upon sentencing adults and will allow courts to have a complete understanding of defendant’s offending history;
- Automatically transfer young people from youth detention to adult prison when they turn 17 if they have six or more months remaining to serve; and
- Remove the principle of detention as a last resort in order to strengthen the sentencing framework and by providing Courts with the full range of sentencing options for consideration. This principle will also be removed from the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 which means it will be removed for adults also.
Dozens of profoundly criticalsubmission on the Bill have been made by respected authorities to the Research Director of the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee. They can be viewed here.
I would like our elected lawmakers to consider the following:
- The threat of punishment, no matter how severe, does not deter people from committing crimes. Juveniles in particular are convinced they won’t get caught.
- Prisons are schools of crime and creators of resentment and anger against society. Everyone who enters comes out with the ability to be an even worse criminal as well as socially inept, and increasingly violent against family. The only inmates who don’t become recidivists, are those whose backgrounds were not too bad to start with.
- A socially aware and concerned government would seek to improve the social circumstances of everyone at risk, so that their children do not become criminals. Surely they are alarmed that 60% of the juvenile prison population comes from the most disadvantaged 6% of the population—Indigenous people! These kids haven’t a chance! What we should be doing is taking them away from their social setting and placing them in a secure, organised, safe environment, teaching them social skills, reading and writing, preparing them for a trade, then finding employment for them when they are released…meantime treating them with gentle firmness, kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness and even love, using positive reinforcement—never cruelty, threats, punishment. If they have never been treated decently, how can they learn to become decent? They will never learn it in a prison—there they will only learn to become worse…or is that what the government wants? Create employment for prison guards and social workers?
- If you name and shame juvenile offenders, you are making it impossible for them to ever rehabilitate themselves. Their sole survival means will then be to develop a hard, ‘don’t care’ attitude that will make them even more likely to offend again—after all, what will they have to lose? You’ve destroyed their hopes of living a normal life in society!
- Seventeen year old kids are still children. They may act tough, do adult crimes, but they’re still able to be turned onto the ‘right’ path. Put them with adults and you are making their lives hell. Everyone knows they will probably be sodomised, terrorised, turned into calloused adults incapable of anything except sharing their sense of injustice, misery and brutality.
- Offences by juveniles are usually innocent of malice. To bring these up years later when they have done something wrong as adults, is vicious.
When we have reached the point that indigenous juveniles represent only 6% of the prison population, then let the Attorney consider harsher penalties, but while there is enormous evidence of basic inequality and disadvantage among members of that social group, to compound this by punishing the people who are already being punished because of their birth is vile indeed. Like the U.S.A., it seems the Queensland Government prefers to violently punish wrongdoers rather than attempt rehabilitation, despite reams of studies that tell us clearly that what this bill is proposing will have the opposite effect to what the Attorney General reckons he wants. It will create more criminals who are not merely thoughtless of others, but also violently resentful of society, and will further disrupt and alienate the very people in desperate need of assistance, the indigenous population whose just grievances, and the injustices they have received from successive state governments, have never been addressed.
We should take heed of the U.S.A., which has more of its citizens in jail than any other country on earth, and one of the highest violent crime rates. We do not want to go down that road.
I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry when I see John Kerry and other representatives of the U.S.A. telling other countries to respect the sovereignty and borders of other countries, that it is illegal to invade, to make threats, to treat people badly, to not respect the democratic choices of a nation’s citizens….So I thought I’d share this piece from Tom Englehart. OK, so it’s a couple of years old, but nothing’ much has changed…
What America Knows How to Do Best
By Tom Engelhardt
September 13, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – -
It’s pop-quiz time when it comes to the American way of war: three questions, torn from the latest news, just for you. Here’s the first of them, and good luck!
Two weeks ago, 200 U.S. Marines began armed operations in…?:
a) Afghanistan b) Pakistan c) Iran d) Somalia e) Yemen f) Central Africa g) Northern Mali h) The Philippines i) Guatemala
If you opted for any answer, “a” through “h,” you took a reasonable shot at it. After all, there’s an ongoing American war in Afghanistan and somewhere in the southern part of that country, 200 armed U.S. Marines could well have been involved in an operation. In Pakistan, an undeclared, CIA-run air war has long been underway, and in the past there have been armed border crossings by U.S. special operations forces as well as U.S. piloted cross-border air strikes, but no Marines.
When it comes to Iran, Washington’s regional preparations for war are staggering. The continual build-up of U.S. naval power in the Persian Gulf, of land forces on bases around that country, of air power (and anti-missile defenses) in the region should leave any observer breathless. There are U.S. special operations forces near the Iranian border and CIA drones regularly over that country. In conjunction with the Israelis, Washington has launched a cyberwar against Iran’s nuclear program and computer systems. It has also established fierce oil and banking sanctions, and there seem to have been at least some U.S. cross-border operations into Iran going back to at least 2007. In addition, a recent front-page New York Times story on Obama administration attempts to mollify Israel over its Iran policy included this ominous line: “The administration is also considering… covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected.” So 200 armed Marines in action in Iran — not yet, but don’t get down on yourself, it was a good guess.
In Somalia, according to Wired magazine’s Danger Room blog, there have been far more U.S. drone flights and strikes against the Islamic extremist al-Shabaab movement and al-Qaeda elements than anyone previously knew. In addition, the U.S. has at least partially funded, supported, equipped, advised, and promoted proxy wars there, involving Ethiopian troops back in 2007 and more recently Ugandan and Burundi troops (as well as an invading Kenyan army). In addition, CIA operatives and possibly other irregulars and hired guns are well established in Mogadishu, the capital.
In Yemen, as in Somalia, the combination has been proxy war and strikes by drones (as well as piloted planes), with some U.S. special forces advisors on the ground, and civilian casualties (and anger at the U.S.) rising in the southern part of the country — but also, as in Somalia, no Marines. Central Africa? Now, there’s a thought. After all, at least 100 Green Berets were sent in there this year as part of a campaign against Joseph Kony’s Ugandan-based Lord’s Resistance Army. As for Northern Mali, taken over by Islamic extremists (including an al-Qaeda-affiliated group), it certainly presents a target for future U.S. intervention — and we still don’t know what those three U.S. Army commandos who skidded off a bridge to their deaths in their Toyota Land Rover with three “Moroccan prostitutes” were doing in a country with which the U.S. military had officially cut its ties after a democratically elected government was overthrown. But 200 Marines operating in war-torn areas of Africa? Not yet. When it comes to the Philippines, again no Marines, even though U.S. special forces and drones have been aiding the government in a low-level conflict with Islamic militants in Mindanao.
As it happens, the correct, if surprising, answer is “i.” And if you chose it, congratulations!
On August 29th, the Associated Press reported that a “team of 200 U.S. Marines began patrolling Guatemala’s western coast this week in an unprecedented operation to beat drug traffickers in the Central America region, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.” This could have been big news. It’s a sizeable enough intervention: 200 Marines sent into action in a country where we last had a military presence in 1978. If this wasn’t the beginning of something bigger and wider, it would be surprising, given that commando-style operatives from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have been firing weapons and killing locals in a similar effort in Honduras, and that, along with U.S. drones, the CIA is evidently moving ever deeper into the drug war in Mexico.
In addition, there’s a history here. After all, in the early part of the previous century, sending in the Marines — in Nicaragua, Haiti, the Dominican Repubic, and elsewhere — was the way Washington demonstrated its power in its own “backyard.” And yet other than a few straightforward news reports on the Guatemalan intervention, there has been no significant media discussion, no storm of criticism or commentary, no mention at either political convention, and no debate or discussion about the wisdom of such a step in this country. Odds are that you didn’t even notice that it had happened.
Think of it another way: in the post-2001 era, along with two disastrous wars on the Eurasian mainland, we’ve been regularly sending in the Marines or special operations forces, as well as naval, air, and robotic power. Such acts are, by now, so ordinary that they are seldom considered worthy of much discussion here, even though no other country acts (or even has the capacity to act) this way. This is simply what Washington’s National Security Complex does for a living.
At the moment, it seems, a historical circle is being closed with the Marines once again heading back into Latin America as the “drug war” Washington proclaimed years ago becomes an actual drug war. It’s a demonstration that, these days, when Washington sees a problem anywhere on the planet, its version of a “foreign policy” is most likely to call on the U.S. military. Force is increasingly not our option of last resort, but our first choice.
Now, consider question two in our little snap quiz of recent war news:
In 2011, what percentage of the global arms market did the U.S. control?
(Keep in mind that, as everyone knows, the world is an arms bazaar filled with haggling merchants. Though the Cold War and the superpower arms rivalry is long over, there are obviously plenty of countries eager to peddle their weaponry, no matter what conflicts may be stoked as a result.)
a) 37% ($12.1 billion), followed closely by Russia ($10.7 billion), France, China, and the United Kingdom. b) 52.7% ($21.3 billion), followed by Russia at 19.3% ($12.8 billion), France, Britain, China, Germany, and Italy. c) 68% ($37.8 billion), followed by Italy at 9% ($3.7 billion) and Russia at 8% ($3.5 billion). d) 78% ($66.3 billion), followed by Russia at 5.6% ($4.8 billion).
Naturally, you naturally eliminated “d” first. Who wouldn’t? After all, cornering close to 80% of the arms market would mean that the global weapons bazaar had essentially been converted into a monopoly operation. Of course, it’s common knowledge that the U.S. arms giants, given a massive helping hand in their marketing by the Pentagon, remain the collective 800-pound gorilla in any room. But 37% of that market is nothing to sniff at. (At least, it wasn’t in 1990, the final days of the Cold War when the Russians were still a major competitor worldwide.) As for 52.7%, what national industry wouldn’t bask in the glory of such a figure — a majority share of arms sold worldwide? (And, in fact, that was an impressive percentage back in the dismal sales year of 2010, when arms budgets worldwide were still feeling the pain of the lingering global economic recession.) Okay, so what about that hefty 68%? It couldn’t have been a more striking achievement for U.S. arms makers back in 2008 in what was otherwise distinctly a lagging market.
The correct answer for 2011, however, is the singularly unbelievable one: the U.S. actually tripled its arms sales last year, hitting a record high, and cornering almost 78% of the global arms trade. This was reported in late August but, like those 200 Marines in Guatemala, never made onto front pages or into the top TV news stories. And yet, if arms were drugs (and it’s possible that, in some sense, they are, and that we humans can indeed get addicted to them), then the U.S. has become something close enough to the world’s sole dealer. That should be front-page news, shouldn’t it?
Okay, so here’s the third question in today’s quiz:
From a local base in which country did U.S. Global Hawk drones fly long-range surveillance missions between late 2001 and at least 2006?
a) The Seychelles Islands b) Ethiopia c) An unnamed Middle Eastern country d) Australia
Actually, the drone base the U.S. has indeed operated in the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean was first used only in 2009 and the drone base Washington has developed in Ethiopia by upgrading a civilian airport only became operational in 2011. As for that “unnamed Middle Eastern country,” perhaps Saudi Arabia, the new airstrip being built there, assumedly for the CIA’s drones, may now be operational. Once again, the right answer turns out to be the unlikely one. Recently, the Australian media reported that the U.S. had flown early, secretive Global Hawk missions out of a Royal Australian Base at Edinburg. These were detected by a “group of Adelaide aviation historians.” The Global Hawk, an enormous drone, can stay in the air a long time. What those flights were surveilling back then is unknown, though North Korea might be one guess. Whether they continued beyond 2006 is also unknown.
Unlike the previous two stories, this one never made it into the U.S. media and if it had, would have gone unnoticed anyway. After all, who in Washington or among U.S. reporters and pundits would have found it odd that, long before its recent, much-ballyhooed “pivot” to Asia, the U.S. was flying some of its earliest drone missions over vast areas of the Pacific? Who even finds it strange that, in the years since 2001, the U.S. has been putting together an ever more elaborate network of its own drone bases on foreign soil, or that the U.S. has an estimated 1,000-1,200 military bases scattered across the planet, some the size of small American towns (not to speak of scads of bases in the United States)?
Like those Marines in Guatemala, like the near-monopoly on the arms trade, this sort of thing is hardly considered significant news in the U.S., though in its size and scope it is surely historically unprecedented. Nor does it seem strange to us that no other country on the planet has more than a tiny number of bases outside its own territory: the Russians have a scattered few in the former SSRs of the Soviet Union and a single old naval base in Syria that has been in the news of late; the French still have some in Francophone Africa; the British have a few leftovers from their own imperial era, including the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has essentially been transformed into an American base; and the Chinese may be in the process of setting up a couple of modest bases as well. Add up every non-American base on foreign soil, however, and the total is probably less than 2% of the American empire of bases.
Investing in War
It would, by the way, be a snap to construct a little quiz like this every couple of weeks from U.S. military news that’s reported but not attended to here, and each quiz would make the same essential point: from Washington’s perspective, the world is primarily a landscape for arming for, garrisoning for, training for, planning for, and making war. War is what we invest our time, energy, and treasure in on a scale that is, in its own way, remarkable, even if it seldom registers in this country.
In a sense (leaving aside the obvious inability of the U.S. military to actually win wars), it may, at this point, be what we do best. After all, whatever the results, it’s an accomplishment to send 200 Marines to Guatemala for a month of drug interdiction work, to get those Global Hawks secretly to Australia to monitor the Pacific, and to corner the market on things that go boom in the night.
Think of it this way: the United States is alone on the planet, not just in its ability, but in its willingness to use military force in drug wars, religious wars, political wars, conflicts of almost any sort, constantly and on a global scale. No other group of powers collectively even comes close. It also stands alone as a purveyor of major weapons systems and so as a generator of war. It is, in a sense, a massive machine for the promotion of war on a global scale.
We have, in other words, what increasingly looks like a monopoly on war. There have, of course, been warrior societies in the past that committed themselves to a mobilized life of war-making above all else. What’s unique about the United States is that it isn’t a warrior society. Quite the opposite.
Washington may be mobilized for permanent war. Special operations forces may be operating in up to 120 countries. Drone bases may be proliferating across the planet. We may be building up forces in the Persian Gulf and “pivoting” to Asia. Warrior corporations and rent-a-gun mercenary outfits have mobilized on the country’s disparate battlefronts to profit from the increasingly privatized twenty-first-century American version of war. The American people, however, are demobilized and detached from the wars, interventions, operations, and other military activities done in their name. As a result, 200 Marines in Guatemala, almost 78% of global weapons sales, drones flying surveillance from Australia — no one here notices; no one here cares.
War: it’s what we do the most and attend to the least. It’s a nasty combination.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.
Copyright 2012 Tom Engelhardt
There’s been quite a lot written and spoken lately about domestic violence and male disrespect for women – especially ‘strong’ women in positions of ‘power’. Always the man is to blame and the female an innocent victim. However, it seems to me that in daily life men receive just as much disrespect and abuse – albeit mainly verbal – from women. Even the most ‘lady-like’ female has no qualms about suggesting males are less than ‘men’ when they behave differently to what women perceive to be ‘normal’ male behaviour, or wear clothes women think are unmanly.
It was women who demanded men not wear speedos when playing beach volleyball because they ‘didn’t want to see men’s bits jiggling around’. [Their own exposed breasts and buttocks that jiggle alarmingly are, of course beguilingly attractive.] Women have convinced everyone that male clothing must never suggest the presence of genitals, because a bulge in trousers or swimming togs is a sign of male sexual aggression. This has resulted in an almost universal adoption of lethal ‘board shorts’ for swimming. Lethal because they fill with water and drag men and boys into difficulties in the water – sometimes causing drowning. If equality of sexes is the aim, then equality of dress is an essential part of this. Vocal discrimination against men because of what they wear, or how much flesh they expose is counter productive, because it puts men on the back foot, and that makes them aggressive.
Women complain that men make sexist remarks when they walk along a street, or attend public functions. If a man walked along the street or went to a public function wearing brief shorts that expose his buttock cleavage, minimalist sandals, conspicuous jewellery and a brief tank top to expose his navel, he would be jeered off the street or refused admission. If a concert pianist were to perform wearing a glittering tank top, with bare arms, trousers split to the thigh, necklaces and jewellery, hair expensively coiffured… he would be shouted off stage. If a man wore eye shadow, lipstick, blusher… dowsed himself in perfume – what do you think the women would say?
If women don’t want to receive sexual comments about themselves and their clothes, then they should not wear garments that draw attention to their sexual attributes. Do school children really want to have a vast cleavage hover over them as the teacher checks their work? Does anyone really benefit from seeing the butterfly tattooed on a fat bum bulging above skin tight mini-skirt? Why would it not be sexist to tell a man he’s indecent if he dressed like them and wore his hair long and elaborately styled, when we allow women to wear male style trouser suits without comment, and behave like men if they feel like it?
If there is a psychologically repressed sex in Australia, it is the males by a long shot, and the inevitable result is the misogyny we see in public life, spouse abuse, and the high divorce rate.
List of Children Killed by US (Drone Strikes) in Yemen and Pakistan
[The following list was issued by Drones Watch on 20 January 2013. The names were compiled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports.]
Name | Age | Gender
Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male
Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
Nasser Salim | 19
Source: ICH: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33706.htm
2012: The Year We Did Our Best To Abandon The Natural World
Emissions are rising, ice is melting and yet the response of governments is simply to pretend that none of it is happening
By George Monbiot
January 01, 2013 “The Guardian” – - It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century.
Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic’s sea ice broke the previous record. Remnants of the global megafauna – such as rhinos and bluefin tuna – were shoved violently towards extinction. Novel tree diseases raged across continents. Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening.
Their indifference was distilled into a great collective shrug at the Earth Summit in June. The first summit, 20 years before, was supposed to have heralded a new age of environmental responsibility. During that time, thanks largely to the empowerment of corporations and the ultra-rich, the square root of nothing has been achieved. Far from mobilising to address this, in 2012 the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful governments – the US, the UK, Germany and Russia – didn’t even bother to turn up.
But they did send their representatives to sabotage it. The Obama administration even sought to reverse commitments made by George Bush Sr in 1992. The final declaration was a parody of inaction. While the 190 countries that signed it expressed “deep concern” about the world’s escalating crises, they agreed no new targets, dates or commitments, with one exception. Sixteen times they committed themselves to “sustained growth”, a term they used interchangeably with its polar opposite, “sustainability”.
The climate meeting in Doha at the end of the year produced a similar combination of inanity and contradiction. Governments have now begun to concede, without evincing any great concern, that they will miss their target of no more than 2C of global warming this century. Instead we’re on track for between fourand six degrees. To prevent climate breakdown, coal burning should be in steep decline. Far from it: the International Energy Agency reports that global use of the most carbon-dense fossil fuel is climbing by about 200m tonnes a year. This helps to explain why global emissions are rising so fast.
Our leaders now treat climate change as a guilty secret. Even after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the record droughts and wildfires that savaged the US, the two main presidential contenders refused to mention the subject, except for one throwaway sentence each. Has an issue this big ever received as little attention in a presidential race?
The same failures surround the other forces of destruction. In 2012 European governments flunked their proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, which is perfectly designed to maximise environmental damage. The farm subsidies it provides are conditional on farmers destroying the vegetation (which also means the other wildlife) on their land. We pay €55bn a year to trash the natural world.
This contributes to what I have come to see as a great global polishing: a rubbing away of ecosystems and natural structures by the intensification of farming, fishing, mining and other industries. Looking back on this year a few decades hence, this destruction will seem vastly more significant than any of the stories with which the media is obsessed. Like governments, media companies have abandoned the living world.
In the UK in 2012, the vandals were given the keys to the art gallery. Environmental policy is now in the hands of people – such as George Osborne, Owen Paterson, Richard Benyon and Eric Pickles – who have no more feeling for the natural world than the Puritans had for fine art. They are busy defacing the old masters and smashing the ancient sculptures.
They have lit a bonfire of environmental regulations, hobbled bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency and ensured that the countryside becomes even more of an exclusive playground for the ultra-rich, unhampered by effective restraints on the burning of grouse moors, the use of lead shot, the killing of birds of prey and the spraying of pesticides that are wiping out our bees and other invertebrates.
In the same spirit, the government has reduced the list of possible marine conservation zones from 127 to 31. Even these 31 will be protected in name only: the fishing industry will still be allowed to rampage through them. A fortnight ago, the UK lobbied successfully for quotas of several overexploited fish species to be raised, while pouring scorn on the scientific evidence that shows this is madness.
George Osborne has done the same thing to the UK’s climate change policies. Though even the big power companies oppose him, he is seeking to scrap or delay our targets for cutting carbon emissions and to ensure that we remain hooked on natural gas as our primary source of power. The green investment bank which was supposed to have funded the transition to new technologies is the only state bank in Europe that is forbidden to borrow. It might as well not be there at all.
If there is hope, it lies with the people. Opinion polls show that voters do not support their governments’ inaction. Even a majority of Conservatives believe that the UK should generate most of its electricity from renewables by 2030. In the US, 80% of people polled now say that climate change will be a serious problem for their country if nothing is done about it: a substantial rise since 2009. The problem is that most people are not prepared to act on these beliefs. Citizens, as well as governments and the media, have turned their faces away from humanity’s greatest problem.
To avoid another terrible year like 2012, we must translate these passive concerns into a mass mobilisation. Groups such as 350.org show how it might be done. If this annus horribilis tells us anything, it is that action, in the absence of such mobilisation, is simply not going to happen. Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.
• A fully referenced version of this article can be found at monbiot.com