Monday, February 8, 2010

statistics are sobering

This morning, I was horrified to read, but not surprised to know, that the Army commander of the Canadian Forces Base at Trenton, Ontario has been charged with murdering two women, as well as charged with two home invasions.

That sobering truth of the ugly effects of promoting war and violence yet never acknowledging how far reaching their maniacal tentacles are came on the heels of having heard that a group of 7 young boys looking for firewood were "accidentally" killed by Afghan police. The police, of course, as the report tells us, were in a "hunt" for "insurgents." Canada prides itself on training Afghan policemen. What sort of methods are we teaching them? What sort of sick misdirection are we providing? Canadians will never learn the names of these boys.

On this morning's radio report, I was horrified to hear that Afghan villagers have been leafletted to get out of the area. The NATO troops are going to "cleanse" the area of Taliban. The villagers have to scramble to leave for the showdown the occupiers have planned with "the insurgents." This news made me feel sick. What sort of violence machine have the Canadians become? Where will the villagers go? Is there even a place for them? Should they go hide in the hills? How should an impoverished people leave?

Then, I was looking for some stats on the number of displaced Iraqi people, when I was horrified to stumble upon the news that an American soldier has been charged with waterboarding his 4 yr.old daughter because she didn't recite her ABCs to his liking.

Looking for those stats, I visited Arabwomanblues who writes in clear language the realities that she has had to bear witness since the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Here are the official stats she lists (please read her full post for her full report):

From 2003 - present

* 1.5 Million Dead (Lancet report)
* 200'000 reported missing (official)
* 2 Million Maimed at least (official)
* 5 Million Exiled and Internally displaced (official)
* 2 Million widows (official figure)
* 4.5 - 5 Million Orphans (official)

These numbers left me reeling. In 2003, Iraq's population was only about 25 million. Canada's population is about 34 million today. I couldn't help but compare that if Canada within 7 years ended up with more 6 m. orphans or 3 million widows, what would we think? Would these statistics be hard to find?

On Arabwomanblues, not only did I find the shocking stats I was looking for, but also I watched the AlJazeera video on the effects of war on American soldiers that she had linked to. This report states 18 war veterans on average commit suicide EACH DAY in the US and families of soldiers who have returned from many deployments (what a euphemism) to Iraq describe their lives as hell.

Shouldn't Obama, who got the Peace Prize, be responsible for the ugly of war too not just its promotion?

And why don't more Canadians see our Prime Minister as a War Minister? That we live in a war economy? Why do many Canadians still believe the lie that we are peacekeepers when we are in fact active aggressors in killing fields and war profiteers?


tasteofbeirut said...

I know these stats and I have lived them in 2006 when I witnessed what Israel did firsthand in Lebanon (with full support from Bush) so I am not surprised.
Nobel prize indeed!
What ii is about is this: it is killing for its own sake. Read Dostoievsky and his take on the human race.
By the way, my friend the artist Mona Dabaji sent me a petition to sign: it basically shows the mass killing of dolphins in Denmark (so-called civilized country) by teen-agers as a ritual of passage of sorts. With lots of photos, it is gory.

Merche Pallarés said...

Very hard to digest what you say but so true... Shameful Canadian Government!!
Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Yes, killing never seems to stop, whether that is on a mass scale through state terrorism or through groups of militant-minded men in power struggles with each other or then individuals who perpetrate crimes on other individuals--or animals as the example you gave, people who just kill for killing sakes.

I need to read Dostoievsky. I am sure there are many wisdoms in his writing.

By the way, I showed your friend Mona's art series on Scheherazad to one of my classes to help explain the multiple stories that continue to be told of this most famous female narrator of the story of stories. They enjoyed her visual renderings, her interpretation of everyday Arab women Scheherazades.

Merche, I wonder if our government will issue any statements about these violences? They will couch whatever they say in euphemisms. This way Canadians can continue their everyday lives with nothing bothering their consciences.

Ari said...

The loss of population in Iraq is enormous if you take into account as well 1980-1988 war, Persian Gulf war and massacres of Saddam Hussein. The Iraq nation has been suffering very much during last 30 years. The number of dead at those earlier wars was anyhow smaller than after 2003. Perhaps Barack Obama thinks that he has to murder much more citizens of Iraq for getting another Nobel.

northshorewoman said...

Hello Ari,

the numbers are shocking. Yet, what is also shocking is that in North America, reporting on Iraq is almost nil, just a blip here and there. THe continuing deaths and other horrors don't even rate a mention most days.

In Saddam Hussein's day, he instituted state feminism. Today, thanks to Western democracy, women are afraid to go out, they are more compelled to wear hijab in public when they do go out because of the extremist Iranian backed and American supported conservative regime in power. Also, now there is a lot of trafficking of women, rapes, more than when the dictator torturer Hussein was in power. So, this American help seems a terrible disaster.