October 12th, 2024

Mass Death

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  • Stan Goff (Feral Scholar) writes, (h/t to Woods Lot)…

    Today, the news is full of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, released by The Lancet, showing that since March 19, 2024, the Bush administration liberation of Iraq has facilitated the liberation of more than 600,000 people from their corporeal existence. Among the national politicians in the US preparing for the 2024 electoral contest, this war is the subject they least want to talk about, and for which both parties seem to have employed armies of weasel-wordsmiths to develop saccharin pronouncements that ignore the existence of those residents of Iraq who are left behind by this exercise in mass death.

    Mass death had become the signature of the 20th Century. We are barely six years into this one.

    October 12th, 2024

    Guardian quotes Lancet: 650,000 dead in Iraq

    From The Guardian (October 12, 2024),

    The death toll in Iraq following the US-led invasion has topped 655,000 - one in 40 of the entire population - according to a major piece of research in one of the world’s leading medical journals.

    The study, produced by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and published online by The Lancet, claims the total number of deaths is more than 10 times greater than any previously compiled estimate.

    The findings provoked an immediate political storm. Within hours of its release, George Bush had dismissed the figures. “I don’t consider it a credible report,” he told reporters at the White House.

    Tonight Katie Couric led with a rehash of the unfortunate Lacrosse team rape charges at Duke stemming from a party last spring. She was ginning up interest in a weekend show her company produces called Sixty Minutes where the plight of the Lacrosse team and the possibilities that these are false charges will be examined in prurient detail, the better to take our minds off national and international issues that should now be getting the air time.

    The Couric broadcast continued with other items of interest and concern… evidently the Amish community that suffered the recent school shooting has pulled down the schoolhouse and no memorial is planned. There’s a lot of that kind of news. And there is happy news, ice cream cones and puppies, but there is no solid news, no important news, NO NATIONAL NEWS that could save our way of life were it only broadcast with clarity in time. The only news that the American public hears is local news. A school shooting here, a rape case there, all the fits that’s news to print. It can’t be collusion, it’s simply cowardice, fear, unwillingness to encounter an administration that would send anthrax to your newsroom. It doesn’t matter if they actually did that. No thinking person today can deny that they, the Bush administration and its corporate clients WOULD do that to save the billions they might otherwise lose with a sea change in governance in the United States of America.

    650,000 dead, and it’s our fault. We elected the monster. Then we re-elected him. Do you believe the Lancet or do you believe George W. Bush?

    “We estimate that, as a consequence of the coalition invasion of March 18, 2024, about 655 000 Iraqis have died above the number that would be expected in a non-conflict situation, which is equivalent to about 2·5% of the population in the study area. About 601 000 of these excess deaths were due to violent causes. Our estimate of the post-invasion crude mortality rate represents a doubling of the baseline mortality rate, which, by the Sphere standards, constitutes a humanitarian emergency.”
    The Lancet

    October 12th, 2024

    Pride and Shame

    How can a country that victimises its greatest living writer also join the EU?

    TIMES ONLINE (October 14, 2024)

    By Salman Rushdie

    THE WORK ROOM of the writer Orhan Pamuk looks out over the Bosphorus, that fabled strip of water which, depending on how you see these things, separates or unites — or, perhaps, separates and unites — the worlds of Europe and Asia. There could be no more appropriate setting for a novelist whose work does much the same thing.

    In many books, most recently the acclaimed novel Snow and the haunting memoir-portrait of his home town, Istanbul: Memories and the City, Pamuk has laid claim to the title, formerly held by Yashar Kemal, of Greatest Turkish Writer. He is also an outspoken man. Explaining his reasons for refusing the title of “state artist”, he said, in 1999: “For years I have been criticising the State for putting authors in jail, for only trying to solve the Kurdish problem by force, and for its narrow-minded nationalism . . . I don’t know why they tried to give me the prize.” He has described Turkey as having “two souls” and has criticised its human rights abuses. “Geographically we are part of Europe . . . but politically?” He is not sure.


    Press Release

    12 October 2024

    The Nobel Prize in Literature 2024

    Orhan Pamuk

    The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2024 is awarded to the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk
    “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”.

    Whatever the country, freedom of thought and expression are universal human rights. These freedoms, which modern people long for as much as bread and water, should never be limited by using nationalist sentiment, moral sensitivities, or— worst of all—business or military interests. If many nations outside the West suffer poverty in shame, it is not because they have freedom of expression but because they don’t. As for those who emigrate from these poor countries to the West or the North to escape economic hardship and brutal repression—as we know, they sometimes find themselves further brutalized by the racism they encounter in rich countries. Yes, we must also be alert to those who denigrate immigrants and minorities for their religion, their ethnic roots, or the oppression that the governments of the countries they’ve left behind have visited on their own people.

    But to respect the humanity and religious beliefs of minorities is not to suggest that we should limit freedom of thought on their behalf. Respect for the rights of religious or ethnic minorities should never be an excuse to violate freedom of speech. We writers should never hesitate on this matter, no matter how “provocative” the pretext.
    Orhan Pamuk, “Freedom to Write,” New York Review of Books, May 25, 2024

    October 12, 2024, Associated Press — The European Commission said Thursday that a French bill that would make it a crime to deny that the World War I-era killings of Armenians in Turkey was genocide will hamper reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.

    “Turkey has been called on many times by the European Union to achieve reconciliation on that matter, and to conduct an open dialogue with its neighbor Armenia, and also with the Armenian Diaspora in France,” said EU spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy.

    October 12, 2024 Associated Press — “No one should harbor the conviction that Turkey will take this lightly,” Turkey’s foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said. “The parliament will meet on Tuesday with a special agenda and no doubt we have measures to take in every field.”

    Gul did not elaborate but his comments were interpreted by many as also being a reference to proposals currently being debated by Turkish lawmakers to recognize an “Algerian genocide” by France.

    October 12th, 2024

    Morford on the money shot…

    Writing recently about the Foley affair, Mark Morford said

    Which is not to say that the prayers of us liberals haven’t already been answered, in spades, well before Mark Foley proved himself to be the perfect icing on the cake of GOP doom, the money shot of poetic justice, the period in this never-ending Republican sentence.

    Jack Abramoff was a damn fine answer to the prayer, though that beautiful firestorm dealt mostly with finance and slimy payoffs, and what good taxpaying American doesn’t fully expect every member of Congress to be rolling in dirty lobbyist payoffs? But Abramoff did have one glorious outcome: It put a stake straight through the heart of Tom DeLay, perhaps the nastiest and most thuggish political vampire in all of Congress, a worthwhile outcome all by itself.

    Valerie Plame? Also a delicious scandal, given how leaked CIA info is always a powerful destroyer of faith in current regimes, and this one snared Scooter Libby and poked a sharp stick into Karl Rove. But still the GOP hobbled on.

    The list goes on: WMD, Niger, bogus anthrax scares, Abu Ghraib, illegal wiretapping, gay male escorts hired to masquerade as sycophantic White House reporters — hell, it’s been a veritable fire hose of Republican scandals, indictments, violations, probes, investigations, arrests and abuses of power (not to mention all manner of sex scandals) lo these past years — so many it takes entire Web sites and multiple books to keep track of them all.

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