Reflections from Kampala, Uganda

It’s the last day that I am in Kampala and I am exactly one hour away from my flight back home, so I am going to keep this entry pretty short.

I have been staying at City Royal Hotel, which is located in Bugolobi, just 4 Km from Kampala. I have really loved my stay at this hotel and I was allocated this spacious corner room with a king-size bed. My window looks out at the back of the hotel where there is an s-shaped swimming pool. I have had to restrain myself from thinking of jumping into the pool from my fourth floor room and having me some cold deep dive especially during the afternoons ☺

I have been here on a one week training on Human Rights Defenders courtesy of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EAHARD) and its been a great experience interacting with other participants from the East and Horn of Africa countries. We had participants coming from as far as Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania-Zanzibar and DR Congo. In this past week I have learnt a lot about East and Horn Of Africa. Like I didn’t know that Djiboutians speak French.I also didn’t know that Kampala has 7 famous hills and that Kampala prides itself for having a rotating hotel which is among the 7 found in the world* am not so sure if its in the entire world or only in Africa.

Kampala is an interesting place, much like Nairobi. It’s as busy, congested and traffic-jam-confused as Nairobi; save for the annoying boda bodas. I thought that it’s only in Kenya where boda bodas are driven by mad men who have every intention to commit suicide as well as their passengers.

As you walk through or drive through the streets of Kampala you must be struck by the heavy presence or armed police. I was very surprised to see heavy armed police/paramilitary guys guarding the Electoral Commission of Uganda. The heavy presence of armed policemen makes you feel like you are constantly being watched by M7. My first ride from the airport in Entebe made me feel like there was a coup or state of emergency going on. There is so much tension. But for the locals they seem not to mind about the heavy presence of armed police. They just go about their business without much care for the armed forces.

Something interesting I observed about Uganda is that the traffic here is controlled by specially trained personnel who are not police officers. They wear a blue and white uniform while the regular traffic cops wear white uniform like that of the Tanzania police. The traffic “cops” usually direct traffic but are occasionally assisted by the the regular police.

It has been interesting to interact with participants from different parts of the East and Horn of Africa. I have had to use all the French I know to communicate with our brothers from Rwanda, Burundi and Djibouti. One funny encounter of language misundertanding was when we went shopping. One of the participants from Burundi kept saying that he wants to buy “tissue”. My first thought s were: kwani in Burundi you don’t have tissues/toilet papers? But funnily enough this guy was thinking in French!! He meant he wanted to buy cloth material – which in French is translated as “tissue.” We couldn’t help ourselves but laugh our heads off when we finally realized what he wanted. So much of French- English translation ☺
I also loved interacting with the participants from Somalia and it was interesting to note how the participants from Somaliland insisted on being identified as being from Somaliland and not Somalia. One of them actually threw quite a fuss at the beginning of the training because his name tag had been written Somali and not Somaliland. Okay!! Then there was this participant from North-Sudan, he is a bit elderly but the striking thing about him is that he looks like Al-Bashir. I am not kidding. He has the same facial features as Bashir and he has the same spectacles like him, even when he walks he has the same stoop and limp that Bashir has. In fact even one of the partipants from South Sudan confessed that when he entered the training room he was shocked – he thought he was dreaming. Bashir in a human rights training workshop!!

I can’t finish this entry without mentioning that Kampala has the most cheapest clothes in the region. I really had fun shopping. It felt like I was robbing the sellers. I mean how do you explain me buying a brand new jacket at KSh. 800 when I know in Kenya I would have gotten it at KSh. 2000 or even more? I guess this is how jungus feel when they come to Kenya with their dollars and can afford to stay at execusite hotels, go on safaris and buy expensive stuff that we locals can’t afford just because the dollar- shilling exchange rate favors them. Anyway I had a ball doing shopping at Kampala malls and also at their “marikiti” market. The malls have a lot of lady’s stuff but the guys stuff are a bit pricy. Then I felt like really a baler when we went uptown to where they have the Nakumatt Mall and I bought myself Chimanda Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus” I bought this book that I have been so looking forward to buy at USh. 24,0000!!! That’s like Ksh. 800!! Way to go!!

I am sure this is not the last time that I will be coming to Kampala. I need to come back and visit other places that I did not get to visit like the Baganda King’s Place, Jinja, Rock City and many more. For now “tugende.”


How Revolutions Happen (By Dr. Mark Almond )

Revolutions can be short and bloody, or slow and peaceful. Each is different, though there are recurring patterns – including some that were on show in Egypt.

Trotsky once remarked that if poverty was the cause of revolutions, there would be revolutions all the time because most people in the world were poor. What is needed to turn a million people’s grumbling discontent into a crowd on the streets is a spark to electrify them.

Violent death has been the most common catalyst for radicalising discontent in the revolutions of the last 30 years. Sometimes the spark is grisly, like the mass incineration of hundreds in an Iranian cinema in 1978 blamed on the Shah’s secret police.

Sometimes the desperate act of a single suicidally inflammatory protester like vegetable salesman Mohammed Bouazizi in Tunisia, in December 2010, catches the imagination of a country.

Even rumours of brutality, such as the claims the Communist secret police had beaten two students to death in Prague in November, 1989, can fire up a public already deeply disillusioned with the system. Reports that Milosevic had had his predecessor, Ivan Stambolic, “disappeared” in the weeks before the Yugoslav presidential elections in 2000 helped to crystallise Serbian rejection of his regime.

Revolutions: Iran to Egypt

* Iran: Jan 1978 – Apr 1979
Days: 448, Deaths: 3000+; Goal: To overthrow the Shah. Democrats started the popular uprising, but Islamists took over.
Goal achieved
* Tiananmen Square: Apr – Jun 1989
Days: 51; Deaths: est. 3,000; Goal: To establish democracy, abolish one-party rule and put an end to corruption.
Goal not achieved.
* East Germany: Sept – Nov 1989

* Russia: 19-21 Aug 1991
* Indonesia: 12-21 May 1998
* Serbia: Sep – Oct 2000
* Georgia: 2-23 Nov 2003
* Ukraine: Nov – Dec 2004
* Lebanon: Feb – Apr 2005
* Iran: Jun – Aug 2009
* Tunisia: 17 Dec 2010 – 14 Jan 2011
Days: 30; Deaths: 147; Goal: To overthrow the corrupt and unpopular regime of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Goal achieved.
* Egypt: 25 Jan – 11 Feb 2011
Days: 18; Deaths: est. 300; Goal: To overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and bring about free democratic elections.
Goal partially achieved.

External pressure plays a role in completing regime-change. In 1989, the refusal of the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to use the Red Army to back East European Communists facing protests in the streets made the local generals realise that force was not an option.

The revolution that toppled Mubarak

The United States has repeatedly pressed its authoritarian allies to compromise and then, once they have started on that slippery slope, to resign.

What collapses a regime is when insiders turn against it. So long as police, army and senior officials think they have more to lose by revolution than by defending a regime, then even mass protests can be defied and crushed. Remember Tiananmen Square.

But if insiders and the men with guns begin to question the wisdom of backing a regime – or can be bought off – then it implodes quickly.

Tunisia’s Ben Ali decided to flee when his generals told him they would not shoot into the crowds. In Romania, in December, 1989, Ceausescu lived to see the general he relied on to crush the protesters become his chief judge at his trial on Christmas Day.

The Gathering that toppled Mubarak

Africa Uprising

Something exciting is happening on the motherland Africa. Uprisings after uprisings. From the streets of Tunis, Algiers and now to the streets of Cairo.

People are tired of the old dictatorial regimes…When I see young and old alike taking to the streets..shouting Down with Ben Ali!! Down with Mubarak!! I get the feeling that it’s not that the people are angry with this incumbent leaders on an individual basis…rather they are angry of the despondent regimes…

Regimes that have capitalized on stealing from the public coffers, regimes that have only sought to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor citizens, regimes that only look out for the interests of their kind, forgetting that they took an oath to serve the people, to govern justly and in honor!

Take the case of the uprising in Tunisia which was triggered by a university graduate who decided to burn himself after being frustrated with the high cost of living, high rates of unemployment and lack of sense of dignity in a his own country.

Citizens of these nations are fed up at their systems of government, systems that oppress them instead of providing a form of livelihood, systems that make them feel like prisoners in their own independent nation.

This is the way to go Africa!! I am excited at how people are rising to the ocassion to demand their inherent rights. To demand that they be treated with dignity. That people are standing up to despondent regimes is a good thing for Africa. I am excited that there is a new sense of ownership in how our leaders rule. More so that people are using social websites such as twitter and facebook to create a revolution.

Yes this is it Africa. Lets rise up and demand that our forefathers who fought and paid with their lives for our independence did not die in vain. Let’s demand for proper leadership and social justice.

This is a luta continua. Nkozi Afrika!!

A.U Anthem

Let us all unite and celebrate together
The victories won for our liberation
Let us dedicate ourselves to rise together
To defend our liberty and unity

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

Let us all unite and sing together
To uphold the bonds that frame our destiny
Let us dedicate ourselves to fight together
For lasting peace and justice on earth

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

Let us all unite and toil together
To give the best we have to Africa
The cradle of mankind and fount of culture
Our pride and hope at break of dawn.

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life


From Africa with Love

The following is me sharing my study abroad experience that was featured on Exchanges Connect website (US State Department social website)

Here’s the link
From Africa with Love

I hope you get to enjoy it!

The Danger of a Single Story

I keep running, but every time I fall,
I try to walk, but my feet feel heavy,
I am trying to fit in these shoes,
These shoes that seem too big for me,
Who will save me?

I have been told that I have great potential,
Potential to achieve more than I can imagine,
But every time I feel like I am in a rat race,
I am in a maze, chasing after my share of cheese,
Who will save me from this story?

Mine has been a single story
A cookie-cutter story, well replicated by mass of humanity,
Study hard, graduate from University,
Get a job, get married, have children and wait to die,
Isn’t this what the great Wise King Solomon called Vanity?
Actually I think the right word is “Bure Kabisa!”

So I have resolved, I shan’t bother anymore,
I shan’t confine myself to this single story,
I want to write my story,
I want to read out my own story,
A story with its own plot and themes,
A story that will be read far and wide
But one that will remain true to its essence.

Will you join me my dear friend?
Come let’s sojourn together,
Join me as we soldier on.
Let’s break off from the single story syndrome.

Facts on South Sudan’s Referendum

Date for Referendum: Jan. 9, 2011

Why a Referendum

Sudan’s north-south civil war was Africa’s longest running civil conflict, flaring first in 1955. A 2005 peace deal (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) ended the latest phase and promised southerners self-determination through a referendum on independence from the north.

Since then the northern ruling National Congress Party and the former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have bickered over implementing almost every detail of the 2005 accord and a wall of mistrust has formed. Few now believe the majority of southerners will vote for unity, however most diplomats involved in the south Sudan referendum have confidence that many will vote for separation.

Who can vote?

– Anyone who has a parent or ancestor from a southern tribe indigenous to the south.
– Also anyone who has been permanently resident, or whose parents or grandparents have been in the south since the Jan. 1, 1956 independence can vote.
– Southerners whose families left the south before independence must return south to register and vote. – Southerners in the north of Sudan and in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Australia, Britain, the USA, Canada and Egypt can also vote

NB: However the vague guidelines and decades of inter-marriage and movement of tribes means it may be difficult to verify who is a southerner or not.

Those planning the plebiscite estimate there are around 5.5 million southerners eligible to vote inside and outside Sudan although not all will register.

How will it work?

Vote will be by secret ballot and will have its own 17-day registration process. The referendum law states that of those who registered, 60 % need to turn out for the vote to be valid. More than 50 percent need to vote for either result for it to be binding.

The referendum commission has approved a budget of $372 million, but with a reduced timetable it will likely cost less.

Some 10,800 staff will work in almost 3,000 referendum centres. More than 14,000 police will secure the process in the south. Voting is due to begin on Jan. 9 and last one week.


The disputed oil-producing Abyei region is supposed to hold a simultaneous plebiscite on whether to join the south or the north but deep north-south divisions over who will vote and who will plan it mean this vote will either be much delayed or may not happen at all.

Most analysts believe Abyei, the site of north-south clashes since 2005, could remain Sudan’s “Kashmir” and local tensions there could spark a more general war if left to fester.

Other areas could include oil fields close to the still disputed border like Heglig and Unity. Border states Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile could also be flashpoints of violence and both north and south armies have traded accusations of troop build ups along the unmarked border.

Importance of Vote

Many African nations favour Sudan’s unity because they fear the split could fuel secessionist tensions in their own countries

Sudan is also the axis of the continent’s Arab north-African and black sub-Saharan divide. Many will see a split as a wider failure to overcome those differences. Some worry secession could lead to demands for autonomy in Sudan’s other regions including Darfur or the east who have also rebelled against Khartoum and the country could disintegrate.

Others fear that if southerners are not given the chance to vote on whether to rule themselves, the north-south civil war, which destabilized much of east Africa, could reignite.

Source: Reuters

The Korean crisis and US carrier diplomacy (By Nick Childs)

By Nick Childs Defence and security correspondent, BBC News

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and its escorts are heading for the waters off the Korean peninsula, in the aftermath of the flare-up between North and South Korea. This is very much gunboat diplomacy 21st Century-style.

Indeed, the George Washington has already been deployed there this year, following the rise in tensions after the sinking in March of the South Korean warship Cheonan – widely blamed on the North.
Then, as now, it was to send a series of messages – supposedly of reassurance to the South, and deterrence to the North.
It is a move that the United States has made many times in response to crises during the Cold War and since.
In many ways, the US fleet of aircraft carriers has been as much a diplomatic instrument as a military tool. The US Navy proudly boasts that in virtually every crisis, the first question every US president asks is: “Where is the nearest carrier?”
For example, the United States deployed the nuclear-powered carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal as a show of strength during the Indo-Pakistani war in 1971.
Similarly, a US carrier was sent to the waters off Libya in 1981 in a stand-off, and two US fighters actually shot down two Libyan combat planes.
In 1996, at a time of tension with Beijing over Taiwan, President Bill Clinton despatched two aircraft carriers to the region.
And throughout the 1990s, during various flare-ups with the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, Washington signalled its seriousness by how many carriers it dispatched to the Gulf – on occasions, as many as three.
Carrier envy
No other country has a carrier force like the Americans have.
And whenever you go aboard a US carrier, there is almost always a moment when you’ll be talking to the captain on the bridge.
He’ll expansively wave a hand in the direction of the huge flight deck and make some remark about it being four acres of sovereign US territory that can be parked off any shore to send any message that Washington wants to send.
For that reason, emerging powers like India and China are thinking seriously about building up carrier forces of their own.
But will Pyongyang get whatever message Washington is sending in that direction?
It did not seem to the last time the George Washington was deployed.
And will it be enough to reassure Seoul?
There are other sensitivities as well. Beijing has already complained about this deployment, as it did the last one, which then led to a change of plan about where exactly the George Washington operated.
In a time of growing strategic competition between the United States and a rising China, the US carrier force in the Pacific is an important symbol.
It is a signal of US determination to maintain a presence.
At the same time, there is a heated debate over the significance of China’s moves to develop a ballistic missile designed specifically to target carriers.
It also explains why there was consternation in Washington when a Chinese submarine unexpectedly surfaced close to a US carrier strike group on exercise south of Japan in 2007.

Israel is a Rogue State (By Gabriel Latner)

This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I’m not. I’m a realist. I’m here to win. I have a single goal this evening — to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the “Aye” door.

I face a singular challenge — most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds. This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I’d be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it.
I want to win, and we’re destined for a tie. I’m tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do — simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they’ll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel.

It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international “laws” to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that’s been done to death.

It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalized stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues.

But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they’re your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state “rogue.” If it did, Canada, the U.S., and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain’s treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigor.

More importantly, I just don’t think we can win with those arguments. It won’t change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won’t. So I’m going to try something different, something a little unorthodox.

I’m going to try and convince the die-hard Zionists and Israel supporters here tonight, to vote for the proposition. By the end of my speech I will have presented five pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a “rogue state,” than at least “roguish.”

Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is “bad.” I will not be arguing that it doesn’t deserve to exist. I won’t be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is “rogue.”

The word “rogue” has come to have exceptionally damning connotations. But the word itself is value-neutral. The Oxford English Dictionary defines rogue as “aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time,” while a dictionary from a far greater institution gives this definition: “behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way.”
These definitions, and others, center on the idea of anomaly — the unexpected or uncommon. Using this definition, a rogue state is one that acts in an unexpected, uncommon or aberrant manner. A state that behaves exactly like Israel.

The first argument is statistical. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state alone makes it anomalous enough to be dubbed a rogue state: There are 195 countries in the world. Some are Christian, some Muslim, some are secular. Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish. Or, to speak mathmo for a moment, the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051%. In comparison the chance of a UK lotto ticket winning at least £10 is 0.017% — more than twice as likely. Israel’s Jewishness is a statistical aberration.

The second argument concerns Israel’s humanitarianism, in particular, Israel’s response to a refugee crisis. Not the Palestinian refugee crisis — for I am sure that the other speakers will cover that — but the issue of Darfurian refugees. Everyone knows that what happened and is still happening in Darfur is genocide, whether or not the UN and the Arab League will call it such. (I actually hoped that Mr. Massih would be able to speak about — he’s actually somewhat of an expert on the crisis in Darfur, in fact, it’s his expertise that has called him away to represent the former dictator of Sudan while he is being investigated by the ICC.)

There has been a mass exodus from Darfur as the oppressed seek safety. They have not had much luck. Many have gone north to Egypt — where they are treated despicably. The brave make a run through the desert in a bid to make it to Israel. Not only do they face the natural threats of the Sinai, they are also used for target practice by the Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border. Why would they take the risk?

Because in Israel they are treated with compassion — they are treated as the refugees that they are – and perhaps Israel’s cultural memory of genocide is to blame. The Israeli government has even gone so far as to grant several hundred Darfurian refugees citizenship. This alone sets Israel apart from the rest of the world.

But the real point of distinction is this: The IDF sends out soldiers and medics to patrol the Egyptian border. They are sent looking for refugees attempting to cross into Israel. Not to send them back into Egypt, but to save them from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and Egyptian bullets.

Compare that to the U.S.’s reaction to illegal immigration across their border with Mexico. The American government has arrested private individuals for giving water to border crossers who were dying of thirst — and here the Israeli government is sending out its soldiers to save illegal immigrants. To call that sort of behaviour anomalous is an understatement.

My third argument is that the Israeli government engages in an activity which the rest of the world shuns — it negotiates with terrorists. Forget the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a man who died with blood all over his hands — they’re in the process of negotiating with terrorists as we speak. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators that has been sent to the peace talks with Israel. Abed Rabbo also used to be a leader of the PFLP — an organisation of “freedom fighters” that, under Abed Rabbo’s leadership, engaged in such freedom-promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high school students.

And the Israeli government is sending delegates to sit at a table with this man, and talk about peace. And the world applauds. You would never see the Spanish government in peace talks with the leaders of the ETA — the British government would never negotiate with Thomas Murphy. And if President Obama were to sit down and talk about peace with Osama Bin Laden, the world would view this as insanity. But Israel can do the exact same thing — and earn international praise in the process. That is the dictionary definition of rogue — behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal.

Another part of the dictionary definition is behaviour or activity “occurring at an unexpected place or time.” When you compare Israel to its regional neighbours, it becomes clear just how roguish Israel is. And here is the fourth argument: Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. At no point in history, has there ever been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East — except for Israel. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only one where the LGBT community enjoys even a small measure of equality.
In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or both. But homosexuals there get off pretty lightly compared to their counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, who are put to death. Israeli homosexuals can adopt, openly serve in the army, enter civil unions, and are protected by exceptionally strongly worded ant-discrimination legislation. Beats a death sentence. In fact, it beats America.

Israel’s protection of its citizens’ civil liberties has earned international recognition. Freedom House is an NGO that releases an annual report on democracy and civil liberties in each of the 195 countries in the world. It ranks each country as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” In the Middle East, Israel is the only country that has earned designation as a “free” country. Not surprising given the level of freedom afforded to citizens in, say, Lebanon — a country designated “partly free,” where there are laws against reporters criticizing not only the Lebanese government, but the Syrian regime as well. I’m hoping Ms. Booth will speak about this, given her experience working as a “journalist” for Iran.

Iran is a country given the rating of “not free,” putting it alongside China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Myanmar. In Iran, as Ms. Booth I hoped would have said in her speech, there is a special “Press Court” which prosecutes journalists for such heinous offences as criticizing the Ayatollah, reporting on stories damaging the “foundations of the Islamic republic,” using “suspicious (i.e., Western) sources,” or insulting Islam. Iran is the world leader in terms of jailed journalists, with 39 reporters (that we know of) in prison as of 2009. They also kicked out almost every Western journalist during the 2009 election. (I don’t know if Ms Booth was affected by that.)

I guess we can’t really expect more from a theocracy. Which is what most countries in the Middle East are. Theocracies and autocracies. But Israel is the sole, the only, the rogue, democracy. Out of every country in the Middle East, only in Israel do anti-government protests and reporting go unquashed and uncensored.

I have one final argument — the last nail in the opposition’s coffin — and it’s sitting right across the aisle. Mr. Ran Gidor’s presence here is the all evidence any of us should need to confidently call Israel a rogue state. For those of you who have never heard of him, Mr. Gidor is a political counsellor attached to Israel’s embassy in London. He’s the guy the Israeli government sent to represent them at the UN. He knows what he’s doing. And he’s here tonight. And it’s incredible.
Consider, for a moment, what his presence here means. The Israeli government has signed off, to allow one of their senior diplomatic representatives to participate in a debate on their very legitimacy. That’s remarkable.

Do you think for a minute, that any other country would do the same? If the Yale University Debating Society were to have a debate where the motion was “This house believes Britain is a racist, totalitarian state that has done irrevocable harm to the peoples of the world,” that Britain would allow any of its officials to participate? No.
Would China participate in a debate about the status of Taiwan? Never.

And there is no chance in hell that an American government official would ever be permitted to argue in a debate concerning its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But Israel has sent Mr. Ran Gidor to argue tonight against a “journalist”-cum-reality TV star, and myself, a 19-year-old law student who is entirely unqualified to speak on the issue at hand.

Every government in the world should be laughing at Israel right now — because it forgot Rule No. 1. You never add credence to crackpots by engaging with them. It’s the same reason you won’t see Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins debate David Icke. But Israel is doing precisely that. Once again, behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal. Behaving like a rogue state.

That’s five arguments that have been directed at the supporters of Israel. But I have a minute or two left. And here’s an argument for all of you – Israel wilfully and forcefully disregards international law. In 1981 Israel destroyed Osirak — Sadam Hussein’s nuclear bomb lab. Every government in the world knew that Hussein was building a bomb. And they did nothing. Except for Israel. Yes, in doing so they broke international law and custom. But they also saved us all from a nuclear Iraq.

That rogue action should earn Israel a place of respect in the eyes of all freedom-loving peoples. But it hasn’t. But tonight, while you listen to us prattle on, I want you to remember something: while you’re here, Khomeini’s Iran is working towards the Bomb. And if you’re honest with yourself, you know that Israel is the only country that can, and will, do something about it. Israel will, out of necessity, act in a way that is the not the norm, and you’d better hope that they do it in a destructive manner. Any sane person would rather a rogue Israel than a Nuclear Iran. Except Ms. Booth.


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