daily archive: 04/15/2005
Teaching the 'cleaner' side of French history
Pupils must be taught a cleaner side of France's 'dirty war'
FRENCH historians are protesting against a new law that obliges schools to present the country’s colonial exploits in a favourable light, especially in Algeria, where hundreds of thousands were killed in the fight for independence.
The row, which moved yesterday from academia to the tabloid newspapers, once again shows how deeply France still suffers from the trauma of the eight-year “dirty war" that led to the 1962 withdrawal from a land that was deemed part of French national territory.
Although France was forced out of Indo-China and its African colonies while Britain was conducting its own painful colonial retreat, no conflict left a legacy like that of Algeria. The current Fifth Republic, with its muscular presidency, was created in 1958 for the late General Charles de Gaulle to tackle the Algerian emergency.
Eminent historians said this week that the law “imposes an official lie about past crimes and massacres that sometimes went as far as genocide".
Benjamin Stora, a leading historian of France’s 132-year rule in Algeria, said yesterday: “France has not tackled its colonial history head-on. This contrasts with the ‘AngloSaxons’, who have introduced post-colonial studies in their universities. We have fallen phenomenally far behind."
The law, passed on February 23, orders schools to teach “the positive role of the French presence overseas, especially in North Africa". They must also “give an eminent place . . . to the sacrifices of the combatants of the French Army raised from these territories".
The critics are upset because they say that schools already give scant treatment to the colonial era, focusing on France’s “civilising mission".
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The Spanish fatwa against bin Laden
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Bizarre anti-Kurdish propaganda in Turkey
Is there any wonder Mein Kampf is a bestseller in Turkey?PKK makes blood trade
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Terrible and awful jokes only
If you have a good or funny joke, do not post it here.
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Allegedly, few Iranian troops remain in Lebanon
I'm suspicious about both the timing and content of this WaPo report: Most of Iran's Troops in Lebanon Are Out, Western Officials Say
Iran has pulled out the vast majority of its Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon after two decades as a major player among the country's Shiite population, most notably as the impetus for the creation of Hezbollah, according to U.S. and European officials.
At one point, Iran was estimated to have as many as 2,000 of its elite troops inside Lebanon. But today Tehran is reported to have from 12 to 50 military personnel in the country -- and probably on the lower end of that range, the officials said.
Although the phased drawdown began more than five years ago, senior officials and policymakers at the State Department and the National Security Council, in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, said they were unaware of it -- and were surprised to learn of the moves long after the fact.
As recently as this month, Washington continued to press for the withdrawal of Iranian as well as Syrian forces from Lebanon.
Pressed on Iran's military presence in Lebanon earlier this month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "We want all foreign influences out of Lebanon. And I'm sure that there are multiple foreign influences in Lebanon. We all know that the Iranians have links also with Hezbollah."
It is unclear whether Rice had been informed that most Iranian troops were gone, but other senior officials as recently as Friday estimated that Iran still had about 800 troops in Lebanon and did not know of the pullout until they inquired with U.S. intelligence sources. Iran has also not publicly mentioned a troop reduction.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who were deployed in response to Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, were pivotal in the formation and military training of Hezbollah. Their withdrawal further changes the local political and security dynamics, as Syria also pulls out its troops, because Iran is now less likely to try to return, officials say.
At the same time, however, Iran remains Hezbollah's main supplier and political ally, providing millions of dollars in financial aid, most of its military equipment -- including Katyusha rockets that have been fired on Israel -- and military expertise, the officials said. U.S. and European officials are particularly concerned about Iran's influence on Hezbollah and other factions that reject the Arab-Israeli peace process.
A senior U.S. official warned not to equate the number of Iranians in Lebanon with its influence, noting that Lebanon's Shiite community will be one of the enduring allies of Iran, which is predominantly Shiite. Iranian or Iranian-trained clergy in Lebanon have played key roles since the 1970s in politicizing local Shiites, who make up the largest of Lebanon's 17 recognized religious groups.
"Iran plays a key role in supporting logistically, politically and materially a whole variety of elements in resisting the peace process. It's active in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories," added a senior State Department official familiar with Lebanon policy and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing diplomacy.
How come every single source in this story is anonymous?
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veinte de mayo
Read this by Val at Babalu Blog
While I will be live blogging from the Cuba Nostalgia Convention during the weekend of May the 20-22, there will be something else happening that weekend, May 20th specifically, that will be of major consequence and importance to all of those who desire and work for a Cuba free of oppression and despotism.
Last month, recently released Cuban dissidents Rene Gomez Manzano and Martha Beatriz Roque-Cabello issued a press release stating plans to have independent groups and organizations gather peacefully in Havana on May 20 to debate ways to democratize Cuba.
These dissidents and other Cubans living in exile have formed the Assembly for the Advancement of Civil Society in Cuba and are working tirelessly to make the May 20th gathering an unprecedented showing of solidarity for the cause of human and civil freedoms in Cuba.
What is the Assembly to Promote Civil Society?
The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba is a coalition of 365 independent civil society groups within Cuba, which can be truthfully called non-governmental organizations.
All these groups – although having solicited official recognition, have been unable to obtain it, because, as it is well known, dissent is not permitted in Cuba -- not even within the Constitution of the Republic.
The Assembly is a learning means, to help educate the social self towards the re-establishment of civil society, aimed at establishing a democratic system in our country.
The Assembly’s course of action is based upon:
-The formation of a democratic culture
-The development of a social movement
-The strengthening of the Assembly’s organization
-The communications among groups to promote the civil society
-The use of all available means to combat poverty and seek the betterment of the community’s life conditions
-The development of a true knowledge of Cuba’s history, in all its dimensions: economic, social and political.
-The undertaking of activities and projects aimed at the protection and conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem.
-The promotion of a true culture on labor rights
We are calling upon all members of the Assembly to participate in a General Meeting scheduled for this year’s first semester, in order to discuss the joint work we need to undertake towards this end in the future. The tyranny that rules our country has always been opposed to all types of activities of independent groups, and more so, to those activities which represent the unity within Cuba and with the exile community.
Notwithstanding the risks we face under this repressive system, we believe it is necessary to carry out this massive event that constitutes a vital sign in the history of this bloody dictatorship.
This is why we are soliciting international support to carry out this important expression of self-determination that represents the dignity and the will of the Cuban people.
I believe it is imperative for the cause of freedom in Cuba to have the support of the outside world. I urge each and every one of you that reads this blog to click the following link and sign your name to this petition of solidarity with this cause. For over 4 decades the present regime in Cuba has maintained itself in power by usurping the will of its people through oppression while the rest of the world has turned a blind eye. Let fidel castro and his regime know that the world is watching.
Petition for Solidarity with the Assembly for the Advancement of Civil Society in Cuba
While all of the messages from those that have signed on are in Spanish, it's important that those working for freedom on the island know that they have many English speaking friends- as well as others - who support their cause. Please take a few minutes to not only sign the petition but to send them a message of support, of solidarity and of hope. Let them know that freedom knows no linguistic barriers.
Here are the fields translated into English for those of you who do not speak Spanish. You do not have to enter information in all the fields, only those that you feel comfortable with.
Again, please take a few moments and show your support. Let the oppressors know that there are those on the outside that are willing to take a stand against their brutality and violation of basic human and civil rights. We all know the importance of having friends at our side during the most trying of times.
Here's the link again: Petition for Solidarity with the Assembly for the Advancement of Civil Society in Cuba
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Nice fakes of US currency in South America
Made in South America: new breed of fake US dollars
This latest wave of counterfeit dollars are remarkable for their quality, experts say. Still, there are errors. On the back of the fake hundreds, for instance, where an image of Pennsylvania's Independence Hall is located, a small dark line is evident at the top of a lamppost where no line should exist. On the front of the bill, the watermark featuring Benjamin Franklin's portrait is less visible than on a real note.
The fake dollars that are hardest to detect are the ones that were formerly real bills. Sophisticated counterfeiters will bleach the ink off $1 bills to use as the base of their phony $100 notes. Other forgers will employ the same paper that is used for their local currency. Traditionally, counterfeiters have used photographic technology and plates to create the fakes, but scanners and printers have become the tool of choice in recent years.
According to Mr. Large, the new counterfeit bills first appeared as deposits in Peruvian banks and later circulated to other countries, including the Federal Reserve Bank in Miami. "We're now actively working with the authorities in Peru to determine where these deposits originated," he says.
That's devilishly clever!
Previously in Fake Money News: Discarded Lies: Who makes the nicest forged US currency...and why
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