Monday, October 25, 2004
Three new links today.

Two from AINA, a site I have not seen before. There is a connection, if one were wanted, in that I have recently contacted by using the internet - I would not have been able to do it otherwise - someone who happens to be Assyrian who links to my parents' life in Iraq. More later.

In a post that is way back I said that the "buried money" would be the thing that kept things on the boil. It has proved to be true according to this account in AINA. (side-linked for future easy reference). Of course a lot of the bank accounts have been frozen. But this is literally money buried in the ground or easily accessible places like Jordan or Syria.. Plus, one might add, money that is coming in afresh from people who wish to keep Iraq in chaos.

Clever Dick part II
The second AINA article side-linked in APPOSITE is about what is going on in Iraq's university campuses. My argument (somewhere down there, mnany posts ago) was that following Allawi's rule, an Islamic government might take over, democratically, then after a bit of a ruckus, a modern secular state would evolve once a new political class grew up.

The time scale on this must be about 5-10 years. The old article about Lebanon by Paul Johnson I transcribed about a month ago is relevant in this context.

The elections are going to take place in January. They will not be anything like representative

(a) because half the voters won't be able to vote

(b) because a significant minority will be afraid to vote the way they want.

And finally....

I linked this article to my norfolkskies site because that seemed to be the place to put it. On reflection it seemed right, too, to put it here. See APPOSITE

This is just an essay that appeared out of Googling. I was not searching for it in particular. Hoewever, it seems by some magic to be relevant to the very things I have been listening, thinking and reading about in recent days.

There was a BBC radio talk which included mentionof a new book about the corporation as a entity and concept, which suddenly made me think that the U.S. government is different because it acts as if it were a corporation rather than a governing body based on democratic election. This is not difficult to understand/accept since the links between big business and elected representatives, and between big business and government, is a fact of life in the U.S.
I read around this a bit and came up with the fact that the U.S. Constiution as set up in 1771, deliberately restricted what the corporation could do. Progressively these legal restraints have been lifted. A throwback discussion to the days of William H Whyte' s, The Corporation Man (1956)? Maybe a good idea.

There was an book review about Pol Pot The Sunday Times. You always feel if you once understand one amoral, psychopathic, murdering tyrant it will be possible to understand them all. More importantly, you will have at your finger tips a means of detecting another rising star.

The nearest personal experiences
we get with Pol Pot that might have made him a tyrant are
(1) came from prosperous peasant family
(2) briefly a novice Buddhist monk ["...experienced the certainties of faith"]
(3)sister was part of the King's harem and he witnessed and experienced the delights or otherwise to him) of its pleasures as a 14 year old boy boy
(4) cruelty was ingrained in Cambodian society

Jump to the Tikrit...1930s

(1) cruel ignorant relative
(2) a unstable and violent society/state
(2) suffered humiliation at school [ shoeless, etc]
(3) was encouraged to take a gun to school
(4) joined a amoral political movement that relied on violence to achieve power

Give me some help here...

The other two, Stalin and Hiltler had the same sort of thing. Stalin, a Georgian. Russians looked down on them. Hitler, a violent father. A weak, loving mother. A traumatic war. A traumatising experience of flauted unstable and violent society (Wiemar Republic).

In the end, despite difficultiues and set backs, they all had
(1) brains
(2) madness (sociopathic or psychopathic?)
(3) lack of sympathy or empathy (But maybe they were empathetic but simply put their ability to read others to bad rather than good use.)

You look at a Bush or a Bliar, now, wondering whether they could led us into similar disasters, trying to imagine a hypothetical person in either of those societies who might have been wondering the same thing about Stalin or Hitler (or Pol Pol or Saddam Hussein). The Left did do this wondering. But I am talking about an ordinary guy, not especially politically focused or knowledgeable, who has the normal "antennae", who sees people and events in his own time reasonably clearly. Does he get the alarm signal because the same group of conditions apply. Of course we know that many who ended up following Hitler and getting on his payroll, had that bad feeling. They just subsumed it to the stronger immediate desire to get an job and status.

The answer must be a level, degree, of moral, civic and political education that prevents people from turning a blind eye to bad things happening around them. In Britain in 2003 there was a deep feeling that our leader pulled the wool over our eyes. Looking back we puzzle why he bothered. He could just have easily been totally frank with us and got a concensus for war rather than bamboozling us into it because of his fear that we would prevent him from doing what he personally decided. What is the point?

Perhaps there are too many lawyers in politics. Granted they are necessary for law framing. And to stetch the idea, politics, like law, is adversorial and does not depend greatly on the search for objective truth. I have always puzzled why courts are not places where the truth is established. I am quite ignorant of how the law works in practice except from TV drama. . I once asked a retired high-court judge why the jury system was so good. He insisted there was nothing better. But why? The poor jurers are making decisions, sometimes of life and death, without the full pack. Wouldn't it be better to have a legal process where everyone had access to all the information that was going to be used, rather than presenting selective extracts of it, so to speak. And,indeed, wouldn't that be true of politics and governance?

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memories of a childhood in Iraq in the 1950s * thoughts on events in the Middle East

Location: United Kingdom

expatriot in Middle East as child, retired teacher.

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