Archive for War

Dalai Lama |July 6, 1935 – Present|

Posted in Asia, History with tags , , , on July 6, 2009 by Peace-ling

2009_02_08_Dalai_Lama_enfant“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” Dalai Lama

“All People and things are interdependent. The world has become so small that no nation can solve its problems alone, in isolation from others. That is why I believe we must all cultivate a sense of responsibility based on love and compassion for each other.” Dalai Lama

As war, violence, crime and disasters flood across worldwide, now more than ever before we need to reflect upon the precious little things that bring us joy and happiness every day.  From the mysteries of the endless horizon spanning far beyond the deepest of the oceans to the miracle of a color filled rainbow; from the warm affection of a marble eyed cat to the soft and sweet memories of childhood; with so much beauty around us, there is no reason but to smile away one’s worries and preserve the beauty that lies both within us and outside.

pf01His Holiness Dalai Lama, the spiritual peace messenger turns 74 today. In honor of his life long journey towards promoting inner and outer world peace, I will dedicate my next few articles to our beautiful world.

With compassion we can progress our modern world towards a peaceful universal society, where no boundary; religion, culture, class or gender separates one from being sensitive to the other.

Floating on these thoughts; let me spread my wings and showcase some of my beautiful snapshots from across the world. Through these photos, I hope to inspire peace and serenity amongst all. Let us bring to surface our inner Dalai Lama; let peace, love and beauty raise every human spirit above all violence and pain.

 Exiled Tibetan children wait to perform a traditional tibetan dance during celebrations of the 74th birthday of the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India on Monday, July 6th

Exiled Tibetan children wait to perform a traditional Tibetan dance during celebrations of the 74th birthday of the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 6, 2009. (AP PhotoAshwini Bhatia)

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Waltz with Bashir

Posted in History, Lebanon, War with tags , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2009 by Peace-ling
Theatrical poster

Theatrical poster

Imagine watching an animated film that is crafted so brilliantly that you can feel every horrific nightmare and trauma associated with a war to the bone. Waltz with Bashir, is one such film that takes you deep inside the mind of a teenage Israeli soldier who had barely begun to shave. If you fancy animated features, take a break from the seven dwarfs and the little mermaid and tune in to learn history the animated way. Strap up, sit back and pretend you’re an Israeli soldier ready to take on the enemy, except you don’t know the why, how and when. The 1982 Lebanon War through the eyes of Ari Forman; an Israeli veteran, here’s presenting Waltz with Bashir.

Written and directed by Ari Folman, the film is Folman’s autobiography, where he narrates his journey back in time to recollect memories from the 1982 massacre by interviewing the soldiers who had served alongside him during the war. Waltz with Bashir frames war as a meaningless exercise that holds no real relevance to its perpetrators, including Folman. Folman’s amnesia shows an interesting depiction of how injustice and violence during wartime is so easily forgotten and accepted.

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Post Mortem Report; The Migration-Displacement Nexus in Pakistan

Posted in Afghanistan, Asia, Children, Iran, Pakistan, Politics, Refugees & IDPs, War with tags , , , , on June 29, 2009 by Peace-ling

swat_refugees_081A looming threat from Al Qaeda & the Taliban militia and an in-flux of Afghan refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) has left Pakistan in a worst refugee crisis since the partition in 1947. US led drone strikes and Pakistan military’s onslaught against the Talibans has crippled a great mass of Afghan and Pakistani civilians. Why do states always carry out post-mortem reports on innocent war causalities, instead of ensuring civilians’ security prior to the attacks?

afghn-101351In view of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s corrupt governments and the rising number of people uprooted by the growing conflict in north-west Pakistan, can we trust these governments enough to tackle the fragile situation or is it a case of another humanitarian disaster? Perhaps another Kashmir, another Palestine. The victims in the end are always the civilians, who end up losing their only prized possession; their identity.

May 5, 2009: Afghan officials say up to 120 non-combatants were killed when US warplanes dropped bombs on two villages in Bala Baluk, a Taliban-controlled district in the western province of Farah.

May 11, 2009: UN estimates, over 360,000 people have escaped from the three worst affected areas of Dir, Swat and Buner.

May 12, 2009:­­­ A total of 501,496 displaced people from the new influx had been formally registered by authorities, with UNHCR’s help, since May 2.

May 13, 2009: The number of people who have fled the fighting in northwest Pakistan this month and been registered or recorded by authorities reached 670,906 on Wednesday, up from just over half a million the day before.

May 15, 2009: Almost 1 million displaced people so far registered this month by authorities and UNHCR are in addition to another 550,000 uprooted people who fled fighting since last August. According to the latest figures, 987,140 people have been registered from the current influx, including 907,298 outside camps and 79,842 in camps.­­

swat_refugees_05What will be the outcome of Pakistan’s face-off with the Talibans? Will success be measured on the battlefield in the Swat Valley and the Pakistan-Afghanistan border or will it be measured by the number of civilian casualties? Continue reading

The Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq -Subjection & the workings of Power

Posted in Middle East, Politics, War with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2009 by Peace-ling

cgr_eng_iraq_afghanistanWe often construct images of aliens to define ourselves in contrast as normal, and in doing so set standards of right and wrong; punishing those considered others by engaging in wars and violent activities. It is a tactic; a thought out strategy to prevent the other from rising to power. The war on Iraq was initiated on similar grounds; to protect and discipline this other.

As the respected Shri Shri Ravi Shankar quoted; war to him denotes worse action for reason. Even though the war on Iraq, like any other war was fought on the grounds of being a disciplinary practice, in reality it demonstrated clear power politics between states; played to control the bodies within the states and threatening their ultimate human security.

When I first heard about the incident, a number of questions sprung to my mind. What was the extent of these abuses and what exactly caused the American soldiers to perform such heinous acts? Yet, the more answers I tried to find, the more conflicting my judgments became due to differing media projections. However, I was anxious to determine where the accountability of these abuses truly lies; in black and white, the American soldiers were the culprits, but what if there is a grey in between? What if the American soldiers were socially disciplined and trained to act in ways that they did.

The abuses at Abu Ghraib might have occurred in a physical prison built out of steel and concrete, but what about the psychological prisons that the American soldiers, along with the Iraqi detainees subjectified into? Here, it would be noteworthy to mention that such mental prisons are not isolated to the Abu Ghraib incident solely; they are social constructs of society, brought into form when we construct divisions; like us and them, sane and insane. Hence, even though the American soldiers were the explicit agents in these abuses, other implicit factors, like racism, religion and sexism were all at play together. When the soldiers were abusing the Iraqis, they were in reality abusing the enemy, the evil, the other. Continue reading

June 20th –The World Refugee Day

Posted in Refugees & IDPs, Slavery, War with tags , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by Peace-ling

refugeesJune 20th marks the World Refugee Day.

Wars, natural disasters and violence have forced millions of people around the world to flee their homes. Whether it is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir or the recent Afghan refugee crisis, societies have been torn into a million pieces; civilians have suffered at the cost of state politics. The resulting outpour of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) warrants international support and a global human spirit. Let us join hands to rebuild their lives, their identities, their future.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY JUNE 16_2009This year round along with celebrations of the past, we need to find solutions for the present World Refugee Crisis in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Congo, Myanmar and the Palestinian Territories to name a few. Instead of quoting the number of refugees displaced within these territories, I’ll try and put faces to these figures. This article is dedicated to the real people behind the refugee crisis. Continue reading