Friday, August 21, 2009

Has it been worth it?

'Operation Enduring Freedom'. Remember that? October 2001, it was the name given to the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. 8 years on - and after the unwelcome milestone of the 200th British soldier to die there - just how is that 'Enduring Freedom' working out?

Firstly, perhaps I need to say that I am not necessarily a pacifist. Gandhi is a hero of mine, but his policy of 'non-violence' only really works against a nation that does more or less adhere to a certain moral code. Against someone like Hitler, Stalin or even Saddam Hussein, Gandhi's actions would have been disastrous and bloody.

So I begrudgingly accept that there are times when you have to stand up and fight for what is right. Like the fight against Fascism in the 30s, which eventually led onto the Second World War, for example. That was a war that even the strongest pacifist has to concede was unavoidable.

However, is the war on Afghanistan in that category? 8 years later - 200 British deaths later - we have to look and see what have we managed to achieve there? Whenever you pay a price with the blood of your own soldiers, it is important that you know it was worth it.

And I have to say, in my humble opinion, it hasn't been.

At the start of the occupation of Afghanistan, there was a lot made about the oppressive nature of the Taliban. Particularly about their treatment of women. The removal of the Taliban was the only way to give democracy to Afghanistan, freedom to men and women throughout the country, it was said.

8 years on, it turns out that things are worse for women than it ever has been. It is now legal for a man to starve his wife if she refuses him sex. It is legal for a man to rape his wife. A woman still needs her husband's permission to work. And it is obscene that we are sending British soldiers to support that regime.

The level of self-immolation (setting themselves on fire) amongst women has never been so high as it is now. It is a sad truth that when there is no justice for women, they see no other way out than suicide.

Afghanistan is now run by Warlords, and opium production since the US occupation in 2001 has exploded. There was almost no opium produced under the Taliban, according to the UN's Drug Control Agency - now Afghanistan produces 93% of the world's opium, an increase of over 4000% by some estimates, which represents over half the country's GDP.

So what's changed? Women are still being raped, oppressed and abused. A child born in Afghanistan has a 25% chance of not making it to their fifth birthday. I would suggest for the average Afghan, not a lot has changed at all. Except now there is also war, with the poverty and destruction that brings as well as oppression.

And we have a democratic election as we speak, although it would appear that they are simply puppets of the various warlords. The names may change, but the story remains sadly the same.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ukraine's Got Talent

This is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. And incredibly it's from Ukraine's Got Talent. I have to say, I've never seen anything like this before and it did move me to tears*. Enjoy.

*Although that could be because I'm a big girl.

Click here to watch the video if you received this via email.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Tories to Remain Utterly Silent until after General Election

A senior source within the Conservative Party has divulged that the Tories intend to say absolutely nothing whatsoever until after next year's General Election, preferring instead to let Labour do all their work for them.

After substantial analysis, the Tory think tank Policy Exchange has isolated Gordon Brown's three major flaws: Everything he does, everything he says and the unerring ability to come out smelling of shit even when he's right.

You can't
polish a turd

However the tipping point has been the fact that once again Gordon Brown is facing the prospect of a leadership challenge - and the two main candidates are Harriet Harman and the unelected self-appointed Dark Lord of Fucking Everything, Peter Mandelson.

In an interview with the Telegraph, the head of Policy Exchange, Fisty B'Stard said:

"So let me get this right. Even if they somehow manage to prise open Gordon Brown's death grip on power and get rid of him, the alternative will be either a megalomaniac Sith Lord or a man-hater. That's like asking would I prefer to be anally raped with my own dismembered penis or brutally murdered with a clawhammer."

"However, every time David Cameron opens his mouth, he does tend to say something incalculably stupid. So we've decided it would be best for everyone if he remains utterly silent. We think that as long as we can keep his mouth completely and totally shut for the next 9 months or so, we'll be in Number 10 before you can say 'vacuous'. Obviously we don't need to worry about the Lib Dems, so with Labour as they are, hopefully we'll be a shoe-in."

"I mean, Peter Mandelson. In charge of the Labour Party. Ha ha ha ha!" he said, before adding "Aha ha ha ha ha."

Bank Anger Profit Bonus in Fatcat Fury Shame

Furious fatcat taxpayer money bonus and angry meltdown shame greed, it emerged today.

Barclay men show disgraced £3bn taxpayer jobless recession profit despite shame bonus and taxpayer meltdown crunch disaster. But as bank shame anger rose to fatcat, outraged tax money say bail-out meltdown pay for risky bonus greed shame fury.

Bill, a furious angry man, say: "Fatcat. Meltdown. Taxpayer. Greedy shame fury. Make bad thing go now."

Wayne, a sad jobless, say: "No job. Me. Them money. Bonus things. Nice bonus money things. Me no things. Fury anger bonus shame."

Margaret, old woman from nice place, say: "Pensioner. Me. Old lady. Fatcat greedymen. Winter so cold time. No soup. Me go all blue. Then what?"

Vince, a politics man, say: "Appalling. Nasty, shamey greedymen. All angry pocket lining and excessive shame risk. Homes. Jobs. Billions. Crisis-crunch." He add: "China! Fred Goodwin!"

But Tom, analysing man, say: "Pensions. That's your pension. That £3bn is where your pension comes from. Stop talking now, fucknut idiots."