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Calls for Justice

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Edmund Burke

I often get depressed about the state of the world since the suffering of so many is due to failed politics and greed. Rather than merely complain (I do that too), in a minor way I've attempted to do something about it by writing to elected officials asking for better policies and to the media asking for better coverage of under-reported or mis-reported issues. Of course the lack of any discernable impact makes me even more disheartened. In theory, "The pen is mightier than the sword" but mainly I've seen that Mao Zedong was right when he noted that "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".

So here are the main letters I've written. I give most of the politicians credit for having a reply sent to me, even when they have disagreed with me. There have been a few dozen emails too.

In support of Palestinians

If you immediately associate the word Palestinian with the word terrorist, then you probably need to get a more complete picture of the conflict. You might start by reviewing the text and graphics for a speech I gave in my public speaking class in 2000.

After all, if you knew that American dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but were unaware of Pearl Harbor and the years of bloody fighting that followed, you would be easily pursuaded that Americans were evil. While you can argue that there is blame on both sides, you need to understand that there are two sides, only one of which is widely reported in the US and that the there is widespread oppression of one group by the other and that match is utterly uneven.

In support of Lebanon

I was outraged that the Israelis thought it reasonable to kill over 1000 people, cause billions of dollars of damage and vandalize the environment in response to the kidnapping of two of their soldiers (the Israelis kidnap Palestinians all the time and hold and sometimes torture them) and home-made rocket attacks that I think had killed eight.

In support of Iran

Iraq has been a fiasco and now it appears that the Administration is trying to blame Iran. Also, while there has been much talk of Iran's covert nuclear program, there have been no demands on Israel to expose and dismantle their decades-old covert program. The double-standards are glaring. Obviously the world would be a better place without any nuclear weapons that Iran might one day produce but it would also be a better place without the 200 or so that Israel is thought to possess and the several thousand that the US has.

I agree that their current president Ahmadinejad appears to be a bit of a nutcase but I suspect he is playing to a domestic audience to draw attention away from economic problems and in any case, the real power in Iran lies with the unelected Mullahs.

However, my real wish is that we can learn to see the world from the Iranian position. Iran actually has good reason to feel threatened and if we understand that, perhaps we can reduce the pressure. After all, the CIA backed a coup in 1953 that toppled the elected government and then backed the Shah, despite his reppressive rule. A popular uprising led by Islamic clerics overthrew the Shah and they have been in power ever since. During the Iran-Iraq war which killed or wounded a half-million Iranians, the US actively aided Saddam Hussein's Iraq even though Iraq was the aggressor. Now Iran faces instability on both its western border with Iraq and its eastern border with Afghanistan. The "Axis of Evil" speech certainly did nothing to reassure them of our benign intentions.

In support of East Timor

I wrote a letter (actually I sent a fax) to both the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during the violence following the 1999 referendum for independence pleading for Australian intervention. I can't believe I lost both the paper copies and the electronic files but I could not find either!