Friday, April 22, 2011

Gebeng Is OK, Lynas Is FINE

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The meaning of Chernobyl
Twenty-five years on, the Chernobyl disaster has more to do with secrecy than nuclear safety, politician argues.

It began as a grey and muddy spring day, like so many others in my homeland. It ended in dread and mourning.

Of course, none of us knew the precise moment when catastrophe struck at Chernobyl 25 years ago. Back then, we lived under a system that denied ordinary people any right whatsoever to know about even essential facts and events.

So we were kept in the dark about the radiation leaking from the shattered reactor at Chernobyl – and blowing in the winds over northern Europe.

But the more bizarre fact about the Chernobyl disaster, we now know, is that Mikhail Gorbachev, general secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, was also kept in the dark about the magnitude of the disaster.

Indeed, it may be this very fact that finally condemned the old system to the dustbin of history a mere five years later. No regime built on limitless self-delusion is capable of retaining a shred of legitimacy once the scale of its self-deception is exposed.


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NATO's Sarajevo Moment

In the early 1990s, the Western powers stood by idly while the Muslims of Bosnia were murdered, raped, thrown into concentration camps and ethnically cleansed in the hundreds of thousands. This disgraceful passivity in the face of atrocities of WW II imagery occurred in the immediate aftermath of the democratic world's historic triumph in the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It took more than three years before the United States and its allies were stirred into action -- thanks largely to Bill Clinton being pushed into an untenable corner by then French President Jacques Chirac. The ensuing intervention was quick and decisive. The air campaign and subsequent occupation of Bosnia cost America not a single casualty.

History now is repeating itself. Valiant Libyans who are fighting for their freedom from a tyrant are being left pretty much to their own devices. Civilians in Misrata are being subjected to death by a thousand cuts similar to what was the fate of Sarajevo's citizens. The Libyans of Suwarah already have been cleansed. Opponents of the regime in Tripoli are suffering systematic abuse across the country. Benghazi seems destined to be cast as Sarajevo in this recasting of the Bosnian tragic drama.

Mukhtar Mai, Remember?

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Pakistan: Acquittals in Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case

Five of six men charged over a village council-sanctioned gang rape in Pakistan have been acquitted by the Supreme Court.

The court upheld the decision of a lower court, which included commuting the death penalty of the sixth man to life imprisonment.

The victim, Mukhataran Mai, hit world headlines after speaking out about her ordeal in 2002. She has since become an icon for women's rights in Pakistan.

She said she now feared for her life.

Mukhtaran Mai was her clear and unambiguous self when she spoke minutes after the verdict, the BBC's Shoaib Hasan in Pakistan said.