Sunday, April 13, 2008

A new low in warfare?

Wars of the last 100 years have frequently pushed the boundaries of brutality and depravity - think of the Western Front in WW1, the appalling viciousness of the Spanish Civil War, the Russian Front of WW2 or more recently the random amputations meted out to civilians in Sierra Leone's 'rebel' uprising - but if Carla Del Ponte's allegations of human organ trafficking in Kosovo are true then warfare has plumbed new depths.

In the book, Del Ponte writes that her investigators visited a house in the remote mountainous region outside Burrel, Albania, which was allegedly being used as an impromptu clinic for the butchering of 300 young Serbs captured by the Kosovo Liberation Army and transported in lorries across the border from Kosovo to Albania.

According to witnesses - including one who said he had driven some of the organs to Tirana airport, and a team of unnamed journalists who investigated the allegations - the victims had their kidneys removed before being killed later and having other organs taken.

"Prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately," Del Ponte writes.

The "house-clinic" was visited by UN officials from Kosovo and tribunal investigators. "The team was shocked by what they saw," said Chuck Sudetic, a former tribunal official who is joint author of the book. "They found gauze and vials of medicines, including a muscle relaxer used during surgery."

And it wasn't only captured Serbs:
The victims were said to include Albanians and trafficked women from Russia and eastern Europe forced to work as prostitutes.

del Ponte's allegations have met with strenuous denials. They may be false (I really hope they are) but it's not too hard to imagine any diplomats involved in the region wanting to scotch the rumours, Kosovo's a powder keg.

The current economic crisis coupled with soaring demand from resources of every kind may soon threaten to drive the world to further mass warfare. This may prove to be one resource, one which becomes plentiful during war, the profiteers will be unable to resist.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The only way forward

While reading this chunk of President Ikeda's 2007 Peace Proposal, I was struck by just how so many of our current problems stem from this same cause:

At the heart of the nuclear issue is a potential for destructiveness inherent in human life. It is a function of this destructiveness to shred our sense of human solidarity, sowing the seeds of mistrust and suspicion, conflict and hatred. Buddhism characterizes this as the life-state or "world" of anger, which, when it becomes undirected and unrestrained, is a rogue and renegade force, disrupting and destroying all in its path.


This same world of anger is at the heart of many of the issues confronting contemporary civilization, with its high degree of capitalist and technological development. It is necessary to reposition economic values within the various hierarchies of values integral to the processes of life, to train and tame the capitalist system. The key to this is a human awakening, a process of individuals and humanity reclaiming their rightful place.

Over the last 20-30 years we've had politicians preaching their "you can't buck the market" ideology, which while it's increased global wealth, has done so to the detriment of society. The wealth has not been distributed even slightly fairly leading to resentment and despair. Human values have been replaced by market prices. A hubristic war to capure Iraq's oil has left us with an increased terrorism threat, unprecedented levels of surveillance and a serious drain on the world's economy.
The attitude that we're ruled by some sort of natural law that dictates the economy and hence politics, is bogus and was carefully engineered to create this sort of society. I doubt its priests ever foresaw the dreary negativity that sprang up in its wake.
The solution isn't at the global political level, it's failed us so many times and will fail again. Contrast the high-mindedness of the Russian revolution on 1917 with its Stalinist outcome.

It's only by individuals making the change in themselves that evenually society can be turned round, in SGI parlance, "the Human Revolution".

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Music biz re-entry

flirt with danger mascot, Gladys
Years ago I used to run my own record label as well as play in bands and act as sound man / photographer / web designer for others. I haven't done anything in the music biz for over 6.5 years. So now I'm getting back in with an online web services system aimed at the smaller / semi-pro / serious amateur end of the biz,

Exactly what sort of services? Not prepared to say yet, but it's quite unique and will get properly announced as soon as I have the first couple of clients online.