Archive for April, 2008
Posted by Dave (The Void) on April 21, 2008
Declassified CIA and military documents tell the story of America’s botched invasion of Castro’s Cuba.
Posted by Dave (The Void) on April 12, 2008
Academic Robert Beckford visits Ghana to investigate the hidden costs of rice, chocolate and gold and why, 50 years after independence, a country so rich in natural resources is one of the poorest in the world. He discovers child labourers farming cocoa instead of attending school and asks if the activities of multinationals, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have actually made the country’s problems worse.
Posted by Dave on April 4, 2008
“Hiroshima and Nagasaki, surely among the most unspeakable crimes in history.” Noam Chomsky
The Hiroshima bombing came at a time when the Japanese were negotiating peace with the USA. The United States however wanted to test its new weapon: demonstrating its power to the world, especially to the Soviets. When Gore Vidal was asked if he thought the Atomic Bombing was the end of the Second World War or the beginning of the cold war, he chose the later.
I visited Hiroshima in 2004 and entered the “peace park” museum without giving it much thought (put in quotes because I think the American post war Government had a propaganda campaign promoting “peace” in Japan – worried that people might want revenge). Perhaps I was a little ignorant because I was in for a gut wrenching, stomach churning experience.
One of the exhibits that I remember vividly was something quite odd. I was looking at it in its glass case and couldn’t quite focus on what it was. Rather unusual, so I looked at the little plaque beside it – which had a story. It said that there was a young girl – 8 years old I think – that had been caught in the bomb blast. Her first instinct was to run home even although she was covered in burns. When she made it to her mothers arms much of her skin had peeled off and there she died. I can’t imagine how the little girl or her mother felt, I can only guess. But to help convey the full horror to her partner – the woman collected the little girls fingers, that had melted off, to keep and show him when he returned. Reading the story I was quite moved. Hesitantly I looked back and could see that indeed they were fingers with recognisable nails – on top of everything else I’d seen I almost threw up. Leaving the museum also hit me hard, walking onto a busy street I realised it was people just like these that suffered so terribly.
The following film is based on the work of a manga artist in Japan, Keiji Nakazawa, a 6 year old survivor of the bombing. I think the film, made in the 80’s reflects the true horror of the atomic bombings and the true horror of war. All through a childs eyes and loosely based on Nakazawa’s own experiences. An interview with Keiji can be seen here (15 mins into the show).
Posted by Dave on April 4, 2008
Taxi to the Dark Side is an excellent documentary charting the recent history of the US Governments use of torture. I hadn’t realised that a high level legal adviser to the President, John Yoo, went as far as publicly arguing that “there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.” Rationality gone mad – his name has gone on my list of people whose testicles do need crushing.
As a side note, I enjoyed Stephen Kings recent comments on the debate as to whether waterboarding is torture or not “if the Bush administration didn’t think it was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn’t think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture.”
“This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light.” Alex Gibney, Director, Academy Award acceptance speech.