Monday, August 28, 2006

Lunch is ready!

I was curious, so curious I just had to find out ... and I know what happened to the cat ...! But I couldn't resist a little googling here and there to find out how much this big military business is actually worth. Quite fascinating reading until you realise how creatively callous people have become in all the different ways they devise to kill, maim and destroy. In 2005 America, for example, approved export licenses were granted for 'defense articles' manufactured by American companies for a total cost of $24,333,731,834 and the global total of defence services was $27.7 billion. That's a bucket load of dosh!

Came across something called a 'travelling wave tube' - 191 pieces sold to Luxembourg for a total of $2,902,311. Sold to Israel too. A 'wave tube' ...? .... must be some weird contraption to make the military more people-friendly.

And then I recalled Rami Khouri's recent article from war torn Lebanon that started out like this: "I visited the southern suburbs of Beirut yesterday for the first time since Israel had bombed its core to smithereens. It was impressive to watch the clean-up and reconstruction work underway by Hizbullah, the government and scores of local and international non-governmental organizations. Tens of thousands of people walking through the rubble exhibited pride and achievement of having withstood the attacks and seeing Hizbullah fight Israel to a draw.But I also had mixed feelings as I watched Hizbullah give cash payments of $10,000 and more for families to get through the next year, whose homes were destroyed. I wondered: What if the war had not happened and Hizbullah had given $10,000 to each of the estimated 15,000 eligible families for some other use -- to buy computer systems, encyclopedias, and poetry books, and to send thousands of deserving students to university?But the world does not work like that. Israel's massive attack against civilian and Hizbullah military targets throughout Lebanon is one sign of irrationality -- laced with barbarism -- that often defines political decisions in this part of the world. Hizbullah's response had been honed by a quarter of a century of fighting off Israeli attacks, occupations and threats. Its three thousand missiles and rockets fired into northern Israel caused some material and human damage, but sent a powerful political message that resonates throughout the region: Israel's military is not invincible, and can be stymied with determined planning and courageous resistance.That's correct, but then what? Another war? Better bomb shelters? More accurate missiles? Another 25,000 homes destroyed in Lebanon and Israel? As long as the battle is waged in Lebanon, public opinion in the Arab world, and among governments in Syria, Iran and a few other places, is prepared to fight Israel to the death. Israel, with explicit American diplomatic support and military re-supply lines, is prepared to destroy Lebanon. Period. These are uninviting prospects. We deserve better options".

... Better options ... and I began to dream of all the schools, research centres, creative arts centres, libraries and clinics that we could build along cultural lines with those $52 billion dollars not just in the Arab World, but throughout Africa too ... when a familiar voice wafted up the staircase and broke the reverie "lunch is ready". And so it's time for lunch, again.

Bon appetit. J


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