Something To Say-World

Something to Say-World blog is a forum where I can vent and share my strong viewpoints with the world, and get feedback from others, whether they are pro or con, for or against my positions. The main thing is that we engage in a thought provoking discussion with hopes of seeing the world in a more clearer and different light than we did before initiating our intellectual dialogues. __________ MOTTO:Committed To Relentless Pursuit Of Hidden Truths -Globally-

Monday, August 28, 2006

DOLLARS: WE DON’T LIKE DOLLARS! As I was told by a merchant in Brussels, Belgium!

Photos: Google Images
& Haojie Qin


(NOTE: Person of topic is "not" pictured)

Earlier this month, I spent a three day weekend in Brussels. And I passed some time visiting the Grand Place shopping area. While browsing through one store that sold leather jackets, I noticed there wasn’t a price on attached tags. So I said to the merchant in an interrogative voice: “There is no price tag? Do you all accept Euros, dollars or what?” He promptly replied in a very friendly and anxious manner: “We accept Euros, sir!” And with a brief pause and firm voice-a noticeable change in physical demeanor and facial expression, he said: “We don’t like dollars.” I responded: "Oh, I see!" I continued to look around.

As I was walking out, without making a purchase, the merchant commented: “I will give you a very good deal on a leather jacket.” I retorted, with a smirked smile: “I only have dollars!” No comment from the merchant. Admittedly, I experienced a sudden “I got ya! or touche!” kind of feeling. I suppose it’s innate nature to want to have the upper hand or last word in any type of intellectual exchange with another human being.

But the moral of the story is, simply, I wasn’t surprised in the least that the Arab merchant would express such disdain for the dollar in today’s global-political and militaristic atmosphere: Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of Lebanon with perceived U.S. encouragement and tacit approval; U.S.’ invasion and occupation of Iraq; and, of course, the never ending Palestinian and Israeli issue that continues to incense and enrage the Arab world, throughout. Further, realizing as well that the gentleman, being of Middle Eastern Arabic descent, probably still has strong ties to his roots, whether it be religious, political, sense of brotherhood or merely outrage over what is believed to be unfair treatment and slaughter of his brothers and sisters. So I naturally understood.

Ironically though, it appears people shy away from accepting the dollar in some cases, if not out- right rejection of that currency-like never before. Is it because the Euro is slowly but surely becoming more of an acceptable dominate currency, coupled with the Japanese yen, etc.? Can this backlash be due to U.S. foreign policies, aggressions and lopsided support for Israel? What is actually fueling this widespread animosity and rage towards the U.S.? It is all the above, probably, and even more?

I can remember quite vividly the times when merchants all over the world, at least those parts of the globe I was fortunate to spend time in, such as southeast Asia, Europe, and Latin America, were zealous to get their hands on the “good old American greenback," that" almighty dollar"in every denomination.

Times sure have changed. The U.S.’ image and actual influence as a powerful honest-broker nation appears to have dwindled, along with the once appeal of its currency; If not empirically, at least in a transparent manner anyway.

Getting back to the merchant. I don’t know if he deduced I was U.S. American because of my mannerisms, dress, mid-western accent or based on my inclusion of the word “dollar” in my question. But one thing for certain, he was vent on sending me a clear message that he and his fellow merchants wanted nothing to do with anything that symbolizes the U.S.A. This was also obvious based on the clear fact that when I said I only had dollars, the merchant never tried to solicit or encourage me any further. And actually, I didn’t have any dollars on my person anyway. Touche! So much for the good old U.S American dollars.

STATE OF THE DOLLAR? Where is Uncle Sam?

I bet he's turning over in his grave(?).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

HIZBULLAH: SHOULD RELEASE KIDNAPED SOLDIERS, IMMEDIATELY! It would not only be a humane act, but a smart international public relations move also!

Photos: Google Images

Hizbullah’s continued holding of the two Kidnaped Israeli soldiers has lost both it’s perceived and intrinsic values. It can no longer be considered, as it was initially, a valuable bargaining tool since Israel has shown it will not be “black mailed“ this time into releasing any- much less all-of the purported 10,000 Lebanese prisoners that Hizbullah and the Lebanese government accuse Israel of unlawfully incarcerating.

Israel showed a willingness to go to war, although based pre-textually on the kidnaping incident, to achieve a greater objective: to eliminate the existence of Hizbullah, period. However, Israel failed to accomplish that goal. Thus, in the eyes of many, pros and cons, Hizbullah came out the victor. Hizbullah was able to sustain a thirty-four day defensive against an Israeli mass offensive that was unprecedented in the history of that region since Israel came into existence in 1947. No other foe, neither Egypt or Syria- individually nor collectively, put up such a formidable fight for no more than two weeks or so-at the most. The entire international community came to the conclusion that Hizbullah shattered the invincibility image of the powerful Israeli armed forces. No doubt, Hizbullah has won, not only in a military since, but psychologically as well-regionally and internationally.

However, Hizbullah has yet to gain any sympathy or significant grounds in the area of diplomacy. Or is such a politic possible being that Hizbullah is not a sovereign nation, but a state within a state? It is clear Hizbullah is here to stay, at least in the immediate future and probably long after because it will not disarm easily. And will probably become fully integrated into the main Lebanese democratic governmental system, cultural and social institutions, with its fighting forces assimilated into the military system or retained as a militia under the control, supposedly, of the Lebanese government. But we all know that once power is attained, it is extremely difficult to relinquish(?).

In the immediate presence to show its humane side, it eould be wise for Hizbullah to release the two captive soldiers and return them to their families, respectively, and to their country due to obvious diminishing returns of holding them indefinitely. Hence, playing the diplomacy card- for which it holds the aces at this juncture, could serve to be of benefit in the future.

No doubt, such a voluntary and willful humane act will not salvage Hizbullah’s classified status as a terrorist organization in th eyes of the West, especially, but it will give them immediate advantage and put Israel on the defensive as far as-possibly- offering to reciprocate through a negotiated release of some-if not all-of the Lebanese prisoners due to increased national and international pressures. You decide!
UPDATE: As reported by the JTA Daily Briefing, Iran wants Italy as go-between on soldiers. Iran wants Italy to help negotiate the release of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped in Lebanon.
Italy has been told the soldiers are alive but not in great condition, said Sergio De Gregorio, head of the Italian Senate’s Defense Committee. Ali Larijani, Iran’s national security chief, told De Gregorio that he would ask Hezbollah to conduct negotiations through Italy. The reservists, Eldad Regev, 26, and Ehud Goldwasser, 31, were kidnaped July 12 in a cross-border raid that sparked a war between Israel and Hezbollah.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

IRAQ: CIVIL WAR OR NOT? You bet there is, as long as two opposing factions are fighting!

(Photos: Google Images)

On NBC News , 16 August 2006, it was reported the Bush Administration is publicly denying there is an on-going civil war taking place in Iraq.

But in private, there is an acknowledgment among high ranking Administration officials that just the opposite is happening, and there is great concern that a civil war is indeed occurring between the Sunni and Shiite factions. No doubt, a civil war has been present for several weeks, if not months based on the internal carnage that has been shown on and in the news media for sometime now. I want go into the number killed in the month of July alone.

However, as usual the Administration has been putting a face saving spin on the situation because to publicly admit that is the case, would be a clear an unequivocal-irreversible concession of a failure in policy and execution of the War. And that the invasion of Iraq was a grave mistake in the first place. Quite naturally, the Administration doesn’t want to provide its opponents with any more ammunition than they already have, especially coming from its own ranks.

But Administration officials forget one central point about their fellow Americans, and that is: the public is not stupid nor dumb; overly tolerant at times with blind loyalty, yes. But not stupid or dumb. Any highschool teenager, or smart grammar school eighth grader for that matter, can simply go to an English dictionary and research the definition for the term civil war; which I did.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition defines the term civil war as: “A war between [factions] or regions of one country.” And the term faction is defined as: “ 1. A group of persons forming a cohesive, usually a contentious, minority within a larger group. 2.Internal conflict; dissension; conflict within an organization or nation.”
As such, the general public doesn’t need an admission or proclamation from the Administration when they read about the carnage that’s occurring every day between the very two warring factions, the Sunni and Shiite, that the Administration privately concedes are indeed embroiled in a conflict, vent on killing each other day after day. Thus, metaphorically, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it’s a duck.

In plain English, there is an on-going-limited-civil war in Iraq and our troops and/or coalition forces are being caught up in the middle of an ever increasing sectarian conflict.

Let’s just hope there is not a repeat of the images we all saw during the last hours of U.S. forces departure from Viet Nam in April of 1975, as people were climbing on top of the U.S. Embassy’s roof in Saigon to board helicopters trying to escape the Viet Cong.

Bottom line, is that clearly there is a civil war going on in Iraq, maybe not full scale yet, but still it’s a civil war-according to the dictionary. And the American people know this to be true, just as they are aware when their government officials are trying to bamboozle them, or simply lie to them. You decide!
UPDATE: SHIA MILITANTS FIGHT IRAQI SOLDIERS-It was reported by UK-Metro Newspaper that six people died when fighting broke out betwen soldiers and Shia militants in Iraq's holy city of Karbala on the 15th of August. The fighting spread to other parts of the city with gunmen in civilian clothes firing AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at army patrols. Not a civil war in Iraq?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LIEBERMAN’S PRIMARY LOSS: Is this the beginning of a national trend ? Let’s hope so!

(Photos: Google & Reuters)

Three-term Senator Joseph Lieberman’s rejection yesterday by Connecticut voters could and should be the beginning of a trend that will resonate all across the U.S.A. Senator Lieberman has for too long been, in my opinion, a “fence straddler,” taking the popular position for whichever way the wind blows at any given time. His arrogant and continued misguided support for the Iraq War- especially after learning the War was based on lies- was unforgivable, coupled with his in-your-face message to his supporters and democrats as a whole because of his revolting relationship with President Bush.

In simple terms, Senator Lieberman is clearly guilty of violating the basic principles for which the U.S.A. stands for under the Constitution: Doing what is right in the face of opposition and adversity. Some of his own party members have accused him of abandoning those principles that the Democratic Party stands for as well.
Without question, Connecticut voters let him know just how they felt about his betrayal and what they will and will not accept. Bravo!

As a consequence, will voters all across the U.S.A. take notice and stop sending most-if not all-of the “lifers” back to their respective comfortable public service seats when they are not looking out for what is best for the United States of America and their constituents; in that order. In other words, as Mr Ned Lamont- the victor in yesterday's primary election-stated, “Let’s put the U.S.A. first.”

That is the way it should be. Had this basic principle been applied by all sides, republicans and democrats alike, leading up to the Iraq War, the U.S. wouldn’t be in the mess it is now faced with today. Our troops and Iraqis are dying and being maimed almost daily, a civil war is either on-going or is eminent; and billions of badly needed U.S.American dollars are going to waste. I should specify, “borrowed” dollars with mounting interest payments that could wisely be spent right at home in every state, city, and community throughout the country. Too bad politicians don’t manage public funds as well as they manage their own.

It is reported Senator Lieberman plans on running as an independent in the general election. Which goes to show, once again and most profoundly, he only cares about holding on to power and doesn’t want to own up to his mistakes. Nor does he want to face the telling fact that the majority of Connecticut voters just want him to fade away. But I suppose it’s hard to let go of the power, perks and limelight once you are used to them. And, perhaps, that’s all that really matters to many politician in the end.

So for Senator Lieberman, the “chickens have finally come home to roost.” And the “fat lady has finally sang her song.” Good riddance for Connecticut voters and for the good old U.S.A. overall. The whining fence-straddler will probably loose this coming November in the general election. But in politics, just like in any sporting event: "It ain't over til it's over." Thus, no-one can predict the outcome. But, no doubt, many are keeping their fingers crossed. You decide!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

CUBA-POST CASTRO BROTHERS’ RULE: Should Afro-Cubans be celebrating?

(Photos: METRO-AFP/AP)

Reading Sarah Getty's article in Wednesday's, August 2, 2006 edition of the Metro-UK: "Sick Castro gives power to brother," and also watching evening news on television and seeing images of Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida celebrating in the streets about Fidel Castro’s’ temporary handing over of power to his younger brother Raul, I noticed there were only a couple of Afro-Cubans of dark complexion. The rest appeared to be whites of Hispanic descent and mulattos (offsprings of blacks and whites) and mestizos (persons of mixed blood). And I wondered, if the Afro-Cubans were actually exiles
themselves, or merely offsprings of previous generations of older Afro-Cubans in exile?

My mind reflected back on the gruesome pictures I saw many years ago of blacks in Cuban during the U.S. supported Batista regime that showed Afro-Cubans being brutalized with attack dogs and high pressure water hoses before the Castro regime came into power in January 1959. Of course, those were some of the same types of brutal and oppressive tactics and strategies used in the U.S. southern states against African Americans, or Negroes as was the proper term at that time.

And so, I pondered over whether those young Afro-Cubans really understood just what they were celebrating and being so jubilant about in light of the severe discrimination their ancestors had been subjected to by some of the same elite Hispanic-Cubans they now find themselves standing beside on the streets of Miami, prematurely, celebrating Castro’s demise or exit from power. Possibly, they have forgotten that their mothers and fathers and other blacks had to enter through back doors of the white-Hispanic owned homes and establishements; were banned from entering most public places; couldn’t get descent employment; and they certainly didn’t have access to health care or education.
But all that changed under Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. This is not to say there is no racism or discrimination in Cuba today; quite the contrary. One can change laws, but it’s difficult to change hearts and minds, and enbedded prejudices and biases.

However, it is not at all a reach to state that social conditons have vastly improved for the Afro-Cubans and the masses as a whole, or the humble people, since the Castros came to power; despite the 46 years of embargo that have denied the Cuban people the opportunity to develope a robust and flourishing economy. unquestionably, they all are much better off today, when compared to social conditions under the Bastista regime.

For example, an early assessment of the revolutionary changes made in combating discrimination and racism, is chronicled in an article by Albert Weisbord, What's Going On In Cuba (From the magazine "La Parola del Popolo" April - September 1960): “Racism has been given a mortal blow in Cuba. Negros everywhere occupy an important position. They make up about 50% of the army. They are 10% - 20% of the officialdom; Cuba's national hero is the Negro, General Maceo; the composer of their new national hymn of the 26th of July is a Negro, Cartaya; the head of the Cuban army is a Negro, Juan Almeida, etc. Intermarriage is common and
any segregation or discrimination is severely attacked.”

Thus, when and if the Castro brothers and their regime should lose power, what type government and society will the white-Hispanic Miami Cuban exiled elites put into place? Will it be the same old "de je vu" they or their ancestors once enjoyed during the Batista era? And- perhaps-long to recapture those good-old-days-of-yo?

As J.A. Sierra rightly and insightfully asked in his essay, History of Cuba: “Will institutional U.S.-style racism return to Cuba once Castro is gone?” That is the million dollar question that Afro-Cubans should be asking their white-Hispanic elite brothers and sisters that hold the power base in Miami, and no doubt, will play a significant role in the future of Cuba if and when circumstances make way for them to be repatriated to their homeland.

J.A. Sierra provides deeper insight into just how racial relations will probably be among Afro-Cubans and whites of Hispanic descent, in one of his quotes: In the 1990s, wrote Pérez Sarduy, "the political and racial division between Cubans on the island (mainly black and brown) and Cubans in Miami (overwhelmingly white) was made apparent in the receptions each group gave South African leader Mandela: in Cuba he was welcomed as a hero, but not so in Miami. In June 1990, shortly before a planned visit to Florida as part of his U.S. tour, four Cuban American mayors of Miami signed a letter declaring Nelson Mandela persona non grata. Any sign of support for Cuba was to be denounced. (Mandela had often expressed appreciation for Cuba's solidarity in ending apartheid.) The African American community declared a boycott of Miami, which was ineffective, and demanded an apology from the Cuban Americans, which was never offered. The conflict also signaled divisions among Cuban Americans, as Afro-Cubans distanced themselves from Cubans of Hispanic descent."

Hence and unquestionably, it is paramount that Afro-Cubans constantly remind their fellow Cubans of social historian Fernando Ortíz’ words of 1942: "On guard, black man! On guard, white man!" "All Cubans together, on guard! And stand forever close together, for our liberties and our lives are in danger." Without the black, Cuba would not be Cuba.

But, if the tenuous relationship that currently exists among white-Hispanic and black Cuban exiles in Miami today is an example of what is to come upon their return to Cuba proper, post-Castros, then I believe the young Afro-Cuban exiles would put more in depth thought into just how quick they were/are to jump on the bandwagon to wish for the Castro’s rapid exit from power and eventual demise. You decide!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN: Can't go on. No, it can't go on!

(Photos: Google Images)

When I see all the death and destruction taking place in the Israeli and Hizbulla crisis, I can't help but reflect back on the lyrics of the song for which this posting bears its title, Man's Inhumanity to Man (MITM), which definitely captures the sign of the times. And it is quite unfortunate there is no indication of things getting better all across the globe. From Sri Lanka to Cheneya, Philippines to the Congo, and from Iraq to Mexico there are atrocities being committed. The song, MITM, was written and performed by a friend of mine, Freddy "C" Concepcion. I use the images to illustrate the story the lyrics or song describes..


Man's inhumanity to man, can't go on.No it can't go on no more !

Man's inhumanity to man, can't go on. No it can't go on no more!

Since the beginning of time, man has killed his own kind!

A good reason one cannot find, only love can stop it on time now!

What are we going to do, to make this dream of peace come true?

It's up to me and you, to do what our leaders will not do!

Somewhere a child is crying, somewhere a child is dying! Somewhere a family doesn't have enough food to eat. No, no no!

Somewhere a family is living outside, outside in the cold streets!

What are we going to do, to make this dream of peace come true?

It's up to me and you, to do what our leaders will not do!

Man's inhumanity to man, can't go on. No it can't go on no more!

Man's inhumanity to man. No it can't go on no more!

(Copyright 1995-Freddy Concepcion-All rights reserved)

You observations are correct Freddy "C". Well said. No doubt, MITM can't g on, and it shouldn't. But it does. When will man began to look into the very depths of his mortal soul and conduct an indepth comprehensive self-introspection in an attempt to understand just what negative forces motivate him to reap such atrocious havoc upon his brothers and sisters and their sons and daughters?

Our leaders from all seven continents should make an unprecedented proclamation stating: Let's stop the killing! Let's learn to live in this world together! As leaders, we owe that to our brothers and sisters, and to mankind as a whole. Let's start now, indivdually and collectively. Who will be the first to stop MITM?