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    War and Terror: Selective sympathy for victims of terrorism
    Sunday, September 17 @ 10:02:08 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Raffique Shah
    August 17, 2006

    Whatever the facts or fantasies or conspiracy theories about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon back in 2001, what is undeniable is that thousands of innocent people died. I emphasise this because there are many people worldwide who are convinced it was not Al Qaeda operatives who pulled off that spectacular on 9/11. There are too many discrepancies in what we saw, and more in what we did not see. That Osama bin Laden and his associates claimed responsibility for the carnage does not necessarily mean they did it. Such organisations are known for laying claim to acts that propel them to the limelight only for the sake of publicity, and to look good in the eyes of their supporters.

    I leave my mind open as to who "dunnit", since I, too, find the ease with which two-by-two terrorists were able to mount multiple attacks on the most powerful and highly-protected nation on earth incredible. What remains fact is that many innocent people paid with their lives because the perpetrators wanted to make their point. It does not matter who the victims were; one has to be sub-human not to feel for them, to sympathise with their loved ones who are left behind to mourn their loss. I could not help, though, blanking from my mind the numerous memorial services held and even from television stations that enjoyed almost necrophilic coverage of the anniversary of the carnage, feasting on the departed.

    (Read More... | 4941 bytes more | War and Terror | Score: 0)

    Caribbean: Medical Care and the Death of My Son
    Tuesday, May 16 @ 12:05:30 UTC
    Trinidad and Tobago
    To my fellow Trinidadians:

    Many times, being busy with our normal lives, we do not take the time to analyze the day to day importance of living. For me that ended Thursday, May 11, 2006, with the death of my only son. I am certainly not the first grieving parent in Trinidad to lose a child to a car accident and poor healthcare but it never hits you until it happens to you.

    Not all the facts of my son's accident are fully understood as of yet, but this is what we do know for sure. The paramedic told my son not to dirty her shirt; family members to remove valuables because they will be stolen. There was no assessment of the injured, which lead to a delay for my son. The Mount Hope Medical Complex doctor did not speak English and was non-responsive to family questions. Comments that the Doctor was just "shipped in from the Congo" were heard. The hospital personnel told my 17-year-old daughter to hook her own brother to oxygen and connect an IV. Hospital security staff instead of watching the hospital entrance found it more interesting to watch my son scream and die.

    (Read More... | 3374 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 5)

    Caribbean: Trinidad aligns with USA threatening Caricom counties in Petrocaribe scheme
    Friday, January 13 @ 02:56:42 UTC
    Trinidad and Tobagoby Patrick J. O'Donoghue, vheadline.com

    The Trinidad & Tobago government is baring its teeth to Venezuela, warning English-speaking Caribbean Economic Community (Caricom) partners that they won't get oil, if they continue to do business with Petrocaribe.

    T&T President Patrick Manning issued the threat during a visit to Caricom HQ in Georgetown (Guyana).

    Manning has opposed the Venezuelan cheap oil plan from the beginning and the establishment of Petrocaribe in the Caribbean Basin. Manning, it would appear, is firmly with the USA and major oil companies, fearing that Venezuela is using oil as a political tool.

    T&T has set up a parallel trade deal called the Caricom Petroleum Compensation Fund but it now seems that Caribbean countries want to avail of both offers.

    (Read More... | 2107 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 5)

    War and Terror: The Don Quixote of modern warfare
    Sunday, January 08 @ 13:09:12 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Raffique Shah, trinicenter.com

    THIS year 2006 must be the year in which the American people save themselves and the world from a war criminal and despotic leader, George Bush. If they don't, he'll mislead them far beyond temptation, into the valley of death and destruction; it matters not that in so doing he puts an end to civilisation itself. Because Bush and his lying, thieving aides are no better than Osama bin Laden and his acolytes, if we are to believe some of the stories the West promotes about the latter. Either they have their distorted ideas of the perfect world according their respective religions imposed on others, or they destroy them - in the name of their destructive gods.

    Some three years after Bush deliberately lied to Congress, to his own people, and to the wider world about weapons of mass destruction, and proceeded to launch a most vicious attack on Iraq that promised Americans safety from Islam-driven terrorism, Americans are even more paranoid than they were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And with good reason. Because Bush has convinced them, just as partner-in-crime Tony Blair has sold to the British public that all Muslims are out to destroy the great Christian civilisation. And since neither the average Brit nor Yank is sophisticated in thinking, anyone who in their minds remotely resembles their image of Islam becomes the victim of hate crimes. Crime statistics in both the USA and the UK show that attacks on non-whites who are perceived to be Muslims have increased manyfold.

    (Read More... | 5173 bytes more | War and Terror | Score: 0)

    War and Terror: US steers clear of ICC
    Sunday, December 11 @ 15:43:27 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoEditorial Newsday TT

    The United States government knew what it was doing when it refused to be a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Were it subject to this organisation, charges of human rights violations, based on the treatment of prisoners in the "war against terrorism," would certainly have been levelled against America.

    US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice last week concluded a four-nation tour of Europe which was originally intended to mend relations damaged by disputes over the US invasion of Iraq. But then came the revelations that the US had been torturing prisoners to get information and had been using Western European airports to get them to the secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe where the torture was carried out.

    (Read More... | 3845 bytes more | War and Terror | Score: 0)

    Caribbean: The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth... Six Feet Of It
    Sunday, May 29 @ 21:29:34 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Corey Gilkes

    There is an uncomfortable truth about the Caribbean; not much of an intellectual tradition exists here. There have been many intellectual giants such as CLR James, Lloyd Best, Vidya Naipaul, Earl Lovelace, Sir Arthur Lewis, J. J. Thomas, Dr Eric Williams and Sam Selvon, whose names will forever be etched in our history for their immense intellectual and literary contributions. However, by and large the desire to read and, stemming from that, the desire to analyse and challenge is not as widespread as it should be. It was once said that just about everything was imported into the Caribbean except books and the love of reading. Over the years many young people have been faring poorly in the academic system with many spurning academics as "acting white". Paradoxically, many people clamour to listen to your every word if you have the gift of gab backed up by the magic letters PhD, Dr., LLB., and, perhaps most ominously, Fr. or Pastor. This, I suppose we can label "Dr Titles" (with apologies to Lloyd Best)

    (Read More... | 29576 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 3.66)

    World Focus: Bush/Kerry, Republican/Democrat: same Imperialist
    Thursday, March 17 @ 22:51:21 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Corey Gilkes

    I have read many posts, blogs and articles written by people opposed to President George W. Bush's policies and actions; I've listened to the comments made on numerous radio and TV talk shows both local and foreign. There are many who vilify the President and express righteous indignation and horror over his wild, illegal military actions. Ok, fine, I have no problem with that. What amazed me, however, was that so many of these people saw a saviour in John Kerry and the Democrat Party. That there were so many people in the last election trying to foist Kerry on us as if he was any different, shows that Americans still don't get it. They are still (innocently?) unaware of what have been the prime motivators of US foreign policy (regardless of party) for the last 100-odd years. They, therefore, may never understand why they are deeply resented in other parts of the world and told to get out when they offer "assistance" to poorer countries or countries racked by conflict.

    (Read More... | 13634 bytes more | World Focus | Score: 0)

    World Focus: Nature sends violent warning
    Sunday, January 02 @ 09:45:37 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Raffique Shah

    IF ever a year started with a bang and ended with a deafening, deadly roar, 2004 was it. The "bang" was, of course, the firepower of one man and his military prowess, used to reduce a once thriving nation to rubble. George Bush thought then, and no doubt still believes today, he is God-on-earth. He alone holds the hammer over the heads of all of us lesser mortals, and boy, did he use it. From Fallujah to Mosul, Kabul to Kandahar, Bush's boys committed atrocities that put the warring tribes of Rwanda or the "Jangaweed" of Somalia, to shame. When they were finished with Fallujah, nothing alive was left standing. And so proud were most Americans of these sub-human feats their soldiers accomplished, they voted back their Commander-in-Chief into power for another four years.

    (Read More... | 6747 bytes more | World Focus | Score: 1)

    Inside U.S.A.: Fear, The Deciding Factor
    Sunday, November 07 @ 11:29:10 UTC
    Trinidad and Tobago
    By Raffique Shah

    Throughout history, leaders, from warlords and emperors of ancient times, through monarchs, dictators and democratically elected presidents and prime ministers in modern times, have preyed and played on people's fears. Whether it was witchcraft that saw the French masses cheer as Joan of Arc was put to death by fire, Christian crusaders and Islamic conquerors putting infidels to the sword, or today's sequel of this unfinished war between the bigots in these two religions, fear was always the deciding factor. And so it was again last Tuesday when Americans went to the polls in their tens of millions. Fear of militant Islam, of rising homosexuality, of terrorism aimed at Americans, drove more electors into George Bush's seemingly safe arms, giving him another four years in office.

    (Read More... | 6564 bytes more | Inside U.S.A. | Score: 0)

    World Focus: John Kerry's good luck
    Thursday, November 04 @ 09:00:19 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoNewsday Editorial

    PERHAPS, on sober reflection, Senator John Kerry will not feel so disappointed in losing the US presidential election since he will not have to face the task of cleaning up the monumental mess that George Bush has made both at home and abroad. If it is any consolation to him, this is the point which John Le Carre made in an interview more than a week ago. The British spy novelist said there was only one reason to vote for Bush, and that was "to force him to live with the consequences of his appalling actions and answer for his own lies." He observed that it might be preferable for Bush to be re-elected than "a Democrat who would then get blamed for his predecessor's follies."

    (Read More... | 4058 bytes more | World Focus | Score: 0)

    Invasion of Iraq: Contempt from above
    Tuesday, May 11 @ 13:04:45 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoEditorial, www.newsday.co.tt

    The atrocities committed by members of the American and British forces on Iraqi prisoners do not really suprise us. Indeed, having regard to the mindset established by George Bush and his White House war hawks in their unprovoked and brutal invasion of Iraq, the abuse inflicted on Iraqi detainees, in our view, was something to be expected. After all, the abusers were simply reflecting the contempt for the Iraqi people shown by members of the Bush administration who dismissively dubbed as "collateral damage" the thousands of innocent citizens, including women and children, who were slaughtered and maimed in the massive bombardment of that unfortunate country about a year ago.

    (Read More... | 3877 bytes more | Invasion of Iraq | Score: 0)

    Caribbean: TT-Barbados Dispute: Gift Speaks Of Hostile Act
    Saturday, February 21 @ 09:11:54 UTC
    Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad Newsday

    Senator Knowlson W Gift, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, on Thursday night addressed the nation on the current dispute with Barbados which he referred to as "hostile" on the part of Barbados and gave the assurance that Trinidad and Tobago would defend itself in the strongest possible way. Here is the full text: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, I propose to address you this evening on four matters which have been receiving considerable media attention in recent times. Regrettably, not all of this has been accurate or well-informed. This is not to cast blame on the media. For good reason, bilateral negotiations on complex and sensitive issues, conducted in good faith, tend to be clothed in confidentiality. When the need for a media release arises, this is usually done by mutual agreement. Departure from this time-honoured practice can create difficulties for the successful resolution of problems.

    (Read More... | 21939 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 3)

    Caribbean: Hutton's distraction
    Monday, February 02 @ 09:33:52 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoNewsday Editorial
    Trinidad and Tobago

    IT WOULD be great, of course, if organs of the media, whether print or electronic, had a monopoly on infallibility, if they were operated by super-humans who, unlike ordinary mortals, were immune to the weakness of making errors and mistakes. Whatever the British Broadcasting Corporation may have done wrong in the episode that led to the suicide of UK scientist David Kelly, it can only confirm the fact that even a world renowned institution such as this cannot always get it right, that like every other news gathering organisation the BBC remains vulnerable to the work of its journalists in the field, how and what they report and comment upon.

    (Read More... | 3758 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 0)

    Caribbean: Democracy: dollars determine who wins
    Sunday, January 25 @ 09:47:45 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Raffique Shah

    BACK in 1970, in the aftermath of the Black Power revolution when dozens of political detainees were still imprisoned, Presbyterian minister Reverend Dr Roy Nehall described democracy in this country as "five minutes spent in a polling booth once every five years." Nehall, an outspoken priest with a passion for fighting for justice, was delivering the feature address at a major conference here when he made the assertion. It was an apt description for what existed then, and even today, not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but in most of the so-called democratic states in the world.

    (Read More... | 6864 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 5)

    Caribbean: America's arrogance knows no bounds
    Sunday, December 14 @ 04:09:29 UTC
    Trinidad and TobagoBy Raffique Shah
    Trinidad and Tobago, www.trinicenter.com/Raffique

    DEPUTY US Ambassador to this country, Albert Nahas, and his boss Roy Austin, must really believe that we Trinis are a bunch of "chupidees" that we are an uneducated, uninformed people. I should add here that they probably rank us alongside their own (Americans), most of whom are dumb when it comes to geography, they know little of their own history, and far less about the world beyond their continental boundaries. But I won't be nasty, so I shall not elaborate on that.

    Last week Wednesday, at a seminar on the International Criminal Court (ICC), Nahas, speaking for his government (that has chosen to stay out of the jurisdiction of the court), said: "The US believes the ICC is built on a flawed foundation. Those flaws leave it open for exploitation and politically motivated prosecution. The US believes its citizens are at special risk for prosecution by the ICC because of the unique US role in global politics and US participation in military operation and peace-keeping process."

    (Read More... | 6787 bytes more | Caribbean | Score: 5)

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