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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Death Toll In Gaza Reaches Over 1,000: White Phosphorous and International Responses

By: Jasper the Supertramp
Sources for facts/images are below the article

Do the ends truly justify the means?

The death toll in Gaza has reached an all new gruesome high today, with Palestinian casualties in the thousands. I ask you, how can this be allowed?! The Associated Press has decided to focus on the fact that Hamas militants opened fire from a UN headquarters within Gaza, yet this seems to me rather irrelevant, considering the amount of civilian casualties that the Palestinians have endured. As the parallel has been made time and time again, if a small group of individuals fired rockets on San Diego from the Mexican border, would it be right to massacre thousands of people in Mexico? Apparently, some nations think so, and continue to support Israel in their so called "retaliation". It is true a nation cannot live under occasional rocket attacks, but this in no way justifies the slaying of countless civilians, that have nothing to do with the conflict. (A.P. Yahoo News, pg 1)
According to the Guardian. the invasion of Gaza has taken the lives of 315 children, and 95 women, reaching a grim number of 1,010 people in total, that have been brutally massacred. All of these people, are Palestinian, many of them civilians. The head of the International Red Cross could only say that the situation was “shocking”. With this ridiculously high death toll, it is almost as shocking to hear that only 13 Israelis have been killed, 3 of them civilians. Bolivian President Evo Morales, following a growing trend in the international community, has denounced Israel’s actions, and cut ties with them. 315 innocent Palestinian children are dead, and Israel has lost only 13 people in total, this is not a war, it is a genocide. (, pg 1)
The 20 day operation, appropriately called “Operation Cast Lead”, is in no way justifiable. Although numerous calls for cease fire have been requested, peace is still far from reality. With each day the Israeli war machine marches further into Gaza, leaving in it’s wake a trail of irreparable destruction and death. The infrastructure of Gaza has been annihilated, and even if a cease fire were to take place, at this point, it will take a long time for the interior structure of Gaza to mend.
It seems to me that we support Israel in an attempt to almost assimilate the Gaza region, to make it more like Israel, a more western friendly nation that will comply with the ever-growing demands of the United States. According to the “The Jerusalem Post”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that “Hamas cannot become legitimate until it accepts the terms of the international community”. Yet it was my understanding that much of the international community, especially within the Middle East, does not support Israel. Also, many of these countries are very displeased with both the invasion, and international support from the “western” nations. According to the “Middle East Times” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit denounced Israel’s invasion as “brazen defiance of international calls to end the fighting”. A Jordanian government spokesman said that the invasion “will have dangerous repercussions and negative effects on the regions security and stability”. As I said before, after this invasion, very little of an infrastructure will be left behind. Anytime a region is this thoroughly destroyed, the aftermath is a breeding ground for both terrorism and lawlessness. Where there was once a centralized government and public institutions, there will now be anarchy. (J.P., pg 1, M.E. Times pg 1)
Arab League Chief Amr Mussa declared that the UN security council was “ignoring” the crisis in Gaza. This has become quite apparent since the 20 day invasion has begun, with little talk of cease-fires and even less action. This major lack of international response is due largely to the United States that stated that it would not support a ceasefire that would return the “status quo”, according to the “Middle East Times”. Israel is a powerful ally of the United States, one that is creating even more powerful enemies. (M.E. Times, pg 1)
Throughout “Operation Cast Lead”, many human rights violations have occurred, one of the major ones being the use of phosphorous. This form of weaponry melts away the skin, and is used indiscriminately, meaning that children are just as likely as soldiers to be exposed to the phosphorous. In such a densely populated region, this weapon is sure to incur civilian casualties. According to “Al Jazeera English”, Human Rights Watch said it was clear that Israel was firing shells containing white phosphorous. Al Jazeera’s correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, stated that “Doctors here say that they are seeing unprecedented levels of deep burns.” This is an incredible act of cruelty, and must not be tolerated, when the phosphorous is dropped there is no way to prevent civilian casualties. Any man, woman, or child in it’s way will be either killed, or permanently and horribly disfigured. Not only is this act cruel, but it is also illegal. According to Human Rights Watch, white phosphorous is only legal when used to cover troop movements, however, it is illegal to use munition in densely populated areas. It violates international law that requires all feasible precautions to be taken to avoid civilian death or injury. Clearly these laws are not being followed. The international community has not seen such acts of cruelty and lack of discrimination since the Holocaust. Yet our government supports Israel. 1,010 casualties to 13, how is this fair? In a conflict with so many gray areas it is hard to see who the real terrorists are. Yet in this day and age, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, and so the wounds grow deeper. (A.J. English, pg 1)

Images from top to bottom:

1.Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Ramallah: "Middle East Times" (source referenced below),

2.Next is the aftermath of an Israeli air strike:

3.Photo from the "unrwa", a Palestinian child receiving aid:

4.Photo of the white phosphorous being dropped on Gaza: "Al Jazeera" (source referenced below)

Article Title: “Israeli Forces Shell UN Headquarters in Gaza”
Yahoo News/AP, Authors: Ibrahim Barzak and Amy Teibel,

Article Title: “Ban: death toll in Gaza ‘unbearable’”
Jerusalem Post, Authors: Staff and Elana Kirsh

Article Title: “Palestinian death toll in Gaza reaches 1,000”, Authors: Rory McCarthy and Peter Walker and Agencies

Article Title: “Gazans fear Israel using phosphorous”
Al, Authors: Unknown

Article Title: “Middle East nations condemn Israel’s Gaza invasion”
Middle East Times, Author: Samer al-Atrush

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Travel Stories: #1 At the end of the Earth, Chapter 2

Travel Stories: #1 At the end of the Earth, Chapter 2
By Jasper the Supertramp

This is a continuous story, to read previous chapters either scroll down,
or look in the archives.

The sand was wet beneath my feet, and clung to my soles with each step. Water lapped at the shores and fish swam like shadows beneath the waves, hiding in the shallows to avoid the larger fish. I used my hand to shade the sun and scanned the shoreline, to the right, there was no one, perfect. It has always been my opinion that there is a keen difference between the travel desires of backpackers, and tourists. They are an inherently different breed of traveler, accentuated best by the difference in luggage. One carries a backpack with only the essentials, it is an object of pride, of minimalism, and allows one to pick up and go with both ease and agility, ready for wherever the next destination may be. The other carries multiple pieces of luggage, all the amenities are there within, they follow tour groups and stay in 5 star hotels, never straying too far from the “tourist areas”. It’s not that I dislike the tourist, but I feel to truly experience a foreign culture, one must leave the tour group behind. If you are going to leave home, don’t try and bring it with you.
To the left there were shacks lining the beach, small wooden frames sitting decrepitly on the shore. These were the post-tsunami attempts to rebuild, and they studded the coast like stars in the sky. Beach gypsies wandered from bar to bar, selling trinkets and small wooden frogs, many of them children, many of them homeless. They walked the beaches looking for money so that they could buy school supplies and food, but they rarely got to spend the money they were given. Many of these poor children were victims of what is known as “beg masters”, exploitative villains that force the children to sell items, beg for money, and then take the money that the children worked for. Sometimes, in a despicable act of human nature’s dark side, the beg masters will purposefully hurt the children so that they look more pitiful, and therefore, earn more money. I was deeply saddened by this revelation, many of the children have open wounds, missing eyes or limbs, or other injuries that make it very hard to tell whether they had stepped on a landmine, or had been abused by a sadistic mentor.
As it was day, and we were not yet ready to succumb to the temptations to the left, we decided to venture down the lonely strip of beach. The water was warm and the air was hot, the humidity clung to your skin like the sand on our feet. Palms lined the shore and cast shadows that grew longer as the sun went lower. From afar, I could barely see a small dock separated from the land, a man made island about 30 meters or so from the shore. There was a creek on the shore parallel to the dock, it wound deep into the jungle lining the beach and eventually, I surmised, it reached the city (if it could be called a city).
It captured our interest, in it’s separation it seemed almost out of place, abandoned, lost, cast into the sea with no intent to retrieve. I needed to be on it, I wanted to separate myself from all that I had seen. I wanted to hide from the poverty, despair, tourists and landmines, most of all the landmines, and all that they had done to this forgotten country. The children’s faces haunted my dreams, and kept me awake long into the night.
We stopped and sat on the sand. I felt more balanced after I took my backpack off, it felt good to be free of the weight that I was doomed to carry. Earlier in our adventures, I had carried my doomed packages over a mountain, barefoot. We were staying on an island off of the Southern coast of Thailand. Upon reaching the island we were told it was a short walk to the other side, where a small shack on the beach awaited. I had lost my shoes in New Zealand a month or so earlier, and I owned only a pair of old beaten up flip flops, or thongs as the Aussies call them. They were deep within my backpack and I figured it would be a short walk, it wasn’t, my feet were marred and blistered by the time we reached the other side. If I don’t have to wear shoes, I won’t, and sometimes that got me in trouble. One rainy night in Phuket, we were hunkering down under a tin roof that hung over a bar. Making our escape I ran barefoot into the streets almost stepping in a pile of puke on the way. I wore my sandals in cities there after. But now we had reached the beach, and I was free to step fearlessly into the sand.
Shoeless and happy, I sat below a palm and twisted a joint from the massive sack of marijuana hidden in my secret pocket. In most South East Asian countries, drugs are illegal and punishable by death. But in Cambodia, the cops are extremely corrupt, and you can purchase it from stores, or in American, bodegas. One night in Siam Reap, I gave my Australian friend 5 dollars, figuring I would buy a joints worth. When he returned, he handed me a sack beneath the table that was way more than a joints worth. So here I was, stuck with an ounce of marijuana, in a country where drugs are punishable by death. What else could I do? We had to get rid of it some how.
Our plan was to wade out to the dock, with my backpack atop my head, and the joint in my mouth. It didn’t look that deep, but this proved to be an illusion. About halfway out we were forced to swim, which is quite a task with only one hand available. As we waded through the warm shimmering water schools of fish swam past, keeping their distance from the alien intruders. There were no ladders, and the wood was splintered and full of rusty nails. It looked as though it was built pre-tsunami, but there was no way to be sure. I threw my backpack onto the dock and tried my best to climb up without looking like a total idiot. Once atop, I pulled Katie from the water and we rested, catching our breath from the daunting swim.
Waves crashed against the lonely dock, covering it’s surface in a slippery stew of salt, water, and seaweed. We sat and watched as the sun slowly fell from the sky, crawling ever-closer to the tree line. With each minute passing, the sky grew more intense, reaching a mosaic like pallet of colors. It looked as though an artist was dragging pastels across the sky, creating one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We weren’t far from the shore, but in many ways, we were thousands of miles away, stranded by choice, on our island. The waves kept coming, and the smoke drifted lazily into the sky. We sat on the very front of the dock, letting the waves pass over us as we dangled our feet into the water below. It began slowly, evolving into an in depth analysis of sociology, religion, philosophy, and life. We had both felt a little disturbed by what we had seen, but we were afraid to talk about it, that was, until we got to our island. It’s hard to talk about things, and truly understand them, while you are a part of them. One can only gain perspective when they are outside, looking in.
The stars began to shine through the skies, and the water glimmered with the first kiss of a new moon. It was time to return, to the world we had left, and enter once again, into the rituals of life. The shacks on the shore became lit like candles, gems gleaming in a far away chasm. The water felt cool as we slipped quietly below the surface. Slowly we swam back to the shore, not yet ready to leave behind, what would ultimately become a memory. Sadly we both knew, that this moment would soon become the past, and you can never own that which has already happened. I never felt so alone, as if I was leaving a friend behind, an ally, alone and shivering, in the darkness of the sea.

Photos from top to bottom: (I took all of these photos) sitting on the beach front in Southern Cambodia, next is the beach gypsies selling items carried on their heads, note the cane the man is using, he supposedly lost his leg from a landmine, next is a sunset shot over the cove, last is a ghostly image of my friend walking the beach, the glowing circle is a fire we had.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Update on the Gaza Invasion

Article by: Jasper the Supertramp
sources found below

Aid to the shattered Gaza strip has now come to a temporary halt. Despite the U.N.'s requests for an immediate cease fire, Israel continues to launch an all out offensive. The Red Cross has accused Israeli soldiers of preventing aid and medical services, going as far as to fire on aid workers. Two people were killed in this forced prevention. If this is not a war crime then what is? In my opinion, something needs to be done to stop the Israeli war machine before more civilians are killed, there must be peace.
In the past, when violence has occured, a cease fire will be reached and then broken, and the violence will continue once more. However this time, the violence has escalated to an unprecedented level. This cycle of peace and fighting seems as though even if peace is attained again, it will only last for a short time before fighting ensues once more. Yet to fire on aid providers is inhumane and stands as an act of arrogance and intolerable human rights violations. This conflict has resulted in the death of 13 Israelis, and approximately 750 Palestinians. This is not a battle, it is slaughter, and there is no justification for these terrible acts of violence. Hamas supposedly broke the cease fire with rockets, but their retaliation is in no way reasonable and there is no way to determine whether the act was commited by individuals or a larger group.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens are without water, food, and proper medical attention. To invade a country is one thing, but to prevent aid to civilians who have nothing to do with the conflict, is wrong. In my opinion, these human rights violations hold many similarities to the Jewish holocaust. The main similarities being the total disregard for human life and the assailment of civilians. No more can these acts be tolerated, something must be done to stop this invasion and save these innocent people. Protests have been staged worldwide in opposition to Israel's terrorist like tactics. The Muslim community is especially perturbed by these malicious attacks, as seen in the photo above, which shows a protest in Madrid, Spain. Only time will tell where this conflict will end, but as of now, that end is not in sight.

Factual Source: ARTHUR MAX and IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writers

Pictures Top to Bottom: A child Palestinian child injured in the attacks, and anti-invasion protests in Madrid. Courtesy of:

NONE of the opinions expressed in this article reflect any of the sources, they are entirely my own!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Travel Stories #1: At the end of the Earth, Chapter 1

Travel Stories: #1: At the end of the Earth, Chapter 1
By Jasper the Supertramp

This is a continuous story, later chapters will be posted above,
they can also be found in the archives.

It was a long ride, full of peril and nearly disastrous ends. There was no air conditioning on the bus, and no radio. The locals knew not to sit in the front. As they entered through the broken door, they would shuffle slowly towards the middle and back. They always moved slowly, saving every bit of energy in this treacherous heat. Sweat dripped out of my every pore as she slept silently with her head on my lap. I could not stop wondering how she could sleep on this bus, with the heat and the jolting of the bus going over trenches cutting deep into the dirt road. The driver would hold on the horn as we passed children and animals and road warrior like vehicles. Outdated and beat up, rusty old cars would meander slowly down the dirt path. Every car was packed way beyond capacity with supplies and people that were stacked high above the dust and dirt that was constantly stirring from vehicles passing by. The unfortunate people walking or riding bikes wore shirts wrapped around their faces, hiding their lungs from the constant onslaught. Occasionally, a Mercedes Benz or Cadillac would drive past, the drivers undoubtedly worked for the government. Government employees make up 2% of the countries population, and control 85% of it's wealth. An old Khmer man once said to me "in Cambodia, the poor get poorer, and the rich keep stealing from the poor." His words floated in the dust and exhaust hanging over the desolate path.
The bus veered violently, narrowly missing a young girl dressed in school attire, and carrying a backpack as large as she was. Instead of colliding with the girl, the driver ran down a family of ducks. The mother was leading the chicks to a river running parallel, the water oozed with gasoline and pollution from years of environmental degradation. He hardly winced at the sight of feathers flying up and over the windshield. The wipers went on and dark sooty blood smeared across the already dirty windshield. I did not wake her, I didn't want her to see this. We kept on driving, and he kept on honking that damn horn.
The front seats were the worst because passengers were subjected to the fullness of each ditch we went over, flying into the air with each bump and finding themselves more cramped with each kilometer. The horn could be heard at it's loudest in the front seats, and I wondered still, how she could sleep in such chaos. I myself could not sleep a wink, staring out the front window, wondering when the bus would fly off into the rice paddies. My knucles grew white with apprehension.
With each stop I would exit the bus, and watch carefully as luggage was loaded and unloaded. I knew that without vigilance, our backpacks would surely be stolen, and we would be stranded with no passports.
The next stop was particularly putrid, and the driver muttered in Khmer something to the like of "lunchtime". My companion had awoken and she stretched and yawned as I sought the nearest bathroom. The smell of rotting food and death hung in the air, and with each breath the dust stung my nose. After the ritualistic harassment from small children peddling rice in banana leaves and selling snakes (I still don't fully understand why someone would wish to purchase a live venomous snake, perhaps to eat?) I found the bathroom. It was a small shack built over the same river I had seen children swimming in, just a couple hundred meters down the road. The door creaked open and I squatted down over the shallow hole. Grasping at the wooden walls I proceeded to utilize the facilities. A large rat scuttled from under the floor boards and ran towards the exit, peering over his shoulder before disappearing.
Back by the road some old women were selling tarantulas for lunch, you could either buy them still alive for 10 cents, or cooked for 5. Tarantualas, pigeons, duck fetus and a lot of the other peculiar dishes became popular during the famine, when people ate whatever they could. Most of these "strange" foods remained because starvation is still an issue, and people eat what they can to survive. I couldn't decide whether eating it cooked or alive would make me more sick. Eventually, despite my ravenous hunger, I decided to pass on lunch and grabbed some sweet rice instead, my appetite would have to wait. One thing you learn traveling in poor countries is to skip meals if it seems as though it may make you sick. No matter how hungry you are, it is better to wait, than get sick. We got back on the bus, my stomach growled and I began to question my decision. But as we drove on, my appetite was ruined once again with the sight of dead bodies strewn on the side of the road. These poor people were victims of the road, struck by cars and left for dead (I was later told).
It took around 9 hours before we arrived in the impoverished beach colony known as Sihanoukville. The city was named after the former leader of Cambodia, prior to Pol Pot's treacherous reign. He was exiled during the genocide, some say that he abandoned his people. But there we were, in the city of Sihanoukville, a known refuge for former Khmer Rouge fleeing persecution for their inhumane crimes. Here, the former soldiers could reenter into a society that they helped bring to it's knees. The remnants of the agrarian nation were everywhere, but here, the remains seemed less prevalent. In a lot of ways, this place was paradise, despite the incredible poverty. As we unloaded our bags from the bus I slung my 60 pound bag over my back, put on my front backpack, and hung my satchel across my opposite shoulder. The search for accommodation began once again.
This wasn't Thailand, there were no beautiful women offering massages or people smiling with the happiness that can only come from a proud nation that has never seen foreign occupation. As we walked down the street children would scuttle out from mounds of garbage and grab at my pockets, some carrying babies on their backs, others marred by stepping on landmines that remained in the ground far after the fighting had ceased. We found a simple hotel, and my friend and I dropped our bags on the tile floor. The floor was cracked and broken from many years of use and the walls were covered in marks from the furniture. Large lizards the size of my arm climbed on the walls and ceilings. The room was small, and had only a bed. There was a bathroom attached, with the quintessential hole-in-the-floor toilet and a spigot with which one could wash their face, but never drink from. The city however, had a virginity that Phnom Penh lacked. Most of the capital was bombed and destroyed by fighting, and after the war was over, people just moved back in despite the damage that had been incurred. That city had a very ghostly feel to it, and evidence of violence was still apparent. Yet Sihanoukville bore very little of these haunting qualities, it had a rather vibrant feel to it, a positive attitude with which I feel to embody the people of Cambodia perfectly. Despite all the atrocities and violence committed in this country, the people persevere, and even though many of them have nothing, there is a strong sense of community, and love.
It was still rather early, but it was already well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After traveling in Asia for a substantial amount of time you get used to a few things. One is the heat, with the humidity always at 100% and temperatures sky-rocketing even when the sun sets, you are constantly covered in sweat (especially during the summer, which is when this story takes place). At first, being a westerner, you feel as though you need to take a shower, but when backpacking, showers are a rarity and a great treat. After a while, the sweat ceases to bother you, in a way, it becomes you, and you embrace the sweat as a natural cooling device. Needless to say, the smell is not so desirable, so sexual intercourse becomes something rather dirty and animalistic. Secondly, a big part of the adaptation process involves the dietary changes. Eating rice and spicy chicken and other such dishes is not something most westerners eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After the stomach and body, as well as the mind, adapt, the desire for western foods subsides. The third thing is the fact that everybody, sooner or later, gets sick. And when it happens, it's terrible. Whether you are fortunate enough to be near a hospital, or have medicine, dictates how terrible of an experience this will be. I got sick on several occasions, one in which I had a fever, diarrhea, I was vomiting, we had no cellphones, and there were no hospitals for quite some distance. During this period of ailment there was a power outage throughout the city that lasted several hours and we had no clean water with which to hydrate. As I said before, be prepared. Hydration is important, one must be prepared for anything, and always take the malaria pills, no matter how terrible the side effects may be.
The day was still young and my friend and I (who I will call Katie) desired nothing more than to go to the beach and dive into the beautiful turquoise water. I wanted to take pictures and I had stocked up on memeory cards before we left Bangkok. We walked to the sidewalk and hailed a cyclo (which is the term in S.E. Asia for a motorbike, the desired form of transportation). The cyclos are cheaper than taking a tuk tuk, but far more risky. Being a tall person, I am much larger than the average Cambodian, and if I lean too hard while riding on the back of their bikes, it can easily result in disaster. The laws of the road there are few at best, and the drivers tend to drive rather fast.
As we rode down to the beach we passed people selling shells and lazing about in bamboo huts, it seemed rather utopian, almost. For every horror I witnessed in this country, there was always some beautiful redeeming factor, whether it's the optimism of the dispossessed, or the Buddhist monks with their silent and ever endearing devotion to their beliefs. Yet the beauty of this place was in some ways marred by it's reputation. Prior to coming here, I had read an article about an incident that had occurred in Sihanoukville a few years before our arrival. Several backpackers had been dragged off of the beach and executed by means of an AK-47 assault rifle. Why they had been executed I could not remember, but the image was fresh in my mind. I decided that Katie would not leave my sight, she meant a lot to me, and I would not let anything happen to her.
Katie looked back at me from her bike and blew me a kiss. We had met several months ago, on an island off of the coast of Australia. She had helped us when our car had flipped, blocking a trail leading to the beach and campgrounds. She was Italian and studying to be a doctor, but I met her while she was studying English in Sydney. At the time, I was studying in Wollongong, a city outside of Syndey. I would take the train to Syndey every time I had the chance, just to see her. She shared an apartment with some South Americans in the China town district and we would stay up all night talking and drinking whine. Katie was tall and slim, she had light skin and blonde hair, not your typical Italian, but she was my Italian.

Pictures From Top To Bottom: (I took all of these Photos) Top: standing on a dock off the coast of Southern Cambodia in Sihanoukville, Average road in Cambodia outside of a house where we were staying in rural Takeo, Average "road warrior" vehicle carrying a heavy load of cargo and people, child selling a snake on the floating villages somewhere on the Mekong, children begging for money or food in the Killing Fields.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Genocide: The Gaza Invasion, Darfur, and Cambodia.. The Reasons For Intervention, Or Lack Of..

Article by: Jasper the Supertramp
sources below

"I understand Israels right to defend itself" George Bush proclaimed in response to Israel's missile strikes/ground invasion. Defend itself? How can this "retaliation" that has killed hundreds of innocent people in any way match the Palestinian offensive which has resulted in casualties that are minimal at best. Many news reporters (correspondents of the Big 3) have compared this onslaught to Mexico launching rockets at San Diego. The amount of civilian casualties has risen to a ridiculous new height. Palestinians have been forced from their homes, murdered and oppressed all the while being hidden under a barrage of bias news coverage that favors Israel's every action and deems any opposition as terrorism.
In my opinion, a better parallel would be police gunning down schoolchildren for throwing stones at their patrol cars. Wait.. didn't this just happen quite recently.. in Greece? Following that atrocity protests and police/civilian clashes roared across the country and spread throughout the European nations. But when Palestinians are being slaughtered on an unprecedented scale, and the whole Middle East is up in arms over the Israeli response, we avidly support Israel's actions. Why is it that we back this nation with such zeal, despite the blatant human rights violations and the invasion's genocidal characteristics? There are many reasons, one being that they are our foothold in the Middle East. The Jewish Holocaust is constantly being commemorated, remembered, and taught in schools across our country.
Little or no attention is given to the genocide in Darfur, or the genocide in Cambodia that followed the war in Vietnam (as well as many other genocides which will be discussed in later entries). To put it quite bluntly, it is because the people being persecuted are not of a "favorable" ethnicity, our government has no major oil interests in these nations, and would essentially gain nothing by intervening. Outside nations tend to only actively intervene if the conflict is occurring in an allied nation, or they stand to benefit from helping. How many genocides in Africa have occurred with no international prevention? It seems as though aid is only devoted after the conflict has happened, when it is to late to save lives. When the aid is finally given, it isn't nearly enough to repair the countrie's infastructure and it fails to provoke any economic growth, these nations are essentially being left out of the global economy (these barriers include unrealistic tariffs and subsidies, this area of global economics will be discussed thoroughly in a later entry). Usually, after a conflict of this scale occurs, irreparable damge is done to the nation's government, and drastic aid must be given to the nation in order to get the country "back on it's feet".
Following the discovery of the "death camps" after World War II, the public was horrified, and the United Nations vowed to never let it happen again, however, these atrocities have continued to this very day. Few of these horrible acts have seen proper recognition, and even fewer have received intervention, or proper attempts to do so. It seems that the only time something is done to stop these acts, there is something that the interventionists stand to gain.
The U.N. did not even declare the events in Sudan a genocide for several years, despite massive evidence supporting this claim. On several occasions, China vetoed intervention attempts due to their oil interests in Sudan, as well as arms interests. Finally, after thousands of I.D.P.s (one of the largest number of internally displaced peoples ever recorded) were left homeless, and thousands of people were murdered, the U.N. devoted an incredibly small amount of personnel to help. They were not there to combat the violators, in fact they did not even have the right to intervene, basically they were there to clean up the mess. With the number of people deployed, it really did nothing to prevent this tragedy, which could have been stopped had the U.N. committed to a real response. Yet, there was nothing to gain in this poor country, and a lot to lose, the resources were there, but no country was willing to take the risk. In Cambodia, the events were not even covered in the media, and nothing was done to stop the slaying of thousands of civilians, as well as the destruction of any remnants of a centralized government. This is because we essentially caused the atrocities in Cambodia, and the government wanted to have no connections with the nation that we had left in such despair. During the war in Vietnam, we bombed numerous bordering villages in Cambodia (as well as carrying out classified operations which is illegal being that Cambodia was neutral) after suspecting them of housing Vietcong. The refugees that were left homeless, and traumatized by the loss of family and friends were then recruited by a new charismatic psycho of a leader (Pol Pot) that was brought into power by the C.I.A., after vowing to fight the Vietnamese. The events that followed were ignored by the United States, and the people of Cambodia were left to endure one of the worst genocides mankind has ever seen, followed shortly after by a horrible famine. The country has never fully recovered and remains crippled and impoverished to this day.
Now we come to the present day, with Israel launching a full out war against the people of Palestine. Is it fair to bomb a city full of innocent woman and children in response to a few rockets being fired by a group of people within that city? If you were forced to leave your homeland and live in poverty and shambles, would you go along with it? Any time innocent people are being killed at a level that vastly surpasses collateral damage, it is wrong. This is a genocide, but our government refuses to call it thus. In this situation we must ask ourselves, who is the greater evil? We live in a country that used terrorism to gain independence. We are the only country in the entire world to drop a nuclear bomb, (2 nuclear bombs) more than that, on cities full of civilians. America remains, the most well-equipped terrorists in the world. In this post 9/11 neo-liberal Orwellian state, where the Patriot Act takes away our civil rights and our government launches wars without the backing of the United Nations, we have sold lives for assets, and in this, we have sold our souls. Look at the guns and tanks and airplanes and bombs that Israel has, and look at the stones and outdated R.P.G.s that Palestine has, who is the real threat?I do not deny that the situation is extremely complex, and has been going on for a very long time, but in this moment, Israel is the terrorist. Instead of indiscriminately dropping bombs, a tactical approach, perhaps involving diplomacy, could be carried out. The conflict continues, and the death toll rises with each day. How many more innocent people must die before Israel is satisfied?

The 2 photos taken from the web are courtesy of "Google Images", there are no factual sources because this article is entirely opinion, and all facts are of my own knowledge and may be subject to verification.

Photos From Top To Bottom: Israeli soldiers firing weapons, Human skulls in a memorial in Cambodia commemorating the genocide (I took this photo), Human remains of a person killed in the genocide in Sudan, and lastly photos of some of the children executed in the Cambodian genocide (I took this photo). I AM GOING TO ADD MORE PHOTOS OF THE AFTERMATH OF THE CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE FROM MY TRAVELS IN ASIA.