Sunday, August 06, 2006

Moment of pride

Originally uploaded by Kepa ry.
Sunday. Slight weakness after a wedding. Did the Hustle and Dancing Queen until four in the morning. At this day and age it starts to have its price.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a video that everyone should see. Have a look.

At the wedding in our table we had a discussion on the kind of people who end up getting into politics nowadays. And more clearly, which ones don't. As my dinner date pointed out, our system will be in a deepening crisis if more and more intelligent and risk-taking people would decide to stay out of public involvement.

In that respect it was a pleasure to open today's Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest Finnish daily. There was a big article on the week of our Minister for Foreign Affairs. As Finland is holding the EU presidency, Erkki Tuomioja (pic) is the voice of the European Union in the Lebanon-Israel crisis.

The excellent article showed once again the high intellect and morale of Tuomioja. I would go as far as saying that he is the best Finland has to offer in cabinet-level politics. I feel safe when he is presenting us in the crisis. He is the best possible combination of pacifism and intellect who does not fall into simplifications.

An example of the opposite was commented brilliantly in The Independent on Friday:

"It is a grave mistake, Mr Blair argued, to see the situation in Lebanon as an isolated phenomenon. Hizbollah, he claimed, are motivated by the same ideology as those who are killing British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to our Prime Minister, they form "an arc of extremism" linking them with those that blew up commuter trains in London and Madrid and that flew planes into the twin towers in New York almost five years ago.

How convenient it would be for Mr Blair if we all acquiesced in this theory of a global, unified terrorist conspiracy. It would mean that no foreign policy adventure, however extreme, could be criticised; no attack on British troops abroad, no botched intervention, could be blamed on the Prime Minister's judgement. For what would not be legitimate in the face of a powerful, relentless campaign waged by "terrorists" against our very existence? Indeed the worse the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Middle East became, the more it would vindicate Mr Blair's position.

The problem with this view of the world is that it betrays a wilful ignorance of the specific circumstances of the real world. Hizbollah was formed as a resistance movement to the Israeli invasion of the southern Lebanon. The Taliban are parochial fanatics with no apparent goals beyond the re-conquest of Afghanistan. Iraq is in the midst of a vicious sectarian civil war. The argument that all this can be bracketed into a phenomenon called "global extremism" is an insult to out intelligence."

This example shows that Britain is still a superpower of critical journalism.

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