Home Ed: 30: November/2005
Ed: 30: November/2005
When Iraqis went to the polls on October 15 to approve their new Constitution, it was a remarkably positive sign for Iraq'?s future on a number of levels. Firstly, the referendum went ahead with high participation and little violence.
On October 8, Melbourne's Age newspaper featured a large photo of a daunting looking fence, consisting of two parallel wire barriers approximately three metres tall, each topped with razor wire, and patrolled by soldiers and military vehicles.
The words of war do not recognise the conventions of tolerance and mutual respect that are a foundation-stone of democracy. To the contrary, the verbiage of violence is intended to incite and inspire acts of destruction against the enemy.
I was in Baquba during Iraq's January elections, having hitched a ride with the US Army to a polling site. There were bombs exploding, mortars falling, and hot machine guns. The fact that the voting was going great despite the violence was something few people expected.
With Palestinian Legislative Assembly elections set for January 20 next year, Israel is mulling over the potential dilemma of a feeble Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority confronted by a parliament ruled by a militant Hamas majority.
On September 27, Gareth Evans -? president of the respected International Crisis Group (ICG) and former Australian foreign minister -? gave a keynote address in Australia in which he proclaimed, "JI no longer poses a serious threat in Indonesia or elsewhere". Four days later, three suicide bombers walked into crowded restaurants in the Indonesian resort island of Bali and detonated their devices.
The Federal Government's proposed anti-terror laws have dominated media headlines in recent months. Both sides of the debate have been argued passionately in newspaper columns, and on television and radio programs.