Posted by: noticeable | February 7, 2011

James Zogby’s Arab Voices

image

http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2011/02/07/james-zogby/

Posted by: noticeable | November 6, 2009

Israel keeps up Palestinian evictions [04 November 2009]

Released on 29 June 2009, a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross finds that, following the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, over a million Gazans are experiencing unspeakable living conditions.  The major findings which I handpicked are outlined below.  These are very serious findings and require immediate on-the-ground action.

Gaza: 1.5 million people trapped in despair

  • Israel’s military operation left thousands of homes partly or totally destroyed.
  • Gaza neighbourhoods particularly hard hit by Israel will continue to look like the epicentre of a massive earthquake unless vast quantities of cement, steel and other building materials are allowed into the territory for reconstruction. Until that happens, thousands of families who lost everything will be forced to live in cramped conditions with relatives. Others will continue to live in tents, as they have nowhere else to go.
  • Gaza’s health-care system cannot provide the treatment that many patients suffering from serious illness require. A number of them are not allowed to leave the Strip in time to seek health care elsewhere.
  • Seriously ill patients should be given prompt and safe passage out of the Gaza Strip in order to access the specialized medical care they cannot get inside the territory. Essential medical items such as drugs, disposables and spare parts must be allowed into the Gaza Strip without delay and in sufficient quantities to ensure essential health services for the population.
  • This increase in poverty has taken a heavy toll on the population’s diet. Many families have been forced to cut household expenses to survival levels. Generally, people are getting the calories they need, but only a few can afford a healthy and balanced diet. Poor families often substitute cheaper alternatives such as cereals, sugar and oil for fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. For tens of thousands of children, this has resulted in deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and vitamin D. The likely consequences include stunted growth of bones and teeth, difficulty in fighting off infections, fatigue and a reduced capacity to learn.
  • Gaza’s alarming poverty is directly linked to the tight closure imposed on the territory. Local industry and other businesses have to be allowed to rebuild, to import essential inputs and to export their products. But even that would take time. The crisis has become so severe and entrenched that even if all crossings were to open tomorrow it would take years for the economy to recover.
  • During the latest military operation, the Israeli army uprooted thousands of citrus, olive and palm groves, including those far inside the Gaza Strip. The army also destroyed irrigation systems, wells and greenhouses.
  • People in Gaza are trapped. Because Israel has shut the crossing points, Gazans have scant opportunity for contact with relatives abroad or for further education or professional training.

The following describes the efforts and principles of some Israeli activists rejecting the Jewish State’s military domination and oppressive policies.  This piece hit me also because its a vegan place!

New Tel Aviv bar bans IDF soldiers in uniform, settlement products
By Hagai Matar, City Mouse

A new vegan bar opened last week in Tel Aviv that bans Israel Defense Forces soldiers in uniform and boycotts products made in West Bank settlements.

The Rogatka – “slingshot” – bar was opened by an “anarchist collective” who once ran the Salon Mazal bar; it is located on Yitzhak Sadeh street in central Tel Aviv.

The new ideologically-devoted bar will not seek to make a profit, and the founders say they hope it will bring together left-wing activists, environmentalists, and other fellow travelers, under the banner of cheap drinks and fair trade products

The bar’s ban on soldiers in uniform and the carrying of weapons, along with its boycott on products made in the settlements, derive from what employees see as the connection between all forms of oppression, from the slaughter of animals to sexism to occupation.

“We can’t hold views against discrimination and oppression, while at the same time support the infrastructure that exploits human beings and other animals,” said Adi Vinter, one of the bar’s founders.

“We wanted to show it’s possible and even worthwhile to live differently,” Vinter added.

Words, “promises” (were there any, really?) and rhetoric.  Short on specifics, Barack’s address did little to assure the victims of Israeli expansion that there would be significant US policy shift as he called the Israeli and American bond “unbreakable.”  This description in the aftermath of the bloodbath that was the heavily criticized Gaza invasion.  Then, in today’s NY Times, Barack states that “the moment is now” to press for a resolution and that it was up to Israelis and Palestinians to make “difficult compromises.”  Such statements by the the President only abdicate US responsibility in providing the logistics and infrastructure necessary for the occupation to continue and ignore the existence of the “fateful triangle.” 

Hamas and PA reaction to Obama

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority said it considered US President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo “a new and different American beginning and a new message to the Israelis,” while Hamas said the remarks contained a number of good points. 

PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement that “President Obama’s readiness for partnership, listening, building confidence and confronting tension” ought to be celebrated, and applauded the US leader’s remarks on Palestinian suffering. 

He added that “the time has come to establish a Palestinian state,” which he called “the first basic step necessary to build a just and comprehensive peace in the region.”

Abu Rudeinah went on to say that “President Obama’s speech is encouraging beginnings that should be built on and we will be ready to go forward with the peace process in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the national rights of the Palestinians, based on justice and equality.”

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement hesitantly described Obama’s speech as a refreshing change, although “full of contradictions.” Regardless, the movement welcomed the speech, calling it complimentary and playing on emotions, as well as focused on diplomacy above threats. 

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said that the speech was focused on “improving America’s image in front of the whole world, yet it was full of contradictions, lacked policies and practical steps on the ground to curb the [Israeli] assaults and to support the Palestinian right of sovereignty on their land, end settlement and their suffering under the occupation.”

He added that “Obama mentioned the popular support for Hamas but did not talk about lifting its isolation and respecting its legitimacy,” adding that “he confused the facts when he described Hamas’ defense of the Palestinians as violence, while he did not talk about the real Holocaust and war crimes that the Israeli army carried out in front of the whole world.” 

Barhoum noted that Obama’s “repeated demands for Hamas to recognize Israel and the conditions of the Quartet would be legitimizing the occupation, giving it a cover to continue with its criminal policies against the Palestinians.” “Recognizing the conditions of the Quartet means approving the righteousness of the policy of collective punishment, which the US imposed on the Palestinians as a penalty for their democratic choice.”

He noted that “Obama’s demand for the Arabs to normalize ties with Israel and to assist it is a frank call to reward the occupation for its crimes.” 

Regarding Obama’s remarks on Jerusalem being a holy city for three faiths, Barhoum said, “Jerusalem needs an American stand to stop Israeli policies against it; recognizing the illegitimacy of the settlements [in East Jerusalem] is a good thing but he needs to actually end settlement there.”

The Hamas official concluded by saying, “We noticed that in his speech Obama ignored the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homelands, even though it is a legitimate right recognized under international law.”

Posted by: noticeable | May 3, 2009

Palestine Chronicle Launches Dedicated Video Site

The Palestine Chronicle unveiled a dedicated video site on 29 April 2009 to complement its already capable news coverage (www.justmedia.net).

The Palestine Chronicle, established in September 1999, is a noted independent online newspaper providing daily news, commentary, and related features centered on Palestine and the region.

As I understand, the site will showcase an array of videos and interviews and be accessible to filmmakers, writers and others.

Earlier in the week, Palestinian officials formally established ties with Venezuela and created a physical presence in the country with an embassy dedicated on Monday.  In recent months, the Chavez Government has become increasingly critical of the Israeli military onslaught, particularly in the  Gaza Strip.  Venezuela cut ties with Israel on 15 January 2009 in reaction to the Jewish state’s assault on Gaza.  The weeks-long bombardment killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and brought Hugo Chavez to sever relations with Israel.  Venezuelan officials said it was responding to the “cruel persecution of the Palestinian people directed by Israeli authorities.”

Venezuela, Palestinians Establish Official Ties

CARACAS, Venezuela — Palestinian officials established formal ties on Monday with Venezuela and opened a diplomatic mission in the South American country.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki thanked President Hugo Chavez’s government for its support during the recent Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which prompted the Venezuelan leader to break off relations with Israel.

Venezuelan-Palestinian relations have warmed as tensions have grown between Chavez’s government and Israel.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the Palestinian cause is “like our own,” while al-Malki praised Chavez as “the most popular leader in the Arab world,” in part for his staunch support of Palestinians.

The two officials signed a document formally establishing diplomatic relations, and a Palestinian Embassy in Caracas was inaugurated on Monday afternoon.

Al-Malki said it is one of various embassies and representative offices throughout Latin America in countries from Cuba to Chile. Palestinian officials say there are 97 embassies and representative offices worldwide.

Venezuela expelled Israeli diplomats on Jan. 6 to protest the Gaza offensive, and Israel later responded by kicking out Venezuelan envoys. Chavez has labeled Israeli leaders “genocidal.”

Maduro accused Israel of persecuting Palestinians, saying they “deserve to live in justice, in peace, in freedom and independence.”

Al-Malki said Palestinian officials hope the new embassy in Caracas will serve as a sort of hub for diplomatic efforts across South America.

“We also hope to open more Palestinian embassies all over the continent because for us it’s a great priority… to focus on this continent due to the political importance it has,” the Palestinian official said.

Related Link:  Palestinian Embassies Abroad

Posted by: noticeable | April 25, 2009

Scottish Trade Unions Call for Boycott of Israel

Perusing the Jerusalem Post this morning, I stumbled over an article about the the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) decision concerning Israeli sanctions and disinvestment.  The below is taken directly from STUC’s website.

Scottish Trade Unions Call for Boycott of Israel

The Scottish Trades Union Congress this week backed boycotts and disinvestment, and called for sanctions against the state of Israel because of the state’s failure to comply with international laws and agreed principles of human rights.

Following extensive debate and deliberation, the Scottish trade unions have endorsed a report recommending the STUC support a boycott and disinvest from Israeli companies, call for sanctions against Israel, and encourage positive investments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Speaking after the debate at the Congress, STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said: “The STUC is deeply concerned at the daily violations of human rights experienced by Palestinian people. The decision taken by our Congress is not a knee jerk reaction, but arrived at after careful consideration over a two year period. During this time the STUC engaged in discussions with interested groups in Scotland and the UK, and undertook a fact finding delegation to Israel and Palestine”.

Mr Smith added “by taking this decision, the STUC intends to campaign for economic, political and social pressure to be brought upon the Israeli Government, and world powers, to reach a peaceful and just two state solution for Palestine and Israel”.

A PDF copy of the report of the Scottish delegation’s visit to Palestine can be downloaded here.

Posted by: noticeable | April 22, 2009

Farid Esack

The piece below, borrowed from Arjan El Fassed at The Electronic Intifada, describes the experiences of Farid Esack in Palestine.  Esack, a black South African, actively worked against apartheid in his home country.

Of note, he observes what many of us have always felt whenever one accuses us of “favoritism” towards the Palestinians and, thus, an unbalanced perspective of this “conflict”:   “Is moderation in matters of clear injustice really a virtue?”  The few sentences describing these thoughts were enough to catch my attention.

How “symmetry” in this issue is the lost issue.  I remember the first time I heard this matter raised while I sat in a Detroit church listening to Palestinians tell their stories.  This was quite a few years ago and I didn’t need much convincing concerning the injustices inflected on the Palestinians.  Yet, and it is so embarrassing to admit it now, I never thought of the symmetry issue that way until I heard a refugee from 1948 speak to it.  Now, I’m convinced, it is the ultimate point to raise.  That’s why I’m posting the below.

Mr. Esacks full letter can be found here.

The writing on the wall spells “freedom”
Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 20 April 2009

“My dear Palestinian brothers and sisters, I have come to your land and I have recognized shades of my own.” These are the first 20 words of an open letter written by Farid Esack, a South African scholar and political activist known for his role in the struggle against apartheid. The total length of his letter is 1,998 carefully chosen words in which he argues that the situation in Palestine is worse than it ever was in South Africa under apartheid rule. Esack, a black South African who worked closely with Nelson Mandela, is astonished at how ordinary people beat about the bush when it comes to Israel and the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinians. “Do ‘objectivity,’ ‘moderation,’ and seeing ‘both sides’ not have limits?” he asks. “Is moderation in matters of clear injustice really a virtue? Do both parties deserve an ‘equal hearing’ in a situation of domestic violence — wherein a woman is beaten up by a male who was abused by his father some time ago — because ‘he,’ too, is a ‘victim?’

Almost five years after the International Court of Justice declared the wall that Israel built on Palestinian land “illegal” and ruled that it should be dismantled, Palestinians have started to spray-paint Esack’s letter along a three kilometer (1.85 miles) stretch of the structure. This is done as part of the Dutch-Palestinian collaborative project http://www.sendamessage.nl. Since 2007, this project has allowed Internet users from anywhere in the world to ask for an 80-character message to be spray-painted on the wall on their behalf, in exchange for a 30 euro ($40) donation. The bulk of the money raised supports small grassroots social, cultural and educational projects in Palestine. Some of the messages already sent vary from the romantic to the humorous to complete recipes. The messages remind Palestinians trapped inside the wall they have not been forgotten. Since its inception, more than 800 people from around the world have sent messages through sendamessage.nl.

Farid Esack’s open letter also aims to give Palestinians hope. “We stand by you in your vision to create a society wherein everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, or religion shall be equal and live in freedom,” he writes. “In the face of this monstrosity, the Apartheid Wall, we offer an alternative: Solidarity with the people of Palestine. We pledge our determination to walk with you in your struggle to overcome separation, to conquer injustice and to put end to greed, division and exploitation.”

“Esack passed the anger,” says Justus Van Oel, founder of Sendamessage.nl. “He reconciles and is able to identify with Palestinians. He is convincing and affects. A combination that is unique when it is about Palestine.”

Five years ago, Van Oel traveled to Palestine. He was shocked with what he saw and by “everything he obviously did not know or did not wanted to know.” Afterwards he traveled again to Palestine, this time accompanied by Dutch advertising professionals with whom he led a workshop together with creative, young Palestinians. The idea of Sendamessage.nl popped up at one of those workshops in Ramallah. Together with Faris Arouri and Yusef Nijim from the Palestinian Peace and Freedom Youth Forum, Van Oel developed the idea and implemented the project.

A year ago Van Oel asked Farid Esack to write an open letter. Because the project is independent, the painting of Esack’s letter will be entirely sponsored by donations received through the site. A documentary film was set to be filmed as the first 500 words were painted on 19 April on a stretch of wall south of Ramallah. The complete letter is expected to be in place on May 10.

“The wall won’t fall just because your text is written on it, true,” says Van Oel. “But these messages keep hope alive. Palestinians involved in this cooperation send with this a single message: ‘We are human beings, just like you, with sense of humor and lust for life.’ That is why we do this and enjoy it.”

Arjan El Fassed is cofounder of The Electronic Intifada and author of Niet iedereen kan stenen gooien (Uitgeverij Nieuwland, 2008)

Below is a BBC translation of President Ahmadinejad’s speech at a UN conference given in 20 April 2009.  The bolded statements are highlighted by me.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Thanks to God, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and praise be upon our master and prophet, Muhammad and his immaculate progeny and true followers. O God, hasten the reappearance of the Hidden Imam and grant him health and victory and make us his true companions and believers and those who testify to His rightfulness. Praise belongs to the just, merciful, and compassionate God. May God’s blessing be upon the prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last prophet His Holiness Muhammad Mustafa, who called for monotheism, fraternity, kindness, human dignity, and justice. Mr Chairman, Honourable Secretary-General of the UN, Honourable High Commissariat for Human Rights, Ladies and Gentlemen, following the Durban anti-racism and discrimination conference, we have gathered here to examine the current situation and to find practical solutions for this humane and sacred campaign. In the past centuries, great injustice was inflicted on mankind. In the Middle Ages scholars and scientists were sentenced to death. And later on slavery and the hunting down of innocent people, separating them from their families and taking them in millions to Europe and America in the worst conditions, was popular. These were dark ages where lands were occupied and their sources were looted, and innocent people were killed and made homeless. Years passed until people rose. They paid a high price in order to drive occupiers out and establish independent and national governments; millions of people were killed. Those in power imposed two major wars in short periods of time on Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. These were wars which took about 100 million lives and resulted in destruction of a lot of countries and regions. Those who won these wars considered themselves conquerors of the world and considered other nations defeated. And by the imposition of oppressive laws and arrangements they ignored and violated other nations rights. Ladies and gentlemen, look at the Security Council which is the legacy of World War I and II. Based on what logic have they been given the right to veto? With which human and divine value is this logic compatible? Justice, equality in the eye of law and human dignity or discrimination, injustice, violation of human rights and belittling the majority of nations and countries? This Council is the most supreme decision-making centre for maintaining peace and security in the world. When there is legal discrimination and the law-making centre is a source of bullying and force instead of justice and fairness, how can one expect to achieve justice and peace? Seeking power and selfishness is the source of racism, discrimination, aggression and tyranny. Today many racists condemn racism in their slogans and speeches but when some powerful countries give themselves the right to make decisions for other countries, using their discretion, and based on their own interests, they can easily trample on all rules and human values. As they have already proven. After the Second World War, by exploiting the holocaust and under the pretext of protecting the Jews they made a nation homeless with military expeditions and invasion. They transferred various groups of people from America, Europe and other countries to this land. They established a completely racist government in the occupied Palestinian territories. And in fact, under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe, they established the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine. The Security Council endorsed this usurper regime and for 60 years constantly defended it and let it commit any kind of crime. Worse than this is that some Western governments and America are committed to support genocidal racists while others condemn the bombardment of innocent human beings, the occupation of their land and the disasters that took place in Gaza. Even before they kept silent, not responding to all the crimes of that regime, and supported it. Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, what has been the source of recent wars such as the Americans’ attack on Iraq or the wide military expedition in Afghanistan? Has it been anything else than the selfishness of the American government of the time and the pressures by those in possession of wealth and power to expand influence and hegemony, support weapon manufacturers, destroy a great culture that is thousands of years old, destroying possible and potentials risks by the countries of the region against the occupying Quds regime, and looting the energy resources of the Iraqi people? In fact why were one million people dead and injured and a few million people forced to leave their homeland? Why were hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage inflicted on the Iraqi people and hundreds of billions of dollars of costs for the military invasion imposed on the American people and America’s allies? Was attacking Iraq not orchestrated by the Zionists and their allies in the previous ruling government of America which was on the one hand in power and on the other the owner of arms manufacturing companies? Did peace, security and prosperity return to Afghanistan by military intervention? America and its allies were not even able to stop the production of narcotics and during their presence it increased several fold. The main question is this: What was the role of the previous ruling system in America and its allies? Were they the representatives of the world nations? Were they elected by the world nations? Do they have representation by the world nations to interfere in the affairs of all parts of the world and especially our region? Don’t these actions, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, count as examples of selfishness, racism, discrimination and violating the dignity and independence of other nations? Ladies and gentlemen, who are the people in charge of the crisis-hit economy of the world? Where did the crisis start? Did it start in Africa and Asia or American and then Europe and their allies? For a long time, using their political influence, they [West] imposed unfair economic laws on international economic transactions. They set up financial and monetary systems without provisions of international supervision and imposed those systems on countries that did not have the smallest role to play in the processes and policies adopted. They do not even allow their own nations to supervise. By taking away morality from their actions, they have established laws in a way that they serve the interests of certain powerful people and capitalists. By giving a specific definition of free market and competition, they took away many opportunities from others and imposed their problems on others. Today, with dozens of thousands of billions of dollars of debt and thousands of billions of dollars of budget deficit, those waves of crisis have come back to them. Even today in order to improve the situation, they have started injecting hundred billions of dollars of unsupported money from the pockets of their citizens and other nations into banks and companies and financial markets which were close to bankruptcy and they have made their people even more indebted and they have made the problem more complicated. They are thinking of maintaining their power and wealth. And the people of the world and even their own people are of no value to them. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the true root of racism is the lack of human understanding as God’s chosen creatures and deviation from the true path of human life and human missions in creation. Due to negligence in worshipping God with awareness and pondering on the philosophy of life and the path towards human perfection – which leads to the natural outcome of being committed to divine values and mankind – the horizon of human insight has declined. And limited and temporary interests became the criteria of evaluation and actions by human beings. Therefore, the seeds of evil power took their shape and by neglecting fair chances for others’ growth, it added to the boundaries of its development. In such a way that it changed to an ugly and uncontrollable racism that today it is threatening the global peace as the most dangerous factor. And it is an obstacle on the way of achieving peaceful life in the world. Undoubtedly, racism should be recognised as the symbol of ignorance of the depth of history and a sign of dogmatism against mankind’s general growth. Therefore, we should look for the signs of racism under conditions and situations in a society where poverty of knowledge and lack of understanding would be spread. Therefore, the main means of fighting such symptoms is to promote general awareness and deepening public understanding towards the philosophy of mankind’s existence and the truth about the human-oriented world. Its requirement or outcome is a return to spiritual and ethical values and human virtues and finally the belief in God. The global society should start a united cultural movement for enlightening certain suffering and undeveloped societies as much as possible and uproot this hideous and evil phenomenon. But dear friends, today the human society is facing a kind of racism which has an ugliness that has completely distorted the honour of mankind at the verge of the third millennium and it has made the global society shameful. The global Zionism is the complete symbol of racism, which with unreal reliance on religion has tried to misuse the religious beliefs of some unaware people and hide its ugly face. But what should be seriously considered are the goals of certain superpowers and those in possession of major interests in the world; those who try their best through economic power and political influence and wide media means, to lessen the crimes and ugliness of the nature of the Zionist regime. Here, the main issue is not ignorance and therefore, cultural movements on their own, are not sufficient to fight this evil phenomenon. But we should try to put an end to the misuse of international means by the Zionists and their supporters. And by respecting nations’ demands, we should motivate the united governments to eliminate this clear racism and step on the path of reforming international relations 0and mechanisms with courage. Undoubtedly, you are all aware of the extensive efforts by the institutes of global power towards creating a deviation on the path of the real mission of this important conference. Unfortunately in the literature supporting the Zionists, a clear participation and cooperation in their crimes can be noticed. And this adds to the responsibilities of the respectful representatives of nations in revealing this antihuman issue and improving relations and behaviours. We should be aware that to keep a huge global capacity, such as this conference, away from its real intentions, means helping to continue the most hideous sense of racism. Today the necessity of defending human rights is firstly, to defend the rights of a nation to be free to make decisions regarding important global affairs without the influence of certain powers; secondly, to take action to improve international structures and relations. Therefore, this conference is the arena of a major test and we will be judged by the world’s public opinion today and tomorrow. Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the world’s general condition is rapidly moving towards basic changes. Power based equations have become very weak. The sound of the pillars of global tyranny breaking can be heard. Political and macro economic structures are falling. Political and security crisis are growing. And the growing global economic crisis, for the resolution of which there is no bright horizon, makes all sorts of quantitative and quality aspects of change on the way very impressive. I have emphasised the necessity of getting back from the wrong path that today’s absolute global management is following and I have warned about the critical outcomes of delaying to do so. Also now, in this valued conference, addressing you managers, thinkers and all the world nations who are thirsty for peace, freedom, progress and prosperity, I would like to say that the unjust ruling of the world is reaching its end. This deadlock was inevitable since the logic behind this imposed management is tyrannical. This is because the logic of the mass movement of the world is divine, purposeful, humane and God-centred. It is a movement which opposes any policy or plan which is not in line with the interests of nations. Victory of truth over vice and the bright future of humanity and the establishment of a just global system is the promise of God and all prophets, and a common hope of all communities and generations. Achieving such a future justifies the reason behind creation, is the belief of all those faithful to God and the very high status of the human beings. Formation of a global community, the practical possibility of a common global system materialising and finally involving thinkers, managers and people of the world to actively and justly participate in the macro and principle decision makings is the main path to this great destination. At the moment, scientific and technical capabilities as well as information and communication technology have created a mutual and comprehensive understanding of the global community and have created the necessary ground for a common system to materialise. . Now, this is a grave responsibility that the world’s scientists, elites and officials across the world should shoulder by playing a historic role through faith in this definite path. Now I want to stress on this fact that western capitalism like communism has reached the end of its path because it does not see the world and humanity as they are. It has tried to impose a self-constructed path and destination and instead of paying attention to human and divine values, justice, freedom, compassion and brotherhood it has set fierce competition for gaining individual and collective materialistic interests as a basis for life. Now we should collectively try to learn lessons from the past and understand the necessity for correcting this path by considering today’s conditions. And on the same note and as the final word I would like to draw your attention to two important points. First point: The improvement of the current international condition is hundred per cent possible. But we should know that this cannot be achieved without the cooperation of all the governments and nations. Therefore, we should benefit from the capacities of international cooperation to the maximum. My presence in this conference indicates my respect for this important issue, and the essential issue of human rights and support for nations’ rights against the evil phenomenon of racism and cooperation with you, the thinkers. Second: Considering the lack of efficiency of systems and international political, economic, security and cultural relations is necessary. In view of divine and humanitarian values and the true and real definition of human beings and based on justice and respect for the rights of all human beings across the world, confessing to the wrong management in the past and changing the views and performances, measures should be taken to reform the current structures. Therefore, a speedy change in the structure of the United Nations and the elimination of the discriminatory right to veto and a change in the financial and monetary system of the world must be on the agenda. Obviously, the lack of understanding for the urgency of this change will result in heavier costs due to any delay. My dear friends, you should know that moving in line with justice and human dignity is like moving quickly on a stream of water. Let’s not forget the valuable elixir of love and compassion. The guarantee for a clear future for human beings is a great asset that can keep us more aware and more hopeful than ever before. It can enable us to create a world full of love and blessing and can be free from poverty and hatred. We will also be able to profit from the blessings of God and have the advantage of having a decent management of a complete human being. Let us all have a share in this important issue, and hope for that bright and beautiful day. I would like to sincerely thank the President and the UN Secretary-General and all of you for your patience, wishing you dignity and success. This is a BBC translation from a speech transcript supplied by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian. The speech Mr Ahmadinejad gave was different in some respects from the draft submitted previously by the Iranians to the UN. That can be accessed here.

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