Hitting the Pause Button over Qana

Israel has finally suspended its airstrikes on Lebanon according to this BBC report for 48 hours as they investigate a very catastrophic airstrike on Qana in southern Lebanon.

The airstrike killed over 60 civilians, more than 30 of which were reported to be children.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora strongly condemns that airstrike, while Israel calls it a “tragic mistake.”

Although civilians have been warned of the great danger and are encouraged to flee, most of these people do not even have the means to go anywhere. They’re just as unsafe on the road.

One benefit of the temporary ceasefire is that it would significantly help in the arrival and distribution of humanitarian aid.

Hell, if the US do not want to call for a ceasefire, the rest of the world should! A conditional ceasefire should not even be an option. It’s time to totally stop the war!

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SONA 2006: A Business Plan

It does make sense when I think about it.

At first, I felt that Gloria’s recent SONA was more of a inspirational speech. It outlined what her administration had accomplished so far, while battling and out-politicking the opposition. More importantly, the SONA had outlined what they intend to accomplish in the near future. And to write frankly, it was considerably very promising. Given the financial achievements she mentioned, I could feel those promises actually materializing.

They were not mere individual plans and isolated strategies, but rather, every element made-up a Grand Vision for the whole country. It’s as if everything is connected to everything. It’s an attempt to develop individual sectors and areas towards a unified, better-functioning nation. If the Grand Vision was a paper, I’d say it was very cohesive.

Which brings me to this point:

SONA 2006 was not just a motivational talk for the people; it was also a business plan of sorts for those who will help fund and sustain the Grand Vision.

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SONA 2006

Today, President Gloria Arroyo gives her 6th State of the Nation Address (SONA). According to this Manila Standards report, the focus of the SONA is on the economy of the country. Which is good, I think. For most working class citizens, our main concern is of course the guarantee of having a stable economic environment for companies to “live” in.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago says here that it is all-economy and virtually no governance. She’s expecting Mrs. Arroyo to discuss or at least mention the present political problems concerning the legitimacy of the current administration. Well, frankly, the SONA is not the best venue to talk about governance. It’s going to be a complete waste of time since we constantly hear about about it. Also, I’m tired of hearing about the filing of more impeachment complaints. It’s becoming less and less serious everytime. So that’s that.

I just want something that is close to inspirational. I already know – and see! – what the current state of our nation is in: not good. However, I want to hear what state our nation will be in the future. I need something that I can look forward to. A vision that would help me see that the future of our country is not all dark, cold, and wet.

I want to hear that we, as a country, have a fighting chance not only to merely survive, but to actually thrive.

I hope there is. And I hope that others can see and work towards it as well.

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Middle East Crisis

Spread the thought.

Stop the War

First of all, I am humbled by the responses of the some bloggers in this blog entry about the Isreal-Hezbollah war. Thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge in my little blog.

I realize now that my initial concern – like the rising prices of gas – is so trivial compared to our recent comments and their writers. As a Filipino who so distant from the actual war, my concerns are often limited to those that have direct and immediate effects on the Philippines. As a country though, I think our main concern is the safety of our people – the OFWs or the overseas Filipino workers – in both Israel and Lebanon. Thus, in this news report, our country is not taking any sides, a contrary position taken in the previous US-lead wars.

I believe though that there’s only one position: stop the war. What Israel, and the US, as well, are saying here is that a cease-fire will only happen if the “conditions are right.” Huh? A conditional cease-fire? That is just brutal.
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Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War Continues

I think, at this point, it’s more appropriate to label it as “Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War.” Israel is not really attacking Lebanon as a country. Rather, it’s a military offensive against the Shiite militia. As with any armed conflict, it’s just sad to think that civilians are caught in the middle of it all. Lives are lost, infrastructures destroyed. And it doesn’t matter anymore who has more casualties. The important question is: did they – both Israel and the Hezbollah – achieved anything from this?

More than a week have passed. Israel continues to pound on the suspected Hezbollah-inhabited areas. Do they really think that they can eliminate the Shiite militia? As I have written in the comments section of my previous post, “To disarm and to remove Hezbollah (the Shiite militia) from Lebanon means flushing [out] a very strong and influential sect.” They are very much a part of Lebanon. This particular sect may be up in arms, but there is also a great number of the Lebanese people who wants – demands! – that the armed conflict be stopped. Yet Israel is showing no signs of slowing down its operations.

Even though I think that the Hezbollah’s abduction of two Israeli soldiers is the root-cause of this war, I feel it has come to a point that we can also put the blame on Israel. The damage they have caused – not on the militants but on the whole Lebanon – is just too much.

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Israel-Lebanon War

Just want to note this war between Israel and Lebanon that has been going on for about a week now. Will have to read more about it soon.

At first, I’m not too interested in the story since I’m not very familiar with any of them, except for Israel which brings back grade school and high school religion classes. But hearing about the possible effect – say, skyrocketing gas prices – that this war can have on the rest of the world, I think I need to know more about it.

UPDATE: I found this CNN report. Apparently, Hezbollah, which is considered to be a terrorist organization, has taken two Israel soldiers. And since then, Israel in its attempt to free the captured soldiers, has attacked the Beirut where the stronghold of the Hezbollah group is located. The group then attacked Israeli warships. And in response, Israel sent with airstrikes.

The Lebanese government claims that they have no idea of Hezbollah’s plans (and yet, they tolerate the presence and influence of the group in their own government.) The group is also backed by Syria and, guess what, Iran.

It’s also interesting to note that the US is not playing a major role in it. For now, at least. They just have ships on stand-by just in case they need to pull out American citizens in or near the affected areas. Kung sa bagay, the US already have its hands full with Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. I’m not sure they can still afford to get involved in this war.

Then again, with its cowboy mentality, the US is probably whipping up a plan that would get them involved, without being too involved. We’ll what happens in the following days.

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