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View Diary: Reports: Timbuktu Manuscripts Threatened By Mali Insurgents; Some Saved (221 comments)

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  •  I'll repeat what I said above (17+ / 0-)

    How much do you actually know about Mali and how much are you reading into this situation based on your pre-existing narrative.  Newsflash.  The French spent days recapturing the tiny village of Diably last week.  Why did it take so long?  Because they were being so extremely careful to target only the militants and not the civilians.  Don't believe me.  I just have family living in the city next door.  Malians have been under threat by the jihadis who are carrying out a war of aggression and they are GRATEFUL for the French assistance.  

    •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

      foreign interventions are often popular at the beginning (although a popular intervention by a former colonial master may be something new.)

      People are desperate and they need help, but that doesn't make the intervention smart or right, not least because the well-being of the residents of the people are there are generally a tangential concern, at best, of the foreign power.

      As for the alleged concern for civilians shown by the French; well I've been hearing that for a decade about American forces too, and the claim my even be true in relative terms, but war is hell, and scores of civilians will die.

      •  so what's your solution? (9+ / 0-)

        please do tell.  My family in Mali are all ears.  Non-intervention would make you feel better, but I'm afraid your feelings are worth a lot less to me than their freedom and safety.

        •  Feel better? (0+ / 0-)

          Believe it or not, my concern for the lives and rights of human beings is genuine.

          I understand this affects you directly and while I appreciate that fact, it doesn't tempt me to change my fundamental beliefs.

          As for my solution, you're not going to like it because it won't bring immediate relief to people in Mali. My solution is for western (former colonial powers) to have actual foreign policy instead of a military-corporate policy, one that respects the rights and autonomy of people everywhere instead of one geared toward shoveling money to corporations, one that starts helping poor people and stops killing and exploiting them.

          Western powers fuck over the world, and then when they start or contribute to a situation that "requires" military action, we're supposed to break out the pom poms? No, thanks.

          I understand that every situation is different, but the piece Gary Younge wrote before the Libya intervention is relevant, (and not just because the NATO regime-change operation helped spark the crisis in Mali.)

          Those who are resisting Qaddafi deserve our support. But they don’t single-handedly determine the nature of it. Solidarity is not a process by which you unquestioningly forfeit responsibility for your own actions to another; it involves an assessment of what is prudent and what is possible...

          Far from being a knee-jerk response to Western military action, opposition to the bombing marks a considered reflection on the West’s knee-jerk impulse to mistake war for foreign policy. This impulse follows a well-worn circular logic in three parts: (1) Something must be done now. (2) This is something. (3) So we must do it. And that something invariably involves bombing.

          Such sophistry treats “now” as its own abstract point in time: a moment that bears no legacy and carries no consequences. Amnesia and ignorance are the privileges of the powerful. But the powerless, who live with the ramifications, do not have the luxury of forgetting. They do not forget Shatila, Falluja, Abu Ghraib or Jenin—to name but a few horrific war crimes in which the West was complicit....

          So while the West clearly has the power to intervene, given its history of colonialism and imperialism, it has no more credibility to do so on humanitarian grounds in this region than Iran would to bomb Bahrain in defense of the Shiites who are currently being killed there.

          •  I understand this perspective (6+ / 0-)

            but I fail to understand how refusing a direct appeal from another state would be any less imperialistic.  We have the luxury of deciding whether or not to involve ourselves.  Because Mali is dirt poor, they don't have options.  They are at our mercy and refusing to help when asked is just as arrogant as meddling.  And yes, it's personal to me.  I'm not ashamed of that.  If perfection and ideals have to be adjusted to make room for human reality, I don't see that as a bad thing.

      •  Re: Mansplaining Mali to Mali Muso (5+ / 0-)

        You're doing the nationalist equivalent of mansplaining to mali muso, a person with actual ties to Mali.

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