Tuesday, June 22, 2004

No logo, no occupation, no clue 

The words of wisdom from Neil Clark, tutor in history and politics at Oxford Tutorial College in England:

"The connection between the widespread Iraqi opposition to the US-led occupation, the recent European election results and the presidential elections in Serbia and Montenegro might not at first sight be apparent. There is surely a world of difference between the attacks on coalition forces, the upsurge in votes for avowedly Euro-sceptic political parties across the continent and the first-round success of the Serbian Radical Party's Tomislav Nikolic. However, despite the contrasting nature of the events in question, all three can be seen as part of the same phenomenon -- protests from a despairing populace aimed at reclaiming the right of self-government from forces that, in different ways, have sought to destroy their national sovereignty."
Sometimes it happens that the "connection... might not at first sight be apparent" because it's so tenuous and tendentious that only an academic could come up with it. I fear that both Eurosceptics and suicide bombers and hostage beheaders might be somewhat insulted at being lumped together so that Clark might have a catchy opening paragraph in an otherwise non-controversial opinion piece. It might also benefit Clark to realise that in the case of Iraq:

1) the "despairing populace" which sets off road-side bombs and murders hostages includes many non-populace members from outside Iraq;

2) "reclaiming the right of self-government" is at best a misleading formulation, considering that Iraqi people did not enjoy such right under Saddam to start with;

3) describing the Coalition as "forces... that have sought to destroy [Iraq's] national sovereignty" might also ring a bit hollow. June 30, anyone? Provisional government? Democratic elections in 2005?

4) lastly, Clark should bear in mind that many among the supposed anti-globalisation forces he sees in Iraq in reality are fighting for their own version of globalisation - it's called the Caliphate, and to the best of my knowledge it pays scant regard to the concept of national sovereignty, or for that matter, nations.

On the positive side, read the rest of Clark's piece; he does go on to make some good points about sovereignty, nationalism and democracy.


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