Read more from my blog at BarbaraVictor.com
The headlines screamed the news – Osama Bin Laden Is Dead. The electronic media devoted entire days to discussing and dissecting the killing of Bin Laden by a secret American anti-terror force whose sole target had been to capture—dead or alive—the most evil mastermind of terrorism in history. The news of Bin Laden’s death resulted in an outpouring of celebration along with vows of vengeance throughout the world. Horns honking and people cheering at Ground Zero or around the White House made the reaction of any winning country of the World Cup pale by comparison. Crowds in the United States sang the Star Spangled Banner, while demonstrators in Europe and South America simply cheered America by shouting USA! USA! Even President Obama, usually a bit too cool and unemotional in the face of myriad of national and international disasters exclaimed, “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda…” As for the vows of vengeance, Al Qaeda sympathizers along with much of the Arab world, Asia, and a laundry list of anti-American pro-Muslim organizations, promised retaliation in the form of random killings of Americans and general terrorist strikes that would paralyze the western economy.
An article in the New York Times on Sunday revealed that there is a shortage of one of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections for the death penalty. Sodium Thiopental, an anesthetic, manufactured by Hospira, recently announced that it would no longer produce the drug to be used for executions. In Europe, where the drug is also manufactured and used in operating rooms, companies have also refused to export the drug to those countries that use it on inmates to be put to death.
Given the high technology when it comes to anesthetics, there are, of course, alternatives. Pentobarbital is one though it is used infrequently on human beings and rather to euthanize dogs and cats. True, there is little difference in the two drugs that ostensibly put the patient (human or animal) to sleep before the third part of the fatal cocktail is dripped into the vein. Both drugs come from the same family of barbiturates and efficiently depress the nervous system where the victim/patient/animal/human’s brain is put to sleep which results in the victim/patient to forget to breath, or the drug decreases blood pressure where sufficient blood is not pumped to the heart.
Originally posted to BarbaraVictor.com on March 6th.
The year was 1986 and Colonel Ghadaffi was smarting from an air attack implemented by the Brits and the Americans. Then, as now, there had been accusations back and forth of Libyan planes invading foreign air space and American planes crossing over into Libyan air space. There were threats of consequences for not respecting no-fly zones, and of course promises of sanctions imposed on Libya for a variety of other reasons. At the time, I was living in Paris and when the United States finally made the decision to bomb Tripoli, the French would not allow our planes to fly over French air space. The situation was polarized from the beginning and destined to be a failure both militarily and eventually politically.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if my previous two Blogs were wrong?
How great would it be if democracy and a sound economic structure, employment, education, job opportunity and all the other good things emerged for the Arab people after their brave and vocal uprisings throughout the Arab world?
Perhaps I did lean toward a doomsday scenario when I wrote that the vacuum created by the overthrow of dictators would result in the religious extremists taking over. Maybe, just maybe, a transition to equality where there is not such a gaping disparity between the rich and greedy in power with the majority who are poor and hopeless, would cancel out a desire for an Islamic Republic. After all, the Koran teaches that this life is merely a preparation for the afterlife. Frankly, if there is little hope for the basic necessities on earth, embracing religion would provide hope after death. But is that really what people want?
Originally posted to BarbaraVictor.com on February 8th.
After doing numerous radio interviews in the past several days on the situation in Egypt, and getting such diverse reaction from listeners, and from my last Blog, Freedom Is Just Another Word for Nothing Left To Lose, I realized it was important to explain several inalienable facts that had somehow eluded me.
One of those facts is to provide the historical impact of the Muslim Brotherhood not only on Egypt but on the entire Arab world. The other is to understand that like it or not, any discussion, debate, uprising, or war in the Arab world directly affects Israel. And, what affects Israel is taken into serious political consideration in the United States.
Beginning with Israel, the question often arises as to why we, in the United States, are prone to support Middle East dictators and absolute monarchs who, while not the paragons of human rights, have been willing to maintain peace accords with Israel. Even more pointed is why we, in the United States, have our fate and our moral compass so intrinsically entwined with that Spartan little democracy in the middle of the Arab world.
Originally posted to Barbaravictor.com on February 1st.
The Middle East is exploding. People want freedom. The young and old are tired of despotic rulers depriving them of human rights. They are fed up with corrupt institutions and stagnant political order.
The core problem within these countries in North Africa, the Gulf, and throughout the rest of the Arab world is the growing population of young men and women who are educated and ambitious, while unemployed, frustrated, resentful, and muzzled. The other problem, even more dire, is a misconception of freedom when the alternative to autocratic and repressive leaders are regimes controlled by extreme Islamic fundamentalists.
Originally posted to www.barbaravictor.com on January 13th.
Back in the 1980s, during my first decade living in Paris, France, I remember the constant terror attacks that happened on an almost daily basis. At the time, I wrote that women walked into upscale shoe stores on the Champs Elysees, only to be carried out without legs. These attacks happened in department stores, government buildings, airports, airline offices, museums, restaurants, and every possible place imaginable where French nationals and tourists gathered on any normal day or evening. And, France wasn’t the only targeted country. American civilians and diplomats, as well as citizens of those countries or other visiting tourists were murdered in attacks in Italy, Pakistan, Greece, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Tunisia, Lebanon, Austria and many more. International airlines were not exempt as seen by attacks on KLM, TWA, El AL, Alitalia, Pan American, and many more. Back then, in the heyday of terror attacks, the perpetrators were known internationally by almost everyone who watched the news or read every caliber of magazine or newspaper. There was Abu Nidal who traveled the world and was even interviewed by journalists, their meetings immortalized by photographs that appeared with the stories. There was George Habash, Abu Abbas, Yasser Arafat, Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and countless others whose names have gone down in terrorist infamy. Believe it or not, all were accessible to the press and I remember spending many days with Abu Iyad and Abu Jihad at their provisional PLO headquarters in Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia.