Radio interview with Phil Whelan, Morning Brew – RTHK Radio 3, 18.6.12
Update 2: I am eligible for a share of the ArrestBlair.org ‘bounty’ offered to those who attempt a citizen’s arrest of Mr Blair. I will donate the sum – of around £2400 – to relevant charities (including the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza). The site was founded originally by British Guardian journalist and writer George Monbiot.
Update 1: The attempted arrest took place at around 5:50 Hong Kong time, 14/6/12. I approached Mr Blair within moments of his arrival on stage – I was prevented from waiting next to him for the police. I stated the following within a couple of metres or so in front of him…
Back in the mid-eighties, prompted by this news report, multi-millionaire Bob Geldof organised a global musical event called Live Aid to raise money for the ongoing famine in the Horn of Africa. An accompanying festive single was released entitled “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in aid of Muslim Ethiopia. The world was transfixed and the crusade raised £150m.
However, in 1991, famine scholar Alex de Waal argued that the “humanitarian effort prolonged the war, and with it, human suffering.” Aid was routed via the communist military junta (the Derg), led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who were also fighting a war in the north – a conflict that part caused the famine. The war was thereby extended by 6 years with Médecins Sans Frontières estimating that the aid may have led to as many deaths as there were lives saved.
During the years that followed, reforms changed how aid was distributed in crisis zones and there were also lasting changes in how such tragedies were covered by the news media. The BBC’s Adam Curtis noted how the complexity and grey areas surrounding the use of aid money was underreported. It was a story that did not conform to a simple, good vs. evil cold war narrative. After the equally complex Rwandan genocide in 1994, modern news effectively stopped analysing political struggles and instead reported only on their often bloody outcomes, without context.
Standby to unleash your feathery fury! Feel the fervour of cushony rage!… This year’s Pillow Fight Day will take place on March 31st in Statue Square, Central (near Central MTR exit K). Join the event on Facebook. [Suported by Timable.com.]
My trip began much how it ended, with a half-serious enquiry as to whether I was going to die. “I’m not sure yet” was the less-than-welcome response from the attendant aboard my terribly turbulent Garuda Airlines flight. I was en route to Timor-Leste (located here), having encountered what the Germans might call a ‘luxury problem’ in that I’d seen just about everywhere else in Asia. This was the continent’s newest and poorest nation, the world’s most oil-dependent economy and home to the largest UN peacekeeping mission on Earth. Emerging from decades of bloodshed and occupation with barely any infrastructure intact, war-ravaged Timor attracts just 1,500 tourists per year. Roads are amongst the world’s worst (where they exist) the postal service is rumoured to take one-and-a-half years, the humidity is oppressive, healthcare minimal, poverty rampant and the dinky shot-up capital, Dili, would make even the most modest of British towns look like a megalopolis. It is isolated and inaccessible with just 3 ports of entry (Bali, Singapore and Darwin, Australia), so why would anyone care to visit?