Imagine a Middle East...


I am publishing an appeal by father Alex Zanotelli and the Rete lilliput on the mission in Lebanon. I am signing up to this appeal that poses many questions and I hope that the government will want to reply to them.

ďIt seems that there is a general consensus about the opportunity and the necessity for Italy to participate in the International Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon.
It is beyond a shadow of doubt that in order to put a stop to the spiral of violence that makes the Middle East ever more bloody and that is extending dangerously to the rest of the world, it is more necessary than ever before to have an active commitment of the international community under the leadership of the United Nations.

However, the result of such a commitment depends decidedly on the conditions in which it is put into practice and carried out. More than ever before it seems necessary to draw the attention of the Government, of Parliament and of all citizens to certain points that are very delicate.
An initial necessary consideration is that the war in Lebanon has eclipsed the problem of Palestine. It does not seem acceptable, in particular, that the international community is completely ignoring the fact that Ministers and Parliamentarians of a country that should be sovereign have been kidnapped (the vice-premier, Nasser-as-Shaer, since 19 August), imprisoned and in at least one case tortured.

In no other country could a similar foreign action be tolerated. Why does no one react in the case of Israel? The silence of the Italian Government is unacceptable.
When considering the composition of an International Peacekeeping Force, it must correspond to certain fundamental and elementary conditions. It is evident that military forces of a country that is not rigorously equidistant from the two sides in the conflict cannot be part of it.

Last year, Italy agreed to commit to an Agreement of Military Cooperation with Israel, that is a substantial obstacle in a way that has no remedy to our being equidistant.

International Law would impose, as a minimum, the preventive suspension of this Agreement whose detailed terms must absolutely be made known to public opinion.
Itís relevant to bring to mind as well that Israel has participated in NATO military manoeuvres in Sardinia, in which without a doubt, Israeli pilots and other military personnel were training and who were subsequently engaged in the war in Lebanon.
This happening gives rise to a further condition: it is necessary to have an absolute guarantee that the command of this Peacekeeping Force remains strictly under the command of the United Nations and cannot ever be transferred to NATO.

Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary, that the costs of the mission should not be carried by the Italian State and in particular that it does not bring about a reduction in spending on social issues but that it is contained within the budget of the Ministry of Defence for Italian military missions abroad.

These seem to be fundamental and inevitable conditions for the participation of our country.
However other reserves remain. It seems unique and anything but neutral the fact that the International Peacekeeping Force should be deployed in the territory of one of the two countries in the conflict, namely the one that was attacked and not on the border.
Thus it must be clear that as long as this force operates in Lebanese territory, it must be subject to Lebanese sovereignty and that it cannot in any way be tasked with disarming nor in disbanding Hezbollah.
However, these operating conditions will expose the troops making up the Force to act if there are provocations that can be real or claimed. How can they oppose the force of the Israeli army that is still present on Lebanese soil?
We should have no illusions about the rules of engagement that will be decided by the organism that is leading the mission and not by our government. We consider that it is right to ask that the military contingent is accompanied by a relevant number of unarmed volunteers.
Finally it must be extremely clear that this Peacekeeping Force can never in any way be involved in a resumption or extension of the conflict.
Likewise what must be excluded is its use to protect Italian companies that will throw themselves into the lucrative business of reconstructing Lebanon.
It is necessary to banish with great clarity any illusion that military peacekeeping, even in the best conditions, can resolve the conflict in the Middle East, above all resolve the fundamental question of Palestine.
Who will put a stop to the destruction of houses, of cultivation, and of the infrastructure of the Palestinians and of the targeted homicides (in open violation of any judicial norms)?
Thus we ask that before sending an Italian contingent, our Government forcibly insists at an international level on the inescapable need to deploy an International Peacekeeping Force in Gaza and in Cisgiordania {West Bank}, to guarantee the security of Israel and as a condition for the creation of a Palestinian State.

We ask that on these fundamental questions clear, explicit and transparent decisions are officially taken and that the necessary guarantees are exacted at an international level.Ē

Ps: To join in this appeal, click here.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 12:03 PM in | Comments (20)
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"Why is living becoming so oppressive and such a big task?" Because we are mostly ruled by puppets that monsters of the most terrifying kind have put in a position of power.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | September 2, 2006 06:00 PM

Yes, sure... never forget that countries like the US generate tons of money, heaps of it to be correct, from war. It is the War Economy that keeps most war factories open. It gives employment to those who work there in order to kill the unknowing and the innocent elsewhere. So much for equity and equality... this is the most contorted sense of justice and peace I have ever heard!

Disaster Capitalism is the shadiest method of ensuring a revenue for one's economy, something that, if you recall, had France going bonkers when, after the so-called truce in Iraq was declared, saw a head-on fight between Chirac and Bush about the "reconstruction" of Iraq. France sent no soldiers yet it wanted a part of the reconstruction. War happens to be Bush's favourite game and he said "No No" because the French wanted to be out of what they termed a futile war... but they did not want to be out of the money making process of reconstruction...

Talk of Bigotry and ambivalence... Europeans should keep out of Bush's dirty games in all senses. Peace-keeping forces have to carry guns too. In a way they are still looked at as the least-aggressive-but-still-armed groups who interfere in other people's territories.

This world is not exactly a bed of roses. Even if it were, the same roses are full of thorns. Isn't it strange that we still have to learn to live with others who are different to us in their belief, in their opinion, in their culture? Why is living becoming so oppressive and such a big task?

Posted by: Joselle Camilleri | September 2, 2006 09:31 AM

Raf and Enrico,my was a bad idea,coming from a good heart, and goods intentions,ciao:-)

Posted by: evakulnurae | August 31, 2006 07:35 AM

Raf and Enrico,sorry my was a bad idea,coming from a good hearth,and good intentions ciao :-)

Posted by: evakulnurae | August 31, 2006 07:33 AM

I know and appreciate Naomi Klein very well. Thanks Enrico for the suggestion, I will read the new book!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | August 30, 2006 01:08 PM

Eva and Raffaella: I couldn't have said it better. The following Naomi Kein's Article explains Raffaella's point very well:
Disaster capitalism: how to make money out of misery
The privatisation of aid after Katrina offers a glimpse of a terrifying future in which only the wealthy are saved
Naomi Klein
Wednesday August 30, 2006
The Guardian

The Red Cross has just announced a new disaster-response partnership with Wal-Mart. When the next hurricane hits, it will be a co-production of Big Aid and Big Box. This, apparently, is the lesson learned from the US government's calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina: businesses do disaster better.

"It's all going to be private enterprise before it's over," Billy Wagner, emergency management chief for the Florida Keys, currently under hurricane watch for tropical storm Ernesto, said in April. "They've got the expertise. They've got the resources." But before this new consensus goes any further, perhaps it's time to take a look at where the privatisation of disaster began, and where it will inevitably lead.

The first step was the government's abdication of its core responsibility to protect the population from disasters. Under the Bush administration, whole sectors of the government, most notably the Department of Homeland Security, have been turned into glorified temp agencies, with essential functions contracted out to private companies. The theory is that entrepreneurs, driven by the profit motive, are always more efficient (please suspend hysterical laughter).

We saw the results in New Orleans one year ago: Washington was frighteningly weak and inept, in part because its emergency management experts had fled to the private sector and its technology and infrastructure had become positively retro. At least by comparison, the private sector looked modern and competent.

But the honeymoon doesn't last long. "Where has all the money gone?" ask desperate people from Baghdad to New Orleans, from Kabul to tsunami-struck Sri Lanka. One place a great deal of it has gone is into major capital expenditure for these private contractors. Largely under the public radar, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on the construction of a privatised disaster-response infrastructure: the Shaw Group's new state-of-the-art Baton Rouge headquarters, Bechtel's battalions of earthmoving equipment, Blackwater USA's 6,000-acre campus in North Carolina (complete with paramilitary training camp and 6,000-foot runway).

I call it the Disaster Capitalism Complex. Whatever you might need in a serious crunch, these contractors can provide it: generators, watertanks, cots, port-a-potties, mobile homes, communications systems, helicopters, medicine, men with guns.

This state-within-a-state has been built almost exclusively with money from public contracts, including the training of its staff (overwhelmingly former civil servants, politicians and soldiers). Yet it is all privately owned; taxpayers have absolutely no control over it or claim to it. So far, that reality hasn't sunk in because while these companies are getting their bills paid by government contracts, the Disaster Capitalism Complex provides its services to the public free of charge.

But here's the catch: the US government is going broke, in no small part thanks to this kind of loony spending. The national debt is $8 trillion; the federal budget deficit is at least $260bn. That means that sooner rather than later the contracts are going to dry up. Insiders call it the "homeland security bubble".

When it bursts, firms such as Bechtel, Fluor and Blackwater will lose their primary revenue stream. They will still have all their hi-tech gear giving them the ability to respond to disasters, while the government will have let that precious skill wither away - but now they will rent back the tax-funded infrastructure at whatever price they choose.

Here's a snapshot of what could be in store in the not-too-distant future: helicopter rides off rooftops in flooded cities at $5,000 a pop ($7,000 for families, pets included), bottled water and "meals ready to eat" at $50 a head (steep, but that's supply and demand), and a cot in a shelter with a portable shower (show us your biometric ID, developed on a lucrative homeland security contract, and we'll track you down later with the bill).

The model, of course, is the US healthcare system, in which the wealthy can access best-in-class treatment in spa-like environments while 46 million Americans lack health insurance. As emergency-response, the model is already at work in the global Aids pandemic: private-sector prowess helped produce life-saving drugs (with heavy public subsidies), then set prices so high that the vast majority of the world's infected cannot afford treatment.

If that is the corporate world's track record on slow-motion disasters, why should we expect different values to govern fast-moving disasters such as hurricanes or even terrorist attacks? It's worth remembering that as Israeli bombs pummelled Lebanon not so long ago, the US government initially tried to charge its citizens for the cost of their own evacuations. And, of course, anyone without a western passport in Lebanon had no hope of rescue.

One year ago, New Orleans's working-class and poor citizens were stranded on their rooftops waiting for help that never came, while those who could pay their way escaped to safety. The country's political leaders claim it was all some terrible mistake, a breakdown in communication that is being fixed. Their solution is to go even further down the catastrophic road of "private-sector solutions."

Unless a radical change of course is demanded, New Orleans will prove to be a glimpse of a dystopian future, a future of disaster apartheid in which the wealthy are saved and everyone else is left behind.

∑ Naomi Klein's book on disaster capitalism will be published in spring 2007.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | August 30, 2006 12:52 PM

Eva: the problem is even worse. One of the reason because the west world is so willing to export democracy and make war in the third world, is the possibility for the own companies to take part in the reconstruction programs, which mean a lot of money. Practically they are destroyng tho have the possibility of the lucrative reconstruction.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | August 30, 2006 12:14 PM

Enrico I agree with you,we are sending our soldiers to get slautered in the middle of this caos,I propose an ineternational law,that a contry go to war and destroy another country ,they are responsable for the reconstruction of it, it is too easy,for u.s, and israel to go to war,and the rest of the world, have to go and fix the mess they left behind,not fair not fair at all. ps. and how about suing the aggressive country for damages as well!?

Posted by: evakulnura | August 30, 2006 10:40 AM

With 40 million Americans living without health cover and below the poverty line, the journalist Khan should be more concerned with passing comment on the indifference of Amedicans towards their own citizens.

Posted by: Banjo Patterson | August 30, 2006 10:39 AM

Nicola, why take umbrage to comments like these? Who wants to be lionized as a murderous soldier? I recall a movie in which Alberto Sordi was an infantry Captain heroically jumping out of a trench screaming "All'attacco!" to motivate his soldiers to follow him in the charge. The comment of two of his soldiers who like the rest didn't follow him was "Che bella voce". If Italians are not good soldiers in the traditional way of military engagement I like them much better for it. Make peace, not war: when are we going to learn this?

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | August 29, 2006 11:38 PM

ahhahaahahahha Prince!
You are right, it sounds like Joda!;-))))))

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | August 29, 2006 11:34 PM

I wish to refer to an article published by an online american magazine, The New Republic - Why Italy shouldn't lead the U.N. mission in Lebanon - written by Jeremy Kahn

After reading this article I came to two different possible conclusions:

A) This journalist remained with a lot of free time and did not know how to keep himself busy

B) Some italian latin lover has stolen his lover and this was the only pay back opportunity he had

Now, this article starts with a very old joke that made me laugh to the extreme within a percise contest. This time it made me think how wrong can be the perception about us Italians. Italy and Italians it's all what Beppe Grillo makes us laugh about during his shows. But for those remained behind, I would like to stress that:

1) KFOR in the Balkans as he mentions wasn't leaded by the Italians

2) Carabinieri wears Armani designed uniforms? I guess I have lost something, but in case I see nothing wrong in it... we have the best fashon designers so why not!?

3) Americans lost over 3000 lives during the Iraqi (peacekeeping?) while we have lost 17 of our brave men in Nassirya.

4) We cook better then we combat? I think I will take this as a compliment so I don't respond to this.

5) The Italians not always but very often are seen as peacekeeping, other forces such as British and Americans are seen as invaders. This is what made old enemies in Iraq to unite against them and blow up themselves almost every day. I guess the decision of uniting with the Americans has been a main reason of our men's sacrifice in Nassirya.

6) Let's remind to Jeremy Kahn, who I believe practice more writing then reading, that the ridiculous and disorganized Italians beside designing and cooking are amongst the 8 most industrialised countries, presently engineers 1 out of 4 petrochemical and power plant uner construction, fears no country as we historically are no good in keeping enemies unlike many of his countrymen, and frankly leaving abroad where American cars are widespread, we drive by far better vehicles then they do (as a matter of fact they love our vehicles).

I knew many journalists wrote stereotyped articles out of ignorance. This article was definately one of these and this man of which I ignored the existance before today (and frankly I think I will try to continue to ignore after today) is a pure example of what kind of abortions can be produce even within the so called controversial journalists.

I encourage many of you to e-mail Jeremy Kahn at

He will be pleased to hear what people, and most of all disorganized Italians, think of his article.

Posted by: Nicola Siotto | August 29, 2006 11:11 PM

By the way you write you should be Yoda.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | August 29, 2006 10:59 PM

only a few comments

here I am to help

just to see if the boss is going to cancel my comment

will see

Posted by: surname name | August 29, 2006 09:54 PM

I signed the petition.
I agree with Zanotelli.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | August 29, 2006 07:56 PM

Ti voglio bene padre Zanotelli

Antonio da Dublino

Posted by: Delfino * Dublino | August 29, 2006 07:36 PM

Sorry I got screwed up with cutting and pasting. Last paragraph should read: Go to and see how much they owe the rest of the world, and YES, those are trillions of dollars!!!

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | August 29, 2006 04:57 PM

the US don't have the gold anymore. They have, for now, borrowing abilities like no other Country in the world. The US is the most indebted Country on the planet. Go to see by how much they owe the rest of the world, and YES, those are trillions of dollars!!!

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | August 29, 2006 04:53 PM

I just read an article written by a Mr.Jeremy Kahn for the New Repubblic (US weekly magazine) and he ridicules Italian Military for cowardice heating habits and well made Armani standard issue body wears. Now I do not want to imply that Italian Military are the most trained, motivated, equipped, and threatening military force on the face of the earth but by the same talking neither are the US forces. Just a reminder to this individual writing the article that the US forces got their but whipped in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq while running with their tale in between their legs in Haiti, Lebanon, Afghanistan and the Corn of Africa. In any recent war after the use of Overwhelming force and Technology failed to achieve the results the US was looking for they always went to the UN and asked for a Coalition of the Willing for help (With obvious Dollar sign attached to it) for Help. Meanwhile all the well educated well-off white boys write all this article the US forces are made up of poor uneducated and most important immigrant that have no better alternative that to serve with their life for the American Dream (Freedom and the Pursued of Happiness, mostly financial).
Now while all of this information are rather available and well known to the entire world, the happy go lucky white folks making the rules (Golden Rule, who has the gold makes the Rules) back in Washington sending this poor suckers to dye all around the world (2622 in Iraq alone) while big Military Corporation make all the money and dictates where all this gun should and should not be sold (No country even near to US soil should have anything that could possibly hit the US). Who is this journalist to call coward the Italian Military, I am willing to take a guess at it, white, well off financially, divorced and more importantly voting for someone like W.Bush (Military Record for W.Bush is enrolled in the National Guard while In Texas while so lucky not to be sent to Vietnam??? Very questionable). Strip away all the fancy armament and overwhelming force (Which by the way only means overpower the enemy so they donít even try) what is left for US Military is young, black, immigrants, national guards and more important losers (Not personally but rather financially in the run for the American Dream) that die for the so called well being of the White Anglo-Saxon Well off Rich Guys in America.
Thanks had to get it of my chest.

Posted by: Giacomo Chiametti | August 29, 2006 04:17 PM

The first Country to be put under UN control should be Israel for its inability to embrace meaningful dialogue with its neighbours as a means to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Israel's political class is systematically using state terrorism to advance its territorial claims and maintain control over conquered land. The models for moderation so validly expounded by Gandhi and Mandela cannot be found in Israel and we should clearly contain Israel' ability to terrorize the region.

Posted by: Enrico Rossi | August 29, 2006 02:17 PM

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