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I have spotted something interesting happening on YouTube – there is a sort of an activist movement to get out of Iraq, and 5 days on it is becoming quite big in the world of YouTube.  It was started by a single video blog requesting viewers to post video responses saying “get out of Iraq”.  And so they did, currently there are 168 video responses to the original video, almost all supporting his message, and if you watch some of the responses there are responses to responses also  (not to mention the tens of thousands of supporting text comments).  And a lot of these videos are getting quite a lot of views (16,735 on the original post at the time of writing) 😯

I personally don’t agree with a withdrawal from Iraq at this stage – as wrong as the initial invasion was, leaving it now could just plunge the country into civil war. If you make a mess you better at least try cleaning it up, though they have not done a good job so far 😦 it looks to me like withdrawal will only make things worse. But nonetheless, this is quite interesting – in just 5 days, by doing nothing more but posting one short 3 minute video of himself talking, this 26yo Briton has reached tens of thousands of viewers, and has attracted over a hundred of supporters to post a video with the same message as him! This could not have been done so easily, and in so little time, with a traditional march-down-the-streets-with-billboards-saying-Get-out-of-Iraq sort of protest.

Here is one of the videos below:

In general, I think that as internet becomes faster, cheaper, and more widely available, more and more people would turn to video blogging rather than text (what I am doing now…) Rather than the more detached and impersonal text you can see people live delivering their message, with a live face to the message, with a voice, accent and emotion. This is already catching on at sites like YouTube.

Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, Augusto Pinochet, Shamil Basayev, al-Zarqawi – these are some of the worst mass murderers ever witnessed by mankind, and all died in the past year.  2006 is a Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar, but I think it is an insult to the poor canines to be compared to these despicable beings I have listed above, I rename it to a Year of the Monsters.  Sting, a famous British musician (to whom I used to listen a lot), had a song about Pinochet and his government – he sung:

One day we’ll dance on their graves
One day we’ll sing our freedom
One day we’ll laugh in our joy

Well, these people are dead now, and while for some this is a cause for celebration, it does not change the harsh reality.  Personally I am indifferent.  Their deaths do not bring freedom, nor restore peace and prosperity.  If they have been deposed, their deaths have no effect, and in the case of the ones who were still in power, their organisations have new leaders.  The people they’ve murdered are gone, the lives that they have destroyed are not repaired, and not a single one of them had been brought through a complete fair trial. And the followers of Hussein, Basayev and al-Zarqawi keep killing. Many more mass murderers will never go to trial, will never be hunted down and continue to kill right this instant.

Hundreds of thousands of people dead in Iraq alone and the death toll only keeps climbing – the deadly mess of the “liberation”.

Chechnya is still in ruins, and there are regular armed clashes – though this does not make the news any more. Israel, Palestine and Lebanon is still as tense as ever.

North Korea and Iran playing with nukes. There is war in Somalia (not that it’s new) and a major crisis in Sudan.

Will 2007 be a Happy New Year for our planet? I hope so, but I think not.