The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 24th November 2006

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BEIRUT ASSASSINATION - Syria puts the  blame on Israel

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

Falangist leader Pierre Gemayel was gunned down in broad daylight in the streets of a Christian suburb of the capital, Beirut, on Tuesday. In a well-planned assassination, Gemayel’s vehicle was rammed and then hit-men riddled it with bullets.

While his followers gather in the Gemayel clan’s home village for the funeral, reactionary Lebanese politicians and the imperialist media have wasted no time in blaming Syria for the assassination. But the Syrians themselves have denounced the murder as “despicable” accusing Israeli intelligence of the killing.

In New York Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Al-Jaafari said: “Syria has nothing to do with this. It is affected directly or indirectly by such horrible crimes committed in Lebanon. It is not in our interest to see escalation in Lebanon. We want stability and national unity in Lebanon. We want it to preserve its identity and establish a national unity government to lead the country to a better future”.

One has to always ask the question who is the “beneficiary” of the crime, Al Jaafari added. “Israel, only two days ago, on Friday, was condemned in the UN General Assembly for its crimes in Gaza. So there was a unanimous international voice to condemn Israeli terrorism committed in the occupied territories. Therefore, it is in the interest of the Israeli assassinating hand to turn the spotlight on somebody else,” the Syrian envoy declared.

The leader of the fascist Falange was Industry Minister in the unpopular ruling coalition that came to power after last year’s imperialist-inspired “cedar revolution”, which forced Syria to withdraw its peace-keeping troops from Lebanon. The Falange, which was founded by Gemayel’s grandfather in 1936, led the reactionary and mainly Christian forces during a bloody 15-year long civil war which ended in 1990 with the reactionary forces conceding that their old hegemony was over.
Falange influence declined within the Maronite Christian community with the end of the civil conflict. Though still a major player with other Maronite parties in right-wing blocs, the Falange has split and the Maronite community as a whole no longer looks exclusively to Israel, France or the United States for support. General Michel Aoun, who made his name as a commander during the civil war,  was briefly premier in sectarian Lebanese governments during the late 1980s.


Though his supporters are Maronite he has won considerable sympathy and support from the Muslims. His Free Patriotic Movement party has 21 MPs who call for a secular republic and they are now allied to the pro-Syrian Hezbollah which is exclusively based within the Shia Muslim community.

Though Gemayel was an outspoken opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon, Syria has nothing to gain from an assassination that could trigger another civil war. The same can’t be said for Israel.

When Israel invaded Lebanon last summer it was clearly banking on its old Maronite allies turning on Hezbollah during the fighting. That didn’t happen and the war ended in a humiliating defeat for Tel Aviv and renewed demands from General Aoun and Hezbollah for new elections. Re-opening the old wounds to provoke a new civil war would help Israel make a come-back in Lebanon and push Hezbollah, Syria and their Iranian allies onto the defensive. It would also scupper Iranian efforts like this weekend’s summit between puppet Iraqi “president” Jalal Talabani and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, which is plainly aimed at detaching the puppet regime in Iraq from Anglo-American imperialism.

Washington and Tel Aviv would welcome any opportunity to divert Arab attention away from Iraq and Palestine and that’s why they stoked the flames of civil strife in Lebanon in the past.

But no one in Lebanon is queuing up for it. All the major families on both sides lost sons in the last civil war which left the country in ruins and the south in Israeli hands. It took years to get the Israelis out – and when they did go in 2000 they still held on to the Shebaa Farms, the source of continuing conflict with Hezbollah.

Lebanon has proclaimed three days of mourning for Pierre Gemayel and this week’s Independence Day ceremonies have been cancelled.  President Emile Lahoud, who is a friend of Syria, went on television on Tuesday to warn that Gemayel’s murder was part of a “conspiracy” that began with the February 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.

“I tell the Lebanese that today is the time for them to unite or else all of Lebanon will lose,” Lahoud declared. “We will do the impossible to uncover the criminals because they are against all the Lebanese”. .


Super nannies

PRIME Minister Tony Blair last week announced a new measure to deal with anti-social behaviour among young children. He will appoint “super-nannies” to visit the families of badly behaved youngsters and instruct the parents on parenting skills and how to control their children.

 Indirectly, this is an admission that the system of anti-social behaviour orders is not working, if it was, super-nannies would not be needed. But it was the revelation of the details of the super-nanny scheme – just 80 super-nannies to be appointed to sort out the problems of the whole country at a cost of £4 million – that told us what it is really about. It is simply a pathetic cosmetic exercise to make it appear that the Government is actually doing something about our neglected children when they are really dodging a very serious issue that needs proper investment.

 The Government and the media are always quick to blame the parents but human beings are social animals whose offspring take a long time to mature. Children need the whole of their community to be involved in rearing, educating and socialising them.

 Under capitalism they are deprived even of basic parental care as long as working class parents are forced to work excessively long hours to pay bills and mounting debts. When state welfare was introduced in Britain after the Second World War it boasted care from the cradle to the grave. Since then most of the social care for children has been lost to spending cuts and the only thing we get from the cradle to the grave is debt.

 Gone are the after-school clubs, youth clubs, sponsored holidays and other schemes that told children that their society valued them. Now they are left to their own devices while their parents are locked down making profits for the bosses. What does that tell children about their own worth and value to society? No wonder some misbehave!

 In socialist societies children are truly valued; they have opportunities for recreation and leisure, for interesting and exciting hobbies that will stretch them to accomplish more than they thought they could. The world of adulthood welcomes them with open arms, with personal time and attention from parents, teachers, trainers and many others to encourage them into a fulfilling future.

 Parents are always blamed for their children’s behaviour but social support for struggling parents is as rare as hen’s teeth. If the Government only provided social support for the desperate parents who request it, the problems of anti-social behaviour would be a lot less. But that would require a lot more than just 80 specialised child psychology experts.

 And parents cannot be held responsible for what their children do at school, when the school itself is supposed to be acting in loco parentis. There are many reasons why children misbehave in schools but most of them can be resolved with enough time and attention to get to the bottom of the problem. But that needs more teachers and smaller classes – just what Blair was promising when he came to power in 1997!

Throwing away the key
In a similar vein, the Government is trying to pass a new Bill that will allow them to impose compulsory community treatment and preventive detention on people deemed to have dangerous and severe personality disorders.

 This follows a few sensationalised incidents of mental health patients committing serious violent crimes. In almost every case, the patient in question and their families had previously begged mental health services for care and treatment but been denied because of shortages of in-patient beds, doctors and nurses.

 If only mental health patients were taken seriously when they ask for help, many tragedies could be prevented – including high numbers of patient suicides. But again, this would involve real investment in resources – and valuing people above profit.

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