The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th November 2006
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ASSASSINATION - Syria puts the blame on Israel
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
LEBANESE 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
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
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
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
“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”. .
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
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!
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
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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