Thursday, September 24, 2009

GOATS -- for Social Justice

The Goat Narrative seems to be gaining ground, clambering into ethical spaces in some of the most conflicted and battle-weary war zones of South Asia.

Kashmir and Kandahar (and several hundred villages in between), would benefit from a few thousand extra goats.

Homegrown goats from across South Asia and perhaps a nice Goat Exchange set up with our sisters and brothers in sovereign nation-states in the previously colonized and still oppressed Global South. Indonesia, Africa, Ecuador.

We need Goats instead of Drones.

Let those US generals and US-led NATO European occupiers, chew on that.

Let Obama ruminate.

Goats have work to do. Peacework. Pro-Poor development.

This past summer I volunteered in Srinagar with an innovative Social Medicine project called PACE -- Prevention & Care for Everyone. The founder-director a serene,intense,dedicated Kashmiri doctor who had quit his safe government job to directly offer care to persons suffering from symptoms related to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as drug related problems,
told me a Goat story.

One day, Dr. Arshad Arif was treating an elderly woman patient. She suddenly asked him:


Is anyone listening to this innocent casualty of terror, violence, hunger and deprivation?

What is she telling us?

That she is fully capable of self-diagnosis. She doesn't really need a doctor to tell her what's wrong with her.

She knows what ails her. What has made her mentally ill is a cruel denial of livelihood opportunity.

If she has a goat, a goat will give her milk that she can sell to her neighbors and the money earned will give her a chance to feed herself and her family.

She will walk around while tending her goat and the very act of walking will take her outdoors with something safe and productive to do.

The very act of walking will kick in her endorphins, lessening her pain and despair, and lifting her depressive symptoms.

She wants to be an entrepreneur. She wants to be self employed and earn a living.

Who's listening?

She wants to be well and knows exactly how to get well.

She's basically saying Don't get my Goat. Just give me one.
Or two.
Or three.
Throw in some sheep to optimize sustainability.

Over in Afghanistan the Goat narrative has been repeated many times over. (see link below)

Who's listening?

Goats for PEACE of MIND.

Goats for a PIECE of the Rock, A Slice of the Pie.


Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

NYTimes copyright

Read the link below to understand why the US govt will probably NEVER get it right in South Asia. Unless they give up their loose-cannon, control-freak , extremely profitable, expanionist, militaristic mindset.

In this article, the author, a US soldier,(read his bio below) collects powerful factual data from a local Afghan elder. He then proceeds to DRAW the WRONG CONCLUSION, based upon the US IDEOLOGY OF GLOBAL DOMINANCE.

I have bolded passages in the NYTimes text, adding my own emphasis, to refute the soldier's NYTimes article and instead, make the case for SOCIAL JUSTICE. (CKK)

VIOLENCE is the preferred(read -- most lucrative)option of the US in South Asia.

The sooner WE THE PEOPLE of the sovereign nation-states of South Asia recognize this on-the-ground proven fact, the better for us all in South Asia.

Our own homegrown so-called leaders in South Asia just don't get it, so it is up to WE the PEOPLE of South Asia, working TOGETHER.

Sorry James Morin, Goats and Drones just don't go together. Goats and Troops don't go together. Goats and deadly Firepower don't go together.

Morin, You just don't get it and neither does the government you purport to represent.

I am a voter too and I vote for Social Justice and against Profit-making Violence.

I Vote for Goats.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Patience and Staying Power
James Morin

James Morin, an attorney and a former captain in the U.S. Army, has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project. (a paid propagandist proxy of the US govt, my note ckk).
Reading General McChrystal’s long-awaited assessment on Afghanistan this morning, my thoughts were pulled back to the frustrating time I spent there as an infantry platoon leader in 2003, and how much our military has learned since then.

In addition to more ground troops, military trainers and civilian experts, we might need some goats.

I remember my first mission in particular, a patrol to a small village of goat-herders, a stone’s throw from Pakistan. Upon arrival we accepted the elder’s invitation to tea. Eager to curry favor with the residents (and learn the whereabouts of the local Taliban), we asked if there was anything the village needed: school supplies, food, medicine.

One elder stroked his long, white beard and responded, “We would like a pair of American goats.”

We chuckled about the similarity to the old adage about giving a man a fish, and then off-loaded thousands of dollars of packaged food and coloring books. To my knowledge, we never gained any intelligence from that village. But then again, we didn’t have enough troops to go back and ask.

So went the remainder of my tour. We hunted the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but we didn’t spend much time listening to and acting upon what the people of Afghanistan needed. General McChrystal seems poised to change this focus to one which “is credible to, and sustainable by, the Afghans.”

With new training manuals, revamped schooling and six years of experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, our military is well-schooled in the art of counter-insurgency. They now have a strategy to match. But winning, as the assessment makes clear, will require protecting the populace — not just from militants, but from disease, hunger and ignorance as well. Yes, this will require more ground units, more military trainers as well as more civilian experts in governance and economic development. Perhaps, it will even require goats. But more important, this new strategy will require patience. We will only win if we show that we are not just passing through Afghanistan.

Note: Parts of Morin's bio are self-explanatory

Jim Morin is an attorney in the Project & International Finance Group at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where he has worked on a variety of projects involving renewable energy, infrastructure as well as financing both profitable and nonprofit development activities in a wide variety of countries including Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan, Ghana and Turkey. He has published work on the financing constraints facing renewable energy projects.

Prior to graduating Georgetown University Law Center, Jim served for 6 years as an officer in the U.S. Army, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader in the 82nd Airborne Division. He also served as a Company Commander in the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard (the Escort to the President). He has also served two years in the Virginia National Guard, with a mission focus on homeland security in the National Capitol Region. He was twice awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Exceptional Service in Combat. He is a 2001 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in military history, focusing on counter-insurgency and low-intensity conflict. During the Obama campaign Jim served as a Director of Virginia Veterans for Obama.

Jim lives in Herndon, Virginia with his wife and four children.

ATTRA/NCAT copyright

Goats and Sustainability
(this is my content title, read more on their website. ckk)

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