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2/1/2009

GRISLY FOOTAGE OF BURNING SHOE FUELS REPRESSION

Filed under: irian jaya,kenya,media,thailand,usa — admin @ 9:16 am

A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush during a trip to
Iraq has been unveiled in a ceremony at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.

Graphic television footage of violent and cruel acts should be banned, a
group of angry parents says. Members of the Network of Family Watch and
Creative Media are demanding that television stations put a stop to
repeated images of horror that could harm children and instill violent
tendencies.

There is mounting evidence that violence and repression in West Papua are
intensifying. Lately, there were several reports of killings and
shootings, and a rise in ‘accidental deaths’ of Papua’s tribal people at
the hands of the Indonesian military and police.

Rescuers combed a tanker crash site in Kenya where around 100 people were
killed when oil they were scrabbling for caught fire in one of the east
African nation’s worst accidents of recent times.

Assisted by children at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown
replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in
Baghdad.

Network leader Anya-orn Panichpuengrat said parents were concerned
children watching the news would be disturbed by horrific scenes being
played and re-played. She said footage aired in recent weeks showing
people being beaten and even shot dead should not have been broadcast.
Most of the offending footage was obtained from surveillance cameras. She
said ugly scenes were broadcast repeatedly during news segments and “it
felt as though the violence was never ending”.

At least four Papuans have been ‘accidentally’ shot dead by police in West
Papuan towns and four bodies have been found dumped by the side of the
road or in rivers.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the disaster, in which 178 people were
burned and injured, showed the desperation of poor Kenyans and the
nation’s lack of preparedness for accidents. “Poverty is pushing our
people into doing desperate things just to get through one more day,”
Odinga said during a visit to victims of the blaze, which took place on
Saturday evening on a road near Molo town in the central Rift Valley.

Al-Zaidi was jailed for his actions, and a trial is pending. But his angry
gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He
is regarded by many people as a hero. Demonstrators took to the streets in
the Arab world and called for his release.

The network plans to visit television stations to inquire into their
reasons for running such footage. While the broadcasts could help track
down suspects, showing the entire tape was unacceptable, she said. Ms
Anya-orn said one case involved the shooting to death of a security guard
and then a woman by her jealous boyfriend in Prachin Buri. Another showed
a vocational student being gunned down during a fracas connected to
inter-school rivalry near Kasetsart University. Footage of a teenage boy
being brutally beaten by a gang of teenagers in Ayutthaya was aired on
television repeatedly.

A 13 year-old boy was ‘accidentally’ killed when police fired over the
heads of a crowd after a dispute in a local market. In another incident,
police fired on a group of Papuans celebrating New Year, killing one man.
In retaliation for a violent response to this killing, police shot dead an
eight year-old boy and destroyed local people’s houses.

“This being a rural area, there was no response by any disaster team
because there is no such team.” Regional authorities revised the death
toll to 94 from 111 after difficulties counting the bodies in darkness.
“We counted 89 bodies last night and five have died this morning,” Rift
Valley provincial commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan told reporters. The Red
Cross said up to 110 had died, a health minister said 97, and police gave
a toll of 91.

The shoe monument, made of fiberglass and coated with copper, consists of
the shoe and a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters (11.5
feet) high. The shoe is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1.5 meters (4.9
feet) wide. The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure —
unveiled Tuesday — in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the
orphanage director. “Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building
this monument were the victims of Bush’s war,” al-Naseri said. “The shoe
monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by
the journalist.”

“Is it right that children are watching this?” Ms Anya-orn asked. “The
children will slowly build a tolerance to violence and could even imitate
those acts.” She said television stations must stop running grisly footage
and the broadcast regulatory body must step in and impose stricter
controls. The government should establish a rights protection agency to
receive complaints and seek prosecution of irresponsible media outlets,
she said.

Papua’s High Court extended the sentences of 11 Papuans who had been
arrested for peacefully displaying the banned West Papuan flag, from eight
months to between three and three and a half years. There are also reports
of renewed activity, supported by the Indonesian army, of the notorious
Islamic militia group, Merah Putih (Red and White), in the highland town
of Wamena.

When the oil tanker careered off the road, hundreds of locals began
pouring to the scene with jerrycans to try to scoop up some free fuel.
Suddenly, the oil caught light and the blaze engulfed the crowd. Many
bodies were burned beyond recognition. Rescuers said someone may have
accidentally dropped a cigarette, although there was also suspicion
someone angered at being blocked by police may have started the fire on
purpose.

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