News Day: Memorial Day

477px-Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_DayOn Memorial Day, reports from several war zones around the world … and some responses to war.

Afghanistan After a four-day attack targeting the town of Marja in Helmand province, U.S. and Afghan forces claim to have killed 60 Taliban and seized 92 tons of drugs, according to BBC.

From Reuters, the voices of Afghan poets speak on the war:

We have heard these anecdotes
That control will be again in the hands of the killer
Some will be chanting the slogans of death
And some will be chanting the slogans of life
The white and sacred pages of the history
Remind one of some people
In white clothes, they are the snakes in the sleeves
They capture Kabul and they capture Baghdad.

Pakistan According to BBC, Pakistan government troops and Taliban are fighting in the streets of Mingora, the largest city in the Swat region. On Friday, a car bomb killed at least six people and injured 70 in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Nigeria BBC In response to a 10-day army assault that has forced thousands of people from their homes, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it had attacked pipes for a Chevron facility. MEND says it wants a larger share of resources for people in the Niger Delta region. Chevron says it has shut down part of its output because of the attacks. The conflict between MEND and the army began in 2006.

Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr. writes in The Observer that “Now, at last, it’s time for Shell to atone for my father’s death.”

This week, a US court will hear a case that I and nine other plaintiffs filed against Royal Dutch Shell for its part in human rights violations committed against some Ogoni families and individuals in Nigeria in 1995. … Ken Saro-Wiwa’s real “crime” was his audacity to sensitise local and global public opinion to the ecological and human rights abuses perpetrated by Shell and a ruthless military dictatorship against the Ogoni people.

Somalia BBC Al-Shabab leader Sheik Husein Ali Fidow said a Somali teenager carried out a suicide bombing on Sunday, killing six soldiers and a civilian in the capital of Mogadishu

Colombia Colombia’s ELN rebels asked the larger FARC rebel gorup for a truce. “Both the Farc and the ELN have been fighting the Colombian government since the 1960s,” according to BBC.

Sudan Two Sudan army bases in or near Darfur have been seized over the past week, reports BBC, possibly by rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), one of the competing rebel groups in Darfur.

Iraq Steve Carlson writes of “the awful sound of silence” about the impact of the Iraq war on Iraqi people:

But what are the people of Iraq facing? What must it be like to be a survivor of the Iraqi War? …

• The website Iraq Body Count has cross documented the violent deaths of between 90,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the 2003 American led invasion and occupation. Most experts agree that this number is, in all probability, significantly below the actual death toll.

• A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins estimated that as of July, 2006, the death toll had exceeded 600,000 people.

• A September 2007 study by the prestigious British polling firm Opinion Research Business, put the death toll at 1.2 million Iraqis.

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