Monday, 20 February 2017


This anecdotal account is about the interconnectedness of the above.
Mike, my husband and I arrived on the Zambian North Bank Power Scheme in 1972. Our news, the Observer newspaper, arrived by post every week.
Our friends, Hamish and Monica, left Zambia to work on another dam in the Shah's Iran. There was an earthquake in Iran. Soon after the Shah was replaced by a revolution. They didn't stay.
It was the Cold War. Zambia was punished by apartheid South Africa and Smith's UDI Rhodesia for its support for African freedom. Oil supplies were a big problem. Iraq provided oil by tanker – a pipeline from east Africa was built. Dundiza Chidiza Crescent became Saddam Hussein Boulevard.
There was a war between Iran and Iraq in which the west were involved on one side or the other or on both. It was a moot point as to which was the worse regime for its people and for its women.
Kate, a US diplomat, who had served in Zambia and acted in Lusaka Playhouse, was one of those imprisoned in the US embassy in Iran.
The Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, was vilified by the Western press for his friendship with Saddam. He was supposed to have become a billionaire and personally owned an oil tanker. Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). There was a connection with Israel, Holland and apartheid South Africa and the Big Gun designed to deliver the WMDs. Lusaka was a key airport on route for these deals which may or may not have happened. It was bar talk in Lusaka.
Saddam arrested an Observer journalist in Iraq who was investigating the WMDs story. He was executed. That journalist's British friend, Daphne, was put in solitary confinement. Kaunda arranged her freedom and she was released to Zambia and the British High Commission.
Saddam invaded Kuwait. Many of us believed that this was the start of the Third World War. It was the first Iraq war. The West defeated Iraq but the war was unfinished. From this point onwards the West continued to bomb Iraq ostensibly in support of the Marsh Arabs. Iraqi civilians also died but Saddam often used hostages to defend military sites.
The Afghan War continued in its myriad convolutions. Fundamentalist forms of conflicted and divided Islam had been recruiting in Africa for decades but now in the Middle East they had developed into Al Qaeda and ISIL.
On 9/11, a brilliantly conceived and successful attack on New York, the commercial capital city of the USA, took place.
2003 Bush and Blair decided to finalise the war with Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein. It seems likely that the WMDs used as the excuse were no longer in Iraq as a weakened Saddam had handed them to Bashir Assad of Syria who later used chemical weapons against his own civilians.
2013 Britain voted not to take action against Assad in support of his people. The resultant tragedy in Syria caused the huge migrant crisis which helped an anti-immigrant Britain vote Brexit and may lead to the breakup of the European Union.
In 2016 The Chilcot Inquiry reported. Tony Blair was apparently entirely and solely the most responsible for the war and all the deaths that resulted from the American/British intervention in Iraq over the whole period. He is the single scapegoat in an extraordinarily complex situation. Is that just?
The security of Britain, Europe, the USA, the Middle East and the Mediterranean areas are closely bound together now and have been for over a century. Today British and American troops continue to operate in Iraq.
Please explain to me why, in this complicated and interwoven scenario that has gone on for so long, Tony Blair is singled out as the one and only bad person?
Should his intelligent and patriotic concerns about Brexit be therefore disregarded?


  1. Hi Ruth first thought bit of a cliché 'what comes around goes around'. Tony Blair was not the only one to blame re Iraq and he is right about Brexit. We seem to have forgotten that the Iraq war had popular support at first. We are all to blame for letting our various leaders use the Middle East as a football and test site for war games. When in a really gloomy mood I think we deserve Brexit and maybe need to go through the pain so we can learn to be a little less arrogant. Londonschild is my user name for a variety of sites.

    1. Thanks for your comment Londonschild. Yes we need to learn and will whatever happens - it would be good to talk with people who have different ideas.

  2. Regardless of whether he was responsible for destabilising the middle east or not, you have taken a somewhat simplistic and biased view towards half a century of history. Intelligent and patriotic concerns? Seriously?? You really have sold out and clutch at any straw to maintain your personal viewpoint. Blair and you and many Remoaners miss one simple fact, the same simple fact that probably got Trump elected. Mr and Mrs ordinary - and like Blair and others you make the mistake of believing that the remain vote was carried by uneducated idiots (over half the counry are uneducated idiots?) whereas they knew exactly what they were voting for - a change in the system. So yes I do not want to remain shackled to Europe, there is a much bigger world outside it, with trading partners who are delighted we are quitting a corrupt organisation, and no I don't want to put the needs of 3 million Europeans living here above the 70 million who are UK citizens. We have always lived and moved around Europe without the EU, owned property, moved to Benidorm and vice versa. The only people advocating or continuing to advocate doom and gloom are those such as yourself and others who refuse to think laterally and look how to make it work instead of spending money trying to derail it

  3. Goodness, Ruth, you draw strong comment.