Maybe regrettably, I am quintessentially an American working class woman–certainly not in the sense of exemplar or crème de la crème but in the sense of blunt-spoken with a low tolerance for BS. In portraying the political resistance of Kashmiri women, my intention is not to offend anyone but to mock the stereotypes used so egregiously in Islamophobic propaganda. Sometimes, striking with a two-by-four has more effect than delicacy of language. At least that’s what I tell myself when my intemperance erupts. So please don’t take my mockery as disrespect.
Lest there be any confusion about the Islamophobic & fascist character of Vanessa Beeley’s politics, she has come out openly endorsing Duterte’s murderous aerial & artillery assault on the city of Marawi from May through October 2017 under the guise of destroying ISIS control over the city. Over 600,000 civilians from the city & surrounding province were forcibly dislocated in that siege which the US military was involved in. There have long been US troops stationed in the province but the Pentagon claims its role in the siege was not combat troops so much as intelligence, training, & technical support. Just like the US ‘support’ role in the carpet bombing of Yemen.
Just so we’re clear about Duterte’s politics in Marawi–if we don’t get his use of vigilante death squads against the poor in Manila–last February he said that Moro Muslim women who resist persecution should be ‘shot in the vagina’ because they are ‘useless without their genitals’. Moro Muslims in the province have long sustained persecution, including massacres, mass rapes, & repeated military assaults.
Beeley’s support for US military involvement in Marawi only appears to be at odds with her opposition to US involvement in Syria. The unifying ethos of her fascist politics is hatred for Muslims & for their resistance to persecution, war, occupation, genocide. Her support for the Assad dictatorship is a coherent continuation of her support for Duterte & for the Burmese genocide against the Rohingya people.
(Caricature of Duterte by takeshioekaki)
This is a piece I wrote about the Moro Muslim struggle in May 2017:
If we are to believe media reports, ISIS & al-Qaeda fighters are replacing US & European military hegemony all over the planet. If they keep expanding at the reported rate, they’ll soon have more military bases than the 800 to 1,000 US Pentagon bases. Of course, if they weren’t being supplied arms from Israel, Russia, the US, & other countries, ISIS & al-Qaeda would cease to exist.
The latest eruptions? Modi reports ISIS forces in Kashmir; Suu Kyi reports them among Rohingya in Arakan state; Duterte just imposed martial law to fight ISIS in Mindanao, the largest & southernmost island in the Philippines. The largest city on Mindanao is Davao City where the Duterte family is part of the ruling elite & where Duterte, as the mayor, became notorious for orchestrating death squad campaigns against alleged drug users & street criminals.
Because it was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898, including during the era of the Spanish Inquisition which compelled conversion of Jews & Muslims, the Philippines are a predominantly Christian country. But Muslims have been in the Philippines, centered in Mindanao, since the 13th century when Muslim traders settled there. After the Spanish conquest of the Philippines, which followed the expulsion of Muslim rule over the Iberian peninsula by only 30 years (1492), Muslims in the Philippines had to feign conversion to Catholicism or be killed. Those who remained Muslim were called Moro by the Spanish conquerers, which is a derogatory name derived from Moors, originally the Berber & Arab people from North Africa who ruled the Iberian peninsula for almost 800 years, ending in 1492. And it might be added, who ruled with considerably more tolerance than the Catholic monarchy.
Since then, Muslims in Mindanao & surrounding parts of the archipelago have fought against the Spanish, the US military (more than once), against the Japanese occupation in WWII, & successive Filipino regimes. They have sustained persecution, massacres (including being slaughtered while praying at a mosque), mass rapes, & repeated military assaults. Anyone who accepts the word of the Duterte regime that the insurgency in Mindanao is by ISIS-linked forces needs to have their head examined.
This bereft woman was displaced by fighting in Marawi City between government forces & allegedly the Maute group, a militia founded in 2013. The Duterte calls the Maute group a “radical Islamist” group & has accused them of beheadings. It is wise to suspend damnations until more reliable sources can elaborate the politics of the group which is likely quite small & does not require the imposition of martial law to defeat.
(Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters)
What does it tell you that Facebook collaborates with Israel, India, & Burma to censor the struggles of Palestinians, Kashmiris, & Rohingya under the guise of protecting us from fake news? So how can an organization which sifts through our messages & sells our private data have the temerity to get on a high horse about integrity & fake news? The time has come for censorship on social media to be politically challenged along with the invasion of privacy because they are of a piece. This is what Zuckerberg had to say in a recent interview about Facebook censoring of the Rohingya genocide:
“The Myanmar issues have, I think, gotten a lot of focus inside the company. I remember, one Saturday morning, I got a phone call & we detected that people were trying to spread sensational messages through–it was Facebook Messenger in this case–to each side of the conflict, basically telling the Muslims, “Hey, there’s about to be an uprising of the Buddhists, so make sure that you are armed & go to this place.” And then the same thing on the other side. So that’s the kind of thing where I think it is clear that people were trying to use our tools in order to incite real harm. Now, in that case, our systems detect that that’s going on. We stop those messages from going through.”
There’s something about genocide & the exodus of nearly a million people in just a matter of weeks that makes the news pretty damn “sensational.” No Rohingya, in their private messages or public posts, had any need to dramatize or sensationalize. That’s the method genocidaires & fascists use to justify their crimes, as we know so well from Assad propagandists. Who did FB get that phone call from? Suu Kyi or one of the generals who constantly complain about unfair reporting & fake news photos from the Rohingya genocide? Zuckerberg shamelessly admitted that FB ignored overwhelming, irrefutable documentation of genocide against the Rohingya people, available all over international & social media, including the repeated–albeit wimpy–protests from the UN & human rights groups. Instead, he turned genocide into a Muslim attempt to “incite real harm” against Buddhists. That “same thing on the other side” doesn’t cut it for parity when we’re talking unarmed civilians & a handful of ARSA fighters with homemade weapons against the Burmese military & nationalist death squads armed with high-tech weapons of war engaged in aerial & artillery assaults.
With such a deranged moral compass & faulty detection systems guided by Israeli, Indian, & Burmese censors, FB is in no position to adjudicate what is & is not fake news. Far worse, by censoring Rohingya voices, FB unleashed Burmese nationalists & fascists who were allowed to express vitriolic & poisonous hatred of Muslims & the Rohingya people. What makes the FB admission all the more sickening is that the Burmese military exterminated almost the entire underground network of Rohingya citizen journalists who reported from their mobile phones for several years at great danger to themselves. They were the reporters that FB was censoring as fake news to ‘incite harm.’ There’s an accounting due here. An accounting to those subject to war, occupation, & genocide for trying to silence their voices.
Photo is little refugee boy from September 2017. Just so we remember what news was actually being censored.
(Photo by Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)
The Great Return March in Gaza for the Palestinian right of refugees to return to their homeland gathered again today, reportedly even larger than last Friday when Israeli snipes opened fire on unarmed protesters. Nineteen were killed & 1,400 were injured. Israel has again opened fire on unarmed protesters & an unconfirmed report says nine have been injured.
There should be Great Return March solidarity rallies around the world in defense of the democratic right of Palestinians to protest without being shot at as well as the right of refugees to return. The apartheid state of Israel has a Law of Return which allows Jews anywhere in the world who have no connections to Israel & who have never even been there to claim citizenship. That’s what the settler movement is all about: to forcibly remove indigenous Palestinians & take over their lands in a genocide modeled on the extermination of the native peoples in the Americas.
Stand with Palestinians against the violence.
(Photo of march today from Great Return March on Twitter)
This is a Kashmiri boy who sustained these pellet gun injuries during the 2016 uprising when over 15,000 people were injured by pellet munitions, designated by India as non-lethal weapons. The Indian army’s use of pellets was so indiscriminate in 2016 that it was condemned in international media after Kashmiri activists exposed the barbarism on social media. In response, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed that Indian soldiers in basic training would be instructed in the proper use of pellets for “mob control”–which to the deranged militarist mind means directing fire below the waist. That is the cognitive disfunction of occupation & genocide because there is no way in hell that a volley of lead pellets shot at high velocity anywhere on the body can be anything but inhuman, lethal, & constituting a major human rights crime.
Kashmiri doctors reported that at least 40 civilians were admitted to hospital on Sunday for pellet gun injuries, mostly to the eyes. One ophthalmologist said he performed 28 eye surgeries on Sunday. This criminality is intentional for the purpose of disabling, disfiguring, & demoralizing especially young people engaged in resistance to occupation.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
(Photo from several Kashmiri sources)
An album of protests in Kashmir against the killing of 17 young men on Sunday & another man on Tuesday.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.