Things may look extremely bleak for Rohingya refugees in those makeshift camps in Bangladesh, especially with the monsoons coming. With no citizenship rights, they can’t go back & with no papers, they can’t seek asylum elsewhere. Against genocide, incremental change is not to be lauded. But there is a significant change from 2012 when the genocidal onslaught against them was drowned out by the hoopla over Suu Kyi & the Nobel. Then, Suu Kyi was an international human rights superstar & it was “Rohingya who?” Today, Rohingya refugees are building a solidarity movement, brilliantly using social media as Kashmiris & Palestinians do, Suu Kyi has been disgraced as a genocidaire, & there is international respect for the Rohingya people. Time is never on the hands of social struggle. But while things are bleak, they are no longer hopeless. That makes all the difference in the world. Let us express our immense respect for Rohingya activists who are the ones making all the difference. In that regard we should honor the citizen journalists in Arakan state who played a central role in informing us but who have been exterminated by the Burmese military & its nationalist death squads. May they Rest In Peace after a life of honor.
The John McCain Institute handing an honorific for courage to the White Helmets is nothing to tweet home about, especially with Joe Lieberman standing there looking on. McCain & Lieberman are among the most contemptible figures in US politics: pro-war, pro-Israel, anti-immigrant. It’s very much like the Nobel Peace Prize going to Kissinger & Suu Kyi but also Martin Luther King & Desmond Tutu. If there’s no money attached to the damn thing, it should be rebuffed. If there’s money that can be used for search & rescue, grab it & run. It’s embarrassing for human rights activists in the US who stand against war & with Palestinians & immigrants. We refuse to honor it. It still isn’t cause to vilify the White Helmets.
Cindy Sheehan was never a deeply political person but mostly a grieving mother who lost her son when he was deployed in Iraq. Without any real political grounding, she’s been publicly pronouncing the US antiwar movement dead for several years & substitutes grandstanding gestures for proposals or activities to rebuild the movement. Basically she’s isn’t a movement builder but is at heart a grandstander. She has mocked & denounced every single protest against Trump’s policies, including the international Women’s March 2017 & 2018 which took place on every continent & were broader than US politics. Now she’s called a “March on the Pentagon Women’s March (Give a Shit)” for October which is only endorsed by Assad supporters & other halfwits. It’s a thoroughly sectarian & elitist operation which counterposes itself to the over three-million women who marched in the Women’s March. As the queen of the operation, Sheehan claims they will refuse money to build the march from liberals–although how it will vet which donors are liberals & which are the halfwits is not known. If Sheehan were a movement builder, she would know that liberals have bankrolled & been the majority of every social movement of the past 70 years, from civil rights to women’s rights to the antiwar movement. Why would you exclude people opposed to war just because they are liberals? Do they not play a significant role in politics? Have they not always? Don’t you think they are as needed as anyone in trying to make this world a suitable place to live? Let us be frank: they have, they do, & they will play a central role in social movements whereas the fascists & misanthropes Sheehan is aligned with are only a brake on social change.
The US State Department has put a freeze on funding to the White Helmets for reasons unknown. Maybe an Assad propagandist or one of their guppies can tell us if the State Department is trying to undermine that US regime-change scenario? It’s not problematic that the White Helmets accepted aid from wherever it came. They are a search & rescue operation, not an armed militia. What’s a big, fat problem is that it led some people to believe the US could be prevailed on to aid the revolution against Assad when the US has always operated comfortably with dictators & has never tolerated popular movements for democracy. Over 100,000 US bombs & missiles dropped on Syria cost a hell of a lot more than aid to the White Helmets & that is likely to be increased, not ended–not to change the Assad regime but for the US to remain a central player in Middle East politics.
Post-apocalyptic Raqqa, Syria: this is how Raqqa looks after the US bombing onslaught where it used white phosphorous, ostensibly to clear out ISIS but which had a civilian population of 270,000 & is now uninhabitable. One person from Raqqa said, “The passion & power the US put in to liberate (sic) Raqqa does not at all equal the passion to rebuild Raqqa….They give us very beautiful words & promises but not much else.”
So maybe someone from the pro-Assad crowd could tell us how this dead zone fits into that US regime-change scenario? And maybe someone from the anti-Assad, pro-US intervention crowd could tell us how this fits into that humanitarian intervention scenario?
(Photo from PTI)
Glenn Greenwald used to be called on as one of those political authorities with demigod status. But like the rest of them, he bombed out on Syria & showed that when it comes to matters more significant than animal rights, he is out of his league. One can hardly keep up with his craziness–from the deep state trying to take down Trump rubbish to his blithering about Syria. Now he wades deeper into the morass by responding to provocations by Max Blumenthal, a political dirt-ball & the corrupt social climber making his fortunes by sucking up to Putin & Assad. When Blumenthal attempts to impugn the journalism & exposés of Robert Mackey or the brilliant polemic by Mehdi Hasan about Syria in The Intercept, Greenwald replies that he absolutely agrees with two-bit propagandist Blumenthal that The Intercept has “been inexcusably one-sided on the Syria debate.” How many sides are there in a situation where Syrian, Russian, & US-coalition bombers are bombing civilians under the guise of exterminating terrorists?
If you are a principled political person, there is only one side to champion & that is the side of Syrian civilians being bombed. You can shove your Lenin quotes trying to justify the bombing; you can blither out your rear end about US regime change & Syrian & Russian bombing to protect Assad’s national sovereignty. You can vilify the White Helmets & do the guppy-walk after Beeley, Bartlett & Syrian Girl. But Syrian & Russian propaganda is not the other side to justice & Syria is not a debate. It is a counterrevolution against millions of Syrians trying to create a humane, democratic society in place of dictatorship–a counterrevolution which was enforced by support from the corrupt antiwar movement led by “retired” CIA, FBI, & Pentagon officials, other progressive forces, & decaying gurus like Chomsky, Ali, Pilger, Fisk. It is a watershed moment in history when progressive forces marched with fascism to destroy a popular movement for democracy. It is not that Mackey & Hasan are one-sided but that they are committed to telling the unvarnished truth about Syria.
This photo is an apocalyptic scene from Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in 2014 which was being bombed by the Syrian regime. At that time, it was reported that refugees suffered mass starvation & were reduced to eating animal feed; infant malnutrition was epidemic. These are people lining up as far as the eye can see to receive food from a UN convoy. Today, Yarmouk is under sustained aerial & artillery attack by Syria under the guise of exterminating ISIS & al-Qaeda. Syria will not allow UN humanitarian aid convoys to access Yarmouk where ISIS fighters may in fact be holed up but where thousands of civilians also live. How many sides are there to this story, Glenn Greenwald?
The only principled position is a committed, call it one-sided opposition to all foreign military intervention in Syria & to Syrian, Russian, & US-coalition bombing of civilians.
(Photo from UNRWA/AP)
The group Cycling Palestine called on Palestinian cyclists to protest the 2018 Giro d’Italia tournament by biking from Ramallah in the West Bank to the Qalandia military checkpoint. The photo in this meme shows Israeli occupying forces at the checkpoint trying to shut down the cycling protest. This may be the first time in human history that cyclists have been considered a political threat as terrorists. There are also confirmed reports that Israeli police are notifying & threatening Palestinian activists if they protest at the tournament.
The Giro passes through occupied East Jerusalem where the Al Aqsa mosque compound is. Cycling Palestine issued a statement that said: “The Giro d’Italia European cycling tour will only serve to legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem & to distort the authenticity & character of the city. It will also turn sports from a noble & uniting tool into a whitewashing machine of Israel’s crimes & occupation. By organizing such an event, Giro d’Italia is being complicit in Israel’s military occupation & its egregious violations of international law, conventions & consensus. We must not allow Israel to use sports tourism & construct a democratic image at the expense of the Palestinian people & their rights.”
If we do our job right to build solidarity with the Great Return March, the Giro d’Italia will end up as thoroughly discredited as a sporting event for its role in whitewashing Israeli apartheid & genocide.
(Meme from BDS Committee)
It is not just grotesque but politically psychopathic for Giro d’Italia to hold its annual three-week cycle race in Israel, cycling within kilometers of Gaza whilst Israeli snipers are positioned at the apartheid fence directly shooting unarmed protesters in the legs, disabling some for life. Several young Palestinians have had their legs amputated. It’s macabre & loathsome that Giro d’Italia would be part of whitewashing, or “sport-washing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians at the very same time as the Great Return March when 42 have been killed & about 6,000 have been injured.
The Giro d’Italia, along with the Tour de France & Spain’s Vuelta, is one of the world’s three major cycling tournaments. It’s usually held in Italy & seldom elsewhere but this year Israel & a Canadian Zionist settler to Israel named Sylvan Adams spent a combined $28.3 million to bribe Giro officials to hold it in Israel. The Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement appealed to Giro officials to honor the cultural boycott & were rebuffed. In the annals of human history, Giro d’Italia has just written its own obituary.
The 1936 Olympics, otherwise known as the Nazi Olympics, come to mind. They were held at the same time that the fascist, militarist regime of Adolf Hitler was conducting a furious campaign to ‘purify’ the ‘Aryan race’ that would lead to the death of millions of Jews & Roma in concentration camps. The Nazis used the Olympics to whitewash what was going on in a process called the “Nazification of sport.” The invidious comparison of the 1936 Olympics to the 2018 Giro d’Italia race is inescapable.
This is 21-year-old Alaa al-Dali, one of the young Palestinians at the Great Return March who was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper on March 30th & had to have his leg amputated. He is one of the several injured Palestinians denied medical treatment outside Gaza for injuries sustained in the Great Return March. The Israeli army decided “that any request for medical treatment by a terrorist or a rioter who took part in violent events would be denied.” Because Israeli bombers have targeted medical facilities in the several aerial assaults over Gaza & because they have taken out the only power plant providing electricity, it is necessary for Palestinians to seek specialized medical care outside Gaza. The thing about Alaa al-Dali is that he was a cyclist who had won several racing awards & was training for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia this summer.
According to Alaa al-Dali’s trainer Hassan Abu Harb & another sports official in Gaza, Israeli snipers are specifically targeting athletes to disable them. Abu Harb said five other Palestinian athletes in Gaza have also lost their legs since the Great Return March began. In the seven-week Israeli bombing siege of Gaza in 2014, 32 athletes were killed & 27 were injured. This resonates with the Nazi persecution of Jewish & Roma athletes, many of whom died in concentration camps.
We should stand with Palestinians, including their athletes, in exposing the sport-washing of Israeli apartheid & genocide by the Giro d’Italia. May the tournament takes its place in the hall of shame alongside the 1936 Olympics.
(Photo of Alaa al-Dali by Maha Hussaini/MEE)
The Palestinian stone pelter against high-tech artillery: this is an Israeli drone–used for firing tear gas canisters, filming protesters, or making noise–that was downed by Palestinian stone pelters at the Great Return March today near Khan Younis in Gaza.
(Photo from Karim #GreatReturnMarch on Twitter)