Category Archives: News

U.S. pledges $32 million in funny money for humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees

Sameera, 20 & 7 mo old baby (Paula Bronstein:Getty Images) Sept 22 2017

The US State Department announced it will provide $32 million of humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees & claimed this will bring the total of US aid to “Burmese refugees, including Rohingya” to nearly $95 million in 2017. The aid package will include shelter, food, healthcare, water, sanitation, & other aid to refugees in Bangladesh. Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s nothing but political grandstanding. Rohingya refugees will be lucky to see a dime.

In 2010, the US pledged $100 for humanitarian aid to Haiti earthquake relief; overall nations pledged over $13 billion to be managed by Bill Clinton & the Haitian prime minister. Millions were stolen, including by Clinton, & there is no evidence any was dispersed to build housing. They couldn’t even provide port-au-potties when hundreds of thousands were living without shelter. There’s no accounting of the money, including how much was actually released, but there’s considerable evidence that none of it was used for humanitarian aid so much as to turn Haiti into a sweatshop haven for US garment manufacturers.

In 2015, the US pledged $800 million in development aid to Afghanistan & had previously pledged millions more. But what the US considers humanitarian & development aid in Afghanistan has more to do with rolling in suitcases of money to pay off government officials & less to do with addressing homelessness caused by the war in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi after her televised address denying genocide of unspecified people in Arakan state. He told her the US found allegations of human rights abuses “deeply troubling” but “welcomed the Burmese government’s commitment to end the violence in Rakhine State & to allow those displaced by the violence to return home.” Did he listen to a different speech than we heard?

Let’s just cut through the baloney: if it isn’t funny money altogether, $32 million or $95 million is chump change compared to the billions of dollars US corporations are milking out of their investments in the Burmese economy. The US knows exactly what is going on in Arakan state; it understands the fascist character of the junta. But in the interests of plunder & profits & to counter Chinese & Russian influence with the generals, it has chosen to turn a blind eye to genocide. Reimposing sanctions, the US could bring that economy to crisis until the junta ended genocide–if it wanted to. But it doesn’t. Which is why they pledge funny money & play stupid about genocide against the Rohingya people.

This is 20-year-old Sameera with her 7-month old infant living in a cement cylinder in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Thousands have been living under such conditions for years & will continue to do so unless there is an international & sustained clamor for humanitarian aid, especially from those countries milking profits from Burma, including from this genocide.

(Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Kashmir protest at UN Saturday, September 23rd

UN Kashmiri protest Sept 21 2017

A PEACEFUL RALLY this Saturday outside the UN to protest India’s violent occupation of Kashmir:

The Indian delegate at the UN General Assembly meeting will likely be honored as the leader of the largest democracy when it is one of the most repressive regimes in the world in India itself & in Kashmir. Never a day goes by when more Kashmiri civilians are not shot, killed, detained, disappeared, tortured.

Building a solidarity movement is imperative & this rally is part of that by educating & agitating to end the occupation. Please share this information for Kashmiris, their supporters, & human rights activists in the NYC area.

Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017
Time: 12.00 – 3.00 p.m.
Place: In front of the United Nations building
First Avenue & 47th Street, New York
For more information, please contact: 202-607-6435 / gnfai2003@yahoo.com

Vilifying Rohingya refugees as terrorists, drug traffickers, baby machines: the standard crap of Islamophobia

Ro refugees in flooded tents (Paula Bronstein:Getty Images) Sept 21 2017

Most of the vilifying campaign against the Rohingya Muslims, from whichever source, focuses on Islamophobic claims that they’re terrorists. That’s especially true in Indian media since the government is attempting to deport 40,000 refugees who fled for their lives after the Burmese army used Indian-bought weapons against them. But now the most corrupt forces in modern politics are introducing other charges against the Rohingya, including drug trafficking. That’s not possible since the Burmese junta has drug trafficking sewed up as a major part of its investment portfolio. The US sanctions list (ended in 2013) once listed the individual generals & their business associates most involved in opium & meth trafficking.

Now, the fascists are introducing the staple of Islamophobia: misogyny–focusing on the reproductive lives of Rohingya women, as if women & babies were the root cause of genocide against the Rohingya people. Nationalists are all over social media shaming & ridiculing Rohingya women for a high birth rate, claiming every one has 8 to ten kids. They have no idea how many kids Rohingya women have. It’s just the standard fare of racism used against the oppressed since the hay day of European colonialism. It hasn’t improved in theoretical integrity since Thomas Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798–nor have his rancid claims gone away with every cogent rebuttal, including by Karl Marx.

The Health Minister of Bangladesh, Mohammed Nasim, now joins the Islamophobic chorus with a claim that up to 18,000 pregnant women are among the new Rohingya refugees. In the utter chaos of the refugee camps, where the presence of humanitarian aid workers, including from the Bangladeshi government, is not evident, how does he know that? Our man explained that “Rohingya women are unaware of birth control methods. They did not receive health services in Myanmar.” It’s true genocide prevented them from receiving prenatal & maternity care, reproductive services, or health care of any kind. That doesn’t mean they’re ignorant about birth control. But even if Rohingya women have large families for religious, cultural or any other reasons–& there is no evidence they do–that is their right & no one else’s business. What should concern the racist monitors of Rohingya women is that part of the genocide is subjecting Rohingya women & children to mass rape by the Burmese army.

Our man the health minister went on to explain that Bangladeshi health workers have been distributing contraceptives to the refugees–“condoms, birth-control pills & injections that stop ovulation for up to three months.” That would be a neon red alert. They can’t get food & clean water to refugees but they’re handing out birth control like candy? Rohingya women have no idea what those injections contain & given the racism & xenophobia against them should not take anything internally unless distributed by thoroughly vetted healthcare agencies with a commitment to the welfare of Rohingya women & not beholden to the Bangladeshi government.

Just because they are victims of genocide, just because they are refugees does not mean Rohingya women should be denied reproductive freedom or shamed for having children. They should be provided with prenatal & reproductive services in the camps. Stand with the Rohingya people against genocide & in demanding healthcare for men, women, & children.

(Photo of refugees in the flooded out camps of Bangladesh by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Many are posting that video where Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina encountered Trump at the UN & she utters sweet banalities about feeding Rohingya refugees. This is the politician whose administration obstructs Rohingya refugees from registering for aid from the UNHCR; that denies them access to education or the right to work; that just resurrected a plan to deport them to a deserted uninhabitable island regularly hit by monsoons & flooded out. This is the politician who presides over a sweatshop economy, particularly brutal for garment & shipyard workers & with thousands of child workers. That wasn’t a swoon-worthy moment at the UN; it was a performance signifying nothing. Take a look at conditions in the camps to see what her policies actually are toward the refugees.

The outpouring of racism & Islamophobia directed at the Rohingya people is unlike anything seen for quite a while–except in Syria. The Assad crowd is doing the jihadi terrorist thing, putting them in league with the notorious American Islamophobe Pamela Geller who is posting the exact same crap about the Rohingya. But a lot of the stuff is straight-out hatred for Muslims & classic racist stuff about the high birth rate among Rohingya women. Some of it’s so filthy it shouldn’t be repeated in civilized society. It’s as if the haters are intentionally combing the internet to find dirt that allows them to hate on the Rohingya & make it seem like a crusade against evil.

There’s something going on, a polarization that is emboldening racism, making hatred & talking trash about Muslims completely acceptable. The only way to back that all down is political power, out-mobilizing the haters. We have a battle on our hands & we damn well better win it.

Wondering if disciples of Vanessa Beeley think her support for the fascist military dictatorship of Burma is an aberration or if they now understand it’s of a piece with her support for Assad’s dictatorship & the counter-revolution in Syria?

In an act of cynical & unspeakable treachery, the Australian government has offered incarcerated Rohingya refugees money if they agree to be deported back to Burma where they will likely be killed on the spot. Is that called Kafkaesque or Orwellian? Or is it just standard operating practice under neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism?

Facebook censoring Rohingya activists; allows genocidaires to continue

Always vigilant in the global fight against terrorism, Facebook has placed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on its “dangerous organizations” list & has ordered its censors to delete any content “by or praising” it. Who determined ARSA was dangerous other than Assad supporters & the Burmese government conducting genocide against the Rohingya? Since the UN Secretary General & human rights groups have accused the Burmese military of ethnic cleansing, why has Facebook not censored the walls of the Myanmar military & its Commander-in-Chief General Min Aung Hlaing as well as Aung San Suu Kyi? They’re all posting up a storm about their genocidal feats.

Kashmiri activists know this kind of censorship well. They are censored & suspended for saying the name or posting a photo of the man who was murdered by the Indian army & whose funeral was attended by over 600,000 people. But the Indian army which has 700,000 soldiers occupying Kashmir has no problem with censorship on FB.

The UK is suspending its military training program with the Burmese military variously described as “educational” or “human rights”. Did you ever hear such a crock? Since the Burmese army is engaged in genocide in Arakan & is accused of several other human rights crimes in other states (including child soldiers, mass rape, forced labor, disappearance, & extrajudicial executions) it seems necessary for the UK to come clean about exactly what its training program entailed. Or will coming clean implicate the UK in those same crimes?