Please contact Myanmar embassy to protest attacks on and arrest of unarmed students protesters

Myanmar student protesters (Soe Zeya Tun:Reuters) Mar 12 2015

People cannot be faulted for confusion about what the hell is going in the world when you look at the shabby half-assed quality of news reporting. Just a few years ago, the US & European Union (EU) were heralding the new democracy in Myanmar. In fact, neither gave a rat’s ass about democracy there since they were only after a favorable investment climate & repression serves that best in the era of neoliberal plunder.

So now when the Myanmar military attacks unarmed students & Buddhist monks protesting repressive education reforms the US & EU have to cover themselves with expressions of incredulity & by pretending they were out-foxed by the regime. But repression only bothers them when it exposes their complicity with the junta.

In September 2012, villagers & political activists protested the Latpadaung copper mine project–a joint venture between a Chinese mining company & a holding company fronting for the Myanmar military in a deal struck by the junta in 2010. Protestors cited examples of nearby mountains destroyed by copper mining & nearby farmlands polluted with waste products from the mines. They claimed the mining caused environmental, social & health problems & demanded it be shut down. They protested the land grabs involved of 8,000 acres (3,200 hectares) without consultation or compensation–& the destruction of schools, homes, monasteries.

In November 2012, the military junta disguised as a civilian regime, went after the protestors, attacking them with water cannons, tear gas, smoke grenades, & white phosphorous incendiary devices. Over 100 protestors were hospitalized with serious burns. An official government commission, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was set up to investigate the police brutality as well as the social & economic sustainability of the copper mine.

Suu Kyi argued that Myanmar should honor the deals with foreign companies because “If we unilaterally break off ongoing projects, we stand to lose international trust.” The commission ruled in favor of the mining project & avoided criticizing the government or calling for punishment & censure for riot cops involved in the violent attacks on protestors. When Suu Kyi went to meet with villagers & protestors to defend the commission findings she said, “I think we have to de-prioritize our emotions & needs when it comes to the greater good.” The hundreds of outraged & dispossessed farmers answered her with heckling. She should have been arrested & prosecuted too–not just for the banality of her defense but for colluding with the military against the interests of the farmers & people of Myanmar.

The US & EU want in on the plunder in Myanmar so what’s a little violence against protesters compared to the billions they can extract & the hopes of getting a competitive leg up on China? As part of their dog & pony show of concern, the EU is hand-wringing about the excessive force when it trained Myanmar riot cops in crowd control & the US embassy in tweeting up a storm advising “patience, compromise & restraint” on Myanmar’s path to democracy.

There are days when the stinking hypocrisy is just too much to handle. This shouldn’t be one of those days since we need to express our solidarity with the arrested students who may not see justice without our help. This is the contact information for the Myanmar embassy in Washington, DC:

(Photo of arrested Myanmar students in police vans by Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

Media lies and half-truths about Gaza

Gaza (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa:Reuters) Mar 12 2015

It’s impossible to imagine how wrenching Israel’s Operation Ethnic Cleansing was/is for the people of Gaza who saw their loved ones bombed to death, buried in cement rubble, disfigured & disabled with shrapnel, & the thousands made homeless by carpet bombing.

This grieving woman sits in front of her house that, according to the media caption, “was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer.” This is where we see that media doesn’t always (just usually) lie outright but they will never tell the truth about Palestinians. We should acknowledge first what’s unusual about this caption which doesn’t equivocate with words like “according to witnesses” or “according to Palestinian officials,” as if there was any confusion by anyone in the world that Israeli bombs leveled Gaza.

It isn’t parsing & nitpicking to ask why “shelling”? Why don’t they call it exactly what it was–not an attack by pasta or peanut shells but by megaton bombs? And what’s this “war” crap? Don’t you have to have two armies both with bombers & tanks to have a war? Is barbarism & genocide like shooting fish in a barrel now considered war too?

There is no way we can compensate the people of Gaza for their losses & trauma. The over one million people who protested Israeli barbarism are the forces of international solidarity that can stand against the new monstrous incursions Israel is surely plotting. Our mission is to build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel & demand no aid of any kind to Israeli apartheid & genocide.

(Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

A bantustate solution for Palestine is a Zionist stage of ethnic cleansing

Many people apparently don’t realize that if you support the moribund two-state solution in Palestine, i.e., the bantustate solution of the Oslo Accords, you thereby legitimize the racist, colonial ideology of Zionism & existence of a Jewish-only state. There’s no way that doesn’t make you a Zionist according to the definition even if you abhor the racism. It puts one in a politically untenable position because racism is the essence of Zionism. It’s another situation where you just can’t have it both ways.

Many take that contradictory position because they’re concerned about the fate of Jewish Israelis. The proposal for a democratic secular state where Jews live in harmony with Palestinians more than accounts for that concern. Israeli youth were born in Israel & it would be barbaric to simply deport them elsewhere. (Although deportation back home doesn’t seem unreasonable for recent settlers who are violent & psychotic supremacists & would be unable to live in harmony & equality with anyone.)

The proposal for a democratic secular state shows the political spirit & willingness of Palestinians to solve the problems created by Zionist colonialism rather than extract revenge for now 67 years of apartheid & barbaric violence.

Many also support the bantustate solution because they are reactionary & fundamentally racist, even those who think they’re socialists. The way you tell the difference between the misguided & the racist is the latter’s refusal to analyze or criticize Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing & their reduction of Palestinian resistance to terrorism. They fixate on Hamas–although they couldn’t tell you one damn thing about the politics or history of Hamas or any other group in the Palestinian struggle.

Too many people are convinced Jews & Palestinians could never live together. Those skeptics need to study Black Reconstruction in the US after the end of slavery along with the history following the US Civil Rights Movement to see the transformative power of justice. Things didn’t regress politically for Blacks because those struggles didn’t work but because of massive repression & violence used against them. A revolution will be required to sustain justice.

No one says a democratic secular state will be easy to achieve–it will take a revolution against Zionism & neoliberalism–but the alternative is continued apartheid & ethnic cleansing. That’s only acceptable to Zionists, whose ideology has proven a scourge to the human race.

For a democratic secular state in Palestine, build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel & demand no aid of any kind to Israel.

The banality and burlesque of US presidential elections

There is probably no more dreaded period of time in US politics than the two years of campaigning for president. The banality of Democrats can hardly keep pace with the burlesque of the Republican road show which I like to refer to as a traveling clown car. The capitalists have a crisis of leadership in this country & it’s on full sorry-assed display in campaigns.

We’re getting just a whiff of all that with this nonsense about Clinton’s emails. As the socialist candidate for president, I expected to lose by a landslide. But as the whole sorry spectacle unfolds things are looking up for me & I may have to prepare my acceptance speech.