US-NATO war propaganda exposed as horse manure

Kabul (Massoud Hossain:AP) Mar 24 2015

It appears the entire shabby edifice of US-NATO war propaganda against Afghanistan is crumbling after the brutal murder of Farkhunda. Media accounts of what exactly happened are still mangled but what is emerging is growing public outrage at the police for standing by while she was beaten to death & not doing one damn thing to stop it. Thirteen cops have already been suspended & face questioning for their role. And the collusion goes all the way to the top: the government had to fire the spokesman for the police in Kabul after he endorsed her murder on Facebook. Such a brazen, public act by a police official speaks volumes about what the government thought it could get away with.

Hundreds of protesters, men & women, marched in Kabul demanding the government fire & prosecute all the cops & officials involved along with the 19 perpetrators already arrested. It appears the murder has ignited fury over a whole range of war issues facing Afghans. The head of a leading women’s group among the protesters said “We are getting fed up. The new generation has known nothing but war, they are not educated, & now they have no jobs.”

Despite war propaganda, this is not a lineup of perpetrators but protesters demanding justice for Farkhunda. Our fullest solidarity with them & deepest respect since standing up against the Afghan government is standing up against the repressions of US occupation. And that’s a pretty scary thing when the US operates one of their torture prisons in Afghanistan.

(Photo by Massoud Hossain/AP)

Homeless in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh homeless child  (AP Photo:A.M. Ahad) Mar 24 2015

Homeless in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladesh is referred to as one of the “developing countries.” That’s another verbal obfuscation meant to suggest that if the country just keeps chugging along someday it too will achieve the capitalist dream. Forbes magazine, the voice of US capitalism, thinks Bangladesh is doing quite nicely in its economic growth & boasted that in terms of public opinion, Bangladesh is a “capitalist haven” & the most pro-capitalist country in South Asia according to a Pew poll. Over 90% of the Bangladeshi billionaires & millionaires they interviewed agreed that plunder & exploitation of working people couldn’t be better.

One wonders if this little homeless girl was polled–or any of the estimated 250,000 to four million homeless children? What about the garment workers in sweatshops who protest for safe work conditions & decent wages? Or those who’ve lost beloved family members in factory fires & collapses? What about the over 46% of people who live under US $1.25 a day (in 2010)?

This small vulnerable child must be terrified to live on the street, subject to abuse, starvation, exploitations & violence of every kind. She is sleeping on a garbage bag on the bank of Dhaka’s main river, the Buriganga. Because the government does not enforce environmental laws for tanneries (leather is a major export industry), they dump an estimated 75 metric tons daily of solid waste (containing animal flesh, dissolved hair, fats) & liquid waste (dyes, chemicals, pesticides, lime, formaldehyde, bleach, heavy metals, sulfuric acid, lead) into the Buriganga. Since there are also no protective laws for workers, tannery workers suffer many health conditions–particularly skin & respiratory ailments & disfigured or amputated limbs. They endure discolored, itchy, peeling, acid-burned, & rash-covered skin; fingers corroded to stumps; aches, dizziness, nausea. This child, forced to sleep on the bank of the river, will suffer the same ailments without any health care.

Bangladesh claims its foreign policy is guided by the principle of “friendship towards all & malice towards none.” So poetic & so full of baloney! It’s a key ally of the US in South Asia & conducts annual joint military exercises with the US Pentagon. You can’t have it both ways, even if talking hippy makes militarism sound cool. A bloated military budget would certainly explain why they can’t address child homelessness. So would the growing number of billionaires & millionaires which seem to multiply like locusts as poverty increases.

The US, UK, & European Union are important “trading partners” for Bangladesh–that is, if you consider extracting wealth off the backs of working people & children a partnership rather than plunder.
The wretched spectacle of millions of homeless children is only hopeless if we don’t get off our leaden asses to oppose US & European predation in the “developing countries” & militarism wherever it rears its ugly ass.

(Photo by A.M. Ahad/AP)

Ted Cruz Mar 23 2015

Count Dracula Mar 23 2015

You cannot tell me Ted Cruz doesn’t look like Count Dracula. Same pointy nose, same ugly smirk, & same politics too. We need an exorcist down here. Bring a truck of garlic & a crucifix.

(Photo of Cruz by Jeff Malet)

US Supreme Court hears Texas case for putting Confederate flag on speciality license plates

The US Supreme Court heard arguments today in a dispute about allowing specialty Texas license plates to have a logo of the Confederate flag. The Sons of Confederate Veterans who are litigants claim it’s a free speech issue versus censorship after the state rejected their request.

They can take any pulpit they like to spew their social hatred but they should not be allowed to make the state or public party to their hatred or pollute the roads & highways with their malignancy.

Farkhunda’s funeral puts the lie to US war propaganda

Farkhunda's funeral (Wakil Kohsar:AFP:Getty Images) Mar 23 2015

The funeral cortege of Farkhunda, the young woman beaten to death in Afghanistan, was attended by hundreds of men chanting with the women mourners for justice. This doesn’t sit well with US war propaganda that portrays Afghan men as savages & the US Marines as a salvation army for Afghan women. That stinking lie is the bedrock of Islamophobia.

The caption to this photo said “Women carry Farkhunda’s coffin amid crowds of men, a rare act of protest in a male-dominated society.” That crap might fly if we didn’t know the rape rates of female soldiers in the US military are sky high & the Pentagon refuses to address the problem. And there are a lot of other damning statistics we can drag out to expose US war propaganda & the male-dominated character of US society.

May Farkhunda RIP. May we use our political energies to demand US out of Afghanistan! & US out of Iraq!

(Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Nomad women putting city slickers to shame

Nenets (AP Photo:Dmitry Lovetsky) Mar 23 2015

Nenets are an indigenous nomadic people in the northern Siberian region located partially above the Arctic Circle. They have an annual holiday called Reindeer Herders’ Day where they compete in sports & reindeer races in a city about 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) north of Moscow, Russia.

This woman is one of the entrants in the reindeer race. Urban women may think we wrote the book on feminism but this Nenets woman is putting some of us to shame. Many born before Title VII & Title IX of the Civil Rights Act went into effect were completely shut out of sports & had to content ourselves with crocheting. Some went on to notoriety as disco queens. Thank heavens for the little equality we have. Time to move it forward.

(Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

Dividing the women’s movement by age just another misogynist ruse

In 2011, when I posted criticisms of Slut Walks as racist, exclusionary, & demeaning to the momentous historic struggle against women’s oppression, a male FB friend said my objections were because as a senior, my feminism was no longer relevant. He was too obtuse & misogynist to recognize that women are considered aged out of value in human society when we lose our youth rather than looked to for wisdom & experience, as many men are. Our man was just blubbering old misogyny like it was new thought.

In a recent discussion, my views were counterposed to “contemporary feminists,” which is another way of saying younger feminists. In another discussion, an activist asked me to distinguish between liberal, anarchist, & socialist feminism. Despite being aged out of relevance, let me add there are many currents of thought among feminists, including cultural feminists who eschew politics, & academic feminists. There are no separate currents for young & old except the divisive ones imposed by misogynists who want to weaken the movement.

The thing about a social movement is that nobody owns it theoretically. No one current can claim to speak ex cathedra for feminism on a single question, especially on how best to fight the struggle. Some say lobbying; others say revolution. Academic feminists often consider prostitution as sex work & just another way to earn a living. Others like myself consider it the sexual exploitation of poor women & children. These are differences to be hammered out in struggle within the women’s movement, not decided by a tenured professional.

Those who think me not “contemporary” enough, not enough in sync with current campus trends, will just have to get used to the fact that I ain’t going nowhere. Until the day I die, feminism & the struggle against women’s oppression will remain as fresh in me as it was when I first objected to the rotten disrespect for my gender.

Afghan woman beaten to death; police stand by and do nothing

Farkhunda--- Mar 23 2015

We should take a moment to grieve the loss of another woman to misogynist violence–Farkhunda, the 27-year-old Afghan woman beaten to death by a mob on March 19th. Media accounts are still unable to get the story straight about how she was murdered but it was a monstrous, gruesome crime. Accounts say she was lynched, dragged behind a car, run over by a car, had her body thrown off a roof, set on fire, & dumped in the river. Media reports “Narratives diverge.” Isn’t that always the case at a crime scene!? But cellphone video from the scene was aired on local television. In addition to identifying the perpetrators, isn’t it possible to determine what actually happened?

Those videos might also explain why police stood by & did nothing to stop the assault, which according to witnesses went on for nearly an hour. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani told reporters that security forces are so focused on the fight against the Taliban insurgency they can’t concentrate on community policing. And media lapped that up & repeated it without an ounce of incredulity.

It’s so moving that Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement denouncing the crime & calling for the prosecution of the cops who took no action to stop the killing & of the two government officials who publicly justified the crime. Maybe at some point they may even denounce US-NATO occupation & bombing of Afghanistan since a 2009 study by the Ministry of Public Health reported at least 66% of Afghanistan’s 32 million people suffer some form of mental illness from 30 years of unremitting war. Not unlike studies of Palestine & Iraq.

Afghan police officials are investigating what prompted the mob assault–whether Farkhunda actually burned a copy of the Quran or if the murder resulted from an altercation with amulet-venders. As if either act justifies beating a woman to death. Media reports “Some Afghan officials & religious leaders sought to justify Farkhunda’s killing, alleging that she had burned a copy of the Qur’an.” Could they identify these officials (other than the two cited by HRW) & religious leaders? Or do unspecified assertions suggesting legions of Afghan men are psychotic misogynists better serve war propaganda? If they can’t get the crime straight, maybe they can’t get anything else right either.

Afghan women’s rights activists carried Farkhunda’s coffin at her burial yesterday in Kabul attended by hundreds of mourners. Men formed a protective chain around the pallbearers & women right’s attendees chanted slogans demanding justice. Imagine that! Who knew Afghanistan had women’s rights activists or that the men weren’t all savages!? In fact, there was widespread condemnation of the killing. The funeral was broadcast live & addressed by politicians & senior police officers because if they’re too busy to stop a mob assault on a woman they not too stupid to recognize a political tsunami of outrage coming at them.

To counter the impact of human rights outrage by Afghans, media (including the Washington Post, LA Times, Al-Jazeera) repeated the mantras justifying the US-NATO war: “Women are treated as second-class citizens in Afghan society;” “Violence against women is endemic in Afghanistan;” Afghanistan is “routinely named by international rights groups as one of the world’s worst places to be a woman;” a 2013 United Nations report noted that most violence against women goes underreported, particularly in rural areas. And of course, the piece de resistance of war propaganda: ‘despite constitutional guarantees of equal rights & advances in education since the 2001 US occupation ended harsh Islamic rule by the Taliban, little has changed for women. “Girls are routinely married off as children, traded as chattels & then rarely permitted to leave their homes without a male relative.”

Taliban rule in Afghanistan was from 1996 to 2001. Five years compared to 15 years of US occupation & bombing. How long will the US & its Afghan puppets be allowed to get away with blaming the Taliban for crimes against women? Only as long as it takes the international antiwar movement to mobilize by the millions to bring this barbarous war to an end.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq!

(Photo of Farkhunda from placard at her funeral by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)