Solidarity with Handwara, Kashmir teenage girl

Handwara girl solidarity meme (Ather Zia)

The Handwara, Kashmir teenage girl has been released from police custody after 27 days & an aggressive defense campaign by human rights activists. She spoke at a press conference today with her parents at her side & testified to the coercion & intimidation she endured. Her father & aunt had been detained with her with no charges filed against any of them.

The injustice against her is compounded by the shooting down of unarmed protesters who rallied to her defense. Khurram Parvez, a human rights activist involved in her defense campaign, wrote today: “While very eloquently explaining the events from molestation by Indian soldier to the abuse & threats by the police during 27 days illegal detention, the Handwara minor girl also said, that if her brothers gave their lives for her dignity & integrity, how can she give up on her struggle for justice. She said, she will fight for herself & also for those who were brutally killed in Handwara after sexual assault on her.”

The meme by Ather Zia is to express our fullest solidarity & deepest respect for this young girl who stands now on the front lines against the Indian occupation.

Muhammad Ali on Vietnam War

A Facebook friend posted this statement by the boxer Muhammad Ali, who in 1967 risked his career & championship title to resist the draft for the Vietnam War. Now that he has Parkinson’s, they are trying to morph him into a whipped puppy & an icon of patriotism. But he was a fearless & outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War & they can never take that away from him.

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”

The purpose of war photojournalism should be to make us hate war

Jan 1966 VN civilians (Horst Faas:AP) May 16 2016

This should be the purpose of photojournalism in war & occupation: to show the experience of civilians. To show what war is really all about. If they do their job right, they will make us hate war.

This photo from January 1966 is Vietnamese civilians being “escorted” by US paratroopers & reportedly taking cover from Viet Cong fire in an area outside Saigon,

How many photojournalist accounts of civilians do you recall from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Kashmir? There is very little from over a year of bombing in Yemen, more from Assad’s bombing in Syria, & nothing from Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza.

The historic imperative remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement.

(Photo by Horst Faas/AP)

Retrospective on anti-Vietnam War movement

Feb 1 1968 Chief of SV national police execute VC suspect (Eddie Adams:AP) May 16 2016

It’s been 41 years since the Vietnamese defeated & sent the US military packing in April 1975, But for millions of antiwar activists around the world who went through that war it will always remain one of the most wrenching political experiences of our lives. It signaled the end of illusions about our government, dealt a mighty blow to the racism that justifies war, ended (until after 9/11) years of films & propaganda glorifying war under the banner of democracy, & overcame the political repression of the McCarthy era of the 1950s.

It was a glorious experience too for being rid of the nationalist hatred & militarism we were bred on & for being part of an international antiwar movement. In the US alone, there were protests of over a million people & there were massive protests all over the world.

The Pentagon changed strategies after Vietnam to overcome what they considered the affliction of the “Vietnam Syndrome,” a resistance by Americans to US wars. Antiwar activists around the world consider it not an affliction but an achievement of their movement. It has eroded & weakened over time, but it has not yet been decisively overcome or, regrettably, mobilized in opposition to current wars.

The US engaged in many war crimes in Vietnam. It was one of Henry Kissinger’s killing fields. The US continues to engage in war crimes in all its wars. Abu Ghraib & Guantanamo are part of standard operating procedure for the Pentagon & CIA.

This infamous photo from the Vietnam War was taken February 1, 1968. The chief of the South Vietnamese national police is executing a suspected Viet Cong leader. Due process is no part of war–he might have been Viet Cong; he might just as well have been a Vietnamese man who opposed the US occupation. The South Vietnamese national police performed routine law & order work but were mainly a paramilitary counterinsurgency force operating all over South Vietnam which was allied with & occupied by the US. Descriptions of them read very much like the character of Indian paramilitary forces in Kashmir.

(Photo by Eddie Adams/AP)

The CBS show “60 Minutes” had an interesting retrospective on the journalistic career of Morley Safer who is retiring. A segment on his coverage of the Vietnam War showed his report & video of US soldiers torching a village to punish them for collaboration with the Viet Cong. Safer said it was part of the “pacification” program employed to win the hearts & minds of the Vietnamese & made a mocking comment about that in the segment.

Does anyone remember where such reporting appeared in US media? The US government allowed more media coverage of the Vietnam War than of previous wars. But the Pentagon considered the restrained coverage of Vietnam so damaging that reporters were put on lockdown thereafter & embedded up the ass of the military.

Media degraded war journalism in the 1991 Iraq War when NBC reporter Arthur Kent was dubbed “Scud Stud” for his coverage of Iraqi Scud missile attacks. His style & good looks were just as much news as the US attacks on Iraq. War journalists like war-mongering Islamophobe Lara Logan (a CBS war reporter now on 60 Minutes) became the norm.

Can anyone point to a media source for war coverage of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan? Or coverage of US troop deployments under Obama to Uganda, Central African Republic, & elsewhere in Africa; or of deployments to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala?

Truth is, this is standard operating procedure in war & occupation & includes Israel in Palestine, India in Kashmir, Indonesia in East Timor. But this reign of militarism must be opposed & ended.

The historic imperative remains: rebuild the international antiwar movement.

US war crimes in Iraq

Iraq (Michael Kamber)

Reposting from three years ago today; it’s one of the rare instances when media reported the monstrous details of US occupation. This incident was reported one & a-half years after Obama announced an end to the Iraq War. Obama will go down in history for his toothy-assed grin & his diplomatic stunt of declaring ongoing wars ended.
“The US war against Iraq again provides a compelling answer to the question, “Why do they hate us?” Wasn’t it the Nazis who introduced tattooing numbers on Russian POWS & at Auschwitz & other extermination camps? The barbaric practice has always been seen as dehumanizing & ignominious.

But here (in March 2007) a US soldier is marking the back of an Iraqi man’s neck with numbers to denote his home & neighborhood location in a system designed to determine if people are moving around their own town of Qubah, Iraq in violation of a US military lockdown order after a US attack. Once again, it sounds like a damn good reason to hate.

US out of Iraq! US out of Afghanistan!”

(Photo by Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR)