Day 111 of the military siege in Kashmir

Day 11 in Kashmir (Kashmir Freedom) Oct 28 2016

Day 111 of the military siege in Kashmir: arbitrary arrests of youth continue, pellet injuries continue. This is the 16th week Friday prayers have not been held because the Indian occupying army has locked down the Jamia Mosque in Srinagar.

Massive protests continue against the occupation. Where Kashmiris get the reserves of energy to continue resistance is probably only understood by Palestinians, Rohingya, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, & others under occupation. They are all a beacon to suffering humanity–& a call to arms.

Long live Kashmiri Intifada. End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo from Kashmir Freedom on Twitter)

Kissinger still hasn’t croaked

Kissinger in England (AP Photo:Alastair Grant ) Oct 28 2016

Henry Kissinger is now 93-years-old. Most of us who’ve lived through his legacy of ‘realpolitik’–of murderous wars, coups, genocides–had hoped he’d be dead by now or on life-support. Until working people in several countries settle their accounts with justice, we have no hopes he will be prosecuted for the most unspeakable crimes of the 20th & early 21st centuries.

When he finally does croak, he will be lauded as a statesman but he’s nothing more than a vain, ruthless, amoral two-bit thug backed by bombers & special forces. Unfortunately his tenure as advisor to the US has not ended. He consulted with John Kerry on US negotiations with Russia about Syria in 2013 & as late as October 2015 gave his assessment of the value to the US of Russian intervention in Syria.

Here he is leaving No. 10 Downing Street in London after meeting earlier this week with Prime Minister Theresa May & Chancellor Philip Hammond who refused to say what they discussed. You’d be a fool to think he was just sharing biscuits & tea with the two of them. Where he goes mayhem follows.

We await the day we can write a celebratory obituary.

(Photo by Alastair Grant/AP)

On the genocide against Rohingya Muslims

Rohingya Muslim girl ( AP : Saurabh Das) Oct 28 2016

This little Rohingya girl is sitting in an unauthorized refugee camp at Kutupalong, Bangladesh. The photo was taken in 2012 during the violent siege of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar when fleeing refugees were pouring into Bangladesh & being turned back by border patrols. The images from that event are horrific & impossible to forget.

An unauthorized camp is where unregistered refugees live. The Bangladeshi government prevents most Rohingya from registering with the UNHCR which means they are not eligible for humanitarian aid &, of course, they have no rights in Bangladesh, including especially the right to work.

After reading about so much human suffering in the world, one can become inured or numbed as a psychological device against discouragement. But social transformation requires that we never take emotional distance from those sustaining genocide, war, plunder. If we understand that “an injury to one is an injury to all,” we will see them as our own. We must see them as our own because solidarity is the iron law of social transformation.

End the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. Open the borders to refugees.

(Photo by Saurabh Das/AP)

Genocide against Rohingya accelerates in Myanmar

Violent crackdown on Rohingya Oct 2016 (REUTERS:Soe Zeya Tun) Oct 28 2016

The Myanmar government–which is really the military junta hiding behind the human rights facade of Aung San Suu Kyi–claims legions of Taliban-trained Rohingya “jihadists” are behind the fatal killings of border guards on October 9th.

It is absolutely certain the government did not determine that in the investigation that Suu Kyi promised at a press conference. Because within hours of the attacks on the border guards, the military declared Arakan State an “operation zone” & put it under martial law lockdown.

The Myanmar army & border guard troops began moving into villages on foot & by air searching for “terrorists” & rounding up all men & boys as suspects in the raid & shooting them. The military has blocked access to foreign human rights groups & most journalists so the UN claims allegations by Rohingya human rights groups are hard to verify. Yeah right! Is there any reason they would lie?

According to Rohingya activists in Arakan State, troops are shooting down unarmed civilians in the streets in extrajudicial executions; raping women; torching homes, mosques, entire villages; arbitrarily arresting hundreds; forcibly evicting people from their homes. An estimated 15,000 Rohingya have been displaced & are fleeing the assaults. Entire villages are deserted. The military has also stopped aid deliveries to hundreds of thousands of people.

The army claims that in defending themselves from attacks, soldiers killed 33 Rohingya. Residents & rights activists claim scores more of unarmed civilians have been executed.

A spokesperson for the president of Myanmar claimed Rohingya were simply fabricating the allegations as part of a propaganda campaign led by the “jihadist” insurgents who he compared to ISIS & al-Qaeda. The police chief of Arakan State dismissed the allegations as “propaganda for Muslim groups.”

Reuters reporters who were allowed to enter the martial law zone claimed they passed villages where homes were torched. They also interviewed women who described their rape by soldiers. It’s not certain why the photographers saw this rubble of a torched marketplace outside the village of Maugndaw more compelling documentation of genocide than the torched villages. Perhaps they were under army surveillance.

Almost all media accounts of the genocide against Rohingya call it “communal violence” between Rakhine Buddhists & Rohingya Muslims or they refer to it as “unrest.” If it’s religious or cultural conflict, why is the Myanmar military conducting the violent campaigns against Rohingya & inciting rightwing Buddhists to join in? Why are Rohingya forced into concentration camps but not Buddhists? Why have 120,000 Rohingya attempted to flee on boats in the past three years while there is no report of Buddhist flight?

One thing is certain: the use of Islamic fundamentalism or “jihadist” insurgency as an excuse for military intervention–whether in Myanmar, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, or elsewhere–is a political device to justify war, genocide, occupation. It must be rejected & opposed.

End the genocide against Rohingya. Open the borders for Rohingya refugees.

Our fullest solidarity with Rohingya Muslims.

(Photo by Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

The US-NATO military emancipation of Libya in 2011 went really well. It began with a No Fly Zone & ended with the public desecration of Qaddafi’s corpse.

Now it has two competing governments, a civil war, ISIS groups, & US special forces. That’s how it rolls when you look to militarism as a substitute for revolution against tyranny.

Often enough I get faulted for not having a nuanced approach to things. You mean a sledgehammer is too heavy-handed? I don’t do nuance. I tried it once & got fired. That was that.

I’m of the school that thinks equivocations & ambiguities lurk in those nuances. I think you ought to say what you think & mean what you say & leave the nuances to diplomats.

The crisis of Palestinian solidarity over the war in Syria

The Syrian war has thrown not only antiwar forces for a loop but also the Palestinian solidarity movement. The disarray comes during a period of military crises & the weak antiwar movement is in no condition to unite around even a minimum program of action. Palestinian solidarity activists are divided, with some cheering Assad as a champion of the people when nearly 500 Palestinians have been tortured to death in his gulag & hundreds of others are political prisoners.

Some Palestinian supporters have disgraced the movement with Islamophobic rubbish about US-backed “head-chopping, heart-eating rapist jihadists”; some by accusing civilians being bombed by Assad & Russia of using their children as human shields; some with attacks on White Helmet rescue workers as nefarious operatives; & some with anti-Semitic claims that the war is initiated & all about Israel rather than about Assad’s dictatorship.

Many Palestinians have bristled at this outrageous rubbish & have blogged, twittered, & written no-nonsense rebuttals denouncing these attempts to put them at odds with their Syrian brothers & sisters under siege. This article by Sharif Nashashibi is part of that campaign & takes the issue on head-first without equivocation.

It’s a toss-up what will be the most unbearable: four years of smarmy Bill Clinton or four years of those horrible Trump kids. I’m thinking of becoming a cloistered nun till it’s over.

Westernism, not Islamic fundamentalism, the greatest threat to civilization

Calais Jungle- refugee nex to tent  (AP Photo:Emilio Morenatti) Oct 26 2016

A refugee watching as the “Jungle” refugee camp at Calais is dismantled & refugees are bussed to what are glorified concentration camps to await deportation, many of them back to war zones..

So it turns out Islamic fundamentalism does not present the greatest threat to civilization. Westernism–the ideology of might makes right, of scorched earth military policy & wars & occupations that go on for decades–has proven much more deadly & catastrophic.

Since 9/11, Westernism, engineered by the US & Europe, has killed & maimed millions of people in the Middle East, none of whom had a damn thing to do with the attacks in New York. The millions of refugees fleeing war are treated as the terrorists & denied asylum.

What a con. What monstrous crimes.

We demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of US-NATO out of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen; Russia & Iran out of Syria. End the bombing of cities & civilians.

Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Emilio Morenatti/AP)