The FBI agent who falsely flagged my criminal record for using a WMD, making it impossible for me to work, & who is an ardent advocate of Putin, Assad, & Trump, has been asked to speak at an anti-Islamophobia rally.

Only in a world of post-truth truthiness & “alternative facts.”

Trump & Netanyahu get together for hate-fest against Palestinians while Assad supporters claim Trump is being demonized

Trump greets Netanyahu Feb 15 2017

Would those railing about the demonization of Trump like to parse what Netanyahu called the “remarkable alliance between Israel & the US” in the affable exchange between Trump & Netanyahu today? Affable exchange, except in their vituperations against “radical Islam” & in Netanyahu’s vilification of Palestinians as terrorists. Both talked about the “tremendous hate” Palestinians are taught from a very young age.

Can Trump supporters explain the “alternative facts” that make criticism of his Muslim-hating, specifically his hatred of Palestinians, into demonization? Because if you can’t, you ought to take down the posts waving the Palestinian flag. You can’t play both sides of the street when it comes to apartheid.

Hands Off Syria Coalition a gathering place for political deadbeats moving to right

Many associated with the Hands Off Syria Coalition are outraged at the resignation of Flynn because they claim he was brokering better relations with Russia & preventing WWIII. What does it say about them politically that they echo Fox News, RT, Bloomberg, the twittering of Donald Trump & are posting links from those news agencies to prove their point?

What it says about them is not that they are operating from what Kellyanne Conway calls “alternative facts” but that they are moving rapidly to the right behind a smoke screen of accusations & vituperations against protesters who they denounce as “dem-libs,” supporters of the CIA & of US intervention.

If your politics have become indistinguishable from Fox News & Donald Trump, face up to the facts that you’ve become a redneck. You may as well own it, because hating on protesters isn’t fooling anyone.

These are the titles of articles they’re posting from Fox & RT:

“Bashing Trump doesn’t make you a rebel, it makes you an establishment tool.”

“Kucinich pins Flynn leak on Intel community, warms of another Cold War.”

“The political assassination of Michael Flynn.”

“Trump caves on Flynn’s resignation.”

“The Neocons & the “deep state” have neutered the Trump presidency.”

“Michael Flynn’s resignation US establishment coup.”

“Russian MPs say anti-Russian agenda likely forced Flynn resignation.”

Sexual violence as a weapon of war in Kashmir

Women protest a rape in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir in 2009. (Bilal Bahadur)

Sexual violence associated with war & military occupation is an international crisis involving tens of thousands of mostly women & children every year. It is a form of torture also commonly used against men political prisoners.

It is not a private crime but functions as a tool of military control which has for too long been glorified in culture & winked at as a “boys will be boys” thing. Meanwhile thousands of victims live with stigma & shame, suffering incapacitating physical & psychological consequences in social isolation.

The advocacy campaigns of victims, feminists, human rights activists of the past several decades are beginning to wrench this monstrous crime out of the shadows. These activists scorn any imputations against the victims & stand with them in solidarity. Without flinching, they lay all shame & stigma on military impunity & demand the governments & military forces involved be prosecuted.

Photo is women protesting brutal rapes of two women in the Shopian district of Kashmir in 2009.

Article from Pakistan Today about military use of sexual violence in Kashmir written by me.

(Photo by Bilal Bahadur)

‘Kids Who Die’ (by Langston Hughes)

Israeli soldier choking chld (Feb 15 2017

This poem by Langston Hughes is for the kids: for the stone-throwers, the sweatshop workers, the scavengers, the unaccompanied ones crossing borders, the abandoned ones, the trafficked ones. Less a tribute than a lament that generations of kids still grow old without childhoods. Children are the ones not just dying to change that but often leading the way:

“For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—and the old and rich don’t want the people to taste the iron of the kids who die…”

‘Kids Who Die’ (by Langston Hughes)

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organising sharecroppers.
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organising workers.
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together.
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr in front of their names,
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books,
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together.

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts.
Maybe your bodies will be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you are drowned like Leibknecht.
But the day will come—
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.



Demonizing children freedom fighters in Kashmir, Palestine, Syria is a right-wing shame

Young Kashmiri boy with pellet injuries (via Rising Kashmir)

Apparently nationalists are using the photo of the little boy with a rock striking an armored vehicle to discredit Kashmiri Intifada. Perhaps this photo of a young boy injured by pellet munitions last year during attacks on protesters will clarify why children show such courage against a brutal occupation.

The nationalist mind is twisted like the Assadist & Zionist minds–demonizing children who are victims & targets in occupation rather than oppose a monstrous occupation.

As Syed Ali Geelani said, “Occupation is a disease & atrocities are its symptoms”

(Photo is from Rising Kashmir)

People who love people more likely to change the world–or at least make a contribution

Over the years on Facebook, i’ve had a few posts get well over a thousand likes & hundreds of shares, mostly by people who aren’t FB friends. The subjects of the posts say something about what inspires us, what matters to us & it ain’t hating on the human race:

One was about thousands of Bangladeshi sweatshop workers striking against dangerous conditions of labor after several factory fires; one which got over 2,000 likes was on the pink-robed Gulabi Gang, a group of Indian women who take aggressive action against domestic abuse & violence against women; one was a tribute to the actor Alan Rickman (when he died) for his support to Palestinians & his dramatic work “My Name is Rachel Corrie”; & now the post about Cédric Herrou, the French farmer who runs the underground railroad for African refugees.

If you ask me, those who look for things to like & admire in others are the ones most likely to change the world. They don’t like others getting a raw deal. They want us to love one another. Damn fools. Hating gets you nowhere fast & you get old-people maladies before your time.

Rohingya refugees rally for access to secondary education denied them in Bangladesh

Rohingya children at Bangladesh refugee camp Feb 9 2017 rally for education (from Mohammed Imran)

For the same reasons public education has long been under attack in the US, it is under attack for working people & oppressed nationalities everywhere. Eliminating free, universal public education is at the heart of neoliberal economics & is the cause of social struggles in several countries

In the US, it was emancipated Blacks in the Reconstruction Era South who introduced free, universal public education in the US because no one better understood & respected the power of education.

This is a protest rally last Thursday in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh demanding secondary & higher education for refugees. Under the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention states are obligated to provide education beyond elementary level. But Bangladesh is not a signatory to that agreement & does not permit secondary schools in the camps. Like Indian reservations in the US before the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Rohingya refugees are officially barred from leaving the camps so formalized education for refugees ends around the age of 12. The entire world of learning is denied them & any possibility for employment above sweatshops.

Given the high level of child labor in Bangladesh, even elementary education for citizens is also a problematic.

When thousands are denied education, humanity loses thousands of teachers, nurses, doctors, electricians, technicians, scientists, poets & writers, musicians & thousands of human beings will never know the magic they are capable of creating.

Enough of that stuff! Full access to education all the way through college for Rohingya refugees.

(Photo from Mohammed Imran, elected refugee representative at the camp.)

Quezon City Jail in Metro Manila: Dante’s Inferno

Quezon City prison (Noel Celis:AFP:Reuters (World Press Photo winner 2017) Feb 14 2017

This is the notorious Quezon City Jail in Metro Manila, built to house 800 prisoners but now housing 3,800 to accommodate the thousands of drug users turning themselves in for asylum in jail rather than be hunted down & murdered on the street by vigilantes.

Noel Celis, the photographer, took a series of photos at the prison in 2016 to bring attention to prison conditions in the Philippines which he said brought to mind images of Dante’s Inferno. There have to be significant mental & physical health problems, including infectious diseases, from living in this kind of squalor & inhumanity.

Many of the prisoners at Quezon City Jail are awaiting trial so these are the conditions of those accused of crime, not those convicted of anything & who are anyway mostly guilty of being impoverished by neoliberal scorched earth economics.

This photo won the World Press Photo award, 2017.

(Photo by Noel Celis, photographer for Agence France-Presse/Courtesy of World Press Photo Foundation/Handout via Reuters)

Palestinian & Kashmiri children against military occupation:

Child Intifada Feb 14 2017

Palestinian & Kashmiri children against military occupation:

The top left photo is 14-year-old Faris Odeh facing off against an Israeli tank just outside Gaza city in October, 2000. The image became an iconic metaphor for Palestinians standing unarmed against one of the most high-tech militaries in the world. Ten days later (on Nov 8th), young Odeh was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in another stone throwing incident.

The top right photo is a small Kashmiri boy facing off with stones against an Indian army tank in 2009 after Indian paramilitary forces were shooting at unarmed protesters in the town of Baramulla & had just shot dead another young boy.

The bottom left photo is a Palestinian boy going up against an armored wheel loader used in house demolitions in the West Bank in October 2014. The bottom right photo is also a Palestinian boy from 2014.

After the image of Faris Odeh exposed the brutality of military occupation, Israeli propagandists tried to demonize young Odeh (& other Palestinian stone-throwers) as a thrill-seeker, daredevil, even a delinquent & criminal in formation. That is not just a contemptuous attitude toward the emotional & intellectual lives of children & their ardent rebellion against oppression but a sleazy attempt to whitewash the criminality of occupation & its profound affects on small children.

In fact, the terrorizing & abuse of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation is systematic, institutionalized, & integral to military control. There is no security for children who see entire villages evicted & homes bulldozed to make room for Israeli settlements; who witness Israeli settlers torching Palestinian homes & burning people to death with impunity; who witness home invasions, with parents dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, humiliated, arrested; or see other children blindfolded, shackled, & abducted.

In protests to prevent bulldozers & wheel loaders from razing homes, Palestinian children sustain injuries from tear gas & rubber bullets. Over 700 are arrested every year & placed in Israeli military prisons under administrative detention (which means indefinitely & without due process) where they are interrogated without parent or counsel present & subjected to torture.

From January 1st to December 5th, 2016, 26 Palestinian children were killed by occupying forces & 459 children were abducted, including during home invasions by soldiers. Israel stood condemned by human rights groups for directly targeting children with bombers in the 2014 carpet bombing siege of Gaza.

The same atrocities prevail in occupied Kashmir, with children targeted & blinded by pellet guns, arrested & placed in administrative detention indefinitely & without due process, & subjected to home invasions during house to house searches, often witnessing their fathers tortured or mothers & sisters raped.

Children’s participation in Palestinian & Kashmiri Intifada is not thrill-seeking or criminal behavior but political resistance to oppression & occupation. They are held in the highest esteem who put their lives on the line for freedom–whether they be 7 or 17 or 70.

End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

End the occupation. Build & honor BDS to support the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.