Those who jeopardize refugee rights are moving in the wrong direction fast

African refugees at Granada Spain ( Paquet:EPA) Feb 2 2017

A lot of oped writers & bloggers are sneering at the Muslim ban as a “shock event,” a mock crisis, a fake-out to create chaos, divide society & destabilize the US government.

That dissociation from reality is what happens when you look at society as an epic conspiracy & become too paranoid to read mainstream media. Isn’t wondering if the world is all a staged event a phase one passes through in early childhood when you still think your belly button is the center of the universe?

What about the 67,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh? Are they a divisive fiction? What about the tens of thousands of Middle East refugees freezing their asses off because the European Union has locked them out? Are they just dreaming hypothermia? What about the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the US southern border & ending up in detention centers? Are they paid to make that treacherous two thousand mile trip to create chaos & disruption for the Trump administration? What about the tens of thousands of African refugees in the Mediterranean? Are thousands of them willingly drowning to play out a refugee crisis & destabilize the Trump regime?

The political imperative today is to stand steadfast with refugees, to oppose the Muslim ban & all restrictions on refugee asylum. Those who do anything to undercut that solidarity or discredit the massive protests around the world in defense of refugees are heading in the wrong direction fast.

Open the borders. Immigration is a human right. Asylum for refugees is a principle of civilized society.

Photo is rescued African refugees in Granada, Spain. Talk to them about that shock event crap.

(Photo by Paquet/EPA)

When the know-nothing misogynist ass calls the Women’s March of over 3 million on every continent a “Big Mommy Parade of White Woman Privilege,” why is he leaving out the tens of thousands who marched in 30 Indian cities? Or the thousands in Mexico & several Latin American countries? Or the thousands in South Africa & other African countries? Or the Black & Latino women who marched here? Is he just an ignorant ass or is he racist too & doesn’t think they count?

Sorry to see Dahlia Wasfi is in agreement with Assad propagandists & the Hands Off Syria Coalition. She gave one of the best antiwar speeches ever on the US war in Iraq & is now posting tripe against the White Helmets; rubbish from Jan Oberg (who toasted the imminent downfall of east Aleppo with Assad official Fares Shehabi while protected by Syrian soldiers); & from Mnar Muhawesh, the Iranian propagandist & owner of Mint Press (discredited by dishonest defenses of Assad’s war crimes).

She might want to read Syrian revolutionists rather than paid propagandists for Assad.

The “nattering nabobs of negativism” redux

Reading misanthropic criticisms of the historic protests around the word brings to mind the unforgettable alliteration of the forgettable Spiro Agnew spoken in 1970:

“In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club: the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.’”

Who knew Agnew would come into his own nearly half a century after we laughed ourselves silly at his denunciation?

Bangladesh plans to put thousands of Rohingya refugees on uninhabitable island

Thengar Char taken in Jan 2015 (AFP)

This is Thengar Char, an isolated Bangladeshi island two hours by speedboat from the mainland. It only emerged from the sea about 8 years ago & is still not on some maps. It is completely submerged under several feet of water at high tide every day (which lasts about six hours), has no roads, no flood defenses. It is in an area frequently hit by cyclones which in the past have killed thousands on the nearby island of Hatiya & on Bangladesh’s southern coast. The island is uninhabitable.

A team of Bangladeshi government surveyors selected Thengar Char as a place to relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees until they are deported back to Myanmar. There was no consideration given to permanent housing nor apparently to temporary housing which would be washed away every high tide, along with many refugees.

Thousands of African refugees in the Mediterranean & thousands of Rohingya in the Andaman have drowned; thousands from the Middle East are living outside in subzero temperatures; thousands from Asia, Africa, & Central America are on the US-Mexico border unable to cross to the US; thousands of Rohingya are in Bangladesh about to be forcibly relocated to this hellhole.

The protests all over this world for refugee rights, despite the deluge of misanthropic & idiotic criticisms, are politically imperative & historically monumental. Those who participate in them stand against these monstrous human rights crimes, stand with the refugees as our brothers & sisters, & will not be daunted by those who think the protesters not enlightened enough & not good enough to join because they didn’t call for Obama’s impeachment.

Those who stand with refugee rights are on the front lines of social transformation. Let the misanthrope’s complaints become as white noise & let them be left behind talking to their asses if they refuse to stand with the oppressed.

Open the borders. Immigration is a human right. Asylum for refugees is the very foundation of human civilization.

(Photo of Thengar Char taken in 2015 from AFP)

Ko Ni: can you advise Aung San Suu Kyi & still be considered a human rights lawyer?

Ko Ni ( Phyo Thiha Cho:Myanmar Now via REUTERS) Feb 1 2017

The assassination of Ko Ni in Myanmar is heinous, especially since he was holding his small grandchild when he was shot at point blank range. Ko Nay Win, the taxi driver who chased the gunman, was also shot & killed. A suspect has been arrested by police. Prosecuting the perpetrator will be significant since no one has been held accountable in numerous assassinations of journalists, environmentalists, & those opposing regime land grabs.

Media reports say Ko Ni was a human rights defender. He did participate in the massive pro-democracy protests in 1988 against the military junta known as the 8888 Uprising. But so did millions of other Burmese. After 6 months of protest, a general strike across Burma began on August 8th, 1988 involving workers, farmers, students, Buddhists, Muslims across the country. When the generals saw power being wrested from them, they unleashed terror, opening fire on protesters, shooting down medical personnel treating the wounded, By August 12th, 10,000 were dead & thousands more beaten, arrested, tortured, & jailed. The generals regained control of the country by September 21st & thousands of student activists fled for their lives to other countries. Some time after this Ko Ni was reportedly arrested & jailed but when & for how long is not reported.

Aung San Suu Kyi had been out of the country for schooling & work since 1960, living in India, the US, & England, where she married & had kids. In 1988 she returned to care for her ailing mother & got involved in the 8888 Uprising, not as an organizer but as a rally speaker where unwarranted prestige is often gained. She was recruited to help found the National League for Democracy (NLD) on September 27th, 1988. The other founding officers were former high level generals in the military junta, some of whom were involved in bloody crackdowns on student demonstrators in the 1960s & 70s. This would make the NLD’s political pedigree & agenda somewhat questionable, to say the least. It isn’t certain if Ko Ni was part of founding the NLD or when he became its legal advisor & associated with Suu Kyi.

As adviser to Suu Kyi & the NLD in power, media reports that Ko Ni proposed ways to get around statutes in the constitution which allowed the junta to run the country behind the scenes. No one would underestimate the difficulty of opposing the junta in Myanmar but advising the government fronting for the military might not be the best place to do that.

Media also reports Ko Ni was an advocate for the Muslim minority in Myanmar. That apparently did not include speaking out against the genocide of Rohingya defended brazenly in international forums by Suu Kyi who Ko Ni advised. Unspeakable human rights crimes are being committed in Arakan; 67,000 Rohingya have fled for their lives. Instead of addressing that, his obituaries say he was a voice for religious harmony as if persecution of Rohingya & other Muslims is a matter of intolerance rather than a junta policy of ethnic cleansing.
All this quite conservative resistance probably required courage & may have earned Ko Ni the hatred of the generals & nationalist Buddhist monks but it does not rise to the level of outspoken human rights advocate. Not if he remained silent on genocide & was part of the regime executing it.

The NLD publicly denounced Ko Ni’s assassination but Suu Kyi has not spoken publicly about it, did not extend condolences to the family, & did not attend his funeral on Monday. That isn’t just troubling but suspicious. Is she aware of forces within her own party led by retired generals or of forces within the junta who might be involved in the murder? Silence against monstrous crimes is a political pattern with Suu Kyi which does not signify indifference but collusion.

May Ko Ni Rest In Peace. May his life stand as a warning to choose ones allies more wisely.

(Photo is Ko Ni by Phyo Thiha Cho/Myanmar Now via Reuters)