I am honored & humbled beyond words to be invited to attend & report on this International People’s Tribunal on Burma’s Crimes Against Humanity. It will be September 18-22, 2017 at the University of Malaya-Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. I can’t afford to attend in person but I will be covering it via live stream where others around the world can also follow the proceedings.
They are putting out a call for volunteers to help organize & promote the event in Kuala Lumpur. But of course promoting it around the world can be done by all of us.
It has been said that the destiny of the Rohingya living as a free people in Myanmar is a hopeless cause. On the contrary, for the first time in decades of persecution & ethnic cleansing, Rohingya activists have made their fight one of the most important in the world. Not to draw our pity but to strengthen solidarity with their struggle for human, democratic, civic, & refugee rights.
If you are interested in volunteering you can contact them at https://twitter.com/BurmaTaskForce or https://www.burmamuslims.org/PPT.
Please use this link to promote this very significant event exposing the human rights crimes of the Myanmar government against Rohingya Muslims.
There’s a tragedy here when young boys & teens have to be among those defending religious freedom against an occupying army. India is doing the same thing at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar as Israel is doing at Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. Both occupying armies focus on disrupting Friday prayers. But of course those mosques are not the only places they cause disruptions because torching mosques & religious places are also long part of their attempts to challenge religious freedom.
It’s isn’t delinquency for youth like this small boy to resist such provocations & defend Friday prayers. Since when does the criminal element defend religious freedom?
(Photo by Bilal Ahmad)
A protester in Srinagar, Kashmir is defiantly pointing out his pellet injuries to policemen. Of such insolence & fearlessness are freedom fighters made. We stand in awe.
(Photo by Basit Zargar)
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) is one of the most outstanding figures in American history. He escaped from slavery in 1838 & became a leader, writer, & orator of the abolitionist movement. He was committed to Black, women’s, Native American, & immigrant rights. He traveled & lectured in Britain & Ireland, including during the Irish “potato famine” (actually a genocide) & collaborated with abolitionists & freedom fighters in both countries.
During the Civil War, he was an adviser to Abraham Lincoln & helped recruit Blacks to fight with the Union Army against the Confederacy.
In the 1872 elections, he ran as vice president to presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull for the People’s (Equal Rights) Party. He’s one of those the young can learn the most from theoretically & in movement building.
This statue in Washington, DC is one of not enough statues in his honor. It was dedicated in 2013.
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) is one of the most remarkable people in American history. She was a runaway slave who escaped in 1849 & became a conductor of the Underground Railroad leading hundreds of slaves to freedom from the South. Risking her own freedom, she went south over & over again to personally lead them at night using the North Star as a guide. During the Civil War, she served as a scout & spy for the Union Army.
There are several, if not enough, monuments to Tubman. This one is in Lions Park, Bristol, Pennsylvania. She is the kind of person young people should be taught to hold in honor & respect. She will always be a giant among us.
Along with the hundreds of Confederate monuments that have to come down is another genre of monuments glorifying the US Army generals like George Custer who led expeditions to exterminate American Indian tribes. American Indian tribes have long been engaged in disputes with the US National Park Service over such monuments as well as over monuments that portray Indian opposition to the genocide expeditions as massacres. Getting rid of them is posed as a dispute over political correctness when it is really an issue of historical honesty & defending the right of those targeted for genocide to resist.
The counter-movement against the racist & Confederate monuments led by American Indian & Black activists & by human rights activists has produced powerful monuments which tell the truth.
This monument dedicated in Duluth, Minnesota in 2003, memorializes a 1920 event when a mob of 10,000 whites broke into the Duluth jail, took three Black men named Elmer Jackson, Elias Clayton, & Isaac McGhie from their cells & hung them. The three men were not criminals but were in town with the circus. Their lynchings were part of the racist terror unleashed to reverse Black Reconstruction that began after the Civil War.
These kind of monuments play a role in removing the pall of ignorance & amnesia necessary to the political hold of white supremacy that has so twisted American history.