It is colossally misguided to lobby Facebook to delete accounts whose politics or language are objectionable. Block them instead. They are censoring right & left, especially Palestinians & Kashmiris, & by calling for censorship you are legitimizing their right to censorship & inroads against the Bill of Rights. Those who struggle for freedom need the fullest freedom of speech & always oppose censorship. That’s to protect us, not them.
Today is the seventh anniversary of the titanic Arab Spring uprisings which all began about this time in 2011, including in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, with reverberations in Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, Libya. We should take a moment to pay tribute to the millions of Arab peoples, men, women, & children, who rose up against brutal & repressive regimes to demand human & democratic rights & who have paid such a heavy price. Hundreds of thousands, closer to millions, of people have been murdered, disappeared, incarcerated, tortured, bombed, starved to death. If we want to understand why Islam has become so demonized & maligned, it is because most of those uprisings were in countries with a Muslim majority. Hating on Muslims is a way to justify bombing their countries while at the same time arming the regimes to destroy working people’s dreams of freedom.
This is a photo of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, a 33-year-old socialist activist in Egypt who on January 24, 2015 was marching with a small group to Tahir Square in Cairo to lay a wreath in tribute to the thousands of activists killed in the 2011 uprising. Masked riot police blasted the group with tear gas & pellet guns shooting Sabbagh in the back of the head, neck, & side of her face. She died almost instantly from shotgun pellets to the heart & lungs. She has since become a symbol of continuing opposition to Egypt’s military junta. Her courage stands as a testimony to the power & the future of the Egyptian Arab Spring uprising. May all who died Rest In Peace. It is the mission of our generations to make sure they did not die in vain.
This photo is the moment Shaimaa was shot. The man holding her is Sayyid Abu el-Ela, a personal & political friend.
(Photo by Islam Osman/Reuters)
The situation in Venezuela has some significant affinities not just with militarization against the Syrian Arab Spring uprising but with the military ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 after one year in office. It’s one of the most misunderstood events in the entirety of the Egyptian Arab Spring & very much to the point of what’s happening in Venezuela.
Those who fetishize elections apparently didn’t follow the military-controlled electoral process leading to Morsi’s election in June 2012. (He was “elected” in the same way Mubarak & Assad were–through fraudulent one-party elections.) Nor did they observe that Morsi functioned as the civilian front office for the military after Generals Hosni Mubarak & Omar Suleiman were ousted. After weeks of massive protests in Tahrir Square, the military junta threw out Mubarak & dispensed with Suleiman but retained control & continued violently attacking protesters. The fatal mistake was trusting the generals or at least not pushing through to dismantle the military which was/is bankrolled by the US in exchange for selling out Palestinians.
Morsi was an elite member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB played a passive, though not a counterrevolutionary role throughout the revolution but became extremely aggressive after Morsi was elected, including using violence against anti-Morsi & anti-military protesters. Under Morsi, a new Egyptian constitution was formulated which left the military in complete control & denied democratic & human rights to civilians. Arab Spring protests against the new constitution & austerity programs continued while the military junta worked with the MB leadership & incited MB members to attack the Arab Spring protests.
On June 30, 2013, the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s ‘election’, an estimated 32 million Egyptians marched across the country calling for Morsi to step down because he did not present the political program Arab Spring protesters had in mind when they demanded the ouster of Mubarak. (Many contest those crowd estimates but if it were even one-quarter of 32 million, it would still be one of the most momentous political events in human history.) In order to protect itself & neutralize the protests, the military junta stepped in (as they had with Mubarak) & ousted Morsi. Mubarak & Morsi’s ouster in a ‘coup’ was how the military took advantage of a revolution with very weak, compromised leadership. General Sisi & the junta bounced Morsi & openly took over Egypt because the revolution was too massive. They no longer could control it with a civilian front but required wholesale, murderous repression.
After Morsi’s ouster, the military junta that collaborated with elite MB leadership & incited MB thugs to attack Arab Spring protesters began a military onslaught against the MB protesters. The army mowed them down by the hundreds in bloodbaths where bodies were piled on bodies. They massacred working class MB members to intimidate & behead the revolution & to protect military rule. Regardless of MB conduct against the revolution, defending them against massacres by the Sisi regime was not just the humane, moral, & democratic thing to do but it was imperative for defense of the Egyptian revolution.
Using hysteria about “Islamists,” a media propaganda campaign ensued to justify the massacres of the MB. Many erstwhile progressives who claim to stand for democracy fell for the hysteria & supported the massacres. Justifying the massacres of MB members set the stage for defense of the Assad dictatorship in Syria. Media beat the drums of Islamophobia while cynics used the carnage to document their conviction that social transformation is impossible against the mighty fortress of US & Egyptian militarism. Committed human rights supporters did not wait for the tear gas & horror to dissipate before examining with the most careful attention how counterrevolution gained the upper hand in Egypt. Trust in the generals, comparable to trust in the Assad regime, is chief among the problems.
Regime change is an insufficient program for social transformation; the military that runs Egypt must eventually be forcibly challenged & dismantled down to the last bullet & tear gas canister. The Maduro regime may not be a dictatorship but it is massively repressive & committed to the wrong class. It must also eventually be replaced–but by Venezuelan working people, not by the US Pentagon. A full program that addresses the political, social, & economic problems of working people must be developed as an alternative to the generals & tyrants.
This 2013 photo is grieving family & friends of massacred Muslim Brotherhood members who have come to a mosque to identify their loved ones bodies. May they Rest In Peace.
Postscript: Morsi remains in an Egyptian jail today.
(Photo by AP)
For those supporting the attempted coup by Juan Guaido (& thus US military intervention) in Venezuela by saying Guaido is a social democrat whose political party belongs to the Socialist International: let me do your homework (or is it your thinking?) for you since it’s not clear whether you’re too lazy to do your own study, are just indifferent to reality, or are politically corrupt. Whatever it is, as we know from Syria, it can be contagious.
Putting aside Joseph Stalin, responsible for the murder of millions (among other monstrous crimes); the Chinese communist government engaged in genocide against the Uyghur Muslims (among other monstrous crimes); Bashar al Assad who heads the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party of Syria & is responsible for using gas & barrel bombs against unarmed civilians (among other monstrous crimes), keep in mind that the political party of Hosni Mubarak, who the Egyptian Arab Spring uprising threw out of power in 2011, was a member of the Socialist International. So is the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. And in fact Suu Kyi remains a Special Honorary President of the Socialist International despite being stripped of several honorifics for orchestrating genocide against the Rohingya people.
So if you’re just a war monger & think there is such an idiotic thing as a US humanitarian invasion, please don’t camouflage that in socialist hogwash. Be true to yourself & just do rah-rah for war against Venezuela. We already know what a dope you are.
This photo is a Venezuelan National Police officer firing rubber bullets at anti-government protesters in Caracas. It should be said loud & clear that Maduro has no more right to fire on unarmed protesters than Syria has to drop barrel bombs on civilians or the US to invade Venezuela.
(Photo by Manaure Quintero/Reuters)
When the Trump regime announced the US is recognizing politician Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela over Nicolas Maduro who was reelected & inaugurated & when US diplomats refuse to leave Venezuela despite being expelled, the US is setting Venezuela up for a military intervention. We should question the democratic character of the Venezuelan elections. We should acknowledge that the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans protesting against Maduro’s policies have just cause & are not fascist or rightwing, as Stalinists, libertarians, Assadists claim. But the US is threatening military action only because the Maduro government has switched its economic & political nexus from the US/IMF to Russia & China. That fundamental shift where the US is losing political control to Russia & China is going on all over the world.
Just as Iran, Russia, & the US coalition grabbed the political advantage by militarizing opposition to the Syrian popular uprising against the Assad regime, the US is wresting political victory from the threat presented by the Venezuelan popular uprising against Maduro’s austerity policies (worsened by US sanctions). The mortal threat to all these governments is popular democratic movements. No matter the rhetoric or competing interests, on that they all agree. In the case of Syria, the Assad regime was weakened, Syria was fractured, & most importantly, the Syrian Arab Spring uprising was crushed. The US is not threatening to intervene in Venezuela because Maduro is repressive, even though he is massively so. They have no trouble working with Saudi Mohammed bin Salman, Brazilian Bolsonaro, Filipino Duterte, Israeli Netanyahu, Indian Modi, & other such thugs. They are intervening to force Venezuelan capital to again become dependent on US capital rather than Russia & China. It’s the oil fields, stupid! It’s a pitched battle for political control over all of Latin America.
When we hit the streets around the world–as we must–with placards demanding “US hands off Venezuela,” we are not defending the Maduro regime or its policies. We are defending the Venezuelan people from the barbarisms sure to follow any US military intervention. There are thousands protesting against the Maduro regime because of its repressions & austerity but they do not necessarily support Juan Guaido or want him to replace Maduro. They certainly do not, in their majority (there are always agents provocateurs) support US military intervention. The international antiwar movement cannot make the same unprincipled, treacherous mistakes it is making by supporting the Assad regime against the Syrian revolution. It must take a clear stand with the civilians of Venezuela & let them sort out their differences with Maduro.
US hands off Venezuela!
(Photo is Venezuelan anti-government protester by Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
The Israeli apartheid wall around occupied Palestine being offered by Palestinians to whoever can cart it away before they knock it down & establish a democratic, secular state for Palestinians & Jews to live as equals.
The history of Blacks, Latinos, & Native Americans in the US has been systematically excluded from the curriculum & most American students get through advanced education without knowing a lick about that history. So much of Africa was Muslim, including during the Atlantic slave trade, so of course it makes sense that many of the slaves in the Americas were Muslims. But in my own studies I don’t recall ever reading reference to that important history.
There aren’t enough discussions on social media by those outside South Asia about the caste system in India & elsewhere. Partially, that’s because it’s not well-understood in its interactions with class, ethnicity, & religion. This insightful discussion by Bobby Kunhu resonates with the disputes around affirmative action for women, Blacks, Latinos, & Native Americans in the US. There has always been opposition to affirmative action in the US as privileging the oppressed rather than attempting to equalize injustices which are by no means historic. But in the past few decades, there is an avalanche of backsliding among progressives on the issue. (Privilege once again rears its ugly ass.) This article is quite useful for understanding the issue as it pertains to caste oppression.
Rohingya women in the Kutupalong refugee Camp at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, protest for the release of Rohingya refugees from detention in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
End the Rohingya genocide.
(Posted by VOR in camps via Saydul360 on Facebook)
What a powerful photo which speaks to the courage of journalists: Kashmiri photojournalist (the man with the camera & the eye patch) Nissar Ul Haq returns to work after sustaining pellet gun injuries while covering an Indian army operation in the Shopian district.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
(Photo by Kamran Yousuf)