Though I am not prone to social panic or political hysteria, I am prone to respiratory illness & nearly died twice from the flu. Or at least it felt like I was dying. Social distancing & isolation seems a wise tactic to get through this pandemic, however long it lasts, but for most seniors, social isolation is already a problem. You just have to remember that temporary isolation beats dying. You can get a lot of things done, like catching up on reading, listening to music, dancing with the door jamb, decluttering, or spending more time on social media talking to each other.

On the passing of Abhay XaXa:

“When your best citizens are killed on the streets, and piled in the jail”, by Abhay Xaxa

Dear Republic,

When your best citizens are killed on the streets,

and piled in the jails.

While the traitors adorn your high offices.

Something is terribly wrong with you!

When the apologists of empire become nationalists,

And defense of constitution

becomes act of rebellion,

You suffer from acute loss of memory!

Before people reach out to asylums,

mutinies and refugee boats,

Get well soon, Republic.

Dear Republic,

Go back to where you came from,

To your roots of freedom and liberty,

remember your Adivasi ancestors,

Whom you have forgotten

Remember Veer Budhu Bhagat and Tilkha Majhi

Bishnu and Maiju Manki,

Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairav, Jhanu, Phulo,

Tatya Bhil, Khwaja Naik and Rani Durgawati,

Kuwarsingh Vasava, Raghoji and Ranapunja Bhil,

Haldibai, Rani Chennama and Bhima Naik

Bhukhan Munda, Gundadhur and Bhagirath Majhi.

Rani Gaidinliu, Tirot Singh, Telenga Kharia, Bhilu Rana

Dharti Abba Birsa Munda

And other uncountable Adivasi martyrs

Who buried themselves like seeds,

So that we could have future of freedom,

dignity and sovereignty.

No one of them, represent this republic which they built!

No where in your trozen-horsed statues, or artificial memoirs

Not even in the décor of sanitized parliament

or your decorated awards!

Lest not forget 1855 or 1832, 1819, 1800, or even 1795, 1772

What happened then, when you tell stories of 1857!

The fraud sold in history books and propagandist media!

Thousands of Adivasi movement and the massacres which followed it.

Dear Republic,

Go back to where you came from, to your roots and seeds!

Because there lies the spirit of freedom, justice and equality.

And get well soon, Republic!”

Abhay Xaxa was born & brought up in Jashpur District of Chhattisgarh. An Adivasi rights activist & sociologist by training, Abhay has worked with grassroots organisations, campaigns, NGO’s, media, research institutions in different capacities on the issue of Adivasi land rights in central India. He is also the National Convener at National Campaign on Adivasi Rights.

The poem was originally published in Citizens for Justice and Peace website on 26 January, 2019

Watching old socialists try to give a dialectical spin to their support for Sanders & the Democratic Party is what Marx & Engels might call a farce. Their hop stepping around the many contradictions, especially their own gassy articles from the past, is indistinguishable from the tarantella or the Mississippi quickstep. They never do get to a synthesis of their rightward political shift from independence from to complete subordination to the twin US parties of capitalism. But for many of them, it began with compromises with Zionism & inaction against war. Apparently, among other things, they never learned that in the politics of the oppressed, you cannot have it both ways & no amount of theoretical double-talking will make it so. They ought to pay more attention to the Aesop’s fable of the scorpion & the frog than try to find just the right quote from Marx to justify their degeneration.

‘First they went culling the elderly & I was still young so I didn’t squawk. After all, old people have already lived their lives. Then they went culling the disabled, unemployed, refugees, Muslims, & the poor most of all. They think they’re getting closer to the ‘master race’.

Culling the herd, also called eugenics, is not the answer to coronavirus. High quality medical & health care systems available to all makes life possible for all of us. And that should be our demand.

“Reposting the work which I have shared while Kashmir was on a clampdown for my Kashmiri friends…title “The white shadow” 2019″

–Rollie Mukherjee.

How will the Assad regime deal with a coronavirus epidemic when Syrian & Russian bombers have destroyed so many hospitals? Is that why the regime denies any cases of the virus in Syria? Or do they just see the virus as part of the ‘culling game’ & fewer revolutionists & refugees to deal with?

Basharat Bhat on the revelation of Indian politician SP Malik that the puppet civil & security bureaucrats in J&K were ready to kill over 1,000 Kashmiri protesters in the aftermath of abrogation of article 370 had there been mass protests & a defiance of curfew:

“”As flies to the wanton boys
So are we to the Indian state’s agents
[read super-imposed, cruel, haughty bureaucrats]
They kill us for their sport”
(with apologies to Shakespeare)

The previous Governor reveals how the honourable Chief Secretary of the state, the leading bureaucrat in charge of J&K, was ready to slaughter more than 1000 Kashmiris in the aftermath of the abrogation of 370, and so very nonchalantly!! Anyways, who cares for Kashmiri lives; they are so cheap and expendable!! Good that these murderers were not given a chance by the sane dissenting method of Kashmiris this time which foiled the blood dimmed designs of these people.

And speaking of bureaucrats from the mainland who have tortured Kashmir since long, Agha Shahid Ali’s poem ” Muharram in Srinagar:1992″ comes to the mind:

“Death flies in, thin bureaucrat, from the plains—
a one-way passenger, again…
He travels first class, sipping champagne…
… Our hands disappear. Sipping champagne,
he goes through the morning schedule for Doomsday.
‘Break their hands.’ Will ours return with guns, or a bouquet?
Ice hardens its fat near his heart. We’re cut to the brains.
He memorizes, clause by clause, the contract for Doomsday.
We mourn the martyrs of Karbala, our skins torn with chains.
Ice hardens its fat near his heart, and we’re cut to the brains.
Near the ramp colonels wait with garlands by a jeep.
(O mourners, Husain bleeds, tear your skins with chains!)
The plane lands. In the Vale the children are dead, or asleep.

He descends. The colonels salute. A captain starts the jeep.
The Mansion by the lake awaits him with roses. He’s driven
through streets bereft of children: they are dead, not asleep,
O, when will our hands return, if only broken?

The Mansion is white, lit up with roses. He is driven
through streets in which blood flows like Husain’s.
Our hands won’t return to us, not even mutilated, when
Death comes—thin bureaucrat—from the plains.”

The coronavirus magnifies the health crises of refugees held in US & European concentration camps a hundredfold. With human rights activists hunkered down in their homes to avoid contagion & not protesting, thousands of refugees are left on their own against regimes that see them as fit for the culling.

Open the damn borders. Asylum to refugees is a human right.

(Photo of Turkey-Greece border by Belal Khaled)

The Syrian Arab Spring began nine years ago today. Perhaps not since the Russian Revolution in 1917 has there been such an array of international armies committed to bringing down a revolution against an autocratic police state. It began on March 15, 2011 as a revolution for freedom, human rights, democracy & continues as such despite nefarious foreign interventions which militarized it & attempted to subvert its original commitments & despite Assadist & Stalinist propagandists & cultists who malign it using ‘war on terror’ ideology.

Stand with the Syrian Arab Spring & demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces & mercenaries from Syria.

(Photo of boy carrying the flag of the Syrian Revolution from 2014, photographer unidentified)

“In the Middle East we’ve had these bans in place for decades to help stop the spread of the worst pandemic of them all: protests.”

–Tweeted by Fatima Said @fatimazsaid