Leaving Saladin behind

[The world has witnessed an extraordinary, life-changing event, in the act of Christians, standing with Muslims to regain their human rights.  Even greater still, was the act of Christians becoming shields protecting Muslims, as they prayed to their common God.  There is One God, with many names, for many different cultures, just as there is only One Human Race, living in many different locations.  God lives as a race of beings known as Man; nothing can change that.  Seeing the awakening of human eyes in Cairo, to the wondrous natures of our True Beings, is inspiring.  Something that every other person could learn something valuable from.]

Leaving Saladin behind

Young people across the Middle East rewrite the Arab narrative focusing on the future, embracing a new wave of interfaith cooperation and civic engagement along the way
BY HIND MAKKI, MARCH 4, 2011
Looking forward together
CHICAGO, IL

President George W. Bush’s use of the word “crusade” in the days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks triggered a passionate response from Muslim communities all over the world. Many Muslims believed Mr. Bush used this word to broadcast his intentions to wage war on Islam and Muslims. This reaction shocked many Westerners, for whom the impact of The Crusades was long forgotten.

But it didn’t surprise me.

Growing up in a tight-knit Muslim community outside of Chicago, I’d always heard lamentations about the dire state of the global Muslim community (genocide in Bosnia, war in Kashmir, crisis in Somalia and Palestine, always Palestine). And they often ended with the plea: “Where is today’s Salahaddin?” For many Muslims, The Crusades had never faded from collective memory. They awaited a modern-day Salahaddin al-Ayubi, the Muslim hero of The Crusades; the Kurdish general who led Muslim armies into victory and recaptured Jerusalem, to come and lead them out of post-colonial decay.

Many contemporary Muslims desire to return to the “Golden Age” of Islam, which began after Salahaddin’s victory; an age that gave rise to Muslim mathematicians, physicians, and philosophers who changed the course of human history. Those centuries represent a “Muslim feel-good” era. They are viewed as a time when Muslims commanded respect as great scientists, healers and teachers and not despised as backwards or feared as bloodthirsty terrorists. Feeling oppressed by their own governments and disempowered by Western supremacy, many Muslims hoped to wish into existence a miracle savior to lead them out of centuries of civilizational decline.

During the last eight weeks, the world watched as millions of Arabs rose up against their authoritarian regimes. First in Tunisia, then Egypt, young people people demanded the downfall of their unelected governments – and got what they wished for. Freedom fever has spread across the region from the bloody uprisings in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, to the more muted protests in Morocco, Algeria, Iran, Jordan and Oman. People across the Middle East and North Africa have long yearned for self-representation and the end of state-sponsored brutality.

What’s different now is that the young people of the Middle East stopped dreaming of that better day and took charge of their own destiny through action, grassroots mobilization, and modern communications know-how. The populace of the Arab world is overwhelmingly young – people under the age of 25 accounts for more than half of the populations of Arab countries. These young people face dim job prospects and live in societies where free speech is muzzled and transparent political processes are essentially nonexistent. Frustration over the dearth of opportunity catalyzed a youth-led protest movement that embodied Gandhian non-violence techniques, overtly referenced the US civil rights movement and displayed the social media savvy of a generation of jobless, educated young people.

These young people changed the course of their own history and left Salahaddin behind.

Eight weeks ago, one desperate young man from a remote Tunisian town, having had enough of the daily humiliations he faced as a humble vegetable seller at the hands of the state, set himself alight outside the local police station. The tepid response by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to Mohammad Bouazizi’s self-immolation outraged Tunisians who suffered under his authoritarian regime for decades. Weeks later, Bouazizi’s death dealt the final blow to Ben Ali; millions of Tunisians took to the streets, protesting his brutal security apparatus and close-knit circle of corrupt governing elite. 24 years old, unmarried and bearing the sole responsibility of financially taking care of his aged mother, ailing step-father and 6 siblings, Bouazizi personified the stifled dreams of young Arabs across the region. After offering half-hearted concessions to the popular uprisings by his people in the days after Bouazizi’s death, Ben Ali stepped down from the presidency on January 14 and fled the country.

The Tunisian people’s victory stoked the flames of freedom in the Arab world.

First, there were copycat self-immolations by desperate Arabs in the region. Then, in Egypt, young people used Facebook to mobilize non-violent protests against their fearsome state security apparatus. They picked up rocks and defended Liberation Square. They picked up mobile phones and Tweeted their revolution to the world. Muslims and Christians, they were killed by their hundreds. The Arab world waited with baited breath to see whether the 30-year regime of Egyptian strongman Husni Mubarak would survive this unprecedented uprising. Powerful stories of interfaith cooperation came out of Liberation Square. People of all faiths were inspired by images such as this one of young Christian men forming a human shield to protect Muslimsfrom police attack as they offered their evening prayers.

A nascent civic identity was conceived in the Middle East; one in which young people, women and religious minorities had a seat at the table. In the days after Ben Ali fled and Mubarak stepped down, hundreds of young people swarmed onto the streets of Tunis and Cairo armed with broomsticks, cleaning solvent and towels. In the Eastern Libyan town of Benghazi, young people formed sanitation and protection committees on their own volition. A new sense of civic responsibility and national pride emerged among the youth of the Arab world. An Arab narrative that had passively awaited its hero suddenly found itself inundated with heroes from Tunis to Cairo, from Aden to Manama.

Through his famously chivalrous behavior on and off the battle field, Salahaddin al-Ayubi earned the respect of his Christian adversary King Richard the Lionheart and immortality in Muslim history. As we witness new waves of interfaith cooperation and youth civic engagement in the Arab world, it becomes clear that even though the Arab world is no longer be content to merely wish for a savior from the annals of history, Salahaddin’s legacy endures.

 

Hind Makki has been inspired by a belief in human rights, the power of young people and the potential of pluralism to work within the American Muslim community since the attacks of 9/11/2001. She holds a degree in International Relations from Brown University, where she concentrated in global security and diplomacy. She is often found tweeting about Muslims in the West, the media as news, the politics of poverty in contemporary Africa and figure skating (one of these things is not like the other).

Consciousness Rising, World Fading

Consciousness Rising, World Fading

By Robert Jensen

25 February, 2011
Countercurrents.org

Our stories of awakenings — whether moral, intellectual, religious, artistic, or sexual — are tricky. Honest self-reflection doesn’t come easy, and self-satisfied accounts are the norm; we love to be the heroes of our own epics.

That’s true of accounts of political awakening as well, especially for those of us born into unearned privilege as a result of systems of illegitimate authority. Not only do we love to tell stories in which we come out looking good, but we know how to decorate the narrative with the trappings of humility to avoid seeming arrogant.  We use our failures to set up the story of our transformation; even when we speak of our limitations we are highlighting our wisdom in seeing those limitations.

So, when I got a request from a researcher to tell my story about how my political consciousness was raised, I was hesitant. I don’t like feeling like a fraud, and something always feels a bit fraudulent about my account, even when I am being as honest as I can. But, like most people, I feel driven to tell my story, mostly to try to explain myself to myself. So, here I go again:

As a teenager coming of age in the 1970s in mainstream culture in the upper Midwest, I missed the United States’ radicalizing movements by a decade and several hundred miles. I developed conventional liberal politics in reaction to the conventional conservative politics of my father and his generation. But in a more basic sense, I grew up depoliticized — like most contemporary Americans, I was never taught to analyze systems and structures of power, and so my banal liberal positions seemed like cutting edge critique to me. After college I worked as a journalist at mainstream newspapers, which further retarded my ability to think critically about power; reporters who don’t have a political consciousness coming into the field are unlikely to develop one in an industry that claims neutrality but is fanatically devoted to the conventional wisdom.

The raising of my consciousness began when I started a journalism/mass communication doctoral program in 1988, a time when U.S. universities were somewhat more intellectually and politically open than today. After years of the daily grind in newsrooms, I felt liberated by the freedom to read, think, and talk to others about all the new ideas I was encountering. My study of the First Amendment led me to the feminist critique of pornography, which at the time was an important focus for debate about the meaning of freedom of expression. My first graduate courses were taught by liberal defenders of pornography, who were the norm in the academy then and now. But I also began talking with activists in a local group that was fighting the sexual-exploitation industries (pornography, prostitution, stripping), and I realized there was a rich, complex, and exciting feminist critique, which required me to rethink what I thought I knew about freedom, choice, and liberation.

As a result of those first conversations, I started reading feminist work and taking feminist classes, and I kept talking with folks from the community group, which led me to get involved in their educational activities. I didn’t make those choices with any sense that I was constructing a radical philosophical and political framework. I was just following the ideas that seemed the most compelling intellectually and the people who seemed the most decent personally. Those ad hoc decisions changed my life, in two ways.

First, they opened up to me an alternative to the suffocating conventional wisdom, in which liberals and conservatives argue within narrow ideological boundaries. This exposure to feminist thinking, especially those people and ideas most commonly described as radical feminist, allowed me to step outside those boundaries and ask two simple questions: Where does real power lie and how does it operate, in both formal institutions and informal arrangements?

Second, they helped me realize the importance of always having a political life outside the university. Instead of putting all my energy into my teaching and research, I was anchored in a community project and connected to people who weren’t preoccupied with publishing marginally relevant research in marginally relevant academic journals. Although I had to publish scholarly articles for my first six years as an assistant professor, once I got tenure and job security I immediately returned to community organizing and ignored the pseudo-intellectual pretensions that dominate in most of the so-called scholarly world in the social sciences and humanities. I had developed respect for rigorous and relevant scholarship but had come to realize how little of it there was in my fields in the contemporary academy.

From those first inquiries into the sexual-exploitation industries and the role of a pornographic culture in men’s violence, I continued to think about how power is organized and operates around other dimensions of our identities and statuses in the world. After opening the gender door, it was inevitable that I would have to open the race door. From there, questions about the inherent economic injustice in capitalism and the violence required for U.S. imperial domination of the world became central. Finally, I began thinking more about how human domination of the living world is destroying the ecosphere’s capacity to sustain life as we know it.

All of those inquiries led me to the same conclusion: We live in a world structured by illegitimate hierarchies and based on a domination/subordination dynamic. For those of us with unearned privilege, the rewards for ignoring this conclusion are whatever status and money we can squeeze out of the system, while the cost of capitulation to power is a surrender of some essential part of our humanity. More than 20 years after embarking on this investigation, I can see that clearly. But when I first started confronting these issues, I only knew that the conventional wisdom seemed inadequate, that the platitudes uttered by people in power seemed empty, and that the rationalizations offered by the intellectuals in the service of power seemed self-serving. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want that kind of career or life.

All that seems clear to me now, but it wasn’t at the start. The researcher’s query that prompted this essay asked about my “earliest consciousness-raising memory.” I have no simple answer, because my awakening was such a gradual process. But there were some moments along the way, such as the day I read Andrea Dworkin’s 1983 speech entitled “I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape,” in which she asked men for “one day in which no new bodies are piled up, one day in which no new agony is added to the old.” [1] In that speech she pointed out that feminists don’t hate men, but instead “believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.” [2]

I also remember the crucial role of one friend in the anti-pornography group, a white man who was older than I and was a part of not only the feminist movement but the civil-rights, anti-war, and environmental struggles. He provided me with a model for how someone with privilege could contribute to radical politics in a principled fashion. In my book on pornography, I wrote about one particularly important moment with Jim Koplin, when we talked about my motivation in volunteering with the group:

“If you want to be part of this because you want to save women, we don’t want you,” he said. At first I was confused — wasn’t the point of critiquing the sexual exploitation of women in pornography to help women? Yes, Jim explained, but too many men who get involved in such work see themselves as knights in shining armor, riding in like the hero to save women, and they usually turn out not to be trustworthy allies. They are in it for themselves, not to challenge masculinity but to play out the role of heroic man in a new, pseudo-feminist context. You have to be in it for yourself, but in a different way, he said.

“You have to be here to save your own life,” Jim told me.

I didn’t understand exactly what he meant at that moment, but something about those words resonated in my gut. This is what feminism offered men — not just a way to help those being hurt, but a way to understand that the same system of male dominance the hurt so many women also made it impossible for men to be fully human. [3]

Jim challenged me to ask myself why I was there and what I hoped to gain, and I came to understand that my interest in feminist politics was driven in large part by my own alienation from traditional definitions of masculinity. For me to tell a simple story about doing the right thing, implying nobility on my part, wasn’t going to cut it.

More than 20 years later, I’m still wrestling with these questions about why I make the choices I make. I am a man who is part of a feminist movement and a white guy who critiques the white supremacy deeply embedded in mainstream culture. I am an American who opposes U.S. imperial foreign policy and a middle-class academic working with a local group that organizes immigrant workers. For these efforts, I get attention and praise that is disproportionate to my effort and ability, a fact I point out as often as possible. People sometimes listen to me not because I’m smarter than feminist women, but because I am a man. My writing on race is not better than the work of non-white authors, but I’m appreciated because I’m white.

This is the tricky part of my awakening story. I was lucky to learn to see the world from the point of view of those who struggle against power, and I’m rewarded in many ways when I speak, write, or act in public in these movements. But I recognize that those rewards are unfair, and so my professed humility becomes another mark of my alleged sophistication. Yet if I were to refuse to use my privilege — if I dealt with this angst by fading into the background — I would be throwing away resources that come with my position in the world and which I can offer to these movements.

I am trapped, yet I am trapped in a system that makes my life relatively easy. Even when there is some threat of punishment for my political activities, such as during the fallout from critical essays about U.S. war crimes that I wrote after 9/11, I have so much support from outside the power structure and so much privilege as an educated white guy that I never really felt threatened. Even if I had been fired from my university position after 9/11, I likely would have landed on my feet.

I realize not all who adopt a critical perspective, even those in privileged categories, fare as well as I have. But in recent decades in the United States, in which dissent by people who look like me is mostly tolerated, there has been no widespread repression of people in the privileged sectors. People in targeted groups (particularly immigrants, Muslims, Arabs) have had to be careful, and there’s no guarantee that a more widespread repression won’t return to the United States, especially as U.S. power continues to decline around the world and elites get nervous. But for now, white men with U.S. citizenship are pretty safe. We may risk losing a job, but that’s trivial compared with the fates suffered by radicals in other eras in U.S. history or in other places today.

So, here’s my consciousness raising story summarized: I wandered through the first 30 years of my life mostly oblivious to the workings of power, protected by my privilege. For the past 20 years I’ve been struggling to contribute to a variety of movements for social justice and ecological sustainability, getting my consciousness raised on a regular basis whenever I seek out new experiences that push me beyond what I have come to take for granted (lately for me that has been happening at 5604 Manor, our progressive community center in Austin, TX, http://5604manor.org/ ). Although I love teaching and put considerable energy into my job as a professor, my community and political activities are just as important to me — and a greater source of intellectual vitality. If consciousness-raising is an ongoing project, it’s not likely to happen in moribund institutions such as universities but will come through engagement with people taking real risks in political work.

That’s as accurate an account as I can offer about how I became, and continue becoming, the political person I am. But telling this story always makes me a bit queasy; I have yet to find a way to describe my political development that doesn’t sound self-aggrandizing, as if I am casting myself as an epic hero.

That longstanding discomfort in telling my story is further complicated by new concerns in the past few years. More than ever I’m aware that no matter how high anyone’s consciousness in the United States is raised, there may be very little we can do to reverse the consequences of modern industrial society’s assault on the living world. I don’t mean that there is nothing we can or should do to promote ecological sustainability, but only that the processes set in motion during the industrial era may be beyond the point of no return, that the health of the ecosphere that makes our own lives possible may be compromised beyond recovery.

In contemporary left/progressive organizing, we typically focus on those small victories we achieve in the moment and on a vision for social change that sustains us over the long haul. With no revolution on the horizon, we pursue reforms within existing systems but hold onto radical ideals that inform those activities. We are willing to work without guarantees, bolstered by a faith that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” [4] That’s supposed to get us through; even if our movements don’t prevail in our own lifetime, we contribute to a better future.

But what if we are no longer bending toward justice? What if the arc of the moral universe has bent back and the cascading ecological crises will eventually overwhelm our collective moral capacities? Put bluntly: What if homo sapiens are an evolutionary dead-end?

That’s the central problem with my consciousness-raising story. When I was politicized 20 years ago, I made a commitment to facing the truth to the best of my ability, even when that truth is unpleasant and painful. My ideals haven’t changed and my commitment to organizing hasn’t waned, but the weight of the evidence suggests to me that our species is moving into a period of permanent decline during which much of what we have learned will be swamped by rapidly worsening ecological conditions. I think we’re in more trouble than most are willing to acknowledge.

This is not an argument for giving up on or dropping out of radical politics. It’s simply a description of what seems true to me, and I can’t see how our movements can afford to avoid these issues. I’m not sure I’m right about everything, though I am sure this analysis is plausible and should be on our agenda. Yet it’s my experience that most people want to push it out of view.

In trying to make sense of my political consciousness-raising, I try to avoid the temptation to cast myself as an epic hero who overcomes adversity to see the truth. That’s a struggle but is possible when one is part of a vibrant political community in which people hold each other accountable, and for all my fretting in this essay, I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of keeping on track. We can overcome our individual arrogance.

More difficult is facing the possibility that the human species has been cast as a tragic hero. Tragic heroes aren’t characters who have just run into a bit of bad luck but are protagonists brought down by an error in judgment that results from inherent flaws in their character. The arrogance with which we modern humans have treated the living world — the hubris of the high-energy/high-technology era — may well turn out to be that tragic flaw. Surrounded by the big majestic buildings and tiny sophisticated electronic gadgets created through human cleverness, it’s easy for us to believe we are smart enough to run a complex world. But cleverness is not wisdom, and the ability to create does not guarantee the ability to control the destruction we have unleashed.

Not every human society has gone down this road, but we live in a world dominated by those who not only exhibit that arrogance but embrace it, refusing to accept the reality of decline. That means our individual awakenings may be taking place within a much larger dying. To face that is to live in a profound state of grief. To stay true to a radical political consciousness is to face that grief.

———————–

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin, one of the partners in the community center “5604 Manor,” http://5604manor.org/ .

He is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity(South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002).

Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film “Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing,” which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Information about the film, distributed by the Media Education Foundation, and an extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff are online athttp://thirdcoastactivist.org/osheroff.html .

Jensen can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu and his articles can be found online athttp://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html . To join an email list to receive articles by Jensen, go to http://www.thirdcoastactivist.org/jensenupdates-info.html .

Egyptian and Other Revolutions Take Steam Out of Zawahiri’s Sails

[Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Zawahiri's terror group have been at the center of all American "Islamist" terror groups since the beginning, before there was an "al-Qaeda" or the American Mujahedeen "base," "al Q eidat." The reality of an Egyptian revolution, taking place because of a bunch of kids and "moderate Muslims" may become too much for the old terrorist to bear.  If he were not an American puppet, the group we know as "al-Qaeda" would now be planning a massive awakening for the Egyptian masses.  But that would likely put the old murderer on the other side of America's "red line" separating old "Islamist" paradigm from new moderate revolutionaries.  The days ahead for the Egyptians may prove to be even more chaotic than the ones seen so far.

Everyday is an adventure in "Zombieland."]

Al-Qaida’s Embarrassment

Revolutions Mark Setback for Terror Group

By Yassin Musharbash

Pcitured here is Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. Another al-Qaida leader said: "It is true the revolution is not entirely what we had envisioned."


AFP/ SITE

Pcitured here is Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. Another al-Qaida leader said: “It is true the revolution is not entirely what we had envisioned.”

Ben Ali has fled, Mubarak has been overthrown and Gadhafi is faltering, but al-Qaida is frustrated, because jihadists have played no role whatsoever in the great revolution in the Arab world. The terrorist organization has repeatedly tried to use propaganda to take credit for the revolts, but no one is listening.

One of the side effects of the Arab revolt is that the jihad bubble has burst, at least for now. The popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have impressively demonstrated how little jihadists have to say in Arab societies. Contrary to the propaganda they have been spreading for decades, their mobilization potential is virtually nonexistent.

Their original goal — the overthrow of the secular regimes in the Arab world — has been achieved by others, including groups that are among the declared enemies of al-Qaida and its allies: secularists, students with a Western orientation, politically active women, people who support democracy and moderate Islamists. It isn’t al-Qaida that has proven to be a vanguard, but the secular, Internet-savvy youth of the Arab world. And no one on the squares and streets, from Tunis to Benghazi, has called for a Taliban-esque theocracy, al-Qaida’s vision for the Islamic world.

What an embarrassing revelation!

But because those who live in the universe of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his associates refuse to accept this reality, an effort is already underway to reinterpret recent events in the Arab world. At first, it seemed as if the terrorist network hadn’t found any words to comment on the massive upheavals. But now al-Qaida’s spin on the events in the Middle East is gradually becoming clear.

Al-Qaida is serving up a mixture of currying favor and issuing dire warnings. On Thursday, the North African branch of the organization, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), declared its support for the revolt in Libya. Of course, that revolt is being portrayed as “jihad,” while al-Qaida insists that it makes sense for the Libyans to be rising up against dictator Moammar Gadhafi because he is an “enemy of God.” Besides, as AQIM claims with some audacity, “we have consistently fought solely for your defense.”

The Divide Between Real and Wannabe Revolutionaries

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s second-in-command and one of the Egyptian jihadists who has spent a lifetime fighting against the “godless” regime there, issued a statement on the situation in Egypt on Feb. 18. He too congratulated the revolutionaries, but the first thing he felt compelled to say about his native Egypt was that it is “secular and democratic,” and that this is what must change.

This is remarkable. While hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets precisely because the regime was only outwardly democratic, this is exactly the issue Zawahiri emphasizes as a reason for a revolt! The divide that is apparent here between the real and the wannabe revolutionaries is enormous and embarrassing, even for the occasional hardcore Islamist, especially when Zawahiri ups the ante and accuses Mubarak of having rigged elections. This isn’t exactly a coherent analysis.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, the Libyan-born al-Qaida ideologue Attiyat Allah addressed the uprisings in North Africa and his native Libya. At least he was honest enough to admit that “it is true that this revolution is not entirely what we had envisioned.”

But he too had little more to offer than the warning not to ignore the Koran as a guideline for action. He suggested that the newly won freedoms in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya be used for missionary work and activism to help shape the future in a jihadist sense.

It is unlikely that this will transpire. It is far more likely that moderate Islamists will play this role, which, of course, would not mesh with al-Qaida’s goals, either.

But as humiliated as al-Qaida and its allies may be at the moment, this is not necessarily a permanent state of affairs. It is easier to fight democratic governments than despots, and chaos has always been a fertile breeding ground for jihadists. Jihadism hasn’t been defeated yet. Thanks to the revolts, it has only become recognizable for what it is: the ideology and bloody practice of a very small minority among Arabs and Muslims.

From Tahrir Square To Shatila Camp: “Cry Hurriya!” (freedom!)

From Tahrir Square To Shatila Camp:  “Cry Hurriya!” (freedom!)

Franklin Lamb

The Tahrir Square “Hurriya!”  tremors spreading across the Middle East may or may not be impacting today’s events in the  historically liberal American state of Wisconsin and other areas of America,  yet most of us would agree that the Tunisian-Egyptian revolutions are being felt far and wide and appear to be dramatically gaining steam. Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees camps are no exceptions.

Perhaps sooner rather than later, a half dozen or so Arab despots may  reluctantly retire or leave for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Indeed some Saudis may themselves move to America to occupy their vast real estate holdings stateside, some located in largely Israeli duo-national neighborhoods, whose occupancy rates are also dramatically rising, as many in Israel sense that the CIA predicted collapse of  their settler colony may be accelerating.

Also feeling the widening flood torrents are those depending on the 1978 Camp David Accords and its ‘Rosemary’s baby,’ the 1979 “Peace Treaty” that castrated Egypt, betrayed the Palestinians and ceded regional dominance  to Israel for three decades. The White House reportedly is reconciled to the fact that Camp David may be ‘renegotiated’ but, like Israel, fears it may be frozen and indefinitely suspended if not scrapped completely in the coming months. This is part part of the re-ordering we are witnessing as the new era and indeed culture of resistance spreads.

Panicked Israeli leaders and their  agents in Congress are busy trying to convince the American public how vital and cheap the $3 billion per year cost of Camp David is for America’s security while they know the truth is precisely the opposite. AIPAC has been saturating Capitol Hill this week as well as media outlets with  its just released Red Alert!  “Urgent Appeal” which reads as follows:  Please urge your House member to sign a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that urges all branches of the U.S. government to emphasize to prospective Egyptian leaders and opposition figures the importance of Egypt’s international obligations, specifically its Camp David peace treaty with Israel.”

Just yesterday, 2/18/11, the Palestinian UN delegation, in a rare display of back bone, presumably influenced by the revelations in the Palestine Papers, of treachery and resulting charges of treason, as well as Tahrir Square, joined the 130  UN Member co-sponsors of the UNSC Resolution and stared down Barak Obama and Ambassador  Susan Rice and rejected their proposed gutting of the modest  Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements.  Before the vote, threats were issued from the White House personally delivered to PA  “President”  Mahmoud Abass during a 40 minute reportedly tense telephone call from the President and before Abass presumably recovered from that upbraiding,  another  one came from Hilary Clinton.

The British, Russian, and Chinese ambassadors were among those who rose to speak in favor of the failed resolution. Still, it was a rare 14-1 Security Council vote in solidarity with Palestine. It was also yet another  American Veto, that for the 63rd time, signaled the American public and the World that under Congressional pressure,  it is Israeli settlers inhabiting stolen land, not the American people or their values,  that still prevail even as the US and Israel reap an Arab and Islamic awakening that is hastening their  expulsion from the region. Just hours after the courageous UN vote, the new provisional government in Cairo announced the opening of Rafah crossing, if only on a limited basis—for now.

Symbolism is everywhere-and sometimes seemingly everything. Who would have thought that Egypt, just days after Mubarak’s recall, would welcome, for the first time since 1979, Iranian warships through the Suez Canal?  When Iran’s  ships arrive at Port Said they are expected to be greeted and perhaps feted by dock workers and the Egyptian public, despite Israeli  threats and claims delivered by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Iran’s use of the international waterway is “an hostile act” and “proves the Iranians are becoming more and more cheeky.”

Many Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps and communities, like the rest of us appear almost mesmerized by what’s been happening. A survey conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), published on February 2, 2011 showed, that  74 percent of the Palestinians support pro-democracy protests in Tunisia, which toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In Lebanon’s camps it appears that support for the Arab Awakening grows with each new revolt in the region.

They feel, as no doubt many who have been working for Palestinian civil rights in Lebanon for the past 20 years, including more than two dozen International and local NGO’s and civil society organizations, that the power of Tahrir Square will mean that Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees will at long last  be granted the elementary, internationally mandated civil right to own a home and  to work that every other refugee enjoys by law.

Stellar examples of the new Palestinian leadership in Lebanon’s camps pressing for civil rights include my best friend in Shatila Camp Zeinab al Hajj, born, raised and still living in Shatila Camp. And does she ever welcome western visitors whom she  quickly converts to her cause! To arrive at Zeinab’s home/office and to learn about the Palestinian refugee’s urgent need for elementary civil rights, and why she and her friends believe the new Hezbollah led government, also inspired by Tahrir Square, will honor its moral, religious, legal and political obligations to achieve the right to work and home ownership, is simple enough.

The 14 member three generation Al Hajj family always welcomes foreign visitors into their three rooms and roof top space that overlooks the area of the camp where  some of the most intense slaughter took place not only during the 1982 Sabra-Shatila Massacre, also during the 1985-88 camp wars when Shatila and Burj Barajneh  camps were targeted for destruction by some factions who still today boast that Palestine is their blood stream cause. Indeed some of those who gave the orders  to slaughter men, women and children in Shatila during the misnomered “camp wars’ ghoulishly have their photo-shop posters  plastered around parts of the south end of Shatila camp.

Of course there were no “camp wars”  but rather a series of intermittent slaughters of mainly unarmed civilians between 1985-88, allegedly to prevent the return of the PLO under Arafat’s leadership, until then Hezbollah spokesman, Subhi al-Tufayli (later Secretary-General between 1989-92) and others stepped in and demanded that President Hafez Assad of Syria put an end to the killing, declaring that Hezbollah was prepared to send fighters to  defend the Palestinian camps.  One can imagine what Palestinian families, nearly all of whom lost a relative at the hand of their Arab brothers, feel today about those smiling “solidarity” faces as they walk their children to school. Just seeing them plastered on poles and walls, is for this observer, enraging and the equivalent of seeing Ariel Sharon’s or Rafael Eitan’s bill boarded mugs inside Shatila camp.

To sit with  and learn from ‘Miss International’, her friends and her elderly parents, who as children walked half a day into Lebanon from Safed in northern Palestine on May 12, 1948, all one has to do is enter Shatila Camp from the south, diagonal from what’s left of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s  Akka Hospital. Continue  north along Rue Sabra toward what remains of the former Gaza PRCS Hospital. Gaza Hospital was for years, before the Palestinian Resistance departed in August of 1982,  among the best equipped and administered hospitals in the Middle East. It was bombarded, destroyed and stripped of all its equipment during the Camp “Wars”,  and  the hospital’s shell is now home to roughly 1000 refugees who exist, packed into every room, hall way and alcove from the operating theater to the hospital morgue.  Continue north  past Martyr’s Cemetery where around 1000 unidentified victims of the Israeli sponsored 1982 Massacre at Shabra-Shatila are buried, one takes the third right down a narrow alley where the sun has not shown for 60 years.  Step around the puddles of sewage and the ruts, watch out for dozens of beautiful children chasing and playing, or going or coming from the camps two UNWRA schools,  avoid careening bikes and proud, if stressed, Palestinian women with shopping bags, sometimes balanced on their heads, and babies in their arms and you’ll find the cinder block hovel on your left next to a rusty zinc roofed shelter that camp residents avoid. The reason people don’t like to go inside the shelter is that 29 years ago the al-Hajj family allowed their neighbors to hide in their shelter during the 1982  massacre, as they themselves fled east to the then Algerian Embassy,across airport road from Shatila camp-currently the City Hall of the Hezbollah run Municipality of Ghouberi.

When the Hajj family returned to their home following the Massacre, they learned that all 17 neighbors using their shelter were slaughtered because the Israelis had given maps showing the exact location of the 11 shelters to the Phalange-Lebanese Forces militias.  Zeinab, 7 years old at the time, recalls that she wanted to stay in the shelter and not flee because she planned to play with her dolls and her best friend Mona and they liked their private ‘hideout’ space.  All  278 camp residents, with four exceptions, who entered the Israeli identified shelters in Shatila Camp were butchered between 6 pm Thursday and around midnight Friday, September 16-17, 1982.

Last night’s conversation, while enjoying a delicious bowl of hot  Palestinian  shorba prepared by Mrs. Hajj was about  what Zeinab and her friends call the “Great Arab and Palestinian Awakening.”  ‘What is happening?  “Is it possible that Sykes-Picot’ off-spring can be liberated sooner rather than later?” Zeinab’s  sister  Suha, a nursing student at near-by Bahman hospital, scowled, referring to Israel.

Amidst the unfolding upheaval in the Middle East, some are expecting Lebanon’s Palestinian camps to  erupt in revolt  to protest economic and social  conditions  that are worse than any of the areas now in open revolt. If an eruption comes, it will be a quest for freedom, dignity and justice. Lots of meetings and discussions are being held but so far few signs of organizing mass demonstrations, although the current calm could abruptly shatter.

Zeinab’s friends are also more optimistic these days about the chances that they will finally be granted some elementary civil rights. The growing excitement  appears to be fueled by the  freedoms  many camp residents predict in Tunisia and Egypt and perhaps throughout the region, but also as a result of the new government in Lebanon. The failure in Parliament last summer to achieve meaningful changes with respect to the right to work and to own a home in Parliament was a major disappointment in the camps,but with the new government hopes have risen.

Their growing zeal is made manifest in the quickly spreading activism among young Palestinians, being encouraged by their elders whose numbers comprise many sometimes honored, sometime seemingly forgotten, Palestinian resistance heroes who over the past half century helped earn the world’s recognition and increasing support of the Palestinian cause. I  mean this reference to honor those, now middle aged, many sitting idly in the camps reminiscing and wondering what went wrong as they discuss latest developments such as the Palestine Papers, and who have struggled for so long to return to Palestine. Many from before the days when the  arch Zionist Golda Meir could proclaim that “there are no such people as  Palestinians” and much of the world’s media reflexively reported her lies as truth,  and who have never compromised the principles which underpin the Palestinian struggle for justice. I recently  met a man in Shatila Camp, who in 1950 in Gaza, worked with the Executive Committee of the Refugees’ Conference.  This was of course 14 years before the founding of the PLO in Cairo. It  was this Committee which led  the first legislative council in Gaza in the early sixties, and sent the first Palestinian delegation of refugees to the United Nations in 1961.

Lebanon’s camps are full of aging heroes.  Among them thousands of  mothers who have suffered and achieved so much for their families, their cause and their country. Their progeny fill the teeming camps.  There is a young Nelson Mandela in Rashedeyeh camp near Tyre.  Another I met in Ein el Helwe appears to be a clone on Dalal Moughiby. In Nahr al Bared, still waiting to be rebuilt following its destruction in 2007,  I watched a youthful Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad) explain his hopes to revive Palestinian resistance until liberation. In Wavall camp in the Bekaa I spent an evening with teenaged would-be Hassan Nasrallah who wants to help lead his people back to Palestine.

Like the streets of Cairo, Lebanon’s camps are starting to cry “Hurriya!” The camps here  have birthed new leadership, aided by the old, that will anticipate that the new government  will respect the words of the Resistance and enact in Parliament the full Right to Work and repeal the discriminatory 2001 law that criminalizes Palestinian home ownership.

Franklin Lamb is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Article on “The Singularity” by Young Pakistani Writer

[SEE: Why Work Toward the Singularity? ]

The Singularity Movement

Nausherwan Awan

It was a memorable Tuesday, this week in Calafornia when Dr. Raymond Kurzweil, introduced a human machine.Dr.Kurzweil said that “ By making machines smarter-than-human intelligence …”, or by equipping humans with devices better than their brains, and, ultimately, transferring human intelligence to artificial devices

.This is artificial intelligence , but hold you horses, because this technology cost 25,000 USD for a week and permenantly it will cost more than half a million USD and that doesnt include maintainance and remember the fact that unlike your mobile or your laptop if you dont charge yourself up everyay, you are going to face death.There is one thing I have to say though, from a child’s point of view.Do you remember watching the animated movie called “Nine” in which robots take over the human world and the human race goes extinct?So, what I think Dr.Kurzweil is doing here is making a device that is by far more powerful than man which means that that device has the power to cause extinction of mankind but this device has it’s advantages too such as you can live your normal life and when you reach 60 and think I’m close to the end, you can live another 150 years by using this device but you have to be some sort of a Russian billioniare or Bill Gates to actually buy this and maintain this machine because the organs alone cost half a million USD.Dr.Kurzweil had started this project in the 1960’s.This has always been Dr.Kurzweil’s secret and back then in the 60’s nobody would have guessed it either.This invention is new, for sure but the idea isnt because in 1965 the British mathematician I.J. Good described something he called an “intelligence explosion” .He said:

“Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.”

Well, the British mathematician I.J. Good is right but think about it, think about the negative effects.First of all the human race will be wiped out because these machines are far more powerful than man so first, the human race is wiped out and then charging your body isnt going to be cheap and neither is is going to use a tiny amount of electricity.There will be an energy crisis because of the amounts of electricity this uses.I think this creation is going to be more popular than the invention of the car and more dangerous than the nuclear bomb because this invention is more powerful than man and has more intelligence than a supercomputer.Goverments from around the world are going to order millions of these devices to be fitted into the brains of their army force.So forget the nuclear bombs, think of this.The lifestyle of the human will change, there wont be any heart attack, no cancer no disease you will have a sheild against diseases as small as the comman cold.Just one question, Mr.Kurzweil,if you get this devices, and you have kids, will they be robots too?

Even with the simplest of machines, take a calculator for example, malfunctions at one point of it’s life so immortal, I think not.War and accidents combined together make up 20 % of the world’s deaths so you arent really immortal then are you?I think this machine is brilliant but like any other machine, not quite perfect.

The Top 50 Survival Blogs!

The Top 50 Survival Blogs!

Survival Blog

The Survivalist Blog
In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog
American Preppers Network
The Survival Podcast
Survival Topics
Red Alerts: The American Survival Blog
Be A Survivor
Surviving In Argentina
SHTF Plan
The Survival & Emergency Preparedness Blog
Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest
Preparedness Pantry
Keep It Simple Survival
Pioneer Survival Blog
Off Grid Survival
The Survival Mom
Adventures in Self Reliance
Daily Survival
Stealth Survival
The Just In Case Book Blog
Preparedness and Response
Canadian Preppers Network
Emergency Survival and Preparedness Blog
Code Name Bullseye
Disaster Preparedness Blog
Preparedness Pro
Texas Prepper’s Network
Wilderness Survival Skills
SHTF Blog
Survival Spot
CARD’s blog
Ice-Qube – Emergency Preparedness Blog
Doctor Preppers Family Preparedness Journal
Bug-Out Survival
Disaster Accountability Blog
Getting Started In Emergency Preparedness
Ready Nutrition
Viking Preparedness
ATEP Emergency Preparedness Blog
Doug Ritter
Survival & Emergency Preparedness
The Self-Sufficient Homestead
Save Our Skills
Backwoods Survival Blog
Survival Joe
FREE Seed Exchange
International Preparedness Network
TEOTWAWKI Blog
The Preparedness Podcast

Music produces a natural high, McGill study finds

[Civilian science is slowly proving what the US military has known for many years, that harmonious sounds, just like mind-altering drugs, stimulate the brain into "medicating" the body with the release of natural drugs into the bloodstream.  The brain is the most-advanced physician in the universe, other than the Creator Himself, capable of administering what the body needs, when it needs it.  Man-made drugs mimic whatever stimulus it is which tricks the brain's release of dopamine.  Just imagine that "brave new world" humans will inhabit, when science, or man masters the art of tripping the release of dopamine by electromagnetic or meditative means.  The whole world will be "high" most of the time.  It is unlikely, in such a scenario, that the euphoria attained will carry the negative connotations attached to it today, especially if the grumpier members of the human race learn to smile, once in a while.]

Music produces a natural high, McGill study finds

Neurotransmitter dopamine is released when people listen to favourite tunes

By MARGARET MUNRO, Postmedia News

Researcher Valorie Salimpoor and colleague Mitchel Benovoy observe a  volunteer as she listens to some of her favourite music.

Researcher Valorie Salimpoor and colleague Mitchel Benovoy observe a volunteer as she listens to some of her favourite music.

Photograph by: ANDRE GAUMOND WWW.HAPPINESS-SEEKERS. INFO, Postmedia News

Music triggers the same pleasure-reward system in the brain as food, sex and illicit drugs, according to McGill University researchers who have been peering into minds of music lovers.

They’ve discovered the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine is released when people listen to their favourite music, be it rock, jazz or classical.

The finding by the team at McGill, reported yesterday in the journal Nature Neuroscience, helps explain why music is so pleasurable and popular.

It also hints at why music has been so valued and important throughout human history and across cultures, says neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, who leads the McGill team at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

“Music has such deep roots in the brain that it engages this biologically ancient system,” says Zatorre, explaining how dopamine generates the sensation of pleasure in the striatum, a primitive region deep in the brain.

It’s long been known dopamine is produced and generates pleasure when we eat or have sex, reinforcing activities that are key to survival. The Montreal study provides the first evidence that dopamine is also responsible for musical highs.

“For reasons that we don’t entirely understand, somehow music was able to kick in with the same system,” Zatorre says. “And that gives it power that it might not otherwise have.”

While music may not be key to survival, he says it has been “very” useful.

“Because it gives us pleasure, we can use it to our advantage to modulate our state of mind.”

Heroin and cocaine hijack the dopamine system, which is what makes the illicit drugs so addictive. But Zatorre sees little danger in listening to too much music.

“If you are hooked on music, it won’t cause you to waste away, it won’t give you health problems,” he says. “On the contrary, it probably enhances your health.”

For the study, he and his colleagues put out a call for people who get the chills, a sign of intense nervous-system arousal, when listening to music. Of the more than 200 individuals who volunteered, 10 people were eventually selected to undergo the brain scans that cost a few thousand dollars each.

One key stipulation was that the volunteers’ favourite music not have lyrics. “We wanted to be sure the response was due to the music, not the words that accompanied it,” Zatorre says.

The volunteers agreed to undergo brain scans while listening to tunes they picked, which ranged from techno to folk to classical.

Two types of brain scans were done as the volunteers blissed out to music inside the medical machines. Positron emission tomography (PET) revealed if and where dopamine was being released. For these scans, the volunteers were injected with a short-lived and harmless radioactive molecule, carbon-11, that latched onto any dopamine produced and showed up on the PET scans.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which detects how much oxygen brain cells are using, revealed which areas of the brain were stimulated as the pleasure associated with the music kicked in. “It tells us where the brain is active and it tells us, within a range of a couple of seconds or so, when it is active,” Zatorre says.

As the volunteers listened to music that “really turned them on,” the sensors and scanners picked up clear signs of pleasure. Chills ran up their spines and their heart rates climbed as dopamine was released deep inside the brain. The volunteers also underwent scans listening to music they are indifferent to, which produced no pleasure effect.

The music that generated dopamine release depended on the listeners’ tastes and preferences.

“All types of music activated the same part of the brain,” Zatorre says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s punk, classical, tango or even bagpipes.”

While the study volunteers experienced the chills when most roused by music, he says the scans revealed dopamine was also released even when the pleasure was not as intense.

The scans also showed that dopamine is released in advance of key sections and sequences in music, enhancing and prolonging the pleasure, which Zatorre considers one of the most interesting findings: “Ten to 20 seconds prior to the maximum pleasure, there was a different dopamine response in a slightly different place in the brain.”

He says this “anticipation response” helps explain why musicians often build tension and pauses into their pieces. “They have a kind of intuitive understanding of the neuro-mechanisms behind pleasure,” Zatorre says.

He says understanding the biochemical orchestra at work in the “magic of music” makes him appreciate it even more.

Visit http://www.zlab.mcgill.ca/home.htmlfor a sample of chill-inducing music.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette


Anti-fascist rally in Moscow brought together more than 2000 people

Митинг на Пушкинской площадиMeeting “Russia without fascism, according to various sources, collected from 1.5 to 4 thousand people

Sunday’s rally at Pushkin Square, was held under the slogan “Moscow – for all”, “Fascism will not pass” and “Russia without the Nazis.”

In the management of Information and Public Relations Moscow police say that the rally passed without incident.

Journalists working for the campaign estimate the number of participants at about 2,5 thousand people. In the Russian capital’s police department said in a rally attended by about fifteen hundred people. The organizers say about 4 thousand.

The action came in response to a ride in recent years in Moscow and other Russian cities rioting and clashes on ethnic grounds.

Despite the fact that the rally was attended by many politicians, including the organizers of the “Marches of Dissent” and shares the 31 th, political slogans may sound.

The gathering were popular Russian film actors and directors, writers and public figures.

Writer Viktor Shenderovich read a letter from Elena Bonner, who was unable to come to the Pushkin.

Акция протеста в поддержку Ходорковского перед Белым домомDecember 26 was also held rally in support of Khodorkovsky, the White House

“Think of what I went there again to save the motherland, even though his legs do not walk” – ended with the message of his wife of Andrei Sakharov.

Came to the rally director Pavel Lungin, poet Dmitry Bykov, actress Chulpan Khamatova, the governor of Kirov Region Nikita White and many others.

Another rally was held Sunday at the White House, where a group of activists organized a performance in support of former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Established a group of protesters in front of the home government a symbolic cage, which was placed a masked man Putin.

Along with this, they unfurled a banner calling to release Khodorkovsky, who on Monday shall be declared the verdict on the so-called second Yukos case.

The rally was foiled by police. As a result, briefly detained several photographers protest.

Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War

[This is it, folks.  Whenever the returning vets turn to the protest lines to say "no" to more of the illegal hell on earth that they have experienced---Then you know that the revolution has come--All that holds it back is you, and me.

Listen to Chris Hedges speak of hope and know that something has to change --NOW.  If We the People want our children and our grandchildren  to fight for corporate profits for what amounts to all of their lifetimes, then we will turn away from these brave veterans and the cause of Peace which compels them to chain themselves to the White House fence in the freezing cold.

Fighting this war is NOT our Manifest Destiny, but ending the war is one step closer to our best destiny, towards that American ideal that our troops have always thought they were defending.  That was the reason all of these good veterans offered their own lives in battle, thinking that they were defending all that "America" stood for.  The corporate reality they were really fighting for was a big fat lie, adorned in the most complicated of Hollywood's illusions.  This protest is them offering their own bodies once again, to defend that one universal human right, which is worth all of our lives.  The Right to Live.]

This video, featuring portions of a speech given by Chris Hedges, was shot outside the White House on Dec. 16, 2010.

 

 

Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw Story

By Nathan Diebenow
Friday, December 17th, 2010 — 9:42 am

ChrisHedges Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw StoryAmerica’s military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable, according to a former New York Times war correspondent who spoke with Raw Story.

“The when and how is very dangerous to predict because there’s always some factor that blindsides you that you didn’t expect,” Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said in an exclusive interview. “It doesn’t look good. But exactly how it plays out and when it plays out, having covered disintegrating societies, it’s impossible to tell.”

He explained that he learned this lesson as events unfolded around him in the fall of 1989. Then, members of the opposition to the Soviet Empire told him that they predicted travel across the Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany would open within the year.

“Within a few hours, the wall didn’t exist,” he said.

Hedges was one of the 131 activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience outside the White House yesterday, even as Obama was unveiling a new report citing progress in the Afghanistan war.

Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday night, he said the signs of US collapse are plain to see and compared the country’s course through Afghanistan to Soviet Russia’s.

“We’re losing [the war in Afghanistan] in the same way the Red Army lost it,” he said. “It’s exactly the same configuration where we sort of control the urban centers where 20 percent of the population lives. The rest of the country where 80 percent of the Afghans live is either in the hands of the Taliban or disputed.”

“Foreigners will not walk the streets of Kabul because of kidnapping, and journalists regularly meet Taliban officials in Kabul because the whole apparatus is so porous and corrupt,” he said.

One day after this interview was conducted, reports hit the global media noting the CIA’s warning to President Obama, that the Pakistan-supported Taliban could still regain control of the country.

Hedges predicted that President Obama’s war report released Thursday would “contradict not only [US] intelligence reports but everything else that is coming out of Afghanistan.”

His prediction came startlingly true: the CIA’s own assessment was said to stand in striking contrast with President Obama’s report.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, insisted that the US controlled more territory in Afghanistan than it did a year ago.

‘A corporate coup d’état in slow motion’

Hedges said he attended the protest and planned to get arrested because he is against the corporate powers that have enveloped the nation.

“We’ve undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion,” he said. “Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country.”

“If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him,” Hedges warned.

Hedges, author of “Death of the Liberal Class,” said that his vision of America is one with a functioning social democracy, which stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of the corporate state.

“American workers, as they are repeatedly told, will have to become competitive with prison labor in China,” he said. “That’s where we’re headed, and all the pillars of the liberal establishment are complicit in this.”

“At least if you get sick in the UK, you don’t go bankrupt or die,” he added.

Hedges said that another pressure point is the US dollar, which he pointed out had been dropped by Russia and China in favor of modified ruble/renminbi exchanges.

“A few more deals like that, and our currency becomes junk,” he said.

Hedges continued, “As long as we have relative stability, these lunatic fringe movements can be held at bay, but if we don’t undertake serious structural reform, which we’re not doing, then it is inevitable that we will come to a tremendous crisis – economic and political as well as environmental.”

Millions Of Flood Victims In Pakistan Now Face Harsh Winter

Millions Of Flood Victims In Pakistan Now Face Harsh Winter

by Brian McAfee
Reports indicate that the hardships from Pakistan’s earlier monsoon floods have been exacerbated by the onslaught of winter. The floods impacted 20 million of Pakistan’s population of just over 180 million people. As the temperature dips, hundreds of thousands of displaced children and adults are susceptible to pneumonia and other cold related diseases. According to Director of the National Institute of Child Health (Pakistan), Professor Jamal Raza states that the flood victims becoming ill from cold related causes, particularly children, could almost double from the current number.
Many are living in non-winterized tents, and there are shortages of dry firewood and other materials, such as adequate clothing, needed to create warmth. Further, many of the flood ravaged areas from this year’s monsoon remain covered in water and millions are still displaced. Concurrently, many being farmers whose fields are still flooded have no source of livelihood, and food distribution is difficult to carry out under the circumstances.
Concerning the children, Professor Raza states that it will be an uphill battle to save many of the them as they are malnourished, and have experienced a great deal of weight loss due to poor diet. Moreover, their  capability for immunity is very low and, accordingly, they are susceptible to a wide range of respiratory diseases. Consequently, there is an urgent need for blankets, quilts and better shelter to fight the cold, as well as provisions for the obvious nutritional and medical needs.
Reports out of Pakistan indicate a further danger caused by the floods, the release of stored toxic chemicals into the flood waters. An article in www.newscientist.com reports that the floods released an estimated 3,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals into the environment. The chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) include several insect repellents, such as DDT. At the same time, many of them do not biodegrade in nature, and are purportedly linked to hormonal, developmental and reproductive disorders. Pakistan’s floods have awakened some nations and scientists to this ongoing threat as changes in weather patterns become more evident.
Reputable organizations currently active in the relief effort in Pakistan include OXFAM www.oxfamamerica.org, AmeriCares www.americares.org, Save the Children www.savethechildren.org and
www.unrefugees.org. Please consider helping the people of Pakistan through any one of them and be sure to specify that the donation is for Pakistan flood relief if you do make a contribution.
I welcome any comment or suggestions. I can be reached at brimac6@hotmail.com.

The Beautiful Breasts of Ukrainian Democracy

[These attractive, energetic young Ukrainian babes have discovered the disabling power of bouncing breasts in public.  If this new explicit form of political protest catches-on in the US, it might just shut this country down more efficiently than useless calls for a general strike ever could.]

Activists from the women rights organization Femen take part in a motorcycle procession celebrating Independence Day in Kyiv, August 24, 2010. (Yaroslav Debelyi)

Activists from the women rights organization Femen protest in front of a statute of Lenin, against Ukraine giving concessions to Russia in central Kyiv, October 27, 2010. (Yaroslav Debelyi)

Ukraine’s topless group widens political role

Ukraine's topless group widens political role

In this file photo from April 2009, Femen protesters distribute leaflets on Independence Square informing foreigners that Ukraine is not a brothel.Yaroslav Debelyi

Reuters

Brazenly provocative, the bare-breasted young women of Femen are becoming an eye-catching — if unsolicited — fixture on Ukraine’s political scene.

Anna Hutsol, Femen’s spikey-haired 26-year-old leader, says she commands a small army of 300 mainly student activists ready to peel off in public to support Ukrainian women’s rights.

As the group broadens its activities to embrace wider causes, she says Femen is undeterred by increased police action.
“We plan more protests this year,” Hutsol told Reuters.

Femen activists caused a minor diplomatic stir last month during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with a topless street protest in which they made raunchy references to his personal life.

Last week two semi-clad Femen members disrupted an Iranian exhibition with a protest in support of an Iranian woman held in jail for adultery and complicity of murder. The Ukrainian authorities, who once laughed off Femen’s activities as cheeky but harmless antics, may now be losing patience after the anti-Putin demonstration which touched a raw nerve in sensitive ties with a powerful neighbour.

“The police are becoming more aggressive now. But at least that shows we are being taken seriously,” Hutsol told Reuters in an interview in a downtown Kiev cafe.

UKRAINIAN WOMEN’S PLIGHT

Established in 2008 by a group of Kiev university students, Femen says its main aims are to improve the role of women in Ukraine’s male-dominated, post-Soviet society.

“We want to show that our women have a demeaning role in our society. Their place is seen as in the kitchen or in bed,” said Alexandra Shevchenko, a 22-year-old economics student who regularly plays a leading role in topless protests.

Sex tourists and visiting foreign businessmen who feed Ukraine’s sex industryare the group’s main targets. It has also campaigned against sexual harassment of students in universities and railed against international beauty contests such as the Miss Universe competition.

Even Mykola Azarov — the country’s dour, grey-haired prime minister — found himself an unlikely target of Femen when he drew fire by naming an all-male government.

But this is no classic women’s movement. In conversation, Femen activists invoke no role models.


Anna Hutsol

Ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s best known woman, is for them just another actor on a stale political scene.

The explicitly sexual nature of Femen’s protests – young women stripping to the waist, cavorting provocatively and chanting near-obscene slogans — raises the question of whether its activists are not undermining their own movement’s values.

But they themselves see no contradiction. “We started out being dressed but we found nobody took any notice. I’m a big fan of taking off our clothes. It’s how we get attention for our views,” said Shevchenko.

“It’s all we’ve got, our bodies. We are not ashamed of this,” said 20-year-old Inna, a journalism student.

Hutsol says about 300 young women take part in protests, but Internet and email contacts indicate a support base of about 25,000 people.

Financing, she says, comes from businessmen and local entrepreneurs who sympathise with their cause.

TARGETS WIDENING

Femen’s first topless actions in mid-2009 targeted the sex industry, prostitution and the spread of Internet pornography.

Early this year the group widened its agenda when Femen activists, protesting about vote-rigging in the presidential election, staged a topless demonstration at a polling booth as President Viktor Yanukovich himself turned up to vote. Since then it has held about 30 protests in the capital Kiev including one outside the government building. Many of them are short-lived: a flash of skin and a hurriedly-squawked slogan before security men move in to hustle the Femen activists off-stage.

When Putin visited in late October, six Femen activists stripped to the waist near the statue of Soviet state founder Lenin and chanted sexually-charged slogans, telling the Russian leader to keep his hands off Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not Alina”, read one — a reference to Alina Kabayeva, the Olympic gymnast whom media speculation links romantically to Putin.

Hutsol said the Putin action clearly ruffled feathers and police had since questioned many of those who took part.

Its small support base, meagre resources, limited agenda and a “young-centric” membership suggest Femen has little prospect of broadening into a political movement.

But in a country deeply cynical about politics, Femen represents — albeit on a modest scale — one of the few regular street protest movements. Asked if Femen had a political agenda for the future. Hutsol said: “We do have some ideas, some plans. We are working on them.”

“I’m Going to Canada!”–How to Stop a War

[This was a very effective tactic for war resistance back in the Nam era.  If my draft lottery number hadn't been so high(343 out of 366)  I planned to go to Canada or Australia myself.  If only we had the draft now, it would surely motivate millions of Americans to pour into the streets once again.  Until every teenager and his family begins to see the personal stake they have in ending this war, there will be no civil action on the scale that we are hearing about in Europe.  Social action is the key to stopping austerity cuts and war escalations.]

Refusing orders

Former US soldiers describes deployment in Afghanistan

“No one will force me to draw my weapon on little kids. I’m not going to do that anymore.”
That was one of many experiences which changed the life of Jules Tindungan, a former soldier of the United States military who described his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 as “15 months of hell.” It was the fighting, trauma and constant violence in the War on Terror which caused Tindungan, a Los Angeles native, to second guess whether enlisting in the army was a good idea.
“I joined (the army) when I was 17. I struggled in high school. I wasn’t that great of a kid,” Tindungan told a group of about 50 people at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Oct. 16 as part of the Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders event. “The U.S. military was one of the largest employers in Southern California. McDonalds was the second largest. All things changed when I was deployed. I was very young. It was a lot of responsibility given to me.”
As a soldier, Tindungan was part of an infantry unit, and was trained to know “the ins and outs of weaponry,” knowing military procedures such as when to invade homes and pull people out during a fight.
While stationed in Afghanistan Tindungan noticed that life that much different in the country when compared to California.
“I saw how people trying to carve out a lifestyle in the terrain. I saw resemblances of Southern California and these dirt places in Afghanistan.”
Tindungan was injured while fighting overseas, hit in the lower left leg by a mortar shell. While injured Tindungan worked the radio while his “brothers” in the army were fighting on the field.
“Instead of being with my brothers I was hearing them scream (on the radio),” Tindungan said. “So a lot of me changed. My outlook changed on what I was doing.”
In 2008, Tindungan was sent home. He was scheduled to redeploy for another round overseas but instead of packing his bags, Tindungan returned to California, chucked his cell phone into the ocean and fled.
Tindungan found new life in Vancouver, B.C., where he met his wife and got a new job.
“I’m doing pretty good for myself,” Tindungan said.
Tindungan was one of 11 war resisters on a panel sharing their stories and answering questions as part of Refusing Orders, Crossing Boarders, an event organized by the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada and the Buffalo Chapter of Veterans For Peace.
The day-long event was meant for American War Resisters who sought refuge on Canadian soil to share their stories on why they made their choices to resist the military life and the struggles behind it.
Bruce Byers, one of the organizers of the event, said the purpose of Refusing Orders, Crossing Borders was to show support for former soldiers who refuse to participate in the military.
“All are veterans of the United States army. Some have seen combat,” Byers said. “But all refuse to participate. I hope (participants) leave with the courage and understanding of they (soldiers) made their decisions.”
During a question period, the panel was asked how they feel about being called a war resister, a coward or a traitor.
War resister Dale Landry said he doesn’t consider himself a deserter, nor is he a coward or a traitor.
“They say when you leave you commit treason. It’s such a narrow definition,” Landry said. “To commit treason means to assist foreign countries during a war. I wasn’t against the United States.”
Panelist Phil McDowell said he doesn’t consider himself a coward. McDowell said the decision to leave was his choice.
“I don’t care what people call me,” McDowell said to applause from the crowd.
For more information about the War Resisters Support Campaign, visit http://www.resisters.ca.

Sonia Gandhi Blasts Hindutva Extremists RSS for “terrorist activities.”

[Well, Pakistan, isn't this what you have been waiting for?  Stand-up, speak-up in support of this brave Indian woman and her party.  Then be prepared to admit LeT involvement in the Mumbai attacks.  All of you have to make an effort to overcome the obstacles that Western support for Pakistani and Hindutva terrorism has erected between you, because it has been built on the foundation of your own hostilities.  SEE: David Colemann Headley Is A CIA-FBI Agent]

http://topnews.in/law/files/Sonia-Gandhi_1.jpg

 

Cong will “forcefully” resist any attempts to abuse religion for political gains: Sonia

PTI

Congress on Tuesday went full blast in attacking the RSS and its sister organisations, accusing them of being involved in terrorism and held that the Allahabad High Court verdict does not condone the demolition of Babri Masjid but skirted the raging issue of housing scam in Mumbai.

The day-long session of AICC, to ratify re-election of Sonia Gandhi as party president, saw over 1,000 delegates authorising her to nominate members to the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party.

Inaugural speech

In her inaugural speech, Ms. Gandhi said Congress and the governments led by her party will “forcefully” resist attempts by anyone to abuse religion for political gains.

Talking about the September 30 Allahabad High Court verdict on Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, she said it in “no way condones” the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6,1992.

The demolition was a “shameful, criminal act” and “all those responsible must be brought to justice,” she said.

True character of RSS

Taking the attack a notch further, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee piloted an AICC statement that said “recent revelations through detailed investigations have exposed the true character of RSS and its sister organisations.

“The investigations indicate the involvement of its members in terrorist activities.”

Justifying the inclusion of references to the RSS, Mr. Mukherjee said, “RSS organisation is to be exposed. Their links with the terrorist activities which have been recently highlighted through the revelations are to be brought in.”

PM lauds Sonia

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the role of Ms. Sonia Gandhi as the “longest serving” party president for the last 12 years and her efforts in bringing the party to power at the Centre for a second continuous term.

He expressed confidence that under her leadership the party would continue to be in power for a long time.

No scam reference

In all the speeches, there was no reference to the raging scam relating to Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society in which the Congress leaders of Maharashtra are facing allegations of irregularities. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has already offered his resignation.

There was also no reference to the Commonwealth Games scams.

The AICC statement said investigations “indicate the involvement” of RSS members in terrorist activities.

“Communal and terrorist elements, whichever source they may originate from, that aim at destroying our national fabric will be fought at any cost,” it said.

Various issues

Ms. Gandhi spoke on a number of other issues like Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, price rise, Naxalism and women’s reservation and party’s preparations for the next round of Assembly elections.

She noted that a “new situation” had emerged in Jammu and Kashmir and appealed to all the dissatisfied sections to trust the government and give peace a chance so that the future of next generations could be built.

“I speak for all of us when I express my anguish at the loss of young lives in Kashmir. I share their grief. Their loss is national loss. The whole generation has seen nothing but violence and conflict,” she said.

She said the priority should be on development of the state. “There has to be a meaningful political dialogue with all parties and all regions,” she said.

On terrorism, she said the “threat is for real and we will never relax our vigil against terrorism“.

The Congress president said it was “crystal clear” as to who was behind the attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai, apparently referring to Pakistan.

Touching upon the issue of Naxalism, she said while firm police action is necessary, there was a need for greater emphasis on socio-economic development.

On inflation, she said food prices have come down but there was a “need to bring these down further”.

She said states were as much responsible for this as the Centre.

She also said the Congress was committed to bring the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha soon.

Alternative To Reset–A Better World Order

After the Reset. A New Agenda for Russian-U.S. relations

Sergei Karaganov
08:00 11/10/2010
© RIA Novosti.
Sergei Karaganov

Russian-U.S. relations have enjoyed a six-month-long honeymoon since last spring’s “wedding.” The “reset” has worked. But more difficult times lie ahead. The Republicans have gone on the offensive against Barack Obama, determined to derail the ratification of the START treaty. The structural weakness of the current model of relations only aggravates the situation. By and large, that model is primed to provide tactical solutions to inherited (or in some cases, contrived) problems, and certainly not to tackle the challenges that will confront humanity in general, and these two countries in particular, in the future. For the relationship to be of a truly sustainable and strategic character, it must be a real match for this new agenda.

Should one try to measure the current state of Russian-U.S. relations with the yardsticks that were commonly used in the past, it would be difficult to refrain from expressing what Soviet-era speechwriters used to call “a feeling of profound satisfaction.” The climate has never been better, perhaps even since the end of World War II, or at least since that very brief period in the early 1990s, when young Russia, overwhelmed by post-revolutionary enthusiasm, was eager to rush into the West’s embrace. But this time Moscow does not have to yield anything in exchange for the same kind of improvement.

There have been some real achievements, too. A new treaty limiting strategic offensive arms has been signed. This sends a positive political message to the world, even though it does not go beyond providing for token cuts and the restoration of the arms control mechanism as a confidence-building measure. The idea of “the global zero,” an idol that still garners some traditional reverence, has, I believe, been laid to rest. The dream cherished by American liberals of a “nuclear-free paradise,” fueled by others’ utterly cynical expectation that only in a denuclearized world (or one where nuclear weapons have been severely curtailed) can the United States gain political advantage from its non-nuclear superiority, is clearly on the rocks.

It has become obvious that no one is eager to lay down their arms. And, most importantly, it has emerged that, against the worldwide backdrop of these new rising powers and with its burdensome budget deficit, the United States will be unable to retain its absolute non-nuclear superiority for that much longer. Another risky idea (which once boasted a multitude of supporters) has been laid to rest – that of opening artificial and extremely unfavorable talks over tactical nuclear weapons cuts in Europe. After all, it must be said, not only do they not pose a great hindrance to anyone but, on the contrary, they work as a psychologically stabilizing factor.

Russia has joined the coalition of countries that are putting their best efforts into stopping Iran from acquiring either nuclear or “threshold” status (the ability to produce nuclear arms). It seems the international community has already lost this proliferation round. But Russia’s involvement in these sanctions is both politically correct (in terms of demonstrating support for Obama) and beneficial (in terms of containing the next wave of proliferation).

Russia fully backs the operation in Afghanistan, which is of key importance to the United States. This was an entirely correct and wholly beneficial decision.

In response, the United States de facto recognized Russia’s special interests in the former Soviet Union (although this is something it has denied in public), and stopped obstructing Russia’s strengthening of its positions in that region. Previously, it was a matter of principle for the United States to do exactly the opposite.

Discussions of how to enhance economic cooperation have been stepped up. The United States once again promised to help Russia join the WTO.

Finally, various Russian-U.S. official talks got underway within the framework of the Presidential Commission, designed to enhance and institutionalize cooperation. One reason why past attempts at a rapprochement failed lay in their position as reliant on high-level personal relations, not underpinned by any institutional work to advance these top-down incentives.

One could list many other achievements of the “reset” of Russian-U.S. relations, which certainly has materialized, although in many respects not as had originally been anticipated. Shortcomings and pitfalls abound. The worst of them is the American reluctance or conceptual inability to put an end to the as yet unfinished Cold War in Europe either by signing a new European security treaty, or in some other way quite properly advocated by Russia.

Three main problems remain, the first one being the vulnerability of the current round of Russian-U.S. rapprochement, as its success largely depends on the political fate of the Obama Administration, which is currently suffering a fierce onslaught from the Republicans, determined to regain power. They will use any argument to attain their goal, including allegations that Obama is soft on Russia, although from the standpoint of what are rationally understood as being U.S. interests, Obama’s policies look more than sound. The Republicans do not offer any realistic alternatives. They backed negativism to the hilt. Therefore, there is a high risk of the new START treaty getting bogged down in the Senate – for the sole reason that it is, or can be represented, as being “Obama’s treaty,” and because he must be denied even the slightest chance of success.

Second (and more important in the long run), almost the entire current and proposed agenda of Russian-U.S. relations is focused on the problems of the past. These are quite often important ones, there is no denying that, because they at least look important to foreign policymakers. And it will take them a long time to make that mental shift. But that is something this agenda is powerless to reform, as it rather perpetuates old-time stereotypes. These may even have positive political results. But they will continue to be inadequate to the challenges of today’s world and the world of tomorrow. The clearest example of this can be found in the role of strategic offensive arms control in Russian-U.S. relations. Their role and the related discussions have remained almost unaltered since the Cold War era, when the two countries really posed a threat to each other. For a time the first agreements to limit these weapons helped ease animosity and enhance mutual security. Now neither country no longer really considers the other their enemy. And their strategic arms, while retaining a residual function of deterrence, in fact, do not threaten each other.

But the newly-signed START treaty is again regarded as being a central element of bilateral relations. I am for it. But the treaty has very little bearing on the real challenges and threats we face. It looks lovely, but is very out of place, like a middle-aged couple dancing a polonaise in a nightclub.

Sadly, the policy of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state looks no longer relevant, too. This policy of prevention should have been pursued long ago, with regards to Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, thwarting their nuclear ambitions. Now, while waging the still necessary but grossly belated rearguard battles, one should spare a thought for how to survive in a world where there are not five nuclear powers but nine, and for what should be done to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Third (and maybe the most important factor), the greatest weakness of the current model of Russian-American relations is their almost complete disregard for the future. The sole aspect of this dialogue that at least goes some way to address the issue of the future and that is aimed at warding off possible common threats involves U.S. proposals for a joint (Russian-U.S., or Russian-NATO) missile defense system. I remain skeptical both about these plans themselves and about their feasibility. But they at least have some concept of the future, they are aimed at countering challenges that are yet to emerge, and if implemented, they will help create a relationship that could be described as a real alliance.

Also, I have some questions about the very idea of a special bilateral relationship in a world where neither the United States nor Russia naturally enjoy undisputed world leader status, one in which they will have no choice but to press for practical initiatives in a multilateral format.

This is an apt moment to consider this new world where Russia and the United States will have to act, jointly or on their own.

One of that world’s most important features will be the weakening of the United States and Russia in both absolute and relative terms. That weakening, accompanied by international relations that are almost inevitably more chaotic, will require far greater policy coordination by the leading powers. And this will prove a major incentive that is bound to push Russia and the United States (as well as other powers) towards a closer relationship as interaction between China, the United States and Russia, and Russia, the EU, and the United States is set to become a powerful factor in the emerging global stability. The G20, G8 and other forums for international governance cannot be even the slightest bit effective unless groups of countries capable of political and intellectual leadership emerge. Russia’s presence in them would of course be desirable. And not as was observed at the Copenhagen forum on climate change, where the EU and Russia were actually barred from decision-making.

Another challenge that will have to be met is the rise of Asia and of the nation-state, which will occur alongside each other in the same place and at the same time. I am by no means attempting to spin another “yellow peril” scare story. That rise, primarily China’s, has become the growth engine of prosperity for humanity as a whole. Too bad Russia has not joined that particular locomotive, as yet.

But the rise of Asia and state nationalism will inevitably put new challenges to the international system on the agenda. Only some of them can be anticipated, for example, the emergence of a relative security vacuum (maybe even virtual) around an increasingly powerful China. In East Asia and South Asia, this means adding a new problem to the old ones. And it cannot be resolved using any of the old methods, such as the establishment of a system of military deterrence. What is needed is rapid formation of a security system covering the entire region in which both the United States and Russia can and should play an important role.

Another part of Asia where a security vacuum has emerged, and is worsening, is the vast region around the Persian Gulf. That this nuclearizing region still lacks a security system is the biggest failure in international politics of recent decades. This vacuum will deteriorate still further in several years’ time, when the United States and NATO will inevitably pull out of Afghanistan. Something will arise to fill it. And without any forthcoming initiatives from Russia, the United States, China and India, this simply cannot be done. And of course it cannot be done without security guarantees provided by external powers. At this point only the United States and Russia are capable of such a feat.

A new industrial revolution and the rise of Asia have drastically and permanently raised the demand for natural resources, energy and food. A new competition is unfolding over them, and naturally, over territory. The conditions must be created that will prevent it developing into another round of geopolitical rivalry as has happened in the past few centuries. Some signs of this are already present. Suffice it to recall the hitherto virtual struggle for 25 percent of the unexplored energy resources of the world that are thought to lie within the Russian Arctic zone. In the traditional West, some have begun talking about a quite ridiculous “Arctic NATO.” Russia, it is alleged, has been holding what looks like military exercises practicing its defense of its Arctic territory. There has been a chorus of media accusations of China laying claim to these areas. Obviously, this area requires different policies and a different conceptual approach.

It is to be hoped that last summer’s wildfires in Russia have convinced the last remaining skeptics that there is a very real risk of continued climate change. For the time being humanity keeps on performing the same old song and dance around this issue. Here, too, there is an obvious need for joint Russian-U.S. initiatives (to be put forward in collaboration with the EU and other players).

Almost all these new challenges converge in Russia’s Far East and Siberia. Without international investment and policies aimed at turning the region into a source of natural resources and food for new markets, Russia has no chance of escaping it simply becoming China’s backyard, politically and in terms of natural resources. This is fraught with risks for everyone, including for China itself. Preventing this course of development is only possible through joint efforts under the auspices of Russia, a number of Asian countries, and the United States, of course.

The format of a newspaper article is too limited, and by its very nature cannot accommodate the enumeration of all the opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and the United States that would feature on this new agenda. If, of course, these relations are indeed to be transferred in earnest to a new political and intellectual basis, drawn out from under the shadow of the Cold War and steered towards the creation of a genuine alliance.

It is not yet clear whether the current ruling elites in both countries are ready to rise to the occasion, to prove themselves worthy of these new challenges, and to overcome the habit of “backtracking forward.” But unless they are presented with new challenges, this habit may become incurable. These elites will continue to fade away and be replaced by clones, just as they have been for the past twenty years.

However, there is still hope for change. America has successfully surpassed itself in electing Barack Obama, with his largely innovative and rational way of thinking. True, he may fail and be defeated, but he certainly inspires hope that younger generations can be smarter and better than their older predecessors.

Of course, this call for a somewhat futuristic agenda for Russian-U.S. relations does not mean that I want to see the “old-old” agenda (i.e. the unfinished Cold War in Europe), or the “new-old” one (i.e. nuclear proliferation, international terrorism or drug trafficking) forgotten altogether. Those issues cannot be ignored. The challenges of today and of yesterday have not gone away. And they might even prove aggravating factors, albeit in a semi-farcical way, as was the case during the war in South Ossetia. There is a certain risk of a renewed arms race, though not, I hope, between Russia and the U.S. track.

But without at least glancing in the general direction of the future these old agendas will keep pushing us backwards. While a new one will at least enable us to try to develop truly innovative relations between Russia and the United States and not just “reset” the old ones back to normal. This would clearly be to the benefit of both countries and the rest of the world.

Sergei Karaganov is Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dean of the Department ofWorld Economy and World Politics at the State University – Higher School of Economics, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, Chairman of the editorial board of Russia in Global Affairs magazine.


This article was originally published in Russian in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, September 29, 2010.

Summer of Discontent

Summer of Discontent

A growing mass of energized, angry White people have shifted the political spectrum. From a pro-White perspective, this is a good thing.http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2010/09/07/summer-of-discontent/#more-4309

Atlanta, Georgia

Writing in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Cynthia Tucker connects the dotsbetween the Arizona immigration showdown, the Ground Zero Mosque debate, opposition to birthright citizenship, Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, and the growing perception in America that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

White people are afraid of their impending minority status.

Changing racial demographics have created a season of “civic craziness.” It has provoked a “backlash against the browning of America” which is now “blowing” at “gale force.”

A broad economic recovery is needed to “drain the vicious energy from the backlash.” Economic prosperity will “restore faith” in the American Dream. Right now that “faith is fading” and Muslims are the “easiest targets.”

That’s not far off the mark.

First, there is an Implicit White Nationalist movement that is deformed in various ways by the reigning taboos of our society. The people involved in this movement yearn to return the more innocent days of White America while dodging uncomfortable questions about race.

Implicit White Nationalists are like nostalgic goldfish who demand to preserve their environment while failing to acknowledge the existence of an aquarium. They are animated by the same impulses as Explicit White Nationalists, but would never publicly admit it for fear of losing their respectability.

Second, the Implicit White Nationalist movement is fueled by the symbolism of a negro alien in the White House and the economic dislocation that has followed in the wake of his election. If the economy started booming again, as it did under Bill Clinton in the 1990s, “nativist sentiment” would undoubtedly subside, and would decline further still under a reassuring White president.

Third, Muslims and illegal aliens are soft targets, and White people can get away with attacking them in the mainstream without having to suffer much in the way of consequences. As Tucker points out, the number of illegal aliens coming to America has declined, but the perception that illegal immigration is a problem has grown.

White America has undeniably grown more sensitive about questions of identity. The terrible economy, a non-White president, changing demographics, and challenges to their cultural identity have all contributed to this insolent attitude.

This is also the exact opposite of the analysis that prevails in White Nationalist circles.

From the vantagepoint of the Far Left, White America is moving away from them in a reactionary direction. From the perspective of the Far Right, White America is still so far away from the radical position that it appears nothing has changed.

The mainstream Left has been discredited. Barack Obama’s coalition has collapsed and the Democrats will likely lose the House in November. The mainstream Right has been under attack from insurgent Tea Party candidates.

A growing mass of energized, angry White people have shifted the political spectrum. From a pro-White perspective, this is a good thing.

People who are mad as hell, politically engaged, feel like outsiders, and who are searching for answers to America’s national decline are already traveling down the road to radicalism.

The real question is this: are the existing radicals willing to build bridges to their peers, or will the purists continue to burn them?

The Human Right to Peace

Spanish International Law Experts demand on Extension of the UN-Charter

The Spanish Society for the Advancement of the International Human Rights Law adopted in October 2006 the “Luarca Declaration on the Human Right to Peace”, which represents the result of many meetings of Spanish intellectuals and professors of international law and international relations in the years 2004-2006.

The Association is currently organizing regional meetings in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Europe and the Arab world. In March 2007 a consultation will take place at the Palais des Nations to coincide with the fourth session of the Human Rights Council. The purpose of these meetings is to take into account the approach of different cultures in relation to the human rights to peace, and to focus on the mutual relationship between peace and human rights.

The international prohibition of aggression contained in article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter may also be viewed from the aspect of a human right to peace. War as an instrument of national policy must be outlawed. Preventive or preemptive wars must never be allowed again. Among the so-called third generation rights, the right to peace is paramount, because, unless humanity enjoys peace, it cannot exercise its first and second generation rights, namely its civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

On 12 November 1984 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 39/11 annexing the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, which reaffirms “that the principal aim of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security” and the “aspirations of all peoples to eradicate war from the life of mankind and, above all, to avert a world-wide nuclear catastrophe”. By virtue of operative paragraph 2, the declaration proclaims “that the preservation of the right of peoples to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each State.” In paragraph 3, the declaration “demands that the policies of States be directed towards the elimination of the threat of war, particularly nuclear war, the renunciation of the use of force in international relations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.”

The General Assembly declaration has been reaffirmed in countless resolutions, including by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In its resolution 2002/71 of 25 April 2002, the Commission links the right to peace with the right to development, affirms “that all States should promote the establishment, maintenance and strengthening of international peace and security and, to that end, should do their utmost to achieve general and complete disarmament under effective international control, as well as to ensure that the resources released by effective disarmament measures are used for comprehensive development, in particular that of the developing countries” and urges “the international community to devote part of the resources made available by the implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements to economic and social development, with a view to reducing the widening gap between developed and developing countries.”

Below are some of the principal articles contained in the Luarca Declaration.

Prof. Dr. iur. et phil. Alfred de Zayas, www.alfreddezayas.com

PART I
ELEMENTS OF THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE

Section A. Rights

[...]

Article 3
Right to human security

Everyone has the right to human security, which shall include inter alia:
a) The right to have the material instruments, means and resources which enable him fully to enjoy a life worthy of human dignity and, to that end, the right to have essential food and drinking water, primary health care, basic clothing and housing and a basic education;
b) The right to enjoy fair conditions of employment and trade union participation, and the right to the protection of the social services, on equal terms for persons having the same occupation or providing the same service.

Article 4
Right to live in safe and healthy environment

Human beings and peoples have the right to live in a private and public environment which is safe and healthy, and to receive protection against acts of unlawful violence, irrespective of whether they are perpetrated by state or non-state actors;

Article 5
Right to disobedience and conscientious objection

Everyone, individually or in a group, has the right to civil disobedience and conscientious objection for peace, which consists in:
a) The right to civil disobedience in respect of activities which involve threats against peace, including peaceful protest and peaceful non-compliance with laws which offend the conscience;
b) The right of the members of any military or security institution to disobey criminal or unjust orders during armed conflicts and to refrain from participating in armed operations, whether international or national, which infringe the principles and norms of International human rights law or International humanitarian law;
c) The right to refrain from participating in – and to denounce publicly – scientific research for the manufacture or development of arms of any kind;
d) The right to acquire the status of conscientious objector in respect of military obligations;
e) The right to object to paying taxes allocated to military expenditure and to object to taking part, in a working or professional capacity, in operations which support armed conflicts or which are contrary to International human rights law or International humanitarian law; [...]

Article 11
Right to disarmament

Individuals and peoples have the right:
a) Not to be regarded as enemies by any State;
b) To the general and transparent disarmament of all States, together and in a coordinated manner, within a reasonable time and under efficient and comprehensive international supervision;
c) To the allocation of the resources freed by disarmament to the economic, social and cultural development of peoples and the fair redistribution of such resources, responding especially to the needs of the poorest countries and to vulnerable groups, in such a way as to put an end to inequality, social exclusion and poverty. [...]

Article 15
Requirements of peace and truthful information

Individuals and peoples have the right to demand that peace actually be achieved, and they may therefore:
a) Require the States to undertake the effective implementation of the joint security system established in the United Nations Charter, and to settle disputes pacifically and, in any event, in full compliance with the rules of International human rights law and International humanitarian law;
b) Denounce any act which threatens or infringes the Human Right to Peace and, to that end, receive objective information related to conflicts;
c) Participate freely and by any peaceful means in political and social activities and initiatives to protect and promote the Human Right to Peace, without disproportionate interference from the public authorities, at local, national and international level.

Section B. Obligations

Article 16
Obligations for the realisation of the Human Right to Peace

1. The effective and practical realisation of the Human Right to Peace necessarily involves duties and obligations for States, international organisations, civil society, peoples, men and women, corporations and other elements of society and, in general, the whole international community.
2. The fundamental responsibility for preserving peace and protecting the Human Right to Peace lies with the States and also with the United Nations Organisation as a centre which harmonises the concerted efforts of the nations to fulfil the purposes and principles proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
3. States have the obligation to protect human rights, to prevent and cooperate in the prevention of catastrophes, to respond to catastrophes when they occur and to repair the damage caused. They are also required to adopt measures to build and consolidate peace.
4. The United Nations Organisation should be further enabled to prevent violations and protect human rights and human dignity, including the Human Right to Peace, in cases of serious or systematic violations. In particular, it is for the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other competent bodies to take effective measures to protect human rights from violations which may constitute a danger or threat to international peace and security.
5. Any unilateral military intervention by one or more States, without the authorisation of the Security Council within the framework of the United Nations Charter, is unacceptable, constitutes a serious infringement of the principles and proposals of the Charter and is contrary to the Human Right to Peace.
6. The composition and procedures of the Security Council shall be reviewed so as to ensure the proper representation of the present international community and transparent working methods which recognise the participation of civil society and other elements of the international community.
7. The United Nations system must be fully and effectively involved, through the Peacebuilding Commission, in the preparation of integral strategies for this purpose and in the recovery of the countries concerned once the armed conflicts have ended, ensuring stable sources of financing and effective coordination within the system.

PART II
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION

Article 17
Establishment of the Working Group on the Human Right to Peace

1. A Working Group on the Human Right to Peace (hereinafter called „the Working Group“) will be established. It will be composed of ten members who will have the duties set forth in Article 19.
2. The Working Group will be composed of experts from the Member States of the United Nations who will carry out their duties with complete independence and in a personal capacity.
3. The following criteria will be taken into account for their election:
a) The experts shall be of high moral standing, impartiality and integrity, and show evidence of long and appropriate experience in any of the spheres stated in Part I of this Declaration;
b) Equitable geographical distribution and representation of the different forms of civilisation and of the main legal systems of the world;
c) There shall be a balanced gender representation; andd) There may not be two experts from the same State.
4. The members of the Working Group will be chosen by secret ballot at a session of the United Nations General Assembly from a list of candidates proposed by the Member States. The ten candidates who obtain the highest number of votes and a two thirds majority of the States present and voting will be elected. The initial election will take place at the latest three months after the date of adoption of this Declaration.
5. The experts will be elected for four years and may be re-elected only once.6. Half of the Working Group will be renewed every two years.

Article 18
Functions of the Working Group

1. The main function of the Working Group is to promote the observance and implementation of this Declaration. In the exercise of its mandate it has the following powers:
a) To promote worldwide observance and awareness of the Human Right to Peace, acting with discretion, objectivity and independence and adopting an integral approach which takes account of the universality, interdependence and indivisibility of human rights and the overriding need to achieve international social justice;
b) To gather, assemble and respond effectively to any relevant information from States, international organisations and their bodies, civil society organisations, concerned individuals and any other reliable source;
c) To address, when it considers it appropriate, recommendations and appeals to the Member States of the United Nations to adopt appropriate measures for the effective realisation of the Human Right to Peace, in accordance with Part I of this Declaration. The States shall give due consideration to those recommendations and requests;
d) To draw up, on its own initiative or at the request of the General Assembly, the Security Council or the Human Rights Council, the reports it deems necessary in the event of an imminent threat to or serious infringement of the Human Right to Peace, as defined in Part I of this Declaration;
e) To present an annual report of its activities to the General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council, in which it will include the recommendations and conclusions itconsiders necessary to the effective promotion and protection of the Human Right to Peace, paying special attention to armed conflicts;
f) To prepare, for the attention of the General Assembly, a proposal for an international convention which will include the Human Right to Peace as well as a mechanism for controlling and monitoring its effective implementation. Both the mechanism to be established in the convention and the Working Group will coordinate their mandates and avoid duplicating their activities;
g) To submit to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court or other competent international criminal court or tribunal any reliable information about any situation in which it appears that crimes which fall within the jurisdiction of the Court or of the international criminal court or tribunal concerned have been committed;
h) To approve by an absolute majority of its members the working methods for the ordinary functioning of the Working Group, which shall include, inter alia, rules governing the appointment of the Bureau and the adoption of its decisions and recommendations.2. The Working Group will have its seat in New York and will hold three ordinary sessions per year, as well as any extraordinary sessions to be determined in accordance with its working methods. The Working Group will have a permanent Secretariat which will be provided by the Secretary General of the United Nations. [...]

The Drafting Committee

A thought revolution

A thought revolution

—Dr Mahjabeen Islam

The situation is so dire that any and all of our incomes beyond our basic needs must go towards rebuilding Pakistan. We must question each party, each purchase and each bite of food, keeping the memory of the millions always alive in our minds

I have spent years crying silently for the brothers that I lost to a car accident and my father who died within five years of them, overcome with grief. I have hated that life went on as though nothing had happened; the condolences faded and soon enough it was business as usual. For the world. My mother and I lost all the men in our family but we were not reduced to abject poverty; tens of thousands of flood victims in Pakistan bear the burden of grief as well as economic ruin. Millions are homeless. But as the intensity plateaus and fades, Pakistanis are practising the infamous mantra of sub theek ho jaye ga (everything will be alright).

Capitalising on the glaring absence of the government and its unforgivable inefficiency, political mileage is sought by all quarters. Subservience to the British and to martial law has penetrated the Pakistani psyche almost to the point of being a part of the national DNA. In times of trouble, martial law seems to be the default solution. Public memory is short and the struggles and bloodshed to remove dictatorship are swept away and the deep corruption within the army becomes the food of amnesia.

Pakistani billionaire Malik Riaz Hussain has pledged 75 percent of his fortune to the flood victims. The king, crown prince and interior minister of Saudi Arabia have donated millions of dollars from private funds and Saudi citizens have thronged flood relief centres. In the face of that philanthropy is the niggardliness of Pakistani politicians. The Sharif clan donated Rs 10 million, Zardari Rs 5 million as did Altaf Hussain, while Yousaf Raza Gilani, not a “believer in cash donations”, sent his son down with a donation in kind. Seems the Quran addresses this issue well in Surah Baqarah (2:268): “When you get ready to donate, Satan puts the fear of poverty in your heart and you hold back.”

Back to the army worship issue, brought to the fore by Altaf Hussain and Imran Khan’s welcome of the army. Pakistan is rudderless and no leader in the current potpourri is its panacea. It is also highly unlikely that an Ayatollah, Stalin, Mao or Lee Kuan Yew will emerge from one of the tenements anytime soon. We have always looked up to leaders to bring about a change; perhaps we need to have a grassroots movement, in something as simple as a thought revolution.

Pakistanis should not be delusional to think that the replacement of ruling parties or martial law is the answer. The problem is corruption, unfortunately a national trait. Democracy should not be sacrificed at the altar of our collective fury. Placement of processes and institution building is sorely needed in Pakistan. The history of all politicians on offer is sordid and to work for dislodging the present government in the hope of a better future is grossly misplaced. Zardari, the Sharif brothers, Altaf Hussain or Imran Khan are all the different faces of the same termite that eats away at a nation that is busy covering over corruption, unleashing mafia murders and harbouring extremism.

As a citizenry, we must bring about accountability, transparency, mandatory payment of taxes, the rule of law, abolition of feudalism and the marginalisation of corruption. Every effort must be made to prevent corruption with all aid for flood victims. Be it a peon or a president, we must start with stark personal accountability and then apply that unchanging principle in each and every sphere of our influence. This, conglomerated, will be the flood that will salvage Pakistan.

As the floods take Pakistan back at least 50 years, perhaps a steady change in the way we think and live will cause the necessary paradigm shift. Maybe corruption will become unfashionable in Pakistan. What a thought!

Prior to the floods, Pakistan was in the lower rung of the developing world. With 30 percent of the country under water, destruction of its agricultural mainstay as well as the ripple effect that this will have on its economy and national psyche, Pakistan is threatened with joining Sub-Saharan Africa, a sea of brown water, outstretched hands and rampant disease as its marks on the memory.

Pakistani scholars, from Mufti Munibur Rahman to Tahirul Qadri and many others, were asked whether they felt that the floods were a trial or a punishment. In a surprise show of unanimity they said that this was a time of trial for when God wishes to punish a people, He wipes them off the face of the earth. Their Quranic quotations did not address the issue fully and they seemed typically smug. They unanimously discouraged umrah and non-obligatory hajj trips as well as iftar and Eid parties, encouraging diversion of the funds to the flood victims.

Surprisingly, Pakistanis both within and expatriates have this sickening survival of the fittest skill. Iftar parties are jamming along. Eid day invitations have arrived. Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) will have its fall meeting in the ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne Florida. Lots of money has been raised for flood victims but nowhere near what could have been. I wonder what heart Pakistanis the world over have for celebrating iftars, Eid parties and the luxuries of the Ritz? It is tradition to not celebrate two consecutive Eids when we lose a loved one. Donating a paltry amount to flood relief and then skipping off to decide your iftar invitee list and your ritzy travel plans are representative of that same national rot that we love to blame the government for all the time. The enormity of the flood devastation calls for a decade of mourning.

The situation is so dire that any and all of our incomes beyond our basic needs must go toward rebuilding Pakistan. We must question each party, each purchase and each bite of food, keeping the memory of the millions always alive in our minds.

This is our last chance as a nation. The change has to come from an individual level, then at the family level, followed by the community level to permeate and repair the character and corruption leaks of Pakistan. It is a thought revolution that is needed in Pakistan, from the bottom up, not the typical blame game and passing the buck, and always expecting change from leaders that put clowns to shame.

Mahjabeen Islam is a columnist, family physician and addictionist. She can be reached at mahjabeen.islam@gmail.com

Aid From ‘Humanity United’ Beginning To Flow Into Southern Kyrgyzstan

[This is the answer to conflict and the way to peace.  It is human nature to help when tragedy strikes.  It is only natural that we reach across oceans and outstretch our hands deeply into the the Asian continent, when great conflict causes equally great misery.  This is the edge of humanity, the former front lines where the two superpowers once came head to head.  Now it is the front lines in the "peace war."   The battle for peace must be won right here.  We see how the giving process can overtake the organized taking, if only we rub the sand from our eyes.  Feed the world and you will make friends.  Wage war upon humanity and you will be hated by all mankind.  With the shrinking of the world through the growth of the electronic mind, comes an awareness of the human faces involved in the latest tragedies, bringing with it the compassionate response.

The suffering child (just like the smiling healthy girl in the picture below) could just as easily be our own daughter.   Easing their pain just a little, or making the path unto a better future just a little easier, sets a spirit of giving into motion.  Enough people begin giving a little and a unified stream of hope begins to flow.  The flowing river of hope begins to connect sources of help to needy people.  With each act of giving or receiving, perceptions begin to change.

The changing of perceptions is as important as fighting against the greater war.  In fact, changing human nature for the better is the real war.  One side strives to overcome the will of man by force--the other side, my side, works to overcome human nature by appealing to reason.  Draw out that force for goodness which lies dormant within each man or woman, so that each person can see for themselves what is the better way.

Everyone of us will agree that there has to be a better way.  I tell you, this is it.]

Ural human rights defenders: “Until the restoration of peace in Osh far”

Alexey Starostin

Participants charity “Race World”, which caused 42.5 tons of humanitarian cargo to the affected areas of inter-ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan, safely returned to Ekaterinburg.

Living in the Sverdlovsk region genuinely felt for the volunteers who took care of Osh and Jalal-Abad, and followed all messages in the media about the movement of the caravan. And it is no accident: an interest in shares, about the beginning of which was announced in late June, was enormous. Sverdlovchane responding to the disaster in the distant Kyrgyzstan, carrying on the collection points for humanitarian assistance flour, rice, sunflower oil, clothing, toys. Children are one of the Yekaterinburg schools drew pictures on the theme of peace for their peers from Kyrgyzstan. More than 40 tons of humanitarian aid have been collected in just three weeks. All of this Ural defenders took to the south of Kyrgyzstan. Returning home, they shared their impressions with reporters about the trip. A large number of media representatives who came to the meeting, shows how Ural interesting events in the distant central Asian republic and hoped that the situation is normalized.


Participants “Reis World LA Grishin, R. Serazhetdinov, A. Lukanin. Photo Agency “Fergana.Ru”

As told organizers “Race World”, the route of the convoy with humanitarian aid, who left from Yekaterinburg, passed through customs post nodular, and then through Kostanay, Astana, Karaganda, Balkhash, Chu, Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad. Back Yekaterinburg back to Astana in the same way, and then through Petropavlovsk proceeded to the customs post “Petukhovo”, through which entered Russia. The trip took two weeks.


Participants “Reis World

To prepare for it carefully, as told, answering the question of “Fergany.Ru” chairman of the NGO “Ural House Leonid Grishin: Consulate General of the Kyrgyz Republic in Yekaterinburg was a letter to the power structures of Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with a request to cooperate fully with the protesters “Rays of the world,” Sverdlovsk Regional Public Organization “Ata-Jurt” helped to contact the Kyrgyz party compatriots “Zamandash”, whose representatives have provided a second car. On it to the affected areas of the republic carried 22 tons of flour.

Representatives of the Uzbek community in Yekaterinburg, collected a considerable part of humanitarian assistance, human rights commissioner of the Sverdlovsk region Tatiana Merzlyakov helped solve many issues with officials of a number of Russian services for clearance and worked with colleagues from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to ensure the smooth passage of the convoy through the territories of these countries. Organization of Yekaterinburg, which are engaged by migrant workers (they have initiated the action), solved all the organizational issues and deliver the goods. Directly in Central Asia have helped solve many issues from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and in Kyrgyzstan – yet MOE republic.


Help came!

Despite such strong support, was not without its adventures on the road, especially at border crossings.

“It seems to be in Russia and Kazakhstan are now a common customs area, the borders are open, but we have this” open “feel to me: we tested eight o’clock, till they came by our partners from the IOM, – says Leonid Grishin. – They followed us on the territory of Kazakhstan, for we had made a “green corridor”, in all positions was passed without problems. The transition of the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, too, was difficult, despite letters of support that we have had and support the IOM, we spent four o’clock.

On the way to Osh, the expedition was tormented by forebodings, which, fortunately, not materialized.

“Going through the territory of Kazakhstan, we occasionally went to the Internet, watching news, – says co-organizer of the action, director of” Migratika “Alexander Lukanin. – We realized that our visit coincides with the 40th day after the tragedy, the media flashed the information that the conflict could flare up again. We traveled to Kyrgyzstan with apprehension. From Bishkek to Osh we were accompanied by Colonel MOE, with him we were safely past the seven checkpoints, and the eighth most in Osh, we arrived at four o’clock in the night during curfew hours. It began with district Furkat, and it was like in the blockbuster – against the background of destroyed homes roam armed to the teeth, whether soldiers, or police, or thugs – they were in khaki uniforms without insignia and in some T-shirts, their hands lay on the trigger machines. These people came to our cars, and demanded a passport, something to turn over the pages viewed, crawled into our window. We are very tense, thought that would lose the humanitarian cargo, but later, when they can see what we are citizens of Russia and his team came to miss us, let us go. “

Machines with humanitarian aid settled in one of the units of Osh, and from there transported products targeted to the needy.


Children’s drawings – from heart to heart

“All the help was targeted, – emphasized the technical project manager” Race World “Rafael Sirazhetdinov. – Even in the Urals, we drew up lists of specific streets and areas which it will, among aid, which we drove, there were parcels from relatives to specific individuals. Accordingly, we had phone numbers and addresses of recipients. When we arrived, we each phoned, he reported the number of his machine, this machine, and porters came, passed through a checkpoint of the military unit, we are filled with acts of acceptance, transfer, loaded with humanitarian aid in this car. And we, along with her traveling in a particular area and controlled the distribution of humanitarian aid, all that we fixed on the photo and video. People knew that it was going to help her very much and waiting.

It is targeting delivery, assured the protesters, ensures that humanitarian aid reaches the people, and not left “the left”.


Distribution of humanitarian aid to Osh

“International organizations, large amounts of humanitarian aid, – says Alexander Lukanin – probably the strength and ability to distribute it away from them, so they entrust this task to the authorities, but much of the aid is not reaching people, UNO humanitarian aid is sold in markets Osha .

In such a situation the Ural defenders collided, and themselves. According to Alexander Lukanin, they are the Russians tried to help not only the Kirghiz and Uzbeks, but also compatriots – Russian, living in southern Kyrgyzstan. They contacted the head of the Russian diaspora, offered assistance. He said that there are victims families, organizations have lists of these individuals, and offered to take the “humanitarian aid” and give this to people. Participants “Reis World” said that they themselves hand out aid and asked for this list. As a result, representatives of the Russian diaspora called and told that abandon their parts in favor of the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. The expedition found themselves 14 Russian families, and learned that none of them anything about an organization such as the Russian diaspora, not heard.

According to the head of public organization “Ural House Leonid Grishin,” Race the World “- it is very hard volunteer work, both economically and morally. It was very difficult to see done to the city, hundreds of destitute people who Yekaterinburg’s defenders tried to help any products or advice.

“On the road we met often cars that were filled – instead of seven people going 17 instead of seventeen – 25, – says Leonid Grishin, – according to the border every day to Kazakhstan and Russia are leaving 250-500 people. They’re coming and Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. They run, mainly men under 40 years. And, go to “nowhere”, sometimes not even thinking about the documents “, – noted human rights activist.

Growth seen dozens of people consulted about what they have to undergo the procedure in Russia to obtain legal status. But, according to Leonid Grishin, to the south of Kyrgyzstan departure of people, perhaps, is a relief, because that would reduce the tensions and contradictions that have not dissipated. But Russia promises to issue, as the refugees do not want to return back.”These people are not guided in Russia in general. They have one desire – to get away from Kyrgyzstan “, – adds L. Grishin.

“We talked with witnesses: it was a war, brutal destruction of one another, and to the restoration of peace is still very far – continues Leonid Grishin. – People are living in subhuman conditions. They are up tents in the yards of their damaged homes and live in them. Day seems to be the city lives an ordinary life – is trading, driving cars, but somehow very fast moving, never stopping for long periods, and closer to the city curfew is dying out. On the streets, only armored vehicles and emergency vehicles.

“The situation there is very stressful, the air is electrified, the slightest spark from one or the other could again ignite the fire”, – said Alexander Lukanin.


Little joy

But in any case, my contribution to the Urals to alleviate the situation in Osh and Jalal-Abad introduced. Of course, 40 tons – a drop in the sea, but the organizers of the “World Flight” pleased that most of the cargo was flour.

“Bread is – this is now the staple food in Osh”, – said L. Grishin.

If there willing to help assemble a new batch of humanitarian aid, Ural defenders are ready to go in the second flight, “the road trodden. By the way, and they returned home empty-handed. Children living in refugee camps, were very happy pictures of their peers from Ekaterinburg and also draw pictures of their wish for the world.

Alexey Starostin. Photos and videos available to members of the “World Flight”

Natural Disasters and the Terrorist Connection

[Both Hezbollah and Hamas got their starts this way, providing the emergency services needed by the people after disasters, in place of government or other humanitarian assistance which was not forthcoming.]

Natural Disasters and the Terrorist Connection

Government needs to be on the watch

by Ahmad Aley

Nowshehra

The recent floods in Pakistan have resulted in a colossal loss of life and property and require the government to go an extra mile for the rehabilitation of the victims. Yet a very important aspect which needs attention from media as well as the government is the terrorist connection. This may sound unusual but the militant organisations, terror groups and fundamentalist groups like Jamaat-e-Islami, LeT, Jamaat e Dawah, LeJ, etc. have thrived in multiple ways in times of calamity and disasters.

These organisations use multiple covert and overt means to exploit the times of human misery and distress caused by natural disasters for their own benefits. This calls for an extra vigilance from the state as well as the media. As the state functionaries as well as most of the people are involved in responding to the calamity these scourge of the land have an ample opportunity to operate freely.

Foremost of these activities is the establishment of Fund Raising camps all around the country in every street and every town as well as in other countries where the Pakistani community is present by their clandestine operatives. The irony is that most of the people who even don’t subscribe to the views and activities of such groups are ensnared just for the sake of helping the victims of disasters.

There is no check on such activities and nobody knows from where they crop up, one fine morning you will see the camps appearing in your nearby markets and streets and after some days these are gone. The receipts provided in lieu of cash/kind are spurious too. And how these collected funds and goods are used is anyone’s guess. In the disaster areas the most heinous activity by these groups is enlisting, with consent or coercion, of the stranded, abandoned and poor. Moreover the kidnappings of children for being trained were also widely reported in case of EQ 2005. So is the case in recovery and relief which provides them ample opportunity for propagation of their ideologies as well as recruitment of unemployed and distressed. The welfare faces of these bandits also provide them a perfect disguise for monitoring and conducting surveys of their potential victims and targets. This connection becomes of particular importance in the present context of actively operating religio-political terrorist outfits in civilian areas in Pakistan. As in the times of disaster most of the state agencies have more attention to provide relief and rehabilitation of the victims and this lax environment provides sectarian/terrorist outfits an additional opportunity to make good of the misery of people.

Besides other things this scenario underscores the failure of state as well as the political parties to provide means for the citizens to be part of the response as well as recovery and rehabilitation effort. And as such events gain attention and sympathy of all and sundry these are also used to gain political weightage by the marginal political groups. Pakistan Peoples Party is the only party with national presence and it’s really sad to see that in such times we fail to see its cadres work. This provides a big time opportunity to the minions to act big as well as to use the situation for their ulterior motives.
So to make people aware of nature and dynamics of such actions of these groups should atleast be a part of LUBP’s efforts for flood victims.

Post Published: 07 August 2010
Author: aliarqam

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

[Here is the joyfulness of Islam.  Take note of the happy women joining in the celebration of life.  These merrily spinning women provide a stark contrast to the usual image of dour fearful women dominated by the dark fundamentalists.  The image of Muslim women burned into the minds of Western audiences is normally that of two beautiful, though terrified, eyes peering from beneath the sanitizing blackness of the burka.]

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

The Soung Fakirs at the New York Sufi Music Festival on Tuesday in Union Square.

By JON PARELES, July 21, 2010

Hands waved overhead. Voices shouted lyrics and whooped with delight. Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders. In the tightly packed crowd a few dancers made room to jump. T-shirts were tossed to fans from the stage.

Yet in the songs that Abida Parveen was singing, saints were praised. They were Islamic saints, the poets and philosophers revered by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. It was the first New York Sufi Music Festival, a free three-hour concert on Tuesday in Union Square, and it had music from the four provinces of Pakistan, including traditional faqirs who perform outside temples, Sufi rock and a kind of rapping from Baluchistan.

The concert was presented by a new organization called Pakistani Peace Builders, which was formed after the attempted bombing in Times Square by a Pakistani-American. The group seeks to counteract negative images of Pakistan by presenting a longtime Pakistani Islamic tradition that preaches love, peace and tolerance.

Music fans at the festival.

Sufism itself has been a target of Islamic fundamentalists; on July 1 suicide bombers attacked Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, spoke between sets on Tuesday. “What we’re here to do today,” he said, is “to be at peace with all of America.”

The music’s message was one of joyful devotion and improvisatory freedom. Ms. Parveen, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated musicians, was singing in a Sufi style called kafi. Like the qawwali music popularized worldwide by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, kafi sets classical poems — about the love and intoxication of the divine, about seeking the spirit within — to visceral, handclapping rhythms and vocal lines that swoop and twist with passionate volatility.

Ms. Parveen carried songs from serene, hovering introductions to virtuosic euphoria. Long, sustained notes suddenly broke into phrases that zigzagged up and down an octave or more; repeated refrains took on an insistent rasp and became springboards for elaborate leaps and arabesques; quick syllables turned into percussive exchanges with the band. Each song was a continual revelation, making the old poems fully alive.

Abida Parveen at the New York Sufi Music Festival.

While the crowd was there for Ms. Parveen’s first New York City performance in a decade, the rest of the program was strong. The Soung Fakirs, from Sachal Sarmast Shrine in Sindh, danced in bright orange robes to devotional songs with vigorous, incantatory choruses. Akhtar Chanal Zehri, though he was introduced as a rapper, was backed by traditional instruments and seemed more of a folk singer, heartily intoning his rhythmic lyrics on a repeating note or two and, eventually, twirling like a Sufi dervish.

Rafaqat Ali Khan, the heir to his family’s school of classical singing (khayal), was backed only by percussion, pushing his long-breathed phrasing into ever more flamboyant swirls and quavers. The tabla player Tari Khan, who also accompanied Rafaqat Ali Khan, played a kinetic solo set that carried a 4/4 rhythm through variants from the Middle East, Europe, New York City and (joined by two more drummers) Africa. There was also instrumental music from the bansuri (wooden flute) player Ghaus Box Brohi.

On the modernizing side, Zeb and Haniya, two Pakistani women who started their duo as college students at Mount Holyoke and Smith, performed gentler songs in the Dari tradition, a Pakistani style with Central Asian roots, with Haniya adding syncopated electric guitar behind Zeb’s smoky voice. Under wooden flute and classical-style vocals the Mekaal Hasan Band plugged in with reggae, folk-rock and a tricky jazz-rock riff. But the lyrics quoted devotional poetry that was 900 years old, distant from the turmoil of the present.

“If a man like Muhamed (pbuh) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
– George Orwell

“Do not worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are watching you”
– Robert Fulghum

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is often our own indifference”
– Bess Myerson

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos.”
– Will Durant

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
– Will Durant

“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes ‘election by the incompetent-many’ for ‘appointment by the corrupt-few’.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“May you live every day of your life.”
– Jonathan Swift

“Pity the nation… that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again.”
– Khalil Jibran

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
– Angela Monet

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
– Voltaire

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
– Samuel P. Huntington (author The Clash Of Civilisations)

Baloch and Pashtun Nationalists Stand Together In Peshawar Over Balochistan’s Sorrow

Baloch Nationalists Leaders mourned in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

A condolence reference was held in Peshawar Press Club for the Baloch leaders Habib Jalib Baloch Secretary General BNP and Maula Bakhsh Dashti of Natinal Party who were mercilessly assassinated in Balochistan few days ago.  The reference was arranged by the National Party Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province which is led by Said Mukhtar Bacha Advocate. Rahat Malik a well known political figure from Balochistan and a central leader of National party was the chief guest on this occasion. The reference was also participated by the leaders and workers of different political parties and representatives of the civil society organizations.

Rahat Malik was thankful to all the participants for organizing such a reference and showed their solidarity and sympathies with Baloch nation. The assassination of Baloch leaders Habib Jalib, Secretary General of Balochsitan National party, former Senator, and Supreme Court lawyer, and Maula Bakhsh Dashi National Party central leader and former Nazim reflect the genocidal mindset of State authorities in Pakistan. This brutal act is clearly pushing Baloch moderates and progressives voices to the wall, and endorsed the claims of Baloch militant organizations that Islamabad doesn’t recognize the Baloch rights on their soil. If Pakistani Sate or other has not spared the Leader like Habib Jalib how they would be treating rest of the population. This act is highly cowardice and condemnable but it can’t stop Baloch people from seeking their rights. Violence always begets violence. If it is done by the forces within Baloch it is also condemnable. It is also condemnable that Baloch Sepratest are killing innocet Pakhtuns and Settlers in Baloch area.

Dr. Said Alam Mehsud, a Pashtun nationalist and a central leader of Amn Tehrik said that killing of political leaders and activists is the worst of crimes and such negative step and we all political people should come together to foil such conspiracies. The Pakistani establishment is very cruel and its negative and anti human tactics can never be successful. Such killings will create a new spirit among the workers who will start the national work with greater enthusiasm. The movements can not be eliminated with either killing or frightening.

Said Mukhtar Bacha Advocate eulogized the services of the Habib Jalib and Dashti. He said that they laid down their lives for protecting the national cause of Baloch nation. He also demanded for the arrest of the killers and an exemplary punishment as per law of the land. He also said that Pakistani establishment is very strong and its force is used against its people. This establishment has also teased the entire world. We do not understand the philosophy behind it if there is any. All political forces should get united to protect them and their people interests. He also said that people like Habib Jalib and Dashti are born once in centuries.

Arbab Muhammad Tahir of ANP said: we strongly condemn the assassination of the political leaders of Baloch National Movement. Killing and assassination can not be used to solve a problem. Pashtun are also facing menace of terrorism and our leaders Arbab Sikandar Khan Khalil and Dr. Khan Sahib were also killed.

Shamim Shahid President Peshawar Press Club said that those who had killed Dr. Najibullah Khan, Abdul Ahad Karzai. Khan Abdul samad Khan Achakzai, Sardar Nauroz Khan, Nawab Akbar Bugti and other Pashtun leaders they also killed the Baloch leadrs.Only in Waziristan several hundreds Pashtun Mashran were ruthlessly killed. Faridullah Khan, Mirza Alam Khan, Malik Khandad etc were the prominent among them who were killed by the terrorists in target killing. FATA is being burnt and terrorists have taken its control. The ongoing war is for capturing the resources and it has no relation with the religion.

Arbab Mujeeb of PMAP on this occasion said that they strongly condemn the killing of Baloch by the cruel hands of Pakistani cruel and ruthless establishment. We are with Baloch nation in their hour of the trial and tribulation.

Ameer Khan General Secretary Pakhtun Democratic Council condemned the killing of Baloch political leadership saying that killing of political leadership is a custom in Pakistan but establishment should not do it as without political people whom they would talk to. This is inhuman and a negative act which Pakistani establishment has been doing. He also urged upon the people to force the establishment to stop meddling in affairs of the others countries like Afghanistan and India. Afghanistan is home of the Pakhtun and Pakhtun are not ready to see it unstable and weak. We love to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. The establishment of Pakistan will have to change its foreign policy against Afghanistan.

Idrees Kamal of National Party said that we strongly condemns this brutal act of barbarism and demand arrest of the killers. He said that all Political parties and forces should get united to wage a war against the wrong doings of this country. We need to get together and create an atmosphere of love, tolerance and patience. He also lauded the services of the assassinated Baloch leaders.

Ijaz  Durrani a representative of the civil society organizations and a close friend of the slain Baloch leaders said that those who work for the promotion of peace in region and support the national cause then they are killed which is astonishing for us all.

Engineer Haider Zaman a progressive political worker said all democratic, progressive and nationalist people and parties should get united on one plate form and to save the rights of our people.

On this occasion Asad Afridi Advocate said that assassination of political people is condemnable and Baloch and Pashtun can foil the conspiracy of anti people and anti democratic forces. We condemn the killing of  baloch leadership.

CourtesyAmn Tehreek (Peace Movement)

Vision Of the Path That Leads Away From the Abyss–Ali Mostaque

[Once again, Mostaque sees the different path, the one which normal minds could not begin to imagine.  But alternative visionaries like him is just what we must have to survive the world created by blind men.]

Talking with a failed state.

BY ALI.MOSTAQUE
Pranab Mukharjee as foreign minister once frustratingly asked who was in charge in Pakistan. That was in late 2008.

A pertinent question if you are dealing with serious issues of state terror, involving the ISI and you want clear immediate answers. It is also a pertinent question because it is a constructive path towards resolution of ALL problems that are related to Pakistan. Obviously India wants to make sure such events are never repeated again, and the necessary situation arises in the future where India takes more pro-active action against Pakistan, fraught with all the uncertainties such situations pose for essentially a Third World democracy.

India needs to know that when dealing with Pakistan, they are not talking to a brick wall, with no hope of progress on anything.

Who is in charge and who runs Pakistan? It depends on the area of state you are talking about. Zardari and his merry band of crooks run the day to day affairs of the state. He came into power in rigged elections fixed by the USA through the ISI. He is morally and intellectually corrupt, and the USA loves him (same in Afghanistan) Zardari and his cronies are not popular in the country, and Zardari isn’t even popular within his own Party, but because he has the tacit backing of the USA he is the President of the country.

Zardari, as with his late wife are not strongly anti-Indian, and would probably like some kind of accommodation with India, BUT since he is a figure head president with no real power, surviving on the largess of the USA ($25 billion aid by various American dominated agencies), Zardari has no real room to maneuver on the BIG ISSUES that India rather optimistically offers to negotiate with him. Indeed it is the other way around. The USA through daily briefings by Anne Paterson, as next door neighbor tells the President of Pakistan what to do, and what to say. Many of Zardari’s speeches are formulated in the American embassy.

Behind the puppet politicians is the Punjabi dominated Pakistan army numbering unofficially at 800,000 and backed by 300,000 paramilitaries, and the all powerful and notorious ISI, staffed exclusively again by Pakistani military officers and their civilian operatives. Their sustenance accounts for between 6–8% of the actual GDP. The corps commanders wield the actual power, and is the unofficial cabinet of Pakistan, and the head of the army is the unofficial President. The Pakistan military decides on all matters of national security, and foreign policy; period……………so I suppose Khrisna and Pillai have been talking to the wrong crowd.

Here I go again…….Pakistan is a failed state created by the departing Raj. The departing power under the guidance of General Cawthorne created the ISI to centralise the power of the military in that failed state. “The ISI was the brainchild ofAustralian-born British Army officer, Major General R. Cawthome, then Deputy Chief of Staff in the Pakistan Army”(1948)…………..since there was no other powerful organising force to match the might and size of the Pakistan military within that failed society, it naturally thus became the main “political party” within Pakistan. The Muslim League was not a proper party, it was a mere elitist club given some energy by Jinnah, and covert British finance from 1940. It’s wholly artificial character with only one issue in mind meant that the Muslim League quickly dissolved from the political scene in Pakistan, once it achieved its one objective………………unlike Congress, under Nehru at least.

The UK nudged failed Pakistan towards the USA, and by 1954 a security Pact was signed and from then on the Pakistan military started developing close relationships with the USA, naturally. Most senior officers of the Pakistan military are trained in the USA/UK, which fundamentally affect their out look on most matters. Pakistan under the control of the military has been an aggressive anti-India power, even though there are no clear justifications for this. Pakistan attacked India in 1948, 1965, 1971 and finally in 1999, just when the Indian PM had arrived in Pakistan with great fanfare and expectations of reaching a final agreement with Pakistan.

India has always responded to such Pakistani illegal international provocations with moderation………..so the pre-occupation and paranoia of the Pakistan military about the threat from India is substantively unfounded. However the relationship of the USA with Pakistan has over 50 years metamorphosed to the point where it is clear to all that Pakistan is a wholly client state of the USA. The USA is the final arbiter of all major matters related to Pakistan…………….and this the people in the MEA, like Krishna and Pillai need to understand.

This is the real situation.

It is a sad spectacle that masterji USA does the dirty and implicates (26/11) on the ISI through their agent David Headley, which I happen to think is not true, but nary a word or whimper of protest from the servile Pakistani generals about their masterji doing the dirty YET AGAIN since 1965. But their political fronts in negotiation with India huff and puff when the MEA repeats the obvious conclusion from Headley’s admission. This is the sort of people they are……..people not fit to lead Pakistan, let alone negotiate complex International issues with India, as representatives of Pakistani national interests.

Pillai jumped the gun. His rather simplistic accusation against the ISI based on the American agent Headley’s, ‘Timely’ admission should not have been publicly uttered whilst in the full process of negotiating with Pakistan. Newspapers can make such broad accusations, but not politicians involved in sensitive negotiations. You should avoid intentionally and unintentionally playing to the domestic and international gallery. Such accusation even if true, puts the opposite side on the defensive and the proverbial corner.

What was Pillai implying by such a broad public statement? Was he saying that General Suja Pasha, down to the tens of thousands working in the ISI were responsible for 26/11? Is the whole Pakistani military culpable because the ISI is an integral part of the Pakistan military……including Kiyani, the former head of the ISI? In such a situation what is the obvious response of the Pakistani state going to be?

Everybody knows the Pakistani military is no good, one only has to see how the USA treats it with utter disdain……..and the ISI is at the center of the malaise that creates problems for the Pakistani state, never mind what they do against India. The Pakistani military with the ISI leading is the main cause of Pakistan’s national crisis over 63 years of independence.

Pillai does not need to rub it in with such an obvious fact, especially if you are in the middle of negotiation with the offending Party, and you are trying to extract some meaningful concessions from the state of Pakistan which is already on the defensive and on their back feet courtesy of Headley’s recent admission, and some of the frustratingly long incremental efforts of the political leadership in Pakistan. I am in favor of undermining the ISI, and its importance in Pakistani national life, but such strategies should be subtle and in coordination with the Pakistani civilian leadership. Bold sweeping statements of Pillai’s kind merely forces the Pakistani civilians politicians to close ranks with their military counter-part………..naturally. Otherwise they will be painted as unpatriotic.

Why then waste time negotiating with such a puppet corrupt regime? For the sake of Public consumption? Or the history books? For the sake of diplomacy? To be seen to be reasonable in the international arena? Or to be seen to be doing something in response to 26/11, because the alternative of military action much favored by the BJP/Israel is unthinkable?

India always needs to engage Pakistan, no matter what. Pakistan is the neighbor India didn’t choose. Pragmatically, failed state Pakistan has to be managed for India’s best interests. Negotiations is the only avenue through which gradually SAARC member countries, slowly dragging and kicking, full of mistrust sown over many decades, come closer together as a regional bloc. With India as the leading player in that bloc, and Pakistan a major country within that bloc.

India still an amateur has to learn to play the game of the bloc leader……..as of now India has excellent relations with Bhutan and the Maldives, and thats it. Various degrees of mistrust and animosity exist with the rest.

There is also the issue of momentum. If you keep talking to the Pakistanis, eventually, eventually this will bear fruit. Eventually some common ground can be found to build on. Mechanisms for security cooperation, intelligence sharing regular meetings of senior intelligence, ministers, military from the two countries and so forth……….these significant things can only be implemented through negotiations, which reduces the sea of distrust between the security of India with the security of Pakistan. For every visit by an important official from a gora country, India should make two to Pakistan.

Money matters……morals, argument, information, who is right who is wrong, the application of logic and rational are all important, but money also does wonders in a failed state like Pakistan. If India is serious about bringing Pakistan under its wings, India needs to buy Pakistan to the tune of $8–$15 billion of low interest loans over long periods. This money will buy peace and settlement over Kashmir finally, as will an FTA there after. The Pakistan military won’t be able to argue that India is threatening Pakistan again this time from Afghanistan. The facts will speak for itself. India is rich. India’s real economy is between $3600 billion to $3800 billion, with FCR at $285 billion. The rich in India have deposited $1500 billion in off shore accounts.

THE GUILT AND WEAKNESS FELT BY PAKISTAN, through Headley’s admission must be used to extract meaningful incremental concession’s from Pakistan in relation to their

speak in Hindi

They must be constantly engaged……..manner of a teacher speaking students……..no point expressing emotion publicly…..not constructive……..the negotiation then becomes a theater, a drama which for certain other powers is entertaining……..but leaves India empty handed.

Callous but in a nation where 32,000 homicides 200,000 suicides, 130,000 road deaths and countless number die from starvation………….then in the scheme of things such an act in 26/11 is not the worst crime that takes place in India, where the MEA spends the better part of its energy trying unsuccessfully to tackle the problem……..2 years.

Objective is to focus on the issue and overcome Pakistani obstruction diversionary tactics……..and in short order as soon as possible get real concessions from Pakistan over the issue of greater India/Pakistan terror cooperation through the ISI/RAW………and through diplomatic channels. At present the two agences don’t meet if ever…………………….

On the broader front India’s position is much stronger……..$1300 billion economy to Pakistans $170 billion, and militarily 4-5 times stronger even after spending a paltry 2.5% on defense………such advantages should be brought to bear on the Pakistanis in a constructive manner so that Pakistan eventually follows India’s line of thinking…….simply terrorism is destroying Pakistan itself…………it too is a victim, at a greater level.

What is undesirable is the Pakistanis putting up their hand and saying we did it……..that should not be the objective……since the Pakistanis are on the back foot as per the David Headley statements, that should be used to tie Pakistan into a security structure/mechanism which ensures such events as 26/11 does not repeat itself.

pre-meetings the agenda of the meeting should be exchanged……..parties to negotiation can add additional points if they are acceptable to the other party………and the onus of the meeting content should be on the visiting party (India)……Civil Law procedure…..similar…..rules of disclosure…..no surprises…..this means no new element, not agreed upon by the partie should be introduced………….and the Indians are perfectly within ther rights to keep Delhi constantly informed of all developments during negotiations, this is not unusual or sinister or constructive. Transparent clearly constructed negotiation the rules of which both parties abide by.

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Indian Pakistani relations

Kashmir

Kashmir

Kashmir
POSTED BY ALI.MOSTAQUE AT 9:34 AM LABELS: 

Once the problem is identified in its purest sense, formulation of realistic policies can begin……Naxals, Pakistan, poverty

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We mustn’t let the killers of Gandhi get away with high treason.

We mustn’t allow 1% of the population who are organized like the mafia, with access to the resources of the state, into setting the SIGNIFICANT POLICIES of the state through acts of High Treason against the very State to which they allegedly profess loyalty to, after murdering innocent civilians…………….then waving the flag, as self assumed national saviours.

It behoves all other parties in India who are mainstream and represent the silent moral majority to expose and decisively deal with such criminal elements.

Such action does not make India weaker, but stronger.

In that sense Gadkari’s recent street level petty slanging matches are quite understandable……….he who looks like a Mafia Don from Mumbai.

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Congress asks RSS to come clean on terror link issue
by Times of India

With reports of alleged links of RSS leaders with acts of terror, Congress on Friday asked the right wing outfit to come clean on the issue and also called on the BJP to make its stand clear on “terror links” of such leaders.

“We call upon the RSS to come clean regarding all links of its senior leaders with terror. We also call on the BJP to make its stand clear on terror links of the leaders of RSS,” party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters.

Terming the reports on the alleged links as “shocking”, she said there was a need to get to the bottom and unearth the truth.

“While the entire nation is engaged in a relentless crusade against terrorism and forces of terror, what has come to light through such reports is the involvement of senior leaders of RSS, the parent body of the BJP, with terror groups and with specific acts of terrorism,” Natarajan said.

She recalled that BJP had accused late Maharashtra police officer Hemant Karkare of being unpatriotic when he started uncovering the “unholy link”.
(Then later soon after, in 26/11 he was the first person to be killed)

The spokesperson claimed that when Malegaon blasts accused Sadhvi Pragya was arrested, leaders Like L K Advani came to her defence.

“Till yesterday, BJP continued to defend them and the RSS,” Natarajan said, adding a”thorough probe” should be carried out by the government agencies concerned to unearth the truth.

_______________________________

Almost all terrorism in a country is carried out by the state itself, usually by elements within the military/security apparatus because they have the training, the logistics, organisation and the motivation/rational. Their primary motivation for such action is to influence political outcomes within the state, and nothing else……it is purely a political act:

1. In India a lot of so called Pakistan based Islamic terrorism is actually the work of sections of the Indian military and security who are under the influence of the RSS (RAW, IB with Police).

2. India has consistently since the early 1970’s promoted State Terrorism as a weapon with which to conduct its foreign policy, especially under and from Indira Gandhi’s rule…….against Sri Lanka backing the Tamil Tigers; and against Pakistan andBangladesh with destabilisation programs. This is not mere gossip, BUT fact………that is why Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan andBangladesh want to BUDDY up with China as a counter weight to a certain extent. Such action is based on actual poor experience with India, and not flippant whimsical state diplomacy.

3. During the early 1980’s with the approval of Indira Gandhi, again, RAW developed close relations with MOSSAD, and with the rise of the BJP in the 1990’s Indian security generally developed closer relations with Israel…under the doctrine of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” But of course Israel is always a special kind of friend as the USA well knows.

4. Israel’s objective to the present is the neutralisation ofPakistan’s nuclear arsenal either through the USA or throughIndia. This has been tried many times against Pakistan since the mid–1970’s. The American occupation of Afghanistan is part of that rational. The present American destabilisation of Pakistan is part of that rational. 26/11 Mumbai was also part of that Israeli rational to get India into a war with Pakistan, and in the process destroy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. That was the political objective of 26/11.

5. 26/11 was the work of elements within RAW, IB working with the Mumbai police to stage and fix such an event, with Israeli help. The BBC and The Guardian reported people in Mumbai seeing white European men with guns in the vicinity of the terrorist attacks……….and that some of the Indian commando’s dealing with Nariman House actually found the Israelis “Hostages” who were actually doing the shooting. i.e “We saw white people shooting at us”……..in the other locations of terror again most likely Indians, or Israeli ops doing the shooting, and than explaining that away as Pakistan based terrorists.

6. ATS Hemant Kakare deaths is odd. ONE IS TEMPTED TO SAY THAT THE WHOLE THING WAS SET UP FOR HIS BENEFIT. HE HAD AN EXPLOSIVE STORY IN THE WORKS………….false flag ops by the RSS/MILITARY/ISRAEL. Hemant Kakare is the guy, ex-RAW who uncovered the RSS/military terrorism nexus in India…………….Thus the “incompetence of the Mumbai police” in relation to Kakare’s death, and “We failed to connect the dots” according to Home Minister P Chidambaram……is in fact not FAILURE by them per se, but the actions of people in positions of influence directing the staged event of 26/11 for Israel and the RSS agenda……state elections were due in several Indian states but mercifully sober Indian voters did not flock to the BJP rabid cause, unlike the Anglophone media in India CNN-IBN, NDtv etc.

7. David Headley is an American agent…..working for the DEA and others. His mother is Jewish. He is a key organiser of events in Mumbai.Reinforces the account of many in Mumbai who saw white people with guns carrying out the attacks around Mumbai. If he directly accuses Pakistan NOW, whilst in captivity in the USA, one must question his motivation for pointing the finger at his former “allies”, and whether it is not a ruse to shield his real connections and backers.

8. But hasn’t Pakistan partially admitted to 26/11? The corruption of Zardari and his junta is legendary. The Pakistan Supreme Court has ruled that many of the top Cabinet members of Zardari are BIG TIME CROOKS who should be doing jail time…..Zardari has given them a presidential pardon instead. Zardari came into power through rigged elections through the largesse of the USA in 2008. He has gone into purduh since, so loathed and hated that he is in Pakistan for good reason. ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT FROM SUCH A REGIME COUPLED WITH AMERICAN PRESSURE, MUST BE TAKEN WITH A PINCH OF SALT. Pakistan is a client state of theUSA, and the USA bankrolls and controls the ISI. Most terrorism in Pakistan is committed by the Pakistani state for the USA (Think Mir Sadik, Mir Jafar and Shaikh Ayaz)…..if it will help watch the whole shoddy serial of Tipu Sultan, and see what people can do to their own for greed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy4Qf1JSZbk see the actual basis of South Asian failure, where the ruling elite loot and plunder South Asia into foreign off shore accounts.

9. What about Ajmal and the 9 dead men = 10 terrorists on 26/11. Well in India lets see, there are about 32,000 homicides each year; 200,000 = suicides; 130,000 road accident deaths; a few hundred thousand dying from starvation……..Indian morgues have a lot of dead bodies who can be mutilated, scared and passed off as alleged terrorists in Mumbai, and a handful of hapless captive Pakistani tourists who really ought not have ventured into RSS/BJP India in the first place. Anyone of these hapless tourists can be passed off as a terrorists, and produced as such. It wouldn’t even surprise me if the American funded and controlled ISI actually supplied Ajmal for such a fake narrative. The ISI has handed over to the Americans since 2001,……. 700 alleged members of ‘al-QAEDA” who were sent to Bagram and Guantanomo. Pakistanis and Afghan nationals…….in addition some 3200 Pakistani nationals have “disappeared” due to the actions of the Pakistani security state working in conjunction with the USA, since 2001. Most of the 700 captured by the Pakistani security and handed over to the Americans have since been released by the Americans subsequently, many old men and some boys wholly innocent…….500–600 people. Ajmal confessing to being a terrorist means nothing; indicates nothing.

10. Siv Sena Mumbai, with the RSS in the background, in the vicinity….what does it all mean? The city has a notorious reputation at many levels. It is controlled by the Siv Sena Mafia who have publicly stated that terrorism as a means of political advancement is wholly justifiable…..and we are not talking of those off the cuff comments, but as a matter of party politics. Violence intimidation and threats is an integral part of Party policy. The Siv Sena and the RSS love Israel.”The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Mumbai use to at one time be the center of the Jewish community in India ‘Bene Israel” with 40,000 Jews living and working in the Mumbai hinterland. It is very natural that such a city with such a reputation should produce such an incident with such CODED Jew dates 26/11, involving such numbers allegedly—10.

I do not need to be told about the bastardliness of the ISI, created by the UK in 1948……….made up of Pakistan military personnel. As someone haling from Bangladesh, I am well aware of the crimes committed by the Pakistan military where 3,000,000 innocent civilians were killed and 300,000 women were raped. I am well aware that in the final stages of the war when the Pakistan military knew that they would lose the war, they USED local ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS to kill 250 of the best and brightest of Bangladesh. We know the Pakistan military have a track record of using and backing insurgents in Kashmir since 1948. We know that since the 1970’s, 500,000 Pakistani civilians of the Deobandi persuasion have been trained to fight the holy war: 1) within Pakistan against Sufis, Shia and Ahmedis 2) Against India in Kashmir 3) In Afghanistan.

But we must also never forget that Pakistan is a state created by the British, who soon after independence helped them create the ISI in 1948. Then in the 1950’s the UK nudged the state into the arms of the USA, and the 1954 agreement and the creation of SEATO. We also know Pakistan is a failed state number 9, propped up by USA largesse………….and run by the USA. The ISI is funded by the USA………….and American military/civilian officials make daily visits to the country, if it has not been noticed.

In our rush to accept the official narrative of 26/11 set by Siv Sena run Mumbai, we must not over look the overall scenario in defending India’s true security interests.

POSTED BY ALI.MOSTAQUE

Kazakhstan pledges $10 mln aid for Kyrgyzstan

Kazakhstan pledges $10 mln aid for Kyrgyzstan

English.news.cn 2010-07-17 17:57:40
ALMATY, July 17 (Xinhua) — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Saturday announced that his country will offer 10 million U.S. dollars in emergency aid for Kyrgyzstan.

The promise came at a plenary session of an informal meeting of top diplomats from the members and partners of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held outside Almaty.

Noting that the Kyrgyz government has been toppled down twice in five years, Nazarbayev stressed that the political instability roots in poverty, stagnation of economic development and inadequate action of the government.

As competition among Kyrgyzstan’s political parties heats up in the run-up to the October parliamentary elections, the tentative stability in the country might break up anytime, warned the president, whose country holds the rotating OSCE presidency.

The 56-member organization is mulling a plan to send a police mission to the violence-battered Central Asian state and help control the situation.

Over 300 People have been killed since a casino brawl between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek youngsters escalated into massive clashes last month in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The flare-up came two months after a bloody revolt ousted former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in early April and triggered waves of nationwide riots.

Kyrgyzstan’s interim leadership has installed a new constitution through a referendum and changed the country into a parliamentary republic. Following the parliamentary polls, a new government will formally take over the reins.

Editor: Mo Hong’e

Kazakhstan to invest $50 million in Afghan education project

Kazakhstan to invest $50 million in Afghan education project

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev
© RIA Novosti. Alexey Nikolsky

Kazakhstan is to designate $50 million for an education program that will provide more than 1,000 Afghans with higher education between 2010 and 2018, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Saturday.

“In our view, what Afghanistan really needs is highly skilled personnel for various industries,” Nazarbayev said during an informal meeting in the Kazakh city of Almaty of foreign ministers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) countries.

“We have therefore designated $50 million for the implementation of educational programs for training Afghan citizens at our country’s universities,” he added.

Nazarbayev said the initiative would help to implement a gradual transfer of security responsibilities to local authorities.

“We believe, that by giving the youth of Afghanistan the opportunity to receive quality education, we are making a valuable contribution to the rehabilitation process in the country, and reducing the spread of extremist ideology and terrorism,” he said.

The president also called on the OSCE to develop a new strategy on Afghanistan since “40 OSCE countries are involved in the country.”

ALMATY, July 17 (RIA Novosti)

Creative Solutions To Population Control Urgency

Beyond prescriptive targets

A. R. NANDA

School children participate in the Run for Population Stabilisation organised on the occasion of World Population Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on July 11, 2010.
PTISchool children participate in the Run for Population Stabilisation organised on the occasion of World Population Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on July 11, 2010.

A sustainable population stabilisation strategy needs to be embedded in a rights-based and gender-sensitive local community needs-led approach. An authoritarian top-down target approach is not the answer.

The evolution of government-led population stabilisation efforts in India goes back to the start of the five year development plans in 1951-52. A national programme was launched, which emphasised ‘family planning’ to the extent necessary to reduce birth rates to stabilise the population at a level consistent with the requirements of the national economy. A clinic-based approach with equal emphasis on natural methods like rhythm as on some contraceptives was taken, but cautiously. Alongside, there were efforts towards awareness-building and research on new contraceptives and their acceptability.

A Family Planning Research and Programme Committee was constituted. At its first meeting in Bombay in July 1953, the committee took a comprehensive and broad view of family planning. To quote from its report: “The committee emphasised that the family planning programme should not be conceived of in the narrow sense of birth control or merely of spacing of the birth of children. The purpose of Family Planning was to promote, as far as possible, the growth of the family as a unit of society, in a manner designed to facilitate the fulfilment of those conditions which were necessary for the welfare of the unit from the social, economic and cultural points of view. The functions of a Family Planning Centre would include sex education, marriage counselling, marriage hygiene, the spacing of children, and advice on such other measures (including on infertility) as necessary to promote welfare of the families.”

Around the same period, in China the new Communist government under Mao Zedong looked at population basically as an asset, and took many benign measures aimed at social development. These brought in more equitable access to basic health, education, assets (including revolutionary re-distribution of land) and income over the next 20 years. The concept of family planning services that China followed was in tune with what the Family Planning Research and Programme Committee had conceptualised.

Instead of a top-down, prescriptive target approach, China went in for a localised community approach. The Cultural Revolution made the bureaucrats and service providers more responsive and accountable to local party hierarchies, communes and production brigades, and purged them of their elitist-intellectual hatred or indifference to peasants. They became more alert to the needs of the communities and were responsible to meet these needs in an equitable manner.

Such a style of governance brought in quick results in all indicators of social development including women’s status; and the fertility rate came down sharply by the 1970s. The perception of the families and that of the state converged when it came to the acceptance of a small family norm. Only with western education, the threat perception of growing numbers took deep roots in the mindset of some Chinese scholars and leaders. They advocated restrictive population policies such as the ‘one-child policy.’ But this appears to have created societal and family problems such as skewed sex ratio, female infanticide and foeticide, rather than helping in a smooth stabilisation of the population. There are thus lessons to be learnt from the Chinese experience in governance. In India we tend to misrepresent the Chinese story whenever we compare the Indian situation for advocating coercive policies like the “two-child norm” and the concomitant regime of incentives and disincentives to solve the population problem quickly.

It is a pity that we paid only lip-service to the rational and sane advice of the Family Planning Research and Programme Committee in 1953, and instead adopted disjointed, verticalised and top-down contraceptive programmes with targets of sterilisation. Although the programme was integrated with maternal and child health during the Fourth Plan (1969-74), and further with health and nutrition in the Fifth Plan (1974-79) with the creation of multi-purpose workers, introduction of mass motivational efforts and population education, the primary objective was to achieve targets of male and female sterilisation imposed from above. The compulsory and coercive nature of the programme during 1975 and 1976 made it highly unpopular.

The drive to reduce population growth by means of stand-alone family planning initiatives in India, with technical and financial back-up from U.S. and international bodies became a paramount concern. But its “impact on the experience of the poor and marginalised” has, more often than not, been negative, disastrous and inhuman.

The paradigm shift that occurred with the conduct of the International Conference on Population & Development (ICPD) 1994 gave a new, but more realistic, dimension to the resolution of the population problem in all circumstances. It has been realised that the “target” approach to reducing the population has been ineffective, and has to be rejected straightway. Governments in many countries are moving away from narrow demographic approaches to population issues, to focus on issues of “gender inequality” and lack of “reproductive rights and choices” as key factors contributing to the problems of population growth.

The Government of India’s family planning programme was being criticised by non-governmental organisations, women’s groups and rights-based scholars for its lack of concern for, and sensitivity to, human rights and dignity abuses associated with the target approach. In view of these concerns and sustained campaigns, and upon India signing the ICPD Programme of Action in 1994, the government abolished the system of targets. The “target-free” reproductive and child health care approach was accepted from 1997.

The Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme approach (further backed up by a solid national policy on population in 2000) opened a new vista with “a decentralised planning approach” and a more comprehensive and holistic vision of “women’s health” throughout the life cycle. Goals are to be set primarily at the district and block levels, based on the village work plans of local communities prepared with a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) approach. Family planning/contraceptive targets for specified numbers of acceptors are to be replaced by targets that could serve as indicators of the “quality of health and family planning care needed and provided.”

There are some diehard ‘population control’ exponents who have not reconciled themselves to the paradigm shift, and who feel more comfortable with an authoritarian policy regime of quantitative targets, in order to achieve quick-fix solution implementation. They often deride the “target-free” approach as one that leads to complete lack of accountability and lack of quick and visible results on the ground (as reflected in the administrative reports). Such a mindset is understandable inasmuch as most of the present generation of politicians, bureaucrats and scholars have been trained and oriented in Neo-Malthusian studies of population and have been players in or witness to the implementation of maternal and child health policies, which “throughout India have been dominated by Family Planning and driven by numerical targets for so long that it will take time for a fundamental reorientation to transpire…. It is yet to take deep roots in peoples’ minds …”

The operationalisation of the National Population Policy and the RCH strategy has not been taken up with sincerity in many districts. Some State governments simply linked together pre-existing programmes concerning family planning, child survival and safe motherhood, reproductive tract infection, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion services. And, “Family Planning remained the dominant force in the equation.” The numerical family planning targets fixed from above have not been completely given up. They refer to the “expected level of achievement” – a euphemism for “top-down targets.” The ambivalent instructions and directions from some State governments complicate the situation further.

The increase in female literacy, women’s increasing role in panchayati raj institutions, the formation of consortia and watchdog institutions of non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, self-help groups and gender and rights activists will ensure commitment to active participation in, and better implementation of, the target-free reproductive health and family planning strategy at the community level. Any deviation from, or distortion of, the basic norms of the new strategy should not be allowed. Human Rights Commissions and Women’s Commissions at the national and State levels have to play a vital role here. More systematic and evidence-based advocacy efforts have to be mounted by advocates and researchers who have fully internalised the paradigm shift, and the elite target audiences at different levels have to be educated and influenced to stay the course. This is the key challenge.

(This is an abridged version of one of the ‘Advocacy Papers’ of the Population Foundation of India, 2010. The author, a former Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, is Executive Director of the PFI. July 11 marked World Population Day.)

Allow them to own a home? La, Abadan! ( No, never!)

Allow them to own a home? La, Abadan! ( No, never!)

No “implantation” of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon!

Franklin Lamb

Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, Beirut

The explosive issue of Palestinian civil rights in Lebanon will move to  center stage under the  Parliamentary spotlight this week, with  meetings of parliamentary committees and a  legislative session now scheduled to consider late breaking  proposals by the March 14  alliance, led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The main holdouts, as predicted, will be the right wing Christian Phalange party and its allies and former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has been tasked  this week with getting them on board.

The Washington DC-Beirut based Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, not heeding the admonition of the late Mahatma Gandhi,  who when following various pre-Independence  reports of ‘progress’  with representatives of Her Majesty the Queen,   Bapu told the assembled  media: “Promises are made and fools rejoice!.”

The PCRC, admittedly with temerity is predicting progress in the Palestinians struggle for the right to work and just maybe  some progress with home ownership.

What will likely be achieved is at least an ‘adjustment’ to the current Kafkaesque administrative process so that Palestinian refugees can more easily apply for a work permit.

According to a PCRC Board Member, Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil: “ We expect at least the loosening of the current impossible to fulfill work permit requirements for Palestinians. It won’t be enough, but it will be a significant first step on a long March for justice. This campaign must and will continue until full civil rights are achieved  for Palestinians including the right to own a home, obtain an ID card that allows travel, and access to some social services pending their return to  Palestine.”

The struggle continues for the civil right to own a home

Were one to contrast the vitriol spewing from certain political/religious quarters in Lebanon and refracted into Parliament resulting from the proposal to  grant Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees the right to work with the invective resulting from the additional  Parliamentary proposal to  allow the refugees  the elementary right to own a home,  the latter might just white out the former in a blinding light of fury.

Over the past decade arguments have not changed  significantly since the March  2001 law forbidding Palestinian home ownership was enacted.  But the political alignment n Parliament has. In favor of granting  Palestinian refugees the right to purchase a home, are the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), the Loyalty to the Resistance grouping (Hezbollah+Amal), the Nationalist Syrian Social Party, the Arab Socialist Baath Party, and the Hariri group, now called the Future Movement.  Those opposed to Palestinians owning a home  are the right-wing Christian parties, the Phalange (the Gemayals), Lebanese Forces ( Samir Geagea), National Liberal Party ( Dori Chamouns) and their allies.

Pro March 14 (US and Saudi backed) Minister of Labor Boutro Harb has declared Palestinian home ownership out of the question and even expressed his concern this week about using the “civil rights” label  that could connote rights close to those Lebanese citizen possess and as mandated by international and Lebanese law.  According to Harb: “Among the major principles that should be adopted when it comes to addressing the Palestinian refugees’ “rights” (emphasis his)  is to put an end  even to the use of the term “civil rights”, given its political connotation which is linked to the concept of citizenship, to which only the Lebanese are entitled.”

Minister Harb’s  position is seen by many as a ‘red herring’ since the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have no interest, as some here seem worried about, in citizenship, naturalization, settlement, tawtin, integration, implantation, voting rights, seeking political office, normalcy, nationality, permanent residency, setting down roots, normalization, ‘staying in Lebanon all their lives’ or even, ‘hanging around’ an hour longer than necessary.  As ‘Mona’, a Palestinian nurse  would works at the rehabilitating clinic in Beirut’s Mai Elias refugee camp put it the other day: “ While we are grateful for Lebanon allowing us to stay here as refugees, we just seek some dignity and the right to own a home while we our struggle to return to Palestine.

Lebanese law  historically has imposed  relatively modest restrictions on  foreign ownership of real estate beginning with the 1956 (Decree 15740),  Law 59 of 9/1/69, Decree 16614 of 6/4/69/ and on 1/4/69 when the cabinet adopted Decree 11614. The result made foreign ownership of land conditional upon the acquisition of a license if the size exceeded 5,000 square meters (10,000 square meters for foreign companies).

But on March 20, 2001, a blatantly discriminatory home ownership law designed specifically to target Palestinian refugees as part of a wave of  an anti Palestinian measures following the expulsion of the PLO and the 1989 Taif Accords.  This  blatantly discriminatory and internationally illegal action of  outlawed the  refugees right to own a home or purchase  any kind of real estate in fee simple. Law 296 of 2001 abolished the right of any Palestinian refugees to own real estate in Lebanon period. Never mind if refugees had purchased the home before the law was enacted, had registered the property with the Ministry of Interior or that they had inherited the home from their parents. The draconian law prohibits “the acquisition of  any real estate property, by any person who is not carrying a nationality from a recognized state ( Ed:the discriminatory use of the  ‘reciprocity requirement’ again), or by any person if the property is contradictory with the constitutional precepts concerning the rejection of (Palestinian) (Tawteen)”.  This law means in practice that no home ownership is allowed to Palestinians. Tawteen (naturalization) being an often employed scare tactic and catch-all political/legal  black hole designed to prevent Palestinian refugees from obtaining civil rights.

The law  was claimed by its supporters to be necessary to encourage foreign investment. It has never been convincingly articulated how in any way if achieves that and in fact the opposite proposition could be  much more convincingly argued.

Another argument against allowing Palestinians refugees the right to own a home, as Phalange Party MP Sami Gemayel warned during an interview with LBC TV on 7/3/10,   is that “allowing  Palestinian refugees the right to own a home risks keeping them in Lebanon rather than helping their return home.”  Gemayal, with a straight face, advised the Palestinians refugees “to  be aware that  giving them civil rights in Lebanese society is an Israeli and U.S. plot to prevent their return to their homeland.”

On the question of Palestinian home ownership, Gemayel argues that it is out of the question since  many Lebanese don’t own a home and  Lebanon is one of the countries with the highest number of Palestinian land ownership relatively to its size. Academic and NGO studies suggest otherwise. So do statistics supplied by the Lebanese Ministry for Finance, dating back to 1993 which  reveal that  combined Palestinian ownership of real estate in Lebanon is less than one quarter of what foreigners own in Lebanon, or 0.00001 percent of Lebanon’s total area.

Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun, allied with Hezbollah but playing to his political base of Maronite Christians, which the Gemayals  are trying to cut into these days,  told his followers on 7.7.10  that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon cannot ever be granted the right to own property.

Democratic Gathering bloc leader MP Walid Jumblatt questioned recently how public figures could be against granting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the right to own a home while foreigners from Arab countries have the right to own three percent of the properties in every district in Lebanon. “We allow other Arabs to own properties saying this would encourage investment, yet we deprive poor Palestinians from this right,” Jumblatt said.

The 2001 law also forbids Palestinian refugees from bequeathing real estate, even if the property was acquired and legally registered before  the  law took effect. The draconian law, shocked not just the Palestinian refugees but many others in Lebanon and it  was immediately contested when 10 members of Parliament led by Hezbollah, filed an appeal before the Lebanese Constitutional Council. The Appellants quickly lost the case when the Council ruled, without  oral argument or presenting in their finding any  rational nexus between their ruling and the fact of Palestinian home ownership. The CC simply concluded that  “ preventing the permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is of higher national interest.”

The effect of the 2001 law meant that thousands of Palestinian refugees who had purchased apartments on installments, even if they had one payment left to make or had made all their payments were not able to register and legally own them. The ruling  also means that even if Palestinians had registered property they  had purchased or their parents had purchased and bequeathed to them before the 2001 law, their title is still null and void.  It was widely alleged that two weeks before the 2001 law came into effect, the relevant  Ministries instructed  Lebanon’s Notaries Public not to register Palestinian property in order that they  could not possibly escape its provisions.  This practice has been viewed by some as simply  a governmental effort to ‘loot’ Palestinian property.

Other problems the 2001 law created include:

  • If a Palestinian rented a property she/he inherited or purchased before the 2001 law, the Tenant, learning about the 2001 law sometimes stopped paying rent with the explanation:  “Show me that your property is legally yours and is registered and I will pay rent. Otherwise this is my property!”  No court in Lebanon would find for the Palestinian in a case like this according to legal experts here.
  • Children who inherited the family home and  continue to live in it become ‘occupiers’ after their parents death and gain no legal title, with each succeeding generation having even less of a right to live in the family irrespective of any testamentary devise document or Will from their parents.

One Palestinian academic, at a Palestinian research center who has studied this dilemma thoroughly  told this observer, “About the only thing that keeps some in the  government from trying to physically confiscate Palestinian real estate like they do in occupied Palestine is their sure knowledge that someone like Ahmad Jabril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)  would resist on behalf of the refugees.  So we don’t expect the government to move for  Israeli style evictions no matter that some would like to,  but  the 2001 law must be changed.”

The  simple,  sisterly, moral, and internationally mandated Parliamentary solution is to amend the 2001 law to correct the pre 200l law registration problems and to allow Palestinians to own at least one home if they are able to afford it.  Like granting the Palestinian refugees the elementary civil right to work, allowing the right to own a home and inherit and bequest it  becomes a win-win solution for Lebanon and the refugees pending the latter’s return to their country.

Franklin Lamb volunteers with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon. He has devoted his life for the cause of the Palestinians .


Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon

PLEASE SIGN HERE!

http://www.petitiononline.com/ssfpcrc/petition.html

“Failure is not an option for the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, our only choice is success”

15 year old Hiba Hajj, PCRC volunteer, Ein el Helwe Palestinian Camp, Saida, Lebanon

Please check our website for UPDATES:
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Franklin P. Lamb, LLM,PhD
Director, Americans Concerned for
Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut

Board Member, The Sabra Shatila Foundation and the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Beirut-Washington DC
Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp

fplamb@palestinecivilrightscampaign.org

Bolivia Petitions UN To Make Water Universal Right

Bolivia Asks UN to Declare Water a Human Right

LA PAZ – Bolivia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Organization (UN) Pablo Solon formally requested that entity to declare water an irrevocable human right, national press stated.

The state-own Agencia Bolivana de Noticias (a news agency in Bolivia with local news and events) duplicated the letter sent by the diplomat to the UN in which reminds that at this time a draft is submitted for further analysis for presentation to the head of the organization.

The draft will be discussed by the Member States next weeks and the final text will be presented by the General Assembly President by the end of July of the current year.

It is the first time is requested to the General Assembly to address the issue of water and sanitation, which is not in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

The fact that the water is not an obligatory human right has permitted water policy decisions passed from the UN to other institutions which do not respond to Member States and do not follow its decisions.

According to Solon, it is important that the majority of the Member States to support this resolution and to be approved in the plain language in which it was drafted.

The Bolivian proposal appears in the memorandum letter of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place last April in Cochabamba.

This issue is related to the life of millions of people. The world in general wants a clear signal that water is a matter of high priority.

According to Los Tiempos newspaper the letter recalls that when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was written, nobody could foresee the day on which the water would be an area of difficulty.

However in 2010 is not exaggerated to say that the lack of access to clean water is the greatest violation of human rights in the world, the letter says.

According to official records offered by the Ambassador lack of access to drinkable water and sanitation services kills a child every eight seconds, the highest death rate on the planet.

Last, it states that every time is higher the need to recognize this right because by 2030 the global demand for water will exceed supply by 40 percent

The Spectre Haunting Obama–A Global Political Awakening

The global political awakening

By Zbigniew Brzezinski

A new president is assuming office in the midst of a widespread crisis of confidence in America’s capacity to exercise effective leadership in world affairs. That may be a stark thought, but it is a fact.

Though U.S. leadership has been essential to global stability and development, the cumulative effects of national self indulgence, financial irresponsibility, an unnecessary war and ethical transgressions have discredited that leadership. Making matters worse is the global economic crisis.

The resulting challenge is compounded by issues such as climate, health and social inequality – issues that are becoming more contentious because they have surfaced in the context of what I call “the global political awakening.”

For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.

This pertains to yet another fundamental change: The 500-year global domination by the Atlantic powers is coming to an end, with the new pre-eminence of China and Japan. Waiting in the wings are India and perhaps a recovered Russia, though the latter is very insecure about its place in the world.

In this dynamically changing world, the crisis of American leadership could become the crisis of global stability. Yet in the foreseeable future no state or combination of states can replace the linchpin role America plays in the international system. Without a U.S. recovery, there will be no global recovery. The only alternative to a constructive American role is global chaos.

It follows that the monumental task facing the new president is to regain U.S. global legitimacy by spearheading a collective effort for a more inclusive system of global management. Four strategically pregnant words define the essence of the needed response: unify, enlarge, engage and pacify.

To unify pertains to the effort to re-establish a shared sense of purpose between America and Europe. To that end, informal but frequent top-level consultations are badly needed, even though we are all aware that there that there is no such thing yet as a politically unified Europe. The only practical solution is to cultivate a more deliberate dialogue among the United States and the three European countries that have a global orientation: Britain, France and Germany.

For many years, Europeans have complained they are excluded from decision-making, yet they are perfectly willing to let the United States assume the burdens of implementation. Differences over Afghanistan are but the latest example of that dilemma. It is to be hoped that the new U.S. president will make a deliberate effort to revitalize the U.S.-European dialogue.

To enlarge entails a deliberate effort to nurture a wider coalition committed to the principle of interdependence and prepared to play a significant role in promoting more effective global management. It is evident, for example, that the G-8 has outlived its function. Accordingly, some formula for regular consultations ranging in composition from G-14 to G-16 should be devised to bring together countries with geopolitical significance as well as economic weight.

To engage means the cultivation of top officials through informal talks among key powers, specifically the U.S., the European Triad, China, Japan, Russia and possibly India. A regular personal dialogue, for example, between the U.S. president and the Chinese leader would be especially beneficial to the development of a shared sense of responsibility between the only superpower and the most likely next global power. Without China, many of the problems we face collectively cannot be laid to rest.

Admittedly, China is economically nationalist, but it is also a fundamentally cautious power. It was Deng Xiaoping who best articulated how China defines its international approach: “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”

This underlines a significant distinction with Russia. Like Beijing, Moscow wishes to revise international patterns, but it tends to be impatient, frustrated and sometimes even threatening. Nonetheless, it is in the interest of the United States and of Europe to engage Russia. In so doing, America should seek agreements that enhance global stability, promote nuclear weapons reduction and deal with such regional problems as Iran.

America and Europe will have to find a way of reaffirming their commitment to the integrity of Ukraine and Georgia while conveying to Russia that their interest in these two states relates to the gradual construction of a larger democratic Europe and is not designed to threaten Russia itself.

To pacify requires a deliberate U.S. effort to avoid becoming bogged down in the vast area ranging from Suez to India. Urgent decisions need to be made, with Europe’s help, on several potentially interactive issues.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process needs to be a priority. The new president should state on the record that a peaceful accommodation between the two parties must: first, involve a demilitarized Palestinian state, perhaps with a NATO presence to enhance Israel’s sense of security; second, the territorial settlement has to be based on the 1967 lines with equitable exchanges permitting Israel to incorporate the more heavily urbanized settlements on the fringes of the ’67 lines; third, both parties have to accept the fact that Palestinian refugees cannot return to what is now Israel, though they should be provided with some compensation and assistance for settling preferably in the independent Palestinian state; and last, the Israelis will have to accept the fact that a durable peace will require the genuine sharing of Jerusalem as the capital of two states.

The United States will also have to undertake seriously reciprocal negotiations with Iran. That means abandoning the current U.S. posture that Tehran make a one-sided concession as a precondition to talks.

Finally, America’s strategy regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan needs a basic reassessment. The emphasis should be shifted from military engagement to a more subtle effort to seek a decentralized political accommodation with those portions of the Taliban who are prepared to negotiate. A mutual accommodation should involve Taliban willingness to eliminate any Al Qaeda presence in return for Western military disengagement from the pertinent territory. The process should be accompanied by intensified reconstruction.

Let me conclude on a parochial note: Unfortunately, the American public is woefully undereducated about the wider world. Barack Obama will have to strive to make Americans understand the novel dimensions of global realities. Without sounding overly partisan, I believe that he has unique intellectual and rhetorical gifts for doing just that.

So let me end my remarks by asserting simply, “Yes, we can.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, is trustee and counsellor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). This article is based on his 2008 John Whitehead lecture at Chatham House, London. The complete text will be published in the January issue of International Affairs (London).

The attempted general strike in India.

The attempted general strike in India.

I’ve not read in detail the issues around the Bandh in India, but put simply it goes something like this:

(1) The Congress led government says there has to be fuel price hikes, since the subsidy for fuel is insufficient to keep pace with rising demand. The government has ear marked about 3,000 crore ($638 million) to subsidize petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG. Whilst the actual demand for such products in India will reach 98,000 crore ($20 billion. HT Karan Thapar)

(2) The Opposition ranging from the far-left to the far right however state that this is all rubbish, and that price hikes are not necessary, and are only taking place due to the incompetence and mismanagement of the government.

Who’s right? Who is wrong? What policies should be implemented for long term amelioration of the problem?

My Masters in International Law at Warwick University 14 years ago focused on India, its corruption, human rights commission, environmental policies and its macro-economic policies around IMF implemented Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP–which in American street slang means looser), and since then I have taken a casual if somewhat superficial interest in India’s economic development.

One really ought to read Greg Pallast in relation to this issue, and his acute analysis of how the IMF/WB through their implementation of austerity policies defacto exploit and loot the wealth of Third World nations and facilitate the long term asset stripping and resourcing stealing of such unfortunate countries through the manipulation of a narrow corrupt elite placed into power by the USA and its various Democracy Programs, to serve the interests of the International Banking community.

You might say what has the “market” reality of the price of oil at $80 a barrel got to do with the IMF/WB. Quite a lot if you look at the whole Capitalist Western system which is rigged to exploit the masses and especially vulnerable Third Word nations in favor of the few, again in the West. Otherwise known as Neo-colonialism.

Neo-liberalism, Globalization, Monetarism and Deregulation all sounded so great when they are expounded enthusiastically from the early 1980’s, by the USA and their well funded fronts in academia and the global media as a globalist International Banker policy.

But the actual reality is that such policies haven’t worked for many countries. In the case of Russia and Argentina specifically when teams of neo-liberal advisers from American Think Tanks arrived to manage these two countries, the result were unmitigated disasters, from which Argentina and Russia are still barely recovering from.

Within America itself now there are many economic problems which are all compounded by rising unemployment, and a national debt which is greater than the national economy. China is in a position to decide America’s economic future……..and not the Federal Reserve.

In India there is this general talk of ‘development’ but the reality is that many Indians still live in abject poverty. 840 million Indians still live on 20 rupees a day, and one meal of rice a day. On the other hand India has 55 billionaires and is host to the second richest man on earth with a $100 billion personal fortune. He is contemplating and constructing a $2 billion Penthouse. The richest man on earth hails from Mexico, but let us not discuss the problems of that backyard American colony and its multiple challenges at all levels. I cannot honestly believe that you can morally call national development that which leaves behind and neglects the vast majority of ordinary Indians basic needs.

CHEAP FOOD.

MODEST HOUSING WITH BASIC FACILITIES.

FREE EDUCATION UP TO THE AGE OF 16.

FREE HEALTHCARE.

CHEAP FUEL/TRANSPORT.

The neo-colonial Anglicised elite of India who have looted and denied real across the board development of the masses in South Asia can hardly ask the masses NOW to be the first shock troops in line to make more sacrifices on themeager basics of food and fuel, whilst the Anglicised Indian elite lord it up in London, NY and heaven knows where else with their secret off shore accounts with looted Indian assets worth up to $1,500 billion.

There is absolutely no paradox that such neo-liberal International Banker policies should be implemented by a ‘leftie” party with secularism as its foundation. Congress as the ‘Liberation” Party went seriously downhill under Indira Gandhi when she became the first dynasty entitled leader of the Party. PM ManMohan Singh the neta was recruited as an agent of the International Bankers over 20 years ago, and with his nicey smile, and geriatric manners, he has been slowly implementing theirpolicies in India…….The International Bankers learnt their lesson in Russia and Argentina; you can’t implement such policies suddenly in such a complex country as India, otherwise you are courting disaster.

Backing sardarji is the Italian mafia sinisterly operating in the background, in the guise of illiterate Sonia a former au pair, who is hoping her son the playboy Rahul becomes the next Raja of India. This is all a comical farce…..a Priyadarshanmovie. No wait its fucking real life.

WHAT IS OIL?

Oil is not a fossil fuel. The Russian scientist who originally theorised that oil was created by decomposing dinosaurs in the 18th century was wrong, when Russian scientists under Stalin 200 years later discovered that oil was a NATURAL occurring MINERAL produced by earth, and thus without limits, enough for everybody into infinity, and so long as the earths core does not freeze, like Mars.

In theory oil can be a free commodity, after governments have paid for refining, storage and transport costs, but it isn’t. The industry is dominated by a few Western companies based in the USA, France, UK/Holland. They as private Capitalist companies think only in terms of profit, and the commodity market for oil is dominated by financial cartels in NY, Rotterdam, London and Germany. This cartel artificially keeps the price of oil high at $80 a barrel, but at one time went as high as $150 a barrel. There is no justification for this. Such prices hurt the poor, and poor nations, and poor nations development.

India can protect itself from this Western fix and market rigging by:

By investing in nuclear power which uses local fuels.

Wind/solar/wave power.

Hydrogen power.

further exploitation of India’s vast coal reserves……without being hemmed in by Climate Change hogwash policies.

AND finally investing heavily in oil and gas exploration within India and off shore, as well as sources in the near far countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran. The alternatives sources of power mentioned above will take time to be fully utilised, and thus oil and gas into eternity because of its nature will still be an essential source of energy for all nations.

India is rich. Its actual economy measured by PPP is around $3600–3800 billion; the fourth richest nation on earth, and which will become the third richest in just a few years. India has money and India has resources. The Indian government frequently spends billions on worthless foreign defense equipment…billions…billions…billions, when focus should be made on domestic production of defense equipment, even if its substandard.

This practice carries on by all parties because it makes certain politicians, netas, senior military officers and arms middlemen in India rich, and they deposit the money in off shore accounts (Indira Gandhi and her family have been implicated, as have others)…………..now imagine this elite putting the same amount of effort into securing India’s gas & oil needs, by investing the necessary funds and implementing the necessary policies to make India self sufficient in gas and oil.

BUT they won’t as International banker pawns. For them what is more important is to plug in India into the International Banker policies, and global economy.

What is 3,000 crore fuel subsidy by the government?…….0.05% of GDP ($638 million) of the official Indian economy of $1300 billion. According to Karan Thapar this subsidy bill will rise to 98,000 crore or $20 billion in this financial year which the Indian government allegedly can’t sustain.

Unfortunately this subsidy bill is seen as a COST, a burden on the state, rather than seeing it as another indicator of the India’s economic rise, and booming economy………….like the Ambani building his $2 billion penthouse; Shobha De bragging on about her latest foray into a luxury hotel in India and outside……..or India spending $10 billion or is it going to be eventually $20 billion on a 4th generation jet fighters whose technology will soon be out of date, from a foreign country.

Seeing fuel subsidy for the masses as a COST and burden which the government can’t pay for is a neo-liberal alien Western concept. $20 Billion or 98,000 crore estimated fuel subsidy bill this year is still 0.5% of the real Indian economy as measured by PPP of $3600–3800 billion.

The Indian Budget of $200 billion is woefully too small. Only 15% of the official GDP………..a neo-liberal paradise. The government thus must find serious strategies to increase the budget to GDP ratio from the current 15% to at least 25% of GDP, through an effective new tax regime. Then in such a prosperous confident India governments won’t feel mean spirited about spending a paltry 1% on fuel subsidy.

Subsidies are the only way, in the complete absence of a SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM to give a little help to the masses……Bakshish.

Thus I support annual subsidised national healthcare to the tune of 4-5% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised national education for all up to the age of 16, spending 6% of GDP on education.

I support annual subsidised national development and infrastructure investment to the tune of 10% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised agricultural policies to the tune of 3% of GDP.

I support annual subsidised fuel to the tune of 1% of GDP, at least.

These can only be achieved by governments who accept that in power and in government they have a moral duty to uplift the masses beyond paying lip service to their needs, whilst privately pursuing neo-liberal banana republic policies which slowly steals even the meager basics of the masses, such as food and fuel.

Is a Bandh an effective response to the International Bankers programs in India?

I think Bandh’s of a sort played a certain role in India’s eventual liberation.

Bandh’s are a non-violent and effective pure representation and affirmation of popular public opinion. Public opinion, beyond the misrepresentation presented by the “official’ media seems to be broadly supportive of the bandh against general price rises.

Thus bandh starkly brings home the message to the government about the publics discontent about certain key areas.

ON THE OTHER HAND……bandh should not be the default option for ALL protests against governments, and thus should be used sparingly.

One notes in failed state Bangladesh, managed by the UK and USA, hartal’s (bandh’s) were a common feature of everyday life. Unfortunately such action resulted in the loss of 30% of GDP by some estimates…….but my personal experience was that everybody loved them. Relatives of mine working for the government as civil servants didn’t have to go to work, even though they were being paid……a kind of impromtu “holiday’ where the “tash” were brought out and a general worthless adda carried on whilst the real economy suffered.

In India hartals or bandh’s for short spurts are perfectly legitimate, especially for the private non-government sector, BUT not to the point where it results in causing national Hari-Kiri, and significant losses in production in relation to GDP. Below 1% GDP losses is OK.

Ofcourse if such action is extremely effective who is to say the government in power, later in opposition aren’t tempted to use the very same tactic against the new government, and a vicious cycle sets in.

Finally on this point if one has read Grag Pallasts incisive article aboutIMF riots:

“At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, “The IMF riot.”

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, “down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,” as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998.(after the Asian financial crisis of 1997 instigated by Wall Street and George Soros) Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples – the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank. You’d almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.”

In India nobody is suggesting that the far right and left are working with the IMF in organising the bandh, or that food and fuel riots have actually occurred. The bandh was peaceful, well organised and had a limited start date and finish. However if the bandh becomes the main and only tool for the opposition to score points against Congress, then their actions can be termed as self defeating IMF instigated riots or the like, even if they are actually not because the end result will be the same.