Thursday, 29 May 2014

Maya Angelou Mother of Prose passes away

Maya Angelou, the master of great prose and wisdom receiving the medal of freedom and a kiss from President Obama. Pic thanks to CS Monitor

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) a prolific American poet, author and Civil Rights activist has left our world this morning. She is renowned in the US and the world over for prose and creative story telling of the joys, successes , plights and tribulations of African Americans and Africa, recalling the tales of her own life in a unique perspective and narrative spanning time and space. Her name can be found on many libraries across the country and schools. Her often calm and soft spoken recitations of poetry and writings no matter if it is spoken in front of a crowd or an interview is recognized even by school children today. Among her greatest works is I know Why the Caged Birds Sing, seven volume autobiographical series on her life up to 1969, two of her many well known poems, And Still I rise and On the Pulse of Morning. The latter poem On the Pulse of Morning was read by Angelou at former President Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993. She was the African American woman of prose to read at a presidential inauguration. She also the second poet to read at an inauguration, the first being Robert Frost who recited his poem "Dedication," from memory when the sun's glare blocked his prepared poetic speech at the podium during the late President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

Regarded as a daughter of the South, Angelou moved across several regions of the United States before spending her later years in North Carolina. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri and later raised in Stamps, Arkanasas by grandparents. Missouri and Arkansas is colloquially called the Ozarks named after the Ozarks Mountains. As a child growing up in the Ozarks, she faced discrimination and racism on a lesser but no less tense scale compared to the overt, apartheid like conditions children her age faced growing up in the South at the same time. The young Angelou didn't fully understand the white/black clashes and institutionalized racism aimed at African Americans. Nevertheless, she did become aware of the unfair and brutal treatment aimed at her and the people in her teenage years and onward. Her prose and autobiographies parallel her life journey from the Ozarks to California in her teenage years to becoming an exotic dancer able to tour abroad, to relocating to Ghana in 1960 where she met Malcolm X and saw decolonization firsthand in Ghana and became an outspoken writer involved in human rights and liberation movement. It is worth mentioning that many of Angelou's contemporaries Malcolm, MLK, WEB Dubois, etc were in Ghana and toured other African countries during the 1960 independence months as European colonialists physically left most of West Africa but remain economically, linguistically and now indirectly. Angelou understood the connection between the human rights and dignity struggle for African peoples as well as mistreated people on the mother continent, in the US and Caribbean. She never shied away from reminding her readers and admirers of the lesser beautiful and realistic portrayals of our complex world. Her many travels featured in various stories, poems and plays, introduced many Americans of multiple generations to the complicated world inside and outside of America's borders. In homage to her prose and activism, she was awarded the medal of freedom by President Barack Obama. The brief meeting between the renown poet and first African American president could be understood by younger generation. Reminding active until the very end, Angelou was also a prolific artist who also acted and directed in various movies as a caring grandmotherly figure or strong woman. In later years, she is most remembered for her advice on life and love to younger audiences and admirers alike. A teacher with an extraordinary viewpoint and who is still revered today, she will be greatly missed but never forgotten. She leave behind many quotes from her writings that can be found in libraries, movies, aspiring artists and online.

Maya Angelou "And Still I Rise"

Maya Angelou's Poem "On the Pulse of Morning"

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ukraine Airstrikes in Donetsk and Slavyansk

Ukraine's May 25 elections of a millionaire Chocolatier Petro Porosenko to the presidency has not halted the Ukrainian government from launching airstrikes against protesters turned separatist militia according to the media pundits in Donetsk and Slavyansk. Eastern Ukraine has bore the brunt of the "anti terrorist campaignlaunched by Kiev government some month and half ago. Meant to halt Russian speaking protesters from splitting away from Kiev's control similar to Crimea, the Ukrainian army has now bombard Donetsk's main airport with decoy and artillery missiles to remove armed militiamen in the area. According to RT News, a residential area near the airport was also bombed killing three civilians. Journalists working for Russian media Graham Philips RT freelancer, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko for Life News were also arrested in Mariupol by Ukrainian forces as they (journalists) tried to report on the rapidly changing situation. Philips was released after being held for 36 hours in detention even as the situation in Donetsk grew worst. The arrest or kidnapping has inspired the latest hashtag maker Save Our Guys based on the BringBackOurGirls from Nigeria. Ukrainian army were also accused of using a UN helicopter in the anti-terror campaign although Kiev denies using any helicopter with UN insignia as the UN doesn't operate in Ukraine but does operate in neighboring countries. The OSCE representatives have been sent to monitor the conditions of the two detained journalists but have not been allowed to see them. Russian speaking separatists had previously captured two OSCE monitors in Slavyansk in late April prior to the airstrikes. The monitors were later released unharmed and treated well.

Ukrainian military captures two Russian journalists

Everybody's elections and fascistas in power

Marine Le Pen: Rise of the Far Right in France and European Parliament elections Latuff

This year is full of elections taking place literally around the world. The West African country of Guinea-Bissau recently elected a new President Jose Maria Voz in a run off election. Guinea-Bissau is often unfortunately painted as a the country of coups compared to its neighbors. The country recently experienced a military takeover of the government in 2012. The recent presidential win by President elect Voz is the first national elections since the military's arrival into office. Not to far from Guinea-Bissau, is Afric'a first independent Republic and a totem pole of African Democracy, Republic of Liberia. Senatorial elections are scheduled for October this year. The National Election Commission or the NEC meticulously monitors and administers electoral laws and elections within Liberia at the national and county levels. In Egypt, the military regime is hosting national elections although the Egyptian people are weary of the amount of fairness at the polls and ballots. Central African Republic replaced its interim President Katherine Samba-Panza with a new president elect while Malawi held its presidential and parliamentary elections on May 20th.

Fascistas cometh in high office and football fields

Arundhati Roy on Narendra Modi and Hindu nationalism

India celebrated the election of Narendra Modi, a right wing Hindu nationalist and pro businessman who was also the governor of the Indian state of Gujurat during the worst riots in Gujurati history. Hindu nationalism which emphasizes India as a Hindu majority country downplays the important cultural and social contributions of Muslims, Christians, Jains and Zoroastrians to the country and its diversity has been the canon fodder for separatist movements across India from Punjabi or Sikh separatists in the Punjab, Kashmiri struggle for freedom to . Modi's electoral success rises fears of possible fascist leaning in the world's largest Democracy with jingoistic nationalism in decision making.
The anxiety of fascist revival at the national levels rises to red when one examines the results of the recent European Union parliamentary elections where far right, fascist leaning, anti-austerity and Euro skeptical parliamentarians and political organizations won a huge landslide to the surprise of the pundits but not to society frustrated with economic crisis, the bumpy yet smooth economic stabilization of BRICS countries and expanding middle classes or the slow decline of the West specifically of US hegemonic power in an increasing multipolar world. The Front National who thirty five years ago were at the margins of French political life have been gaining political power through local elections and seats in the EU parliament and among voters. Switzerland known for its neutrality in most of the world's conflicts and home to some of the world's major international organization recently voted to retract an anti Nazi salute law that would've made public displays of the Nazi salute punishable by fines and prison terms. The weak reasoning for recanting the law was the rule that  Nazi salute isn't always offensive in certain circumstances. The Nazi salute is a symbol recognized across the world for the destruction of human lives caused by fascism and racism given an inch and mile to grow in a small amount of time. Some well known football stars have been banned for life from playing football due to Nazi gestures. Greece's Giorgos Katidis who first tried to play off the fact that he didn't know what the salute meant. In fascism's birthplace Italy, the football club SS Lazio's star player Paolo Di Canio and  Di Canio is noted for declaring himself a fascist without batting an eye. His former team SS Lazio is also infamous for its connection to Mussolini as a personal favorite and propaganda tool for Fascist Italy. Lazio ultras are regarded as the most notorious football skinheads and hooligans in Europe for not only their pro fascist displays and defenses but for their violence towards away clubs and opposing fans and anti-antisemitism both indirect and direct. Other football clubs in Croatia, Poland, Ukraine also share similar distinctions with SS Lazio and its fan base. Fascism and football have often gone hand and hand in Italy, Germany, Chile and Argentina to promote the fascist ideology among the people by the political leaders in economic hardship and depressions.

Racism in Football

Monday, 26 May 2014

Pope in Palestine

Pope Francis in the little town of Bethlehem behind a massive wall
Pope Francis went to Palestine to see how the Holy Land has been faring for all these years. He got a rude awakening when he saw firsthand the massive, concrete Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem. Instead of ignoring it like most politicians or religious leaders do, the Pope did something extraordinary. He prayed at Bethelem's illegal wall near a graffiti that read Free Palestine. The Pope was happy to be in the Birthplace of Jesus and to meet and speak to Palestinian Christians who like Bethlehem remain under illegal Israeli occupation. No amount of cries of "Israel has a right to exist" or "Israel first" could change Pope Francis' mind otherwise or prevent him from what he was seeing in Palestine. Palestinian Christians, among the world's oldest Christians, have equally been occupied, brutalized by Israeli army and Zionist policies of dispossessing and erasing Palestinian identity in occupied Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron where Rachel's Tomb sits and another smaller separation wall was built between illegal Israeli settlers and Palestinians, within Israel with the destruction of 400+ Palestinian villages in 1948 and denying both Palestinian Christians and Muslims their rights to freedom of movement within their own towns and cities. Discriminating and racist policies against Palestinians in Israel. Christians have been important to Palestinian identity, national struggle for justice, self determination and human rights. Israel has tried in vain to separate Muslims and Christians from unifying on the issue of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. The pope called for Palestinian and Israeli leaders to meet for peace at the Vatican where there are no massive walls to prevent them from speaking to one another. No doubt the Israel firsters will chide the Pope for doing the right thing.

Palestinians greet Pope Francis with fanfare. Christians have also been living under occupation and have not been spared the Israeli Army's violence. The mainstream media and the pundits would have many believe that there are no Palestinian Christians and that their voices would add to the complexity of Palestine-Israel conflict. The Pundits simply state that the Palestinian Christians like the Lebanese and Iraqi co religious simply migrated out of Palestine due to terrorism by Hamas and Fatah but almost never mentions the Israeli military occupation.

Onward Christian Zionist soldiers?

Israeli leaders have tried to push Palestinian Christians and their brethren in other parts of the world to support the Zionist view of Israel's benevolence and its meta narrative of David vs Goliath in Middle East conflicts. Israel has constantly showcased itself as David while Palestinians and the larger region are portrayed in an orientalist image of Goliath. When the wars between Israel, Palestine and Arab countries have never been equal. Israel has used and continues to use disproportionate force to punish Hezbullah and civilians either supporters or innocent bystanders. Christian Zionism has been kind to Israel since the Six Day War in 1967 when many Christians saw Israel not only as a victor but as a state that could stand on its own two feet without relying on the West or any outside support. For the Christians who have understood modern day Israel/Palestine through Sunday school and evangelical church dispensationalism, Israel's victories against its Arab enemies and its boogeyman Iran is proof that biblical prophecy is right around the corner. In short Israel's creation fulfilled the prophecy and the messiah's return to Earth is long overdue. The rapture is coming, real life revelations' will bring the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to wreck havoc on the world and Israel is already fighting wars of biblical proportions just read the Left Behind series. A literal interpretation of biblical and Talmud chapters on Israel and Jews can help explain why the wars and bombings taking place keep happening across the Middle East and soon to be Iran if Netanyahu has his way of demonizing and caricaturing Iran as a nuclear nutcase like North Korea. God is seen as the purveyor of peace rather than road maps, years of negotiations and diplomats or genuine justice. As the Sunday school tale of Israel and Palestine reminds the Christian Zionists, Israel firsters, media pundits or evangelists.  The pope has reminded the Christian Zionists that not everything is determined by divine intervention or biblical interpretation but by actions from people on Earth whether they be the Pope or peace activists.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ukraine: Birth of Novorossiya or New Russia?

The historical region of Novorossiya or New Russia. one of many provinces of the Russian Empire prior to the 20th century.
The self declared independent people's republic of Donetsk and Lughansk have voted to form a new territorial union in Eastern Ukraine named Novorossiya or New Russia. Novorossiya is based on the actual historical region of Novorossiya that existed in Eastern Ukraine prior 1917 Russian Revolution. The Russian Empire absorbed Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Yugoslavia and Central Asia nearly following the borderlands of Soviet Union. The United States and other pro Maidan Western governments have challenged the people's republic's successful independent referendum. The West still promises to have Kiev's back if Russia flinches the wrong way. The creators of the soon to be Union of Novorossiya could care less what Western governments think of Russia and their hypocrisy in support for Maidan protesters and tolerating neo Nazis and fascistas Pravy Sektor and Svoboda.  

Thailand Coup Deja Vu

Some 8 years ago, the former Prime Minister Thaskin Shinawatra was overthrown in a military coup during a vi. Now his sister and the former PM Yingluck Shinawatra has been overthrown by the same military. In the same vein as Egypt, the military has presented itself as the best disciplinary leadership for the country. Like both Shinawatra siblings, the military takes over in the middle of nation wide anti-government protests and upcoming elections. The US has been relatively quiet about the coup in Thailand accept for condemning it in press conferences. Protests against the corruption and abuses by the Shinawatra government is making a combat despite military intimidating civilians with tanks and a show of force. The United States canceled another military exercise with the Thai military following the coup.

Toons by Latuff translated into Thai

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Oily politics in Nigeria

Oil multinationals in Niger Delta

Nigeria has one of the largest petroleum deposits in Niger Delta near the region'd capital Port Harcout. Nigeria's Niger Delta oil has made Nigeria one of the largest oil producers in Africa that has been pumped and siphoned by Western multinational drilling companies ie Shell, Agipe, Chevron among other companies since petroleum was discovered in Nigeria in the 1960s. Pumping petroleum out of the Niger Delta has left nearby residents' homes and water supplies polluted by the thick substance. Many people including children have also developed respiratory problems from burning petro and biomass. Busted underground pipes not maintained or updated since the 1960s are leaving puddles of massive oil spills in fishing villages and rivers. The people living in the Niger Delta, Port Harcourt and across the country have not benefited from oil production or exports to Europe, China and United States. The 1967 Biafra War morphed into a mini Nigerian civil war emerged from the very same grievances over the lack of equal development and access to oil wealth for all Nigerians. Niger Delta residents have formed their own militant groups demanding justice for victims of environmental abuse and degradation by foreign companies. Niger Delta militant have ransomed both Nigerian and Western workers as well as attack Shell's installations to bring attention to Nigerian and local governments' attention to the plight of Niger Delta region. Other frustrated residents rely on illegal and self created refined oil for their livelihoods, showcasing the absurdity of realpolitik of oil production.

The dark side of Petroleum: Dangerous, suffocating oil spills in Niger Delta

Issues in the Nigeria Delta from Nigerian TV 

US troops in Chad and France preparing for Boko Haram

Lake Chad is shared by Nigeria, its namesake and Nigeria including Cameroon.

Some 80 US troops are currently in Chad preparing to eventually attack Boko Haram. The troops are trying to locate the missing 200 school girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents from Chibok in Borno state in Northern Nigeria over six weeks ago. The group is responsible for several attacks over the past two weeks including a bus terminal bombing in Jos that killed some 110 people. The attacks are aimed at smacking the Nigerian government in the face showing off Boko Haram's fearless strengthen. It has turned citizen's anger towards Goodluck Jonathan and the government. Nigeria successfully hosted the World Economic Forum but the meeting as overshadowed by the whereabouts of the schoolchildren. The vigils by heartbroken parents continue in Lagos, Abuja, Chibok and around the world. Celebrities and children defense NGOs and spokesman have transformed the parents' pleas BringBackOurGirls into a social media phenomenon hash tag. Social media awareness does little to end the parents' nightmare.

Bring Back Our Girls: Nigerians Speak Out

Nollywood Star Stella Damasus speaks out on the kidnapped school girls

Why is France leading the help to find the missing girls?

Chad has been hosting Central African refugees and Chadians who escaped the violence in neighboring Central African Republic also known as Centrafrique in French. Both countries have French troops involve in their respective conflicts. Operation Sangaris in Central African Republic was supposed to end the violence between the main rebel groups Seleka and Anti-Balaka in aftermath of Bozize's coup in 2012 but has not helped either civilians or the CAR government who recently elected a new Prime Minister. Central African refugees and migrants from neighboring and further countries who crossed the Chadian-CAR, are waiting for the war or conflict to end before returning to their homes in CAR. In Chad, French military intervened in 1983 under Operation Manta to halt the Libyan invasion of Chad's northern strip of land known as Aouzou during the Libyan-Chadian conflict. Libya claims that Aouzou. French forces didn't prevent the Libyan Army from nearly invading the Chadian capital Ndjamena but tried to partition Chad along its 16th parallel line (similar to French and American partition of Vietnam or North and South Korea) to somewhat appease Libya in its military advancement into Chad. The Aouzou strip and Libyan-Chadian conflict was part of colonial jigsaw puzzle that created artificial states from larger territories either along ethnic lines or culture to appease rising nationalist sentiments. Since the Operation Epervier began in 1984, French troops have stayed on Chad monitoring it and other neighboring countries. France has been deploying troops in Chad, Centrafrique, Cote d' Ivoire, Mali under various operations while maintaining a decent size military base in Djibouti next door to Somalia. France's own eyes and ears are scanning African countries both former colonies and neighboring countries with no connection to L'Francafrique or Francophone sphere for any signs of destabilization be it political or economic. Destablization brings out the imperialism's opportunists: the economic hitmen, CIA assets, DGSE, sometimes Mossad, . Security red flags in Nigeria, Mali, Libya or Central African Republic among other countries have long worried France and U.S. who fear loosing their pro West, pro multinationals' investment African allies no matter how hostile, corrupt or dictatorial Western backed governments are towards their people and neighbors. France wants to remain part of Africa's economic rise, certainly would like to enjoy its easy access to natural resources and regain its lost influence in its former colonies. Nigeria borders three French speaking countries which has given France the go ahead it needs to use Chad or Niger as a military launchpad against Boko Haram. Although fairly peaceful, Cameroon has occasionally allowed French forces to station itself on its borders to intervene in Central African Republic conflict.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Soma Mines Diasters ongoing anger against Ergoden and govt indiference

People are still protesting against government indifference to Soma Mines Disasters that left 200+ miners dead and hundreds of family and friends in mourning. From Soma to Istanbul and Ankara people have come out to the streets to protest loud and clear against the government's long history of neglience. The anger has been boiling over from the now infamous photograph of Ergoden advisor Yusuf Yerkel kicking a relative of one of the deceased miners while the relative is being arrested by Turkish military police.

Visuals below compliments of cartoonist Carlos Latuff

The businessman in search of some benefits from the disaster 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Western intervention in Nigeria too?

A two weeks long vigil by mothers and sisters isn't calling for intervention but Western leaders are

Foreign intervention in another African country? Even when the people didn't say yes to it?

The kidnapped Nigerian school girls have become the cause celebre of mainstream media, pundits, politicians, the thousands of women rights and feminista organizations and NGOs not to mention celebrities. Now that their interest in the school girls' dangerous hostage crisis has waned a little, French President Hollande along with the UK and US and a few other African leaders have vowed to crack down on Boko Haram. France who has already intervened and has its troops fighting in Mali, Cote d' Ivoire and Central African Republic all former colonies and still French speaking are taking the lead in calling for action against Boko Haram. The Paris conference on cooperation between France and Western African countries is mostly aimed at getting most if not all of the ECOWAS countries and other non ECOWAS countries to cooperate on a broad strategy for confronting Boko Haram. Ecomog is not included in the so called strategic plan and neither the plan created by Pan African consensus or ECOWAS. When the Liberian Civil War used terrorism ranging from kidnappings, bombings and rapes and forcing refugees to flee, cries for foreign intervention to halt the conflict never came from the West. Liberian and Sierra Leonan peoples' pleas for military intervention even if it meant sending in Western troops fell on deaf ears. Until Ecomog later Ecomil (incidentally made up of Nigerian troops) intervened in Liberian civil war from 1996-2003 to halt the rebel forces' terrorist campaigns against civilians and violent conflict from harming neighboring countries. Ecomog intervened in Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone in 1997 and 1999. The UN Mission to Liberia or UNMIL later replaced Ecomil/Ecomog forces from its seven year duties. The Liberian war ended in 2003 but not without destabilizing and destroying Sierra Leone and to a lesser extant Cote'd Ivoire. After eleven years, the UN is still providing assistance and aiding the government in development and transformative projects across the country. UN Peacekeepers also arrived in Sierra Leone in 2000. British troops followed after the UN Mission alongside the under Operation Palliser to halt RUF advancement and fighting and help trapped peacekeepers. Ecomog today is known as ECOWAS military. Malians originally opposed Ecowas' military intervention during the Taureg Azwad uprising that has since died down. However the Malian government welcomed the regional bloc's military help. As for intervening against Boko Haram, Ecowas is still in the process of hammering out a plan and getting Nigerian officials to agree on a possible intervention whether it be military or diplomatic. Ecomog's previous actions and questionable conduct during the 1990s conflicts and back and forth with Malian officials during talks on regional intervention, has even ECOWAS intelligence chief pondering if the bloc's military will be prepared to manage Boko Haram's surprisingly well trained and equipped army.

The War on Terrorism has long given the U.S. military its raison d' entre for military interventions in African countries it has long had friction and diplomatic clashes with Libya, Sudan and now South Sudan, Eritrea and Egypt with its military, the Muslim brotherhood and once Nasser and anti colonialism. With the exception of South Sudan, the shunned "rogue states" and outcast nations in American Foreign Policy playbook, have sought to maintain their revolutionary minded governments, socialist (which is different from communism) system as part of the non alignment movement that first emerged during the early days of the Cold War. France and UK are calling to deal with Boko Haram ie crush the terrorist group in the same manner as Al Qaeda who has since made a comeback in Syria and Iraq and is attempting to cause more havoc in Libya's huge security vacuum after Gaddhafi's fall three years ago. The U.S. wants to see Boko Haram smashed but is also hesitant. For every possible military intervention in an African country, U.S. is reminded of its unsuccessful military intervention in Somalia to deliver humanitarian aid to Somali civilians. It does make one question as to why a military force was necessary just to deliver aid to refugees and displaced people when in Libya, Syria and Central African Republic aid agencies and workers can deliver supplies without the same amount of protection as soldiers. As a matter of fact, the U.S. constantly used its failure in Somalia as a justification of why American troops would never be sent to intervening directly in any African country even if it had resources petroleum ie Libya or Sudan not to mention diamonds, uranium, strategic waterways, bases, etc. The only American official who is loudly calling for direct military intervention is Senator John McCain. McCain has become notorious for jumping up for US intervention nearly anywhere on the planet. Especially if resources or strategic geographies and complicated histories are involved.  

Indirectly, American intelligence has been eyeballing the social, economic and political environment in most if not all African countries for decades. The eyeballs of human assets from CIA and foreign affairs think tanks have also been aided by on the ground NGOs working on the Democratization and democratic reforms in the respective countries. Even if peoples in the said countries do not find American or Western style Democracy applicable to their society or culture. Its not to say Democracy is not popular. Military advisers have been monitoring the security situation and training local police and military. Remember the US advisers sent to Vietnam prior to heavy US involvement in the country beginning in 1964 after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Now drones fly over Somalia and Yemen. The drones are aiding the war against the terrorists as military intelligence and defense pundits insist. In trying to locate the terrorists, hundreds of civilians majority of men, women and children have been killed. Thousands have been injured and disabled by the silent killers. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Nakba in Palestine Longest Exile

The World's longest exile 

When will the Palestinians be able to go home?
Fatah and Hamas are trying once again to rebuild their bridge and create a unity government while Israel carries on with its bullying tactics and suffer the people with continual detention, arrests of children, rapid construction of illegal Israeli settlements or colonies in occupied Jerusalem and West Bank and home demolitions and the continual blockade of the Gaza Strip. Despite all this, Palestinians have refused to give up their right of return, their human rights  and demand for a state of their own. And if the Palestinian state can not be created than a single Democratic state which is looking more likely of coming into being due to Israel's policy of pushing Palestinians in occupied territories off the land through making life difficult with the brutal Israeli military occupation and Zionist exclusive nationalism and racism. For sixty years, the world has reiterated Palestinians' rights to life, protection from oppression and occupation, freedom and exhaustively called out Israel on its countless violations of UN resolutions, international law and human rights records. As with any good cause pushed to the limits, exhaustion has taken its toll on the world and Palestinians. Israel feels it has won the decades old conflict. Its not about Ismael fighting Isaac or God as a real estate agent. The bible has never been a land deed. Genuine justice through necessary solutions to Palestinians' long standing grievances need to be met. Through the various media, we've heard Israel and Zionism's side of the story repeatedly as though Palestinian people and their neighbors' stories don't matter. the Palestinians and the wider world knows what needs to be done for the conflict to finally end the longest exile and dispossession for over three generations. The solutions are there and so is the path to genuine justice and peace.

Great Britain should be held accountable for its part in the Nakba

Reconciling Hamas and Fatah 

Al Nakba subtitlo en espanol

Protest against government follows Soma mining diaster

People have taken to the streets in Soma and other towns against the government's decades of corruption and double dealing. The people have had enough. These protests are part of a larger nation wide protest against the ruling AKP government and its local political leaders that's been occuring for over a year. Istanbul's continual Gezi protest has also focused its anger from the city government to the national government. The Turkish PM's aid was seen kicking a protester not far from the Soma mines. It has sparked further fury by nearby protesters who are burning tires and clashing with police.

Turkish unions protest mine disaster 

EuroMaidan Nightmare: Odessa File

The video was created by the Oriental Review Open Dialogue Journal and posted online by Global Research. It shows what happened behind the scenes in Odessa prior to the Trade Union Office fire and the neo nazi thugs involvement in the chaos.

Euromaidan Nightmare: How the Odessa Massacre was Engineered in Ukraine

Oriental Review Research Journal

PS The Odessa File in the title is a reference to Frederick Forsyth's novel of the same name where a Manager journalist is searching for the location of SS concentration camp commander. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Turkish coal mine explosion

200+ miners were killed after transformer exploded following a fire in a coal mine in Soma, Turkey. Another 200 miners are trapped behind collapsed walls with little oxygen remaining some 6.000 ft underground. The Turkish emergency services and police are racing to pull the survivors to safety before the window of oxygen closes. The fire has been blamed on faulty construction of the mine and the lack of mining and construction companies not following construction standards and ordinances related to mine workers' safety. Sadly this is not the first mining disaster in the country. Turkish miners and their counterparts in China, Chile and South Africa extracting world's in demand mined resources continuously face risks along with the threat of being trapped and injured thousands of feet underground or crushed by earth above their heads. Still seen as one of the world's most dangerous jobs, mining companies in extractive resource business rely on miners to aid in extracting buried coal, gold, platinum and other resources in Earth's small, claustrophobic like tunnels and walls where mining equipment can not reach.

Soma mines explosion

Hearts of Coal: Dirty, demanding and dangerous RT documentary 

Nigeria: Boko Haram, terrorizing children and fighting terrorism

Every parents worst nightmare 270+ missing daughters

Nation wide protest by mothers for the release and safe return of their daughters taken by terrorist group Boko Haram. Pic from News 24 South Africa
Coming on the heels of Nigeria hosting the World Economic Forum, 150+ innocent souls have been murdered and additional 200 bystanders injured in villages in Northern Nigeria following the kidnapping of 270 school children mostly girls from various villages. The  violent insurgency group Boko Haram who first emerged in Nigeria in 2009 or even earlier by some accounts, has been turning Northern Nigeria and the rest of the country into a hell on earth attacking civilians both Christians and Muslims throughout the countryside and in Nigerian capital Abuja in an attempt to overthrow the government and implement their own rule based on a Wahhabist/Takfiri interpretation of Sharia governance. The Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has made eradicating Boko Haram as part of Nigeria's national security policy and assuring the Nigerian public that the government is fighting terrorism at all cost. The abduction of 270+ school girls from the town Chibok over the weekend horrified the country and world leading to a national campaign dubbed, "Bring Back Our Girls." Mothers and sisters have continued their protest across the country demanding President Jonathan do more to bring their daughters back. The mothers have decried Boko Haram's reference to selling their daughters as slaves in an online video in which the commander was seen cruelly smiling. The first lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan angered many Nigerians by downplaying the kidnapping's severity by wondering why the U.S. should intervene when, "the girls are no longer missing" implying that the protesting mothers no longer needed to keep up pressure on the government or their vigils for their missing children. The mothers' protest has transformed into an unofficial global protest picked up by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, journalists and media pundits, cause de celebres Malala Yousefzai. There are few places in the world where children should feel the most secure in the home or at school.

The US has offered to help Nigerian security forces find and locate the missing school girls. So far only one school girl has escaped and shared her experience. The U.S. government jump to help. Although praised by some Nigerians tired of the Nigerian government's ineffectiveness against Boko, the arrival of American troops in Nigeria has raised eyebrows given previous American interventions in other African countries Libya, D.R. Congo and South Sudan. Or lack of American interest and gumption to intervene in neighboring countries conflict ie Central African Republic, Chad and Mali. The four mentioned are former french colonies and France has not hesitated to intervene in the name of fighting terrorism including sending troops despite criticism from the French people as a whole.

Throughout the war on terror, Nigeria has been spared from NATO's preemptive strikes and a future bombings on Boko Haram. Africom and Western military advisers are growing on the continent using terrorism as the raison d entre to intervene in West Africa and South Sudan. Remember the European mercenaries operating quietly in several African countries during the independence movements, in today's conflicts and Western governments (via allies) supplying of weapons to anti-Takfiri/terrorist groups in Libya, C.A.R, DR. Congo, Mali and Cote d' Ivoire. Strangely, Ecowas has not been mentioned as a possible search and rescue force by mainstream media or the pundits. Ecowas leaders recently wrapped up a meeting in Ghana on Boko Haram and the wider Western African security and terrorism concerns. Ghanaian President John Mahama, who is also Ecowas chairman has suggested building up a force of Ecowas troops to aid Nigerian security forces and military to fight against Boko Haram.

President Jonathan and wider Nigerian government have been rightly condemned by society for their slow and weak response to locating and finding the school children. Boko Haram has not only kidnapped school children but managed to attack neighboring and rural towns in Maidiguri, Chibok and other Northeastern towns where violence has been the most heavy. The Nigerian military has used heavy handed tactics rounding up suspected males from 18 and up, beating and torturing detained suspects and occasionally bombing villages and towns regarded as safe havens while fighting Boko Haram militants as part of its own local war on terrorism.

Boko Haram kidnap 8 more school girls after kidnapping 270+ 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Solidarity with kidnapped school girls

Cartoon by Latuff

The international solidarity with the kidnapped school children and their mothers continues.

Central African Republic now

A map of Central African Republic with its towns and prefectures
While neighboring countries Cameroon have turned their attentions to the kidnapped Nigerian school children, children in the Central African Republic are still facing violence by rebel forces from both Seleka and Balaka rebels. A truce was called and semi signed between both rebel forces guaranteeing a bit of normalcy for internally displaced Central Africans and refugees in Chad and Cameroon. Nevertheless, Bangui remains under a tense calm while CAR's countryside experiences clashes between Balaka forces and civilians fleeing their advances. Operation Sanagaris is still in play. French troops who have been in Central African Republic for half a year have been confiscating, disarming and occasionally turning their backs on rebel revenge attacks against civilians. Former Seleka rebels violently clashed with French troops last Monday in Bossonga, a small town some 400 kilometers away from the capital Bangui. The town had withstood rebel forces' use of terror tactics to chase away its Muslim residents and largest amount of bloodshed between former neighbors. Hundreds of thousands Central Africans remain in refugee camps in neighboring countries or IDP camps in Bangui, Bassonga and other towns.

Reconstruction of Central African Republic by Former Prime Minister 

Peace making and an impending end to war

While the Balaka has had the upper hand in the direction of the war, the Seleka rebels are currently in the process of regrouping to regain some control away from Balaka. The war between both groups signals trouble for civilians. The International Criminal Court recently sent a team to CAR to charge groups responsible for the outbreak of violence with crimes against civilians. There has been talks of partitioning Central African Republic along South-North lines. As Sudan and Nigeria in the 1960s served as examples, partition along nationalist lines has caused more wars and confusion for resources and power than it initially was meant to end. The U.S. humanitarian watchers regard CAR as being on the brink of a potential genocide. The violence and war follows the same patterns as Bosnia and Rwanda. Turkish Red Cross has called for more aid for CAR while Turkey debates on sending troops to the country as part of a larger EU peacekeeping force. Meanwhile, a group of Seleka forces in the town of Ndele have drawn up recommendations for an eventual transitional government and arrival of international peacekeeping forces. Aside from humanitarian side, the UN is preparing for blue helmets to land in Bangui to provide security for civilians and wider country. The peacekeepers under the UN Mission MINUSCA would be responsible for disarmament and demobilization of all combatants. Central Africans are skeptical of foreign intervention after months of failed attempts by AU troops and French soldiers to bring about the end of violence or at least secure towns for the safe return of displaced people.

Chad's role in CAR

As a result of the continual cleansing of Central African Muslims force to flee across borders, Chadian leader Idris Derby has declared the Chadian borders closed until the violence ends. Armed rebel forces have also been accused by the Chadian government of crisscrossing the border to launch attacks. Chad has played a prominent role in trying to stabilize CAR and end the fratricidal violence. However, Chadian troops were accused on several occasions of committing massacres against Central Africans and supporting Seleka rebels by either ignoring their actions or refusing to aid civilians caught in rebel revenge. Troops were pulled out of CAR in April 2014. 

Jasmenco-Art through the time of War

Jasmenco-Resistance through Art in the Time of War
A film from Syria, thanks to producer Wathec Salman and Zianoor Films

Sunday, 11 May 2014

What does a Friend of Israel mean?

Would you condone Israeli actions and violence against Palestinians and other peoples if it was happening in your neighborhood aka your backyard?

Please also checkout Conscious objector section

What does it mean to be a Friend of Israel

No Way Through: 

Londoners in the shoes of Palestinians under occupations
From the social movement film by CTRL+ALT+DEL

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Nigeria is Africa's largest economy

Nigeria's importance in Africa almost at the continent's center.

Nigerian economy and the need to boast labor productivity 

Nigeria has officially surpassed South Africa as Africa's largest economy. Some reports are suggesting that its growth was experienced overnight during a GDP rebasing that hadn't been carried out in over 35 years. Nigeria's claim to economic fame has raised economists' eyebrows. Nigerian entrprenuers and businesses are eager to compete with BRICS countries. For the record, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa by population. Lagos, the former Nigerian capital that was replaced by the centrally located planned city of Abuja, remains the country's commercial and economic hub. Lagos also has a large population and is one of the country's largest and well developed port city that rivals Port Harcourt in Southern Nigeria and Niger Delta. Lagos holds the record as the fastest growing city in Africa behind Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

Just as Egypt is the regional powerhouse in North Africa or South Africa is the powerhouse and hold up as a symbol of African economic power, Nigeria is the regional powerhouse in West Africa. It has played a crucial role in ECOWAS and ECOMOG. In popular culture, Nigeria and Nigerians symbolize West Africa as a whole often representing the typical West African while Nigerian film industry Nollywood is slowly being recognized across West Africa, the wider continent, the West and the wider world as a cultural force. Nollywood is the third largest movie industry rivaling Bollywood and Hollywood. Many Nollywood movies and TV series can be found at youtube and other sites. Nollywood films like the legendary telenovelas have large fan followings and audiences in neighboring countries and across the world where African Diasporas and immigrants live. Without a doubt, these films have brought Nigerian culture and society with all its complexities to the world serving as universal ambassadors similar to Bollywood or Hong Kong films. Nigerians have traveled across the world for centuries making up a large chunk of the African Diaspora on six continents. Yes it is six continents: Africa, Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Ukraine as Yugoslavia?

The former Yugoslavia and the current independent nations that emerged after 1991 collapse. Photo originally from BBC.
From 40 protesters burned alive in a trade union office in Odessa, Ukraine some say by Neo Nazis linked with Svoboda to heavy handed military force against protesters and self appointed city defenders in the town of Slayvansk, Eastern Ukraine appears to be resembling prologue to Yugoslavia or Balkan Wars circa 1912. The port city of Odessa seats on the Black Sea in Southeastern Ukraine not far from Crimea.

South East Ukraine: Crisis Diary

See No Evil? MSM uncertain who's behind Odessa inferno   

The comparison between Ukraine and the collapse of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s isn't too far from reality. The parallels are gradually emerging in Ukraine. Yugoslav leaders and politicians used nationalism to their advantage with the aid of media propaganda while demonizing their internal and foreign enemies. Slobadan Milosevic, Yugoslavian army and leaders of Republika Srpska leaders installed nationalist officials in government to strength their stronghold on their positions and assure their supporters and the larger public that nationalism equals national unity and strength. The Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman also pushed nationalism and a Croatian identity based on ethnic purity ignoring the decades of multiculturalism and Croatia's multiethnic society. Tudjman and other Croatian nationalists took their inspiration from the Utasha that served under Nazi controlled Croatia during World War II. Croatian and Serbian nationalists displaced, dispossessed and killed their neighbors and even family members while destroying Croatia and Bosnia. Slovenia experience only ten days of war before peace was restored. Slovenia is home to a small Serb minority but Slovene nationalism didn't involve displacing fellow countrymen. Slovenia bypassed the violence and massacres occurring in Croatia's Krajina region, the medieval cities of Dubrovnik, Zagreb. The violence included football and street clashes and bombardments of historical cities by Yugoslav army made up of mostly Serb soldiers from Belgrade and other regions of Serbia and Bosnia. Dehumanizing language and images further transformed the Yugoslav war of independence into "tribal" conflicts or ancient ethnic hatreds. Serbs, Bosnians and Croats like Russians and Ukrainians are similar people, they speak the same language once called Serbo-Croatian with slightly different words and follow the same religion Christianity albeit Serbs are East Orthodox and Croats are Catholics. Bosnia remains the most multiethnic and diverse former Yugoslav republics. Many Bosnians are intermarried and Bosniaks (incorrectly categorized as ethnic Muslims) are a separate and majority ethnic group in Bosnia. However, the Bosniaks share similar language and history with their Christian countrymen. Despite the clashes and cries against the referendum, Crimea didn't experience massive violence as Bosnia did for its independence in 1991. A combination of sieges by Yugoslavia army against the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the medieval city of Mostar, NATO weapons sanctions against Bosnian army, destroyed Bosnia's infrastructure and displaced most of Bosnian people. Fueling the collapse of Bosnia were massacres against civilians first by the Serb dominated Yugoslav army and later Serb rebels from Republica Srpska. The UN's last minute intervention at the height of the war ended the violence but didn't heal the shattered country. Mostar's famous Ottoman bridge was destroyed and rebuilt, ethnic cleansing of whole neighborhoods and regions (now occurring in Central African Republic) has left the country divided to this day. Bosnia's peace came after the country was partitioned into two separate entities the Bosnian-Croat federation and the Replica Srpska to appease all the parties involved to the chagrin of Bosnia's diverse society. Some media pundits and experts now see Bosnia as unable to undo the physical and societal damages caused by Yugoslav Civil War. Lastly, Kosovo was sucked into shorter but just as deadly war between U.S. backed Kosovar Liberation Army and Serbian Army in 1999. NATO bombing of Serbian capital Belgrade became the pretext for future pre-emptive strikes against countries deemed a threat to a Western ally or a threat regional stability as Serbia was seen by Western observers and neighboring countries Greece, Albania, Hungary. Today the former Yugoslavia is seven different countries resembling little of its former self. Croatia became an EU member last year after a decade of political, economic and structural reforms. Slovenia 2004, while Bosnia and Serbia are hoping to become EU members in the distance future. Ukraine is currently split unevenly between pro European Union membership and a EU future and the BRICS' economic and political challenge to EU/US domination of European politics and local events.

War bombing the medieval city of Dubrovnik, Croatia

From Beirut to Bosnia: Part 3 To the Ends of the Earth

Ukraine's violence is slowly transforming into a civil war in the same vein as Yugoslavia. All the while the EU, Canada and US watch while blaming Russia for the violent escalation by protesters and Ukrainian government. Russia argues that the protesters have a right to autonomy after feeling threatened.

Ukrainian expands fierce assault

Fascism didn't die but lives today

The Utashe were the Croatian local fascist/nazi forces and political organization responsible for the genocide of Serbs, Yuglosvian Jews, Romani and Croatian dissidents across Croatia and Bosnia. In a quest to build a so called "1,000 year Reich," Adolph Hitler calculating expanded the borders of the Third Reich from France to Greece and Croatia. Spain and Switzerland were one of the few countries in Europe other than Yugoslavia minus Croatia that remained natural throughout the second world war. While Yugoslavs in Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and parts of Bosnia fought against the Nazis and fascists forces in Yugoslavia, Croatian nationalist leaders seeking to keep Croatia independent from capitulated to Nazi rule. Neighboring Fascist Italy, a long time influence on Croatia's culture and language soon fell to Nazi occupation in 1941. Fascism and Nazism didn't disappear into the history books at the end of World War II. Both movements have been given breathes of fresh air throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Today neo Nazis and fascism is tragically making a comeback across Europe especially in Western countries via parliamentary victories and popular right wing leaders enjoying support from a frustrated public. In the U.S. there is an obsession with Hitler and Nazism. American historians and pundits have studied Nazism and Hitler's rise, its influences in society, Hitler's mind and have personified him into the devil to further understand how fascism/Nazism can occur.

The current U.S. backed Ukrainian government has also allowed leaders and members from Svoboda and Pravy Sector to hold high offices and have seats in Parliament. Members of both groups have been involved in violence against Pro federalist protesters in several towns in Eastern Ukraine ie Slayvansk, Donetsk, Odessa and Kharkov. The Pro federalist (originally dubbed Pro Russian by the Ukrainian government and media pundits) protesters have been calling for a federalist form of autonomy that would respect the rights of residents living in Eastern Ukraine, protect the Russian language from being banning and cultural protection.The violent clashes have continued ranging from confrontation between pro/anti Kiev and Maidan supporters to running street battles among Ukrainian police and Russian speaking Ukrainians as well. Now the continual anti-terror campaign by the Ukrainian Army against protesters in Slayvansk and Odessa, has critically injured and killed civilians. The army has prevented civilians from leaving Slayvansk. Some pundits have forgotten that the pro Russian protesters in Eastern Ukraine are also Ukrainians who have family living in both Russia and Ukraine. Many Ukrainian speakers also live in Eastern and southern Eastern towns as well. Kiev and Western governments have been watching the escalation of violence with clenched teeth. Sanctions have been ratcheted up against Russia in hopes of denting its economy. Keep in mind most of Russia's gas exports pass underneath Ukraine and other neighboring countries directly to the EU who rely on Russian gas in addition to oil/petroleum from Norway and North African countries. Kharkov's mayor Gennady Kernes is currently recuperating in an Israeli hospital after being shot in the back by an unknown assassin.

Caught on tape: Radicals shooting at Odessa Trade Unions' building

As President Turchynov struggles to keep Ukraine calm, he has appeared to overlook the anti-Semitic and anti-Russian violence from small but growing Neo Nazi political parties and groups in Maidan and elsewhere. The Neo Nazis have aimed their violent threats against Ukrainian Jews who were once one of the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe after Poland's large Jewish community. Today, Ukrainian Jews are a minority whose community has survived peacefully within the country for decades after the Holocaust and World War II. Despite keeping to themselves, Jews along with some Russian speakers are viewed as scapegoats (fed by old anti-Semitic and anti-Soviet stereotypes) by the less open minded Pravy Sector/Svoboda members and supporters. The outright violence against Russian symbols, influences and protesters (who are Ukrainians) in East Ukraine, Crimea and in Kiev and Western Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers being trapped inside their bases while Russian soldiers spread out across Crimean cities has further confirmed the Neo Nazis fear of a Russian takeover or war on lines of South Ossetia or something worst. For the Maidan protesters like the Yugoslavs no one outside Yugoslavia or Ukraine could control their destiny other than themselves. Even Poland who has quietly watched the events unfolded in Ukraine has also experience anti-Russian protests. Russia is well aware that its army or actions are not welcomed by the Kiev government or its supporters. The media frenzy set up by the United States and its allies has exacerbated the anger toward Russian interests among Neo Nazi groups, Pro- Western Maidan protesters and Ukrainians who are apolitical but are determined to shape Ukraine's future on their own.

Ukraine not united in anti-Russian sentiment

The Death Of Yugoslavia: Enter Nationalism BBC


1991 Yugoslavia: Roots of War

*As leader of Yugoslavia from 1945 until his death in 1980. Josip Tito had held Yugoslavia together by empathizing national unity and social cohesion across ethnic and religious lines. However, crimes committed by Utasha, SS collaborators in Bosnia/Croatia during World War II never healed. The grievances were generally ignored Tito. The IMF's structural adjustment programs after Tito's death and Yugoslavian economy's slowly crippled the country. The Yugoslav identity maintained until 1991 as each of the six republics declared independence from literally the North to East.