Saturday, 28 June 2014

Cartoons on the World Cup


The following cartoons below are drawn by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff. Nation wide protests against the government are still ongoing even with the World Cup coming towards the final in the next three weeks. While football is a passion and has  the whole world literally jumping up and down for its favorite teams and players, still social problems exist across Brazil. Transport workers, students, children and women living in the middle class and poorer cities and areas of same venues where the matches are being pelted and beaten by police. Far from the cries of goool and ole in the fanaticos del futbol filled stadiums, ordinary Brazilians do not see or live the benefits of hosting the World Cup. The event has been more of a headache and pain for people who have seen their homes bulldozed, their neighborhoods cast aside to make way for what each hosting city sees as much needed tourism and tourists. Not to mention the hundreds of people who have been sent prison for protesting police Brutality and government. Enjoy

Goool! Money or plata 

Diego Maradona, Argentina and the world's best footballer comments on la copa and ordinary Brazilians who can't afford to participate at the expensive World Cup venues in their own backyard. 

The Brazilian government attempts to quiet dissident with the event

Brazilian gauchos and the World Cup mascot Bagual

Takfiri cultural destruction, Iranians in solidarity with Iraqis

Iranians gathered earlier today to show their support and solidarity with the Iraqi people during a rally attended by women, men and children. Like Syria and Iraq, Iran is against any type of victory or aggrandizement by ISIS.

Muslim Clerics speak out against Takfiri ideology

The ISIS takfiris have chased away the Iraqi army from important Iraqi cities such as Kirkuk and Mosul which have large populations of over 500,000 people each. Kirkuk also has large oil fields that the Kurds do not want to loose to the unstable Baghdad government. The autonomous Kurdish government in Iraqi Kurdistan has been wrestling with the national government to intergregate Kirkuk into the autonomous Kurdish region in hopes of using oil revenues to boast the economy. Iraqi Kurdistan was granted autonomy by Anglo-American occupation forces following the Invasion of Iraq and dismantlement of Iraqi government and Baathy party.

Iraqi Kurds in full control of Kirkuk as Iraqi army flees

Iran has been observing the blitzkrieg strides ISIS has taken to pressure the Baghdad government. Meanwhile triumphant Takfiri militants have literally been destroying centuries old cultural heritage sites in Mosul. Among them are the  Philopsher's tomb, statues of Abbasid era poet Abu Tamam, 19th century Iraqi musician Othman al Mousuli and  and  other cultural figures related to Mosul and Iraqi history. The destruction follows in the same manner in Iraq as other ignorant, self proclaimed "righteous" Takfiris have done in Mali and Libya by destroying the country's priceless monuments to Sufis, local saints, renowned poets and philosophers. Takfiris continue to justify their destruction of hertiage sites by decrying them as apostasy. Even Al Qaeda has already condemned their destruction despite being just as ruthless as ISIS. As it has been said over again, the Takfiris destroying human lives and cultural hertiage in Syria and Iraq do not and never have represented Islam or its creed nor do they speak for the world's 1.3 billion Muslims. Just as the extremist Christians, Christian Zionists, Jewish terrorists or fascists do not represent the 1.5 billion of Christians. The irony of destroying intellectual culture and heritage has become a repeated tragedy whenever the Takfiris attack and capture a town. UNESCO has both condemned the attacks and urged Iraq to protect its hertiage both national and local from farther damage. Iran has offered to help defend another magnum opus of cultural significance and religious precedent, the holy site of Imam Hussein mosque and Shrine in Karbala that is visited by millions of Shia from neighboring Iran and across the world yearly. The Pilgrimage to Karbala is far smaller than the annual Hajj to Mecca and Medina but it is just as important and prominent as the 2 million + people journeying Hajj. Occurring around Ashura, the pilgrims visit the shrine in honor of Imam Hussein or Husayn who was martyred during the Battle of Karbala during the early rise of Islam in 7th Century Iraq. The continual violence in Iraq and Syria has all but frustrated the US whose Operation Iraqi Freedom did little to nothing to bring the storybook fairytale of Iraqi Democracy to fruition in Iraq. Now the Takfiris are gaining ground in both countries to the embarrassment of America.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

ISIS: Scurrying towards Baghdad

While the World Cup in Brazil has most of the world's undivided attention, ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) or more commonly refereed to as ISIL Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have been moving swiftly towards the Iraqi capital Baghdad. ISIS militants recently captured Mosul in Northern Iraq causing both the Iraqi Army and hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee South to safer cities and areas. Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki has failed to halt the rise and strength of Takfiri groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq. Even Al Qaeda  disowned ISIS for its extreme brutality towards civilians and enemy combatants. Both groups have been hardening their combat experience in Syria against Bashir Assad, the wider Syrian government and civilians both government and Syrian supporters. ISIS has taken its brutality and terrorist attacks against civilians to higher levels than Hezbullah and other splinter  Takfiri/Salafi groups also battling in Syria for control. On the highway to Baghdad, ISIS also overran Ramadi. While ISIS militants can't shake Assad and Syrian government seems to be regaining control in Aleppo and going after rebels and Takfiri militants in other cities around Damascus, ISIS is determine to win control in an unstable Iraq. When ISIS does reach Baghdad, if it is successful, ISIS would've opened the dangerous Pandora box it and its violent cousins have unleashed in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Nigeria.

A Homeland for All or for some?

Ottoman Empire and Middle East only 100 years ago this week

ISIS has stated it seeks to undo the Sykes-Picot Agreement that European colonialists created the current jigsaw puzzle of the Middle East countries that were previously governed by Ottoman Empire. Known in Arabic as Bilad as Shams, the Levant or formerly as Near East, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine-Israel as well as tiny Kuwait were once regarded as a single territory. The Ottoman Empire treated the region as such throughout its 500 year reign and so did the people. Pan Arabism also encouraged the creation of a large Arab homeland extending from the Persian Gulf to North Africa instead of partitioning the territory into nation-state. That is until World War I, when nationalist ideas and the quest to create national identities out of diverse regions to push back European colonialism shifted the view to one homeland to the need of creating a nation state for nearly every ethnic group in the region who saw themselves as distinct from their neighbors. Lebanon used to be part of Syria until 1922 when French created Lebanon originally as a majority Christian state. Palestine and Jordan used to be attached to one another was ruled as mandates by British as Transjordan and Palestine. Israel's creation add an anomaly and further confusion to the colonial jigsaw puzzle.

Iran and the geopolitics

Nothing But the Truth: On the origins of ISIS, Iraq's current mess and Iran's role in Iraq


ISIS's threat to Baghdad and by extension Maliki's government has brought Iran and US closer together. Iran has not experience the destabilization that is happening to its neighbors yet. Iran is a literal island of stability in a Middle East that is gradually becoming destabilized at national and societal level brought on by the three decades of growing CIA backed takfiri groups or organizations beginning with the 1979 Invasion of Afghanistan. Iran might have inspired Islamic Revolution and continues to support Hezbullah and Shia militias fighting against Maliki's government. However, Iran has done everything possible to avoid blowback or the chickens coming home to roast in its own territory. Terrorist bombings have occurred in Tehran, Baluchistan provinces and smaller cities across Iran from 1980s onward. Iranians have been victims of terrorism abroad and violent killings at home by Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters from neighboring Afghanistan. The Iranian embassy was attacked in Lebanon 2013 by suicide bombers from Al Qaeda's affiliate Abdullah Azam Brigades as blowback for supporting Hezbullah fighters and Syrian government during the ongoing war in Syria. The Iranian government is constantly seeking the need to halt Al Qada, Taliban and other Takfiri/Salafi groups from creating chaos and instability.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Brazil World Cup Vs. Protesters

Brazilians are protesting for better quality of life in education, health, housing, transportation and dignity even as the World Cup gets underway. From Sao Paulo to Rio to Salvador to Brasilia (the capital of Brazil) and beyond, people of all ages continual to clash with police to demand the government the state, national and local to fully listen them. The protests have been ongoing for over two years and more. The protesters see the hypocritical contradiction between spending billions on a sport tournament like the World Cup while the needs of citizens have long been ignored. As with all world cups and any expensive, attention grabbing sporting event, the host countries suffer from financial debt, housing destruction and family displacement by multibillion dollar stadiums and housing for visiting international athletes meanwhile the poor and working residents are pushed into the shadows for three weeks for the rest of the world to momentarily end their worry about inequality to enjoy a beautiful game or tournament.

Run up to World Cup Marred by Worker Strikers and Protests

Fifa v. Favela: Is the World Cup a Waste of Money?

Sao Paulo metro workers protest through World Cup

Anti World Cup protests

Police clash with protesters


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

La Copa del Mundo: Dos Caras

El mundo esta emocionado. Todo del mundo esta corriendo para Brasil y sus ciudades. Para la primera vez, la Copa del Mundo esta en un país de portuguesa hablante y la nación futbolista locura. Brasil 2014 cuesta a $11 billón. Lo esta mas costoso en la historia del mundo. Hace dos anos, los brasileros (cientos de miles) han protestados para a mejorar a la educación, se incluyen herramientas de ensenar y mejores saldos para profesores, viviendas asequibles, desarrollo de favelas y barrios pobres, desarrollo económico, mejor transportación y mas. El gobierno brasilero gasto mucho para la campana de medios. Lo contenido a manifestaciones en Salvador, Rio de Janiero, Sao Paulo y Minias Gerais, etc.

La copa del mundo: a la izquierda en los campos y al derecho en los calles, ciudades y favelas
Gas lacrimógeno contra manifestantes en sombras del la copa

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New Caledonia: We are all Rebels now

New Caledonia: We are Rebels Press TV doc

New Caledonia known by its indigenous name as Kanaky after the Kanak people is one of thousands of Pacific Islands that continues to be ruled by France since 1774. New Caledonia is part of Melanesia, the area of Pacific Ocean home to Pacific islanders who are of darker hues, could easily be mistaken for West or East Africans and Aboriginal Australians, share cultural and language connections with Aborginals, larger Pacific islands and distance African neighbors. Melanesians are descendants of African ancestors who migrated from the African continent crossed into Asia and eventually made their way down to the different islands. Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Polynesia and Guinea are part of the Melanesian islands. Other islands like Somoa, Marshall islands, American Somoa, Guam and Micronesia also share similar cultures and history with New Caledonia. The Kanaks are the indigenous people of Kanaky or New Caledonia who interacted with the world long before the French could find the Pacific Islands on a map. Many islands rely on sea faring and shipping for trade and exchanges of products, peoples and cultures. The Polynesians come to mind as one of the Pacific's early sea goers. The history of Pacific Islands have much to do with its strategic locations and the nerving geopolitics that have pulled the islands in different directions towards foreign powers and their economic and foreign policies for years. With each pull, the Kanaks and their neighbors have put their foot down in seeking to determine their own policies, cultural identity and futures.

New Caledonia in Melanesia and Pacific Ocean

Colonialism and self determination

Pacific islands were split among the different Western powers including Japan by the 18th century. The West has relied on navigating the Pacific first by boat and now by plane and satellite for nearly 400 years. In search of spices, new markets, slaves and control of resources and new lands, Western Europeans expanded their travels to the islands from mainland Asia specifically China whose been contact with the West for 1000 years. France, Britain, the United States Portugal, Spain, Australia and Germany divided up the thousands of islands along with the largest islands Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia among themselves in the same manner as African continent and Americas. French in New Caledonia as in other Pacific islands Polynesia and Tahiti, superimposed the French language, culture and history onto the Kanaks. Kanak identity, culture and history was shoved aside than suppressed for decades at the expense of the people. French settlers were to move to New Caledonia while the colonial authorities kept the Kanaks living in inhuman conditions or borderline slaves. The Kanaks protested and fight against the French colonial forces for two hundred years. Using a combination of guerrilla warfare and war of attrition, the Kanak rebels named, "Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front" or FLNKS in French, mounted gun battles and carried out hostage taking to bring the Kanak people's marginalization, fight for independence and self determination to the world's attention. It wasn't until the late 1980s when the Kanaks finally seriously threatened centuries of French colonial rule on the island, that French Presidenti Mitterand and his administrations began to even consider independence for New Caledonia. For years, French officials have viewed New Caledonia or Kanaky as an inseperable part of the French overseas territory in the Pacific. Like Algeria, France never considered relinquishing power of New Caledonia's political system or governance over to the indigenous Kanaks. French is still the lingua franca on the island although the Kanak language is a first language for many people. French settlers remain on the island as a minority ethnic group along with some 10+ethnic groups from neighboring countries Indonesians and as far away as Vietnam. A referendum for independence is supposed to be held in New Caledonia between 2014-2016.

Melanesia in Pacific Islands