Modilings could find Shivling where Abbas used to pray

June 24th, 2022

by B. R. GOWANI

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi (with beard) and Abbas Miyanbhai Ramsada (Momin) PHOTO/Ananda Bazar Patrika

India was divided into India & Pakistan in 1947

Pakistan was divided into Pakistan & Bangladesh in 1971

Modi divided India further, i.e., Indians into Hindu & Muslims in 2019

the project started under his chief minister-ship of Gujarat in 2002

Muslims were massacred under his watch without any fear

communalist Hindus found their leader

communalist/rabid Hindus found their hero who tolerates all atrocities

that is, mistreatment, abuse, killing of Muslims

demolishing Muslim mosques under the pretext:

they were built on Hindu temples

nowadays, the Hindu zealots have found another excuse

finding Shivling under the mosque; thus they should be razed to ground

(Shivling is a phallic symbol representing Lord Shiva‘s energy

many Hindus worship it alongside yoni (or female vagina))

Modi’s silence displays his extreme hatred of Muslims

but then things went a bit too far

BJP leaders made remarks against Islam’s Prophet Muhammad

Islamic countries protested and demanded an apology

India’s business with oil rich Gulf countries is over $100 billion

India also receives a good amount of remittance from Gulf nations

in 2017, India received $13.826 billion remittance from a tiny nation of UAE

which was the highest amount of any country; the US was 2nd

there is a saying in Hindi/Urdu:

jab gANd lagi phaTne, to khairAt lagi baTne

when a person’s ass is scared like hell, s/he tackles it with charity

that happened to India’s Premier Nerndra Modi, not exactly, but somewhat

Modi & his party BJP has targeted Muslims vehemently

BJP was forced to issue a statement:

“The Bharatiya Janata Party is also against any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion. The BJP does not promote such people or philosophy…During the thousands of years of the history of India every religion has blossomed and flourished. The Bharatiya Janata Party respects all religions.”

the statement is complete Modishit

the statement says BJP “respects all religions”

which is a total lie

it doesn’t say that BJP also respects Muslim adherents of Islam in India

so terrorizing, humiliating, and murdering of Muslims will continue

Gulf countries should have warned Modi regime long ago

to treat 200 million Muslims, 14.2% of India’s population, as equal citizens

Hindus working in Gulf countries don’t face any religious discrimination

but then the Gulf leaders are hypocrites too

while India was terrorizing Muslims in Kashmir

UAE awarded Modi Order of Zayed, the highest civilian honor

Modi or his regime didn’t apologize at all

a cunning criminal killer politician that Modi is

he blogged about a Muslim classmate of his brother in the early 1970s

“A little far from our house there was a village in which very close friends of my father used to live. His son was Abbas [Ramsada]. After the untimely death of his father, our father bought Abbasbhai to our house.”


“In a way, Abbasbhai stayed and studied in our house
[in Vadnagar, Gujarat].. Like all of us children, mother used to take great care of Abbasbhai too. On Eid, mother used to prepare dishes of his choice for Abbasbhai.”

this is Modi’s way of declaring:

“I don’t hate Muslims, I even had a Muslim in my house”

travel agencies charge Rs 600 for Vadnagar tour, Modi’s ancestral home

the home where Abbas lived for a few years; where he also prayed

the Hindu fanatics should seize the place where Abbas used to pray

chances are Modilings could find a Shivling underneath the praying spot

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Fighting flat-Earth theory

June 24th, 2022

by RACHEL BRAZIL

IMAGE/Claus Lunau/Science Photo Library

In 2017 the US rapper B.o.B (real name Bobby Ray Simmons Jr) started a crowd-funding campaign to launch a satellite. The rapper, a vocal proponent of “flat-Earth theory”, wanted to seek evidence that our planet is a disc, not a globe. His aim was to raise $200,000 (later upped to $1m) on the GoFundMe website, with the aim of sending one or more craft into space to help him “find the curve” – the term that “flat-Earthers” use to describe the edge of our supposed disc-shaped planet.

The rapper’s quest may seem like a joke or publicity stunt. Indeed, there’s currently no evidence that B.o.B raised much money or got anywhere near his goal. However, in the last few years there has been an alarming rise in the number of people who, like B.o.B, believe in flat-Earth theories. There’s now an annual flat-Earth conference in the US – the most recent of which was attended by more than 600 people – while YouTube is full of videos purporting to provide evidence that the Earth is flat.

Physicists may mock the notion of a flat Earth, but the idea is gaining traction, particularly among people susceptible to other conspiracy theories. “They actually really do believe it,” says Lee McIntyre, a philosopher from Boston University and an expert in the phenomenon of science denial, whose books include Respecting Truth: Wilful Ignorance in the Internet Age (Routledge, 2015). McIntyre knows first-hand how sincerely flat-Earthers hold their views: he attended the 2018 Flat Earth International Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Asheley Landrum, a psychologist from Texas Tech University who was also at the Denver meeting, agrees that flat-Earthers are genuine, and not goofing around. “If they were [trolling], they are very good actors,” she says. “We talked to more than 90 members of the flat-Earth community and they’re all very sincere in their beliefs”. Lectures at the Denver event included “Talking to your family and friends about flat Earth”, “NASA and other space lies” and “14+ ways the Bible says flat Earth”.

Flat-Earth ideas are based on basic scientific misunderstandings that can be easily refuted. For most people, even those who have no physics background, the evidence for a spherical Earth is obvious. So we need to ask ourselves why these ideas still persist in the 21st century and, perhaps more importantly for the physics community: how exactly should we respond?

A circular history

The idea that the Earth is a sphere was all but settled by ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle (384–322 BC), who obtained empirical evidence after travelling to Egypt and seeing new constellations of stars. Eratosthenes, in the third century BC, became the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. Islamic scholars made further advanced measurements from about the 9th century AD onwards, while European navigators circled the Earth in the 16th century. Images from space were final proof, if any were needed.

Today’s flat-Earth believers are not, though, the first to doubt what seems unquestionable. The notion of a flat Earth initially resurfaced in the 1800s as a backlash to scientific progress, especially among those who wished to return to biblical literalism. Perhaps the most famous proponent was the British writer Samuel Rowbotham (1816–1884). He proposed the Earth is a flat immovable disc, centred at the North Pole, with Antarctica replaced by an ice wall at the disc’s outer boundary.

The International Flat Earth Research Society, which was set up in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a signwriter living in Dover, UK, was regarded by many people as merely a symbol of British eccentricity – amusing and of little consequence. But in the early 2000s, with the Internet now a well-established vehicle for off-beat views, the idea began to bubble up again, mostly in the US. Discussions sprouted in online forums, the Flat Earth Society was relaunched in October 2009 and the annual flat-Earth conference began in earnest.

1 Why distant skyscrapers are visible despite the curvature of the Earth

Chicago skyline IMAGE/© Sam Cornwell, 2008

This photo was taken from Mount Baldy in Indiana Dunes National Park on the south-east coast of Lake Michigan, roughly 60?km across the water from the city of Chicago, which lies on the opposite bank. At that distance, Chicago’s skyline should not be visible as the curvature of the Earth takes it beyond the horizon. The fact that the buildings are visible is in fact simply a mirage. Mirages are usually created when a cold, dense layer of air sits above a layer of warmer, less dense air, for example when the Sun beats down on a black road on a hot summer’s day. The warm ground heats the bottom few centimetres of air, refracting sunlight up to your eyes to create an “inferior mirage”. But if a layer of warm air sits above your line of sight, with a cool layer beneath, you get a “superior mirage”. Light bends down towards the denser air, but because our eyes assume the light has travelled in a straight line, the object appears higher than it is. The effect also explains why a far-off ship can be seen even though it might have dipped below the horizon. It can even make distant boats appear to float in the air.

IMAGE/CC-BY-SA / Ludovica Lorenzelli, DensityDesign Research Lab

Physics World for more

Anxieties of watching ‘Veer-Zaara’ in 2021

June 24th, 2022

by BHAWNA JAIMINI

VIDEO/YAsh Raj Films/Youtube

Behind the carefully constructed Mubi facade of frames from half-watched films of Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi and David Fincher, I am still very much rooted in Hindi cinema. Hindi films are what I grew up with and it was only in my early 20s that I discovered world cinema – which I very much enjoy – but nothing, in my opinion, feels more home than a good melodramatic, colorful, emotionally intense commercial Hindi film that tugs at the strings of your heart every time it has a Shahrukh Khan delivering dialogues you know you will never be spoken to in your entire life. Yet, the make-believe world feels very much a part of this existence.

2021 has been a year where I had to turn to the cinema of my growing up years. I was desperately looking for refuge from the grim reality of the second wave that engulfed us all and took a few too many along. Every few nights I found myself searching for film titles from my childhood and adolescence to relive moments of hope and love and happy endings – something that was so nowhere to be found in the real world. I found catharism while sobbing over the hospital scene in the ending of Kal Ho Na Ho and discovered perseverance in the lyrics of zindagi ki yahi reet hai, haar ke baad hi jeet hai (Such is the cycle of life/There is victory to be found only after loss) in Mr. India.

Hindi cinema – not the Rohit Shetty kind high on testosterone cinema – has perfected the art of giving us happy endings, sometimes even against all logic. So here I was, using one Hindi film after the other to tell myself that everything will fall back into place and all magic will be restored to the world in due time. However, there was one film that filled me with anxieties even though it ended on a rather happy note.

It was Yash Chopra’s Veer-Zaara.

I was 13 when the film released in 2004. Chopra was coming back to direction after a hiatus of seven years with a star ensemble that was at the peak of their careers.

LiveWire for more

Elephant in the Zoom

June 23rd, 2022

by RYAN GRIM

Meltdowns Have Brought Progressive Advocacy Groups to a Standstill at a Critical Moment in world history

Everyone acknowledged that Zoom was less than ideal as a forum for a heartfelt conversation on systemic racism and policing. But the meeting was urgent, and, a little more than two months into the Covid-19 lockdown, it would have to do.

During the first week of June 2020, teams of workers and their managers came together across the country to share how they were responding to the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and to chart out what — if anything — their own company or nonprofit could do to contribute toward the reckoning with racial injustice that was rapidly taking shape.

On June 2, one such huddle was organized by the Washington, D.C., office of the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rights movement’s premier research organization.

Heather Boonstra, vice president of public policy, began by asking how people were “finding equilibrium” — one of the details we know because it was later shared by staff with Prism, an outlet that covers social justice advocacy and the impacts of injustice.

She talked about the role systemic racism plays in society and the ways that Guttmacher’s work could counter it. Staff suggestions, though, turned inward, Prism reported, “including loosening deadlines and implementing more proactive and explicit policies for leave without penalty.” Staffers suggested additional racial equity trainings, noting that a previous facilitator had said that the last round had not included sufficient time “to cover everything.” With no Black staff in the D.C. unit, it was suggested that “Guttmacher do something tangible for Black employees in other divisions.”

Behind Boonstra’s and the staff’s responses to the killing was a fundamentally different understanding of the moment. For Boonstra and others of her generation, the focus should have been on the work of the nonprofit: What could Guttmacher, with an annual budget of nearly $30 million, do now to make the world a better place? For her staff, that question had to be answered at home first: What could they do to make Guttmacher a better place? Too often, they believed, managers exploited the moral commitment staff felt toward their mission, allowing workplace abuses to go unchecked.

The belief was widespread. In the eyes of group leaders dealing with similar moments, staff were ignoring the mission and focusing only on themselves, using a moment of public awakening to smuggle through standard grievances cloaked in the language of social justice. Often, as was the case at Guttmacher, they played into the very dynamics they were fighting against, directing their complaints at leaders of color. Guttmacher was run at the time, and still is today, by an Afro Latina woman, Dr. Herminia Palacio. “The most zealous ones at my organization when it comes to race are white,” said one Black executive director at a different organization, asking for anonymity so as not to provoke a response from that staff.

These starkly divergent views would produce dramatic schisms throughout the progressive world in the coming year. At Guttmacher, this process would rip the organization apart. Boonstra, unlike many managers at the time, didn’t sugarcoat how she felt about the staff’s response to the killing.

“I’m here to talk about George Floyd and the other African American men who have been beaten up by society,” she told her staff, not “workplace problems.” Boonstra told them she was “disappointed,” that they were being “self-centered.” The staff was appalled enough by the exchange to relay it to Prism.

The human resources department and board of directors, in consultation with outside counsel, were brought in to investigate complaints that flowed from the meeting, including accusations that certain staff members had been tokenized, promoted, and then demoted on the basis of race. The resulting report was unsatisfying to many of the staff.

“What we have learned is that there is a group of people with strong opinions about a particular supervisor, the new leadership, and a change in strategic priorities,” said a Guttmacher statement summarizing the findings. “Those staff have a point of view. Complaints were duly investigated and nothing raised to the level of abuse or discrimination. Rather, what we saw was distrust, disagreement, and discontent with management decisions they simply did not like.”

A Prism reporter reached a widely respected Guttmacher board member, Pamela Merritt, a Black woman and a leading reproductive justice activist, while the Supreme Court oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization were going on last December, a year and a half after the Floyd meeting. She offered the most delicate rebuttal of the staff complaints possible.

“I have been in this movement space long enough to respect how people choose to describe their personal experience and validate that experience, even if I don’t necessarily agree that that’s what they experienced,” Merritt said. “It seems like there’s a conflation between not reaching the conclusion that people want and not doing due diligence on the allegations, which simply is not true.” Boonstra did not respond to a request to talk from either Prism or The Intercept.

The Intercept for more

Colombia’s first ever left-wing president: Gustavo Petro wins historic election. What does it mean?

June 23rd, 2022

by BEN NORTON

Ben Norton talks about Columbia’s preisdent-elect Gustavo Petro and vice president-elect Francia Marquez VIDEO/Youtube

Gustavo Petro won the first round of Colombia’s presidential election on May 29. In the second round, he defeated far-right candidate Rodolfo Hernández, a real estate mogul with an estimated $100 million in wealth.

Petro previously served as mayor of the capital Bogotá, and long before that a former guerrilla in the armed socialist group M-19. After putting down his weapons, Petro moderated his politics and moved to the center-left.

His presidential campaign brought together a broad coalition of left-wing parties, under the name the Pacto Histórico (Historic Pact), ranging from liberals to the Communist Party.

Petro will face many obstacles to governing. He does not have a majority in the bicameral Congress; both the Senate and Chamber of Representatives remain dominated by right-wing, centrist, and neoliberal parties.

Colombia’s state security services, which are closely linked to paramilitary groups, and which killed thousands of civilians in the “falsos positivos” (false positives) scandal, are also openly antagonistic to Petro.

The chief of Colombia’s armed forces, General Eduardo Zapateiro, publicly attacked Petro on Twitter, violating national laws that stipulate that military officers cannot interfere in the electoral process.

An ardent supporter of peace, Petro hopes to settle the armed conflict that has destabilized Colombia for decades. He wants to honor the government’s 2016 peace deal with the FARC, which has been systematically violated by the administration of current far-right President Iván Duque.

Hundreds of signatories of this agreement, former socialist revolutionaries who put down their arms, have been murdered since 2016.

In an attempt to facilitate peace, Petro has called for land reform. He recognizes that land ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few oligarchs, with millions of campesinos toiling in brutal, inhumane conditions, and understands how this has fueled violence.

Petro wants to ensure that peasants will have their rights guaranteed against the multinational corporations, Colombian oligarchs, and death squads that have long terrorized them. This, however, is much easier said than done.

Petro likewise pledged to reverse the neoliberal economic policies that have ravaged Colombia, pushing a staggering 40% of the population into poverty.

In 2021, working-class Colombians rose up against the crushing austerity measures of current President Duque. Petro supported the anti-neoliberal protests that rocked the country for months.

Duque, for his part, was the hand-picked candidate of Colombia’s former far-right President Álvaro Uribe, a powerful representative of the oligarchy who is closely linked to drug cartels and paramilitary death squads.

Petro’s victory represents the end of the right-wing Uribista movement that has dominated Colombian politics since Uribe first rose to power in 2002.

The Pacto Histórico’s vice-presidential candidate, Francia Márquez, is a leftist social movement activist from the Afro-Colombian community, which has been historically marginalized and repressed by the Colombian state and oligarchy.

Márquez publicly criticized the US government for meddling in Colombia’s electoral process. She also condemned the war on drugs, which she called a failure.

Multipolarista for more

The Islamic principle of rahma: A call for reproductive justice.

June 23rd, 2022

AMBA (AMERICAN MUSLIM BAR ASSOCIATION)

Bismillah Hir Ra?m?n Nir Ra??m

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

We root this statement in the whole of Bismillah, which contains the two words Ra?m?n and Ra??m, or divine mercy and compassion. Ra?m?n and Ra??m find their roots in the word, Rehm, or womb. This statement calls for mercy and compassion when it comes to all matters related to the womb, which is a sacred bodily space. We believe these qualities must be honored as inextricably linked to discussions surrounding this realm of the body. We also hope to aspire to and animate these qualities more broadly in our day-to-day lives.

The Islamic Principle of Rahma[1]: A Call for Reproductive Justice

In a country where:

where this is the unconscionable reality we live in, we––the American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA)––an organization of concerned lawyers––and HEART––a national reproductive justice organization serving American Muslims, alongside the undersigned coalition, amplify the calls to advance reproductive justice.[8] That is, the human right of every person to:

  • Have personal autonomy over their body and make decisions about their reproductive health;
  • To have or not have children;
  • To parent the children they have in safe and sustainable communities; and
  • To have access to quality healthcare.[9] 

Simply protecting individual rights, choice, and privacy is a hollow endeavor. We must instead strive for collective liberation and animate the ethos that our own liberation is tied to and bound up in everyone else’s.[10] Reproductive justice recognizes the layered impact of racism and capitalism on reproductive oppression and adopts an intersectional holistic grassroots approach to combating attacks on reproductive freedom and dignity.[11] 

Since AMBA was founded on principles of love, justice, mercy, and compassion,[12] and HEART centers the most impacted Muslims at the intersection of gendered violence and reproductive justice,[13] we amplify the calls of poor and working class, BIPOC, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities, and disabled people who historically and presently face barriers to reproductive justice. In order to guarantee the right to reproductive freedom and dignity, we must ensure that everyone, regardless of background, can actualize these rights.

The Human Right To Not Have Children 

State laws like Mississippi’s 15-week ban, Texas’ 6-week ban, and Oklahoma’s near-total ban are based on a viewpoint devoid of scientific consensus. Instead, colonialism[14] and white Christian nationalism[15] are at the root of laws that restrict, police, and control pregnant persons’ bodies. As Muslim Americans, and a religious minority, we are uniquely positioned to condemn abortion bans and their attack on every person’s constitutional right to religious liberty free from the imposition of one religious viewpoint to the exclusion of others, i.e. a narrow segment of white Christian centric and patriarchal framework that is at odds with our own.

Muslims are not a monolith and we don’t have a systemized and global authority that mirrors the papal system in Catholicism.[16] We also don’t hold a uniform view on when life begins.[17] Instead, our viewpoints can be informed by our own interpretation of sacred text, our faith leaders’ interpretation of sacred text, faith more broadly, conversations with our mid-wife, doula, providers, science more broadly, sex and reproductive health education in schools and/or masjids, philosophy and biomedical ethics, our lived experiences, and the lived experiences of our loved ones. Since Muslim pregnant persons, like others, are the only expert on their own lived reality, this complex, layered, and nuanced decision should be left to them and their individual conscience. And if they so choose, it’s a decision that can be made with others including their faith leader. By promoting a particular religious viewpoint and depriving pregnant people of the right to direct their lives according to their unique lived experiences, faith traditions, and beliefs, we believe states enacting bans are a threat to religious liberty in violation of the U.S. Constitution and relevant state constitutions that enshrine the same principle.

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States and Black Muslims make up one-third of the Muslim American population. A large segment of our Muslim communities are disproportionately targeted and harmed by reproductive oppression. In addition to calling for religious liberty, we must also center the experiences of Black Muslims and Black communities more broadly, who due to sitting at the intersection of multiple targeted identities, face unique barriers to actualizing rights to reproductive justice.  Georgia, Mississippi, and Michigan are just some of the states impacted by abortion restrictions that have sizeable Black Muslim populations.

People[18] get abortions for all kinds of reasons. They may be guided by familial, financial, or medical concerns,[19] and most people who access?abortion?care?are living in poverty. People should be able to access and exercise the right to birth control including contraception and abortion so they can direct the course of their lives. Instead, we live in a reality where BIPOC communities are disproportionately impacted by prosecutions of self-managed abortions and outcomes of pregnancy.[20] In addition, people who seek and face barriers to accessing abortion and carry an unwanted pregnancy to term are more likely to experience poverty and intimate partner violence. State measures to control bodies are compounded for trans and non-binary folks who face legislation violating their rights to bodily integrity on multiple fronts.[21]

AMBA for more

Israel-India alliance: A recipe for global expansion of Islamophobia

June 22nd, 2022

by ISAMIL PATEL

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz (left) shakes hands with India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as he arrives for a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on 2 June 2022 PHOTO/AFP

Under the BJP government, India’s ties with Israel have moved beyond economic interests to far-right ideological synergy

The IndiaIsrael relationship highlights the thin line between principles and interests. India has historically been a political ally against Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine. Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and other forefathers of the Indian independence struggle challenged the Israeli occupation.

India’s support for Palestinians did not wane even after India officially recognised the state of Israel in 1950. Only after the end of the Cold War and the opportunity for capitalist expansion did India establish formal diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. 

In the following decades, principles were squashed by interests. In 2006, India and Israel signed the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project to share best practices on increasing crop diversity and productivity, alongside professional training programmes. Bilateral trade began to grow in line with military ties.

Since 2017, just three years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, India has been a strategic partner and co-producer of Israeli weapons, with the two countries conducting joint military drills and hosting police and army exchange visits.

Since Modi entered office in 2014, around 42 percent of all arms exports from Israel have gone to India. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), weapons deliveries to India from Israel increased by 175 percent between 2015 and 2019. The two countries have also expanded their cooperation in cyber-security in recent years.

On the economic front, between 1992 and 2021, bilateral trade soared to $6.35bn in 2021 from just $200m in 1992.

Muslims targeted

Under the BJP government, the strengthening of relations between India and Israel has moved beyond economic interests to ideological synergy.

The common thread uniting them is far-right nationalism, which calls for the exclusion, if not expulsion, of all others who do not adhere to the exclusivist identity they’ve assigned to the state.

In this context, the figure of the Muslim has become a target of violence in India, while for the Israeli state, Palestinians are an impediment to colonial expansion; for the Hindu nationalists of the BJP, Muslims represent the corruption of a purist Hindu nation. This is a Palestinisation of the Indian Muslims.

The adoption of Israeli tactics has been explicitly promoted by Indian diplomat Sandeep Chakravorty, who in 2019 asserted that Hindus should adopt the Israel model in Indian-occupied Kashmir. It is thus not surprising that in Kashmir, the Indian army uses civilians as human shields, just as Israel does in the occupied Palestinian territories. This illegal practice is internationally condemned.

Middle East Eye for more 

A quarter century of a Western-backed war of aggression against the Congolese people

June 22nd, 2022

by MAURICE CARNEY

Uganda president Yoweri Museveni (wearing hat) and Rwanda president Paul Kagame PHOTO/Reuters/Noor Khamis

Rwanda and Uganda have carried out attacks against the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past 25 years. Their aggressions are carried out with the backing of the U.S. and European nations who aid their theft of Congo’s resources. 

The recent outbreak of military confrontation on May 22nd between the Congolese military and the Rwanda-backed M23 rebel group represents the latest episode in Paul Kagame’s 25-year war of aggression and pillage against the Congolese people. The Congolese military in coordination with a United Nations authorized international force made up of South African, Malawian and Tanzanian soldiers defeated the Rwanda-backed M23 in 2013. A lot of the leadership fled back into Rwanda and Uganda where they evidently have been incubated and reconstituted to launch yet another attack on the Congolese people. The stark reality is that there is no M23 without Rwanda. The Congolese military captured two Rwandan soldiers among the M23 rebels in the latest incursions. Tensions have risen between the two nations and is escalating. According to the Congolese military, Rwanda has recently dispatched 500 soldiers in the east of Congo alongside the M23 rebels.

Paul Kagame’s Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda have both invaded the Congo (1996 & 1998), occupied large swaths of the country, and backed and sponsored militia groups such as the M23 in order to sew mayhem and destruction as both nations profit from Congo’s riches. In a 2001 report , the United Nations noted “Presidents Kagame and Museveni are on the verge of becoming the godfathers of the illegal exploitation of natural resources and the continuation of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Both leaders are able to have their way in the Congo in large part due to the backing they receive from the United States, Great Britain and a number of other Western states. They are authoritarian figures who have been in power for decades – over two decades for Kagame and over three decades for Museveni. They have benefited from U.S. tax payer dollars to the tune of billions in donor aid, military equipment, intelligence, training, etc. In addition, they take full advantage of the diplomatic and political cover provided by the United States in particular, in order to skirt international justice for the mass crimes they have committed in the Great Lakes region of Africa. They are part of a collective of African neo-colonial agents that date back to Bill Clinton’s administration of the 1990s. Madeleine Albright then Secretary of State, Susan Rice then Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Bill Clinton dubbed this new group of proxies “Renaissance Leaders” or the “New Breed” of African leaders. The Clinton Administration put its stamp of approval on these leaders which provided them cover for the crimes that they have committed against their fellow Africans. Some of these leaders included Meles Zenawi of Ethiopian and Kagame and Museveni of Rwanda and Uganda respectively. The policy was enshrined in the so-called Entebbe principles , which enrolled these leaders in advancing U.S. security, strategic interests and neoliberal economic policies in Africa.

Paul Kagame has apparently risen to be the chief beneficiary of Washington’s protection. The cover and protection that Rwanda has experienced has its origins in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda where the United States shielded Paul Kagame and his military from prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity that they committed during the Rwandan genocide. The crimes that both Kagame and Museveni have committed in the region have resulted in what the United Nations has called the deadliest conflict in the world since WWII and the greatest humanitarian crisis at the dawn of the 21st Century. An estimated six million Congolese perished between 1996 – 2007 due to the conflict and conflict related causes. The United Nations stated in its 2010 Mapping Exercise Report that if the acts committed by Kagame’s military in the Congo were to be “proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.” The Congolese have had minimal success in holding Museveni to account. The International Court of Justice found the Ugandan government culpable for war crimes and plunder in the Congo and order it to pay $325 million in reparations to the Congo Rwanda would have likely befallen the same fate if not worse but it is not party to the International Court of Justice and hence outside of its jurisdiction.

Black Agenda Report for more

Support the student mobilizations in Greece!

June 22nd, 2022

by ANDREAS SARTZEKIS

On 26 May 2022, a student from Thessaloniki, Yannis Doussakis, was almost killed by a grenade fired by one of the many Greek riot squads, the MAT, who had invaded the university. Since then, a slogan of many protest demonstrations has been very clear: “It did not fall by chance, the grenade”.

By creating a university police force (OPPI), prime minister Mitsotakis and his far-right government want to terrorize university youth. In recent days, many students have been injured or arrested during big mobilizations.

In fact, since the summer of 2019 when Mitsotakis, a former student at a US private college, became prime minister, with the appointment to the Ministry of Education and Religion of a bigoted ultra-neoliberal, Niki Kerameos, students have mobilized, at that time against the abolition of university asylum. But long before this date, the right, with the help of its tame media, was attacking the public universities, accused of being dens of the left and drugs. Students were preparing for an active resistance against a multifaceted repression.

The Aristotle faculty at Thessaloniki has been at the forefront of mobilizations but also provocations: the cops did not hesitate to bring in a water cannon vehicle to better repress … which allowed the students to organize a fine press conference in front of the machine! Faced with this anti-youth policy in the name of “Law and Order”, protests and demonstrations are permanent: a demonstration of 5,000 students and sectors of the workers’ movement in Thessaloniki on 27 May; in several university cities, notably on 2 June, exasperated teachers shouting at the MAT to disappear so they could teach; condemnation from Amnesty International; a student text with hundreds of signatures denouncing the attempt to transform the university into a “socially sterile place delivered up to praetorians and the interests of private companies”…

And the results of the university elections were a blow to the government – with each department organizing elections by lists of tendencies, in fact political factions, in the absence of a (re)unified student unionism: while for about 40 years it was the right-wing tendency that prevailed, it fell to about 27%, with the CP tendency (KKE) in the lead with about 34%, the radical left tendency not far off 20%, and Syriza obtaining 2.5%.

Of course, the constant repression aims to impose a project that Kerameos has just tabled: to drastically reduce the number of students in public universities (with 20,000 prevented from access in 2021), to conclude agreements for degrees meeting strictly the needs of companies, with increased social selection (transition to scholarships on criteria which are no longer social but of “merit”) and threats to the existence of small colleges in medium-sized cities. The second axis: to modify the administration, by abolishing collective functioning (the university president, instead of being elected by hundreds of colleagues, would be elected by a “council” of 11 members, including five from outside the university) and breaking up democratic student life, aiming to eliminate the current politico-union groupings… The college of clientelism, such is the vision of the right and the minister.

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Letters from Lukashenka’s prisoners

June 21st, 2022

INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Mikola Dziadok

Anarchist and blogger
Detained on 11 November 2020

“How quickly time flies! It would seem that it was just the New Year, and now it’s already the 20th. At this rate, they will release me quickly =)”

for more of Mikola Dziadok letter

Volha Harbunova

Psychologist and human rights defender
Detained on 9 November 2021

“I saw through the tower window of Pishchalauski castle prison. I try to realise I am in the center of Minsk, because my perception has narrowed to the size of a small cell and it seems that nothing else has ever existed.”

for more of Volha Harbunova letter

Index on Censorship for other letters