Saturday, July 22, 2017

Soros's Sorrows

George Soros, the philanthropist, is a very controversial man in our time. He always had eyes for making money and made billions in doing what he was good at. In that process, he made many critics including the Dr. Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia. One thing no one should argue about is his sincerity for human rights. He is driven to make things better for all, including the Palestinians in Apartheid Israel. As a Hungarian Jew such activism does not bode well amongst many Jews who like to falsely label him as an anti-Semite. Such accusations are sickening and ludicrous.
Soros is treated as a villain in his native Hungary. The reasons are obvious. The government there is a neo-fascist government that does not like human rights activism of Soros.
Here is Uri Avnery's latest piece where he writes about Soros.
He writes, "Anti-Semites always preferred the Zionists. Adolf Eichmann wrote in his confession that he saw the Zionists as the “valuable element” of the Jewish people. And so on.
Abraham Stern, called Ya’ir, an underground leader in British Palestine, split from the Irgun and founded a new group (called the “Stern Gang” by the British) whose main policy plank was to cooperate with Nazi Germany against the British, on the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. He sent emissaries to German embassies but was ignored by Hitler. Eventually he was shot by the British."
Netanyahu is a good friend of the Hungarian leader Victor Orban, the neo-fascist, and an anti-Semite bigot.
Avnery writes, "Well, life is full of contradictions. As are we.
Netanyahu’s Hungarian adventures were not over with the Soros and Horthy affairs. Far from it.
While in Budapest, he took part in a closed meeting with the leaders of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Some fool forgot to cut the line to the Journalists outside, and so they could listen in to some 20 minutes of Netanyahu’s secret speech.
To his East European soul mates, extreme right-wing semi-democrats all, our Prime Minister poured out his heart: the liberal West European governments are “crazy” when they impose conditions regarding human rights on their aid to Israel. They are committing suicide by letting in masses of Muslims. They don’t realize that Israel is their last bulwark against this Muslim invasion."

The Murder of Muslims by Farzan Versey

Farzan Versee has been writing on India and minority issues for quite some time. Here below is her latest article, which I produce in its entirety.
In India today, nationalism has a religion. Hinduism. We may pussyfoot around it and refer to it as Hindutva, saffronisation or, what the ruling rightwing Bhartiya Janata Party calls “fringe elements”, but the discourse is clearly embedded in the faith of the majority community.
Slurs against Muslims have become commonplace. A country that wants to declare the cow as the mother of the nation and where minorities have to prove their patriotism not by allegiance to the flag but to the political party in power is bound to descend into chaos.
Two years ago, a mob brandishing hockey sticks and knives barged into Mohammed Akhlaq’s house in Dadri in north India and assaulted all the family members before killing him because they suspected there was beef in their fridge. The meat was sent to the forensic lab and it was found to be lamb.
When one of his killers died (of natural causes), he was given a martyr’s funeral; his coffin was draped in the national flag and there were speeches by leaders from Hindu organisations that have direct access to the government.
Last month towards the end of Ramadan when Junaid boarded the train to return home with his Eid shopping bags, he might not have imagined that the elderly man whom he offered the seat to would egg on a mob punching him and his friends. Abuses flew. “Beef eater”, “antinational”, “mullah”. They pulled at their skull caps and newly-sprouted beards. Knives came out telling them to go to Pakistan. They were bleeding. Nobody came to their rescue. Junaid was stabbed. He died. He was 16.
At the stations en route some of the lynch mob got off, enough to let the cops shrug about little evidence.
A scuffle for seats got transformed into a fight for political and religious space. Or, perhaps, religious assertiveness is seeking out reasons.
Meat trader Alimuddin Ansari was beaten up by a mob and his van, ostensibly with cattle meat, was set on fire in Jharkhand. There seemed to have been a dispute with some people who were extorting money from him. Such excuses have become the norm where the victim is invariably Muslim, for it was not a spontaneous act. His movements were tracked for hours before he was murdered.
Mohammad Majloom and Inayatullah Khan of Latehar were taking their cattle to a fair many miles away. Five men with a mission waylaid them. After they killed the 35 and 13 year old, they tied a noose around their necks and hung them from a tree.
“Prima facie it appears to have been a case of a gang attempting to loot cattle,” the cops said. For those in a hurry to rob and make a quick escape with the cattle to profit from it, they seemed to have relished in committing the murders. Not only did they kill the two, they hanged them. The hanging was a message. To shame. To hold them up as an example. How dare they not respect their gau mata, the cow mother, their religion?
It is disconcerting that mobs are using cow protection as the higher cause even to settle petty disputes. The shaming has got a further boost because the videos are uploaded and shared. The message gets more traction. What is so evident in these viral videos is that the so-called ‘jihadi mentality’ that Muslims are accused of does not respond in kind. The victims are just overwhelmed by the suddenness of the attack; in some instances they are pleading, in one the man does not even have the energy or presence of mind to protest as they grab his hair and kick him. He just takes it like a stoic who has become accustomed to lie on a bed of nails.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has not uttered a word condoling any of these deaths. He tweets mourning for the loss of lives in a fire in Portugal, but makes no attempt to reach out to the families of those killed by men purportedly supporting his party’s Hindutva dream, a dream to reclaim ancient India and transform the country into a Hindu nation.
When he does speak, it is evasive: “All (state) governments should take stringent action against those who are violating law in the name of cow protection.”
How will this happen when some state governments are handing out expensive beef detection kits to the cops to smell for trouble, effectively converting the police force into cow protectors too? The very fact that there are several cow protection groups is worrying, for they aren’t animal rights activists but soldiers of the faith.
“Bolo Jai Shri Ram” (Hail Lord Rama), is the war cry. People are stopped in the streets and asked to owe allegiance to their god. A mentally unstable woman was slapped and forced to utter the words; a cleric was pummelled just outside the mosque by a group insisting he chant the phrase; journalist Munne Bharti was driving with his elderly parents. Suddenly, their car was surrounded by a group. They threatened to set the car on fire if they did not chant “Jai Shri Ram”. They did. An adult was frightened, for himself and his aged parents.
How is this not about religion, then?
It was always about religion, perhaps by a few skewed minds. 25 years ago Bal Thackeray, the leader of the militant Shiv Sena, had asked for the disenfranchisement of Muslims. He would address huge rallies at an open ground referring to Muslims as “katuas”, the cut ones without a foreskin. After the Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya, on the instructions of these political parties, and the riots reached what was then Bombay, the men in the streets would point at the crotches of Muslim men and snigger, “katua”. They were stopped and asked to strip for a random check by random people. Unlike the Sikhs after the riots in 1984 who discarded their turbans and shaved off their hair to protect themselves, Muslims could not get back their foreskin.
At the All-India Hindu Convention held last month in Goa, for 4 days all the cars at the venue were sprayed with cow urine to purify them. “Their car needs shuddhi karan. We do it to all objects — watches, clothes, sometimes even handbags. It’s a spiritual exercise.”
How people choose to practise their faith is a personal matter. But when you have a cow piss soda, cow dung and urine being made a part of ayurvedic medicines and astrologers treating people in hospital OPDs, then it becomes obvious that the cow and beef are incidental here. They are only the more potent batons to beat the minorities. There is also the commercial angle. Giving a charlatan guru called Ramdev land and business rights to run an empire ostensibly selling indigenous products is a strategy to bring the devil close to your home.
Young Hindu women are training in self-defence to protect them from “love jihad”, a bogey created by the rightwing suggesting that Muslim men are luring them to fall in love to later convert them.
In May last year, there was a report about a camp in Uttar Pradesh training the youth wing of militant Hindu organisations to protect the country from terrorists. In the video images they are aiming their air guns and sticks at men wearing skull caps. The governor had justified the drill: “Those who cannot defend themselves, cannot ultimately defend the country and there is nothing wrong if some youths are getting arms-training purely for self defence.”
That instead of urging these fit youth to join the army, they are being brainwashed to target a particular group makes the intention clear.
How is this not about religion?
The fallout of such brainwashing is not restricted to the extremist Hindutva proponents alone. There is a not-so-subtle attempt to deflect from the Hinduness of the terror by liberals too. An academic who has taken it upon himself to explain India to Indians on social media from his perch in the US has written about the global Muslim victimhood industry by playing victim: “One cannot use the term ‘Muslim terror’ (but Hindu or Christian or Left terror is fine) or even Islamic terror without worry of being termed communal, bigoted, or Islamophobic. The appropriate phrase is ‘Islamist terror,’ which, we are expected to clarify, has nothing to do with Islam.”
Some commentators have begun to call India Lynchistan, the land of lynching. We do not seem to realise that mobs thrive on notoriety. They are not seeking a popular mandate, because they already are the popular mandate. Paper tiger responses only embolden their cause. The truth is that nobody in mainstream media or in activism or with an outsider’s perspective, like Dr. Amartya Sen, has had the courage or the will to call these planned lynchings as Hindu terrorism.
Is such nomenclature important? It is. Because it is a systematic attempt to annihilate the minorities, specifically Muslims. (Quite different from Islamist terrorism whose victims are mainly Muslim and, in some cases like the ISIS’s victims, also people who are liberal enough to support Muslims.)
Muslims immediately distance themselves from any jihad violence, even though that does not assuage their neighbours from seeing them as potential suspects. Hindus are not doing so in large enough numbers, and they are chary of admitting the faith angle because they believe that Hinduism is not a monotheistic faith with allegiance to one book and one god. It is amorphous and therefore fluid, they reason.
The caste system and its treatment of Dalits and the backward castes certainly reveals ‘fluidity’. All the government-engineered riots have been masterminded by a vile intellect that outsources the war to the police and army and pumps up the trading class to decimate minority businesses. The murder of minorities is only a more violent assertion of this sheltered ghettoisation of the elite majority.
There are many who use their internet liberalism to rationalise their own subtle bigotry. That many of them also have a stake in steak does lend weight to their public “I’m not too Hindu” utterances.
In one such recent piece, the headline flashed about how Hindu victimhood is a manufactured cry. In the first para itself, though, the writer gave a clean chit to Muslims quoting, of all people, George Bush: “India is a country which does not have a single al-Qaida member in a population of 150 million Muslims.” Hindus do not have to prove whether they have allegiance to any extremist organisation, even if they elect them to power.
The usage of Islamist phrases like fatwa and jihad to explain Hindu terror acts and suggest they are only “mimicking” reeks of another version of Islamophobia and projects violence by Hindu extremists as a reaction to centuries of abuse by Muslim rulers. This historic narrative pushes the ‘tolerate Muslims despite their past’ idea, the moral compass revealing who considers itself the superior side.
These recent attempts to call out Hindu extremists is not organic. They are a response to some of us wondering why we did not link the Hindu word with terrorism. We have woken up or, in good old Hindu speak, and in deference to many of us being converts from the ancient religion, our third eye has been awakened.

Ramzy Baroud on the story behind the Jerusalem Attack

To read Ramzy Barroud's Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians to A Corner click here.

Indian troops kill Kashmiri civilian

Kashmir: Indian troops kill young tailor amid protests

Residents say army fired indiscriminately at protesters, as police claim soldiers were being pelted with rocks.

Behind the fa├žade of democracy and secularism, India has been steadily transforming itself into a Hindu fascist state where the lives of minorities are becoming worse day by day. With the presence of nearly half a million soldiers, the Indian Occupied Kashmir has been turned into a war zone with security forces everywhere who don't mind killing wantonly anyone who is a Muslim. By default, all the Kashmiri Muslims are fair targets for shooting.
Even a tailor is not safe from such criminality of the government of India that refuses to allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their fate - the UN mandated right to plebiscite - something that they were promised more than seventy years ago. More than 70,000 unarmed Kashmiris have been butchered by the Indian forces. But who is counting?
Here is the latest report on Kashmir.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Muslims return to CAR to find their homes are gone

Remember Daghestan, remember Chechnya during the Stalin era when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were ethnically cleansed from their native homelands to be settled in Siberia and other faraway territories on false charges of being collaborators for the Germans during World War 2? It took several decades before the Soviet government, under a new leadership, confessed to their crime and allowed the victims, or more properly their children and grandchildren, to return home. When they returned they found their homes seized and occupied by Christian Ossetians. And it has never been the same for those descendants of Stalin's victims. They continue to make headlines in the global press, sometimes in the wrong side of prevalent history of our time. It is a sad story!

We are seeing a repeat of the crime in Central African Republic. To find out more, read below or click here.

Muslims return to CAR to find their homes are gone

Observers warn that if land and property are not returned, there will be no peace in the Central African Republic.

Bangui, Central African Republic - M Babakir Ali cuts a lonely figure sitting on a plastic chair outside a rundown cafe in the PK5 district of Bangui.
Once the owner of five houses and 18,000 square metres of land in the Foulbe district of Pk13, on the outskirts of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, Ali is now reduced to a pair of jeans and a short white sleeved shirt. The thin vertical stripes are faintly visible beyond the creases. He is a refugee in his own city.
"I left for Chad in January 2014 because of what happened on the streets of Bangui," Ali says.
Ali says he watched as bodies of young Muslim men were dragged through the streets of the capital and then piled at a local mosque in what was to signal the changing fortunes for Muslims in the country.
He was right.
In early January, Muslims in the PK5, PK12, PK13 districts of Bangui were hunted down, mutilated, burned alive and left on the streets. Muslims in the towns of Bossangoa, Bozoum, Bouca, Yaloke, Mbaiki, Bossembele and others also fled, as Anti-balaka embarked on a reign of terror across the northwest and southwestern regions.
Ali gathered his family, and fled to neighbouring Chad, too.
With the unrest in Bangui lifting in 2016 as the country neared elections, he decided to come home.
But he knew he would face a new struggle on his return.
"I knew my houses and my land, that everything had been taken," 45-year-old Ali says. "I knew I would be coming back to nothing."
Ali speaks in short and abrupt sentences. The already battered plastic chair bends and shifts with his every gesture. There is a calm dissonance in his moist, jaundiced eyes even as he explains that his property was sold to a third party by a local chief.
"I am not the only one. So many from my district have returned, and have nowhere to go," Ali says, looking away.

'Exodus of historic proportions'

Thousands have been killed since the Central African Republic fell into a slow-churning civil war following a coup in 2013. Close to a million others fled their homes fearing catching a stray bullet or becoming the victims of targeted killings.
At first, when the Muslim-led Seleka rebels took Bangui, the Christian community was attacked.
Later, when Christians formed self-defence groups into what became known as the Anti-balaka, and many Seleka rebels disarmed, the Muslim minority was attacked.
Muslims were shunned, forced to flee into enclaves and displaced camps or into neighbouring Cameroon or Chad in a cascade of violence.
Amnesty International warned of "a Muslim exodus of historic proportions". And when the Muslims left, their homes, property and lands were confiscated, sold or occupied.
In June 2016, the country held presidential elections and a new government led by President Faustin-Archange Touadera was voted in. Security returned to the capital Bangui.
Under a sizeable UN peacekeeping force, many thousands of people like Ali began returning to districts in and around Bangui.
But many others refuse to come back, either out of fear or because they have no home to return to. One-fifth of the country's population is currently either displaced internally or abroad in neighbouring Chad, Cameroon or the Democratic Republic Congo.

Reclaiming property

Humanitarian organisations in Bangui are concerned that if left unresolved, unlawful and illegal occupation of homes or properties could easily become another driver of conflict in a country already overwhelmingly riveted on land, resources and power.
"Addressing housing, land and property is a crucial component of sustainable peacebuilding efforts," Ingrid Beauquis, spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Bangui, says.
"If people displaced by violence cannot return to their communities, reclaim their property or relocate with the support of authorities, small conflicts over land may escalate to violence, communities may remain divided, and long-term stability may become impossible," Beauquis told Al Jazeera.
The NRC has been working with the local government in tackling what they call Housing, Land and Property (HLP) rights in an effort to facilitate the process of returning homes and land to the rightful owners. But results have varied.
For instance, out of the 475 cases the NRC is directly mediating, including illegal selling and occupation, destruction and encroachment of land or houses, just 18 cases have been successfully solved.
But resolving these cases is complicated.
For instance, Ali's family is one of 280 households who has been reportedly displaced in the PK13 district. Given the sensitivities of broaching an issue that encompasses theft, sectarianism and desperation, simply asking the new occupants to leave is not possible.
"Once we verify all 280 cases, the local community and local authorities will approach the secondary occupants," Beauquis says.
But amid mass displacement, insecurity and a crisis of authority, the government is simply unable to prioritise housing, land and property rights.
"We have to work with local leaders and movement on the cases is dependent on their willingness to push ahead with the cases." Jennifer Jecolia, a programme coordinator with the NRC, says.

Justice for social cohesion

Jean Emmanuel Gazanguenza's pinstripe suit hangs from his gaunt body. The mayor of Begoua or PK12, one of the 134 district of Bangui, chooses his words slowly and meticulously. His organised thoughts are a far cry from the chaos that is his desk: a melange of reports and loose papers, unopened envelopes, an assortment of plastic pink roses that remarkably match the surrounding four walls of his office.
Gazanguenza says that it was only a few months ago that he was displaced too, and that he only just moved back home and into his office.
He says that his office has identified 231 houses in his district that were sold illegally. A majority of which originally belonged to Muslims, he admits.
"Many regret what they did, because they never had issues before and they realise they got carried away in the chaos," he says.
Gazanguenza is clear that people will need to get their lot back.
"Else we will have a problem here," the mayor says slowly. "If people feel that there is impunity, then everyone will do what they like, and there will be revenge," he says, his hands slowly forming a steeple.
"Justice and reparation are necessary for social cohesion," he says.
But even he understands that this is easier said than done.
Part of the problem is many home or property owners, especially outside the capital Bangui, simply do not have title deeds.
If individual owners have the financial capability to approach the courts, the country's property law does not sufficiently protect the rights of the displaced to return to their property. In circumstances where title deeds or ownership cannot be established, the displaced have simply nowhere to turn.
According to the NRC, a new framework law on property is currently being drafted with the dual ambition of protecting the very particular rights of the displaced and helping to facilitate the resolution of future land or property conflicts.
But like so many other facets of CAR, law enforcement is likely to remain a major obstacle, especially outside the capital, the NRC says.
As it stands, the state starts and ends in Bangui. The countryside remains firmly within the ambit of armed groups. Groups belonging to the Seleka or Anti-balaka can be observed running towns and villages often in the full view of UN peacekeepers.
Even in Bangui, individuals who want their land back are most likely to find traction via the NRC or through their local mayors, who focus on discussions and negotiations in an effort to have secondary occupants give up the stolen property.
Forty-five-year-old M Osman from PK13 lost five of his houses in 2013. Osman is still not able to return to his properties because they have been occupied by people who were displaced by the violence themselves.
M Osman left for Chad in 2014 after his son-in-law was murdered. He subsequently returned two years later to find all his property had been taken [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
In Osman's case, the NRC, together with the head of the district, approached the new residents and explained that the owner wanted to return. They agreed to leave. But Osman is still not convinced that the area is safe enough for Muslims to return. Until more Muslims return, he won't go back.
"I told them that I will give them one month notice before I want to move back," Osman told Al Jazeera. Until then, he will be living in the PK5 district.
It is not clear how much longer people will wait. Noumou Waziri, 60, an Imam who lost his home and his mosque in PK13 in 2014, says he continues to remind people to be patient.
"I tell them not to take revenge. I tell them that despite what has happened, we do not accept that people can take action in their own hands."
Ali agrees that vigilantism is not the solution, but his response is a little more cryptic.
"I came back because this is my home. I didn't want to live as a refugee," he says. "But if the land is not returned, it means we cannot live together."

Yemen: the other war ravaged country

Here are 3 news items about Yemen.
Yemen Policy Is Creating More Terrorists - argues Adil E. Shamoo and Bonnie Bricker.
The Saudi policy right from its inception has been criminal, and needs wholesale condemnation from the civilized world. Here is the link to read about latest Saudi crimes that killed 20 civilians in  South Yemen.
Buoyed by American support in recent years, like Myanmar, they are not allowing UN Aid Flight to Yemen. What a crime against humanity! Now the  Yemenis are finding Somalia, long a killing field because of Western influence in the horn of Africa, aided by Kenya, to be safer than their own country. This in spite of the sad fact that Somalia is facing its worst famine since 1945.

Massacre of Mosul revealed

More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent – a death toll far higher than previous estimates.
To read more, click here.