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Revolutionary Communist Party
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our comrade Nathalie Moreau. Brilliant and dedicated activist, Nathalie passed away on September 5 surrounded by her family, victim of an ovarian cancer that was diagnosed a little less than four years ago. Our solidarity first goes to her relatives, her partner, children, siblings and other family members, as well as her countless friends, work colleagues, to those valiant women with whom she shared a similar condition since 2012 and of course to her comrades, who all lose an irreplaceable companion, a friend and a combatant. Nathalie had a lasting impact on the lives of all those who were fortunate to know her, in all spheres of activity in which she has been involved. For us who accompanied her in her militant life, she will remain a model of intelligence, courage and determination, an inexhaustible source of inspiration who will continue to embody the communist future for which we are fighting. We will announce soon how we intend to pay tribute to her.
Revolutionary Communist Party, Central Committee
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23 November 2009. A World to Win News Service. A serial killer kept strangling women in a poor Black district of the U.S. city of Cleveland. The police finally searched Anthony Sowell's home in September, after he tried and failed to kidnap yet another woman in the neighbourhood. They found the remains of at least 11 women. But much more than one man's hideous crimes began to come to light. It turned out that the authorities had reason to know what was going on and didn't care.
For instance, in December 2008 an injured young woman stopped a police patrol on a street near Sowell's home. She told the officers that Sowell had grabbed her as she passed by his house, dragged her behind the building and beat her and tried to rape her. The police found blood on the floor and on his face when they went to arrest Sowell. Yet police records indicate that they thought the woman was "not credible", that her accusations were "unfounded" (despite the fact that Sowell had served 15 years in prison for rape), and that at most this had been a minor robbery attempt. They ended up releasing him without charges. (Washington Post, 13 November 2009) They paid no attention to the neighbours, who suspected that something very bad was going on in that house, nor did they care that the premises often stank like decomposing flesh.
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23 November 2009. A World to Win News Service. In 2002 American troops began openly carrying out military missions in the Philippines as part of the U.S. "war on terror". Since then the U.S. has provided the Philippine government with $1.6 billion in military and economic aid, much of it focused on the historically Moslem (Moro) and deeply oppressed southern island of Mindanao. An elite 600-solider U.S. counter-insurgency unit is operating there alongside Philippine government forces. Officially their main target has been Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic fundamentalist group said to be linked to Al Qaeda. Since August 2008, however, they have also gone on the offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an organisation whose aim is the autonomy of the island's Moro people. Hundreds of thousands of peasants have been forced into refugee camps. (TheNew York Times, 23 November 2009)
Now there are reports that U.S. troops are also taking an active part in attacking the New People’s Army led by the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Mindanao countryside.
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16 November 2009. A World to Win News Service. The Indian government is preparing "Operation Green Hunt", a counter-insurgency operation on an unprecedented scale. As many as a hundred thousand soldiers and other security forces are to be sent into the forested hills of eastern and central India to crush the rebellion of adivasi (tribal peoples) led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist). This is no short-term incursion: the authorities have announced that they plan to station massive numbers of troops in the tribal areas for years to come.
Several commentators have warned of the danger that the Indian government plans to seek a "Sri Lanka solution", modelled on the recent protracted government offensive there. Massive ground forces and air assaults were used to defeat the Tamil Tigers, and then hundreds of thousands of the region’s civilian population were imprisoned in detention camps, where most still languish. Now what may be permanent military bases are being built in the Tamil heartland. The Indian government no doubt noted the implicit U.S. approval for that operation. At the U.S 's behest, the IMF granted the Sri Lankan government a huge financial package almost immediately after the massacre.
Following are excerpts from an article by Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy that appeared in the October 31 issue of the Sri Lanka Guardian (srilankaguardian.org). The full article online gives much more detail for her arguments and a more all-around representation of her views. The November 2009 issue of People's March (peoplesmarch.googlepages.com, or bannedthought.net) has two recent statements by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and other material on this offensive. A statement by the Revolutionary Democratic Front is also included in this AWTWNS packet.
The low, flat-topped hills of south Orissa have been home to the Dongria Kondh [one of several tribal peoples in the region] long before there was a country called India or a state called Orissa. The hills watched over the Kondh. The Kondh watched over the hills and worshipped them as living deities. Now these hills have been sold for the bauxite they contain...
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16 November 2009. A World to Win News Service. Following is a statement by the Revolutionary Democratic Front of India (rfindia.gmail.com).
The former U.S. President George W. Bush declared a "War on Terror" on the pretext of 9/11, and attacked Iraq and then Afghanistan so that U.S. imperialism could capture oil, gas and other natural resources in these foreign countries. The prime minister of India too made an open declaration of "war against terrorism" after 26/11. P. Chidambaram [The Home Minister in charge of "Operation Green Hunt"] too recently announced the government's decision to go on a military offensive adhering to the dictates of the U.S. This time the offensive was aimed at the people of this country, those who are among the most deprived and exploited. This is just to facilitate the handing over of the country's natural resources to the plunder and loot of foreign corporations, even though purported aim is to re-establish the sovereign rule of the Indian state in Maoist-influenced regions.
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7 September 2009. A World to Win News Service. It seems there is no limit to the crimes that the Islamic Republic of Iran is committing against the people, especially youth who protested against years of repression and oppression.
One of the latest victims was 17-year-old Saeedeh Aghaee. She now lies buried with no name marker in Section 302 of the Behesht Zahra graveyard in Tehran. Her family held a memorial ceremony for her 29 August 2009. It is reported that Saeedeh was tortured, raped and then burnt in acid from the knees upward to destroy any evidence of the rape and other kinds of torture.
Saeedeh was arrested by plainclothes Basiji militiamen one night when she was shouting slogans on a rooftop. Her mother identified her body 20 days later in one of the refrigerated rooms where corpses are kept in south Tehran. But the authorities refused to hand over the body, according to an interview with a human rights activist in Iran published on the Deutsche Welt Persian website. They demanded a large sum of money to release Saeedeh's body, and her family could not afford it. After several weeks her family found out that she had been secretly buried in Behesht Zahra. According to some reports, the family was pressured to announce that her death was due to "kidney failure". But Saeedeh had no history of bad health or kidney problems. Relatives and friends were surprised by this announcement and suspected its validity. This led to an exposure of the facts and it became known how she was murdered.
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10 August 2009. A World to Win News Service. The following document by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) dated 28 June 2009 was recently released publicly. This is the second of a two-part series. The first part, published in AWTWNS 090727, focused on analysing the situation. The English translation is unofficial.
This wave has just started
With the accumulation of 30 years of anger and the collapse of its legitimacy among the majority of people, the regime's inability to carry forward plans to suppress the masses will cause the continuation of a new wave of struggle among the masses. This wave can emerge abruptly or recede and will advance through ups and downs. The longer this revolutionary wave lasts, the more developed will be the polarization between the more advanced and the more conservative strata of the people, both objectively and subjectively.
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8 June 2009. A World to Win News Service. "The streets surrounding the university and across the city were largely quiet and empty on Thursday. Many workers in this Egyptian capital on the Nile had been told to stay home. The sidewalks were closed to ordinary people but lined by hundreds of soldiers – some dressed in black, others in white – who had been standing in place for hours before Mr Obama arrived." (The New York Times, 5 June) The Great Father had come from Washington to lecture some of America’s subject peoples.
The whole framework of Barack Obama's carefully crafted speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo 4 June was meant to keep people's eyes focused on the surface of things. "We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Moslems around the world," he said. But is the basic problem a misunderstanding about religion and values, that people don't get that "America and Islam... share common principles", or is it deeply grounded in the material world and its economic, social and political relations – oppression, inequality and injustice?
These are the facts: control over the "Greater Middle East" stretching from North Africa to Afghanistan is a central requirement for consolidating American global hegemony in the world. All the countries in this vast region are dominated by foreign capital and their economic development subordinated to the interests of the imperialist powers. The regimes that rule over the people largely reflect these interests and where they don't, war is often waged or threatened. These foreign interests and powers have allied with reactionary local ruling classes to impose lives of frustration at best and misery for the vast majority of the people.
Obama stands at the head of the country that's the boss of the imperialist system and its local allies standing on the people's backs. That, for instance, is why the Egyptian police had to empty the streets when he came to a country whose despised American-dependent despot ("a stalwart ally", Obama called him) has ruled by emergency rule and torture for decades and is now preparing to turn over the palace keys to his son. And Obama thinks that the reason so many of the region’s people hate the U.S. is because they think in "stereotypes"?
He said, "I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But the same principle must apply to Moslem perceptions of America. Just as Moslems do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire." The truth is just the opposite – America is a "self-interested empire" and the enforcer of untold suffering, and that suffering is a very major component – if not the whole explanation – for the rise of today's anti-Western Islamic fundamentalism. In a nutshell, Obama praised Islam as a religion but defended (and is working to intensify) the oppressive imperialist relationships without which Islamic fundamentalism would have far much less attraction.
People's ideology – how they see and understand the world – is very important in its own right, and an active factor in shaping the world situation. It matters very much – it's a serious obstacle to the liberation of the world's people – that Islamic fundamentalism has been able to grab the banner of opposition to foreign oppression. Once again it has to be pointed out that in supporting Islamic fundamentalist forces for its own interests – against the rival Soviet Union, to weaken secular forces among the Palestinians and in other ways undermine movements for national liberation – the U.S and its allies greatly contributed to the rise of a movement that has now become a problem for them. Even now, framing Middle Eastern “tensions” in religious terms is advantageous for both the imperialists and their Islamic fundamentalist opponents.
Further, even while changing the tone of the Bush days and suspending the rhetoric of a Christian crusade against Islam, Obama followed in his predecessor's footsteps in moving toward putting religion at the heart of public affairs. His speech was full of references to "our God", "God's vision", what "God intended" and the need to "be conscious of God". Even his mandatory mention of women’s rights was "holy Bible-" and "holy Koran-" (not to mention Torah)-compatible. (He made the argument, dear to apologists for patriarchal religions East and West, that women can continue to play "traditional roles" in society – presumably as wives, daughters and mothers – and still be fully equal human beings.)
Some people want to see this speech as a sign that the U.S. has gotten over 9/11 and the "war on terror" is history. It's true that Obama can reach out to allies and seek to calm the waters in a way that Bush could not. Maybe that's why he replaced "terrorists", Bush's favourite epithet for enemies, with "extremists". But any changes he may represent are simply modified answers to the same problem: how to best serve the same world-grabbing, soul-crushing imperialist system. And just as Obama has brought more continuity than rupture with Bush administration domestic policies justified by the "war on terror" – from the treatment of "enemy combatant" prisoners and his protection of those responsible for torture to the persistence police-state "security" measures – these changes in rhetoric do not amount to a change in basic stance.
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8 June 2009. A World to Win News Service. The following article originally entitled "China: fascist state at the end of the capitalist road" written by Oxford University history professor Neville Maxwell was published in A World To Win magazine 1989/14 (www.aworldtowin.org). China’s integration into the world capitalist system has meant that the country has not followed the kind of straight down path to "economic collapse and social disorder" foreseen in this article, but the analysis and scathing critique of the developments in China after Mao’s death in 1976 and of the massacre of students at Tiananmen Square in 1989 remain basically sound and highly relevant.
It was a pig walking on its hind legs. Yes, it was Squealer. A little awkwardly, as though not quite used to supporting his considerable bulk in that position, but with perfect balance, he was strolling across the yard. And a moment later, out from the door of the farmhouse came a long line of pigs, all walking on their hind legs... And finally there was a tremendous baying of dogs ... and out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him. He carried a whip in his trotter. – George Orwell, Animal Farm
It is difficult to think of a political event that has been the subject of greater misunderstanding in the West than has the Tiananmen demonstration and its brutal suppression by the Chinese government. Forgetting the politics of the Chinese revolution, making it an act of faith that Deng Xiaoping's "Reforms" have brought great benefit to China and that the Chinese simply demand more of them, Western observers and analysts have seen what they wished to see: an Oriental replay of Eastern Europe's rejection of communism.
The West's failure of analysis is signalled by the wild semantic confusion, degenerated now into utter garbling, of its descriptions of post-revolutionary China's political factions: "Radicals", "Conservatives", "Reactionaries", "Hard-liners", the labels and their wearers have switched and shifted bewilderingly. The ruling faction in China, best named as Dengist, has of course deliberately added to the confusion with its own chameleon verbal camouflage, first presenting itself as upholders of Mao Tsetung against those they called his enemies and theirs, the "Gang of Four"; then, with the power they took through the 1976 coup d'etat consolidated, moving through repudiation of the Cultural Revolution to tacit rejection of Mao himself – a "mad recluse", they told us, for the last 19 years of his life; and finally Deng, to justify his repression, is found parroting the language of his own Cultural Revolution tormentors and labelling his victims "counter-revolutionaries".
Keys to clarify this confusion are available. The most detailed, accurate and sophisticated lies in the writings of China's "Maoists" but for those who find such a source suspect Animal Farm will do. The Aesopian morals of that great political fable are two: that revolutions are born infected with the virus of counter-revolution, ie, those who lead the structuring of a revolutionary society can become a class whose self-interest is served by its undoing; and that in this age counter-revolution will always present itself as revolution continued. In Orwell's terms, the "pigs" of the Chinese revolution seized power in the later 1970s, and instituted policies of restoration and regression which progressively reversed the achievements of the previous three decades; and of course in the "human" world outside the Farm these "Reforms" and the humanoid antics of the pigs, on golf course and in rodeo stage-coach, were rapturously applauded.
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18 May 2009. A World to Win News Service. The following article was sent to us by the Revolutionary People's Movement of Mexico (http://mpr-mexico.blogspot.com)
The new strain of influenza now called A/H1N1 brought the threat of a global pandemic, causing the death of 58 Mexicans as of 12 May. It' s very possible that the emergence of this disease was accelerated in a large-scale capitalist pig farm such as Granjas Carroll in Puebla and Veracruz. There's no doubt that the nature of the capitalist system we live in has made it more deadly.
The risk of a pandemic, like the three major pandemics of the last century in 1918, 1957 and 1968 that resulted in the deaths of millions of people around the world, arises when through genetic recombination or mutation a new strain of influenza appears that is easily transmissible among human beings and to which, because it is new, people haven't developed resistance.
Capitalist industrial pig farms: breeding grounds for dangerous new diseases
Big capitalist pig farms organized, by definition, around the principle of maximum private profit and not that of their usefulness to society, have enormously speeded up the recombination of influenza viruses (the process of different flu strains trading genes). Pig bodies are perfect for breeding new flu strains. Often viruses that originated in birds, pigs and humans genetically recombine in them, producing strains that are transmissible between humans. It's believed that this is what happened with previous pandemics, and most scientists believe that this is the case with the new strain A/H1N1, which combines genetic materials from pigs, birds and humans.
This process has been facilitated and accelerated during the last few decades by the transformation of traditional hog farms into giant industrial complexes like Granjas Carroll in Puebla and Veracruz that produce a million pigs a year. Suffocated by intense overcrowding and the resulting enormous amounts of excrement, the pigs there very quickly interchange pathogens. An early alarm bell went off in 1998 when a highly pathological strain devastated a swine herd at a farm in North Carolina in the U.S. Since then new variants have begun to appear almost every year. As an article by Bernice Wuethrich in Science magazine reported in 2003, "after years of stability, the North American porcine influenza virus has leaped into the evolutionary fast lane."
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11 May 2009. A World to Win News Service. There are increasing signs of a relatively major shift in U.S. military strategy, especially in regard to counterinsurgency.
The clearest is U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates' recent announcement of the features of a new Pentagon budget that includes cuts in spending on heavy and high tech weapons. While visiting troops in Afghanistan, Gates explained that while half his proposed budget would remain committed to preparing for conventional war against another major power, 40 percent would be weapons that can be used on both conventional and counter-insurgency conflicts, and 10 percent to specialized weapons and other tools useful in counter-insurgency alone. (International Herald Tribune, 11 May 2009)
Gates' proposed budget emphasizes smaller-scale and more agile weapons and equipment and a reduction in spending for missiles, military satellites, navy vessels and similar items. Particularly noteworthy were "Gates' proposed cutbacks in the F-22, the advanced stealth fighter jet that critics call a relic of the cold war, as well as his trimming of the Army's $160 billion modernization project, called the Future Combat Systems." (The New York Times, 7 April 2009)
This shift is more significant than just the kind of adjustments to be expected with a change of presidents and other top officials. It is also more than a change in military spending or even of strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. It reflects a change in the kind of wars that the U.S. imperialists expect to wage in the near future and at the same time a summation of the experience of the last few decades. It amounts to a rethinking and reorientation of the American military line.
For a long time Washington believed that its military might would allow it to crush insurgencies in the oppressed countries easily and cheaply, in military and political terms. But after some early victories this approach failed at the very on-set of its first serious test, in Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that turned out to be considerably more difficult than expected. This does not mean that U.S. imperialism has suffered irreversible defeats in these two wars, or that it has not gained anything in terms of the political goals it sought to achieve through fighting. After all, they did bring down two governments whose existence they could not tolerate, demonstrated their unmatched military power and their determination to control the "Greater Middle East", and asserted their supremacy over allies and rivals alike. But they have not, so far, been able to achieve the political goals they set for themselves in the first place – the ability to politically and economically transform the region as a central platform for American global hegemony – and the military and political cost has been far higher than they expected.
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4 May 2009. A World to Win News Service. Prime Minister Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) resigned 4 May in a crucial dispute over whether or not the head of the Nepal Army would be allowed to thumb his nose at his government's authority.
Prachanda, Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), had sacked Army Chief of Staff Rookmangud Katawal for continual and deliberately provocative insubordination to the civilian government, in defiance of the interim constitution and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought an end to the decade-long people's war in 2006. But President Ram Baran Yadav overrode Prachanda’s decision and ordered the army head to remain in his post. (General Katawal had already refused to accept the government's letter informing him he was sacked.) He also overrode the decision of the Defence Minister, Ram Bahadur Tapa, supposedly in charge of the Nepal Army, to appoint another general as interim army chief to take Katawal's place "until an agreement is made".
In his resignation speech the next day, Prachanda denounced the president's move as "unconstitutional and illegal" and "an attack on this infant democracy and the peace process". He said, "I will quit the government rather than remain in power by bowing down to the foreign elements and reactionary forces."
President Yadav accepted his resignation and asked him to continue as caretaker prime minister pending the formation of a new government. The president called for an all-party meeting to discuss the way out of this crisis. The UCPN(M) responded that they would block all parliamentary business until the president came before that body to apologize for reinstating the general, and organise protests in the streets as well.
Asked by a correspondent whether or not his party would join a new government, UCPN(M) leader and Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai said, "The so-called president who is directly dictated by New Delhi has been sent messages to act against the elected government and has restored the sacked army chief. The president should (admit that it is an unconstitutional decision) and then only we can think of joining the government, otherwise we will go to the streets and gather the masses to fight against the anti-democratic party." (The Hindu, 4 May) The "anti-democratic party" refers to the Nepal Congress Party, the pro-Indian opposition party to which the president has ties.
After initially waffling, the other major party in the UCPN(M) government, the Communist Party of Nepal United Marxist-Leninist (UML), along with a smaller party, quit the cabinet to protest Prachanda's firing of the general. This meant that the UCPN(M) faced a no-confidence vote in parliament that it may not have been able to survive even if Prachanda had not resigned. But this should not obscure the more basic issues at stake in this confrontation, which is not a parliamentary squabble.
There is the "parallel power" of the presidency, as Prachanda called it in his resignation speech, an office created to make sure his government could not weaken or disorganize the army, and most centrally the existence and role of the army itself. The armed forces are the central pillar of any state power, no matter who holds office. This general truth has specific applicability in Nepal, which has one of South Asia's biggest armies proportional to its population. There the military has played a particularly important institutional function in society and an open and naked role in keeping the ruling classes in power through violence against the people, while working closely with India.
How this happened
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was followed by the rebels' surprise victory in the Constitutional Assembly elections, the abolition of the monarchy and eventually its formation of a government in August 2008. (The party adopted its present name earlier this year when the CPN (M) merged with the Unity Centre [Masal] from which it had originally split. Masal had opposed the concept of Maoism and the people's war.) Despite the fact that it had won more votes than the other two main parties combined, in return for the UCPN (M) being allowed to lead that new government, those parties forced it to accept the creation of the post of a president who would be head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. At the time, the presidency was shrugged off as mainly ceremonial. But the president’s power turns out to be very great when used to legitimise the Nepal Army.
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4 May 2009. A World to Win News Service. The current elections for the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) in India will decide which party or alliance of parties forms the new government. These countrywide polls have been taking place on five dates in April and May, the last on 13 May, with the results to be announced 16 May. Following are excerpts from analyses of the electoral situation by two Maoist parties in India. The first, "Once more they come with false promises", is a statement by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari released in April. The second is an interview with Azad, spokesperson for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), conducted by the Maoist Information Bulletin on 10 April. Explanations have been added in brackets.
Once more they come with false promises – CPI(ML) Naxalbari
Today let us not forget that the preparations and necessary social engineering required for this election has been going on for almost a year now... It continued with the various anti-Christian riots in the fresh pastures of Orissa and Karnataka, the anti-North Indian riots in Maharashtra, the vicious anti-women moral policing of the savarna [Hindus who are not Dalits or tribals] fascist brigade Shri Ram Sene and the extreme chauvinism stirred up with the Mumbai attacks. It is the first time that social engineering of such magnitude and diversity had to be carried out to achieve divisive polarisations aimed at elections. These attempts have become very much necessary with the waning of popular support for ruling class parties among large sections of the petty bourgeoisie due to years of neglect and deceit, growing contempt towards their leaders cutting across parties and the realisation of the futility of these elections by a big section.
The past year has seen tremors shaking the very pillars of the imperialist system. Crisis after crisis followed – from the food crisis, to the petrol-diesel price crisis leading to inflation, to the latest collapse of the US economy leading to world recession. Even by any conservative means this is going to last for quite some time to come, creating havoc and chaos in the lives of not just the poor and the marginalised but also big sections of the educated middle classes. Its toll has already started with 41 suicides in Amreli district of Gujarat among the diamond workers in the month of December and January alone. The number of those losing jobs would be reaching 15 lakhs [1.5 million] by end of this financial year. The Centre and various State governments have brought out their budgets but none have addressed the ongoing problems of the working masses. In fact none wants to acknowledge that a serious crisis is here amidst us. How can they in this election year? It's like postponing today's crisis for tomorrow.
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20 April 2008. A World to Win News Service. Over many years a large number of Dalits ("untouchables") in the eastern Indian state of Orissa converted to Christianity to escape the Hindu caste system in which they are considered subhuman. In the last decade, and especially the last year and a half, life has become hell for them. In December 2007, Hindu supremacist forces lead a riot in which many of the Dalit Christians were killed and their homes and churches were burned by tribal people at least as poor as the Dalits. The Hindu monk Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a leader of the Vishnu Hindu Parisad (VHP) party, was said to have been behind the attacks. The VHP is part of a broader movement of organisations identified with the word "Hindutva" ("Hindu-ness"), that fights, in parliament and often in the streets and villages, in the name of opposition to communism, Islam and Christianity.
After Saraswati was killed in August of last year, in an attack attributed to guerrillas under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Hindutva parties launched even more ferocious attacks on the Dalit Christians. In the district of Kandhamal, deep in the forested interior of Orissa, many of them are now living in makeshift camps after their homes were destroyed. Hindus have been forbidden to hire them as day labourers anymore, or even to talk to them, and their children cannot go to school. This level of violence against Christians has not been seen since India's independence, and it has been encouraged and organised.
A local leader of the allegedly more mainstream Hindu party, the BJP, recently bragged to a reporter: "A maximum number of Christians were killed, yes, it is a matter of fact, but why? The Hindu sense of dignity has come to the surface in a spontaneous manner and they want to protect that sense of dignity." (BBC, 13 April 2009) Note that the affront to "Hindu dignity" justifying the massacre is turning one's back on the Hindu religion. The BJP is one of India's two main parties. The other, the rival and currently ruling Congress party, has done little to oppose these attacks and the reactionary ideology they are driven by, and little or nothing to help the Kandhamal refugees living in tents and shacks.
The following article, titled "Beat Back the Fascist Onslaught in Orissa", by Ujjwala, has been slightly edited. It originally appeared in the January-March 2009 issue of the Indian publication People' s Truth (http://www.bannedthought.net/India/PeoplesTruth/PeoplesTruth04.pdf).
The recent and ongoing violence on Dalit Christians in Kandhamal once again highlights the need to fight the fascist Hindutva forces and thoroughly expose the governments, both central and state. The state and central governments' refusal to restrain fanatic Hindu militias evidences their linkage with the Hindutva BJP and the soft Hindutva Congress party, and the capitulation of a section of civil society to Hindu majoritarianism. The current violence started immediately after the killing of the notorious goon in saffron, Swami Laxmanananda, a VHP leader who was working in this area for more than 30 years solely for the consolidation of the Hindutva forces. He along with his four associates was shot dead by the people's guerrillas on 23 August 2008.
The people's guerrillas had left a note on the spot explaining the reasons behind the elimination of Laxmanananda Saraswati and stated, "We have decided to punish anti-people, fanatical leaders like Saraswati because of endless persecution of religious minorities in the country. There will be more such punishments if violence is continued against religious minorities in the country." In spite of this clear statement, Hindutva forces used this incident to carry out massacres on Dalit Christians, holding them responsible. Whenever the anti-displacement [a movement to resist land grabs by India's biggest corporations] leaders and activists are branded as Maoists, the Sangh Parivar people [a grouping of Hindu nationalist organisations, including the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP parties] are the first ones to join the chorus. They also demand firm action against such leaders and activists. But in this case even after the Maoists took the responsibility, these cowardly gangsters were afraid to confront the Naxalites [Maoists], and preferred to hit soft targets, like Christian priests, women and children.
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13 April 2009. A World to Win News Service. Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori was convicted of murder and kidnapping and sentenced to 25 years in prison on 7 April. But despite the feel-good congratulations from certain human rights organizations, justice has not been done. In fact, very little of the coverage has mentioned far more important issues than Fujimori's own undeniable personal guilt. First: Does one man really bear all the responsibility for the atrocities committed during the decade he was president? And second: Who – what interests and what social system – was he serving?
This university rector won a surprise victory in the 1990 elections. He presented himself as a political outsider, a representative of the common man, in contrast to Peru's squabbling politicians who had discredited themselves among the middle classes and at the same time proved incapable of defeating the rising tide of a ten-year-old revolutionary war. Hundreds of thousands of people joined and millions had come to support that armed revolutionary upsurge. It was based among the country's most downtrodden, those usually excluded from political life although they make up the vast majority, the peasants and urban slum dwellers, and people from all social classes who hated the country's humiliation and stagnation under a social system economically and politically dominated by the interests of American capital. Fujimori's job was to reunite the ruling classes, bring the middle classes more thoroughly back under their wing and smash the revolution led by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) at any cost.
In this, he enjoyed the full support and collaboration of the U.S. from the very beginning of his term in office – if not before.
The day Fujimori was sentenced, the National Security Archives, a progressive project based at George Washington University in the U.S. capital, posted six previously secret U.S. Embassy and State Department cables dated from 23 August 1990 to 8 June 1993, the period when Fujimori committed the acts he has now been convicted for. These documents reveal that from the start the American government was aware of their details, extent and aims. Nevertheless, during that time the U.S. covered them up while providing the Peruvian government with more economic and military backing than ever before, a steadily increasing amount that by 1993 made it South America's number one recipient of U.S. government money.
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13 April 2009. A World to Win News Service. The following article by C. Clark Kissinger is from the issue dated 19 April 2009 of Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (revcom.us)
On 6 April 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of death-row inmate and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. There was no ruling in his case; it was simply included in a list of cases that the Supreme Court is refusing to even hear. Ominously, the list of refused cases did not include an appeal by the State of Pennsylvania, which is seeking to reinstate Mumia's original death sentence.
This greatly raises the danger that Mumia might face execution.
In 1982, Mumia was found guilty of the murder of a Philadelphia cop after a completely unjust trial. He has now been in solitary confinement on death row for almost 27 years.
Shortly before dawn on 19 December 1981, Mumia was driving his cab on a downtown Philadelphia street. He saw a cop viciously beating his brother, William Cook, with a metal flashlight. Mumia rushed to help his brother. He was shot in the chest – and was found sitting on the sidewalk in a pool of his own blood. A cop lay on the street nearby, dying from bullet wounds. The police charged Mumia, who was well known to them as a revolutionary journalist and a former Black Panther, with the murder of the cop.
At his 1982 trial, Mumia was denied the right to serve as his own attorney and was barred from the courtroom for half his trial. The prosecution claimed that Mumia had confessed – a confession that cops only "remembered" months after the incident. Witnesses were coerced into giving false testimony. Key evidence was never seen by the jury. A court reporter overheard the trial judge saying that he was going to help the cops "fry the n****r." Mumia was convicted and sentenced to death.
A growing mass movement prevented Mumia's execution in 1995, but he was still denied justice and remained on death row. By 2000, Mumia's case had become an international issue. The European Parliament, Amnesty International, and others called for a new trial. In 2001, a federal district court judge upheld Mumia's conviction but overturned his death sentence because of unconstitutional jury instructions.
The heart of Mumia's appeal in the federal courts has been the prosecution's use of peremptory challenges to block 10 or 11 African-Americans from being on Mumia's jury. The racial stacking of juries in Philadelphia was such a common practice at that time that the District Attorney's office even produced a training film for new assistant DA's on how to do it.
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08 April 2009. A World to Win News Service. Within a few hours of going to press with yesterday’s News Service edition, the fog surrounding the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests was lifted by a video turned in to the Guardian newspaper by a New York banker, who said he attended the protests “out of curiosity”. The video, together with a growing number of eyewitness reports, now clearly establishes that the police attacked Tomlinson without warning or provocation and threw him brutally to the ground where they left him unattended, and that he died moments later. (The video is widely available on Youtube, with witness statements on the Guardian and other sites.)
The known facts are these: Tomlinson, 47-years-old, had left the stall in London’s financial district where he sells newspapers and headed for the nearby Bank tube station, where at 7 pm he was denied entry by a police cordon. He then tried to make his way home through streets crowded with protestors, police and passersby. At 7:15 pm the video then clearly shows Tomlinson walking away from a group of riot police, his back turned to them, looking downwards, with both hands in his pockets. Suddenly one of the policemen approaches Tomlinson from the rear, seems to whack him with a truncheon in the back of his legs, then shoves him with both hands to the ground. Tomlinson hits hard, in fact, witnesses say so hard that he “bounced off” the pavement. He lay there for a few seconds, remonstrating with the group of police, before a protestor helped him to his feet. Witnesses say Tomlinson then stumbled off, but seemed dazed, his eyes glazed. Moments later, barely 50 metres away, he keeled over and died.
On Wednesday evening, shortly after Tomlinson’s death, police spokesmen gave a briefing to journalists in which they concealed any reference to contact with Tomlinson, said they had offered him medical assistance, and claimed that protestors had interfered with their efforts to save his life. These brazen lies tried to turn reality upside down, as if brave policemen tried to save an innocent bystander threatened by uncaring protestors. Instead the truth is now there for anyone to see: vicious baton-wielding thugs in uniform brutalize someone who they abandon and who is then helped by protestors. An ITV journalist now reports that one of his news team tried to assist Tomlinson after he’d fallen, but was driven away by a police baton charge, and then another news team member reported Tomlinson’s plight to police but was given the brush-off.
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London G20: We want another world, or We want this world patched up? -- Scenes from the anti-G20 demonstrations
6 April 2009. A World to Win News Service. "Will French President Sarkozy get his global financial regulatory mechanism, or will the Anglo-American financial stimulus approach to the crisis prevail?" "Will climate change be a priority, or will it be put on the back burner?" People all over the world, and especially in Britain, were barraged with the message that everyone had a vital stake in the debates at the London G20 meeting, the summit conference of the world's largest 20 economies, and that these were the only choices. Hand in hand with that went another message: how dare anyone even think of protesting?! The stakes being discussed at the G20 were said to be of such tremendous importance to the future of the whole planet that no one must be allowed to disturb our democratically elected leaders as they conduct their delicate negotiations. U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden tried to play on President Barack Obama's newness in government to argue that the demonstrators should "give us a chance" and first listen to what the leaders plan to do.
Yet the future of the planet is indeed vital, and faces unprecedented threats -- and that's exactly why its destiny cannot be left in the hands of the G20 leaders and their ilk. This question -- in whose hands should we place our hopes for the future -- was what objectively made the G20 demonstrations in London and other cities in Europe so important, and it was also very present in the minds of and debated by quite a few demonstrators as well.
On 28 March, the Saturday before the G20 meeting, over 35,000 people marched through London in a demonstration called by a broad coalition of environmentalists, charities and trade unions. The official slogan, "Put People First", was meant to be a word of advice or pressure on the G20 deciders. On that same day, 15,000 marched in Berlin, 6,000 in Rome (where a meeting of the G8 Ministers of Labour was being held) and another 6,500 in Vienna under the slogans, "Make the Rich Pay" and "Capitalism Kills", as did hundreds in Paris.
Even greater attention was focused on the G20 meeting itself on Wednesday and Thursday. As the date approached, another, more ominous message came from the police themselves, with mounting force: "violent extremists" were out to "hijack" the protests, even possibly "terrorists". A few days before the G20, a handful of people were arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Front-page headlines linked "terrorists" and the G20, and said that the "suspected terrorists" had "extremist" political material as well as "dangerous weapons" and were possibly planning an attack on the G20. Only later did it emerge that they had nothing more dangerous than fireworks, and when the media tried to pin down the constable in charge of the investigation, he revealed that the arrests had been made when one of them was caught painting graffiti on a wall. He refused to identify the "extremist" political material seized, but said that "it was different than what you ordinarily see", which raises the question: are the police now going to treat anything out of the ordinary as "terrorist"?!
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16 March 2009. A World to Win News Service. Muntadar al-Zaidi, the young Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President George Bush late last year, has been sentenced to three years in prison. "I am innocent. It was a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation," he told the court 12 March. "Long live Iraq, " he is said to have shouted when his sentence was read.
When the Iraqi government asked the U.S. for Zaidi's shoes to use as evidence against him, it turned out that American technicians had blown them up during testing for explosives. But what made Washington consider his shoes a possible weapon of mass destruction was the way they expressed the sentiments of so many Iraqis. In January, a bronze-coloured fibreglass giant shoe statue in his honour was put up on the grounds of an orphanage near the town of Tikrit. When he threw his footwear at Bush, he had shouted, "This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." The artist explained that Zaidi's act was "a source of honour for all Iraqis." The authorities had the statue taken down and destroyed immediately.
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16 March 2009. A World to Win News Service. Following is an excerpted and edited version of an article by Mouin Rabbani, an Amman (Jordon)-based contributing editor to Middle East Reports. It was originally posted on www.normanfinkelstein.com.
The Middle East has always been a difficult challenge for Western human rights organizations, particularly those seeking influence or funding in the United States. Given that Israel is reliant on U.S. subventions and public goodwill to a degree without precedent in the history of American foreign policy, there is considerably more than vanity at stake. If Israel's stature in the United States were to be reduced to that of South Africa during the apartheid era, or Serbia during the Balkan wars, this would almost certainly have material consequences for the "special relationship".
Until the mid-1980s, before which Israel's human rights violations – from deportation to area bombing and all in-between – were generally several orders of magnitude worse than during the subsequent quarter century, the human rights community simply ignored the question of Israel. That the first widespread exposure of the systematic application of torture in Israel's prison system was reported by the Sunday Times rather than Amnesty International was no mere coincidence.
The eruption of the Palestinian uprising in December 1987 made it impossible for human rights organizations to continue relegating the question of Israel to the backburner. With Israeli leaders like Yitzhak Rabin publicly exhorting Israel's soldiers to "break the bones" of unarmed Palestinian protestors, and television images that made it impossible to explain away such barbarism as a mistranslated rhetorical flourish, human rights organizations faced a real quandary: ignore the question of Israel and lose credibility, or confront it and lose support.
By and large they chose a third way, producing reports that were often strong on documentation but exceptionally weak when it came to conclusions and consequences. In the process any sense of context, of this being a struggle for freedom by a dispossessed and occupied people against a colonial army – a context that in other cases the human rights community communicated so well – was entirely lost.
The Oslo agreements of 1993 provided a welcome development for human rights organizations in this respect. Henceforth, "balance" could be maintained by releasing reports on both the Israeli and Palestinian Authority judiciary, discrimination against Arabs in Israel and of violence against women in the occupied territories, torture in Israeli as well as Palestinian prisons. The idea of an overarching regime of occupation primarily responsible for both sets of violations – a concept that came so naturally when discussing the brutalities inflicted on the residents of South Africa's ethnic homelands – rarely entered into the fray.
The onset of the Al-Aqsa Uprising (the second Intifada) in September 2000 posed a new set of challenges. Then, after 11 September 2001, such organizations were under massive pressure by rightwing and pro-Israeli forces – the latter of whom often tended towards the liberal end of the spectrum – to toe the line. Nowhere was this more true than at Human Rights Watch, an American organization that by the late 1990s had emerged as the industry leader.
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9 March 2009. A World to Win News Service. Shortly after the Chinese revolution in 1949, new laws gave women the equal legal status and full rights denied to them in the days when the imperialists, their local capitalist allies and feudal landlords ruled the country. New laws put an end to child and arranged marriages, granted women the right to divorce and gave them the right to land so that they would no longer be the property of men in any way. The freeing of countless women from prostitution is another example of great changes brought about almost overnight.
But Mao Tsetung understood that the leap from formal equality under law to the complete emancipation of women from all that has oppressed them as an unequal sex would require protracted hard struggle – and that without it, the revolution could not go in the direction of overcoming all the birthmarks of oppression and exploitation left by the old society and would instead install capitalism. The revolution, as it developed and as women took part in creating a new society, would have to transform not only the traditional social and economic relations that oppressed women but also social institutions and people’s values and thinking. With the famous slogan "Women hold up half the sky", Mao and the Chinese revolutionaries proclaimed that there could be no emancipation for humanity without the participation and emancipation of half of society – its women.
Here we are reprinting excerpts from three books about women in revolutionary China that show the impressive steps toward the liberation of women in what was then one of the world's most backward countries. Such steps can only take place when the proletariat, the class whose own liberation requires the liberation of humanity from all forms of exploitation, holds state power. These accounts also show the powerful role women can play in driving forward that process. The reality of the achievements of socialist China give a glimpse of what can be accomplished in the future, when once again the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is established in one or more countries as part of the process of bringing into being communism, a world finally free of classes and class divisions and the institutions and thinking born of class society.
In the book Fanshen, A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village (Vintage Books, 1966) William Hinton wrote about the countryside in the early days of the Chinese revolution, when the old feudal domination, institutions and customs were first being overthrown. He described typical cases of wives being beaten for going to evening meetings of the Women's Association. The Association members would arrange meetings for all the women in the village and summon the husband or the father-in-law to defend himself publicly against the accusations made by the woman or the daughter-in-law. If he refused to answer they would often give him a beating to show him that things would be different from now on and that he had better not abuse the woman once he was alone with her. The women's committee would be present, ever-watchful and ready to intervene again if necessary. Hinton writes:
"Among those who were beaten was poor peasant Man-ts'ang's wife. When she came home from a Women's Association meeting, her husband beat her as a matter of course, shouting, 'I'll teach you to stay home. I'll mend your rascal ways.' But Man-ts'ang's wife surprised her lord and master. Instead of staying home thereafter as a dutiful chattel, she went the very next day to the secretary of the Women's Association, militiamen Ta-hung's wife, and registered a complaint against her husband. After, in a discussion with the members of the executive committee, the secretary called a meeting of the women of the whole village. At least a third, perhaps even half of them, showed up. In front of this unprecedented gathering of determined women a demand was made that Man-ts'ang explain his actions. Man-ts'ang, arrogant and unbowed, readily complied: He said that he beat his wife because she went to meetings and 'the only reason women go to meetings is to gain a free hand for flirtation and seduction'.
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9 October 2009. A World to Win News Service. The girl was nine years old. She had been hospitalised for stomach pains when it was discovered that she was pregnant with twins after having been raped by her stepfather, who is thought to have been abusing her since she was six.
Doctors determined that because she was so small (weighing 32 kilos), her uterus couldn’t hold even one baby, let alone two. They scheduled an abortion.
The Catholic Church, however, believes she should have been allowed to die. The archbishop in Brazil's northeast, where the little girl lives, tried to block the operation. When that failed, he excommunicated her mother and the doctors and the entire medical team that performed it.
This case is not just a matter of the particularities of Brazil's downtrodden northeast region, nor the country itself. On 7 March, a leading Vatican official, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, replied to a storm of protest against the excommunication from rank and file Catholics and many others by upholding the Brazilian cleric's action as vital to the defence of Church doctrine. Excommunication means being excluded from the Church and religious services. It is a relatively rare form of punishment for challenging Catholic doctrine and spreading ''division and confusion among the faithful''. The rapist stepfather does not face excommunication for his actions. ''Rape'', said the cardinal, who is also in charge of Latin America, ''is less serious than abortion.'' ''It's a sad case, but the real problem'', he told the Italian daily La Stampa, ''is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and not be eliminated.''
The real problem, of course, is just the opposite: both the pregnant child and the embryos might very well have died if she had not had an abortion, and this Vatican authority is arguing that that outcome would have been better than saving her life through an act that violated ''God's law''. So please don't tell us that the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion is based on respect for ''the sanctity of human life''. It's about religion and religious authority, especially the doctrine that defines females as vessels for childbearing. The Catholic Church's actions in this case are not very different from ''honour killings'' of ''unchaste'' women under Islam and other religions.
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23 February 2009. A World to Win News Service. This February marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Iranian revolution. The Islamic Republic of Iran that came to power in 1979 claims that revolution was a great victory, but many Iranians would not agree.
As the revolution gained momentum in the final months of the old regime, more and more people had braved the monarch's army and his vicious and notorious secret police (SAVAK). By overthrowing the Shah, one of U.S. imperialism's most brutal pawns, the people made history. Certainly they were hoping to win a new and better world. But if revolution means the liberation of the masses or at least responding to the political and economical interests of the people as a whole, the result was no victory at all.
In January 1979, the Shah and his family fled the country, most likely following instructions from Washington. As arranged beforehand, Shapour Bakhtiar, a so-called nationalist, became Prime Minister, hoping to reduce or halt the escalation of the mass revolt. But Bakhtiar could not withstand the storm of revolution either. After less than a month, he, too, had to run away.
The forces and struggles that made the revolution possible
The Iranian people, women and men all over the country, of different nationalities and various religions and none, and from different classes, were taking part in the revolution to express their hatred for the regime and its imperialist backers. The majority of people and political groups were reluctant to talk about the differences in their views. All the people seemed united to topple the Shah. But what followed next?
The anger of the people was the accumulation of decades of deprivation, repression and oppression. For decades people had fought and resisted.
Oppressed nations within the country were deprived of their right of self-determination. In 12 December 1945, after the Second World War, the Kurdish people led by Ghazi Mohammad declared the "Democratic Republic of Kurdistan". The Azeri people under the leadership of Jafar Pishevary declared the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. The Shah's army crushed these new republics exactly one year later on 12 December 1946 and massacred many thousands of people.
The years 1949-1953 were a high point for the people's movement. Movements of workers, peasants and students were blooming, and taking organisational forms. In many cases these rising mass movements were organised by the Tudeh Party. (This party supported the then-socialist Soviet Union at that time, but it was reformist, not communist. However, because of its support for the USSR, many communists and revolutionary masses joined it. Later when revisionists within the Soviet party brought back capitalism in a disguised pseudo-socialist form, the Tudeh Party backed them.) That was the first time that the Shah had to run away.
Maybe the Shah’s biggest crime was the coup he waged in 1953 with the full financial and political backing of the U.S. and the UK and their respective intelligence services. This coup overthrew the government of Mohammad Mossadegh, a nationalist prime minister who fought to nationalise Iran’s oil industry, at that time under the control of British imperialists. Thus the Shah's come-back on 19 August 1953 was one of the darkest days of the 20th century for Iran. Mossadegh and many of his supporters and ministers were arrested; some were executed. A reign of reaction and terror swept the country. Political activists were identified, arrested, tortured and in many cases executed.
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23 February 2009. A World to Win News Service. It has been reported that between 9-16 January this year the Islamic Republic of Iran bulldozed a section of the Khavaran mass grave. Located around 15 kilometres southeast of Tehran, Khavaran is not an ordinary cemetery. It is the collective burial site for the hundreds and maybe more executed communists and other revolutionaries. With this act the regime is trying to hide its criminal and brutal nature, but it is also giving proof of how it fears even the bodies of revolutionaries murdered three decades ago.
The memory of the 1980s terror can never be erased from the minds of the people of Iran. Following the robbery of the people's revolution by the reactionary Islamic forces headed by Ayatollah Khomeini, a storm of terror dominated the sky over Iran. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian communists and other revolutionaries and progressive activists were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and tens of thousands of them were systematically executed in order to wipe away all traces of the real revolutionaries in Iran.
After the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the mad killing of the communists and revolutionaries went even further and tens of thousands of political prisoners who were still in prison were massacred in the summer of 1988.
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On 20 January Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan blew up five schools in Mingora, once one of the safest areas in Swat, in North-West Pakistan, in an attempt to enforce their growing rule over the northern part of the country. Not long before they had labelled education of girls un-Islamic and forbid it. According to reports, nearly 200 government schools have been destroyed. A similar Islamic grouping, the Pakistani Taleban, also recently banned education for girls, forcing the government to close hundreds more schools in the area for days.
This kind of thing is becoming increasingly common in Pakistan, especially the north. "Elected representatives have fled Swat and many police officers, the target of suicide bomb attacks, have deserted, with the force down in strength from 1,725 to 295." (Guardian, 20 January 2009) Much of the tribal area in Waziristan north of Peshawar is under the rule of Baitullah Mehssud, a tribal leader said to be close to Al-Qaeda. Most of the Swat Valley once a tourist area is increasingly under the control of an Islamic fundamentalist group led by the cleric Maulana Fazlullah.
"Across much of the North-West Frontier Province – around a fifth of Pakistan – women have now been forced to wear the burqa, music has been silenced, barbershops are forbidden to shave beards, and over 140 girls' schools have been blown up or burned down. In the provincial capital of Peshawar, a significant proportion of the city's elite, along with its musicians, have now decamped to the relatively safe and tolerant confines of Lahore and Karachi. Meanwhile tens of thousands of ordinary people from the surrounding hills of the semiautonomous tribal belt – the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that run along the Afghan border – have fled from the conflict zones blasted by missiles from unmanned American Predator drones and strafed by Pakistani helicopter gunships to the tent camps now ringing Peshawar." ("Pakistan in Peril", William Dalrymple, New York Review of Books, 12 February 2009)
In fact, even Lahore is now gripped with fear. The hope that this city, the home of many of Pakistan's secular intellectuals and the heart of the county's culture and poetry, could keep out of the war has evaporated. The city has now been shaken by a series of bombings and threats. This is a sign of how far deeply the impact of the war once confined to the border areas has already penetrated.
In recent years Pakistan has seen an increasing number of terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and sectarian killings between Sunni and Shia. But now a full-scale war is going on in Northern Pakistan. The Pakistani army has many tens of thousands of soldiers operating in the area. Every day each side claims to have killed tens of its enemies. According to a BBC report (2 November 2008), it took the Pakistani army six weeks to seize back control of only 13 kilometres of a highway in north Pakistan. When the army took a town in this campaign, it was made possible only after weeks of heavy air bombardment and tank and artillery shelling. When the soldiers finally moved in, the town was completely demolished, adding many thousands more to the hundreds of thousands of people who have become homeless and/or refugees in this war.
As the dimensions of the battlefield have expanded war, as many as a quarter of a million people caught in the crossfire have fled their villages or towns. Ironically, many Pakistanis have sought safety in war-torn Afghanistan.
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2 February 2009. A World to Win News Service. Following are excerpts from an article in the January-March 2009 (no. 4) issue of People's Truth, an Indian Maoist publication that appeared after the suppression of People's March (http://www.bannedthought.net/India/PeoplesTruth)/PeoplesTruth04.pdf).
We weep not for the death of the corrupt and fascistic police officers but for the innocent citizens of Mumbai wantonly killed in the attack of 26 November. We weep not for the Tatas, Oberois [owners of the hotels attacked] and other bigwigs of India and abroad but for the innocent employees and professionals caught in the crossfire between the Islamic militants and the Indian State. The taking of innocent lives will not put an end to the terror of the U.S. gangsters and their Indian stooges aimed at the people in general and Muslims in particular. The target of any just movement must be the very perpetrators of the evil and their political and financial backers.
On 26 November 2008, Islamic militants, it appears from Pakistan and POK [Pakistani-occupied Kashmir], launched a sophisticated attack in many places of Mumbai, killing an estimated 250 people and injuring over 500, a number of whom were foreigners. The main focus of the attack was the two most elite hotels of Mumbai, the Taj and Oberoi, and the Israeli centre, Nariman House. They shot also randomly at people at the Victoria Terminal train station and also at the neighbouring Cama hospital. Around the Metro station (one kilometre from VT) they shot and killed ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) chief Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamte and "encounter specialist" Salaskar. In the battle at the Taj, a major and Havildar of the NSG [National Security Guard] were killed. In all it was reported that at least 16 police/NSG men were killed. Reportedly nine of the militants were killed and one was arrested in an injured state.
On 27 November, as the gun battles were on, a Hindi eveninger from Delhi (Sandhya Times) reported that one of the militants holed up at the Oberoi rang up a TV channel and put forward the following demands, speaking in Hindi: 1) Stop disturbing (tang) Muslims in India, 2) Act like the destruction of the Babri Masjid disturbed us [a mosque in Ayodhya torn down in 1992 by a Hindu chauvinist mob led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the mosque was never rebuilt and no one was punished], 3) Release all mujahiddin [Islamic fundamentalist fighters] that are in Indian Jails, and 4) Only after releasing them will we release the hostages held in the hotel. But instead of negotiating with the attackers the Indian government and their advisors in the U.S. and Britain began a massive attack, which resulted in a three-day battle and the loss of enormous lives. Also these demands [were] never propagated and consciously suppressed, and the entire public is made to believe that they had no demands. What has been fed by the media to the public is only the official version that has numerous loopholes – even the body count mentioned has kept varying...
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2 February 2009. A World to Win News Service. The following is excerpted from the Web blog of Red Block, a revolutionary youth organisation in Italy. (www.redblock-it.blogspot.com)
Students from La Sapienza University in Rome challenged the president of the Chamber Gianfranco Fini as he was speaking 21 January. [Fini, a so-called "postfascist" – the self-identified successors to Benito Mussolini – is a leading member of the rightist government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and president of the lower house of parliament.] Since then, from right to left, all the "palace parties" [past and present members of governing parliamentary coalitions] have expressed their solidarity with this neo-fascist, and no spokesperson for the government or the centre parties has so much as made any public reference to Fini's threat on that occasion to "identify and punish” those demonstrators.
Punish them for what?
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