Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘human rights

Are you an immigrant? Do I want to forget my “history”?

Posted on July 3, 2010 (Written in May 7, 2009)

The citizens of the developed Nations (mostly the colonial powers), within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history, especially their own history.  (But the atrocities levied on the people of the “colonized” will keep reminding them that their history was effectively Evil)

History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation.

Why is this feeling?

First, they have reached a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights that reduce historical accounts of injustices (and exploitation of the “citizens” in mines for many generations) as redundant stories.

Second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs such as maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes. 

These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the underdeveloped States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States.

The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the underdeveloped world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity.

History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquisher and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers.

The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit. 

The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day. 

History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration is commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to fill him in on current news, and occasionally, getting a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors. 

Yes, the immigrant might know more details on the developed citizen’s ancestors and the history of this citizen’s country. 

In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants: Usually, getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if No bickering accompanies the assembly of immigrants.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants: They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws.

The immigrants are overachiever, hard-working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the “developed” citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend. 

The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate. 

The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant: A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual. 

The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application.

The immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant. 

The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs. 

Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their underdeveloped States.

Learning seriously the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship.

Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. 

Make no mistake:  Any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”. 

Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend , then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.

UN highlights rise in Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians

Experts document 771 incidents of settler violence causing injuries to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees , mostly olive trees, and 184 vehicles in 2020.

14 Apr 2021

A Palestinian demonstrator scuffles with an Israeli settler during a protest against settlements [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]
A Palestinian demonstrator scuffles with an Israeli settler during a protest against settlements [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

The United Nations human rights experts have warned that violence, including assaults and property destruction, by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank has increased substantially in recent months.

During the first three months of 2021, more than 210 settler violent incidents were recorded, including one Palestinian death, they said.

Palestinian shot dead by Israeli settlers in West Bank. Video shows police beating. Israeli politician in Jerusalem. Israeli troops kill Palestinian driver, wound his wife

“In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah,” the experts said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group of experts behind the report included Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, special rapporteur on adequate housing and right to non-discrimination, and independent expert Claudia Mahler.

They called on the Israeli military and police to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violent acts. Video

According to the experts, the violence has been mainly motivated by ideology and intended to “intimidate and terrorise Palestinians”, and prevent them from accessing their land while pushing others to move.

They primarily target the livelihoods of rural Palestinians, vandalising livestock, agricultural lands, trees and homes,” they said.

In their statement, the experts noted a violent incident in Hebron on March 13, which saw a Palestinian family of parents and 8 children attacked by 10 Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed.

“The injured parents were treated at a medical facility in Hebron, and the children left traumatised,” it said.

Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 200 settlements and dozens of unauthorised outposts scattered across the Palestinian territories.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in the West Bank, say Israel’s settlements deny them a viable state. Most countries view the settlements as illegal under international law. Video

Sheikh Jarrah evictions

The rights experts also highlighted that dozens of Palestinian families living in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah face the threat of eviction from their homes.

“Similarly worrying are reports that over 70 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’buni area of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem are under threat of forced eviction to make place for new settlements,” said the statement.

“7 households have already received eviction orders and asked to vacate their homes by 2 May 2021. Such forced evictions leading to population transfers are strictly prohibited under international law,” it added.

Sheikh Jarrah, located on the slopes of Mount Scopus just north of the Old City, is home to 3,000 Palestinians, all refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes in other parts of historical Palestine during the 1948 Nakba.

In October last year, the Israeli magistrate court of Jerusalem ruled to evict 12 of the 24 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and to give their homes to Jewish settlers. The court also ruled that each family must pay 70,000 shekels ($20,000) in fees to cover the settlers’ legal expenses!

According to Grassroots Jerusalem, an NGO that is a platform for Palestinian community-based mobilisation, there has been an influx of Jewish settlers since 2001. Video

Duty to protect

Invoking the Fourth Geneva Convention, the experts called on Israel to adhere to international law, which requires it to protect the population under occupation.

Calling on the international community to “impose meaningful costs on Israel’s protracted occupation”, the experts also demanded Israel halt its settlement expansion in the West Bank.

“Palestinians must be protected from settler violence and the perpetrators must be held to account for their actions.”

Note: Since its creation by the colonial powers, Israel has been flaunting all UN resolutions and engaging in mass violence and indignities heaped on the Palestinians to flee and immigrate.

How many wives, grown up girls and boys have No bank accounts or any saved cash to spend on themselves?

I have in mind all those wives who brought up half a dozen children and married most of them and toiled all her life, and still have No bank accounts, no credit cards or No saved cash to spend on themselves?

I have in mind all those educated wives and girls who taught the younger ones in their homeworks and took care of the household and were Not paid hours spent on the family.

And are denied to teach online other children, on account that this is a “modern technique” that a single minutes can resolve whatever complication this require.

I have in mind all those grown up girls who were pressured to take care of their younger brothers and sisters, and maybe have gone to universities and acquired talents… and still have No bank accounts or managed to saved cash to spend on themselves? To discover their passions and practice their talents…

I have in mind all those kids who never received any weekly stipends to learn to have any taste in good quality products or food dishes and are still relying on their parents to fit them in clothes, shoes… without them permitted to have an input in what they want and desire

All those hard working people who were taken for granted, for all kinds of stupid idiosyncratic excuses and sick customs, and were denied independent means to stand up tall in society.

This is one of the worst human rights abuses that billion of people are refused to be paid and moved forward in their lives.

Binding human dignity to life

By a chain of International movement: That renders his death a most respectful of realities

Our current world is blessed by scores of institutional professional organizations engaged and caring for all kinds of human rights and dignity to life.

Is there a centralized universal agency keeping statistics on the numbers and kinds of atrocities that mankind is suffering from?

Hundred of thousands of children are dying due to fraudulent vaccines and many are damaged and crippled for life, with no support system.

And many more are dying from curable diseases due to inefficient and degraded medicines.

All kinds of preemptive wars, civil wars and ethnic cleansing wars are being fomented around the world in order to sell more weapons and subjugate entire people to economic, monetary and trading systems.

Any centralized agency that keeps track of all these summarily killing, murders, assassinations and thoughtless attacks on human rights to live within the natural laws of self-preservation?

Hell, the US NSA intelligence agencies have over 150 centers around the world to collect mass intelligence pieces and growing larger and more invasive.

Hell, every superpower has sophisticated surveillance agencies all around the world and gathering data on people and organizations.

Hell, the scientific community has hundreds of centers around the world to monitor seism, volcano eruptions, tidal waves, animal extinctions, environmental degradation…

We urgently need an international political movement that unite most of these disparate professional organizations and associations.

A movement that would be represented by members of human rights association from every country. We need to organize conferences as a united institution outside of State supervision and control.

The program is Not naïve:

1. Many of these dedicated organizations are mainly funded by State governments. It is normal to assume that the governments will increase the funds to those organizations in order to wield stronger representations.

2. The organizations relying on individual funding should expect to have increased contribution from the people in order to secure stronger representations.

3. The fact that a parallel popular UN type institutions to pressure the superpowers to bolster the UN standing by supporting the UN institutions dedicated to branches related to the Popular UN interests.

Can we create a civil language for communicating opinions that are devoid of terms with strong religious connotations, all religions?

A civil language that remind people that only civil laws are the norm so that the next generations to learn learn a language that communicate the intention of a life Not linked to any religious dogma and precepts?

A civil language that opposes apartheid, racism and sexism trends in controlled State institutions and social media at the beck of government dictat and ready-made discourse.

We badly need a civil language as the norm.

Note: This Covid-19 pandemics made dying a futile ceremony: Nobody come to pay any respect to the grieving families and the excuse is Covid confinement. Before Covid, the entire community used to assemble and marche behind the coffin after staying an afternoon in the salon around the grieving family.

In the Western world and the “developed” nations, especially those urban dweller, neighbors don’t even know of the death of one living in the community or the street. Dead people are carried away in catimini and dispatched to be cremated. Can we claim in these new “tradition” that death is a valued incidence in this case, or that death can be of any impact on improving the the dignity of the living?

Am I a professional? Am I a generalist scholar? Who am I?

Do you think if you feel fully cognizant of the array of your emotions or your lack of talents (passions) in many aspects of the living that you are set for a boring death?

This post is based on facts that you can gleam in transcripts and documents…

With 14 years of university study, a PhD in Industrial/Human Factors, a couple of Masters in Operations research, physics and chemistry.

With taking many graduate courses in psychology, marketing, accounting,economy, higher education…

Can I consider myself a professional?

I still cannot claim this title: I didn’t work for a company for any substantial duration and just taught a few courses at universities.

Reading 3 hours per day at libraries, taking notes, reviewing books, writing posts and articles (about 7,300 articles on my blog in 45 categories), and keeping track of the political systems in countless countries, human rights performance, ecology…

Can I consider myself a professional?

At least, I should come to term that I am a generalist scholar

By mastering 3 languages, English French and Arabic (reading, speaking and writing), I’ll be a fool to deny myself knowledge of 3 cultures and civilizations

Most of all, I have an experimental mind and read and comprehend scientific papers in many fields and can evaluate the extent of their research or scientific validity.

I had to learn and get trained on various types of designing and conducting experiments with objects and subjects in many fields (engineering, psychology, marketing) and I am familiar with the particular statistical analysis packages that each of these fields feel comfortable applying and interpreting results. (That was some time ago)

Can I consider myself a professional?

And yet, I cannot claim to be a professional in the restrictive sense that hiring companies evaluate that term.

At least, I should come to term that I am a generalist scholar

I discovered that “professionalism” makes me physically sick, sustained stomach aches and recurring periods of catching cold… I would have died early on.

I am enjoying this freedom of expressing my opinions and feelings, and taking positions as a free man: Frequent confrontation with bullying people and the powers flaunting my rights and human rights

I don’t miss “professionalism”, excepting the retirement money

U.S. State Department “Welcomes” News That Saudi Arabia Will Head U.N. Human Rights Panel

On the basis that this worst State in Human Rights records will desist and improve?

Last week’s announcement that Saudi Arabia — easily one of the world’s most brutally repressive regimes — was chosen to head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel provoked indignation around the world.

That reaction was triggered for obvious reasons.

  1. Not only has Saudi Arabia executed more than 100 people already this year, mostly by beheading (a rate of 1 execution every two days), and
  2. not only is it serially flogging dissidents,
  3. but it is reaching new levels of tyrannical depravity as it is about to behead and then crucify the 21-year-old son of a prominent regime critic, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted at the age of 17 of engaging in demonstrations against the government.
Glenn Greenwald posted this Sept. 23 2015

Most of the world may be horrified at the selection of Saudi Arabia to head a key U.N. human rights panel, but the U.S. State Department most certainly is not.

Quite the contrary: its officials seem quite pleased about the news.

At a State Department briefing yesterday afternoon, Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner was questioned by the invaluable Matt Lee of AP, and this is the exchange that resulted:

QUESTION: Change topic? Saudi Arabia.

MR. TONER: Saudi Arabia.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Saudi Arabia was named to head the Human Rights Council, and today I think they announced they are about to behead a 21-year-old Shia activist named Muhammed al-Nimr. Are you aware of that?

MR. TONER: I’m not aware of the trial that you — or the verdict — death sentence.

QUESTION: Well, apparently, he was arrested when he was 17 years old and kept in juvenile detention, then moved on. And now, he’s been scheduled to be executed.

MR. TONER: Right. I mean, we’ve talked about our concerns on the capital punishment cases in Saudi Arabia in our Human Rights Report, but I don’t have any more to add to it.

QUESTION: So you —

QUESTION: Well, how about a reaction to them heading the council?

MR. TONER: Again, I don’t have any comment, don’t have any reaction to it. I mean, frankly, it’s — we would welcome it. We’re close allies. If we —

QUESTION: Do you think that they’re an appropriate choice given — I mean, how many pages is — does Saudi Arabia get in the Human Rights Report annually?

MR. TONER: I can’t give that off the top of my head, Matt. (What does Toner keeps in his Top?)

QUESTION: I can’t either, but let’s just say that there’s a lot to write about Saudi Arabia and human rights in that report. I’m just wondering if you — that it’s appropriate for them to have a leadership position.

MR. TONER: We have a strong dialogue, obviously a partnership with Saudi Arabia that spans, obviously, many issues. We talk about human rights concerns with them. As to this leadership role, we hope that it’s an occasion for them to look at human rights around the world but also within their own borders.

QUESTION: But you said that you welcome them in this position. Is it based on [an] improved record? I mean, can you show or point to anything where there is a sort of stark improvement in their human rights record?

MR. TONER: I mean, we have an ongoing discussion with them about all these human rights issues, like we do with every country. We make our concerns clear when we do have concerns, but that dialogue continues. But I don’t have anything to point to in terms of progress.

QUESTION: Would you welcome as a — would you welcome a decision to commute the sentence of this young man?

MR. TONER: Again, I’m not aware of the case, so it’s hard for me to comment on it other than that we believe that any kind of verdict like that should come at the end of a legal process that is just and in accordance with international legal standards. (And if there is no such legal progress? No defense lawyers…)

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. TONER: Sure.

That’s about as clear as it gets.

The U.S. government “welcomes” the appointment of Saudi Arabia to a leadership position on this Human Rights panel because it’s a “close ally.”

As I documented two weeks ago courtesy of an equally candid admission from an anonymous “senior U.S. official”: “The U.S. loves human-rights-abusing regimes and always has, provided they ‘cooperate.’ …

The only time the U.S. government pretends to care in the slightest about human rights abuses is when they’re carried out by ‘countries that don’t cooperate.’”

It’s difficult to know whether Mark Toner is lying when he claims ignorance about the case of al-Nimr, the regime critic about to be beheaded and crucified for dissident activism, which he engaged in as a teen.

Indeed, it’s hard to know which would be worse: active lying or actual ignorance, given that much of the world has been talking about this case.

The government of France formally requested that the Saudis rescind the death penalty.

Is it really possible that the deputy spokesperson of the U.S. State Department is ignorant of this controversy?

Either way, the reluctance of the U.S. government to utter a peep about the grotesque abuses of its “close ally” is in itself grotesque.

But it’s also profoundly revealing. The close U.S./Saudi alliance and the massive amount of weapons and intelligence lavished on the regime in Riyadh by the West is one of the great unmentionables in Western discourse.

(The Guardian last week published an editorial oh-so-earnestly lamenting the war in Yemen being waged by what it called the “Saudi-led coalition,” yet never once mentioned the rather important fact that the Saudis are being armed in this heinous war by the U.S. and U.K.)

It took a letter to the editor from an Oxfam official to tell The Guardian that the West is not being “complacent” about the war crimes being committed in Yemen, as The Guardian misleadingly claimed, but rather actively complicit.

It’s not hard to understand why so many of the elite sectors of the West want everyone to avert their eyes from this deep and close relationship with the Saudis. It’s because that alliance single-handedly destroys almost every propagandistic narrative told to the Western public about that region.

As the always-expanding “War on Terror” enters its 14th year, the ostensible target — radical, violent versions of Islam — is fueled far more by the U.S.’s closest allies than any of the countries the U.S. has been fighting under the “War on Terror” banner.

Beyond that, the alliance proves the complete absurdity of believing that the U.S. and U.K.’s foreign policies, let alone their various wars, have anything to do with protecting human rights or subverting tyranny and fanaticism.

And it renders a complete laughingstock any attempts to depict the U.S. government as some sort of crusader for freedom and democracy or whatever other pretty goals are regularly attributed to it by its helpful press.

Note: over 1,000 Hajj died trampled and 2,000 injured. The real cause was that the son of the monarch was going counter to traffic in this narrow lane leading to Mena, escorted by 200 soldiers and 150 police officers. They had closed entrances and exits for the convoy safety.

What Last-minute lack of transparency can do? Would it weakens sustainable development goals?

On Sunday 2 August, the 193 countries which make up the UN agreed to a document that will shape the next 15 years of international development policy and action.

Hailed “the people’s agenda” by UN secretary-general Ban-Ki moon, the sustainable development goals (SDGs), have taken some two years to negotiate.

The SDGs in their final form will be agreed to by all governments at a special summit this September.

Yet, the final 48 hours leading up to this milestone moment were marked by closed-door deals and bad faith, I believe.

As a civil society advocate working on the SDGs, I have been witnessing the negotiations since March 2013.

The negotiations had, until the evening of Friday 31 July, been a genuinely open and inclusive process. They were open to observers, included opportunities for civil society and the private sector to speak directly to the governments and were webcast on the UN’s own live TV channel.

But that weekend, as the 17 goals and 169 targets were being debated for the last time, observers were kept out and information was relayed by a small handful of specific negotiators to a small handful of civil society advocates such as myself.

After the negotiations stalled, the US delegation laid down an ultimatum, asking for changes to the language of the final outcome document, without which they refused to adopt the SDGs.

The US asked to replace the word “ensure” with the word “promote” in two targets (2.5 and 15.6, both about equitable benefits from natural resources) which, when applied would see rich nations – whose corporations and research institutions extract the vast majority of world’s natural biodiversity – share fairly the profits and patents reaped from those resources with the countries and communities from which they are extracted.

The legal agreement on biodiversity, published in 2011, clearly uses the word “ensure” but by insisting on the much weaker word “promote”, the US has diluted hard-won legal language and replaced it with something that is nebulous at best, and unenforceable at worst.

In response, a statement was delivered from the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago.

These countries stressed that the legal language was vital to maintain, as it is an international commitment stipulated in the Nagoya Protocol that must not be weakened.

This last minute, take-it-or-leave-it deal – proposed despite the fact that countries had repeatedly stressed that the goals must not be reopened to debate – filled the air of the UN conference room with distrust and tension.

A second alteration was made on Saturday 1 August, this time by the EU, which negotiates as a block in the UN.

They inserted the following text into the specific paragraph that addresses debt management: “Maintaining sustainable debt levels is the responsibility of the borrowing countries … ”

It is plainly obvious why this language is harmful and, given the situation in Greece, callous for the EU to even propose it.

If debt is the sole responsibility of the borrower, then the role of the lender in exacerbating the debt burden and setting countries up to default and crisis, as has been evident in Greece’s financial meltdown, is undermined.

Talk of debtors and creditors simply “working together” ignores existing UN agreements, dating back to 2002, that clearly recognise the joint responsibility of both the lender and borrower.

It was particularly disappointing to see human rights and non-discrimination, a cornerstone of the global goals, become a bargaining chip in the final hours.

African and Arab countries (who negotiate within blocks called the African Group and the Arab Group) attempted to delete language on.

While the specific words “human rights” were thankfully kept in the final document, “discrimination” was demoted to “distinction” and “fulfil” was reduced to “promote”. In both instances, these words are vague and inconsistent with established international human rights language, which will make it difficult to monitor progress and change.

Mention of discrimination on the basis of categories such as ethnicity, migration status, culture, economic situation or age as a protected status were also scrapped from the document, in an attempt to appease the African and Arab groups.

However, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability or other status managed to survive.

The way in which the SDGs have been adopted leaves a sour taste in the mouth and mirrors the bullying and blackmailing I witnessed at the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa.

The UN is supposed to be the a democratic and universal institution, one in which every nation has a vote, unlike the rich country-dominated IMF or World Bank. Backroom deals and pressure campaigns inevitably throw the legitimacy and fairness of international negotiations – not to mention the political will of governments to take the sustainable development goals seriously – into question.

The new global development agenda has captured the imagination of civil society, international institutions and many governments – rich and poor – because they have the potential to make ambitious and universal change to our economies, societies and environments. But the process by which we arrive at this new deal is important.

What transpired in the first weekend of August should cause all who are serious about the mantra to “leave no one behind” to reflect on the reality of vested interests and the unequal power between negotiating governments. If we cannot address this, we are left with the same system under a different name.

Bhumika Muchhala is a senior policy analyst at the Third World Network.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

If people are skeptical about govts as honest brokers: US weakens language on biodiversity and natural resource extraction, EU adds text that maintaining sustainable debt levels is the responsibility of debtor nations, while Arab and African nations (unsuccessfully) try to remove language on human rights and non-discrimination

The back room deals and pressure campaigns at the end of SDG negotiations call into question the legitimacy of the goals, says Bhumika Muchhala



When justice is served to Palestinian refugees: Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick

Najat Rizk  shared this link
May 16, 2015

Thank you Roger Waters ….Humanity and Justice for All.

Doc Jazz's photo.

ROGER WATERS, former PINK FLOYD frontman:

“Dionne Warwick called me out by name in asserting she’d play Tel Aviv. Here’s what she misunderstands.

Singer and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, “never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

“Waters’ political views are of no concern,” I assume she means to her, the statement read. “Art,” she added, “has no boundaries.”

Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately.

But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.

First, in my view, Dionne Warwick is a truly great singer.

Secondly, I doubt not that she is deeply committed to her family and her fans.

But, ultimately, this whole conversation is not about her, her gig in Tel Aviv, or even her conception of boundaries and art, though I will touch on that conception later.

This is about human rights and, more specifically, this is about the dystopia that can develop, as it has in Israel, when society lacks basic belief in equal human value, when it strays from the ability to feel empathy for our brothers and sisters of different faiths, nationalities, creeds or colors.

It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here.

The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.

I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries.

In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights – social, political and religious – on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.

Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement.

In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa.

Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, “I Ain’t Gonna play Sun City,” showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.

Those artists helped win that battle, and we, in the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will win this one against the similarly racist and colonialist policies of the Israeli government of occupation.

We will continue to press forward in favor of equal rights for all the peoples of the Holy Land.

Just as musicians weren’t going to play Sun City, increasingly we’re not going to play Tel Aviv. There is no place today in this world for another racist, apartheid regime.

As I’m sure you know, Lauryn Hill canceled her gig in Tel Aviv last week. She did not explicitly cite Israeli oppression of Palestinians as her reason for cancelling, but the subtext of her actions is clear and we thank her for her principled stand.

Dionne, I am of your generation. I remember the road to Montgomery, I remember Selma, I remember the struggles against the Jim Crow laws here.

Sadly, we are still fighting those battles, whether here in the USA in Ferguson or Baltimore, or in Gaza or the Negev, wherever the oppressed need us to raise our voices unafraid. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with them, our brothers and sisters, until true equality and justice are won.

Remember, “Operation Protective Edge,” the Israeli bombing of Gaza last summer, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 500 Palestinian children.

It is hard for us over here to imagine what it is like to be exiled, disenfranchised, imprisoned, rendered homeless and then slaughtered, with no place to flee. Hopefully, in the end, love will triumph.

But love will not triumph unless we stand up to such injustice and fight it tooth and nail, together.

Dionne, your words indicate that part of you is set on going through with your concert. I am appealing to another part of you, to implore that other part to join us. We will welcome you.

It is more than likely that you harbor reservations in your heart about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, that when you see a mother’s child in ruins you wonder what if that child were mine?

It is not too late to hear those reservations, to listen to that other voice, to value freedom and equality for all over the value you place on your concert in Tel Aviv.

When global pressure finally forces Israel to end its occupation, when the apartheid wall comes down, when justice is served to Palestinian refugees and all people there are free and equal, I will gladly join you in concert in the Holy Land, cross all the boundaries and share our music with all the people.”




Varieties of uniforms worn by housekeepers in Lebanon

Lebanese families, Arabs and their housekeepers, it can be something right out of a horror flick.

Our very own modern take on slavery.

On Tuesday, the Labor Ministry announced it was investigating a maid agency after the company sent out a text message advertising a Mother’s Day “special” on Ethiopian and Nigerian nationalities. posted this March 19, 2015

Minister Sejaan Azzi is quoted as calling the SMS “an insult to human rights and dignity” and pledged to shut down the business if the text turned out to be real.

One of the most disgusting aspects of the housekeeper-employer relationship in the Arab world, and in Lebanon in particular, is the high levels of control the employers exert on these women – to the point of playing dress-up with their bodies.

The employers feel as though housekeepers are not just their property, but believe what their domestic workers wear somehow reflects their economic status as a whole.

Here are the different ways Lebanese people dress their housekeepers, from least to most degrading:

5. Human Clothing

(Image via

It is rare that a Lebanese woman would allow her housekeeper to dress in human-style jeans and T-shirts.

If Kumari looks like a human, onlookers might embarrassingly mistake her for one of Ghada’s daughters … or worse – a friend.

4. The Apron

(Image via

This is where an apron is layered over human clothing, to ensure that nobody will confuse the housekeeper for a normal person; you need to keep her in her place.

Marking her with a scarlet letter in the form of an apron is the perfect way to do that! For all of you simple-minded apron defenders who are bound to say, “Aprons are useful!” You’re wrong. You’re wrong and stupid, actually – because the only functionality an apron has it to keep your clothes from getting dirtied by food while you cook, which begs the questions:

why are you asking your housekeeper to wear an apron while she serves you coffee, cleans your room, wipes your asshole child’s asshole, etc?

3. Rags and Scraps

(Image via Al-Akhbar English)

This get-up is only slightly less dignified than the apron, because the apron is layered over human clothing.

In this version of dress-up, the employer (usually a gross woman that has a penchant for slavery,) takes her children’s ratty old clothing and gifts it to her housekeeper as one final stop before the garbage can.

Whether the employer’s children are aged 1-7 or 5-10, it doesn’t matter – because what woman wouldn’t want to wear short bellbottoms bedazzled with words like “cute” and “diva” across their thigh?!

2. Semi-Uniform

(Image via CNN)

This dress code is for the “Masters” and “Madames” of the world that convince themselves that they’re being generous, good-hearted human rights activists by allowing half-human clothing to be worn.

The other half of the outfit is taken from a poster displayed outside of a maid’s office named Golden Maids – yes, this is a real place.

1. Full Uniform + Hat

(Image via farfahinne.blogspot)

This is based on a very real thing I saw in Beirut Souks last year.

There was a family with a bratty child who was being tended to by a young girl who was dressed in a pink housekeeping uniform.

The best part was that they also had her wear a tiny French maid’s hat. I’m pretty sure that the hat came from the employer’s lingerie drawer. Who actually buys those things in real life?


The contested right to EU-Europe

Unlawful push-backs of migrants at the European border implemented by Spanish and Moroccan security forces have become highly visible throughout 2014.

These repressive practices as well as the human rights discourses justifying or condemning them tell much about today’s power relations in postcolonial Euro-African borderlands: negotiated by various local, national and European actors, yet constantly contested and transformed through transnational migrants’ mobility.

Since the beginning of this year, so-called „hot” unlawful and violent pushbacks of migrants at the border of the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla in Northern Morocco became very publicly visible.

Disproportional abrasiveness (batons, aggressive police dogs, teargas to the point of rubber bullets) has been used by Spanish and Moroccan frontier guards in order to hinder migrants from getting over the fences or arriving by boat.

Photo by José Palazón: The Moroccan-Spanish border near Melilla (May 2014).

The push-backs, informally referred to as “expulsiones en caliente” (hot deportation), are the result of concerted actions of Spanish Gendarmerie (“Guardia Civil”), national police, and Moroccan security agents.

The Moroccan security agents enter the zone situated between the razor wire fences – two fences, and barbed wire six metres high – and return all migrants to Morocco without any written legal proceeding or the respect of internationally acknowledged guarantees, like the right to seek asylum.

For hours, as this video by the Spanish NGO Pro.De.In. shows, migrants are hold off against state frontier guards with batons and dogs at the very top of the wired fences and floodlight masts, escaping and finally reaching the temporary detention camp, CETI.

Despite brutality: imaginations and hope fuel migration projects

In 2014, last 6th of February, 15 sub-Saharan migrants drowned trying to reach Ceuta from the waterside.

After initial denials, Interior Minister Fernández confirmed that Spanish Guardia Civil agents had fired rubber projectiles and teargas into the water.

The EU home affairs commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, showed concern about the Guardia Civil’s oppressive reaction that may have contributed to the deaths. These disturbing scenes take place legally on Spanish soil.

For several years, this has been quite a hidden practice concerning only little groups of migrants, but recently violent pusbacks have been normalized on a much larger scale.

They affect migrant persons who – short of financial potential to enter Europe by legal means (via visas), and at the risk of losing their lives during a journey that in many cases take several years – refuse to give up hope and to put their imaginations into practice.

They keep on with persistent attempts to realize their diverse migration projects: in need of international protection, fleeing from wars and persecutions, or, fundamentally, in search of another life and a better future.

At the least, the above mentioned incidents brought back into the focus of media coverage the encounters of migrant mobility at the only landborders between Africa and EU-Europe. Ceuta and Melilla literally represent “Europe in Africa”, as De Haas puts it.

They are ultimately incarnating the relations of a shared history between the supposed dominant center of European modernity and its dominated, once colonised periphery.

Human rights commitment and the European border regime

Within this postcolonial setting, migrant activists point out to society’s human rights commitment, stating that the EU’s expanded border control politics violated international guarantees.

Numerous local and countrywide civil society organizations, local initiatives, lawyers and political unions (like CpM in Melilla) both at the Spanish but also at the Moroccan side of the Schengen border denounce these practices of collective and sweeping expulsions of mainly sub-Saharan persons as illegal and unconstitutional according to Spanish law.

The Melilla based NGO Pro.De.In particularly has meticulously documented the incidents via photos and videos.

These images have been widely dispersed, first in social then in mainstream media, in order to inform citizens critically about the lawless and lethal brutality happening at the southwestern external borders of Europe.

Their work uncovers the hegemonic power relations of a “New Europe” and its EU-border regime that has been expanded and transnationalised into North Africa through the help of bilateral agreements and partnership politics in return of guaranteed economic privileges and development aid.

In their report about a recently human rights observation in Melilla in July 2014, a group of lawyers, migrants’ aid and human rights activist stated that there is a real threat of establishing “Guantanamo”-like zones in Ceuta and Melilla where national law is no longer implemented in order to deport or “return” the supposed undesirable migrants without a necessary minimum of guarantees.

Although the conclusions of this mission will be submitted to the respective committees of the UN and the European Council dealing with the prevention of torture – next to a further complaint against the government representative and the chief of Guardia Civil – activists are not very optimistic about successfully addressing the European Union policies with their demands.

Nevertheless, they hope to be heard at juridical instances like the European Court of Human Rights.

From “Fortress Europe” to the logic of “migration management”

Holding a two-faced attitude in the context of managing human movement into and inside the European space by means of distinction between so called undesired “migration” and promoted “mobility”, the EU is accused of openly “waging an authentic dirty war against migrant persons”.

Permanent pushbacks of migrants at the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, assisted by lethal state repression, as happened at the beginning of February, can attest for it.

In fact, since the mid-1990s the EU established its concept of “management of migration”, underpinned by a neoliberal discourse that redefines the border itself as a humanitarian concern. This move shifted the previously national, social and conservative discourse that had problematised migration as a danger to security, national identity, and welfare.

Border politics today, gain rhetorical legitimacy from widely accepted and supported demands to take action against organised human smuggling, trafficking in women, as well as against delinquency and exploitation in migration.

As Sonja Buckel illustrates, the neoliberal model, moderated by international organisations like OECD and IOM, connects the “fight against illegal migration” with the recruitment of economically desired “positive” migration and replaces the failed, because inefficient, walls-up strategies.

Walls-up strategies are usually refered to as “Fortress Europe”. Current discussions about the creation of more legal possibilities to enter Europe in order to fight irregular migration point to this logic of “management”.

The above mentioned oppressive mechanisms of the EU are not at least echoed in the fact put forward by a recent Amnesty Internation report of July 2014: that Spain is one of the countries with most discrepancy (280 million Euro between 2007 and 2013) between the money spent in border control and the budget provided for the attendance of refugees and asylum seekers.

Morocco: “Europe’s Gendarme” or respecting migrants’ rights?

For their part, Moroccan authorities, also show little interest in clearing up, explaining or commenting officially on the new returning proceedings in which they are involved. The Moroccan Kingdom is part of the secure third-party-country belt the EU installed at its margins.

Although having announced a radically new politics of migration in line with an approach that is referred to as humanitarian in September 2013, Morocco is contributing to the well-paid control policy on its territory, currently by constructing a new razor wire fence, financed by the EU and provided by beneficial European security and technology companies.

On the Spanish side, the blades, able to cut tendons, had to be removed due to intense public protests denouncing human rights violations some years ago. Morocco, which already had been condemned for ongoing torture practices in prison, will have to take the responsibility of future human rights violation.

The Spanish-Moroccan cooperation in border issues conforms with the new “Mobility Partnership” signed between EU and Morocco in June 2013 . This agreement is not least directed to finally complete the still lacking and highly contested negotiation about the readmission of what the EU considers “illegal” migrants, not only of Moroccan nationals, but also of non-nationals having demonstrably entered undocumented from Morocco to the EU.

Claiming their right to postcolonial Europe

These incidents in the Euro-Moroccan borderlands, which have been recently highlighted via media and activists, have finally provoked discussion at national and European political and public level – and translate the daily normalized brutality of border control.

The control mechanisms, rearmed with biopolitical (information) technology, are able to detect, supervise and control moving bodies on the land and in the water.

These practices reify a pervasive European border regime, thereby embodying what Étienne Balibar in “We, the People of Europe” calls a “European apartheid”.

Despite apparent efforts to the contrary, this regime doesn’t effectively prevent migration, because migrants have always found new ways to enter into Europe.

However, by regulating and managing it, the EU creates a new subject at the borders: the disenfranchised, precarious subject of the illegal migrant that skilfully arranges and copes in various situational ways with the parlous conditions of the everyday life in the “cosmopolitanised” EU-borderlands.

The anthropologists Regina Römhild and Michael Westrich have indicated this very fact for the case of Spanish Tarifa.

Secondly, the events underline the fact that the control apparatus – externalized, meantime, into Northern Africa and the Sahel zone – is continuously challenged by the movements of migration. It is by means of their presence that migrants from the global South and East claim a right to Europe.

Pointing to the cultural theorist and sociologist Stuart Hall, Regina Römhild argues that they can derive this right from the long history of colonial expansion from the West to the “rest of the world”.

Migrants are, so to say, “Europe’s Others” “without which this Europe would not exist today, the other, that Europe tries to split off from its own history by a neocolonial gesture”.

And finally, there is no capitalism without migration/mobility of labour, as De Genova, Mezzadra, Pickles et al. show convincingly.

Considering the facts that migration itself is a field of struggle and it does play a key role in the routine operations and reproduction of capitalism, this kind of non-intentional migrants’ interventions form “counter-movements” against the neocolonial and capitalist trans-nationalisation.

Migrants’ mobility: inspiring another European future

The continued presence of so-called “irregular” migrants’ mobility as well as their struggles for fundamental rights are questioning both physical borders and socio-cultural boundaries of EU-Europe.

Migrant actors do so, often unintentionally, just simply but not only, by “attacking the fences” as they themselves name it. This challenging of European borderlands – not only between Morocco and Spain – has been creating a turbulent centre of manifold entanglements and encounters: that is, cosmopolitanised social spaces of enmeshments between the supposed migrant “other” and so-called “national local”.

Here, multilevel negotiations, pragmatic alliances and situational collaborations take place in everyday interaction, next to experiences of neo-nationalist and racist defence. In this sense, today`s encounters at, outside and behind the EU-Europe borders, are cause and constitutive part of salubrious, yet conflict-ridden societal transformations.

They might contribute essentially to juster models of political, societal and cultural formations, ultimately dealing with a very important question: how do we want to live together?




March 2023

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