Sunday, December 29, 2013

Little Hala And The Herods Of Israel

On Christmas Eve, while Christians knelt in churches to honour the birth of the eternal light of the Child of Bethlehem - the Child of peace, Israeli Herods struck Gaza and the life-light of little Hala haemorrhaged into eternal death.

Hala Ahmed Abu Sbaikha, all of 3 years old, was, like all toddlers, both vivacious and shy, playful, affectionate with bright curious eyes and with a so soft cheek to rest a bedtime kiss.

Why did the Herods of Israel attack Gaza?
There are three possible answers - one false, one truly appalling, one heinous.

Ostensibly, reports in western pro-Israel media, that devoted one sentence to Hala’s death, garbled on and on with the usual Herod hasbara (propaganda); the attack was Israel’s divine right to excessively inflict collective punishment for the shooting, by a Gaza sniper, of an Israeli civilian labourer, Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, working on the border fence. Salah was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No mention, of course, that four days previously, Odeh Jihad Hamad in Beit Hanoun, 29, was a kilometre away from the border collecting scrap metal when Israeli soldiers fatally shot him in the head. Israeli forces did not allow ambulances to attend to Odeh for an hour and a half after the shooting.

Or that since November 2012, when Israel’s Pillar of Cloud assault (weapons testing operation) that killed 171 Palestinians had ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Israel has committed over 300 ceasefire violations encompassing aerial attacks, military incursions, the levelling of agricultural land, gunship attacks on fishermen, harassing, targeting and wounding farmers, unlawful kidnappings, and the killing of ten Gazan civilians.

Definitely suppressed was the fact that for seven years, the people of Gaza have been held captive by the illegal Israeli siege and in the last two months Israel’s blockade of fuel has caused a disastrous humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of critical supplies and electricity for health services. In freezing temperatures blasted by a winter storm of unprecedented proportions, vulnerable Gazan families and their children have had no electricity, heat or light, and when the waste water pumping system collapsed pouring sewerage into the streets, shockingly, Israel opened two dams close-by causing the flooding, devastation and misery to soar.

So why did the Herods of Israel truly attack Gaza?

They attack because they can. They attack because, for 65 years, have been granted impunity by democratic western nations. They attack to test their weaponry on Gazan families to sell to said western democratic nations. They attack because they don’t want peace. They attack because they want Palestinians to leave Eretz Israel ( the whole of Historic Palestine). They attack to to drive Palestinians from their ancestral lands into the sea.

On the first Sunday after Christmas, Catholics and Copts commemorate the Feast of the Holy Family recalling Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus’ flight to Egypt to escape Herod’s ordering of the Massacre of the Innocents; the infanticide of male babies and toddlers in the Bethlehem region.

But Hala’s family had no escape. For seven years, Israel and the US-supported Egyptian military government have sealed Gaza’s borders so that it’s 1.7 million refugee population, half of whom are children, has no recourse to refuge from Herod’s war crimes.

Herod the Great i.e. Herod the Deranged was a vassal of the Roman Empire. Today there is political twist. The US empire (and its client states, UK, EU, Australia) is Israel’s vassal. The US pays an annual tribute of 3 billion dollars even though Israel publicly insults and leads US presidents by the nose on a merry dance to the tune of incompetency played by Herod’s fool, the UN.

The UN has the the legal duty and responsibility to protect all children. On the website of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, it informs us that “the Security Council recognised early on the need for robust action including sanctions against individuals persistently committing violations against children in armed conflict. These sanctions include arms embargoes, asset freezes, and travel bans.

The readiness of the Security Council to impose sanctions against violators of the rights of children in armed conflict has developed over time. In Security Council resolution 1539 (2004), the Council expressed for the first time its intention to consider imposing targeted and graduated measures against parties to conflict violating the rights of children. This commitment was reaffirmed in resolutions 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), and 1998 (2011).”

Israel’s Herods have slaughtered 1,400 children since 2000. Has the UN or any state robustly imposed sanctions on Israel’s child-killers? NO.

Let’s look more closely at why Zionist Herods attack Gaza?

Impunity aside, ultimately, they attack because they are depraved untermenschen, not just the military but every Zionist who supports Israel’s illegal occupation, warmongering and apartheid policies. They attack because a three year old Palestinian child’s life, its delightful vitality, its laughter, its wonder, its tears, its fun and its fears means nothing to these inhuman thugs and nothing to the UN and nothing to the leaders and citizens of western democratic nations who look away from Israel’s war crimes and daily crimes against humanity.

On Christmas Eve, the songs of Christmas angels were muted by explosions when Herods’ tanks and warplanes “forcefully” bombed Gaza for two hours hitting Hala’s home in Al-Maghazi refugee camp,massacring her innocence and injuring her mother Buthaina, and brothers Mohammed 6 and Bilal, 4.

Little Hala should be alive now. It was her sacred right.

- Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Committee proposing Nobel for Kiribati President Tong for climate advocacy

Media Release
Sydney, AUSTRALIA, Thursday, 19th December 2013

Nobel campaign announced for global action on climate change.

“We take pleasure today to announce the formation of a Committee to promote the candidacy of Kiribati's President, His Excellency Anote Tong, for the Nobel Peace Prize,” said today Phil Glendenning, director of the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney, Australia.

Mr Glendenning is part of this committee formed of prominent individuals from the international community to honour this Pacific leader and to promote his climate message.

“In this part of the year when the world celebrates international human rights day, it is fitting to announce this Nobel nomination campaign - which calls us to consider the human rights of the people most at risk from climate change,” Mr Glendenning said. “For the peoples of nations like Kiribati, climate change threatens the very existence of their culture.”

“In promoting President Tong in this manner, the Committee’s aim is to call the international community to listen to the peoples of the Pacific in their pleas for urgent and major global action on climate change, Mr Glendenning said. “They understand, more than most, the dangers that climate change poses to infrastructure, health and security, and to the very future of their nations.”

“As the leader of Kiribati - one of the most vulnerable Pacific island nations - President Tong has long been calling for the world to take positive action to deal collectively and cooperatively with the threat and impact of climate change.”

“Since President Tong’s initial election to the presidency in 2003 he has helped to carry the voice of Small Island Developing States into the global debate on climate change action. He is a key advocate on the threat of long-term climate change to the national security of low-lying atoll nations like Kiribati” said Mr Glendenning who has witnessed the changes in Kiribati in recent years.

“Among international leaders President Tong has been and continues to be one of the most compelling voices in bringing to the world’s attention the fact that climate change is the ultimate challenge to human security. President Tong is a quiet man whose calm and rational voice resonates forcefully when he makes plain that climate justice is central to the quest for peace and global security in the 21st Century.

“President Tong’s eloquent perseverance, often in the face of great disappointment, is a clarion call to the world to act decisively to curb the impact of climate change on vulnerable peoples. His powerful and courageous leadership makes his candidacy both timely and significant – and worthy of the consideration of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.”

Committee membership includes:-

Ms Pelenise Alofa, Executive Director, Kiribati Climate Action Network, Kiribati;
Most Rev Sir Brian Barnes, former Catholic Archbishop, Port Moresby Papua-New Guinea;
Dr Tom Brown, former Anglican Bishop, Wellington, New Zealand;
Hon. Dr Meredith Burgmann, President, Australian Council for International Development; former parliamentarian, NSW, Australia;
Sister Clare Condon sgs, 2013 Australian Human Rights Medallist: Congregational Leader, Sisters of the Good Samaritan, Australia;
Prof. Patrick Dodson, former Chairperson, Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Australia;
Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister, Australia;
Mr Phil Glendenning, Director, Edmund Rice Centre, Australia;
Dr Carmen Lawrence, former Premier, Western Australia, Australia;
Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, former Vice-President, Fiji;
Rt Rev. Archbishop David Moxon, Director, Anglican Centre, Rome, Italy;
Dr Richard O'Brien, former Ambassador to Poland, Australia, Egypt and Singapore for the Republic of Ireland;
Reverend Francois Pihaatae, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches, Fiji;
Dame Meg Taylor, Compliance Advisor Ombudsman & Vice President, World Bank Group, USA;
Sr Sharon Zayac, O.P., Executive Director, Jubilee Farm, Illinois, USA

Reflection on what Christmas means?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Selected sayings of Arundhati Roy

December 22-23, 2013

‘To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.’

Arundhati Roy

‘Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture---must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.’

Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things

‘The American way of life is not sustainable. It doesn’t acknowledge that there is a world beyond America. ‘

Arundhati Roy

‘Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’
Arundhati Roy War Talk

‘There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.’
Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things

‘Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.’

Arundhati Roy War Talk

‘Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe.’

Arundhati Roy Public Power in the Age of Empire

‘Have we raised the threshold of horror so high that nothing short of a nuclear strike qualifies as a 'real' war? Are we to spend the rest of our lives in this state of high alert with guns pointed at each other's heads and fingers trembling on the trigger?’

Arundhati Roy

Friday, December 13, 2013

US Drone Attack Kills 15 En Route to Wedding

Group was reportedly mistaken for al Qaeda
Andrea Germanos, staff writer Common Dreams December 12, 2013

A U.S. drone strike killed 15 people on their way to a wedding on Thursday near the town of Radaa, Yemen, according to local officials.
’An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, ten people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital,’ Reuters reports a security official as saying.
The group ‘was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy,’ according to Reuters.
The Associated Press cites an unnamed official as saying that al Qaeda militants were suspected as traveling with the wedding party.
Five others were also reportedly wounded in the strike.
Thursday's strike marks the second U.S. drone attack this week on the impoverished country. Three days ago, the country's Hadramout province was the site of a strike that killed three people
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that confirmed U.S. drone strikes have killed 389 people in Yemen since 2004, including five children……..
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela quotes: 12 of his most famous statements:

1. On his opposition to apartheid:

‘During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
Statement at the opening of his defence in the Rivonia treason trial, April 20, 1964.

2. On his decision to take up arms against apartheid:

‘I and some colleagues came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be wrong and unrealistic for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle.’
Statement at the opening of his defence in the Rivonia treason trial, April 20, 1964.

3. On South Africa attaining democracy:
‘We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign.’
Speech at his inauguration as South African president in Pretoria, May 10, 1994.

4. On racism:

‘Racism is a blight on the human conscience. The idea that any people can be inferior to another, to the point where those who consider themselves superior define and treat the rest as sub-human, denies the humanity even of those who elevate themselves to the status of gods.’
Address to the UK's Joint Houses of Parliament, July 11, 1996.

5. On apartheid rule:

‘We are extricating ourselves from a system that insulted our common humanity by dividing us from one another on the basis of race and setting us against each other as oppressed and oppressor. That system committed a crime against humanity.’
Speech in Pretoria upon receipt of a report from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, which investigated apartheid-era atrocities, October 29, 1998.

6. On his government's achievements during his five years as president:

‘We have laid the foundation for a better life. Things that were unimaginable a few years ago have become everyday reality. I belong to the generation of leaders for whom the achievement of democracy was the defining challenge.’
Speech to parliament in Cape Town, March 26, 1999.

7. On his successor Thabo Mbeki's unorthodox views about AIDS:

‘In all disputes a point is arrived at where no party, no matter how right or wrong it might have been at the start of that dispute, will any longer be totally in the right or totally in the wrong. Such a point, I believe, has been reached in this debate. Let us not equivocate: a tragedy of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in Africa.’
Speech to the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, July 14, 2000.

8. On AIDS:

‘HIV/AIDS is the greatest danger we have faced for many, many centuries. HIV/AIDS is worse than a war. It is like a world war. Millions of people are dying from it.’
Statement issued in Johannesburg, December 1, 2000.

9. On his retirement from public life at the age of 85:

‘One of the things that made me long to be back in prison was that I had so little opportunity for reading, thinking and quiet reflection after my release. I intend, amongst other things, to give myself much more opportunity for such reading and reflection.’
Statement in Johannesburg, June 1, 2004.

10. On South Africa, a decade after the fall of apartheid:

‘Today we are a nation at peace with itself, united in our diversity, not only proclaiming but living out the contention that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. We take our place amongst the nations of the world, confident and proud in being an African country.’
Lecture in Cape Town, September 10, 2004.

11. On poverty:

‘Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.’
Speech delivered in Johannesburg, July 2, 2005.

12. On human solidarity:

‘As the years progress one increasingly realises the importance of friendship and human solidarity. And if a 90-year-old may offer some unsolicited advice on this occasion, it would be that you, irrespective of your age, should place human solidarity, the concern for the other, at the centre of the values by which you live.’
Lecture in Kliptown, Soweto, July 12, 2008.

Mandela: His Long Walk to Freedom

The Hoopla December 6, 2013

‘When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country. He can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.’
Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Temporary Protection Visas are the wrong approach

The Australian Human Rights Commission is pleased to see that the motion to disallow the Migration Amendment (Temporary Protection Visas) Regulation 2013 was successful today. The Commission is of the view that refugees should be granted permanent protection visas,
‘Considering the negative impacts that Temporary Protection Visas had on refugees when they were used in Australia between 1999 and 2008, we have long been concerned that their reintroduction may lead to breaches of Australia’s international human rights obligations,’ Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs said.
‘Specifically, we are concerned that the use of TPVs may breach Australia’s obligation not to discriminate against asylum seekers who arrive without a visa, as well as the obligation not to penalise asylum seekers on account of their unauthorised arrival when they are coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened.’
Professor Triggs said several studies have found that the uncertainty, insecurity and fears of repatriation associated with being granted only temporary protection through use of these visas can contribute to ongoing mental health problems for refugees.
As TPVs denied refugees the ability to sponsor family members to join them in Australia or to travel outside of Australia, they caused a great deal of suffering because people were separated from their family members for an indefinite period of time.
Professor Triggs said that last time TPVs were used, the restrictions on family reunion and overseas travel may have directly contributed to the increase in the number of family members, particularly women and children, risking their lives by making the boat journey to Australia. Additionally, the uncertainty and family separation in many cases compounded previous trauma suffered by people in their country of origin.
‘The bottom line is that we should be establishing humane or effective ways to integrate people who are in need of protection into the Australian community,’ Professor Triggs said. ‘Temporary Protection Visas in no way assist this purpose.’

Tony Abbott vows to circumvent Senate rejection of TPVs
Prime minister describes combined Labor-Greens veto as a ‘two finger salute to the voters of Australia'
Lenore Taylor and Daniel Hurst December 3, 2013

Sarah Hanson-Young moved the disallowance motion in the Senate on Monday night against the TPV regulations, saying TPVs led to 'dramatic, harmful and dangerous effects'. Photograph: Lukas Coch for Guardian Australia/AAP
Tony Abbott has vowed to circumvent the Senate’s rejection of the government’s proposed temporary protection visas, but has not yet said how he will do it.
Labor and the Greens combined in the Senate to veto the reintroduction of Howard-era temporary protection visas on Monday night, a move the prime minister described as a ‘two finger salute’ to the Australian people’s decision in the September election.
Abbott is vowing to keep the parliament sitting through Christmas until it passes the carbon tax and mining tax repeals, the increase to the debt ceiling and an as-yet-unspecified measure to enact the intent of the temporary protection visa law.
The government has also unveiled legislation to remove from the Department of Immigration and confer instead on the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, the power to make a determination in the case of people whose claim for asylum had been rejected but who would be in danger if returned to their home country.
In a press conference shortly before question time, Abbott said he would make an announcement ‘shortly’ about how the government would prevent the 33,000 asylum seekers already in Australia from ever achieving permanent residency…..
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young moved the disallowance motion in the Senate on Monday night, saying TPVs led to ‘dramatic, harmful and dangerous effects’.
‘We have had temporary protection visas before in this country and they were incredibly cruel, incredibly dangerous and created incredible suffering for the people they were imposed upon,’ Hanson-Young said.
‘Temporary protection visas under this government are for punishment's sake only. They are only being given to people who have already arrived in Australia. They have waited for years in immigration detention and then waited more years, perhaps on a bridging visa or in community detention, only to finally have their application for asylum assessed, be found to be genuine refugees and then be slapped with a temporary protection visa.’…..
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