Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Question from Afghanistan, ‘Can We Abolish War?’

Dr. Hakim Common Dreams September 19, 2015

Habib says #Enough! (Photos: Dr. Hakim)
Hadisa, a bright 18 year old Afghan girl, ranks as the top student in her 12th grade class. ‘The question is,’ she wondered, ‘are human beings capable of abolishing war?’
Like Hadisa, I had my doubts about whether human nature could have the capacity to abolish war. For years, I had presumed that war is sometimes necessary to control ‘terrorists’, and based on that presumption, it didn’t make sense to abolish it. Yet my heart went out to Hadisa when I imagined her in a future riddled with intractable violence…………
Hadisa, like 99% of human beings, and the more than 60 million refugees fleeing from military and economic wars, usually chooses peaceful, constructive action rather than violence……….
………In another two days, on the 21st of September, the International day of Peace, she will be one of 100 street kids who will serve a lunch meal to 100 Afghan labourers.
‘In place of war,’ Fatima learnt, ‘we will do acts of kindness.’
This action will launch #Enough!, a long-term campaign and movement initiated by the Afghan Peace Volunteers to abolish war…………..
Read more http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/09/19/question-afghanistan-can-we-abolish-war

Sunday, September 20, 2015

From Noam Chomsky’s 1967 essay, ‘The Responsibilities of Intellectuals’

‘Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions … they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.’
From Noam Chomsky’s 1967 essay, ‘The Responsibilities of Intellectuals’ The New York Review of Books, February 23, 1967 http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19670223.htm

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What Causes Migrants to Leave and What is to be Done

W. T. Whitney CounterPunch September 15, 2015

Migrants are abandoning the Middle East and Africa and flooding Europe. Others leave Central America and Mexico for the United States. Humanitarian crises are at U. S. and European doorsteps. Panic reigns in Europe at the hordes of strangers in their midst. Volunteers and the United Nations have mobilized. Some European governments provide social services, transportation, housing, and food. For migrants, deportation and detention loom as dangers. The dominant media concentrate on refugees’ immediate problems, barriers in their way, and governments’ difficulties in coping. And migrants keep on coming……….
Life at risk in the three regions is a much-told and shifting story, especially as the responsible parties are named. The tale is simple enough, however, and really needs only a few words in the telling. Artists do the trick with word nuggets. The late Portuguese Nobel-winning novelist José Saramago is a case in point.
With Africa in mind, he maintains that, ‘Displacement from south to north is inevitable. Neither barbed – wire fences, walls, nor deportations will be worth anything; they will come by the millions. Europe will be taken over by the hungry. They come looking for those who robbed them. There’ll be no return for them because they are leaving behind a famine of centuries, and they come tracking the scent of their daily rations. Distribution is getting closer and closer. Trumpets have begun to sound. Hatred is being served and we’ll need politicians who know how to rise above the circumstances.’………….
Read more http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/15/what-causes-migrants-to-leave-and-what-is-to-be-done/

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We can take more refugees: Refugee Council of Australia

Lindy Kerin AM on ABC Radio National September 7, 2015 08:30:00
………..The president of the Refugee Council of Australia Phil Glendenning says Australia could and should do more.
PHIL GLENDENNING: It's quite clearly unsatisfactory given the level of crisis that we're seeing around the world at the moment.
Look, it is, you know, it is good that if the Prime Minister is prepared to take more people from Syria but they should not be at the expense of other people that we have obliged to take also.
We'd need to see extra places made available not to shuffle around with the fairly small numbers we take anyway. …………. We've got countries like Germany taking upwards of 800,000.
The Europeans are certainly showing a much clearer way in exercising not just compassion but their international obligations.
And I think moreover, Australia was a party to a lot of the wars that have gone on in places like Iraq and Afghanistan that have indirectly contributed to the crisis that we now see in Syria and I think we have a very strong obligation to be involved with protecting the very people who are fleeing from the dangers that we've had a hand in creating…………
Read more http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4307171.htm

Friday, September 4, 2015

Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants …….a scathing criticism of our country

Editorial The New York Times September 3, 2015
Some European officials may be tempted to adopt the hard-line approach Australia has used to stem a similar tide of migrants. That would be unconscionable.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has overseen a ruthlessly effective effort to stop boats packed with migrants, many of them refugees, from reaching Australia’s shores. His policies have been inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war.
Since 2013, Australia has deployed its navy to turn back boats with migrants, including asylum seekers, before they could get close to its shores. Military personnel force vessels carrying people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and other conflict-roiled nations toward Indonesia, where most of the journeys begin. A boat captain recently reported that Australian authorities paid him $30,000 to turn back. If true, that account, which the Australian government has not disputed, would represent a violation of international laws designed to prevent human smuggling and protect asylum seekers.
Those who have not been turned back are held at detention centers run by private contractors on nearby islands, including the tiny nation of Nauru. A report this week by an Australian Senate committee portrayed the Nauru center as a purgatory where children are sexually abused, guards give detainees marijuana in exchange for sex and some asylum seekers are so desperate that they stitch their lips shut in an act of protest. Instead of stopping the abuses, the Australian government has sought to hide them from the world………………
The world’s war zones are all but certain to continue to churn out an extraordinary number of refugees and economic migrants in the years ahead. Those people understandably will head to the most prosperous nations, hoping to rebuild their lives. It is inexcusable that some find themselves today in situations that are more hopeless and degrading than the ones that prompted them to flee.
Read more http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/opinion/australias-brutal-treatment-of-migrants.html?post_id=10153642349758593_10153642349743593#_=_

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shut it down Australia’s offshore immigration detention system is intolerable

Michael Lucy The Monthly September 1, 2015

Politics rolls along as usual today: politicians attack newspapers, newspapers attack politicians; unions attack the royal commission, the royal commission attacks unions; the government attacks itself, the government defends itself from its own attacks. Meanwhile, a human catastrophe of our making slowly grinds on to our north.
Late yesterday afternoon, a Senate committee delivered its report into conditions at Australia’s ‘regional processing centre’ in Nauru. The headline recommendation was that all children should be removed from the centre immediately. The report also repeats many of the claims about the centre that we have heard in recent months – that women and children live in fear of sexual assault by guards and other inmates, that self-harm and suicide attempts are common, that disease is rampant and medical treatment poor.
Perhaps the worst thing about it is that the conditions the report describes have come to seem hardly noteworthy. We know, more or less, what it’s like on Nauru: very bad. (This is not to say that we don’t need more transparency and detail about actual incidents and conditions.) A lack of information is not the problem………….
The report will not lead to any changes, because all the report does is show that the centre is working as planned. The logic is fairly straightforward (if repugnant): in order to deter refugees, the camps need to be worse than what the refugees are running from. As long as we are committed to this model of offshore detention, there will be no such thing as too much maltreatment or abuse of the inmates.
Governments Labor and Liberal have created and maintained this system, and have created a legal apparatus – outsourcing to the dysfunctional government of Nauru, and the amoral corporates at Wilson Security and Transfield Services – whereby they can absolve themselves of responsibility when abuses occur……………
At some point the justification for the existence of the system becomes irrelevant, because the system is intolerably bad in itself. We’re well past that point. We, as a country, are effectively running overseas prison camps filled with people who have committed no crime, camps where abuse and neglect and maltreatment are routine, where the exercise of power is arbitrary and accountability is non-existent. It’s time to shut them down, and do our best to make amends. In a just world those responsible would be held to account, but clearly that is some other world.
Read more https://www.themonthly.com.au/today/michael-lucy/2015/01/2015/1441085517/shut-it-down?utm_source=Today&utm_campaign=1738e55309-Today_1_September_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_673b6b002d-1738e55309-303483645#round-up