Jeffrey Sikkenga: 1619 Project ignores true miracle of America’s founding – NNY360

ASHLAND, Ohio When was America founded?

The New York Times is trying to reframe American history and its teaching by marking the introduction of African slaves into Virginia in 1619 as the year of our true founding. This effort denigrates our shared history and ignores the full American story.

Nothing can negate or excuse the horror of slavery. As Abraham Lincoln said, If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

But focusing single-mindedly on the introduction of slavery in 1619, and the legacy of oppression and discrimination against African-Americans that followed, ignores the reasons for hope that have driven generations of Americans. It disregards the fact that many of the original colonies were settled by individuals escaping religious persecution in Europe. And it ignores the fact that many who followed later also were fleeing oppression.

Worst of all, it relegates to the back seat of American history the true miracle of our countrys founding, when citizens with varying backgrounds, interests, and philosophical and religious beliefs came together to create a new form of government never before seen.

They came together not on prejudice or passion but on the self-evident truth proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence: That all people are endowed by their Creator with the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For the first time in world history, a genuine conversation took place about establishing a government dedicated to liberty and justice. As Alexander Hamilton said, all other countries before America were the product of accident and force; only our country had a constitution created by reflection and choice of the people.

True, we the people did not include everyone at the time but 1776 laid the foundation for such inclusion.

Consider what happened to slavery during our founding. Under British rule, slavery was legal in every colony in 1775. When the Americans started to rule themselves, slavery came under attack.

By 1808, the slave trade had been outlawed; slavery had been prohibited in the Northwest Territories; and, slavery had been abolished or put on the path to extinction in eight of the original colonies.

In his fight against slavery, Abraham Lincoln looked back to 1776 for inspiration. In his 1863 Gettysburg Address, he reminded us that four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

That same year, the great black abolitionist Frederick Douglass echoed Lincolns sentiments, declaring that the Federal government was never, in its essence, anything but an anti-slavery government. If in its origin slavery had any relation to the government, it was only as the scaffolding to the magnificent structure, to be removed as soon as the building was completed. There is in the Constitution no East, no West, no North, no South, no black, no white, no slave, no slaveholder; but all are citizens who are of American birth.

Martin Luther King Jr. agreed with Douglass and Lincoln, proclaiming 100 years later that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution gave African- Americans a promissory note for freedom. Like Lincoln, King saw 1776 as a fount of hope and justice. He knew that the heart of the American story is not the oppression of some by others but freedom for all and the struggle to attain it.

This is a history worth teaching.

Yet The New York Times and its allies want to push it aside. To them, the introduction of slaves in 1619 is the single most-important event that shaped American history. Everything else, they apparently believe, either flows from that or is of secondary importance.

There is clearly a need to teach the full story of Americas founding and our tumultuous and sometimes bloody struggle to live up to its principles. We cannot ignore slavery: its terrible past and continuing legacy is part of the American story.

But centering our story on 1619 instead of 1776 is just as misleading as ignoring slavery, creating a warped view of the America that we should all get to know.

Jeffrey Sikkenga is interim executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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Jeffrey Sikkenga: 1619 Project ignores true miracle of America's founding - NNY360

Israeli Election Showing Can Empower Palestinian Cause OpEd – Eurasia Review

By virtue of overcoming the intense bullying and intimidation tactics of the Israeli government, Palestinian voters this week won a significant victory. It does not matter whether or not the Arab Joint Lists Knesset members are invited to partner in forming a new government.What matters is that the Palestinians in Israel whom Israeli Jews refer to as the Israeli Arabs stood up to the efforts to undermine their voting rights and made a significant statement that they will not be taken for granted.

They did so at a time when the most right-wing coalition of Israeli parties, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, collapsed over internal divisions. Lieberman rose to power at Netanyahus side, but this year decided to make aplayfor political control himself, sending the PMs future into turmoil in the April elections, which saw Netanyahu fail to form a government.

Lieberman made his move because Netanyahu had been politically weakened after being targeted in a widespread corruption probe, in which he isaccusedby the Attorney General of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu had hoped winning an election would give him the power to block the impending indictments.

Early results from Tuesdays election showed that the Arab turnout rose from nearly 50 percent in the April vote to 60 percent. The Palestinian presence in the Knesset, which consisted of only 10 seats after the last election, has risen to approximately 13, according to projections.

But now it is time to do more. The first thing the Palestinians need to do is stop allowing Israels Jews to define them as Arab. While they are Arab in culture, politically and nationally they are Palestinian and they should demand that they be referred to as such. This would not be an insignificant move at all, but rather a major political strategy that not only challenges the apartheid of Israels Jewish society but also makes a solid declaration that the interests of Israels Arabs are a concern that regards the Palestinian identity.

The Arab Joint List that represented the fractured Arab political parties should be called the Palestinian Joint List.

It is clear that this election, no matter the final outcome, was one that tried to exclude the Palestinians. Both the extremist Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose long reign of oppression appears to have come to an end, and the tip-toeing politics of the Blue and White alliance led by Benny Gantz have been hesitant to include the Palestinians in their attempts to form a new government.

Palestinians overcame all kinds of intimidation and bullying tactics in order to go to the polls. Those tactics included efforts in the courts to block Palestinians from participating, to film them casting their votes, and preventing Palestinian candidates and political parties from placing their names on the ballots. Mysterious billboards and Facebook pages calling for an Arab boycott of the election also surfaced, and they appear to be the work of right-wing groups hoping to further suppress their vote.

There has never been a government coalition in Israel that has included any Palestinian political parties, reflecting the racism that is inherent in Israels government and societal structures. But the Palestinians need not be a part of any coalition. All they need to do is be a reminder to Israelis that the sacrosanctissue of Palestine will never go away. And, while Israels Palestinian voters continue to demand to not only be treated fairly and with total human and civil rights, they should also be acknowledged as being Palestinian.

There are many Arab voters who have abandoned the Palestinian identity. They vote for and participate with the Zionist parties, including Likud, Blue and White and the religious Jewish groups.

Palestinians in Israel being referred to as such, will provide significant support to the overall cause of the Palestinian people, the majority of whom live either under Israels brutal and oppressive occupation or in the diaspora, where discrimination against their interests is channeled by Israels powerful public relations and lobbying efforts.

Let this weeks election results be the beginning of a new effort by Palestinian voters to not only demand their rights as citizens, but to also nurture a new atmosphere of cooperation, through which Palestinian leaders like Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh can work together to secure a more powerful voice for Palestinian rights.

Palestinians deserve respect. They do exist and they exist inside Israel as well. They have a voice that cannot be ignored.

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Israeli Election Showing Can Empower Palestinian Cause OpEd - Eurasia Review

Texas police sergeant faces criminal charges for using law enforcement computer to dig up info on Alice Mayor, resident – KIIITV.com

ALICE, Texas The mayor of Alice, Texas, did not hold back Thursday when discussing why she filed criminal charges against a sergeant in the city's police force.

Sgt. Enrique Saenz has been put on indefinite suspension by the Alice Police Department.

"He violated to go to the badge. If he felt comfortable doing it to the mayor of the city, who knows what he can do to my citizens? That's my fear. The protection of my citizens. It all goes back to public safety. He took an oath to protect and serve, and he violated completely," Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover said.

The City of Alice provided 3News with the charge letter against Saenz. It indicates that back in March the FBI began an investigation into allegations of unauthorized personal use of government office equipment, including information technology. The Alice police chief said the FBI revealed that Saenz' online investigative account had been compromised.

"In that system, all your personally identifying information is in there. So Social Security, everything, you know?" Vanover said. "He could take my identity and use it how he wants to."

The FBI continues its investigation, and meanwhile the City of Alice has hired an independent investigator.

According to the charge letter, Saenz admitted to using the system to search for information about friends and family members as a way to test the accuracy of the system. The letter also states that Saenz did a search on Mayor Vanover for reasons that the sergeant could not credibly explain.

The charge letter also accuses Saenz of using his law enforcement computer system to look up information on another Alice resident, Newell Atkinson. The letter states that Saenz admitted to searching for information about Atkinson because he perceived that Atkinson was against the collective bargaining effort going on between the City of Alice and the police union.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas will represent Saenz at his civil service hearing connected to his suspension.

"We are anxious to get this case before an arbitrator. The arbitration is a public hearing which will take place within the next six months. We will be able to put forth all of our evidence and our arguments about why he should never have been fired," CLEAT Attorney Celeste Robertson said.

Vanover told 3News that she believes Saenz should never again be a police officer. She also filed criminal charges against Saenz for fraudulent use of government property, misuse of authority, and official oppression.

"To think that he was above the law, it's not okay. I don't care who you are, where you're at, how long you've been in the department," Vanover said. "Nobody is above the law."

Vanover said the Texas Rangers are also looking into Saenz' charges.

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Texas police sergeant faces criminal charges for using law enforcement computer to dig up info on Alice Mayor, resident - KIIITV.com

Nepal celebrates Constitution Day while Madhesis and indigenous groups protest – Eleven Myanmar

byTika R Pradhan

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - While many donned t-shirts with the national flag, protestors wore black vests and black headbands protesting what they called a black day.

On Friday, the government marked Constitution Day with pomp and ceremony, at Tundikhel, as members of the Nepal Army donned the garb of various ethnic groups and performed for officials. However, in Kathmandu and pockets across the country, many of those very ethnic groups were protesting the constitution as discriminatory, demanding amendments.

At the Army parade ground, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that the day should create a feeling of celebration among all Nepalis.

We Nepalis were starving for this day for the past seven decades. The day when we were liberated from suppression is also an independence day and a day to celebrate our achievements, Oli said.

But not everyone felt the same way, as many Madhesis, Tharus and indigenous groups marked September 20, Constitution Day, as a black day.

For nearly a month, the government has pushed for an all-out celebration, providing a national holiday, requiring civil servants to attend celebratory programmes and asking the public to don t-shirts emblazoned with the Nepali flag. But protesting indigenous groups wore black vests with Asoj tin kalo dinAsoj 3, a black daywritten across it.

At Basantapur, three indigenous protestors were arrested while preparing to burn discriminatory articles of the constitution. In Dang, six protestors were arrested even as indigenous groups burnt copies of the constitution at different parts of the country, including Itahari, according to Govinda Chhantyal, vice-chairman of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN).

NEFIN, the umbrella organisation of indigenous nationalities, has been leading protest programmes against the constitution ever since it was promulgated in 2015. Janajati leaders speaking at Basantapur raised questions over the governments failure to amend the constitution in the four years since its promulgation.

On Asoj 3, discrimination was imposed on us so we cannot follow the governments orders and celebrate this day, said NEFIN Chairman Jagat Baram. Prime Minister Oli talks about peace and prosperity but neither will be possible unless the discriminatory constitution is amended.

Protest programmes were visible especially in Province 2, where the Madhes-based Rastriya Janata Party Nepal led a rally in Janakpur with black headbands and black flags as symbols of protest.

Addressing the rally, RJP leader Mahanta Thakur said that protests would continue as long discrimination persists.

The Madhesi people have been fighting against oppression, injustice and discrimination for a long time, said Thakur. We are against the demarcation as the entire Madhes has been split into different provinces. Thats why we consider this day a black day.

Madhesis, indigenous nationalities, Dalits, women, Tharus and Muslims are preparing to form a united front to demand amendments to the constitution, said Minraj Chaudhary, a Tharu activist.

Today, the government has suppressed our peaceful struggle by arresting protestors in different parts of the country, said Chaudhary. But we will launch a stronger protest after the end of the festival season.

Santosh Singh contributed reporting from Dhanusha.

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Nepal celebrates Constitution Day while Madhesis and indigenous groups protest - Eleven Myanmar

Annihilation of dignity: Untouchability in Karnataka – Deccan Herald

The recent incident of caste discrimination against Chitradurga MP A Narayanaswamy in Pemmanahalli Gollarahatti of Pavagada taluk in Tumakuru district has brought into sharp focus the ugly practice of untouchability in the state. This BJP lawmaker was not allowed inside the backward settlement because he was a Madiga. Madigas, a Dalit community with 51 sub-castes, are considered the most oppressed group of all.

The incident might have shaken the state, but it didnt come as a surprise to thirty-five-year-old Sriram who lives two kilometres away, in Chennakeshavapura village.

Which community has treated us like humans? he asked. When an elected representative faces such a situation, imagine a commoners plight. Society responds if it is a high-profile case, but who has the sensitivity to respond to the everyday persecution we endure? He didnt forget to mention that the outrage will soon die down and the practice will continue unabated as before.

His neighbour, octogenarian Macchappa, recalls a similar situation in their village in which the government officials intervened to allow Madigas to fetch water from the village temple well. We refused to touch the well, he said, Officials will be there for a day. But we have to face the social and economic consequences of breaking the barrier. The society has to change; peoples mindset has to change. Only then we can dream of a dignified life.

As we boast of great strides in science, technology and philosophy, reports show the presence of regressive caste discrimination in society, in various forms and at different levels in both urban and rural areas, among the illiterates and the well-educated.

For Tayamma of P K Halli in Ballari district, being a Dalit means not having access to clean drinking water and a toilet. The Ambedkar colony, where she resides, is the least developed area in her village. The dwellers of this colony have to drink visibly contaminated water. She has to either use a rectangular enclosure, a common toilet facility for women or resort to open defecation. The facility doesnt have pits or a door and is located outside the colony, just next to a busy road.

Rachanna (name changed), a Madiga youth in Marchathal village of Raichur district, has to travel to a place 5 km away for a hair cut despite the village having three saloons. The dominant community doesnt allow us in, he said. To make matters worse, they dont have direct access to the village tank, the only source of potable water. We keep the pots in a corner. People from other communities fetch water from the tank and pour it into our pots.

Great shame

Along with humiliation, physical abuse is also common for Dalits. The dominant community even decides the fate of youngsters in the village. He explains how a youth in the village was forced to quit a grassroots organisation as there was a feeling of unease among the dominant community. Despite the everyday struggle, they havent complained, for they fear the wrath of the oppressors. We are born into this system and any attempt to ascertain our dignity is actively suppressed in the very beginning.

A sample survey done by Swabhimani Dalita Shakti organisation in Ranebennur taluk of Haveri district showed that over 97% of the Madigas did not avail any benefits from Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation or the state Social Welfare Department.

In Bengaluru, there are settlements where Dalits live exclusively, without any basic amenities.

In many towns of North Karnataka, students say they try their best to socialise in college but turn submissive as they enter their villages. Here, superiority and inferiority complexes stemming from caste rule over the bonds developed in educational institutions.

Seventy-two years after Independence, dignity, privilege and access to facilities are still far-fetched for Dalits. Even constitutional protection has not stopped atrocities against them.

The numbers from a study done by the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru tell sordid tales of oppression against the Madiga community which is often associated with menial jobs and low social status.

Eighty per cent of the manual scavengers in the state are from the Madiga community. Seventy-eight per cent of the Pourakarmikas are Madigas. Eighty per cent of the Devadasis, who are dedicated to God and live the life of a sex slave, are Madiga women.

A pan-Karnataka survey by Jeevika, an NGO working with bonded labour survivors, mentions that 85% of unpaid labour is performed by Madigas while 14.55% of workers are from the Holeya caste, another Dalit community.

Studies indicate that most of the Dalit communities comprising over 150 sub-castes face subjugation at different levels from being not allowed to fetch water from public taps to restricted entry to temples and two-glass system in tea shops.

When even well-educated people in modern society are caught in the clutches of caste, how can we expect backward communities like the Gollas whose lives are driven by the rigid concepts of purity and pollution to be any better? pondered T R Chandrashekhar, former professor of developmental studies, Hampi Kannada University.

Various cases of caste abuse indicate that dominant communities like Vokkaligas, Brahmins and Lingayats act as oppressors in the state. Researches show the presence of a hierarchy even among Dalit castes, which leads to the practice of untouchability against the castes that are considered lower among them. Some Dalit castes are touchable.

Urban areas not safe

While discriminatory practices are crude and pronounced in rural areas, they are subtle and sophisticated in urban settings, said writer Subbu Holeyar. We dont get a house for rent if we reveal our caste. The way people look at us changes once they come to know about our caste. We are continuously reminded of our caste and status. Every such action demoralises our next generation as well.

While the tragic suicides of Rohith Vemula and Payal Tadvi in the recent past highlighted the brunt of violence in educational institutions, Bengaluru-based scholar and grassroots activist Du Saraswathi has observed upper castes hegemony actively subduing the spirit of almost every student belonging to deprived communities. Those who do not know the plight of Dalits equate caste with reservation.

She felt that the arguments against reservation in higher education are part of a conscious effort to keep these communities away from the centres of knowledge.

We as a society have become immune to sensitivities. Incidents get reported only when there is a crime, said Ravivarma Kumar, former advocate general of Karnataka and former chairman of the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission (KSBCC).

He felt that the concept of exclusive habitats for communities is nothing but apartheid. There are at least 30,000 such habitats attached to 29,000 villages. Measures to accommodate different communities in one area and a common cemetery will help break the barriers, he said.

Why does untouchability persist despite several movements and powerful laws?

Scholar Kotiganahalli Ramaiah reasons, Even a powerful law becomes toothless without changing the feudal mentality that is historically deep-rooted in society. How can a country that restricts entry to a public facility, be it a place of worship or a well, citing caste, even dream of becoming a Vishwa Guru? How can we consider a society that has lost sensibilities against discrimination as our own?

Writer Nataraj Huliyar observes, While Dalit organisations still retain their hold as a socio-cultural force and as pressure groups, the rigour of the Dalit protest is lost due to leadership issues and region-wise splits. Ambedkars ideology is not spread with deep conviction. As a result, the Dalit consciousness has lost its influence.

The low conviction rates in the cases of abuse and atrocity also indicate the common tendency of all the stakeholders to settle the issue and bring in normalcy. In other words, it means continuation of the practice. This is also because most people in power dont have an understanding of the oppression these people underwent for centuries, said C S Dwarakanath, former chairman of KSBCC.

Education, which is still not a reality for a majority of Dalits, plays a major role in empowering the youngsters of these communities to ascertain their rights. This could be felt in the recent assault case in Kachanahalli in Nelamangala taluk of Bengaluru Urban district. The fact-finding committee formed by All India Peoples Forum appreciated the determination of the victims to not settle the case. The study also found better access to education as a major factor driving the youth against casteist customs, oppression and subservience from within.

Lack of political will

Casual remark by a local politician in Pavagada about the Pemmanahalli Gollarahatti incident sheds light on the futility of political rhetoric. Every politician in our region has cleverly ignored caste discrimination. They dont want to meddle with their vote bank.

These communities are also left out of several government schemes meant for them. While some of the projects do not keep Dalits at the centre, some have failed to reach them.

As a result, Ninety per cent people of this community lead an uncertain life, without proper shelter, food, education and job security, said Dr R V Chandrashekhar of Talasamudaaya Adhyayana Kendra, NLSIU. Internalising the idea of social justice and creating awareness among the oppressors are the need of the hour.

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Annihilation of dignity: Untouchability in Karnataka - Deccan Herald

Cambodian Governments Request for ‘Meetings’ Seen as Intimidation – – VOA Khmer


The Cambodian government summoned three human rights organizations to meetings in Phnom Penh to examine research they published and comments one of them gave to the media, a move the NGOs described as attempts at intimidation.

The organizations are Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Licadho and Transparency International (TI).

TI director Preap Kol was summoned separately for separate comments.

In their report Collateral Damage: Land Loss and Abuses in Cambodia's Microfinance Sector, Licadho and STT highlight cases of Cambodians having lost their land when their land titles were used as collateral for taking up a loan. The report tells of Cambodian citizens being left deep in debt.

Following the publication of the report, Licadho and STT were asked to meet Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan on September 4.

Licadho director Naly Pilorge said that most of the meeting was spent on pushing both organizations to sign a pre-written statement that implied that the results found in their research were not accurate. Of course, Licadho and STT refused to sign this joint statement, she said. So most of the meeting was to push, to coerce, to threaten both organizations to sign on.

She said she assumed that they were called to meet because the report concentrated upon the issue of debt and raised issues that investors should be wary of.

The government has repeatedly stressed that Cambodias economy was growing at a steady rate.

The two organizations were called in for a second meeting, an invitation both organizations declined.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said he had called the meeting with the two organizations because he said the fake report is biased and was misrepresenting the reality.

Chak Sopheap, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, condemned the move by the Council of Ministers. The questioning of STT, Licadho and TI representatives sends a clear message to other human rights defenders and government critics that dissent is not tolerated in Cambodia, she said in an email to VOA. The intimidation of these NGOs formulates part of a wider, systemic attack on free speech and peaceful dissent. . The severe curtailment of the abilities of citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms has caused a chilling rise in self-censorship, illustrating that Cambodians feel unable or are unwilling to speak freely.

Spokesman Siphan rejected that criticism. I dont condemn them I invite them, he said, rejecting allegations that he had pressured them. I do not put pressure on them.

Preap Kol, country director of Transparency International, had also been called for a meeting with Phay Siphan for comments he gave to the Southeast Asia Globe.

Cambodia applies 'free market economy' ideology and, as far as I know, does not yet have a policy that ensures an equitable share of profit to local people, Kol told the Southeast Asia Globe. Therefore, the majority of Cambodian people, especially those who are poor or disadvantaged, are not ideally benefiting from the impressive economic growth.

Kol excused himself, saying that he was out of the country currently.

Siphan said he would keep inviting Kol to meet.

Kol said the move to call him in for a meeting was unusual and a first-off. I have never been invited to a meeting of this nature to clarify my comments in the media, he said in a message to Voice of America from Sweden. This appears to make people feel intimidated to speak to the media but this would not stop me from continuing to speak the truth I am open to meet and discuss with any concerned as necessary, preferably in an environment that is free of intimidation and oppression.

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Cambodian Governments Request for 'Meetings' Seen as Intimidation - - VOA Khmer

Gov’t: US allows Rainsy terrorism – The Phnom Penh Post

The US is allowing Sam Rainsy to use its territory to carry out terrorist activities against Cambodia, government spokesman Phay Siphan charged on Thursday.

Joining in the salvo, an academic said the US is also using Rainsy, the acting president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), to further its geopolitical interests.

The claims came at a press conference held at the Council of Ministers on Thursday under the theme The Case of Insulting the King, just hours after new US ambassador Patrick Murphy arrived in Cambodia.

On Wednesday, the US State Department released a 45-minute video outlining its concerns regarding the political situation in Cambodia and urged the government to release former CNRP activists who were recently arrested.

The US is concerned about the situation of political oppression by the Cambodian government against former CNRP activists, and we urge the Cambodian government to end political restrictions against every individual, including [CNRP president] Kem Sokha, and release political activists who have been aggressively and illegally arrested, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in the video.

Siphan told Thursdays press conference that it would be impossible for the government to do as requested by the US State Department.

Concerning the request made to the Cambodian government, we cannot follow it. We have no power to interfere in the authority of the courts, Siphan said.

He said the appeal came because the US had supported the CNRP.

The statement of the US State Department official results from its emotions of having used the CNRP. If the US did not pay attention to it, it would seem like they had abandoned the group, he said.

In accusing the US of allowing Rainsy to use its territory to carry out terrorist activities against Cambodia, Siphan said: In the US, there is no law allowing the government to support terrorists or terrorism.

So why do we say this is a terrorist group? First, it has organised a terrorist organisation on US territory one that is not registered in the list of US organisations.

Second, it has collected money in the US to be used in carrying out its illegal terrorist activities, he said, referring to the CNRP.

On Rainsys tactics, Siphan said: Sam Rainsy will take the blood of Cambodian people to use as his carpet on a march towards power. There will be no benefit besides the loss of life and a future of Cambodian people walking in darkness.

Ros Chantraboth, a lecturer of Cambodian history, said at the conference that the US had used Rainsy to further its geopolitical interests without respect to national and international law.

Ros Chantraboth, a lecturer of Cambodian history, said at the press conference held at the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

The group led by Sam Rainsy plays a role in US policy regarding Cambodia and the region. We see what Sam Rainsy announces or says every day especially his latest statement against the people of Cambodia and its monarchy.

The US is Rainsys boss, and it allows him to make statements that chip away at the Cambodian Constitution. So the question is: Can we accept such activities? Chantraboth asked.

If the US continued to support Rainsys terrorist activities, he said, it would fail to respect its own principles regarding terrorism.

He called on the US to stop supporting Rainsys actions, saying the CNRP co-founder was trying to destroy the Cambodian people, who were living in peace and security and enjoying economic growth.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said at the conference that Rainsy was using all possible means to further his interests and take power for his group, even going so far as to insult his people and nation and tarnish the honour of the King.

He offers to bow his head to foreigners to ask them to impose sanctions on the Cambodian people for his political interests, Malin said.

However, Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, said there was no evidence proving the US was supporting Rainsy in carrying out terrorist activities against Cambodia.

He said the US was only trying to make the Cambodian government show greater respect for democracy and human rights.

The US is not using Sam Rainsy to further its interests. The US wants Cambodia to grow and see its politics back on the right track. This accusation [by government officials] may even affect relations between Cambodia and the US, which will bring no benefit, Chanrath said.

Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, also said the accusations could affect Cambodia-US relations, which already were not at its best.

US embassy spokesperson Emily Zeeberg declined to comment when contacted.

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Gov't: US allows Rainsy terrorism - The Phnom Penh Post

Socialism is the new wave in U.S. politics – Galveston County Daily News

There has been a historic resurgence of support for socialism in the United States in the past several years. Thirteen million people voted for democratic socialist Bernie Sanders for president in 2016.

Democratic socialists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York City, and Rashida Tlaib, of Detroit, were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Other leftist candidates have been elected to state legislatures and city councils in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.

Communists, revolutionary socialists, and other anti-capitalists are prominent in the struggles against fascists in the streets of Charlottesville, Portland, Berkeley and other cities. They also play an important role in the movements to end the detention and deportation of migrants, police brutality and mass incarceration, the assault on womens rights, and the exploitation of workers.

Different kinds of left organizations are growing throughout the country. A Harris Poll in March indicated that half the population 40 and younger would prefer to live in a socialist country.

This renewal of socialist aspirations is hardly surprising. Tens of millions of young people have been shaped by the grave economic crisis of 2008-09 and the Occupy movement against economic inequality in 2011. To many of them, the future appears grim because good jobs, affordable housing and health care, and pensions are increasingly out of reach.

The Trump Republicans brazen white supremacy, sexism and authoritarianism have driven vast numbers to embrace left-wing politics. And many have been alienated by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosis insistence that Were capitalist, and thats the way it is.

Todays revival of socialism doesnt approach the zenith of leftist politics in the early 20th century, but this level of public discussion on the meaning and merits of socialism hasnt been seen since the 1960s.

To be sure, many of those who express support for socialism today equate it with universal health care, free higher education, and other social benefits which can be found in liberal, social democratic and socialist societies. But many others are indeed genuine socialists who recognize that the abolition of capitalism is necessary to save the planet and meet the needs of the vast majority of humanity.

The politics of democratic socialist politicians like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Tlaib, and many of their followers, is actually a mix of New Deal liberalism and social democracy, combining limited regulation of markets and social protections with some public control over private capital.

In contrast, communists, revolutionary socialists, and many other anti-capitalists support socialist transformation the creation of a new workers government, public ownership and control of most economic enterprises, democratic economic planning, an end to imperialist wars, and sweeping measures to abolish national oppression, racism and sexism.

Most young people fighting for revolutionary change today appreciate the achievements of 20th century socialism while acknowledging the mistakes and problems that are part of that history.

Theyre committed to this emancipatory project because they refuse to accept the endless holocausts, atrocities, and degradations produced by U.S. and global capitalism, and they understand that another world is possible.

David Michael Smith, Ph.D., is a former professor of government at College of the Mainland.

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Socialism is the new wave in U.S. politics - Galveston County Daily News

Slowthai on severed head stunt: ‘No Boris Johnsons were harmed’ – Sky News

The rapper Slowthai has insisted he doesn't condone violence in any form after pulling out a fake severed head of Boris Johnson during his performance at the Mercury Prize.

In a somewhat flippant statement defending the stunt, the 24-year-old quipped: "No Boris Johnsons were hurt in the making of this Slowthai performance."

Slowthai - whose real name is Tyron Kaymone Frampton - claimed his act "was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country, except what I did was present it in plain sight".

After stripping to the waist during an energetic rendition of his track Doorman, the rapper had grabbed the fake head from the floor and held it aloft, shouting: "F*** Boris Johnson. F*** everything."

Although there were huge cheers as he left the stage, awards host Lauren Laverne quickly addressed the incident, saying: "Slowthai, with his own views there."

In a Twitter statement on Friday, the rapper wrote: "[On Thursday] night I held up a mirror to this country and some people didn't like the reflection.

"The people who isolate and divide us aren't the ones who will feel its effects the hardest.

"They're not the ones queuing at food banks, not the ones navigating Universal Credit and not the ones having to deal with systematic oppression and hate crime at the hands of privileged politicians who say what they want without fear and consequence.

"We as a people are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government - this is their job and they're not doing it well enough."

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Slowthai on severed head stunt: 'No Boris Johnsons were harmed' - Sky News

From Oxford Utd to war-torn Kashmir: Its not your typical football loan move – The Guardian

As one of the few British Asian professional footballers, Kashif Siddiqi has overcome more than just opponents on the pitch in his quest to fulfil his dream; there has been abuse from fans, ridicule from teammates and even question marks over his ability to kick a ball.

But now the defender is preparing for his toughest challenge yet as he swaps Oxford United for one of the worlds most militarised and politically contentious regions where he will ply his trade for Real Kashmir, the only professional football club in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The unorthodox loan move will see Siddiqi take to the field in a nuclear flashpoint flooded by almost 800,000 troops, who have placed the state in lockdown after the Indian government revoked its special status.

It has further fuelled an armed insurgency, which has been raging for more than 30 years and has resulted in a bitter standoff between India and Pakistan, which both claim Kashmir as their own. At the same time, their respective armies have been regularly exchanging fire, resulting in more than 100 deaths this year.

Its not your typical football loan move, but then I dont really do normal. Of course, Im a bit worried. Ive been following the news and know that things are really difficult there at the moment, said Siddiqi. But I know what this club means to the youth of Kashmir, and I know that football can make a difference to their lives, as difficult as they are.

The move came about through contacts Siddiqis agent has with Real Kashmir, which was formed three years ago in an attempt to use the game to help youngsters in the state cope with the ugly problems they have to face. The club plays in the I-League, Indias top tier.

Siddiqi, 33, will stay with teammates in a hotel protected by armed guards who will be on patrol during training sessions. The region remains under curfew and public gatherings are banned, meaning Real Kashmir have not been able to play any home games at their ground in Srinagar, capital of the Indian-administered state. Before that they attracted crowds of more than 20,000.

Siddiqi maintains that, while his loan move has raised eyebrows among some players, it is proof of his commitment to the wider importance of the game. In 2013 he co-founded with former Chile international Elas Figeroa the Football 4 Peace charity, which runs a number of programmes around the world that use the game to address social issues. In Britain, these have focused on tackling knife crime and gang violence.

The organisation has attracted support from the likes of Prince William, Pope Francis and notable football figures. This week Siddiqi will address the UN general assembly on his work. Coincidentally, Pakistan is planning to raise the Kashmir issue at the same time, accusing India of oppression and human rights violations.

With the two nations at loggerheads, Siddiqi has already scored a notable goal for the football diplomacy he swears by before setting foot in Kashmir. Despite being partly of Indian origin, he has also represented Pakistan at full international level. If that doesnt show you the power of football to transcend politics and borders, I dont know what does, he said.

Prior to joining League One Oxford United at the start of this season, Siddiqi, who played college football in the US on a scholarship, was at Northampton Town. He was inspired to pursue a career in football and use the game for wider good by his mother and Islamic faith.

Real Kashmir co-founder Sandeep Chattoo revealed that the decision to sign Siddiqi was taken for more than just football reasons. He said: Kashif is a unique player who will fit right in and we hope that his football for peace efforts will align with our mission and continue to bring hope and joy to the region.

Oxford United director Zaki Nuseibeh added: I am confident that Kashif will be a great asset to the Real Kashmir squad. He will also undoubtedly be passionately carrying a message of peace to a region so desperate for it.

As has been the case so often in Siddiqis career, as he prepares to pack his boots, he knows there is more at stake than just the outcome of what happens at the end of 90 minutes.

Football touches the lives of 3.5 billion people around the world. But sadly, it does not do enough to touch on the issues that affect them, he said. Thats what drives and inspires me about the game, and what better place to put this to the test than in a place like Kashmir?

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From Oxford Utd to war-torn Kashmir: Its not your typical football loan move - The Guardian

What Latino Critics Are Saying About ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ – Remezcla

Hollywood movies aim to be crowd pleasers. Its their monstrous budget that makes this a necessity. Its no accident then, that a time when politicians have publicly demonized Mexicans, that a spate of blockbusters looks to do the same. Whether it be Sicario: Day of the Soldado or Peppermint, tent-pole revenge fantasies have a new target: Mexican drug cartels. In line with this trend, Rambo: Last Blood moves its protagonist to a ranch in Arizona and sends him across the southern border in a rage, in search of an adoptive niece whos gone missing. Thats where he comes up against you guessed it a savage group of traffickers.

With this change in setting, its vital that Latino critics join the conversation about the movie. And since most media outlets dont employ Latino film critics, we gave them the chance to opine on the film. Read their reviews below.

Rambo: Last Blood is currently in theaters.

Vanessa Erazo, Remezcla Film Editor

Adriana Barraza as Maria Beltran and Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo in RAMBO: LAST BLOOD. Photo by Yana Blajeva. Courtesy of Lionsgate

One of Hollywoods favorite practices is to demonize Mexico (and Latin America in general) as a grotesquely lawless setting where hope has no place. This, in turn, dehumanizes anyone who lives there or comes from there. In Adrian Grunbergs Rambo: Last Blood, a new and unrequested installment in the mercenary saga, that depraved tradition tailored for the MAGA crowd is upheld. Rambo, one of Sylvester Stallones signature characters, now understands Spanish and somehow raised a Mexican-American girl, Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) whose father abandoned her and mom died of a terminal illness.

As progressive as that could deceivingly sound, once Gabrielle heads to Mexico is search of her dad, horror ensues. Drugged, she is trapped in a prostitution ring and Rambo must rescue her from the soulless Mexicans. Oscar-nominee Adriana Barraza enriches the screen as Maria with the only performance of note mostly in Spanish. Her characters unseen story, as a Mexican woman who found herself living with a crazy killing machine, is likely more gripping than what we get.

Ineptitude is far more lethal than all the traps this weathered Rambo sets up to savagely murder his enemies. Rambling lectures on Rambos platitude-ridden moral compass go hand in hand with an embarrassingly unskilled cast working from a lazily written screenplay in which jarring plot holes are filled with gore. From a technical standpoint the decisive final sequences in the tunnel that evokes the antics seen in Home Alone counts as the sole achievement here. Elsewhere the unrefined filmmaking offers no visual novelty beyond a couple unexpected zooms. Even the editing is botched marked by choppy and purposeless montages.

Rambo ridiculously returns to the United States accompanied by a corpse in the passenger seat without going through customs or being chased by border patrol, yet my aunts have to wrap mole, queso, and rompope in clothing to sneak them in their luggage when they come visit. Later, heightening the absurdity, or perhaps to infer that Mexicans are actually invading, a horde of criminals riding in black SUVs arrives at Rambos ranch. Again, whoever told these writers it was so simple to cross the border lied to them.

At the end of this atrociously mediocre production, you can almost hear a concerned racist saying, And thats why I would never let me daughter go to Mexico or Thats why we need the wall! Lets hope they let this last blood bleed out till the last drop so that we dont get another nonsensical transfusion.

Carlos Aguilar

Sergio Peris-Mencheta and scar Jaenada in RAMBO: LAST BLOOD. Photo by Yana Blajeva. Courtesy of Lionsgate

To judge by the Thursday night audience I watched Rambo: Last Blood with, people go to a Rambo film for one reason alone: to see the titular Sylvester Stallone character kill. Not just kill. They cheered whenever he maimed, decapitated, stabbed, disemboweled, shot and blew up any one of the many brown-skinned enemies the script requires he dispose of. In this, the Adrian Grunberg-directed flick, however clunkily shot, delivers.

Since the cruel violence is the point, its no surprise to find Matt Cirulnick and Stallones borderline laughable script offering a generic Rambo vs. Mexican cartel wisp of a plot. The whole premise of Rambos niece Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal) heading to Mexico to look for the father who had abandoned her only to find herself Miss Bala-ed at the mercy of a cartel, is just an excuse to give Rambo an enemy he can direct his bubbling anger at. Its why he leaves his Arizona farm to track Gabrielle down. What follows is, unsurprisingly, a bloodbath. First at the hands of the cartel who beat up a glowering Rambo and later at the hands of the latter in revenge once he turns the family farm into his very own Skyfall (with little of the elegance and inventiveness of that Bond take on Home Alone).

Beyond the glaringly obvious racist optics (those Mexicans across the border are all bad) the actioner has the gall to frame Rambos anger in response to the brutal sexual violence his niece is subject to. The entire film is an exercise in fridging, wherein a female characters violent fate is just a plot device for the male characters story. For a drama that claims to care about what happened to Gabrielle, Rambo: Last Blood spends more time demanding we feel the ugly violence inflicted on any number of Rambos victims (with close-ups of broken bones, splattered guts and eventually a torn up heart) than the traumatic events that afflict the young girl.

As I left the theater, the crowd was still cheering. For Rambo had delivered what they wanted: 89 minutes of nonstop indiscriminate violence. It didnt really matter at whom it was directed. Which is what made its tone-deaf choice of an idea of a Mexican cartel (which looks more like a special-ops military team than anything else) feel all the more insidious, reminding us who Hollywood has no qualms in dehumanizing and bloodily gutting for audiences viewing pleasure.

Manuel Betancourt

Photo by Yana Blajeva. Courtesy of Lionsgate

Rambo: Last Blood the fifth installment in the saga of Vietnam vet John Rambo is a ridiculous, sadistic and offensive story of vengeance that should never have been made.

Half of the movie takes place in an unnamed town in Mexico. In this wrongheaded film, all the legions of characters that live in Mexico save one journalist are depicted as avaricious, uber-violent and heartless.

This absurd gore-fest is exactly the movie we dont need in these times of racist hatred and excessive gun violence especially in the wake of last months mass shooting in El Paso targeting Mexicans, and the inhumane treatment of immigrants held at the U.S. border.

Seeing hordes of assault weapon-toting Mexican criminals, and their terrorized sex slaves meet up with a white savior in the septuagenarian form of Sylvester Stallone seems particularly tone-deaf.

The story cribs from the Taken franchise. Rambo travels from his Arizona ranch to Mexico to track down his niece Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), who has gone there to find her estranged father, but gets kidnapped by sex traffickers. Equipped with knives and all manner of inane savagery, Rambo brutally slays several cartel members, rescues his niece and heads home. Soon after, about 50 guys leave Mexico in a phalanx of black Escalades to get Rambo in Arizona. Meanwhile, Rambo has elaborately booby-trapped his property, dooming it to even more ramshackle status.

The name Rambo has become synonymous with oversized revenge fantasies, but the very real problem of human trafficking feels both glossed over and exploited here, used only as a convenient prop for Rambos torturous sadism.

The last third of the movie is so grotesquely barbaric it starts to feel like an absurd blend of Saw and Final Destination. Rambo blithely sets people on fire, impales, decapitates and pulls organs out of bodies as if its part of his workout regime. The methods used to torture legions of dark-skinned men in a series of tunnels under Rambos farmhouse are engineered to elicit laughter, cheers and applause from the audience. Its stomach-turning.

The best, most natural performance comes from Adriana Barraza as Rambos maid and Gabrielles caretaker. Shes such a good actress it feels like she showed up in the wrong movie. She speaks mostly Spanish to Rambo, who appears to understand, though he responds in English. Occasionally he growls a word of heavily American-accented Spanish, like vete! to the girls being held captive by the drug cartel.

Vete is good advice for anyone considering buying a ticket to this movie.

Claudia Puig

Photo by Yana Blajeva. Courtesy of Lionsgate

When we first met him in First Bloodin 1982, Sylvester Stallones Rambo was a relatable hero he fought government oppression of everyday people and decried a culture of war that had laid waste to an American generation in Vietnam. Leave it to Hollywood, with Rambo: Last Blood, to turn the character into a bloodthirsty shadow of himself. It ruins not the ill-conceived foreign policy that spawned Rambo, but the already abysmal attempts Hollywood has made, despite current political tides, to portray Latinos as, well, humans.

In Rambo: Last Blood, Stallone is now a septuagenarian living on an Arizona farm with housekeeper Maria (Adriana Barraza) while caring for his adoptive niece Gabrielle (Yvette Montreal). You may be heartened to hear actresses speaking Spanish, but hope will yield to incredulity after Gabrielle plans a visit to Mexico and Rambo demands: Why would you ever want to do that? As this setup suggests, the films view on Mexico is unequivocal: do not go there. Sure enough, when Gabrielle and, later, Rambo, venture south, they encounter violence that puts MS-13 to shame. Mexico is portrayed as a barren wasteland of traffickers and rapists, with the it is hell over there message appearing even through the cinematographers hues dark and scary in Sonora, bright and sunny in Arizona.

Still, one could get over distasteful depictions and the implication that Latinos in the United States should be terrified of Mexicans south of the border if this actioner had some other redeeming quality. Unfortunately, after Gabrielle is kidnapped, it devolves into nothing but a glorified revenge fantasy with illogical plot contrivances, low production values (the music appears as if synthesized from a MIDI player) and no sense of self-awareness.

In this installment, Rambo becomes a reckless, purpose-driven soldier, the embodiment of the philosophy of unfettered violence he had previously rejected. A better script would appreciate the irony in this self-negating betrayal, by noting that the system of war that begot Rambo is so wicked that it turned him into a monster too. But as jarring edits guide you while the body count mounts as humans are sliced, diced, blown up, and burned with booby-traps that will make the Home Alone kid jealous you wont find any such philosophical depth. This is all Rambo and Blood. Lets hope it is the Last too.

J. Don Birnam

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What Latino Critics Are Saying About 'Rambo: Last Blood' - Remezcla

What the Rohingya presence means for us – Dhaka Tribune

Is there salvation on the horizon?

Injustice, communal hatred, and racial discrimination have persisted in Myanmar because the Myanmar administration does not bother to be consistent with international law and human rights regulations. They have dictated their own terms, followed their own hacked grammar of life, and disregarded accepted norms of behaviour.

This unfortunate aspect has grown in dimension and intensity because of Myanmars existing potential in the form of energy resources and territory that can be used by some neighbours, not only for improving their own economic and national interests, but also for selling defense equipment.

It has since become very clear that Myanmar might have an elected government and a so-called civilian administration, but the reins of power still belong to their arrogant armed forces -- now blatantly supported by radical and communal Buddhist monks. They want to create a completely Buddhist state without the presence of ethnic minorities belonging to any other religious faith.

The government of Myanmar and their other administrative authorities presently practise a format where no one is allowed to even the utter the word Rohingya in the context of the affected population. Even Pope Francis carefully avoided using this reference during his visit to that country in 2017. Myanmar authorities believe such a measure will help their younger generation to forget that such a population ever existed in their country. Hitler did the same with regard to the Jewish population during his rule.

Since August 2017, systematic oppression, ethnic cleansing, murder, rape, and arson have led to more than 790,000 illegal migrants leaving their Rakhine homes and entering Coxs Bazar, Ukhiya, and Teknaf.

Instead of denying entry to these affected people, our prime minister showed her magnanimity. A coordinated effort was undertaken by the government, the host community, and several international and local organizations to ensure that this suffering mass would receive food, health care, water, sanitation, and also special care for their children.

However, the subsequent months have revealed a gradual growth in the number of Rohingya living within the different camps in this sub-region. This development is unfortunately beginning to create many deleterious effects on the affected region.

Careful surveys carried out by different government agencies have revealed that the total number of the Rohingya population has now crossed one million. The gradual expansion of the camps meant to provide temporary shelter to the Rohingya has led to destruction of nearly 200 hectares of arable land. About 5,000 acres of land has also, according to UNDP, been rendered useless because of sandy soil flowing down from the denuded slopes. This has also seriously affected the use of such forest area by wild animals. The displaced Rohingya also appear to have become busy in drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, and other nefarious activities in the Coxs Bazar area.

There have been several bilateral discussions between Bangladesh and Myanmar officials. In these bilateral meetings, Myanmar was informed of the five demands that had been put forward by the Rohingya from their camps. That included (a) citizenship for the Rohingya with equal opportunities, (b) security for the Rohingya after their return with monitoring facility of such security by international actors, (c) return of land forcibly taken away from them and proper compensation for damage that had taken place, (d) justice for the violence perpetrated on them and (e) rehabilitation of those living in internally displaced camps in the Rakhine state.

These were indeed tall orders. In an interview with a German media outlet towards the end of August, circulated eventually on September 4, 2019, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has however pointed out the reality: Myanmar authorities have agreed to one of these demands: Provide safety, security, and mobility to the Rohingya people. Demands such as granting citizenship to Rohingya, punishment for people involved in the Rohingya massacre, recognizing Rohingya as an ethnic group, and allowing them to return to their own homes have not been met.

There have been two attempts to repatriate these Rohingya back to Myanmar. Both were symbolic. These attempts failed, as those identified as acceptable for return decided not to take that step, because they had not received any assurance of being accorded Myanmar citizenship. Matters came to a head on August 25, with Rohingya convening a protest meeting in the Kutupalong camp with digitally printed banners and placards written in English, pressing their five points demand and refusing to move out of Bangladesh.

There were fiery speeches by Rohingya activist Mr Mohibullah and other Rohingya. Instead of supposedly being a prayer meeting, the gathering assumed different connotations. Tens of thousands of Rohingya also turned up in a particular uniform dress code. The disappointing aspect was that the Bangladesh authorities appeared to have been totally ignorant that such a dynamic was about to take place.

It was also evident that the coordination required for holding the meeting had required funding and that had obviously originated from external sources. Some foreign and local NGOs have been identified in encouraging Rohingya not to return. These include US-based NGOs Adventist Development and Relief (ADRA) and Al Markazul Islam (AMI) and also the Rohingya Refugee Committee (RRC) and the Voice of Rohingya and Arakan Refugee Society for Peace and Humanity (ARSPM).

They have also been responsible for creating a negative mindset about a possible transfer to Bhashanchar. It has since been discovered that incorrect information has been used to assist the Rohingya in obtaining mobile phone SIMs, citizenship ID cards, and even Bangladeshi passports.

Such a scenario has evidently been a source of embarrassment for the government.

In view of the above evolving circumstances, it is good that the government has now taken some significant decisions -- (a) identifying those organizations who are instigating Rohingya not to return, (b) banning their entry or operations within the Rohingya camp area, (c) incapacitating the use of the SIMs obtained by the Rohingyas illegally, and (d) building strong barbed wire fences around the camps to stop Rohingya from leaving their camps and becoming a source of anxiety for the host community.

Bangladesh has done enough. It is now the turn of UN, as well as the EU, the US, Canada, and Australia to be more active within Myanmar. Salvation might then appear.

Muhammad Zamir, a former ambassador, is an analyst specialized in foreign affairs, right to information, and good governance. He can be reached at [emailprotected]

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What the Rohingya presence means for us - Dhaka Tribune

Mercury Prize rapper who held up effigy of Boris Johnsons severed head says he does not condone violence – The Telegraph

In response to the backlash, Northampton-born Frampton wrote on social media yesterday: The people in power who are trying to isolate and divide us arent the ones who will feel its effects the hardest.

Theyre not the ones queuing at food banks, not the ones navigating universal credit and not the ones having to deal with systematic fear and oppression and hate crimes at the hands of privileged politicians who say what they want without fear and consequence.

We are not being looked after and our best interests are not being served by those in government. This is their job and theyre not doing it well enough.

This act was a metaphor for what this government is doing to our country, except what I did was present it in sight.

No Boris Johnsons were hurt in the making of this slowthai performance. I dont condone violence in any form.

slowthai was nominated for his album Nothing Great About Britain, which casts a critical eye over life in the modern UK.

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Mercury Prize rapper who held up effigy of Boris Johnsons severed head says he does not condone violence - The Telegraph

The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray review a rightwing diatribe – The Guardian

Being stuck in a culture war is a bit like being a driver stuck in a traffic jam. From within ones own car, the absurdity and injustice of the situation is abundantly plain. Other drivers can be seen cutting in, changing lanes excessively, and getting worked up. Roadworks appear needlessly restrictive. Why are there so many cars on the road anyway? Horns begin to honk. There is one question that few drivers ever consider: what is my own contribution to this quagmire?

Psychoanalysts refer to the process of splitting, where the self is unable to cope with its good and bad qualities simultaneously, and so splits the bad ones off and attributes them to other people. The result is an exaggerated sense of ones own virtue and innocence, but an equally exaggerated sense of the selfishness and corruption of others. We are all guilty of this from time to time, rarely more so than on social media, where the world can appear perfectly split into goodies and baddies. Populism and culture warriors exploit this aspect of human psychology, reinforcing the comforting (but ultimately harmful) feeling that any conflict in the world is their fault not ours.

The left is not averse to playing this game. Why did the financial crisis occur? Because bankers and Blairites are bad, selfish people. Apart from anything else, this makes for woeful social science. But the right plays it more dangerously. Where the left spies moral depravity in centres of wealth and power (which, as we know, can produce antisemitic conspiracy theories), the right sees it among newcomers, intellectuals and the already marginalised. The potential political implications of this dont need spelling out.

In The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray sets out to explain why societies are now so characterised by conflict. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant. The daily news cycle is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we do not see the causes.

Few would fail to recognise this as a starting point. MPs and journalists are being harassed and threatened simply for doing their jobs. A university was recently forced out of Hungary by the government. The Home Office is growing increasingly anxious about the threat of far-right extremists cooperating across Europe. But there is not so much as a sniff of these trends in The Madness of Crowds. Instead, Murray organises his material into four themes: Gay, Gender, Race and Trans. You can see where this is heading.

Murrays stock in trade is a tone of genteel civility. He writes gracefully and wittily, in keeping with his demeanour as a clubbable conservative, who simply wishes we could all just muddle through a little better. While never over-egging it, he proffers a kindly Christian gospel of love and forgiveness, which he believes might rid us of the political and cultural toxins that have so polluted our lives. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and his account of recent history is clear: authorised by leftwing academics, minority groups have been concocting conflict and hatred out of thin air, polluting an otherwise harmonious society, for their own gratification.

Murray is quick to celebrate struggles for racial, sexual and gay equality, but he's adamant they have now been settled

His narrative is roughly as follows. The decline of ideologies at the end of the 20th century created a vacuum of meaning, which was waiting to be filled. This coincided with the birth of a whole range of critical cultural theories, producing fields of gender studies, race studies and queer studies. Most damagingly of all, for Murray, was the rise of intersectional feminism, which assumes that different types of oppression (especially racial and patriarchal) tend to intersect and reinforce one another.

The bitter irony, as far as Murray is concerned, is that these new theories of oppression arose at the precise moment in human history when actual racism, sexism and homophobia had evaporated. Suddenly after most of us had hoped it had become a non-issue everything seemed to have become about race, he writes. This seems to bug him more than anything else: Among the many depressing aspects of recent years, the most troubling is the ease with which race has returned as an issue.

History, therefore, is much as his fellow neoconservative Francis Fukuyama brashly described it in 1989: ended. Or rather, it could have ended, if it werent for troublemaking intellectuals and activists. Murray is quick to celebrate past struggles for racial, sexual and gay equality, but he is adamant that they have now been settled. Questions persist regarding the nature of sex, sexuality and innate ability (what belongs to our physical hardware and what to our cultural software, as he puts it), but these are far better handled by biologists than political thinkers. The problem, as he sees it, is that malicious, fraudulent and resentful forces emerging from universities have refused to accept that justice has now been delivered.

The acclaimed gender theorist Judith Butler is held up as a malignant fraud who hides behind the complexity of her prose. The entire venture of social science is deemed corrupted by its insidious fixation on oppression. Murray turns to recent hoax articles that were published in the academic journal Cogent Social Sciences (a prank that he describes as one of the most beautiful things to happen in recent years) as evidence that social and cultural theory is all a sham. The reader is assured falsely that this is all a vast Marxist project, aimed at sowing dissatisfaction and discord.

Murray presumably knows that Michel Foucault was not a Marxist, but its important to his branch of conservatism that this is brushed over. The M word serves as a coded way of tying together the humanities, Marx himself and (with a small leap of imagination) the Gulag. The fact that it is now illegal to teach gender studies in Hungary, as decreed by Viktor Orbn (favourite intellectual: Douglas Murray), poses questions as to where the real threat to liberty is coming from. But you wont find any discussion of that in The Madness of Crowds.

We learn that the doctrine of intersectionality has now swept the world, even becoming embedded in the search algorithms written in Silicon Valley. Why? Because tech workers have decided to stick it to people towards whom they feel angry. Its for this reason, apparently, that Google image search throws up a disproportionate number of black faces. Intersectionality is being force-fed to people, encouraging them to seek revenge on white men, and that is why there is so much conflict.

Murray has no shortage of examples and anecdotes to back this up, many gleaned from the US. But its notable that they nearly all operate at the level of discourse, and mostly in the media and social media. Its not difficult to come up with absurd cases of social justice warriors saying stupid and hypocritical things online, especially when the Daily Mail appears to have an entire desk dedicated to unearthing them.

And there are plenty of well-known cases of people being shamed and sacked for things theyve said, many of which are unfair and sadistic. One critique of this would be that the logic of public relations and credit rating has now infiltrated every corner of our lives, such that we are constantly having to consider the effects of our words on our reputations. Another is that a global Marxist conspiracy has duped people into a fantasy of their own oppression. I know which I find more plausible.

Whenever Murray strays too close to any actual oppression (as opposed to the controversies surrounding it), he quickly veers away. His chapter on gender refers to the MeToo claims against Harvey Weinstein, but never to Weinstein or the power structures he built. His chapter on race (the longest in the book) makes no reference to one of the most controversial campaigns in recent US history, Black Lives Matter, presumably because its impossible to discuss without acknowledging what prompted it: black men being gunned down by police officers.

Anger is ultimately a mystery to Murray, seeming to emanate spontaneously from his political and ideological foes. He can come up with no better explanation for it than that bad people enjoy it, that their desire is not to heal but to divide, not to placate but to inflame. And yet when an author goes to such great lengths to assure you that others are degraded, and that we white, male conservatives simply want to live in harmony, you have to wonder whom much of this anger truly belongs to.

Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World by William Davies is out in paperback from Vintage. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is published by Bloomsbury (20). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.

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The Madness of Crowds by Douglas Murray review a rightwing diatribe - The Guardian

LETTER: Israel keeps flouting international laws – Southern Star Newspaper

Have your say: Write to editorial@southernstar.ie

SIR Ms Linda Hart of Haifa, in herletter,Face facts about Israel, claims that I am unfamiliar with facts on the ground, so let me refer her to certain facts about her city of Haifa which reflects how her right-wing fundamentalist government treats Palestinians.

In 1914, 87% of the population of Haifa were indigenous Palestinians. The Israeli historian, Benny Morris, writes how the nationalist Haganah Zionist and the Irgun Zvai Leumi settlement militias set about separating the previously co=existing Palestinian and Jewish communities and ethnically cleansing Haifa of its Palestinian Arab population. Some 121,000 people from Haifa and surrounding villages were dispossessed of their homes and land to be replaced by a Jewish majority of 66% by 1948.

The removals of Palestinians and their replacement by mostly European Jewish immigrants has continued ever since, leaving Haifa with a total population of around 280,000, of whom now only 18% are Palestinian (14% Christian and 4% Muslim). A further 6,000 Palestinians approx. are unregistered.

As with Haifa, the ongoing creation of the state of Israel has involved displacement of Palestinians from their homes and livelihoods with many ending up as refugees for the rest of the world to accommodate. This process makes Israel a state with no defined or internationally recognised borders.

Now Netanyahu in a last-ditch effort to get elected is promising that a third of the already illegally-occupied West Bank will be annexed to Israel. There is no talk of peace and any hope of a two-state solution has disappeared with the strategic settlement programme dividing up the remaining Palestinian land and control by the longest military occupation in modern times.

Ms Hart characterises the victim-hood mentality of a beleaguered Israel surrounded by enemies while its armed forces have killed hundreds of unarmed protesters, medics, press and children and maimed thousands over recent months. Israel meanwhile threatens its neighbours with its unregulated and uninspected nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Israel is, no doubt, emboldened by Trump and the $38 billion military aid and latest strike aircraft it receives each year.

Peace offers to Palestinians have only ever amounted to demands for their capitulation. The US peace envoy, Jared Kushner, with his Foundations financial assistance to illegal Israeli settlements, has no credibility.

It is hard to see how the beleaguered Palestinians can escape their imprisonment and oppression unless a new US administration seeks to restore world order and enforce the international laws which Israel currently flouts.

Bob Storey,


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LETTER: Israel keeps flouting international laws - Southern Star Newspaper

[OPINION] Countering Marcos propaganda with stories of resistance – Rappler

This week, I had the rare opportunity to listen to the stories of two women Martial Law survivors. Speaking before an awestruck audience of eighteen to nineteen-year-old university students in UPLB, Maria Cristina Tina Pargas Bawagan and Hilda Narciso proved the profound effects of stories.

In studying the history of our authoritarian past, we are often presented with numbers and the numbers are compelling: more than 3,000 people killed, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 killed, with $5 billion to $10 billion worth of government robbery to boot.

Despite this, we still see an avid resurgence of historical revisionism and persistent pro-Marcos propaganda and not a few people believe this. The election of Bongbong Marcos as senator in 2010, his close vice-presidential bid in 2016, and Imees easy senatorial win in the most recent national election are enough testament to the sordid effectiveness of their propaganda. In his musings, Ateneo de Manilas Dr Filomeno Aguilar Jr, laments the collective failure of our schools and of the academia to embed the perils and brutalities of the Marcos regime in our memory. Dr Aguilar dirges how we forgot, that in the midst of the euphoria of EDSA I, some cried when Marcos fell from power.

We became too comfortable with what we thought was a liberal democratic consensus and neglected the fact that the two decades of Marcos presidency entrenched several legacies, not just in the affairs of the state, but also in the memory of the people. Such negligence made it easy for the Marcos families propaganda machine to twist the truth and spread deceit about the crimes of this despot, make up so-called achievements of the corrupt regime, and fabricate a narrative of a Golden Age in the time when funds were being stolen and people were being killed. Hence, despite the academic consensus on the failures of Marcos and his martial law, public opinion demonstrates an apparent forgetting or of simple nonchalance about what the dictatorship did to this country.

When confronted with the convincing and persuasive propaganda about Marcos, how do we push back? Listening to Tina and Hilda, I realized that the answer is simple we need stories.

Tina candidly shared her journey in the anti-dictatorship movement. She shared how she willingly sought after the struggle, abandoning the comfort of home and privilege, being parted from family and losing her husband in the struggle. Her story reminded us that in the peak of her youth and idealism, she is one of the many who chose to sacrifice her life and freedom for the struggle. Her story reminds me of another hero, Lean Alejandro, a leader of the student movement against Marcos who said that (t)he next best thing to freedom is the struggle to be free.

Hilda did not mince words when she described the rape and molestation done to her for days by state agents in a safe house in Davao City, before being detained with other political detainees. Her voice did not falter when she shared how her tormentors laughed at her when she asked them to just kill her after her repetitive abuse. And she so bravely recalled how she willed herself to survive and live to tell the story. Now in her 70s, Hilda remains passionate on her resolve to help other victims and speak her truth before young people who are enjoying relative freedoms today because of the sacrifices of the generation before them.

After the forum, I asked my students about their experience listening to Tina and Hilda. One of them shared how different it was to listen to an actual person who went through such brutality from merely reading the stories from secondary sources. I remember feeling the same way when I had my first conversation with Susan Quimpo, another Martial Law survivor, as a college student in 2012. One detail that struck me in that conversation was how, after 3 decades since the dictator was overthrown, seeing soldiers with big guns still sends her shivers. It was a random detail that she shared but it left a hard impression on me: Martial Law is something that they carry every single day for the rest of their lives. For us, who had the fortune to not live through such period, it was just a historical detail. But for those who were tortured, detained, grieved for lost friends, families, and comrades, it was their truth. It is the responsibility of our generation to never let this truth be taken away from them people died, women were raped, families were torn apart, the country was destroyed, Marcos is not a hero.

The stories of Tina, Hilda, and of countless other survivors of Martial Law remind us that our authoritarian past was not only an age of tyranny and oppression. More importantly, it was a period of unrelenting struggle, a history of indomitable resistance in the face of death, abuse, and injustice. While it is worthwhile to always be reminded of the mechanism of Martial Law, of the widespread corruption, of economic mismanagement, of the politicization of the military, and of crony capitalism, it is also important to remember that the strongest and the most sustained opposition against Marcos was propelled and mobilized by people who dared to fight back and to dream, albeit the imminence of death in such murderous regime. Marcos Martial Law is not only a story of how the oppressors oppressed. It is also the story of how the oppressed resisted. Rappler.com

Vec Alporha teaches History in UPLB. Before joining the faculty, she was Chairperson of the University Student Council of UP Baguio. She acquired her MA in History form UP Diliman.

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[OPINION] Countering Marcos propaganda with stories of resistance - Rappler

Conrad Black: Trudeau’s not a racist, just a hypocrite and a weak leader – National Post

The election campaign to date has been an exercise in idiocy and cowardice. It is obviously embarrassing for Justin Trudeau to have had to admit to attending an Aladdin-themed party in 2001 made up to look like Aladdin (although Aladdin was an Arab not an African, and blackening his hands was oddly laborious). But Maxime Bernier is right that Justin is not a racist, just a hypocrite. As Tucker Carlson, the Fox News commentator, said on Thursday night, the prime ministers conduct is sort of like finding out your super-sensitive brother-in-law, the one who tells you hes a feminist, the one whos always scolding you for your sexism is, in fact, hitting on the babysitter. The story broke in Time magazine and the spectacle of the United States splitting its sides laughing at a Canadian politician as they did over the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford is distressing to most Canadians. They rejoice in mocking American leaders; the reverse is mortifyingly embarrassing.

In fact, there was probably no intent to mock any racial or ethnic group in the several incidents that have been revealed (after Justin said on Wednesday night that there had only been one other in his life). This propensity for absurd costumes, from Superman and Lawrence of Arabia to the Afro wig and features, and the dreadful fiasco in India where he inflicted subterraneanly silly costumes on his entire family, is affected and worrisome. He was a drama teacher and his father liked exotic costumes and foreign lands, but poncing through India in traditional outfits was like the prime minister of France and his family coming to Canada dressed like Jacques Cartier in frilly shirts and voluminous breeches, buckled shoes and three-cornered felt hats. Justin would not have felt scatologically self-reproachful (pissed off at myself will not do as a public reflection from the leader of a serious country), and promised the media that there would be confessions to his children, if the entire Liberal campaign were not a systematic character assassination of Conservative candidates. One candidate at a time and a new one almost every day has been smeared with malicious tittle-tattle and innuendos that Liberal mud-slingers represent as proof of homophobia or misogyny.

This propensity for absurd costumes, from Superman and Lawrence of Arabia to the Afro wig and features, and the dreadful fiasco in India where he inflicted subterraneanly silly costumes on his entire family, is affected and worrisome

The Liberal campaign was planned as Justin was plying the country displaying his sunny ways and avoiding any serious discussion of issues while the Liberal hit squads incinerated the reputations of dozens of respectable Conservative candidates with spurious splicing and decontextualizing tactical slime from outdated remarks. It is all intended to portray reasonable people as monsters, and the Conservative party as led by and composed of feudal reactionaries and superstitious bigots. It is the ultimate hand-me-down of the sleaziest American political skullduggery. This is from the rule-book of leftist 1960s urban guerrilla Saul Alinsky to his acolytes, Hillary Rodham (before she became Mrs. Clinton), Barack Obama and David Axelrod, the mentor of Justin Trudeaus minder, Gerry Butts. Gerry Butts holds himself out as the continuator of Jack Pickersgill and Jim Coutts, chiefs of staff or close associates of Liberal prime ministers Mackenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. They were charming scoundrels but civilized men at the reform edge of the political mainstream.

Butts imported Axelrod to assist in riveting on the back of Ontario for four terms the catastrophic government of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. Butts took the high jump in the midst of the SNC-Lavalin debacle, but instead of falling on his sword, he was just hiding behind the curtain. He designed a campaign, not of wit and stratagem and agility, as Pickersgill and Coutts did, but a cynical and sinister assault on honest electioneering. This was from the same version of public spiritedness that inspired Justin Trudeau to lie to Parliament about SNC-Lavalin, and prosecuted Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, with no evidence, and tried to starve him into submission, and then folded when show-time came in court, and finally bought the admirals discretion with hush money. The former commander of the Royal Canadian Navy committed the sin of trying to prevent the navy from degenerating into a coastal force with no ocean-going capacity. A government that would treat a patriotic officer with an unblemished career who worked his way up through 33 years in the navy so nastily cannot run an honest election campaign.

Here is the problem. Justin Trudeau is, as I have written here before, a pleasant and benign man, but not a strong leader, and his minders have a little of the complacent charm of the old Liberal wheel-horses and fixers, but they are hard, morally corrupt, cynical men practicing the politics of smash and grab, to hell with the practical consequences. Foreign investment in Canada has declined by 75 per cent in five years while Canadian capital investment in foreign countries has approximately tripled. The storm signals are everywhere and the bell is tolling, and this governments re-election program is to destroy the official opposition with false charges of racist, sexist and sectarian malice. It is an evil campaign. Justin isnt the author of it, but he cant escape responsibility for it.

The related problem is that this government cannot run on its record. In subsequent weeks, I will review the main policy arguments, but what we have had is colossal mismanagement of native peoples issues, absurd obsession with gender issues, and alarmist hysteria about climate and the outright oppression of the oil industry and of the province of Alberta. (The Alberta provincial Liberals harvested a sizzling 0.08 per cent of the vote in the election earlier this year; any Albertan who votes Liberal is a psychiatric case.) And there is the divertissement of legalized marijuana, but in a framework so heavily regulated that the legal providers of marijuana are not price-competitive with the illegal sources. This series of egregious policy failures has been funded with fiscal recklessness high taxes and large deficits the perfect consummation of fiscal incompetence. This is the governments record and the election strategy is to distract attention from it by tarring and feathering the opposition.

If the government generally was playing it straight and not trying to gain re-election by defaming its opponents, Trudeau could have expressed regret, claimed hed learned and moved on. The regime is creating a poisonous climate. The leader of the opposition, Andrew Scheer, is not a stem-winder and will not be teaching charisma studies as a post-political university career, but his calm response to the Aladdin incident was to criticize Trudeau, but leave the heavy criticizing to the NDPs Jagmeet Singh. Scheer gives some promise, if elected, of leading what Orwell called a government of decent men.

On Wednesday night, the airwaves were crowded with representatives of ethnic and cultural minorities claiming Canada is wracked by profound and systemic racism. This is bunk and the country should not accept it people may say what they wish but this is one of the most tolerant countries in the world and the best possible outcome of this election would be the cleansing of this steadily worsening ambiance of back-biting and imputing base motives to almost everyone. No one really cares about Justin making an ass of himself at parties years ago or even in India (though it embarrassed Canada). But the country cannot tolerate sanctimony from someone who hurls rocks at opponents who are good people, even if they are not overly exciting. This is the electoral process of a very civilized and relatively tranquil G7 country, not a re-enactment of the decline of the Weimar Republic.

Email: cmbletters@gmail.com

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Conrad Black: Trudeau's not a racist, just a hypocrite and a weak leader - National Post

This is how we can end xenophobia in a year | Independent on Saturday – IOL

War refugee Samuel Fikiri Cinini abandoned medical school amid fighting in the DRC and has since worked his way up to an academic with a doctorate at UKZN. Picture: Duncan GuyDurban - Interventions by the government could eradicate xenophobia within a year, according to a University of KwaZulu-Natal academic.

Samuel Fikiri Cinini, a lecturer in criminal justice and forensic investigation, told the Independent on Saturday that South Africa needed to make xenophobia a crime, create a panel of African foreigner representatives and appoint a branch of the police to deal with matters relating to this.

A foreigner from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cinini lists these recommendations in his recent doctoral thesis, A Criminological Analysis on the Safety and Security of African Foreign Nationals in Durban.

If there was this law, people would fear doing it. But they dont and thats why they do it, he said.

Theres no punishment attached to it. People are free to kill, loot and damage and its just xenophobia. It should be considered not just an attitude, but a crime.

Cinini further called for the establishment of a representative body with which the government could consult and get to know the challenges and together come up with suggestions and solutions to assist these people to live with human rights.

My thesis also suggests that the government should create a new police branch dealing with foreign nationals and that police should be trained in terms of migration and fully empowered so that they can deal with migrants.

Cinini challenged the perception that foreigners took jobs away from locals, saying they were excluded from the government sector and usually did not have access to the private sector because broad-based black economic empowerment was an obstacle to them.

Competition was, therefore, more in the sector of casual work.

He recommended that ward councillors be trained to educate South Africans that their country was a signatory to many treaties, meaning that foreigners had access, that many were refugees from wars and oppression and were legally in the country.

There are no refugee camps here. Foreign nationals go into the open community.

He also questioned why there was xenophobia in South Africa and not in other African countries where there were also significant populations of non-resident Africans.

Cinini said that while it was true that some were involved in the illegal drug trade, it was only through corrupt government officials and police that drugs came into South Africa in the first place, especially at the Durban harbour.

He said that apart from politicians occasionally making xenophobic statements, the targeting of foreigners was the result of South Africans dependence on being close to government officials, through nepotism. They therefore did not target their frustration at the government but elsewhere.

They are too scared of the government, he said, adding that they feared targeting it would lead to their losing what service delivery they received.

That fear was, however, negligible to what he had lived through in his country when it was called Zaire, under the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Mobutu was killing people for any mistake they made.

Cinini, who is from Bukavu in the eastern DRC - the same city as recent Nobel laurate Denis Mukwege - began his journey to South Africa in 2006 when he fled fighting between government forces and Congo Rally for Democracy rebels, he said.

Choosing South Africa for its democracy, he spent two years as a car guard, which he called a safe place for foreigners in South Africa.

Locals dont want that job but there is money in it.

He said he was able to live frugally, send money home and save.

It was not easy. You just have to know what you want, what youre here for and who you are.

On his savings, he studied a non-degree course in English at UKZN and eventually qualified for a student loan which he is now paying back, he said. In the process, he has also moved from sharing crammed inner-city accommodation to owning a flat on North Beach and acquiring a doctorate.

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This is how we can end xenophobia in a year | Independent on Saturday - IOL

OP-ED Beyond Hong Lim Park: What Singapore decides to do with dissent could determine the future of the next generation – The Independent

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SingaporeDissent has been much in the headlines lately, what with the whole world keeping its eyes on the protests in Hong Kong for the past four months. Back home, a recently canceled one-week course on dissent at Yale-NUS College drew concern from the president of Yale University, while a couple who wore anti death-penalty t-shirts to a run supporting former convicts found themselves investigated by police.

The issue of whether authorities overreacted to the t-shirt wearing pair was debated online.

For historian and activist Pingtjin Thum, it was an example of systemic oppression. He wrote on his Facebook account, the real damage is fear and intimidation being sowed in the wider population, with the clear lesson not to express an opinion contrary to the official government position.

For Polish blogger Michael Petraeus, whose blog Critical Spectator has shown support for government policies, the issue of the runners statement shirt had nothing to do with quashing dissent or muzzling the public. It is about preventing a precedent and protecting the democratic order of the country. Mr Petraeus went on to explain that Singapores democracy, being very fragile, has always set strict rules in place to prevent conflict from erupting through an uncontrollable chain reaction.

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In the west, dissent is considered to be foundational to democracy, and people regard it as a right to speak up on issues that they disagree with. American historian and playwright Howard Zinn said, Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it, while author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich wrote, Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

In Asia, dissent is considerably less tolerated both historically and in the present day, with a 2018 Amnesty International report showing that the repression of dissent has become an alarming and intensifying trend in several countries such as China, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Interestingly, there are a number of young people, many of whom are in their teenage years, who are making names for themselves as dissenters in todays fractious, and I dare say, even dangerous environment.

These are young people who are standing up against the status quo and have chosen to make a difference. Presently, you can barely open up any news site and not hear about Swedish environmental activistGreta Thunberg, who is all of 16 years old. Ms Thunberg took a boat from Europe to the United States last month to participate in the UN Youth Climate Summit, as well as to testify in Congress about the current climate crisis.

Hong Kongs Joshua Wong, age 23, has been hailed as one of the heroes of his citys largely unorganised protests, is also in the US as of the writing of this piece, drumming up international support for the demonstrators, who have been the target of increasing police brutality.

Pakistans Malala Yousafzai, now 22, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her years-long struggle for the rights and education of children, especially females, in countries where there is oppression against them. When she was 15, she was shot in the face by a gunman from the Taliban.

In the US, teenagers and young people have taken the lead in the gun control issue, especially after the Stoneman Douglas High Schoolshooting on February 14, 2018, when a shooter took the lives of 17 people and injured 17 others. Some of the students from the school have made it their mission to change the law concerning the right to bear arms.

Even Thailand has its own version of Greta Thunberg, a 12-year-old named Ralyn Lilly Satidtanasarn, who has declared war against plastic.

There are some who would argue that dissent is simply not in Singapores DNA. There is a proper venue for dissent, Hong Lim Park, the only area in the country where protests are legally allowed. There are rules and conditions governing public protests, to put safeguards in place. However, such rules and conditions can imaginably put a damper on the spontaneity and passions that fuel demonstrations.

What then, is the future of dissent in Singapore? Will the country produce world-changers such as Greta Thunberg or Joshua Wong, who are not without detractors in these parts?

Perhaps middle ground can be found between Hong Lim Park and the protests in Hong Kong. Perhaps part of the freedom necessary for the youth to develop critical thinking and innovation may be given to them, alongside the order, prosperity, and peace that they already have. -/TISG

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OP-ED Beyond Hong Lim Park: What Singapore decides to do with dissent could determine the future of the next generation - The Independent

Ijaw group kicks against NDDC appointments, asks Buhari to intervene – Legit.ng

- There are dissenting voices over the recent appointments of the board of the NDDC

- A group known as Western Ijaw Consultative Assembly say the Ijaws have been sideline on the board

- The group stated that excluding Ijaws from the board is deliberate and an act of injustice and oppression

The Western Ijaw Consultative Assembly have kicked against the recent appointment of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The group made its stance known after its monthly meting held recently in Delta state.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently reconstituted the board of the NDDC.

The office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Tuesday, August 27, released the names of the new NDDC members.

The group described the action of the government as an act of injustice, marginalization and oppression.

They further lamented that the action is the deliberate exclusion of Ijaws from appointments and opportunities due us.

Time and principle enshrined in the NDDC Establishment Act has offered the good people of Delta state the opportunity to produce at least another Managing Director.

This rare opportunity offers any good leader with a sense of history to correct the ethnic bias inherent in the previous board appointments.

However, the very unique opportunity has been snatched by people parading themselves as close allies to of the federal powers, to further their ungodly anti-Ijaw, anti-progress ploy for the sake of satisfying narrow, parochial ethnic agenda by the nomination of another Urhobo national for the third time to occupy the position of the Managing Director of the NDDC.

This is not fair to the Ijaws that produce the bulk of the oil and gas in Delta state; neither does it engender inter-ethnic peace and harmony, the group stated.

The group alleged that some over-zealous politicians are working assiduously to maliciously push the Ijaws out of the political power play in Nigeria.

According to them, politicians like Ovie Omo-Agege and his cohorts have taken liberty of their position in the federal government to oppress us. He has shown that he is anti-Ijaw and does not want our development and progress.

This is a man clamoring to be the next governor of Delta state. If he can treat us this badly as a Deputy Senate President, imagine what will become of him if elected as governor.

The group called on President Buhari to correct this injustice as a matter of urgency.

Similarly, a group, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG), has called for an urgent investigation into the announcement of new board members of the NDDC by President Buhari.

The group in a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday, August 28, and signed by its president, Comrade Dominic Ogakwu, stated that the procedure employed for the purported dissolution of the acting management of the NDDC and appointment of a new board for the commission, lies in bad taste and it is worrisome.

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A lot of people in government come in for money - Abiola's daughter | Legit TV

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Ijaw group kicks against NDDC appointments, asks Buhari to intervene - Legit.ng