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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: October 26, 2021
Posted: October 26, 2021 at 5:30 pm
The occupation of Kashmir by the Indian security forces will complete 74 years on October 27, a day which is observed as Black Day by the people of the occupied territory, Pakistan and the Kashmiri diaspora around the world.
These years have been a sad story of defiance of UNSC resolutions, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, unmitigated oppression and criminal indifference by the international community to the plight of the people of the occupied territory.
India reneged on its commitment to implement the UN resolutions, pledges made to Pakistan in that regard by the then Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as well as his statements in the Indian parliament. Instead of fulfilling its pledge and obligations under UNSC resolutions, it held elections for the constituent assembly of Occupied Kashmir in October 1951 in which all seats were won by the National Conference headed by Sheikh Abdullah.
The UN Security Council passed Resolution 91 to the effect that such elections did not substitute a plebiscite. Again, on November 17, the state constituent assembly adopted a constitution for the state which declared Kashmir as an integral part of the Indian Union. The UN Security Council once again repudiated it through its Resolution 122 which reiterated that that the settlement of the question of accession of the state could not be resolved by any means other than a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN. As is evident, it was a vehement rejection of the Indian position on the Kashmir issue.
However, India kept insisting on Kashmir being an integral part and continued denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. Which is why the occupied people were forced to launch an armed struggle to win their freedom. Since then, India has been using its military might to crush it. Indian security forces enjoying immunity for their actions under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990, have indulged in an unabated killing-spree in the state. They have killed more than 96,000 Kashmiris, raped thousands of women and destroyed thousands of structures since the beginning of the freedom struggle. The discovery of mass graves also tells the story of the Indian oppression on the people of Kashmir. However despite this unending oppression India has not been able to extinguish the flame of liberty.
By scrapping Article 370 of the Indian constitution, to end the special status of Occupied Kashmir, its bifurcation into two territories and annexation to the Indian Union as well as promulgation of the new domicile law designed to change the demographic realities of the state, the Modi government has further aggravated the situation and given a new twist to the dispute.
Kashmiris are facing unabated extrajudicial killings, custodial torture and death, arbitrary detention, looting to inflict collective punishment and other worst forms of human rights abuses, corroborated by reports of human rights organisations, the UN Human Rights Commission findings, the European parliament and international media.
According to reports compiled by international agencies, over 500 people have been killed since August 5, 2019. Three thousand people are under arrest, including 200 politicians. Reportedly 10,000 people have been picked up and disappeared since then. Though internet services were restored in August 2020 on the orders of the Indian Supreme Court, the people of Occupied Kashmir are still living in an open prison and suffering immensely at the hands of the Indian security forces.
The Modi government has been trying to sell the narrative that the action taken by it in Occupied Kashmir was its internal matter. But it has failed to convince the international community. Thanks to the diplomatic offensive launched by the government of Pakistan, reports by the international media and unraveling of the oppression on the people of Kashmir, the international community has not subscribed to the Indian disposition on the issue.
It is pertinent to mention here that the August 5 action of the Modi government has also been opposed by conscientious elements within India. P Chidambaram, a senior leader of Congress, opposing the bill for repeal of Article 370 had said: The move will have catastrophic consequences. You are dismembering J&K in the name of the people of Kashmir. Do not do that. Reflect on what you are doing. Momentarily you may think you have scored a victory, but you are wrong and history will prove you to be wrong. Future generations will realise what a grave mistake this house is making today. [The] BJPs sense of victory will be short-lived and history will prove it to be wrong His statement reflected the historic truth.
The BJP regime -- inebriated by the RSS Ideology of Hindutva -- has not only violated the UNSC resolutions, international law and 4th Geneva Convention through its actions but has also been persistently engaged in sponsoring acts of terrorism within Pakistan in connivance with Afghan intelligence agency NDS. It has also fomented and supported insurgency in Balochistan. The arrest of Kalbhushan Jadhav and his confessions leave no doubt about it. India has also indulged in fake propaganda against Pakistan and portraying it as an epicenter of terrorism through fake media outlets as revealed by EU Disinfo Lab recently. It has also adopted a hostile posture towards us.
The threatening statements by Indian military and civilian leaders and the daredevil act of bombing imaginary terrorist training camps at Balakot in February 2019 are a ranting testimony to the threat that India poses to peace and security in this region. Pakistan has presented two dossiers to the UN and the world powers regarding state terrorism by India and its use of false propaganda to malign us.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has rightly likened the RSS Ideology to Nazism and persistently warned the world of its likely repercussions if India is not stopped in its tracks right now and the Kashmir issue resolved in consonance with the UN resolutions. It is the right time for the UN and the world community to act before it is too late, particularly the powers that see the Kashmir dispute through the prism of their strategic and commercial interests. Their apathy to the situation in Occupied Kashmir encourages India to persist with its inhuman actions.
The writer is a freelance contributor.
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Posted: at 5:30 pm
ENFIELD, CT Democrat Joshua Hamre, 49, is running for the Board of Education in Enfield.
Occupation: Services Coordinator For Homeless Veterans
Experience: Enfield Culture and Arts Commission
Family in government: None that I know of
The single biggest issue in town is ______, and I plan to do this about it:
The single most pressing issue facing Enfield is the acceptance of what was once unacceptable. I intend to continue speaking for those that are not comfortable speaking, and to follow the example of leaders I admire who got into good trouble, necessary trouble (thank you, John Lewis), when they stood for what was right. And to paraphrase Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I choose not to be neutral in situations of injustice because I will not choose the side of oppression.
Critical differences between me and my opponents:
There are a total of ten candidates running for the Board of Education, and nine of those running will get a seat at the table. Between myself and the other four Democrat candidates, we share the view that the Board of Education is a governing body that is in place to ensure the public schools are adhering to policies and procedures that allow each student the opportunity to achieve their best selves. Between Tina, Amanda, Scott, Jerry, and myself, there is no daylight between us. We share that vision.
The Republican candidates quite simply don't believe that. Not all, perhaps, but if one or two believe that it is acceptable for a student to be unable to learn to the best of their ability because the student is unable to express themselves in the way that they choose, then it doesn't matter if they all believe in oppression or not. I will say that again, but a little differently this time: If one republican candidate for the Board of Education believes it is acceptable to oppress one demographic for the sake of another, and the other republican candidates do not distance themselves or speak out against that oppression, they are implicitly accepting of it. Those efforts to oppress a part of our student population will become part of the policies if we allow it to. I will not allow it, and nor will my Democratic colleagues. That is one critical difference between the ten candidates.
Having been involved in the education processes of our three children across the educational spectrum (public, parochial, and magnet), I've seen what is possible and where potential may exist.
In addition, over the last 15 years of working within the military support community, I've learned the myriad ways that procedures, policies and protocol can and should be implemented, and as well as the importance of the chain of command in these processes.
Teachers and the entire support staff should be able to find stability in the vocation they have chosen, because continuity and familiarity is critical to obtaining goals for the students and staff alike.
The administration has been doing an outstanding job despite strong headwinds during the pandemic.
Music, and theater and everything that goes into these pursuits and productions deserve more support and an elevated place in the schools and community.
What else would you like voters to know about you?
I am a candidate for the Board of Education because I raised my hand when there was a need to help. I encourage anyone reading this to become involved in the civic process through programs like Parent Leadership Academy.
I encourage parents to be involved to the fullest extent possible in the development of their children.
I implore parents to be accepting of the little ones in their lives, to be open to them, and so that they may be open to their parents. Have the uncomfortable conversations at home so that they are comfortable when those conversations happen elsewhere.
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Myanmar needs a National Salvation government: Neither side can win, only more suffering! – Modern Tokyo Times
Posted: at 5:30 pm
Myanmar needs a National Salvation government: Neither side can win, only more suffering!
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The nation of Myanmar needs a National Salvation government to overcome the horrendous internal convulsions that threaten this nation-state. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Defence Services (before the coup against State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi), is the de facto leader of Myanmar. However, the repercussions of the coup are more divisions in society, enabling outside nations to influence internal developments based on weakness, a weakened economy, the threat of disintegration like the former Yugoslavia, and other ill-winds.
Irrespective of people supporting Aung San Suu Kyi, Min Aung Hlaing, and others within the complex mosaic of Myanmar, the current situation threatens the future of this country. Ironically, when Aung San Suu Kyi set the nation on the democratic path, Western democratic nations played the Bengali Muslim card in Rakhine. Therefore, instead of democratic nations helping Myanmar at this critical junction just like Sudans democratic path needs support now the democratic world and politically correct media lambasted Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a past article, it was stated, Aung San Suu Kyi understood the legacy of authoritarian rule, the continuation of military involvement in the political system, countless long-lasting ethnic conflicts, outside meddling, and a nation blighted by underdevelopment. However, despite countless obstacles, she remained steadfast to the democratic path and was waiting for the right time to enhance democracy in Myanmar.
Since the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi, the flow of death followed concerning internal discontent. Hence, the nation is now more unstable. Is this really what the military coup desired?
Min Aung Hlaing obviously didnt have any plan B to counter the obvious civil disobedience that would follow. Nor did the military elites focus on the economic convulsions and that China would gain from the ensuing chaos. Therefore, with no compromise insight towards the National League for Democracy (NLD) and certain members of the NLD intent on agitating (even if understandable) concerning natural self-preservation it seems that the armed forces loyal to Min Aung Hlaing are merely wishing the NLD to disappear.
Myanmar doesnt need regional nations that equally dont support human rights to hypocritically condemn for example, the crisis in West Papua concerning Indonesia is horrendous likewise, in Malaysia, the treatment of immigrants, anti-Shia Muslim policies, and political power concentration under the ethnic Malays is a reality. However, nations that take a more even-handed approach India, Japan, South Korea, and others need to put more pressure on the ruling elites of Myanmar for them to reach a compromise with Aung San Suu Kyi instead of persecuting her.
The road ahead is extremely complex for Myanmar. Hence, internal political divisions decided by brute force are a path to increasing poverty and weakening the nation-state. Therefore, despite the hatred of opposing sides, it is incumbent that a National Salvation government emerges before it is too late.
If not, another generation will be blighted by political oppression and limited opportunities.
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Nigerian museums must tell stories of slavery with more complexity and nuance – The Conversation Africa
Posted: at 5:30 pm
In many parts of the world, museums are considering how to present history through different lenses, rather than just representing colonial and imperialistic views of certain events, countries or whole continents.
The current museum presentations of exhibits and information about slavery especially the transatlantic slave trade are a stark example of colonisation thats been spun through a white, eurocentric lens. Hence, its become a key part of the decolonisation debate.
Museums all over the world have struggled to move beyond presenting more than emotionally removed snapshots of the slave trade. Most of these halls are continuing a long tradition of disconnecting themselves and the public from personal and local stories of slavery. This makes them disconnected from community and public memories.
African museums are also guilty of this practice. The transatlantic slave trade was a 400-year period during which African people were stolen from their homes and shipped to colonial nations. It was complex and multi-faceted. But when presented by museums today, it is communicated as a singular and temporarily isolated event. African museums frame the transatlantic slave trade narratives from an economic perspective. Their narratives are built around economic drivers and the economic effects of slavery on African countries, and the countries that benefited from the trade.
In a recent study, I examined how slavery is presented in two Nigerian museums. One is Calabars Slave History Museum, which is government-funded; the other is the privately run Seriki Faremi Williams Abass Museum. In both museums, the dominant narrative about slavery is that the Europeans arrived; the slave trade developed; and then it was abolished.
Little attention is paid to the practice of slavery in the region before Europeans arrived in the 1440s. Theres little mention of how the practice persisted, even after the British outlawed the slave trade in its empire. Theres no mention of concerns about modern slavery in Nigeria.
This is an isolationist approach to a large, complex set of stories. When I spoke with local communities descended from victims of slavery, members strongly criticised government funded museums approach. They kicked against the museums failure to convey the complete, complex, and conflicting localised human story of the slave trade. They also wanted museums to reflect that slavery continues to have an impact on local communities today. Especially on the culture and identity of individuals and ethnic groups.
Elsewhere in Nigeria, transatlantic slavery and the slave trade are largely absent from national or state museums, including the Nigerian National Museum in Lagos.
This official avoidance of the history of slavery and its accompanying acts of oppression and injustice could be linked to the colonial legacies of many of these museums. It may also be connected to wider political rhetoric that unsuccessfully urges Nigerians to forget such dark chapters. Of course, such avoidance is not limited to Nigeria its a global trend of deliberate erasure. It has deep roots in imperialist and eurocentric agendas.
After independence in 1960, Nigerias heritage and past were used to enlighten and educate the public in national official histories. The aim was nation-building. Six decades later, it has culminated in the exclusion of the transatlantic slave trade from wider narratives of independence, colonial geography, and ethnic histories in Nigerian museums.
Colonial heritage narratives about Nigeria have not been amended throughout the years. These incorrect narratives linger, despite evidence that slavery and enslavement form the core of the countrys personal, local and cultural memories.
Official efforts have failed to consider community narratives and memories, thereby removing Nigerians from the centre of their own history and heritage. The result is that these museums are often perceived as locally irrelevant: there is a disconnect between the official narrative and the descendent communitys versions of the past.
One of the museums in my study, the Seriki Faremi Williams Abass Slave Museum in Badagry, was developed as a direct result of the gaps in official museums offerings.
It is critical that museum professionals in Nigeria and the rest of the world begin to open up dialogue with diverse local communities. Museums must be immersed in people-centric local narratives. They have to also build trust with the communities in which they operate.
This collaboration will allow for the co-production of culturally relevant, personalised and empathetic narratives. Via this collaboration, the story of slavery and slave trade can be sensitively and accurately presented. It will also enable museums to highlight the unique cultural impact of slavery on specific localities, especially at the points of origin and final destination.
This approach could encourage the public and museums to question over-simplified stories of the past. Its also a valuable way to support empathy with the past. This could enable the public to face uncomfortable and potentially personal truths about the slave trade and enslavement that move beyond victimisation and stereotypes.
By considering transatlantic slavery and slave trade through this lens, museums have the potential to connect people to the past, so communities might learn, reflect and heal.
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Posted: at 5:30 pm
October 25, (THEWILL) In this interview the Bayelsa state commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs , Hon Erasmus Ucheowaji spoke to our Correspondent, DAVID AMOUS OWEI the mission and vision of the ministry and other issues .Excerpts:
May we know you?My name is Erasmus Ucheowaji Patrick.By the grace of God am the Honorable Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs.
May we know why the Bayelsa state created a separate ministry for Ijaw National Affairs ?
The ministry of Iaw National Affairs was created specifically to handle Ijaw National Affairs by the former governor of Bayelsa state and the distinguished senator representing Bayelsa West senatorial district,Senator Henry Seriake Dickson in 2012 as a platform for fast tracking the needs of the Ijaws worldwide.Bayelsa state remains the Jerusalem of the Ijaws all over the world and the only homogenous Ijaw state , the idea behind the creation of this unique ministry was purely for Ijaw affairs accros the globe.So when the miracle governor Senator Douye Diri was inaugurated as governor of Bayelsa state in 2020 excised the culture component to Tourism to form a ministry of Culture and Tourism and by that arrangement, the ministry was named the Ministry of Ijaw National Affairs as a full fledged ministry of Ijaw National Affairs to leverage on what senator Seriake Dickson created to fast track and articulate the needs of the Ijaws world wide.Bayelsa state is the homeland of all Ijaw people.The ministry therefore,is an instrument of the previous government.
As a Ministry has the reasons behind its creation achieved from your assessment as the commissioner ?
The ministry for Ijaw National Affairs as the name implies is a service oriented ministry which l met and it is poised to tackling every fundamental needs of the average man are brought ,partners and talk with Ijaw extractions their requests, demands and with the ultimate of presenting them to governments.Also,the ministry gave rise the to establishment of Ijaw Heroes park.The idea behind the Heroes park was to immortalize and bury Ijaw departed ones that had made their marks.It is for all Ijaws. So far so good ,a few of illustrious departed Ijaw sons have been buried therein and more would come.The ministry also oversees and partners with Ijaw National Congress and work in hand with its leadership to fast track, facilitate government administration. So far apart from Ijaw National Congress, the ministry also as an oversight functions handles the Ijaw Youth council matters too.Another beauty and uniqueness of the ministry is the study of Ijaw Language in private and public schools within the state. And this is a work in progress.Very soon,to be precise, by November 8 2021 it will be unveiled as a deliberate policy and experts have been sent for further trainings to acquire necessary skills to ensure that our children are taught Ijaw Language and to ensure that the Ijaw Language does not go into extinction .The ljaw child by the time the the policy is implemented would speak Ijaw Language fluently without any flaws.The state Executive council has given nod to make the Ijaw Language a compulsory subject in both private and public schools.The initial plan was to domicile a centre for study of Ijaw Language.But Exco approved the second prayers to make it compulsory for the learning of Ijaw Language and this will made public on November 8 , 2021.This is not only a work in progress but a dream that must be realized. In Bayelsa state in order to promote our cultural heritage,there is an approved dress code which was put in place by the immediate governor of the state now senator Seriake Dickson who made it mandatory for all civil servants to dress in Ijaw attire to work every Friday.Hence,every Friday our ladies go to work dressed in wrapper and head tie to match while their male counterparts also put on etibo and bowlar hat to match and to further enhance it, the commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Iti Orugbani has sent a memo to the present governor for all commissioners to appear during Executive council in traditional attire and the state governor had graciously approved it. Very soon it will be extended to all corporate organizations operating in Bayelsa state to adopt the dress code.Arising from inter ministerial committee drawn from ministry of Education, ministry of Ijaw National Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the commissioner of Education my colleague Dr Gentle Emelah is the chairman and plans have been included to implement the the teaching of Ijaw Language in all schools.
You were a former Senior Special Adviser to the state governor on Ijaw National Affairs and Culture and you are now a commissioner, was there any advise you offered that were not implemented.?
Government is a contininun and as SSA l had working relationship with the pioneer Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs and Culture , Dr Felix Tuodolo and Dressman the second commissioner.Am trying to move the Ijaw Culture forward and my office is widely opened for any positive and progressive ideas that would promote and project the Ijaw Affairs in every ramifications. Government is one , whether my advises were not implemented remained immaterial.I gave the best l could.
Before you came onboard there were always crisis whenever the umbrella pan Ijaw organization ,INC and IYC conducted their elections to elect their leaders.But your tenure has witnessed peaceful conduct of elections, what will you say is responsible for the peace and stability?
Who else will l attribute these peaceful elections to other than God almighty and l must not fail to also extend my kudos and appreciation to our miracle governor, senator Douye Diri who graciously approved the memo l sent for the conduct of the Ijaw National Congress election and his timely release of funds made the work very easy for me and other stakeholders.l recalled that during my screening at the state house of assembly l was bombarded with barrage of questions on how l would be able to fix the moribund Ijaw National Congress which was without leadership for many years, so when l was to conduct the election l put my profound proposals to the governor.I also embarked on prayers and before the elections, there prayer sessions every Tuesday and Thursday for fervent prayers by all the staff of the Ministry of Ijaw National Affairs.Everybody was enjoined to pray in their closet for a peaceful elections as previous elections history were too ugly experience to witness again.With God all things are possible.I also took steps such as the introduction of e voting and the Vice chancellor of Niger Delta University ,Prof Samuel Edoumiemokumo and Prof Fubara from Rivers state and when l told the governor who also gave me his words that he had no particular candidates , neutrality in whoever would emerge and implored all the contestants to go out and test their popularity. I also commended him for his wise counsel and when l gave my briefs on e- voting he gave his nod , considering the fact that when he was in the National Assemblies , House of Representatives and Senate ,he was an advocate of e- voting and with the convinction from the Vice Chancellor of NDU who had used it to conduct a free and fair election in the university community, he qickly obliged the idea.Initially most of the aspirants kicked against the e voting,but after due consultations they all keyed into it. I promised the governor that with the calibres of people as umpire, the election would be transparent , free and fair without rancour.Also ensured that further steps were taken.First l took permission from His Excellency to barricade the express way and the ministry was also shutdown to all staff and also warned IYC to stay aware from the ministry where their office is domiciled. I also warned them that I didnt want to see their shadow. The governor gave me the go ahead and IYC cooperated and kept their distance through out the duration.Then, the INC Central Zone election, though was within the ministry, but was under the umbrella body the Ijaw National Congress and the ministry only supervised it in collaboration with notable stakeholders. Again another professor from NDU, Prof Ambly Etekpe with his electoral officers also conducted another free and transparence election that produced leaders for the Central Zone and they have been inaugurated by the National president of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba.In all of these elections l gave God the glory .
What is the position of the Ijaws on torny issues such as PIA, Resources control and restructuring ?
The Ijaws are the fourth largest ethnic group in the country and being the oldest inhabitants in the Niger Delta will continue oppose any form deprivation, neglect, marginalization , oppression ,inequality and other obnoxious tendencies from the federal government and until the Ijaws are given their rightful attention and provision they will continue to agitate and fight for their rights. Hence, we have not shifted grounds on the PIA, Resources control and true federalism. Until the federal government agree to accept 70 percent and allow us to manage the 30 percent there will continue to be agitation and feeling of neglect and oppression will still resonate. Nobody can tell us the quantum of oil produced from the Niger Delta region , the Ijaw land as the Federal government continue to feign ignorance of 70 percent proceed tax. This is undisputable and cant be compromised. What is due us should be given to us. Their argument that if they give us 10perecent we shall fight ourselves is not tenable ,we assure them no life will be loss and we remain resolute and despite the insecurity across the nation, the Niger Delta remained peaceful to investors and residents. How long will NDDC forensic audit last and the appointment interim administrator is thwarting the aims and objectives of the interventionist agency. We want authentic board of NDDC to fast track the infrastructural deficit in the Niger Delta in spite of its contributions to the economy of the country. We applaud president Muhamadu Buhari for the reapontintment of Col Millad Dixon Dikio as Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Program ( PAP) Though from its inception till the tenure of Kingsley Kuku who initiated scholarships and human development programs that had impacted the lives of the ex agitators, for the period s of Col Boro and Prof Dokubo,they are left for history to judge. But Col Dikio has brought a lot of reformations that brought a paradigm shift, today he has brought the program nearer to the grass root where the ex agitators lived and with the introduction of the entrepreneurial scheme and cooperative the ex agitators will no longer rely on the #65,000 monthly stipends, but it will not only make them become self reliance,but employers of labour and with reappointment these noble programs will be achieved for the over all peace and stability in the Niger Delta region.
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Posted: at 5:30 pm
Till 1990, we lived mostly under military ruling, apart from a brief period of three and a half years at the beginning. So I will not consider that period of time for this discussion. From 1991 till date, there have been numerous attacks on the Hindu, Buddhist, Santal, Chakma and Marma communities on this land; many people from these communities have been killed or lost everything they had to vandalism and arson. How many of these incidents have been properly investigated, and how many perpetrators have been caught and prosecuted?
Democracy has not been fully established in our country, but we are not under military rule either. Political parties like the Awami League and the BNP have been ruling the country since 1991. For the last 13 years, Awami League has been at the helm of the government. The popular belief is that Awami League shows sensibility towards the minority communities. The very same Awami League is not only in power, but they are also holding on to unchallenged poweralmost every Awami League leader boasts that they have no competitors.
But how many times have the minority groups been attacked during the current ruling period of the Awami League? Who is to be blamed for the mayhem at Chattogram's Buddhist colony?
In recent years, attacks have been carried out against Hindus in Abhaynagar of Jashore, Santhia of Pabna, Nasirnagar of Brahmanbaria, and Shalla of Sunamganj. This time around, members of the community in question were attacked in Cumilla and several other parts of the country. After the Awami League was defeated in the 2001 polls by the BNP, the Hindu community was put under siege. Hindu communities in different areas of the country were attacked; some incidents of rape took place. At that time, the whole country was outraged; the citizens were protesting against the attacks. The then BNP government refused to shoulder the responsibility for the attacks, but the blame went to them in the end. The duty of preventing attacks on the citizens falls upon the party in power; BNP failed to perform that duty in 2001, and for that they have been criticised, and will continue to be criticised in future as well.
However, people who were vocal in 2001 seem to have chosen to stay mute in 2021. The concept of actively protesting injustice has taken a back seat. Now, people react to communal attacks by being ashamed on social media, and some seek forgiveness.
As for these attacks, the government sometimes accuses the BNP, and at other times some invisible forces. BNP, in the meantime, solely and directly points fingers at the government.
There are questions about the Cumilla incident that are yet to be answered. Why did the police not respond immediately after receiving information about it? Why was there no response even after a call to the 999 hotline? These are the complaints from the local residents which should get the highest level of priority during the investigation. Is the investigation being conducted accordingly? Did it gain the right momentum? A Hindu community leader pointed his finger towards a local MP of the ruling party; will this accusation be investigated? Considering the past, these accusations hold deep significance.
During the 2016 attack in Nasirnagar, the issue of rivalry between two ruling party lawmakers was reported by the media, but we never got to know whether any follow-up investigation was conducted regarding those incidents. Three of the accused and implicated individuals behind the attack were recently nominated by the Awami League for union parishad elections, but later on, nominations of two candidates were cancelled. The other accused retained his nomination.
Why should we forget these incidents, refrain from protesting, and feel ashamed or seek forgiveness instead? People who vandalised houses and temples, desecrated idols, and looted and plunderedthey are the actual criminals. They attacked people, and people lost lives, which makes the attackers killers too. We should be agitated by them and we should protest against them. We need to demand proper investigation and justice for the recent incidents. We also have to demand explanations for why the perpetrators of the past events did not get prosecuted. We have to hold the government responsible for not investigating the accusations raised, and we have to raise our collective voice in a manner similar to the reaction to the 2001 attacks, when a lot of questions were raised and a significant number of protests were carried out.
When Muslims go through oppression in Palestine or Myanmar, we feel pained and we get agitated. But we, the very same people, proceed to attack our own countrymen who are a minority. No matter who is ruling the nation, no one prosecutes these attackers. They only do politics. This is not something that should make you or me feel ashamed; it is something worth protesting.
"None of the attackers will be spared"what is the meaning or significance of this statement? Why are such statements made year after year, instead of delivering justice to the people who are victims?
In certain areas, the UNOs told journalists that they were helpless and could not control the attackers. In that case, why were enough police personnel or the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops not deployed in those areas? Any attempts to initiate a political procession or assembly by the opposition party gets thwarted with strictness and agility, but why was no such action seen in the case of communal vandalism? The attacks continued on because of the submissive attitude of the law enforcement members. Some may point out in this case that when the law enforcement forces take a strict stance, guns are fired and people lose their livesas was seen in Chandpur where four people were killed. This raises another question: Does the law enforcement agency's strictness directly translate to gunshots and killings? Do they not have any other way to deal with such incidents without violence? Strictness cannot be synonymous with opening fire at people in order to prevent them from ransacking temples. This kind of mindless shooting and killing will only worsen the situation.
The homes and houses of worship of the minority citizens are coming under siege. They are being exposed to heinous crimes like oppression and execution in broad daylight. Some insane individuals are conducting these despicable actions in the name of religion. Some politicians are sheltering, indulging, and controlling these lunatics. The people who are in power have been "hiding" them for the last 30 years. You and I may not have the capability to demolish the walls sheltering them, but we have the capacity to protest their actions and raise questions. If we feel ashamed or ask for forgiveness instead of protesting, then we will not be much different from the people who are providing shelter to the perpetrators of violence.
Golam Mortoza is a journalist at The Daily Star. The article has been translated from Bangla.
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Posted: at 5:30 pm
Black people and women who continue to be underrepresented in the South African media must be aggressive in tackling this injustice.
This is according to activist and author Dr Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, who delivered a keynote address during the 11th Annual Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture on Tuesday.
Mpofu-Walsh said the injustice against black people and women in the media landscape is aggressive in its oppression.
The lecture was hosted by the National Press Club in partnership with the University of South Africa and Qobozas family in order to commemorate the events of October 19 1977, the day known as Black Wednesday.
On that day, the apartheid government banned Black Consciousness organisations, publications and people critical of the state at the time, including Qoboza, who was the editor of The World and Weekend World newspapers.
The theme of the lecture on Tuesday was "the role of the media in the digital age. How far will it go in serving as the voice of the dispossessed and as a channel of change and real democracy?
Mpofu-Walsh urged leaders in the media to deliberately and urgently chart a programme to address the shortage of black people and women in the media space.
He noted "notable exceptions which rise to prominence in public debate and we think that things are changing and moving in the right direction".
"We have not been aggressive enough to attack injustice. We need to be aggressive against injustice because injustice is stubborn and aggressive in its oppression, he said.
Mpofu-Walsh recently published a book titled The New Apartheid: Apartheid did not die; it was privatised. According to Mpofu-Walsh, the book explores how there are still remnants of the apartheid state in SA post-1994 and how a mere removal of apartheid legislation has not uprooted the economic, social and political order of the racist system.
I believe firmly that apartheid did not die and that it was privatised. We need to turn our attention to the private realm, to those who wield private power, to understand how apartheid has taken a new life in the current moment," Mpofu-Walsh said.
He said apartheid, which is essentially an ideology of minority control, still prevailed in SA's media space.
"A situation where despite the demographic make-up of SA, and the predominance of black South Africans, in the spaces that matter where real decisions are made and real choices are taken, the demographic majority becomes a minority.
Mpofu-Walsh added the majority is still the minority in the media space "both in terms of race and extremely crucially in our time in terms gender".
"According to the latest published state of the newsroom report from the Wits School of Journalism, 49% of SA's newspapers editors are black African. This is no reason for celebration. In fact, it is a shocking indictment on how little has changed in the South African mediascape in three decades. While 28% are white.
How in our so-called miracle [at dawn of democracy] have we allowed a situation in which three decades later, we have a vast and disproportionate overrepresentation of white voices in our editorial spaces and a chronic underrepresentation of black voices. And I am afraid the situation gets deeper when we look at the question of gender. 67% of newspaper editors in SA are gendered as men and a meagre 33% as women.
He said statistics have shown that black representation "is at a staggering and shocking 39%... white representation is at 30%, still nearly rivalling black representation."
"In terms of gender we have 72% of men represented at the boardroom table and 28% of women. If we look at black women, we can half that figure."
He said when the country celebrated the victory over apartheid it did so while the patterns of apartheid still existed and were a reality three decades later into democracy.
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Posted: at 5:30 pm
Not being secular in this country is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot, Shah Rukh Khan had said in 2015.
A year after Narendra Modi-led NDA came to power in 2014, a group of Indian writers and thinkers started returning the Sahitya Akademi Award to protest the incidents of so-called communal violence in India. They cited the killing of rationalists MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, as well as the lynching of a man over suspicions he consumed beef, as examples of rising intolerance in India.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, in an interview to NDTV, spoke at length on this issue, which later earned him hostile reactions from the right wing.
In comments that could have not been perceived well by the ruling class, SRK said: there is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance there is, I think there is growing intolerance.
The actor also said that he respected people returning awards to protest against intolerance.
We have made a huge thing about our meat-eating habits. How can the food habits of people be an issue? he asked.
It is stupid It is stupid to be intolerant and this is our biggest issue, not just an issue Religious intolerance and not being secular in this country is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot.
Shah Rukhs statement caused chatter on social media. While many supported his argument, many blamed him for siding with anti-India forces to defame the country.
On the other hand, the bollywood actor has cautiously stayed away from being seen with those in power, at a time when celebrities flaunt their selfies with the prime minister. Except one event called for the governments campaign to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi, Shah Rukh Khan has not attended any meetings or interactions with Prime Minister Modi.
Moreover, he also chose not to speak in favour of the government after numerous celebrities, including his colleagues from the film fraternity, tweeted against pop-star Rihannas tweet in favour of protesting farmers.
Though the bollywood star has shied away from criticising the Modi government openly since the 2015 episode, he has also not praised or stood in support of the government, like many others.
Picked up from a cruise party by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in its drug bust, actor Shah Rukh Khans son Aryan Khan has now spent almost three weeks in jail, after sessions court refused to grant him bail in multiple hearings. Aryan Khans lawyer has now moved high court and his plea will be heard on October 26. The stars son is likely to remains in Arthur road jail in Mumbai till then.
It should be noted that on the very next day after the cruise arrests, the NCB had told the court that no drugs were found on Aryan Khan. The investigating officer (IO), while seeking Aryan Khans further custody, admitted that no illegal drugs were recovered from Aryan Khan.
Aryan has been charged for consumption, although niether was he in possesion of drugs and nor was he intoxicated at the time of the raid. The NCB said that he and his friend Arbaz had planned to consume drugs on the cruise ship. He is also accused of being in constant touch with someone who procured drugs, with the NCB attaching his chats that show his connection to an alleged to international drug syndicate.
After Aryans bail was rejected on Wednesday, Shah Rukh Khan reached Arthur road jail on Tuesday morning to meet his son. The visuals of his visit to the jail have been doing rounds on social media since morning.
#WATCH Shah Rukh Khan leaves from Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail after a brief meeting with son Aryan pic.twitter.com/A9y2exXtn4
ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2021
If thas was not enough TRP opportunity for the television Moguls, the NCB officers shortly reached Mannat, Shah Rukh Khans residence in Mumbai, for what was reported as a raid. Telivision channels broadcast the raid visuals live. However, it was clarified later that the NCB had gone to Shah Rukhs residence for some paperwork and it was not a raid.
Many users on social media, for a few days now, have been complaining that the actors son has been used to settle score with Shah Rukh Khan. The raid that wasnt on Tuesday has added more substance to the question of whether the NCB has targeting Shah Rukh Khan on the orders of those who shall not be named. Many also questioned if it was an honest investigation or media-hyped witch hunt by the NCB to garner limelight.
Wankhede raids Shahrukh Khans home after tipping off his pals in the media. Is this a professional investigation by the NCB or a media hyped witch-hunt?
Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 21, 2021
Some critics of the Modi regime believe that it is using the case to break the morale of ordinary Muslims. Journalist and author Aatish Taseer tweeted: Its so clear whats happening: the wish to break the morale of the Indian Muslim by showing him/her that even the most powerful among you, the most assimilated, is nothing. If Shah Rukh Khans son is rotting in jail, what are you?
Similar allegations were made by NCP leader Nawab Malik, who raised serious questions over the credibility of the raid conducted by the NCB. Nawab Malik said Shah Rukh Khan was being targeted for not toeing the government line.
Is our system conspiring against the star to make the process his punishment? The bollywood actor has been incessantly targeted after his sons arrest, with one educational app pulling down his advertisements, while others demanding a boycott of the products he endorses.
He and his family have been made fun of and humiliated by clickbait articles, TV debates, and non-stop trolling on social media sites.
Many anti-establishment activists often blame bollywood celebrities for not using their voice against government oppression or atrocities. The country, like the bollywood, has been increasingly polarised, and there is constant battle among conservatives and progressives to set up the narrative. The progressives think that their fellow countrymen like Shah Rukh Khan, who enjoy a mass following and can make an impact with thier opinions, should speak up more often against the Modi government.
Hey @iamsrk ,
Your silence is the reason for your kids harassment ..
SPEAK UP like u did 10 years ago..
| Arif Khan | (@ArifKIndian) October 20, 2021
Many think that it is because of the silence by the likes of Shah Rukh and others in bollywood that the central government is emboldened to armtwist them using agencies or media. Shah Rukh Khan is now being reminded by people on social media of First they came , the poetic form of a 1946 post-war confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemller. It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals and certain clergyincluding, by his own admission, Niemller himselffollowing the Nazis rise to power and subsequent incremental purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
Shah Rukh Khans supporters, along with progressives and Muslims, want him to stand up to what they believe is bullying and harassment of the actor. They want the actor to speak his mind freely like he did earlier during the intolerance row.
But the question remains- Will the real King Khan stand up and speak?
Princess Emma Sandile – an important book that illustrates the deep roots of oppression and exploitation – IOL
Posted: at 5:30 pm
By Lekgantshi Console Tleane
One of the major weaknesses of post-structuralism as a school of thought and methodical frame is its rejection of dialectical thinking. The latter focuses on contradictions and sometimes even the antagonisms between phenomena.
Dialectical thinking would therefore see phenomena for what it is, in its simplest representation. Post-structural scholars often endeavour to excavate more issues or use analytical approaches that may in effect obscure that which should be plain to see.
In Black Womanism in South Africa: Princess Emma Sandile, the eminent scholar Janet Hodgson unearths data about the princess that could only be accomplished through painstaking archival study that traversed different collections locally and some in Britain. It also involved an examination of the ways of life of the people of the Eastern Cape and oral history.
Born during the early 1840s, Princess Emma, whose African name is not known, was the daughter of Mgolombane Sandile, a Warrior King who led his people during the Frontier Wars against British occupation and aggression.
To understand the conditions under which Emma was raised, it must be remembered that the year 1820 saw the arrival of the British Settlers in the latter-day Eastern Cape. This was therefore a period of land annexation by the British, consolidating their early conquest in 1815; taking over from the Dutch who had in turn conquered the land in 1652.
Sandile would be arrested in 1841 after the wars of resistance against the British. Defeated, he agreed for his daughter to be taken to what would be known as Zonnebloem College in Cape Town, established for the education of the children of indigenous leaders (so-called Chiefs) under the British colonial system.
Inducting the children of the indigenous leaders into the Western education system formed part of the British colonial strategy which differed from that of the French and Portuguese on the African continent.
Whereas, the French sought to assimilate Africans and turn them into dark French men and women, and the Portuguese sought to destroy and adulterate and finally integrate so-called detribalised Africans into Portuguese society, the British opted for indirect rule by assimilating some of the indigenous leaders who would become their proxies in the economic exploitation of the land.
This would be achieved through inculcation of Western education on the children of these leaders, and at times the leaders themselves, while allowing them to still live their so-called traditional lifestyles.
Zonnebloem College was built by the British colonial government led by George Grey. It was however administered by the Church of England through the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands. Emma was baptised a year-and-a-half after arriving at the college.
What was ostensibly an offer to educate the children of leaders was in fact a broader strategy to assimilate them into the colonial ways of life; teaching them that their own cultures were inferior to that of the colonists.
It is here that the role of the church as a handmaiden of colonialism became clearly pronounced. Not only did the church collaborate with colonial powers by blessing conquest, it participated actively in colonising the minds of indigenous peoples throughout the world through missionary educational establishments.
There may be those who may want to argue that these establishments did produce the early African intellectuals such as Tiyo Soga and many others who went on to articulate early Africanist thought. That should not however take away sharp criticism against the churchs complicity in colonial conquest, whose ramifications we continue to live with, to this day.
Apart from Governor Grey, another central figure in the formative years of Emma within a colonial setting was the Anglican Bishop of Cape Town at the time, Robert Grey.
Wanting to return home in the Eastern Cape, Emma was prohibited by Governor Grey who feared that she would be married to a non-Christian King. Instead, and clearly in an attempt to appease her, Grey gave her a farm in the Eastern Cape, ostensibly to cover the costs for her schooling.
This has led to the view that Emma was the first black woman to own land. What escapes historians is that the very act of giving Emma a farm and celebrating her as the first black woman to own land is an insult to black people whose land was forcibly annexed over time through colonial land dispossession.
This is historical negationism at its most insulting. That which was annexed through force cannot and should never be celebrated as a generous gift and achievement when it is given back to one whose people were conquered.
Eventually returning to the Eastern Cape, Emmas fate turned into a struggle between his father, Sandile, and Bishop Grey. Sandile wanted his daughter to marry King Gecelo but Bishop Grey opposed that, and instead, wanted her to be married to Ngangelizwe, who was viewed by Grey to be open to Christian persuasion.
The marriage did not take place. From then on Emmas life became a story of twists and turns. She would stay with, as well as associate with different colonist families, being assimilated into a Christianised Western way of life while longing for her African roots.
The issue around the planned marriages that King Sandile wished for his daughter to enter into should not only be the correctness, or not, of a patriarchal society imposing certain decisions upon women. Black women and youth have proven over time to be capable of initiating and advancing organic resistance against archaic patriarchal practices of treating black women as inferior beings whose lives must be decided upon by men.
At issue, is the ubiquity of whiteness, then in the form of Bishop Grey, wanting to impose his will on who Emma could marry, and even now, when black people are not allowed the space to address certain aspects of their cultural practices, which may be outdated, without the self-arrogated tutelage and say so of whiteness.
Emma went on to become a teacher and eventually got married to another of the Abathembu Kings, Stokwe Ndlela, who was eventually killed by the British during the revolt of 1881. She inherited Stokwes farm, which would later become the subject of legal contests right into the1980s. Although her exact date of death and place of burial are not known, it is estimated that she died circa 1893, and was survived by four daughters and a son.
Although not focused sharply on colonial conquest, and rather, highlighting the quest of one woman to manage the contradictions between her African traditions and an imposed Christianised Western culture, Black Womanism in South Africa: Princess Emma Sandile, is an important book that illustrates the deep roots of oppression and exploitation.
Other historians whose focus is on conquest and those employing materialist conceptions may well expand on the timelines and themes that Hodgson has ably outlined.
Black Womanism in South Africa: Princess Emma Sandile is published by Best Red (imprint of HSRC Press) and is available from bookstores and online outlets. Prices range between R199 to R239.
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Gene Therapy Shows Early Promise as Angelman Syndrome Treatment | Newsroom – UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine
Posted: at 5:30 pm
Led by Ben Philpot, PhD, and Matt Judson, PhD, the new therapy was generally well-tolerated and prevented key signs of the condition in animal models.
CHAPEL HILL, NC Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine have reported in the journal JCI Insight encouraging early tests of a gene therapy strategy against Angelman syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that features poor muscle control and balance, hard-to-treat epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities.
Angelman syndrome affects roughly one in every 20,000 children, and in the US alone it is thought that there are more than 15,000 people with the condition. There is no specific treatment, but scientists led by Ben Philpot, PhD, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at UNC School of Medicine and Associate Director of the UNC Neuroscience Center, previously suggested that the best way to treat the disorder would be to restore function of the UBE3A gene in neurons, which has been lost in the brains of people with Angelman syndrome.
The genetics of Angelman syndrome are more complicated than classic single-gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia. Humans inherit one maternal and one paternal copy of most genes. Angelman syndrome arises in children whose maternal UBE3A copy has somehow been mutated or deleted. For reasons that arent fully clear, mature neurons normally express only the maternal copy of UBE3A; the paternal copy is effectively silenced. Thus, when the maternal copy is lost, the genes function is absent in neurons. Because UBE3A encodes a protein that helps regulate the levels of other important proteins, its absence severely disrupts brain development.
Compounding the complexity, neurons express two different variants or isoforms of UBE3A that vary slightly in length a short form and a long form in a ratio of about three short forms for every one long form.
Philpots team was able to craft a version of UBE3A that, when expressed by neurons, yields short and long forms of the UBE3A protein at a near-normal ratio. The scientists inserted their therapeutic UBE3A gene into a virus-derived carrier, or vector, engineered for reliable delivery to neurons. They injected a solution of this vector into hollow spaces, called ventricles, in the brains of newborn Angelman syndrome model mice, which lack the maternal copy of the mouse Ube3a gene. Like humans with Angelman syndrome, these mice fail to express UBE3A protein in their neurons and develop motor deficits, seizures, and other neurological symptoms in the first months of life.
Philpot and colleagues verified that vector-borne UBE3A became active in neurons throughout the Angelman model mouse brain just days after injection, at a level similar to that of the normal gene. This treatment restored motor skill-learning and the essential mouse behaviors of digging, burrowing, and nest-building. Untreated mice developed the usual Angelman-like impairments. The treated mice also did not become as susceptible as their untreated counterparts to experimentally induced epileptic seizures, and importantly, did not suffer any obvious negative side effects.
This was a proof-of-concept study, but if these early results were translated to the clinic, they would represent big improvements in the quality of life for individuals with Angelman syndrome, said study lead author Matt Judson, PhD, a research associate in the Philpot Lab, who performed most of the experiments.
The researchers plan to further develop their strategy, first with more tests in mice and monkeys to optimize dose and delivery methods, and ultimately, pending promising safety results, human clinical trials. If such a therapy were available, the researchers expect it might be able to deliver benefits to individuals of any age, but perhaps with varying benefits.
The range from birth to four years is probably ideal, but we think that whenever we can reinstate this genes function in the brain, were likely to see some improvements, Philpot said.
Along with Judson and Philpot, who was recently ranked as the worlds leading Angelman syndrome researcher, the JCI Insight paper was co-authored by Charles Shyng, Jeremy Simon, Courtney Davis, Mattijs Punt, Mirabel Salmon, Noah Miller, Kimberly Ritola, Ype Elgersma, David Amaral, and Steven Gray.
The research was supported by the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health (R01HD093771, R01MH120229, R01NS114086).