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Iraq’s Night is Long

Source: Counterpunch

Iraq’s night is long

Dawn breaks only to the murdered,

Praying half a prayer and never finishing a greeting to anyone.”

Mahmoud Darwish, Athar al-Farasha (tr. Sinan Antoon).

Beirut.

Northern Iraq, between the Kurdish zone and Baghdad, convulsed before the blitzkrieg of three formations — the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Iraqi Islamic Army (manned by former Ba’athists) and elements of the former Mujahedin Shura Council. Like the Mongols, ISIS – the main force – runs across the landscape unchecked. It did not take long for Iraqi army soldiers to throw off their uniforms and join the caravans of Iraqis fleeing north and south from along the Tigris River cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as from the western city of Tal Afar – along the road that links Iraq to Syria. Those Iraqi soldiers captured by the ISIS and their confederates had a perilous time. ISIS soldiers divided them up by their sectarian denominations. Before their own video cameras, ISIS troops slaughtered the Shia soldiers – 1700 by their own admission – and then posted the video on-line. Sunni soldiers were forced, on pain of death, to recite their fealty to the eternal Islamic State. The UN Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, has already said that these killings constitute a war crime. read more

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Mandela, the Unapologetic Radical

Source: Color Lines

The warders called us by either our surnames or our Christian names. Each, I felt, was degrading, and I thought we should insist on the honorific ‘Mister.’ I pressed for this for many years, without success. Later, it even became a source of humour as my colleagues would occasionally call me ‘Mr.’ Mandela.
—Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk to Freedom”

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, 18 of them at Robben Island – the notorious island jail that held the principle leadership of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. It was at that jail, with the help of his comrades, that Mandela wrote his story, “Long Walk to Freedom” (published in 1994). In this book, one gets a sense of Mandela as the deeply political figure that he was: a lawyer who fought against apartheid — a lawyer who discovered that the law was the barrier to change and so moved to politics, including terrorist operations against the intransigent apartheid state. read more

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Indian Fascism’s Putrefication: The Art of Political Murder

Source: Counterpunch

The iron has gone deep into the soul of West Bengal’s ruling party, the Trinamul Congress. On the morning of June 9, 2013, as he left his home for his morning walk, the Communist leader Dilip Sarkar, age 65, was shot by four “unidentified miscreants,” as the national news agency (UNI) put it. There is little doubt that the hand of guilt will slowly move toward the ruling party, the Trinamul Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee. The murder took place in Burnpur, an industrial city in Asansol district, which is the home of the IISCO steel plant. Sarkar’s political career began there as he rose amongst the ranks in the trade union to become the head of the Steel Workers’ Union. A member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI-M, Sarkar would represent the interest of workers in West Bengal’s legislature, where he represented the steel workers’ district. His death is a blow to the Left’s resurgence in the area. But it is important to underline that his is the third political murder in the district, after the murder of CPI-M activist and employee at the Lisco steel plant Nirgun Dubey, age 50, in July 2011 in Burnpur, and the murder of CPI-M activist Arpan Mukherjee, age 54, in Burnpur again in May 2012. There is a concerted effort in this belt to wipe out people who have been part of the resurgence of the Left in this area since 2009. read more

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Made in Bangladesh: The Terror of Capitalism

Source: Counterpunch

Delhi.

On Wednesday, April 24, a day after Bangladeshi authorities asked the owners to evacuate their garment factory that employed almost three thousand workers, the building collapsed. The building, Rana Plaza, located in the Dhaka suburb of Savar, produced garments for the commodity chain that stretches from the cotton fields of South Asia through Bangladesh’s machines and workers to the retail houses in the Atlantic world. Famous name brands were stitched here, as are clothes that hang on the satanic shelves of Wal-Mart. Rescue workers were able to save two thousand people as of this writing, with confirmation that over three hundred are dead. The numbers for the latter are fated to rise. It is well worth mentioning that the death toll in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City of 1911 was one hundred and forty six. The death toll here is already twice that. This “accident” comes five months (November 24, 2012) after the Tazreen garment factory fire that killed at least one hundred and twelve workers. read more

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Shooting at the Gurdwara: The Sense of White Supremacy

Source: Counterpunch

Yesterday morning the orgies of the lone gunman took hold in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a town in the dragnet of Milwaukee. He targeted a Gurdwara, the religious home of the local Sikh community. The gunman entered the Gurdwara, and as if in mimicry of the school shootings, stalked the worshippers in the halls of the 17,000 square foot “Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.” Police engaged the gunman, who wounded at least one officer. The gunman killed at least seven Sikhs, wounding many more. He was then killed. A few hours after the shooting Ven Boba Ri, a committee member of the Gurdwara told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “It’s pretty much a hate crime. It’s not an insider.” read more

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The Philosophy Behind “Occupy Wall Street”

Source: Counterpunch

“Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a byproduct of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

–  John Maynard Keynes, 1936.

The International Monetary Fund’s Global Financial Stability Report is typically very sober in its assessment of the world. The current report, released on September 21, warns that the world economy is entering a “danger zone.” The IMF downgrades its estimate for global growth from an already low 4.3 per cent  to 4 per cent , with U. S. growth cut from 2.7 per cent  to 1.8 per cent . “For the first time since the October 2008 Global Financial Stability Report, risks to global financial stability have increased, signaling a partial reversal in progress made over the past three years.” In other words, all the measures taken to stem the hemorrhage caused by the global credit crisis of 2008 onward have run their course, and we are back to the day when Lehman’s shutters came down. read more