Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gaza’s “fight to live” is its Hope

“Normalization” nonsense—Palestinians 
Nour Joudah, 
Nisreen Zaqout
Excerpt, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

As it is with most pathetic, easy-way-out shortcuts, transparent, often desperate and patently ineffective doing-anything-to-get-grant-money gestures – it seems so with something called a “Normalization” program for Palestinians and Israelis. Sounds to me like programming, a mind-manipulating measure cloaked in do-good-ism.

E
   xiled Palestinians Nour Joudah and Nisreen Zaqout
 
U.S. “‘Normalization’ programs attempt to build ‘harmony’ between Palestinians and Israeli Jews … without addressing underlying inequalities,” Nour Joudah writes.

This is a congenital malady in the USA, an epidemic condition among the “exceptional.” 

Americans wheedle themselves into key positions in which they pretend to be doing something constructive (“humanitarianism”) all the while deliberately or inadvertently making matters worse.

Nour Joudah quotes Gazan Nisreen Zaqout who was speaking to an audience in Washington, D.C., at the closing session of the 2014 “New Story Leadership” Normalization Program. Joudah writes --

Unlike the Israeli participants, Nisreen Zaqout’s ‘firsts’ were not meeting someone new or going sailing for the first time.

Nisreen Zaqout’s ‘firsts’ were: hearing ‘fear in her mother’s voice’; [hearing] ‘her brother cry over the death of a young friend’; [hearing] her grandfather say ‘no’ to evacuation --   ‘not again’ . 

The ethnic cleansing and dispossession Palestinians experienced in 1948 — the year of Israel’s establishment — was enough.
 
Turning “ ‘Normalization’s’ beloved rhetoric of hope” on its head,  Nour Joudah comments, Zaqout declares that “there is no hope to tout when we start talking about human lives in numbers and when we are so willing to focus only on the hundreds of women and children — as if every Palestinian man in Gaza were a legitimate target.”

wo insightful young women speak boldly the truth of Palestine

Joudah interprets Zaqout, “Hope comes when the will of Palestinians is respected and when their rights are affirmed and granted.” Hope derives from “Gaza’s fight to live.”

Sources and notes

“Palestinian student ‘wanted to quit’ normalization group over Gaza ‘torture’,” submitted by Nour Joudah, August 20, 2014, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nour-joudah/palestinian-student-wanted-quit-normalization-group-over-gaza-torture

Nisreen Zaqout, who participated in 2014’s New Story Leadership program giving voice to her home and family, is a 21-year-old Palestinian woman from Gaza who is studying at Illinois College in mid-state Jacksonville, Illinois (Pop. around 19,000).

A Master’s graduate in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Nour Joudah had returned to Palestine and was teaching high school and living in Ramallah before she was denied reentry and banned from traveling to Palestine. She has since been re-exiled and is living and working in Washington, D.C.  Joudah has worked as the Assistant Editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies, is currently a researcher for the Arab Studies Institute and the Institute for Palestine studies; and blogs at isdoud.wordpress.com. Nour Joudah’s blog
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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

“Racist”, “Racism” epithet silly, counterproductive

Clarity looking back
By Carolyn Bennett

Yelling “racist,” “racism” is just too easy. Clearly, we have problems, serious problems. We as a nation of people, a race of people, as human beings we have problems; but we do not conceive them accurately or handle them appropriately by using disparaging characterizations such as “racist” and “racism.” How would you feel if someone belittled you or called you names?

Looking at name calling another way, only the defensive, the ignorant, the lazy resort to smoke screens and name-calling, tactics to avoid looking at themselves (ourselves) and or to divert attention from themselves (ourselves). To avoid ignorance, one needs to take an unblinking look at history and study the varieties of interpretations of history. 

For those preferring the easy charge of “racist”/“racism,” what do you call it when your tribe commits unspeakable cruelties against members of your tribe?  What happened to Fannie Lou Hamer in 1963 and the MOVE Organization in 1984 was unspeakably cruel.

I
   n the summer of 1963 (June 9), the Ruleville, Mississippi, native and American voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer was traveling with other activists from a literacy workshop in Charleston, South Carolina. They stopped in Winona, Mississippi, and were arrested on a trumped-up charge and thrown into jail. While in the Winona jail, “Hamer and her colleagues were beaten savagely by the police, almost to the point of death.” History texts and various biographies have reported the horrors of what happened to Hamer:

She was taken out of one jail cell and transported to a separate cell.

Under orders of a State Highway Patrol officer, two Negro (black male) prisoners bludgeoned Hamer with a police blackjack.

The first prisoner beat her until he was exhausted.

The law enforcement officer then ordered the second prisoner to beat her.

Only after three days were members of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) allowed to take Hamer to a hospital.

These black men had a choice and they made the personal decision to follow orders and brutalize this black woman, one of their own tribe. Hamer later reported that in physiological terms the beating caused her “permanent kidney damage, a blood clot in the artery of her left eye, and a limp.”

In 1964 before the Credentials Committee at the Democratic Party National Convention convening in New Jersey, Fannie Lou Hamer, then founding member (along with Ella Baker and Robert Parris Moses) of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), spoke about the struggle to register and vote and about that June 1963 Winona jailhouse beating.

‘All of this is on account [of our wanting] to register, to become first-class citizens. If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated [credentialed] now, I question America.

‘Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave -- where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives [are] threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings…?’

This occurred 50 years ago and, in the light of Ferguson, Missouri, I have to wonder what Americans of Missouri or Mississippi, Massachusetts, Maine or California have been doing together all these years for securing and cementing rights and justice for all of America’s inhabitants, citizens and noncitizens? Apparently not much: In 1984, twenty years after that New Jersey Democratic National convention, another black male committed and received accolades for committing a barbaric act against black people. This horrendous event happened in one of America’s 13 original colonies, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Racist”/ “racism” yellers take note.


P
  hiladelphia elected its “first black mayor,” Willie Wilson Goode, in 1984; and in 1985, Goode’s government presided over the bombing of a house and neighborhood inhabited by the MOVE Organization. MOVE is a Philadelphia-based group founded in 1972 of mostly black people who “lived communally and frequently engaged in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important.” After this egregious act of violence (bringing to mind today’s U.S. federal officials’ bombings of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and others)  the citizens of this ‘city of brotherly love” granted Wilson Goode a second term in office. 

MOVE still exists and Fannie Lou Hamer (b. October 6, 1917-March 14, 1977) devoted a lifetime to securing constitutional rights, human rights, first-class citizenship. The United States of America, however, has failed to continuously progress and is today in a state of regress on human rights and constitutional rights – and a black male is into a second term as head of state. 

I
    often ask myself what I have done with my life. If all I can answer is that I have bought this or that – then the answer is I have done nothing with my life. If can measure my life only in terms of possessions, then I have nothing to show for my life. If I measure my life in comparison to others’ acquisitions, then I have wasted my life.

Yelling “racist” and “racism” shuts off conversation, denies relationship. Nothing moral, human, important or of lasting value is achieved through violence or inflammatory language. I know of no instance in which Fannie Lou Hamer -- whose life was a heck of a lot harder than my life -- yelled “racists.”  

Fannie Lou Hamer did not have much formal schooling – not of the Howard and Harvard varieties (quality education was denied in her era), certainly, no access to an Internet as there was none, or any similarly easily accessible information database – but she was never stupid, ignorant or inflammatory. She was never asking even for a single-party-line phone let alone “iphones” and “Blackberries”, even Fords and Chevrolets, or the “right” to buy these things. Her quest was fundamental, essential, never trivial. 

Fannie Lou Hamer (her last name pronounced as in “name r”) neither trivialized substantive issues nor disparaged other individuals. She set about working on the problems and documenting the struggle. She was a wise, civil, moral and nonviolent leader; she was a citizen who sought a place at the table for those denied to serve as an equal among a citizenry of equals.


Sources and notes

Fannie Lou Hamer

In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer ran for Congress in the Mississippi state Democratic primary.  She participated in rallies and spoke to college and university students across the United States. In 1965, she led the cotton picker’s resistance movement and helped bring a Head Start program to Ruleville, Mississippi, her hometown, and was involved in other programs throughout Mississippi. From 1968-1971, she was a Democratic Party National Committee Representative.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Lou_Hamer
http://www.projectblackman.com/GreatBlackWomenInHistory.aspx?notablePersonId=382

SNCC, COFO, MFDP

Participation in the state Democratic Party was “whites only” and generations of African-American (Negro, black American, colored) Mississippians had been denied voting rights. In 1961, SNCC and COFO began campaigns against what was often “violent opposition to register black voters.”

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was a coalition of the major Civil Rights Movement organizations operating in Mississippi.

Formed in 1962, COFO’s mission was to coordinate and unite voter registration and other civil rights activities in the state and oversee the distribution of funds from the Voter Education Project.

It was instrumental in forming the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. COFO member organizations included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC; often pronounced "snick": /ˈsnɪk/) was one of the most important organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged from a student meeting organized by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in April 1960. SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support SNCC's work in the South, allowing full-time SNCC workers to have a $10 per week salary. Many unpaid volunteers also worked with SNCC on projects in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Maryland.

SNCC played a major role in 
 sit-ins and freedom rides, a leading role in the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Smmer, and
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party 
Its major contributions: fieldwork organizing voter registration drives all over the South, especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. 

The U.S. state of Mississippi law in 1963 denied black (Negro, colored) Americans the vote so before the November general election, black Americans “organized an alternative ‘Freedom Ballot’ to take place at the same time as the November voting.” Approximately, “80,000 people cast freedom ballots for an integrated slate of candidates.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_Freedom_Democratic_Party
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COFO
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_Nonviolent_Coordinating_Committee

Wilson Goode
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Goode

MOVE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE


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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shill lies under Sheep’s Clothing

Bruce Dixon calls out privatizer dressed up as public education champion
Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

Another fraud

Sounds like a shill in Sheep’s Clothing. “…Why does Donna Brazile’s ‘Democrats for Public Education’ (DFPE) exist?” Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon asks, and answers, “Apart from possible interference in next year’s Chicago mayoral contest, [DFPE’s] only conceivable purpose is an utterly cynical one.”  It “will house surrogates for Hillary Clinton’s … campaign who will give the gullible an excuse to believe that [the stepping-stone senator-become-foreign-affairs disaster] -- unlike [candidate and president Obama] -- is not on the side of the privatizers and charter school sugar daddies, the same way that [candidate] Obama had unofficial spokespeople everywhere assuring those who wanted to believe that he was for net neutrality, against the USA Patriot Act and the Iraq war and torture; and wanted to renegotiate NAFTA and whatever else some people wanted to hear.”

Alas, “Democrats for Public Education” is no more than “the cynical sound bite that some self-deceiving Democrats need to hear.”

The shill’s president gave away – correction, sold – to the highest private bidder an American cultural tradition intended to ensure every child a fair chance and a hope of contributing to American society: public education.

B
   ruce Dixon calls out Brazile and he calls out Brazile's president and his co-conspirators in disestablishing nonsectarian U.S. education. The president’s education secretary and member of the president’s cabinet was former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan who “ravaged, savaged and privatized” that city’s schools. Duncan “fired thousands of mostly-black teachers with little or no due process, and handed big chunks of public resources over to the operators of private charter schools.” As FOP (friend of the president), Duncan was handed a seat at the president’s table as head of the U.S. Department of Education. And in six years in the position, Dixon recounts, the president, his education secretary, and the department set out on a mission of destruction.

[They] have let representatives of private charter schools, testing companies and consultants from the Walton Family, Eli Broad, Bill & Melinda Gates and other foundations ideologically committed to running schools like businesses and education like a market write the federal guidelines school districts must follow to receive federal funds – something they call ‘Race To The Top’.

The same consultants have been allowed to embed themselves deeply into the supposedly impartial private institutions officially recognized by the Department of Education that evaluate schools, school districts [sounds like weighting the market, ensuring profits for themselves; foxing the hen house].

Keeping up the bait-and-switch--what prompts Dixon’s commentary –is Democrats-toward-the-White House-shill Donna Brazile announcing the founding of something called  “Democrats for Public Education” when the destroyer in chief she serves is in reality, Dixon says, “the chief pusher of school privatization.” The breakdown of U.S. education. 

It is interesting how this regime's domestic ethos parallels its foreign relations ethos in the singular characteristic of destructiveness. 

T
he lie is in a shill (of course shill is itself the personification of liar) claiming advocacy for a cause that directly opposes her cronies who are footing the bill of her ascendancy. They own her. And as they own her, she knows full well that she will not oppose them. No matter what they do, she is theirs, their shill. 

Entrenching ascendancy

Louisiana-born American political insider, pundit, and television personality Donna Brazile is vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and has worked in several Democratic Party presidential and other campaigns and offices. 

These include contenders Jimmy Carter–Walter Mondale (1976, 1980), Jesse Jackson (1984), Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro (1984), Richard Gephardt (1988 primary). She was deputy field director of the Michael Dukakis general election campaign (1988) and in the 1990s, Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to District of Columbia Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, advisor for the Bill Clinton initial and reelection presidential campaigns (1992, 1996). In 2000, she was campaign manager for the Al Gore presidential campaign.


Sources and notes

“Is ‘Democrats For Public Education’ Just a Toothless, Cynical Sound [Bite]?”
Bruce A. Dixon, August 13, 2014, http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/democrats-public-education-just-toothless-cynical-sound-byte

Donna Brazile bio note, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Brazile
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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Rise of violent “extremists” – “Cry for Help”: Tommy Robinson

Afghan Refugees
A call to talk
Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

With completely polarized communities and complete non integration and complete segregation, “it is terrifying to think of what’s next, what the next twenty to thirty years may hold for the next generation of youth in our country.… I want to work out a way that we can solve this” [founder and former leader of the English Defense League (EDL) Tommy Robinson]

USA/UK
 He’s addressing Britain but I hear America.

E
   xtremist to me is one who cannot see or sense the sense or a grain of truth in another’s argument, opinion or ideas on a question. 

Such a rabid position is by nature seriously flawed because extreme right or left or any other steel mindedness always leaves out something that is vital, important, essential to the issue and to understanding and the journey of making change to solve the problem for the public good.  
Refugees, Asylum SeekersFleeing war
Risking life
Crossing Mediterranean
  
There is also a view of the violent extremist, which Robinson points to. The interviewer asked about an Anders Breivik parallel with the EDL and Robinson’s thoughts were that “What bred Anders Breivik was a silence on [tackling] the issue” of immigration and societal conflict.

We “create monsters in this country as well as in Europe, monsters like Breivik," he said, "who, when they see no way out, see no one talking about these issues, no light at the end of the tunnel in solving these problems; and everyone [is] being criticized and called a racist and being beaten down with this big racist stick for even talking about them -- then that way of thinking is driven underground and it becomes more resentment, more anger, … a worrying trend that in the near future will become genuine threats from the far right.”

Syrian Refugees
Wikipedia note: Anders Behring Breivik was born in Oslo, Norway, February 13, 1979, the son of Wenche Behring, a nurse, and Jens David Breivik, a civil economist who worked as a diplomat for the Norwegian Embassy in London and later Paris. On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo that resulted in the deaths of eight people. Breivik then killed 69 more people, mostly teenagers, in a mass shooting at a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) camp on the island of Utøya. On the day of the attacks, Breivik electronically distributed a compendium of texts entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence in which he describes his far-right militant ideology.” In August 2012 Breivik was convicted of “mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik]
Kenyan Refugees

There is something essential in the former EDL member’s discussion with SophieCo.

Government separate and apart

“The government is not living in towns and cities” of the working classes, Tommy Robinson said; “they are miles apart and out of touch with what it’s like.” Those in government do not have “their finger on the pulse of the amount of resentment and anger.” Though parents “should have a duty to hand down a safe and prosperous [country] to the next generation, we are failing miserably in that duty.” 

What is happening to our country “hurts” yet “people are too scared to even speak about these issues.”

Yemeni Refugees
Conflict resolution through Dialogue

The current path inevitably leads to conflict and “we don’t want conflict…; we want to avoid that but to avoid it we need to really get to the deep root cause of the problems and at least be able to discuss them and work out solutions to them and not just bury them under the carpet and hope they will go away, as they won’t.…

“We are hoping create a platform to give an opportunity for people from working-class communities to bring these problems to the forefront with the government, from members of all different parties, and have dialogue with all of them.”

Cry for help

Syrian Refugees
Their activism on the streets over the past four years, Robinson said, was indicative of “a cry for help” trying to capture people’s attention to the way they are living. 

“We believe democracy can solve the problem,” he said, “and we … welcome people from Africa and different continents … to open up a healthy platform.”

L
istening to Robinson’s interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze (SophieCo), we can agree or disagree, to any degree; but a core element in my opinion is indisputable. There are critical underlying issues tearing (domestic and global) society apart – he doesn’t even mention the underlying colossal cause rising from U.S./UK/Western wars in Asia and Africa, their outpouring of refugees -- which are being ignored by governments, by leaders and people in power, and by the populace. 

Libyan refugees
His argument, observations and solutions for resolving conflict have definite merit. We exist in a society in crisis – deliberately so. Governments are divisive, corrupt and inattentive. Mass media divide and deepen conflict as for entertainment. And people are deliberately oblivious, playing with their iPhones and Tweeting nonsense. Such a state of affairs is unsustainable and indeed troubling for countries, societies, and future generations.

We need neither extremism nor violence but we definitely need a wake-up call and cross-differences conversation.


Sources and notes

“EDL dissident voice from right a grain of sense Tommy Robinson” Guest Tommy Robinson, founder and former leader of the English Defense League (EDL) “notoriously known for its anti-Islam stance,” RT’s SophieCo program, August 9, 2014, http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/134711-immigrationissue-eu-fascism/

Sophie Shevardnadze’s lead in:

Arab spring refugee tide has made the immigration issue yet more stretching for the European governments. In some towns the indigenous population is already in the minority.

Can migrants overflow breed new fascism?

Will Islam win politically?

What has to happen to ensure peacefulness of the seemingly inevitable Europe ethnic makeover?

Interview program SophieCo host Sophie Shevardnadze, Monday and Friday on RT

Anders Behring Breivik bio brief, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik




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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trust, Law, Compromise toward Better World: fmr’ Aussie PM Malcolm Fraser

Member States 193
Flags of United Nations
All are created equal and must be treated as Equal
Editing, brief commentary by 
Carolyn Bennett

We must “try and build a better world.” Support leaders inclined toward and capable of understanding how to achieve this, as only it can be achieved -- politically, nonviolently

Just after World War II, Malcolm Fraser said, “there were many people who realized that the world nearly destroyed itself” and leaders among the “victors and the vanquished determined to do better” in trying “to create a safer, more secure world.” But today great nations and leaders seem bent on destroying considered, substantive ideas of that earlier period. Moral, nonviolent, law-abiding, progressive leadership is today sorely lacking. Fraser says,

Nuremberg Trials
1945-1946
It is a sobering thought that in recent times, freedoms hard won through centuries of struggle, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, have been whittled away. …

In many cases the onus of proof has been reversed and the justice that once prevailed has been gravely diminished.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Malcolm Fraser in late 2012 criticized the current state of human rights in his country and in the Western World. Also in 2012, he opposed basing U.S. military forces in Australia. In 2011 he opposed the Australian government’s decision to permit the export of uranium to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. When holding office in the 1970s, the Fraser government expanded immigration from Asian countries and allowed more refugees to enter Australia; supported multiculturalism and established a government-funded multilingual radio and television network. Fraser also opposed white minority rule in Rhodesia (South Africa).

Last week Malcolm Fraser discussed East-West affairs with Oksana Boyko on RT’s “Worlds Apart” program. These are some of his observations and recommendations.


Compromise and Trust are imperative

You've got to try and build a better world and building trust is essential, Fraser said.  The West and NATO in the post-Cold War period missed an opportunity for essential world collaboration, he said. And to end the deepening hostility between the Russian Federation -- and the consequential harm to many other nations of the world -- the West, NATO and Russia must reestablish trust. In order for there to be peace and not a return to a cold war, Russia and the West “need to try and make a new start,” he said.
UN General Assembly hall

You don't build trust “by behaving as though a Cold War is still in place.” Putting ABM (anti-ballistic missile) sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia -- shifting NATO east, even though former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev believed he had an agreement that it should not – “was behaving as though the Cold War was still alive and well.”  The act “was a provocation” -- a hostile move compounding NATO’s move to the boundaries of Russia – “and not conducive to establishing the kind of trust and cooperation which is so necessary if there is to be a real peace and real cooperation.”

To China, the United States speaks in contradictory rhetoric. “On the one hand, they say they want strategic cooperation, they want economic cooperation, social cooperation. On the other hand, they tighten, they strengthen their defenses -- from Japan south through Australia, around Singapore and now talks of making India a strategic partner.  Fraser says his Chinese friends ask which America are they to believe…

‘The one that talks cooperation or the one that’s seeking to strengthen it’s already very powerful military forces?'

Fraser reminds that China’s current “military expenditure is about eight percent of the world’s total” while the U.S. military expenditure “is about 42 percent of the world's total.” And after the USA’s Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, all evidenced failures, the United States still fails to grasp reality: “that a good political outcome is very difficult to obtain through military means.”

Obedience to International Law is imperative

International
Criminal Court
The United States of America “feels it can break international law.” The character of leadership takes the view “that what America does is right. Rules are made for other people -- for countries like Russia or Australia.” But “whatever America does is right because America does it.…The United States has regarded itself as an exceptional nation  -- as a nation that’s better than all others; that has only ever gone to war to fight for the freedom of other people.” But, as U.S. history bears out, this oft-repeated narrative is simply untrue.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq,  Fraser correctly notes “was [and is again] a total violation of international law.”

The great powers,  Fraser says, “tend to push the rules aside when it suits their national interests.” When U.S. officials say that what Russia has done in Ukraine “is in defiance of international law,” the statement lacks credibility because the change of power in Ukraine “was itself in defiance of democratic principles.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1948
Diplomat
Eleanor Roosevelt
 Fraser says the great powers “too often interpret international law as what is in their particular interest at the time.” However, if the United Nations comprised of 193 countries “is ever to work, the great powers and the lesser powers are all going to have to abide by the rules” of the United Nations.   

N
   o one and no nation should be above the law. No one should be allowed to get away with murder – even when they call it “humanitarian.” Killing, displacement, denial of life, livelihood and liberty are never humanitarian. Civilized peoples, by the nature of being “civilized,” use language (when necessary many languages aided translators as within the United Nations) to resolve disputes, to relate and negotiate, to engage in enterprise, whatever that enterprise might be.

All people are created equal and no nation should be allowed to deny others their rights as equal.  


Sources and notes

“Cold war & peace”


…  Kosovo’s secession demonstrated that international law is only as applicable as the force used to back it. But with Crimea now free on the wings of that precedent, the West cries foul.

Why does the Western world fail to recognize parallels between Kosovo and Crimea?

Is it a case of double standards or the result of decades of adversarial EU and NATO policies towards Russia?

Former Australian Prime Minister John Malcolm Fraser joined Oksana Boyko on these issues, August 7, 2014, http://rt.com/shows/worlds-apart-oksana-boyko/
http://www.youtube.com/user/WorldsApartRT/videos


Malcolm Fraser bio brief Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser

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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hyphenated-Americans as “White-only” signs

Brad Lee points to progressive vision in regress
Editing, brief commentary by Carolyn Bennett

Bradley (Brad) Lee describes himself as a “devout ‘Trekkie’” who grew up in Australia’s Outback. He is also a Canadian writer, journalist, educator, curator, television producer, and researcher. His insight on cultural hyphenating strikes a common chord.

Proud to be hyphenated?
Today it seems that the human race has gone in “the complete opposite direction” from “Star Trek’s” vision, he writes.

We are more immature … than ever before and a lot more stupid than what was once predicted in the visionary mind of [Star Trek’s creator] and others back in the day who fought to make the world a better place for ALL humankind.

Lee recalls that “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry had envisioned a planet on which there was “‘No crime, no poverty, no wars, no prejudice, no borders; just one big happy planet [of beings] who had lost their need for materialistic things and all were working together for the progress and evolution of humanity.’”

That future has not happened. The reverse has happened. Among the manifestations of human regression Lee observes is “Hyphenated Segregation,” notoriously practiced in the United States: not “Americans” but African-Americans and Jewish-Americans and Irish-Americans and, well, the separations and expedient usages are endless.

In Australia and in most of the world, Lee writes, “We don’t describe our indigenous population as ‘Aboriginal-Australians.’ We don’t describe our citizens originally from Africa as ‘African-Australians’ and we don’t term people who follow the religion of Judaism ‘Jewish-Australians.’” ALL are Australians. But in the U.S. cultural context, he observes, people are termed ‘African-Americans,’ ‘Jewish-Americans’ or some other “stereotypical or religious reference” when in fact they are not ‘African-Americans’ or ‘Jewish-Americans’; they are AMERICANS” just as others are and should be treated as others expect to be treated. 

Out of many ONE

This is absolutely true as is Lee’s statement of the regressive, devolutionary face of the practice of hyphenating. The hyphen -- for some reason still prevalent within an entire culture -- “is just another form of segregation that should have been discarded along with ‘white only policies’ of certain establishments back in the day.”

The choice is ours: to be or not to be separate and unequal, fragmented, fractured, broken. 

Sources and notes

“6 Examples of How Humanity Is Regressing Not Evolving (By Star Trek Standards),” 2013,
http://whatculture.com/offbeat/6-examples-of-how-humanity-is-regressing-not-evolving-by-star-trek-standards.php

http://www.asiancanadianwiki.org/w/Brad_Lee


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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Bennis, Avnery discuss historical context, credibility, talking with perceived enemies

United States, Western countries must cease decade’s old-style relations with Middle East
Editing, brief commentary by Carolyn Bennett

U.S. journalist, activist, and political commentator Phyllis Bennis is Director of New Internationalism at the Institute for Policy Studies.  The New Internationalism project “works to challenge U.S. domination of the UN and to help democratize and empower the global organization,” according to its website. It works primarily on Middle East and United Nations issues with key areas of interest including U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Instrumentally, the NI project focuses on “education and activism to change the failed and failing U.S. policies and retool those policies to meet the goals of peace with justice” [http://www.ips-dc.org/projects/new-internationalism/]

Today in light of the U.S. Executive Government’s resumption of overt violent aggression in Iraq and again cloaking unprovoked violence in “humanitarianism” and false mandate to protect, Phyllis Bennis talked with Democracy Now.

Phyllis Bennis
Killing them as they feed them

“The notion that there is going to be the need for airstrikes to protect the few dozen U.S. diplomats and a couple of hundred military people in Erbil,” Phyllis Bennis said, “is widely understood as a legal feint (a ruse, trick, maneuver, hoax, hoodwink)  away from the reality.”

In making such a statement, the U.S. Executive undertakes a military operation without the consent of the co-equal U.S. legislative branch of government. In this amped up aggression against a sovereign nation, the U.S. president ignores the expressed view of the American people at large and the constitutional responsibility of public officials who are supposed to represent the American people at large.

The U.S. president has also in this move to return to war against the people of Iraq bypassed the 192 nations comprising the United Nations. Before this latest move by the U.S. president, Bennis said, the United Nations “had offered the Iraqi government technical help to carry out real humanitarian airlifts to the people stuck on the Sinjar Mountain.”

Echoes of sinister priors

The U.S. act of pretending to help people, dropping food packages while killing them, has a sinister history, she said.  This last time this occurred was November 2001 in Afghanistan; Afghan refugees were fleeing the U.S. bombing of the cities. And U.S. operatives, military personnel simultaneously dropped food packs (Meals Ready to Eat or MREs) “wrapped in strong, bright yellow plastic” as they were also dropping “cluster bombs that also happened to be made with bright yellow plastic of exactly the same color.” Bennis said “no one knows how many children, in particular, were killed running to what they thought were food packages that turned out to be cluster bombs.”

Whose life Humanitarian hoax exposed

Afghanistan
Common denominator massacre: As the White House reenters violent aggression against the Iraqi people, the U.S. arms Israel in massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

The U.S. president’s language, “that there are innocent people facing violations on a massive scale,” Phyllis Bennis said, “describes the situation of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and yet, rather than providing humanitarian aid [to the people of Gaza] and demanding that Israel open the gates of Gaza, that it open the border crossings, the United States instead is sending more weapons and more money to buy more weapons and more ammunition for those Israeli attacks.”

Deliberate Compounding: crises created by war are worsened by more war. Crises created by U.S. violence are worsened by more U.S. violence. This is not only immoral and insensible, it is criminal, unconscionably so.   

Back in Iraq, the situation on the ground, the misery perpetrated endlessly against the people – the 2003 war never ended -- was created, manufactured, exacerbated by one after another U.S. official in high office and their partners in crime.

The Islamic State (IS) also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) the U.S. claims to be protecting whomever from, Bennis said, “is a small operation of somewhere around 10,000 fighters … well armed with U.S.-supplied equipment that they have picked up all over Iraq.” 


Part of the reason the group seems so strong, she said, “is that they are backed by military support from former generals, former strategists, former leaders of the Baathist army in Iraq who lost their jobs, lost their positions, in many cases lost their ability to protect their families at the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion; and have been sort of waiting for an opportunity to challenge the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad.” What now exists in Iraq, Bennis concludes, is “an ugly kind of sectarianism that was put in place by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003” -- all of which “can be traced back to that [invasion].”

Must Talk cannot be ignored


“I was a member of a terrorist organization when I was 15 years old,” Uri Avnery explained on Democracy Now today.  “I believe,” he said that “I understand the psychology of young people who join organizations which are called terrorists by their enemies, but which themselves think of themselves as freedom fighters.

“Hamas thinks it’s fighting for the freedom of Palestine. They are deeply convinced of this, and therefore they are fighting. And everybody must admit that they are fighting very well, because what you have here during the last month is a guerrilla organization of [roughly] … 10,000 fighters, fighting against one of four biggest and strongest armies in the world.

“It’s not an even fight yet they are standing there—they are still standing there after more than a month.…”

Palestine
Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement Uri Avnery was born in Beckum, Germany, as Helmut Ostermann of a German Jewish family that in 1933, after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, emigrated to “Mandatory Palestine”. Thirty-two years later, he created a political party called HaOlam HaZeh – Koah Hadash, and in the 1965 Israeli election won a seat in the Knesset. In late 1975, Avnery was among the founders of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. After the 1977 election, he served in the legislature as a member of the Left Camp of Israel. He was also involved with the Progressive List for Peace, “a left-wing political party in Israel formed from an alliance of both Arab and Jewish left-wing activists.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Avnery]

On Democracy Now today, Uri Avneri reflected that the situation today between Hamas and Israel is similar to the situation with Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization

Uri Avnery

Before his death on November 11, 2004, Yasser Arafat, who had spent his lifetime fighting for Palestinian self-determination, was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group, which he founded in 1959.  Background reports on the decade’s long crisis in Palestine show one of the most severe PLO cross-border raids extending to March 11, 1978, when a force of nearly a dozen Fatah fighters landed their boats near a major coastal road connecting the city of Haifa with Tel Aviv-Yafo. There they hijacked a bus and sprayed gunfire inside and at passing vehicles. Thirty-seven civilians died. Israeli Defense Forces then launched Operation Litani aimed at taking control of Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. On June 6, 1982, the Lebanon war began when Israel again invaded this country for the purpose of attacking the Palestine Liberation Organization. An estimated 1,000 to 8,000 civilians died and the Israeli army laid siege to Beirut. In 1985 Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat narrowly survived an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli Air Force F-15s participating in “Operation Wooden Leg” bombed his headquarters in Tunisia. Seventy-three people died. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli%E2%80%93Lebanese_conflict; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat]

“One of the basic problems at this moment,” Uri Avnery said, “is that Israelis and Hamas do not talk to each other.” Currently Egypt siding with Israel against Hamas is also “appearing as a negotiator, as a mediator, an honest broker," which is as "ridiculous [as] the American mediation was ridiculous. America is a very, very, very close ally of Israel,” Avnery noted. The U.S. president “repeats like a parrot the most basic Israeli propaganda, and so does [the U.S. Secretary of State]. So we don’t have somebody who can mediate and who’s being trusted by both sides.

Hamas went to the recent ceasefire negotiations in Cairo “full of apprehension, full of distrust towards Egypt.”

For eight years the people of Gaza have been suffering under a blockade, meaning that “all the borders are closed, including the sea border and you cannot get in anything except by the permission of Israel; and you cannot get anything out at all. There is no export from the Gaza area.… The Palestinians, Hamas cannot and will not agree to a real ceasefire, a long-lasting ceasefire, if there is a blockade on the Gaza Strip. This is a basic, local problem.”


Hamas cannot be ignored, Avnery said. People abroad and in Israel have completely distorted what Hamas is. But Hamas is neither “militia” nor “military organization.” It is “a Palestinian political party which, in the last Palestinian elections, supervised by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter,” won by a majority vote: “Majority of the Palestinian people, including the Gaza Strip, voted for Hamas.”

But “when a Palestinian government was set up by Hamas, it was destroyed by Israel and the United States and Europe. It was brought down. It was then that Hamas took over power in the Gaza Strip by force, but it took power after it won a big majority in free elections in the Gaza Strip. So it’s much more complicated than just a fight between Israel and a military or terrorist or whatever-you-want-to-call-it organization.”

The simple solution Avnery sees to ending the suffering and violence is conversation. He said, “When people are firing on each other and trying to kill each other—indeed, killing each other—the best solution is that they start to talk with each other.

If the Israelis and the Palestinians would sit together opposite each other at one table and thresh out their real problems, trying to understand, be able to understand each other, the whole thing would look very differently.

Indicating that he has spoken many times with many Hamas leaders and found them to be people with whom he does not necessarily agree but with whom he can talk, he says, 
You cannot wish Hamas away. You can do to Hamas whatever you want. You can kill all the 10,000 fighters of Hamas but Hamas will remain because Hamas is an ideology and Hamas is a political party accepted by the Palestinian people. In the end, he said, “after all the killing and after all this terrible destruction…, we will have to talk with Hamas.


Sources and notes

“As U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Begin, Will Military Intervention Escalate Growing Crisis? August 8, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/8/as_us_air_strikes_in_iraq

“Uri Avnery on Gaza Crisis, His Time in a Zionist "Terrorist" Group & Becoming a Peace Activist,” August 8, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/8/uri_avnery_on_gaza_crisis_his

Sinjar Mountain also Shengar/Shengal Mountains: a single ridge of mountains inhabited by Yazidis located in Nineveh Governorate in northwestern Iraq. It is situated near a city of the same name (Sinjar). Reportedly in August 2014, “an estimated 40,000 Yazidis fled to the mountains” after attacks on the city of Sinjar “by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinjar_Mountains]

Yazidi is a religious sect found primarily in the districts of Mosul, Iraq; Diyarbakır, Tur.; Aleppo, Syria; Armenia and the Caucasus region; and in parts of Iran; the religion is reportedly a fusion or combination “of Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian, and Islāmic elements.” [Britannica]

Also Wikipedia and Institute for Policy Studies   
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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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