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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

“Equality Movement” or “Black Lives” Pageantry and Pandering Politics

Significant struggle, Substantive movements must triumph over self
Editing, commentary by Carolyn Bennett

The thoughts of Patrick Martin and Lawrence Lessig interest me. Martin published an article this week at World Socialist Web Site. Lessig spoke in interview this week on Democracy Now but has also spoken and written in other sources including his website. These writers articulate essential truths that are intentionally or unintentionally omitted in varieties of mass media, independent and corporate.
I


dentity/ Race/Self-centered Politics and Politicians domain of the Deliberately Mentally Impaired
“Black Lives Matter”: “pseudo-radical phrase-mak[ers]”

A “Black Lifer” addresses one of the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential campaigners as someone

“I’ve looked up to … since I was like a baby.” [How do you spell “sycophant”, a base or servile attentive flatterer, self-seeker, slavishly currying favor with the [queen]—a flunky, gopher, lackey, slave, stooge, etc.? (Merriam Webster defines)]
The speaker further states, as if it were true but is patently untrue about the candidate and doubtful about the speaker, “I’m an ardent feminist”.

Looking through a clearer set of lens Patrick Martin describes this Democratic Party candidate more honestly as

A ‘leading representative of the American imperialist bourgeoisie…, a highly experienced political operative of the most ruthless ruling class on the planet, the American financial aristocracy …; an experienced ruling class politician [who is] able to easily twist Black Lives Matter activists around her finger [as] the political outlook … lends itself quite readily to this exercise in twisting.’

The pageantry in duplicity, the deliberate exercise in stupidity is not about “equality” or “inequality”—is surely not a struggle for the former or against the latter. It is about “me” politics.  
D


angerously Narrow Identity Politics


Patrick Martin writes that activists in the recent encounter with Hillary Rodham Clinton presented issues “entirely within the framework of race and identity politics, which has been the semi-official program of the Democratic Party since the mid-1970s” [Of course the “Democratic” Dixiecrats of the 1940s were out and proud, far less the dissemblers in their rabidly regressive politics].

Martin observed that nothing in the comments of the activists “suggested the slightest opposition to the capitalist system or the class exploitation of working people” of any kind or kin—“black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or immigrant.”


This callous collusion of Clinton and “Black Lifers” manages to reduce, pervert, debase the social structure of the United States [into] entirely black-white terms, painting white workers as inherently racist”—and embodies or effects another arm of the oppressive, oligarchic cabal. The characters, activists and Clinton, feed on each other in a ridiculous and selfish play for their own aims—not the needs of society as a whole. When was it said that “We hold these truths to be self evident” that all are created equal?

“Black Lifers,” Martin writes, “represent a section of the privileged middle class, seeking greater access to positions of influence and a share in the spoils of American capitalism” and they are “happy to play the role set out for them by Clinton.”

But the justifiable anger and grievances in the United States and elsewhere “over ever-rising economic inequality, unemployment and poverty as well as racism by police directed at African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities” is not part of their agenda. Their goal is self. They speak, Martin correctly asserts,

‘on behalf of a section of the middle class, wedded to race politics, that is looking for more perks and positions, particularly within or through the intercession of the Democratic Party.’
Raise the Level of Debate to Equality of the Citizen 


A real concern for equality and its importance in the larger society goes beyond itself, beyond self, beyond politicians and political parties and definitely beyond identity politics and race preachers and professionals.

Lawrence Lessig speaks to a more fundamental and imperative movement, a way of thinking that is decisively different from the pageantry makers and panderers.


“This is about achieving the fundamental equality of our democracy,” he says. “If we raise the level of the debate” to “talking about the commitment of a representative democracy—as Madison said: … ‘…where the rich would have no more power than the poor in this democracy’—we could build the political movement we have to build to win.”

This is the fight to be waged, he says, “and it has to be a fight “in the court of public opinion where, if the public is reminded of this COMMITMENT OF EQUALITY in our democracy, they could see how we could get a democracy that could work again; and if we did, these problems” such as “climate change or the debt or student debt or Wall Street or gun control—all of these problems would be problems we could actually solve.”
 
We need an actual “responsive democracy, he says, in which “inequality, corrupted inequality, has been removed.” Moreover, we would have a world in which no one has “to stand and say ‘Black Lives matter’ because we would have equality in the system” such that “that statement would be crazy even to imagine the necessity of uttering.…” He concludes,

We’ve got to stop with the fantasy politics and address the reality that we [must] fix our democracy if we’re going to have a democracy that works.


T
he problem with selfishness—whether among politicians or activists, industrialists, sycophants or propagandists—is that it burns the forest. It leaves so much out that is essential for human development, society’s progress. To maintain the status quo in its favor, selfishness does what is unthinkable to a sane person; and in so doing, it fuels regress; never progress. Sustained long enough in the character, human beings become desensitized to all other in creation except self. Like an addict of one kind or another, they reduce the larger context to worthlessness; they annihilate all around them, including themselves, in order to achieve and maintain a zombie-like, anesthetized oblivion.

A conscious nation remembers and reaffirms:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all … are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted …, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to [achieve] their Safety and Happiness.

“Prudence … dictate(s) that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes …. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” [In Congress, July 4, 1776, the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America]


Sources and notes

“Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter: A revealing confrontation”  by Patrick Martin , August 22, 2015, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/08/22/clin-a22.html

“We Need to Fix Our Democracy: Lawrence Lessig Weighs Presidential Run to Rid Money from Politics,” August 24, 2015 Democracy Now Lawrence Lessig interview, http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/24/we_need_to_fix_our_democracy

LESSIG author of: “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It”

CITIZEN EQAULITY ACT 2017 Lessig, https://lessigforpresident.com/the-act/
Lessig’s website: https://lessigforpresident.com/meet-lessig/

Entered this week on my Facebook page

HEAR! HEAR! ● Lawrence Lessig: “The CITIZEN EQUALITY ACT of 2017: The Citizen Equality Act is presented here as a template for three fundamental reforms that must happen if we are to have equal citizens. We are presenting this package now, pointing to the proposed legislative source for each element. If the campaign is launched after Labor Day, then in the fall, we will crowdsource a process to complete the details of this reform, and turn it into proposed legislation by January 1. At this point, you should read the act as embracing at a minimum the reforms included within the source for each element: EQUAL RIGHT TO VOTE: We must have a system that guarantees a meaningfully equal freedom to vote. To achieve that, we must at a minimum enact the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 and the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015. We should as well add automatic registration, and shift Election Day to a National Holiday.● EQUAL REPRESENTATION: Equal citizens must have equal representation in Congress. That means, districts must be drawn, and election systems structured, so as to give each citizen as close to equal political influence as possible. FairVote has offered the most comprehensive solution to achieve this equality. At a minimum, the Citizen Equality Act would incorporate their proposed “Ranked Choice Voting Act,” which ends political gerrymandering and creates multi-member districts with ranked choice voting for Congress. ● CITIZEN FUNDED ELECTIONS: A core corruption of our political system is the concentration of funders of political campaigns. That concentration creates extraordinary inequality. The Citizen Equality Act would end that inequality, at a minimum by adopting a campaign funding proposal that is a hybrid between John Sarbanes’ Government by the People Act, and Represent. US’s “American Anti-Corruption Act.” That hybrid would give every voter a voucher to contribute to fund congressional and presidential campaigns; it would provide matching funds for small-dollar contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns. And it would add effective new limits to restrict the revolving door between government service and work as a lobbyist.” Lawrence Lessig, https://lessigforpresident.com/the-act/



______________________________________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora
______________________________________________________________________

Sunday, August 23, 2015

TRAUMATIZED —USA-in-Iraq to USA’s Gulf Coast CHILDREN

 War, criminal neglect, failure to CARE
Editing, excerpting, brief comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

Katrina 10 years on

REMEMBERING August 2005 HURRICANE KATRINA: levee system fails in the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history, causing hundreds of deaths in the city of New Orleans, more than a thousand total deaths, more thousands of displaced people from the Gulf region; and children were traumatized as if caught in WAR
 
Atlantic article by Katy Reckdahl “Lost Children of Katrina a decade after the hurricane…” April 2, 2015

“Traumatized children ‘tend to stall out.’” Research on trauma “shows that many traumatized children experience ‘cognitive bumps’ well into adulthood,” says New Orleans-based education researcher Lisa Celeste Green-Derry.”

“…Children from more fragile families are more likely to be traumatized and to recover more slowly”, says  Lori Peek, Colorado State University sociologist and co-director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis.

R
esearch collaborators Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek studied 650 displaced New Orleans-area children and “found that poorer children were more likely to be exposed to Katrina’s floodwaters” and that these children then experienced “challenges concentrating in schools, higher anxiety levels, and more behavioral problems.”


Lisa Celeste Green-Derry is reported saying, “Many of the Americans who today lack both jobs and diplomas may have been Katrina-era adolescents who often suffered such high levels of trauma and instability that learning became nearly impossible. It was ‘like throwing seeds at cement.’”
 
Green-Derry is a native of New Orleans and has studied how teacher preparation meets the academic needs of students traumatized by a natural disaster and she notes the obvious, that “‘systems’” are essential “to uplifting traumatized students.”


However, New Orleans' young people 10 years ago “came home to layers of faltering systems: flood-damaged blocks, a school district in flux, and homes with limited adult supervision as parents worked, rebuilt damaged houses, or struggled with their own trauma.”  In the academic year 2006-2007, young people, still traumatized, were returning to schools in New Orleans with “unseasoned and overtaxed teachers” in state-run recovery schools and the results, in the view of experienced educators, were not unexpected.

Who is taking care of the potentially enormous damage being done to a generation of children?” [University of Sulaymaniya psychology professor Sherif Karachatani]

Iraq more than 12 years on

Foreign Wars on Iraq: Mesopotamian campaign (1914–1918); Anglo-Iraqi War (1941); Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988); Gulf War (1990–1991); Iraqi no-fly zones conflict (1991–2003); Iraq War (March 20, 2003-December 18, 2011; Iraqi insurgency (2011–2013); Iraq War (2014–present) American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present)

In 2006, the peace advocate and prominent Iraqi psychologist Dr. Harith Hassan expressed his fears about the trauma of war being sustained by Iraq’s young.

“For more than three decades,” he is reported saying, “…young Iraqis have been forced to learn how to kill. We must now learn instead about dialogue and compromise. Otherwise, we will continue to produce psychopathic personalities for whom violence is simply a means of negotiating daily life.”
 
Citing a psychological study of Iraqi children, the 2007 Guardian article reports Iraqi children “seriously suffering psychologically, with all the insecurity—especially with the fear of kidnapping and explosions”. And in some cases these children are “suffering extreme stress.”

University of Sulaymaniya psychology professor Sherif Karachatani said,

‘Every day another innocent child is orphaned or sees terrible things children should never see.’

Mirroring the state of New Orleans (and of U.S. returning military personnel), Dr Karachatani says of Iraq, “The country’s overstretched hospitals cannot cope with psychological trauma, many of the best doctors have either fled the country or been killed; and compounding the problems is “the stigma” attached to psychological and psychiatric care. Relatives and others do not “bring their children in for treatment” because they fear being “labeled as mad.”

The Guardian article was pegged to an Association of Iraqi Psychologists (API) study published in that period finding that “violence had affected millions of Iraqi children, raising serious concerns for future generations.” The researchers called on the international community “to help establish child psychology units and mental health programs.”

D
r. Harith Hassan’s words are instructive not only to the young but to the old, to the citizen of in any land, any office, position, or work:

‘We must learn … about dialogue and compromise. Otherwise, we will continue to produce psychopathic personalities for whom violence is simply a means of negotiating daily life.’



Sources and Notes

The Atlantic, April 2, 2015

“The Lost Children of Katrina— A decade after the hurricane, New Orleans' community grapples with the effects of missed schooling and mass displacement,” Katy Reckdahl, April 2, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/04/the-lost-children-of-katrina/389345/

 Counter Spin, April 21, 2015

Katrina: 10 Years of Media Neglect,” CounterSpin, April 21, 2015, http://fair.org/home/katrina-10-years-of-media-neglect/

Children of war: the generation traumatised by violence in Iraq—Growing up in a war zone takes its toll as young play games of murder and mayhem,” , Michael Howard in Baghdad [cited API’s Marwan Abdullah in UN-funded news agency IRIN],  February 6, 2007, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/feb/06/iraq.topstories3

Al-Harith Hassan

Dr. Al-Harith Hassan, Zoom Info Profile last updated on June 24, 2005, contains information
Dr. Hassan [was] the Dean of the Psychological Center at the University of Baghdad, Iraq, and head of two NGOs: Health and Safety, and the Iraqi Parapsychology Society.
He also taught psychiatry and cognitive psychology and comparative religions at Babel College of Philosophy and Theology in Baghdad. At Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisburg, Virginia, he took part in a summer Peace-building Institute in Religion and Peace-Building and Conflict Transformation.

Barcelona Transcript, www.globalinterfaithed.org, 24 June 2005 [cached]
http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Al-Harith-Hassan/1236018061

Hassan, Alharith Abdulhameed (1951-2006):  “Iraqi peace advocate with ties to EMU killed,” Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: February 7, 2007, p. 5: Birth date: 1951, https://mla.bethelks.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Hassan,_Alharith_Abdulhameed_(1951-2006)
Iraqi Peace Worker Killed—HARRISONBURG, Va. –Iraqi-Muslim advocate for peace and reconciliation, who received support from Christian organizations for his work in trauma-healing, has been killed. Dr. Al- Harith Abdulhameed Hassan, 56-year-old professor of psychiatry at the University of Baghdad, was shot while traveling to work on December 6, 2006, according to an e-mail sent in mid-January by his bereaved widow, Maysa Hussam Jaber, to friends at Eastern Mennonite University.
Both Alharith and Maysa attended trainings under EMU¹s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) in Harrisonburg, Va., in the summer of 2004. They were selected and sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee, with additional support from Church World Service. http://warisacrime.org/node/17720

Dr. Sherif Karachatani, Psychology Professor, University of Sulaymaniya, http://univsul.edu.iq
http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Sherif-Karachatani/1170945050
The University of Sulaimani is a public university located in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Sulaymaniyah

Hurricane Katrina

Part of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season: the 11th-named storm and 5th hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season; its surge protection failures in New Orleans considered the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history

Fatalities confirmed: 1,833

Physical damage cost $108 billion (2005 USD), costliest on record

Areas affected: Bahamas, South Florida, Cuba, Louisiana (especially Greater New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, most of eastern North America

In New Orleans, Louisiana, the levee system failed causing the area’s “most significant number of deaths.” Eighty percent of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.

Coastal areas sustained enormous property damage: Mississippi beachfront towns were more than 90 percent flooded; boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland, water reaching 6–12 miles (10–19 km) from the beach.

August 23 began the storm originating over the Bahamas; early the following day, a new depression intensified into Tropical Storm Katrina; the cyclone headed generally westward toward Florida and strengthened into a hurricane two hours before making landfall Hallandale Beach (Broward County, Florida) and Aventura (Miami-Dade County) on August 25; very briefly weakening to a tropical storm, Katrina then emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on August 26 and began to rapidly deepen, strengthening to a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and weakened before, on August 29, making a second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane in southeast Louisiana. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina

WAR ON IRAQ’S PEOPLE
Brief Chronology of Foreign Wars on Iraq:

Mesopotamian campaign (1914–1918)
Anglo-Iraqi War (1941)
Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988)
Gulf War (1990–1991)
Iraqi no-fly zones conflict (1991–2003)
Iraq War (March 20, 2003-December 18, 2011
Iraqi insurgency (2011–2013)
Iraq War (2014–present) American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present)

Iraq War within the past 12 years: wide-scale conflict starting in 2003 encompassing a U.S. military-led campaign by a multinational force, and subsequent Iraqi insurgency and civil war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_(2014%E2%80%93present)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War_(disambiguation)


________________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora
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Saturday, August 22, 2015

HUMAN CRISES created, perpetuated by prior conditions of colonies, crimes of colonialists

Calais
Homelessness, Rejection, Historic, Current Cruelty
Editing, excerpting, ending comment by Carolyn Bennett 

3
0-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker Asif Haji speaking to IPS

“Human tragedy should not be classified.”

“At issue is the divisive policy which places refugees in ‘asylum-worthy’ categories.…
 
‘…First are Syrians and other Middle East refugees who are awarded permits and 
education.

‘Second come the Afghans and Pakistanis who have to struggle a bit but are allowed language school and work permits.

‘[Third] … are the Africans who are widely perceived as economic migrants leeching on the system and petty criminals dealing in drugs who are not particularly welcome anywhere. This is unfair. Human tragedy should not be classified.’

S
African Refugees
udanese blogger and Refugee Movement campaigner Adam Bahar to IPS 

Yemeni Refugees
Politicians busying themselves with strategies and programs and allocating resources to more programs to hold back refugees … should instead “be naming and shaming the real culprits….

‘Change begins by uprooting dictators who are clandestinely colluding to misuse their nation’s wealth and remain in power thanks to the support of the pseudo democracies of the first world.’…

‘In dictatorships, young people suffer systematic oppression for a mere criticism of the regime.”

Facing ‘joblessness and lack of freedom of expression’ and ‘following the lure of the foreign media’s often empty slogans of justice and freedom, they (young people)  seek legal or illegal emigration.’

Middle East Refugees
“His dream of a better life of freedom and wealth evaporated when he reached Europe,” Adam Bahar is paraphrased, “where he soon realized that freedom and human rights are not for everyone to enjoy.”


On a clear day, the White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen from this port town in northern France overlooking the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel. Calais is the closest French town to England and the largest city in Pas-de-Calais.

JUNGLE” AT CALAIS
No one should have to live like this

Calais refugees
James Rippingale reporting: “More than 2,000 migrants” languish “in a Calais Refugee Camp for one reason alone”—a chance “to reach Britain, or die trying.”


2
8-year-old Whalid of Nuba Mountain, Sudan, who has been living in ‘The Jungle’ for three months, recalls a man pretending “to be Islamic” but who was “only interested in money.”

‘We were locked in a small house near the water with around 300 others and herded like cows onto a boat,’
‘The Africans were made to go below and were nailed shut beneath the deck…. We made holes in the wood just to breathe.’
‘I’d rather be killed in my own country than die here, but I will never stop trying to reach freedom.’


M
asters graduate in Food Security and Agriculture (University of Khartoum), Ahmed, who has been in ‘The Jungle’ for over a month, recalled to the reporter that after “two days at sea, the boat’s engine began billowing smoke,” the vessel rocked wildly and “refugees sobbed, screamed, begging to be saved.

Red Cross received emergency radio message; Migrants were transferred “onto a small rescue vessel [and] offloaded onto a nearby cruise ship”, where they were “surrounded by picture-snapping tourists.”
Calais refugees
Somali Refugees
The migrants walked from Italy to Calais and Ahmed said after he tried “to sneak onto a ferry,” he was met by “French police” who beat him and “dumped him at the Belgian border.” At the beginning of September 2014, he “applied for asylum in France” and is still waiting for a decision.


P
Calais refugees
olitical cartoonist and writer of slogans highlighting corruption and brutality among Sudanese government officials, a passionate exponent of Khartoum’s protest movement, 24-year-old Yassen of Khartoum, Sudan (also (University of Khartoum student in illustration), has been three months in ‘The Jungle’.

Why? He says he “became scared for [his] future because there was no freedom, no liberty and [he] was on a government blacklist.”


Z
Sicily off Italy south
aghawa tribesman, cattle and sheep rancher, 24-year-old Nahar of Hamada Forest, Southern Darfur, Sudan, three months in ‘The Jungle’ recalls snapshots from his journey to Calais.

It was “…evening …on a darkened beach, the refugees were
packed into tiny inflatable boats to begin the crossing to Sicily.” He then made his way to Ventimiglia then to Nice by train; and then walking to the Calais migrant camp.’ He said he had hoped “to reach the safety of England and end his journey.”
Middle East Refugees

The question is not “are we living up to ‘our values’”?

The compelling issue is twofold: correcting the harm of the past and stopping the harm currently perpetrated with impunity, which is compounding egregious wrongs of the past.


Sources and notes

“Germany’s Asylum Seekers – You Can’t Evict a Movement,” Francesca Dziadek, August 22, 2015, http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/05/germanys-asylum-seekers-you-cant-evict-a-movement/

“Welcome to The Jungle,” Web Exclusive, James Rippingale , March 18, 2015, http://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2015/03/18/jungle-calais-migrants/

James Rippingale can be found @mrrippingale. See more at: http://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2015/03/18/jungle-calais-migrants/#sthash.hFM0n2Rh.dpuf

 “Refugee crisis - Do we care enough?” Deutsche Welle’s Quadriga August 20, 2015 edition

“Hundreds of thousands are fleeing persecution, war and poverty – in the hope of safety and a better life in Europe.

In Germany alone an estimated 800.000 refugees are expected to arrive this year. Many Germans are eager to help them, but there has also been opposition and even racist attacks.

Can Europe find a worthy answer to the migrant crisis? Or will we respond by isolating ourselves further? quadriga(at)dw.com

http://www.dw.com/en/quadriga-refugee-crisis-do-we-care-enough-2015-08-20/e-18612192-9798

CALAIS today is a key transport hub and notable fishing port, a center for fish marketing, with additionally an estimated 3,000 people still employed in the town’s famed lace industry. Ten million people visit Calais annually. In Northern France, “the city’s proximity to England has made it a major port for centuries. It is the principal ferry crossing point between England and France, with the vast majority of Channel crossings being made between Dover and Calais. The port accounts for more than a third of economic activity of the town of Calais.

Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 mi) wide here, and is the closest French town to England. On a clear day, the White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen from Calais.  

Calais is largest city in Pas-de-Calais, a town and major ferry port in northern France; population of the metropolitan area 126,395 (2010 census) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calais


__________________________________________________

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

U.S. foreign engagement—knowing wrong, committing it, getting away with it

Modern-day Iran (Tehran)Alborz Mountains in Background
Decades-long intervention, a Diplomat’s assessment
From an Op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Excerpt, minor edits by Carolyn Bennett

Origins of violent extremism

Human values of “affection, love for fellow human beings, patience and forgiveness have always been fundamental components” of all religions’ messages but the past two 
centuries have seen “a small group of demagogues with suspicious backgrounds and with the pretext of reforming religion” begin “offering a distorted and unreal image of Islam.” With their “political goals” and advancement of a “short-sighted agenda”, they set out to “alter the message of Islam and distort religious teachings and attempted to take affection away from religion; thus the Takfiris and their followers took a harsh stance – more than before – toward those who refused to accept such an interpretation of religion; and the former regarded the latter as being ‘out of religion.’”
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Because of their “social and economic conditions,” individuals and groups were “susceptible” and “lured” to radical ideologies.…” While “the majority of those who believe in Takfiri interpretations have always refrained from resorting to force to spread and enforce their beliefs, some of them took up arms….” In some cases, they “even rebelled against their own masters.…” At this point, “violent extremism was born.”
 
Foreigners’ exploitation: a “vicious cycle of foreign intervention, radicalism, and regional instability”


Understanding the situation, the rise and spread of “existing extremist groups”, requires close attention to the critical role of bloody developments in Iraq over the past decade. “Political and military interventions in the Islamic world, particularly in the 2000s, caused many difficulties, provided fertile ground for extremist demagogues, allowed the most radical of them to dominate others; and thus the ground was paved for violent extremist groups to take shape.”

Deep Harm, Disregard for cultures, Illusory "democracy"

“Those who devised this plan were incapable of understanding that democracy cannot be imposed on a nation through brute force.” Democracy also cannot “take root in a society under the rule of an occupying military.”  While attempts were being made to enforce this illusory scheme (“democracy”), the damage done to Iraq and the region “has been so extensive and deep that years of endeavors to undo [the damage] have had little effect.

“The objective of these policies—that were formed based on utter ignorance toward the innate dynamism of the region—was to impose on it a model completely alien to the region and in contradiction to the traditions, cultures and ways of life of native societies.”

Cycle of suffering feeding on one another

“The continual instability that befell a number of societies in the region as a result of this process [of foreign intervention, exploitation, violence, provocation] paved the ground for the empowerment of violent extremists, and caused a vicious cycle in which foreign occupation and radicalism fed one another, in such a way that extremists were enabled to exploit the social and cultural gaps that have been caused.”

Though ignored, “predicting such a scenario was not very difficult.”
M


ohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari is an Iranian diplomat, academic, and currently Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In 1982, he was a member of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations and was involved in negotiations to win release of U.S. hostages held by pro-Iranian gunmen in Lebanon.  From 2002 to 2007, he was Iran’s representative at the United Nations and in 2003 “was closely linked with developing the so-called ‘Grand Bargain,’ a plan to resolve outstanding issues between the United States and Iran.”

In 2000, Zarif served as chairman of the Asian preparatory meeting of the World Conference on Racism and as the chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Commission and was also professor of international law at the University of Tehran. From 2010 to 2012 under Abdollah Jasbi, he was vice president of Islamic Azad University in charge of foreign affairs; and served on the board of editors of a number of scholarly journals, including the Iranian Journal of International Affairs and Iranian Foreign Policy. He has written extensively on disarmament, human rights, international law, and regional conflicts.
 

This distinguished foreign minister and veteran diplomat has held many domestic and international positions, including adviser and senior adviser to the Iran's Foreign Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister in Legal and International affairs, member of the prominent personalities of the Dialogue Among Civilizations, Head of the UN Disarmament Committee in New York, member of the prominent personalities of global governance, and Deputy in International Affairs of the Islamic Azad University.


Sources and notes

“‘Occupying armies bring no democracy’”, Op-ed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, published in the Tuesday edition of the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily, posted at Press TV August 11, 2015,
http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/11/424260/Iran-Zarif-op-ed-Cumhuriyet

Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari bio notes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Javad_Zarif



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A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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