The spirit of Gaza is the spirit of Mu’in Bseiso: beautiful, poetic, tortured, strong, undying, and loving and although confined by ever-shrinking spaces, always resisting. A nod of gratitude to Gaza’s great poet is due for the way he influenced several generations of Palestinian and Arab intellectuals in Gaza and elsewhere. Alas, how many of us can name a single Palestinian poet from Gaza? Likely, very few. It is because we are accustomed to affiliating Gaza with death, not life. Poetry is the greatest intellectual affirmation of life because great poets never die. Their verses linger like the roots of an ancient Palestinian olive tree. This is what Asmaa al-Ghoul, one of Gaza’s finest young writers and bloggers, wrote of a poetry festival held in Gaza City a few years ago. The event, which took place in 2013, was staged sometime between the two most destructive wars launched by Israel against the besieged Strip:
Gaza has not inspired the world because of its high death toll as a result of Israeli wars, because of its polluted water or because it is becoming growingly ‘uninhabitable’ – as a UN report recently indicated. Gaza is inspiring because it is still standing, despite everything. Not just standing, but living and thriving, too. Reporting from Gaza last week, Yousef Aljamal wrote of a similar crowd that flocked the Science and Cultural Centre in Al-Nuseirat Refugee Camp. The reason they gathered was to celebrate the life and works of William Shakespeare. After a few passionate speeches about the great English poet, the audience watched an animation film of King Lear, composed and performed by the Refugee Camp’s youth.
A few years later, in 2007, Yousef’s sister, Zeinab, died because of the Israeli siege on the impoverished Strip. “She had a problem with her gallbladder. She had to undergo surgery. The operation was described as ‘simple’ by doctors, yet some of the equipment needed for it was not available in Gaza hospitals,” he wrote. All of her attempts at acquiring permission to reach a hospital in Jerusalem have failed, owing to the Israeli pretext that she was a ‘security threat.’ “Poison started to spread in her body through the veins. Her skin turned yellow, literally. I was shocked as I saw yellow invading her body when I went to visit her at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.” Soon after, Zeinab died.
But Yousef, 27, has an unsubdued energy for life. He is a reporter, a translator, a scholar, and a community organizer. He has helped translate and edit several books on Gaza and written many articles from the Strip. While much of his work is, rightly, dedicated to the suffering of Palestinians there as a result of Israel’s wars and protracted siege, a large portion of his work is also a testament to the resilient spirit of Gazans. Yousef, like most Gazans, refuses to see himself as a victim. But can the rest of us understand that? Helping an American organization raise funds to host the Rachel Corrie Ramadan Soccer Tournament in Gaza, I shared a press release on social media, urging supporters to donate.
Reading the many comments on Gaza one should wonder we are all guilty of dehumanizing Gaza. Forget about the Israeli hasbara machine that attempts to paint Gazans as terrorists and those digging tunnels to obtain food and freedom as criminals and smugglers. Sadly, many of those who strongly stand in solidarity with Gaza have fallen into the same trap: seeing Gazans as perpetual victims, mutilated bodies, starving children, destroyed homes To highlight Israel’s human rights violations, some feed into that narrative which almost refuses to see Gazans as strong, dignified human beings, creative, loving, living and resisting. True, the wars have devastated Gaza and the siege is severely diminishing its ability to develop the massive and promising human capital it has. But it has not disfigured its essence, or lessened its humanity. Gaza remains a place of poets, artists, dabka dancers and untamable spirits of utterly resilient and refreshingly stubborn people.
(Extracts from a report)
The opinion polls tell that large majority of the French population have solidarised themselves with the strikes and are demanding the withdrawal of the anti-working class El Khomri law, which is what really points to the precarious future for young people. A new and powerful European movement of the working class is beginning to form that goes beyond these old corrupt organisations. That is what Lehnartz, Wiegel and Co, the corporate media fear, in Germany as well
Survivors’ from Eritrea told that water started seeping into the second boat after three hours of navigation, and that the migrants tried vainly to get the water out of the sinking boat. Water was coming from everywhere. We tried for six hours after which we found it was not possible anymore. According to Italian police, 300 people in the hold went down with the second boat when it sank, while around 200 on the upper deck jumped into the sea. Just 90 of those were saved, along with about 500 in the first boat. Italy’s southern islands are the main destinations for countless numbers of smuggling boats launched from the shores of lawless Libya each week packed with people seeking jobs and safety in Europe. Hundreds of migrants drown each year attempting the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing.
According to the UNHCR, 12.4 million people were forced to flee their homes last year, of which 8.6 million sought refuge within their own countries and are now dependent on aid to survive as internally displaced people. Every minute, 24 people were driven from their homes, or 34,000 per day. The number forced to flee from persecution, armed conflict, rampant violence or human rights violations surpassed the population of Britain or France. A fictional “nation of refugees” would come in 21st place in a list of the states with the largest populations. Today, one out of every 113 people is either an asylum seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.
In each of the categories into which the UN divides refugees, new tragic records were reached. Internally displaced people now number 40.8 million; there are 3.2 million waiting on the outcome of asylum applications and 21.3 million were forced to flee their country of origin as refugees. More than half of all refugees are children and young people. The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum as refugees has trebled to 98,000. A list of the main countries of origin for refugees sheds a stark light on the crimes of the imperialist powers, which have laid waste to wide areas of the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Africa, thereby provoking the global refugee crisis. By financing and providing military support to Islamist forces, the US encouraged the outbreak of a civil war in Syria in 2011 which created the conditions for the establishment of ISIS. Together with the US-led air strikes on ISIS militias, which in turn treat the local population with brutality, the war for regime change has forced more than 11.6 million people to flee in the past five years. Out of a total population of 20 million, every second Syrian is a refugee.
From Afghanistan, where the US led a military invasion in 2001 as part of a “war on terror” that destroyed large areas of the country, 2.7 million people fled across the country’s borders and 1.2 million have become internally displaced. The war in Iraq has to date forced 4.9 million from their homes, the majority of which are cared for internally by the UNHCR. The UN report focused in particular on the rapidly worsening situation in Yemen. Within a year, almost 10 percent of the population has been forced to flee. Around 2.5 million are internally displaced, while 169,900 have fled abroad. The reason for this is the war waged by Saudi Arabia, the United States’ closest ally in the region. After Houthi rebels overthrew the Saudi and US-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi in January 2015, Saudi Arabia intervened with air strikes and ground troops, resulting in the deaths of at least 6,000 civilians. This intervention was not only given the full backing of the US government, it was carried out with participation and support of the Pentagon. US President Barack Obama had previously vastly expanded the drone war in Yemen, subjecting the impoverished population to criminal air strikes.
Another major source of global refugees is Central Africa, where, along with the US, it is above all the European powers who have acted militarily in the name of “humanitarian interventions” to secure important supplies of raw materials and markets. The UNHRC counted 4 million refugees and internally displaced people from Sudan, 2.5 million from South Sudan, 2.4 million from Somalia, 2.9 million from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1 million from the Central African Republic, 2.4 million from Nigeria, 475,000 from Eritrea, 450,000 from Libya and 280,000 from Mali.
The coup in Ukraine orchestrated by the US and Germany, which brought fascistic forces to power, forced almost 2 million people to leave their homes. Above all as a result of the separatist war in the east of the country, which was a direct product of the coup, 1.6 million people have been forced to flee internally. But while the imperialist powers have caused the global refugee crisis, they are doing virtually nothing to accommodate and care for the refugees. According to the UNHCR report, 86 percent of the 21.3 million refugees have sought protection in low and middle income countries directly bordering conflict regions. In the least developed countries, 4.2 million refugees were accepted.
Top of the list for accommodating refugees is Turkey, where 2.5 million are struggling to survive. However, Turkey, as the border guard for Fortress Europe, has already closed its border to Syrian refugees. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 60 Syrian refugees have been shot on the Turkish border since the beginning of the year. There are 1.1 million refugees are living in Lebanon, which has a population of 4 million, 1.6 million in Pakistan, 1 million in Iran, 750,000 in Ethiopia and 700,000 in Jordan.
The Pentagon plans to build a large “hub” near Erbil in northern Iraq, where US special forces have already been conducting combat operations for months. US Special Forces commandos affiliated with the “expeditionary targeting force” announced last week by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter are already setting up operations in the same area. The new bases are only the latest development in the metastatic growth of Washington’s global military apparatus. According to the official list of US overseas bases, US forces are stationed in Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Bulgaria, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Romania, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
Taking into account non-officially acknowledged bases, “forward operating posts,” and other long-term deployments, the list of US bases expands to include the majority of the countries in the world. In recent weeks US is launching yet another expansion of its wars in West Asia. The escalation of the US-led imperialist wars in Iraq and Syria will be accompanied by a generalized military build-up encompassing far wider areas of the globe. The new bases will facilitate a further expansion of manhunts, kidnapping, and other counter-insurgency operations which have been orchestrated by US military-intelligence cadres across ever-expanding areas of the planet since 2001 under the banner of the US “Global War on Terrorism.”
Working from the new “hubs,” Special Force troops and intelligence operatives will orchestrate supposed “counterterrorism” missions. Operations launched from the new bases will enable close collaborations between “regional American commanders, diplomats and spies”. In other words, the bases will provide launching pads for a further expansion of US military and intelligence activities in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, along the entire Indo-Pacific rim, and in every significant corner of Africa. In statements defending the basing expansion, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter claimed that the all-pervasive nature of the ISIS threat requires permanent global presence that reaches easily into every corner of the world.
“Because we cannot predict the future, these regional nodes—from Morón, Spain, to Jalalabad, Afghanistan—will provide forward presence to respond to a range of crises.
TPP = economic imperialism
The TPP will lock in the countries of Asia-Pacific under US imperialism’s economic control, and trample on the rights and livelihoods of people, and the sovereignty of nations. The TPP exposes the advanced stage of US monopoly capitalism which necessitates constant expansion, monopolisation and protection of its multinational corporations and banks. It will sweep away hard won rights and regulations that provide some protection for workers’ wages, working conditions, jobs, health and safety, food safety, the environment, welfare and community services, and democratic rights. TISA and the TTIP are the other two arms of US imperialist “trade liberalisation”. None of them have much to do with trade, but everything to do with removing all obstacles to greater monopolisation by corporations and financial institutions.
Rather than promoting “free trade” the TPP will introduce US corporate law across the region, law that inevitably enhances the interests of US monopoly corporations at the expense of ordinary people. It will allow US monopolies to penetrate every aspect of member countries’ economies, and undermine national governments’ policies and initiatives in areas such as health, education, environment protection and workplace rights and conditions.
Under the TPP, the Investor State Dispute Settlement provision (ISDS) empowers foreign corporations to sue national, state or local governments when they deem laws and regulations diminish their profits or are detrimental to future profit making. Under NAFTA and other free trade agreements, the multinationals have lodged hundreds of claims suing national governments for loss of profit due to local environmental regulations and workers’ wages. Veolia, a French multinational waste management corporation, is suing the Egyptian government for increasing the minimum wage that the Egyptian workers had fought for and won.
TPP signatory countries will be compelled to change their domestic laws and regulations to comply with the TPP standards, as drafted by some 600 multinational corporations. Outrageously, in another blow to sovereignty, the draft changes to domestic legislation will have to be sent to US Senate for approval before they can become law!
Under the TPP, foreign corporations will be able to challenge government subsidies to State Owned Enterprises and open the way to further privatisation of public health, education and social services by foreign monopolies. The costs to the people will increase even more.
There is strong resistance by the Indigenous communities of New Zealand, Canada, Peru and Chile, angry with the Intellectual Property provisions in the TPP. The First Nations People of Australia are calling the TPP yet another invasion and dispossession. The minimal protections over their lands and culture from the ravages of mining corporations that the Aboriginal people have achieved, may well be dismantled. ....
The 10 percent and more than 10 percent tuition fee increases aim at preventing the students from furthering their education and there are many grievances of the students, among other grievances are the high rentals which are ranging from R26 000 and upwards per annum. As a result of the failure of the government to pay its financial obligation, i.e., the financial loans which were granted to students who are unable to pay at all their tuition fees, now the students are not allowed to write their examination by some of the universities.
The racism is another problem which affects the black students in these universities, the former liberation movements failed to eradicate racism in South Africa or to liberate the people of South Africa from the imperialist oppression and exploitation. So the racism has been reformed instead of eradication. The imperialist countries together with the neo-apartheid and neo-colonialist government are now busy with the excessive exploitation and oppression of the poor masses.
The government and university authorities do not care about the misery of the poor masses what they care about are their profits. They do not even care about the question of high rate of unemployment which severely affects the working class and poor peasants which make them unable to pay the education tuition fees of their children.
The CPSA(M-L) calls upon, the working class, peasants and all the sections of the oppressed people to join hands with the students struggles. Only the united struggles of the masses are going to free them from the exploitation and oppression of the neo-apartheid and neo-colonialist government and imperialism.
The people must stand up and fight for a new democratic republic which will free them from the imperialist domination and provide the students with better and accessible education. The education system which will integrate the theory with practice for the learners at the earliest levels of learning, i.e. grade I up to the university level. Let us all fight for better and affordable education which is controlled by the People’s government not a private owned education.
Down with the profit-making education system!!
Down with Neo-Apartheid and neo-colonialist government!!
Down with Imperialist domination in South Africa!!
Forward with accessible education system to all students!!
Forward to People’s government that will lead us to Socialism!!