Following is the translated (originally in Hindi) text of Hem Mishra’s letter, who is currently lodged in Nagpur Central Jail.
Last month, 20th of August marked the completion of a year of my incarceration by the Maharashtra Police. In spite of being a cultural activist and a student of the well-known Jawaharlal Nehru University, I have been booked under several clauses of UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). I have been imprisoned in the High Security Cell (called Anda Cell) of the Nagpur Jail in extreme segregation. On 6th September my bail petition was rejected in the Gadhchiroli sessions court of Maharashtra. Inside the closed doors of the jail, I had hoped that justice will shine through like a ray of light. But the rejection of my plea, has instead put my hopes to rest.
The court order denies my natural right to breathe in open air and live a free life. Today, through the efforts of many democratic and progressive individuals and organisations, it has been ensured that the process of seeking bail from the court should begin as soon as possible. It has become a burning issue in the country today, that how the powers-that-be find it convenient to prey on dissenters and imprison them in thousands, in various jails of the country. It is due to the efforts of democratic and progressive people that even the Supreme Court has come to the conclusion that the right to seek bail has to be ensured to all prisoners-under-law. From time to time, the Supreme Court has given specific directives to lower courts as well to ensure this. Despite all these the Gadhchiroli Sessions has refused to accept my bail petition and enforced further confinement on a cultural activist.
Saudi court sentences lawyers for public criticisms
A court in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 27 sentenced three lawyers to between five and eight years in prison for criticizing the justice system on the social networking website Twitter by accusing authorities of carrying out arbitrary detentions. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the lawyers were each convicted of different crimes, including using the social media outlet to propagate against the Saudi judiciary, criticize Islamic Sharia law and interfere in the independence of the judiciary. The lawyers are also banned from using social media and traveling. The court also warned other social media users that they could face similar punishment for similar offenses and that they were being monitored.
Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.
The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated — the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.
[See additional articles, photos, and videos on the Egyptian army's military operation for a "buffer" on the Gaza-Sinai border, below. -- Frontlines ed.]
About 800 homes will be razed as part of the operation. Photo: AFP
Channel 4: “Buffer zone”
Channel 4 reports: “As Israeli police moved in heavy numbers into the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem adjacent to the old city, the Egyptian army’s demolition of buildings in Rafah, in northern Sinai, continued……..
Yesterday Egypt began clearing residents from the town, on the Egypt-Gaza border, in response to the killing by Islamic militants of at least 31 soldiers in the Sinai peninsula town of Sheikh Zuwaid…….Large explosions could be seen in Rafah as Egypt accelerated its plan to create a 500-metre deep buffer zone by clearing houses and trees, as well as destroying tunnels it says are used to smuggle arms from Gaza to Sinai militants…….General Abdel Fattah Harhour, governor of the north Sinai region, has said each family displaced by the demolition programme will receive 900 Egyptian pounds – just under £80 – to cover three months’ rent elsewhere……But Rafah resident Hammam Alagha wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that his family had been given no more than eight hours to evacuate their home before it was blown up.”
By ADEL ZAANOUN, Agence France-Presse, October 28, 2014
GAZA CITY : Palestinian artist Iyyad Sabbah (R),40, stands in front of his statues standing amidst the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 50 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas last summer, in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on October 21, 2014. The statues are made of fiberglass and covered with clay and are depictions of the Palestinians who fled their houses from Israeli shelling during the most recent conflict. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS
GAZA CITY – Among the mountains of rubble littering Gaza after a deadly summer war, clay outlines emerge of men, women, and children with a story to tell about fear, flight and destruction.
Though his sculptures, which are made of fibreglass and covered with clay, Iyyad Sabbah relates the pain of those who lived through this latest conflict with Israel during which nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians.
Some are splashed with blood-red paint, those closest to the ruins of homes flattened by bombs in Gaza City’s eastern Shejaiya district.
The neighborhood, on the border with Israel, lay on the frontline when ground troops went in and was largely reduced to a wasteland in the war launched to halt cross-border militant rocket fire.
It is in Shejaiya that Sabbah, a professor of art at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, has chosen to locate his installation, attracting many passers-by.
“These statues recall the war, when we fled – men, women and children – some in just their underwear,” reflected Mohammed al-Latif, 20, who escaped his home shortly before it was flattened in an Israeli drone strike.
Personification of suffering
“These statues are a new form of art by giving form to the suffering of Gazans,” said the artist, who was delighted at the warm reception local people have given to his figures of clay.
Palestinians walk under the minaret of a destroyed mosque in Gaza. Israel not only are profiting from the reconstruction but also turning the territory into a super-maximum prison. Photo: Mohammed Saber / EPA
It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as “Dahiya”, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.
According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.
Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.
Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?
Hong Kong has spent billions on buying weapons from Britain
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 October, 2014
Danny Lee and Austin Chiu of South China Morning Post in London
Critics are calling for the UK to end all arms sales to Hong Kong immediately. Photo: Bloomberg
The British government’s role in licensing the sale of arms to Hong Kong that could be used for “internal repression” has come under scrutiny.
John Stanley, chairman of the Committee on Arms Export Controls, has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable, asking him to clarify if “Made in the UK” tear gas canisters were used against pro-democracy protesters.
The letter, dated October 21, also contains a list of approved British export licences of lethal weapons to Hong Kong since 2012. Grenade launchers, mortar bombs, sniper rifles, machine guns and gun silencers are among the weapons, according to the committee’s analysis.
Since 2008, £1.4 billion (HK$17.4 billion) worth of licences for arms and equipment sales to Hong Kong have been approved, according to official records.
A British government review of weapons licences to Hong Kong is under way – and could end these exports.