March 25, 2012
Written by: RoyaAziz
As a good friend prepares to put together a book on the topic of hijab in America I referred her to an incident during then-Senator Barack Obama’s televised presidential campaign rally in Detroit when two hijabis were barred from sitting behind him. The event occurred at a time when there was close scrutiny of Obama’s identity: the phonetic similarity to Osama, his very Arab middle name, Hussein, and, of course, the rumors that he was actually a practicing Muslim, not that there was anything wrong with that, to borrow the inappropriate disclaimer. Obama apologized to the women and vowed to fight discrimination of this sort. To many American Muslims it was perplexing because much of the racism directed at Obama at the time was being couched in anti-Muslim bias. At that moment he was not Obama the inspiring candidate, but Obama the typical American who showed his own anti-Muslim bias.
In the wake of 9/11, American Muslims took to Islamophobia with some borrowed humor: ‘driving while black’ became ‘flying while Muslim.’ And so, as it is with wearing a hoodie, wearing a hijab elicits similar prejudices, as Geraldo Rivera reminded us during his TV appearance last week. In the same commentary where he claims Trayvon Martin was killed because of his sweatshirt, Rivera cites Juan Williams’ comments about being scared when he sees Muslims in religious garb at the airport (one presumes hijab is among the articles of clothing that terrify Williams). Rivera writes that Williams was copping to his fears, but it was a cowardly cover — if a black man like Williams, whom Rivera pointedly refers to as “among America’s sharpest commentators” can say he’s scared of Muslim women, it should be valid for him to say that a black kid in a hoodie had it coming. The implications of his comparison are unsettling. Continue reading
by Alasdair Fotheringham, The Independent (UK)
Approximately a quarter of a million protesters took to the streets in Barcelona, with some fringe groups attacking police vans and smashing shop windows until late into the evening. In contrast Madrid’s almost equally large demonstration, where the crowds of chanting, whistling protestors filled the emblematic Puerto del Sol square and surrounding streets to bursting point, was reported as being totally peaceful.
“There’s lots of people here, but we need even more, this country is going through an awful situation and its going to get worse,” young protester Luis Ferrer, on the dole for three months, told The Independent in Madrid’s demonstration.
“If we don’t make ourselves heard now, we never will. I don’t think we’re going to end up like Greece, but they’re using this recession to take away our rights as workers.It’s just an excuse.”
“The labour reforms they want to bring in are terrible and our wages are awful,” Jose, a protestor in his twenties, added. “They want us to work more and more, put up taxes too and that’s just not on.” Continue reading
Hurriyet Daily News, Wednesday,March 28 2012
ANKARA – Clashes erupt in Ankara between police and demonstrators protesting a government-led education draft reform. Police use water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protestors who receive opposition deputies’ support
Riot police used pepper gas and water cannons yesterday to disperse hundreds of union members who gathered in Ankara to protest the government’s controversial education bill, defying harsh warnings from authorities that the demonstration was unauthorized.
The clashes erupted at Tandoğan Square, as police stopped a crowd of some 1,000 people from marching to Kızılay, where they had intended to merge with groups arriving from other parts of the city. Truncheon-wielding officers chased the protestors as some of them hurled stones at the police.
Using armored vehicles, police blocked streets leading to Kılzılay Square in the heart of the city early in the morning. The Ankara Governorship said the demonstration, called by the Confederation of Public Laborers Unions (KESK), was unlawful and thus “outside the guarantees of democracy.”
Several lawmakers from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) joined a group of protestors who converged at Gazi Mustafa Kemal Boulevard, one of the main avenues leading to the square. The CHP’s Süleyman Çelebi phoned Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin in a bid to negotiate permission for a press statement to be read at nearby Güven Park. KESK chairman Nami Özgen, however, vowed the demonstrators would spend the night in the streets and keep up the protest today. The tense standoff was still continuing when Hürriyet Daily News went to print.
Opposition hits streets
It was the second day of street action, following a CHP rally the previous day, when Parliament began debating the bill, which has come in for criticism that it would undermine the schooling of girls, encourage child labor, and prematurely expose students to religious education. Continue reading
American imperialist occupiers once again butchered children, women, and elderly men in Afghanistan. A group of American occupying soldiers and officers attacked the poor huts of villagers and slaughtered seventeen children, women, and old men––wounding several others and burning twelve bodies––in the Panjawai district of Kandahar on midnight of the 11th of March. The leadership of the occupying forces depicted this unforgivable crime as the result of mental illness of one of their soldiers, offered a mere empty token of apology, and declared the usual: that they would lead an investigation into this matter.
Definitely this war crime, like the other war crimes of the occupiers, is something that does not emanate from the personal mental problems of one or more of the occupying soldiers or officers; it is the result of the overall nature and characteristic of such forces. It should be noted that the imperialist occupation, and the imposition of a puppet regime over the peoples of an occupied country, is itself a great imperialist war crime. Therefore, a just response to the war crimes of the imperialist occupiers and their satraps, is not to legally prosecute the officers and soldiers responsible for these crimes, to take personal revenge against them as individuals, or the unjust efforts of freeing some prisoners, but the further intensification and expansion of resistance, until the total expulsion of the occupiers from the country and the destruction of their puppet regime.
Hamid Karzai the head of the puppet regime, while he is constantly telling the participants and supporters of this regime that soon a “long-term strategic agreement” would be signed with America (an agreement that actually has no other meaning other than prolonging the condition of occupation), has declared the crimes of the occupiers in Panjawai to be a deliberate and obvious act of terrorism and has demanded the trial of the perpetrators. However, it is clear that according to the previous agreements between the American occupation and its puppet regime, and specifically between George W. Bush and Hamid Karzai, that every American soldier and officer in Afghanistan has legal sanctity; they only can be put on trial in the US, according to the constitution of that country. Hamid Karzai while he is carrying “Shah Shojaian Sword” of national treason, at the same time is showing his servitude in empty and meaningless “nationalistic” gestures towards his imperialist masters in order to “prove” his political competency in their court. Continue reading
by Jiby Kattakayam, The Hindu
But he will face trial for assuming fake identity and forging documents
New Delhi, March 28, 2012 — Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Kobad Ghandy earned a reprieve on Wednesday when a Sessions court here discharged him of offences under the stiff Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), thanks to a defective prosecution sanction obtained by the Delhi Police. However, he will stand trial for impersonation, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy charges under the Indian Penal Code for assuming a fake identity and forging documents. He faces a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment for these charges against life imprisonment under the UAPA charges from which he was discharged.
Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain said: “I am of the considered opinion that there is sufficient material on record to make out a prima facie case for the offence punishable under Sections 20 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against accused Kobad Ghandy. But since the cognisance order dated February 19, 2010, qua the offences punishable under the UAPA was not in accordance with the mandatory provisions of Section 45(2) of the UAPA, I hereby discharge accused Kobad Ghandy for the offences punishable under Section 10/13/18/20/38 of the UAPA. Similarly, I also discharge accused Rajinder Kumar for the offences punishable under Section 10/13/18/19/20 UAPA. However, there is sufficient material on record to make out a prima facie case against both the accused for the offences punishable under Section 419/420/468/474/120B Indian Penal Code.”
Ghandy’s counsel Rebecca John had pointed out that the investigating officer had violated Section 45(2) of the UAPA by not submitting the evidence he gathered to an independent authority constituted by the Central or State government, which after vetting the documents was to recommend the sanctioning authority (the Lieutenant Governor) to grant sanction for prosecution. Realising the blunder committed, the prosecution, last week, belatedly submitted a fresh prosecution sanction as per the Act in the form of a supplementary charge sheet.
“There is nothing to show that the evidence collected by the investigating officer was independently reviewed by any authority appointed by the Central government or that after review of collected evidence, such authority had ever made any recommendation to the Central government … Needless to say, the main object of imposing condition of independent review is to prevent the misuse of the stringent provisions of the UAPA by the law-enforcing agencies … Since provisions were inserted by Parliament, thus the State cannot take the plea that State was not aware of the provisions …. By obtaining the fresh sanction, prosecution is trying to cure an incurably bad sanction order, which in the absence of any provisions of law is not permissible,” Mr. Jain said.
The court said it was clear that Ghandy was an “active member” of the CPI (Maoist) and it appeared that “his role was to persuade people and exhort them for Maoism.” The court also noted that he had prepared forged documents in the name of Dilip Patel in order to conceal his identity and avoid arrest.
Mr. Jain added: “There is sufficient material on record to hold prima facie that accused Ghandy was a vibrant member of CPI (Maoist). Since the CPI (Maoist) is a declared terrorist organisation, presumption will [be] that [the] CPI (Maoist) is involved in terrorist acts. Accordingly, I am of the view that prima facie a case is made out against the accused Kobad Ghandy for the offence punishable under Section 20 and 38 of the UAPA.”
The judge further said there was no evidence on record to show that Ghandy had committed any terrorist act and hence he could not be called a “terrorist.” This finding also helped co-accused Rajinder, who was discharged for offence under Section 19 of the UAPA for harbouring a terrorist.
A month ago, a black teenager named Trayvon Martin was shot dead in Florida while walking back from running an errand for his brother. His killer was not tested for drug or alcohol. Trayvon was. His killer has not been arrested. In the past 30 days the case has received a great deal of media attention, but we’ve heard little about the fear, anger, and oppression that black men feel every day for being constantly profiled as criminals. Those voices aren’t being heard as much as they should be, which is where the “I Am Trayvon Martin Project” comes in.
We want to hear the stories of the young Black and Latino men from the mailroom to the boardroom who have been harassed, racially profiled, and have feared for their lives for no other reason than the color of their skin. We want to have an online space so that these voices can be heard, so that these stories can be shared, and so that the issues brought up by the death of Trayvon Martin are no longer kept to the shadows. Continue reading