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.
[Increasingly, Indian media reports are little more than repeating a note or memo from the local police. Such reports are clearly not generated by an editor sending out a reporter whose diligent reportorial zeal uncovers something new in the neighborhood, and rushes back with this “breaking news.” — Frontlines ed.]
By Express News Service, 27th October 2014
VADAKARA: Wall posters and notices in the name of banned group CPI (Maoist) appeared at some locations in Vadakara police station limit on Sunday.
The posters also asked the people to join CPI(Maoist) for a new democratic-unexploited India by strengthening the ‘class struggle’.
The posters requested people to be united with the CPI(Maoist) ‘to defeat the imperialist government and its armed forces’. The group also asks the people to reclaim the rights for forest, water and land.
Political struggles over the future of Turkey have left the country profoundly divided. Former prime minister, now president, Tayyip Erdogan, has fuelled the growing polarization through his authoritarian response to protests, his large-scale urban development projects, his religious social conservatism, and most recently, through his complicity in the Islamic State’s war against the Kurdish people in Northern Syria.
[An increasingly common private view now being publicly voiced by political opponents of corporate-capitalist control of the state and imperialist politics. — Frontlines ed.]
October 24-26, 2014
by ROB URIE, CounterPunch
When considering elections in the U.S. the tendency is for voters to look at the issues placed in front of them rather than at history, political trajectory and who it is that chooses the issues? On their face Republicans, broadly considered, are more direct shills for the worst of the corporate-state— Wall Street, multi-national oil and gas companies, munitions manufacturers and replacement of any and all democratic tendencies with corporate interests. This written, Democrats have been the cleverer proponents of these same interests, the clean-up crew that poses state support as response to ‘natural’ catastrophes that are exactly and precisely the product of self-cannibalizing corporate-state capitalism.
The cartoonist Latuff’s commentary on the elimination of independent and opposition politics, when embracing electoral illiusions and voting. The cartoon was produced in response to the false choices offered the people in Brazil’s elections this year
Political strategy within the mainstream, the choice between slower or faster decay, leaves out of its calculation the possibility of break and rupture that are the most likely ends. Wall Street, which counts ‘both’ political parties in the U.S. as wholly owned subsidiaries, has had three crises of increasing magnitude in as many decades. The oil mafia, the CIA-MI5-BP-Exxon Mobil-military oil and gas establishment, is launching wars at increasing cost with decreasing results except inasmuch as human and environmental catastrophes sustain it. And the ‘political’ establishment that sits metaphorically atop this morass retains public attention only through infinite iterations of manufactured cultural difference.
[When people rise, and believe that the State offers no relief or solution, they turn away from elections, reject the credibility and false promises of the political system, and consider what it will take to take matters into their own hands. It happens all over the world. — Frontlines ed.]
The 2014 campaign to boycott the election in Brazil
Election materials are set ablaze in front of a polling booth after an attack by protesters in Bogra January 5, 2014. Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League was poised on Sunday to win a violence-plagued parliamentary election whose outcome was never in doubt after a boycott by the main opposition party. — Photo by Reuters
[The Indian state’s war on tribal people (adivasis) and their Maoist champions is guided by the historic colonizer’s strategy book. When they order troops from colonized nations within India to fight people rising against Indian State terror, it is useful to remember …. this has been done, many times, before.
When hostages identify with their captors, it is called the “Stockholm Syndrome.” As Malcolm X pointed out, when “House Negroes” see the Master’s house is on fire, they run for water to extinguish the flames, while “Field Negroes” get gasoline so the fire will burn more intense. In this sense, as Steve Biko said, “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” These “mental” weapons for the oppressors become material, when the oppressed take up arms for the oppressor. The rejection of such colonized deployments is a critical part of every liberation and revolution.
When the French colonizers fought the British colonizers in North America, they manipulated indigenous people (“Indians”) to do their fighting for them. When, after the US Civil War, the Northern victors set out to conquer the native “Indians” in lands to the West, they deployed Black soldiers (“Buffalo Soldiers”) to carry through the colonization fight. When Europeans were facing uprisings across colonized Africa, they most commonly sent their native colonial troops to suppress the anti-colonial challengers.
Hundreds of such examples dot the pages of colonial history – and in some cases, like the San Patricio Battalion (Irish migrants who were deployed by the US in the “Mexican War” of the 1840’s), or Black troops deployed against the Filipino independence fighters in early 1900s, or US soldiers in Vietnam who became resisters and fraggers, the deployment of oppressed soldiers against other oppressed peoples was rejected and many refused to fight, and some joined the resistance of the colonized. This struggle to exorcise the influence of the oppressor, to de-colonize the minds of the oppressed, continues today in Nagaland, in Chhattisgargh, and everywhere oppression and resistance is found. — Frontlines ed.]
MCPM urges Nagas to resist deployment in Maoist areas
Correspondent IMPHAL, Nagaland Post, October 23, 2014
Major General R. K. Sharma, Additional Director General, NCC Directorate North Eastern Region Shillong on his visit to Ist Nagaland Girls Battalion, NCC Kohima on April 9. The ADG highlighted the NCC activities and various opportunities and incentives offered by NCC. He appreciated the state government for its support towards NCC activity in Nagaland. Patkai College has been selected by UGC to take up National Cadet Corps (NCC) as elective subject in the curriculum from the academic year 2013-14.
Maoists have put up posters at Kalimela Policestation area in Malkangiri districts of Orissa asking people to cooperate with them to make the PLGA week observation a success
The Manipur based underground group Maoist Communist Party Manipur (MCPM) has asked Naga Regiments not to allow themselves to be deployed in the Maoist stronghold areas of India, especially in Dandakaranya Revolutionary zone.
Publicity and propaganda secretary Comrade Nonglen Meitei of the outfit, in a statement dispatched to the local media, appealed to the Naga Regiment to oppose the implementation of this decision regarding their deployment.
It further appealed the regiment not to go to Chhattisgarh as “slaves” while urging to raise their voices against the forceful deployment and showed solidarity towards the revolutionary people of that region who are fighting for their very existence. Continue reading →
[In India, 2014 has brought many issues to the fore, not least of which is the rise of Narendra Modi as national leader, after securing his notoriety as the protector and defender of the anti-Moslem Gujarat Massacre over a decade ago. Modi’s rise, welcomed by Western imperialism and multi-national corporations, has brought further national centralization of the state’s brutal repression against oppressed peoples, tribals, dalits, democratic and revolutionary activists. And the 2014 Modi-India persona further disguises the official national culture — Hindutva excluvist, caste-ist, and xenophobic — by hypocritically and pretentiously claiming a humanitarian, peaceful, and moral charm or charisma by further invoking a mythologized Gandhi as the Father of Indian National Identity. In challenging this mythology, Arundhati Roy has provided an important counter-narrative, and has come under vitriolic attack from The Powers That Be. See the following video interview by Laura Flanders, and the magazine interview by Leena Chandran, for details on the struggle for clarity and truth about Mahatma Gandhi. — Frontlines ed.]
On The Laura Flanders Show: Author/activist Arundhati Roy on the Annihilation of Caste, B.R. Ambedkar and the Western myth of Mahatma Gandhi
Hidden in plain sight
Wednesday 17 September 2014
by Leena Chandran, Manorama Online
In July, Arundhati Roy provoked outrage from many quarters by stating that the generally accepted image of Mahatma Gandhi was a lie. Speaking at the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, she also called for institutions bearing his name to be renamed. The Booker prize winning author’s comments rekindled a long-running historical argument over Gandhi’s views on caste and catapulted hot debate in Kerala media. In this exclusive interview Arundhati Roy tells Leena Chandran why she will not be changing her views on Gandhi. The Gandhi controversy is a belated one, I feel. It should have taken place earlier this year had people closely read ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ soon after its publication. In fact, what you said in the Ayyankali memorial lecture at Department of History, Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram is not as inflammable as the ideas you share in’The Doctor and the Saint’…
I wouldn’t go so far as to call ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ inflammable, though of course it has generated a fair amount of controversy from many quarters, even some unexpected ones. That’s to be expected, because it’s vexed territory. Yes it does question conventional ways of thinking, mostly by quoting from the lesser known writings of Gandhi. It was written as an introduction to Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste. Ambedkar’s views challenge the established order in profound and radical ways. The controversy around Gandhi’s views on race and caste started long before I wrote The Doctor and the Saint. You could say that it started with the Ambedkar-Gandhi debate. It has been debated for years in the world of Dalit politics—but that has been carefully and successfully kept out of the establishment discourse. The mayhem in the Kerala media post my Ayyankali Memorial Lecture is just noisy posturing by some people who couldn’t be bothered to read Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste, or The Doctor and the Saint, or anything much else. Not even the works of Gandhi who they are so keen to defend. There are many vested interests involved in this debate. It may be too much to expect them to change. But the young will change their views. For sure.