Not the Independence and Socialism the Revolutionary Vietnamese Thought They Won

 [That Vietnam won a world-shaking and -inspiring victory against US imperialism 40 years ago, is a fact that is celebrated and studied by all people seeking liberation and revolution everywhere.  But there have been significant problems, renascent bourgeois and ambitiously corrupt officials, united under a phony “socialist” banner, have relentlessly pursued a course of servicing foreign imperialism.  In growing areas, mass protests brew, as early indicated when, in in one such case,  “Security forces cracked down harshly on protestors from the Kim No village outside Hanoi who were protesting the … decision to confiscate their farmlands and hand it over to foreign developers to build a golf course.”  Clearly, new resistance will grow, and a more clear-sighted revolutionary course is debated.  —  Frontlines ed.]
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A family at the opening ceremony for Vietnam’s first McDonald’s restaurant, in Ho Chi Minh City in February 2014. Commerce and globalization have trumped ideologies. Le Quang Nhat/AFP

The fall of Saigon: How Vietnam ended up in the US orbit

Analysis: 40 years after war, Asian ‘tiger’ draws close to old adversary with geopolitical, cultural and economic ties

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Two stores in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, still popularly known as Saigon, told the story of modern Vietnam one Sunday morning in March.

In a souvenir shop foreign tourists haggled over some of Vietnam’s most iconic T-shirts: Those with the image of Ho Chi Minh, the country’s long-dead father of communism, for instance, and those with the hammer and sickle icon. But down the street in a newly opened Apple store, a crowd of young locals all vied to ask questions about the outlet’s most coveted item: the iPhone 6. And a lucky few with disposable income walked out with their new mobile devices in hands, beaming.

While the hammer and sickle and Uncle Ho’s image may still adorn T-shirts it sells to foreign tourists, Vietnam’s heart throbs for all things American, especially Apple. In 2014, in fact, Vietnam became its hottest market. In the first half of the 2014 fiscal year alone, iPhone sales tripled in this country, far surpassing sales growth in China and India.

But it is not just iPhones, of course, that exemplify America’s powerful presence in Vietnam 40 years after the war ended. Facebook entered Vietnam’s market four years ago and at one point was adding a million signups a month. As of October, it had 30 million users, and that’s out of 40 million Vietnamese who have access to the Internet.

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Another predatory design in Nepal: Israeli “Aid” and the Fraudulent Claim of Humanitarian Credibility

Israel criticized for touting Nepal rescue while Gaza is still in ruins

by Ali Abunimah on Mon, 04/27/2015

Carrying the flag: A photo published by the Israeli army shows its personnel preparing to deploy to Nepal (via Twitter).

The director of Human Rights Watch has criticized Israel for touting its emergency aid efforts for earthquake-devastated Nepal while it continues to block reconstruction in Gaza.

“Easier to address a far away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel’s making in Gaza,” Kenneth Roth tweeted in reference to Israel’s announcement that it was flying 260 Israeli army medical and military personnel to Kathmandu.

“End the blockade!” Roth demanded. Earlier this month, 46 international aid agencies urged sanctions on Israel if it did not end the tight siege on Gaza that has prevented the rebuilding of a single home in the eight months since Israel’s devastating assault last summer.

“The blockade constitutes collective punishment; it is imposed in violation of [international humanitarian law] and, according to the UN, may entail the commission of war crimes,” the report, signed by Oxfam and Save the Children, among others, states.

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On Obama’s Insistence that “We Are Not at War with Islam”

by Gary Leupp, Counterpunch, February 25, 2015

One would like to say that the cruelty of ISIL (ISIS) shocks the entire world. In fact, however, it doesn’t shock everyone. Sad though it may seem to you or me, some people actually observe events in the emergent “Islamic State” with approval and admiration. Thousands of young men and even young women from many countries—even some from Europe and North America—are flocking to ISIL’s black banner. There are various estimates of ISIL strength available, ranging from 30,000 to 100,000. European intelligence agencies estimate that 3,000 young people have joined from the continent.

One should not assume these are all uncivilized thugs, just because they inflict horrible suffering on fellow human beings. They are far from alone in doing that, or in viewing their actions as the administration of some god’s punishment.

We should not presuppose, as Barack Obama suggested in his February 17 speech, that its members join ISIL simply due to such factors as unemployment, alienation and the nebulous phenomenon of “radicalization” to which some minds are strangely vulnerable.

To me they appear as people with a set of serious religious beliefs, including the belief in the existence of a Supreme Being; belief in a holy book of divine authorship; and belief in a set of laws authored by this one-and-only God that—for society to function properly, and the problems posed by modernity fixed—must be rigorously implemented.

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Hollywood’s political deafness: What Cosby, “Selma” and Hebdo reveal about white liberal consciousness

 [Hollywood’s icons, blathering liberal mantras, reveal the bankruptcy of US’ liberal culture in addressing any of the critical issues of the day. — Frontlines ed.]

Hollywood's political deafness: What Cosby, "Selma" & Hebdo reveal about white liberal consciousness

George Clooney at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, Jan. 11, 2015. (Credit: AP/Paul Drinkwater)

 

 Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015

Race and gender politics at this year’s Golden Globes took an unexpected range of twists and turns. First, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler shamelessly mocked the many rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Given that there has been a significant strain of public resistance among some African-Americans to the racial politics of a group of white women dethroning a powerful black man through the accusation of rape, Fey and Poehler’s bit was ballsy, to be sure. But the reality is that Cosby most probably did drug and/or assault many women, white and black. And in the absence of a day in court, he, at the very least, deserves our highest ridicule. It is he, not we, who has “destroyed his legacy.”

Then many of the award winners took especial care to express their solidarity with the people of Paris, still reeling over last week’s terrorist attacks that killed 17 French citizens, including 12 staff members of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine. Many actors and actresses including George Clooney, Kathy Bates and Helen Mirren displayed “Je Suis Charlie” signs and pins on the Red Carpet and during the awards. Clooney even took a moment to mention the massive solidarity marches that took place all over the world on Sunday to honor the victims.

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I Grew Up in Guantanamo: Now That You Have Heard My Story, You Cannot Turn Away

Fahd Ghazy has been illegally detained at Guantánamo since he was 17. He is now 30 years old. He has been cleared for release since 2007. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

 

 

by Fahd Ghazy, long-term uncharged prisoner at Guantanamo, December 9, 2014

To begin, please forgive me for not saying the right things or making the right points. There are different cultures between us and many different experiences.

It hurts me that I do not have the privilege to express myself. I want to have the honor to speak out in my own voice and reach you directly — you who are thinking people. I want to say thank you for caring. You are willing to view me as a human being and that is something so precious to me.

My exposure to the world came through Guantanamo. I was 17 when they sent me here. At that time, I had rarely seen a television or heard a radio. Every significant event in my life, from funerals, to my own wedding, to the birth of my beloved daughter, Hafsa, happened in the Diwan of my own home. Now I am almost 31.

That means I grew up in Guantanamo. I grew up in this system. I grew up in fear. I hope that helps you to understand me.

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The System That Failed Eric Garner and Michael Brown Cannot Be Reformed

 by Mychal Denzel Smith, The Nation blog, December 3, 2014

 

That a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing 43-year-old Eric Garner the same week that President Obama proposed spending $75 million in federal money to outfit 50,000 police officers across the country with body cameras would seem to be hack Hollywood writing with neatly applied plot points. Garner’s death was caught on video—video that the police were aware was being taken—and it still was not enough to indict anyone, least of all the man responsible for choking Garner to death, for any type of wrongdoing. It’s as if this decision was handed to us at this time in order to get us to say, “Now what?”

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Israel: The Jewish-Exclusivist State, Running Out of Borrowed Time

[Caught between its long-discredited mythological claim of “democracy” and its Jewish (Settler-Colonial and Palestinian-Expelling) State reality, the discrediting and de-legitimizing of Israel and the unraveling of its power relations is accelerating by the day.  Even Israel’s closest backers are finding that the defense of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes carries an exceptional political price, so large that it not only damages the credibility of Israel, but the credibility of its backers, with no chance of recovery.   —  Frontlines ed.]

Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia

Philip Weiss on December 6, 2014
omar-barghouti

OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Omar Barghouti’s appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday night felt like a landmark in the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. A large hall at the law school was crowded to overflowing and the mood was celebratory. Luminaries of the community were in attendance, among them Lila Abu-Lughod, Rula Jebreal, Rashid Khalidi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Dorothy Zellner, Lia Tarachansky. Barghouti’s speech was hugely optimistic. He said that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement was racking up victories far faster than the organizers had imagined when they began nine years ago, faster than the South African movement had progressed. And the BDS movement has the “closet” support of the Netanyahu administration, which was doing its utmost to demonstrate the fallacy of a Jewish democracy.

The suspense of waiting for the Israel supporters to say something was a bit of a fizzle, not the big drama it used to be at such events. Law professor Katherine Franke had urged the crowd not to be civil in discussing one of the most challenging moral questions of our time, and at the end, a man at the back said he had a short question.

“Do you believe that the Jewish people have a right to self determination?” And if so, “Where should it be?”

Barghouti said it was not up to him as a Palestinian to decide whether Jewish communities make up a nation, and where they should have a state. Though he pointed out that there was not consensus among Jews globally about whether they are a people; this is a recent debate, and in fact up till the 1945 the majority of  Jews did not support Jewish nationhood. Then he said sharply:

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