A constant malaise

The need to customise policies to suit the personal needs of the ruler and the delegation of foreign policy formulation to the military brass has not allowed the foreign office to evolve and function

Policy formulation or the creation of a roadmap for the nation is a serious and complex business requiring foresight, vision, a thorough understanding of the realities, an adherence to its principles and clarity of purpose that points to the chosen direction of the nation. Unfortunately, such a thorough exercise was never deemed necessary by Pakistan’s successive, inept rulers. Mr Jinnah’s speeches provide more than a glimpse of such policies but we lost him and nobody else bothered thereafter.

Pakistan was created to provide a homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent to ensure freedom and opportunities of all kinds including religious freedom and the healthy, unfettered development of its people. Regardless of all the hair raising interpretations and controversies created since about its aims, one thing is quite clear from all the discernible facts that the founders were not in favour of a theocratic state. They were firmly of the belief that Pakistan should be a state that provides equal opportunity and rights to all its citizens regardless of caste, creed, colour or religion without discrimination. Countless speeches by the Quaid are proof of this philosophy. The mess that we have created is the result of our weaknesses, opportunism, inability to maintain direction and failure to grasp the fundamentals of a nation state. 

The status quo has to go

The military’s predominant role in the country’s politics and decision making have been the single largest reason for the failure of constitutional government

So much was expected from our recently held elections, change was the buzzword and hope was in the air. People were prepared to forget that ground realities did not support their wishes; they hoped against hope. In the end, hope was the victim and disappointment our fate.

Since 1958, three parties have ruled Pakistan. The army for 32 years, the PPP of Z A Bhutto for five years with complete independence, the PPP of Benazir/Zardari for about 10 years and Nawaz for another six years; the last two being under an unwritten arrangement with the military whereby the military controls the defence, security and foreign policies of the country, and exercises influence on major domestic issues — a complete violation of the constitution.

How to reform a non-system

The deterioration is rapid; the new government is busy trying to control the new dimensions through the old beaten track methods and is therefore bound to fail 

Pakistan’s socio-economic and political decline along with uncontrolled violence has reached the stage where some are already using the phrase ‘failed state’ while others fear to utter it lest it comes true. Nothing much was done in the last two decades to rectify the mistakes and arrest the decline, as a matter of fact even more glaring errors were committed to compound the situation. There is almost total paralysis in the management of the state and matters are getting out of hand. The present government has done nothing in the last two months to infuse confidence. Its focus, like before, is still on motorways and development of the Punjab. We need to think of alternatives to reform Pakistan.

A special place in hell

by Bradley Burston in Haaretz

In his eleventh-hour decision against attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Netanyahu proved that he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He's something worse. The problem is not so much that the prime minister had first informed the South African government that he would, in fact, attend the ceremony, alongside Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande, and scores of other world dignitaries, among them Iranian President Hassan Rohani, in what is expected to be a world gathering unprecedented in scope.

Nor is the basic problem the fact that the decision was made so abruptly and with such lack of consultation, that the office of President Shimon Peres was thrown for a loop, and it was unclear if arrangements could be made to have Peres represent Israel in Netanyahu's stead. The problem is the reason Netanyahu chose to give: Money. The trip would cost too much. The problem, then, is the message Netanyahu has chosen to send:

Sanitising Mandela

"Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice." Nelson Mandela.

No doubt like many of you I've been thinking a lot about Nelson Mandela. I've also been thinking about how his life and death affects our political fortunes both at home and further afield.

As a young man, on the edge of political consciousness, the anti-apartheid movement and the political left became one and the same to me. It was overwhelmingly the left that allied itself to the ANC cause. Ultimately it was one of the defining factors that allowed me to work out where my politics lay.

Karachi at the mercy of another experiment

The previous two attempts made to tackle Karachi’s violence and law and order situation ended in complete failure 

We are informed by Chaudhry Nisar that momentous decisions are on the anvil for ending Karachi’s misery and restoring law and order to what has been the totally neglected single most important issue in the country for the last 30 years. Over the years, the problems have been deliberately complicated, the players have kept on increasing, the firepower has become sophisticated, syndicates between gangsters and terrorists have emerged, turf wars have intensified, and what was initially a bad situation has been allowed to deteriorate into an enormously complex national problem.

It was surprisingly naive to discuss plans for an operation in such details or even at all. Why are we warning those whom we want to target? The vultures you want to net will fly off! May I remind the minister of previous occasions when people have disappeared with even lesser or no publicity?

The scandal of subsidising miserly employers

The taxpayer is paying benefits to more than 4.2million households in Britain where one or more parties are working, according to parliamentary answers to questions from Bradford West MP George Galloway. "And it's a scandal that we are effectively subsidising miserly employers to the tune of more than £5billion a year, companies who are paying the minimum wage insufficient to bring their employees above the poverty line. We are all paying so that the workers in these exploitative companies can keep a roof over their heads and their children a calorie or two above malnutrition," the MP said.

Galloway continued: "We need to scrap the minimum wage and ensure legally that all employers pay the living wage. That will take away most of the taxpayers' subsidy to these companies, which is the way it should be. No doubt we'll hear the employers' representative whinge that they can't afford it. Poppycock. We abolished slavery a long time ago and the minimum wage is just a legalised, dressed-up version of it."

The MP added:"Of course these are national figures and we know that in poor areas, like Bradford, the concentration will be much higher than one-in-six homes (there are 26 million households in the UK). You have high unemployment - almost 13% in Bradford West - and if you've got a job the likelihood is that you'll be claiming one means-tested benefit or another. And of course it will get worse as the welfare cuts continue to bite. George Osborne claims the economy is on the mend. Well tell that to the men, women and children in more than four million homes who can't earn enough in proper jobs to make ends meet."

You can’t be SYRIOUS

For months, the West, led by USA, has been threatening military intervention in Syria on humanitarian grounds. For the time being, that threat appears to have diminished as the US and Russia cobble together a plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. However, the US says still retains the option to use military force, and with the Western opinion divided, many argue that the option should be pursued as the slaughter of Syrian innocent countries.

Galloway hits out at Gaza's humanitarian catastrophe

Bradford West MP George Galloway has submitted a parliamentary motion pointing out the humanitarian catastrophe playing-out in Gaza and calling for the Foreign Secretary to make urgent representations to Israel, Egypt and the United Nations to help the benighted 1.7million people on the Strip.

The motion:

Crisis in Gaza 

That this House views with grave concern a United Nations report that the situation in Gaza is near the point of catastrophe; underlines that the UN special rapporteur warns that lack of fuel imports has resulted in power cuts dramatically affecting basic services including health, water and sanitation with the result that raw sewage is flooding into the streets; notes that residents only receive power for six hours a day after the only power plant in Gaza was shut down due to a critical fuel shortage three weeks ago; further notes that the little power that is available is not sufficient to meet the needs of specialised health services, such as kidney dialysis, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and incubators, putting innocent lives at risk; concludes that the inhumane, six-year blockade erected by Israel on the tiny strip of land holding 1.7 million people is the principal cause of this widespread suffering and distress, added to recently by the Egyptian military regime's destruction of tunnels on the Rafah border which helped to breach the embargo; and calls on the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to urgently meet with his counterparts in Cairo and Tel Aviv to persuade them to remove the blockade and allow in urgent humanitarian aid and also raise the plight of the people of Gaza at the United Nations General Assembly

Greed is not good, Galloway motion tells the London mayor

Following London mayor Boris Johnson's invoking of Thatcherism, George Galloway today submitted a critical parliamentary motion rebuking him and pointing to the damage the former Iron Lady had caused.

In a speech commemorating Thatcher, Johnson claimed that greed was a valuable spur to economic activity.

The motion: Greed is not good

That this House rejects the greed is good philosophy of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson as expressed in his campaign for Conservative party leadership; fundamentally disagrees that it is futile to attempt to end inequality and that division and the spirit of envy are a valuable spur to economic activity; avers that there is no place for selective schooling in education; considers that building a further London airport in the Thames estuary would be economic and ecological madness; vows that there will be no return to the kind of bitterness and class warfare destructively visited on the country by his idol Margaret Thatcher; and urges the mayor to concentrate on his present job rather setting out his stall for his party's leadership after the 2015 election. 

Is there only one province?

Is Rawalpindi’s condemnable incident a ‘tragedy’ because it happened in Punjab? Is it a tragedy because, for once, Sunnis were killed and not Shias? 

Pakistanis have been facing tragedy almost daily for the last few decades. Violence rages in our cities, towns and villages. What started off in Karachi during the mid-1980s has now spread throughout the country. It has become routine to pick up half-blown bodies from the wreckage of a bombing, rush the haplessly injured to hospitals and witness the funeral of the dead the next day. Violence is caused in our society due to sectarian intolerance, drugs, arms peddling and various other mafia activities. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP’s) war against Pakistan is a major cause of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Karachi. The police, rangers and other agencies’ involvement along with political parties like the PPP, PML-N, MQM and ANP fuels the fire and increases the complexity.

Israel plans to outlaw children born to foreigners

George Galloway submitted the following motion about Israel's plan to refuse to register or provide birth certificates for children born in the country to people who were not Israelis. This is in breach of the UN convention on children's right.

That this House condemns the plan by the Israeli government not to issue birth certificates for babies born to foreigners; points out that this breaches articles 7 and 8 of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, relating to every child's right to a registered name, nationality and the preservation of identity; notes that is another flagrant and unpunished contravention of a UN convention by Israel; but nevertheless urges the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to urge his opposite number to drop this proposal and preserve the enshrined rights of children, whoever they are born to within Israel.

Lebanese Black Market: Syrian Refugees Sell Organs to Survive

In the shadow of the Syrian civil war, a growing number of refugees are surviving in Lebanon by illegally selling their own organs. But the exchange comes at a huge cost.

The young man, who called himself Raïd, wasn't doing well. He climbed into the backseat of the car, in pain, careful not to touch any corners. He was exhausted and dizzy. A large bandage looped around his stomach, caked with blood. Despite that, the 19-year-old Syrian wanted to tell his story.

Seven months ago, he fled the embattled city of Aleppo, in Syria, to Lebanon with his parents and six siblings. The family quickly ran out of money in the capital, Beirut. Raïd heard from a relative that the solution could be to sell one of his kidneys, and then he spoke to a bull-necked man, now sitting in the passenger seat, smoking and drinking a beer.

His acquaintances call the man Abu Hussein. He said he's employed by a gang that works in the human organ trade - specializing in kidneys. The group's business is booming. About one million Syrians have fled into Lebanon because of the civil war in their home country and now many don't know how they can make a living. In their distress, they sell their organs. It's a dangerous and, of course, illegal business. That's why the gang has its operations performed in shady underground clinics.

Abu Hussein's boss is known in the poor areas of Beirut as "Big Man." Fifteen months ago, Big Man gave the 26-year-old a new assignment: find organ donors. The influx of Syrian refugees from the war, Abu Hussein's boss argued, made it more likely people would be willing to sell organs.

Galloway's motions on Roma and private schools

George Galloway submitted two motions to the British parliament on Friday 15 November 2013 - in support of the Roma immigrants attacked by former Home Secretary David Blunkett, and in favour of social mobility and curbs on private schools.

Roma immigrants

That this House condemns the derogatory comments of the member for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough about Roma immigrants; agrees that describing their presence here as likely to lead to an 'explosion' is widely inaccurate and could well lead to stigmatisation, prejudice and Romaphobia; understands that these migrants have been driven to our country through poverty and prejudice; believes that they should be welcomed and notes that repeated studies have shown that immigrants contribute more to our economy than they take out 

Private schools

That this House wholeheartedly agrees with the Prime Minister that there must be much greater social mobility in British society; wonders he has appointed the number of members of his cabinet and close advisers from Eton and other private schools; notes that his government has scrapped the educational maintenance allowance, allowed private school fees to be exempt from VAT, permitted universities to massively hike their fees to the detriment of working class aspirants; and urges him to insist to his Chancellor that one significant way of tackling this problem would be to remove the charitable status of the public school sector.

Galloway calls for police inquiry into Lewis land deal

Bradford West MP George Galloway has written to West Yorkshire chief constable Mark Gilmore asking him to ensure that the police inquiry into Kings Science Academy investigates the role of Tory vice-chairman Alan Lewis over the lease of land on which the school stands.

"Lewis' name is all over the initial report of financial irregularities at Kings but has been redacted in the published version," said Galloway. "He was a patron or benefactor of some sort of the academy. His company signed a 20-year deal to lease the land he owns on which the academy is built - at the quite extraordinary sum of £296,000 a year. According to a whistleblower who has come to me and who was involved in this farrago that is many times the going rent in Bradford. And on top of the £6 million in rent Lewis's company will inherit the £10 million building; all of this public money, all of this the very definition of a scandal."

Galloway added: "There is clearly the question of whether there is a conflict of interest here. But what the public needs to know is just who at the school was involved in agreeing this land deal and why a rent way over the odds was signed-off and paid for by the taxpayer. We already know that someone at the school forged and submitted invoices in the name of Lewis' company. The police must include this highly-questionable deal in their investigation, which is why I have written to the chief constable today."

Galloway pursues free school 'fraud'

A highly-critical investigative report into apparent fraud at one of the government's flagship free school was not investigated.

George Galloway has put down dozens of questions in parliament demanding to know why the Department of Education did not ensure that the police were called in to look at the financial irregularities at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, a free school which has been visited and praised by Prime Minister David Cameron and education secretary Michael Gove.

"The report makes clear that more than £80,000 of public money was misappropriated," said Galloway, "and the department singularly failed to make this known to the police. Instead it appears that someone made a telephone call which was logged as 'information only' and what any reasonable person having read the report would conclude as fraud was not investigated."

The Bradford West MP continued: "Mind you, if the report which was made public was handed over it would have made no sense because all of the crucial information has been redacted. And the DfE will not publish a clean one. At the beginning of this I wondered if there had been incompetence or a cover-up. Now it is clear there was both."

Galloway calls for urgent action on air pollution

The Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway today called for urgent action to improve air quality in the city which has the fourth-highest number of emergency hospital admissions for asthma in the country. And he hit out at the "churlish, petty and damaging" views expressed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders on Bradford council "who clearly believe this isn't a problem".

According to campaigning group Asthma UK, which is to give evidence to parliament next month, the city is one of the worst places in the country if you are an asthma sufferer. And air pollution is the principal cause.

"It's not often I commend an initiative by the Labour-controlled council but I hope the recommendations by its Defra-funded study on air quality improvement are rubber-stamped next week," Galloway said." It's obvious that vehicle pollution, particularly from heavy goods vehicles and buses, is one of the major causes of some 853 emergency hospital admissions last year of asthma sufferers. Pollution is particularly high in parts of my constituency, like Manningham for instance.

Asylum: Britain is an open-air prison for the most needy

Once again, a report on the asylum system in Britain has revealed the cruel and unusual punishment of applying for help from Great Britain.

Some applicants are waiting up to 16 years for a decision. A backlog of 32,600 cases from 2011 is yet to be resolved. The number of applicants waiting over six months rose by 63% last year. Some 3,500 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision.

The cruelty of the asylum system is not in the decisions it reaches. It is in the legal and financial limbo it puts asylum seekers in while they get lost in the machine.
Those having their asylum status decided are not allowed to work and they are not allowed to claim benefits. They are given £36.62 a week, to be collected from the Post Office, for sustenance.

They can apply to the UK Border Agency for help with accommodation if they are destitute.  The housing, provided by private contractors like Serco and G4S, was attacked as "sub-standard" by MPs today. The anecdotal evidence is of grey, despairing places in a state of disrepair, full of lost people.

The asylum system turns Britain into a vast open-air prison. One asylum seeker who arrived in the UK after being held in a jail in Iran told me that his prison had merely been expanded. Without the right to work, or claim benefits, or volunteer, he was trapped in a state of inaction, of half-presence. The system would not respond to questions. For years on end, you would hear nothing. It is a legally mandated half-state, a state-imposed lethargy.

It really doesn't matter which side of the immigration or asylum debate you're on. You can be as anti-asylum as you like. Whichever way you look at it, this system is intolerable. It doesn't just condemn the vulnerable to an excuse of a life. It also, as home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz pointed out today; potentially allow war criminals and terrorists into Britain, hiding in the grey areas of a convoluted and malfunctioning bureaucratic system.

The system must be fixed and made to function, not just to provide help for those who most need it, but also to get rid of those who don't. But for that to happen there must be public pressure. Today is a rare day when asylum won a place in the news headlines. Unless that happens more often, the system will remain a forgotten mechanism, letting down the country and the needy at once.

by: Ian Dunt

Congestion charge rip-off

George Galloway has written to every member of the London Assembly about the websites which rip-off motorists by appearing to be official ones to pay congestion charges. In fact they levy a healthy premium and are probably illegal.
The text of the letter is here:
Dear London Assembly Member,
You may have seen the ITV London News at 6pm last night, the excellent top item of which was a story from Simon Harris about the unofficial websites that exist to rip off London’s motorists trying to pay the congestion charge online. I tabled a motion in parliament (see link below) in early September after my chief of staff, an Oxbridge graduate no less, was conned by such a website and I then discovered these websites had been in existence for a long time conning and ripping off an untold number of London motorists. The sites are deliberately designed to look like an official site and the people behind them manipulate google so that their site comes first when you google, say, “pay congestion charge”.

Burma's Violence Demands Greater International Attention

Religious violence in Burma, also known as Myanmar, has become the new breeding ground for sectarian violence. Much of the violence this past week has been instigated by radical Buddhist mobs belonging to the notorious 969 Movement at Rohingya Muslims, which constitute less than 5% of Burma’s total population, and are of Bengali heritage. The 969 Movement is led by Ashin Wirathu, a relatively unknown Buddhist monk who claims to preach nonviolence but actively loathes Muslims, who he sees as part of a malevolent mission to eradicate the country’s Buddhist majority.
Rohingya Muslims face draconian social and economic restrictions, and they are not entitled to full citizenship. Moreover, they are unable to marry individuals outside their faith. Beginning this year, mosques were heavily looted and destroyed, inciting greater animosity between the two groups.

Galloway submits motions of soldiers' sectarianism and MPs extra allowances

George Galloway today submitted two parliamentary motions which should appear on the order paper tomorrow (Tuesday) or Wednesday.

British soldiers and sectarianism

That this House condemns the reprehensible and ill-disciplined behaviour of members of the Armed Forces including some Royal Marine soldiers at Ibrox Park, the home of Glasgow Rangers, on Saturday 28th September 2013 on what was dubbed an “armed forces' day”; notes the sickening scenes as they chanted songs attacking Catholics, embraced braying fans and held up sectarian banners; questions the role of the senior officers who apparently sanctioned the event and appeared to take no action to halt the behaviour; and demands that those marines who joined in this hatefest are severely disciplined.  

 The bedroom tax and MPs’ allowances

That this House notes that under the bedroom tax more than 600,000 social tenants with spare rooms must either move or pay an average of £14-a-week penalty; further notes that  members of parliament with a spare room in their London homes can claim an additional allowance if a child or children routinely resides with them; notes that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has ruled that they will still be eligible for the additional allowance if the child visits just once a month; condemns the 29 hypocritical MPs who, while backing the bedroom tax, have claimed an additional £64,000 and a further 20 who claimed £37,000; and urges the government to end this unfair allowance which can only reflect badly with members of the public.

The scandal of stop and search

Respect's Lee Jasper argues that the Tory-led coalition has purged all traces of anti-racism and multiculturalism while following the French model

May I apologise in advance dear reader this is rather long article. It seeks to deal with issues that a rarely covered elsewhere in any depth and so by its very nature has become a complex read. I hope nevertheless you will take the time to read it as I have laboured long in writing this for you. Get a cup of tea, relax and put your feet up.

You will no doubt not completely agree with all I have written here, but in prompting debate its important that there is compelling argument. 

I didn’t submit a consultation response to the Governments snap 8 week summer consultation on the police power of stop and search. After 30 years of an almost relentless rise in rates of stop and search under Tory, Labour and now a Tory led Coalition Government and countless consultations I really didn't see much point. 
There are number of other reasons why I chose not to formally submit a view, but primary among them was that I, along with many of Britain’s black communities, have zero confidence in the Government’s commitment to tackle racism either more broadly or within the criminal justice system in particular. 

Is she serious about reform? 
This Tory led Coalition government has engaged in an ideologically driven purge that has seen the gradual elimination and eradication of all traces of anti-racism or multiculturalism in Government policy. As far as race is concerned the Prime Minister has adopted the French model in dealing with racism  and determined no special provision, no focus on difference, no special interest group’s agenda’s and has given the issue zero political priority

This has seen the dismissal of all national Black and ethnic minority consultation forums, the proscription of single ethnic funding for disadvantaged groups and promoted the most disgraceful demonization of immigrant communities. In addition, they have enfeebled the Equalities Human Rights Commission removing Black and Asian Commissioner’s, slashed budgets and sacked workers. They have made a bonfire of legal aid cuts and left black people with no ability to easily or affordably access or enforce our rights to be protected from racism and unlawful discrimination.

Suffering under the Israeli-Egyptian siege of Gaza

Waiting to pass the Rafah crossing

From Shahd Abusalama, courtesy of the Electronic Intifada. Shahd blogs as Palestine From My Eyes
As I write, I am supposed to be somewhere in the sky, among the clouds, flying to Istanbul to begin my graduate studies. But I could not catch my flight, as I am still trapped in the besieged Gaza Strip, sitting in darkness during the power cuts caused by fuel crisis, trying to squeeze out my thoughts during what is left of my laptop’s charge.

As much as I am attached to Gaza City, where I was born and spent all 22 years of my life, each day I spend trapped in it makes me despise living here. Each day that passes makes me more desperate to set myself free outside this big, open-air prison. Each day makes me unable to stand the mounting injustice, torment, brutality and humiliation.

I have never experienced as many extreme ups and downs as I did this month. Despite the hardships throughout September, I also had some immensely happy moments. I think I will remember them the rest of my life. 

This is life in Gaza: highs amid lows, everything in the balance, nothing secure from day to day, no plans, no guarantees.

The silent military coup which took over Washington

This time it's Syria, last time it was Iraq. 

Vietnam dioxin
Children, many of whose deformities are believed to be the results of the chemical dioxin that the US used in the Vietnam war, play outside a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photograph: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

On my wall is the Daily Express front page of September 5 1945 and the words: "I write this as a warning to the world." So began Wilfred Burchett's report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.
Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again we are held hostage by the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity's most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.

The Killing of Tony Blair becomes reality

"Some people make a living, others make a killing''

George Galloway's documentary on Tony Blair green lit

Less than a week after announcing he was planning to make a documentary on the 'crimes' of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, George Galloway's project has raised almost all of the initial funding.

As of today almost £39,000 of the £50,000 asked for - around 80% of requested budget - has been pledged on the Kickstarter site. It is anticipated that the target may be reached as early as the end of this week, with more than 30 days still to go on the appeal.

'It's a fantastic response,' said the Bradford West MP. 'It just shows that the general public want to see Blair exposed. I hope that with the evidence we produce in this film it will end up with him being tried for war crimes in the Hague.'

The documentary, presented by Galloway, will describe how Tony Blair, in Galloway's words, killed the Labour party, was guilty of killing a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and came out of it all to make his own financial killing.

George Galloway's barnstorming speech on Syria

George Galloway made a crucial intervention in the debate in the British parliament opposing the attack on Syria. The government, which was confident on winning the debate, lost the vote.

Members of Parliament had been recalled, at vast public expense, for the debate on Thursday.

The Hidden Genocide of Muslims

by Diane Weber Bederman

I've been reading about the war in Burma/Myanmar. It's a conflict between the Buddhist Burmese majority and approximately 800,000 Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan (Rakhine) State. They are among the world's least wanted and most persecuted people.

I'll try to explain what's happening. The Media have been remiss in reporting the story.

"Human Rights Watch accused authorities in Burma, including Buddhist monks, of fomenting an organized campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority that killed hundreds of people and forced 125,000 from their homes," This campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State has been going on since June 2012. October 2012, tens of thousands of Muslims were terrorized and forcibly relocated, denied access to humanitarian aid and have been unable to return home. It's a humanitarian crisis.

Most of us are familiar with Buddhist monks self-immolating in the name of freedom but I don't see any of that going on in Burma in the name of freedom for the Muslims.

Parliament recalled for war vote

Members of Parliament have been called back from their holidays to discuss and vote on Thursday whether Britain should take part in military action against Syria.

George Galloway has already expressed his typically forthright opinion.

“Wag the Dog” – The Sequel Set in Syria

Over the last couple of weeks a western-backed (and armed) military junta slaughtered many hundreds of Egyptians in broad daylight live on television. The death toll, still concealed, may have been thousands.

The west confined itself to disapproving words and calls for “restraint” on “both sides” – even though the victims were unarmed.

In Syria hundreds of people have just been slaughtered in circumstances which are entirely unclear, and the west is about to launch (in our case without parliamentary approval with the prime minister acting from a beach in Cornwall) a military attack with entirely unforeseen consequences on Damascus.

There is a “Wag the Dog” element about this, and indeed the war of President Clinton’s penis satirised in that masterful award-winning movie has already proved a handy diversion from Egypt before its even started.

It is entirely implausible that the Syrian regime chose the moment of the arrival of a UN chemical weapons inspection team to launch a chemical attack on an insurgency already suffering reverse after reverse on the battlefield and steadily losing international support with each new video showing them eating the hearts of slain soldiery and sawing of the heads of Christian priests with bread knives.

In the absence of conclusive evidence one would have to believe that the Assad regime was mad as well as bad to have launched such a chemical attack at a time when it is in less danger than it has been for almost a year. I do not believe that Bashar is mad.

Is Islamophobia a form of racism

Is Islamophobia a form of racism: from the History of Al-Andalus to Fanon’s Zone of Being and Zone of Non Being.
Professor Ramon Grosfoguel, one of the leading de-colonial thinkers and academics of the contemporary world, is an associate professor in the Ethics Study Department of the University of California, Berkeley. He has been instrumental in setting up de-colonial projects around the world.
In his lecture given on 12 December 2012 at the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Professor Grosfoguel discusses the historical development of racism and issues related to the concept of Islamophobia.
The rise of Islamic discourse and Islamophobia in Europe has become very prominent over the last ten years. This lecture is particularly relevant as Islamophobia is not widely accepted as a form of racism. For example, the French government opposes and actively blocks Islamophobia as racism on the grounds that racism is colour discrimination.
Grosfoguel provides a concise history of the emergence of racism in order to more clearly define the notion of racism, historically not semantically.

Greatness to Genocide - why is our Ummah suffering?

"The road to genocide", "Missing Muslim narrative" and "how Islam became colonised" are a few groundbreaking talks!

A manifesto we can embrace

The suggested manifesto below - cribbed from a letter to the Guardian and aimed at Labour (no chance there then!) - is surely the perfect one for Respect?

The Labour party seems to be in search of an identity and a policy agenda. About time too. Here are some suggestions for a manifesto, all of which look like common sense.

Repeal all the coalition's NHS legislation and start all over again. Impose effective regulation of privatised utilities, capping their profits and prices. Take the railways back into public ownership as the franchises end. Abandon PFI and find ways of terminating the existing contracts. Stop privatising. It is only "efficient" at maximising profit for private vested interests. Cap rents in the private sector and begin a substantial social housing programme. Make the living wage mandatory, thereby transferring costs from the public purse to the firms who are currently subsidised by the taxpayer. Stop persecuting the unemployed and disabled, and sack Atos.

Clean out the Augean stables of HMRC, start collecting taxes from the rich and shift taxation from basic income and everyday consumption towards property. Abandon Trident and new aircraft carriers, and convert shipyards and nuclear weapons facilities to producing green energy technologies. Stop fracking. Invest in home insulation, which will reduce demand for gas and electricity and create jobs. Mount a full investigation into the illicit activities of the police and special branch, especially as directed against innocent activists. Ban lobbying and remove private interests from direct influence on government. Implement Leveson.

These are modest proposals, and should win votes. But it would be good to see a political party proposing policies because they are the right thing to do.

John WaltonLancaster

Greatness to Genocide Events

Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) UK presents one day conferences in Manchester and London.

To get more details and reserve your place at these events please click on the image above.

Stop Islamophobia Week is back for 2013

"The soldier told the mother to make the child stop crying. But when the baby continued to cry, he took it from the mother and slit its throat. Then he laughed", recounted Munira, who lost 22 members of her family.

These events happened in the heart of Europe, just 18 years ago.

This child and more than 8000 other victims were murdered simply because they were Muslims. Yet, as hatred against Muslims rises once again across Europe, the anniversary of this massacre each July is practically forgotten.

This is why MPACUK launches Stop Islamophobia Week on 8th – 14th July every year, to remember our brothers and sisters who died in the Srebrenica Massacre and to take action to stop the growing Islamophobia we are all facing today.

Just recently, after the Woolwich attacks this year, Islamophobia against Muslims has dramatically increased with more than 160 cases being reported to an Islamophobia monitoring hotline. They include nine attacks on mosques, assaults, racial abuse and anti-Muslim graffiti. An improvised petrol bomb was thrown at a mosque in Milton Keynes during Friday prayers, while attacks have also been reported in Gillingham, Braintree, Bolton and Cambridge.

Insha-Allah we will be raising awareness of the threat of Islamophobia and what we all need to do to prevent such hate ever reaching the point where Muslims face ethnic cleansing and genocide, as they did just a few years ago in Bosnia.

We are calling on all our Muslim brothers and sisters and every person who cares about humanity and justice to be part of Stop Islamophobia Week. Islamophobia is a threat to us all, the evidence is all too real:

• An Islamic boarding school was set on fire while innocent children and staff were inside.
• An Islamic community centre and mosque was burnt to the ground. This is not the first arson attack on a mosque.
• Muslim sisters have had their scarves pulled off in the street and been spat at and verbally abused.
• A Muslim student, Yasir Abdelmouttalib, was left with severe brain injuries after being attacked on his way to the mosque by an anti-Muslim gang, who beat him into a coma.
• Imams have been attacked by Islamophobic thugs, entering the mosque and gauging their eyes.

Every single day Muslims face abuse, discrimination and Islamophobia in the media that further fans the flames of hatred. Now is the time to learn the lessons from Srebrenica. Thousands were murdered and tens of thousands forced from their homes for the simple reason that they were Muslims, while the world stood by and watched. Now is the time to say, “Never again” …and to put those words into action.

Source: www.mpacuk.org