The Many Faces of Racism Worldwide

Charleston

Two distinctive facts took place the last days. One peaceful and democratic, such as elections in Denmark, on Thursday and a violent, such as the killing of nine people in a church of Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Regardless of the distance and their difference in nature, the two events have common characteristics and each of them underlines the existing problems of racism, xenophobia and anti-immigration in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

European Face

In Denmark, the Danish People’s Party (DF or DPP), a traditionally populist, far-right party that focuses on immigration and social issues is now the second largest in the country and is going to back the coalition of the center-right bloc.
“Danish voters ousted Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt in an election on Thursday and handed power to an opposition centre-right alliance including huge gains for a eurosceptic, anti-immigrant party”, according to Reuters while teleSUR reports: “Anti-immigration and Euroscepticism triumphed in the Thursday elections, as far right and liberal parties were voted in to replace country’s first female prime minister. Denmark’s center-right bloc secured 90 seats in Parliament, out of a total 179, with liberal opposition leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen to take-on the position of prime minister. The backing from the far right party Danish Peoples’ Party (DF), which secured second place in elections Thursday, gives the coalition a majority”.
“The far-right Danish People’s party (DPP) triumphed in the European elections, winning Denmark’s biggest share of the vote as EU-sceptic parties from across the Nordic countries gained further ground in the European parliament”, notes The Guardian.

According to Reuters again: “The party has already managed to set the agenda on some issues without being in government – mainstream parties across the political aisle talked about curbing immigration, following its lead, and DF won an important concession from centre-right parties on its stance on the European Union. Just before the election, the centre-right parties agreed to support British Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to reform the EU. DF also wants to go further and call an in-or-out referendum on EU membership for Denmark.”

In Europe and inside EU, anti-immigrant parties have gained ground.
“Finland’s anti-immigration Finns party – previously known as the True Finns – increased its number of MEPs to two, but its share of the vote (13%) didn’t match its success in the last national election when it won 19%.” (The Guardian)
In UK elections of early May, the anti-European Union UK Independence Party took 12.6 %, although David Cameron is conservative and eurosceptic enough to announce plans for banning free speech as a form of new counter-extremism laws to tackle terrorism. New laws were due to be introduced in parliament when it would re-open at the end of May, according to The Conversation.

Denmark and UK are the two countries “legally exempt from joining the euro zone unless their governments decide otherwise, either by parliamentary vote or referendum, while the Swedish people turned down euro adoption in a 2003 referendum and since then the country has intentionally avoided fulfilling the adoption requirements by not joining European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), which is voluntary”. (Wikipedia)
Greece is not an exemption to this recent “rule” of raising racism. The ultra nationalist, fascist, neo-nazi and (therefore) anti-immigrant and xenophobic party “golden dawn” has 17 of 300 seats of the Parliament and 3 in the EP. (Wikipedia)
Neither is France, with their far-right National Front of Le Pen family, which has boosted its power at the municipal elections. I
n addition, “NF will spearhead a new far-right political bloc in the European Parliament, a long-delayed move that will boost the funding and influence of anti-immigrant and anti-European Union voices in the legislature. The new group, called “Europe of Nations and of Freedoms,” brings together 36 lawmakers from seven different countries. It will give a higher profile to parties that have been marginalized in Brussels, amid close cooperation among the three main party groups since European-wide elections in May 2014”, reports The Wall Street Journal.

American Face

On the other hand, in USA, the long history of racism seems to revive – if it ever ended.
Killings of African-American citizens by the police are proved to be more a social than an “inside” problem.
Last Wednesday, Dylann Roof, a young white man has shot nine people inside a church of the black community in Charleston. Roof confessed, he has been arrested and is charged with hate crimes and possession of guns.
“Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag”, notes Ta-Nehisi Coates in the The Atlantic.
Although the Confederate flag is presented as a “heritage” symbol by its defenders, the not-so-hidden symbolism remains white supremacy. A symbol asks for action and action needs means.
Widespread possession of arms inside USA is fiercely defended by the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) which is tightly connected with conservatives.
Therefore, no gun control has been applied not even after several mass shootings in the past (Aurora, Newtown etc).
Instead, NRA addresses a message to Barack Obama and to Hilary Clinton (!) claiming that: “…the heroes, the ones who are willing to fight and die for his freedoms demands a commander-in-chief worthy of such sacrifice.” [… ]
Obviously, NRA “feels” that Obama and Hilary have or could do what is logic and necessary: Restrict guns or apply serious measures for gun control.
President Barack Obama however, has used “hard rhetoric” (american mutatis mutandis) on free gun market stating, according to The Atlantic: “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.” Not even close but again that’s USA.

A crucial aspect of this new massacre is, again, racism.
Americans seem to have never learned that all the people, inside and outside their country have human rights. Centuries after the invasion in American continent, they (well, many and not all of them, hopefully) don’t accept that people of all races and religions who are american citizens are equal to “whites”. Decades of fights for equal opportunities and rights have not “touched” a portion of american population. Even worse, they have not changed their mindset which is reflected more often than never into their policies inside and outside their country.

World Face

The way the two above mentioned facts in Denmark and in USA are connected becomes obvious. When “official” violence which aims to suppress movements and fights is not enough or when policies (global, regional or national) have to be imposed without facing reactions and opposition, the “card” of discord, division, internal fights and hate is used.

While USA faces a raise of their “traditional” racism, Europe itself has a long history of exploitation of humans, whether they are residents of their colonies or newcomers into more powerful countries.

Xenophobia, intolerance and racism are used against people who refuge in European countries to save their lives (article TWTP) and are dictated by the intention of governing elites to deviate people’s minds from the real responsible for their problems.
Nations, races or groups of people are demonized and then victimized when an effort is made to cause fear against difference.
Palestinians are such a victim the last 60 years. Of course, their tyrant and exterminator uses fear to obscure the facts and to persuade ordinary people against them presenting them as “threat” and enemy. It is exactly the same as hate of extremists islamists of ISIS who are obsessed in killing anyone they think as enemy.
Western methods of tackling with them do not differ much and they perpetuate the circle of mistrust, fear, intolerance and finally hate.

As far as it concerns EU, a very obscure side of that (not so sudden) raise of anti-immigrant parties is that they are also “eurosceptics”. This combination hides the notion that EU is somehow “the opposite of racism” and serves equality and human rights. Under this aspect, EU is beatified before the eyes of discontented citizens who have lost quality of life, social security, jobs, homes and rights. They are kept “quiet” and happy because the “good Union” protects them from the bad eurosceptics who happen to be racists and officials do not mention the fact that both uprooted people and fascists are their creation.

No surprise that racism (together with all its instigators as well as manifestations) is spreading after a short period of impairment just in time to manipulate low paid and with no social security people (Greece is a representative example). Xenophobia, intolerance and racism serve the perpetually smoldering purpose of a world dominance of elites.

Also published in: Reader Supported News

Relative article from Consortiumnews.com: Facing America’s Great Evils

 

 

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Human Rights and Dying Migrants

This morning Greek media reported the arrival of 1,800 migrants, mainly from Middle East, in central Athens square. They were added to 100,000 people (refugees and migrants) who have crossed Mediterranean since start of 2015 according to UNHCR, “with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.”

EU obviously faces a humanitarian problem and evidently turns a blind eye to it, as its latest political (non) decisions show. (TWTP article Sea of War and Death)

The problem contains several contradictions:
– Human beings lose their lives while trying to escape their countries just to save their own and their children lives. 
– Civil and offensive wars, hunger, turmoil or evictions force people to abandon their residencies, fortunes, homes, jobs, families and homeland in order to survive. The oxymoron here is that a series of events beyond their power, force educated and working, respected and “normal”, until yesterday, people to be uprooted, then to become victims of traffickers and in the end to be treated as “interlopers” in European countries.
– The majority of the problems that their countries face are western-made and EU plays a major role in these. Libya’s (not so) civil war Lethal attempt of USA for a regime change in Syria.
– “Breeding and nurturing” by the West of islamic extremists in order to destabilize so-called enemies during the last decades.
– The consequent empowerment of armed sectarians who turned into a threat even for their funders.
– The newfound (?) “exploitation” of ISIS as a threat requiring restrictions and intercepts and which attempts to generate fear and to boost xenophobia, racism and far right parties in Europe,
and last but not least:

 – The perpetual and never stopped crimes of evictions, settlements, imprisonments and inhuman treatment, to the limits of genocide, in Palestine.

A western person could and should imagine itself and its family threatened by all these dangers. And then, to put itself in the same conditions that all these younger or elder people, women, men and children face when they arrive into european countries.
Dignity is a human right and it is not limited into one’s home or country’s borders and of course not in religion, race or ethnicity.
The self-proclaimed advocates and the self-appointed “defenders” of human rights use double standards, depending on their political and dominating purposes. They invade lands to defend freedoms and they violate major rights inside these lands.

In the present situation, in which Europe does not heed labor force anymore, the victims of western wars address to the instigators of their problems for relief. And the West condemns them for a second time in misery, threats, loss of dignity, inhuman conditions or in the ever existing and present, marginalization – if they survive.

The next thing to wait is an augmenting demonization of migrants – beloved practice of western propaganda. They will all be considered as islamist terrorists and they will be placed in new Guantanamos.

In the name of “safety” of course.

Palestine Joins International Crime Court

 

A call from Gaza: Make Israel Accountable for its Crimes in Gaza – Intensify BDS! Our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun. The outcome of this battle depends on you.
A call from Gaza: Make Israel Accountable for its Crimes in Gaza – Intensify BDS!
Our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun. The outcome of this battle depends on you. Photo: Reuters

Crimes Against Palestinians Do Not Stop

Children of Palestine have been the defenseless living target of Israeli army for a long time.

Since 2000, among the 8,896 Palestinian people killed by security forces were 1,900 children. During 2014, eleven Palestinian children lost their lives while, during the “busy” (because of the elections) first three months of 2015 “at least 30 children across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, sustained gunshot wounds when Israeli forces used live ammunition to quash protests”, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP). Oddly, military regulations “permit the use of live ammunition, only when a direct, mortal threat exists”.
DCIP declared that “found no evidence that the children injured during 2015 posed such a threat to israeli troops or settlers.”

No doubt about it. No “need” to kill. But abductions, imprisonments and use of violence against such a great number of adult Palestinians is already reprehensible, furthermore against children. DCIP called UN member states to hold Israel accountable for crimes against Palestinian children.

Just a few days before the elections of 17th March, the report of UN Human Rights Commission about war crimes of summer 2014 in Gaza Strip -when 2,220 Palestinians were killed, of whom 1,492 were civilians (551 children, 299 women)- was postponed for June, in order to facilitate consideration of newly- surfaced evidence. 
Assume it was not because John Kerry had earlier criticized UN Human Rights Council for “obsession” with human rights and against Israel, something that  “undermines the credibility of the entire organization.”(?)
Even if tortures of prisoners and inhumane and dangerous conditions of detainment have been reported and stigmatized lots of times by numerous Media, organizations and Palestinian Authority, conservative Israeli Media and the government challenge data and reports which show, among others, increased rates of cancer among Palestinian who are detained near nuclear facilities.

Repeated violations of human rights, war crimes, occupation and apartheid are  common knowledge but on the other hand, it is also common practice of israeli authorities to distort and to misinterpret the facts.
Palestinians officially joined International Crime Court on 1st April at a signing ceremony in The Hague attended by diplomats and officials from more than 100 countries. They are expected to pursue charges against Israel for violations of international laws and of course, for war crimes immediately after their admission.

Owned tax revenues in exchange of charges for war crimes

Seeking to avoid the process, in a clearly misleading move, Netanyahu decided the release of tax money that had been illegally seized by israeli authorities since last January. The returned amount will not include tax money of March, but only of January and February. Netanyahu’s office stated that the transfer of the tax revenues to PA “was exclusively based on humanitarian grounds and on Israeli interests”.
Although IMEMC News site published at the end of March information taken from Jerusalem Post, according to which the PA will not pursue formal charges “in exchange of the return of taxes”, Palestinian Foreign minister’s statements during the ceremony at the ICC that “the membership brings the world and Palestine closer to ending a long era of impunity and injustice” leave little margin for doubts. Haaretz reported later, that Palestinians deny “halting war crimes charges in exchange for tax revenues” and characterized the report of JP a “spin put out by Prime Minister’s office”. (Israel is not a signatory to the ICC and does not recognize the court’s authority.)

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti said that, as an official member of ICC, Palestine, “for the first time since 67 years after the establishment of Israel in the historic land of Palestine, there will be a tool, and a means to hold Israel accountable. Israel’s government, its generals and soldiers who continuously commit war crimes against the Palestinians, and Arab nations, must be brought to justice.”

There is no sign of differentiation of israeli policies against Palestinians -quite the opposite. It is understood that Netanyahu’s government is expected to continue demolitions of Palestinian homes, settlements, the occupation and violations of international -humanitarian and other- laws.
In the meantime, although they enjoy the full support of US republicans/ conservatives, their policies cannot afford the intensification of distrust by officials and disdain by citizens in USA.

Impact around the world

The impact of the continuing drama of Palestinian people and the atrocities against them differs in the countries all over the world but remains directly connected to their governments’ policies and their dependence to US conservative cycles.
After the summer 2014 bombings, El Savador, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have withdrawn their ambassadors in protest while Bolivia has filed a case with the United Nations against Israel’s “crimes against humanity”, with President Evo Morales saying on July 30 “we are declaring [Israel] a terrorist state”, reported teleSUR.

On the opposite side, Australia praised “freedom” and “liberty” in “sister country” Israel – the same country where “the Arab-Palestinian citizens should be decapitated if they betray the country”, according to former foreign minister and a partner of the new government, Avigdor Lieberman’s statement before the elections.
Furthermore, Abbot’s government decided last summer not to refer to Occupied Territories as “occupied”.

The Japanese government announced at the first days of April that they will grant the amount of $ 5 million to the World Food Program in support of the poorest Palestinian families who suffer from food insecurity.

On 2nd April, EU and the Netherlands announced a contribution of about $34.2 million (€31.6 million) to the Palestinian Authority’s payment of its civil servants’ March salaries and pensions, as a first part of 2015 contribution.
EU representative called for a “regular” and “systematic” transfer of Palestinian tax revenues.
Inside EU, several countries’ parliaments have conducted non-binding votes in favor of recognition and Sweden was one of the first countries to recognize Palestine in October 2014.
The member of Syriza and of the European parliament Sofia Sakorafa stated that “There is a fixed commitment of the Greek government to recognize Palestine as a state […] I estimate that very soon the Greek government will also raise the issue.” Similarly have expressed 138 countries within the UN.

A possible result of the continuing Palestinian suffering could very well verify the article of Yousef Munayyer in New York Times after the elections, “Netanyahu’s Win Is Good for Palestine”.

Denial of peace, occupations, violations of human rights, crimes, tortures, killings, demolitions and settlements will turn the states (apart from the entire international public opinion) against Israel.

Rising of  BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement is a proof of such a shift and a hope for the future of Palestinians.

Also read:
Greek Association for Solidarity with the Palestinian People – INTIFADA – Open Letter and memorandum of protest to Amnesty International