Can Maduro Emulate Cuba and Syria to Keep NATO’s Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela?

Global Research, February 18, 2019
Nicolas Maduro Moros

Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

Empires with internal problems tend to create external crises to distract the public opinion and unite their political and economical ruling class in a fictitious nationalistic fervor. The current United States policy of overt regime change in Venezuela, backed entirely by its NATO vassals, follows an evergreen imperial playbook of creating new crises to obscure failures and divisions.

In addition to the administration’s overall incompetence, the legal investigations through the Mueller inquiry, and the failure to deliver to its MAGA sycophants their big wall, it has passed unnoticed, and it will never be admitted by US officials or media that the US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Syria are in fact lost. Assad will remain in power, and the US administration has publicly admitted that it was negotiating with the Taliban. The temptation for the empire’s ideologues is too strong not to follow the precept: when you have lost a war, you declare victory and you leave. And next time around, you try to pick a weaker target.

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

A prime example of this in recent history was the way the events of September 11, 2001 were used internally to justify the emergence of a police state, using far-reaching legislation like the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Externally, 911 was successfully used by the US to trigger, almost immediately, an invasion of Afghanistan with the entire NATO membership under the hospice of the military alliance’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all. This was the very first time, since the creation of NATO in 1949, that Article 5 was put into force.

With the US public opinion still largely revengeful, misinformed by media manipulations, and eager to wage war, two years later, in 2003, it was fairly simple for the Bush administration and its neocons to sell the invasion of Iraq as a war of necessity, and not for what it truly was: a war of choice, for oil and greater control of the Middle East. Cynically, the aftermath of 9/11/2001 gave the empire and its powerful military-industrial complex two wars for the price of one.

Imperial logic III: People are collateral damage of “Realpolitik”

Great moral principles of altruistic universal humanitarian concerns are almost never at stake in these instances. They are mainly smoke screens to hide the board of a cold, Machiavellian, and complex chess game where innocent bystanders often perish by the millions. They are the acceptable collateral damage of realpolitik’s grand strategists. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the true guiding principle of US imperial realpolitik, and all US foreign policy decisions that derived from it, was to stop the so-called communist domino effect.

Communist domino effect: three simple words for a game that killed millions of innocent people worldwide, first in Korea in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, and later, under the tutelage of some of the very same criminal architects, in Central and South American countries like Chile. Now in their golden years, most of these murderous policymakers, like Henry Kissinger, enjoy an active retirement with honors, respect and, unlike their colleague Robert McNamara, not a hint of remorse.

One of these policymakers, a veteran of US imperialism in Central America and also one of the staunchest advocates of Iraq’s invasion in 2003, has made a come back. He is neocon extraordinaire Elliot Abrams. Abrams has been rewarded for his actions in the Iran-Contra affair, El Salvador, and Nicaragua with a nomination as Special Envoy of the Trump administration for Venezuela. In other words, Abrams is in charge of the US-sponsored coup task force against Venezuela’s legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who, on paper, did not stand a chance eventually through sheer determination, organization and vast popular support, won on the battlefield. Vietnam is obviously a special case in this regard, as the Vietcong of Ho Chi Minh managed to defeat, almost back to back, the old colonial masters of the French empire in the 1950s, and of course soon thereafter, the US empire.

In the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, Castro’s days seemed to be numbered. More recently, in Syria, all the lips of the NATO coalition, Israel and Gulf State allies were chanting in unison that as a precondition for resolving the Syrian crisis, “Assad must go!” By 2017, however, some coalition members such as Qatar, France and Germany were not so adamant about the “Assad must go” mantra. Not only did Bashar al-Assad not go, but also, as matter of fact, he is regaining control of his entire country, on his own terms.

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, had in Fidel Castro a source of inspiration and the guidance of a father figure. Chavez, like other neo-Marxists, looked up to Fidel for leading a successful revolution, through military action, which had toppled the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. This regime was not only a docile servant of the US government but was also directly associated with the Mafia’s criminal activities in Cuba in the era of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. With Batista’s complicity, American gangsters had turned Cuba into a gambling and prostitution paradise where the US’ unscrupulous rich went to play. Castro shut down the bordello that had become Cuba and proudly rebuilt his island, and he consciously set out to transform Cuba slowly and steadily into a socialist country.

Needless to say, the shutdown of their depraved and lucrative tropical paradise was unacceptable for the US empire’s ruling elites. Against all odds, the Cuban communist leader managed to defy one US administration after another, and without compromise remained at the helm of the Cuban revolution. It was not for a lack of trying either to invade Cuba, as in the Bay of Pigs botched invasion episode, or to cook up countless assassination attempts on Castro’s person. Starting almost immediately after he took power in 1959, Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts. From the Kennedy era all the way to the Clinton administrations, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 plots to kill him. Some of the attempts involved collaborations of the Mafia with the CIA. Castro once said, “if surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal!” It has to be added that, at least so far, Fidel Castro has also won a posthumous gold medal for ensuring the legacy of the Cuban revolution.

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

Almost eight years ago, some people in quiet mansions, regal palaces or discrete offices in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv or undisclosed locations came up with what appeared to be an excellent plan. They would hijack some of the genuine energy of the Arab Spring then quickly sponsor it with a huge arsenal, while hiring some supposed good Djihadists soldiers-of-fortune as the main muscle to get rid of the uncooperative Bashar al-Assad. In what I called in May 2013, an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit,” the Western and Gulf States coalition to topple Assad was born. In the US, the late Senator John McCain was one of the cheerleaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Eight years later, with Syria in ruins, 350,000 people dead, around 4.5 million refugees still scattered principally in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Assad has prevailed in a bittersweet victory, considering that his country has been wrecked as a battleground for proxy wars. Bashar al-Assad did not win on his own. He managed to retain complete loyalty from the Syrian army during the past eight gruesome years. Assad also could count on the military involvement of dependable allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran and, of course, a critical impact of Russia once Putin’s administration decided to commit military assets and troops.

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

One can only hope that Venezuela’s US-sponsored coup attempt using the subterfuge of a phony revolution does not follow the track of Syria in terms of the mayhem. However, the analogies are numerous between Maduro’s situation today and that of Assad in 2011. First, Maduro has at his disposal a reasonably well-equipped military as well as the Chavista militia. To defeat the unfolding coup attempt, the loyalty of the armed forces has to be ironclad. Second, just as Assad has done, Maduro must work to cultivate, in pragmatic ways, both regional and worldwide alliances.

Cuba will do a lot to help. But will Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay go beyond diplomatic posturing in their solidarity with Maduro against NATO’s imperialism? How involved and how far, either economically or, in a worse-case scenario, militarily are Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran willing to go? In geopolitics, unlike diplomacy, only actions talk. Venezuela has a massive bargaining chip in the form of the mostly untapped biggest oil reserve in the world. This is Maduro’s ultimate ace in this game, and it should be used shrewdly. In realpolitiks, friends might be temporary, and they always want something. This is not an altruistic environment.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

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15 حزيران يوم عربي للتضامن مع أميركا اللاتينية

يناير 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– منذ اللقاء التاريخي الذي جمع القائد العربي الراحل جمال عبد الناصر بالقائد الثوري أرنستو تشي غيفارا في الخامس عشر من حزيران من العام 1959، وهو اللقاء الذي تحل ذكراه الستون بعد خمسة شهور، والتلاقي بين نضال شعوب منطقتنا لمواجهة مشاريع الهيمنة الأميركية والعدوان الصهيوني ونضال شعوب أميركا اللاتينية في مواجهة الأنظمة العميلة لواشنطن ومشاريع العدوان والهيمنة الأميركية العنصرية للمستوطنين البيض على السكان الأصليين الحمر للقارة الأميركية، تعبير عن ترابط عميق نادر، وحاجة فكرية وسياسية لنضال شعوب المنطقتين البعيدتين في الجغرافيا، الحاسمتين في الأهمية الاستراتيجية، المتكاملتين في القدرة على هز عروش الإمبراطوريات.

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– مع حصار كوبا، رغم صمودها، ورحيل جمال عبد الناصر رغم استمرار خيار المقاومة، تراجعت حرارة الحضور للنضال المشترك لشعوبنا وشعوب أميركا اللاتينية، حتى جاء القائد الراحل هوغو شافيز، ووجد نظيره في الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ليجدّدا معاً لقاء عبد الناصر وغيفارا. وكما في اللقاء الأول قبل ستين عاماً،

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كان اللقاء الثاني في القمة العربية اللاتينية التي عقدت في الدوحة قبل عشر سنوات تماماً وتبعتها زيارات متبادلة للرئيسين شافيز والأسد، تأكيداً على عمق التلاقي، والعمق له عنوان واحد في الماضي كما الحاضر كما في المستقبل، وهو فلسطين.

– تميّزت فنزويلا بقيادة شافيز ومن بعده مع القائد المقاوم نيكولاس مادورو بموقف حاسم من القضية الفلسطينية، ومن سورية والمقاومة من جهة، ومن «إسرائيل» من جهة مقابلة، وبالمقياس المصلحي الذي يتحدّث عنه كثير من اللبنانيين والعرب لتبرير التخاذل حتى الخيانة، خاطرت فنزويلا بمصالحها لأجل الوقوف مع قضية حق اسمها فلسطين، وشكلت مواقفها إدانة وتعرية لمواقف الحكومات العربية الذاهبة للتطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في زمن تغلق فنزويلا السفارة الإسرائيلية، وترفع علم فلسطين في ساحاتها ومناسباتها، ولمن يصدّق ولمَن لا يصدّق، ما دبر لفنزويلا ويدبر لها منذ سنوات، هو عقاب على مواقفها من أجل فلسطين.

– أضعف الإيمان أن نقف مع فنزويلا، لأننا نقف مع أنفسنا، ورسالتنا عبر فنزويلا للعالم أننا نقدِّر من يقف معنا، ولا نبيع ولا نشتري بالصمت أو بالتراضي أو بالتغاضي، وهذا اضعف الإيمان. فالرسالة الأميركية والإسرائيلية، واضحة ومضمونها أن مصير مَن يقف مع فلسطين هو الاقتلاع والحصار دون أي اعتبار للمعايير القانونية والدستورية، وهو مضمون الرسالة ذاتها التي حملتها الحرب على سورية. وكما كان الحكام العرب يدافعون عن خيانتهم بوقوفهم في خندق الحرب على سورية، يقفون اليوم في خندق الحرب على فنزويلا. وكما انتصرت سورية ستنتصر فنزويلا، فأميركا بعد الهزيمة في سورية هي غير أميركا قبلها، والعالم بعد النصر السوري هو غير العالم قبله، والانتقال الأميركي إلى فنزويلا هو علامة ضعف لا علامة قوة. فالشعب والجيش في فنزويلا سيقفان في المرصاد، لمحاولات الغزو والعدوان، وسيكون للرصاصة الأولى فعل سحري في كشف حقيقة ما يجري أمام المأخوذين بأكاذيب المعارضة التي لا تشبه أحداً إلا عينات سوق النخاسة للمعارضة السورية، ودواعش العنصرية البيضاء سيتكفّلون بفضح طبيعة البديل الذي تحمله هذه المعارضة. فجيوشهم الحقيقية هي الجماعات البيضاء الفاشية، وعصابات القتل والإجرام المموّلة من تجار السلاح والمخدرات.

– كما كان للسنوات التي مضت عنوان واحد هو سورية، سيكون للشهور المقبلة عنوان هو فنزويلا. وكما لم تبخل فنزويلا لا يحق لنا أن نتردّد، وليكن الاستعداد والإعداد من اليوم لإحياء يوم الخامس عشر من حزيران المقبل كيوم للتضامن العربي اللاتيني، تحييه كل القوى والنخب العربية المؤمنة بفلسطين، وبتكامل نضال الشعوب بوجه الهيمنة والعدوان، وبأن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الأول القائم على إبادة السكان الأصليين الذي تمثله اميركا، لا تنفصل عن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الثاني الذي يمثله احتلال فلسطين، ولتبدأ الفعاليات التضامنية من اليوم بلا انقطاع ليصل الصوت قوياً إلى كاراكاس، لستم وحدكم أيها الأحرار… ونحن قوم لا ننسى وقفات العز وأهلها.

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The Americans wet their pants because of the Russian Tu-160 in Venezuela

December 13, 2018

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated and subtitled by Eugenia

Bullying Cuba

Bullying Cuba

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 24.12.2017 | OPINION

Bullying Cuba

As has been confirmed by Trump’s reaction to the condemnation of his administration by the United Nations, the US president is a malevolent, insolent, arrogant, sabre-brandishing bully with all the refinement, grace and style of a sacksful of wet fishtails. His policy towards Cuba is well in line with his overall attitude of intimidation, but his specifically anti-Cuba obsession is nothing new in Washington.

It was the great American song satirist, Tom Lehrer, who suggested that “political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize” in 1973, and there are few who would disagree with him. He was referring to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (now aged 94), who, among other evil excesses, ordered the illegal bombing of Cambodia in 1969-73 that killed countless civilians, so Lehrer was being lenient to a man who will go down in history as a duplicitous barbarian.

In 2014 it was revealed that in 1976 Kissinger told President Ford “I think sooner or later we are going to have to crack the Cubans” and “I think we have to humiliate them.” He went further by saying “I think we are going to have to smash Castro,” because the Cuban leader was not doing the bidding of the United States. Ford agreed, but lost the next election, and a measure of sanity prevailed after Jimmy Carter took over. Cuba’s leader wasn’t going to be assassinated, nor his people humiliated, but the campaign of hatred continued.

Cuba has been targeted by Washington ever since Fidel Castro toppled the CIA-supported, Mafia-loving dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959. The New York Times observed that “it was Mr. Castro’s obsession with the United States, and America’s obsession with him, that shaped his rule. After he embraced Communism, Washington portrayed him as a devil and a tyrant and repeatedly tried to remove him from power through an ill-fated invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, an economic embargo that has lasted decades, assassination plots, and even bizarre plans to undercut his prestige by making his beard fall out.”

Castro was hardly a saint. He ruled ruthlessly and murdered many of his opponents. But such behaviour by other dictators around the world has not, over the years, necessarily caused the United States to attempt their assassination or try to invade their countries. In 2007 the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that the CIA had conspired with a Chicago gangster described as “the chieftain of the Cosa Nostra and the successor to Al Capone” in an attempt to assassinate Castro. According to CIA documents, “because of its extreme sensitivity, only a small group was made privy to the project. The DCI [Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles] was briefed and gave his approval.”

Henry Kissinger was responsible for the deaths in hellish circumstances of very many more people than Fidel Castro, and “advised Mr Trump on foreign policy matters” for years because, as Trump declared after a meeting with him in May 2017, “Henry Kissinger has been a friend of mine, I’ve liked him. I’ve respected him. But we’ve been friends for a long time, long before my emergence into the world of politics, which has not been too long.”

Kissinger with Trump in the White House, May 2017

So one wonders if Kissinger advised Trump on his confrontational policy regarding Cuba, although, of course, Trump’s vindictive viciousness could be simply part of his fixation on destroying everything achieved by President Obama, about whom he appears to be paranoid.

Fidel Castro once commented that “for such a small country as Cuba to have such a gigantic country as the United States live so obsessed with this island is an honour for us,” but three years ago Obama tried to bring a bit of sanity to the absurd farce that had been playing for over half a century. As the New York Times reported, “in December 2014, President Obama used his executive powers to dial down the decades of antagonism between Washington and Havana by moving to exchange prisoners and normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, a deal worked out with the help of Pope Francis and after 18 months of secret talks between representatives of both governments.”

That was a sensible, compassionate and civilised approach, especially as the eyes of the world were continually being drawn to the modern-day Concentration Camp established by the United States in the colonial-style enclave it maintains at Guantanamo Bay in that long-suffering island. In that camp there are illegally-detained captives who have no recourse to the process of law, and are denied fundamental human rights. Their suffering is beyond any that can be legally or morally meted out to any prisoner, anywhere. They have not been charged with crimes under US or international law, and have no right to speak in their defence in a public forum. It was the British who invented Concentration Camps (for Boers and Blacks — separated, of course — in South Africa in 1900) and the Nazis who perfected them in 1933-45. But the Land of the Free has brought them to a greater pitch of refinement.

A BBC report about detention and eventual release of three British nationals noted that “They had been captured in Afghanistan, suspected of links to the Taleban, and were taken to the US camp in Cuba. The three told UK newspapers they were often beaten by US troops . . . they were wrongly identified by the Americans as having been pictured in a video tape of a meeting in Afghanistan between Osama bin Laden and the leader of the 11 September hijackers Mohamed Atta.” So they were released — after years of hellish abuse.

“. . . they had their heads shaved, body cavities searched, were dressed in orange overalls, given goggles and earmuffs, and chained . . .” — BBC

At Guantanamo, as concluded by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, the medical people, including doctors, who were employed by the military and the CIA “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees.”

This appealed to Trump who made his position absolutely clear during his campaign for the presidency when he said “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works.” And the Washington Post pointed out that even before his presidency “he viewed the prison at Guantanamo Bay as an emblem of tough treatment of criminals. Americans who travelled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State should be sent to the prison ‘for some R&R,’ he tweeted multiple times in 2014.” Trump refers to the prison camp as ‘Gitmo’ and last year was adamant that “We’re not closing Gitmo. We’re going to fill it up! We’re not closing Gitmo.”

At that time, Cuba was being opened up to Americans by Obama’s sensible approach, encouraging trade, tourism and general rapprochement, and at the time of Castro’s death Obama said that “during my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbours and friends.” This was an encouraging step forward.

And now Washington is leaping backwards, with Trump echoing Kissinger’s lip-smacking “I think we have to humiliate them” and declaring in June that “Effective immediately, I am cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba . . . We do not want US dollars to prop up a military monopoly that exploits and abuses the citizens of Cuba.”

One Cuban citizen, Idania del Rio, who with friends watched the Trump speech on television in Havana, told Reuters that “It’s like we are returning to the Cold War,” which conclusively summed up the White House attitude to Cuba — and many other aspects of Trump’s chaotic foreign policy. But as the UK’s Independent newspaper notes, “Cuba’s main trading partner is still China, but it is once again strengthening economic links with Russia,” which is a sensible approach by the Havana government which can choose its friends, just as Trump so energetically selects his enemies. Bullying Cuba is entirely counter-productive for Washington, and it will eventually learn the costs of arrogant confrontation, there and elsewhere in the world.

Trump threatens Cuba with ‘regime change’

On Friday, speaking to Cuban-American exiles in Miami, Florida, Donald Trump ordered tighter restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba and a clampdown on US businessmen doing business with companies allegedly controlled by the Cuban military.

Effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba. Our policy will seek a much better deal for the Cuban people and the USA,” said Trump.

Trump called Raul Castro’s government brutal and vowed to liberate the island nation. “With God’s help a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve,” he thundered.

It is best for America to have freedom in its hemisphere whether in Cuba or Venezuela,” he added.

The Castro regime has sent arms to North Korea and fueled chaos in Venezuela. It has supported human trafficking, forced labor and exploitation across the globe,” added Trump.

It would be talking to Holy Cow to remind Donald Trump that Washington has been arming Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt which are using them against Palestinian, Syrians, Yemenis and Lebanese. In 2016, Human trafficking in the United States rose 35.7 percent from the previous year.

US, the self-appointed champion for human rights around the globe – is also the worst human rights abuser when it comes to minors. According to the Family Research Council:

Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that’s just “over there.” These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards”.

In 2007, UNICEF reported that the US and Britain  are the worst nations for children to live among the industrialized nations.

Cuban-American Israel-Firsters Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) are allegedly the authors of Trump’s anti-Havana rant.

Since Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March 2016, a lot of people felt happy believing that finally the five-decade old American crusade against Castro dynasty came to an end. But now they’re disappointed to find out that the ‘crippling sanctions’ against Cuba, like Iran, are still in force.

Washington lifted some travel restrictions against Cuban citizen. The US released the Cuban-Five in exchange for American Jew spy Alan Gross. US State Department even took-off Cuba from list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Iran and N. Korea are still on that list while Israel which had committed most terrorist acts against the US, never made to the list.

Commenting on Trump’s rant, Ellie Schwartz (Jew) at the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) said:

The way forward for US-Cuba relations is to not simply relax travel and trade restrictions, but to end the embargo once and for all. After half a century, it is clear that the embargo is a failed policy. It has done nothing to accomplish its primary goal of regime change. The embargo has not improved Cuban lives; it has succeeded only in further snubbing the Cuban people it claims to help. If Trump truly sought a better deal for the Cuban people, he would support continued engagement, trade, and travel to Cuba, and thereby increase opportunity for all.”

Both Cuba and Venezuela have no diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity. Both countries have recognized a separate Palestinian state. Cuban president Fidel Castro and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez have paid state visits to Iran. Iranian president Dr. Hassan Rouhani has also visited both Cuba and Venezuela.

The Conservative Revolution: the “Left” Dilemma

January 31, 2017

by Iman Safi

Part II; The “Left” Dilemma:

(for part I, please see here)

To understand where the global “left”-“right” divides stands now, we must take a quick look at some key developments and join them together within the particular context sought; because the roots of this divide go back to the times during which the Western mind was in the process of choosing between such issues as succumbing to the Church versus liberation, monarchies versus progressive and democratic governments and science versus fiction.

A quick look at all the opportunities that people have had for awakening in the past reveals, without much effort at all, that they were virtually all quickly and swiftly hijacked by individuals and organizations seeking gain and mileage. One can perhaps understand why some people are driven by ego, others are lured by financial rewards, fame, power etc, and whilst it is not easy to “forgive” them, they are easier to forgive than those who meddle with people’s minds and replace their drive for enlightenment and knowledge by unsurmountable walls of ignorance, darkness, ill-defined destinations and even no destinations at all to aspire to reach.

Western Churches had for centuries controlled the minds of their flocks. As a matter of fact, the term “flock” is quite befitting, because they did regard them as mindless sheep. For many generations, they have told them what to believe in, how to think, what subjects to discuss and what to stay away from. They have even told them what to eat, when to eat, who and when to marry, and should one dare break those rules and commandments, he/she can face the pain of death.

Whilst this monstrosity is considered to be by-and-large a thing of the past in the Western/Christian World, it is still well and alive within some of the other communities and religions, and the new wave of terror under the guise of Islamic terrorism is only a manifestation of this phenomenon that it still thriving.

The age of awakening in Western Europe did not come from the Church that did not reform despite many claims to the contrary made by the mainstream Churches as well as some breakaway factions alike. The awakening was the result of the fact that the Western mind liberated itself from the yokes of the Church and instead of listening to the rhetoric of their priests telling them that they were born sinners and that they will burn forever in hell unless they obey their orders and directives, for a change, they were able to read the works of Spinoza, Descartes, Kant, and listen to the music of Bach and Beethoven and see the creativity of Da Vinci. The scientific revolution that ensued was a result of this liberation, and the Western mind had the opportunity to lead humanity and to prosper at all levels, and it did.

To the dismay of some Americans who believe that the American Revolution was the first such popular action against oppressive regimes, the mother of all revolutions was undoubtedly the French Revolution. This is because the French Revolution was the outcome of enlightenment and social awakening, spearheaded by Voltaire, Mollier, Rousseaux and not just a haphazard revolt related to tea trade tax laws. The French Revolution was in fact the inspiration that gave rise to Hegel and Marx, and in its demand for bread to feed the poor, an economic component was therefore added. Sadly, that awakening was not to last because when the Communist Manifesto was published, the European awakening was inadvertently ready to be hijacked and take a detour from its lofty philosophical spiritual sense and be replaced by financial pragmatism.

Backed by setting up economics as a “science”, in reality, Marx’s “historical materialism” was an indirect outcome of John Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, and became an uninvited de facto love-child, turned hijacker, of the awakening of the Western mind and the age of European enlightenment. But the “financial/economic revolution” was bound to fail because its approach and reach were not holistic, but at best practical. Somehow, Marx and Hegel have perhaps forgotten that man does not live by bread alone and that mankind seeks spirituality, even when it does not conform with rationality.

Speaking of rationality, we are now hitting a very sensitive chord. Institutionalized religions did not offer the Western mind any rationality at all, but that was only the beginning. However, even though the age of awakening based its doctrine on rationality and bolstered it with advances in science and medicine, the Western mind was only ready for a portion of it, and later on succumbed to financial pragmatism as lifestyle took precedence over the pursuit of knowledge. On the other hand, in Eastern Europe, the Communist takeover took the Eastern European mind into a seemingly opposing political ideology; Communism as opposed to Western Capitalism, but in spiritual, ideological and philosophical terms, they were not proverbial opposite sides of the same coin, but rather different corners of the same side of the same coin. However, the failure of Communism was evident with the demise of the USSR, but the demise of Capitalism continues to be met with total denial. That collapse is already here and upon us, but its acknowledgment is still in the making.

In between the demise of the influence of the Western Churches on Western masses and the rise of and fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the political notion of “right” and “left” emerged initially in the UK to later on move to the entire world.

The political “left” did not only offer its faithful followers the promise of change, but also the promise of liberation; both in body and in mind.

The right to have a job, fair wages, financial retirement security, medical care, free education, sick pay, maternity pay and similar rights were high on the agenda of the Eastern Communist bloc, and that was perceived as the global socialist “left”. On the other hand, in the Western version of the “left”, and in addition to the above, freedom of political expression and freedom of worship and other freedoms were added to the preamble. Some, indeed many Westerners, would argue that even though the “regimes” of Eastern Europe gave themselves the adjective of being “democratic”, they were very far from it, and use the examples of lifetime leaders like former Yugoslavia’s Tito and Romania’s Ceausescu as examples. In retrospect however, the Eastern European counter-argument is hardly ever heard in the West; and this is not the time and place to present it.

Either way, whether or not the “left”, in its ideal absoluteness, did reach power in either Eastern or Western Europe or not, it has not yet given any overwhelming evidence that it has furnished the promised Holy Grail of freedom and equality and all the minor promises that come with them.

The socialist “left” ideas perhaps reached their zenith when Castro and Guevara came to prominence. Guevara is still celebrated as a hero in the most unlikely places. T-Shirts bearing his portrait are even sold in NYC.

During the USSR era, any ideology that was remotely related to socialism was tagged by Western “regimes” as being Communist. Even speaking about and advocating social justice was a dangerous act in the United States, and immediately labelled one as a member of the infamous, illusive, perhaps fictitious “Un-American Activities Committee”. And whilst many socialist movements, both within the USA or outside it, had nothing to do with Communism per se, they were all made to be perceived as being Communist. That was the establishment’s method to portray them and present them.

It was within this atmosphere that the “left” thrived in Western Europe, but even the then very popular French Communist Party has distanced itself from the Communist version of the Kremlin. Nonetheless, socialist parties in Europe have made big gains and even reached the Élysée when Francois Mitterrand was elected as French President in 1981.

But even though the Western “left” tried to distant itself from the USSR, in the eyes of many, the two remained highly associated with each other. And when British unionist Arthur Scargill visited the USSR to spite Maggie Thatcher he made no apologies at all for visiting it, and thus endorsing it, and for this, among other things, he was seen as a so-called militant unionist. That aside, in the UK and Australia, the Labour/Labor parties are highly associated with trade unions and seek social justice, and this is why they have been identified as being on the “left”. And whilst the American Democratic Party could not be given a loud and clear “left” tag per se, the Labour/Labor parties across the Atlantic and the Pacific, respectively, found in it the natural political ally.

In theory, the demise of the USSR should have put the Western “left” at ease. After all, it meant that any argument based on the alleged association of the Western ”left” with the USSR has lost its foundation. But that demise should have also meant that the “left” had fallen under a new challenge; the challenge of reinventing itself as a stand-alone force for change for the better; in a manner that promoted justice and equality, not only domestically, but also globally.

In reality however, that process of rebirth was nothing short of being disastrous.

Without di-polarity, and for the first time since the partition of the Roman Empire, humanity found itself under a so-called New World Order in which the United States of America was the unrivalled leader of the world. Whilst no bans as such were imposed on “left” ideas and “left” parties in the West, the process of rebirth needed new ideas and new preambles. This required a new generation of leaders, but those leaders were not to be found.

To say that the Western “left” merged into the establishment would be an understatement. If anything, it underpinned the establishment’s position by setting itself up as one of its corner stones. In more ways than one, the “left” in the West did not only merge into the so-called “Imperial Empire” it was meant stand up against, but also became its face and organ. It was no longer a force for the kind of change that was initially promised and expected, and thus has inadvertently lost its stature and very definition of being “left”.

In the sequel article, we shall have a brief look at surrogate principles that the Western “left” conjured up seeking survival, and possibly in another sequel, project how those newly-adopted ideas are highly likely to lead to its removal from the throne that it has placed itself on for at least two centuries.

Part III; What’s Left of the “Left” in the “Left”:

A very brief and quick look at the post USSR Western “left” reveals that it did everything BUT stick to its original principles and ideals.

To elaborate, we must look at certain examples; beginning with the highly controversial subject of refugees. The “left” in the West continues to uphold the principle of aiding and welcoming refugees, and this is good and ought to be applauded. However, the “left” does not even seem to question how those refugees have become refugees in the first place! Whilst it is a fact that most refugees are in essence political refugees who have been displaced due to wars inflicted upon their countries, mostly seeking regime change, the Western “left” seems to turn a blind eye to this reality. Even worse, when the Western “left” gets democratically elected and assumes power, it does not try to reverse the course of events that create refugees.

It gets even worse. Take the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples. Both wars were initiated by the “right” wing Republican American President GWB. However, his partner in crime in Iraq was Britain’s Labour leader Tony Blair; who was meant to be from the Western “left”.

And whilst the Australian Labor Party (ALP) can hold its head high because it was an ALP Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) who bailed Australia out of the infamous Vietnam War, other ALP administrations have followed the USA into wars without too many questions asked about their legitimacy and whether or not they conform with the foundations and principles upon which the ALP is based.

Such views and politics have nothing to do with the original “left” values of promoting freedom, supporting the oppressed and working towards social justice; none what-so-ever, and quite the opposite, if anything.

And even though APHEDA, an organization sponsored by Australian trade unions, supports and sponsors humanitarian projects in Palestine, the current ALP leader Bill Shorten has recently described Israeli PM Netanyahu as a friend.

The contradictions within the Western “left” are not the result of a deliberate attempt to create confusion, but rather the direct outcome of loss of identity and soul, and an inability to reinvent itself in the post-USSR New World Order era.

A proper reinvention process requires new ideas, but instead of undergoing a serious process of soul-searching, the Western “left” shopped around for existing populist issues to capitalize on.

For fairness, when the wider community develops and evolves in a manner that it advocates such issues as marriage equality, political parties will need to listen and respect the wish of the community that it is meant to uphold and attempts to govern. It was therefore a democratically and demographically-driven shift when Western “left” parties became advocates of gender equality at all levels, including marriage equality, and for listening to their constituencies, they ought to be applauded.

That said, moves of this nature lose any genuine intention behind them if and when not done in conjunction with other new moves and directions.

It would therefore not be too cynical to say that in this particular instance, ie the issue of LBGT rights, that Western “left” parties have simply jumped on an existing and popular band wagon.

Here, we must stop and remember that whilst the Obama Administration has approved marriage equality within the United States of America, it continued to endorse the Saudi Government that does not give women the right to even drive a car. Furthermore, that same administration has helped and abetted the Saudi regime in attacking and bombing Yemen and creating a human disaster and starvation that no one in the West, including the most “progressive” parties in the “left” are trying to put an end to; let alone seem to know about.

This is not to forget the support fighters associated with Al-Qaeda and ISIL in Syria and Libya have received from the USA and EU nations; including the so-called socialist “left” French Government of President Hollande. And when we make such exposures, we should not vindicate the Western “left” in opposition in nations like the UK, Australia and in the recent past in Canada.

There was not a word, not a whisper to stop the onslaught of those wars, and if anything, the West as a whole, either directly by the action of “left” governments or by the tacit support of “left” opposition, has been actively engaged in financing and supporting the most oppressive world regimes and helping finance, arm, and facilitate the activities of fundamentalist terror organizations.

And speaking of Obama, just by virtue of being a President from the Democratic Party, he was assumed to be from the “left” side of Western politics; and which admittedly is not as hawkish as the Republican Party. But one would wonder, in the true essence of the “left” philosophy, what was/is it exactly in Obama and the American Democratic Party that was/is remotely “left” in its ideals? After all, it was Democratic Presidents who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, started the Vietnam War and created Al-Qaeda. It was the Democratic Obama who led the EU to the brink of war with Russia over Ukraine; and ironically did so by supporting the ultra-right Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. How bizarre indeed!

Where is anything that can be even remotely referred to as “left” in these actions and endorsements?

It would be therefore fair to say that with the attempts to reinvent the “left” in the West, the original principles were cast away and fantasy that is very alien to the “left” doctrine seems to have taken precedence over genuine revolutions.

This is not a call to take arms and to go back to the days of revolutions. Humanity has had plenty of that already. But to honour the spirit of Guevara all the while helping the Saudis bomb Yemen and Al-Qaeda to destroy Churches in Syria is grossly hypocritical to say the least, and forms a blatant exposure of the rot and moral bankruptcy that seems to have overtaken Western “left” movements and governments.

Without giving a lesson in history, but when Angola was under attack, Castro sent troops to help; not for any gain for Cuba at all. Whether or not one endorses this action, but that was what a “revolutionary” leftist leaders who is true to his word was supposed to do, and certainly Castro epitomized this image. If we compare Castro’s action to current leaders of the “left”, it becomes therefore fair to say that issues such as global justice are no longer on the Western “left” agenda. If we go further and say that the Western “left” has directly and indirectly been involved in creating more global injustice, it then becomes imperative to concede that the Western “left’ has become a part of problem; not the solution.

So what is really left of the “left” in the “left”? One wonders.

In reality and practice, the “left” concept was reduced to only be contingent upon supporting such issues as gender equality issues and environmental awareness; but all with a huge taint of unrealistic political correctness that bogs it down and blinds its vision from focusing on other important issues.

Even when getting facts and having them laid out to members of the Western “left” on a silver platter, they do not seem to understand that, for example, one cannot only look at certain issues of social justice, whilst totally ignoring one’s country involvement in needless wars that are flooding the world with refugees.

What is also mind-boggling about the Western “left” is its love-hate relationship with mainstream media (MSM). They opt to disbelieve their tabloids and bulletins when they themselves are the victims, but the moment someone else gets his neck under the chopping board of the MSM, instead of putting two and two together and coming up with the conclusion that the MSM make lies not only about them, but also about others, instead of putting two and two together to end up with rational conclusions, they conveniently opt to adopt the easy way out and believe the lies about others whom they choose to dislike.

Where is the sense of fairness in this attitude? What happened to the aspiration for global justice?

Rather shamelessly, they are now crying tears of blood to see Obama finish his term, in a clear indication that they are either unaware of the carnage of his warmongering policy or that they know, but they don’t care. However, when one brings out the facts to them and shows them that Obama has created havoc in Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other corners of the world, and when one presents evidence about the tens of thousands of innocent people who perished as a result, they can no longer argue that they did not know. This is a serious indictment because it ultimately means that they have not only abandoned their lofty ideals of global justice, but also that they blatantly do not give much consideration at all to Libyan, Syrian and Yemeni lives. This makes them racists to the extreme, and they can jump up and down decrying the accusation, but their actions and inactions show their true colours.

In principle, to take the fight against global injustice and racism from the “left” would be tantamount to taking Jesus Christ out of Christianity. But try saying this to today’s alleged “leftists”.

What is most bizarre perhaps is the fact that the notion of speaking about reform with the western “left” is a taboo subject. This is quite oxymoronic to say the least. After all, the “left” is meant to signify reform, is it not? So, what is really and truly left of the “left” in the “left”?

Apart from the name tag, what is left of the “left” in “the Western left” and the “left” in general is a combination of remnants of old ideas mashed together with some new-age fantasies that only merge in minds that do not seem to be able to understand the concept of compatibility. This brings back the issue of rationality, and in this case, the lack of it. There is at best very little left about today’s “left” that is well and truly “left” in its core. It’s a muddled up world of juvenile-minded dreamers and screamers, figments of a bygone past, regressive mutants who seem to run more on superficial and distorted vision rather than principles and rationality.

The truth of the matter is that the “left” is dead, and it cannot be rebirthed; unless it admits its past and present failures and rebuilds itself on its original political doctrine with a clear understanding that its objective is to achieve justice and equal rights for all humans all over the world.

At the end of the day, politics is politics, and at best, it provides the right environment for human awakening. At best, it is the prerequisite and not the ultimate objective, and for this reason, it ought to be built on ethical foundations. For as long as this form of political and ethical rationality is not the corner stone of political activism that is meant to be part-and-parcel of human awakening, any journey with any other objective(s) will fail, and history is full of such examples, and all that humanity needs to do is to look back at its past failed steps to learn.

Part IV; The Seemingly Emerging New Left

In the absence of mainstream political movements pushing for change and reform, the human aspiration for change did not go away. Not even the Western Churches, with their former draconian punishments, were able to stifle humanity and prevent it from demanding awakening and better living conditions.

Demanding change is a part of human nature, and people do this at many levels and even when it comes to mundane things like rearranging their furniture. And whilst the bigger changes they seek and pursue do not always end up with positive outcomes, the desire for change does not go away.

And as the traditional Western “left” and “right” formed the establishment and ran it in accordance with electoral alternation, the differences between them shrank and continued to shrink.

They might have continued to differ on rather minor issues such as government funding of certain projects, where to drop taxes and where to lift them, where to prioritize public spending, their relationships with trade unions and other management issues, but on basic philosophical and doctrinal matters such as global justice, they became almost identical. Ironically, they are both in denial as to how identical they are, even though their constituencies keep telling them that they perceive them as being so.

They try hard to scorn each other and quarrel over petty matters in desperate attempts to recreate the schism that once separated them, but to no avail. If even the mighty Catholic Church reached a point in time when it was no longer able to fool people, they will need to acknowledge that their power of swaying opinion and fooling people will not work.

They conjure up all tricks to accentuate the little difference they have left between them, but they also often go back to adopt some former policies of their political foes. When the Australian Liberal Party was in opposition in the 1980’s, it vehemently fought the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) so-called “Option C” in which Paul Keating, the then treasurer, advocated the need for introducing a consumption tax. Yet, the Liberal John Howard’s Government was unapologetic when it introduced it nearly a decade later. That said, the ALP was also unapologetic when it voted against introducing it, even though it was originally an ALP idea.

Western voters grew increasingly dissatisfied with their political leaders, and the percentage of citizens who actually vote in countries in which voting is not compulsory is a simple reflection.

Even in a highly decisive and highly controversial election like the recent American presidential elections, 90 million eligible voters out of 231 million did not vote. This is nearly a whopping 40%.

This is democracy in action, and ironically in this instance, perhaps a reflection of the distrust of American voters in the version of democracy that the two-party system has been pushing down their throats for a very long time. Not even a rally like the Clinton-Trump battle was enough to motivate them.

That said, the 60% who did vote, voted with a loud and clear message; but are the major parties listening? One really wonders.

There was a major twist in this election. The Republican candidate Donald Trump has actually won the elections without the support of his party. As a matter of fact, many Republican heavy weights did not endorse him and made statements that they were not going to vote for him.

Against protocol, former President George Bush Senior did not even attend the inaugural ceremony.

It is not by accident that Trump is not liked either by his Democrat foes or by his supposed Republican “comrades”. After all, he has broken the mold and based his campaign on seeking change, the kind of change that neither party wants to address, let alone bring up.

What worries the Western “right” and “left” about Trump is the fact that he has seemingly created a new force in politics and managed to get in from an open window that they least expected and one previously unheard of; the window of the “Conservative Revolution”

The impact of the “Conservative Revolution” is perhaps not any less virulent in Western politics than the impact of the age of European enlightenment was on the Church. Only time will tell.

Would it be too immature and inconceivable to say that for the major Western political parties the worst is yet to come? A close-up look at them reveals that the Trump phenomenon is likely going to be the beginning of an avalanche that will politically sweep the West and push the reset button on its party-based infra-structure.

In the opening article titled “The Conservative Revolution”, and which was not meant to be an opening article per se but rather a stand-alone one, I expressed my views about how the move of the traditional Western “right” and “left” moved to the centre, and how in doing so, they created separate vacuums in the left and right, and which were filled by the Greens and Ultra-Right, respectively.

What is intrinsically pertinent is the fact that when people are denied the opportunity for change, they will find a way to seek it.

Traditionally, the drive for change came from below; from the masses. That was how the mother of all revolutions, the French Revolution, was created.

Traditionally also, the conservative reasoning behind maintaining the status quo came from above; if from authority itself (as in the case of France’s Louis the XVI), the social and financial upper crust, or both.

The financial divide had been a major driving force that divided the ‘haves and the have nots’; those who wanted change from those who resisted it.

However, as different contemporary ideologies – political, financial, doctrinal or otherwise – seem to stem from perspectives and objectives that are invariably partial in their views, selective in their outlooks, and primarily irrational in their rationales to varying degrees; they will always eventually fall down and crumble because they all have their own and specific Achilles heel, and their heels will all be struck once they run out of steam and luck.

Thus, what was seen as a triumph of Capitalism over Communism when the USSR crumbled was in reality a forerunner for Capitalism to come to terms with reality of the forthcoming demise of its own two-party system if not more.

There is undeniably a new and unprecedented political move on the rise in the West, and if the traditional custodians of alternating Western parties in power have an iota of rationality and long-term vision, they ought to stop and look at their own status quo, and at what size hole they have dug up in the middle of the path of their own political future.

In their denial to the proximity that was created by their bi-partisan agreement on major issues, little did they see that in doing so, they had signed a mutual death warrant for each other. Little did they realize that for them to be perceived to be on opposite sides, they needed to demonstrate that they were not only the opposite sides of the same coin, but opposite in every way that was related to their modus operandi. But they did not.

The masses do not go by what is dictated to them, and right or wrong, they will invariably go against the stream when they feel marginalized and ridiculed. If anything, the more they feel they have been marginalized and ridiculed, the more vehement they become in standing up against the offender. And if the offender is the authority, the more they will be inclined to revolt.

As the “left” is clearly no longer what it used to be, and as the “right” is losing more support from its traditional power base because it is seen as being almost identical to the “left”, the drive for change had to open up for itself a new window for self-expression.

This brings us back to the issue of human awakening.

Trump’s “Conservative Revolution” is ideologically and philosophically not in a position to offer humanity an enlightened alternative by any stretch of imagination.

That said, it is presenting a challenge, a real and significant challenge.

For the West in general and the United States in particular to ignore the events that led to the election of Trump as President would be foolhardy. To blame the happening on Russia is ridiculous and laughable.

At the present time, the West is no longer divided on the Cold-War-Take-One divide of Capitalism versus Communism. It is no longer divided on any remaining remnants of that divide that once distinguished “right” from “left” Western politics either.

At the present time, the political divide that separates the traditional major parties in the West is increasingly becoming one that is only seen in the eyes of those parties and their loyal voters. But it is not the loyal voters who decide who wins elections.

The swinging voters and those who do not vote, at least not on a regular basis, are indeed those who make that decision, and their decision is becoming more prominent.

With his business background, Trump may apply fiscal business pragmatism and run the USA as a business. Whilst this sounds like an abhorrent prospect, in reality, it may mean relief to millions around the globe who wish for a cessation of American attempts of further regime changes that serve them with American-style democracy, courtesy of B-52’s.

The “Conservative Revolution” is the slap in the face that both major parties in all Western democracies need and deserve to get. At best however, it cannot be expected to be much better than just that. It is inadvertently the emerging and still ill-defined force for change; ironically a “new left”; even though it does not bear any ideological resemblance to Guevara’s “left”, but rather just by definition of seeking change.

In reality, for as long as people continue to look at each other as groups and nations of conflicting interests, they will find a reason to quarrel. They will only stop once they see that what unites them is much stronger and much more profound, and they cannot and will not do this until they seek proper awakening; the kind of awakening that ancient Greek Philosophers and the European philosophers taught and sought. Religion was meant to be an awakening, but sadly it was hijacked by institutions, twisted, diverted and turned into a tool for suppression rather than liberation.

Will humanity employ the Trump election win as a precursor and a reminder and an incentive to go back to the roots of the age of awakening? This may sound like a huge and a far-fetched call, but in reality, awakening does not necessarily need a huge nudge for it to commence.

At the end of the day, and going back to basics mentioned in an earlier article in this series, meddling with the minds of people is a serious crime. Technically, it is not defined as a form of genocide. It is not; it is much more serious.

Politics and ethics should go hand in hand, and when they don’t, we see events akin to what humanity is experiencing now.

Humanity will survive and will bring out its best, and the best is yet to come.

At the end of the day again, darkness will never be able to overcome light any more than it can stop the light of a candle from breaking darkness and disabling its light from reaching huge distances. Such is the power of light over darkness, because no intensity of darkness can stifle a single humble candle.

And finally, at the end of the day, political movements, right, left, conservative revolutions or otherwise, including the multitude of religious factions and schools, none of them mean much at all, unless they offer humanity the real salvation it needs. And the salvation of humanity will not come from politics and politicians.

But if one looks at different versions of the definitions of salvation, defining salvation as an outcome of knowledge is a definition that cannot be surmounted except by those who prefer ignorance.

Part V; The Establishment Strikes Back

With the backlash to the election and inauguration of President Trump, we are witnessing unprecedented events indeed. Certainly, much of this is based on his controversial “Executive Orders”, and this is well expected; especially the one relating to visa restrictions and the trauma and anxiety it is causing. However, in a major twist of events, and among many other things, we see THE American President attacking the Western Mainstream Media (MSM) and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer warning them that they will be held accountable.

Just a very short time ago, Obama’s Press Secretaries Robert Gibbs and later on Josh Earnest were playing “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” with the same MSM; feeding each other with stories they both loved to hear and making conclusions that suited their “business” agendas.

For decades, the machine of the “establishment” has been none but the so-called “Deep State” represented by the White House, and it’s figurehead was none but the incumbent President whoever he was. Even the seemingly benign, humane and smiley Jimmy Carter was a part of that “establishment” and its “Deep State”, and so was the former President, who promised to be unlike any other; former President Obama, the suave-looking self-made African American with his eloquence, elegant wife and perfect looking family, the President who promised the earth to end up providing scorched earth, and instead of providing hope, millions across the globe looked forward to the day they gave him the title “former president”.

Of course, those shedding crocodile tears for the departure of Obama and rampaging the streets of America and the world do not know or care to know about the carnage the Obama administration has caused across the globe; because they have such a narrow agenda of interests, and because what they are trying to protect is not human rights and women as they proclaim, but certain privileges that they personally possess and only some Western women.

That infamous “establishment” is best described as a pyramid, an octopus if one wishes, but one with a virtually countless number of legs and tentacles, and they all feed off the figurehead, and the head does not only feed them, but offers them raison d’être, protection and all that they need for sustenance and continuity.

Just like Tolkein’s Orcs cling to Sauron and imbibe their life and existence from him, the satellite entities of the “establishment” have always considered the American President to be the apex of the pyramid, the symbol, the be-all-and-end-all being, a god, upon whom their very existence depended; even when they claimed otherwise.

So when the head of the “establishment” turns away from his minions, their struggle for survival kicks in, not only because they need to survive, but also because in his departure, they inadvertently become all what is left of the “establishment” and that for them to restore their might and glory, they will first need to make sure that the “establishment” must restore its own stature first, and for this reason, it ought to strike back; albeit at the head that is meant to be its own.

Thus far, Trump is keeping his election promises; and this is to the utter disappointment and shear horror to what is left of the “establishment”.

In all of their divisions, alliances, and private/personal aspirations, they had been hoping and praying that the moment he got elected he was going to renege on major election promises. He did not. They hoped that the moment he sat in the Oval Office he would then turn his back on his election promises, and thus far he hasn’t. This is not to say that he will not, but thus far, he hasn’t.

But unlike the Orcs who were engulfed into the fissures in the earth which were generated after Frodo destroyed the “ring”, what is left of the “establishment” did not, and was not expected to cease to exist the moment the head was no longer sitting on its shoulders. After all, some of the satellites of the “establishment” are much more intelligent and conniving than Orcs; even though at heart, there is little difference that separates them.

The intelligent ones are capitalizing on the principle of “controlled opposition”; a strategy they developed for other nations in the past, in nations they wanted to destabilize, and this had worked effectively in many places. Now, they are trying this technique at home, and thus far it is working.

The technique is based on conjuring up a populist issue that inflames emotions enough to mobilize people to take to the streets; if not more. We saw this technique work quite effectively in Egypt, Libya and other places. It almost succeeded in Syria.

Those monsters specialize in social engineering, and they capitalize on the goodness in humanity and the desire that good people have for making things better. So they flag huge issues such as liberty (as in the case of Egypt), dictatorship (as they did in Libya and Syria), and they find thousands upon thousands of youth rising up in defense of those principles.

They are playing similar cards now, but this time, they are doing this within the United States of America. They are using a number of anti-Trump trump cards; including misogyny, racism, and Islamophobia.

They are desperately striking back in a life-or-death attempt that can secure their survival. What is ironic about this “strike back” is that it is banking on a support base that is extremely diverse, or at best multi-based.

Throughout history, foot soldiers have either been forcefully drafted or mobilized by some human passion; and this takes us back to the issue of the genocidal concept of meddling with peoples’ minds. The foot soldiers therefore are not the ones to blame; not now, and not at the time when the Catholic Church mobilized waves upon waves of soldiers to take back the Holy Land from the Muslim infidels.

However, unlike the revolutionaries of Soviet and post-Soviet eras, unlike the Al-Qaeda and ISIS Jihadists, the foot soldiers of the post-Obama presidency era do not have any hierarchal foundation at all. They do not have neither a specific agenda nor leadership, neither a preamble nor a strategy, and above all, the diverse backgrounds they have beggars beliefs as to what unites them.

This is because those who move them and motivate them are similar to the former initial enemies of Syria who were only united by their hatred of Syria and her President. And now, the leaders of the protests of America, who are changing the protests into riots, are united by their hatred for Trump; full stop.

And speaking of those different backgrounds, here is an interesting list of those who are anti-Trump; both overtly and covertly. The list includes the “Deep State”, Soros and his NGO’s, Murdoch and his tabloids, the Neo-Cons, the Saudi Royal family, ISIL, and of course; the Western “left”. Need one list more?

Now here is the pertinent question to ask. How do the leaders of the Western “left” feel at ease being associated with those monstrous people and organizations? Do those alleged defenders of women actually know and worry about the fact that they are currently comrades in arms with the Saudi regime? This is the world’s most oppressive anti-women regime, a regime in which women are not only forbidden to vote, but they are not allowed to drive cars either.

And how about the association with Obama himself? The President who bombed more foreign nations than any other, the one who has caused global havoc and destruction? Are the people he killed less human in the eyes of the leaders of the Western “left”? Obviously, they are.

The demise of the Western “left” has to be first and foremost blamed on the demise of its leaders and think-tanks. After all, it is leaders who pave the way and set objectives and strategies to achieve them.

But the blame game has to turn inwardly at some stage, because individuals cannot blame others for all of their actions. They can blame them for misguiding them, but surely, those individuals must reach a point in time at which they must assume at least some responsibility and be able to do their own soul-searching.

Sadly, many leaders and foot soldiers of the Western “left” alike do not seem to be remotely close to the realization that they have failed their own doctrine.

By turning the blind eyes to global social justice, the leaders of the Western “left” have reduced the struggle for freedom and awakening to specific agendas only restricted to gender equality, LBGT rights and global warming issues; and no one was “allowed” to bring in any other subject. And what a short-sighted and moronic definition some of them have to gender equality! Rather than pushing for equality in its literal sense, they want to impose equal numbers of men and women in certain positions. Why do they want to take the suppression of women into another wrong twist? One wonders. Isn’t equality supposed to be meritorious in nature? And what if in a certain area there are more qualified women than men? Do we still need to have 50% male representation?

Such a vision of gender equality is very ill-conceived indeed, and does not serve women’s rights, not the least.

And how can the alleged protectors of women turn a blind eye to the sex slave industry inflicted upon the war-torn countries in which their nations, and even respected leaders, have poked their noses?

Yes, what about the sex slaves that Obama allowed to be bought and sold under his watchful eyes and tacit quietness? Syrian and Iraqi girls as young at 10 years old were bought by filthy old Saudi, Gulfie and Qatari pedophilic men as sex slaves. Where were Meryl Streep and Madonna? Don’t Syrian and Iraqi women, and young girls, deserve protection by those alleged protectors of women? Obviously not. We did not hear a single word, not a whisper from the hundreds of thousands of them.

The West, and its “left”, cannot hide and pretend that the slave industry took off after ISIL (its alleged enemy) took control after June 2014, as facts on the ground clearly indicate that the sex slave industry started very early in the mark at a time when the West fully and overtly endorsed all anti-government forces in Syria, at times when John McCain was visiting them and taking photoshoots with them, and at times when Australia’s then Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr was calling for the assassination of President Assad.

Does the Western “left” have any intelligence or sense of shame left in it at all?

The global “left” supporters are now up in arms, not because of Trump’s infamous grabbing quote, but because he has destroyed the “establishment”; their establishment, and they are fighting for the restoration of their stature.

And how does the woman who rose to infamy by parading in a vagina dress believe that she is presenting, upholding and protecting women? Is this how she regards women? As vaginas? This is the lowest, most demeaning and most appalling act of objectifying women that I have ever seen or expected to live long enough to see. To her I would like to say that to me, women are my late and beloved mother and grandmother, my aunts, my daughter, my wife, my daughters-in-law, my nieces, my cousins, my friends and their friends, my neighbours, and all other women that I know, respect and love. The women I do not know, when I need to communicate with them not knowing their names, I give them the respectful titles such as madam and the like. I do not see them as vaginas and they do not represent themselves as vaginas.

The demeanour of the vagina dress woman is far worse than Trump’s infamous grabbing statement, but yet, no one seems to be making any comments to condemn her. If anything, she seems to be seen as a heroine.

This woman is clearly a pervert of some sort, and social misfits like her know well that for decades now, they have decimated and destroyed what is known as the “good old values”, and they also know that there are millions upon millions of people across the globe who are sick and tired of their hypocritical antics. They know that the decent people of the world are growing impatient with their debauchery and despicable demeanour.

For decades, they have capitalized on the kindness and acceptance of the majority of people who have endorsed them, protected them, and accepted them. This is because it is the decent majority of people who are the true custodians of democracy and freedom of expression; not them. It is the efforts and sacrifices of the decent majority that resulted in the creation of those attributes in civilized societies; not theirs.

My animated outcry is that of an old leftie who feels that his movement has been hijacked. I feel that the leadership of the Western “left” has fallen off the track, they are not listening to their elders. They are either so politically unsavvy that they don’t know that they have fallen into the traps of the “establishment” they were meant to stand up against, or that they have been fooled to allow to be dragged into it unknowingly. Either way, they have given the reins to a bunch of brainless scavengers, mental retards who are true Fascists in every manner of thought and demeanour. And they are all striking back together, their establishment is striking back with them, because they know that they have been decapitated and that the rest of the world has had enough of them.

If I am sounding angry, it is because I have already lost my country of birth Lebanon and was driven out of it more than 3 decades ago because the progressive atmosphere and movements that I grew up among in the fifties and sixties were all replaced by fundamentalism and strife. In the last 5-6 years, I saw the same happen to my maternal Syrian cousins and family, and for the same reasons. An age of enlightenment was just beginning to dawn in the Middle East and was hijacked by the radical religious movements that swept and destroyed everything in their path.

And now, in my adopted homeland Australia, the country I love and dedicate my heart to, is slipping into an opposite but yet very similar radicalism. That was totally unforeseeable only a few years ago, and there is no force to blame but the “left” and how it allowed itself to morph from an impetus for moving forward to a step back into different forms of spiritual debasement and lack of concern for global justice and national sovereignty.

This may sound like an ultra-right propaganda, but in reality it is not. It is the “left” who has abandoned the principles of the true left and turned it from a force of change and liberation to a force towards breakdown of society and family values. If by endorsing those values and virtues I will be branded a right-wing zealot, then so be it, because as a die-hard true leftie, I do not see any association between my principles and values with what is left of the left in the “left”.

Reporting from Cuba: The absence of right…wing politics

by Ramin Mazaheri

It is with great regret that I have to leave Havana after 1 month of special-assignment reporting for Press TV in order to return to Paris.

That may surprise a lot of people, but think of what type of work I am returning to: Stories about unabashed capitalism, chauvinistic neo-imperialism, anti-Muslim xenophobia and the upcoming presidential contest in which the only 2 serious contenders are a right-wing candidate and the far-right National Front.

Why is reporting in France (leftist reporting) considered easy? I cannot count the number of times I have been tear-gassed in the last year while covering on France’s anti-government protests, due to ineffective austerity policies.

Let’s not forget that France is still (14 months now) a police state of emergency, one step short of marital law. The government’s power grab due to just 2 terror attacks continues to undermine France’s claim of democracy (the Nice tragedy was a crazed lone wolf and not organized by any terror group).

And yet it was Cuba which was described as “militarist”, “tyrannical” and “dictatorial” across the West following the recent death of Fidel Castro.

Well, working in Cuba has been totally free of the reactionary violence which is a daily occurrence in France. It has been a celebration of leftist resistance, and the honoring of amazing advances in the face of the genocidal US-orchestrated international Blockade.

I was quite happy to spend 1 month of my life to defend the modern democratic will of the Cuban people and thus the ongoing Cuban Revolution. About all I am looking forward to in France is the bread.

Cuban bread – the type the average person eats and which I regularly bought at local, state-run panaderías – is an offense to bread everywhere. Cubans rightly pointed out that it was the best they can do when the Blockade makes things like oil, butter and salt scarce. Sure, a piece of the subsidized “staff of life” costs just one-fourth of one US penny, and it did keep me from hunger many nights, but I will remember it only as the bitter taste of omnipresent US imperialism, which tastes bad even when dipped in evaporated milk.

In France I defend more than just the culinary endowments of Western Europe’s geographical breadbasket, I defend the democratic will of the people (when France isn’t being reactionary and racist). However, I am part of a very small minority, both socially and as a journalist. In Cuba, I am not, and it has been wonderful.

Why is it like this? Why is France so rich and yet so troubled? Why do I have such trouble finding positive stories there? I have an idea:

In Cuba a far-right simply does not exist – racism, xenophobia and such reactionary stupidities are banned. If you call that “tyranny”, all I can say is that I side with the Cubans in refusing to defend to the death your right to spread inequality, hate and regression.

And what I cannot stress enough is the enormous effect the absence of a right-wing clearly has on the hearts, minds and daily bearing of the Cuban people.

You cannot simply chalk up to the weather the yawning difference between the open-hearted Cubans and the cold, unfriendly, excessively forma and pessimistic French. Surely it is more due to the corrosive cultural effect of tolerating right-wing thought.

Just imagine for yourself what your Western nation would be like if there was no far-right influence? If the goals of racial solidarity and economic equality simply could not be questioned, and had to be promoted?

That’s what Cuban culture has that the West does not, and such cultural gold is both beyond measure and incredibly rare anywhere in 2017.

It clearly gives many French the jollies to insult, denigrate and promote competitiveness, but I assume this is why the silent majority is nauseated, depressed and reportedly adulterous.

But right-wing thought is more than just tolerated across the West, it is avidly promoted by both government and media. From chauvinistic nationalism to capitalist neoliberal dogma which has no factual grounding in reality to “on what moral ground could you possibly claim” humanitarian interventionism – with such ideological tent poles, how can any Western nation claim to be more “modern” or “humanistic” than Cuba?

And yet, the total war against leftist thought means that it’s the French who are considered “modern” and “advanced”. Paris is city full of rich old people who can afford to live in the past – Havana, so close to the belligerent United States, cannot afford such illusions.

People said I could not “report from Cuba”

The idea was something like that I would be prohibited, spied on, redacted and thought-controlled.

Nothing like that happened remotely. It was quite simple, and here is how you do it: You work with the government, not against it.

You don’t sneak into the country on a tourist visa and do a halfway job – you get a formal journalist visa and follow their laws. You provide the government with a list of story ideas and be upfront about what type of journalism you want to do. You meet with them a few times. You talk with them as equals. You remind them that they know more about their own society than you do, and welcome their ideas. You act like what you are – a guest, and not some zealot missionary there to spread light and truth amid darkness and lies.

This is all to show the government that…you are not one of the very many advocating the destruction of their society and culture.

If you cannot understand why Cuba would be vigilant in this respect, you are not smart enough to be permitted to report from here and I hope your visa request is denied!

If you say “such governmental oversight proves the press is not free”, I encourage you do just a bit of research to find out how Iran’s Press TV, to give one example, has been banned, hounded and subverted in places like France, the UK and the US.

There is a crucial difference here: I don’t ever recall Cuba claiming to be a beacon of free press. I have heard the same false claims from the three Western countries just mentioned.

Bottom line: The Cuban Center for International Press was only helpful in my work, and never once did they do anything which I considered remotely infringing on my press freedom.

They permitted me access wherever I wanted to go, helped find me appropriate analysts, and if I had more time here they would have been even more help. They did not redact anything, nor did they have the chance to as they never even asked to see my final products – my work was published without any oversight from the Cuban government whatsoever.

What did I learn from 1 month reporting in Cuba?

If you only read one paragraph, read this:

I talked to dozens of people here, maybe over 100, and from all ages and backgrounds: What seems rock-solid to me is that Cuba is not changing, post-Fidel. He gave up power 9 years ago anyway, so there is no huge sea change due to his death, just a profound sadness for a national hero. I repeat – if you think Cuba is an island adrift, come visit and talk to the people.

Let’s make one key idea clear: The Cuban Revolution is clearly supported en masse.

Their wrong hypothesis is: That the Cuban Revolution was the work of just one exceptional man, Fidel, instead of the combined, sustained efforts of millions of people.

My hypothesis: Not one but two generations have grown up under a total Blockade, so how could they not support the Revolution? Who could go without so long under the gun of a blockade, being deprived of so many basic opportunities, and not be converted? They have no illusions here that the US can or should be trusted; they are committed to independence, anti-imperialism and solidarity with and for all.

This is the main point I take away from Cuba: The Cuban Blockade is an absolute crime against this noble, modern culture.

If you had to rank it, you could place slightly behind the Nazi genocide against Jews, and the Israeli genocide against Palestinians. But the Cubans justifiably call the blockade “The longest genocide in history”. Are not all three the attempt to kill an entire people and destroy an entire culture? This is exactly what is going against Cuba.

Let’s dispense with another idea: The Cuban government/Communist Party also has widespread support because Cuba has been able to do so much despite such total aggression.

Gaping tourists appear slightly more idiotic in Cuba than elsewhere, because the lack of infrastructure is a surprise. This is a poor country, and that is obvious everywhere.

This country is so impoverished that there should be widespread famine – there isn’t, as the people appear very robust. There should be widespread begging in Havana – there is literally none, save one or two drunks. They should be illiterate and jobless and sick – they aren’t.

The lack of these things amid such poverty perfectly explains why Communist Party has justifiably earned the support of the people.

And I could go on here about how Cuba’s system is, in fact, democratic, with popular votes, easy access to candidature, bans on election campaigning, mechanisms for recall, etc., but this is not a dissection of Cuba’s system of communist democracy, which is not at all a contradiction. It is, however, all there in black and white and in the law for those who want to learn more about it.

Anyway, we need space to discuss the fact that one need not even confuse the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban government: to do so is an attempt to construct a strawman argument, and this is precisely what anti-Cuban or anti-Castro forces do (and all they do).

Recall that I am coming from a place where the president has a 4% approval rating, and where his policies are so unpopular, so undemocratic, that he cannot even stand for re-election. This only confirms my thesis that nobody actually likes their government anywhere in the world and that complaining about any and every government is as natural a pastime as talking about the weather.

But despite all the people who hate Donald Trump, does anyone in the US really push for overturning the American Revolution of 1776? Of course not – it is the same here: You can be pro-revolution and anti-government without contradiction, if you insist.

If you are anti-Cuban government as well as anti-Cuban Revolution…you are just a reactionary fascist. The Cuban Revolution, undoubtedly, restored power, land and life to the people. It ended tyranny and foreign domination.

Now, if you do not realize that you should support the Cuban people’s popular choice of government in order to also give much-needed support their Revolution…well, then you are just an average Western fake leftist.

Yes, nobody here every told me that the Cuban government was the most effective, efficient group of men and women who levied taxes and monopolized the use of force, but you’ll never hear that anywhere. If you are looking for such “insights”, I suggest tuning into Washington-funded propaganda outlet Radio and TV Marti.

A government working amid the US-led Blockade genocide

Just as Sartre said that to understand communism must one first embrace its ideals, to truly understand the Cuban government (and by extension Cuban culture) one must first embrace the idea that they have provided food, health, education and security despite the orchestration of a trans-national blockade for nearly 60 years.

And what is the Blockade? Firstly, it is not what the US claims it is – simply a bilateral “embargo”. The US ruthlessly persecutes any nation which tries to do business or even aid Cuba.

It should be stunning to find out that any ship which docks in Cuba cannot dock in the US for 6 months. Cuba is an island nation, after all, hugely reliant on maritime shipping. But how many shipping companies can afford to bypass the world’s largest market just 100 kilometers away in order to work with Cuba?

The Blockade bans any 3rd party from importing products with Cuban sugar or nickel, their only natural resource. The Blockade bans half of all new, world-class drugs, causing innumerable deaths.

Cuba is locked out of the international banking system, crippling their ability to buy and sell goods.

The US even obstructs charitable donations!

This is total war against Cuba, given that invasion already failed at the Bay of Pigs.

The Cuban government deserves an incredible amount of accolades for providing the equal standard of living that they currently have.

Perhaps I am especially sensitive to all this as I am an Iranian citizen – I thought the US sanctions on our country were bad, but Cuba is another level. Iran benefits from increased distance from the US, 6 times more people, and plenty of oil, but innumerable Iranians have died due to the same lack of medication, modern technology and other aggressions against our popular, democratic revolution.

Iran’s development has skyrocketed since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, but even if you could import 10,000 Macintosh computers to Cuba you would find very few buyers because there is simply no money on the island.

It’s not just Cuban cars which are stuck in a time warp: Seemingly everything here dates from 1959, and that’s the new stuff!

That’s what happens after 6 decades of being unable to sell goods; 6 decades of having foreign investors scared off by the United States.

This is what the Communist Party has been up against for so intolerably long, and yet they still lead the hemisphere in many respects.

Obama apologists will point to Cuba as a success – don’t believe it

Opening an embassy was not gutting the Blockade, which he could have via executive order. Full stop. Obama apologists lose, alongside 11 million innocent Cubans. Please stop trying to defend the indefensible.

He also waited too long to even try – less than $400 million in goods have been exported to Cuba since 2014 – and now there are no “economic realities on the ground” which could prevent Trump from reversing everything, as he has promised.

Yeah I’m sure Cuba did go slow, but the dangerous of immediate US economic domination should be obvious. They also largely insist on productive joint ventures, not typical capitalist exploitation.

Exports to Cuba (mostly food) have actually fallen since restrictions were “eased”, and yet less food for Cuba is somehow a success?

Obama had a ton of executive power at his disposal and his main contribution will be to simply reopen communication, but there should be no doubt that he also strengthened the genocide.Even after restoring relations in 2014 his administration levied billions in fines against French and German companies for “blockade violations”.

The message was clear: there is no thaw in relations, and Cuba stays under our thumb.

Obama did not end subversive US programs, bans on imports and exports, a little torture chamber called Guantanamo on Cuban soil which he promised to close and didn’t – all could have been ended by executive order.

At the 11th hour Obama has just repealed the preferential “wet foot/dry foot” immigration policy. Kudos, better late than never. But by waiting so long he added to the US “brain drain” of Cuba for 7 years, 11 months and 51 weeks – he squeezed the most he could out them, I guess.

Try as his apologists might, Obama cannot be transformed into a leftist, because any clear-eyed analysis shows he’s not even a centrist. As is typical of his entire presidency he only represented a change in form and color, not a change in US tactics.

I was able to console Cubans with, “Iranians say the same thing”: They don’t report any changes following a so-called “historic thaw in relations”.

Getting started is always the most difficult, but going from 0 to 1 on a scale of 10 is not a major advance nor worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

In fact Obama just added 10 more years of sanctions against Iran, and he did it in his typical “form over substance” method: He didn’t sign the bill, but he allowed it to pass. This is the same thing but now he has plausible deniability.

Now his apologists can say that the sanctions are only the result of an “obstinate Congress”. It’s best to remember that it was assumed he would sign the bill, but this change of tactic was a surprise.

One step forward, 11 steps back, look good doing it, stress racial/identity politics – peaked on election night 2008, no doubt. No wonder many in Cuba support Trump, even though the Donald really only talked tough against Iran and Cuba.

I had so many stories left to do!

3,500 Cubans killed by Miami-based terrorists and not 1 American by Cuban revolutionaries; the occupation of Guantanamo Bay (the only far-right in Cuba, LOL); who will the US seek to assassinate now that Fidel has passed from natural causes; Raul is stepping down next year after two 5-year terms, what’s his legacy; who is Miguel Diaz-Canal, the 55-year old engineer tipped to become the new Communist Party leader; and much more!

But I am glad to have made my small reports. It is too bad that capitalism and imperialist forces dominate the West so thoroughly that pro-Cuban reports – i.e. reporting what the majority of Cuban people believe – are such an outlier in the English language; it’s too bad that so many English-language journalists are so heavily-indoctrinated that they look askance at any report which isn’t “balancing” the Blockade with accusations of tyranny and dictatorship.

I doubt I have made many friends in the Little Havana area of Miami – that’s no problem, because I don’t expect a warm reception in the Iranian-exile dominated area of Beverly Hills, either.

But enough about me and more about Cuba!

And this where Cuba deserves some criticism: They are failing terribly in the information war.

They have not realized that Cuba needs an international media presence like Iran’s Press TV, Venezuela’s TeleSUR and Russia’s RT/Sputnik.

In a place where technological development has been so forcibly retarded, I hypothesize that Cuba simply doesn’t realize that the Internet means that Cuba can finally broadcast their own story to the world; no longer is the world dominated by AP, Reuters and the New York Times.

Yes, such a media costs money, and Cuba is rightly focused on providing for the basic needs of their own people, but I know the world’s leftists are starving for information about Cuba, that Cuba has so many amazing stories to tell and that Cuba has so many fascinating programs to reveal.

Cuba is certainly the leftist leader of the Western Hemisphere – their history of resistance, geographic location and modern culture also makes them a global leftist leader. They need an international media which reflects that, for the good of international leftism. Granma is, after all, just 8 pages long.

Cuba is undoubtedly has a third-world economy – and that’s an unforgiveable crime created by the Blockade – but it is undoubtedly a first-world culture.

I leave Havana convinced that post-Fidel Cuba will not be regressing, and will remain an amazing place for so many of the right leftist reasons.

*****

One final note of interest I’d like to include:

As the longtime correspondent of Iran’s Press TV in France I take a special interest in Muslims – if I don’t cover the bottom of France’s social pyramid, who will? There are only 10,000 Muslims in Cuba, but I visited Havana’s main mosque and not one person said they had ever encountered governmental or even societal discrimination due to their religious belief. One person said he converted 13 years ago and had never heard any Muslim make such a complaint.

This is the exact opposite of what Muslims report in France, as well as much of supposedly “tolerant” Europe.

Of course, the idea that Cuba is anti-religion has been outdated for 2 decades – John Paul II was here in 1998. It’s only promoted by establishment media because it’s another form of anti-Communist propaganda.

Banning religion has clearly not been a long-term success for Communism anywhere, and Cuba recognized that and changed.

Yes, some hugely annoying (and US-based) evangelistic groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned, but perhaps they should consider not knocking on everyone’s door to aggressively convert people. When I lived in Gary, Indiana, they disturbed my Saturday morning too many times to count.

I’m not condoning religious oppression and I didn’t care to dig that deep into it, but I was reminded that seemingly every society has some religion that gets oppressed: Scientologists are harassed in Germany (even though I doubt many even know what its tenets are – I don’t), the US killed 82 Seventh-Day Adventists at Waco, Texas, Muslims are attacked in Burma, Jews are targeted for attacks in France, and the list goes on.

The biggest religion in Cuba may be Santeria – a distinctly Cuban-African mix. I visited the homes of White/Aboriginal people who put up elaborate altars to this West African religion, with pictures of Jesus and some Catholic saints added in. It’s pretty telling about the open-mindedness of Cuban culture that non-Blacks have widely embraced a religion which started among the Yoruba of today’s Nigeria.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

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