‘The Palestinian View’ – with Ramzy Baroud: Will the UN Deliver Justice for Palestine? (VIDEO)

September 21, 2022

Baroud comments on the Palestinian Authority’s quest to obtain full UN membership and whether such status is merely symbolic. (Photo: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

In the latest Palestine Chronicle episode of the “Palestinian View’, Ramzy Baroud raises the question “Will the United Nations Finally Deliver Justice for Palestine?”

Baroud comments on the Palestinian Authority’s quest to obtain full UN membership and whether such status is merely symbolic. 

To understand the historical context of this issue and to offer your own opinion, make sure to watch and share the Palestine Chronicle’s latest production. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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To Hell or Not to Hell?

July 16, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

The Barbarian West

By the fifth century AD the barbarians had moved into Western Europe in significant numbers, bringing about the fall of Old Rome in what is now Italy in 410. Curiously, the barbarianism they brought with them, combined with the systematic brutality of Old Rome by the most brutal of them, the Franks, survives today. Indeed, we can state quite clearly that many in Western Europe have remained barbarians, knowingly or unknowingly supporting the ‘Frankish’ warlord aristocracy/ oligarchy which administrates (but not controls –control is from elsewhere) the Western world till this day. At first the barbarians took over only Western Europe, but then they expanded to its immediate neighbours in Eastern Europe, the Near East and along the African coasts. However, from 1492 on there began the Western European occupation and exploitation of the New Worlds. Barbarianism had literally gone global.

As we have said, the Franks (literally meaning ‘freemen’, that is, not slaves) (1) led the field among the barbarians, even renaming one country, Gaul, after themselves, as ‘France’. The word ‘Frank’ was generalised after Charlemagne who in the late eighth century massacred other less violent barbarians, the Saxons. Charlemagne founded a ‘Holy Roman Empire’ (in reality an Unholy Frankish Empire), whose intellectuals had been trained by Jews in Spain. Thus, tenth-century Muslims used the word ‘Frank’ to mean an ‘aggressive Western European’, as did eleventh-century Orthodox Christians in New Rome. In 1100 Baldwin I was enthroned in Jerusalem as the ‘first King of the Franks’. In the late eleventh century, Welsh chroniclers called the invading Normans ‘Franks’, as did the Irish and the Scots in the twelfth century, as did the Spanish and Portuguese French invaders, and did Poles and Czechs German settlers. In the sixteenth century the Chinese called marauding Portuguese and Spanish ‘Fo-lang-ki’, taken from the Arabic ‘Faranga’, from the selfsame word ‘Frank’.

Soon after 1492 the second of the two Spanish Borgia/Borja Popes, Rodrigo Borgia, alias Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), defined Non-Catholic European men as non-humans, permitting them to be robbed, enslaved and killed. In the twentieth century, this misogynistic and racist Western culture graciously extended its ‘superiority’ to Western women, then to the Jews, calling their ‘Western civilisation’ ‘Judeo-Christian’, and then extended it to all races (2), but on one condition: that these newcomers accept ‘Western values’ such as ‘democracy’ = a new word for Western supremacy, that is, Nazism. Thus, today Kiev’s barbarian troops, the New Vandals, are doing the same as Western barbarian marauders, the Old Vandals, genociding all who do not accept their Nazi ideology. Russia is fighting the West today, because the barbarians are at its gates in the Ukraine – again, just as they were eighty years ago.

In the Ukraine

In recent months, here and there in various Western European countries, I have seen two or three flags being flown together, the EU One Ring ‘to rule them all’, sometimes the local national flag, and beneath it the Ukrainian one. This represents Western supremacism, the Nazi ideology which proclaims the long-desired Westernisation of the Ukraine. It says that any who do not accept ‘Western values’ are to be destroyed or, as they say now, ’cancelled’ – with Western fake news, Western arms and Western death.

Who are today’s aristocratic warlords, today’s Franks, Lombards, Goths, Vandals and Vikings? They are Stoltenberg, Biden, Johnson, von der Leyen, Blinken, Nuland, Kagan, Scholz, Macron and all the other knowing and unknowing neocons who fly these flags together. The barbarians were there sacking civilisation in August 476 and in August 1914, they were there sacking civilisation in late 1492 and in early 2022. However, the world that started on 12 October 1492 died on 24 February 2022 and a new era has begun.

On 14 July 2022 the Serbian President Vucic said: ‘Now the whole Western world is at war with Russia through Ukrainian intermediaries and today’s armed conflict can almost be called a world war’. ‘I know what awaits us. As soon as Vladimir Putin has finished his work in Seversk, Bakhmut and Soledar and then reaches the second line in Slaviansk-Kramatorsk-Avdeevka, he will make an offer. And if they (the West) don’t accept – and they don’t intend to – we shall take the road to hell’.

After the Barbarians

So what happens if the Western world chooses not to go to hell? What happens after the barbarians, after the final demise of the myths of ‘The West and the Rest’ and ‘The West is Best’? At the moment, the alternative is an alphabet soup of BRI, BRICS, EAEU, SCO etc. BRICS itself is becoming old-fashioned, as it may well soon be joined by Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and maybe Argentina and then, who knows? Does that make BRICSITESAA? An alternative name like ‘The Anti-West’ is purely reactive, negative and refers to the 530 years before 24 February 2022. It is especially inappropriate since the EU is clearly collapsing and it is obvious that, at the very least, countries like Serbia, Hungary (whom the EU elite wishes to expel from the EU) and Germany, if it is to survive, will be joining the to-be-renamed BRICS.

Perhaps we could call the future bloc ‘The Free World’, but that also makes too close a reference to the past. We of course do not know the future name. But we could suggest some more realistic names like ‘The International Alliance’ (IA), or, ‘The Free Alliance of Sovereign Peoples’ (FASP). Such a bloc could help settle long-standing historic injustices, through the formation of new countries, new borders, new constitutions and new prosperity. The fact is that the world has not yet been decolonised. You can still see straight lines on maps, usually the work of tidy-minded colonial bureaucrats a century or so ago in London and Paris, who had little concept of history and geography, of rivers, mountains and the languages of different ethnicities, let alone of humanity, justice and prosperity.

There are still dispossessed peoples waiting to get or get back their own sovereign homelands, such as those in Scotland, Wales, Carpatho-Russia, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Kurdistan, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico. There are still peoples waiting to return to their real homelands, such as those in Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, Taiwan, American Samoa, Belize, French Guiana, the Falklands. There are still artificial countries which may well disappear entirely or else be federated, such as: USA, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Kosovo, Ukraine, Morocco, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Israel, Lebanon, Kuwait, North Korea, South Korea. Finally, there are countries with disputed borders, not least in Europe, such as Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, the Jordan, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India. If we are to go not towards Hell, let us go to Free and Sovereign Nations, lands for native peoples, and not for colonial powers, and let there be a World Alliance of Free and Sovereign Peoples.

Notes:

1. We are reminded of the anthem of eighteenth-century British slave-traders and slave-owners that they, at least, would ‘never, never, never be slaves’. Of course they would never be slaves, they were ‘Franks’, aggressive Western Europeans.

2. Just as most in the twenty-first century had no problem with Obama (a pale brown, definitely not a black, man and the useful and self-obsessed idiot who started all the problems in the Ukraine) becoming US President, so few have a problem with the idea that a man of Indian extraction is the current frontrunner to be the next UK Prime Minister. After all, the candidacy of Rishi (called by some ‘Richy’) Sunak, until recently UK Chancellor/Minister of Finance, from an Indian/East African merchant family, worked appropriately for Goldman Sachs, married the daughter of the sixth richest billionaire in India, their combined fortune approaching $1 billion, Member of Parliament for a town called, strangely enough, ‘Richmond’, is unsurprisingly supported by the British Establishment’s ‘Financial Times’.

بضع دقائق في رأس الرئيس بوتين


الخميس 21 نيسان 2022

ناصر قنديل

يقول أحد الجنرالات المخضرمين العارفين بقوانين الحرب والذين شاركوا في صناعة بعض من معاركها، إن ثلاثة قرارات اتخذها الجنرال فلاديمير بوتين تحتاج شجاعة استثنائيّة يصعب أن يمتلكها قائد عسكريّ أو سياسيّ، الأول هو قرار بدء الحرب في ظروف جيوسياسية شديدة التعقيد. فالرئيس بوتين كان يعلم أنه يدخل غمار حقل شوك مليء بالمفاجآت والاحتمالات ليس ما جرى إلا بعضاً منها. وقرار الحرب على أوكرانيا يعادل عام 1961 قراراً أميركياً بغزو كوبا، بينما الظروف ليست معكوسة، فلا روسيا هي أميركا الستينيات القوة التي يمكن لأحد مواجهتها، ولا أوكرانيا هي كوبا المحاصرة والضعيفة. والثاني هو قرار تفعيل الأسلحة النووية ورفع جاهزيتها الى مستوى التأهب، وهو قرار يعادل الاستعداد لدخول حرب نووية، لم يسبق أن فعله أحد آخر، حتى أميركا والاتحاد السوفياتي في مرحلة النزاع حول الصواريخ السوفياتية في كوبا وما عرف بأزمة الخنازير بقيا على مسافة من مثل هذا القرار. والقرار الثالث هو إعلان الانسحاب من المحور الرئيسي للهجوم الروسي الذي استهدف العاصمة كييف، وكان على مقربة من قلبها، واتخاذ القرار من طرف واحد بما فيه من مخاطرة بالاضطرار للعودة لاسترداد المناطق التي تم الانسحاب منها بكلفة أعلى، وما فيه من فرص للخصوم لتصويره هزيمة للجيش الروسي واعترافاً بالفشل، هو قرار يصعب على قادة عسكريين وسياسيين كثيرين اتخاذه.

التجول الافتراضي لبضع دقائق في عقل الرئيس بوتين يبدو رحلة مغرية، لمحاولة استكشاف ما يدور في عقل هذا الرجل الذي تدور على طاولته وبين يديه، خرائط العالم الجديد، وتتوقف على تواقيعه مصائر الكثير من السياسات والحسابات والحروب. وهذا التجول الافتراضي هو حصيلة حوار ممتع للتداول في الفرضيات التي وضعها الرئيس بوتين لدى رسم سياق حربه واتخاذ قراراته، جرى مع صديق خبير بطريقة تفكير الرئيس الروسي من جهة، ومتابع لتفاصيل السياسات الدولية والحروب المعاصرة، وصراعات الطاقة والجغرافيا السياسية المندلعة منذ مطلع القرن الحادي والعشرين، من جهة مقابلة، وتبدأ الرحلة من السؤال الأهم، ماذا يريد الرئيس بوتين، وماذا يخشى؟

تبدأ الخلاصة الأولى بالاكتشاف الخطير، وهو أن الرئيس بوتين لا يخشى الحرب النووية وهو واثق من كسبها إذا اندلعت، وهو يعتقد أن الخوف منها سيتسبب بالذعر السياسي ودفع أثمان بلا طائل تحت شعار تفاديها. وأن الحرب النووية اذا كانت ضمن خطة الطرف الغربي المقابل فسيكون دفع العبودية الكاملة ثمناً لتفاديها هو الطريقة الوحيدة لاستبعادها، واذا لم تكن ضمن مشروع الغرب، فإن الاستعداد لها وعدم خشيتها لن يدفعا بالغرب نحوها، بل سيجعلانه مستعداً للتفكير بجدية وعقلانية، باستحالة الجمع بين تفاديها وممارسة الهيمنة والعبودية على العالم دولاً وشعوباً، ورفض الأخذ بمعايير موحدة لمقاربة القضايا الدولية الشائكة والمتراكمة، والتي تشكل علاقة الشرق بالغرب أهمها، ومحورها الرئيسي، ولذلك فإن الرئيس بوتين حسم أمر عدم الخشية من الحرب النووية مبكراً واتخذ الاستعدادات العسكرية وغير العسكرية التي تتيح له الخروج منها منتصراً، معتبراً أن هذا هو أقصر الطرق لمنع وقوعها، وأنه التعبير الأسمى عن الحس الإنساني بالسعي لتفادي الخراب الذي ستحمله للعالم. وهذه القناعة هي التي كانت وراء إنفاق مئات مليارات الدولارات على تطوير الأسلحة الاستراتيجية التي لم يكشف الا عن القليل منها، لكن الغرب يعرف ويعترف بأن روسيا للمرة الأولى تسبقه على هذا الصعيد بعشر سنوات.

إذا كان الأمر الأول هو ما لا يخشاه الرئيس بوتين فما الذي يخشاه؟ الذي كان يخشاه الرئيس بوتين، هو أن ينجح الغرب بصياغة مواجهة ذكية تفكك العلاقة بين مستويات الحرب الثلاثة، المستوى الأوكراني – الأوكراني ومحوره التعامل المنصف قانونياً وإنسانياً وثقافياً ولغوياً مع الأصول الروسية، لأن هذا هو محور قضية دونباس، العنصرية المبنية على هوية غربية شوفينية تجاه كل ما يمت لروسيا بصلة بالدم او الدين او اللغة. والمستوى الثاني هو المستوى الإقليمي، ومحوره التوازن الأمني في أوروبا بين روسيا ودول الناتو، وكانت رسالة موسكو لطلب الضمانات الأمنية من واشنطن، تتضمن عرضاً وافياً لمضمون عناوينه، وقضية أوكرانيا وانضمامها للناتو كانت رأس جبل الجليد في هذا الملف. والمحور الثالث هو مستوى العلاقات الدولية وسعي روسيا لنظام عالمي جديد متعدد الأقطاب صرح المسؤولون الروس مراراً عن فهمهم له وسعيهم إليه. وهذا المحور هو الإطار الحاضن عملياً وسياسياً واستراتيجياً لكل تفاصيل وسياقات الحرب الأوكرانية من الزاوية الروسية. ويعتقد الرئيس بوتين أنه لو نجح الغرب بفك التشابك بين هذه المحاور، فبادر عبر الحكومة الأوكرانية بإعلان الانفتاح العملي على مقتضيات إنهاء الحقبة العنصرية بحق ذوي الأصول والمتعلقات الروسية، وشجع على التفاوض حول حياد أوكرانيا، كترجمة طبيعية للتسليم باستحالة ضمها إلى الناتو، لنجح بحرمان روسيا من المنصة التي وفرتها الحرب للهم الاستراتيجي الأول لروسيا وهو إعادة صياغة العلاقات الدولية، ولنجح الغرب بمحاصرتها كقوة إقليمية وحرمانها من فرصة لعب دور القوة الدولية العظمى، التي تستحيل هزيمتها، كما تقول وقائع ما بعد حزمات العقوبات الأشد قسوة، وأزمات الطاقة والغذاء التي تدق أبواب العالم من أوروبا أولاً.

الحصيلة الأولى للجولة أن الرئيس بوتين يعتبر أنه نجح بفرض تفادي الحرب النووية بوضعها خياراً حاضراً على الطاولة، وأن الغرب تصرّف بحماقة وغباوة سهلت عليه مهمة جعل النظام العالمي الجديد محور الصراع، بعدما زاد الربط بين محاور الصراع الثلاثة، فبدلاً من تفكيك السياسات العنصرية بحق ذوي الأصول والمتعلقات الروسية في أوكرانيا قام بعولمة العنصرية ضد الروس عبر ما حملته كل العقوبات الغربية، بصورة استنهضت الوطنية الروسية إلى درجة غير مسبوقة تحت الشعور بخطر التهديد، وجعلت حربهم الوجودية هي الحرب التي يخوضها بوتين، ولو كانت الأثمان اعلى كلفة عما هي الآن بالأرواح وظروف المعيشة، والروس دفعوا ملايين الأرواح وعمران مدنهم كلها تقريباً لاجتثاث عنصرية مشابهة مثلتها النازية التي ستحتفل روسيا بذكرى النصر عليها قريبا، وبدلاً من التشجيع على حياد أوكرانيا يتحدث الغرب عن ضم دولتي فنلندا والسويد المحايدتين إلى الناتو، وبدلاً من تحييد قطاعي الطاقة والعملات كنقاط ضعف غربية كان يجب عدم كشفها، ذهب الغرب الى الملعب الذي يرغب به الرئيس بوتين لمنازلة الغرب وهو ليس إلا في نقطة البداية بعد.

قرار بدء الحرب وقرار تفعيل السلاح النووي كانا ترجمة لهذا الفهم، وقد تحققت هذه الأهداف، وقرار الانسحاب من محيط كييف ترجمة للاطمئنان بأن المحور الثالث للحرب، أي مستقبل العلاقات الدولية، صار هو العامل الحاسم، فمن الخطأ المساهمة بمنح البعد الأوكراني من الحرب أبعد مما يستحق، والحرب لم تعد الا منصة مفتوحة لأسابيع أو شهور او سنوات، حتى يتحقق الهدف، وهو ولادة نظام عالمي جديد. ومدة الحرب يقررها مدى مواصلة اوروبا محاولة الجمع المستحيل بين مصالحها الجوهرية والتبعية لأميركا، وما تظنه واشنطن لعبة عض على الأصابع تنتظر من يصرخ أولاً، هي في الحقيقة لعبة لحس مبرد، فيها طرف يلاعب لسانه بالمبرد ويتلذذ بطعم دمه، كحال أوروبا، ومن يعض على الإصبع الأوروبي هو الأميركي وليس روسيا. وروسيا تعض على الإصبع الأميركي من بوابة قدرة أوروبا على التحمل، وقدرة أميركا على تخيل مستقبلها دون أوروبا، وموعد الصراخ الأوروبي قريب، ومثله موعد الصراخ الأميركي. في عقل الرئيس بوتين معادلة، مرتاح لمسار الأمور وفقاً للخطة والتوقيت المقررين، ومستعد لكل الاحتمالات، لكن يصعب على الكثيرين فهم معنى ذلك بسهولة، إلا عندما يراهم يجلسون الى طاولة التفاوض لمناقشة ما هو أبعد من أوكرانيا والأمن الأوروبي وأمن الطاقة، لرسم قواعد جديدة للعلاقات الدولية تثق موسكو ويثق الرئيس بوتين أن مكانة موسكو فيها ستكون حاسمة ومقررة.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with India Today television channel, Moscow, April 19, 2022

April 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1810023/

Question: The big question that most are asking is the reason for this operation, the reason for President Putin to take the country to war at a time when we have seen negotiations and talks taking place. What was the reason? We know that America said that Russia was going to carry out operations. New Delhi certainly was not aware of it. Many countries said that it is not something that is going to happen, but it did happen.

Sergey Lavrov: The real reason is the complacency of most countries of the world after the end of World War II, when our Western colleagues, led by the United States, declared themselves winners and in violation of the promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership started moving NATO eastward. They kept saying: “Don’t worry, this is a defensive alliance, it is not a threat to Russian security.” It was a defensive alliance when there were NATO and the Warsaw Treaty, and there was the Berlin Wall, as you remember, both physical and geopolitical. It was very clear what was the “line of defence” for this “defensive alliance.”

When the opponent disappeared, both the Warsaw Treaty disappeared and the Soviet Union disappeared, they decided that they will move the “line of defence eastward.” They did this five times without explaining against whom they are going to defend themselves, but in the process building up their advanced assault capacities and choosing the former Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, as the springboard against the Russian interests.

As early as 2003, for example, when they had a presidential election in Ukraine, the West was publicly and blatantly demanding Ukrainians: you must choose, are you with Russia or with Europe? Then, of course, they started pulling Ukraine into the European Union Association Agreement. The agreement provided for zero tariffs for Ukrainian goods in Europe, and European goods in Ukraine. We had a free trade area agreement with Ukraine in the context of the Commonwealth of Independent States. So, we told our Ukrainian neighbours: guys, we have zero tariffs with you, but we have protection with the European Union, because we negotiated WTO entry for 18 years. For some time, we did manage to protect some sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, insurance, banking, and some others – with considerable tariffs. We told them: if you have zero [tariffs] with Europe and zero [tariffs] with us, we are not protected against European goods, which was part of the deal when we entered the WTO.

Then in 2013, when the Ukrainian President understood the problem, he asked the European Union to postpone the signature of the Association Agreement. We suggested that the three of us – Russia, Ukraine, and the EU – could sit together and discuss how to proceed. The European Union in a very arrogant way said that this is none of your business, we do not put our nose in your trade with China or other countries, so this is going to happen. Then the President of Ukraine decided to postpone this ceremony. The next morning, the demonstrators were on Maidan in Kiev.

In February 2014, the European Union helped negotiate a deal between the President and the opposition. Next morning, the signatures of the European Union representatives – France, Germany and Poland – were absolutely ignored by the opposition, who staged a coup and declared that they are creating a “government of the winners,” that they will cancel the special status of the Russian language. They threatened to throw ethnic Russians out of Crimea, they sent armed groups to storm the Crimean parliament. That is how the war started. The Crimeans said: “We don’t want to have anything [to do] with you, leave us alone.” As a I said, there was a threat from armed groups. The eastern areas of Ukraine said: “Guys, we do not support your coup, leave us alone.” They never attacked the rest of Ukraine. The putschists attacked them, having called them terrorists. They called them terrorists for eight long years.

We managed to stop this bloodshed in February 2015 – the so-called Minsk Agreements were signed, providing Eastern Ukraine with some special status, language, the right to have some local police, special economic relations with the adjacent Russian regions. It was basically the same as [the agreement] the European Union negotiated for the north of Kosovo where Serbs live. In both cases, the European Union failed totally to deliver on what was guaranteed by the signatures of its members. For eight long years, the respective governments of Ukraine and Presidents of Ukraine were saying, blatantly and publicly, that they were not going to implement the Minsk agreements, that they will move to Plan B. They continued to shell the territories of these [self-] proclaimed republics during all these years. We warned the Europeans, the Americans, and Ukraine that they are ignoring something which was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. To no avail.

People do not want to go back into this history because they prefer to take events on their immediate merit, but these particular events are rooted in the desire of the United States and what we call the collective West, to rule, to dominate the world and just show everybody that there would be no multipolarity. It would be only unipolarity.

And that they can declare Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, located tens of thousands of miles from the United States, threats to their security, and can do whatever they please there, levelling cities, like they did with Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. Russia has been warning all its colleagues that just on our borders you have been creating a springboard against us: you have been pumping arms into Ukraine, you have been totally ignoring the legislation of Ukraine, which prohibited, completely prohibited the Russian language, you have been encouraging neo-Nazi ideologies and practices. The neo-Nazi battalions were very much active against the territories which proclaimed themselves independent and who were promised special status. It’s inside Ukraine.

It was all linked with Ukraine becoming NATO’s springboard, and NATO expansion. They were saying that Ukraine will be in NATO. Nobody can stop Ukraine if it so wishes. Then President Zelensky said that he might think about coming back to possess nuclear weapons. In November last year, my President suggested to the United States and to NATO to sit down, to cool off, and to discuss how we can agree on security guarantees without NATO’s further eastward expansion. They refused. In the process, the Ukrainian army radically intensified the shelling of those republics in violation of all the ceasefire agreements. We didn’t have any other choice but to recognise them, to sign mutual assistance treaties with them, and, in response to their request, to send our troops as part of special operation to protect their lives.

Question: You provided the basics: the history, as well as the present context. But you also said, President Putin himself said, that this is not targeting civilians or the citizens, people of Ukraine. It is to do with the administration. We know that in international foreign policy parlance it is used quite often: not in my backyard. America says it all the time, and many other countries say it. But should an entire people, and entire population be punished for an administration wanting to carry out independent foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think it’s about any independence. Since 2013, and maybe even earlier, hundreds and hundreds of US, UK, and other Western security and military experts have been openly sitting in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and the Ukrainian security apparatus. They basically were running the place.

As for the civilians, immediately when this special operation started in response to the request from Donetsk and Lugansk in full compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when it was announced by President Putin, he said that the sole purpose of this operation is to demilitarise and denazify Ukrainians – these two problems of the country are intimately linked. We have been targeting only military infrastructure. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian army and the so-called nationalist battalions, which are using Nazi insignia, swastikas, which was borrowed from Indian history, but twisted the wrong way, and insignia of Waffen-SS battalions, these people were using and continue to use civilians as human shields. They were placing heavy weapons in the middle of towns and cities, next to schools, next to kindergartens, to hospitals. The internet is full of the testimonies of the people who were living in these places, and who were asking these people not to do this.

Unfortunately, nobody in the West actually pays attention to the facts, which we have been providing. Instead, they are staging some fake situations, like a couple of weeks ago with the place called Bucha. The Russian troops left on March 30, I think, and for three days the city was back in the hands of the Ukrainian administration. The mayor of Bucha Anatoly Fedoruk was publicly saying that the city is back to normal life. Only on the fourth day, they started showing images of dozens of corpses lying in the street, which was only a few days before shown as being back to normal. Then a few days later in the city of Kramatorsk, which was fully in the Ukrainian hands, they summoned people to the railway station, and attacked them with a Tochka-U missile. It was proven beyond any doubt that the missile was fired by the Ukrainian army. That’s why the next morning it was out of the news in the West because everybody understood the obvious nature of this provocation. Now, The New York Times says that they have the proof that cluster bombs were used by the Ukrainian army.

Speaking of civilians and the rules of international humanitarian law, I can once again assure you that our army operates against the military infrastructure and not against civilians.

Question: Mr Lavrov, you said that Russian forces have only targeted military facilities. Even if there were military facilities or tanks that have been placed in civilian areas, Russian forces did not show restraint in taking them down. Hence, there are civilians who have been killed. There has been bloodshed, whether it is the outskirts of Kiev, primarily Mariupol, Volnovakha – absolutely raised to the ground. Some responsibility has to be taken by the Russians also on the bloodshed?

Sergey Lavrov: It is always terrible when military activities bring damage to the civilians and to the civilian sector, to civilian infrastructure. As I said, when people have been killing ethnic Russians, citizens of Ukraine, in the east for eight years, no TV representatives, be it Asian, be it African, be it Latin American, be it European, be it the United States, paid any attention to this. The Russian journalists have been working on the contact line, on the side of the republics, round the clock, showing the atrocities committed by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Ukrainian armed forces. And during all those years not a single foreign journalist cared to come to the other part of this line of contact to see what was going on there.

The statistics available from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe indicate that the damage afflicted on the civilians and the civilian infrastructure on the side of the republics, the [self-] proclaimed republics, was five times more and bigger than the same figure for the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

This is not to say that we can just ignore the victims and the damage to the civilian infrastructure, but once again I want to emphasise a very important thing. This outcry started only when the Russians decided to protect Russians who are citizens of Ukraine and who were absolutely discriminated. There was no outcry when the city of Raqqa, for example, in Syria was levelled with dozens and hundreds of corpses lying there unattended for weeks and weeks. The American military never had any scruples about achieving their military goals, be it in Syria, be it in Iraq, be it in Afghanistan, for that matter.

This is a tragedy, when people die. But we cannot tolerate the situation when our Western colleagues say that they can do anything they want. They can encourage the government in Kiev to be as Russophobic as it takes. They would not tell them to stop prohibiting the Russian language in education, in media, stop banning all Russian speaking channels, including Ukrainian channels, they would not tell them not to prosecute the opposition, who favours dialogue with Russia, and to stop violating the commitments to give special status to the territories where the Russian speaking population dominates.

Question: You made a very important point because India Today has travelled to Donetsk and we have been putting out these reports. It is very important because it is important to understand the plight of Russian descent and Russian speaking people in Ukraine. There is no taking away from that. We will talk about Donbass. But coming to the allegations against Russia of genocide, of war crimes, and on the fact that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces, what do you have to say to the visuals? You said that there were no bodies. There were bodies in the basements that have been found much later that would have been found anyway much later. Will there be no investigation that will be carried out? Why just say that it did not happen?

Sergey Lavrov: We are investigating the atrocities of the neo-Nazi battalions of Ukraine and of Ukrainian armed forces. There is a special commission created by the Russian chamber – there is a public organisation which is very experienced. They have been discovering the fakes staged by the so-called White Helmets in Syria, in many other cases. We will not cease our efforts to establish the truth.

We are used to the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries have a very interesting habit: they just throw in news when they believe this news will work ideologically for their benefit, and then, when it comes to the facts, and when more facts are discovered, putting a big question mark on their assertions, they just lose interest.

2007, London. Poisoning of Mr Litvinenko. Huge outcry. The investigation begins, and after a few weeks a public inquiry is announced, which in the UK  means that it is secret. Until now, we cannot get the facts about what had happened to Mr Litvinenko.

2014, Malaysian Airlines Boeing. Shot down over Ukraine. We presented a huge amount of facts. We requested that we be part of the investigation – no way. Ukrainians who did not close their skies during the conflict were invited to this investigation group, Russia was not. Malaysia, as the owner of the plane, was invited only five months later after the Australians, the Dutch. They and the Malaysians agreed among themselves that anything coming out of this room must be subject to consensus, meaning that Ukraine, which did not close the skies, had a veto power on this investigation. We could not get the truth on this one as well.

2019, Salisbury poisoning. The people disappeared. The only proof which was made public is “highly likely,” as Theresa May said. The Brits insisted on the expulsion of Russian diplomats by most of the European countries. When I asked my friends, did they provide proof beyond the public statements about “highly likely” it was Russia, they said “no, but they promised to.” I checked one year later, whether this was done, it was not done. And so on, and so forth.

2020. Our opposition blogger Mr Navalny was poisoned. We asked the Germans. We immediately responded to the German request to let him go to the Berlin hospital. Twenty-four hours after the request he was flown to Berlin. We don’t have any confirmation who was flying with him, where did they get the bottle which is the key element in this investigation. When we asked the Germans to show us the formula which they discovered in his blood, they said this is a military secret.

It is us who until now insist on the truth about Litvinenko, about the Skripals, about Malaysian Boeing, and about Navalny. The stories that they stage in Ukraine these days are of the same nature.

Question: Going back to the investigations, you are saying that that Azov battalion is absolutely shameful, yes, they should be investigated. They are neo-Nazis, and they should not have been incorporated or integrated into any military regime in any country. But if you introspect and look at your own people as well, is there any instance of denying and rejecting claims? Will there be investigations against your own people if they have done wrong? Will they be held accountable?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a law that prohibits the military to do anything which is not allowed under international humanitarian law. Any violations are registered and investigated.

On Azov, it is interesting that you mentioned it. Azov was listed in the United States in 2014 or 2015 as a group that cannot be supported, that cannot legitimately operate, and it was prohibited by Congress to provide any assistance to this battalion. Everybody forgot about this or rather they certainly remember what this group is about, and they decided to put their money on this group.

In Japan, as you know, they passed a special decree by the government that Azov is no longer a neo-Nazi group, and the Japanese government apologises for listing Azov as such. And of course when President Zelensky in his camouflage was asked about Azov by some journalists, who felt that something was wrong with these neo-Nazi trends, Zelensky said quietly: Azov, they are what they are, we have many groups like this. They are part of our army.

You, I mean the media, started asking questions about Azov only when the military operation was launched. For eight long years, nobody lifted a finger, nobody bothered about what was being groomed in Ukraine, as a continuation, or rather a resurrection, of what was boiling in Europe in 1930s.

Question: President Zelensky said that Russia plans to use tactical nuclear weapons.

Sergey Lavrov: He says many things. Depends on what he drinks and what he smokes. He says many things.

Question: Do you think it was a strategic miscalculation by President Zelensky to take on Russia when there was no certain assurance from NATO and the European Union that they would actually back Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: President Zelensky came to power with the promise of peace. He said that he will reach peace on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. A few months later, he said he cannot implement the Minsk Agreements because the Minsk Agreements are “unimplementable.”

Question: It was the Russian forces, the DPR.

Sergey Lavrov: No, he never said that it was because of the military situation on the ground. He said that it is unthinkable for Ukraine to give special status to any part of his territory. But it was very “thinkable,” if I may say so, when Ukraine was created, to put together the territories which now (those in the west) never celebrate Victory Day, May 9, and the eastern territories, which would never celebrate the heroes honoured in the west: those who collaborated with Hitler. With this difficult composition of territories, to say that Ukraine can only be a unitary state, and that it would not give special status to these people even if the Security Council demands so, I believe that this was not very far-sighted.

Had he cooperated as he promised to his electorate when he was elected, had he cooperated in implementing the Minsk Agreements, the crisis would have been over long ago.

Question: Did the West betray Zelensky?

Sergey Lavrov: No, I think the West played Zelensky against Russia and did everything to strengthen the desire to ignore the Minsk Agreements.

The “West” is a broad notion. It’s the United States and the Brits. The rest of the West, including the European Union, is just an obedient servant.

Question: Tactical nuclear weapons. Will Russia ever use them?

Sergey Lavrov: Ask Mr Zelensky. We never mentioned this. He mentioned this. So, his intelligence must have provided him some news. I cannot comment something which a not very adequate person pronounces.

Question: As a P5 member, as a nuclear power, will nuclear be an option at all, on the table at all?

Sergey Lavrov: When the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan, decided that they have special responsibility for peace on this planet, they signed the solemn declaration that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, and therefore a nuclear war must never be launched.

After the Trump administration came to office, we have been telling them, because tensions were aggravated: “Why don’t we try to send a positive political message to the entire universe and to reiterate what Gorbachev and Reagan pronounced?” During all the four years of the administration, they refused to do so.

But we were really encouraged when President Biden was inaugurated. Five days after his inauguration, we repeated this offer, he first agreed to extend the [New] START treaty without any preconditions. In June 2021, when they met with President Putin in Geneva, they issued this declaration. This declaration was issued on our initiative. After the Americans and the Russians said that there must be no nuclear war, that they won’t think about it, we started to promote the same commitment in the context of the P5. Not the United States, not UK, not France – Russia. Eventually, earlier this year, in January this year, the P5, at the level of presidents and heads of government, issued the statement which we initiated and which we were pushing through for all these years.

Question: So nuclear is off the table?

Sergey Lavrov: This statement, both the Russian-American statement, and the P5 summit statement, were issued on the strong insistence of the Russian Federation.

Question: Coming back to the Donbass region, DPR, LPR. The independence of these republics is non-negotiable for Russia when you talk to Ukraine. What happens if the negotiations succeed between Ukraine and Russia and should there be a settlement, will Russia withdraw from other areas: Sumy, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev?

Sergey Lavrov: I thought you are a journalist, but you can be a spy. I am not discussing the military operation, for obvious reasons it is never the case.

On the territorial situation, we recognise DPR and LPR within the administrative boundaries of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Minsk agreements were signed when these two territories were split roughly half and half. Now the militias of these republics are fighting to get their territory back.

When they had a referendum in 2014, it was held on the entire territories of the former regions. But then the coup leaders started the war, which they called an anti-terrorist operation, and they took a considerable chunk of both regions. So, yes, we recognise LPR and DPR within their declared territories as a result of the referendum.

Question: Which in fact includes Mariupol and Volnovakha, as part of Donetsk.

Sergey Lavrov: Yes.

Question: My question is, if there is a settlement between the two sides, and they recognise, which President Zelensky said he would not, he said that they are going to fight for Donbass to the very end, so where are the red lines?

Sergey Lavrov: I cannot intelligently discuss what President Zelensky says because he always changes his mind diametrically.

He was the initiator of the negotiations, which we accepted. At some point we were disappointed because they were changing their mind every time, coming late, leaving early, but then in Istanbul, about one month ago, it was on March 29, they brought a paper, saying that we are not going to be a member of any military alliance, that they will be neutral. In return, they asked for security guarantees, preferably P5, maybe some others, and it was written and initialled by the head of the heads of delegations. The security guarantees they were asking for would not cover Crimea and the territories in the east of Ukraine.

It was not our language, it was their language. Now President Zelensky says “no way.” They started backtracking even earlier. But this is a paper with the signature of the head of the Ukrainian delegation. So, before we can intelligently discuss what he says one day or another, we need to have clarity about the credibility of this person and about his team.

Question: Was there any understanding in Istanbul on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, as well?

Sergey Lavrov: We changed the configuration of our presence. This was announced immediately after Istanbul that since we believed that they brought something which could serve as a basis [of an agreement], we made a goodwill gesture, and we changed the configuration in the Kiev and Chernigov areas.

This was not appreciated at all. Instead, this Bucha thing was immediately staged and played, like Skripals were played in Salisbury, like the Malaysian Boeing, like Navalny, played, but immediately put aside when the hard facts were presented which they cannot challenge.

Question: There are mayors who have been appointed now by Russia in Berdyansk and Melitopol, and they are saying that they will hold a referendum, that they are not going to go back. Is that the plan?

Sergey Lavrov: That’s the outmost democracy, right? A referendum – people saying what they want.

Question: Which means that you are securing your land boundary in Sumy and Kharkov, but also the waters, if you look at Zaporozhye, Nikolayev.

Sergey Lavrov: People have been suffering in all these places for eight long years, when neo-Nazis were prohibiting them to speak their own language, prohibiting them to commemorate the heroes of World War II, of the Great Patriotic War, prohibiting to have parades and to have any events to commemorate the fallen, the parents, the grandparents of these people.

Now when they have thrown away these neo-Nazis, and say that now we will decide who will be running the place – this is our mayor, this is our legislature, I believe that this is a manifestation of democracy after so many years of oppression.

Question: It seems that Ukraine has lost more land than it would have gained by negotiating on Donbass.

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the decision of those who have been running Ukraine, of those who have been sabotaging the Minsk agreements, in spite of the UN Security Council decision. We are not up for regime change in Ukraine. We have said this repeatedly. We want the Ukrainians themselves to decide how they want to live further in a way, which would not repeat the Minsk agreements, when they did decide that they did not want to do anything with the coup leaders, who immediately said that they are against anything Russian: culture, language, everything what these people cherish. Then they were promised something by the European Union and cheated.

We want the people to be free. To decide how they want to live in Ukraine.

Question: Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. How long can you sustain?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think we are thinking in the context of sustaining. Sustaining means, you know, you sustain, you take some hardships, and hope that, sooner or later, this would be over.

Russia has been under sanctions all along – Jackson–Vanik, then it was repealed, but Magnitsky Act was introduced, then we were punished for the free vote of the Crimeans, we were punished for supporting those who were in favour of keeping the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian government did not want them to get what they promised, and so on and so forth.

So, now we have come to a very straightforward conclusion. We cannot rely on our Western colleagues in any part of our life, which has strategic significance, be it food security, which we managed to ensure ourselves after 2014, be it, of course, defence, and be it some strategic sectors where high-tech is developing and indicating the future of the mankind. We did not have time to achieve self-sufficiency in all these areas, but in most cases, we resolved this issue. Of course, we are open to cooperation with all other countries who do not use illegal, illegitimate unilateral measures in violation of the UN Charter.

India is among those. We cooperate bilaterally. I visited a couple of months ago, and we cooperate in many international organisations.

Question: Speaking of India, India is under immense pressure to sever ties, to cut down imports of energy, of fuel, but India has stood its ground. In terms of reliability, is there a concern that India should have with regards to the kind of defence cooperation both countries have? Could there be delays in deliveries of critical weapons systems that India is buying from Russia, such as the S-400s? What is the conversation you have been having with New Delhi on this ground?

Sergey Lavrov: India is our very old friend. We called our relationship a long time ago a strategic partnership. Then, about 20 years ago, the Indian friends said: why don’t we call it a “privileged strategic partnership?” Sometime later, they said that this was not enough. Let’s call it “especially privileged strategic partnership.” This is a unique description of the bilateral relations between India and Russia.

With India, long before all this became such a hot potato, we supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept “Make in India” and we started substituting simple trade with local production, shifting production of the goods needed by India on your territory. It was for quite a number of years already that we have been promoting the use of our national currencies in settlements between the governments of the two countries.

We promoted national information systems, transmission systems, like SWIFT. You have your own, we have our won. They are being used more and more. Payment cards: we have MIR, you have RuPay. They are mutually supportive. It is not, you know, a huge percentage, of the overall volume of trade, but it is steadily growing. On defence, we can provide anything India wants. Technology transfers in the context of defence cooperation are absolutely unprecedented for any of India’s outside partners.

Question: We have got away with a waiver from the United States for the S-400s, but future collaborations, could they become difficult?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, when the Americans say that they are in favour of democracy all over the world, they mean only a very specific thing – that it is up to them to decide who is democracy, and who deserves to have some good attitude on behalf of Washington. When they convened this summit of democracies, you only need to look through the list of invitees, to understand that it is not about real democracies, it is about something else. The Americans now run all over the world, their ambassadors have priority number one to go to the foreign ministry, to the government of the country where they serve and say: “You must stop talking to Russia, you must join sanctions against Russia.”

Well, long before this crisis, I have been talking to the Americans, to the Europeans, I told them: when you say democracy, democracy, and at the conferences you always want this language on rule of law and democracy, I asked them about adding that apart from the national level, we want democracy and the rule of law internationally. They don’t like it. When they push everybody in this anti-Russian camp, when they go to India, when they go to China, to Turkey, to Egypt, countries with their own thousands years of history of civilization, of culture, and when they are not even ashamed to publicly tell you what to do, I believe something is wrong not only with manners, which always has been the case, but something is wrong with the mentality.

When Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, says publicly: “We, the United States, has not yet decided whether to introduce sanctions against India for the S-400s,” they have not decided what is good for you. His under-secretary Wendy Sherman later said: “We must help India understand what is important for its security.” How about that?

Question: I suppose your counterpart gave them a befitting reply on how to conduct one’s foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: Absolutely. I respect Subrahmanyam Jaishankar very much. He is a seasoned diplomat, and he is a real patriot of his country. He said that we will be taking the decisions on the basis of what India believes it needs for its development, for its security. It’s respectful. Not too many countries can say something like this.

Question: You mentioned China. For us, the China factor is very important. Russia has a unique relationship when it comes to ties with China and ties with India. You mentioned the United States of America, so again, I am going to go back to the US. Recently, in one of the visits, deputy national security advisor said that should India continue ties with Russia, there will be consequences. If, he said, there is another incident at the LAC, then the US will not come to India’s rescue. The statement is flawed, because there are two points. One is that he said “should there be another incident,” not recognising that the Chinese are still on Indian soil. Secondly, he said that they will not come to India’s rescue, but they did not come in the first place. But where does Russia stand?

Sergey Lavrov: We stand in favour of resolving any conflicts on the basis of arrangements negotiated directly between the parties, like, just like it was in Ukraine, when the two parties, the rebels, as they are called, the separatists, as they are called, for us they are self-proclaimed republics, on the one side, and the government, which came to power as a result of the coup, on the other side had a deal, negotiated and endorsed by the Security Council. It is another matter that the government, with the instigation of the West, failed to deliver, but the method is the one which we believe should be applied everywhere.

After those incidents on the border, we welcomed the resumption of the discussions between the military of India and China, the discussions between the politicians, at the level of the foreign ministers, and we hope that this would be resolved. We cannot use those threats, which are absolutely normal for the Americans, who say “or else, there would be consequences.” It is their favourite statement.

What we would like to do, as Russia, we would like to promote the formats where India, Russia, and China participate together. It started in 1996-1997, when Russia’s Foreign Minister at that time, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested the RIC format – the troika formed by Russia, India, and China. It happened, and we continue to convene in this format. I think, last November there was probably the 20th ministerial meeting. Not only foreign ministers, but also ministers of economy, ministers of trade, political scientists meet, which may not be very much publicised, but it is a very useful format.

We were very much in favour, even we were the leading force in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to promote this, of the full membership of India, together with Pakistan, in this organisation. This is another premise for China and India to be together in the company of their neighbours, and to build more confidence.

Question: Finally, before I let you go, sir, Europe is looking to halt gas from Russia. Come summer, policies might get harsher. But you are looking for the dedollarisation of the global energy market by dealing in roubles. How do you propose to do that, should they start halting?

Sergey Lavrov: There will be no change for the Europeans and other countries who buy our gas. The reason for this decision was very simple and obvious. When they froze the Russian assets in dollars, euro, yens, and the pound sterling for the amount of more than 300 billion euros or dollars, those were mostly the money kept in Western banks after we received payments from them, from the Western countries, for our gas deliveries.

In other words, they paid us, and they stole the money from us because those were the currencies which are linked to the Western banking system. So what we told them to do: they would not be paying directly to Gazprom’s accounts abroad, but they would be paying to a bank called Gazprombank. It is an independent entity. They would be paying the same amount which they have to pay under the existing contracts, but they will pay these amounts to a special account which they have to open with this bank. There would be a parallel account in roubles. So they pay euros, and then inside this bank these euros are transferred to the rouble account, and from this account Gazprom receives roubles.

Question: So you are not running losses at all on the money Russia is to receive from Europe? There is no money that has been stopped?

Sergey Lavrov: Exactly. As of now, they would not be able to keep the money in their banks, the money that they not even owe us, but which they paid to us already. I believe this is something which does not contradict contracts. They would still be paying in euros or dollars or whatever was the currency of the contract, but we will have insurance that this robbery would not happen again.

Question: Finally, sir, before I let you go, I have to go back to that question on eastern Ukraine. Intensification of war efforts now in eastern Ukraine – is the trigger the flagship warship Moskva that sunk. What really happened there? Is that one of the triggers now why we see more intensification against Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: No, this operation in the east of Ukraine is aimed, as was announced from the very beginning, to fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. This operation will continue. Another stage of this operation is beginning. I am sure that this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation.

Question: What happened to the warship?

Sergey Lavrov: It is for the Ministry of Defence. They explained what happened and I cannot add anything to this.

Question: On that note, many thanks for joining us here on India Today. It was indeed a pleasure, sir.

Sergey Lavrov: Thank you very much.

Question: That was the Foreign Minister of Russia speaking exclusively to India Today.


Notes on information availability from the Russian Federation:

The best video is on Telegram:  https://t.me/MFARussia/12362
This is the first complete address from the Russian MFA that they posted on Telegram since the attack on the availability of Russian information started.  It is also a complete interview in English and without translators.

The Indian interviewer is smart and respectful.  Mr. Lavrov is patient and clear.

It is still a hit-and-miss exercise to get complete information from Russian professional sources.   You can see these interviews live on Ruptly but there is no playback.  The videos and transcripts are on the Russian Foreign Ministry site, but frequently there is no playback.  In copying this transcript just a while ago, the Russian MFA site went down again.

It is important to see or read these completely in order to find nuance and context. It seems to be a fashionable journalistic method to report on one or two snippets only. In that, the Russian media sources are not helping us to help them. Here is an example.  Mr. Lavrov’s takeaway quote on being asked about Zelenski, is:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks or what he smokes.”   RT decided to shorten that, and said:  “He says many things, depending on what he drinks.”   Incorrectly reporting even direct quotes does not serve the Russian cause.

Amarynth

Can Europe overcome hatred, racism, embrace universalist spirit of refugee convention?

April 17 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Ruqiya Anwar 

The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, while the West showed racism and double standards when it came to hosting refugees from the global south that were escaping western funded wars in the first place.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov described Ukrainian refugees as Europeans concluding “These are intelligent individuals”

The Ukraine crisis has caused one of Europe’s greatest and fastest refugee migrations since World War II ended. A massive amount of people had fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as many as four million people could evacuate the country in the next weeks. The European Union (EU) estimates that there will be seven million refugees by the end of the year. 

It has revealed significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. However, Europe’s radically divergent responses to these two crises serve a warning lesson for those seeking a more humane and generous Europe. The distinctions also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, particularly African, Asian, and Middle Eastern, are not receiving the same lavish treatment as Ukrainian citizens (Tayyaba, 2022).

However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in countries now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and hostile actions such as border pushbacks and draconian detention measures have been taken in the past.

Notably, Hungary, since the 2015 refugee crisis, the country has refused to accept refugees from non-EU countries. Non-European refugees, according to Prime Minister Victor Orbán, are “Muslim invaders” and migrants are “a poison”, and Hungary should not welcome refugees from diverse cultures and religions to preserve its cultural and ethnic unity. 

More recently, in late 2021, the atrocious treatment of refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Belarus’s borders with Poland and Lithuania, most of whom were from Iraq and Afghanistan, provoked an outcry across Europe. Belarus has been accused of turning these people’s misfortune into a weapon by luring them to Belarus to travel to EU countries in retribution for EU sanctions.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants pour into neighbouring nations, clutching their children in one arm and their valuables. And leaders from nations like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have greeted them.

While hospitality has been praised, it has also brought significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. Some of them claim that the language used by politicians currently welcoming refugees is upsetting and cruel.

According to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, “These are not the refugees we’re familiar with. These are Europeans. These are intelligent individuals. They are well-educated individuals. This is not the type of refugee surge we’ve seen before, with people whose identities we didn’t know, people with murky pasts, and even terrorists”.

However, when over a million individuals walked into Europe in 2015, there was initially a lot of support for refugees fleeing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were also instances of animosity, such as when a Hungarian camerawoman was caught on camera kicking and potentially tripping migrants near the country’s Serbian border (CNC, 2022)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 increased the number of refugees attempting to enter Europe. Even Turkey, which already hosts over 4 million migrants and asylum seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians, could not effectively accommodate them. However, the reception of these minority refugees in European countries has been overwhelmingly unfavourable.

Hundreds of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum seekers were stranded in Poland-Belarus woodlands and marshes in 2021, without shelter, food, or water in subzero temperatures and facing constant assaults from Polish and Belarusian border authorities. At least a dozen people were killed, including children. Yet, the European Union refused to open the border.

Significantly, although walls are an inadequate means to handle the movement of refugees and migrants, wall-building has been on the rise in the region since the 1990s. Then, the European continent celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to a 2018 Transnational Institute analysis, the primary goal of these walls is to dissuade refugees and asylum seekers from the Global South.

Greece finished building a wall along its border with Turkey in 2021 to keep Afghan asylum seekers out. The Spanish government now intends to construct the world’s tallest wall in northern Morocco, where it claims the power to block migrant access into Spain, which is only 250 miles away.

Lithuania has been constructing an 11-foot-high steel fence with 2-inch-thick razor wire on its border with Belarus since 2021 to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering the country. EU states have agreed to accept Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without requiring them to seek asylum. Poland has stated that it will absorb 1 million Ukrainians. Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Germany, and Spain are among the countries that have already opened their borders.

Unfortunately, these double standards have shown in the attitude of non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s conflict. Students and refugees from the Middle East have been subjected to racist abuse, obstruction, and violence while attempting to exit Ukraine in increasing numbers. Many others said they were barred from boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian nationals were given precedence; others said they have violently moved aside and halted by Ukrainian border guards when attempting to pass into neighbouring countries.

There were tales about non-white refugee communities that had gone unrecorded and unpublished. Despite their huge number and agonizing battles across countries and continents, millions of Syrian refugees remained anonymous and blankly depicted in the media. While standing in line at the border and seeking to get crucial services, a number of non-Ukrainians of colour, including Africans, Afghans, and Yemenis, have experienced prejudice.

The astonishing double standards were on full display in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis and the early phases of the conflict that followed. The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, as well as their different political spectrums. When the refugees were Arabs or Muslims, Black or Brown, however, it remained vehemently divided.

Moreover, the Polish authorities detained people and refused them to enter the country. The refugee crisis in Ukraine provides Europe with not only an important opportunity to demonstrate its generosity, humanitarian values, and commitment to the global refugee protection regime, and it also provides a critical opportunity for reflection, Can Europe’s people overcome widespread racism and hatred and embrace the universalist spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention? All member states must apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion, or country of origin.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

They Saw and Heard the Truth — Then Lied About It: Media on Donbass Delegation Omitted Mention of Ukraine’s 8 Year War on the Autonomous Republics

 

Photos from site of Ukraine’s March 14 missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Source

-by Eva K Bartlett, April 5, 2022

*Following is a lengthy overview of my recent re-visit to the Donbass, on a two day media delegation, with a brief critique of some of the media’s slanted reporting. It is also a follow up from my 2019 visit to hard hit areas of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It is now 8 years of Ukraine’s war on the people of the Donetsk & Lugansk Republics.

Point of impact of March 14 Ukrainian missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

In the last week of March, I stood on a central Donetsk main street next to two of the impact points of a Ukrainian missile attack that had killed 21 civilians and injured nearly 40 more on March 14. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) maintains that their military intercepted Ukraine’s Tochka-U ballistic missile, and that not all of the cluster munitions inside had exploded in the city streets, thereby lessening the already terrible bloodshed it caused. Indeed, if all of the munitions had exploded, it would have been a bloodbath more horrific than the 21 killed.

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Near the ATM, there were flowers and candles laid in memory of the civilians murdered that day, with haunting photos nearby depicting the aftermath of the bombing, the grisly scenes of the dead and the maimed—scenes you will generally never see blasted across Western corporate media, just as the same media were silent when terrorism struck civilian areas in Syria.

I’m intimately familiar with war zones, and with Western corporate media’s white-washing of the perpetrators’ crimes (Israeli crimes against Palestinians; Western-backed terrorists’ crimes against Syrians; Ukrainian military and Nazi crimes against the civilians of the Donbass—and also against Ukrainians proper), so the lack of media coverage on this recent Ukrainian war crime doesn’t surprise me.

They don’t report on it, or the myriad Ukrainian war crimes prior, because it doesn’t suit their narrative, a narrative that erases the eight years of Ukraine’s war against the four million people of the Donbass republics, killing at least 14,000 people, to give a modest estimate.

War crimes investigator, Ivan Kopyl, spoke about Ukraine’s March 14 attack, noting, “The warhead of a Tochka-U missile contains 50 cassettes of cluster munitions. We managed to find 28 traces of cluster explosions on the soil…A Tochka-U missile changes its orientation just before landing, so after it flies on a trajectory it makes a turn and falls vertically down before detonating at a certain height. The fragments then shower the surface in a radius of approximately 150 meters.”

I have one of those cluster fragments, a twisted and jagged square-shaped piece of metal—seemingly harmless looking on its own, but deadly when flying through the air at high speed, in great numbers.

The attack occurred around noon, when this central city street—not a military area, but a civilian one—would have been busy. Photos show a gutted bus and gutted cars. Pensioners, Koply noted, would have been lined up at the ATM right where the blasts occurred. “There was also damage to a yard where there are two kindergartens – there were several craters there,” he noted.

The strike on the heart of the city is among the latest in Ukraine’s litany of war crimes.

Ukraine again bombed Donetsk following the March 14 attack. Donetsk News Agency reported on March 30 that the Ukrainian forces’ bombing had killed one person and seriously injured four others. One of the girls injured in that attack fell into a coma, the DPR Ombudsman noted.

And just now, there’s been news of another Ukrainian Tochka-U attack. According to RT, at least 50 people (including 5 children) were killed at a railway station in Kramatorsk, where thousands of people were waiting for evacuation trains. Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR People’s Militia, stated that the attack was a missile containing prohibited cluster munitions.

Gonzalo Lira writes:

“This is a fragment of the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station…The AFU has blamed the Russians, but this picture of the missile shows that it is indisputably a Tochka-U rocket — used exclusively by the Ukrainian side. It’s the same kind of missile that two weeks ago hit the center of Donetsk and killed 27 civilians.

What’s that saying? Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times . . .”

As of March 31, the Ombudsman reported that there’s been 6,010 deaths, including 96 children, since Ukraine’s war began in 2014. And that’s only with regards to the DPR. In the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), which has also been under Ukrainian fire since 2014, as of late February, 1,762 civilians had been killed, including 35 children.

During my 2019 visit to the DPR, I went to the northern city of Gorlovka, of which I wrote:

“Gorlovka was hardest hit in 2014, especially on July 27, when the center was rocked by Ukrainian-fired Grad and Uragan missiles from morning to evening. After the dust settled and the critically-injured had succumbed to their wounds, at least 30 were dead, including five children. The day came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

A monument commemorates the Gorlovka victims of Ukrainian bombings and sniping from 2014-2017. Near a sculpture of an angel, over 230 names fill the marble slabs, the first dedicated solely to children, 20 of them.”

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

At the site of the March 14 bombing, DPR head Denis Pushilin spoke, outlining the chronology the last 8 years, from the violent coup in Ukraine and subsequent increase in radical Ukrainian nationalism, to the two republics’ decision to push for autonomy, to Ukraine unleashing hell on the 4 million people and continual violations of the (2014 & 2015) Minsk Agreements and the massive amounts of weapons pumped from the West to Ukraine (see also). [*Note: I’ll be adding a subtitled clip of his words in the next day or two.]

School and Hospital shelled by Ukrainian forces

The town of Volnovakha—on the road between Donetsk and Mariupol further south—was secured by DPR forces nearly two weeks prior to our visit. Entering the town, we passed destroyed homes and buildings, which was expected, as there was heavy fighting to liberate the area held by the Ukrainian forces.

As they did in their copy-paste reporting on liberated areas of Syria, most Western media reports on Volnovakha focus on the destruction, without any context as to why it occurred—these residential areas were occupied by Ukrainian forces, and not all of the destruction was from DPR forces’ fighting against the Ukrainian forces: the Ukrainian forces themselves fired on homes, and according to hospital staff, on the hospital itself.

In addition to not giving this context, most Western media in general depict the liberating forces as deliberately and wantonly destroying everything in sight. Some media went as far as to claim that Putin himself had destroyed the town. This cartoonish narrative, so prevalent in Western reports whitewashing terrorism in Syria and now in whitewashing Ukrainian forces’ crimes, unfortunately does achieve its intended effect: duping Western viewers into believing the opposite of reality–that the liberators are the war criminals.

Again, just as terrorist factions in Syria occupied schools and hospitals, so too do Ukrainian forces, including in Volnovakha. When DPR forces had liberated the city, they found foreign weapons used by Ukrainian forces inside the hospital. [See also: Western Media Quick to Accuse Syria of ‘Bombing Hospitals’ – But When Terrorists Really Destroy Syrian Hospitals, They Are Silent]

In a central area of Volnovakha, Russian soldiers handed out humanitarian aid to lines of residents, including: bags of canned goods, fresh bread, water.

According to Alexander Yurievich Kachalov, the interim mayor, Ukrainian forces used civilians as human shields. “They made sure to destroy as much infrastructure as possible. They bombed buildings in order to leave ruins after they left, to make it harder for us to restore.”

This was common in Syria. Terrorist factions destroyed buildings and vehicles when fleeing, while leaving mines and booby traps on streets and in houses, to kill still more civilians and soldiers.

A woman waiting in line for humanitarian aid said, “They say Russia did this. This wasn’t Russia, Ukraine did it, destroyed everything here! They shot at our hospital. I work there. The new children’s and infection units have been destroyed. The outpatient clinic was destroyed. And then they left. They took the medical staff’s car and went away.”

At the destroyed hospital, Chief Physician, Viktor Fedorovich Saranov, said:

“[The Ukrainian Army] were there. There were tanks on our territory. There were guns and Grads outside the territory.  I asked them to act in accordance with the Hague and Geneva conventions. I asked them to leave the hospital. They said it was war.

Many people come to us from nearby houses under fire. About 500-600 people came to our basement. We gave everyone three meals a day.

The second and third floors were occupied here. We were preparing for a long siege, and then it turned out like this: they conducted an attack. They evacuated the soldiers. And they mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day, when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.” The ICU, he said, had already been evacuated.

A woman who said she had worked at the hospital as a nurse for nearly 58 years said:

“On the 28th I was home alone. They soon started shelling. How can they do it with their local hospital? With patients here. They were laying in corridors, as they had been evacuated. They said there was no one in the hospital, no staff, no patients. This is a lie.”

Later, researching, I came across this news (*warning, graphic video at the link):

“Foreign mercenaries who were wounded in the Volnovakha hospital were shot by their own before leaving the city so that they could not tell anything. All the wounded have a control shot in the temple or the back of the head.”

On the road back towards Donetsk, we stopped at a school that had been shelled in late February.

According to Victoria Terichenko, head of the Dokuchaevsk city administration’s Department of Education, the shelling was by Ukrainian forces.

“Of course, Ukraine. There were only Ukrainian troops there. We had no military here, we were only civilians here.”

Fortunately, children weren’t at school at the time of the shelling, but Terichenko said a nursery school in the area had been shelled, with children inside, but again, fortunately, not on the side of the building shelled.

Horrors of Ukraine’s War on the People of the Donbass Republics

Ukraine’s relentless bombing and sniping of the people of Donbass is bad enough, along with it being ignored by Western press and politicians.

But in its eight years of warring on a people who rejected the rule of ultra-nationalists and Nazis, who just wanted to live autonomously, speak their own language, remember their history (Ukraine has rewritten history to glorify Nazis and Nazi collaborators and to vilify those who defeated Nazism, namely the Soviets), Ukraine has committed war crimes as heinous as ISIS and their co-terrorists in Syria, with more and more testimonies coming out of mass graves, rapes, torture of civilians and Donbass soldiers, beheadings. None of this shocking given the crimes these extremists commit against even Ukrainian civilians and journalists.

Along a sidewalk flanking a central park, there is a row of photos containing incredibly disturbing images of murdered LPR civilians.

Elders slaughtered on benches and in wheelchairs, the corpse of an infant, mass graves, a room used to imprison and torture people, the insignia of the notorious rapists and murderers of the “Tornado” battalion.

One photo shows Nazi graffiti left on a wall.

These are similar to the graffiti I saw in January 2009 left by Israeli soldiers who occupied the home of a Palestinian family, half of which had been killed by Israeli-fired White Phosphorous. One of the slogans written in Hebrew was: “Next time it will hurt more.” This, to the family whose infant had burned alive due to the White Phosphorous bombing, and whose surviving family members were badly mutilated from the prohibited weapon. In another house in eastern Gaza, likewise occupied and desecrated by Israeli soldiers, more hate and death graffiti had been left for the traumatized inhabitants.

Different people and places–same violent hatred of the population being targeted.

In the same park area, there is a monument to two journalists killed in 2014 by Ukrainian forces. Had these journalists been killed by Russia or Syria, their names would have been on the front pages of news sites and TIME magazine covers. In Syria, dozens of journalists have been killed by terrorist forces, to the silence of not only Western media but also of the groups supposedly advocating for journalists’ rights and safety.

In Shchastia, north of Lugansk, more civilians received humanitarian aid in the liberated town.

Humanitarian aid being handed out in Shchastia, a town north of Lugansk, liberated in early March.

Western Delivered Weapons on Display

In the two republics, we saw some of the vehicles and weapons captured from Ukrainian forces. Telesur journalist Alejandro Kirk spoke to me about these captured weapons and vehicles, noting the many foreign made weapons sold to Ukraine. Western countries continue to sell weapons to Ukraine.

On March 20, journalist Alexander Rubinstein wrote of the West’s exorbitant shipping of billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine over the years. He noted:

“At least 32 countries have announced their intention to ship billions of dollars in weapons into Ukraine for use against Russian forces in Ukraine. Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries – units which have already received training and arms the US and its NATO allies.

All of this builds on $3.8 billion in military aid from the United States to Ukraine, the training of 55,000 Ukrainian soldiers by Canada and the United Kingdom, and a longstanding CIA program aimed at cultivating an anti-Russian insurgency.

…weapons furnished by NATO allies have been placed in the hands of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi former paramilitary organization incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.

The governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have presided over a massive program to train and equip Ukrainian soldiers for a full-scale war with Russia. Trainees have included top commanders of the Azov Battalion.

In late February, the European Union opened the floodgates of weapon shipments to Ukraine, approving financing through the aptly-named “European Peace Facility” to reimburse countries sending weapons to the country to the tune of $500 million USD. Another $55 million USD is earmarked for non-lethal military aid.

This February, the State Department announced $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, bringing “the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.”

Another $200 million was sent in early March, and following Zelensky’s March 16 appeal to Congress for more weapons, Biden is reportedly set to dole out another $800 in military aid including 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 400 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

These figures add to the $2.5 billion in military aid the US delivered between 2014 and the summer of 2021, bringing the total to $3.8 billion.”

Missing Context: What the Donbass People Have Endured In 8 Years of Ukraine’s War

After my September 2019 visit to the DPR, I wrote about the mostly elderly civilians I met who were living in battered homes damaged by Ukrainian shelling and heavy machine gun fire just 500 meters and 600 meters from Ukrainian forces. They remained there, they told me, mostly because they had nowhere else to go. Some spoke to me on camera, others were afraid of Ukrainian retaliation were they to be interviewed.

But their stories were all pretty much the same: at night, when the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) left, the Ukrainian terrorizing began, with shelling throughout the night.

I also met a couple who had been living for 6 years in the stinking, dank, basement of a battered school, after Ukrainian bombing destroyed their home.

The DPR press officer who accompanied me and provided translations, spoke of how Ukrainian forces used weapons prohibited under the Minsk Agreements.

Irina Dikun, head of the administration of Zaitsevo, another frontline village, spoke at length on the Ukrainian bombing that erupted nearly every night.

“They are destroying street by street in the town. They take one street and destroy it house by house. Then they turn to another street. There was a school, and a nursery school, before, but they were both destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.”

As in Syria, when schools and hospitals are actually destroyed (in Syria by terrorist factions), the same media that howls over militarized hospitals being targeted, the same media that also manufactures stories that never even occurred, is silent when the destroying is actually done, by Ukrainian forces.

In Zaitsevo, Irina explained fire trucks and medics couldn’t reach targeted homes, because the ambulances themselves became targets for Ukrainian forces (as happens in Gaza, where medics are targeted by Israeli forces, as I myself witnessed).

During that 2019 visit, I also interviewed some of the defenders of the DPR, painted by Western media as “separatists”, “pro-Russian forces” and other such descriptions meant to dehumanize. The same Western media so quick to humanize terrorists, including one who chewed the organ of a dead Syrian soldier.

One more relevant note from that visit: Dmitri asked what people in the West think about the fact there is a Nazi state in Europe. I replied that most people don’t know, because of the media whitewashing.

Which brings me to my recent return to the Donbass: I was curious to see whether the journalists on the same delegation as me would report truthfully, partial truths, or fabricated lies. As it turned out, my skepticism was warranted.

Distortions and Omissions of Some Western Media on the Ground in the Donbass

Telesur’s report gave the historical context needed to understand the present, including the coup in Ukraine, the active neo-Nazis in Ukraine (many of whom re entrenched in the Ukrainian army), the past eight years of Ukraine’s war on the Donbass, the 14,000 killed during these years, and the media blackout on the suffering of the Donbass people.

Sky News’ report was good, mentioning the civilians killed in Donbass by Ukraine’s war, including the March 14 attack and the school shelling, while also giving air time to the DPR’s Pushilin.

Neither of the two French channels’ (FranceInfo and TF1Info) reports on the delegation’s visit mentioned the March 14 Tochka-U attack, even though we visited the site & Pushilin spoke of it at length, much less the roughly 8,000 civilians killed in the two republics alone. I couldn’t find mention of the Azov or other Nazi battalions participating in the atrocities against the Donbass people, even though we heard about them and saw the graphic photo display in Lugansk. Their reports were framed as, “this is what Russia wants us to see,” regarding the humanitarian aid and reclaimed towns.

And of course, they focused greatly on the destruction, but not on the reasons for it, the implication being that the Russians and the “pro-Russian separatists” were responsible.

The chief physician of the hospital in Volnokava spoke at length and did specifically state the Ukrainian army had occupied the hospital, as did the nurse I cited, both of whom addressed the group of journalists.

FranceInfo’s mention of the hospital was framed as, “The Russians accuse the Ukrainians of having bombed it.” They included a few seconds of the chief physician saying he didn’t know who had done it, there were soldiers in the area, he didn’t know who.

But actually, the physician spoke to us for about several minutes, during which—as I wrote earlier—he did specifically talk about the presence of the Ukrainian army in the hospital.

One journalist asked: “Why did such destruction happen?” To which the chief physician replied, “I don’t know. They were military. And who they were: military, national battalions, army? I don’t know.”

That’s the bit France TV cherry picked, omitting his previous words about the Ukrainian army occupying the hospital, as well as omitting what he said afterwards: “There was Ukrainian territory on that side and the rockets were from that side. They mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.”

Likewise, TF1Info included just a few seconds of the physician’s words on the Ukrainian cannons and machine guns at the hospital, but then followed up with the presenter’s caveat: it is one of the arguments often presented by the Kremlin—in spite of the fact that not only he, but the nurse and many people I encountered in the town specifically blamed the Ukrainian army for occupying the hospital and attacking it themselves when leaving.

If there were any further TF1Info reports from their journalist’s visit which might have included mention of Donbass’ dead, I couldn’t find them. Likewise, of FranceInfo.

This tactic of cherry picking quotes and omitting information is a standard corporate media war propaganda tactic and, unfortunately one seen over and over in Syria and elsewhere.

Journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote of one particularly horrific and sadistic terrorist massacre of 200 Syrian civilians, including 116 children, in April 2017, killed by an explosion as they were being evacuated from their terrorist besieged villages. She wrote of one traumatized woman who lost 20 family members (10 dead, 10 missing) having witnessed the attack.

“Then, after the filming session (by various agencies, including Dubai based Orient News & Qatari Al Jazeera) which lasted approximately ten minutes, she and the other parents were forced back onto the buses, at gunpoint, and locked inside. They had to watch, while the armed militia collected the dead, dying and mutilated bodies of their community’s children and flung them in the back of trucks and Turkish ambulances, before driving them away from their families in Rashideen.

Not one western media outlet questioned why these injured, dying and disoriented children were being piled on top of one another in the back of a truck that obviously belonged to Nusra Front.”

In fact, as they did routinely in their Syria coverage, media essentially relegated these dead civilians as unimportant, because their deaths didn’t fit the corporate narrative, even when civilians were repeatedly targeted by horrific terrorist bombings, mortars and missiles.

Global Media Abusing the Suffering of the Donbass to Further Anti-Russia War Propaganda, Just as They Did in Syria…

It is already bad enough that Western media generally don’t report on Ukraine’s relentless shelling of the Donbass, but all the more disgusting when it depicts a scene from the March 14 bombing of Donetsk as if it was a bombing of Lvov by Russia.

“The aftermath of the bombing of Donetsk by Ukrainian “Tochka-U” missile, used by Italian newspaper “La Stampa” as an image from Lvov
*Propaganda noted in this article: The Hard Facts about Ukraine and Donbass
At the site of the Tochka-U missile attack in Donetsk, photos of the moments after the bombing, including the scene depicted in Western media as in Lvov. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

This isn’t the only instance. More recently, various Western media have used footage showing a multi-story apartment building in Donetsk that was bombed by Ukraine on March 30 to infer that the scene depicted was actually of Ukrainian areas that had been bombed by Russia. If you followed the war propaganda around Syria, you would be aware that this practice is common, not accidental.

New York post using Donetsk bombing photo to infer the scene was Kiev or elsewhere, under Russian bombing. The article has since been updated, photo removed. They would say it was a mistake. With corporate media, it never is. Luckily, at the time, some observers caught the lie.

And as with war propaganda on Syria, some media will use footage not even from Ukraine:

I could add paragraphs of examples of how Western media did this in Syria, but for the sake of brevity will state simply that this is one of many deceitful and deliberate propaganda tactics used to both downplay the hell civilians are suffering under Ukraine’s bombing, and instead to pretend Ukraine is the victim. How the journalists that propagate such lies live with themselves, I’ll never understand.

Finally, a word to some in independent media who feel the need to denigrate Russia’s denazification operation in Ukraine by snidely putting “special operation” in quotation marks, or others who took to social media to tell the world they don’t like war, and denounced Russia for its military operation (to stop a war): The people of the Donbass don’t like war, they didn’t ask for Ukraine to unleash hell upon them. Such posturing disrespects the at least 14,000 killed by Ukraine’s war.

As journalist Roman Kosarev, who has covered the war eightyears, said: “Russia isn’t starting a war, Russia is ending one.

Is Europe Really More Civilized? Ukraine Conflict a Platform for Racism and Rewriting History

April 4, 2022

CBS correspondent Charlie D’Agata has prompted backlash after comparing violence in Afghanistan to the invasion of “relatively civilized” Ukraine. (Photo: video grab)

By Ramzy Baroud

When a gruesome six-minute video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting and torturing handcuffed and tied up Russian soldiers circulated online, outraged people on social media and elsewhere compared this barbaric behavior to that of Daesh.

In a rare admission of moral responsibility, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian President, quickly reminded Ukrainian fighters of their responsibility under international law. “I would like to remind all our military, civilian and defense forces, once again, that the abuse of prisoners is a war crime that has no amnesty under military law and has no statute of limitations,” he said, asserting that “We are a European army”, as if the latter is synonymous with civilized behavior.

Even that supposed claim of responsibility conveyed subtle racism, as if to suggest that non-westerners, non-Europeans, may carry out such grisly and cowardly violence, but certainly not the more rational, humane and intellectually superior Europeans.

The comment, though less obvious, reminds one of the racist remarks by CBS’ foreign correspondent, Charlie D’Agata, on February 26, when he shamelessly compared Middle Eastern cities with the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, stating that “Unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, (…) this is a relatively civilized, relatively European city”.

The Russia-Ukraine war has been a stage of racist comments and behavior, some explicit and obvious, others implicit and indirect. Far from being implicit, however, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, did not mince words when, last February, he addressed the issue of Ukrainian refugees. Europe can benefit from Ukrainian refugees, he said, because “these people are Europeans. (…) These people are intelligent, they are educated people. This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists.”

One of many other telling episodes that highlight western racism, but also continued denial of its grim reality, was an interview conducted by the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, with the Ukrainian Azov Battalion Commander, Dmytro Kuharchuck. The latter’s militia is known for its far-right politics, outright racism and horrific acts of violence. Yet, the newspaper described Kuharchuck as “the kind of fighter you don’t expect. He reads Kant and he doesn’t only use his bazooka.”If this is not the very definition of denial, what is?

That said, our proud European friends must be careful before supplanting the word ‘European’ with ‘civilization’ and respect for human rights. They ought not to forget their past or rewrite their history because, after all, racially-based slavery is a European and western brand. The slave trade, as a result of which millions of slaves were shipped from Africa during the course of four centuries, was very much European. According to Encyclopedia Virginia, 1.8 million people “died on the Middle Passage of the transatlantic slave trade”. Other estimations put the number much higher.

Colonialism is another European quality. Starting in the 15th century, and lasting for centuries afterward, colonialism ravaged the entire Global South. Unlike the slave trade, colonialism enslaved entirepeoples and divided whole continents, like Africa, among European spheres of influence.

The nation of Congo was literally owned by one person, Belgian King Leopold II. India was effectively controlled and colonized by the British East India Company and, later, by the British government. The fate of South America was largely determined by the US-imposed Monroe Doctrines of 1823. For nearly 200 years, this continent has paid – and continues to pay – an extremely heavy price of US colonialism and neocolonialism. No numbers or figures can possibly express the destruction and death toll inflicted by Western-European colonialism on the rest of the world, simply because the victims are still being counted. But for the sake of illustration, according to American historian, Adam Hochschild, ten million people have died in Congo alone from 1885 to 1908.

And how can we forget that World War I and II are also entirely European, leaving behind around 40 million and 75 million dead, respectively. (Other estimations are significantly higher). The gruesomeness of these European wars can only be compared to the atrocities committed, also by Europeans, throughout the South, for hundreds of years prior.

Mere months after The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949, the eager western partners were quick to flex their muscles in Korea in 1950, instigating a war that lasted for three years, resulting in the death of nearly 5 million people. The Korean war, like many other NATO-instigated conflicts, remains an unhealed wound to this day.

The list goes on and on, from the disgraceful Opium Wars on China, starting in 1839, to the nuclear bombings of Japan in 1945, to the destruction of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, in 1954, 1959 and 1970 respectively, to the political meddling, military interventions and regime change in numerous countries around the world. They are all the work of the West, of the US and its ever-willing ‘European partners’, all done in the name of spreading democracy, freedom and human rights.

If it were not for the Europeans, Palestine would have gained its independence decades ago, and its people, this writer included, would have not been made refugees, suffering under the yoke of Zionist Israel. If it were not for the US and the Europeans, Iraq would have remained a sovereign country and millions of lives would have been spared in one of the world’s oldest civilizations; and Afghanistan would have not endured this untold hardship. Even when the US and its European friends finally relented and left Afghanistan last year, they continue to hold the country hostage, by blocking the release of its funds, leading to actual starvation among the people of that war-torn country.

So before bragging about the virtues of Europe, and the demeaning of everyone else, the likes of Arestovych, D’Agata, and Petkov should take a look at themselves in the mirror and reconsider their unsubstantiated ethnocentric view of the world and of history. In fact, if anyone deserves bragging rights it is those colonized nations that resisted colonialism, the slaves that fought for their freedom, and the oppressed nations that resisted their European oppressors, despite the pain and suffering that such struggles entailed.

Sadly, for Europe, however, instead of using the Russia-Ukraine war as an opportunity to reflect on the future of the European project, whatever that is, it is being used as an opportunity to score cheap points against the very victims of Europe everywhere. Once more, valuable lessons remain unlearned.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Western journalist’s coverage of Ukraine reveals selective humanity

3 Mar 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Ghadir Hamadi 

How is the media coverage of the events in Ukraine contributing to the dehumanization of non-white, non-European people?

Five days into the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the United Nations released a report stating that more than 360,000 Ukrainians have already fled the country, with the majority crossing the border into neighboring Poland.

The United States has already imposed sanctions targeting Russian banks, oil refineries, and military exports.

The United Nations held an emergency calling for an immediate Security Council meeting to try and stop the bloodshed and chaos in Ukraine.

Journalists, media experts, politicians, and world leaders have all resorted to social media to express their outrage supporting the war, and their solidarity with Ukraine. 

However, many of those figures have been accused of double standards for using their platforms to not only support and encourage Ukraine’s armed resistance to Russian troops, but also to express their shock at how such a conflict could happen to a “civilized” nation.

CBS News senior correspondent in Kiev Charlie D’Agata said on Friday: “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – a city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen”…….

Many social media users were outraged by his commentary, while others simply claimed that he has verbalized what they knew all along: non-white blood is cheap while white blood is not. 

Many pointed out that his comments further contributed to the dehumanization of non-white, non-European people suffering under a conflict within mainstream media.

Al Jazeera English anchor Peter Dobbie stated: “What’s compelling is, just looking at them, the way they are dressed, these are prosperous…I’m loath to use the expression… middle-class people. These are not obviously refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any European family that you would live next door to”.

He later apologized in a tweet.

On Saturday, the BBC interviewed Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze.

“It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blonde hair and blue eyes being killed every day with Putin’s missiles and his helicopters and his rockets”, Sakvarelidze said.

The BBC presenter responded: “I understand and of course respect the emotion”.

The Telegraph has also published an article by Daniel Hannan, that was immediately shared by thousands of social media users. The lead of his article was seen by many as “so vile, I couldn’t continue reading it”, one social media user tweeted.

“They seem so like us”, Hannan wrote. “That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections, and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone”.

A video of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian resistance icon standing up to the Israeli army when she was a little girl was falsely circulating on social media as a little Ukrainian girl standing up to Russian soldiers with the caption: “PRAY FOR UKRAINE”. 

The video received more than 11.6 million views on Instagram because users thought the girl was Ukrainian, not Palestinian, and that the soldier was Russian, not Israeli.

Other users expressed their outrage at the wars imposed on their countries by the governments of those journalists who are now calling non-white refugees “uncivilized”. 

“When Palestinians, Lebanese, Somalis, and Afghanis resist foreign occupations and invasion, they are labeled as terrorists, but when Ukrainians do it, they’re cheered on by the rest of the world. Selective humanity at its finest”, tweeted Amal Omar. 

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) called on “all news organizations to be mindful of implicit and explicit bias in their coverage of the war in Ukraine”.

AMEJA released a report of the examples it tracked of racist news coverage that ascribes more importance to some victims of war over others.

The report concluded by stating that AMEJA stands in full solidarity with all civilians under military assault in any part of the world, but that decontextualizing narratives can erase the stories and the sufferings of entire populations. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

’Ukrainian Girl Confronting a Russian Soldier’ Is Actually Palestine’s Ahed Tamimi

March 1, 2022

By Nur Ayoubi – MEE

Old footage of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist arrested in 2017 by ‘Israel’, has been widely shared online under the false claim that she is a Ukrainian girl standing up to a Russian soldier.

Images from a 2012 incident show Tamimi, then aged 11, confronting an ‘Israeli’ soldier, gesturing as if to punch him.

However, many on Twitter shared the pictures with false information that it is from Ukraine.

On the short-form video platform TikTok, a clip of the same confrontation between Tamimi and the soldier asks viewers to pray for Ukraine. So far, the clip has been viewed over 12 million times and has accumulated just over 800,000 likes. 

Tamimi has often been referred to as an icon of the Palestinian resistance. She garnered widespread media attention in 2017 when she was arrested following an altercation with ‘Israeli’ soldiers who refused to leave her home in Nabi Saleh, a village in the occupied West Bank.

Related Videos

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi © Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

Tamimi, who was 16 years old at the time, was sentenced to eight months in an ‘Israeli’ prison as a minor, making headlines around the world.

At the time of her release, Tamimi paid tribute to the women incarcerated in ‘Israeli’ prisons and said she was planning to become a lawyer to help further the Palestinian cause.

The false information spread alongside footage of Tamimi angered many social media users who see a double standard in how the footage was received.

“I guess Palestinian kids are only heroic when mistaken as European?” one Twitter user asked.

Another Twitter user called for people to “stop using Palestinians as props.”

Western media coverage of Russia’s invasion has been slammed by many online for using racist tropes, often expressing sorrow for “civilized” Europeans and comparing them with refugees from the Middle East.

Many online said the video of Tamimi has gone viral again under this new – if false – context because she is “white-passing.”

Earlier this week, David Sakvarelidze, Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor, sparked outrage when he spoke to the BBC about Russia’s invasion saying “it’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.”

This is not the first time that old, unrelated footage has been confused with the Russian invasion since the start of the conflict.

Much misleading footage linked to the Russia-Ukraine crisis has come from the Middle East. Multiple videos and images from Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Palestine have all falsely been attributed to the Russian invasion.

Related Videos

Ahed Tamimi’s 10-minute speech can be found in the video below, from 23:15 – 34:42.

Some of Ahed Tamimi Topic

Residential schools are a stain on Canada’s history that won’t be erased simply by appointing an indigenous Governor General

moi

July 30, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Governor General, Mary Simon, has spoken of reconciliation and moving forward. But such talk is meaningless until Canada owns up to the extent of its crimes against the indigenous peoples.

Recently, I wrote about the sudden emergence of media attention to the horrific issue of the Canada-wide “residential schools”, where starvation, torture, sexual and physical and mental abuse were rife.

In spite of this being raised for decades, and largely ignored in media, recent months has seen interest rise around the globe and suddenly the news awash with reports on the mass graves of native children interned at those institutions.

After publishing my thoughts on the matter, I received an email from Roland Chrisjohn, a PhD-educated clinical psychologist. He is also a professor heading the Native Studies department at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

His email was lengthy, for good reason. For decades, he has been, “fighting to get these issues in front of the public. And I admit it has been frustrating.”

Following our email correspondence, I spoke with Dr. Chrisjohn.

I was contacted in about 1986 by the Caribou Tribal Council in Williams Lake, British Columbia. One of the First Nations in the Council was Alkalai Lake, which had experienced a lot of deaths and suicides. They attributed that to the fact they had a 97% alcoholism rate, including children as young as 10 years old.”

At some point, Chrisjohn said, local women decided to fight this, in just a few years radically tipping the scale to 97% sobriety.

Like many who drink, they had good reasons to, Chrisjohn said. “It was a form of self medication, to forget what happened to them in the Williams Lake residential schools.”

He went on to describe a nearly three-year-long study conducted by residents of Williams Lake, with his guidance, and published in 1991, “Faith Misplaced: Lasting Effects of Abuse in a Native Community.”

It’s still the only real study of the lasting effects of residential schools. Everything else in the literature is simply reminisces of individual people, autobiographies, not data.”

According to Chrisjohn, the Caribou Tribal Council wanted to expand the study, and needed funding to do so.

The Catholic Church, he said, agreed to help with funding, “if the Council & nations would sign an agreement that there would be no litigation, no charges brought, no suing of the Catholic Church. She quite naturally decided to walk away from that agreement. This was the late 1980s, the church was already covering up what it knew would be a problem.”

When the Council didn’t agree, Chrisjohn said, the Church succeeded in disrupting the study by calling potential participants and threatening excommunication.

We finally got 187 people. We were targeting 500 people (in the study). The Church pulled the plug as best they could.”

In 1993, Chrisjohn was contacted by The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), to conduct a psychological and social study which he noted, never intended to address residential schooling; in fact, they were quite explicit about not conducting any kind of investigation of it.”

Chrisjohn explained that eventually he wrote The Circle Game, a book rejecting the predominant narrative that the schools were, “a well-intentioned mistake, that had caused Indians to come down with ‘residential school syndrome’, which (3) modern western psychiatrists, psychologists, and (especially) social workers could (and would) cure (for lots of money), and which (4) would clear up all the muss and fuss that was associated with Canada’s long history with Indian residential schooling.”

While, according to Chrisjohn, the feedback was “it is brilliant”, and an executive summary was requested, after providing it, he never heard officially from any member of the RCAP.

Not merely neglect, but torture

I asked Professor Chrisjohn about torture, having previously come across articles detailing grotesque methods employed at residential schools to discourage indigenous children from speaking their language and retaining their culture.

He spoke of a native man named Fred he had interviewed, who when he was a child said a word in a native language. The nuns stuck a knitting needle through his tongue, which he had to endure all day, to make an example of him for speaking in a native language.

He spoke of children in Fort Albany, northeastern Ontario, being tortured with electric shocks.

What could a kid have done to force you as a disciplinarian to electrocute their genitals?”

Lest this seem one-sided, I refer to other sources incriminating the Canadian government and churches for their role in torture and murder of indigenous peoples.

A recent article by Quebec-based journalist, Robin Philpot, cited former Chief Medical Officer of the Department of the Interior—responsible for the health of Indigenous children in the residential schools—Dr. P.H. Bryce, who became an early whistle-blower, publishing as early as 1922 about the crimes against indigenous kids.

At the time, Tuberculosis was rampant, and Bryce was attempting to bring attention to it.

Philpot wrote: “In the residential schools, the death rates were devastating, continually on the rise. The Indigenous population was plummeting each year because of tuberculosis, but each of Dr. Bryce’s reports was snuffed out. Worse yet, representatives of the Indian Affairs Department did everything possible to prevent Bryce from speaking out in public.”

According to Chrisjohn, the Tuberculosis epidemic was portrayed as an issue of natives being genetically predisposed to getting.

Tuberculosis is exacerbated by nutritional deficiency. “If you don’t get sufficient protein in your diet [and the bacteria which causes it is present], you will get it,” Chrisjohn told me. “When you’re feeding children desiccated, five-year-old, oatmeal with ground up cardboard added to it as filler, when you give that to native kids, they’re not getting B vitamins, not getting adequate nutrition, then they come down with Tuberculosis.”

Why the poor-quality oatmeal?

Indian agents were given a per capita budget. Anything that they don’t spend out of the budget, they get to keep. So while they had enough money to buy real oatmeal, dessicated oatmeal is free. It appears on the books as oatmeal. And the Indians die.”

He referred to a book written on the matter, “Enough to keep them alive,” noting that was the instruction given to an Indian Agent. “Enough to keep them alive, that’s what your job is. As long as we can deny that we actually killed them, then we’re good.”

I can’t continue without noting this reminds me of the strikingly similar Israeli policy of drastically limited imports into Gaza, to enforce a starvation diet, something revealed by Israeli journalist Amira Hass.

A 1998 report submitted to The Law Commission of Canada cites a number of researchers, including Chrisjohn. It begins:

Several generations of native people over the past one hundred and fifty years attended residential schools. Many children were subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse, sometimes lasting over periods of year, and many of them died. Far more children experienced a standard level of brutality, in an environment characterised by forced labour, poor and inadequate food, harsh discipline, little or no medical attention, the absence of family and community ties, and a complete lack of emotional nurturing.”

Citing Chrisjohn, the report’s section on abuses includes highlighting: “forced sexual intercourse between men or women in authority and girls and/or boys in their charge; Forced oral-genital or masturbatory contact between men or women in authority and girls and/or boys in their charge; Arranging or inducing abortions in female children impregnated by men in authority; Sticking needles through the tongues of children, often leaving them in place for extended periods of time; Inserting needles into other regions of children’s anatomy; Burning or scalding children; beating children to the point of inflicting serious permanent or semi-permanent injuries, including broken arms, broken legs, broken ribs, fractured skulls, shattered eardrums; Using electric shock devices on physically restrained children; Forcing sick children to eat their own vomit…”

And, according to that report, beatings were administered with “Leather and rubber straps (used on children as young as four years old); Straps with tacks, nails, or wires embedded in them; Studded belts; Whips…”

As for the accusations of genocide, it noted: “Knowledge of the genocidal intent of the colonisers is well entrenched in aboriginal consciousness, but is still unknown and unrecognised by the larger Canadian public.”

Media silence, empty words

Chrisjohn’s work has now been noticed but, in general, the media has been predictably silent, save the recent flareups.

Following our interview, he commented in an email that the news has already gone completely dead on this, after inundating us with “’tragedy’, ‘healing’ (healing the dead? they’re going to get better?), and a ‘new page’ (aren’t we skipping huge sections of a book no one has been allowed to read?).”

And, he rightly noted that while there was talk of “healing” there was, “no discussion of the pursuit of justice.

As for justice, as complicated as it might seem, the first step is fairly straightforward.

My ninth recommendation in The Circle Game is: come clean. Stop temporizing, stop evading, stop covering up. Covering up is a crime as big as the crime. You’re an accessory after the fact.”

Back to our initial correspondence, Chrisjohn wrote, “You ask, ‘why this is happening only now?’ Short answer, based on my experience: it had been systematically suppressed and misdirected.”

Indeed.

I asked his opinion about the recent Governor General appointment of Mary Simon.

It is symbolic.”

I have to agree thus far. When appointed, she spoke about the need to balance the “tension of the past” with the “promise of the future,” and vowed to carry out her work with “humility and purpose.”

Words are cheap, and untold number of indigenous are waiting for actions, justice, not more words.

RELATED:

Media is FINALLY covering immense crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada that were known about DECADES ago. So why now?

-Roland Chrisjohn’s writings

One Racism; One World

Bouthaina Shaaban

2 Aug 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Bouthaina Shaaban

Any wrong or racist attitude may eclipse the truth for some time, but it cannot do so forever.

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Syrian sculptor, Rami Wakkaf

When the black movement in the US raised the motto “Black Lives Matter”, after the killing of George Floyd, the rest of the world should have joined by raising the motto “human lives matter”. So many people in different countries in the world have forgotten that they belong to one human race and one human family, either due to the colors of their skins and eyes, or due to the advanced positions their countries have reached in different domains. Amidst the hard competition we witness among people in different areas, it may well suit some to discriminate against others and belittle their achievements in order to get them out of their way. Athletes competing for medals are perhaps the most exposed to this kind of racism, which lately started to infect unusual territories, such as education and art, which until recently were thought to be totally safe from such practices. 

As London Art Biennale is a huge landmark for artists from all over the world, it is important to relate here to our dear readers an important incident that has taken place in 2021 London Art Biennale. The Syrian sculptor, Rami Wakkaf, responded to the invitation to participate in this Biennale by sending two of his works, which were very well received and bought almost immediately by the Biennale. Accordingly, he applied for a visa to attend the event, but of course he was not granted a visa because he is Syrian. 

After waiting patiently for the art judges, Rami was told that one of his works has got the prize for the best sculpture in the Biennale. Of course, he was very happy and excited and put the happy item on his Facebook and received congratulations and requests for media interviews. 

The next day, and perhaps after the Committee was reminded that he is Syrian, and no need to say that Syria is subjected to coercive US measures, he received a second email, which read that “the vote was very close, and during the jury recount, the artwork by Jason Briggs won that particular prize by one vote,” expressing sincere apologies for the mistake. 

Is it possible that the first email, which was sent to inform Rami Wakkaf that his work won the first prize, was sent before the final counting of the votes and before a final decision was made by the committee to choose this work? There is no doubt that the works of Rami Wakkaf would outlive the Committee’s decision and would receive the attention and celebration they are worthy of. 

Any wrong or racist attitude may eclipse the truth for some time, but it cannot do so forever. Racism is the antithesis of everything human, creative, and exceptional. 

It is the tool of those who fail to achieve and to appreciate the excellence of the achievements of others, and always for the wrong reasons. 

People in our region never used to believe that such things may happen in a Western country as they have an exaggerated idea of the absolute moral behavior of the West. But as means of communication are bridging distances, the truth is closer at hand. 

The West cannot indulge in racist practices, whilst keeping its moral superiority or its claims that it provides criteria for human behavior and ethics. It has to choose one or the other, or the choice will be made anyway. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Dr. Roland Chrisjohn on the barbaric “residential schools” & Canada’s coverup of murder & torture within

moi

 

Eva Bartlett

After I wrote about media finally covering the horrific issue of “residential schools”, I was contacted by Roland Chrisjohn, who is Onyota’a:ka of the Haudenaushaunee (Oneida of the Six Nations Confederacy), originally from the Oneida of the Thames reserve in southern Ontario and now living/working in New Brunswick.Chrisjohn is a clinical psychologist and a university Professor. He heads the Native Studies department at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

He author of numerous studies and books, notably “The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada.”

Related:

“The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada.” (also here)

-Media is FINALLY covering immense crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada that were known about DECADES ago. So why now?

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/528360-crimes-indigenous-canada-children/

The People and the Unpeople: At home and abroad

The People and the Unpeople: At home and abroad

JULY 17, 2021

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

“The weak and ill-constituted shall perish: first principle of our philanthropy. And one should help them to do so … What is more harmful than any vice? Active sympathy for the ill-constituted and weak.’’ (1)

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Friedrich Nietzsche 1872

The Beast awakens – Second Time Around

Such were the sentiments – customarily referred to by Charles Darwin as the ‘’survival of the fittest’’ and of Friedrich Nietzsche’s worldview (see above); and moreover these are to all intents and purposes the unstated and philosophical stance of the incumbent ruling elites in the west. This is a dialogue delineating an unapologetic and ruthless amoral agenda presently emerging from the salons, studios and lecture halls and presently doing the rounds in the usual media and academic outlets. This project entails what is essentially a cultural revolution, a revolution sui generis; a massive project involving the construction of a fundamentally new order imposed from above and to be realised through a ‘Great Reset’. But this reset is nothing new, it has been in a long incubation period and even tolerated a qualified democracy; although this democracy never sat easily alongside the oligarchic elites; moreover, even this minimal democracy was to become an increasing irritant which finally has to be done away with. This has been a long struggle for elite hegemony, and these are early days to make any provisional assessment of these developments which are yet to play out.

Philosophical and Political déjà vu

What we can say, however, is that the origins of these theoretical roots (basically fascism) go back well-beyond the 20th century and into the late 19th. At that time (and to a lesser extent in ours) there has always been a general philosophical drift which was always an unquestionably right-wing, romantic-reactionary movement. It should be borne in mind, however, that it often contained a justifiable disappointment with bourgeois democracy, a disillusioned and sometimes relatively forward-looking experience of its social limitations. Let us recall Anatole France’s mockery of democratic equality before the law, magisterially prohibiting rich and poor alike from sleeping under the Parisian arches. On a more serious note there were the novels of Honoré De Balzac and his unforgettable quote in his novel Per Goriot: ‘’Corruption is powerful in the World: talent is scarce. So corruption is the instrument of swarming mediocrity, and you will feel its point everywhere.’’ Other French writers Zola, Stendhal, Flaubert et al. All also drew attention to the squalid reactionary swamp of French and by extension the rest of Europe’s bourgeois society and its ‘culture’.

Imperial Echoes

During the 19th and well into the 20th centuries there was a characteristic mixture of accurate criticism and muddled reactionary tendencies which were also to be observed in the writings and drama of George Bernard Shaw, together with his view of imperial rule – i.e., the white man’s burden – in Britain’s far-flung empire: He shamelessly opined that ‘’Good government is better than self-government.’’ Moreover, his literary side-kick, H.G.Wells’ eugenic disposition went even further, noting that ‘’ … those swarms of black and brown, and dirty white, and yellow who do not come into the new needs of ‘efficiency’ were self-evidently otiose. The world is a world and not a charitable institution, and I take it that they will have to go. The whole tenor and meaning of the world as I see it, is that they will have to go.’’ Yes, indeed British imperialism was leading the field culling the colonial unpeople and being closely followed by the French, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese and Americans. (2)

Additionally, the leading Fabians of that time the Webbs (Beatrice and Sidney), writing in the New Statesman exhibited an unspoken assumption of white racial superiority vis-à-vis the ‘non-adult’ races … what caused them particular concern were the differential birth rates between the races which logically implied that the white races were (from their point of view) in danger of being swamped by the non-white multitudes whose capacity and aptitude for the sort of civilization which Mr and Mrs Webb had in mind; this seemed to be wanting when comparison was made with the ‘higher races’. Even more worrying was the possibility of large-scale interbreeding which the Webbs regarded as a grave threat to western civilization.’’ (3) Such was the late 19th century imperial weltgeist. But of course the inhabitants of the colonial south were indeed the ‘unpeople’ to be viewed in the same way as domestic animals.

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(Rhodes statue – Oriel College Oxford)

Cecil Rhodes 1853-1902 was another important figure in the British imperial juggernaut and led expeditions which led to war in what became known as Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); these were the Zulu wars, and later after his death in 1902 in South Africa, the Boer Wars. Rhodes was the leading figure in the British South Africa Chartered Company, (BSACC) and made no secret of his ambitions to plant the Union Jack in every African territory from Cape Town to Cairo. This was quite naked imperialism with strong overtones of a militant racialism.

One V.I.Lenin was to write in this connexion:

‘’In the most flourishing period of free competition in Great Britain between 1840 and 1860, the leading bourgeois politicians were opposed to a colonial policy and were of an opinion that the liberation of the colonies, their complete separation from Britain, was both inevitable and desirable. Benjamin Disraeli, a statesman (who twice served as UK Prime Minister) was generally inclined toward imperialism, declared: ‘’The colonies are millstones around our necks’’. But at the end of the 19th century the British heroes of the hour were Cecil Rhodes and Secretary of State for the Colonies, Joseph Chamberlain, who openly advocated imperialism and applied the imperialist policy in the most cynical manner.’’ (4)

Assuredly, British imperial policy was not without its critics of course. J.A.Hobson’s seminal work Imperialism: A Study, was first published in 1902 and was taken to be a definitive work on (British) imperialism. This along with Leonard Woolf (husband of the novelist, Virginia) wrote the classic study of imperialism: Empire and Commerce in Africa 1920. Lesser-known contributors included Leonard Barnes author of The New Boer War (1932) and Empire or Democracy (1939) who noted ironically, that ‘’no nation has ever colonised, annexed, or established a sphere of influence from motives of disinterested philanthropy toward a native people.’’ (5) It should be added that this imperial war machine policy was also applied in the United States during the Spanish-American wars which were by no means restricted to the US but stretched out to also encompass the Philippines. Moreover it should also be remembered that racism in the United States was probably even more toxic than that in Europe.

Democracy: Decline and Fall

However, in the non-English-speaking, world – primarily Europe and even more so in Germany – venomous political and philosophical irrationalist currents were to emerge from the depths of human consciousness and depravity and which were to give rise to the emergence of a new type of politics and culture -namely the rise of fascist/nazi regimes in Italy, followed by Germany. The murderous policies of these movements and the ferocious hostility was to be particularly directed in Germany toward social, political and ethnic groups: socialists, communists, trade unionists, religious groups like Seventh Day Adventists, homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet POWs and of course Jews and others who had become Europe’s new unpeople. In earlier times such philosophical ramblings were products of those professors ensconced in their ivory towers of learning. Their ruminations were initially restricted to the academic elites. But in the fullness of time the culmination of these depraved doctrines became visible in the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald and Belsen. This was not supposed to happen in a civilized society or even Europe, and all the overblown claims to, and obsession with, ‘scientific status’ of much 19th century thought – From Bentham to Marx – rested ultimately upon one article of faith: the belief in the innate rationality of man. Predictably this particular weltgiest with its attendant political cockpit produced an irrationalist backlash in the later 19th and earlier 20th century and moral ambience of the fin de siècle and those theorists who were in large part responsible for bringing it about – Sorel, Nietzsche, Freud and Pareto, for example – as well as the experience of the 20th century which was to cast doubt on what was always a piece of question-begging.

‘’In this connexion, German philosophy in the imperialist age proceeded, as we shall see, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Oswald Spengler and later in the Weimar period from Spengler to Fascism. If we stress this spadework by German philosophy from Schopenhauer to Nietzsche onwards, it might be objected that we are dealing with esoteric doctrines which circulated within quite small groups. We believe on the contrary, that one must not underestimate the indirect, subterranean effect on the masses of the fashionable reactionary ideologies analysed so far. These effects were not limited to the direct influence of these philosophers’ actual books, although it should be remembered that editions of the works of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche certainly never reached many tens of thousands. But by universities, public lectures and the press, et cetera these ideologies also spread to the broadest masses – needless to say in a coarsened form, but this strengthened rather than weakened their reactionary content, their ultimate irrationalism and pessimism, since the central ideas now received greater attention at the expense of qualifying statements. Through such ideologies the masses can be intensively corrupted without ever glimpsing the immediate source of the corruption. Nietzsche’s barbarising of the instincts his vitalism* his ‘heroic pessimism’ and so forth which were the necessary products of the imperialist age, and his speeding up of the process operated on the minds of tens of thousands of people who had never even heard of Nietzsche.(6)

Democracy or Empire?

But the external wars against those ‘lesser breeds without the law’ – Rudyard Kipling – came home to roost in the imperial heartlands, albeit with many centuries in the making. The methods used by the Athenians came back to be used against their own populace – now the unpeople – which eventuated in the decline of the Athenian state itself. As Pericles noted: ‘’It is right and proper for you to support the imperial dignity of Athens … But do not imagine that what we are fighting for is simply a question of freedom and slavery: there is also involved the loss of our empire and the dangers arising from the hatred which we have incurred in administering it. Nor is it any longer possible for you to give up this empire, though there may be some people in the mood of sudden panic and in a spirit of political apathy who think that this would be a fine and noble thing to do. Your empire is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go.’’ (7) The Athenian city state seems to have had its own cadre of neo-cons, but the outcome would be the same today as it was then: decline and fall.

Conclusions:

At the present time it is something of a cliché to say that the world is experiencing a crisis of huge dimensions, as the economic political and geopolitical tectonic plates simultaneously collide. Both domestic and economic policies are now subsumed under the all-encompassing global disaster, particularly in the West and Global South. When the everything bubble blew up in 2020, it arrived like an economic volcano, and the decline of the American century became manifest and spread to Europe which is presently threshing about like a landed salmon. Euro/American weaknesses are both internal and external and are becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to turn around. Moreover, its chief allies in Europe are at a loss and appear to be being dragged into the political/economic maelstrom. This is bad enough but given the wretched performance of the Atlanticist elites who seem to be living in a bygone age, the future of the Atlanticist bloc becomes increasingly problematic.

Additionally, the emergence of the Sino-Russian alliance casts an ominous shadow – both geopolitically and economic – over a corrupt and declining west. This not just a matter of concern to the imperialist bloc but also and of crucial importance as a beacon of light to the Global South with the Chinese sponsored Belt and Road Initiative. Nemesis not only seems to have arrived but is actually knocking at the door.


NOTES

Vitalism: Vitalism is the belief that “living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things”

(1) Friedrich Nietzsche – The Anti-Christ – p115 – paragraph 2.

(2) H.G.Wells – Anticipations – London 1918 – p.317.

(3) New Statesman -The Guardianship of the Non-Adult Races and the Great Alternative – August 2, 20 1913. – Quoted in Fabianism and Colonialism – Francis Lee – p.189.

(4) V.I.Lenin – Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism – Moscow 1920 – pp. 15, 75, 88, 96, 100.

(5) Critics of Empire: 1902-1919

(6) Georg Lukacs – The Destruction of Reason – p.84

(7) Speech by Pericles – 430 BC – The History of the Peloponnesian War – Thucydides.

New Symbolic Role for the Israeli Flag

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

(23 February 2021)

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Flying the Israeli Flag

During the January 6 insurrection, hardly any of the U.S. media took note of the following fact: amongst the signs and banners of rightwing organizations—the “South will rise again” Confederate states enthusiasts, the fascist-like Rambo militias, and the disparate run-amok MAGA maniacs—stood a very large Israeli flag.

If you are looking for comment and contextualization of this appearance, the best place to go is the Israeli progressive web-based magazine, 972.  There you will find a very good piece, dated 22 January 2021, by Ben Lorder. 

Lorder explains that the presence of the Israeli flag in this milieu is not a rarity. “It is hardly the first time,” he tells us. It has also shown up at “Straight Pride parades and pro-Trump car caravans.” Indeed, according to Lorder, “for the ascendant forces of right-wing populism in the United States and around the world … support for Israel takes on a special intensity.” Now, why would that be so? Not exactly for progressive and humanitarian reasons. It would seem that for the rightwing hate-groups presently feeling their time has come, “Israel has become a symbol for a set of values, an entire worldview. … A canvas to project their own fantasies of nationalist chauvinism.”

Interestingly, this rightwing admiration is limited to the Israeli state, which is seen as powerful, aggressive and xenophobic—all necessary qualities for the defense of the Caucasian West against “ethno-religious Others.” This admiration does not extend to diaspora Jews, because American and European rightwing revival is also anti-Semitic. This situation makes for strange bedfellows. Most of these rightist ideologues share the Zionist hope that all those diaspora Jews will pack up and leave—for Israel. 

Part II—Making the Identification—the Israeli State

One might raise the objection that this identification of a demonstrably racist Western rightwing movement with the Israeli state is a serious misinterpretation—resulting in a misappropriation of the Israeli flag. Israel just can’t be the fiercely xenophobic place these fanatics think it is. 

Unfortunately, this objection runs counter to the facts. There is abundant evidence the State of Israel is aggressive and xenophobic and, what is more, is willing to ally with the present Western rightwing movements. The flag, of course, comes along for the ride. For instance, in a Washington Post article by Ishaan Tharoor, entitled “Israel strengthens its ties with the West’s Far Right,” the author notes that “Under [Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s watch, Israel has amassed a conspicuous crop of illiberal allies. Some, like [Italy’s Matteo] Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, represent political movements with histories of neofascism and anti-Semitism. Others, like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, espouse the agenda and rhetoric of would-be strongmen, promising the destruction of their enemies while scoffing at pearl-clutching human rights activists.” 

This has not gone unnoticed among American Zionists such as Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the Jewish American group 

J Street. Ben-Ami said that “In their zeal to maintain the occupation and reject all criticism of its policies towards the Palestinians, the Israeli Right clearly feels kinship with other ultranationalist leaders who are demonizing ethnic minorities, civil society groups and democratic institutions.”

Finally, one can point out that Prime Minister Netanyahu has hired Aaron Klein as his new campaign manager. Klein is a “former reporter for the right-wing Breitbart News site [and] worked with Steve Bannon on Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign. … Klein also collaborated with Bannon to support disgraced former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women. The Yeshiva University graduate wrote articles in Breitbart in an effort to discredit Moore’s accusers.”  All one can say here is like finds like.

Part III—Making the Identification—the Israeli Jews

Yet, one can still raise a doubt. One can say that just because the Israeli government has gained racist allies who support its policies of ethnic cleansing, that does not mean that the majority of Israeli Jews are supportive of this. But again, the evidence is incriminating. After all, Israeli Jews democratically elect their prime minister and Netanyahu is certainly not an unknown politician. He leads the country’s rightwing Likud Party and has run the government since 2009. Obviously, he and his policies are both familiar and acceptable to at least a hefty plurality of Israeli Jews. Perhaps as a result of this fact, few Israelis are making a fuss about the use of their flag by the extremist right. 

Nonetheless, it is important to understand that the present Israeli ethnocentrism and the racist policies it engenders are not new. They do not have their origin with Benjamin Netanyahu’s time in office, or the current generation of Israeli Jewish citizens. The present culture and politics have a deeper origin. It lies with the nation’s founding ideology of Zionism.

Part IV—Zionism Sets the Direction

Let’s take a look at Israel’s founding ideology and the factors that historically shaped it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

First: Zionism is the ideology that makes the claim that the Jews are a nation and they have the right to their own state. It arose as a predictable consequence of long periods of European (not Middle Eastern, Arab or Muslim) anti-Semitism. It also arose out of a 19th- and 20th-century European political culture wherein the standard organizational arrangement was nation-states, most of which were relatively homogeneous in population.  

Second: As a consequence of this political standard, the Zionist leaders concluded that the answer to the suffering caused by anti-Semitism was the creation of a Jewish state.

As the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann said, the goal was a state “as Jewish as England is English.” By the end of the 19th century, the World Zionist Organization had launched a campaign to convince Europe’s great powers to support the founding of such a state.

Third: The open question was where such a state would be founded. Although, most of the Zionists were not religious, they eventually fixated on Palestine because of its Biblical relationship to the ancient Hebrews. By 1917, in the midst of World War I, Chaim Weizmann managed to recruit British backing for the founding of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine.

Fourth: And “therein lies the rub,” as Hamlet would say. The mass influx of Europeans, in this case Jews, into a well-populated non-European land—according to British Mandate records, there were some 700,000 Arabs living in Palestine—presaged disaster. The fact that these Zionist immigrants sought domination, ultimately a state for one group alone, would inevitably introduce a corrosive racist element into the country. The indigenous population would eventually have to be segregated out and denied resources and rights—a process, which over time, would lead to an apartheid state of affairs. 

The fact that this predictable path discouraged neither the Zionist Jews nor their British patrons tells us that, when Weizmann made his deal with the British, it was done in a time and place operating on the racist assumptions of colonialism. Indeed, it turns out that Israel is the last great disaster of the age of colonialism—an age in which Europeans took their superiority (both physically and religiously) for granted. And, if they lorded over non-Europeans it could only be for the benefit of the latter, as was suggested by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden.” All of this was shown to be both obsolete and obscene with the coming of the Nazis and World War II.

Fifth: The racist prognosis described above has been realized in Israel. Here is a snapshot of the present situation. B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human-rights organization, has been documenting the violations of human rights in Israel’s Judea and Samaria (more properly known as the occupied Palestinian territories) since 1989. Earlier this month, it issued a position paper announcing that it has decided to call out Israeli policy for what it is—organized, state-sponsored racism. The paper is titled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” The paper makes the case that “what looks like apartheid—which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines as inhumane acts committed under a regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups—ought to be called apartheid.”

Sixth: Present-day Israel came about in a predetermined way flowing from Zionism’s initial assumptions. In the first half of the 20th century, Europe and the United States saw nothing wrong with colonialism and helped the Zionists establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Then came World War II, and the West’s attitude toward racism changed. Yet, in the shadow of the Holocaust, now stood Israel, whose leaders were convinced more than ever that only an ethnocentric, exclusively Jewish nation-state could guarantee survival. So their original purpose and their original racist practice never has changed.

Part V—Conclusion

The resulting apartheid state has attracted the rising wave of today’s rightist fringe like bears to honey. Whether they are white nationalists, Christian nationalists, or just nationalist thugs in suits, they all sense something laudable in Israel. It is a standard-bearer for their own hopes and dreams. To repeat Ben Lorder’s phrasing, the Zionist state has become “a canvas to project their own fantasies of nationalist chauvinism.” As a consequence, the Israeli flag is no longer just Israel’s. Its symbolism has become broader in an all-too-negative way. That is why it was so avidly displayed at the failed insurrection of January 6. 

The ‘Western’ Racist Roots of Israeli Apartheid

by Jeremy Salt

Source

Palestinian phoenix 4510c

Joe Biden supports a two-state solution to the ‘Palestine problem’. Well, first of all, it never was a Palestine problem. It was a  zionist problem, leading to the colonization and takeover of Palestine by a settler minority. 

Second, the two-state solution is a chimera. Israel is not interested and by supporting a two-state solution that is a delusion,  Biden is actually supporting the continuation of a policy of no solution. In fact, his bogus two-state solution is no more than a mask drawn over the face of his real policy, of continuing lavish support for Israel whatever it does. The one issue Biden does have to face is the Israeli threat to attack Iran if he dares to take the US back into the nuclear agreement breached by Trump. We have to wait to see how he works this out.   

By themselves, the Palestinians have never counted for less in the strategic and political calculations of the zionists. They are treated as a defeated people who should have surrendered long ago and true, the zionists have never been stronger at the material level,  the Palestinians never weaker. 

Only the Palestinians have the right to decide what to do next in the current calamitous situation, but friends can make suggestions and an obvious one would be the need to reconstitute themselves as a national community, building tactical and strategic consensus, before going any further.

In the absence of a two-state solution, the pendulum swings back to one state, either one  Jewish national state or one state for all.  This second aspiration takes the issue back to the 1960s and the one secular state advanced at that time by the PLO.

This soon foundered on the reef of zionist ideology, which from the beginning was based on a Jewish state established over all of Palestine.  That was the whole point of taking the land in the first place: it was a delusion to think the zionists would ever accept anything less than a Jewish state.  Israel’s extended dissembling over the past two decades has merely enabled what was intended,  its colonization of east Jerusalem and the West Bank to reach the point of what many believe to be irreversibility.   

Irreversibility has no meaning in history, of course. The examples are too numerous even to bother proving the point but apparent irreversibility manifested in the 600,000 settlers occupying East Jerusalem and the West Bank has led many Palestinians back to the idea of  one state for all across all of Palestine. 

The pooling of resources in one state with equal rights for Jews, Muslims and Christians (and anyone else) is an attractive and sensible option, of course,  even with all the immense practical difficulties that such an idea entails, beginning with acceptance of the right to return of Palestinians (and their heirs) to the places they came from,  taken over by Jewish settlers in 1948/9 as illegally as the settlers living in east Jerusalem or the West Bank since 1967.

However, even if all this could be sorted out theoretically (and a new name devised for this shared land),  the Jews of today’s Israel do not want it any more than their forebears did.   

For secular Jews living in pre-1967 Israel/occupied Palestine,  the ‘right’ of Israel to exist as a Jewish state is the rock of their collective existence:   for religious Jews living in the territories taken in 1967,  God’s mandate and not Israel’s ‘right’ to exist explains their position but the two positions dovetail in the belief of the necessity of a Jewish state, across all if not most of Palestine.

Just as there were a handful of brave Afrikaners who fought white settler apartheid, so there have always been Jews who challenge zionist racism:  Judah Magnes and the small circle around him in the 1920s-40s who believed in a binational state,  Uri Avnery and the peaceniks in the 1960s and 1970s and currently,  the scholar Ilan Pappe and the journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy.  They expose the lies of the state and the endorsement of its crimes by the people but they represent a tiny minority, allowing the state and the people to shrug them off. 

The similarities between apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel should not blind people into thinking that the outcome will be the same, that one day,  like the white settlers in South Africa,  the zionists will voluntarily see the error of their ways and change course. 

As far as we can see ahead, this would be another delusion. By 1990 the small white minority of South Africa had declined to about 13 percent of the total population.  Apart from the numbers, the apartheid regime was isolated internationally, with sanctions being imposed that spelled economic ruin: ultimately it had no choice but to give in to what was manifestly inevitable.    

By comparison, while the demographics continue to change against them all the time,  Jews still constitute about 50 percent of the population of Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. They still have sufficient numbers as well as the armed might for Israel to be able to put down any Palestinian challenge from inside.   

Furthermore,  there is little effective pressure on Israel from the ‘western’ world to change its ways.   BDS has damaged Israel,  but at the cost of a counter-reaction which has resulted in  Israel being given additional protection by the passage of anti-BDS measures by state legislatures across the US and by parliaments in Canada,  Britain, France and Germany.  The gains have been heavily offset by the cost.

The cash flow from the US continues undiminished,  and neither the UN as a collective body or any of its member governments seeks to restrain Israel in any serious way. Not only that,  but they give their fervent support to the charge of anti-semitism which Israel continues to use unscrupulously to destroy those who stand against its racism, the most recent high profile scalp being Jeremy Corbyn’s.

In such an environment of international indulgence,  with only notional marginal interest at home in a genuine one-state settlement, the Israeli government sees no need to change course.  It knows it can do virtually whatever it wants  without the ‘international community’ stepping forward to stand in its way.  Not even the killing of children on the West Bank or in Gaza have been sufficient to push it into making Israel pay for the consequences of its actions.   

Holocaust guilt helps to explain indulgence of Israel but so does the racism of the ‘west,’  past and present,  as manifested yet again by the recent slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Middle Eastern lands.

Far from generating absolute horror at such crimes,  these deaths count for little in the ‘western’ homeland.  Black lives in the US, Canada, or Australia might matter but black or brown lives destroyed in Iraq,  Syria,  Libya, Yemen,  Palestine and numerous other places count for very little in these same countries.

The deaths of 3000 people on 9/11 were widely described as a turning point.  By comparison, no episode of the mass killing of people of color has ever been described as a turning point in history. 

These deaths have little impact in the countries where they are decided:  the faces are faceless, the names nameless,  the features featureless,  the deaths not counted,  no more than an estimate if someone asks.    

There is no turning point for these victims of racist wars:  their world will continue to turn the same way it always has done.  Their deaths do not register because they are not exceptional  – as the deaths on 9/11 were –  but only the normal continuation of what has been going on for centuries in Latin America,  Africa, the Middle East and South-east Asia, with no end in sight even now, and one does not sit up and take notice of the normal.

The ending of these lives of unequal value at the hands of ‘western’ armies is ignored or quickly forgotten:  no-one in the ‘western’ homeland is ever held responsible, not the politicians launching the wars,  not the pilots firing the missiles, and not the media giving encouragement on the home front.

These two complementary forms of racism, zionist apartheid  on one hand and deeply imprinted  ‘western’ racism on the other,  have been fundamental to the success of Zionism from the beginning. 

With support continuing from the US at all levels,  and with the ‘international community’ reluctant to intervene,  it would be a delusion to think that Israel will one day voluntarily accept a genuine one-state settlement.  The great bulk of Jewish Israelis do not want it and the state will fight it tooth and claw if it ever becomes a serious threat (an extremely remote prospect at the moment).   

There are no signs that sufficient momentum can be developed to compel Israel to accept such a solution.  BDS is effective but only up to a certain point.  The ‘international community’ is not interested in challenging Israel in any meaningful way.  Arab governments never genuinely committed to the Palestine cause in the first place are now coming out of hiding and signing agreements with the enemy who never was. 

To see where any prospect of breaking this deadlock might lie, one has to look at the regional strategic situation as seen through Israeli eyes. The dominant feature in military circles is alarm, born not just of Israel’s failure to intimidate its enemies but the fact that they are stronger now than they were a decade ago. 

The exception is Syria, which has withstood the most determined attempt ever made to destroy an Arab government, has had to pay a terrible price in the loss of life and destruction of its towns and cities and is still battling armed takfiri groups in different parts of the country. It has to concentrate on its own recovery: there is not much else it can do at the moment but its strategic allies, Iran and Hizbullah, remain a standing cause of active preparation for war in Israel.

Inside their homeland, the Palestinians can be killed, bullied and beaten, and otherwise oppressed by a suffocating network of pseudo-legal ‘laws’ but Israel has no such control beyond Palestine’s borders. This external dimension of the Palestinian question –  as an Arab question, historically, politically, culturally, and geographically; as a Muslim question, with the enormous weight that this signifies; and as a human rights question that resonates around the world – has always represented the greatest threat to the zionist state,  as by themselves the Palestinians would never have been capable of overcoming the vast power wielded against them after 1918. 

Resistance to Israel by Iran and Hizbullah arises from the centrality of Palestine in Arab and Muslim consciousness.  They have paid heavily for their commitment but they have not backed off because,  to put it as it is understood in Iran and by Hizbullah, the cause is sacred. Their resistance is deeply principled,  something the ‘western’ homeland cannot allow itself to understand if Israel is to be defended,  but as much as they are demeaned and abused in the ‘western’ homeland as ‘terrorists’  it is they who have human rights and international law on their side,  not Israel.  

In this external form, from beyond Palestine’s borders, the Palestinian phoenix rises again from the ashes of its suffering to haunt its enemy.  An idea can be much harder to crush than a people, because it has to be countermanded by ideas and Israel has none in its armoury, at least not any good ones. 

In the event of another regional war, unfortunately, a probability more than a possibility, on the basis of all past experience, Iran and Hizbullah have the missile capacity to damage Israel well beyond anything it has ever experienced.

Only the trauma of such an experience is likely to push Israel in the direction of one state for everyone living in the land of Palestine,  with the doors of return opened to the refugees. This is clearly the common-sense solution, the humane solution, but it is not one that Israel is likely to embrace voluntarily.

هل «الدِّين لله والوطن للجميع» أم الوطن للأقوياء والأغنياء والدِّين للفقراء والمستضعفين؟

د. عصام نعمان

لعقود وأجيال كان الآباء والأمهات والمعلمون والأوصياء والأولياء يعظون الناس بعد كلّ منازعة دينية او فتنة طائفية بأنّ «الدِّين لله والوطن للجميع».

والحال انّ الله مصدرُ الدين والموحي به ليس بحاجة إليه، والوطن لم يكن لجميع المواطنين بل لقلّة منهم أقوياء ينعمون بموارده وخيراته ويمسكون بمقاليد حكمه وسلطاته، وانّ المتديّنين الفقراء والضعفاء صدّقوا مقولات الأقوياء والأغنياء ورضخوا لسلطانهم وجبروتهم أزماناً طويلة.

غير انّ مستنيرين أفذاذاً بين الضعفاء أقوياء في نفوسهم تصدّوا لذوي السلطة والثروة بأفكارٍ جريئة مضادة. واحد منهم، كارل ماركس، قال إنّ الدين أفيون الشعوب. آخرون من المتدينين المستنيرين ردّوا: بل الدين محرر الشعوب. ألم يحرر الإسلام العرب من جاهلية مقيتة طافحة بشرور التوحّش والاقتتال ووأد البنات، وقادهم الى رحاب الرحمة والسماحة والإيمان بوحدة الخالق الرحمن الرحيم؟

في صفوف كِلا الفريقين كان وما زال ثمة متطرفون لم يقتنعوا بنهج إقناع الآخرين بالموعظة والقدوة الحسنة. أرادوا اختصار الطريق الى الغاية المرتجاة باستعمال العنف. هكذا عانت البشرية من قادة حركات وحكام دول علمانية استعملوا العنف بوحشية فائقة. من أبرز هؤلاء في العصر الحديث موسوليني في إيطاليا وهتلر في ألمانيا وستالين في روسيا السوفياتية.

قبل العلمانيين المتوحّشين، مارس حكام متديّنون عنفاً وحشياً أشدّ في أزمان غابرة، وتفوّق عليهم في العصر الحديث متديّنون متعصّبون إسلامويون، أشهرهم «الدواعش» في كلّ زمان ومكان، لا سيما في العراق وسورية ولبنان.

الدافع إلى هذا الكلام ما قامت به أخيراً في فرنسا «ذئاب منفردة» من هجمات وحشية بإسم الإسلام إدّعت أنها ردّ على اخرى مماثلة قام بها افراد وجماعات استهدفت الرسول الأعظم (ص) بإهانات شنيعة متكرّرة.

وسائل الإعلام والتواصل الإجتماعي في الغرب الاوروبي والأميركي حاولت وتحاول إيهام الرأي العام بأنّ المذابح والهجمات الوحشية هي وقف على متطرّفين «جهاديين» مسلمين وحسب. والحال انّ المجرمين الأكثر توحّشاً في هذا المجال هم متطرفون بيض عنصريون كـأنديرز بريفك مرتكب المذبحة الرهيبة في النروج العام 2011، وبرينتون تارانت مرتكب مجزرة المسجد في نيوزيلندا العام 2019، وامثالهما كثر في أوروبا وأميركا.

في غمرة ظاهرة التوحش العالمية هذه تبرز حقائق ثلاث:

الأولى، انّ الغرب الأبيض العنصري، حكاماً وأفراداً، كان وما زال سبّاقاً في استعمال العنف لأغراض سياسية. ولماذا نذهب بعيداً ألم يتهم دونالد ترامب غريمته في انتخابات الرئاسة، وزيرة الخارجية الاميركية السابقة هيلاري كلينتون العام 2016، بأنها كانت وراء تمويل تنظيم «داعش» وحضّه على ضرب نظاميّ الحكم في العراق وسوريا لتقسيمهما، وانّ رسائل وتوجيهات لها جرى كشفها في الآونة الأخيرة؟

الثانية، وجود مسلمين كثر قاطنين في دول أوروبية معادين لحكوماتها ما ساعد المتطرفين منهم على شنّ هجمات عنف وتخريب داخل تلك الدول أو على مساعدة تنظيمات متطرفة على القيام بها.

الثالثة، انّ التوحش واستخدام العنف لأغراض سياسة ليسا وقفاً على دول ومسؤولين حكوميين بل أصبحا في زماننا ظاهرة مشتركة بين أفراد وحكومات لا ينشطون متواطئين بالضرورة بل يعملون باستقلالٍ عن بعضهم بعضاً.

الأصحّ القول إنّ بعض حكام دول الغرب الأوروبي والأميركي لجأ الى نشر ثقافة التمييز العنصري والكراهية ضدّ الإسلام والمسلمين ما أدّى الى تشرّب أفراد وجماعات هذه الثقافة العدائية وبالتالي إلى قيام بعض من هؤلاء، بإرادة ذاتية، باقتراف جرائم ومجازر ضدّ الآخر المسلم الذي بات في أذهانهم عدواً. لذا لا يُستبعَد البتة ان يكون الذي قتل الأبرياء الثلاثة في كنيسة نوتردام بمدينة نيس الفرنسية «ذئباً منفرداً»، بمعنى أنه تصرّف من تلقاء نفسه وليس بتواطؤ مع حكومة او جماعة في الخارج.

في ضوء ضلوع بعض مسؤولي دول الغرب الأوروبي والأميركي في ترسيخ ثقافة التمييز العنصري والكراهية للإسلام والمسلمين، تبدو دعوة شيخ الأزهر الشريف الى تشريع عهد اممي بتجريم المسّ بالأديان السماوية وبضرورة احترام مقدسات المؤمنين بها غير قابلةٍ لإستجابةٍ سريعة، خصوصاً من جانب رؤساء دولٍ منخرطين في سياسات عنصرية أو معادية للإسلام.

الى ذلك، ثمة تحدّ تجدُ فرنسا نفسها وحكومات تتعاون معها سياسياً واقتصادياً أنها مضطرة الى مواجهته قبل فوات الأوان. فالرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون كان زار لبنان مرتين وتمكّن من إقناع أمراء طوائفه المتصارعين بالتزام بنود مبادرته للإصلاح ومكافحة الفساد. لكن بعد الأحداث الدموية الأخيرة في بلاده أطلق ماكرون تصريحات فسّرها مسؤولو بعض التنظيمات الإسلامية في لبنان بأنها عدائية، فنظموا في معرض الردّ عليه تظاهرات تنديد حول السفارة الفرنسية.

أشدّ المحرجين هو سعد الحريري، المكلّف تأليف الحكومة الجديدة، اذ كان أعلن أنّ بيان حكومته العتيدة سيكون مبادرة ماكرون الإصلاحية. صحيح انّ قادة القوى السياسية لم يتفوّهوا بما يسيء الى الرئيس الفرنسي او الى مبادرته، لكن تعقيدات الوضع السياسي في لبنان وضحالة التفاهمات بين قادته السياسيين من جهة، واحتمال لجوء قوى خارجية الى التدخل مجدّداً في شؤونه الداخلية من جهة أخرى قد يتسبّب في وضع عقبات أمام الحريري وجهوده لتأليف الحكومة. ذلك كله حمل ماكرون على التصريح بأنه «يتفهّم مشاعر الذين اعترضوا وتألموا لنشر رسومٍ كاريكاتورية للنبي محمد».

يبقى ان يقتنع القادة السياسيون اللبنانيون بصدقٍ ويتصرفون بجدّية على أساس أنّ الدين والوطن للجميع وليسا حكراً للأقوياء والأغنياء أو امتيازاً على حساب حقوق الفقراء والمستضعفين.

_ نائب ووزير سابق

الإرهاب ليس إسلامياً

بثينة شعبان 

المصدر: الميادين نت

2 تشرين ثاني 00:0

عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدموا من الدول الأوروبية
عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدموا من الدول الأوروبية

لقد ضرب مئات الألوف من الإرهابيين، الذين قدِموا من أكثر من مائة دولة، أجزاءً مختلفةً من سوريا وساهموا في تدمير مؤسساتها ولكننا لم نتّهم دين أحد، ولا جنسية أحد منهم.

علّ الخطيئة الأكبر التي اقترفها الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون في تصريحاته المتوترة حول الأحداث الأخيرة في فرنسا هي تصريحه أن “بلادنا تعرضت لهجوم من الإرهاب الإسلامي”. وسواء أكانت هذه العبارة مقصودة أو ناجمة عن جهل أثرها وانعدام صحتها، فهي لا شك خطيرة جداً وفي هذا التوقيت بالذات، ليس على المسلمين فقط، وإنما على فرنسا وأوروبا اللّتين تتشاطران الهوية المسلمة مع  وجود عدد غير قليل من المواطنين المسلمين الذين أصبحوا فرنسيين وأوروبيين، بفعل الهجرة والولادة أو تبنّي الإسلام ديناً لهم، ولا أحد يستطيع إنكار ذلك عليهم. 

أما السبب الثاني فيكمن في خطورة ارتدادات هكذا تصريح. نحن أمام رئيس أوروبي خلط بين إجرامٍ يقوم به بعض المجرمين لأسبابهم الخاصة والمختلفة وبين جنسيتهم أو هويتهم الدينية، وإذا ما تمّ تعميم هذا الأمر على البقع الجغرافية التي يضرب فيها الإرهاب، لانتهينا إلى وجود إرهاب فرنسي وألماني وهولندي وبلجيكي ومسيحي ويهودي وبوذي.. والقائمة تطول. ولذلك فإنه من المحظور أن تُلصق تهمة الإرهاب بدينٍ أو جنسية فقط لأن أحد مرتكبي الجرائم الإرهابية ينتمي إلى هذا الدين أو هذه الجنسية. إنّ الدين والجنسية براء مما يقوم به الإرهابيون. 

لقد ضرب الإرهاب يا سيد ماكرون الجمهورية العربية السورية كأبشع ما تكون به الضربات والعدوان على شعب وتاريخ وحضارة وهوية ومؤسسات، ولكنّ أحداً في العالم لم يسمع جملة واحدة نَطق بها أي سوري، جملةٌ تتحدث عن إرهاب أوروبي أو مسيحي أو ما شابه ذلك لا سمح الله، فنحن ندرك أن هؤلاء الإرهابيين شذاذ آفاقٍ لا علاقة لهم بأي دين سماوي، وأخلاق الديانات السّمحة براء منهم. 

الأكثر من ذلك، إنّ عدداً لا بأس به من هؤلاء كانوا أوروبيين وعدداً منهم كانوا فرنسيين ويتكلمون الفرنسية ويمثلون بالجثث على الأرض السورية وهم يهللون للقتل بلغتهم الفرنسية. ومع ذلك، لم نسمع ولم يسمع العالم تصريحاً سورياً واحداً يتحدّث عن إرهابٍ فرنسي أو إرهابٍ أوروبي رغم أن الأبحاث الموضوعية تُثبت أن عشرات الآلاف من الإرهابيين الذين عاثوا فساداً في سوريا قدِموا من الدول الأوروبية عبر تركيا، حاملين جوازات أوروبية بما فيها الفرنسية، والكثير منهم كان مسلحاً برشاشات لا يستخدمها غير الجيش الفرنسي، أي أن الإرهابيين في غرب دمشق كانوا مسلّحين من قبل الجيش الفرنسي مباشرة.

وما زال 600 طفل من إنجاب هؤلاء عالقين في شرق سوريا ولا تريد دولهم، وعلى رأسها فرنسا، استردادهم رغم نداءات الأمم المتحدة التي دعت هذه الدول إلى تحمّل مسؤوليتها تجاه رعاياها، ولا شك لدينا أنهم حظوا بتمويل وتسليح وتسهيلات من أجهزة المخابرات الفرنسية. ومع ذلك، فقد استهدفنا الإرهابيين أنفسهم في كلّ عملٍ وقولٍ ولم نأتِ على ذكر دينهم أو جنسيتهم ولم نوصم أياً منهما بالإرهاب. 

الفرق بين موقفنا وموقف ماكرون هو أننا نؤمن أن العالم أسرة واحدة وأنّ الإرهاب لا دين ولا وطن له وأنّ الإجرام الذي مارسته تلك العصابات على سوريا والسوريين وقبلهم على اللّيبيين والعراقيين، يمكن أن ينتقل إلى أي مكان في العالم، لأن الخطر الأساس كما أكّد السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد منذ البداية هو الإيديولوجية الإرهابية وليس وجود الإرهابيين فقط، ولذلك لابدّ من التعاون العالمي لاجتثاث جذور هذه الإيديولوجية وإلا فسيبقى الإرهاب يفاجئ الأبرياء من أفغانستان إلى العراق وسوريا وليبيا وفرنسا. ولكن أوروبا ومنها فرنسا الرسمية، عبر مخابراتها السرية، ساهمت بتغذية وتمويل وتسليح الإرهاب الذي ضرب سوريا. 

أما تركيا، فقد شكّلت ولا زالت تشكل ملاذاً آمناً للإرهابيين القادمين إلى سوريا وسهّلت لهم عبورهم وتموضعهم على الأرض السورية، وفي هذا المضمار أيضاً قال الرئيس بوتين “حين نحارب الإرهاب في سوريا فنحن ندافع عن موسكو”، وهذا صحيح ولكن الجيشين السوري والروسي لا يدافعان عن سوريا وروسيا فحسب، إنّما يدافعان عن أمن العالم برمّته في مواجهة هذه الآفة الخطيرة.

المشكلة في الموقف الفرنسي خصوصاً والغربي عموماً هو انقسام العالم إلى “هم” و”نحن”، وهنا يأتي تصريح الرئيس ماكرون ليبرهن على ذلك حين قال: “تعرضنا للهجوم بسبب قيم الحرية لدينا وعدم خضوعنا للإرهاب” متناسياً أنّ العالم كلّه يعرف أنّ المخابرات السرية الغربية والجيوش الاستعمارية القادمة من الغرب متورّطة ومنذ زمن الاستعمار القديم بالإرهاب والمجازر الوحشية. وما السبب برأيك يا سيد ماكرون بأن سوريا تعرضت لهجمات إرهابية أقسى وأعتى مما تعرّضتم له، وعلى مدى عشر سنوات، إذا كانت برأيك تفتقر إلى قيم الحرية التي تعتبرها حكراً عليك وعلى الغرب؟ إن حرية المعتقد والعيش المشترك الذي عُرفت به سوريا على مدى قرون، كان الهدف الأساس لهذه الحرب الإرهابية الظالمة التي تعرّض لها الشعب السوري، وإذا ما أردتم إصلاحاً حقيقياً وآمناً للعالم برمته، فلا بدّ أن تفكروا بطريقة مختلفة لا تُنبئ عن تفكير فوقي يكاد يصل إلى حدود العنصرية ضد الشعوب والأديان الأخرى. 

لقد ضرب مئات الألوف من الإرهابيين، الذين قدِموا من أكثر من مائة دولة، أجزاءً مختلفةً من سوريا وساهموا في تدمير مؤسساتها ولكننا لم نتّهم دين أحد ولا جنسية أحد منهم، ولم نزِر وازرةً وزر أُخْرَى، لما قامت به من شرذمة على أيدي المضلَّل بهم وشذاذ الآفاق الذين تبنّوا هذه الإيديولوجية البشعة لأسباب لا علاقة لها بالدين أو بالإنسانية. 

إنّ هؤلاء الذين يدّعون الدفاع عن الإسلام من ورثة العبودية العثمانية، هم أنفسهم الذين لعبوا دوراً أساسياً في استقدام إرهابيين من كلّ أصقاع الأرض ونظرياً من أتباع كلّ الديانات، إلى سوريا بلد الإسلام والمسيحية والعيش المشترك، فكيف يستوي ادّعاؤهم بالدفاع عن الإسلام والمسلمين مع تدمير بلد قدّم للبشرية أنموذجاً للمحبة والتآخي من بين أتباع الديانات السماوية؟ ثم ماذا عن الإرهاب الذي يضرب الأراضي الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني؟ وماذا عن ذبح المسلمين وهم ساجدون في الحرم الإبراهيمي الشريف على يد المجرم باروخ غولدشتاين والذي أقام الإحتلال الإسرائيلي له نُصُباً تذكارياً؟ هل أسميتم ذلك الإرهاب إرهاباً يهودياً؟ فلماذا إذاً يتم تجريم الإسلام والمسلمين بسبب بعض المجرمين الذين لا يتورّعون عن قتل المسلمين وقتل أتباع الديانات الأخرى لأنهم لا يعرفون الدين أو الإيمان؟

من أجل التخلص من شرورهم، لا بدّ أولاً من التخلص من الموقف التمييزي الذي يقسم العالم إلى أعلى وأدنى، ويعتبر أن القيم التي يتمتع بها حكراً عليه. وما رأيه إذا كانت القيم الحضارية المغروسة في هذه الأرض والمتوارثة على مدى أكثر من عشرة آلاف عام هي القيم المؤهلة لإنقاذ البشرية ليس من خطر الإرهاب فقط، وإنما من خطر التمييز والعنصرية اللّذين يهددان بلدانكم من الداخل؛ فهل من مراجعة عاقلة ومسؤولة لهذا التخبط المفهوماتي والإعلامي الذي يصبّ الزيت على النار بدلاً من معالجة أسباب التوتر المجتمعي والسياسي بحكمة واتزان ومسؤولية؟ وهل من تشريع على مستوى عالمي يحرّم على الجميع تناول الرموز الدينية والمقدّسات لأتباع كلّ الديانات التي يؤمن بها البشر؟ حينذاك فقط، يمكن أن نعزل الإرهابيين ونقضي على شرورهم في كلّ مكان. 

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