Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Bangladesh May 6th: Human Rights Watch Calls for Inquiry into Deaths, But Says ‘Genocide’ Claims Unfounded.
Al Jazeera reports,
Al Jazeera has obtained video footage suggesting that the Bangladesh government has been providing inaccurate death tolls from recent violence.
According to official figures, 11 people had died during fighting between police and protesters from Hifazat-e-Islam, an Islamic group, on May 6, a day protesters refer to as the “Siege of Dhaka”.
Human Rights Watch, a US-based rights group, said that the exact number of deaths resulting from the protests are “unclear”.
“Independent news sources put the figure at approximately 50 dead, with others succumbing to injuries later,” HRW said in a statement on Saturday.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni downplayed reports of inaccuracy in government figures.
Human Rights Watch says,
The Bangladeshi authorities should immediately set up an independent commission to investigate the large numbers of deaths and injuries during the Hefazat-e-Islaam-led protests in Dhaka and elsewhere on May 5-6, 2013, Human Rights Watch said today.
The commission should also investigate violence that killed dozens in February, March, and April after protests and counter-protests broke out after the announcement of verdicts by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
The exact number of deaths during the May 5-6 protest remains unclear, with figures ranging from the official government figure of 11 deaths to Hefazat’s estimate of thousands. Independent news sources put the figure at approximately 50 dead, with others succumbing to injuries later. The dead include several security personnel.
“Bangladesh will see a plethora of demonstrations this year in response to additional verdicts from the ICT and in the run-up to national elections,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Without an independent investigation, accountability, and improved policing methods, we could see serial bloodbaths.”
Human Rights Watch said that political tensions are likely to increase as more war crimes verdicts are handed down at the ICT and as elections scheduled for late 2013 or early 2014 approach. Opposition parties, including Hefazat, have already announced several protests scheduled over the next week. A flashpoint could be the reaction to the May 9 death penalty handed down by the ICT against Mohamed Kamaruzzaman, a leading official of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Past war crimes verdicts have been a catalyst for protests and violence throughout Bangladesh.
Human Rights Watch called on opposition parties such as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jammat-e-Islami Party, as well as independent organizations such as Hefazat, to condemn and take steps to deter their supporters from carrying out unlawful attacks, including on law enforcement officers or members of the public with different political views.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to publicly order the security forces to follow the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which state that security forces shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.”
Section 22 of the Basic Principles states that: “Governments and law enforcement agencies shall establish effective reporting and review procedures for all incidents…Governments and law enforcement agencies shall ensure that an effective review process is available and that independent administrative or prosecutorial authorities are in a position to exercise jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances. In cases of death and serious injury or other grave consequences, a detailed report shall be sent promptly to the competent authorities responsible for administrative review and judicial control.” Section 23 states that, “Persons affected by the use of force and firearms or their legal representatives shall have access to an independent process, including a judicial process. In the event of the death of such persons, this provision shall apply to their dependants accordingly.”
“The Bangladeshi government has a responsibility to victims, whether protesters, bystanders or police, to ensure that an effective investigation is carried out into each death,” Adams said.
Hefazat, the conservative Muslim group that draws support from thousands of religious seminaries, led a “siege of Dhaka” on May 5, with demonstrations taking place in other parts of the country. Human Rights Watch said that claims of “genocide” by Hefazat and other opposition parties are unfounded and have only served to heighten tensions.
“The toxic swirl of rumor and rhetoric surrounding the protest of May 5-6 will only get worse unless the government acts quickly in a transparent manner,” Adams said. “Given the lack of trust between various parties, it is imperative that these answers come from an independent and impartial body.”
Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Hefazat recruited boys from madrassahs to participate in the “siege.” Many of the boys were unaware of the risks of marching into Dhaka. Independent journalists told Human Rights Watch that after the protests were broken up by security forces, they encountered groups of boys who had never been to Dhaka before and were terrified by the experience of seeing dead bodies and large-scale violence. The boys asked journalists for directions to bus stations so they could go home. They were no longer accompanied by adults.
Human Rights Watch called on the government to ensure media and civil society are able to independently report on the protests. Two television stations that support opposition political parties, Islamic TV and Diganta TV, were taken off the air by the government on the night of May 5-6 and remain off the air at the time of writing. The stations were reporting live from the site of the protests. In April, the government shut down opposition newspaper Amar Desh and jailed its editor, Mahmdur Rahman, and other journalists. The government has also jailed some bloggers who had expressed atheist sentiments in their writings.
“The government’s claims to be the most open and democratic in Bangladesh’s history are undermined by censorship of critical voices,” Adams said. “The government can take reasonab
This is what George Galloway said when calling for the overthrow of the Bangladeshi government last weekend ,
Galloway denounced the massacre of Islamic scholars earlier in the week.
“Even on the most conservative estimates of the number of people murdered, it exceeds the loss of life in 9/11,” said Galloway.
Galloway has marked a new step in his descent into support Islamist reaction,
“George Galloway last night called for the peaceful overthrow of the Sheikh Hasina/Awami League government in Bangladesh. Speaking at a huge protest rally in East London, Galloway denounced the massacre of Islamic scholars earlier in the week.
“Even on the most conservative estimates of the number of people murdered, it exceeds the loss of life in 9/11,” said Galloway.
“This is a game changer as the Americans would say. Bangladesh will never be the same again. This is the beginning of the end of this corrupt, murderous government.” He went on to deny there was now any possibility of free and fair elections in Bangladesh.
“Either they will be fixed by the government or they will be cancelled. That is why the only way we will get the change Bangladesh needs is through people power, a peaceful revolution that will remove this gangster government. The media is now under the almost total control of the Hasina government and in the West there has been an almost total media blackout about the massacre.”
Galloway added that the British-based Bangladesh TV had boycotted the rally and called on them to do their duty and tell the truth. “I’m against hanging anyone but it’s a fundamental truth in politics that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. There has to be an end of the politics of revenge.”
@georgegalloway very powerful speech @ waterlilly regarding bangladesh crisis and showing your support.
I think we can guess what a bunch of far-right, sectarian, racists Galloway addressed.
Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome. Jérôme Ferrari. Actes Sud. 2001.
Le Sermon won the 2012 French ‘Booker’, the Prix Goncourt. The author, Jérôme Ferrari, is a lycée philosophy teacher. Born In Paris but installed in Corsica he spread popular debates in the cafés philosophies in Bastia. He has translated from Corsican and written on Schopenhaur. He has also taught philosophy in a secondary school in Algeria. Ferrai’s previous novel, Où j’ai laissé Mon âme (2010), touched on French torture in Algeria during the war of national liberation.
The title of the novel evokes Saint Augustine’s Sermon on the Fall of Rome. The sack of the City by Alaric and the Goths in 410 was the occasion for Augustine’s greatest attempt to offer a Christian explanation for this event, to defend his faith against the charge that it had contributed to Rome’s defeat. The Sermon heads its seven sections with epigraphs from this, the City of God and ends by imagining the Saint’s final preaching. They evoke the God’s eternal kingdom and the promise of Salvation in the face of the destruction of the works of humankind. His message? All empires are mortal.
So far, so much philosophy. But far from being overwhelmed by serious intent Le Sermon is a novel, of interlinked, and gracefully recounted, stories. A Corsican bar is the pivot of a tale that begins with its own “malédiction divine sur l’Égypte”.
These curses come in succession. Bored with the repetitive hunting clientele, and thieving staff, the owner, Marie-Angèle, decides to let out the bistro. A succession of owners follows. In events that will have an echo with anybody familiar with pubs and bars across Europe, the new lease-holders try to relaunch the business. One re-opens as El Commandate bar with a Che Guevara neon-sign. After a blaze of techno-music and partying, he leaves – debts unpaid. Another, Bernard Gratas, is abandoned by wife and family and left to drink himself into the gutter.
Matthieu and Libero, childhood friends from the village, graduates in philosophy at Paris, take over. They set up with a new batch of staff – young attractive women –and generously employ Gratas to do the washing up. They offer a limited and affordable range of ‘terroir’ fare. It succeeds. This, Matheiu wistfully thinks, is a world dreamt of by Leibniz, a universe ruled by God’s good will, “le meilleur des mondes possibles”.
And, for a while, it is.
The Sermon local details, the tourist ‘season’, Corsican chasseurs, a memorable castration of a young boar-pig, an economy dominated the tourist season, and the fraught, and intimate, tie with France. But there is little of what would expect about the Island’s mafias, or, reference to the inability of younger characters to understand the lingua corsa, or to the movement for independence.
The history of Mathieu’s grandfather, Marcel Antonneti, interwoven in the chapters, revovles around 20th century French wars and the Empire. It is of a constantly darker hue. From the Second World War, life as an administrator in French Africa, reigning over “insectes, de Nègres, de plantes sauvages et de fauves” (wild beasts) and death, back to Corsica and the collapse of the French Empire Marcels’ life is a “vide” (void). The other characters, like Aurélie, Matheiu’s sister, have their own set backs to contemplate.
Matheiu and Libro’s dream of a, more limited, empire of happiness, ends too. The conclusion of Le Sermon, announced early on as ““une nuit de pillage et de sang” (pillage and blood), indicates that there is no “demiurge” around to forgive the sins of the world.
Yet the impression these events leave does not washed way the lightness, the “sinuosity (as French reviewers have called it) of Ferrari’s prose, nor the happiness it, briefly, conveys. There is something of the Julian Barnes (much admired in France) in the novel, a graceful way of dealing with serious things. It is to be hoped that Le Sermon will find an English speaking audience as soon as possible.
English Language Wikipedia on Jérôme Ferrari here.
Ministry of Truth Communication,
“Tendance Coatesy: unbad Counterfire, John Rees and Lindsey German. Misprints rectify. Immediate upsub to Ministry, vaporise duckspeak or Coatesy joycamp.”
“It has come to our attention that Tendance Blog has published material that may give an impression that John Rees, Lindsey German and Counterfire can be criticised.
Our multi-volume series, “The Struggle against Reesite Liquidationism” and our pamphlet, “What Counterfire is and how to Smash it” are in the process of being re-edited.
The Children’s book, “The Famous Five Unmask the Zinovievite-Rees Spy Centre” has been returned to the publishers.
We now accept that, following Georg Lukács that 2 plus 2 can sometimes, in an “Aufhebung ” be dialectically sublated into 5.”
Sitting at his usual table in the Chestnut Tree Café Coatesy sipped his clove-flavoured Victory Gin.
Watching the telly-screen he saw John Rees on Russia Today.
He felt a swelling of pride: he had always backed Counterfire!
May 68 in Reverse?
French religious and right-wing agitation against legislation for gay marriage (‘le marriage pour tous’) is reaching a new pitch as the law is due to be voted in.
Last night France’s Parliament, l’Assemblée Nationale, nearly descended into violence.
The debate lasted all night, only finishing just before 8 o’clock this morning.
In a scene described on France-Inter today as worthy of the Russian Duma, right-wing deputies approached the government seats screaming and ready for a fight.
Libération reports this morning,
Scène surréaliste : l’hémicycle avait échappé de peu à une bagarre. Dans la confusion et sous le regard interloqué des journalistes en tribune de presse, des députés UMP, excédés par une mimique d’un collaborateur du ministre de la Justice - ils l’ont expliqué ensuite - se sont précipités au bas de l’hémicycle. Aux cris de «dehors, dehors», ils se sont approchés des bancs du gouvernement. Des huissiers et le ministre chargé des Relations avec le Parlement Alain Vidalies se sont interposés pendant plusieurs minutes.
A surrealist scene: the chamber nearly descended into fist fights. In a confused state, and journalists looking askance from the press box, UMP MPs, enraged by being made fun of by an associate of the Justice Minister, (that is, their version) – rushed to the lower half of the room. Shouting “Out, Out, Out!”, they approached the Government benches. Ushers and Alain Vidalies, the Minister in Charge of Parliamentary procedures, stood in their way for some minutes.
According to the Libération report blows were exchanged.
Outside around 3,000 demonstrators, many from the extreme-right “Printemps français” vociferously voiced their opposition to gay rights.
This movement believes the time has come for a “May 68 in reverse” (see La jeunesse prête pour un Mai 68 à l’envers !).
French President Francois Hollande hit out at “homophobic” acts by opponents of a same-sex marriage bill following violent protests that included an attack on a gay bar.
The interior minister asked protest organisers to throw out members of far-right organisations who have been involved in the violence, as opposition intensifies ahead of the bill’s expected final approval.
On Wednesday, a several-thousand-strong protest in the streets of Paris turned ugly with cars and public property vandalised and police officers and journalists attacked. Several people were detained for questioning.
In Lille, three employees of a gay bar were injured late Wednesday in an attack by four men who smashed the building’s windows. The owner linked the incident to “tensions” over the parliament vote.