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Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights

Pressure Grows on Labour to Defend Human Rights in Iran.

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The Clarion publishes this:

The following motion was passed unanimously at a meeting of 60 Labour Party members at Stretford and Urmston CLP in Manchester on 5 January.This CLP supports the working class and popular protests in Iran that started in the city of Mashad on 28th December 2017 and which have since spread to over 40 cities in the country.

We note that the protests:

• Directly oppose poverty and the systematic corruption of the “Islamic Republic” regime.
• Include the wide participation of working class people – men and women – many of whom are young and unemployed.
• Demand an end to the “Islamic Republic”, the end to rule by “Supreme Leader” Khamanei and “President” Rouhani and the dissolution of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
• Demand an end to military interventions in Syria and Lebanon.
• Call for freedom for political prisoners in Iran and an end to the dictatorship.

We therefore call on the National Executive Committee and Party leadership to:

• Support the protests and the calls for workers’ rights and an end to repression and dictatorship.
• Support campaigns in solidarity with political prisoners in Iran such as the Solidarity with Middle Eastern Prisoners campaign organised by The Alliane of Middle Eastern Socialists who are calling for the release of: Reza Shahabi from the Tehran Bus Workers’ Syndicate; Narges Mohamnadi from the Centre for Defence of Human Rights in Iran; and Zeynab Jalalian, a Kurdish women’s’ activist.
• Cease any co-operation between the Party or Labour MPs with “Press TV” – the English-language arm of the clerical-fascist regime in Iran.
• Urgently investigate how best to co-operate with and support worker and popular organisations in Iran who share Labour’s commitment to socialism and freedom and build support for their activities.

Let us know what you think? theclarionmag@gmail.com

This comes as appeals for solidarity multiply.

Hamid Taqvaee: To: Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party

Dear Mr Corbyn

In solidarity with the heroic struggle of the people of Iran against one of the most despotic, brutal, anti-working class and misogynistic regimes in the world, and on behalf of the largest working-class party of the left opposition in Iran, I am writing to ask you to distance yourself immediately from the disgraceful comments made yesterday by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry. I am asking you to break your silence and to come out unreservedly on the side of the people in Iran in their heroic struggle against their oppressors.

Siding with the oppressors of the people or even staying silent or prevaricating on the rightful protests by the workers, women and the youth in Iran against the corrupt and reactionary Islamic Republic, whose leaders have amassed billions, while subjecting workers to abject poverty, smashing workers’ organisations, throwing trade unionists to jail, committing state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against women and LGBT people and executing dissidents in their tens of thousands, would be a grave political folly for the Labour Party. Once this regime is overthrown by the ongoing heroic rising of the people, the people of Iran will not forget who was on their side and who sided with their oppressors.

Your declared aims of fighting for a better world, for economic equality and for social justice won you great following among millions of people in Britain and internationally, who enthusiastically supported you in your leadership campaigns and in the 2017 general election on a progressive platform to address the widening inequality and the growing injustice in the UK.

However, these are exactly the same issues – on a far harsher and more brutal scale – that have brought millions of people onto to the streets of Iran today. The workers, women and youth in Iran are protesting against grotesque levels of inequality, lack of basic political and social freedoms and a medieval religious dictatorship that is an affront to the collective conscience of humanity in the 21st Century. People in Iran do not want the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the 1% and the billionaire clergy while they try to survive on a minimum wage that is one-fourth of the official poverty line. They do not want the vile state discrimination against women, which officially defines them as minors and the property of their male guardians; they do not want compulsory veiling and gender apartheid. They do not want the imposition of a religious state and religious thought. In one word, the people of Iran do not want the Islamic Republic. They have risen up against the Islamic Republic because they want economic equality and political and social freedoms. They want a better world and a life worthy of human beings. They are right to demand this, and should have the people of the world’s unreserved support.

Siding with such an obnoxious regime and disgracefully declaring, as Emily Thornberry has, that it is not clear who is right or wrong in this struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors will forever stay in the memory of the people of Iran. It will seriously harm the credentials of a progressive and egalitarian party that you are trying to build. It will disillusion millions of your supporters who rushed to your support precisely because they believe in equality and social justice everywhere. It will alienate your grassroots from the leadership, and mark a shameful moment in the life of your new party. It will be an irredeemable political folly and a historic moral disgrace for the Labour Party.

I hope the utterances of Emily Thornberry were an isolated case, which she will come to regret and openly apologies for. In any case, I urge you, as the Leader of the Labour Party, to distance yourself in the clearest terms from those comments and to come out unreservedly and unambiguously on the side of the people of Iran in these momentous days.

Hamid Taqvaee,

Leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.

The Morning Star meanwhile publishes this article.

THE United States slapped sanctions on five subsidiaries of Iran’s Defence Ministry yesterday as the war of words between Washington and Tehran escalated.

The sanctions are related to allegations that the subsidiaries are involved in the production of ballistic missiles used by Houthi rebels in the Yemen war, and are unconnected to the wave of protests that has swept Iran over the past week.

The US says Iran is the main sponsor of the Houthi movement, whose takeover of Yemen in 2015 prompted a murderous Saudi assault on the country in which the US and Britain have supplied weaponry used in air raids on hospitals and schools.

The sanctions came after Iranian Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri claimed the anti-government demonstrations were instigated by the CIA, with the aim of turning them into an armed insurrection against the Islamic Republic by mid-February.

At least 21 people have been killed in the protests, which broke out last Thursday over widespread poverty and unemployment, and included calls for an end to theocratic rule.

The communist Tudeh Party of Iran says some of the deaths were “false flag” killings by government agents to justify a heavier crackdown, and a source in the party told the Morning Star over 1,000 people have been arrested — around half in Tehran — for involvement in the protests.

At the same time, the government has organised major pro-regime demonstrations, “significantly slowed internet access generally” and cut access to some areas and networks completely in order to impede the spread of unrest via social media. On Thursday it announced that all unregistered mobile phones would be denied connection to the internet.

The Interior Ministry placed the total number of participants in anti-government protests at 42,000 and said the biggest single rally involved 1,500 people.

The size and duration of the protests, which it said were drawing to a close, were testimony to the “leniency, restraint and tolerance” with which the government had responded, according to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

But more protests — including some involving tens of thousands of people — were breaking out on Thursday night, according to the Tudeh Party source, though they acknowledged that the “deployment of the most brutal militiamen and thugs” to the streets to crush the protests was beginning to stifle the upsurge.

To get a grasp of the forces opposing the growing consensus of support for the protests from the left,  the US ‘Conspi’ (conspiracy) ‘left’ site, Counterpunch publishes  this,

Thoughts About Iran on Twelfth Night

The US is ravenous to destroy Iran. It’s hard to know if the CIA instigated the recent demonstrations as Iran claims but it is our usual modus operandi. UN Ambassador Haley’s bloodthirsty cries (“The people of Iran are crying out for freedom! All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause!”) certainly match, in both intensity and ignorance, those of Secretary-of-State Clinton, before we destroyed Libya seven years ago.

Our role in Iran’s impoverishment however is undeniable. As the three Wise Men swung along on their camels, discoursing on Peace (for that is what they thought the Baby was to bring) could they possibly have conceived of such malignant phantoms, in their starlit visions,  as The Plan for the New American Century and its vicious nihilism, 2000 years into the future?

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Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Emily Thornberry and Labour ‘Cautious Approach” to Defending Human Rights in Iran.

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Image result for emily thornberry Iran

Thornberry, Cautious Approach to defending Human Rights when it comes to Iran. 

The shadow foreign secretary said a ‘cautious approach’ to the protests was needed because it was difficult to determine the political forces behind them

Guardian.

Thornberry told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast: “Our approach now is one of extreme caution when it comes to Iran and a recognition that the society in Iran is an immensely complex one, and seemingly contradictory.

“For example, with these current riots, sometimes they are calling to reinstate the monarchy, sometimes they’re calling out against the [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, sometimes they’re calling for Khamenei, sometimes they’re calling for the price of eggs.

“It’s very difficult, in those circumstances, to actually come to a conclusion as to what political forces are behind the current disputes on the streets of Iran. So we take a cautious approach to Iran and we don’t want to leap to judgment and say: ‘Well, we don’t like the regime in Iran, these people are against it, they must be the guys with white hats.’ Because it doesn’t work like that. We’ve seen that in Syria, we’ve seen it in Libya, we see it time and time again.”

Some have commented that Thornbury seems to think Iran should be like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the goodies in the Scooby Gang fighting the First Evil before Labour will take a stand.

Meanwhile these have no hesitation in defending human rights.

Iranian human rights defenders: “We support the protests”

A group of Iranian human rights defenders have issued a statement in support of the popular protests launched in Iran and Rojhilat and demanded an immediate unconditional release of detained protesters.

Support for the popular protests launched by the peoples of Iran and Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) against poverty and the oppressive policies of the regime continues to pour in. 6 human rights defenders who live outside the country issued a joint statement and announced that they stand by the demands of the people.

Most famous human rights defenders in Iran, Muhamed Ewliyayîferd, Mehmud Rehmanî Îsfahanî, political prisoners’ rights activist Nesrîn Studa, Muhamed Seyfzade, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Şirîn Ebadi and human rights defender Ebdulkerim Lahici issued a joint statement declaring that the right to protest is the most fundamental right.

Human rights defenders stated that they support the protests launched by the peoples of Iran and concluded their statement with the following: “Citizens on the streets are not pro-violence, but the regime forces do resort to violence. Many protesters have lost their lives to date. We offer our condolences to the families of the deceased and a swift recovery for the wounded. We demand an immediate unconditional release of the detained and arrested protesters.”

Written by Andrew Coates

January 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Syria, Hasna al-Hariri: Will the Left Speak Out Against Assad’s Tortures and Rapes?

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Image result for Syrie, le cri étouffé,

Assad’s Prisons: It is hard to get out alive from this place. In the corridors you see heaps of corpses.

The Stop the War Coalition’s official position on Syria is the following,

1. The STWC has never supported the Assad regime. Just as we never supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. Only in the minds of ‘them or us’ pretend patriots does the opposition to our own government’s wars mean support for dictators or terrorists. Our case has always been that war will worsen the problem and not solve it. We were right in that analysis in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

2. The STWC has never supported Russian intervention in Syria and issued a statement opposing the bombing as soon as it began.

3. The STWC does believe that it is the people of Syria who are the only ones who should decide the fate of their country free of all great power and regional power interference.

4. The STWC is utterly opposed to the IS as a totally reactionary and, in the Arab Spring, counter revolutionary force.

5. The STWC believes that the invasion and dismemberment of Iraq, and western support for Saudi Arabia, were and are instrumental in the creation of the IS.

6. The STWC does not support calls for western invention, including an air war to establish a no fly zone, whether those calls emanate from Syrian exiles or anyone else, just as we did not support such calls from anti-Taliban or anti Saddam Afghans or Iraqis. Syrians do not all speak with one voice but many are opposed to western bombing.

At the end of the declaration is this:

The STWC concentrates on campaigning against UK government policy because this is where we are citizens and voters. No one else can change UK government policy but a movement in this country. But of course we support anti-war movements in other countries who, rightly, are focussed on opposing their own governments. This is how genuine internationalism work

It is a very narrow take on “internationalism” that excludes the duty to come to the aid of people suffering the brutality of,  which is too often ignored on the left, the Assad regime.

That this is not just the result of the actions of the ISIS genociders or the result of bombing by outside forces is clear.

This was published in Le Monde last week: « En Syrie, le viol était le maître mot »

It is, to say the least, a harrowing account of the  tortures carried out by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

The full article is behind a pay-wall (or in the print edition, where it takes up a full page).

In the main section Hasna Al-Hariri,  54 years old, talks of the cruelty to which prisoners are subjected, a long calvary of horror.

Women, raped, later give birth amid ” la crasse, les poux, les infections, à même le sol”, filth, lice, infection and the soil.

Victims who are released have been shunned as ‘dishonoured’.

LesInrocks rightly says, the account by “freezes your blood”.

Enfants nés de viols, tortures, humiliations : une survivante raconte l’enfer des prisons de Bachar Al-Assad.

L’Echo published this letter to Hasna Al-Hariri,

Votre mari a été assassiné en essayant de vous libérer de prison contre une grosse somme d’argent. Vous avez été emprisonnée trois fois, pendant de longs mois. Pendant vos détentions dans ces centres de “renseignement”, vous avez été torturée. Vous avez été violée. Vous avez vu des femmes, de 55 ans, de 40 ans, de 25 ans se faire violer. Vous avez vu des adolescentes se faire violer. Vous avez vu des petites filles de 13 ans se faire violer. Vous avez vu une enfant de 13 ans se faire violer devant sa maman.

Vous avez aidé à la naissance de cinquante bébés. Vous avez vu mourir dix bébés. Vous avez vu mourir cinq mamans. Vous n’aviez aucun matériel pour ces accouchements, pas un drap, pas un essuie, pas un seul bout de tissu, pas même d’eau.

 

Your husband was murdered trying to free you from prison with a large bribe. You have been imprisoned 3 times, during many long months. During your time in gaol in the “investigation” centres you were tortured. You were raped. You have seen women, 55 years old, 40 years old, 25 years old, violated. You have seen adolescents raped. You have seen young women of 13 years old being raped. You saw a child of 13 years old being violated in front of her mother.

You have helped 50 babies be born. You have seen 10 babies die. You have seen 5 mothers die. You had no material to help with these births, no towels, no  wipes, not a shred of a tissue, not even water.

The letter continues,

Vous avez vu une jeune femme qui avait ses règles. Pleine de sang. Vos geôliers lui ont jeté des rats. Les rats lui ont dévoré l’entrejambe. Elle est morte.

You saw a young woman having her period. She was covered with blood. Your gaolers threw rats on her. The rates ate her crotch. She died.

I stop there, it is already distressing.

This discuss the documentary, Syrie, le cri étouffé, revealing the horrors to which women are subject in Assad’s prisons, and  which forms the basis for these articles.

 

This is the only account I can find in English.

Atem Al Zinzaneh (Darkness of Jail)

Hasna al-Hariri—the mother of martyrs, or Syria’s Khansa’ [traditional heroic Arab female symbol of stoic heroism], as she likes to be known—is a 65 year-old lady and Syrian Revolution activist since its inception in 2011 from Deraa. She is today’s Atem al-Zinzaneh’s guest.

Hasna never for one day expected that either the regime or the Syrian army would shoot, for the mere cause of Deraa’s people asking for their detained children. She never imagined that they would abuse Deraa’s elders, or their wives and honor. This was the main reason behind her own participation in the Revolution. She was arrested for the first time in May 2011—for attempting to bring medicine, bread, and food to children during the siege of Deraa—in the Deraa branch of military security.

Hasna tells of seeing Hezbollah men inside the branch in May 2011. She personally saw Hussein Hamiyyeh, an officer of the Lebanese Hizbollah. Investigations then centered on the extent of Israel’s, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s, role in financing the demonstrations. Hasna was surprised how they would think of foreign intervention—but not at all care for the injustice to which Syrian citizens are subjected. She was arrested for a second time with her daughter Bushra at the 12th Brigade of the Syrian army, then transferred to the Deraa military security branch.

Hasna al-Hariri remember that rape cases in the branch were perpetrated by Brigadier General Abu Habib in the Suweida branch; and by Brigadier Wafiq Nasser, Captains Zuhair al-Ali and Abdullah Amoury, and officer Rawad in Deraa. She tells of incidences of sexual assault of both males and females inside the military security branch; in addition to forcing them to sexually assault one another. She also mentions the killing of more than one hundred and twenty young men, whose blood flowed to reach the women’s prison dormitories.

More on the crimes of the Assad regime:  Syria Solidarity Campaign.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 11, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Slave Auction in Libya, After Outrage, Protests Begin.

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This morning on Europe 1 there was the harrowing testimony of a 17 year old man, Arnaud,  from Cameron who had escaped from slavery in Libya.

“Chaque jour, il y a des tortures, des bastonnades, des électrocutions et des travaux forcés”

Every day there were tortures, beating, electrocutions  and forced labour.

“”Tu deviens un objet. Ce qu’on nous a appris à l’école sur la traite négrière, tu comprends que c’est revenu”,

You become an object. What you learnt at school about the African slave trade, you can see that it’s come back. 

Arnaud, now a refugee in France added,

“En Libye, le mouton vaut plus que l’homme noir.”

In Libya a sheep is worth more than a Black Man.

In France there has been a strong moblisation against Slavery in Libya.

Manifestation contre l’esclavage, à Nouakchott, en Mauritanie, le 29 avril 2015.

Paris, des milliers de personnes ont manifesté samedi à l’appel du Collectif contre l’esclavage et les camps de concentration en Libye (CECCL).  (Le Monde. 23.11.17).

Rwanda has announced that it is willing to take 30,000 victims of the slave markets, (Jeune Afrique,Marché aux esclaves en Libye : le Rwanda prêt à accueillir 30 000 migrants africains“).

Background:

Video Of Migrants Sold In Apparent Slave Auction In Libya Provokes Outrage Worldwide

“I am horrified,” the UN secretary-general said.

After a video surfaced showing migrants apparently being sold at auction in Libya, people worldwide have been calling for action.

Last week, CNN published a report on modern slavery in Libya, featuring a video that reportedly was shot in August and appeared to show a man selling African migrants for farm work.

“Big strong boys,” the man said in the video, according to a CNN narrator. “400 … 700 … 800,” he called out the mounting prices. The men were eventually sold for about $400 each, CNN reported. The Libyan government said it has launched an investigation into slave auctions in the country.

Following the CNN report, demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and other cities last week to express their outrage, and Libyans showed their solidarity on Twitter with the hashtag #LibyansAgainstSlavery.

Solidarity!

Written by Andrew Coates

November 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Finally….Tariq Ramadan on “Leave of Absence” from Oxford. Bye-bye Tariq….?

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Many supporters of Tariq Ramadan say that the accusations are a “plot” by ‘Zionists.’

(Des centaines de soutiens de Tariq Ramadan déclarent sur les réseaux sociaux voir dans ces accusations un complot réalisé par les “sionistes”)

Islamic modest dress is  “spiritual training and asserting a femininity that is not imprisoned in the mirror of men’s gaze or alienated within unhealthy relationships of power or seduction.”

Tariq Ramadan. The Messenger 2007. (Page 213)

Islamic scholar to take leave of absence by mutual agreement after multiple sexual assault allegations made against him.

Oxford University has agreed to place the Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan on a leave of absence after multiple allegations of rape, assault and sexual harassment were made against him.

“By mutual agreement, and with immediate effect, Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies, has taken a leave of absence from the University of Oxford,” the university said in a statement.

The Guardian continues,

Ramadan did not respond to requests for comment but posted his response to what he called a “joint communique” with Oxford via social media.

“I salute the position taken by Oxford University since this matter first arose. The university has defended the principle of presumption of innocence without minimising the gravity of the allegations against me,” he wrote.

“Contrary to reports in the French-language press, I have taken leave of absence upon mutual agreement with Oxford University, which will permit me to devote my energies to my defence while respecting students’ need for a calm academic environment.”

This so-called Mutual Agreement came after voices were raised across the Net, including a Petition, and, above all, this:

Oxford professor to take leave over rape allegations Cherwell (Oxford Student Paper)

University announces Tariq Ramadan will be suspended from his role as Islamic Professor after student anger

Tariq Ramadan, the Oxford Islamic studies professor accused of multiple accounts of rape, has taken a “leave of absence” from the University.

The University released a statement today stating that Ramadan, who has denied the allegations, was leaving “by mutual agreement, and with immediate effect”. It added that Ramadan will not be present at either the University or College during this time, and his teaching, supervising and examining duties in the Faculty of Oriental studies will be reassigned.

The decision follows student backlash at Ramadan’s continuing presence in the Faculty after the allegations first surfaced.

The statement said: “The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against Professor Ramadan, while emphasising the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process.

..

The faculty apologised for their “lack of communication” with students following the allegations, blaming the delay in responding to the claims on the fact that the allegations were made in a foreign country with a different legal system.

They also told students last week that they intended Ramadan to continue to supervise and tutor on his return to Oxford, although arrangements could be made with individual students about how their supervisions would proceed.

Libération today reports on the Cherwell article and its own latest inquiries.

Un porte-parole d’Oxford University a déclaré à Libération que «même si nous reconnaissons à quel point les allégations sont graves et inquiétantes, il n’y a pas eu d’inculpation formelle. Le professeur Ramadan n’a pas été détenu, interrogé ou informé s’il serait poursuivi. Qui plus est, il dément catégoriquement les accusations contre lui. Le professeur Tariq Ramadan a demandé personnellement à ses avocats de poursuivre les accusatrices pour diffamation. En tant qu’employeur […] nous avons le devoir – comme quiconque – d’être juste envers les accusateurs et l’accusé».

A spokesperson for Oxford University has stated to that “even if we recognise how serious and worrying this accusations are, there have been no formal charges. Professor Ramadan has not been arrested, questioned, or informed if he will be charged. He categorically denies the accusations. Professor Ramadan has placed a personal request to his lawyers to bring charges of slander against his accusers.  As employers we have a duty to be fair to both the accusers and the accused.

Le Monde today notes that the University’s snail pace reaction, not to mention the way the British media has barely paid any attention to the case of Europe’s best known Islamic scholar and Public Intellectual,  can be contrasted to the way Michael Fallon was forced to resign after he was accused of putting his hand on a woman’s knee,

Curieusement, alors que, dans la foulée de l’affaire Weinstein, le ministre de la défense britannique, Michael Fallon, a dû démissionner le 1er novembre après avoir reconnu avoir mis la main sur le genou d’une journaliste, les plaintes pour viol en France et les témoignages rapportés par la presse suisse contre Tariq Ramadan ont mis du temps avant d’être pris en considération, non seulement à Oxford, mais dans les médias britanniques.

Strangely, while in the wake of the Weinstein affair, the British Defence Minister, Michael Fallon, had to resign on the 1st of November after having admitted that he put his hand on a journalist’s knee, the accusations of rape and the accounts printed by the Swiss press, took some time to be registered, not just at Oxford but in the British media.

For anybody wishing to begin a serious look into this case they could begin with the French version of Wikipedia on Ramadan and this section:

Mises en cause dans des affaires de mœurs

Now there is controversy over those who have defended Ramadan in the past. We note that Edwy Plenel, who is respected for his generous anti-racism, if perhaps misjudged on the Islamologue before,  has not defended Ramadan in the present case. That said, Fourest shows plenty of evidence of his collaboration with the Ramadan circus, and we also note the presence of Karen Armstrong, one of the most dull-witted apologists for Islam, and any religion going, there is.

To those who think there are any merits to Ramadan’s politics – about the most radical he got was denouncing “injustice” and “oppression” and advocating Islamic enterprises based on fairness , Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 2004,  see

Submitted by AWL on 26 July, 2007 – 3:16 Author: Yves Coleman

“40 reasons why Tariq Ramadan is a reactionary bigot” was written by the French Marxist, Yves Coleman and has been reproduced by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL). The text presents factual information about the politics of Tariq Ramadan.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm

German Elections and the AfD.

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Police blocks demonstrators protesting against the nationalist 'Alternative for Germany', AfD, party in Berlin

Turn left: Smash Nationalism!

Der Spiegel Editorial 

Democracy at Stake: Germany’s Slide to the Right

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats lost massive support in Sunday’s parliamentary election while the right-wing populist performed better than expected. What happens now?

This year’s general election in Germany has been heralded as an epochal shift. Merkel’s “grand coalition,” pairing her conservatives with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), was voted out of office and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) became Germany’s third-strongest party. In the search for reasons for the shift, the language of politics is a good place to start. The AfD professed to be clear and decisive, their language was explicit — and voters rewarded them for it. The chancellor, by contrast, sought to avoid discussions and to completely ignore major issues focused on by the populists: foreign migrants and German uneasiness. Merkel’s political style, which is characterized by avoiding clashes, was punished to the greatest possible degree.

And the center-left Social Democrats were unable to settle on a strategy early on — or at least they were unable to stick to the tactics they found late in the campaign. It was only after the election, at 6:05 p.m. on Sunday evening, that the disappointed SPD, no longer bound by the discipline of the campaign, finally managed to define what differentiates it from Merkel’s Christian Democrats — which was touchingly awkward. Because in democracies, after the election is too late.

 It seems clear what will now happen: a coalition matching Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party — almost certainly under the leadership of a Merkel who suddenly seems shrunk and fainthearted, and whose days as her party’s leader no longer seem infinite. The only alternative would be new elections or — in a few weeks — a reversal on the part of the SPD. The party pledged on Sunday night that it would not be part of a coalition with Merkel going forward, and an about-face would be extremely damaging.

How should we look at this from the rest of Europe?

The success of the Alternative für Deutschland, (AfD) is the most immediately striking result.

International Viewpoint summarises this.

The AfD reached 12.6% of the votes compared to 4.7% in 2013 and becomes the 3rd force in the Bundestag with 94 deputies. Moreover, the AfD becomes the 1st party in Saxony with 27% of the votes against the CDU with 26.9%, and in general 1st force in the male electorate of the new Länder of East Germany. In Bavaria, the AfD comes in second place behind the CSU in many constituencies.

The AfD was able to take more than one million votes in the CDU / CSU, almost half a million in the SPD and almost 400,000 in the party Die Linke party, and mobilize more than one million of those who were not to go to the polls in 2013, in the framework of a participation of 76.2% of the electorate compared to 71.5% in 2013. Despite the great electoral success, the conflict reigns at the summit of the AfD after these elections: Frauke Petry, who obtained a direct mandate in Saxony, co-chair of the party with a more “moderate” profile than the first candidates of the party, Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel, has just announced that it will not be part of the parliamentary fraction of the AfD to the new Bundestag. The words of Alexander Gauland announcing “to open the hunt against Merkel” and its fascistoid verbal provocations displeased her.

Many people will be wary of taring Germany with the far-right brush, particularly in view of the as large (UKIP) far-right vote recently in the UK, not to mention the Front National vote in the second round of the Presidential elections (Marine Le Pen, 10, 638, 475, 33,9%) this year. Not to mention a series of other countries’ far-right votes, from the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie,  in Belgium, 2014, , 1,366, o73, 20,3% to the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ, , 2013  958.29520,51 %40.

But Taz puts its finger on a major problem racism which it observes, the inherits and Afd is playing with. synthesise the ideas of the New Right and the Identity movement, the latter which has echoes across Europe.  Die Erben des Rassismus. This is something all of us have to confront, from the fall-out in the UK from Brexit, and the ambiguous response of some on the left to freedom of movement, to the problems with confronting right-wing ‘populism’ elsewhere, the AfD does concern us.

We are not going to fight racism and extreme nationalism by playing another form of ‘identity politics’ against the AfD’s identity politics but only through  movements based on universal emancipatory principles.

Bang on cue we hear this:

Germany’s new far-right party AfD says it will fight an ‘invasion of foreigners’ (Independent)

“One million people – foreigners – being brought into this country are taking away a piece of this country and we as AfD don’t want that,” Mr Gauland told the press conference.

“We say we don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture. Very simple.”

It is some consolation that the AfD is as rent with personality clashes and factionalism as UKIP.

Frauke Petry ‘drops bomb’ on rightwing nationalist party by announcing she will instead serve as independent MP.
The entry of the AfD into the Bundestag is already provoking protests.
 https://twitter.com/chefreporterNRW/status/912011834026336261
Yesterday:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Pakistan: Christian Man Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy.

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Image result for Protests against blasphemy law Pakistan

Demonstration last Year in Pakistan. 

Pakistan Sentences Christian man to death for blasphemy.

Nadeem James was arrested in 2016 after he allegedly sent a poem ridiculing Prophet Mohammad to his friend on WhatsApp.

A Christian man has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a court in eastern Pakistan after a close friend accused him of sharing anti-Islamic material, the defendant’s lawyer said.

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Muslim-majority Pakistan, and insults against the Prophet Mohammad are punishable by death. Most cases are filed against members of minority communities.

Nadeem James, 35, was arrested in July 2016, accused by a friend of sharing material ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad on the WhatsApp messaging service.

Lawyer Riaz Anjum said his client intended to appeal against the verdict, passed on Thursday by a sessions court in the town of Gujrat.

READ MORE: In Pakistan, a shrine to murder for ‘blasphemy’

There was widespread outrage across Pakistan last April when student Mashal Khan was beaten to death at his university in Mardan following a dormitory debate about religion.

Police arrested more than 20 students and some faculty members in connection with the killing.

Since then, parliament has considered adding safeguards to the blasphemy laws, a groundbreaking move given the emotive nature of the issue.

While not a single convict has ever been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, there are currently about 40 people are on death row or serving life sentences for the crime, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Right-wing vigilantes and mobs have taken the law into their own hands, killing at least 69 people over alleged blasphemy since 1990, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

In March, Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the immediate removal and blocking of all online content deemed to be “blasphemous” to Islam from social media – and for those responsible to be prosecuted.

Background:  Persecution of Christians in Pakistan.

Most recent story, September the 11th.

Christian Member of the National Assembly Khalil George and others paid a call to Sharron Masih’s bereaved family. 17-year-old Christian student was callously lynched by his classmate at Government MC Model High School for Boys in Burewala city of Vehari District. MNA Khalil George offered condolences to the Ilyasab Masih and family ensuring them of an all-out support and assistance.

MNA Khalil George who also holds the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs met with Ilyasab Masih and told him that the perpetrators will be duly punished. On this occasion, parents of Sharoon Masih detailed the incident to Khalil George; expressing grief over the fact that their son lost his life to anti-Christian sentiments of his mates. MNA Khalil George was accompanied by Bishop Abraham Daniel, Major Michael Paul, Elder Dilber, Pastor Peter Imran and Pastor Arthur Daniel.

Parents of Sharoon Masih strongly believe that their son was lynched for drinking water from a glass which was used by all the students. They said that the assaulter did not relent until Sharoon breathed his last. Afterwards, Bishop Abraham Daniel offered prayers for the bereaved family. He prayed for peace and comfort for the friends and family of Sharoon Masih.

Previously, talking to a local media stated: “His teacher, Nazeer Mohal, sent him back home because he was not wearing the proper uniform. His mother told me later that evening that Sharoon had told her that the teacher had hit him in front of the whole class and also called him a Choohra, among other curse words. She said that he was quite upset at being humiliated in front of the whole class on the very first day of school.”

Detailing the excruciatingly agonizing moments he said: “Sharoon went to school wearing his new uniform. Hardly a few hours later, a Muslim neighbor whose son studies in the same school told us that Sharoon had been killed in school.”

“I cannot express the agony I went through when I saw my son’s dead body lying motionlessly on the hospital stretcher, his new blue shirt covered in dirt and blood,” Ilyasab said as he sketched the horrific incident. Sharoon’s family was told by his classmates that Ahmad Raza engaged Sharoon in a brawl; expressing annoyance because Sharoon had drunk water from the glass used by all students,” he told the media.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm