Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Myanmar rejects all but one Muslim candidates from running in the election

Myanmar has been setting new low standards in intolerance and bigotry against religious minorities, esp. the Rohingya people, that is unheard of in our time. As noted by Dr. Maung Zarni, Nazi-like songs, full of hatred, anger, ignorance and racism against Muslim minorities, have become very popular amongst the Buddhist population. Commenting on one of those songs "We will fence our nation with our bones", Dr. Zarni says, "Listening repeatedly to it for transcribing and translating it gave me goose-bumps and I felt chill down my spines for the non-Buddhists, especially Muslims."

Here below is the translation of the song (courtesy of Dr. Zarni).
"We will fence our nation with our bones"

Buddha's Wisdom shines over our land
In defence of Bama race and Buddhist faith we will stand at the front line.
These people (the infidels/Muslims) live on our (Buddhist) soil.
They drink our water.
They break our rules.
They suck our wealth.
And they insult us the host.
They destroy our youth.
Alas, they are just one ungrateful, worthless creatures.

We are one Buddhist brotherhood, now joining hands as One.
We shall pledge to join hands as One.
We  do pledege to join hands as One.
We will be loyal and faithful to our Race and our (Buddhist) Faith.

We will only do business with those who share our Buddhist faith.
We will only marry those who share our Buddhist faith.

Hey, shall we
 talk about our national affairs.
Let our nationalist consciousness awake!

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
We will surely reciprocate in kind.

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
we will surely reciprocate in kind.

We will fence our nation with our bones.
If you show us your (hateful) sword
We will surely reciprocate in kind.

Dr. Zarni writes, "I stand by my choice of characterization of my own birthplace - once the anchor of my consciouness and existence as neo-Nazi "Buddhist" country and its Nazi-like racism and racist society and politics.    It takes an extraordinary degree of delusions and self-deception to use the word 'progress' in reference to my country. The worst is as yet to come."

His statement says it all about the direction Myanmar has been going.  So, we should not be surprised about the latest news (see below) that Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) on Tuesday has rejected all but one candidate from a Muslim party based on its highly controversial and discriminatory citizenship requirements before general elections in November in a move that could lead to the party’s disbandment. 

The commission rejected the applications of 17 of 18 candidates who had filed to run for parliamentary seats as members of the Democracy and Human Rights Party (DHRP), Kyaw Min (a) Mahmood Shomshul Anwarul Haque, the party’s chairman, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Eleven of the rejected candidates are from Rakhine state, and the six others are from the Yangon division, he said, leaving only one party candidate to stand in the elections.

“The rejection notice did not mention detailed reasons behind the decision, but just said the candidates were rejected for violations based on laws and regulations,” he said.

The DHRP is preparing to appeal to the UEC within seven days, although it has not filed yet, said Kyaw Min, a Rohingya candidate who himself was rejected, although he was a member of the parliament elected in 1990 elections.

If the UEC rejects the party’s appeal, the DHRP, which was founded by Muslim politicians and activists, would be deregistered under a provision in the country’s Political Parties Registration Law that requires a party to put forth at least three candidates or face disbandment.

By law, the DHRP cannot replace the rejected candidates, Kyaw Min said.

“If rejected, our party will be forced to disband due to [an insufficient] required number of candidates needed to survive after the elections,” he said.

Terms of disqualification

So far, the UEC commission has rejected nearly 50 candidates in total—24 candidates from Rakhine state, including the ones from the DHRP, and 25 from the Yangon division.

The candidates rejected in Rakhine state’s Maungdaw district, where the majority of people are Muslim Rohingya, were disqualified based on two sections of the election law — section 8(e) which bars people from running for office if their parents were not Myanmar citizens at the time of their birth, and section 10(e) which requires candidates to have lived in the country for the past consecutive 10 years, according to local media reports.

All the candidates from Rakhine state are Rohingya, whom the Myanmar government views as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and refers to them as “Bengalis,” although many have lived there for generations.

Kyaw Min, however, pointed out that all the rejected DHRP candidates have citizenship cards or national registration cards.

“The rejection is based not on law; they don’t want to give us [political] space,” said Kyaw Min. “If it’s in the law, they why could we stand in the past? We could stand in the 1990 elections as well as the 2010 elections.”

“We are discouraged by the decision, and we don’t see this is a good sign,” he said. “I think the words like ‘all-inclusiveness’ and ‘transparency’ are not that right here in this case.”

NLD voices disagreement

The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party has called the UEC’s rejection of candidates based on the election law’s citizenship requirements “unconstitutional.”

“It is not constitutional [because] according to the constitution, every citizen has equal rights,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win told RFA Tuesday after political party leaders met with UEC members in Yangon. “The rejection of candidates based on the citizenship of their parents is in my opinion an infringement upon the equal rights of citizens.”

One of the NLD’s own candidates, Tun Min Soe who had planned to run in Rakhine state, was rejected because he lived in Bangladesh in 2006, according to a report in The Myanmar Times.

Last week, officials rejected an application from Shwe Maung, a Rohingya lawmaker from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), to run for reelection because his parents were not citizens when he was born. He was planning to run as an independent candidate in the Nov. 8 elections.

Shwe Maung, who denies that his parents were not citizens, tried to appeal the decision on Tuesday before the Rakhine state election sub-commission in Sittwe, but was further disqualified, according to a report by the online journal The Irrawaddy. He plans to appeal to election commission in Naypyidaw.

Myanmar remains the most racist and bigotry-ridden country in our time. Its discriminatory practices against the Rohingya and other Muslim candidates who were born and raised inside Myanmar once again underscores its savagery and intolerance.

Myanmar signs into law another discriminatory bill

The news below is from Reuters:

Myanmar's president on Monday signed into law the last of four controversial bills championed by radical Buddhists but decried by rights groups as aimed at discriminating against the country's Muslim minority.
Myanmar, which will hold its first democratic national poll in more than two decades on Nov. 8, has seen a flowering of anti-Muslim hate speech since the military gave up full power and opened up politics and the economy in 2011.
President Thein Sein signed the Monogamy Bill after it was passed by parliament on August 21, Zaw Htay, a senior official at the president's office, told Reuters. The law was briefly sent back to parliament for review before being signed.
The bill sets punishments for people who have more than one spouse or live with an unmarried partner other than the spouse.
The government denies it is aimed at Muslims, estimated to make up about 5 percent of the population, and some of whom practice polygamy.

The president also signed two other laws, which restrict religious conversion and interfaith marriage, on August 26, Zaw Htay said.
The measures are part of four "Race and Religion Protection Laws" championed by the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, or Ma Ba Tha.
The laws were dangerous for Myanmar, said an official of New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"They set out the potential for discrimination on religious grounds and pose the possibility for serious communal tension," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.
"Now that these laws are on the books, the concern is how they are implemented and enforced."

In May, the president signed a Ma Ba Tha-backed population control bill that forces some women to space three years between each birth.
The monk-led group has stoked sentiment against Muslims, whom it has accused of trying to take over Myanmar and outbreed its Buddhist majority.
Hundreds of people have been killed in flare-ups of religious violence in Myanmar. In 2012, an incident in Rakhine State led to the displacement of more than 140,000 people, most of them members of the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority.

West Point instructor resigned after calling for attacks on Islamic holy places

There are no shortages of hatemongering guys and gals in our world. Not all racists and bigots, however, are dangerous. But some are extremely dangerous because of the position they hold and the influence they create on others. For years, there have been serious criticism of training materials on the Middle East and other religions (esp. Islam) within the institutions of higher learning of the armed forces of the USA.

My attention to this chronic problem was drawn some years ago in the aftermath of 9/11. I was shocked to learn that officers and cadets are taught highly provocative, inaccurate and defamatory information about Arabs that was written in a book by an Israeli scholar who is well known as an ardent racist and bigot. Obviously, it is not difficult to see the impact of those faulty learning or brainwashing on members of our armed forces who are tuned to become mesmerized pawns entertaining unfathomed hostility and intolerance towards the Arabs. Such cannot be a healthy attitude for any military, and surely not for the people in military uniform serving the USA in our time in a world that is seemingly plagued by war and violence.

The Guardian of the UK has reported about a (charlatan) law professor of the US Military Academy at West Point who published an inflammatory article urging attacks on law professors and “Islamic holy sites”. It is worth noting that West Point is the revered undergraduate institution north of New York City where the US army educates its future officer corps. It prides itself on the rigor of its curriculum. West Point is known for its honor code, by which every cadet is expected to abide: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.” Its graduates are judged by it during their entire careers in uniform.

Representatives from the school said William Bradford had only begun his employment there on 1 August.  He has been dogged by accusations of misrepresenting his academic and military credentials and has resigned under pressure.

As it is often the case, most of the racists and bigots are liars, and so is the case with Bradford.
In the paper, Bradford identifies himself as an “associate professor of law, national security and strategy, National Defense University”, seemingly his previous job before West Point. But a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the prestigious Defense Department-run institution, “never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor”.

It appears not to be the first time Bradford misrepresented his credentials. He resigned from Indiana University’s law school in 2005 after his military record showed he had exaggerated his service. (Among his paper’s criticisms of supposedly treasonous lawyers is “intellectual dishonesty”.)
Bradford has had a checkered academic career. In 2004, he quit a job teaching at the Indiana University School of Law after allegations emerged that he had exaggerated his military service, portraying himself inaccurately as a Gulf War veteran, an infantryman and a recipient of the prestigious Silver Star, an award for gallantry in action.

The army provided Bradford’s releasable service history to the Guardian on Monday. Bradford was commissioned into the army as a second lieutenant – the same rank West Point cadets hold upon commissioning – in 1995 and served the majority of his six-year service in military intelligence in the army reserve. He neither deployed nor earned any awards.

In 2005, the Guardian has learned, Bradford took a visiting professorship at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, teaching property law. A former student who wished to remain anonymous said Bradford’s behavior included “doing push-ups in class [and] making students stand and give answers in a military-like manner”.

Bradford, the former student said, ended up leaving his class – and ultimately the college – without grading the final exam.

Bradford urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force and [psychological operations]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”.

Bradford went on to argue that “total war” against terrorism ought to include military targeting of “Islamic holy sites”, in order to restore an American deterrent. He acknowledged “great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties and civilian collateral damage” were entailed in his proposal, and suggested that dissent ought to be curbed.

“[D]oubts and disputes about this war [should] be muted lest around them coalesce a new set of self-imposed restraints that prevent Western forces from waging war with sufficient ferocity and resolve so that either Islamism is discredited and the political will of Islamist peoples to prosecute a jihad collapses, or, if necessary, all who countenance or condone Islamism are dead,” Bradford wrote.

Bradford recently published an academic article titled, in translation, “The Treason of the Professors”. The lengthy paper, which has been repudiated by its journal editor as a “mistake”, accused a “clique of about 40” law professors of active collaboration with “Islamist” organizations and recommended targeting them as enemy combatants.
The National Security Law Journal’s editor-in-chief has called the article’s publication a “mistake” and an “egregious breach of professional decorum”.

Supplementing military action, Bradford recommended that Congress investigate links between the professors and “Islamism” under “a renewed version of the House Un-American Activities Committee”, which was one of the vehicles for the discredited “Red Scare” hunts for Communists in the 1950s. “Treason prosecutions shore up national unity, deter disloyalty, and reflect the seriousness with which the nation regards betrayal in war,” Bradford wrote.

The US military’s educational institutions have come under fire before for promoting “total war” against Islam. In 2012, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, ordered a comprehensive scouring of anti-Islam training material after a course proposed “Hiroshima” tactics against Islamic holy sites, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary”.
The previous year, highly regarded counter-terrorism scholars affiliated with the US army aided the FBI in eradicating similar material from its own training. Those scholars came from West Point.

You can read the full Guardian story by clicking here.

Gang rape of women becoming common in India

Gang rape of girls and women is becoming quite common these days in India, esp. when the victims come from disadvantaged economic and religious groups.
Here below is the latest news about such an incident reported by the Daily Beast.
The girls, from the “untouchable” caste, are being punished for their brother’s elopement with a married woman.
Two sisters in India will be gang-raped for a social “sin” committed by their brother unless the country’s Supreme Court intervenes with protection, according to a report by Amnesty International.
The sisters, one 15 and the other 23, were condemned to this brutal fate by an informal legal system with a history of doling out egregious punishments. Their so-called crime was that their brother eloped with a married woman of a higher caste. The sisters and their family are from the Dalit caste, commonly called Untouchables, which is the lowest in the Indian social hierarchy. On July 30, the village council in the northern Indian district of Baghpat decreed that the two sisters would be raped, then paraded around their village naked, with their faces covered in black paint.
The ruling from this all-male panel is not legally valid, but these unelected panels called khap panchaya controversially act as courts throughout the country and still command power.
The family has already fled the town, seeking refuge in Delhi in May.
Earlier this month, the elder sister petitioned the country’s highest court to protect her family, whose home was ransacked. “After we went to the Supreme Court, the villagers are even more aggressive,” the sisters’ other brother told Amnesty International.
India’s Supreme Court previously ruled that the village court’s decrees are not legally binding, but that hasn’t fully eliminated the system.
A petition released by Amnesty International this week has already garnered nearly 30,000 signatures.
“Revenge rape” as a punishment for a woman or her family member’s crimes isn’t unheard of in the region. It’s traditionally seen as a way to ruin a family’s worth, by tarnishing its honor and ruining a daughter’s chances for marriage. Last year, a 22-year-old woman was left in critical condition after village elders ordered 13 men to rape her as punishment for her relationship with a man outside the community. The attackers were later arrested by police.
July of last year saw the rape of a 14-year-old whose brother was accused of sexual assaulting a married woman. The woman’s husband was ordered to dole out the punishment, and took her into the woods as the village looked on.
The issue has commanded worldwide attention before—notably in a 2002 case in Pakistan, when a victim of this savage “justice” took her attackers to court and was paid restitution. “I tried to commit suicide twice after the incident because I felt like I wasn’t getting any justice,” she told the BBC last year. “What happened to me is another form of honor killing.”

A perferct picture of occupation from Ha'aretz

Occupation is always brutal and inhuman. It violates human rights of all those under occupation. The life of ordinary Palestinians living under occupation is no different. You can read the report from Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz on victims of occupation by clicking here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Zionism in Britain - an article by Prof. Evan Jones

Evan Jones is a retired political economist from the University of Sydney. He taught at Sydney University from 1973-2006. He has been writing on bank malpractice against small business and the family farmer for over a decade.

His latest article on Zionism in Britain can be read by clicking here.

Uri Avnery's latest article

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. I am a regular reader of his articles. His latest article - Israel's aborted strike on Iran - can be read by clicking here.