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Afghanistan

Australia: How governments and the capitalist media marginalise the Muslim community

Photo by Margarita Windisch.

By Helen Patterson

December 15, 2009 -- The antipathy of mainstream Australian society toward Muslims is not a new development. As early as 1912, Australians were being cautioned about the danger of Australia falling under Islamic control. The adoption of camel transport had brought Muslim men from Afghanistan to Australia in increasing numbers from 1860 until they controlled the camel transport business. Despite their valuable contribution to the expeditions carried out by the European “explorers” and their vital role in establishing a transport system in the harsh outback conditions, the early Muslim immigrants were considered inferior to the dominant, white, Christian Europeans and marginalised in a similar way to the detribalised Aboriginal community.[1]

Paquistão: o que fazer em relação ao Fundamentalismo Religioso?

Farooq Tariq.

por Farooq Tariq, porta voz do Labour Party Pakistan, tradução: Mariana Riscali

“Vamos negociar com a ISI [Agencia de Inteligência Paquistanesa] e os Militares paquistaneses e vamos recrutar estes mujahideen. Aqui há um debate muito forte que é… não foi um mau negócio acabar com a União Soviética, mas sejamos cuidadosos com o que nós semeamos, porque iremos colher depois.” -- Hillary Clinton (23 de Abril de 2009)

Mais uma vez o Paquistão tornou-se foco de atenção mundial. Todos os dias há notícias sobre o último ataque suicida ou sobre operações militares, com mortos, feridos e comunidades desalojadas. Recentemente escolas foram ordenadas a fecharem suas portas por mais de uma semana. Até mesmo crianças falam sobre mortes e ataques suicidas.

Obama delivers -- when it comes to war

By Billy Wharton

December 4, 2009 -- When US President Barack Obama announced his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops to the war-torn country, he delivered on two campaign promises. The first was a campaign trail pledge to re-focus US military power on the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was mostly ignored by enthralled voters. The second was made more quietly to his many campaign donors in the defence industry. This promise was happily recognised by war hawks throughout Washington. The resulting troop surge into an already war-ravaged Afghanistan will lead to more of the same -- further Afghan civilian casualties, more dead US soldiers and the continuance of a military campaign in an unwinnable war. Good news for military contractors, bad news for the rest of us.

A hawk in dove’s clothing

Labour Party Pakistan condemns Obama's Afghanistan policy

Obama's policy means ``more bombs, more drone attacks and more bloodshed in the region''.

By Farooq Tariq

December 4, 2009 -- The Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) condemns US President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy and demands that all NATO forces immediately withdraw from Afghanistan and stop drone attacks on Pakistan. The Labour Party Pakistan has decided to protest against this new escalation of the war effort in the region. The first protest took place on December 4 in front of US consulate in Lahore. There will be more demonstrations in different parts of Pakistan.

Pakistan: What to do about religious fundamentalism?

By Farooq Tariq

Let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen. Here is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment to end the Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.” – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 23, 2009.

October 28, 2009 -- Once again Pakistan has become the focus of world attention. Every day there is news of the latest suicide attack or military operation, with killings, injuries and the displacing of communities. Recently schools were ordered closed for more than a week. Even children talk about death and suicide attacks.

With more than 125 police checkpoints in Islamabad, it has become a fortress city. Lahore and other large cities are suffering the same fate: there are police road blockades everywhere. After each terrorist attack authorities issue another security high alert and set up additional barriers. How ironic that, until recently, officials and the media described these “terrorists” as Mujahideen fighting for an Islamic world.

Britain: Landmark demonstration against the war in Afghanistan

Tariq Ali addresses the October 24 protest in London. More videos of the speeches below.

By Robin Beste

October 25, 2009 -- Stop the War Coalition UK -- Stop the War's demonstration on October 24 brought the centre of London to a standstill. It was a landmark demonstration, led by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton -- the first serving soldier in the British army to join an anti-war march.

Malalai Joya: The Afghan people are `squashed between two powerful enemies'

Film by Nomad Collective

October 18, 2009 -- Malalai Joya: ``Now, my people are squashed between two powerful enemies. From the sky, the occupation forces are dropping bombs, even using cluster bombs and white phosphorus and killing innocent civilians in the name of combatting the Taliban. On the ground, the Taliban and also the Northern Alliance fundamentalists continue their fascism against men and women of my country.

Afghanistan: Interview with Malalai Joya -- The occupation is `a war on the Afghan people'

Sydney protest against the Afghanistan war, October 8, 2009, organised by the Stop the War Coalition. See Malalai Joya's message to the protesters below the interview.

Malalai Joya interviewed by Steven Littlewood

October 9, 2009 -- Malalai Joya has been described as “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”. A long-term opponent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) presence in her country, Malalai Joya first rose to prominence through a heartfelt and controversial speech in 2003 that was an indictment of the powerful positions gifted to Afghan warlords by the US-led coalition. She was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005 and continued her campaign against war criminals and fundamentalists there until being suspended in 2007 for criticising fellow MPs. Activists Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein are amongst those who have called for her reinstatement.

How US warmongers exploited the 9/11 terrorist attacks

By Norm Dixon

[This article was first published on September 11, 2002, on the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Its observations remain relevant to this day.]

* * *

In the week before the first anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, TV networks aired a seemingly never-ending string of ``special events'' featuring ``exclusive'' or ``never before seen'' footage of the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) and its aftermath. People around the world again experienced the horror, anger and tragedy of that terrible day, when almost 3000 working people were murdered.

Culminating on the anniversary of the day itself, thousands of journalists and TV presenters from across the globe will converge at ``ground zero'' in New York for ``remembrance and reflection''. Solemn ceremonies will be telecast and patriotic speeches by top US politicians broadcast, restating Washington's determination to pursue its ``war on terrorism''.

Pakistan: Appeal -- Help oppose the Taliban and government military operations

May 21, 2009 -- This is a formal appeal by the Labor Relief Campaign to help in the fight against the Taliban and the Pakistan government's military operations. The purpose is to provide immediate help to some of the more than 1.5 million internally displaced people from the Malakand Division of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in Pakistan. This displacement has resulted from the fight between the Taliban and the Pakistani government. We also aim to publish Mazdoor Jeddojuhd in the Pushto language more frequently. At present it is published weekly in Urdu and monthly in Pushto. We want to counter the ideas both of religious fanatics and state repression. We aim to aid the labour and social movements in the province by publishing their activities and views, bringing them together to form new networks.

The situation

The Taliban have taken over parts of Pakistan. They have threatened to occupy other parts as well. To pacify them, the government went into an accord with the Taliban this April 2009, imposing a so-called Nizam Adl (system of justice) in Malakanad. The Taliban then imposed medieval laws in the areas under their control, targeting women and minorities. This accord also provided the Taliban with the opportunity to move into other areas.

Why Pakistan's military helped Talibanise Swat

Refugees flee the military operations in Swat Valley, Pakistan.
* * *

By Farooq Sulehria

May 17, 2009 -- The mass exodus from Swat is making headlines globally. Over a million have been displaced. This is the worst humanitarian crisis since the Rwanda tragedy in 1990s. The explanation offered is that this is necessary to flush the Taliban out of Swat's lush, green valley in Pakistan's north. This military operation, launched in order to stabilise the US occupation of Afghanistan and its so-called "war on terror", is hardly mentioned in the corporate media. On the contrary, major US newspapers have been invoking the fear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of the Taliban. Is this a story planted by the CIA?

This is the fourth time in less than three years that the Swat area has been subjected to a military operation. However the latest offensive is of a different character.

Tariq Ali on Obama: Imperialism with a human face

Obama visits US troops in Afghanistan during the 2008 presidential campaign.

February 14, 2009 -- With US President Barack Obama to visit Ottawa, Canada, on February 19, renowned writer and anti-war campaigner Tariq Ali shares his thoughts on the new administration's foreign policy. In his recently published book, The Duel, Tariq Ali argues that expanding the war in Afghanistan will only sow more destruction in that long-suffering Central Asian country, and aggravate the already volatile situation in Pakistan.

In this interview, which first appeared at the progressive Canadian website rabble.ca, Ali discusses with rabble's editor Derrick O'Keefe the war, prospects for Palestine under Obama's watch and the rising left-wing tide in Uncle Sam's backyard. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with O'Keefe's permission.

* * *

What does Obama mean for the world?

By Barry Sheppard, San Francisco

January 23, 2009 -- More than 1 million people gathered in bitter cold in Washington DC to witness the historical inauguration of an African American as president.

The crowd was disproportionately Black, but majority white — and jubilant. Celebrations were held in Black communities throughout the country, and in other sectors of the population.

He was sworn in by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, itself historic. In the aftermath of the election, he enjoys overwhelming support according to polls, far higher than his margin of votes. This indicates a large swing of whites among those who voted for the Republican candidate John McCain.

Hopes are running high that he will do something to turn around the accelerating downturn in the economy. On “inauguration day”, it appeared that the crisis in the banks and other financial institutions was once again critical.

With rising unemployment, rising home foreclosures, falling wages, failing retail chains and US$1 trillion poured down what one economist called a bottomless pothole to apparently no avail, the working and middle classes have experienced a massive shock.

The “free markets will solve all” ideology is a dead duck. US people are demanding that the government take action. Obama has promised to do just that.

Pakistanis protest US attacks on tribal areas

Civil society, trade unions, political parties and students marched on November 1 in Karachi to protest at the US bombing of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). US missile strikes hours apart killed at least 27 people on October 31 near the border with Afghanistan, only days after Pakistan demanded that the United States halt an intensifying campaign of using Predator drones to bomb tribal areas in Pakistan.

Will Obama end Bush's `war on terror'?

By Simon Butler

October 31, 2008 -- In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, bombings of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, US President George Bush declared an open-ended, apparently indefinite “war on terror”.

Using the terrorist attacks as an excuse, the “war on terror” has meant a war drive to extend US global domination. The threats were free flowing — at one point as many as seven nations were part of the “axis of evil” and therefore potential military targets as Bush threatened “pre-emptive strikes” against US “enemies”.

The war drive began with the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. In 2003, in the face of massive global protests, the US launched its invasion of oil-rich Iraq.

Facing sustained resistance from the Iraqi people, and increasingly unpopular at home, the failure of the Iraqi occupation has contributed to making the Bush presidency one of the least popular in history.

Campaigning for the White House, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama has made much of his initial vote against the war in 2003.

Target Pakistan: Washington's next war has already started

By Farooq Sulehria

September 17, 2008 -- Washington's next war is already on the go. It is as yet undeclared. However, it is not unapproved. ``Classified orders'', according to September 11 New York Times, were passed by President Bush last July. And surprise of surprises! The target is not ``axis of evil''-fame Iran. It is Washington's close ally in the ``war on terror'', Pakistan.

At the time of writing, news is pouring in from the Waziristan (tribal areas) region of Pakistan of yet another US attack that has left another five ``Taliban'' dead. Only a week ago, 20 ``Taliban'' were killed in another US attack. Between August 13 and September 12, at least 79 ``Taliban'' have been killed in nine US attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. Since January 29 (the year's first attack claimed 12 lives), more than 150 people have been killed.

Afghanistan: Malalai Joya versus Washington's warlords (+ video)

By Farooq Sulehria

August 20, 2008 -- Afghanistan lives in fear of US-sponsored warlords. These hated warlords are not scared by the Taliban monster raising its head in the south. But ironically, they live in the fear of an unarmed women in her late twenties: Malalai Joya.

To silence Joya's defiant voice, the warlords who dominate the national parliament suspended Joya's membership for three years in 2007. Earlier, at almost every parliamentary session she attended, she had her hair pulled or was physically attacked, and called names such as ``whore''. ``They even threatened me in the parliament with rape'', she says. But she neither toned down her criticism of the warlords (``they must be tried'') nor the US occupation of her country (``the ‘war on terror’ is a mockery''). Understandably, she's been declared the ``bravest woman in Afghanistan'' and even compared with Burma's Aung Sun Suu Kyi.

Afghanistan: Women bear the brunt under the US jackboot

By Farooq Sulehria

Kabul shocks and surprises. Pleasantly surprising is not merely the city's scenic beauty. What also surprises is the change Kabul has undergone since the days of Taliban rule. It has changed beyond recognition. Instead of thousands of Kabul residents cycling dilapidated roads or earthen streets, one witnesses thousands of latest-model cars plying the newly built four-lane Airport Road that connects Kabul Airport with the Hotel Intercontinental. Hundreds of recently built structures, mostly marriage halls or housing blocks, line the road all the way. Centuries-old Bagh e Babur has also been rehabilitated. Lake side at the scenic Kargha Valley is thronged by picnicking Kabulis (mostly men).

* * *

Rich and poor in Kabul (and Malalai Joya) -- photos by Farooq Sulehria

* * *

Cinemas, shut down by the Taliban, now show Indian films. One needs a remote control in hand when sitting before TV sets. There are a dozen channels to choose between. Sitar e Afghan (Afghanistan's version of Idol) is a short cut to stardom.

Howard Zinn: An illustrated people's history of the US empire

 

Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People’s History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.

Canadian workers demand immediate end to war in Afghanistan (+ video)

By Michael Skinner

On 29 May 2009, the delegates at the national convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representing more than 3 million workers from every region of Canada and Quebec, voted overwhelmingly to demand that the government of Canada immediately end its participation in the illegal war in Afghanistan.

This CLC demand represents a significant consolidation of labour power. Several national unions, notably the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), had already adopted policies to oppose Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan. However, some powerful unions whose members work in the rapidly expanding Canadian military and development industries could profit from continuing the war. The women and men of these unions made the difficult decision to stand in solidarity with the working people of Afghanistan rather than act on self-interest.

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