Friday, September 04, 2015

The Refugee Crisis in Europe and More News

The refugee crisis in Europe is real. It was not caused by the refugees themselves. It was caused by a combination of factors like poverty, war, Western imperialism, and the destabilization of the Middle East. The tragic image of a picture of a lifeless 3 year old child named Aylan Kurdi (who was a Syrian refugee) on a Turkish beach is representative of how huge the crisis is. Aylan died along with his mother including his 5 year old brother in trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. They left the hometown of Kobane in Syria. They traveled hundreds of miles through Turkey and the father survived. During this year alone, more than 2,500 refugees have perished in the Mediterranean Sea. We know that these deaths are preventable since the crisis came about because of Western imperialism, poverty and closed borders. Many European governments are debating on the responses. These refugees do need resources like food and water. They are not only fleeing from Syria. They are fleeing from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and from other countries of the world. The police including security forces in Europe have readily shown routine violence against the refugees. Some in Europe have express real concern for the humanity of the refugees. Other Europeans have shown callousness, bigotry, and other hate from far right groups. Many of these reactionaries have scapegoated the refugees and migrants in vicious terms (as a way for them to advance a conservative agenda). The influx of people is has caused the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, expects a 40 percent increase this year in the number of people fleeing to Europe by boat. An estimated 310,000 people have already crossed the Mediterranean Sea this year, according to the UN. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) puts the figure even higher, at 350,000--and reports that at least 2,535 people have died making the crossing so far this year. Makeshift refugee centers in Greece, Italy, etc. have been filled to the bursting point for months. Many smugglers have exploited this tragedy by charging money to get refugees, kidnapping refugees, and abusing refugees. The cost to hire a dinghy for the 2-mile trip from Turkey across to Greece that Aylan Kurdi and his family perished on reportedly costs as much as 1,000 euros--$1,120--per person. Drowning is not the only cause of the death of refugees. In Austria, the bodies of 71 Syrian refugees including at least 3 children (aged 2, 3, and 8) were found abandoned in the truck along a highway. They were being trafficked from Hungary. International law mandates that refugees in particular have the right to asylum when they flee. Many European nations continue to refuse to allow the refugees to enter in a timely way. Macedonian police attacked refugees including families and small children as they gather at the border. In September 1, 2015, hundreds of refugees with paid for train tickets were expelled from Keleti station (or the main station in Budapest, Hungary) as the police tried to stop the flow of refugees to Germany.

The crowds of refugees, many fleeing the violence of the civil war in Syria, chanted, "We are human. We are human"--a fact that European Union officials seem slow to recognize. Many refugees want to leave as many have gone days without food and water. "In Europe, they're treating us like ISIS did, beating us up," said Ahmad Saadoun, who came from Fallujah, Iraq, one of the cities now under the control of the reactionary fighters that the U.S. government, in alliance with the European Union, has declared war on.  Many trains in Channel Tunnel between Britain and France have been delayed as hundreds of refuges attempt to cross the tunnel on foot by hanging on the roots of trains. There are 4 million refugees in Syria’s neighboring states in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Yet, there are only a few hundred thousand refugees in Europe. In Hungary, where the right-wing government's main rival is a far-right party with ties to neo-Nazis, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on September 3 that the migration crisis was a "German problem," and that Europe had a moral duty to block migrants from coming. As of June, America had taken in fewer than 1,000 Syrian refugees. Washington recently announced a commitment to accepting between 5,000 and 8,000 Syrian refugees. The U.S. and other European nations have a role in the civil war in Syria, the destabilization of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. So, the refugee situation has existed as a product of the imperialist policies of the West. There are people in Europe who are doing what is right. Some people are putting that sentiment into practice. German soccer clubs, pushing back against the far right, organized the display of banners welcoming refugees at matches across the country last week. Soccer club Bayern Munch announced that it would donate $1.1 million to refugee charities and that players would take the field for upcoming games by walking hand-in-hand with refugee children. The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), whose independently run rescue boats in the Mediterranean have saved more than 10,000 people, said it has seen a 15-fold increase in donations in the 24 hours after the pictures of Aylan Kurdi were published. "People are saying they don't want to be bystanders anymore," MOAS's director Martin Xuereb told the Guardian. There are charities who are helping the migrants all of the time. Some 5,000 people turned out August 29 for a rally in defense of immigrant rights called by the Anti-Nazi Alliance. Holding a banner reading "Prevent the pogroms of tomorrow today," protesters chanted, "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here." The lesson is that we need to have solidarity, the development of infrastructure, and the organizing of assistance to the refuges as solutions. We have to hold governments accountable and allow immigrants to be welcome not only in Europe, but all over the world.

It is totally sad that many human beings would not care about the plight of others until a picture is shown of a human being who passed away. The refugee crisis in Europe was caused by Western imperialism. We have to keep it real. Western forces have participated in wars and imperialism for centuries in the Middle East and in Africa. ISIS grew out of the de Baathification of Iraq and the sectarian divisions in Iraq (when Shias have the majority of the political power in Iraq while some Sunnis feel politically disenfranchised) that wasn’t rectified (as a product of the 2003 invasion of Iraq). ISIS evolved from al-Qaeda forces. War in the world has caused the refugees (many of them come from Africa too. NATO has bombed Libya too which caused the Libyan civil war and refugees have fled Africa into Europe. Many of the refugees are black people) to flee from all over the world into Europe. I read where neo-Nazis have attacked many refuges in Budapest (as racist, fascist gangs are found throughout Europe), so hatred is not just an American problem. It is a global problem. Nations like France, the U.S., Germany, etc. are heavily responsible for the crisis in the Middle East. We have to express empathy for humanity (the refugees are human beings just like us) and we have to promote solutions as well.
RIP Aylan Kurdi.

Donald Trump made the silly words that Jeb Bush must speak English when he is in the United States when we have diverse people in America. Trump is making a living out of scapegoating ethnic minorities and other nations for the destructive effects of an economic crisis that Wall Street related banks are responsible for creating. Trump has blatantly advocated the extremist program of the systematic harassment and persecution of the immigration population (which includes a large portion of the U.S. Hispanic population). If that plan was implemented, then you will have an overall fascist police state dictatorship here in the United States. Hypocrites like Alex Jones claim to oppose a police state, but they want police state like measures in dealing with immigration instead of more progressive, humane solutions. It will be totally difficult for Trump to force Mexico to pay for the wall that he wants. I will never scapegoat the indigenous peoples of the Americas (who are the victims of racist colonialism and economic exploitation) and I will never be xenophobic. Ironically, the xenophobes talk about the law when American laws have been based on the genocide of Native Americans and the enslavement of black people. Also, the one percent has never consistently followed national or international laws anyway. Trump portrayed Mexico as the predator and the United States as a hapless victim is ludicrous. The United States seized nearly half of Mexico’s territory via the war of 1848 and has dominated the economic and political life of Mexico. American imperialism has been done in the Mexican Revolution of 1911 to 1919 (and the U.S. Marines landed at the port of Tampico and there was the invasion of northern Mexico by Army troops headed by General John J. Pershing, in futile pursuit of the revolutionary guerrilla army of Pancho Villa). We know that immigrant labor was a big factor in the development of California and Texas. Also, the U.S. ruling class reaps vast profits from the super exploitation of immigrants from across the Rio Grande, including Trump himself. Trump does baiting more crudely and provocatively by deliberately instigating fear and hatred of immigrants in order for him (plus others) to divide the working class and pit American-born workers against their foreign-born sisters and brothers. I am black, so I know that if these bigots target Hispanics, then they are targeting me as well. Donald ranted that his solutions would not be guaranteed by real programs, but by strength and determination. His militarism is evident by his lie that Iran will get a nuclear weapon as a product of the Iranian nuclear deal and his support for the war on terror. So, Donald Trump (who worked in the real estate industry that followed the near bankruptcy of New York City in 1975. After NYC was bailed out via massive concessions by the unions, the parts of Manhattan transformed into gated communities for the extremely rich. These concession meant that the workers’ pension funds were looted in the process) is not an aberration, a distraction, or out of the norm in American politics. He is the face of white racism and the face of capitalist politics. His massive support outlines the fact that a huge number of Americans believe in his racist views. Many people recognize the Republican/Democratic duopoly.

In any social movement, there must be demands. One lesson of the discussion between some Black Lives Matter activists and Hillary Clinton was that demands are needed in any movement for social change. There is no liberation in the world without us making strategies and demands. We know about Hillary Clinton’s political positions. She was the State Department head who supported the extrajudicial lynching of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi in 2011. This came after the U.S./NATO imperialist invasion of Libya. Her statements to the BLM activists were overtly paternalistic. She voted for the Iraqi invasion in 2003 and for the Afghan invasion before that. She has spoken in favor in more aggressive actions in Syria, and Iran. She wanted to support further provocations toward Russia in supporting a reactionary Ukrainian regime. Hillary Clinton is a capitalist like the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties. He was once a corporate lawyer and Wal-Mart board member and Walmart has made many anti-working class policies. We are against austerity, predatory lending, and privatization measures that harm the people. The United Anti-War Coalition or the UNAC made the demand for the divestment of the trillion dollar military and prison machine, so a reinvestment of those funds can be made in housing, healthcare, and education for all. Other people have demanded the community control of the police.  That means that black people in our communities should have the right to discipline, direct, hire, and fire the police in our own communities. That is part of self-determination. The police institution today protects the rule of capital. I support the Black Lives Matter movement as a courageous and strong activist organization. They have stood up for justice and we have the right to promote our demands too.  The documentary called Luister should be watched by people all over the world, especially by people of black African descent. This video shows that the evil of racism is an international problem. We are an international people, so we have to form solutions internationally. The vast majority of residents of South Africa are black, but black people are the victims of overt racism and patriarchal oppression in Stellenbosch University. The victims of racism have every right to speak out against these injustices. This is my first time of me seeing this documentary and I have legitimate indignant anger against the evils of prejudice, racism, and oppression. It is true that after the evil of apartheid existed in South Africa, the other evil of economic inequality (and other bad neoliberal policies) still exists in South Africa. I am in solidarity with these students and all progressive workers who want economic justice (as the Marikana Massacre was about workers being murdered by the police for just protesting for their economic rights in South Africa). Stellenbosch University is racist and should be reprimanded by the South African government for its actions. I have read on the internet about stories that many professors in the university are racists too. Even the Vice-Chancellor of the University has admitted that racism is found in the institution. Many people now are demanding reform and are protesting. White racism should end. I salute the black students for their bravery in speaking truth to power.
#Black Lives Matter.
#Black is Beautiful.
#Black Voices will not be Silent.

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