Friday, December 31, 2010

Rwanda / United Kingdom

"Paul Kagame has faced charges that his regime is increasingly authoritarian after the opposition was effectively barred from challenging him in August's presidential election." (Uwe Anspach/EPA)
Tony Blair Defends Support for Rwandan Leader Paul Kagame
By Chris McGreal
The Guardian, December 31, 2010
"Tony Blair has defended his close personal and working relationship with one of Africa's most controversial leaders, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, even as foreign governments distance themselves over accusations of war crimes and the suppression of political opposition. Blair has described Rwanda's president as a 'visionary leader' and a friend after making the central African country the focus of the work of his charity, the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), to turn around the continent's fortunes. ... But the relationship has come under increasing scrutiny following a UN report that accused Kagame's forces of war crimes, including possibly genocide, in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo, and charges that the Rwandan government is increasingly authoritarian after the opposition was effectively barred from challenging Kagame in August's presidential election. The White House has criticised Kagame for the suppression of political activity and made clear that it does not regard Rwanda as democratic. But Blair said allowances have to be made for the consequences of the 1994 genocide of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and suggested that Kagame's economic record outweighed other concerns. ...

Ivory Coast / United Nations

"UN peace keeper patrol vehicles secure an area in a highly visible presence in Abidjan, Ivory Coast Wednesday amid concerns of escalating post-election violence in the country." (Sunday Alamba/AP)
Ivory Coast Blocks UN Probe of Alleged Mass Graves, December 30, 2010
"UN advisers expressed fears Thursday about ethnic violence in Ivory Coast after mass graves were reported and Abidjan's new ambassador to the United Nations warned that the West African nation was on the 'brink of genocide.' Reports of dozens of bodies being dumped near a large forest emerged as human rights groups warned that security forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo were abducting political opponents after the disputed election. Now the United Nations believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building nestled among shacks in a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood. Investigators have tried to go there several times, and even made it as far as the building's front door before truckloads of men with guns showed up and forced them to leave. Simon Munzu, the head of the UN human rights division, urged security forces Thursday to allow investigators inside. Gbagbo's government has repeatedly denied the existence of mass graves following violence over the disputed presidential runoff that has left at least 173 confirmed dead already.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Poland / Jewish Holocaust

"This chilling sign, meaning 'work sets you free', greeted Jews arriving at Auschwitz during the Holocaust." (AFP/Getty Images)
Former Neo-Nazi Jailed for Auschwitz Sign Theft
By Tony Paterson
The Independent, December 31, 2010
"A former Swedish neo-Nazi was yesterday jailed for more than two years for masterminding the theft of the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign from the entrance of memorial museum on the site of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The 16ft wide sign, a lasting symbol of the Holocaust which states 'Work Sets You Free', was removed from the gate of the former Auschwitz camp more than a year ago and found in woods in northern Poland three days later. A gang of five Poles with a so-called 'Swedish connection' was held responsible for the theft. They had planned to ship the sign to Sweden where it was to be sold. The theft provoked international outrage and protests from Israel and Jewish groups worldwide. An estimated 1.5 million people, most of them Jews, were systematically murdered at Auschwitz. The camp site is now a museum and serves as one of the world's most chillingly powerful Holocaust memorials.

Iraq / United States

"White phosphorous smoke screens are fired by the US army as part of an early morning patrol in November 2004 on the outskirts of Falluja, Iraq, in preparation for an offensive against insurgents." (Scott Nelson/Getty Images)
Research Links Rise in Falluja Birth Defects and Cancers to US Assault
By Martin Chulov
The Guardian, December 30, 2010
"A study examining the causes of a dramatic spike in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Falluja has for the first time concluded that genetic damage could have been caused by weaponry used in US assaults that took place six years ago. The research, which will be published next week, confirms earlier estimates revealed by the Guardian of a major, unexplained rise in cancers and chronic neural-tube, cardiac and skeletal defects in newborns. The authors found that malformations are close to 11 times higher than normal rates, and rose to unprecedented levels in the first half of this year -- a period that had not been surveyed in earlier reports. The findings, which will be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, come prior to a much-anticipated World Health Organisation study of Falluja's genetic health. They follow two alarming earlier studies, one of which found a distortion in the sex ratio of newborns since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- a 15% drop in births of boys. 'We suspect that the population is chronically exposed to an environmental agent,' said one of the report's authors, environmental toxicologist Mozhgan Savabieasfahani. 'We don't know what that environmental factor is, but we are doing more tests to find out.' The report identifies metals as potential contaminating agents afflicting the city -- especially among pregnant mothers. 'Metals are involved in regulating genome stability,' it says. 'As environmental effectors, metals are potentially good candidates to cause birth defects. The findings are likely to prompt further speculation that the defects were caused by depleted uranium rounds, which were heavily used in two large battles in the city in April and November 2004.

Iraq / Violence against Christians

"Iraqi Christians attending a Christmas service at Saint Joseph's Chaldean Catholic Church in central Baghdad." (AP)
Iraqi Christians Killed in Series of Baghdad Attacks
The Telegraph, December 30, 2010
"At least two Christians were killed and 12 people wounded in a series of attacks on Christian homes in Baghdad, according to Iraq's interior ministry. The worst attack was in the central Baghdad district of Al-Ghadir, where a homemade bomb exploded around 8pm (1700 GMT), killing the two Christians and wounding three others, including one Christian, an official from the ministry said. Al-Ghadir is an area with a significant Christian population, though many have fled following the massacre and in light of threats by al-Qaeda to target them. The number of Christians left in Iraq is estimated at between 450,000 and 500,000, including around 300,000 Roman Catholics (down from 387,000 in 1980). Between 800,000 and 1.2 million Christians lived in Iraq in 2003. Iraq is still recovering from a massacre at a Baghdad cathedral in October. A group of Islamist extremists burst into the church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, murdering two priests, holding the congregation hostage and eventually killing more than 50 people. The pope, in his annual Christmas message, urged political leaders to express solidarity with Christians in Iraq."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

Ivory Coast

"UN Peacekeepers patrol a street in Abdijian, Ivory Coast, on Wednesday. Supporters of the country's President-elect Alassane Ouattara say the country is on the brink of genocide due to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to give up his office." (Sunday Alamba/AP)
"Genocide" in Ivory Coast: A Real Threat, or Just Politics?
By Dan Murphy
The Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2010
"Could incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to cede power to President-elect Alassane Ouattara after apparently losing the Nov. 28 Ivory Coast run-off really lead to genocide? That was the claim made by Youssofou Bamba, Ivory Coast's new ambassador to the United Nations, after presenting his credentials to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday. Mr. Ouattara has been recognized worldwide as the winner of the presidential election and Mr. Bamba is his appointee to the UN post. Referring to the increasingly volatile political crisis in the West African nation, Bamba said 'we are on the brink of genocide' and appeared to appeal for international help, saying 'something must be done.' Given the violent recent past of Africa's Great Lakes region, particularly in Rwanda, the words "Africa" and "genocide" in the same sentence are taken seriously. And it looks increasingly likely that Gbagbo loyalists are going to use violence in their effort to hold on to power. Charles Ble Goude, officially the youth minister under Gbagbo but whose real power comes from his position as a commander of the incumbent president's street level supporters, called today for a Saturday assault on Ouattara and his closest supporters, who are holed up in an Abidjan hotel under UN protection. 'I, Charles Ble Goude, and the youth of Ivory Coast, are going to liberate the Golf Hotel with our bare hands,' he told a throng of agitated supporters, according to Agence France-Presse. Mr. Ble Goude, who was placed under UN sanctions in 2006 for his leadership of political gangs that allegedly used targeted rape and murder to cow opponents in 2004, has been ratcheting up the rhetoric recently. 'Playtime is over,' he said in an ominous statement earlier this week. Violent calls in the Ivorian media have increased after Gbagbo seized control of the airwaves in the wake of the vote. Observers have long warned that 'hate media' could lead to widespread violence in the country. In a 2006 visit to Ivory Coast, then UN Emergency Coordinator Jan Egeland warned that 'hate media in a Rwandan style asks for attacks against defenseless civilians, for minorities being chopped up and for international humanitarian organizations to be attacked, people should be brought to justice.' Such calls are again being made this week. A UN worker was injured in a machete attack on Tuesday, and the organization once more pointed toward the local press. UN peacekeeping head Alain Le Roy said earlier this week that the machete attack was a 'direct consequence of all the appeals to hatred, lies, and [anti-UN] propaganda' carried on state broadcaster RTI, still-controlled by Gbagbo. Gbagbo on Dec. 18 ordered UN peacekeepers to leave Ivory Coast, calling them 'agents of destabilization.' [...]"

Afghanistan / United States

"US soldiers from the 5th Stryker brigade in Afghanistan." (Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)
US Military Investigates "Death Squad" Accused of Murdering Afghans
By Chris McGreal
The Guardian, December 29, 2010
"The US military is investigating the leadership of an army brigade whose soldiers are accused of running a 'kill team' that murdered Afghan civilians, as further evidence emerges of widespread complicity in the deaths. A brigadier general is conducting a 'top to bottom' review of the 5th Stryker brigade after five of its soldiers were committed for trial early next year charged with involvement in the murders of three Afghans and other alleged crimes including mutilating their bodies, and collecting fingers and skulls from corpses as trophies. Among the issues under investigation is the failure of commanders to intervene when the alleged crimes were apparently widely spoken about among soldiers. Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the alleged leader of what prosecutors have characterised as a death squad based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, is accused of planning the alleged murders in which civilians were killed with hand grenades and guns and their deaths made to appear to be legitimate battlefield casualties. Gibbs, 26, has denied three charges of murder and other crimes. Four other soldiers are charged with involvement in at least one of the three murders over a five-month period this year. They include an army specialist, Adam Winfield, whose lawyer has released a Facebook chat between the soldier and his father, Christopher, that suggests many other soldiers in the brigade approved of the killings.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ivory Coast

"An Ivorian holds a placard reading 'More than 200 killed, more than 1000 injured, more than 100 missing person[s], Gbagbo is killing us' "
Laurent Gbagbo Threatens to Attack Immigrants If Troops Are Sent to Ivory Coast
By Aislinn Laing
The Telegraph, December 29, 2010
"Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, Ivory Coast's seemingly immovable president, have warned that immigrants from neighbouring countries could be attacked if West African troops are sent to remove him from power. The threats came in the form of reports on the state-owned broadcaster, which backs the southern incumbent over Alassane Ouattara, the internationally-recognised victor of last month's election. Ahouda Don Mello, Mr. Gbagbo's spokesman, has hinted that the several million foreigners living and working in Ivory Coast could become targets if regional body Ecowas carries out its threat of military intervention. 'All these countries have citizens in Ivory Coast and they know if they attack Ivory Coast from the exterior it would become an interior civil war,' he said. 'Is Burkina Faso ready to welcome three million Burkinabe migrants back in their country of origin?' ... Economic migrants to Ivory Coast, the world's chief cocoa producer, make up 20 per cent of its 21 million population, with those from Burkina Faso and Mali accounting for the largest, and poorest, proportion. At times of stress, they have historically become targets as those loyal to Mr. Gbagbo whip up nationalist sentiment among his supporters. [...]"

Ivory Coast

"West African envoys will resume talks with incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, left, on January 3." (Reuters)
Cote d'Ivoire on "Edge of Genocide", December 30, 2010
"Cote d'Ivoire is 'on the brink of genocide,' according to the country's new UN ambassador appointed by Alassane Ouattara, who is viewed by the UN, European Union, US and African Union as the winner over incumbent Laurent Gbagbo following last month's presidential election. Youssoufou Bamba made the remarks after presenting his credentials to Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, on Wednesday, making him the first Ouattara government envoy to assume a diplomatic post since the November 28 poll. Bamba warned that the tug-of-war over the presidency was pushing the West African country to 'the brink of genocide.' 'The situation is very serious,' Bamba, 60, told journalists after meeting with Ban in New York. 'Houses have been marked according to your tribe. What will be next? Something should be done.' A spokesman for Gbagbo said that the government would cut off diplomatic ties with countries that recognise ambassadors named by Ouattara. 'The government would like to make it known that in the light of such decisions, it reserves the right to apply reciprocity in ending the missions of their ambassadors in Ivory Coast,' the government's spokesman said in a statement on national television. The EU has said that it will tighten sanctions next month against Gbagbo, expanding a list of his supporters to be targeted, diplomats said on Wednesday. [...]"


"Israeli right-wing activists protest in Jerusalem on 23 December in support of a letter forbidding Jews from selling or renting property to non-Jews." (AFP/Getty Images)
Letter Urges Israeli Girls to Avoid Dating Arabs
By Shira Medding, December 29, 2010
"A letter from about 30 prominent rabbis' wives was causing a stir in Israel Wednesday because it urges Israeli girls not to date Arabs. The open letter comes three weeks after the uproar caused by another letter, which was written by 50 state-appointed rabbis and told Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews. The latest missive, which was published by some websites and news outlets, says Arab men act polite around Jewish girls and 'act as if they really care about you,' but it says that's a ruse. The men, it says, even change their Arab names to Hebrew forms like Yossi and Ami in order to get close to the girls. 'This behavior is temporary,' the letter says. 'As soon as you are in their hands, in their villages under their control, everything becomes different. You can ask dozens of girls who have been there. They will tell you it is all an act. As soon as you arrive at the village, your life will never be the same. The attention will be replaced with curses, beatings, and humiliations. Even if you want to leave the village it will be much harder. They won't let you, they will chase you, they won't let you come back.' It urges Jewish girls not to go out with non-Jews or work in places that employ non-Jews.

Denying Rwanda: An Open Letter to John Pilger

Dear John,

I have long admired and learned from your work, and consider you one of the most humane and incisive voices on the political left.

I was therefore stunned to read your warm endorsement of the recent book by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, stating: "In this brilliant exposé of great power's lethal industry of lies, Edward Herman and David Peterson defend the right of us all to a truthful historical memory."

As you are aware if you have read the book, Herman & Peterson engage in brazen denial of the 1994 Rwandan genocide -- indeed, perhaps the most extreme denial that I (as a comparative genocide scholar) have ever read in a so-called scholarly source. In brief, Herman & Peterson deny that any organized killing of Tutsis by Hutus occurred in Rwanda in 1994. In the Rwandan context, this is the direct equivalent of asserting that the Nazis never killed Jews in death camps.

I have published a detailed critique of Herman & Peterson's denialist fabrications, available at I wish to ask you straightforwardly: do you indeed endorse this denialist enterprise? If not, will you reconsider your praise for the volume, and publicly denounce Herman & Peterson's attempts to obliterate the genocide of Tutsis in 1994 from "truthful historical memory"?

I am preparing further materials on this subject for publication, and would be grateful if you would clarify, on the record, your stance on whether Tutsis were systematically murdered by agents of "Hutu Power" and their supporters in Rwanda between April and July 1994. Indeed, I must respectfully insist that you do so.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Jones, Ph.D.
Author, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

Sudan / Genocide Prevention

"George Clooney visits Sudan to draw attention to the dangers that could result should southern Sudan vote to separate from the north." (Tim Freccia/Enough Project)
Clooney's "Antigenocide Paparazzi": Watching Sudan
By Mark Benjamin, December 28, 2010
"George Clooney and John Prendergast slumped down at a wooden table in a dusty school compound in southern Sudan. It was Oct. 4, and the two men were in the hometown of Valentino Achak Deng, whose experiences wandering the desert as a refugee during Sudan's last civil war were the basis for the best-selling book What Is the What. Clooney, the actor, and Prendergast, a human-rights activist with 25 years of experience in Africa, had heard enough on their seven-day visit to know that a new round of atrocities could follow the January referendum on independence. If it did, the likelihood was that no one would be held accountable. Why not, Clooney asked, 'work out some sort of a deal to spin a satellite' above southern Sudan and let the world watch to see what happens? Three months later, Clooney's idea is about to go live. Starting Dec. 30, the Satellite Sentinel Project -- a joint experiment by the UN's Operational Satellite Applications Programme, Harvard University, the Enough Project and Clooney's posse of Hollywood funders -- will hire private satellites to monitor troop movements starting with the oil-rich region of Abyei. The images will be analyzed and made public at (which goes live on Dec. 29) within 24 hours of an event to remind the leaders of northern and southern Sudan that they are being watched.

Monday, December 27, 2010

China / Famine Crimes

Finding the Facts About Mao's Victims
By Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books, December 20, 2010
"Yang Jisheng is an editor of Annals of the Yellow Emperor, one of the few reform-oriented political magazines in China. Before that, the 70-year-old native of Hubei province was a national correspondent with the government-run Xinhua news service for over thirty years. But he is best known now as the author of Tombstone (Mubei), a groundbreaking new book on the Great Famine (1958-1961), which, though imprecisely known in the West, ranks as one of worst human disasters in history. I spoke with Yang in Beijing in late November about his book, the political atmosphere in Beijing, and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Tombstone, which Yang began working on when he retired from Xinhua in 1996, is the most authoritative account of the Great Famine. It was caused by the Great Leap Forward, a millennial political campaign aimed at catapulting China into the ranks of developed nations by abandoning everything (including economic laws and common sense) in favor of steel production. Farm work largely stopped, iron tools were smelted in 'backyard furnaces' to make steel -- most of which was too crude to be of any use -- and the Party confiscated for city dwellers what little grain was sown and harvested. The result was one of the largest famines in history. From the government documents he consulted, Yang concluded that 36 million people died and 40 million children were not born as a result of the famine. Yang's father was among the victims and Yang says this book is meant to be his tombstone. [...]"

Jewish Holocaust / Genocide Rescuers

"Oskar Schindler photographed in 1968." (Associated Press)
Original Copy of Schindler's List To Be Sold at Auction
By Nick Allen
The Telegraph, December 26, 2010
"A judge in New York has decided to allow a memorabilia dealer to sell what he says is an original copy of Schindler's list.
Oskar Schindler. The 13-page document is said to be one of several original copies of the list of names compiled by German industrialist Oskar Schindler as he saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. A ruling by Supreme Court Justice Louis York lifted a temporary ban on a plan to sell the list for more than $2 million (£1.3 million.) An heir to Schindler's widow had sought to block the sale. Schindler's efforts to save the lives of Jewish refugees was the subject of Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning film Schindler's List in 1993, which was based on Thomas Keneally's book Schindler's Ark."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]


"People walk past the wreckage of a truck destroyed in an explosion in the city of Jos." (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)
Armed Christians and Muslims Clash after Nigeria Killings
Reuters dispatch in The Guardian, December 26, 2010
"Clashes broke out between armed Christian and Muslim groups near the central Nigerian city of Jos yesterday after Christmas Eve bombings in the region killed more than 30 people. Witnesses said buildings were set ablaze and people forced to run for cover as the police and military struggled to disperse crowds. 'Houses are on fire all over the place and I can see injured people covered in blood being dragged by friends and family towards the hospital,' a witness said. The unrest was triggered by explosions on Friday in villages near Jos, capital of Plateau state, that killed at least 32 people and left 74 critically injured. The tensions are rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands and for economic and political power with mostly Muslim migrants and settlers from the north. In the north of the country, dozens of armed men attacked a church on Christmas Eve, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him dead along with two young choristers rehearsing for a late-night carol service. The group of about 30 attackers armed with guns and knives also killed two people who were passing by the Victory Baptist church in Maiduguri. The assailants left after torching the church and pastor's house. At the other end of the city, Reverend Haskanda Jessu of the Church of Christ in Nigeria said three men attacked his church, killing a 60-year-old security guard. Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, expressed sympathy with the victims and said the government would bring the perpetrators to justice. 'I assure Nigerians that the government will go to the root of this. We must unearth what caused it and those behind it must be brought to book.' The explosions were the first major attack in Jos since the state government lifted a curfew in May."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

Jewish Holocaust / Art and Culture of Genocide

"Felix Nussbaum conveys his isolation and loneliness in paintings such as 'Camp Synagogue,' depicting five faceless worshippers at a tin-roof shack against a barren landscape." (Felix Nussbaum/Yad Vashem)
Holocaust Art Endures at Israel's Yad Vashem Museum
By Edmund Sanders
The Los Angeles Times, December 26, 2010
"Most people skip the little art gallery at Israel's Holocaust museum Yad Vashem because they think it will be too depressing. After an emotionally draining tour through a maze of testimonies and artifacts, few have the stamina to look at so-called Holocaust Art, which seems to promise only more dark images of death and destruction: skeletal shapes emerging from smokestacks, hollowed eyes looking through barbed wire, piles of emaciated corpses. So it's a surprise that Yad Vashem's little-known art museum is actually a respite, offering an unexpected glimpse into how a group of persecuted artists, facing one of the 20th century's ugliest chapters, managed to secretly produce a body of work that was often quiet, understated and beautiful. 'The exciting part is this takes us away from all the clichés we know,' said Yehudit Shendar, senior art curator of the world's largest collection of works produced by Jews and other victims of Nazi occupation between 1933 and 1945. 'These artists created beautiful, aesthetically gratifying images that are in total contrast to what is going to happen to them.' As part of an effort to challenge stereotypes and focus attention on the higher-caliber art created during the Holocaust era, the gallery highlights the work of artists such as Felix Nussbaum, who painted in hiding in Belgium until he was arrested in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz, where he was killed. Through symbolism and a touch of surrealism, Nussbaum conveys his isolation and loneliness in paintings such as 'Camp Synagogue,' depicting five faceless worshippers at a tin-roof shack against a barren landscape. Their prayer shawls are upside-down to reflect the topsy-turvy world; a stripped bone testifies to their hunger. 'He wants to make you work a little to understand,' Shendar said. 'Artists don't use clichés. They have more sophisticated form of transmitting reality through a filter.' Another of her favorites is German painter Charlotte Salomon, who produced hundreds of autobiographical works while living in Nazi-occupied France as a young woman. Her primary work, which she titled 'Life? Or Theater?' formed a sort of visual diary that some liken to Anne Frank's.  Some of her paintings are dark and chaotic, but on display at the gallery are a rare collection of soft watercolors of French villas and beach scenes. She was killed in Auschwitz in 1943 at age 26, cutting short a career that some speculate might have placed her among the leading 20th century artists. [...]"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Iraq / Violence against Christians

"The Christmas service at Saint Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Church in central Baghdad was sparsely attended on Friday." (Ali Al-Saadi/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images)
Iraqi Christians Lie Low on Christmas
By John Leland
The New York Times, December 24, 2010
"As they gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the congregation here first contemplated death, represented by a spare Christmas tree decked with paper stars, each bearing a photograph of a member of a nearby church killed in a siege by Islamic militants in October. The congregants on Friday night were fewer than 100, in a sanctuary built for four or five times as many. But they were determined. This year, even more than in the past, Iraqi's dwindling Christian minority had reasons to stay home for Christmas. 'Yes, we are threatened, but we will not stop praying,' the Rev. Meyassr al-Qaspotros told the Christmas Eve crowd at the Sacred Church of Jesus, a Chaldean Catholic church. 'We do not want to leave the country because we will leave an empty space.' He added: 'Be careful not to hate the ones killing us because they know not what they are doing. God forgive them.' Throughout Iraq, churches canceled or toned down Christmas observances this year, both in response to threats of violence and in honor of the nearly 60 Christians killed in October, when militants stormed a Syrian Catholic church and blew themselves up. Since the massacre, more than 1,000 Christian families have fled Baghdad for the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, with others going to Jordan or Syria or Turkey. Though the exact size of Iraq's Christian population is unclear, by some estimates it has fallen to about 500,000 from a high of 1.4 million before the American-led invasion of 2003. Iraq's total population is about 30 million.


Photo: Getty Images
Dictator Jailed in Final Judgment on Argentinian Junta's Dirty War
By David Usborne
The Independent, December 24, 2010
"The former military dictator of Argentina, Jorge Videla, who was the principal architect of the so-called 'dirty war' during which as many as 30,000 civilians were 'disappeared' to secret prisons, never to be seen again, has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years in prison. More than 20 other former military and police officials were also convicted and given harsh sentences alongside Videla, who, at 85 years old, will in all probability now die behind bars. They included his former army chief, retired General Luciano Benjamin Menendez. The convictions triggered jubilation among victims' relatives, including members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the human rights group which over decades relentlessly demanded that leaders of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983 be brought to justice. ... The three-judge panel sitting in a Cordoba court found Videla guilty of aggravated homicide, aggravated torture and torment followed by death. It also ruled that Videla must serve his sentence in a common prison. Videla spoke defiantly before his sentence about his role in combating what he saw as a leftist insurgency encouraged by the former Soviet Union. ... The door to new prosecutions was reopened in part because it has taken this long for Argentina to purge its judicial system of judges and prosecutors who retained ties to the dictatorship era. The new trials were also strongly encouraged by the current government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

United States / Turkey / Armenian Genocide

US Stays Quiet on Turkey's Genocide
Associated Press dispatch in The Independent, December 24, 2010
"Congress has avoided a diplomatic clash with an important ally, Turkey, by deciding not to take up a resolution declaring the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century a genocide. Supporters of the resolution made a push for approval in the final days of Congress, despite opposition from the Obama administration. The measure was opposed strongly by Turkey, and the administration feared it would have damaged relations with the Nato ally. Instead, the House of Representatives ended its two-year term without taking up the matter. It is unlikely to be passed after Republicans take control of the chamber in January because the new House Speaker, John Boehner, opposes it. Proponents of the resolution had been optimistic of passing it because the outgoing Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, had advocated approval. One Armenian-American group blamed Ms Pelosi for not scheduling a vote, calling it 'a failure of Congressional leadership on human rights.' Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of the First World War, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, claiming the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

Monday, December 13, 2010

India / Kashmir

"A relative of a missing Kashmiri youth at a demonstration in Srinagar. Demonstrators hold a monthly vigil in the city to draw attention to their 'disappeared'." (Fayaz Kabli/Reuters)
Relatives of Kashmir's Disappeared Refuse to Give Up Search for Truth
By Rahul Bedi
The Irish Times, December 14, 2010
"On the 10th of every month, hundreds of people gather at a central park in Srinagar, the summer capital of India's disputed northern Kashmir province. They are protesting against the enforced disappearance of their relatives following the armed Islamist insurgency that erupted in the principality in 1989. Wearing white headbands bearing the names of the missing persons, members of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons sit solemnly in the park for a few hours before dispersing hopelessly only to reconvene four weeks later for the same forlorn objective. Many have been following this ritual since 1994, when the association was founded to prevail upon the authorities to provide conclusive information about the 8,000 to 10,000 of their relatives across Kashmir who have been forcibly disappeared. They believe many were apprehended by the army, paramilitary police or varied security agencies over the 21 years that the insurgency for an independent Muslim homeland has raged in Kashmir. It has claimed more than 65,000 lives. 'We demand that the government establish a commission to investigate these disappearances,' said the association's head, Praveena Ahanger (48), whose son, Javed Ahmad, was picked up by the army in Srinagar in August 1990 and disappeared. Successive administrations have failed to do so, she said. 'We come here to protest and to tell the authorities that we are fighting for our children. We don't need compensation but information. If they are alive, tell us, if not, show us their graves,' she said. 'At least we can then have closure.'

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Israel / Australia / Jewish Holocaust

Israelis Honour Aboriginal Activist Who Led Protest against Holocaust
By Lenore Taylor
The Sydney Morning Herald, December 13, 2010
"Fifteen descendants of the Aboriginal activist William Cooper were in Jerusalem yesterday for the announcement of a new academic chair at the Holocaust History Museum of Yad Vashem named in honour of their forefather. Less than a month after Kristallnacht, the night of ransacking of Jewish shops and homes across Nazi Germany, Mr. Cooper led a march from his home in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray to the German consulate to denounce the 'cruel persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazi government of Germany.' German officials in Australia refused to accept the written denunciation from Mr. Cooper after the march on December 6, 1938, but 72 years later his actions are being acknowledged with a professorship for the study of resistance during the Holocaust. Mr. Cooper's grandson, Uncle 'Boydie' Turner, his great grandson, Kevin Russell, and 13 other descendants were in Jerusalem for the event, organised through the Australian Israeli Leadership Forum. Uncle Boydie Turner, now 82, said the family had been trying to get recognition for Mr. Cooper for a long time. 'We've always known about this story ... we've always wanted other people to know about it,' he said. Kristallnacht -- 'the night of broken glass' -- is seen by many historians as the start of the Holocaust, and it was widely reported around the world. However, Mr. Cooper's march is believed to be the only private protest organised at the time. Mr. Cooper was already 77 in 1938 and died three years later. He helped establish the Australian Aboriginal League, which campaigned for land rights and representation in parliament."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch]

Iraq / Violence against Christians

"In the wake of a series of attacks in Baghdad and Mosul, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled abroad or to the relative safety of the Kurdish north." (Shiho Fukada/New York Times)
With New Violence, More Christians Are Fleeing Iraq
By Steven Lee Myers
The New York Times, December 12, 2010
"A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country's security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them. The flight -- involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular -- followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus, which is not the first, highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqis despite improved security over all and the near-resolution of the political impasse that gripped the country after elections in March. It threatens to reduce further what Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East called 'a community whose roots were in Iraq even before Christ.' Those who fled the latest violence -- many of them in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars -- warned that the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq. Several evoked the mass departure of Iraq's Jews after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. 'It's exactly what happened to the Jews,' said Nassir Sharhoom, 47, who fled last month to the Kurdish capital, Erbil, with his family from Dora, a once mixed neighborhood in Baghdad. 'They want us all to go.'

United States / Jewish Holocaust

Holocaust Refugees Recall Exodus, Arrival on Pacific Coast
By Matt O'Brien
The Washington Post, December 11, 2010
"His father roused Harry Gluckman from a deep sleep, urging the 11-year-old to get out of his cabin bed and climb to the deck of the steamship, the Heiyo Maru. The boy rushed outside to see the Golden Gate Bridge soaring above him. In the pre-dawn darkness of Oct. 21, 1940, as the Japanese liner sailed beneath the famous gateway that had opened just three years earlier, he gaped at its beams and towers. 'My father always referred to it after that as "My Golden Gate of Freedom" whenever we crossed the bridge or came near it,' Gluckman said. The family was among as many as 600 Jewish refugees who sailed into San Francisco Bay between 1939 and 1941, fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia and Poland. They were part of a largely forgotten Pacific exodus that was much smaller than the stream of thousands of refugees who reached the East Coast. Gluckman, 82, is one of a handful of refugees in the Bay Area who vividly remember the transoceanic voyage to San Francisco. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation has spent months trying to track down others, hoping to share the little-known stories while there are still people who can tell them. After the outbreak of war in Europe made escape across the Atlantic Ocean difficult, hundreds of European Jews took advantage of a small window of time when the Pacific Ocean was open to passenger travel.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Africa / Violence against Homosexuals

"Sheila Hope Mugisha is a lesbian who was named in an article urging readers to hang homosexuals in Rolling Stone, a Ugandan tabloid which has no affiliation with the American music magazine. Mugisha says neighbors attacked her with stones after the article was published." (Sudarsan Raghavan/The Washington Post)
Gays in Africa Face Growing Persecution, Human Rights Activists Say
By Sudarsan Raghavan
The Washington Post, December 11, 2010
"Persecution of gays is intensifying across Africa, fueled by fundamentalist preachers, intolerant governments and homophobic politicians. Gay people have been denied access to health care, detained, tortured and even killed, human rights activists and witnesses say. The growing tide of homophobia comes at a time when gays in Africa are expressing themselves more openly, prompting greater media attention and debates about homosexuality. The rapid growth of Islam and evangelical forms of Christianity, both espousing conservative views on family values and marriage, have persuaded many Africans that homosexuality should not be tolerated in their societies. 'It has never been harder for gays and lesbians on the continent,' said Monica Mbaru, Africa coordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, based in Cape Town. 'Homophobia is on the rise.' Fearing for their lives, many activists are in hiding or have fled their countries. In Uganda, a bill introduced in parliament last year would impose the death penalty for repeated same-sex relations and life imprisonment for other homosexual acts. Local newspapers are outing gays, potentially inciting the public to attack them, activists say.

United States / Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide Victims' Descendants May Sue, Court Rules
By Carol J. Williams
The Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2010
"Descendants of Armenian victims of genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks can sue insurance companies for unpaid claims over the atrocities, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a rare reversal. The same three-judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in August 2009 that lawsuits were barred by a federal government policy against legal reference to the Armenian genocide despite laws in California and 41 other states recognizing the massacre of 1.2 million Armenians that began in 1915 amid the chaotic collapse of the Ottoman Empire. 'There is no clearly established, express federal policy forbidding state references to the Armenian genocide,' the judges decided on reconsideration in a 2-1 ruling. Brian S. Kabateck, an attorney for the Armenian American heirs from Glendale and elsewhere, said the decision was 'extraordinarily unusual' and could open the door to other unsettled issues from the massacre. The judges' ruling 16 months ago was also split 2 to 1, with Senior Judges David R. Thompson and Dorothy W. Nelson concluding that a California law passed in 2000 recognizing the genocide -- and providing the legal basis for the insurance claims -- was an attempt to undercut the president's authority in foreign affairs. Congress has considered resolutions three times in the last decade that would have provided official recognition of the genocide. Each time, the White House stepped in to urge that the bills be scuttled out of fear that passage would damage relations with Turkey, whose government disputes that a genocide took place. Last year, Thompson and Nelson alluded to those thwarted resolutions as constituting a federal policy against reference to genocide. Nelson apparently changed her mind.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sierra Leone / Sexual Violence against Women

"Former street children at a HANCi centre in Makeni." (Simon Akam)
Appeal: Raped by the Enemy, Shunned by Friends
By Simon Akam
The Independent, December 9, 2010
"Saidata Forna is not sure of her exact age. But she was less than 15 when she was captured by rebel soldiers during Sierra Leone's civil war in the dusty town of Makeni in the centre of the country -- and turned into a sex slave. Her captors were members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), whose trademark was the amputation of the hands of innocent civilians. They took the teenager out into the bush to the village of Yelisande, and held her in bondage. 'I was raped,' she recalled. 'And I was beaten when I refused to conform to some of their demands. I was raped almost everyday.' After a year in captivity Saidata fell pregnant and was able to escape. However, she and other girls abducted by the RUF were not made welcome on their return to their home town of Makeni. 'We were stigmatised, we were called all sorts of names,' she explained. 'They said "junta wife," "military junta".' But eight years after the end of hostilities, Saidata, now 23, has made a remarkable recovery. Aided by an organisation called Help a Needy Child in Sierra Leone (HANCi) -- which is funded by ChildHope, one of the three charities in this year's Independent Christmas Appeal -- she was reconciled with her parents and continued her education. 'I have just completed college [at the] northern polytechnic in Makeni,' said the young woman, wearing a neat purple dress trimmed with pale ribbon. 'I got my teacher's certificate. I am now looking for a job.' Sierra Leone's civil war lasted for more than a decade, from 1991 to 2002, and left some 50,000 dead. Fuelled by the west African country's fabulous diamond reserves, the conflict was characterised by extreme brutality. Conscription of children was widespread on all sides. Yet, while images of wide-eyed boy soldiers with Kalashnikovs became the international face of the war, the fate of the young women who were abducted by the rebels is less well known. When the RUF attacked villages they would customarily take girls -- sometimes aged 12 or even younger -- with them as booty. While some took up weapons, most 'bush wives' carried water and cooked for the men. They were also repeatedly raped. [...]"


"An apartment building is shown in the city of Tzfat in this June 1, 2009 file photo. The move to discourage transactions with Arabs began in October in the northern Israel city of Tzfat, where the chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, called on residents not to rent apartments to Arab students enrolled at a college in the city." (Linda D. Epstein/MCT/Newscom/File)
Rabbis Tell Israeli Jews Not to Rent to Arabs; Even Holocaust Museum Frowns
By Joshua Mitnick
The Christian Science Monitor, December 9, 2010
"Hundreds of prominent Israeli rabbis have signed a religious opinion calling on Jews not to rent or sell real estate to Arabs, sparking public uproar and debate over the essence of Judaism and its place in Israel's democracy. The statement, supported by many state-employed municipal chief rabbis, insists there is a Torah ban on land transactions with 'foreigners' in the Land of Israel. Peppered with biblical citations, it includes a passage warning of a negative impact on property values from selling to non-Jews. 'Their way of life is different from ours, and our oppressors are among them,' the statement says. The religious opinion reflects a confluence of several related trends: growing alienation between Jews and the country's one-fifth Arab minority, a shift of public sentiment toward ultra-nationalist political parties, and growing radicalization among the leaders of Israel's nationalist religious movement who challenge the secular foundations of the government. 'These things in the past wouldn't be acceptable in Israeli society,' says Yair Ettinger, a reporter for the liberal Haaretz newspaper who covers the Orthodox religious community. 'But now even though it's not politically correct, people allow themselves to say things in public that you wouldn't even dare to say in a private synagogue. It's a big change.'

Sudan / Darfur / International Criminal Court

Darfur Genocide Continues, December 10, 2010
"Genocide is still continuing in Darfur and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, already indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), is undertaking 'enormous efforts' to cover up the crimes and manipulate the world community, the Court's prosecutor said today. 'The Government of Sudan is not cooperating with the Court and has conducted no national proceedings against those responsible for the crimes committed,' Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the Security Council. He noted that in just the last six months, hundreds of civilians in the Darfur region were killed and hundreds of thousands forcibly displaced, while more than 2 million people suffer a subtle form of genocide -- genocide by rape and fear. 'President al-Bashir, in accordance with the chamber's findings, issued the criminal orders to attack civilians and destroy their communities. Logically, President al-Bashir does not want to investigate those who are following his orders. President al-Bashir is using his promises of justice to manipulate the international community and cover up the crimes.' The ICC in July issued a second arrest warrant for Mr. al-Bashir, adding genocide to the list of charges for crimes he has allegedly committed in war-ravaged Darfur.

Cambodia / Genocide and Memory

"Eleventh-graders at O'Tapouk High School in Pailin, Cambodia." (Brendan Brady / Los Angeles Times)
Former Khmer Rouge Stronghold Struggles with History
By Brendan Brady
The Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2010
"Twelfth-grade teacher Sam Borath recently asked her students in Svay, a town in northwestern Cambodia, to write down the names of five leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime that killed an estimated 1.7 million people during its reign in the late 1970s. Simply identifying top figures, however, can be an awkward exercise. Many communities would rather not stir up memories of the war-torn past, particularly in this region. Svay is part of a thin belt along the northwestern border that remained under the control of ultra-communist Khmer Rouge leaders and their militias for two decades after 1979, when the regime was ousted from power in Phnom Penh. Many residents still defend the regime's legacy, contending that it had rural interests at heart. But a new national curriculum requires schools to tackle the controversial topic as a way to confront and reconcile the past. 'Some did it,' Sam Borath said of the writing exercise. 'But some just wrote down one name. Others didn't even hand it in because their parents told them not to.' Naming specific cadres and their past deeds is sensitive, now that a United Nations-backed war crimes court is prosecuting a few former high-ranking officials and is considering taking on five others. Students in Svay were introduced to the new lessons in November. 'A lot of the students are curious to know what happened,' Sam Borath said. 'But many parents are former Khmer Rouge, so they discourage their kids from learning about it. They think we are teaching their children to be angry at them.' Researchers estimate that nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population died under the extremist regime, and most survivors had been pushed to the edge of death by hard labor, starvation and medical neglect. After the Khmer Rouge was ousted in 1979, Pailin became the base of its insurgency before morphing in the late 1990s into an autonomous zone for former regime leaders who agreed to leave the movement. A decade later, the province has been reincorporated into the country. [...]"

Thursday, December 09, 2010


"A photograph of a Rwandan child in a gallery of genocide victims at the Kigali memorial." (Jason Reed/Reuters)
Rwanda to Unveil Genocide Archive
By Xan Rice
The Guardian, December 10, 2010
"An ambitious hi-tech project to make the Rwandan genocide one of the most thoroughly documented mass killings ever will be unveiled in Kigali today. The Genocide Archive of Rwanda will serve as a 'unified repository' for all information related to the 1994 massacres, which saw about 800,000 people killed in 100 days, mostly from the minority Tutsi population. Located at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where tens of thousands of victims are buried, the new facility will initially hold 1,500 audiovisual recordings and more than 20,000 documents and photographs. The material has been gathered from Rwandan media outlets and museums, court records, foreign institutions, especially in France, and from survivors. In time the recordings and documents will be also be housed in a digital archive available to researchers on-site and, eventually, through the internet. The project, six years in the making, has been driven by the Aegis Trust, a British organisation that works to prevent crimes against humanity, and the Commission for the Fight Against Genocide in Kigali. Freddy Mutanguha, the Rwanda director for the Aegis Trust, said the main aim of the archive was to aid research and teaching, both locally and abroad. 'It will show with facts how the genocide was prepared and executed in order to tell what happened -- and to say "never again",' he said.

Afghanistan / Violence against Women and Girls

"The case of Bibi Aisha, who was mutilated by her husband, is a typical of abuse against Afghan women, says the United Nations." (Time/Getty)
Afghan Women Still Suffer Horrendous Abuse, Says United Nations Report
By Jon Boone
The Guardian, December 9, 2010
"Bibi Aisha, the Afghan girl whose nose and ears were cut off by her husband, was a 'lucky victim' because she survived her attack and got help, a top human rights official in the country said yesterday. While Aisha escaped her abusive family, the deputy chairman of the country's Independent Human Rights Commission said that many women in similar circumstances were less lucky. 'For sure, we have hundreds of Bibi Aishas in Afghanistan,' said Ahmad Fahim Hakim. His remarks came after the news that one of the men responsible for attacking Aisha had been arrested, a development hailed by human rights workers as a sign the Afghan authorities are starting to take deep-rooted abuse of women seriously. Hakim was speaking during the publication of a major UN report that showed that, despite improvements in women's rights -- long touted as a major goal of the US-led intervention in Afghanistan -- the country is still blighted by forced marriages, the giving away of infant girls to future husbands to settle disputes, honour killings and desperate women resorting to death by self-immolation.

Romania / Roma

"Roma women display signs that read, in Romany and Romanian, 'I am a Roma' in Bucharest, Romania, on Nov. 30, 2010." (Vadim Ghirda/AP)
Romania's Government Moves to Rename the Roma
By Rupert Wolfe Murray, December 8, 2010
"Romania's government has caused outrage among Romany -- or Gypsy -- communities and organizations after it asked Parliament in Bucharest to accept a proposal to change the official name of the Romany from Roma, which means 'man' in the Romany language, to Tigan, which comes from the Greek term for 'untouchable.' The government says the name change is necessary because of the possible confusion among the international community between the words Roma -- which refers to the Romany ethnic minority -- and Romania, a nation proud of its historical status as the last colony of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, the Romanian Academy, whose role is to protect the Romanian culture and language, supports the move on the grounds that many countries in the European Union use a variation of the word Tigan to refer to their Gypsy populations. 'Imagine if a US Congressman proposed to change the name Afro-American back to the insulting term n_____,' said David Mark, director of the Roma Civic Alliance in Bucharest, speaking to TIME at a protest outside the government headquarters last week. 'It would cause a huge scandal and that Congressman would probably have to resign.'

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

France / Chile

"Relatives of victims of the Chilean dictatorship gather and show pictures of their familly members as the trial opens at the French Criminal Court in Paris." (EPA)
Augusto Pinochet's Officers on Trial over Missing French Citizens
By Henry Samuel
The Telegraph, December 8, 2010
"Fourteen officials from Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship went on trial in absentia in Paris on Wednesday over the disappearance of four French citizens in the mid-1970s. The Frenchmen were among more than 3,000 leftists murdered for political reasons during the 'Dirty War' during the 1973-1990 rule of Gen Pinochet. Many 'vanished,' likely kidnapped and killed, then buried in unmarked graves, leaving relatives unable to properly mourn their dead. None of the accused was in the courtroom. But the families of the four men were present, some clutching black and white photos of the disappeared, as the judge read out charges of kidnapping, arbitrary detention, torture and barbarous acts. Among the 14, most of them military officers, was Manuel Contreras, the former head of the feared Dina secret police in the Pinochet regime. Contreras is believed to have been instrumental in many of the political murders and disappearances in the dictatorship's 'Dirty War' against the Left. He is currently serving life in a Chilean jail for assassinating the defence chief of Salvador Allende, Chile's leftist president who was ousted by Gen Pinochet in a violent US-backed coup in 1973. The disappeared French are George Klein, who was a former adviser to Allende, a priest and two members of the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR. Gen. Pinochet was also implicated in the disappearance of the four Frenchmen but died in 2006 without ever facing trial or apologising. William Bourdon, a lawyer for the families, said the trial, which is being filmed due to its historic importance, 'will allow a precise, global, almost exhaustive judicial snapshot of the apparatus of repression put in place by General Augusto Pinochet.' [...]"

Sunday, December 05, 2010


"The Arab lads of Lod don’t want their houses demolished." (AFP)
Israel and Its Arabs: Pulled Apart
The Economist, October 14, 2010 [only just seen]
"[...] Cabinet members have proposed 'strengthening' [Lod's] population by bringing in more Jews and have approved a wider bill requiring new citizens to swear a loyalty oath accepting Israel as Jewish and democratic -- in that order. Other measures are aimed at Israel's Arabs, including a ban on teaching the Palestinian narrative that Israel expelled most of its Arabs in the war of independence. ... Adding to the psychological barriers, the Lod authorities have erected physical ones. This year they have finished building a wall three metres high to separate Lod's Jewish districts from its Arab ones. And where the Arab suburbs are cordoned off to prevent their spread, Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, encourages building for Jews to proceed with abandon. His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on the coalition's far right, champions building quarters for soldiers' families in the town. The equally chauvinistic interior minister, Eli Yishai, who heads an ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, grants building permits for religious Jews. A series of gated estates are sprouting across the city reserved for religious Zionists. ... By contrast, old Arab houses are under threat of demolition. Now and again, bulldozers demolish a couple, stressing Arab vulnerability. ... Many municipal services, such as street lighting and rubbish collection, stop at the boundaries of Arab suburbs. Sixteen kilometres (ten miles) from Tel Aviv, Israel's richest city, sewage flows through some of Lod's Arab streets. Once mixed districts are separating. ... The local community centre has been shut for the best part of a decade, says its last employee: the Jewish Agency, a welfare organisation, does not want it 'overrun with Arabs.' ... Lod's 120-strong police is Muslim-free."
[n.b. Choose your parallel. Blacks in apartheid-era South Africa? Jews in Nazi Germany?]

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sweden / Jewish Holocaust

"The queen's attempts earlier this year to play down the Nazi past of her father have led to fierce criticism of her in the media now, both in Germany and Sweden." (AFP/Getty)
Swedish Queen's Family "Made Fortune from Jewish Factory Seized by Nazis" 
By Allan Hall
The Telegraph, December 1, 2010
"Sweden's royal family has been rocked by allegations that the father of Queen Silvia made a fortune from a factory seized from Jewish owners in Nazi Germany. Swedish TV4 broadcast a documentary detailing how Walter Sommerlath, a German Nazi Party member, had bought the factory from Efim Wechsler, a Jew. The transaction was part of the so-called 'Ayranisation' of such enterprises according to the Nuremberg Laws which stripped Jews of their rights and property. The factory allegedly made Ack Ack guns for the Luftwaffe and also parts for tanks. When she married in 1976 the Queen's German father denied he had ever been a member of the Nazi party. That fiction was exposed some years later by a Swedish newspaper which proved he joined the movement in 1934. Earlier this year Queen Silvia spoke for the first time about it in a TV documentary in which she said he was not 'politically active.' 'The truth about Queen Silvia's father, which she doesn't want to tell herself or her family, is that he joined Hitler's Nazi party beginning on December 1st, 1934,' said Swedish investigative journalist Bosse Schon. 'Also, Queen Silvia's father worked during his time in Brazil for the German company Acos-Burderus-do Brasil-Ltda, which used wartime prisoners as slave labour in Nazi Germany.' Mr. Sommelath resettled in Berlin and on 24 May 1939 he took over the company Wechsler & Hennig. Documents found show Sommelath bought it at a knock-down price, as was common at the time. Jews needed the money to try to escape from Germany. The queen's attempts earlier this year to play down the Nazi past of her father have led to fierce criticism of her in the media now, both in Germany and Sweden. She has refused all comment but a statement was issued by the palace ahead of part two of the documentary which runs on Sunday night this coming weekend. [...]"