On Wednesday night, in the predominately black neighborhood of Hatikva in Tel Aviv, Israel, nationalist protestors took to the streets demanding the deportation of African immigrants and asylum seekers. Many of the immigrants came from Eritrea and South Sudan, smuggled into the country through Israel’s southern border with Egypt. An estimated 90% are economic migrants who come to Israel are coming to look for work. Many have also come to escape the poverty and persecution in their home countries.
The violent protests were marked by protestors shouting, “Blacks out!” and “Send the Sudanese back to Sudan,”as windows of shops owned by the African migrants were smashed. Some Africans were beat up and pelted with rocks as they attempted to leave their homes. TJ, a young Nigerian immigrant said, “A group of about 10 or 15 boys stopped one black kid cycling on his bike. They pulled him off and were punching and kicking him in his head. The police just stood and watched until it got really out of control.” Another particularly tragic incident involved a gang assault on a mother carrying a young baby …
Days before the protests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the rise of immigrants from Africa is “threatening the fabric of Israeli society, its national security and its national identity.” During the evening of the protests, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party Danny Danon wrote a Facebook status stating, “Israel is at war. An enemy state of infiltrators was established in Israel, and its capital is south Tel Aviv.” The riots have led to demands to send the African immigrants to jail, followed by expulsion …
PogromsRiots against a specific ethnic group, threats of deportation, jailing and expulsion, racism translating into public political discourse… now where have we heard of that before?
Israel’s slide towards a typically Far Right politics is so ironic it’s not even amusing - just painfully disheartening and saddening, in that you’d expect better from a people with their own tragic history of persecution.
Here are a couple of good articles regarding the hunger strikes that Palestinian prisoners are staging. Currently, there are upwards of 1,600 prisoners taking part in the hunger strike. I don’t think people realize the magnitude of what is going on.
Palestinian militant groups and moderate politicians alike have predicted that years of relative tranquility could be brought to an abrupt and violent end if any of the 1,600 inmates now refusing food were to starve to death.
This is following the footsteps of Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton and others who announced earlier this year. MIT and Harvard will develop a platform to host the content and make it open source.
Welcome to the new age of open education?
Gallery: Inside the Syria revolt
Despite a clampdown on journalists, some pictures from Syria are getting out. They show bombed buildings, dead bodies, graves and a suffering people. Above are some recent photographs. We’ll update with new information regularly.
Ya Allah =(
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — American drone-fired missiles hit a vehicle traveling on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing six militants from a group known to have signed a nonaggression pact with the Pakistani army, intelligence officials and a local tribesman said.
Two commanders from the network led by Maulvi Nazir were among the dead in the attack in the Birmal district of South Waziristan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
One of them was Amir Hamza, Nazir’s representative in a council that recently released a statement calling on militants to observe the reported pact in neighboring North Waziristan region, said Yar Mohammad, a local tribesman who had seen the bodies.
The Pakistani army has fought some militants along the Afghan border, but has cut deals with others, seeking to deflect their jihad into Afghanistan and away from targets inside Pakistan. Nazir is one of the most important leaders in that faction.
The U.S. has urged Pakistan to tackle all the groups in the northwest, saying they threaten not only Afghanistan but Pakistan. American missile attacks over the last four years have not differentiated between the groups, which share training facilities and the same militant Islamist ideology.
Islamabad criticizes the drone strikes publicly but the government is widely believed to have supported at least some of the strikes under the covert CIA-run program. That cooperation came under strain after the U.S. began widening its targeting to include militants with alliances with the Pakistani army.
The strikes, which began in earnest in 2008, have killed scores of militants, including foreign al-Qaida members involved in plotting attacks on the West and those battling American-led troops in Afghanistan. There were more than 150 attacks in 2010, and less than half that number last year.
Tuesday’s attack was the tenth this year. U.S. official do not talk about the program.
In addition, Human Rights Watch has called on Syria to immediately cease laying land mines along its borders. BBC reports,
The group said it had been told by a 28-year-old former Syrian Army deminer that he and a group of friends removed around 300 mines from the Hasanieih area in early March, along routes used by refugees to reach Turkey.
“Any use of anti-personnel landmines is unconscionable,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at HRW, said. “There is absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons by any country, anywhere, for any purpose.”
The Assad regime is far more brutal and power-hungry than I ever expected them to be.
Money talks. Humanity and reason don’t.
These refugees fled Syria with only the clothes they had on their backs. Most leaving their houses behind to be looted and destroyed by the Syrian army.
British ambassador – Syrian people see ‘no future’ under President Assad
Simon Collis, the recently recalled British ambassador to Syria, says there are “cracks in the dam” as the mood of the wider Syrian population begins to turn against President Bashar al Assad’s regime.
Speaking on television for the first time since he was recalled from Damascus last week, Simon Collis said: “The regime has been using violence for a year now, it has not been able to solve the crisis through repression. It won’t be able to do so.”
“They are launched down a cul-de-sac, they haven’t reached the end yet but they can’t turn back.”
Discussing what he saw as the mood of the Syrian people, Mr Collis continued: “There has been a hollowing out of support for the regime and it has become quite fragile – it is a bit like cracks in a dam.
“My sense is that he [Assad] does still have the uncoerced support of perhaps 20 per cent of the population, perhaps a little bit more.
“I think most of the rest of the population, if they are not in outright opposition to this regime and the bloodshed it has been responsible for over the last year, at the very least they do not see any future for themselves or for the country as long as the regime remains.”
Syria crisis: the violence mapped by the UN
Exactly how bad have things got? The United Nations reports over 8,700 deaths by the end of February in the updated infographic above -available from Reliefweb - which covers deaths by region.
— Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called the violence in Syria “a crime against humanity” on the scale of the 1990s bloodshed in the Balkans, as a Red Cross convoy was once again barred from entering the Homs suburb of Baba Amr. (Source)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood teamed up with other Islamists on Friday to establish a new political party that is set to be a leading player in the country’s first elections since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.
Islamist and secular parties will vie in June elections for seats in a national assembly that will draft a new constitution for the North African country.
Political analysts say Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as the most organised political force and a leading player in the oil-exporting country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.
Post-uprising elections have already brought Islamists into government in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are likely to perform well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the revolution.
Lamine Belhadj, who heads the committee that is working to set up the new party, told Reuters at a conference on Friday it would bring together Islamists of different stripes.
“This is the founding conference of a national, civil party with an Islamic frame of reference. It is being established by the Muslim Brotherhood and many independents who are not affiliated with any Islamic organisations,” he said.
Belhadj, a senior official in the National Transitional Council (NTC) and a member of the commission responsible for organising the elections, said the new party had yet to be named and its leaders had not been chosen as consultations were under way between the Brotherhood and other groups.
Abdullah Shamia, an economics professor and member of the Brotherhood since its days as an underground organisation, said the new party would be independent. The Muslim Brotherhood, a broader religious, charitable and social movement, would continue its work separately from the political party.
The rise of Islamist parties at the ballot box has raised concerns among more secular Arabs that new governments will impose more religious restrictions on society or seek to make post-uprising constitutions comply with Islamic law, or sharia.
Libya’s NTC has already indicated that the country will be run in accordance with sharia, though the exact place of sharia in the legal system will only be settled once a new constitution is written after elections.
Belhadj said there was little disagreement on the issue of sharia in Libya, whose citizens are virtually all Sunni Muslims.
“All the parties cannot but adopt an Islamic frame of reference because the Libyan people are Muslim,” he said.
Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1949 as an offshoot of the eponymous Egyptian organisation but was banned and unable to hold public meetings in Libya until November 2011. Its members were often forced to keep their membership secret for fear of arrest, torture or imprisonment.
Majida al-Fallah, a doctor and Islamist activist, told Reuters she saw women, whatever their political loyalty, playing a more active role after the revolution.
“I believe women began to have a big role from the start of the revolution. We are now pushing women to the front lines rather than keeping them in the back seat,” she said.
Asked if she expected religious parties to push for women to be confined to the home or be forced to wear the veil, she said: “I don’t think so. This is something that is up to the Muslim woman herself and her choice.”
Syria civilian death toll “well over 7,500”
(Reuters) - Syrian forces have killed more than 7,500 civilians since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began, a U.N. official said on Tuesday, and Hillary Clinton suggested the Syrian leader may be a war criminal.
The military again bombarded opposition strongholds, killing at least 25 people, Syrian activists said, though a wounded British news photographer managed to escape from the besieged city of Homs.
“There are credible reports that the death toll now often exceeds 100 civilians a day, including many women and children,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for political affairs Lynn Pascoe told the U.N. Security Council. “The total killed so far is certainly well over 7,500 people.”
Image: Syrians gather at a grave yard during the funeral of a man killed by a Bashar al-Assad’s forces, on February 28, 2012, in the Syrian town of Qusayr. [Getty Images]
The relationship between emotional and physical pain goes both ways: just as physical pain-relieving drugs can kill emotional pain, so too can emotional support — for example, holding a loved one’s hand — reduce physical pain.
Research even shows that emotional pain can sometimes activate brain regions that normally process only physical hurt. One recent study of people who had just been dumped by a romantic partner found that intense rejection activated somatosensory brain regions once thought to be involved only with physical sensation.