SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Pakistan is now sixty-seven. Its history until now has been a history of the state versus its citizenry, particularly citizenry of non-Punjabi and non-Urdu origin. If a people's history of Pakistan is documented, it would become the voluminous account on the state crimes.
Pakistan was carved out of undivided India against the will of the Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun, Sikh and Punjabi Hindu majorities of their motherlands. The elections of 1946 were a kind of virtual referendum on the partition, in which the anti-partition Unionist Party won in Punjab; Congress won in NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa); the All India Muslim League (AIML) lost in Sindh, giving lead to Indian National Congress (INC) and Sindhi nationalist forces. Balochistan was autonomous with a bicameral parliament. Balochistan was occupied by Pakistani forces in 1948 as it was not part of Pakistan according to the British partition plan. East Bengal was the only state of India where AIML won; however they bid farewell to Pakistan amid heinous state crimes against humanity there in 1971. It is, thus, an untold truth that the idea of Pakistan was rejected by theSindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa provinces. Balochistan was not part of Pakistan in 1947 and Sindh rejected AIML in the 1946 elections, i.e. both aspired to reclaim the status of sovereign countries, which they lost after Britain's 1843 invasion. Sindh and Balochistan historically have remained sisterly sovereign countries. Together, they were a kingdom for centuries also. Sindhi, historically, form a significant population of Balochistan and claim Baloch identity. Simultaneously, Baloch are a significant population of Sindh and claim Sindhi identity.
During the Vietnam War, my mother, an otherwise sweet and compassionate person, said “they” (Vietnamese) don’t value human life like we do, suggesting that I be more comfortable killing them. I never was comfortable with the idea of killing them, and so I didn’t.
However, I still hear some people say that an “enemy” doesn’t value human life like we do. Over the years, the enemy changes, but the refrain is the same: some people on "our" side believe that enemies think life is cheap and therefore expendable, to be easily sacrificed. These same people in our society believe that we, and probably our allies, think life is sacred, and only sacrificed in freely chosen heroic acts.
A US District Court judge today ordered that independent doctors be allowed into Guantanamo Bay to evaluate a long-time hunger striker whose health has deteriorated so much that there are now concerns for his life.
In today’s hearing for Syrian Abu Wa'el Dhiab - cleared for release from the prison since 2009 and on continued hunger strike over his ongoing detention without charge or trial - Judge Gladys Kessler ordered that two independent doctors be allowed into the prison to evaluate him. Those doctors will also testify, along with a force-feeding expert, at a hearing scheduled for October 6, about the medical effects of the force-feedings on Mr. Dhiab.
Responding to the Israeli Aggression and the Complicity of World Governments
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Istanbul in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza. We have watched atrocities being committed against an already besieged population. In the two day meeting (August 10th and 11th), the FFC concluded that it is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, the source of most problems facing the Palestinian population of Gaza.
We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The gender stall is dead. Last week a Council on Contemporary Families online symposium provided new data suggesting that the stall in progress on gender egalitarian attitudes and behaviors has ended. Evidence has accumulated, and a stall in attitudes that started around 1994 may have turned around after 2004.
“Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan/U.S.-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising.
Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma holds up the sign for ‘Ukraine’, indicating ‘No to wars in Ukraine’. She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.
My old family house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza was recently rebuilt by its new owner, into a beautiful three-story building with large windows adorned by red frames. In Israel’s most recent and deadliest war on Gaza, the house sustained significant damage. A large hole caused by Israeli missiles can be seen from afar, in a part of the house where our kitchen once stood.
It seems that the original target was not my house, however, but that of our kindly neighbor, who had spent his entire working-life toiling between manual jobs in Israel, and later in life as a janitor for UN-operated schools in Gaza. The man’s whole lifesavings were invested in his house where several families lived. After “warning” rockets blew up part of his house, several missiles pulverized the rest.
First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out
“Diving into the Wreck,” Adrienne Rich
Little Rock, Ark. – Arkansas’s restrictive photo ID law violates the state constitution and must be struck down by the state Supreme Court, argued the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in an amicus brief filed today with a group of Arkansas historians, political scientists, and law professors.
Drones are doing in Gaza and Iraq what they have done in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, not only performing the work of occupation and killing, but giving the political and military leaders who command them a completely false sense of their power to control the people whose privacy and lives they feel a God-given right to violate. Just because you can stalk a person doesn't mean you can make that person love you; most likely, it will make the person want to kill you.
But the leaders of the United States and Israel and other wannabe colonial "powers" have not only failed to learn from such horrible, failed efforts at technological domination as the Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, they have failed to learn from the miserable fiasco of drone surveillance and attack in Gaza. For at least the last five years, drones have been at the heart of Israel's attempts to make life intolerable for the people of Gaza to the point where they would give up any sense of self or wish for personal or community freedom.