‘Why the Azaan Should Not be Broadcast over Loudspeakers’ by Omar Latif

: Jamia Masjid, Vancouver, the azaan was broadcast over loudspeakers for the first time in its 112-year history – photo from 30 Masjids dot ca

TO HELP PRESERVE SECULARISM
TO HELP PREVENT ISLAMOPHOBIA

It began with broadcasting one azaan call-for-prayer for one of the five daily prayers during the month of Ramzan at one mosque in Toronto. Within days, the practice spread to many cities – Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, London, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and, Surrey – at the last count. One cleric has already said that he would like the azaan to be announced over loudspeakers for all five prayers, throughout the year!

If this was to remind Muslims about the time of prayer, it must be pointed out that Muslims and, for that matter, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, have all been saying their prayers at home or in their places of worship at prescribed times for hundreds of years without the call-to-prayer being announced from loudspeakers. And how, it was asked, would Muslims know the time of the other four daily prayers if the azaan was sent out over loudspeakers only once a day?

The rationale changed: Muslims couldn’t gather in mosques during their holy month of Ramzan due to Covid-19 and would find solace when they heard the azaan over loudspeakers. But, it was pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Muslims lived too far from any mosque to hear it! And what about believers of other religions who couldn’t congregate on their holy days either, for instance, Christians weren’t able to get together on Good Friday this April 8 or Jews during Passover from April 8-16? By that logic, shouldn’t religious invocations for all believers of all faiths be relayed over loudspeakers to provide them comfort during the lock-down? Would that cacophony calm jangled nerves and create harmony among people, or create greater stress and resentment against each other?

Is the push for the broadcasting of the azaan over loudspeakers coming from Muslims as a whole? According to Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, there were a total of 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada – perhaps a total of 1,000,000 adult Muslims currently. Of these, only a small minority says any prayers, much less the daily five. Only a fraction of this small minority goes to mosques to say their prayers, and that too mainly for the Eid or for Friday noon prayers. Anybody can see for themselves how empty mosques are at other prayer times.

The push for the azaan over mosque loudspeakers is not coming from all Muslims but from a small number of Muslim clerics, mainly Sunni, mainly conservative. Some Muslims, thinking that the loud call to prayer demonstrates the power of Islam, or makes it more appealing, also support this idea. However, they are sadly mistaken.

Who has allowed these organizations to over-ride the local noise by-laws? Mainly mayors and municipal councillors from mainstream parties but, unfortunately some progressive ones too, who in return, want to use such organizations as sources for funds, volunteers and ‘vote banks’ at election time.

The broadcasting of the azaan over loudspeakers hardly serves the purpose of reminding Muslims of prayer times or for providing solace during the lockdown in Ramzan since reminders on watches, computers and cell phones would work better. In reality, it appears that this move is a flexing of muscle by conservative Muslim clerics and organizations who are on their way to play a larger political role in society; clerics and organizations who have us believe that they speak on behalf of one, monolithic, undifferentiated, Muslim ummah (nation).

What they are aiming for, a wish NOT shared by ALL Muslims, is to increase the influence of religion and religious values in public life; of views that do not support equality of women with men, views that are against secularism, choice, same-sex partnerships, evolution and other rational and scientific ideas such as, for example, the causes and cures of epidemics and other natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes.

Public pressure has done away with Catholic School Boards in all provinces, and it demanded the same in Ontario in favour of one, secular, public education system for all. Contrary to the will of the people, these clerics push for publicly funded religious schools. It was only after a long struggle that the Lord’s Prayer and other overtly Christian teachings were ended in public schools. These clerics will push for more insertion of religious teachings in public schools. Far fetched? Can happen only in countries of the global south? Just look at what has happened in the US in a few decades!

Over the past four decades, the mainstream parties, at all levels, have enabled the de-regulation of big business, the lowering of taxes on large corporations, the whittling down of social programs, the weakening of labour laws, and the increase in the huge gap between the 1% and everyone else. They have supported militarism and wars, many are being fought against Muslim countries. They have backed Israel in its harsh and unjust treatment of the Palestinian people. None of this matters to these conservative Muslim clerics who are interested only in advancing their narrow, sectarian agenda.

The parties of big business will rely the more on conservative religious forces, of all religions – because they do not acknowledge the impact of privilege, disregard class analysis, the importance of trade unions, instead teaching submission and acceptance by the have-nots of the existing unjust economic structures since privilege and poverty are ordained by God, where justice and fairness is to be found not here but in the hereafter – the more the struggle for social justice grows.

Is the denial of the use of loudspeakers to broadcast the azaan a denial of the right of freedom of belief of Muslims? No it isn’t. First of all, a small minority wants this ‘right’ and only a fraction of this minority will actually hear the azaan. But the main point is that Muslims will still have the right to say the azaan so long as its sound remains within the confines of their prayer halls, and others outside, are not compelled to listen to it. Public complaints have put a stop to the pealing of church bells in many areas. It should be stopped everywhere.

The broadcasting of the azaan over mosque loudspeakers is another intrusion of religion into public space. If it takes hold, other religions inevitably will want to broadcast their chants, bells, hymns etc. over loudspeakers too. The right to religious freedom should be supported as long as it is not socially harmful or a bother to others. Prejudices like Islamophobia and anti-Semitism must be fought but religion whether Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism or Judaism or Sikhism, should be a personal matter. The separation between state and religion should become more, not less, sharp. Canada should become more, not less, secular.
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Omar Latif is a Toronto activist who has been a long-time member of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians and of the Communist Party of Canada. This article is based on his personal views, not on those of the CPPC or of the CPC.

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The Honorable Asma Jahangir

Last Rites
2:30 PM
Tuesday, February 13
Outside the Gaddafi Stadium
Lahore, Pakistan

Last Public Speech
facebook.com/justiceforpashtuns/videos/1169041573198913

Last Tweet
‘Nehal Hashmi’s tone and words cannot be defended but use of contempt law selectively only undermines confidence in the system of justice’

human-rights-icon-asma-jahangir-passes-away-in-lahore
great-women-of-punjabi-origin/#ASMA
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Asma Jahangir: A Great (Punjabi) Woman

Asma-Jahangir-oslofreedomforum
I had to face imprisonment and house arrests, but it made me tougher. As a lawyer, many a time I took up difficult and sensitive cases dealing with minorities’ and women’s rights. Yes, I constantly receive threats, and to be very honest, at times it is very scary. But I have to continue my work.’

Asma Jahangir is a lawyer (to say the least) defending the rights of women, children and men in Pakistan’s harsh climate of religious extremism, misogyny and child abuse. She does it in the courtroom, on the street, in the media, and on the international scene.

Since 1972, when she launched a case against the Government of the Punjab for the release of her father Malik Ghulam Jilani who was arrested for resigning from the National Assembly to protest the Pakistan Government’s military action in Bangladesh, Asma has been an honorable and courageous leader of Pakistan’s political, legal and social movements. She was one of the leaders of the long and often dangerous campaign waged by women activists against the Hadood Ordinances and the draft law on evidence; She forced the parliament to pass a legislation in favor of bonded child laborers of brick kilns. She is a founding/serving member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Women Action Forum (WAF), Punjab Women Lawyers Association (PWLA), and of the AGHS Legal Aid Cell that offers free legal services to vulnerable population groups.

In 2010, Asma was elected as the first woman President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She is a former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and a UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions from 1998 to 2004, and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief from 2004 to 2010.

She is the author of Divine Sanction? The Hadood Ordinance (1988) and Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan (1992). She has received numerous international and national awards including honorary Doctor of Law degrees from universities in Switzerland, Canada, and the USA; the Right Livelihood Award or the ‘alternative Nobel prize’ in 2014; American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Award in 1992; the Martin Ennals Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, and Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995.

Asma was placed under house arrest and later imprisoned for participating in the movement for the restoration of democracy against the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq in 1983. She, and her family, has often been a target of vandalism, violent attacks, hate campaigns and character assassinations carried out by militant groups, political interests and their media representatives. Un-deterred, she continues to be a force to reckon with for each successive government, and for the interest groups who violate the rights of people.

More on Asma is here
oslofreedomforum.com
dw.com

Contact Asma Jahangir
crisisgroup.org
twitter
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wikipedia

View the above on its page
Great Women of Punjabi Origin

Years of unceasing democratic work against armed and unarmed adversaries, and in over four decades of active politics, Asma has refused to serve the interests of any colonial, hegemonic or familial power. At all times, she has taken a firm stand on the side of the people, often being victimized, and she has gone onto extend protection to them wherever and whenever possible. The local and international power brokers have introduced their own heroes who come backed with enormous resources and a wide international network of organizations, forums and media outlets. As is the nature of colonizing mind, they make it appear as if Pakistani women had no history of resistance prior to their presentation of it.

May be all this money, resources and influence will for some time sideline our real heroes such as Asma Jahangir, Hina Jillani, Hussain Naqi, Abdur Sattar Edhi and others. But sooner or later we will see through these schemes, and we will be able to acknowledge the ceaseless contributions to the betterment of our lives of our heroes like Asma Jahangir, and we will find deserving ways to nurture and honor them.

Fauzia Rafique
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frafique@gmail.com

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Why Criticizing Islam is Not Islamophobia

Hallaj

Written by Randeep Singh

Writing in the wake of Charlie Hebdo in Al-Jazeera, Abdullah Al-Arian argues that Islam has been “unfairly criticized and ridiculed” by the West for centuries. Such a history, he writes, has prejudiced the West into into painting Islam as illiberal and intolerant.

Islamophobia is a reality. So too are problems within Islam and the Muslim world. Islamophobia should be condemned; but not criticizing or questioning Islam or Muslim societies.

If I criticize Islam for engendering patriarchy, the persecution of minority groups and its smug, supremacist view of itself, it’s because I have criticized Christianity for the same reasons. I oppose Christian organizations for their homophobia, without hating Christianity. I criticize Israel without hating Jews. I criticize Islam without hating it. I am not hating or fearing anyone: I am striving for equality, inclusion and justice regardless of who or what we are.

The fight for freedom of expression is not a clash between civilizations. It has been happening within the Muslim world for centuries. Mansur Al-Hallaj (856-922) became a martyr for proclaiming “I am the Truth (God).” Sarmad (1590-1661) too was martyred for his “heretical” views. Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) challenged the mullah for his sectarian views. In modern times, Nazim Hikmat (1902-1963), Saadat Hassan Manto (1912-1955) Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-1984) and Naghuib Mahfouz (1911-2006) have all been imprisoned, exiled or censured for their art and political views.

Criticism of the Muslim world as illiberal and intolerant today is likewise vindicated. Just ask Raif Badwai, the blogger who recently received 50 lashes in Saudia Arabia. Or ask Aasiya Bibi, the Christian women who languishes in prison on charges of blasphemy in Pakistan. Or how about Salman Rushdie?

Without change, the Muslim world will become progressively more intolerant and creatively barren. Denying any criticism of Islam produces a culture which is afraid to ask questions and unable to find answers.

India Bound

india_censored

Written by Randeep Singh

The film Haider was released on October 2, 2014. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the violent backdrop of Kashmir in the mid-1990s. Among other things, Haider looks at the atrocities of the Indian army. It has become one of the most critically acclaimed films in India this year.

On October 15, 2014, the Allahabad High Court issued notices to, among others, the film’s director, director and actors to respond to a petition. The petition was filed by the Hindu Front for Justice an organization which seeks to restrain the film’s screening on the basis that it insults the sovereignty, integrity and unity of India.

How does a film like Haider endanger the “sovereignty, integrity and unity” of India? Aren’t India’s restrictions on the freedom of expression, such as national security, public order and incitement to violence,  sufficient to deal with problems that may otherwise imperil the “sovereignty, integrity and unity” of India?

The “sovereignty, integrity and unity” limitation on freedom of expression merely enables the Indian power to curb any thought or opinion it deems “anti-national.” And what is more cherished to the Indian nationalist mythology than the idea that India is a benign, secular democracy, a view questioned by Haider?

In its stamping out of ideas, thoughts or opinions, which just may have a ring or truth to them, the Indian state privileges the right of an ambiguous and undefined the “nation” over those of democracy which relies on a free flow of ideas. The result is a narrowing of the Indian mind.

If Haider is restrained from playing in Indian cinemas, the Indian state and its fascist enthusiasts will have again (as they have done before with M.F. Hussain, Deepa Mehta, Sonali Bose, Arundhati Roy, Wendy Doniger) have privileged the rights of the “nation” over those of Indians themselves.

An Evening with Arundhati

arundhati

Written by Randeep Singh

She came. She spoke. She conquered. Arundhati Roy filled the pews of St. Andrew’s Wesley Church on April 1 as part of the Indian Summer Festival 2014.

Roy began by criticizing “representative democracy” as too much representation, not enough democracy. Democracy has plenty of institutions, Roy remarked, but those institutions have turned into conduits for a short-term, extractive, economic philosophy. “Could it be that democracy is such a hit with modern humans,” she reads, “precisely because it mirrors our greatest folly – our nearsightedness?”

Capitalism controls culture too. Roy spoke of how corporations engage in “perception management,” deliberately not funding artistic projects which question the system. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy says, drew a connection between capitalism, imperialism and the Vietnam War; but American multinationals did not highlight this aspect of his legacy when they sponsored the Martin Luther King Junior Centre for Non-Violent Social Change, an organization which works with the US Department of Defence. The Indian mining group, Vedanta, Roy points out, recently sponsored the “Creating Happiness” film competition for film students to make films on sustainable development (in communities affected by the mining) with the tagline “Mining Happiness.”

Roy also questioned Gandhi as the mahatma or “great soul.” Roy recounted how the anti-imperialist, anti-racist Gandhi fought alongside Great Britain in the Boer Wars, refused to ride in the same railway carriages as Africans and wrote in prison that Indians deserved separate prisons from vile and immoral blacks and Chinese.

When asked whether she was an activist, Roy replied she was a writer telling the world’s stories. Her readings and discussion with The Tyee’s David Beers, brought to life the politics of development, resistance movements and the management of culture by corporations just as the arts have reenacted the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement or the experience of Canadian aboriginals in Residential Schools. As Roy puts it, “why wouldn’t we write about the critical issues our society is facing?”

The Union of India vs. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Indians

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Written by Randeep Singh

The Supreme Court of India has upheld section 377 of the Penal Code of India, which characterized homosexual sex as “against the order of nature.” The decision reversed a 2009 ruling of the Delhi High Court which had ruled that the law violated constitutional rights to equality and personal liberty.

To clarify, Section 377 was never abolished by the Delhi High Court: it has remained the law in India, including New Delhi. The Delhi High Court decision was only binding in that Union Territory and no where else in India. The law can only be abolished by Parliament, not by any court, including the Supreme Court of India.

As for the problems with the decision.

First, the Supreme Court’s otherwise correct statement that only Parliament can amend the law, overlooks the historical importance of the Supreme Court of India in upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms of Indians despite the state. The Supreme Court has interpreted rights and freedoms expansively to include the right to education, the right to work with dignity and on behalf of socially disadvantaged including the poor, women and backward castes. It has historically been the Supreme Court of India which has persuaded Parliament to enact socially inclusive laws, not vice-versa.

Second, the Supreme Court held that “a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals or trans-genders.” How did the court come to this determination? How many Indians are in the closet? Is not one person enough to challenge a law as unconstitutional? Moreover, the Supreme Court of India has historically upheld the rights of a vulnerable social group from the excesses of more dominant social groups, as it has done in the case of backward classes, the poor and women. Why has it failed to do so now?

Third, the Supreme Court holds that Section 377 criminalizes certain acts and not sexual orientation. Under this logic, Indian homosexuals are not breaking the law so long as they do not engage in sexual intercourse. There is no separation between the act of sex and one’s sexual orientation. Legally prohibited from having sex, India’s homosexuals will have to either think twice before getting intimate with their partners or they will have to go further underground. It is a clear case of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

I’m reminded of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2005 when it refused the appeal of Afzal Guru (who was convicted of the December 2001 attack on the Indian Houses of Parliament). The court ruled that the “collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied” if Afzal received the death sentence. In this case too, the Indian Supreme Court has sought to appease the collective “moral” conscience of society, represented in this case by conservative religious bodies, supported in the recent past by senior leaders of the BJP like the late B.P. Singhal who argued homosexuality was against the ethos of Indian culture.

Section 377 remains law, but change will come eventually. Just before posting this piece, I read that Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have criticized the ruling and that India’s Law Minister has stated the government has not abandoned efforts to make homosexuality legal. The law has changed for other socially disadvantaged groups in the past and the composition of the Supreme Court and Parliament is changing. Legal reasoning is dynamic and new precedents can be set. More than anything, the GLBT community in India, and its supporters locally, nationally and internationally will keep moving forward. The moment hasn’t come yet but the destination beckons.

The State of Jammu & Kashmir vs. Union of India

Disclaimer: This is not a legal document, judgement or academic opinion on the legality of the accession of Kashmir to India but rather an attempt to bring together some facts and legal principles pertinent to the accession question and have the reader come to his or her own finding through further inquiry if necessary.

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Was the accession of Kashmir to India legal?

Facts

On August 14 and 15, 1947, India and Pakistan gain independence. The rulers of the 565 princely states of British India have to decide to join either India or Pakistan. The Maharaja Hari Singh is the ruler of the princely state of Kashmir and does not make a decision as to which country to join.

On October 22, 1947, Pathan tribesmen from Pakistan invade Kashmir. The Maharaja of Kashmir appeals to India for help.

On October 26, 1947, the Maharaja flees Kashmir and arrives in Jammu. Also on or about October 26, 1947, the Maharaja meets with a representative of the Indian Prime Minister and signs the Instrument of Accession. On October 27, 1947, India troops arrive in Srinagar (Kashmir). Recent British sources indicate that the Indian PM’s representative did not reach Jammu until the morning of October 27, 1947 by which time Indian troops were already arriving in Srinagar.

Issues:

  1. Did the Maharaja act of a free mind when he signed the Accession?
  2. Did the surrounding circumstances influence the Maharaja’s decision?
  3. If so, did those circumstances influence the Maharaja’s decision-making ability in such a way that he cannot be said to have acted of a free mind?

The Law

I look at three legal principles relevant to the issues above.

The question of duress: duress is legally defined as a situation where one party exerts pressure unlawfully on another party to compel that party to do something that he or she would ordinarily not do. For duress to apply against India, India would have had to have done something unlawful, such as threaten to use violence against the Maharaja, his family or threaten to seize his property and hold it ransom. The use of suggestion or persuasion on the part of India does not qualify as duress.

The question of undue influence: undue influence occurs in relationships where one party exerts pressure on a weaker party so as to overpower the will of that weaker party and thereby induce an agreement. In this case, India would have had to do something to influence the Maharaja – including making military aid to him conditional upon his signing the accession instrument – which was short of actual force, but stronger than mere talk, resulting in the signing of the accession.

The question of unconscionability: an unconscionable transaction is an agreement that no right-minded would ever make and no fair-minded person would ever accept. In this case, there would have to be an inequality in the bargaining power between India and the Maharaja of Kashmir. If there was, then the Maharaja also would have had to have made an improvident bargain, that is he would have had to sign the accession (for military aid) without proper regard for the future.

If that were the case, there arises a legal presumption of unconscionability against India which India would have to rebut.

Written by Randeep Singh

Further Reading:

Ganguly, Sumit, “Conflict and Crisis in South and Southwest Asia”, in Michael E. Brown, ed., The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict, Cambridge, MA:  The MIT Press, 1996a, pp. 141-172.

Ganguly, Sumit, “Explaining the Kashmir Insurgency: Political Mobilization and Institutional Decay”, International Security, vol. 21, no. 2, Fall 1996b.

The Problem of Pakistan

islam-mosque-crescent1-179464-640x480

“Meri tamir mein muzmir hai ik surat kharaabi ki”

In my being lay the seed of my destruction (Ghalib)

Ulema in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan recently banned women from entering bazaars unless they were accompanied by a close male family member or “mehram.” For many, it seems like one in a long line of laws, edicts and fatwas in Pakistan including the Hudood Ordinance of 1979, the blasphemy provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and the enforcement of Muslim religious practices – enforcing zakat, fasting during Ramzan and prayer times – as if God, the Qur’an and all the masjids in Pakistan weren’t enough.

Curiously, many Pakistani apologists of the country’s Islamization of law and politics blame Zia while praising the secular legacy of Jinnah. But the the Islamization of Pakistan is a cause of and not a consequence of the Zia era. The “Islamic” character of Pakistan – as sanctioned by the country’s state-sponsored scholars – is inherent in the idea of the Pakistan itself.

First, what is the difference between a country founded as a homeland for India’s Muslims and an Islamic state? While I agree with Hamza Alavi that the movement for Pakistan started off as a movement for Indian Muslims to protect their community interests in a Hindu-majority country, the line between a homeland for India’s Muslims and an Islamic state became increasingly  blurred as the years went by. In “Now or Never,” published in 1933, Chauhary Rahmat Ali, refers to Muslims as a “millat” with its own distinctive culture, tradition, social code, economic system and laws of inheritance, marriage and succession.

Despite his much vaunted secular credentials, Jinnah also referred to Islam as not just a religion but a civilization and a way of life and exhorted his followers that Pakistan was not simply a question of political independence for the Muslims of India but the means through which “the Muslim ideology” could be preserved in the subcontinent. After 1947, Jinnah exhorted an audience at a speech he made on the occasion of the Prophet’s birthday to prepare themselves to “sacrifice and die in order to make Pakistan (a) truly great Islamic State.”

Second, Jinnah’s death in September 1948 paved the way for those who believed Islam should be the guiding principle of Pakistan. The “Objectives Resolution” adopted by the Constituent Assembly in March 1949 provided that “Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accord with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunna.” Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan went on to declare that “the state will create such conditions as are conductive to the building of a truly Islamic society, which means that the State will play a positive part in this effort.”

Third, the Constitution of 1956 named the new country the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” What was an “Islamic Republic?” Who qualified as a Muslim? Even before 1956, Sunni Muslims had called on the government to have Ahmadiyyas declared as non-Muslim, resulting in the anti-Ahmadiyya riots of 1953. The country’s first education minister, Fazl Ur Rahman, declared that Pakistani education would be permeated and transformed by “Islamic ideology.” Liaquat Ali Khan’s official injunction on obeying Ramazan resulted in angry mobs attacking restaurants and hotels who cooked and served meals during the day.

Before Zia, it was under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s tenure that Ahmedis were declared non-Muslims in 1974, setting a precedent of using religion as a means of electoral gain. What Zia may have done may have been unprecedented, but the the 1949 Objectives Resolution, the speeches and writings of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali and Liaquat Ali Khan if not Jinnah himself and the Constitution of 1956, all helped lay the foundation on which Zia could erect an Islamic State.

Written by

Randeep Singh

Further Reading:

Stephen Hay ed., Sources of Indian Tradition (1988).

Ayesha Jalal, The State of Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defence (1990)

Choudhry Rahmat Ali, “Now or Never” (1933)

Ian Talbot, Pakistan: A Modern History (2009).

Zahir Shah Sherazi, “Women in Karak barred from leaving home without Mehram,” in Dawn, July 20, 2013: http://dawn.com/news/1030354/women-in-karak-barred-from-leaving-home-without-mehram

Solar Flares to Kill Millions in September, Says Snowden – Governments Know for 14 Years!

Edward Snowden: Solar-Flare ‘Killshot’ Cataclysm Imminent

Edward Snowden, hacker-fugitive and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed Tuesday that a series of solar flares is set to occur in September, killing hundreds of millions of people.

MOSCOW, Russia – Edward Snowden, hacker-fugitive and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed Tuesday that a series of solar flares is set to occur in September, killing hundreds of millions of people. Documents provided by Snowden prove that, as of 14 years ago, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) remote viewers knew that the event was inevitable. Ever since, the world’s governments have quietly been trying to prepare for the sweeping global famine to result.

Speaking from his room at Sheremetyevo Airport’s Hotel Novotel, Snowden revealed that government preparations for September’s catastrophic solar flares have been “to only limited avail.” The flares’ results, he said, are known casually throughout the global intelligence community as “the killshot.”

Remote viewers employed by the CIA’s Project Stargate use their ability to perceive geographically and chronologically distant events to protect America. Since 1999 they have known about the solar-flare event but have been threatened into silence by enforcers on the secret government’s payroll.

As a part of hiring Snowden as a contractor, the NSA granted the 30-year-old access to all communications on earth. Now he has provided The Internet Chronicle with top-secret Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) documents outlining just how terrible the solar flares’ results will be. In just two months, “the killshot” is set to disable all electronic food and water delivery systems.

Ever since the late 20th century, hundreds of millions of people have begun to rely on technological automation to enable their very lives. Solar flares release electromagnetic pulses, hazardous to electronic circuits. The smallest electronic circuits, such as those in computers’ central processing units, will be the most vulnerable.

Snowden said FEMA and the National Disaster Reduction Center of China have been taking steps for 14 years in light of the findings of Project Stargate. FEMA’s own documents, provided by Snowden, lay out how the organization plans to round up tens of millions of the poorest Americans for housing at secure locations “to better facilitate feeding and provision of consumer goods.”

Snowden, for years a CIA contractor, released testimonials from hundreds of remote viewers. Many of those remote viewers are still on the payroll of the governments of the United States and the Russian Federation. Those testimonials, though written independently by the analysts, are comprised of 4,472 pages, every single one of which, alarmingly, evince Snowden’s account.

“The massive electromagnetic pulse from the solar flares, or ‘the killshot,’ will shutter most of the world’s electrical systems,” said Snowden. “The Americans whose lives are most at risk are the elderly and the infirmed, those who depend on technology to enable their receiving home care or life-sustaining medical treatment.”

Throughout the 1970s and the 1990s, Russia and the United States were desperate to track and monitor the construction and maintenance of each other’s nuclear silos. The nations’ governments openly admitted having poured billions of dollars into the training of elite teams of remote viewers. With their powers, the remote viewers were able to deter nuclear launches and, ultimately, bring an end to the Cold War.  In the mid-’90s, the CIA simply pretended to close its remote-viewing program, so that it could operate more effectively.

Snowden said he hopes that his coming forward will allow Project Stargate’s participants to be able to live normal, open lives again, “instead of as circus animals, instead of as freaks.” He added, “[Significant others of Project Stargate employees] have to get Q clearances just to cohabitate with, without even marrying, their loved ones. That’s tantamount to slavery.”

Humanity is about to pay a most dire price for its technological dependence. That price, said Snowden, proved a leading factor in his decision to come forward to the press – about both the global Holocaust to ensue, as well as NSA analysts’ power, on the slightest whim, to listen to the phone calls of any person on earth.

Snowden said, with regard to CIA remote viewers, “I have seen too many brave whistleblowers become subjects of smear and ridicule for using their talents to expose the truth.” Added Snowden, bitterly, “Well, we’ll see who’s Mr. Chuckles when ‘the killshot’ goes down.”

WikiLeaks attorneys; and Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s own counsel, together produced a video calling for calm and global preparedness. Monday, Snowden sent the video, below, to the Russian Federal Migration Service as part of his call for asylum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkYQEuHwzgM

From: http://www.chronicle.su/news/edward-snowden-solar-flare-killshot-cataclysm-imminent/

Related Content on Uddari
Solar Flares & Drought – Come September what do WE do?
Snowden’s Solar Flare Warning for September

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‘We Apologize for the Inconvenience, We’re Rebuilding Brazil’ by Marina Araujo

From:
pen.org/blog/

Resounding with chants of “the people are awake” and “come to the street,” Brazil witnessed the largest and most powerful public demonstrations since the struggle to end military dictatorship in the mid-80s. More than 200,000 people protested in capital cities across my country against social problems and deeply flawed institutions.

I was in Porto Alegre on June 17, where thousands marched toward the headquarters of Zero Hora, one of the most powerful newspapers in the country. Walking amid peaceful protestors near the front, I was suddenly hit with tear gas. No one knew why or how we were stopped. In the end we didn’t make it to Zero Hora; the riot police stopped us from getting to what, ironically, turned out to be a better protected site than the National Congress in Brasilia, where people climbed, danced, and chanted atop the modernist building. Police violence against this huge uprising of Brazilian people has been in the headlines of all newspapers, and has shaped political debates since June 13, when a protest in São Paulo left one hundred people injured and two hundred people arrested.

There are many causes for the protests. The most evident is the rise of bus fares in São Paulo. This particular fare hike followed one in Porto Alegre in early April, when a city government decision caused the first wave of major unrest. To everyone’s surprise, the protests in Porto Alegre led to the lowering of transportation fares back to their original cost. When São Paulo raised transportaton fares in early June, the first posters of “let’s repeat Porto Alegre” appeared in the streets, and spurred a national debate.

The demonstrations also call attention to the flawed decision-making process and high costs of building infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The negotiations surrounding building contracts for these events are rooted in Brazil’s tradition of benefiting businessmen, corporations, and corrupt politicians at the expense of the public.

Then there is the broad public discomfort with media outlets. There is a reason why protesters in Porto Alegre targeted the headquarters of Zero Hora. Since April, the most important media networks have portrayed protesters as vandals who want to disrupt public peace. Demonstrators have not forgotten that Brazil’s media was built up in the 60s and has deep roots and alliances with the oligarchies and politicians connected to the military coup.

In some ways, the protests are forcing media outlets to reshape themselves, to realign, and to choose their allies more carefully. Their own journalists are suffering from police violence.

June 13 was a critical moment in this shifting conversation. The police were told to repress all protesters. As a result, a journalist was arrested and detained for more than two hours for carrying a bottle of vinegar. It is no accident that we have come up with the term “Vinegar Revolt”—the widespread use of tear gas has made this common kitchen product the most reliable shield protesters can carry. The brutal tactics of the police that day created a wave of resentment in the population and changed the behavior of the police in later protests.

It took a brutal attack on a journalist for the media to begin changing its tune as well. Brazil’s most influential newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, published an editorial claiming that the protests were not justifiable or legitimate, that the rise in transportation fares was below inflation, that the protests were frustrating daily life in the city, and that the military police must put an end to it. When the protest started that same evening, a young female reporter of Folha was struck in the eye by a rubber bullet fired by riot police who aimed the gun at her face while she was covering the events. There were many similar cases that night, and the press woke up with a different perspective on the following day.

What is happening in Brazil right now is one of those historic moments in which a society bends to new social variables of differing importance. Today we have 40 million fewer people in poverty, a stronger middle-class, more universities, and a better quality of life. But we are still greatly dissatisfied with Brazil’s most persistent and formative social problem: the precariousness of our public institutions and the fragility of our condition as citizens in a country where the government persists in treating the public sphere as its own personal property—throughout history, Brazil’s indigenous elite have never stopped treating the country as a colony to be exploited.

On Monday, when we were stopped by the riot police and pushed back violently by loud rockets and tear gas, the anger and frustration at being denied basic civil rights was too great. When we were pushed back to side streets, we left the front lines to masked anarchists fighting back with sticks—they seemed heroic at the time. It wasn’t long before we heard that a bus was set on fire. Until then, the protest had been peaceful. We chanted “no violence” every five minutes, and policed each other so that not even a trashcan was overturned. Very few protesters were there to be violent. After that peaceful climate, however, the bus on fire seemed like a logical conclusion.

A kid next to me sprayed painted “democracy is a farce” on a wall. A girl then yelled at him for defacing public property. We all yelled back at her, because at that moment, democracy did feel like a farce, and the public sphere merely an illusion. Our acts, and the kid with the spray paint, were creating a new, real, public space. And this is achieved through reform of political institutions and a serious discussion of the role of the media; a way to effectively reflect upon, neutralize, and overcome the vicious ways of our colonial past.

One of the most famous signs of the protest read: “We apologize for the inconvenience, we’re rebuilding Brazil.” And that is what is happening here. Over two weeks, people in the streets lowered transportation fares that were considered unchangeable, transformed the behavior of the police, made politicians give their support for the protests, and shamed conservative journalists and intellectuals who undermined the protests and offended the people who were a part of them. I’d say we are on the right track.

Marina Araujo is a Brazilian historian and Fulbright scholar who researches American poetry during the 60s. She also writes about experimental poetry and counter-culture in Brazil, and is interested in politics and social change in contemporary literature and its connections with pop culture. A former teacher of cultural history and sociology in Brazil, she currently teaches at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in pursuit of her PhD

PUBLISHED ON JUNE 19, 2013 at PEN America.

– See more at: pen.org/blog/we-apologize-inconvenience-we%E2%80%99re-rebuilding-brazil#sthash.KTGMLX1M.dpuf

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Diversity in Canadian Decision Making – an article by Barj S. Dhahan

Work is needed to make Canada’s leadership diverse, inclusive

Opinion: Board diversity shown to improve decision-making

Last month, Kathleen Wynne became Ontario’s premier after winning that province’s Liberal leadership race. There are now six women premiers in Canada. While it is a great sign of our progress on the path to gender parity in Canadian politics, there continues to be a general lack of diversity in that arena. Today, only 25 per cent of our provincially and federally elected officials are women, and less than seven per cent are from ethnic minorities.

A similar critique can be made about government appointments to Canada’s agencies, boards, and commissions. Each year, governments across Canada appoint thousands of people to serve on the boards of agencies such as Crown corporations, health authorities and post-secondary institutions. These boards make important decisions that affect all Canadians. It is therefore crucial that they represent the perspectives of the diverse citizens that they serve. Yet, an analysis of Canada’s board appointments indicates a surprising lack of diversity.

There are many benefits to recruiting diverse board members. Board diversity has been shown to improve decision-making, help legitimize the organization’s mandate, and build social cohesion. In the corporate world, businesses benefit from the inclusion of varied perspectives and a commitment to social responsibility. Returns on equity are a third higher in companies with more females in upper-level management.

Similarly, there are benefits to political leaders who demonstrate a commitment to diversity. Note that Mitt Romney’s loss in the U.S. presidential election was attributed in part to his inability to garner support from women and non-white communities.

In British Columbia, the guidelines for public appointments refer to the importance of diversity. However, most appointments are still white males. While half of B.C.’s population is female and 28 per cent are ethnic minorities, the 68 appointments in December 2012 and January 2013 included only 23 (34 per cent) women and seven (10 per cent) people from ethnic minorities. A review of the boards of BC Hydro, BC Ferries, BC Assessments, the major universities, and the various health authorities (a total of 14 boards), further demonstrate this lack of diversity. Only three were made up of 50 per cent women, and most were less than 30 per cent. While most have at least one member from an ethnic minority, none had more than two.

Similar numbers can be found in Ontario, Alberta, and at the federal level. In Ontario, just over half the population is female and 23 per cent are from ethnic minorities. Yet, of Ontario’s 40 recent board appointments, only 15 (37 per cent) were women, and five (12 per cent) were from ethnic minorities.

An analysis of eight boards in Alberta including the universities, Alberta Health Services, and the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, revealed even less diversity, with the majority comprising less than 25 per cent women and many with either zero or one minority representative.

At the federal level, nine major boards, including the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, the Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Bank of Canada, revealed none with more than 35 per cent women, and some lower than 20 per cent. The Bank of Canada board of 14 includes only two women (14 per cent). Most of these boards contain two minority representatives or fewer.

The recent departure of Justice Marie Deschamps leaves three women on the nine-seat Supreme Court of Canada. She has lamented that, “Numbers do count. … I was sad that I was not replaced by a woman.”

Not enough is being done to ensure that government-appointed boards reflect the diversity of the country. While the policy is there, it is not being met. Governments at all levels should increase the amount of resources dedicated to identifying candidates with the necessary expertise who are also demographically representative. This process should be open and transparent.

There is always a risk of simply appointing “token” females and members from minority groups in order to meet policy requirements. We must make sure that appointments are still merit-based, and that the required expertise is sought from throughout Canada’s diverse population. Recruiting for diversity will ensure that our institutions bring together the perspectives of all Canadians.

Inclusive leadership is essential to an inclusive society. If we believe in the importance of representative democracy, and if we want our children to grow up in an open and caring society, we need to lead by example.

If our government and institutions demonstrate a commitment to equality, we can hope to see this reflected throughout all aspects of our society.

Barj S. Dhahan

Barj S. Dhahan is the National chair of Canada India Foundation.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Work+needed+make+Canada+leadership+diverse+inclusive/7922639/story.html#ixzz2Kdh6IoAw

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‘Gurpreet Singh refuses Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal’ by Charlie Smith

Today, I received a message from one of our contributors, Gurpreet Singh, saying he’s turned down an award that many others are bragging about winning.

Singh, also a talk-show host on Radio India, had been offered a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Newton–North Delta NDP MP Jinny Sims.

But he let me know that he didn’t want it—and not out of any disrespect for Sims, the fiery former president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

Once again, Singh has proven that he doesn’t just run with the pack.

Here are five reasons why this immigrant from India decided that he didn’t need to pin one of these medals on his chest to prove what a great Canadian he is:

• He hates the monarchy and wants an elected constitutional head of state in Canada.

• The Queen represents a colonial empire that brought destruction to India and Canada.

• The Queen did not apologize for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre ordered by Brig.-Gen. Reginald Dyer in 1919, even though she visited Amritsar in the Indian state of Punjab where the atrocity occurred.

• A nurse of Indian origin committed suicide after being accused of breaching the Royal Family’s privacy by leaking news of Kate Middleton’s condition during pregnancy.

• The Queen and her Governor General have not shown compassion toward Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and the indigenous peoples.

Singh’s decision comes in the same month that writer Naomi Klein and singer Sarah Slean rejected the same offer.

Meanwhile, Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow reportedly mailed her medal back to Gov. Gen. David Johnston because of his initial refusal to meet with Chief Spence.

Awards are often grossly over-rated. It’s nice to see that some folks are trying to make use of these baubles to educate people rather than simply wrapping themselves in glory.

http://www.straight.com/blogra/346346/gurpreet-singh-refuses-queen-elizabeth-ii-diamond-jubilee-medal

uddari@live.ca

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‘Debunking Blatchford and other anti-Native ideologues on Idle No More’ by Harsha Walia

Uddari fully supports Idle No More.
Long Live Chief Theresa Spence,
Emil Bell and Raymond Robinson
!

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Christie Blatchford seems to have a penchant for horse manure. In her vitriolic piece about Attawapiskat Cree Chief Theresa Spence, who is entering the twenty-first day of hunger strike on Monday, Blatchford writes, “all around her, the inevitable cycle of hideous puffery and horse manure that usually accompanies native protests swirls.” In 2006, she wrote an equally disgraceful and racist puff piece equating Muslims with terrorism, deriding men in beards and women in burkas, declaring that the Islamic Foundation of Toronto “had a sea of horse manure emanating from the building.”

In her most recent piece, Blatchford has the audacity to refer to Chief Spence’s action as “one of intimidation, if not terrorism.” I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” Blatchford provokes further, “there is I think a genuine question as to whether there’s enough of Aboriginal Culture that has survived.” Wrong, Blatchford. Indigenous peoples, cultures and nations have survived and thrived despite genocide — despite a long, shameful and racist history of residential schools, forced sterilization, small pox and germ warfare, the breaking of treaties, legislative control including through the Gradual Civilization Act and the Indian Act, forced dispossession from lands and relocation to reservations, outlawing of ceremonies such as the potlatch and traditional activities such as fishing and hunting, and much more.

I will agree with Blatchford on one thing though, hunger strikes do indeed “have a way of reducing complex issues to the most simple elements.” An act of ultimate self-sacrifice, famed hunger-strikers such as Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Bobby Sands, Khader Adnan, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, and Irom Chanu Sharmila persisted in their demand for the most basic of elements: land, life, abundance, freedom and dignity.

There is no end to the stupidity of Christie Blatchford

 Blatchford’s recent piece is unsurprising given her history of sensationalist writing. Two years ago she released the oxymoronically-titled book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy and How the Law Failed All of Us, arguing that the Ontario government and Ontario Provincial Police failed to protect the helpless and fearful settler Caledonians, who were victims of the lawless Native thugs of Six Nations (she doesn’t know to use Haudenosaunee people of the Grand River).

Conveniently, Blatchford glosses over the regular anti-Native violence and white supremacist organizing in Caledonia to reproduce racist tropes about the civilized settler in need of protection from the savage Native. Her book is devoid of any context of the over 150-year land dispute that has seen the current Six Nations land base represent less than 5 per cent of what is outlined in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 and she makes no mention of the over 29 land claims filed by Six Nations as the underlying reason for the land reclamation.

Last year Blatchford wrote about Attawapiskat, claiming “some First Nations haven’t a clue how to govern themselves.” More recently, she wrote about Wally Oppal’s Missing Women’s Inquiry report, audaciously stating this tragedy is not due to institutional and societal racism and sexism against Indigenous women. No, for Christie Blatchford the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women is due to the “broken state of Aboriginal culture… which is pathologically ill.” And just this week, Blatchford slams Aboriginal-specific fishing policies such as food, social and ceremonial fisheries for creating unfairness for non-native fisheries.

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All three paternalistic diatribes paint settler society as victims, homogenize Indigenous communities as the Other who are culturally inferior and inherently backwards (a racist civilizing discourse that justifies imperialism locally and globally), and lay blame and shame on Indigenous communities instead of on colonial policies, institutions and relations.

There is much to criticize about what is happening in Attawapiskat, what transpired at the Missing Women’s Inquiry, and the conduct of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but “lax” treatment of Indigenous communities is most certainly not one of them. Much the opposite — Attawapiskat was immediately blamed for its housing crisis and had to fight the imposition of Third Party Management at the Federal Court, the Missing Women’s Inquiry shut out Indigenous and Downtown Eastside women’s groups, and Indigenous communities such as the Sto:lo have been facing hundreds of criminal charges for exercising their inherent Aboriginal fishing rights.

Attitudes reproducing colonialism

 So why bother rebutting a known racist who has a soapbox under the guise of journalism? Blatchford’s writings reflect an undertone that is omnipresent in all right-wing and anti-Native ideologies masquerading in comments such as “Natives don’t pay taxes and receive all kinds of special treatment,” “Natives should stop complaining and get a job,” “Natives are responsible for their own social condition on and off reserve,” and so on.

Such comments are embedded in and reflect deeply colonial attitudes in three main ways: they invisibilize the reality of genocide that has created the deliberate conditions of marginalization and impoverishment for Indigenous people, they propagate the idea that Indigenous communities need to assimilate into the dominant settler and consumerist way of life, and finally, such comments evade a discussion on how the theft and appropriation of Indigenous lands and resources subsidize the Canadian economy rather than the other way around.

Settler-colonialism has forcibly displaced Indigenous peoples from their territories, seeks to destroy autonomy and self-determination within Indigenous governance, and has attempted to assimilate Indigenous cultures and traditions. Settler-colonialism has been normalized to such an extent that, instead of revealing itself, it presents its victims and survivors as the source of their own problems.

Legislation entrenching colonialism

 Chief Theresa Spence’s courageous hunger strike and others hunger-striking alongside her including Emil Bell and Raymond Robinson, as well as opposition to Bill C-45 and the other pieces of legislation, is about the impact of federal policy within an ongoing legacy of colonial relations. According to Mi’kmaq lawyer and scholar Pamela Palmater, “The creation of Canada was only possible through the negotiation of treaties between the Crown and Indigenous nations… The failure of Canada to share the lands and resources as promised in the treaties has placed First Nations at the bottom of all socio-economic indicators — health, lifespan, education levels and employment opportunities. While Indigenous lands and resources are used to subsidize the wealth and prosperity of Canada as a state and the high-quality programs and services enjoyed by Canadians, First Nations have been subjected to purposeful, chronic underfunding of all their basic human services like water, sanitation, housing, and education.”

Over the last four decades, and with greater urgency since the global financial crisis, there has been an emphasis by the Canadian government on converting reserve lands into fee simple lands (i.e private property), which would expedite extinguishment of Aboriginal title and the surrender of Indigenous lands. Russell Diabo, editor of First Nations Strategic Bulletin, extensively outlines how recent legislation is part of this trend of assimilation and termination. According to Diabo, “Termination in this context means the ending of First Nations pre-existing sovereign status through federal coercion of First Nations into Land Claims and Self-Government Final Agreements that convert First Nations into municipalities, their reserves into fee simple lands and extinguishment of their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.”

Fee simple property on reserve lands must be understood within capitalism and colonialism, which have been mutually-reinforcing processes to justify the illegal theft and expropriation of Indigenous lands. Championed by the likes of Tom Flanagan, former advisor to Stephen Harper and campaign manager for Alberta’s Wildrose Party, the privatization of reserve lands (what capitalists refer to as “dead capital”) and converting collectively-held land title into the legal regime of individual property rights is necessary in order to sell reserve lands to multinational corporations. This is part of a worldwide trend to impose market-driven and resource-extractive development on to Indigenous, peasant and rural communities through investment agreements and structural adjustment policies. Neoliberal economist and World Bank darling Hernando De Soto, for example, has been pushing fee-simple property ownership throughout the global South. Expressing opposition to such ideologies, Harley Chingee, a member of the First Nations Lands Advisory Board, is quoted as stating, “The change would undermine signed Treaties across Canada; undermine our political autonomy; restrict our creativity and innovation; and place us in a dangerous position where any short-term financial difficulty may result in the wholesale liquidation of our reserve lands, or the creation of a patchwork quilt of reserve lands like Oka.”

Idle No More and decolonization

 We know that Blatchford and other right-wing commentators and politicians are on the wrong side of history, where and how the rest of us will stand is the crucial question. The grassroots Idle No More movement — through rallies, blockades, social media, round-dances, and ceremonies — has inspired Indigenous communities as well as non-Indigenous allies across these lands. Jessica Danforth, multiracial Indigenous feminist, tells me that “Idle No More was started by Indigenous women who have never been idle. Idle no more isn’t just about Bill C-45; it’s also about supporting our youth, defending land, honouring the past and future seven generations and so much more.” Bonnie Clairmont, Bear Clan of the HoChunk nation (south of the colonial border) similarly says, “I’m reminded of how Indian women are strong because we protect our treaty rights, grandmother earth, resources, our children and our people.” Given that colonial violence has intentionally targeted Indigenous women, it is no coincidence that Indigenous women leading this movement is in and of itself an explicitly anti-colonial response.

Decolonization of settler-colonialism on these lands requires a commitment to fighting colonization, and a resurgence and recentering of Indigenous worldviews of another way of living and protecting the land. The obligation for decolonization rests on all of us. Indigenous Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson urges non-Natives to seriously take on the struggle against colonialism. “We don’t have to uphold this system any longer. We can collectively make different choices,” she writes. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox similarly writes, “What it [Idle No More] highlights is that Harper’s extreme legislation is only possible because successive generations of settler Canadians have normalized looking to government rather than themselves to resolve “the Indian problem.” She further argues that “co-existence through co-resistance is the responsibility of settlers… Relationship creates accountability and responsibility for sustained supportive action.”

We must embody and enact decolonization in order to claim it. Decolonization is as much a process as a goal; the journey of how we get there, together, is as critical as the destination we reach.

As Native Youth Movement member Joaquin Cienfuegos notes: “We have to learn how to be human again, this battle is one where we not only decolonize ourselves and our minds, but decolonize our condition.”

Decolonization’s most transformative potential rests in freeing us all from a colonial and hierarchical relationship of domination, from a dehumanizing social organization that robs us from one another, and from a materialist political economy that destroys the land and our collective future.

Ultimately, decolonization grounds us in gratitude and humility through the realization that we are but one part of the land and its creation, that culture is not synonymous with capital or consumption, and that we can constitute our kinships and relations based on shared values of respect and responsibility to Indigenous communities, one another, and the land.

Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) is a South Asian writer and activist based on Vancouver, unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh territories. She is involved in anti-racist, migrant justice, feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements and has been active in Indigenous solidarity for over a decade. 

From Rabble.ca
http://rabble.ca/news/2012/12/debunking-blatchford-and-other-anti-native-ideologues-idle-no-more
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uddari@live.ca
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UN Recognizes Palestine!!

Hours ago, the UN voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as the world’s 194th state!!! It’s a huge victory for the Palestinian people, for peace, for our community, and people across the world are joining with massive crowds in Palestine to celebrate.

The Palestinian people’s journey to freedom is far from over. But this is a powerful step, and our community played a key role in it. Responding to the vote, Palestine’s Ambassador to Europe said:

“Avaaz and its members across the world have played a crucial role in persuading governments to support the Palestinian people’s bid for a state and for freedom and peace. They have stood with us throughout and their solidarity and support will be remembered and cherished across Palestine.” – Leila Shahid, General Palestinian Delegate to Europe

The US and Israeli governments; beholden to extreme lobby groups (yes, sadly even Obama has given in), threw everything they had at crushing this vote, using financial threats and even threatening to overthrow the Palestinian President if he went ahead. Europe was the key swing vote, and under intense US pressure, leaders were, just two weeks ago, leaning towards not supporting the Palestinian state. Knowing the stakes, our community responded with the speed and democratic force that we needed to win:
Nearly 1.8 million of us signed the petition calling for statehood.

Thousands of us donated to fund public opinion polls across Europe — showing that a whopping 79% of Europeans supported a Palestinian state. Our polls were plastered all over the media, and repeatedly cited in Parliamentary debates in the UK, Spain and France!

We sent tens of thousands of emails, Facebook messages and Tweets to leaders across Europe and made thousands of calls to foreign ministries and heads of state.

We unfurled a giant 4-storey banner outside the EU Commission in Brussels (right) while leaders were meeting inside. Then, we staged another stunt in Madrid. Previously, we had sailed a flotilla of ships past the UN calling for a vote. Our actions made headlines all over Europe.

Avaaz staff and members met with dozens and dozens of government ministers, top advisors, senior journalists, parliamentarians and thought leaders in each of the key countries, in many cases teaming up to win over leaders one by one through advocacy, pressure, parliamentary resolutions and public statements, always drawing on the surge in people power behind this cause.

We reached out to key thought leaders like Stéphane Hessel, a 94-year old survivor of Nazi concentration camps, and Ron Pundak, an Israeli who played a key role in Oslo peace process, to speak out in favour of statehood.

One by one, key European states broke with the US to answer the call of justice and their peoples. In the final vote tally we got just now, only 9 countries out of 193 have voted against! France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and most of Europe has voted for Palestine.

The US and Israel argued first that statehood was dangerous for peace, and then, when they’d lost, that it didn’t matter and the vote was just symbolic. But if it were just symbolic they wouldn’t have done everything to try and stop it. And after years of bad-faith negotiations and Israeli comfort with the status quo as they steadily colonize more Palestinian land, this move shows the US and Israel that if they do not engage in good faith, the Palestinians and the world are prepared to move forward without them. It’s a more balanced basis for real peace talks. And that’s the best alternative to the kind of violence we saw Israel’s government and Hamas offer in Gaza this month.

For decades the Palestinian people have suffered under a stifling Israeli military dictatorship, repressive controls on their travel and work, continual denial of their rights and the constant threat of insecurity and violence. 65 years ago yesterday, the UN recognized the state of Israel, beginning a path to the establishment of a safe home for the Jewish people. Now the Palestinians take a step down the same path, and gain a dignity in the eyes of the international community that they have been denied for a generation. And from that dignity, we can build the foundations of peace.

With hope and joy,

Ricken, Alice, Ari, Wissam, Allison, Sam, Julien, Pascal, Wen, Pedro, Saravanan, Emma, Ben, Dalia, Alexey, Paul, Marie, Aldine, Luca, Jamie, Morgan and the whole Avaaz team.

PS Here are some sources -The Associated Press covers today’s victory, the Guardiancovers our polling two weeks ago, Avaaz’s Daily Briefing provides a map of the vote result, and Haaretz describes Israel’s response.

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