Parallel Realities and Fake News

Efforts to dismiss the recent incident at the Lincoln Memorial  as ‘Fake News’ by President Trump and others is a further example of the current extreme political polarisation in America. President Trump lost no time in tweeting in support of the students and inviting them to the White House, his views predictably retweeted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In  comparison and in the tradition of ‘Walking the Talk’ Wayne William Snellgrove a survivor of the Canadian policy that stole indigenous babies and farmed them out to other parts of the world has extended an invitation to attend a sacred Healing Ceremony  “to the students, their school, their families, their dioceses. All clergy are welcome. ..Nathan will be invited also. Our Elders and Ancestors say that ceremony is the best place we can be .This is where we must go as Indigenous. Covington MAGA hat young incident was sad.  But we must raise above, we must practice our walk. Turning our prayers into action. We show the world, compassion, love and Light. Let us create a space for these youth and their families. This affects us all, and all must be invited. I personally invite these youths to sacred healing ceremony where we will sit and talk with our hearts. We are not asking for you to say sorry. I am are asking you to come sit with us in ceremony and talk from your heart. This is where we must go. This invitation has no expiration date. We will be waiting for you in ceremony.”
Wayne William Snellgrove,
Saulteaux Tribe, Fishing Lake First Nation. Continue reading

‘MY DREAM HAS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE’ Martin Luther King Jnr

AS THE WORLD CELEBRATES MARTIN LUTHER KING JNR DAY WE REMEMBER HIS ACHIEVEMENTS AND THE PRICE HE AND SO MANY OTHERS PAID TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE ALL CREATED EQUAL.

Nathan Phillips a Native American elder  is a well known activist for their  causes.  While singing a protest song and beating his drum at a Lincoln Memorial gathering he found himself on the fringe of an altercation  between white and black youths. As he tried to pass by he became surrounded by the white youths, many wearing the signature Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ cap, who taunted and mocked him.  One young man blocked his way in a confrontational manner and tried to stare him down but he kept singing and drumming. Phillips has described focussing upon the reason for his protest and remembering his wife who died of cancer four years ago. A video recording of the event has gone viral, drawing outrage and forcing an apology from the Catholic Diocese of the school the youths attend. Ironically the students of Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School were taking part in an anti abortion rally but showed little ‘respect for life’ towards Mr Phillips. Continue reading

FIRST AMERICANS -A POCKET HISTORY FOR TRUMP

A HISTORY REMINDER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE

The term ‘Pre Columbian’ civilizations refers to societies affected by the arrival of Columbus in 1492 and the subsequent colonisation by Europeans. Geographically Mesoamerica includes Central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Cost Rica. These ancient societies combined moral codes and spiritual beliefs with the sciences of astronomy, physics and medicine with advanced skills in ceramics and metallurgy.

Amerindians are the indigenous people of North, Central and South America, their history dates back 30,000 years. At the end of the Ice Age their ancestors journeyed from their original home in Siberia, across the Bering land bridge and into Alaska.  By 8,000 BC their descendants, the Native Americans had spread across the entire north American continent. From around 5,500 BC Amerindians became highly skilled farmers, tribes in Mexico cultivated vegetables, raised animals for food and hunted deer and bison, while fish became the staple food of coastal tribes.  After 2000 BC Amerindian tribes developed States, each governing thousands of people with extensive trade routes and established shipping lines across the continents. Their innovative planting and  irrigation schemes ensured their people were fed. The idea of private land ownership was alien to them, land was held communally and worked collectively.  Continue reading

“The words Presidents use can start wars or move markets”

Language is social – It is the tool that conveys traditions and values related to group identity, a means of expressing our thoughts, feelings and intentions to those we are talking to. Used respectfully it enriches and enables, used negatively it can demean and even demonize both individuals and social groups.‘Transliteration’ is a particular form used to emphasise something important that a writer or speaker would like to express. It can be framed to be inclusive, i.e. encompassing divergent views or groups, or be divisive, promoting disagreement or open hostility. It requires a certain skill. President Trump is no orator and is limited to hyperbole, devoid of diplomacy and nuance, using the basic principles of repetition, simplistic ideas and short phrases known to appeal  to voters’ emotions, rather than their intellects. This approach encourages the listener’s imagination, transporting them to a scenario in tune with their beliefs, when this is fear based, deep seated emotions are ignited. Energy is magnified by the numbers present, political rallies providing the perfect environment to whip up passions, creating a perfect storm. Continue reading

POWER OF WORDS – To Heal or Harm

A timely reminder of the power of words at a time when President Trumps rhetoric is causing great concern worldwide with many questioning the part this plays in inciting violence.

ELOQUENCE AND DIGNITY OF EXPRESSION PERSUADES AND CONVINCES, ELEVATING BOTH THE SPEAKER AND THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORDS.

Words have power, the voice expresses the Will and can be used as a tool to inspire or as a weapon to wound. Religions and spiritual movements draw upon ancient traditions incorporating a formula of collective repetitive prayer, chanting and singing to strengthen and unify followers.  Examples being the catholic Rosary, Buddhist chants and Islamic prayers recited collectively 5 times daily.

There is an exact formula used throughout time by those who wish to empower or manipulate their followers by reinforcing and heightening their beliefs. Vocal expression can empower and unify or inflame and divide, certain factors induce momentum and the effect is magnified by intention and numbers.  Powerful delivery charged with emotion can be expected to inspire action for that is its purpose.

Formula:

  • The voice must be activated
  • Repetition of short, simple words or phrases
  • Collective expression magnifies effect
  • Acceleration builds energetic momentum
  • Shared focus projects intention

Continue reading

YEMEN – ‘Collateral damage’

Thousands of people have gathered in Yemen for the funerals of dozens of children, most between the age of 10 and 13, killed in a Saudi-led coalition attack on a bus last week.  Houthi officials have labelled the raid a “crime by America and its allies against the children of Yemen”.  The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “independent and prompt investigation” into the air strike. The coalition initially said its actions were “legitimate” but later said it would probe “collateral damage”.  Western countries, led by the US and the UK, have supplied the Saudi-led coalition with huge amounts of advanced military equipment, facilitating a military campaign characterised by  accusation of war crimes.

According to the UN Human Rights Council, civilians have repeatedly been the victims of “unrelenting violations of international humanitarian law”. Another Saudi bombing of a funeral using US weapons killed 140 people in October.  Despite the  UN warning that blockades and restrictions could trigger “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades” today, 8 million people are at risk of starvation, a humanitarian disaster.  Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of almost 400,000 children under the age of five.  More than 9,245 people have been killed and 52,800 injured since March 2015.  At least 5,558 of those killed, and 9,065 of those injured up to the end of 2017 were civilians. 

  • Some 22.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million people who urgently require immediate assistance to survive.
  • 16.4 million people are lacking basic healthcare and diphtheria, once considered eradicated, has returned.
  • Medics are struggling to cope with a cholera outbreak resulting in 2,248 associated deaths since April 2017 and more than 1 million suspected cases.  

The conflict follows the failure of a peaceful transition of power following the Arab Spring uprising, as the recognised government struggled to deal with a variety of problems including attacks by al-Qaeda, corruption, food insecurity and unemployment. Coalition ground troops landed in Aden in August 2015 and helped drive the Houthi rebels and their allies out of much of the south.  Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states began an air campaign opposing the rise of a group they believed to be backed militarily by Iran. The  aim being to halt the smuggling of weapons to the rebels by Iran – an accusation Tehran denied. The Saudi led coalition received logistical and intelligence support from the US, UK and France.

With both sides entrenched, three UN-organised efforts to negotiate a peace deal have failed. Yemen is yet another pawn in the increasing regional struggle for power between Saudi Arabia and Iran as America transfers its focus from the Middle East to Asia.  In the resource-rich Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is only a minor player in the global oil business, yet a major escalation of its conflict would have severe repercussions across global oil markets for geo-strategic reasons.  Yemen is located adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important energy transit and to the Bab-el-Mandab Strait which controls access to the Suez Canal. Disruptions of these key seaborne supply routes to Asia and Europe would result in increased volatility in global oil prices and diminished global supply.  Diplomatic solutions are essential to avoid regional instability and the potential to lead to full-blown armed conflict between the region’s major powers.

HISTORY NOTE:The  history of colonial power is predicated on access to resources and the strategic position of the country concerned. Yemen is low on commodities but strategically placed. In 1839 The British East India Company captured the port of Aden to provide a coaling station for ships en route to India, Aden was then ruled as part of British India until 1937 when the city of Aden became a Crown colony.  Following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the Aden Settlement gained great strategic and political importance.  When Egypt’s President Nasser led the opposition to colonial rule in the Middle East, the British came under increasing pressure to leave.  In response Britain formed The Federation of Arab Emirates of the South in 1959, incorporating the various states under its protection.

On January 18th 1963 the Colony of Aden was incorporated against the wishes of many of the population and the Federation was renamed The Federation of South Arabia.  An insurgency erupted against the British Crown and South Arabia forces and a state of emergency was declared, North Yemen became a republic in 1962.  In 1964 the British government announced its intention to hand over power to the Federation of South Arabia but stated that the British military would remain.  The ensuing conflict hastened the end of British rule in the territory.  With the temporary closure of the Suez Canal  by Nasser in 1967 the British had no further need to keep hold of their colonies in Yemen and in the face of uncontrollable violence, began to withdraw.  In 1967 the independent Peoples Republic of South Yemen was declared. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern Republic of Yemen in 1990.

 

HEBREW V ARABIC – Language as a Tool of Oppression

New legislation now defines Israel as a ‘Jewish nation state under the Constitution.’ Only Jews have the right to self determination which the law states is ‘unique to Jewish people’.  Hebrew becomes Israel’s only official language, stripping Arabic of its former status as a designated official language along with Hebrew.    https://www.youtube.com/watch v=ys_RLjBjUw4

It has been said that ‘Nothing so surely and perfectly stamps upon an individual a national characteristic as language’.  It is therefore the first victim of occupation and suppression. Excluding language from legislature effectively diminishes status and erodes effective participation.  A glance at history confirms the consequence of eliminating cultural self expression by suppressing indigenous language,the policy begins with removal from the legislative process, part of the extermination of ‘alien’ cultural values.

NATIVE AMERICAN:  As part of the Assimilation Programme over a hundred thousand Native American children were forcibly separated from their families to be educated in boarding schools with every effort made to strip them of their cultural identity.  Children were punished for using their native tongue and taught English with words that had no equivalent in their own language.  Some scholars estimate that the Western Hemisphere at the time of the first European contact was inhabited by 40 million people who spoke 1,800 different tongues.  Another widely accepted estimate suggests that at the time of Columbus more than 15 million speakers throughout the Western Hemisphere used more than 2,000 languages.  As a result of European conquest perhaps two thirds of the many indigenous American languages had already died out or were dying out by the mid twentieth century.  Linguistic authorities suggest that about one half of the Native American languages N.of Mexico have become extinct.  Only a few tongues, like Navajo and Cherokee, can claim more than 50,000 speakers; Navajo is spoken by about 150,000 people.  The outlook for the future of the indigenous American languages is not good; most will probably die out.  At present, the aboriginal languages are gradually being replaced by the Indo-European tongues of the European conquerors, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch.

IRELAND: The Gaelic language is universally acknowledged as a unique reflection of Irish identity yet the native Gaelic was almost lost through cultural erosion. Medieval incursions ended with the Crown colonisation policy c1609 when English and Scots migrated in the Plantation period, dispossessing the Irish of their land rights. The Irish language was prohibited until 1871 with only English taught by order of the British government.  Irish became a minority language during the 19th century, mostly a spoken tongue with little written literature appearing in the language until the Gaelic Revival of the late 19th century and the nationalist uprisings which sought and regained  Irish sovereignty.  Gaelic began to be taught in Irish schools and today out of a population of 4.803 million, an estimated 72,000 people use Irish as a daily language, a larger minority of the population are fluent with a further 1.66 million people in the republic having some knowledge of the language. An impressive partial recovery of a language so nearly lost.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6JbUDBfY1E President of Ireland speaking in Gaelic (St. Patrick’s Day Message)

WALES: Cymric along with English is the official language of the National Assembly for Wales which advocated equal validity for Welsh in speech and in written documents.  Cymric is one of the worlds oldest languages originating from the Celtic tribes of Europe and the earliest inhabitants of the British Isles.  Wales has been described as “England’s first colony” annexed and incorporated into the English administrative and legal system in the 16th century when the Welsh legal system was abolished and the Welsh language banned from any official role and status.  In 1847 a  Royal Commission on Welsh education, noted that there were areas where the children spoke only Welsh.  It concluded that the Welsh as a race were “ignorant”, “lazy” and “immoral” and that one of the main causes of this was the continuing use of the “evil” Welsh language.” As a result, English-only schools were set up in much of Wales, children speaking Welsh were punished with the “Welsh Not“, a piece of wood, ruler or stick, often inscribed with the letters “WN”.  Pupils heard speaking Welsh were made to hold it or it was sometimes hung around the childs head. When another child was heard using Welsh, ‘The Not’ was taken from its current owner and given to the latest offender.  The child could pass the ‘Not’ to any of their Welsh speaking classmates if they informed the teacher that they had caught someone speaking Welsh. The pupil in possession at the end of the day was subjected to a flogging.  Today Welsh identity remains strong, with a growing  awareness and acknowledgement of Wales’ cultural and historical separateness from England, reflected politically. The Welsh language is linguistically Celtic, whereas English is linguistically of West Germanic origin. Comparatively few English people can understand or speak Welsh while virtually all Welsh speakers can speak English.

PALESTINE: Around 420,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem, which was annexed and occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, a move not recognised by international law. The United Nations General Assembly voted 128-9 to declare America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ‘null and void’. The marginalisation of Palestinians using methods of displacement, land grabs, Jewish settlements and denial of access to the judicial system has failed to quell the Arab resistance to injustice. The removal of the Arabic language from the legislative process may in the end prove to be the most effective tool in the creeping ‘reforms’ which Palestinians are continually subjected to. The historical trauma will remain.

PALESTINIAN CROSSROADS

May 15th  2018 will see the culmination of the weekly demonstrations by thousands of of Palestinians which began on March 30th in commemoration of the loss of their homeland following the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14th 1948. Human rights groups have condemned Israel for disproportionate use of deadly force. Demonstrators burned tyres to create a smoke screen to allow them to reach the fence, they  have been met with live ammunition resulting in the death of at least 45 Palestinians, there have been no Israeli deaths. Continue reading

HUMANITARIAN MISSILES!

Peace is only ever achieved by refusing to compromise integrity. While we may be far from an ability to ‘turn the other cheek’ against any assault, real or imagined, violence will only ever perpetuate violence.  War is the preferred option for those with a vested interest in warfare, however tenuous. Sometimes it takes a little time to discern who benefits,  by their action,  by looking the other way or predictably financially.

The 8 Storm Shadow missiles fired by the UK on a presumed chemical facility in Syria were manufactured by BAE Systems; each cost £790,000 or $1,106,628. Sickeningly BAE saw an immediate and dramatic rise in share profits on the stock market following the bombing of Syria.

BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company. It is among the world’s largest defence companies and one of the six largest suppliers to the USPhilip May, the husband of the UK Prime Minister, works for Capital Group, which is the largest share holder in BAE Systems. Capital Group is also the second largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin a US military arms firm supplying weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Unsurprisingly its shares have also rocketed following the strike. Continue reading

ASSANGE – Free Speech!

Back in the news again doing what he does best: Julian Assange might be expected to comment on what he perceives as human rights abuses including the current situation relating to the Catalonian Independence movement and Spain’s request to Germany to extradite their former leader Carles Puigdemont on charges of Rebellion. Assange has angered the new Ecuadorian President, Lenin Moreno, with his comments which embassy officials stated ”put at risk the good relations Ecuador maintains with European nations’.

Julian Assange has now had his internet access cut by embassy staff and is not allowed visitors or telephone calls, further increasing his isolation within the embassy. His  comments referenced a previous Spanish extradition warrant:  ‘In 1940 the elected president of Catalonia was captured by the Gestapo at the request of Spain, delivered to them and executed. Today German police have arrested the elected president of Catalonia,Carles Puigdemont at the request of Spain, to be extradited’ Ironically Germany has refused the extradition warrant stating that the charge of Rebellion would not be upheld in Germany. Extradition on a lesser charge of misappropriation of funds is possible, carrying an 8 years sentence as opposed to 30 years; if this is taken, it is believed Puigdemont could not then be tried in Spain for Rebellion.

President Moreno holds a differing opinion from his predecessor  Rafael Coorrea, the left wing leader  who granted asylum to Assange 5 years ago. Moreno has previously pledged to continue to offer asylum ‘as long as we assume his life may be in danger’.Since the new government is seeking to realign with the US, Assange may find himself a political pawn in the international power game. If a deal were struck to guarantee that no death penalty would be sought in any future US trial, Ecuador might be released from the current untenable situation  in harbouring Assange and find favour with the US. Julian Assange would lose his asylum status and would be arrested on leaving the embassy, his extradition to Sweden and likely the US would follow.

Julian Assange is either a dissident political prisoner or is guilty of treason depending upon your point of view. He founded Wikileaks in 2006,  publishing a series of leaks in 2010 provided by former soldier Chelsea Manning. They include the Collateral Murder video, the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and Cablegate. Chelsea Manning who passed thousands of documents to Wikileaks, was charged with espionage and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment (commuted after 7 years by President Barack Obama).  The further leaks by Edward Snowden, raised awareness of the US governmental data breaches involving spying on citizens and world leaders resulted in him fleeing the US, before being granted asylum in Russia, where he has resided for almost 5 years.The  federal government of the United States launched a criminal investigation into Wikileaks and asked allied nations for assistance. US Senators have called for the death penalty for Julian Assange  for ‘aiding the enemy’  if he is returned to the US, the risk is therefore real.

In an effort to avoid extradition Assange was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian Embasasy where he has resided for the past 5 years in what the UN has described as ‘illegal detention’. The UK Metropolitan Police continue to assert that he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention  agreed that Assange has been arbitrarily held since his arrest in London in Dec. 7, 2010, over allegations of sex crimes. It called on the British and Swedish governments to end his “deprivation of liberty,” allow him to move freely and afford him the right to compensation for his suffering. He has always expressed a willingness to return to Sweden to address the charges which he denies, so long as assurances are given that any request for extradition by the US would be denied.

The UK threatened to revoke the Ecuadorian embassy’s status but they held firm. Under the previous Ecuadorian administration the following statement was released to explain why they had granted asylum to Julian Assange in 2012: “Publication of information about human rights abuses is a right in accordance with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998, the exercise of which implies a right of protection to those who reveal such violations by honest journalism and the courageous whistleblowers who denounce human rights violations. We felt that the fate of Chelsea Manning, evidence of secret grand jury procedures and Snowden’s exile in Russia corroborate the fears Assange had for his security, freedom and life when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London more than two years ago.”

Whatever the outcome, we can hope that any future  decision by the Ecuadorian government will reflect human rights and not self interest. Assange’s lawyer, Melinda Taylor, said he is the “victim of a significant miscarriage of justice.”