Archive | August 17, 2011

U.K: If It Hurts the Family we Shouldn’t Do It!

U.K: If It Hurts the Family we Shouldn’t Do It!


By Hwaa Irfan

Much criticized by the Murdoch-free British media at the moment, Prime Minister David Cameron has pulled up his sleeves and is demanding results. However, what can be said of a leader who states the following:

“From here on I want a family test applied to all domestic policy. If it hurts families, if it undermines commitment, if it tramples over the values that keeps people together, or stops families from being together, then we shouldn’t do it.”

Did it have to take an ugly bout of rioting to reveal the ugly truth of what the British elites has been doing to its own society? Well for whatever criticisms one has of the rioters, many of which are justified, their actions brought results quicker than the mountain high reports, and studies churned out by NGOs and think tanks.

Has humanity reached the top of the societal ladder of a country that has been nicknamed the “Prozac Nation?”

Unfortunately Cameron identifies 120,000 “feckless families” the kind that Cameron has never met when he demands:

“If we want to have any hope of mending our broken society, family and parenting is where we’ve got to start.

‘Within the lifetime of this Parliament we will turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families in the country.”

It is honourable indeed to admit that British society is broken, a reality that one observed as far back as 1996 working in the mental health system, and the increasing and unstoppable numbers of people whose minds and spirits were breaking under the indefinable nightmare. It is also very correct that to ‘mend’ a society one has to ‘mend’ the individual, which will mend the family that creates society – Cameron should be careful with such an Islamic notion, but how does one ‘turn’ feckless families around with a social services that finds it easier to break families, than to mend families?

It requires a different set of skills, to support a family that has never found any respite from parents who have been raised as individuals to be liberal about sex, liberal about commitment, and may have done badly in a factory education system, where the fall-out rate is high in terms of truancy, and literacy. It may be difficult to build self worth, and self respect of parents who do not have any real “skills” when it comes to employment in a society that has reneged on the right to work, by turning workers into a disposable commodity when companies have free reign to opt for cheap labour. It might be difficult to turn around parents who knowing that they can provide no security for their children except through social welfare. And it may be difficult to turn around children who are products of those realities.

Let us not forget the case of Stig and Dinah Mason with two children. These parents were living on social welfare, the kind of social welfare one cannot raise a family on. The Masons “turned” themselves around because  of an inheritance of £47,000 from the death of Dinah’s aunt. With that windfall,  they bought a derelict four-acre Muxbeare Orchard in Devon. The result was a sustainable life with a greenhouse, raising chickens, and producing eggs, vegetables (peas, garlic, potatoes) and fruits including various species of apple trees. They supplied their own heat using wood burners and solar panels. Their children were happy, and were going to school, to only be evicted because the local Council did not like it, and offered them the old life in bed and breakfast accommodation, and to live on take away food at the taxpayers expense (social welfare)!

Instead of holding the Masons up as model, and offering such opportunities for families as the U.K. considers what to do with unused land, and involving communities in the productive use of forests, Devonshire Council threw the Masons back on the heap of unemployment and unsustainable living, at a time when Britain is looking to make serious cuts in social welfare without compensating the Masons for land which they bought!

Hope is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly!

It takes a lot to hold a family together in a society whereby if a family has two parents, both parents have to work in order to survive, and while working the children have to be placed into daycare before they are ready for the wider community outside the safe zone of the family. It takes a lot to hold a family together if one is fortunate enough to have one’s children in a school whereby one does not have to worry about the negative influences (including police harassment), and still being at work, when school has ended and during school holidays. It takes a lot to hold a family together when one is too tired from work, to give quality time in the few hours that are left between work and school.

As Cameron demands that all domestic policies be looked at and stopped if it “it hurts families, if it undermines commitment, if it tramples over the values that keeps people together, or stops families from being together,” the affected sections of British society looks on to see if these are just the words of an embarrassed PM. Disbelief hangs in the air of a PM who offers hope then takes it away in the same breath by considering human rights as “a corrosive influence on behaviour and morality,” and is ready to place all youth under national service!

Related Topics:

U.K. Riots in Context!

To Be Accepted or Rejected!

British Riots: Elites “Shocked” The Poor Are Rising Up…

U.K. – Tottenham Riot and Disenfranchised Youth

Living off the Grid: How Ridiculous Can the U.K. Get!

U.K: The Affect of Globalization on Poverty

The Deserving Poor!

Anti-Austerity and Living on the Edge

Being Driven Insane!

Libya: NATO Massacre in Zliten

Libya: NATO Massacre in Zliten


August the 8th/9th 2011.


A large number of casualties occurred in the city of Zliten, in the district of Miserata. In Zliten, 85 people were killed including 33 children, 32 women, and 20 men as a result of NATO’s deliberate targeting of residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Many of the injured civilian victims are in critical condition and near death.

Zliten has been under constant NATO bombardment for several days. The recent NATO attacks started at about 11:30 p.m. EET on August 8, 2011. At least 7 civilian homes belonging to local farmers were destroyed, killing entire families. In all 20 families were the targets of the NATO bombings.

Related Topics:

NATO Igniting Iraq for What It Can’t Get Elsewhere!

NATO: A Feast of Blood

Libya: Anatomy of a Murder

Syria and the Threat of Imperialist Intervention

IMF: Neocolonialism vs. Jan. 25th Revolution

Statement on the UK Government’s Military Involvement in Libya

NATO: The Bombing of Al Fateh University

NATO’s Blood Feast Spreads

Don’t Believe Everything You See and Read About Ghaddafi

Libya: NATO Poisoning the Purest Water in the World

U.S./NATO Atrocities Against Libya

Libyans Dancing in the Streets

Colombia: Manifesto for the Land and Peace

Colombia: Manifesto for the Land and Peace


Dialogue Is The Path – Declaration From National Meeting Of Rural Communities, Afro-Descendant And Indigenous Peoples


Translated from Spanish, Original Below


The thousands of attendees at the national meeting of rural communities,  Afro-descendant and indigenous people for the land and peace of Colombia. Dialogue is the path, in Barrancabermeja from 12 to 14 2011 we declare to Colombian society and the international community:

1. We have concluded our meeting with a record of success. The purposes ourselves to analyse the situation in the country have met more than. We have specifically considering our concerns for the future of our land, our land and our resources, democracy, the situation and guarantee our rights, as well as the State of war and the possibilities for a political solution.

2. These results are an expression of a multitudinous demonstration and aspiration, which was carried out in public and citizen has been transmitted by means of communication. The fruits of this meeting are the exclusive product of our sacrifice and collective effort and desire to find ways for peace.

3 Thank you for the support of the Church of the governorship of Santander and the Mayor of Barrancabermeja and the international community, especially of some of their organizations committed to the causes of human rights and peace. The contest has been of greater meaning.

4 We express our rejection of government policies during the last decade have been implemented in the country to promote an economic model that leads to the intensive exploitation of our land and natural resources, conducive to transnational corporations and economic groups, emphasizes conflicts over land and the fight for territory, stimulates new processes of expropriationaI emptied of forced displacement, it radically undermines social processes, and compromising our sovereignty and food security conditions. This economic model destroys the peasant economy, the territories of indigenous communities and people of African descent and produces a scaling of the dynamics of the social and armed conflict that overwhelms our country.

5. We express our concern over the Government draft general law on land and rural development, the law on victims and restitution of lands and the National Plan of development, because they do not guarantee the rights of Colombians favor the current energy mining model not beneficial for the environment and the Colombian people.

6. We affirm our support to the project of comprehensive agrarian reform law, presented by peasant organizations, built by the Bureau of agricultural unit, and presented at this meeting, as he largely reflects the aspirations of the Colombian rural and demand broader support of the society.

7. Democracy in our country and the generation of better conditions to make effective and to ensure our rights demand a new model that makes possible the use of our resources and wealth, beating deep economic and social inequalities, based on the good living of our population.

8. We are concerned that despite formal recognition of the Colombian conflict from the current Government and its manifestations that the key to peace would not be lost, it is clear that the claim of the military solution is the first of the Government agenda and responds to a wrong concept of “peace of winners and losers”. The history of the conflict in Colombia shows us that military solutions will not lead to peace. Therefore, we cannot continue trapped by the prospect of an escalation of the war and a growing foreign military intervention. We do not want to continue our lives with the permanent threat of bombs and bullets. It is time to put an end to the war. The political solution becomes a necessity.

9. We are aware that the prospect of a political solution has many enemies, especially those who benefit from the State of existing things and the society of privileges which serves as their livelihood. Disable the war discourages, Furthermore, to those who have made it a lucrative business. Colombians have the right to consciously promote the generation of new conditions to embark on a path that could lead to a procedure other than that based on the exercise of violence – so that conflicts which are inherent in our society, can pass through the path of the dialogue, social justice and peace.

10. We are convinced about the need for progress in the design and realization of a path of peace, that next goal is the formation of a movement of national scope with international support with the express mandate of promoting the construction of peace with social justice and the political solution to the social and armed conflict. Walking in that direction requires the generation of a favourable climate. It is urgent to work together to consolidate a culture of peace. We believe that parties involved directly in the confrontation should consider a bilateral cease-fire as mutual gesture towards the Colombian society, to open the possibility of dialogue. Similarly, the consideration of commitments and humanitarian agreements that allow to stop the violence against the civilian population and all the heinous crimes.

11. General statements on the peace and the dialogue are insufficient and many times they have accompanied by escalamientos in the war. That is why this meeting requires gestures and events of all parts that mean positive responses to the demands of the population, of peasant, indigenous communities and people of African descent: high forced displacement and dispossession; unconditional respect for the rights of children, girls and women, guarantee and respect the rights of victims; not militarization of the territory, respect for the autonomy of indigenous peoples. Stop the war and peace-building. It’s time for a political solution.

12. We need to realize the consistent idea that dialogue is the path. Realize that implies, above all, the wider social and popular participation. The political solution cannot be a matter of exclusive competence of the parties involved directly in the military struggle. “All the voices all, all hands all”, this country need to be heard and mobilized to lay the foundations that allow us to move forward towards peace with social justice. This includes an arduous task of organization, politicization and social mobilization, which we assume with all those who are willing to accompany her, and she joined efforts and social and popular initiatives through various ways and through various organizational expressions are being developed in the country. This space must build and expand guaranteeing respect for social organizations and their autonomy. Its starting point is located in the countless manifestations of collective action social and popular in the different organizational processes with different approaches and different political perspectives have been brewing in our country in recent years.

13. We propose that all these efforts, coordinated among themselves and together with other forms of social organization in the local area or attending sectoral, ethnic, or gender concerns, considering in the preparation and conduct of constituent regional spaces of popular sovereignty and citizenship, conceived as a mechanism for the construction of peace and social justice and political solution. Its design should allow the consideration of the general problem of the conflict and their solutions, as well as the approach of the respective regional specificities. These processes involve the active and direct participation of the broader social sectors, their diversity and plurality, and should be conducive to the precise definition of regional mandates.

14. These dynamics are spaces of convergence towards a National Assembly of constituent and regional peace processes. The Assembly should leave a national mandate for peace with social justice, with its corresponding programmatic definition and of political action and the political solution. This effort has a chance more certain if accompanied by the international community

15. The conclusions of this meeting, as a result of our hard work in different round tables, as well as this policy statement will be delivered to Colombian society, the central Government and other powers of the State and the guerrillas of the FARC-EP and ELN, in order to express our willingness and aspiration because explore urgent actions to untie the knot of the confrontation and move towards the political settlement and peace. We are convinced that this is the growing feeling of the Colombian people: live in peace with social justice.

16. We invite all participating organizations to promote and participate in the different scenarios and initiatives to further strengthen the stakes of this meeting.





Spanish Original


Colombia: Manifiesto por la tierra y la paz El dialogo es la ruta


Los miles de asistentes al Encuentro nacional de comunidades campesinas, afrodescendientes e indígenas por la tierra y la paz de Colombia. El diálogo es la ruta, realizado en Barrancabermeja del 12 al 14 de 2011 declaramos frente a la sociedad colombiana y la comunidad internacional:


1. Hemos concluido nuestro encuentro con un balance de pleno éxito. Los propósitos que nos trazamos de analizar la situación del país se han cumplido con creces. Hemos considerando de manera específica nuestras preocupaciones por el futuro de nuestra tierra, nuestro territorio y nuestros recursos, por la democracia, la situación y la garantía de nuestros derechos, así como del estado de la guerra y las posibilidades de una solución política.


2. Estos resultados, son expresión de una multitudinaria manifestación y aspiración ciudadana, que se ha realizado en forma pública y ha sido transmitida por medios de comunicación. Los frutos de este encuentro son producto exclusivo de nuestro sacrificio y esfuerzo colectivo y anhelo por encontrar caminos para la paz.


3. Agradecemos el acompañamiento de la Iglesia, de la Gobernación de Santander y de la Alcaldía de Barrancabermeja, así como de la Comunidad internacional, especialmente de algunas de sus organizaciones comprometidas con las causas de los derechos humanos y de la paz. Su concurso ha sido del mayor significado.


4. Manifestamos nuestro rechazo frente a las políticas gubernamentales que durante la última década se han venido implantando en el país para promover un modelo económico que propicia la explotación intensiva de nuestra tierra y recursos naturales , favorece a las empresas transnacionales y los grupos económicos, acentúa los conflictos por la tierra y la lucha por el territorio, estimula nuevos procesos de expropiación, despojo y de desplazamiento forzado, deteriora radicalmente los procesos sociales y compromete nuestras condiciones de soberanía y seguridad alimentaria. Este modelo económico destruye la economía campesina, los territorios de las comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes y produce un escalamiento de la dinámica del conflicto social y armado que agobia a nuestro país.


5. Expresamos nuestra preocupación frente al proyecto gubernamental de Ley general de tierras y de desarrollo rural, la ley de víctimas y de restitución de tierras y el Plan Nacional de desarrollo, porque no garantizan los derechos de los colombianos y favorecen el actual modelo minero energético no beneficioso para el medio ambiente y para el pueblo colombiano.


6. Afirmamos nuestro apoyo al proyecto de Ley de Reforma agraria integral, presentado por las organizaciones campesinas, construido por la Mesa de Unidad Agraria, y presentado en este encuentro, por considerar que él recoge en gran medida las aspiraciones de la población rural colombiana, y demandamos de la sociedad su más amplio respaldo.


7. La democracia en nuestro país y la generación de mejores condiciones para hacer efectivos y garantizar nuestros derechos demanda un nuevo modelo que posibilite el uso de nuestros recursos y riquezas, superando las profundas desigualdades económicas y sociales, en función del buen vivir de nuestra población.


8. Nos preocupa que pese al reconocimiento formal del conflicto colombiano por parte del gobierno actual y a sus manifestaciones acerca de que la llave de la paz no estaría extraviada, es evidente que la pretensión de la solución militar se encuentra en el primer lugar de la agenda gubernamental y responde a un equivocado concepto de “paz de vencedores y vencidos”. La historia del conflicto colombiano nos muestra que las soluciones militares no conducen a la paz. Por tanto, no podemos continuar atrapados por la perspectiva de un escalamiento de la guerra y de una creciente intervención militar extranjera. No queremos continuar nuestras vidas con la permanente amenaza de las bombas y las balas. Es hora de ponerle fin a la guerra. La solución política se constituye en una necesidad.


9. Somos conscientes que la perspectiva de la solución política posee muchos enemigos, especialmente aquellos que se benefician del estado de cosas existentes y de la sociedad de privilegios que les sirve de sustento. Desactivar la guerra desfavorece, además, a quienes han hecho de ella un negocio lucrativo. Los colombianos tenemos el derecho a propiciar conscientemente la generación de nuevas condiciones para emprender el camino que pueda conducir a un trámite distinto del basado en el ejercicio de la violencia-de manera que los conflictos que le son inherentes a nuestra sociedad, puedan transitar por la vía del dialogo la justicia social y la paz.


10. Tenemos la convicción acerca de la necesidad de avanzar en la concepción y materialización de una ruta de la paz, que tenga como próxima meta la conformación de un movimiento de alcance nacional con apoyo internacional con el mandato expreso de promover la construcción de la paz con justicia social y la solución política al conflicto social y armado. Caminar en esa dirección demanda la generación de un clima favorable. Es urgente trabajar todos juntos para consolidar una cultura de la paz. Consideramos que las partes comprometidas de manera directa en la confrontación deberían contemplar como gesto mutuo frente a la sociedad colombiana un cese bilateral de hostilidades, que abra la posibilidad del diálogo. Igualmente, la consideración de compromisos y acuerdos humanitarios que permitan parar la violencia contra la población civil y todos los crímenes atroces.


11. Las declaraciones generales sobre la paz y el dialogo son insuficientes y muchas veces se han acompañado de escalamientos en la guerra. Por ello este Encuentro exige gestos y hechos de todas las partes que signifiquen respuestas positivas a los reclamos de la población, de las comunidades campesinas, indígenas y afrodescendientes: alto al desplazamiento forzado y al despojo; respeto incondicional a los derechos de los niños, niñas y mujeres, garantía y respeto a los derechos de las víctimas; no militarización de los territorios, respeto a la autonomía de los pueblos indígenas. Parar la guerra y construir la paz. Es la hora de la solución política.


12. Necesitamos hacer realidad la idea consistente en que el diálogo es la ruta. Materializar ello implica, sobre todo, las más amplia participación social y popular. La solución política no puede ser un asunto de competencia exclusiva de las partes comprometidas de manera directa en la contienda militar. “Todas las voces todas, todas las manos todas”, de este país requieren ser escuchadas y movilizadas para sentar las bases que nos permitan avanzar hacia la paz con justicia social.


Ello supone una ardua tarea de organización, politización y movilización social, que deseamos asumir con todos aquellos que estén dispuestos a acompañarla, y que se suma a todos los esfuerzos e iniciativas sociales y populares que a través de diferentes vías y mediante variadas expresiones organizativas se vienen desarrollando en el país. Ese espacio se debe construir y ampliar garantizando el respeto a las organizaciones sociales y a su autonomía. Su punto de partida se encuentra en las innumerables manifestaciones de la acción colectiva social y popular, en los diferentes procesos organizativos que con enfoques distintos y diversas perspectivas políticas se han venido gestando en nuestro país durante los últimos años.


13. Proponemos que todos esos esfuerzos, articulados entre sí y sumados a otras expresiones de la organización social en el ámbito local o atendiendo preocupaciones sectoriales, étnicas, o de género, confluyan en la preparación y realización de constituyentes regionales, espacios de soberanía popular y participación ciudadana, concebidos como mecanismos de construcción de paz y justicia social y por la solución política. Su diseño, debe de posibilitar la consideración de la problemática general del conflicto y sus salidas, así como el abordaje de las respectivas especificidades regionales. Estos procesos suponen la participación activa y directa de los más amplios sectores sociales, atendiendo su diversidad y pluralidad, y debe ser conducente a la definición precisa de mandatos regionales.


14. Estas dinámicas representan espacios de confluencia hacia una Asamblea nacional de Constituyentes y procesos regionales por la paz. De la asamblea debería salir un mandato nacional por la solución política y la paz con justicia social, con su correspondiente definición programática y de acción política. Todo este esfuerzo tiene una posibilidad más cierta si logra acompañarse de la comunidad internacional


15. Las conclusiones de este encuentro, producto de nuestra ardua labor en diferentes mesas de trabajo, así como esta declaración política, serán entregadas a la sociedad colombiana, al Gobierno central y demás poderes del Estado, así como a las guerrillas de las FARC-EP y del ELN, con el fin de hacer expresa nuestra voluntad y aspiración porque se exploren con urgencia acciones tendientes a desatar el nudo de la confrontación y avanzar hacia la solución política y la paz. Estamos convencidos que ese es el sentir creciente del pueblo colombiano: Vivir en paz con justicia social.


16. Invitamos a todas las organizaciones participantes a impulsar y participar en los diferentes escenarios e iniciativas para seguir fortaleciendo las apuestas de este encuentro.





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