Lennon, Marley and Michael Jackson on Those Who Control Us*
John Lennon, 1969 interview:
Bob Marley interview:
Michael Jackson interview:
Lennon, Marley and Michael Jackson on Those Who Control Us*
John Lennon, 1969 interview:
Bob Marley interview:
Michael Jackson interview:
Parents Attacked for Protesting against the Sexualization of their Children*
A peaceful demonstration in Hamburg on Saturday by parents who are opposed to graphic sex education in German primary schools turned violent when they were pelted with bottles, firecrackers, and snowballs by counter-demonstrators.
The Besorgte Eltern (Concerned Parents) group held the rally to voice their opposition to compulsory sex education that they claim begins the inappropriate sexualization of their children starting in day-care centers and continuing through kindergarten, primary, and secondary schooling.
“We go to the street because we care about our children, who are confronted too early with sexual issues,” Matthias Ebert of Besorgte Eltern told the Hamburger Morgenpost.
About 150 parents holding placards with slogans such as
“Stay away from our children,”
“Kindergarten is not a swingers club,” and
“Let our children be children”
… were attacked by what Russian news service RT Novosti described as “a colorful crowd, from sexual minorities carrying rainbow flags and hand-painted signs celebrating diversity and tolerance, to radical left-wingers and anarchists.”
When the counter-demonstrators, who reportedly outnumbered the parents by 4 to 1, blocked the march route and attacked the group, police were called in to separate the attackers form the peaceful parents.
According to German media and the Besorgte Eltern website, a 15-year-old girl was sent to hospital with head lacerations as a result of what a police spokesman called “the highly aggressive appearance of the counter-demonstrators.”
A member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party lodged a complaint in the Hamburg Parliament following the incident, condemning the violence as both against democratic values, and punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment.
“Freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are fundamental democratic values that are non-negotiable for peaceful coexistence,” said the CDU’s domestic policy spokesman Kai Voet van Vormizeele on Tuesday.
“The peaceful rally at City Hall Marketplace was disturbed by violent individuals who attacked participants. Thus an offence under Section 21 of the Assembly Act has been committed. The Senate must therefore do everything possible to protect the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and pull the perpetrators to justice,” Voet van Vormizeele said.
“Even if one considers that the objectives of a demonstration are unreasonable and wrong, it is not permissible to suppress democratic demonstrations by violence and disorder,” he said. “The right to one’s own freedom of expression is first and foremost the duty to respect the opinions of others. Violence against people or property is not acceptable in this context. Therefore, today I made a complaint against unknown persons for acts of violence and disruption of the demonstration by Besorgte Eltern.”
Previous peaceful demonstrations by parents concerned about pro-homosexual “sexual diversity” curricula in their schools and the early sexualization of their children have ended in violent attacks by homosexual activists.
Last March, parents at rallies in Baden-Württemberg and Cologne were attacked by activists who hurled excrement and destroyed property.
“Protesters were physically attacked and it was felt that the police failed to protect the parents’ basic right of assembly,” said a statement from the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians describing the incidents.
According to eyewitnesses, said the Observatory, “Christian parents were shouted at with obscenities.”
“They were spit at, eggs were thrown, and little bags with feces or color. Cables of loud speakers were torn out,” the eyewitnesses said. “Pages were ripped out of the bible and used to wipe backsides, then formed into a ball and thrown at the parents.”
Besorgte Eltern has demonstrations planned for various cities throughout 2015. Further information is available here.
Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*
By Andrea Williams
The British government’s schools inspector has closed two Christian schools and threatened others in its zeal to enforce new guidelines to combat “extremism” and promote “British values” in religious schools that it sees as inherently “homophobic.” Christian and Jewish school leaders are complaining of a string of such incidents in recent months. They say it is a case of the government using the threat of Islamic extremism as a pretext to impose a heavy-handed secularist and homosexualist agenda.
Since October 2014, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED), has launched a series of surprise checks on Christian and Jewish schools. Most recently, Durham Free School and Grindon Hall say they face closure by Easter after having their funding pulled by being placed on the “special measures” list for failure to comply with new guidelines.
The watchdog accused the schools of failing to inculcate “British values” in the areas of students’ “spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.” OFSTED issued new guidelines in September to help schools protect students from “possible extremism.” OFSTED updated its standards following the so-called “Trojan Horse” scandals in Birmingham. The news came out last year that local Islamist organizations had been infiltrating the school system to attempt to indoctrinate children into radical Islamist ideologies.
In a public statement January 20, Grindon Hall principal Chris Gray, wrote,
“Playing politics with the new regulations on ‘British values’ is not acceptable and does little to help our children prepare for life or achieve good exam results.” Gray added that despite having made a formal complaint over a month before, they have heard nothing from OFSTED.
Gray said that the manner in which government inspectors questioned students and teachers was “hostile, inappropriate and raises serious safeguarding issues.” Parents had complained that their children were subjected to “intrusive and deeply personal questioning . . . in group sessions,” including questions to primary school children about what they knew about lesbianism, Gray added.
Inspectors made it clear with their questioning that the school was expected to “force pupils to celebrate non-Christian religious festivals.”
“This would breach our Christian foundation which stipulates that we are a Christian school. It would certainly offend against the consciences of many of our staff, pupils and parents. No one should be told by a government official to celebrate any religion. Learn about it, yes. Celebrate its festivals, no.”
In October, Trinity Christian School in Reading fell foul of OFSTED’s “British values” standard, a week after the guidelines were issued. John Charles, chairman of the board of governors of Trinity Christian School, a Church of England school, in a letter last October to Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, said OFSTED is using the Trojan Horse incident to bully religious schools.
OFSTED’s new “British values” standard comes in paragraph 5 of the guidelines published September 29, 2014. The sections say schools must “actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”; and “ensure that principles are actively promoted which … encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.”
Trinity alleges that OFSTED’s inspection was conducted under false pretenses. The inspectors were expected on October 7 and were to determine whether Trinity would be allowed to expand the school’s services to younger grades. Instead, inspectors “focused predominantly” on whether the school was in line with the new standards for “spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” that had been put in place only a week before.
“At no point were any questions asked about other aspect[s] of the curriculum or the quality of teaching assessed through lesson observations,” Trinity’s letter said.
Instead, the OFSTED inspector told the school they were likely to be closed because they had failed to invite “representatives of other faiths” to “lead assemblies and lessons,” and there was no evidence that the school had “actively promoted other faiths.”
They were told that the school “should actively promote the principles of the Equality Act 2010,” that focuses on homosexuality. “Pupils must learn about people with protected characteristics” and the school “must not give a viewpoint that certain lifestyles are wrong,” nor “should the school promote a particular lifestyle.”
Trinity was told that the Christian principle “that all people are equal before God and have inherent dignity as human beings” was not enough to demonstrate compliance.
The tiny Durham Free School, which has just over 90 students, seems to be a favorite target of the political left. This week, the school is demanding an apology from Labour MP Patricia Glass, who told Parliament the school is “a haven for every crap teacher in the North East.” When teachers and parents vociferously defended the school, which they say is a haven from the kind of bullying common in state schools, Glass apologized for using “unparliamentary language.”
The Christian Institute, which is defending the Christian schools, says inspectors asked 11 to 13-year-olds at Durham Free School, “Have you had ‘The Talk’?” and “How have you learned how to make a baby?” One boy reportedly did not know how to answer the question, “What is a Muslim?” resulting in him being labeled a “bigot” because he had mentioned terrorism. In addition, OFSTED inspectors reported that “standards are low and progress is inadequate,” and “students’ achievement is weak.”
The Daily Mail quoted Petrina Douglas, a parent governor of Durham Free School, saying, “It feels like the school has been made a scapegoat. Durham [county] is primarily white British so knowledge of other cultures is not as prevalent. But I don’t think the children are bigoted.”
In response to questions by an Education Select Committee of MPs, OFSTED head Sir Michael Wilshaw denied claims that inspectors’ questions had been inappropriate, and defended the questions about “homophobia” at the school.
“If you approach a child and say ‘Is there homophobic bullying?’, they wouldn’t know what you are talking about,” Wilshaw said. “But, if inspectors say ‘Are children calling each other gay here or lesbo here?’ – they would understand what that means.
“And there was very, very bad homophobic bullying going on in these schools.”
In October, OFSTED was forced to issue a public statement denying that it was bullying students at Orthodox Jewish schools. The Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools said their students were left “traumatised and ashamed” after OFSTED inspectors had grilled them about sex and “gay marriage.” The Association issued a statement saying the inspectors were “asking pupils inappropriate and challenging questions, many of which fall outside the religious ethos and principles at orthodox Jewish faith schools.”
The Jewish News reports students feeling “threatened about our religion” after the inspectors quizzed them about homosexuality and whether they had friends of other religions. “They asked this many times until we answered what they wanted us to say. We felt very bullied.”
The Association’s director, Jonathan Rabson, said, “This confrontational approach by inspectors is a worrying trend never been seen before in the UK Jewish community. We fear it suggests a shift in policy towards faith schools.”
In response to the complaints from the Jewish schools, OFSTED’s Chief Operating Officer HMI Matthew Coffey, defended the inspectors’ line of questioning, saying they “use age-appropriate questions to test children’s understanding and tolerance of lifestyles different to their own.”
“OFSTED is not looking for answers to questions which are contrary to their faith, simply that they are able to express views which are neither intolerant nor discriminatory towards others. This is vital if we are to make sure young people are ready for life in modern Britain,” Coffey said.
Rabbi Nessanel Lieberman, a well-known Orthodox Jewish school head and one of OFSTED’s own inspectors, accused the watchdog of attempting to impose a “hodge-podge of Left-wing ideals” on the pretext of fostering “British values.” The Daily Mail quotes Lieberman telling the National Jewish Education Conference for Primary School Teachers in London this week that OFSTED has an “agenda” to attack faith schools because they do not conform to the leading liberal secularist ideologies.
Ebola Donations Never Materialized, but that’s not Surprising!*
When the Ebola crisis began spiraling out of control this summer, donors pledged nearly $3 billion to help rein it in. But some aid groups paid only a fraction of what they had promised, according to a new study.
The study examined thousands of international pledges and donations, based on data from the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. While many countries and organizations made generous pledges to curb the outbreak, several failed to deliver on their promises. The United States pledged nearly $1 billion, and paid almost all of it. The World Bank, on the other hand, pledged closer to $200 million, and has delivered on only about half of that. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation proudly announced its commitment of $100 million to Ebola—but appears to have paid only $55 million.
Here’s a table of those figures, from the paper:
Ebola is now fading away in West Africa, but an estimated 8,000 people have succumbed to the virus since mid-March. It is still unclear why, even as the epidemic raged, some donors failed to come up with the cash. It probably didn’t help that the U.N. kept sending mixed messages about how much money it needed. Requests for $4.8 million in April became $71 million by August, and that figure ballooned to $1.5 billion by mid-November. Here’s an illustration of the ebb and flow of the Ebola epidemic:
Zapatista Resistance Festival Sheds Light on Those Above who Destroy while Those from Below Build*
By Giovanni Cattaruzza
Last month, the Zapatistas organized the first World Festival of Rebellion and Resistance Against Capitalism. One participant shares his impressions.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas
The mountains of Xochicuautla, which are waiting for the snow and for yet another Christmas here in Mexico, don’t know anything about us.
They don’t know anything about the thousands of people from all over the world who climbed up here in the cold.
The mountains of Xochicuautla ignore what democracy looks like, where Palestine or Valle di Susa is, what sort of thing an international airport is, or what so-called “sustainable capitalism” looks like.
They don’t know anything about mega-development projects, highways, garbage dumps, mines, GMO’s, transnational companies, militarization, and progress.
They are only mountains, they speak Nahuatl, and it’s kind of complicated to have a conversation with a mountain.
Rebuilding from below
On December 21, the first World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism — “Where those from above destroy, those from below rebuild” — organized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), was inaugurated in the San Francisco Xochicuautla community, municipality of Lerma, in the state of Mexico.
More than 2.000 Mexican activists, 500 international comrades from 48 different countries, and hundreds upon hundreds of indigenous community representatives started their journey throughout the country from these mountains.
The EZLN and the CNI invited all the people of the world here in Mexico in order to travel together to the southern-most point of the country and to discover the histories and struggles of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, and the challenges faced by all the political organizations that take the Zapatistas as a point of reference — from the anarchists of the Z.A.D. of Nantes, to the Sem Tierra of Brazil, on to the teachers of Oaxaca.
Once again, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation together with the indigenous communities of Chiapas decided to build a common project in cooperation with the anti-capitalist movements of the planet.
Once again, from the jungles of the south-east of Mexico, they thought globally. Inviting the people from all over the world to Chiapas in order to fight against capitalism together. According to the Zapatistas, global capitalism in the year 2015 reveals itself most clearly through mega-development projects and violent attacks to Mother Nature all over the world.
This journey can be summarized in one line: preguntando caminamos (“asking while walking”), as the Zapatistas say. It is a time to learn and to doubt ourselves.
We walked and dreamed together from Mexico City to the tropical rains of the State of Campeche, on to the cold altiplano of the Caracol of Oventik, sharing political practices of resistance, knowing that, as Subcomandante Insurgente Moises said:
There is no single answer. There is no manual. There is no dogma. There is no creed. There are many answers, many ways, many forms. And each of us will see what we are able to do and learn from our own struggle and from other struggles.
“We give you 43 embraces”
During the so called “sharings” in Xochicuatla, Monclova and in the University of the Land (CIDECI) in San Cristobal de las Casas, we listened to hundreds of languages and political experiences of resistance, but most importantly we listened to the voices of the families of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa to whom the EZLN gave its own seat during the festival.
We cried together and we embraced each other under the cold rain of Oventik, looking at the members of the Comandancia of the EZLN hugging one by one the fathers and the mothers of the 43, after hearing the voice of Subcomandante Moises pronouncing the following words:
And so, when this day or night comes, your missing ones will give you the same embrace that we Zapatistas now give to you. It is an embrace of caring, respect, and admiration. In addition, we give you 43 embraces, one for each of those who are absent from your lives.
In the next weeks the EZLN will communicate in detail some actions and proposals to the world.
According to the Zapatistas and to the individuals and organizations that attended this first World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion Against Capitalism, there is no more time to waste. The henchmen of global capitalism — big business, national governments and international organizations — are quelling all voices of dissent, attempting to destroy all forms of resistance wherever it pops up. Ayotzinapa is just another example of this mechanism that kills everyone who chooses to resist, from Turkey and Ferguson to Mexico.
Today is the time for unity of all those who want to fight capitalism and who do not recognize themselves in any political party.
The lights of rebellion and resistance
The night is dark as only the nights in Chiapas can be, here in the Caracol of Oventik. It is December 31, 2014, 21 years after the Zapatista uprising.
Deaths, disappearances, repression and the threat of imprisonment will continue to challenge los de abajo also in the year we are entering. 2015 will be tough for them — but in the extreme darkness of the night, in the black hole of the capital in which we’re living, there are some lights of resistance.
The thousands of people who arrived here, in the mountains of Southeast Mexico, are here to share some of these little lights.
to look at these little lights, here in Oventik, where the words of the EZLN — reaching us through the voice of Subcomandante Insurgente Moises — echo in the mountains:
Darkness becomes longer and heavier across the world, touching everyone. We knew it would be like this. We know it will be like this. We spent years, decades, centuries preparing ourselves. Our gaze is not limited to what is close-by. It does not see only today, nor only our own lands. Our gaze extends far in time and geography, and that determines how we think.
Each time something happens, it unites us in pain, but also in rage. Because now, as for some time already, we see lights being lit in many corners. They are lights of rebellion and resistance. Sometimes they are small, like ours. Sometimes they are big. Sometimes they take awhile. Sometimes they are only a spark that quickly goes out. Sometimes they go on and on without losing their glow in our memory.
And in all of these lights there is a bet that tomorrow will be very different.
The night is ours.
Egypt Begins to Import Gas from Israel*
Egypt exported gas to Israel during the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak after signing a 20-year deal with the Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem.
The deal broke down in 2012 as the gas line from Egypt to Israel and Jordan was bombed several times in Sinai.
The scandal is that Egypt exported gas to its enemy and now it is importing gas from its enemy.
A prominent official from the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) said Cairo plans to import Israeli gas directly from American oil firm Noble Energy without the mediation of companies in Egypt or abroad.
The official pointed out, during a telephone interview with the Anadolu Agency, that EGAS does not wish to use mediatory companies that could misuse their agreement later, a possible reference to what happened with Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem.
“We have no reservations about importing gas from Noble Energy within a deal that specifies quantities, prices and transportation,” the official added.
Reuters reported a source at Cairo International Airport saying on Sunday that a delegation from Israel arrived to discuss gas shipments with Egyptian officials.
In a statement reported by Reuters, the partner said that the ongoing negotiations aim at reaching a 15-year deal to export seven billion cubic metres of gas every year.
Egypt suffers from gas crisis in the market as the gas production is unable to meet demands. At the same time, the production of natural gas in Egypt decreased to 4.8 billion cubic metres compared to six billion at the end of 2012.