Archive | April 10, 2016

To be an Arab Jew in the West is to Say you don’t Exist*

To be an Arab Jew in the West is to Say you don’t Exist*

By Ella Habiba Shohat

  Ella Habiba Shohat is Professor of Cultural Studies and Women’s Studies at CUNY. A writer, orator and activist, she is the author of Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (Univ. of Texas Press, 1989) and the co-author (with Robert Stam) of Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media (Routledge 1994). Shohat co-edited Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Reflections (University of Minnesota Press, 1997) and is the editor of Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age, (MIT Press/The New Museum, 2000). She writes often for such journals as Social Text and the Journal for Palestine Studies.

When issues of racial and colonial discourse are discussed in the U.S., people of Middle Eastern and North African origin are often excluded. This piece is written with the intent of opening up the multicultural debate, going beyond the U.S. census’s simplistic categorization of Middle Eastern peoples as “whites.”

It’s also written with the intent of multiculturalizing American notions of Jewishness. My personal narrative questions the Eurocentric opposition of Arab and Jew, particularly the denial of Arab Jewish (Sephardic) voices both in the Middle Eastern and American contexts.

I am an Arab Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the U.S. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the U.S., England, and Holland. When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the ’50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently–the European Jews–were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness. My grandmother, who still lives in Israel and still communicates largely in Arabic, had to be taught to speak of “us” as Jews and “them” as Arabs. For Middle Easterners, the operating distinction had always been “Muslim,” “Jew,” and “Christian,” not Arab versus Jew. The assumption was that “Arabness” referred to a common shared culture and language, albeit with religious differences.

Americans are often amazed to discover the existentially nauseating or charmingly exotic possibilities of such a syncretic identity. I recall a well-established colleague who despite my elaborate lessons on the history of Arab Jews, still had trouble understanding that I was not a tragic anomaly–for instance, the daughter of an Arab (Palestinian) and an Israeli (European Jew). Living in North America makes it even more difficult to communicate that we are Jews and yet entitled to our Middle Eastern difference. And that we are Arabs and yet entitled to our religious difference, like Arab Christians and Arab Muslims

It was precisely the policing of cultural borders in Israel that led some of us to escape into the metropolises of syncretic identities. Yet, in an American context, we face again a hegemony that allows us to narrate a single Jewish memory, i.e., a European one. For those of us who don’t hide our Middle Easterness under one Jewish “we,” it becomes tougher and tougher to exist in an American context hostile to the very notion of Easterness.

As an Arab Jew, I am often obliged to explain the “mysteries” of this oxymoronic entity. That we have spoken Arabic, not Yiddish; that for millennia our cultural creativity, secular and religious, had been largely articulated in Arabic (Maimonides being one of the few intellectuals to “make it” into the consciousness of the West); and that even the most religious of our communities in the Middle East and North Africa never expressed themselves in Yiddish-accented Hebrew prayers, nor did they practice liturgical-gestural norms and sartorial codes favouring the dark colours of centuries-ago Poland. Middle Eastern women similarly never wore wigs; their hair covers, if worn, consisted of different variations on regional clothing (and in the wake of British and French imperialism, many wore Western-style clothes). If you go to our synagogues, even in New York, Montreal, Paris or London, you’ll be amazed to hear the winding quarter tones of our music which the uninitiated might imagine to be coming from a mosque.

Now that the three cultural topographies that compose my ruptured and dislocated history–Iraq, Israel and the U.S.–have been involved in a war, it is crucial to say that we exist. Some of us refuse to dissolve so as to facilitate “neat” national and ethnic divisions. My anxiety and pain during the Scud attacks on Israel, where some of my family lives, did not cancel out my fear and anguish for the victims of the bombardment of Iraq, where I also have relatives.

War, however, is the friend of binarisms, leaving little place for complex identities. The Gulf War, for example, intensified a pressure already familiar to the Arab Jewish Diaspora in the wake of the Israeli-Arab conflict: a pressure to choose between being a Jew and being an Arab. For our families, who have lived in Mesopotamia since at least the Babylonian exile, who have been Arabized for millennia, and who were abruptly dislodged to Israel 45 years ago, to be suddenly forced to assume a homogenous European Jewish identity based on experiences in Russia, Poland and Germany, was an exercise in self devastation. To be a European or American Jew has hardly been perceived as a contradiction, but to be an Arab Jew has been seen as a kind of logical paradox, even an ontological subversion. This binarism has led many Oriental Jews (our name in Israel referring to our common Asian and African countries of origin is Mizrahi or Mizrachi) to a profound and visceral schizophrenia, since for the first time in our history Arabness and Jewishness have been imposed as antonyms.

Intellectual discourse in the West highlights a Judeo-Christian tradition, yet rarely acknowledges the Judeo-Muslim culture of the Middle East, of North Africa, or of pre-Expulsion Spain (1492) and of the European parts of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish experience in the Muslim world has often been portrayed as an unending nightmare of oppression and humiliation.

Although I in no way want to idealize that experience–there were occasional tensions, discriminations, even violence–on the whole, we lived quite comfortably within Muslim societies.

Chaim Weizmann (left, wearing Arab headdress as a sign of friendship) and Emir Faisl, ruler of Iraq bewlieved they could could negotiate on behalf of all Jews and Arabs. The Faisal–Weizmann Agreement was signed on 3 January 1919, by Emir Faisal (son of the King of Hejaz), who was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from August 1921 to 1933, and Chaim Weizmann (later President of the World Zionist Organization) as part of the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 settling disputes stemming from World War I. It was a short-lived agreement for Arab–Jewish cooperation on the development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East.

Our history simply cannot be discussed in European Jewish terminology. As Iraqi Jews, while retaining a communal identity, we were generally well integrated and indigenous to the country, forming an inseparable part of its social and cultural life. Thoroughly Arabized, we used Arabic even in hymns and religious ceremonies. The liberal and secular trends of the 20th century engendered an even stronger association of Iraqi Jews and Arab culture, which brought Jews into an extremely active arena in public and cultural life. Prominent Jewish writers, poets and scholars played a vital role in Arab culture, distinguishing themselves in Arabic speaking theatre, in music, as singers, composers, and players of traditional instruments. 

In Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia, Jews became members of legislatures, of municipal councils, of the judiciary, and even occupied high economic positions. (The finance minister of Iraq in the ’40s was Ishak Sasson, and in Egypt, Jamas Sanua–higher positions, ironically, than those our community had generally achieved within the Jewish state until the 1990s!)

The same historical process that dispossessed Palestinians of their property, lands and national-political rights, was linked to the dispossession of Middle Eastern and North African Jews of their property, lands, and rootedness in Muslim countries. As refugees, or mass immigrants (depending on one’s political perspective), we were forced to leave everything behind and give up our Iraqi passports. The same process also affected our uprootedness or ambiguous positioning within Israel itself, where we have been systematically discriminated against by institutions that deployed their energies and material to the consistent advantage of European Jews and to the consistent disadvantage of Oriental Jews. Even our physiognomies betray us, leading to internalized colonialism or physical misperception. Sephardic Oriental women often dye their dark hair blond, while the men have more than once been arrested or beaten when mistaken for Palestinians. What for Ashkenazi immigrants from Russian and Poland was a social aliya (literally “ascent”) was for Oriental Sephardic Jews a yerida (“descent”).

Stripped of our history, we have been forced by our no-exit situation to repress our collective nostalgia, at least within the public sphere. The pervasive notion of “one people” reunited in their ancient homeland actively disauthorizes any affectionate memory of life before Israel. We have never been allowed to mourn a trauma that the images of Iraq’s destruction only intensified and crystallized for some of us. Our cultural creativity in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic is hardly studied in Israeli schools, and it is becoming difficult to convince our children that we actually did exist there, and that some of us are still there in Iraq, Morocco, Yemen and Iran. 

Western media much prefer the spectacle of the triumphant progress of Western technology to the survival of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. The case of Arab Jews is just one of many elisions. From the outside, there is little sense of our community, and even less sense of the diversity of our political perspectives. Oriental-Sephardic peace movements, from the Black Panthers of the ’70s to the new Keshet (a “Rainbow” coalition of Mizrahi groups in Israel) not only call for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the cultural, political, and economic integration of Israel/Palestine into the Middle East. And thus an end to the binarisms of war, an end to a simplistic charting of Middle Eastern identities.

Source*

Related Topics:

ISIS Preserving Jewish Cultural Heritage in Iraq*

How Fear was Instilled to Make Jews Leave for Israel

Global Jewish Population in 1933 and 1948*

A Rabbi Refers to Netanyahu’s Claim of All Jews ‘Identity Theft’

Jewish Odyssies to Islam

Hitler: The War on Jews that was Started by Ashkenazi Jews!*

The Innate Racism of Israel: Ashkenazi Jews Exterminating Arab Jews*

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

Zionist Media Dominates West and Middle East

Rabbis Thank Ahmedinejad for his Stance Against Zionism

Jews Protest against the State of Israel

Ashkenazi Jews are Genetically European

Jews against Zionism: The Case of the Haredim

Would Jewry Exist today if it Were not Muslims*

The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism*

Not in our Name: 225 Jewish Survivors of Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel*

Franco-Zionist Decimation of Algeria*

Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion

A Zionist Hating Jew*

Some Christians are Waking up to the Fact that they’ve been Had by Zionism*

Zionists Argue for the Boycott of Israel*

Zionism and Organized Islamophobia – The Facts*

African Jews Flood the Streets of Israel Demanding End to Police Brutality*

30 Moroccan Jews Trained with the Israeli Army*

How Israel Treats its Own: Jewish Mother flees Israel to give birth in Palestinian-run Bethlehem

Greek Bishop Refers to the Nature of international Jewry’s Subversive, anti-Christian, anti-White, pro-Gay Agenda*

The Knights Templar were Descendants of Jewish Elders!?*

Pegida-U.K. — Smoke, Mirrors and Zionism*

The Rothschild’s Zionist World Order*

Putin: Illuminati Plans to Use Islam To Spark World War III*

BRICS Under Attack: NWO Tentacles Extending into South Africa*

BRICS Under Attack: NWO Tentacles Extending into South Africa*

An undercurrent of political manipulation pulses beneath the surface of popular South African demonstrations organized around legitimate grievances. But who’s pulling the strings? And why?

Sounds familiar…

By Eric Draitser

Leaders of the BRICS nations, from left, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, China’s President Xi Jinping and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, pose for a group photo during the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The leaders of the BRICS nations are expected to officially create a bailout and development fund worth $100 billion. It’s meant to be an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are seen as being dominated by the U.S. and Europe. (AP PHOTO)

 

This article is part of a series on Western meddling to foment unrest and destabilize BRICS nations in an effort to ensure the continuation of Western economic and political control over the Global South. The first part, focusing on Brazil, can be found here. Still to come: BRICS under attack in Russia, India, and China.

Major protests have gripped South Africa in recent months as political forces have emerged to give voice to a growing discontent with the government and ruling party. Beneath the surface of these demonstrations organized around legitimate grievances, however, there’s an undercurrent of political manipulation.

South Africa and its ruling African National Congress (ANC) party have been targeted for destabilization due to the country’s burgeoning relationship with China and other non-Western nations, most obviously typified by South Africa’s inclusion in BRICS, the association of the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Last year, for example, China surpassed the United States and European Union as South Africa’s largest trade partner, and the ANC has been hard at work promoting further trade cooperation. Answering questions in the National Assembly, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa explained:

“We trade more effectively with China because the relationship is based on win-win; mutual benefit that they can get out of the relationship and that we can get out the relationship.”

But recent protests against the ANC government have threatened the ruling tripartite coalition of the ANC, along with the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions.

A number of groups on the left such as the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, and the National Union of Metalworkers, have taken part in the protests touched off by student demonstrations against university fees.

At the same time, however, Western-backed opposition forces led by the Democratic Alliance have positioned themselves as leaders and beneficiaries of the anti-government movement.

The DA, a centre-right liberal political party now fronted by “South Africa’s Obama,” Mmusi Maimane, is lauded by Western financial interests. The American Chamber of Commerce, for example, has consistently heaped praise on DA as the way forward for South Africa.

When Maimane delivered a widely publicized speech at a May 2015 business breakfast hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, he stated:

“While China may have overtaken the U.S. as South Africa’s largest trade partner in volume, the U.S. remains an incredibly important partner for our future growth and development.

I refer to ‘future growth and development’ for under the lacklustre and confused leadership of the ANC, our economy has failed to reach its true potential.”  

A careful reading of the subtext offers a clearer understanding of what Maimane is implying. By noting that China has overtaken the U.S. as South Africa’s largest trade partner, he is directly tying the ANC and its “lackluster and confused leadership” to the close relationship with China.

In other words, the DA represents “the future” — that is, a future in which the U.S. is able to reclaim its status as South Africa’s dominant trade partner. This certainly would not have been lost on the attendees at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. (It should be recalled that the Chamber of Commerce is traditionally seen as the main arm of U.S. economic power projection in the Global South — just ask any leader in South and Central America.)

Democratic Alliance members march in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. The skirmish happened Wednesday after followers of the opposition Democratic Alliance marched near the headquarters of the African National Congress, which has dominated politics since the end of white minority rule in 1994. (AP Photo)

 

The Wall Street-London connection runs deep

But the ties to the political and financial establishment of neoliberal capital and the U.S. empire do not stop at the American Chamber of Commerce. In 2014 it came to light that one of the principal financiers behind the DA and its short-lived attempt at unity with the centrist Agang SA party, led by anti-Apartheid figure Mamphela Ramphele, was billionaire Nathan Kirsh.

As the Business Times noted in March 2014:

“Mr Kirsh said he provided a ‘marginal amount’ of funding to both the DA and Agang SA … but denied bringing the parties together.

‘I believe there’s got to be an opposition to the government, but I wasn’t involved in the marriage. … When Mamphela [Ramphele] came to me, she represented what could be good, credible opposition and I gave her some money. When [leader of the DA] Helen Zille came to me, she had already shown her ability to put things together and the [Western] Cape runs perhaps better than any of the other provinces,’ said Kirsh.

Zille and Ramphele announced early in February that the short-lived plan to join forces, and for Ramphele to stand as the DA’s presidential candidate, was over.

At the time, Ms Ramphele was quoted as saying ‘a donor pushed the DA and Agang SA together.’

Kirsh, the business tycoon who heads a multinational business empire controlled through his Kirsh Holdings Group, is one of the richest men in the world, having made his fortune during the Apartheid regime in South Africa and in a variety of other ventures since then.

Aside from his dodgy past, Kirsh is well known to have untold billions in assets and companies domiciled in tax havens from the British Virgin Islands to Liberia. Perhaps most notorious among his recent money-making projects has been the massive contracts awarded to his company Magal Security Systems by the Israeli government to provide electronic fences and security systems for the apartheid wall Israel constructed, and which has been almost universally condemned as illegal.

In fact, Kirsh is well known as being very close to some of the leading institutions of Western finance capital, as evidenced by his choice of Bradley Fried to oversee Kirsh Group. As noted by Bloomberg, Fried will oversee

“the management company that holds Kirsh’s disparate assets, which include two U.S. wholesale grocery businesses, commercial and residential real estate, and private equity investments on four continents.”

Fried is a member of the Bank of England’s Court of Directors and a well-connected executive in circles of high finance.

Fried “takes over [Kirsh Group] from Ron Sandler, the former CEO of Lloyd’s of London who Kirsh said will remain working as a trustee and adviser to the family.” It should be noted that Sandler, who served as chairman of the infamous Northern Rock, had close ties with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, himself a creature of the City of London.

Between Kirsh’s connections to the highest circles of finance capital in the U.S. empire, and his lucrative business dealings with Apartheid South Africa and the current apartheid state of Israel, it should be crystal clear that Kirsh is no progressive. So what’s he doing financing the allegedly “liberal-progressive” opposition in South Africa? To put it simply, Kirsh is making yet another investment that he hopes will pay massive political and financial dividends.

Soft power projects from pro-DA think tanks

Another source of soft power projection from the U.S. empire are the think tanks that uphold the neoliberal DA as the future for South Africa. One example is Legatum Institute, which has published numerous papers criticizing the ANC and calling for “democratization” and “plurality of voices” in the political sphere.

In an innocuously titled 2014 report, “South Africa and the Pursuit of Inclusive Growth,” Legatum noted:

“Together opposition voters constituted just over 34 percent of the national vote. The ANC is understandably proud of its achievements in attracting such a large proportion of votes. However, the weakness of the opposition has reduced the pressure on the ANC to win electoral votes on the basis of its performance in government. It also means that at the national level the ANC’s commitment to democracy has not been put to the ultimate test: the transfer of power to a victorious opposition.”

While the report notes the democratic nature of South Africa’s election, the implied argument, couched in the typically duplicitous rhetoric of Western think tanks, is that the ANC should be unseated from power in order for a truly democratic South Africa to emerge. The report, it should be noted, was edited and overseen by the notoriously anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-BRICS, neoliberal Anne Applebaum, who has repeatedly used her pen and face in the service of the empire’s agenda. (Interesting to note also is that Applebaum is married to Radek Sikorski, the vehemently pro-NATO former foreign minister of Poland.)

One example of Applebaum’s anti-Russia outlook is her widely read 2014 essay in the New York Review of Books, “How He [Putin] and His Cronies Stole Russia,” which argued the typical neoliberal finance capital line that Russia was on the right path in the 1990s under the stewardship of the U.S.- and Wall Street-backed Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his gaggle of thieves, but that Putin and his “kleptocratic KGB apparatchiks” seized control of Russia for their own purposes.

Such nonsense, in addition to Applebaum’s unmitigated warmongering in matters relating to Syria and Libya, demonstrates just what sort of slant exists in her report on South Africa.

Another important element in this equation is an understanding of exactly what the Legatum Institute really is and who funds it. As Pando’s Mark Ames wrote in 2015:

“Legatum turns out to be a project of the most secretive billionaire vulture capital investor you’ve (and I’d) never heard of: Christopher Chandler, a New Zealander who, along with his billionaire brother Richard Chandler, ran one of the world’s most successful vulture capital funds

Brother Christopher Chandler took his billions to Dubai, where he launched Legatum Capital, and, in 2007, the Legatum Institute … The Legatum Institute’s motto, displayed proudly on its homepage, reads ‘Prosperity Through Revitalising Capitalism and Democracy.’

… [T]he Chandler brothers were the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia throughout the 1990s into the first half of the 2000s, including the largest foreign investors in natural gas behemoth Gazprom. …

From what I’ve learned, the Chandlers make buckets of fast money by buying into totally depressed and corrupt emerging markets when everyone else is too afraid to, driving up the price of their assets by making a lot of noise about corporate governance and corruption, and then selling out when those investments tick up during what look like to outsiders as principled battles over corporate governance issues. In other words, a form of extreme green-mailing.”

Applebaum’s official title with Legatum is “director of the Transitions Forum,” “a series of projects that examine the challenges and opportunities of radical political and economic change.” No wonder the think tank’s prized propagandist is so gung-ho in her hatred of all things Putin and Russia: Her bosses were directly targeted by Putin and the Russian government as it sought to reverse the “vulturization” of Russia’s economy carried out by Western capitalists like the Chandlers.

It seems then that Legatum is part of the same anti-Russian, anti-BRICS network of Western NGOs and think tanks that includes the International Republican Institute, Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy.  And it should come as no surprise that Russia and many other countries have moved so strongly to curtail their presence and influence in their respective countries (this author has written detailed analyses of the political significance of the NGO laws in Russia and China).

Powerful forces aligning

Make no mistake, though: Institutional issues such as corruption and political and economic disenfranchisement do indeed exist in South Africa, and these must be addressed. The challenge against the ANC from leftist forces who seek wealth and land redistribution, socialization of the economy, and other traditional policies associated with leftist politics is to be welcomed. That challenge could likely push the ANC to make much needed policy changes, including moving further away from neoliberal capitalism, as it broadens its engagement with the non-Western world.

However, one should not miss the forest for the trees. There are powerful forces aligning behind the DA and other Western proxy political forces in order to destabilize a key partner of the BRICS project.

Source*

Related Topics:

Corporations that Profit from Poor South Africans*

A Reminder Why South African Mineworkers have a Right to Strike*

The Democracy South Africans Never Voted for*

South Africa’s Platinum Miners Resume Rothschild’s Work*

220,000 Metal Workers on Strike in South Africa*

Rothschild’s Anglo American to Sell South African Mines*

Now the Destabilization War Begins in South Africa*

South Africa’s Fight against Global Corporatization Continues*

A Kinetic Walkway in S. Africa that Powers Remote Villages*

South Africa Delays Court Decision on Black Ownership of Mines*

Destabilization of South Africa Escalates*

Stop Meddling in Africa‚ COSATU Provincial Secretary Tells U.S.*

South African Student Uprising Wins Tuition Hike Freeze*

Hillary Clinton and the Ex-Im Bank Financing of the World’s Largest Coal Plants in South Africa*

Gov’t Warns Farmers to Sell Livestock in Face of Spreading Drought in S. Africa*

From Black Man’s Burden to African Renaissance*

WATCH: THE UTILIZATION OF WESTERN NGOS FOR THE THEFT OF AFRICA’S VAST RESOURCES

Why Apartheid Still Exists in South Africa*

Indigenous Australians being Starved by their Occupiers*

Indigenous Australians being Starved by their Occupiers*

By: John Pilger

Black incarceration in Australia is greater than that of Black people in Apartheid South Africa. Indigenous people go to prison, are beaten up in custody and die in custody as a matter of routine. In despairing communities, children as young as 10 take their own lives.

I had a call from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks the other day. Rosalie is an elder of the Arrernte-Alyawarra people, who lives in Utopia, a vast and remote region in the “red heart” of Australia.

The nearest town is Alice Springs, more than 200 miles across an ancient landscape of spinifex and swirling skeins of red dust. The first Europeans who came here, perhaps demented by the heat, imagined a white utopia that was not theirs to imagine; for this is a sacred place, the homeland of the oldest, most continuous human presence on earth. Rosalie was distressed, defiant and eloquent. Her distinction as one unafraid to speak up in a society so often deaf to the cries and anguish of its first people, its singular uniqueness, is well earned. She appears in my 2013 film, Utopia, with a searing description of a discarded people:

“We are not wanted in our own country.”

She has described the legacies of a genocide: a word political Australia loathes and fears. A week ago, Rosalie and her daughter Ngarla put out an alert that people were starving in Utopia. They said that elderly Indigenous people in the homelands had received no food from an aged care program funded by the Australian government and administered by the regional Council.

“One elderly man with end-stage Parkinson’s received two small packets of mince meat and white bread,” said Ngarla, “the elderly woman living nearby received nothing.”

In calling for food drops, Rosalie said,

“The whole community including children and the elderly go without food, often on a daily basis.”

She and Ngarla and their community have cooked and distributed food as best they can. This is not unusual. Four years ago, I drove into the red heart and met Dr. Janelle Trees, a general practitioner whose Indigenous patients live within a few miles of US$1,000-a-night tourist resorts serving Uluru (Ayers Rock), she said, “Malnutrition is common.

I wanted to give a patient an anti-inflammatory for an infection that would have been preventable if living conditions were better, but I couldn’t treat her because she didn’t have enough food to eat and couldn’t ingest the tablets. I feel sometimes as if I’m dealing with similar conditions as the English working class at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

“There’s asbestos in many Aboriginal homes, and when somebody gets a fibre of asbestos in their lungs and develops mesothelioma, [the government] doesn’t care. When the kids have chronic infections and end up adding to these incredible statistics of Indigenous people dying of renal disease, and vulnerable to world record rates of rheumatic heart disease, nothing is done. I ask myself: “why not?”

The government doesn’t care when an Indigenous person is affected by home asbestos in their lungs and develops mesothelioma.

When Rosalie phoned me from Utopia, she said,

“It’s not so much the physical starvation as the traumatizing of my people, of whole communities We are duped all the time. White Australia sets up organizations and structures that offer the pretence of helping us, but it’s a pretence, no more. If we oppose it, it’s a crime. Simply belonging is a crime. Suicides are everywhere. (She gave me details of the suffering in her own family). They’re out to kill our values, to break down our traditional life until there’s nothing there anymore.”

Barkly Regional Council says its aged care packages get through and protests that the council is “the poorest of the three tiers of government and is very much dependent on [Northern] Territory and [Federal] governments for funds to provide such services to the bush. Barbara Shaw, the council’s president, agreed that it was “totally unacceptable that people should be starving in a rich and well-developed country like Australia” and that “it is disgusting and wrong that Indigenous people experience deep poverty such as this.

“The starvation and poverty and the division often sewn among Indigenous people themselves as they try to identify those responsible stem in large part from an extraordinary episode known as “the Intervention”. This is Australia’s dirty secret.

In 2007, the then Prime Minister John Howard sent the army into Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to “rescue children” who, claimed his minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mal Brough, were being abused by paedophile gangs in “unthinkable numbers”.

Subsequently exposed as a fraud by the Australian Crime Commission, the Northern Territory Police and a damning report by child medical specialists, the “intervention” nonetheless allowed the  government to destroy many of the vestiges of self-determination in the Northern Territory, the only part of Australia where Aboriginal people had won federally-legislated land rights. Here, they had administered their homelands with the dignity of self-determination and connection to land and culture and, as Amnesty reported, a 40% lower mortality rate. Distribution of food was never a problem.

It is this “traditional life” that is anathema to a parasitic white industry of civil servants, contractors, lawyers and consultants that controls and often profits from Aboriginal Australia, if indirectly through the corporate structures imposed on Indigenous organizations. The remote homelands are seen as an ideological threat, for they express a communalism at odds with the neo-conservatism that rules Australia and demands “assimilation”.

It is as if the enduring existence of a people who have survived and resisted more than two colonial centuries of massacre and theft remains a spectre on white Australia: a reminder of whose land this really is.

I know these communities and their people, who have shown me the conditions imposed on them. Many are denied consistent running water, sanitation and power. That basic sustenance should join this list is not surprising.

According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth report, Australia is the richest place on earth. Politicians in Canberra are among the wealthiest citizens; they like to hang Indigenous art on the white walls of their offices in the bleakly modern Parliament House. Their self-endowment is legendary. The Labour Party’s last minister for indigenous affairs, Jenny Macklin, refurbished her office at a cost to the taxpayer of US$331,144. During her tenure, the number of Aboriginal people living in slums increased by almost a third. When Professor James Anaya, the respected United Nations Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous people, described the “intervention” as racist, the opposition spokesperson on Indigenous affairs, Tony Abbott, told Anaya to”get a life” and not “just listen to the old victim brigade.”

Abbott was promoted to prime minister of Australia; he was evicted last year. When I began filming Indigenous Australia some 30 years ago, a global campaign was under way to end Apartheid in South Africa. Having reported from South Africa, I was struck by the similarity of white supremacy and the compliance, defensiveness and indifference of people who saw themselves as liberal. For example, Black incarceration in Australia is greater than that of Black people in Apartheid South Africa. Indigenous people go to prison, are beaten up in custody and die in custody as a matter of routine. In despairing communities, children as young as 10 take their own lives.

Yet no international opprobrium, no boycotts, have disturbed the surface of “lucky” Australia. As Rosalie’s call reminds us, that surface should be shattered without delay.

Source*

Related Topics:

Australia Discontinues Services to the People Whose Land It Took*

Australia Still Stealing Indigenous Children*

Australia the Police State*

Australia: When Recognition Means the End for the Indigenous

Australia: Deceit by Assimilation!

Australia’s Eugenics Agenda *

Israel Arrests the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque*

Israel Arrests the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque*

Jordan has condemned Israel’s arrest of an imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday as a “violation of international law”, Anadolu has reported.

Mohamed Salim was arrested when he left the mosque after delivering the Friday sermon.

“This is an interference by the Israeli authorities in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque and it is a violation of its own duties and pledges as an occupying authority,” said Jordan’s Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments, Hayil Daud.

“This is a violation of international law.”

According to Daud, his ministry followed up the issue of the imam’s arrest and he was released after a few hours in Israeli custody.

Salim used his sermon to criticise the continuous desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam, by illegal Jewish settlers. He called for Muslims to intensify their presence in the mosque compound during the Jewish Passover holiday, when the settlers’ leader called for more incursions at the religious site.

The occupied Palestinian territories have been witnessing a popular uprising since October, which began in protest at the intensive armed incursions at the mosque by settlers guarded by Israeli police.

Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian sanctities are under Jordanian guardianship, as Jordan was the ruling authority before the Israeli occupation. In the Jordan-Israel peace agreement signed in 1994, the government in Amman kept its guardianship over such sites. This was affirmed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who signed an agreement with King Abdullah II in March last year, giving him the right to guard and defend Jerusalem and the holy sites in Palestine.

Source*

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Saudis and Israeli’s Stage Hajj Stampede*

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Captured Israeli Officer Details Israeli-ISIS Plan to Wipe-out all Islamic and Muslim Culture and Prevent Religions Coming Together*

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Burkina Faso Association Seeks $ 83mn from Monsanto over GMO Cotton Failure*

Burkina Faso Association Seeks $ 83mn from Monsanto over GMO Cotton Failure*

Burkina Faso’s cotton association is seeking 48.3 billion CFA francs ($83.91 million) in compensation from U.S. seed company Monsanto after it said genetically modified cotton led to a drop in quality, association members said on Monday.

Cotton is the second-biggest source of revenue for the impoverished West African country after gold.

In an effort to increase yields, the Inter-professional Cotton Association of Burkina (AICB) began introducing Monsanto’s Bollgard II trait into Burkinabe cotton varieties beginning in 2009 as protection against caterpillars.

However, the AICB, which groups together Burkina’s three cotton companies and the national cotton farmers union (UNPCB), believes the trait has increased levels of short fibres in its cotton, reducing its market value.

Sustainable Pulse 2016: In a move that could help decide the future of GM crops in Africa, Burkina Faso abandoned GM Bt cotton in February 2016. The country has begun a complete phase-out of the crop, citing the inferior lint quality of GM cultivars.

The association said it met with Monsanto representatives last month, but the parties failed to reach an agreement on its financial claim. It also said it was asking farmers to stop using GM seeds until the technology is improved and fibre lengths are restored.

We went from 39.2 billion (CFA francs) in losses to 49.3 billion in just one harvest. If we continue like that we’ll just dig the hole deeper,” said Wilfried Yameogo, managing director of SOFITEX, one of the cotton companies belonging to the AICB.

Monsanto said the Bollgard II varieties had consistently delivered increased yield potential since they were launched.

The company acknowledged that recent changes concerning fibre length had been observed, but added that fibre quality is influenced by both environmental conditions and genetic background.

“This variation exists between all cotton varieties (conventional or biotech) and is independent of the Bollgard II trait,” spokesman William Brennan said in a reply to Reuters.

He said Monsanto would continue talks with its partners in Burkina Faso.

Yacouba Koura, vice president of the UNPCB farmers union, said growers should be able to replace the GM varieties with conventional cotton seeds for the 2016/17.

“There’s no worry. If the conventional cotton seeds are available, if the farmers are trained and there is quality fertilizer, then there’s no problem,” he said.

Source *

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Ancient Tools Turn Ethiopian Wasteland into Fertile Farms*