Archive | June 16, 2017

Walking 616 Miles while Fasting, and Still Smiling*

Walking 616 Miles while Fasting, and Still Smiling*

Mohammad Zaman is currently walking from Batley, Yorkshire, to London, visiting community groups and projects along the way to shine a light on ordinary people going the extra mile to bring people together. It’s an admirable adventure to embark upon – particularly as Mohammad is currently fasting for Ramadhan.

The Great Big Walk is a national movement in the form of five walks starting from Batley on 29 May to London, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland in the lead up to The Big Lunch, the U.K.’s annual get-together for neighbours. The five routes spanning the U.K. will stop at over 100 community projects on their way, as the walkers head home in time to join the biggest community celebration the U.K. has ever seen.

Mohammad is one of the walkers heading the 616 miles home to London, and for him, the physical challenge of fasting makes the experience a more testing one. He explained before the walk that

it’s during Ramadhan when I’ll be fasting for 18+ hours every day, with 2.8 million U.K. Muslims. It’s going to be hard.”

At sundown on the first day of walking, Mohammad and his team were welcomed into Jamia Swafia Masjid, Wakefield, to open his fast and enjoy Iftar at the mosque, and other points on the journey have seen him lay down his prayer mat on the side of the road whilst walking to a community stop. Mohammad has previously completed a half marathon whilst fasting and is confident that his mental strength, as well as physical strength, will prevail.

In fact, Mohammad believes it is particularly important that he completes The Great Big Walk whilst observing Ramadhan: Mohammad’s Muslim faith is his guiding light and inspiration when it comes to his interactions with those around him, and it has also been his motivation when overcoming his own personal hurdles – including homelessness. As Mohammad’s faith guides him to support and celebrate community, he’s certain that it will also sustain him through The Great Big Walk which has provided a platform for him to do just that.

Mohammad says “I am dedicated to bringing positive change, hope, and peace to communities across Britain, among people from different backgrounds. The nation needs a platform to encourage bonds between us and make this country strong. I think The Great Big Walk is that platform. I want to take part and also share my experience on the walk to help build strong communities and encourage people to stand together.”

Within days, Mohammad became known for his infectious positivity and enthusiasm: when asked about his journey and his energy he responds “I’m still walking and fasting, and I’m still smiling.”

Visit thegreatbigwalk.com to find out more about Mohammad’s journey as well as tracking where him, and the other teams of walkers, are heading to next. You can join in the celebrations by supporting the walkers as they pass through your area or simply by walking in Mohammad’s footsteps – and stay smiling.

Finally, anyone who is fasting can get involved in The Big Lunch on 18 June by holding a Lunar Lunch and inviting family, neighbours, and colleagues to join you as you open your fast. You can find out more about Lunar Lunches and how to host one by going to our website, www.TheBigLunch.com, and searching for ‘Lunar Lunch,’ or by checking out The Big Iftar UK on Facebook.

 

 

The Big Lunch

The Big Lunch is the U.K.’s annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project. Over the past eight years, Big Lunches of all sizes have happened in all kinds of communities – in streets, back gardens, parks and local community venues. The Eden Project started The Big Lunch in 2009 with the belief that we’re better equipped to tackle the challenges we face when we face them together.  In 2016 The Big Lunch was attended by over 7 million people at over 90,000 events U.K. wide and is supported by our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. We work to connect people and communities across the U.K., encouraging everyday people to make a positive change where they live.

www.TheBigLunch.com

The Great Big Walk

The Great Big Walk is a national movement connecting people and communities. Five walks will span the U.K., stopping at over 100 community projects as they go. Each stop will shine a light on the extraordinary people going the extra mile to bring their communities together as the walkers head home in time to join the biggest community celebration the U.K. has ever seen.

The walks will start on 29 June in Batley, Yorkshire, where Jo Cox was MP and will finish in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London in time for The Big Lunch on Sunday 18 June, the highlight of The Great Get Together weekend inspired by Jo.

Source*

Related Topics:

Ramadhan in Gaza*

Muslims Ramadhan Waking may have saved Grenfell Tower Residents’ Lives*

Inner Dimensions of Ramadhan Fasting*

How Enslaved Muslims in the Americas fasted in Ramadhan*

Ramadhan a Beacon of Light in Jerusalem*

Ramadhan in Kenya*

God-consciousness After Ramadhan

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Ramadhan in Gaza*

Ramadhan in Gaza*

Ramadhan, a time of worship and joy for Muslims around the globe, is mixed with sadness in Gaza.

During Ramadhan three years ago, Israel launched a massive military offensive that would last 51 days and claim more than 2,200 Palestinian lives.

The many families in Gaza who lost loved ones during that offensive, and the ones that came before it, feel little joy in their absence.

Successive Israeli military offensives, and a decade of blockade, have destroyed Gaza’s economy, further clouding Ramadan.

But Palestinians in Gaza try to carry on with Ramadhan traditions – sharing meals with family and visiting neighbors after a long day of fasting, enjoying qatayif sweets and and carob and tamarind drinks.

Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

Source*

Related Topics:

Gaza Teen Uses Candle Heat to Generate Electricity*

On Gaza, Gaza, Defense Minister Says ‘Next War Will Be The Last’*

Israel Attacks All-Women Solidarity Flotilla to Gaza*

Gazan Down Syndrome Teacher Inspires her Disabled Students*

One Palestinian Man’s Mission to Make Urban Agriculture More Sustainable*

Palestinian Prisoners end Hunger Strike with Historic win against Israeli Mass Incarceration*

Russian Gov’t Approves European Convention against Terrorism Financing*

Russian Gov’t Approves European Convention against Terrorism Financing*

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chairs a Government meeting. © Alexander Astafyev / Sputnik

 

 

The Russian government has approved the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism and recommended the document for ratification by the parliament.

The government statement that recommends President Vladimir Putin submit the convention to the State Duma for ratification was published on the cabinet’s website on Friday. The bill on ratification of the convention has been prepared jointly by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian State Agency for Financial Monitoring.

The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism was introduced in May 2005 and signed by Russia in January 2009. The explanatory note published by the government as an attachment to the bill on the ratification of the convention reads that, once ratified, the document would boost the effectiveness of cooperation between Russian and foreign agencies targeting terrorism and money laundering.

The convention is also expected to give additional impetus for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Russia introduced the latest major package of anti-terrorist amendments to its legislation about a year ago, making international terrorism a separate crime punished with up to 10 years in prison, as well as ordering up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups.

Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organization was also criminalized, and will be punished with prison terms of between five and 10 years. Public calls for terrorism and public justification of terrorist crimes were also criminalized, with possible punishment of up to seven years in prison.

The new bill also lowered the age threshold for terrorist crimes, such as terrorist attacks and hostage taking, to 14 years of age from the current 16. Presently the age of minors in Russia is 16, with exceptions for crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping and several others, where the age of criminal responsibility is 14.

Most recent changes to the Russian anti-terrorist laws was made in late May this year when Putin signed into law the bill that introduced administrative surveillance for people who have committed terrorist crimes and have already served their sentences.

Source*

Related Topics:

NATO Auditor Who Discovered U.S. Funds ISIS Found Murdered*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

Mainstream Media Blackout on Killary’s Connection to ISIS*

ISISrael’s Terror and Subversion in Bangladesh*

Congress Removes Ban on Funding Neo-Nazis*

Secret Norwegian Government Report Confirms Turkey Helping ISIS Sell Its Oil*

Putin Reveals ISIS Funded by 40 Countries, Including G20 Members*

British Government Firms Behind ISIS Oil Sales*

CIA + Contractors = ISIS in Afghanistan*

 

Grenfell Tower Block Fire Survivors Storm London Town Hall*

Grenfell Tower Block Fire Survivors Storm London Town Hall*

Demonstrators enter Kensington Town Hall, during a protest following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, UK June 16, 2017 | Photo: Reuters

 

Growing anger over blaze is putting more pressure on the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

Protesters have stormed Kensington Town Hall in west London during a protest to demand ‘justice’ for the victims of Wednesday’s Grenfell Tower Fire.

Crowds were heard chanting ‘shame on you’ outside the headquarters.

Protesters pushed their way through an automatic door shouting ‘We want justice!’ and ‘Killers!’ as they clashed with security guards in the lobby of the building.

Londoners have organised another rally for the victims, at least 30 people were killed and dozens more are still missing.

A Facebook event, “Justice for Grenfell!” is also being held outside the capital’s Department for Communities and Local Government.

The city’s mayor Sadiq Khan was heckled by an angry crowd demanding answers at the scene on Friday, and there are fears that tensions could escalate.

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Khan wrote that the community affected by the fire was “increasingly angry” and felt “their grief has been made worse” by the poor government response to the tragedy.

“As the Mayor of London, I will continue to fight alongside this community to ensure they get the support and answers they deserve and justice done,” Khan wrote.

My letter to the Prime Minister, demanding answers, action and justice for those affected by the #GrenfellTower fire https://t.co/DbnANI2Y29 pic.twitter.com/turBKFnszs

— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) June 16, 2017

The death toll from Wednesday’s fire has risen to 30 confirmed fatalities. 24 people are still in hospital and 12 of them in critical care, according to the police.

May made a private visit the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which is treating eight survivors on Friday afternoon, after being heavily criticized for attending the site but not meeting the Tower block’s residents.

Queen Elizabeth II, the opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Khan have all met the block’s former residents during their visits.

“She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn’t use her humanity,” former cabinet minister Michael Portillo told the BBC.

“She should have been there with the residents. You have to be prepared to receive people’s emotions, and not be so frightened about people.”

May met police and firefighters at the West London site on Thursday, to receive a briefing from the emergency services. She later appeared on TV announce a public inquiry into the blaze.

Scotland Yard has launched a criminal inquiry as it emerged that the type of cladding panels used on the building have been widely prohibited on tall structures in the U.S. since 2012 because of its flammability.

Source*

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour leadership has proposed that the unused vacant homes owned by overseas investors in the wealthy areas of Kensington and Chelsea be utilized to house the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. “The ward where this fire took place is, I think, the poorest ward in the whole country and properties must be found — requisitioned if necessary — to make sure those residents do get rehoused locally,” the Labour leader said. In contrast to the working-class neighborhood in which the fire occurred, Corbyn noted that the nearby “south part of Kensington is incredibly wealthy, its the wealthiest part of the whole country.”

Related Topics:

Grenfell Tower Resident Praise Muslim Youth for their Bravery in Helping Survivors*

Muslims Ramadhan Waking may have saved Grenfell Tower Residents’ Lives*

Disaster Capitalism, Immigration, and the Outsourcing of Violence in the U.K.*

Thousands Set to Die of Fuel Poverty this Winter, while Tories Makes a Killing from U.K.’s Energy Supply*

U.K.’s Poverty, Food and Flood Victims*

DNC Lawsuit Attorneys Call for Court Protection, Citing Multiple Suspicious Deaths*

DNC Lawsuit Attorneys Call for Court Protection, Citing Multiple Suspicious Deaths*

Founder and plaintiff in the DNC election rigging/fraud lawsuit asks the courts for special physical protection amid numerous mysterious deaths of individuals connected to the lawsuit against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC.

By Jack Burns

While the rest of the United States seems fixated on this week’s Senate hearing testimony of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (to discuss his involvement in the pseudo-scandal which is the meddling of the Russians in the presidential election of 2016) lawyers suing the DNC for fraud have asked for special protection for their lives.

The sheer number of plaintiffs are too many to mention in this article. The original motion to sue the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman Schultz can be seen by clicking here. They allege, thanks to leaked DNC emails published by Wikileaks, that the DNC and former Chairwoman Wasserman-Schultz actively discriminated against Senator Bernie Sanders as a DNC candidate.

All the plaintiffs who contributed to Sanders’ campaign, are members of the Democratic Party, and allege the DNC committed fraud by actively working against Sanders to help Hillary Rodham Clinton win the Democratic nomination as a presidential candidate. But that’s just the beginning. Now they’re saying they’re in fear for their lives, and they’ve described the strange things happening to some of them.

On Tuesday, six plaintiffs filed requests for special protection. Carol Wilding of Dassel, MN, a plaintiff in the case, filed a motion for special protection services. She stated in court documents someone tampered with her laptop. The computer had been moved from the mud room to the living room and placed on an end table, something she says she wouldn’t have done since she has special needs.

After picking up the laptop, the bottom of it fell open, because 10 screws had been removed. At about the same time, she noticed the doors leading into her home through her screen porch were open, and the sliding door to the home was ajar. She called the police and filed a report.

Wilding’s request for protection was the latest in a string of court filings by plaintiffs asking for special protection by the court. Four other requests were sealed by the courts and the details are unknown at this time. The first came from Florida resident Carol Wilding, of the Beck & Lee law firm.

Wilding’s employer represents some of the plaintiffs in the case against the DNC. In the court filing, she said someone called the office with a voice-masking device, and another stranger actually paid a visit to her mother’s home. The woman stated she was there to see Wilding, and asked for her by name. When her mother told her she wasn’t home, the lady left a Florida Democratic Campaign Committee “Vote-by-Mail” application with her mother.

In spite of the fact the woman had a stack of the registration forms, she did not visit any other home in the neighborhood and left as a passenger in a gray vehicle with tinted windows driven by someone else. Wilding also asked for special protection from the court.

It isn’t the first time those connected to the DNC Fraud lawsuit have been threatened or even killed. The process server, Shawn Lucas, was mysteriously found dead in 2016. He may have even known it was coming, as he actually filmed the serving of the lawsuit court documents while standing inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC.

Here’s where it gets even more real. This week, Jared Beck, husband of Elizabeth Beck (principal lawyers in the lawsuit and founders of JamPac, the group suing the DNC and Wasserman-Schultz) recorded his request for special protection by the courts. In a Facebook livestream, Beck issued the following statement:

“After much consideration and deliberation, we have concluded that it is time to bring these concerns to the court’s attention. As such, today we filed a motion asking judge William Zloch to issue an order providing protection of the plaintiffs, their counsel and their families, as well as all potential witnesses in the DNC Fraud lawsuit. In support of this motion, we have cited the following events: the untimely death of our process server Shawn Lucas, the unsolved murder of DNC employee Seth Rich. We believe Mr. Rich might have been a potential witness in this case. We’ve also cited the recent untimely death of federal prosecutor Beranton Whisenant of South Florida. Also recent bizarre and disturbing conduct including threats that has been directed at plaintiffs their counsel and employees, and we’ve also cited an offer to provide security by the Oathkeepers and its president Stuart Rose.”

I am not suicidal. If my body washes up somewhere, it was not a suicide.

— Jared Beck (@JaredBeck) May 27, 2017

Beck cited three people who are no longer alive. Beranton J. Whisenant Jr., 37, was found dead at the end of May on a beach in Miami. He was working on the case.

Rich, as The Free Thought Project recently reported, is believed by many to be the person responsible for leaking the DNC’s email database to Wikileaks. And Lucas, found dead on 8/2/16 was just doing his job as a process server to legally inform the DNC of their being named as a defendant in the election rigging/fraud lawsuit.

The bodies are stacking up, and now the plaintiffs in the case are in fear for their lives. If this isn’t newsworthy to the mainstream media, one must ask the question why.

Source*

Related Topics:

Rigging the Election – Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

Guccifer 2.0 Angry about his DNC Hack being Blamed on Russians*

Developed in Iraq, Deployed at the DNC?: Cell-Jamming Technology is Being Turned on Journalists*

Official Who Served DNC Election Fraud Papers Found Dead*

#DemExit Threatens To Fracture DNC – Media Told Not To Cover Movement*

Thousands Protest Wall Street and the Warmakers Outside the DNC*

DNC Collapsing Amid Resignations in WikiLeaks Aftermath*

Julian Assange Slams “Corrupt” Hillary Clinton Following WikiLeaks DNC Email Release

Phillidelphia Is Run By Freemasons – Inside the DNC*

How Washington Targets Civilians*

How Washington Targets Civilians*

By Mehmet Ersoy

Yesterday, a monitoring group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently published another footage of the aftermath of the U.S.-led coalition’s strikes on the city. Videos and photos show damaged buildings, bomb craters and fires.

In particular, shocking are the photos of children and adults injured because of the coalition: someone’s face is burnt, another man is bleeding while the other guy seems to be shocked and can’t move.

Meanwhile, conventional weapons don’t quite satisfy Washington In the previous week, ISIS-linked channel Amaq published a video showing white phosphorus shells hitting Raqqa. Using these munitions in populated areas is prohibited by the international law.

White phosphorus causes terrifying effects: contacting a human skin, it burns it to the bone, and if a person inhales the gas released during the burning, he would start choking and literally burn from the inside. It also ignites high temperature fires that are difficult to extinguish.

Notably, in an article concerning the accusations of the U.S. illegal methods of war, the New York Times refers to an official who on the condition of anonymousness told the newspaper that the coalition indeed has access to white phosphorus munitions, which, however, are not used against personnel. But as we see, their role is to fight civilians.

Besides, the spokesman for the U.S.-led task force Col. Ryan Dillon commented on the situation. According to him, white phosphorus is used for “screening, obscuring and marking in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures”.

Tens of thousands of residents who still stay in Raqqa don’t seem to be considered civilians by the Pentagon. According to UNICEF, 40,000 children are still trapped in the city, and their lives are in constant danger because of the coalition’s bombings and shellings.

Moreover, in the same NYT article, the Syrian government is accused of using white phosphorus against the militants during the battle for Aleppo. Isn’t it an example of the western hypocrisy?
Obviously, this is just the beginning of Raqqa’s destruction. During the operation on pushing ISIS out of Mosul, almost one thousand civilians were killed. The West proved how indifferent Washington is to deaths among the civilian population. And HRW’s call to think first of Raqqa residents, who have been suffering from ISIS for 3 years, will remain unheard.

Source*

Related Topics:

What I’ve Learnt About US Foreign Policy*

U.N. Reveals U.S. Massacred 300 Civilians in Raqqa Last Week*

U.S. Coalition Admits to Bombing Civilians with Chemical Weapons*

U.S.-led Coalition Aircrafts Kill 15 Civilians in Raqqa, Syria*

U.S. Airstrikes Slaughter 230 Innocent Civilians in a Single Night in Mosul*

Over 100 Civilians Dead after Recent U.S. Raids on Alleged al-Qaeda Training Camps*

U.N. Confirms U.S. Airstrikes in Afghanistan Killed At Least 18 Civilians*

U.S. Coalition Airstrikes Killed More Civilians in Syria*

Russia Blasts U.S. for Supporting ‘Moderates’ Who Gas Civilians in Syria*

U.S.-Led Airstrikes Have Killed More Than 200 Syrian Civilians in Past Two Months*

French and U.S. Airstrikes ‘kill over 140 civilians’ in Syria*

U.S. Coalition Air Strikes Kills 60 Civilians in Tokhar near Manbij, Syria*

U.S. Airstrikes Kill 38 Syrian Civilians Over 48 Hours*

New U.S. Led Airstrikes Kill 36 Civilians in Syria While Missing Terrorists Entirely*

U.S. Airstrikes Killing Civilians not ISIS as Fallujans Walk out on ISIS Sermons*

Syrians Report U.S. Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K*

Witnesses saw U.S. Military Killing Fleeing Child in Latest Botched Yemen Raid*

U.S. Coalition Bombs Syrian Army in Sweida*

U.S. Coalition Airstrike Kills Women, Children in Raqqa*

West Blocks Probe as It Would Show Idlib ‘Attack’, U.S. Strike ‘False Flag’*

New Studies Confirm Syrian Building Struck by U.S. Drones was a Mosque*

U.S. Kills Hundreds in Chemical Strike on Der ez-Zor*

Dyncorp, the Private Military Corporation at the Heart of U.S. Foreign Policy Scandal*

U.S. Missile Strike Killed People Fighting Terrorists*

U.S. Just Admitted “ISIS HQ” They Blew Up Was Actually an Innocent Family’s Home*

U.S.-Led Coalition Bombs School in Raqqa*

Trump Orders Drone Strike on Syrian Mosque, 40 Civilians Killed*

Imminent Starvation Resulting from U.S. Led Wars: U.N. Officials Warn of Worst Famine Crisis Since World War II*

U.N. Reveals U.S. Massacred 300 Civilians in Raqqa Last Week*

U.N. Reveals U.S. Massacred 300 Civilians in Raqqa Last Week*

By Darius Shahtahmasebi

According to a U.N. Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, the intensification of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition has led to a “staggering loss of civilian life,” the Guardian reports.

The U.N. war crimes investigators found that since the acceleration of airstrikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa commenced last week, 300 civilians have already died. This statistic arguably makes Bashar al-Assad pale in comparison; Assad’s regime reportedly kills approximately 20-50 people in any given week.

“We note in particular that the intensification of air strikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF advance in Raqqa, has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced,” Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry told the human rights council in Geneva.

According to Karen Abuzayd, an American commissioner on the independent panel, the figure of 300 is based only on deaths caused by airstrikes. Therefore, the figure of civilian deaths caused by troops on the ground may ultimately higher.

As the Guardian also notes, speculation that the coalition has been using white phosphorous has already drawn strong condemnation.

Not surprisingly, this operation was conducted with full knowledge that there would be mass suffering for the civilian population. At the end of May of this year, Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis announced that the U.S. would be switching to so-called “annihilation tactics” against ISIS, stating:

Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa, we are not going to allow them to do so…We are going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

According to Mattis, civilian deaths “are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” However, Mattis did add that the U.S. military would “do everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity, taking many chances to avoid civilian casualties at all costs.”

Mattis’ announcement that the U.S. would annihilate ISIS (and massacre civilians by the hundreds) is still somewhat dubious, considering video footage appears to have emerged of ISIS fighters fleeing the conflict in Raqqa safely despite the hundreds of bombs and white phosphorous loaded munitions U.S.-backed forces have been dropping over the city. It has been speculated that in reality, these ISIS fighters are being granted safe passage to put added pressure on the Syrian government, a longtime adversary of the United States.

Further, using a dangerous element like white phosphorous and burying over 300 civilians after approximately a week of fighting seems, on the face of it, to be nothing short of a blatant war crime. The Commission of Inquiry and the mainstream media may not use the term “war crime” outright, but that is surely an inference one can draw from their calculations.

If anything, it would appear the U.S. is annihilating civilians — and not much else.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.S. Coalition Cause ‘Staggering loss of civilian life’ during U.S.-backed siege of Raqqa*

Syrian Troops Move Closer to Raqqa as the U.S. Drops Chemical Weapons on the Citizens*

Turkish MP Sentenced to 25 Years for Exposing MIT Arms Aid to Terrorists in Syria*

U.S. Coalition Admits to Bombing Civilians with Chemical Weapons*

Pentagon and Israel behind Tunisian Ramadhan Attack*

 

Colonialism hasn’t been all that Bad*

Colonialism hasn’t been all that Bad*

By Douglas Schorr

Jun 15, 2017

The judgment has been handed down on Helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, muzzling her from any party related communications in future. She said that colonialism wasn’t all bad. Her tweet was insensitive but true, the backlash furious and nonsensical. Why? I blame black guilt, which I understand very well, because I’m white.

The old way

‘I grew up in Rhodesia,’ I said out loud recently, whilst taking a walk with my son (he’s 35, I’m 69).

His face soured.

‘Why do you have to say that? Why can’t you say Zimbabwe?’

‘Because they’re not the same thing. Rhodesia was different from Zimbabwe. I never lived in Zimbabwe. Rhodesia is where I grew up.’

There was a tense silence.

‘Why do I still identify with Rhodesia?’ I wondered.

‘Why do I hold onto some old imperialist identity? Is there really a difference, and is that difference important enough to insist on, out loud, in the face of all the damage colonialism has done?’

Rhodesia and colonialism were wrong. Agreed. But why not talk about them? In fact, in a country reeling from a poverty crisis that is only escalating, and will tear this nation apart if something meaningful is not done (and soon), how can we not talk about them?

Because colonialism is not over, not by a long shot. That ‘wrong’ history is repeating itself.

The new colonialism

Colonialism has been on the go since 1415. The nations of Europe, with their armies and the cross of Jesus at the fore, have conducted a vicious assault on ‘non-whites’ everywhere with the stated goal of promoting Christianity and Capitalism, while hauling back to Europe all of value. The various independencies of previous colonial territories would seem to have been the end of that process, but they were not.

Colonialism is still alive and well, except now we call it ‘globalisation’, ‘free trade’, etc.

Today, instead of the European nations of old, the drivers of colonialism are the massive corporations and bankers. There are new owners of the world’s capital. They define which currencies are worth what and they own the banking system, armies and armaments. They have taken over ownership of the government from the people and their goal is singular – maximum profit.

They are headquartered wherever the taxes are best but mainly in the U.S. and Europe. In their operational areas, such as Africa, they employ through corruption and bribery a new class of manager – the local African who wields the power of the vote.

Mostly they’re Black Africans, men and women who substituted their socialism and people advancement dreams for wealth and cover-page status – exactly how we whites controlled the population in Rhodesia, until they rose up and bit us.

Freedom?

In 2007 there were 6,200 black millionaires in South Africa; 14,700 in 2014; and as late as 2015 over 17,000. The new black middle class has more than trebled over the past 12 years to 5.81 million, completely overshadowing the fast declining white middle class, now estimated at about 2.5 million.

How much the South African middle class earn is difficult to work out. Standard Bank reports the ‘low emerging middle’ class annual salaries start from R51,000, the ‘emerging middle’ starts at R111,000, and the ‘realised middle’ range from R240,000 to over R380,000.

And there is the growth in government and city and municipal council employment of mostly non-whites. Government employment, as at 2014, has jumped to 2.7 million employees. The assumption has to be made that the government (and compliant city and municipal councils) is committed to at least the minimum wage for every single one of those employees.

University of Cape Town marketing professor John Simpson is quoted as saying, ‘the black middle class is keeping the economy alive …’ Well, with those salaries it would be the driver, but it isn’t necessarily a mark of prosperity for South Africa. Most of South Africa’s big exports are raw resources sent overseas to have value added to them. It is a process that has been followed since Rhodes’s time. The little exports of finished goods South Africa does manage is of small consumer type items such as food stuff, and it all goes to her poor(er) neighbours.

This means South Africa’s new emerging middle class is not adding value. Instead, it’s buying and selling houses, cars, insurance, food, eating in franchised restaurants and generally creating debt, the mainstay of the corporacy and its banks.

In 2010, 16 years after the ANC adopted the White Nationalist Party’s Capitalist principles by which to run the country, the average income for South Africa’s black folk was R10,000 per year.[5] Some 60% of South Africans, 99% of them non-white, still live under poverty conditions, scratching away a living in informal settlements and the old homelands.

At the same time there has been a surge upwards as hundreds of men and women who twenty years ago promoted themselves as liberators have embraced the greed system and become rich beyond dreams – Ramaphosa, Gordhan, Sexale, Motsepe, Mbete, Trevor Manuel and wife[8], billionaire Mbeki, Mboweni… the list rolls on.

There doesn’t seem to be much trickle down to the ordinary folk. To me South Africa seems just like the old Rhodesia, with the few living off the backs of the many.

Through the looking glass

Surely it would be both logical and reasonable to argue South Africa’s horrible inequality world record is, in the main, now black driven? Aren’t the new elite treating their own kind as objects out of which to make money in exactly the same way as Imperial Britain treated South Africa?

Is it not logical to point a finger and say the ANC-led government are the new colonists by behaviour and employment of capitalism and religion?

Why didn’t the president forget all the colonial bull, cut out the mythological and announce he and his government are going to stop corruption? The talk is that corruption has cost South Africa R700 billion, and I’m guessing that does not include all the contracts to mates to do what they quite clearly cannot do.

What isn’t falling apart? Water is, electricity, health, schooling, railways, harbours, airways are.

‘Why is Africa, a continent blessed abundantly with natural resources and excessive value of human capital, yet to find its rightful place in world politics? Africa is very rich with natural possessions such as fertile soil, enough rain and sunshine for cultivation, raw materials, oil, gas, gold and many other major resources, but corruption and bad governances are the major reasons for the visible miserable poverty, unmanageable sufferings and deaths on the continent’ is the statement of Front Page Africa.

Africa is yet to find its rightful place because the old system of Colonialism is still active, now driven by the continent’s current leaders.

I see a mirror of the privileged society I grew up in. Capitalism is not freedom, but continued slavery, colonial style.

We must act

The 23-year-old ANC government can play a huge role in the growth and development of South Africa.

It has a by ‘no means insignificant role of state capital in the South African economy – owning and controlling approximately 30% of the economy in highly strategic sectors such as state banking, information technology, energy, transport, aerospace and the weapons industry, communication, among others. In addition the state owns about 25% of land, and has an array of regulatory and administrative apparatus to influence the behaviour of capital. There is also the question of pension funds and union investment funds, which currently play and could be geared to play an even more strategic role in the economy’, wrote Mcebisi Jonas just last week.

And Jonas asks, ‘so what are the implications of this understanding for growth and transformation?’

Inequality has a lot to do with the failure, but to continue tagging the white 8% and the once white-only colonialism isn’t cutting any cheese anymore.

‘Africans make up 77% of public sector employment compared with 66% in the private sector … In terms of the skills profile, the public sector is more skills intensive. Almost 45% of all public sector employees fall into the top three occupational categories, compared to 26% in the private sector.’

The ANC and its MPs are not representative of the nation or of the 80% blacks – it was voted in as a party and is a party having a party with an overpaid head of state. And worst of all, those who are meant to be really representing the workers, the major union bodies, are in it.

‘We need a paradigm shift, underpinned by a new consensus,’ explains Jonas, ‘a new bargain around which the state, business, labour and civil society can cohere – to move us out of our low growth and high inequality trap. We must not be naïve and think this will be easy to achieve.’

Capitalism, far from going away, is going to become leaner and meaner. Unless we begin to act in a moral way that is inclusive of all, fewer and fewer families are going to become richer and more in control. As we have seen with the Gupta revelations, those with power will manipulate those that want it.

There is no democracy in Western Capitalism, ‘Corporations now govern society.’

A new way

And there is another way. How about the emergent Asian Capitalism of strong leadership inducing Shared Capitalism?

The new China not only pulled hundreds of millions of peasants out of poverty but empowered them. Their railways and etc. work. Last week they launched the ‘one road one belt’ initiative, a program that will possibly enable half of the world. And they are going to mine the moon

The system can be changed without taking away the good points of Capitalism, creating something along the lines of Asian Shared Capitalism which, by the way, has for a long time had significant Western investments. U.S. and European banks and funds have taken major shareholder positions in almost all Chinese firms of reasonable size.

To borrow from Rian Malan: ‘We should rather follow the truly revolutionary path of Deng Tsaio Ping, who set forth in 1978 to “seek truth from facts” and deliver Communist China from its misery and backwardness.’

And with their brand of Capitalism they have and are doing it much better – to the anger of the quite unreformed colonists of Europe and the U.S.

Desperately needed in South Africa is a new system led by leaders who can take the country forward beyond the legacy of Greed Capitalism.  The current system demands profit that comes at the expense of the national reserve. The current system has become so profit driven, so full of dogma and impossible promises, it is a religion. It has to go and along with it all those who manipulate it to their own end, all these new colonial masters.

History repeats itself

‘Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief,’ said Frantz Fanon.

I grew up in Rhodesia. The British history I learnt from Grade 3 to university entrance level taught me emphatically blacks were savages tamed by Colonial Christian Capitalists – it was that simple. I believed all the memes of the time, memes that declared unless we white Rhodesians ran the show it would collapse.

Like South Africa, Rhodesia was a White Nationalist Socialist State which, as the title infers, meant I and roughly 200,000 other whites had all privilege while the non-whites suffered.  Most non-whites lived on starvation diets in Trust Lands, were deprived of a reasonable education and getting a job as a servant was to win a prize.

I knew nothing of the duplicity and theft of colonialism until I joined the government as a trainee administration officer. It took another 10 years of self-study to change my mindset, to begin to undo my biases and irrational ideas. I came to learn of alternates like the amazing community way – the support of the extended family – of the Bantu, a way us Europeans (now white South Africans) had dumped some 400 years before as we were forced from our bonded societies into the process of the Industrial Revolution.

I understand that Rhodesia was a flawed place, a place that should not be allowed to exist again. But it does, here.

President Robert Mugabe, his cabinet, generals, his inner circle and provincial land-lords have replaced Smith, his cabinet, generals, his inner circle and provincial land-lords. The only difference is numbers. Perhaps 10 or 20% of Mugabe’s 16 million Zimbabweans live the good life, where under Smith only 200,000 of us did.

History is repeating itself. Unless we get over public posturing, learn from the past, and demand real change. To forget the lesson of Rhodesia is foolish, and so it is to miss the real intent in Zille’s tweet, even if it was insensitive.

Her tweet was one in a series of reflections on her trip to Singapore where she saw a society taking the best of its past and building on it (I don’t agree though, I think Singapore is benefitting from the Chinese in the same old colonial way).

Zille herself is not a leader associated with corruption. She has no legal charges against her of any kind. No lying, no extortion, no bribery, rape, theft, duplicity. If anything her crime is she is too honest and too white, qualities that it seems do not benefit a politician.

South Africa should be talking about the continued failure of the government to uplift their people, to move on from Colonialism.

South Africa should be pulling the problem out at the root. Our problem is not racism, it’s the quest for personal profit and personal gain at the expense of the whole.

History repeats itself, until we learn from it.

Source*

Related Topics:

Will South Africa’s Downgraded Status Pull the Region Down?

Declaration of the South African Federation of Trade Unions*

South Africa May be the Epicentre of a Geomagnetic Pole Reversal*

BRICS Under Attack: NWO Tentacles Extending into South Africa*

Why Apartheid Still Exists in South Africa*

Destabilization of South Africa Escalates*

South Africa Delays Court Decision on Black Ownership of Mines*

South Africa’s Fight against Global Corporatization Continues*