Archive | October, 2014

PA to launch diplomatic push for Palestinian state

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If this doesn’t prove they were right, nothing will!

 

 

 

 

Among the reasons given for keeping the Palestinians off Israeli buses is lack of room on the buses for Jewish residents of the West Bank, and Jewish women passengers saying they have been harassed by the Palestinian laborers.

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We sang that same song on the buses of the US South 50 years ago ...

New Guidelines Prevent Palestinian Workers From Riding I$raHell Buses

Harassment of Jewish Women Passengers Cited as Reason

GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

New guidelines issued by Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon will prevent Palestinian workers from riding on Israeli public transportation in the West Bank.

Under the new guidelines announced Sunday, all Palestinian workers must return to the West Bank through one crossing, the Eyal crossing located near Kalkilya in central Israel, and continue to their homes from there. Very few Israeli buses reach that area of the West Bank. Palestinian workers are not allowed to stay overnight in Israel.

The guidelines will go into effect next month, according to Haaretz. Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank reportedly is exploring other options to provide the Palestinian workers with appropriate transportation.

Jewish residents of the West Bank and their local governments have waged a vociferous campaign over the last few years in order to prevent Palestinians who work in Israel to use Israeli public transportation in the West Bank.

Among the reasons given for keeping the Palestinians off Israeli buses is lack of room on the buses for Jewish residents of the West Bank, and Jewish women passengers saying they have been harassed by the Palestinian laborers.

Unnamed security sources told Israeli media that the new guidelines are not being put into place to keep Palestinians off Israeli buses, but to make tracking their entering and exiting Israel easier.

As reported in the Palestinian Press

 Palestinians barred from Israeli West Bank buses

An Israeli army officer looks over a bus transporting Palestinians
into Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing in Israel
(AFP/File David Buimovitch)
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JERUSALEM (AFP) — Palestinians will be effectively banned from riding the same buses as Israeli settlers in the West Bank, local media said Sunday, with a rights group slamming the plan as “racial segregation.”Hundreds of Palestinians travel each day to work in Israel from the occupied West Bank, mainly in the construction business, using a single crossing point at Eyal where they present travel permits.Currently they are allowed to return to the West Bank on the same buses as Israeli settlers.But a new measure announced by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, due to go into effect next month, will require them to again check in at the Eyal crossing point, the Haaretz daily reported.The workers would have to find separate transportation from that point on.The directive in effect “bans Palestinian workers from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank,” said Haaretz.

The defense minister was not immediately available for comment.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport there, arguing their presence poses a security risk.

But Haaretz reported that the bus ban contradicted the view of the Israeli army, which does not see Palestinian commuters on Israeli transport as a threat, since the workers go through security vetting before receiving their travel permits.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem accused Yaalon of making a racially motivated decision.

“It is time to stop hiding behind technical arrangements … and admit this military procedure is thinly veiled pandering to the demand for racial segregation on buses,” a group statement said.

Last year, the group criticized the Israeli government for its decision to launch separate bus lines for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The settlers themselves are surprised we are calling the above apartheid …

Left-wing screams apartheid over new security edict for Palestinian laborers

Program would require Palestinian workers from the West Bank to head home at night through same IDF manned passageway through which they entered; new edict makes use of Israeli buses cumbersome.

Qalandiya check-point

Israeli border policemen control Palestinian worshippers at Qalandiya check-point at the outskirts of Jerusalem. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s new security edict could soon prevent Palestinian laborers, who cross the security barrier to work in Israeli communities, from returning home aboard the country’s public bus lines.

The security program, which has yet to be put in place, would require the laborers to head home at night through the same IDF checkpoints from which they entered, security sources told The Jerusalem Post Sunday morning.

Technically speaking, Palestinians can continue to use Israeli buses on either side of the barrier, but the edict makes this very cumbersome.

There is no start date for the security edict, which is likely to begin with a pilot program at the Eyal crossing in Samaria, security sources said.

As work to construct the West Bank security barrier advances, the IDF’s Central Command is examining ways of supervising the transit of Palestinians and has drawn up proposals that entail them Palestinians leaving and returning through the same crossings, the source explained.

Israeli left-wing politicians and activists immediately attacked the decision, calling it tantamount to apartheid because it prevented Palestinians from using Israeli public transportation lines.

“This is an official governmental stamp on a policy of apartheid in the territories.

Separating Jews and Palestinians only deepens Israel’s status as a pariah state,” Meretz party head Zehava Gal-On said in a prepared statement.

“Not only has Defense Minister Ya’alon destroyed our relationship with the US, he is destroying our relationship with the entire world,” she charged.

Gal-On was referring to Ya’alon’s trip to Washington last week in which he was denied high-level meetings with US officials as payback for once having referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry as “messianic” and “obsessive” in his drive to restart peace talks.

Settlers, especially the Samaria Regional Council and the Samaria Citizens Committee, have long lobbied to keep West Bank Palestinians off Israeli buses, claiming they pose a danger to passengers. As such, they hailed the new edit as a victory.

But a security source clarified that it had nothing to do with public buses.

“This does not touch upon public transport,” the source said.

The source stressed that the matter was “security-based” and that the goal was to “supervise the entrance into and exit out of Israeli territory, thereby decreasing the chance of terrorist attacks inside Israel.”

Another security source said the decision had been taken “solely due to security considerations and would not prevent Palestinians from going out to work or making a living.”

“No one is preventing Palestinians from continuing to work in Israeli territory and heading to where they wish,” the source explained. “On the contrary.”

The source explained that “Palestinians authorized to enter Israel will do so through a single passage in order to prevent a situation in which Palestinians stay in Israel illegally instead of returning to their homes,” something that could increase the chances for terrorist attacks.

“This is a mechanism that is supposed to minimize the presence of Palestinians in Israel illegally yet allow Palestinian workers to continue to work inside of Israeli territory,” she source continued. “It is something that every sovereign country does to defend itself.”

But Sarit Michaeli of the rights group B’Tselem told The Jerusalem Post West Bank Palestinians who arrive in Israeli cities and towns to work must pass a rigorous security check before receiving a permit, so it is hard to imagine that they pose a threat.

“I think that it is very disingenuous to speak about it as a security issue,” Michaeli said.

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A NEW NAZI PIN-UP CALENDAR TO DIE FOR ~~ LITERALLY

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The occupation isn’t sexy.The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

Nazi Soldiers Create Least Sexy Pin-Up Ever

By Sigal Samuel FOR

MTKL’s Israeli Army Women Calendar

Just a couple of months after the Gaza war, Nazi army has found a new way “to show the world the beauty of the Nazi regime and its people” — via the power of a pin-up calendar featuring real Nazi soldiers.

Or, as the creators of the MTKL Nazi Army Women Calendar like to call them, “the chosen amongst the chosen people.”

These chosen women, brought together by two former (male) soldiers who “scoured the ranks of the powerful Nazi army,” would like you to donate $25 to their Indiegogo campaign so that they can not only ship you this calendar, but also create a whole line of clothing and accessories that will blend “the best of military and street into must-have urban fashion.”

MTKL

Their goal is to make $30,000 off the calendars, enabling them to bring their clothing line to production in early 2015. So far they’ve raised about $3700 — which means that a bunch of people are already walking around wearing jewelry “fashioned after the official Nazi Dog Tag.”

Scary thought.

I say that because, if you ask me, this fashion line — and the pin-up calendar being used to showcase it — is pretty much the most unsexy thing I can imagine.

It’s not just that this product is the work of two men using a bunch of women’s bodies to make a quick buck. Leave aside for a minute the obvious feminist objections to pin-up calendars writ large — and hone in on this calendar in particular. It doesn’t take long to see that we’re being sold more than your average “male gaze” sexual fantasy. What we’re being sold is an ideology that equates sexiness with militarism, and I$raHell with both.

There are at least 4 deeply unfortunate things about this:

1) It shows that Nazi macho culture — a culture that says military violence is a beautiful and even arousing thing — is alive and well.

2) Women are supposed to be grateful to be allowed into this macho culture. The fact that they’re included is a sign of the culture’s progressiveness, of how evolved and “egalitarian” it is (to quote MTKL’s campaign).

3) Plenty of women actually buy into this logic. That includes the international buyers of MTKL’s products (sadly, I have no doubt that their products will sell) and the Nazi models themselves.

4) By buying into this logic, they are — wittingly or unwittingly — working to put a sexy face on the occupation.

But the occupation isn’t sexy.

The Gaza war, just recently ended, wasn’t sexy.

And so seeing these women’s limbs draped in ammunition belts, their faces smeared in war paint and their bodies surrounded with guns and knives — it doesn’t feel sexy.

The MTKL designers may think their calendar will help “to show the world the beauty of Nazi and its people” — but I suspect that for an increasing number of people, this insistence on associating Nazi regime with militarism actually does the exact opposite.

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Ya’alon bans Palestinians from I$raHell-run bus lines in West Bank, following settler pressure

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Settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent Palestinian workers from commuting on these buses, and have released avideo calling for them to be banned.

By Chaim Levinson

Following intense pressure from settlers, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has issued a directive that bans Palestinian workers from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank.

The decision contradicts the stance of the Israel Defense Forces, which does not view the presence of Palestinians on West Bank buses as a security threat. The new guidelines prohibit Palestinian workers from using buses that run directly from central Israel to the West Bank; instead they will have to arrive at the Eyal Crossing, near Qalqilyah and far from populated settler areas, and continue to their final destination from there.

The Samaria Settlers’ Committee and local Jewish authorities have conducted an aggressive campaign in recent years aimed at banning Palestinian workers from public transportation used by Israelis in the West Bank.

Currently, Palestinian laborers who work in central Israel can enter only through the Eyal Crossing, where they undergo security checks and swipe a biometric I.D. card before continuing to their workplace.

The workers are not allowed to sleep in Israel, however they can return to the West Bank through various crossings. Hundreds of Palestinians who live in the central West Bank prefer to return on buses that run from Tel Aviv or Petah Tikva along the “trans-Samaria” road through the
settlement of Ariel and on to their villages.

The settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent the Palestinians from commuting on those buses, and have released a video calling for them to be banned.

Ya’alon recently met with settler leaders and told them he has decided to change the current policy so that Palestinian laborers will have to return to the West Bank only through the Eyal Crossing.
The directive is scheduled to go into effect next month. Until then, the Civil Administration has been instructed to prepare for the change by informing Palestinian workers and of

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Nazi soldiers filmed ‘blindfolding and detaining disabled 11-year-old Palestinian boy accused of throwing stones

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Israeli soldiers filmed ‘blindfolding and detaining disabled 11-year-old Palestinian boy accused of throwing stones.

In the video the boy can be seen to be pushed up against the rear end of a jeep before his hands are tied behind his back

By: JAMES RUSH
 Video footage has emerged of Israeli soldiers allegedly detaining a disabled 11-year-old Palestinian boy, who had been accused of throwing stones.

In the video the boy can be seen to be pushed up against the rear end of a jeep before his hands are tied behind his back.

He is then blindfolded and placed into the back of the vehicle by the two soldiers.

The footage, filmed in the Palestinian city of Hebron, was this week published online by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

The organisation said the boy was briefly detained after Palestinian children had thrown stones at soldiers on Sunday.

It said the boy was held in the jeep for 15 minutes until his father arrived and convinced the soldiers to release his son, who the group said had a learning disability.

According to B’Tselem, the incident took place near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of the city.

In a separate incident on Wednesday in Jerusalem, a Palestinian with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded railway station, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack.

Jeruslam mayor Nik Barkat said the girl and her parents, injured in the incident, were US citizens.

The violence came after months of tensions between members of the Jewish and Palestinian populations in east Jerusalem. Palestinians have demanded the section of the city to be their future capital.

The area has experienced unrest and near-daily attacks on the city’s light rail by Palestinian youths since a wave of violence over the summer, capped by the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

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Jordan: Traitor slams Illegal Zionist settlement expansion

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Jordanian envoy, Traitor Walid Obeidat

Traitor Jordan’s ambassador to I$raHell has slammed Zionist regime over its illegal settlement expansion on Palestinian territories, warning that the move threatens Amman’s peace treaty with the Zionist regime.

The Jordanian envoy, Traitor Walid Obeidat, said Sunday” that the peace treaty between the two sides would be threatened if Tel Aviv continued to build settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.”

“All such acts are incompatible with international law and international humanitarian law and if allowed to continue will ultimately imperil the treaty,” said Obeidat.

In addition, the Traitor  ambassador said Amman opposed an attempt by far-right Israelis to change the status quo of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying Jordan is against any alterations to the mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site.

Obeidat made the remarks while addressing an event marking the 20th anniversary of the peace treaty. The deal signed in 1994 made Jordanian regime Zionist second ally in the Arab world after Egypt, which had inked a treaty in 1979.

Zionist faces widespread global condemnation of its land grab policies, which have been among the major reasons behind the failure of US-led talks between Zionist regime and Palestinians.

More than half a million Zionist live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Nazi occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The United Nations and most countries regard the  Zionist settlements as illegal because the illegally occupied territories were captured by Nazi regime in the 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

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Revisiting the First Intifada

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By: Rich Wiles

The First Intifada was not lived by the new generation of Palestinians, yet its strategies must be re-examined to help rebuild the Palestinian struggle

Nearly 27 years after it began, the First Intifada remains etched in the Palestinian pysche and collective memory. It was a time of hope and unity which has not been replicated in the long years since it faded away as the Oslo process took hold. Events have been held in Ramallah this week which looked back at the uprising and re-examined its evolution and strategies.

At a round-table debate held at al-Bireh municipality’s cultural centre on Tuesday, Birzeit university’s Abaher el-Sakka reminded people that when the intifada broke out it was a collective grassroots action which acted against normalisation:

“People in the streets did not fight the occupation because they were part of the PLO. The intifada broke the system of normalisation with the colonisers. Normalisation breaks the diagnosis of the occupation as the colonisers.”

Today, Palestinian fragmentation is evident on various levels including factional, geographic and in the models of resistance. Palestinian academic and First Intifada activist, Alaa’ al-Azzeh acknowledged the negative impact this has had on building a new collective uprising:

“Colonial geography leads to fragmentation. Today we discuss Gaza, the West Bank and ’48’ as though they are separate issues. We focus struggles now on specific issues such as the Wall or the ‘war in Gaza’ rather than a collective anti-colonial struggle.”

Colonialism itself has taken new forms since the 1980’s. Whilst the Zionist settler-colonial project has developed at speed, participants in the round-table discussion believe that Oslo has reinforced that process with newer complimentary models. Haifa based children’s author Donis Assad talked about her work trying to bring a Palestinian focus into children’s literature and the Palestinian school curricula. Having worked on a project with the PA in this context, she later found her work sidelined in preference to swedish books that were translated into Arabic and distributed to children via ‘community organisations’ as well as schools:

“Community organisations are a new form of colonisation. Nobody knows who [Ghassan] Kanafani is anymore. NGO’s adapt their policies to the whim’s of donors.”

Other speakers referred to the PA itself as another “new form of colonisation”.

Some of the many students and young activists who attended the discussion took the opportunity to respond. One young activist challenged the speakers on their many negative inferences about the ‘post-Oslo generation’, when she reminded people that today’s NGO leaders and PA representatives were themselves amongst the First Intifada’s activists:

“It was your generation that allowed this to happen”.

Amongst the most telling responses from the audience was the final comment of the day, when one young activist posed a question which remained unanswered:

“Who should the new intifada be against… is it the Occupation or the PA?”

The First Intifada meant many things to many people. Critical debate is essential within Palestinian society in order for constructive progression to evolve. What is clear, is that even if only in the first two years or so of the intifada, before the PLO leadership managed to gain control of the uprising and lead it into Oslo, was that the intifada represented a grassroots attempt by Palestinians to regain some elements of control in their own individual and collective lives. It was in this context that the round-table discussion was followed by public events in Ramallah’s streets in which artists and activists ‘re-appropriated the public space’ again, even if only briefly and symbolically. Doing this in modern-day Ramallah meant that the street-based cultural activities, entitled ‘Mapping the First Intifada’ and including circus and parkour performances, were staged in front of the PA’s security services and various symbols of capitalist enterprise, and supported by NGO funding. Israeli soldiers were nowhere to be seen, yet the colonial project remains more deeply entrenched than ever.

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Halloween is a Time of Murder & Mayhem- Coincidence?

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LAVEY1.jpg
Halloween sex and violence-  Delusions, Dissociation, and Amnesia

Halloween originates from an ancient tradition of satanic ritual sacrifice. Keep your cats indoors.

All you have to do is google ‘Halloween’ and any kind of rape, murder or bizarre crime and you’ll find real life horror stories that have occurred on Halloween….The common denominators in non-cult Halloween violence cases are:  paranoid delusions leading to violence, dissociation, and amnesia.  

by Richard Evans 

Before the Romans, a mysterious priesthood of black magicians called Druids ruled Gaul and Britain through terror. They had people believing that the spirits of the dead could cross into this world for three days between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice. The time was called ‘Sow-een’ (spelled Samhain in English).

According to Roman sources such as Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars, the Druid priesthood demanded every household give up a family member for sacrifice, or be cursed.  Every family that survived in Druid territory had to betray a family member every year. That’s governance through extreme psychological warfare. Even the Romans found this so repugnant that they exterminated the Druid priesthood to extinction, burning them in the same style they’d burned their victim in mass sacrificial bonfires.

The media ridicules anyone who warns of Satanic activities during the Halloween season.  You’ll see a plethora of articles in mainstream outlets like “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say”.   

Don’t believe them.  More cats disappear between August and Halloween than the rest of the year.  In fact, most animal shelters suspend adoption of black cats two weeks before Halloween. In the 1990’s, newspapers printed photos of cats cut in half or eviscerated on makeshift altars in parks or abandoned houses.

Since 1994, media and law enforcement decided not to report any pet abduction/mutilation as ‘ritualistic’ and never, ever, ever said ‘cult’ or ‘Satanic’.  I talked informally with a police detective who said they still “see it all the time”.

“Cats, especially black ones, may be the target of pranksters. Black cat owners are advised to keep their cats safely indoors during the Halloween season.”  Halloween Tips From The Humane Society

More cats disappear between August and Halloween than the rest of the year.  In fact, most animal shelter organizations suspend adoption of black cats two weeks before Halloween.

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT

This year, let’s NOT forget about the organized Satanists and people who’ve done terrible things on Halloween, but don’t have a clue what came over them.

PERUGLIA.jpgAll you have to do is google ‘Halloween’ and any kind of rape, murder or bizarre crime and you’ll find real life horror stories that have occurred on Halloween.  For instance, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito bleeding Meredeth Kercher to death after midnight on Halloween in their apartment in Perugia, Italy – still in costume. [1]

Everybody’s heard of this case – it was tabloid fodder from 2007-2011.  But did you think of it as a Halloween murder?   I  must admit that I didn’t.  That’s because the media played that down – even though those involved had been partying in vampire costumes.  The murder occurred after midnight, but Halloween parties last all night, so it was a Halloween murder in my book.

This murder didn’t seem to be a planned ritual sacrifice of a Satanist coven.  But in real witchcraft and Voodoo cases,  occult killings have a life of their own.

The common denominators in non-cult Halloween violence cases are:  paranoid delusions leading to violence, dissociation, and amnesia.

October 2010, Halloween party shooting kills teenage girl (Oct. 30, 2010).    The girl was shot while talking with a friiend in front of her parent’s home in prestigious River Oaks.  The killer was a boy she’d broken up with. He wasn’t identified in the Oct. 30 report.  She’s just received an acceptance letter from Harvard.

leslie-mazarra-adriane-insogna-horrible-halloween-crimes-550x600.jpg

Demon of jealousy -symptom: paranoid delusion.  Napa Valley, 2004

“After a quiet Halloween night spent at their apartment handing out candy, three female housemates went to sleep. At 1am Lauren Meanza was awakened by thumping and ran upstairs to find her housemates stabbed to death. The killer turned out to be the fiancee of Adriane Insogna’s friends. On Halloween, he acted on a paranoid delusion that he had to kill Adriane, or his girlfriend would break up with him.” [2]

Peter Fabiano murder, 1957

“When you hear that knock on your door on Halloween night, you’re not expecting anything but a little tyke in a colorful costume begging for candy. But for Los Angeles resident Peter Fabiano, “trick or treat” was the last thing he heard. On Halloween night, Fabiano opened the door to reveal a grown-up in full disguise, who shot him in the chest with a .22 in a brown paper bag before fleeing the scene. The murderer was actually a woman named Goldyne Pizer. Pizer was friends with a woman named Joan Rabel, who had a lesbian crush on Fabiano’s wife Betty. Pizer and Rabel hatched a plan to get the man of the house out of the way, but cops managed to track them down and got them jailed for second-degree murder.” [2]

Martha Moxley murder, 1975 (demon of rape, demon of murder)

“The high school girl attended a neighborhood Halloween party. She left to walk home. Next morning her bludgeoned body was found behind a tree in her own backyard. The rapist/killer wasn’t charged till he bragged about the murder in drug rehab, twenty five years later.” [2]

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Taylor Van Diest murder, 2011

On Halloween night in 2011, a young woman named Taylor Van Diest was heading home from a party in the small town of Armstrong, BC. She never made it. Taylor was found brutally beaten into unconsciousness, and she was unable to identify her attacker before dying of her injuries. Her death traumatized the town of just over 5,000 people, especially after it was revealed that she’d sent a text to her boyfriend before the attack saying she was being “creeped on.” Police eventually used DNA evidence to arrest both Matthew Foerster for the crime and his father Stephen for helping him cover it up. [2]

IT’S ALREADY STARTED

October 29, 2014  Professor beheaded in what witnesses first thought was Halloween prank (New York)

The woman’s neighbors reported they thought the headless body in the street was a Halloween decoration.

A pedestrian hailing a cab near the body realized that it was corpse and called the police. The female victim has been identified by Farmingdale State College officials as Patricia Ward, a longtime professor at the university who taught language arts.  She was murdered by her 35-year-old son, who threw himself in front of a commuter train after abandoning his mother’s body in the street in front of their house, leaving everyone baffled.

Don’t believe media stories that say satanic sacrifice is a “myth” or “urban legend.” Pagans believed the midpoint between vernal equinox and winter solstice, after the harvest is in, the spirits of the dead and deities of the netherworld are most accessible, and have the greatest influence. What if it’s true?

It’s not the dead, but it is demonic influence.  Diabolic obsession is acting “out of character”,  sudden attacks of obsessive thoughts. These can be of an ongoing and even absurd nature. There is an added inability to be freed from these thoughts which range from desperation to suicide.  Diabolic obsession makes sense of the collective orgiastic behavior characteristic of Halloween parties.
 – See more at: http://henrymakow.com/2014/10/Halloween-a-time-of-murder.html#sthash.ksIjdzQb.dpuf

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For a moment, world embraces the Cuba model – and slaps Empire

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By: Glen Ford

Cuba’s exemplary conduct in the world has made the yearly UN vote on the U.S. embargo a singular opportunity for all the world body’s members, except Israel, to chastise the superpower that seeks full domination of the planet. It is the rarest of occasions, a time of virtual global unanimity on an evil in which the Empire is engaged.

Revolutionary Cuba has always been a miracle and gift to all humankind. This week, the nations of the world – with two savage exceptions – instructed their emissaries at the UN General Assembly to tell the world’s self-designated “indispensable” country to end its 54-year-long trade embargo against Cuba. The virtually unanimous global rebuke to the American superpower, in combination with the extraordinary breadth and depth of acclamation accorded Havana, tells us that it is Cuba, not the U.S., that is the truly “exceptional” nation on the planet.

It was the 23rd time that the United Nations has rejected the embargo. The outcome was identical to last year’s tally, with only the United States and Israel voting against the non-binding resolution. Although the list of American allies on the Cuban embargo issue could not possibly get any smaller – Israel, after all, can only exist if joined at the U.S. hip – this year’s political environment was even less deferential to the reigning military colossus. In recognition of its singular commitment to the fight against Ebola in Africa, Cuba soared, once again – the hero nation.

Despite having suffered cumulative economic damages of more than $1 trillion at U.S. hands over the last half-century, the island nation of 11 million people has made itself a medical superpower that shares its life-saving resources with the world. No country or combination of nations and NGOs comes close to the speed, size and quality of Cuba’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. With 461 doctors, nurses and other health professionals either already on site or soon to be sent to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Cuba sets the standard for international first-response. The Cuban contingent of medical professionals providing direct treatment to sick people outnumbers that of the African Union and all individual countries and private organizations, including the Red Cross. (Few of the 4,000 U.S. military personnel to be deployed in the region will ever lay a well-protected hand on an Ebola patient. Instead, the troops build field hospitals for others to staff.)

Doctors Without Borders is second to Cuba in terms of health professionals. But the French NGO is a swiftly revolving door, churning doctors and nurses in and out every six weeks because of the extreme work and safety conditions. Cuba’s health brigades are made of different stuff. Every volunteer is expected to remain on duty in the Ebola zone for six months. Moreover, if any of the Cubans contract Ebola or any other disease, they will be treated at the hospitals where they work, alongside their African patients, rather than sent home. (One Cuban died of cerebral malaria, in Guinea, last Sunday.)

It goes without saying that the Cubans are committed for the duration of the Ebola crisis; they have been at Africa’s service since the first years of the revolution. President Raul Castro reports that 76,000 Cuban medical specialists have served in 39 African countries over the years. Four thousand were stationed in 32 African countries when the current Ebola epidemic broke out. (Worldwide, Cuba’s “white-robed army” of care-givers numbers more than 50,000, in 66 countries – amid constant U.S. pressures on host countries to expel them.)

In sheer numbers, the Cuban medical posture in Africa is surpassed in scope only by the armed presence of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command, which has relationships with every country on the continent except Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Sudan. The governments of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone collaborate militarily with AFRICOM, but the heavily-armed Americans were of no use when Ebola hit. (According to a Liberian newspaper account, the Americans caused the epidemic, a widely held belief in the region.)

Indeed, the Euro-American legacy in Africa, from colonialism (Liberia has been a de facto colony of the U.S. since the days of President Monroe) to western-imposed financial “structural adjustments” that starved public health systems, is the root reason Liberia and Guinea have only one doctor for every 100,000 people, and Sierra Leone has just two.

Cuba knows colonialism well, having seen its independence struggle from Spain aborted by the United States in 1898, followed by six decades as a U.S. semi-colony. For Cuba, service to oppressed and exploited peoples is a revolutionary act of the highest moral caliber. That’s why, when the call went out, 15,000 Cubans competed for the honor to battle Ebola in Africa. As reported in The Guardian, doctors like Leonardo Fernandez were eager to fulfill their moral and professional mission. “We know that we are fighting against something that we don’t totally understand,” he said. “We know what can happen. We know we’re going to a hostile environment. But it is our duty. That’s how we’ve been educated.”

In the same way and for the same reasons, 425,000 Cubans volunteered for military service in Angola, from 1975 to 1991, leaving only after Angola was secure, Namibia had held its first free elections and South Africa was firmly on the road to majority rule. These Cubans were preceded by the doctor and soldier Che Guevara and 100 other fighters who journeyed to Congo in 1965 to join an unsuccessful guerilla war against the American-backed Mobutu regime.
“In sheer numbers, the Cuban medical posture in Africa is surpassed in scope only by the armed presence of AFRICOM, the U.S. military command.”

Cuba has been selfless in defense of others, whether against marauding microbes or imperial aggression. “We never took any natural resources,” said Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations and a veteran of the war against white-ruled South Africa’s army in Angola. “We never took any salary, because in no way were we to be perceived to be mercenaries or on any kind of military adventure.”

For the United States, military adventure and the imperative to seize other countries’ natural resources or strangle their economies, are defining national characteristics – in complete contrast to Cuba. The U.S. embargo of its island neighbor is among the world’s longest-running morality plays, with Washington as villain. On this issue, the world’s biggest economic and military power could neither buy nor bully a single ally other than the Zionist state deformity.

Even Djibouti, the wedge of a nation between Eritrea and Somalia that hosts the biggest U.S. (and French) military base in Africa, spoke against the embargo on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Lithuania, a rabidly anti-Russian Baltic state, voiced the European Union’s objections to the embargo. Ethiopia, Washington’s henchman in the Horn of Africa, nevertheless opposed U.S. policy toward Cuba on behalf of the UN’s “Africa Group.” Tiny Fiji articulated the Group of 77 and China’s opposition to the trade blockade. Venezuela, Cuba’s major health partner in Latin America, voiced the anti-embargo position of Mercosur, the Common Market of the South.

Cuba’s neighbors in CARICOM, the Caribbean Economic Community, were represented by Saint Kitts and Nevis, whose ambassador pointed to Cuban-built hospitals and clinics throughout the region; the hundreds of Cuban doctors that have provided the only medical services available to many of Haiti’s poor before, during and after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010; and the thousands of Caribbean students that have benefited from free university education in Cuba.

Cuba’s exemplary conduct in the world has made the yearly UN vote on the U.S. embargo a singular opportunity for all the world body’s members, except one, to chastise the superpower that seeks full spectrum domination of the planet. It is the rarest of occasions, a time of virtual global unanimity on an evil in which the Empire is currently engaged. Once a year, the world – in both effect and intent – salutes the Cuban model. For a moment, humanity’s potential to organize itself for the common good illuminates the global forum.

This year, the model glows brightly in the darkness of microbial pestilence. When 15,000 Cuban health care workers do not hesitate to step into the Ebola pit, the New Man and Woman may already exist – and there is hope for the rest of us.

Posted in Africa, South AmericaComments Off on For a moment, world embraces the Cuba model – and slaps Empire

The great Ethiopian famine of 1984 remembered

NOVANEWS

There is famine in Ethiopia in 2014, but it is known by other fancy names

By: Alemayehu G. Mariam

With the connivance of the ‘international community’ and a phalanx of aid people, successive Ethiopian regimes have succeeded to hide the reality of famine facing millions of its people every year. The regimes have also prevented critical interrogation of the political dimensions of these recurrent food crises.

Famine in Ethiopia is a topic that horrifies me. Over the years, I have written long commentaries on the subject often challenging with incontrovertible facts the fabricated and false claims of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front and its late leader Meles Zenawi that there has been no famine in Ethiopia since they took power in 1991. Of course, there has been famine in Ethiopia every year since 1991. They just don’t call famine, famine. They have fancy names for it like “extreme malnutrition”, “severe under-nutrition”, “extreme food shortage”, “catastrophic food shortages” and other clever misnomers. However, famine in Ethiopia sugarcoated with fancy words and phrases is still famine!

Food is the quintessential human right. All human beings have a God-given right to food. Without food and water there is no life; and those who control food and water control life itself. The problem in Ethiopia for over one-half century has been that the governments and regimes in power who controlled the supply of food have pleaded congenital ignorance when it comes to famine. H.I.M. Haile Selassie said he did not know there was famine in northern Ethiopia in 1973-74. In 1984-85, military strongman Mengistu Hailemariam said exactly the same thing. “Yo no sabía…” Meles Zenawi in 2008 said, “We did not know there was famine in Southern Ethiopia until emaciated children began to appear.” Oh! The curse of know nothing and do nothing governments and regimes in Ethiopia!

Since I joined the human rights struggle in Ethiopia after the 2005 election after the late Meles Zenawi ordered the massacre of hundreds of unarmed protesters, I have used my pen (keyboard) to hold Meles and his Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) disciples accountable if not before a court of international law, at least before the court of international public opinion. Their ongoing depraved indifference to millions of Ethiopians facing famine year after year is a testament to their continuing and monumental crimes against humanity.

In his first press conference in Addis Ababa after Meles and his gang seized power, Meles declared that the litmus test for the success of his regime should be whether Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day. (See video here.) Two decades later in 2011, Meles pompously declared, “We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid.”

“Three meals a day” in 2014 Ethiopia is pie in the sky for the vast majority of Ethiopians. There is no chance that Ethiopia will feed itself “without the need for massive food aid” by 2015, which is two months from now. In fact, Ethiopia today is 123 out of 125 worst fed countries in the world. According to a 2014 Oxfam report, “while the Netherlands ranks number one in the world for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, Chad is last on 125th behind Ethiopia and Angola.”

For years, the TPLF leaders have been promising to end “food shortages caused by drought” in a very short time. In 2009, Simon Mechale, head of the country’s “Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency”, proudly declared: “Ethiopia will soon fully ensure its food security.” Meles’ “plan to produce surplus” was by “leasing” out millions of hectares of the country’s prime agricultural land to so-called international investors (land grabbers) whose only aim is to raise crops for export. Ethiopia will produce food to feed other nations while Ethiopians starve. Meles and his TPLF gang have adamantly opposed private ownership of land, which by all expert accounts is the single most important factor in ensuring food security in any nation. In 2010, food inflation in Ethiopia remained at 47.4 percent.

The TPLF and the international poverty pimps that coddle and protect the TPLF would like the world to believe in a rosy fairy tale about “double-digit economic growth”, “construction of massive infrastructure” and “leadership in the fight against terrorism”. They will never talk about the famine that has stalked Ethiopia for decades now. Those poverty pimps are so clever that they have invented a whole set of words and phrases not to call famine, famine. The word “famine” is banned from their official reports. It has been replaced by such phrases as “severe malnutrition”, “food deficit”, “acute food insecurity”, “extreme food consumption gaps” and many others deceptive euphemisms.

In its August 15, 2014 report USAID wants us to believe that the thing that walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck is NOT a duck. USAID says, “Despite a fast-growing economy… Ethiopia… experiences high levels of both chronic and acute food insecurity, particularly among rural populations and smallholder farmers. Approximately 44% percent of children under 5 years of age in Ethiopia are severely chronically malnourished, or stunted. The long-term effects of chronic malnutrition are estimated to cost the Government of Ethiopia approximately 16.5 percent of its GDP every year according to the UN World Food Program (WFP).”

What does this bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo actually mean? Many in rural areas are facing famine-like conditions? Babies, toddlers and small children are starving? It makes me sick to my stomach! USAID and the rest of international poverty pimp network members think we are too dumb and too stupid not to see their stupid word and phrase games about famine in Ethiopia. They should know that we are not as dumb as we look. (Are we!?!? Just wondering.) “That which we call a rose, any other name would smell as sweet”, but USAID and the rest of the international poverty pimps should know that they cannot sugarcoat famine in Ethiopia by calling it “extreme malnutrition” and expect to fool anybody.

THE GREAT ETHIOPIAN FAMINE OF 1984

For me the best way to remember the Great 1984 Ethiopian Famine today is by remembering the hidden Ethiopian famine of Ethiopia in 2014. In October 1984, the BBC released a documentary on the “Ethiopian famine that shocked the world.” Describing that famine as “shocking” is a gross understatement of the reality. It was disgraceful, dreadful, ghastly, sickening, monstrous, scandalous and unspeakably horrifying. BBC reporter Michael Buerk described it as a “biblical famine”. His documentary today is considered as “one of the most famous television reports of the late 20th Century.” Watching the video of that famine is psychologically devastating today as it was 30 years ago when it happened.

An estimated one-half million people in northern Ethiopia died as a result of the 1984 famine. Some 600 thousand people were forcibly transported by military truck from their home villages and farms to various regions in the southern part of the country. Tens of thousands of peasants died in the transportation process and at the various settlement camps. The military Derg regime also used the opportunity to depopulate certain areas considered sympathetic to rebels by creating a “villagization” program. The outcome of the Derg’s response to that famine was an unmitigated disaster.

In 1987, Time Magazine wrote about famine in Ethiopia that year questioning what was really going on in Ethiopia. “Three years ago [1984], a famine began to strike Ethiopia with apocalyptic force. Westerners watched in horror as the images of death filled their TV screens: the rows of fly-haunted corpses, the skeletal orphans crouched in pain… Today Ethiopia is in the midst of another drought… Ethiopia, which has earned the unhappy honor of being rated the globe’s poorest country by the World Bank… is on the brink of disaster again. At least 6 million of its 46 million people face starvation, and only a relief effort on the scale of the one launched three years ago will save them… As the cry [for aid] goes out once more for food and money, the sympathetic cannot be faulted for wondering why this is happening all over again. Is the latest famine wholly the result of cruel nature, or are other, man-made forces at work that worsen the catastrophe?”

THE END OF FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA ACCORDING TO MELES ZENAWI AND HIS TPLF DISCIPLES

For years, Meles and his TPLF disciples have been advertising their “Productive Safety Net Programme” (driven by foreign aid in the form of budget support supposedly) as the silver bullet against famine. That program presumably “prevents asset depletion at the household level and creates productive assets at the community level accelerating the end of the cycle of dependence on food aid”.

In October 2011, Meles told his party faithful: “We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid.” His “plan to produce surplus” was to be implemented by “leasing” out millions of hectares of the country’s prime agricultural land to so-called international investors (land grabbers) whose only aim is to raise crops to feed people in India and the Middle East. So much for the TPLF’s hype of “ending the cycle of dependence on food aid.”

The facts speak for themselves. According to the World Food Programme report (WFP) (the branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security), in 2014, 2.7 million Ethiopians need food assistance and that WFP plans to assist nearly 6.5 million vulnerable Ethiopians with food and special nutritional assistance, including school children, farmers, people living with HIV/AIDS, mothers and infants, refugees and others. In 2012, there were 3.76 million people in need of emergency food aid; in 2011, the number was 4.5 million; 5 million in 2010 and 2009 and 6 million in 2008. According to a 2013 U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) report, “34 million Ethiopians–40 percent of the population–are considered chronically hungry.” To be “chronically hungry” means to go without food for a very long time. Isn’t that what we used to call starvation and famine in 1984?

IN HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE ETHIOPIANS WHO HAVE DIED NEEDLESSLY FROM FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA

In honor and remembrance of the victims of the Great Ethiopian Famine of 1984 and those who died needlessly since then, I review a few of the many commentaries I have written over the years on hunger, starvation and famine in Ethiopia. I do so not to self-congratulate or to seek recognition for my miniscule efforts to raise public awareness. I do it for the same reason I do all of my human rights advocacy: To speak truth to power and abusers of power.

For years, I have relentlessly criticized the late Meles Zenawi and his TPLF regime for their depraved indifference to the issue of famine and starvation in Ethiopia. In 2008, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The art of denial (lying)”. I argued that Meles and his TPLF crew deserve credit for perfecting the art of denial (lying) just like the smooth career criminals who deny everything when caught. When Meles was confronted by the facts of famine in Ethiopia, his response was, “What famine?” In an interview with Time Magazin on August 7, 2008, Meles flatly denied the existence of famine in Ethiopia: “Famine has wreaked havoc in Ethiopia for so long, it would be stupid not to be sensitive to the risk of such things occurring. But there has not been a famine on our watch — emergencies, but no famines.” (“Stupid is as stupid does,” said Forrest Gump, the character in the movie by the same name.)

Meles’ deputy, Addisu Legesse, following his boss groused, “Institutions that exaggerate the food shortage in Ethiopia and report inflated figures of the needy are intent on belittling the economic growth of the country and calculating their interests.” Mitiku Kassa, Meles’ “Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development” was equally adamant: “In the Ethiopian context, there is no hunger, no famine… It is baseless [to claim famine], it is contrary to the situation on the ground. It is not evidence-based.”

In An interview with journalist Peter Gill on August 22, 2012, Meles said he was clueless of the famine engulfing Southern Ethiopia. “That was a failure on our part. We were late in recognising we had an emergency on our hands. We did not know that a crisis was brewing in these specific areas until emaciated children began to appear.” For Meles, the proof of famine is “emaciated children”. Everything else is at worst an “emergency”. All of the talk of famine is merely a figment of the overactive imagination of the foreign media and humanitarian organizations.

In November 2009, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Famine and the Noisome Beast in Ethiopia”. I wondered out loud how successive Ethiopian governments and regimes over the past one-half century could blame famine on “acts of God.” The TPLF regime even today blames “poor and erratic rains,” “drought conditions,” “deforestation and soil erosion,” “overgrazing,” and other “natural factors” for “severe malnutrition” and “chronic food shortages” in Ethiopia. They shrug their soulders and say, “It ain’t us. It’s God who did it! He forgot to send the rains.”

In April 2010, in my commentary, “The ‘Silently’ Creeping Famine in Ethiopia”, I vehemently protested the dishonesty of the international organizations, bureaucrats and officials who use euphemisms to hide the ugly truth about famines and mass-scale hunger in Ethiopia. I accused the heartless international poverty pimps of inventing a lexicon of mumbo-jumbo words and phrases to conceal the public fact that large numbers of people in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa are dying simply because they have nothing or very little food to eat. The international poverty pimps cannot hide the truth about famine by talking nonsense about “food insecurity”, “food scarcity”, “food insufficiency”, “food deprivation”, “severe food shortages”, “chronic dietary deficiency”, “endemic malnutrition” and so on just to avoid using the “F”amine word. They got to call a spade, a spade!

FEWSNET (Famine Early Warning Systems Network”, a creation of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has invented a ridiculous taxonomy to describe hungry people in places like Ethiopia. According to FEWSNET, when it comes to food, there are people who are generally food secure, moderately food insecure, highly food insecure, extremely food insecure and those facing famine. Translated into ordinary English and applied to countries like Ethiopia, these nonsensical categories seem to equate those who eat once a day as generally food secure, followed by the moderately food secure who eat one meal every other day. The highly food insecure eat once every three days. The extremely food insecure eat once a week. Those who never eat face famine and die! The kind of madness that masquerades as “science”!

In March 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Moral Hazard of U.S. Policy in Africa” arguing that the TPLF regime is so heavily dependent on the safety net of foreign aid, massive infusion of multilateral loans and a perpetual supply of humanitarian assistance that were it left to its own devices it will likely behave very differently (more responsibly). Why shouldn’t the donors and loaners leave the TPLF to deal with the consequences of its mismanagement of the economy and debilitating corruption? The fact of the matter is that for over two decades, the TPLF regime has gone out into the international community with bowls begging for food to feed millions of Ethiopians without being held accountable by the donors and loaners. As a result, the regime has been completely indifferent to the plight of the people.

In July 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Apocalypse Now or in 40 Years?” I was and still am concerned whether there will be an “Ethiopia” in 2050. I argued that whether Ethiopia survives as a viable nation in 2050 free of war, disease, pestilence and famine will not depend on an imaginary “double-digit” economic growth or a ludicrous 99.6 percent election victory. It will depend on what is done to deal with the little big 3 percent problem. In other words, overpopulation poses the single most critical problem and decisive issue in Ethiopia today and the years to come.

In 2011, U.S. Census Bureau made the frightening prediction that Ethiopia’s population by 2050 will more than triple to 278 million. Ethiopia’s chronic “food insecurity” is expected to get increasingly worse culminating in a “Malthusian catastrophe” (where disease, starvation, war, etc. will reduce the population to the level of food production). The TPLF has failed to implement a national family planning program which will avert such a catastrophe. The bottom line is that Ethiopia’s population is growing by 3 percent every year. If Ethiopia cannot adequately feed, clothe and shelter 90 million of its people today, is there any way in God’s green earth that she will be able to feed 278 million in just 35 years?

In my August 8, 2011, commentary entitled, “Meles Zenawi and the Weaponization of Famine”, I argued that Meles and his TPLF gang were insidiously manipulating famine as a political and military weapon to cling to power. I argued that famine is not just about images of skeletal children gasping for their last breath of air as their mothers gaze into nothingness in the sun baked landscape. Famine is also a military and political weapon. Meles and his TPLF have used denial of food aid to “rebel areas” in the south/southeast as did Mengistu to “rebel areas” in the north back in his day. That is the classic strategic lesson Meles learned from Mengistu. Famine can be used both as a tactical and strategic weapon against one’s opponents.

My August 15, 2011, commentary entitled, “Starve the Beast, Feed the People!” was a call to action. I urged Ethiopians to stand up to the Western donors and loaners who continue to support the criminal regime of Meles Zenawi and the TPLF in Ethiopia and declare, “Starve the TPLF Beast, Feed the People!” No more aid to a regime that clings to power by digging its fingers into the ribs of starving children. No more aid to torturers and human rights violators. No aid to election thieves. No aid to those who roll out a feast to feed their supporters and watch their opponents starve to death. Let’s shout in a collective voice to the West — America, England, Germany, the European Union, the IMF, World Bank and the rest of them—“Starve the bloated TPLF-beast that is feeding on the Ethiopian body politics, and help feed the starving people.”

In my August 22, 2011, commentary entitled, “Why are Ethiopians Starving Again in 2011?”, I gave ten reasons why Ethiopians are still starving in 2011, (and in 2014 as well): 1) Famine is not merely a humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia; it is a powerful political and military weapon. 2) Famine is a recurrent fact in Ethiopia because that country has been in an endless cycle of dictatorship for decades. 3) Famine in Ethiopia is an annual crisis because the TPLF dictators do not give a damn if the people die one by one or by the millions. 4) Famine is a structural part of the Ethiopian economy because the “government” owns all the land. 5) Famine persists in Ethiopia because massive human rights abuses persist. 6) Famine persists in Ethiopia because Meles Zenawi’s TPLF regime has succeeded in keeping the famine hidden. 7) Famine persists in Ethiopia because there is a “conspiracy of silence” or a “conspiracy of turn a blind eye”by Western aid agencies, timid NGOs and a mindless international press. 8) Famine persists in Ethiopia because the regime in power for over two decades has failed to devise and implement an effective family planning policy. 9) Famine in Ethiopia is good business for the TPLF. 10) It is true “a hungry man/woman is an angry man/woman.”

In my August 29, 2011 commentary entitled, “What Should the World Do To Save Starving Ethiopians?”, I offered 10 reasonable recommendations to save starving Ethiopians. 1) Take the moral hazard out of Western aid in Ethiopia. 2) Put humanity and human rights back in Western humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. 3) Promote and support a stable and healthy Ethiopian society through aid, not entrench an iron-fisted and malignant dictatorship. 4) Never bankroll bad actions by dictators with good Western taxpayer money. 5) Make partnership with the Ethiopian people, not the Meles Zenawi TPLF dictatorship. 6) Hold the local paymasters of aid accountable. 7) Condition aid and loans on the implementation of comprehensive family planning programs in Ethiopia. 8) To help the starving people of Ethiopia, help Ethiopian women. 9) To help the starving people of Ethiopia, help Ethiopia’s youth (70 percent of Ethiopians are under age 35.) 10) Starve the (TPLF) Beast, Feed the People.

In October 2012, I rang the alarm bell in my commentary “Ethiopia: An Early Warning of a Famine in 2013”. By carefully piecing data, analyses and findings from various sources including the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), Oxfam, the U.N. World Food Programme, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and reports of the New England Complex Systems Institute, [NECSI] (a group of academics from Harvard and MIT who specialize in predicting how changes in environment can lead to political instability and upheavals), I warned that 2013 was likely to be the threshold year for the onset of famine or “catastrophic food crises”. I also challenged the ridiculous classifications of the international poverty pimps and their pseudo-scientific stages of food deprivation, e.g. “acute Food Insecurity”, “Stressed” situations, “Crises” mode, etc.

In May 2012, I argued in my commentary, African Hunger Games at Camp David, that food has been used as a political weapon in Ethiopia. Hunger has been the new weapon of choice to generate support for the TPLF regime and to decimate their political rivals. Meles and his TPLF have been pretty successful in crushing the hearts, minds and spirits of the people by keeping their stomachs empty. Those who oppose the TPLF are not only denied humanitarian food and relief aid, they are also victimized through a system of evictions, denial of land or reduction in plot size as well as denial of access to loans, fertilizers, seeds, etc. In the case of the people of Gambella in western Ethiopia, entire communities have been forced off the land to make way for Indian “investors” in violation of international conventions that protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

In February 2014, I wrote a commentary entitled, “A Glimpse of the Creeping Famine in Ethiopia. That month an investigative report by NBC news stated, “[Ethiopia] is the face of the world food crises. In a village in Southern Ethiopia, mothers cue with their malnourished children for emergency rations of food. They can’t afford to feed their babies and now it seems neither can the outside world. The distended stomachs, a symptom of the hunger so many here are suffering after two poor harvests in a row, and there are more new cases everyday… They were given food rations ten days ago… The government reserves ran out long ago, and now the U.N. supply is thinning too.” (In 2008, Meles Zenawi said, he knew nothing about the famine in Southern Ethiopia. They still did not know of the famine in February 2014. They believe there is famine only when skeletal children wander the streets and countryside.) The curse of a know nothing do nothing regime!

I recently challenged President Barack Obama for making patently false statements on September 23 that he knew or should have reasonably known to be untrue when he made them. “We have seen enormous progress in a country [Ethiopia] that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It’s now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.” I should like to believe he was grossly misinformed because USAID’s August 15, 2014 report completely contradicts him. “Despite a fast-growing economy, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. It experiences high levels of both chronic and acute food insecurity, particularly among rural populations and smallholder farmers.”

FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA IS TPLF-MADE

In 2011, Wolfgang Fengler, a lead economist for the World Bank, in a refreshingly honest moment for an international banker said, “The famine in the Horn of Africa is a result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict than natural and environmental causes. This crisis is manmade. Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policy making for that to lead to a famine.”

In other words, it is bad and poor governance that is at the core of the famine problem in Ethiopia, not drought or other environmental causes. For the past 23 years, the TPLF has mis-governed, mis-administered and mismanaged Ethiopian society, politics and economy. Penny Lawrence, Oxfam’s international director, after visiting Ethiopia in May 2012 observed: “Drought does not need to mean hunger and destitution. If communities have irrigation for crops, grain stores, and wells to harvest rains then they can survive despite what the elements throw at them.” Martin Plaut, BBC World Service News Africa editor, similarly explained that the “current [2012 Ethiopian food] crisis is in part the result of policies designed to keep farmers on the land, which belongs to the state and cannot be sold.” The entire responsibility for Ethiopia’s famine (or whatever sugarcoated word they want to use to disguise famine) rests at the feet of the TPLF leaders.

So the obvious questions are:

Why does a regime that has rejected socialism and is presumably committed to a free market economy insist on complete state ownership of land?

Why is there not an adequate system of irrigation for crops, grain storages and wells to harvest rains throughout the country?

Where is the TPLF leaders’ plan for food security for the country?

Do TPLF leaders really think that by giving away millions of hectares of land to so-called investors for commercialized export agriculture they will prevent famine or ensure food security in Ethiopia?

Do the international poverty pimps believe that they can make Ethiopia self-sufficient by giving the TPLF food aid which the TPLF in turn will weaponize to maintain itself in power?

Do the international poverty pimps believe that they can fill the bellies of starving Ethiopians with assurances that they are only suffering from “extreme malnutrition”?

POST-SCRIPT

I find it extremely distressing to see few Ethiopians taking the lead in remembering the great tragedies of the Ethiopian people over the past several decades. I am grateful that the BBC has taken media leadership today to commemorate the Great Ethiopia Famine of 1984. I am ashamed (but eternally grateful to our Western friends) that Ethiopia’s defenders in times of great tragedy are Western institutions and personalities. When our human rights are violated, our defenders are organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House, Genocide Watch and others. When our independent journalists are jailed and exiled, it is the Committee to Protect Journalists that mans the defensive lines. When our rivers and indigenous people are facing extinction, it is International Rivers and the Oakland Institute that come to our defense. The double shame of it is that few of us are even donating members of the very organizations that defend our rights and dignity. (The truth hurts, doesn’t it?!)

Perhaps some of my readers may disagree, but I see few CIVIC-SOCIETY organizations toiling to defend human rights or press rights in Ethiopia. I see few civic organizations standing up to prevent genocide in Gambella, the Ogaden and many other parts of Ethiopia. I see few civic organizations dedicated to the promotion of youth issues or women’s causes. I am aware of only one civic organization dedicated to celebrating the achievements of distinguished Ethiopians. Why can’t we stand for ourselves? What is that our Western friends got that we ain’t got? Is it money, knowledge, commitment….? What? Why can’t we stand and defend out rights against thugs?

As we remember the 1984 Great Ethiopian famine in 2014, I want my readers to be very aware that there is famine going on in various parts of Ethiopia today. Just because the BBC or some other investigative body is not reporting it does not mean it is not occurring. One of the reasons the TPLF regime has clamped down so hard on the independent press is to prevent such reports from going out into the international media.

I also want my readers to be aware that the international poverty pimps that pump billions in food aid into Ethiopia every year have a “conspiracy” of silence not to use the “F”amine word. They want to skin over the ghastly face of FAMINE in Ethiopia with discombobulating bureaucratic phrases and words.

On a personal note, I find it mind-boggling that one person’s voice should be heard week after week for years on so many important topics affecting Ethiopia and Ethiopians when there are so many Ethiopians scholars and men and women of learning throughout the world who could also have their voices heard. People are “amazed “that I have written long commentaries on so many topics every single week, without missing a single week, for years and expressed my voice and views. I do not find that amazing at all. What I find mind-bogglingly amazing is the fact that so many learned and intellectually accomplished Ethiopians have chosen to speak their minds every single week, without missing a single week, year after year, with their thunderous silence.

Commitment and passion for any cause are unique to the individual, but I believe every Ethiopian, particularly those blessed with great learning, have a duty to man up and woman up to the cause of human rights and dignity in Ethiopia, Africa and elsewhere. I am afraid that when future generations of Ethiopians look back at our generation, they will all stand up, point their collective index fingers and resoundingly shout out, “We Accuse!”

La luta continua! (The struggle continues!)

Famine in Ethiopia sugarcoated by fancy words and phrases is still famine!

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