RACISM & NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS | NEWS/COMMENTARY


Who are the “Taliban” in Swat? | Humeira Iqtidar

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( Dated Piece | 30 April 2009 )

Source: Open Democracy

The distorting glare of the mainstream media obscures a more complex reality in restive Pakistan

Who are the ” Taliban” in Pakistan? Islamist militants in the country have won significant international attention after wrestling control over the Swat Valley, the restive region in northern Pakistan where elements of sharia law are now in place. Yet these militants do not self-identify as “Taliban”, unlike the Afghan Taliban who chose the name for themselves, and preferred it to the then generic term “mujahideen”. The term “Taliban” means students; the original Taliban were educated in madrassas, religious schools. Groups and individuals that are being labelled the “Taliban in Pakistan” (TIP) are very different from their Afghan counterparts in important respects. It is pertinent not just to think through the implications of these differences but also to raise questions about why distinguishing details are being lost in the media frenzy of recent months.

In Swat, the group that has gained the most notoriety in recent months calls itself Tehreek Nifaz e Sharia Mohammadi (TNSM).  This can be roughly translated as the “Movement for the Continue reading

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White Phosphorus and its Use in Gaza

White Phosphorus being used by the Zionist Occupation Forces on the central UN compound in Gaza, Palestine - 15 January 2009.

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11 January 2009

Source: Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)

White Phosphorus (P4) is a waxy fat soluble colorless or slightly yellow solid with a garlic smell that is not naturally occurring but is produced in the laboratory.  It is highly reactive with oxygen (ignites spontaneously upon drying and exposure to air) producing compounds like P4O6 (phosphorus pentoxide) and P4O10 which upon contact with water becomes oxophosphoric
acids (alternatively direct reaction with water can lead to phosphoric acid H2PO4 through some intermediate compounds)

These properties have given it both civilian and military uses.  Its civilian uses include production of phosphoric acid and phosphate based fertilizers.  It is used by the military because it interacts with oxygen producing fire and smoke and can act both as a smokescreen, marking enemy areas and also to terrorize enemy combatants to leave fox holes and tunnels into more open areas where standard ammunition can be used on them. White phosphorous is a member of a class of incendiary weapons that includes such things as Continue reading

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Gaza massacre: security measure or capitalist venture? – Omar Kalinge Nnyago

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16 January 2009

Source: Sunday Monitor

Israel’s invasion on Gaza could be the most significant event yet on the global political calendar. It overshadowed the Christmas festivities of the past year, blurred the New Year celebrations and threatens to diminish the most anticipated Obama inauguration on January 20. Indeed, the only item to look for in Obama’s inaugural speech is likely to be his views on the massacre of Palestinians.

His legendary oratory notwithstanding, Obama will have a tough time telling the world and the American people that the change he promised was around the corner. The world looks much gloomier than that night when he accepted his election.

By 2p.m. on Wednesday this week, 879 Palestinians, largely women and children had been confirmed dead by official sources. Another 4,698 had been injured in the continuing Israeli bombardment that started on December 19, 2008.

The Diplomatic footwork that was initiated by Continue reading

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Congo: Still Struggling for Independence

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The following is from the December 2008 issue of the Proletarian, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

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Genocidal war has raged in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since the 1998 US-backed invasion by the forces of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. At the last estimate, the war has claimed a staggering 5.4 million lives. [i.]

Yet this conflict, the most bloody since the second world war, has generated astoundingly little press coverage, and a diplomatic and political censorship over a 10-year period on the part of western governments that points to complicity, rather than ignorance or indifference.

Congo’s rich store of Continue reading

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