“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 2008

Institutional Racism.

leave a comment »

After some time of studying Jew haters, Jew baiters and associated cranks one thing becomes clear, the persistence of their obsession, they won’t give up.

So not unsurprisingly the political oddballs in UCU are at it again, stirring up the boycott campaign once more, despite the legal advice which indicated that such a proposal would be anti-discriminatory and against the law.

Engage covers it nicely in an article entitled:

The UCU needs to confront its own institutional antisemitism

5. Why have there been proposals to exclude Israelis from British universities put in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 due to the “apparent complicity of the Israeli academy”, while there have been no such punishments proposed in relation to the closures of universities in Zimbabwe, the occupations of Tibet, Chechnya, Western Sahara, Iraq and Afghanistan, the segregation of universities in Saudi Arabia, the crackdown on academic freedom in Iranian universities, the genocide in Darfur, the millions of people killed in Congo, the antisemitic university in Ukraine, the totalitarian dictatorship in North Korea, the murderous crackdowns on Islamist groups in Thailand, the failure to recognize the independence of Taiwan, etc etc?

6. Why does the leadership of the union not challenge the antisemitic discourse which still routinely infects the internal UCU activists’ email list?”

Written by modernityblog

29/03/2008 at 02:20

Posted in Uncategorized

Eric on Blood Sports

leave a comment »

Eric Reevescolumn in the Boston Globe is worth a read:

“IN PREPARING to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, China has engaged in a massive campaign to dissemble its role in the Darfur genocide in western Sudan, now entering its sixth year. Such a task was unexpected by Beijing. The regime knew it would encounter strenuous protests over the continuing destruction of Tibet, although the recent violent crackdown in Lhasa suggests Beijing hadn’t anticipated how deeply Tibetan anger runs. China’s leaders also knew they would draw fierce protests over their callous support of the brutal Burmese junta. Condemnation of Beijing’s own gross domestic human rights abuses was equally predictable. But the effectiveness of Darfur advocacy in highlighting China’s role in Sudan took Beijing by surprise. Steven Spielberg’s resignation as an artistic director for the Games – a decision of conscience stressing China’s role in Darfur – sharply intensified China’s dismay.
more stories like this

Thus Beijing has pulled out all the stops to counter advocacy success in emphasizing China’s longstanding diplomatic protection and economic support for the Islamist regime in Khartoum. Though Khartoum’s genocidal counterinsurgency campaign against Darfur’s African tribes has been authoritatively documented for years, Beijing seeks to obscure this grim reality through distortion, half-truths, and outright mendacity. In turn, nothing encourages Khartoum more than China’s refusal to speak honestly about violent human destruction in Darfur, where growing insecurity has brought the world’s largest humanitarian operation to the brink of collapse.

Read the rest.

Written by modernityblog

24/03/2008 at 19:55

Posted in Uncategorized

Olympic Efforts to Save Face

with one comment

Dissimilar governments have been known to collude for their own self-interests, but the recent announcement by the Metropolitan Police that about “…2,000 officers from the Metropolitan Police — including air and marine support and mounted police — will be mobilised for the torch relay on April 6. The wage bill is estimated at £1 million…” seems positively calamitous?

The Times informs us that security experts are fearful of it becoming a “flashpoint for Free Tibet demonstrations along the torch’s 130-day global tour organised by China to promote the Games in August.”.

So a few minor demonstrations concerning Tibet send the police and security establishment into a funk, why’s that?

Fear of upsetting Beijing, future trade talks, keeping on the side of the new world superpower, hypocrisy, etc

Never mind the Tibetans, never mind that their country was invaded and taken over by force, let’s not upset the Chinese ruling elite who install puppet regimes and annex whole countries with barely a murmur from the West.

At this moment, the Chinese security apparatus are either shooting, torturing or beating Tibetans to death, but alas we won’t be told. The Chinese rulers had just kicked out any independent news media and the sole source of news is propaganda from Beijing, which seems to be a lapped up by parts of the British media as they put the Beijing side of the story and strenuously neglect to mention the five decades of brutal Chinese rule in Tibet.

Small wonder that some Tibetans might want to demonstrate, peacefully and all the more surprising that the British government, the police and the security establishment see fit to restrict these perfectly natural expressions of anger.

When you think about it the Tibetans could justifiably be more than annoyed at what has happened to their country in the past 50+ years, yet the Tibetan leadership has argued for peaceful dialogue with Beijing. I doubt if any other exiled leadership would have been so reasonable and restrained towards the conquerors and the oppressors of their people, certainly not as peaceful.

The Tibetans deserve more, and should be given credit for the restraint that they’ve shown, despite the provocations from Beijing.

More excellent coverage of these unfolding events can be found at the New Centrist.

Written by modernityblog

22/03/2008 at 02:42

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

The callous denial of quality caring and medical treatment combined with the brutal way that Ama Sumani was forcibly removed from a Cardiff hospital to be ejected from Britain led to her premature death.

Written by modernityblog

21/03/2008 at 01:02

Posted in Uncategorized

Fresh on Tibet

with one comment

Fresh is Grass has good coverage of Tibet:

“Around 40% of China’s mineral resources are in Tibet, including gold, coal and what are estimated to be the world’s largest deposits of uranium. Tibet is huge, Western-Europe-sized, with space for an expanding Chinese population and, mostly grassland and high desert surrounded by the world’s highest mountains, plenty of out-of-the-way spots for disposing of nuclear waste. England attempted to take control of Tibet for a while in 1904, and Russia wanted it. China’s ‘peaceful liberation’ of Tibet began in 1949 and was complete by 1951 with the death of 10,000 Tibetans. Two eastern provinces were annexed, and the remainder became the Tibet Autonomous Region. Mao’s Cultural Revolution followed, sloganised as “Smash the Four Olds”- ideas, culture, customs and habits. For Tibetans this mean a reduction in the number of monasteries from 6000 to 6. Although there was some relaxation in the 1980s, Tibetan culture and religion – Tibet is of major importance for Buddhists – face discouragement. The incumbent Dalai Lama, identified as Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was detained in 1995 and vanished; the Chinese substitute, Gyaincain Norbu, has been rejected by the Tibetans. Han immigration is encouraged and rewarded by the Chinese government; the 7% of Han settlers in the 2.8m population have disproportionate influence and appropriate much of the increase in GDP witnessed since settlement began in earnest. Alongside the existing three airports, the opening of the Golmud-Lhasa railway is likely to intensify change and consolidate China’s control. Environmentalists are also concerned about the impact of development and tourism on the rare species of the region.

Written by modernityblog

18/03/2008 at 03:57

Posted in Uncategorized

Gallway and The Colour Pink

with 6 comments

Galloway and slip of the tongue:

George Galloway is often given to an odd slip of the tongue and Saturday’s anti-war demo in London is another fine example. Galloway was being heckled and retorted

“the khaki war machine now has its pink contingent”

Pink is the colour normally associated with Gays.

Galloway is suggesting that Gays who bring up Iran’s appalling record of human rights abuses and murder against LGBTers are part of the military war machine, or at the very least doing their bidding.

What a travesty, it doesn’t occur to Galloway that people can be equally concerned about the Iranian theocracy’s murder of Gays and yet oppose a war with the Tehran rulers.

The two issues do not need to be counterpoised. Any war with Iran would be disastrous for the Middle East and the world and should be energetically opposed, however, that doesn’t mean that criticism of the repression and execution of Gays in Iran needs to be silenced.

Quite the opposite, the position of Gays and other minorities in a society is a good indicator of how healthy or how oppressive that society is. Gay rights are not an optional extra, they apply in Britain, Europe, America, not least the Middle East and people shouldn’t seek to excuse barbaric behaviour towards Gays, just because it occurs in a foreign country.

Galloway’s snide comment can be heard 02:54 into this clip.


Galloway second appearance on the Wright Stuff is even worse than the first, what a disgusting little toerag Galloway is:

Written by modernityblog

16/03/2008 at 14:38

Posted in Uncategorized

Madhi Kazemi

leave a comment »

Paul Canning brings news that a new web site has been setup to help with Madhi Kazemi’s case.

The background to it makes very grim reading:

“Seyed Madhi Kazemi was born in Tehran and is not yet 20. On September 15th, 2005 he set off for the United Kingdom after applying for a student visa. At first he lived with his uncle in London and attended an English course. In November 2005 he moved to Brighton where he enrolled at the Embassy CES College of Hove. He renewed his student visa to November 2006, with the intention of returning to his family in Iran once the course was over.

Madhi loved a boy back in Iran called Parham, with whom he had shared a secret relationship since the age of 15. Madhi and Parham regularly wrote to each other via e-mail until December 2005, when Parham suddenly stopped writing. In late March 2006, Madhi’s uncle informed him that his father had found out about his homosexuality and his relationship with Parham: the boy had been arrested by the Iranian authorities after being caught with a peer and accused of “lavat” (sodomy).

During the interrogation he was forced to give the names of all the boys he had had relations with, including Madhi himself. Madhi’s father had then received a visit from the Tehran Police, with an arrest warrant for his son as they wanted to put him on trial. In late April, Madhi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.

At this point, Madhi decided to apply to the British Home Office for refugee status, as a similar fate awaited him back in Iran: a death sentence for lavat, and maybe even mohareb, followed by hanging in an Iranian prison (seeing executions are no longer being carried out in public places after the decree signed by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hasemi on January 30th, 2008). His application for asylum, however, was turned down by the Home Secretary.

Madhi, terrified at the idea of being deported back to Iran – where a death sentence awaits him – attempted to flee to Canada, but he was stopped by the German border police. After telling them his story, he was sent to Holland (a country known for granting refugee status to Iranian homosexuals) and handed over to police custody. However, the United Kingdom then sent an official request to Holland, according to the Treaty of Dublin, asking for Madhi’s return, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

On February 13th, 2008, Madhi informed his uncle of his whereabouts, he was being held in Venlo police station in Holland and had been told he was soon to be transferred to Rotterdam. Madhi’s uncle says he last heard from his nephew on February 15th. Madhi was in the detention centre at Rotterdam Airport, and according to the boy, no one had told him what his fate would be, nor when he was to be returned to Britain.

On Tuesday March 11th Mehdi lost his case in the Netherlands and the Dutch are refusing to reconsider. He will be returned to the UK within three days.

An appeal to the European Court is being drawn up. The United Kingdom sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Madhi is at present in a precarious state of heath and suffering from deep depression.”

He deserves our vigorous support.

Written by modernityblog

16/03/2008 at 02:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Tibet and Burma

with one comment

The brutal suppression of protests in Burma last year brought forth considerable condemnation in the West, and now there is a similar situation occurring in Tibet. Protests against Chinese rule of Tibet are being violently suppressed in Tibet.

China annexed Tibet in 1951 and since then has repressed any native opposition, moving millions of Chinese settlers into Tibet and implementing a virtual media blackout of the barbaric Chinese regime in Lhasa.

The Associated Press reports:

“BEIJING (AP) — Protests led by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent Friday, bathing Lhasa in smoke from tear gas, bonfires and burned shops, and posing a challenge to China on whether its image can withstand a harsh crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

The violence, which came on the fifth day of sporadic and largely peaceful protests, poses difficulties for a communist leadership that has looked to the Aug. 8-24 Olympics as a way to recast China as a friendly, modern power. Too rough a crackdown could put that at risk while balking could embolden protesters, costing Beijing authority in often restive Tibet.”

Also see

Written by modernityblog

15/03/2008 at 02:28

Posted in Uncategorized

Galloway and Gay Sex.

with 4 comments

From the outset I have to state I don’t like George Galloway, I never have, he always struck me as a political charlatan and spiv but his latest comments surprise even me:

I wonder how much the Iranian theocracy is bunging him?

Also, see Stroppy, she’s spot on:

I’m not going to shut up about it because people like George see criticism as part of the propaganda against Iran. The reality is Iran is a reactionary, repressive brutal state. it oppresses Lesbian and Gay people, women who step out of line, trade unionists and socialists. Shutting up shows us as apologists and abandons the people we should support.

Its unprincipled, disgusting and also tactically stupid.

The BBC News 24 interview with Peter Tatchell is good, although the preceding commentary is a bit wishy-washy.

Written by modernityblog

13/03/2008 at 18:15

Posted in Uncategorized

Creationism or Not?

leave a comment »

Is creationism acceptable? Or does that depend on who argues it?

My second post at HP looks at some of the issues

Written by modernityblog

08/03/2008 at 22:04

Posted in Uncategorized

6th of March

leave a comment »

The 2008 Global action day for Iranian trade unionists is taking place on the 6th of March, as Amnesty International states:

“Amnesty is deeply concerned about the plight of trade unionists in Iran, the persecution of independent trade unionists and non-compliance with international labour conventions. In particular Amnesty International worldwide is committed to long-term action on behalf of two trade unionists who have faced repeated incarceration and victimisation for the exercise of their legitimate trade union rights.

Mansour Ossanlu is leader of the Tehran Bus Workers’ Union, and Mahmoud Salehi was leader of a bakers’ union in Saqez. Amnesty consider trade unionist Ossanlu and Mahmoud Salehi to be prisoners of conscience, held solely for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, and we call for them to be released and for all charges to be dropped.”

Also see the Free Mansour Osanloo campaign at the ITF.

Written by modernityblog

03/03/2008 at 17:34

Posted in Uncategorized