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

Archive for November 2008

Farzad Kamangar.

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News in from LabourStart:

“Please join with the thousands of trade unionists and human rights defenders around the world who are mobilising in defence of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher and trade unionist who is at risk of execution.

Education International received information from reliable sources that on 26 November Kamangar was taken from his cell 121 in ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison in preparation for execution by hanging. However, the latest information is that he is still alive and was able to meet with his lawyer on 27 November for the first time in over two months. His situation remains precarious nonetheless.

Kamangar, aged 33, was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on 25 February 2008 after a trial which took place in secret, lasted only minutes, and failed to meet Iranian and international standards of fairness. His lawyer, Kahlil Bahramian, said: “Nothing in Kamangar’s judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him.” Indeed, Kamangar was initially cleared of all charges during the investigation process.

Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Transport Workers Federation, Amnesty International and LabourStart are appealing to the Iranian authorities to commute the death sentence and ensure his case is reviewed fairly.”

Written by modernityblog

28/11/2008 at 22:53

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Women, Education and RAWA.

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Education International reminds us that the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is approaching and how the 25th November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:

“The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an important moment to reaffirm and raise awareness of women’s rights. The journey to equality has witnessed the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW 1979), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1989).

Violence against women and girls remains a challenging struggle that has gained international recognition as a grave social and human rights concern, and that affects all societies, rich and poor, women and men.

“As teacher unions we must increase our efforts to end impunity regarding violence against women and girls. We must use all means available to bring about the end of impunity for those who repress, kill, and threaten other human beings. Democracy, respect for human rights and equality, and quality public education for all children are fundamental challenges for all societies, and especially for EI members,” said Jan Eastman, Deputy General Secretary of Education International.

There is no reliable data on the number of victims of harassment, bullying or intimidation at work and in the public sphere, whether at home or at school, during times of peace or conflict, from sexual exploitation to trafficking, early marriage and honour crimes. In all these areas, most incidents remain under-reported and few statistics are available. Teacher unions are also witnessing new and emerging phenomena such as cyber-bullying, sex industry on the internet and children victimized at ever-younger ages.

“Safety and security don’t just happen: they are the result of collective consensus and public investment,”, said Nelson Mandela in 2002. The dimension of the violence against women and girls is unacceptable.”

Let’s not forget the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

Written by modernityblog

26/11/2008 at 14:23

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Blimp Spotted.

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By chance I came upon the work of Kellie Strøm, and a marvelous post he has “From Colonel Blimp to the Danish Resistance cartoonists against fascism”.

Great art work, worth a long perusal.

Written by modernityblog

24/11/2008 at 03:51

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Saudi Human Rights.

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Fresh is Glass rightly reminds us about the lack of basic human rights in Saudi Arabia:


The prisoners, as listed on the Facebook site:

1. Professor Matrook H. Al-Faleh, political science professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, detained by security forces in May 19, 2008.
2. Attorney Suliman Ibrahim Al-Reshoudi, former judge and human-right advocate, detained in February 2, 2007.
3. Attorney Dr. Mousa Mohammed Al-Qarni, former university professor and human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
4. Professor Abdulrahman Abdullah Al-Shomairy, former professor of education and human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
5. Dr. Abdulaziz Suliman Al-Khereiji, human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
6. Saifaldeen Faisal Al-Sherif, human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
7. Fahd Alskaree Al-Qurashi, human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
8. Abdulrahman Bin Sadiq, Human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
9. Dr. Saud Mohammed Al-Hashemi, human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
10. Ali Khosifan Al-Qarni, human-right activist, detained in February 2, 2007.
11. Mansour Salim Al-Otha, human-right activist, detained in December 12, 2007.

Their defence teams who observed the hunger strike:

1. Ayman Mohammad Al-Rashed, human-right activist.
mobile# +966505288354
2. Saud Ahmed Al-Degaither, human-right activist.
mobile# +966559201964
3. Professor Abdulkareem Yousef Al-Khadher, College of Islamic Jurisprudence, Qassim University.
mobil# +966503331113
4. Dr. Abdulrahman Hamed Al-Hamed, professor of Islamic economics.
mobile# +966503774446
5. Abdullah Mohammad Al-Zahrani, human-right activist.
6. Abdulmohsin Ali Al-Ayashi, human-right activist.
mobile# +966553644636
7. Fahd Abdulaziz Al-Oraini, human-right activist.
mobile# +966502566678 email:
8. Fowzan Mohsin Al-Harbi, Human-right activist.
mobile# +966501916774 email:
9. Dr. Mohammad Fahd Al-Qahtani, college professor and TV show host.
mobile# +966555464345 email:
10. Mohana Mohammed Al-Faleh, human-right activist.
mobile# +966505388205
11. Nasser Salim Al-Otha, human-right activist.
12. Hashim Abdullah Al-Refai, writer and activist.
13. Waleed Sami Abu Alkhair, writer and activist.
mobile# +966567761788 email:

Others are listed too, 65 in total. These people are unbelievable courageous to stick their necks out in that authoritarian regime. They could all end up in prison and worse. It is a very rare act of protest and it mustn’t go to waste. This is why it is important that the Saudi government understands that if they do they will not be forgotten. Amnesty (scroll to the bottom of the following link) lists the addresses of the relevant officials to appeal to by post or fax.

What did they strike for? Most immediately, the rights due their clients according to Saudi’s own Criminal Procedure Law and Arrest and Detention Law, specifically habeas corpus (an instrument to safeguard individual rights against detainment without trial by their state; an independent court decides whether a custodian has the right to hold the detainee; pivotal, in James Somersett’s case, to abolishing slavery in Britain), access to legal representation, periods in solitary confinement to be restricted to 60 days, visits, and a fair trial. More on Saudi law and these detainees from Emudeer on the participatory site Now Public (I wish he’d link to the odd source). Indirectly they were hunger striking for the right to continue their work on constitutional reform – the right for Saudis to gather and express themselves freely.”

Written by modernityblog

24/11/2008 at 03:40

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I Kid You Not.

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Edmund Standing is the author of some rather good posts at HP, they are broad, well researched and analytical, covering the strange links between various individual, groupings and the Far Right, so I am happy to add him to my blogroll.

Have a quick read of his post on the Taliban’s latest supporters: ‘Leftist’ journal hails the Taliban as ‘the resistance’. How predictable?

Written by modernityblog

22/11/2008 at 21:05

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Whilst I Remember.

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A few odds and sods before I get around to commenting on the BNP membership leak in earnest:

1) Socialist Unity covered the BNP leak, although I had hoped for a useful debate on the topic of anti-fascism as ever they ended up fighting like ferrets in a sack. Shame. I am just thankful that the Far Right are so fractured and disorganized, as it seems that a percentage of the British Left are more interested in bickering with each other, rather than seeing the positive side to this incident.

2) Wikio is a good place to find interesting blogs (mine is NOT there!).

3) The Mandriva community have just released an Xfce4 version of Mandriva’s Linux One 2009, I found the previous version fairly handy.

3) The Colombia Journal seems like a stimulating read for anyone concerned with Latin America.

4) Fresh is Grass’s links pointed me towards the Middle East Pact and the Abraham Fund Initiatives, worth a read.

5) The PA has taken out adverts in Israeli newspapers on an Arab peace plan, and despise many false dawns I hope this is a possible opening, and that the Israel Government deals severely with those Hebron settlers that desecrated a mosque.

6) Finally, Wine is steaming along and is at 1.1.8 development version, great!

Written by modernityblog

21/11/2008 at 02:56

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Garzón on Francoism.

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Well, sort of, thanks to Fabian for this article, and I wish I had the wits to translate it into decent Spanish, but nowadays I can’t, so you’ll have to do with a mechanical version from Google.

My apologies to any Spanish speakers, I appreciate how computer based translations can really make you grit your teeth. The original and Google’s version:

“MADRID .- The History, capitalized, will, as always, the last word. But, as it is for the little story, and before the judge Baltasar Garzon, the dictator Francisco Franco (1939-1975) has just been declared “innocent officer” in the aberrations committed in the period after the Civil War.”

My feeling is that this issue will not rest and I hope to read Paul Preston’s assessment of the judgment shortly, he’s probably writing it as we speak.

here it is: “British historian Paul Preston said recently that the need for an investigation would not go away if Garzon did not proceed.

“In a way the body politic is like any body, if there’s a wound it needs cleaning and it’s never going to heal until that’s done,” Preston said.”

Written by modernityblog

20/11/2008 at 01:41

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