ModernityBlog

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

Posts Tagged ‘2010

Six Hundred And Thirty-Nine Antisemitic Incidents.

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The CST has released its report on Antisemitic Incidents on 2010.

This is the PDF.

As they point out:

“it is 17% more than the 2008 figure of 546 antisemitic incidents, and continues the decade-long trend of rising antisemitic incident levels.”

A must read for anyone really committed to anti-racism.

Written by modernityblog

03/02/2011 at 12:22

Amazon And Wikileaks.

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CNN has more on Amazon and Wikileaks:

“Amazon, whose servers have been home to WikiLeaks since earlier this week, has quit hosting it, the website behind a massive disclosure of controversial documents said Wednesday.

WikiLeaks confirmed the move on its Twitter feed Wednesday afternoon.
“WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted,” read a post from shortly before 3 p.m. ET. “Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.”

The site wasn’t accessible early Wednesday, but appeared to be reactivated by Wednesday afternoon.”

Written by modernityblog

02/12/2010 at 01:18

A Billionaire, Mine Owners And Unpaid Wages.

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The billionaire President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has been milking the pain and suffering of the 33 miners that were trapped underground for all that it is worth.

But the carefully crafted photo-shoots with Sr. Pinera, all smiles, hides a deeper reality, other mineworkers at the San Jose mine have not been paid for two months.

Imagine, you are already short of money and then you don’t get paid for two months, that’s what the mineowners inflicted on the San Jose mineworkers.

These consequences of the accident largely go unreported, except for two small pieces on the BBC:

“But their colleagues have taken to the streets in protest because they haven’t been paid since the accident, which happened two months ago.”

And the returning miners face a grim future:

“Many have returned to poverty in the hardscrabble neighborhoods that climb the hills around Copiapo, the Atacama region’s gritty capital. Some have strained relationships with the families who held vigil, praying for their survival. All face a search for work since the mine that employed them has filed for bankruptcy.

Miner Carlos Mamani lives in a small green wooden house on an unpaved road in Padre Negro, a neighborhood on a hill where the glittering street lights of Copiapo stretch out like a carpet. But Padre Negro’s 38 houses lack access to sewers and running water. Mamani and his neighbors must walk for blocks to two public taps to get water and then carry it back up the hill.

“This area is dangerous at night. Drugs are sold here and there is theft. I’ve lived here for a while and I still have to be careful to avoid problems,” said one of Mamani’s neighbors, 15-year-old Jose Vadillo.

Some miners live closer to central Copiapo, in a neighborhood where gangs mark their territory with old sneakers hanging from electricity poles. Bugueno is among those living in Tiltil Bajo, a neighborhood of wood and tin houses that lack sewage connections.”

Written by modernityblog

18/10/2010 at 00:53

Miners And Chile.

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Most of us, we can barely imagine what it must be like to be a miner.

To carve lumps of rock, extract the minerals where possible and work hundreds of metres underground in cramped conditions, surrounded by rock, sweating, breathing in the dust and all to benefit other people.

That’s what miners do.

We shouldn’t forget what price is often paid by miners themselves and their communities.

Pneumoconiosis is just one illness that miners face.

Even today miners in Russia and China often face numerous and unnecessary dangers.

The CNN reports:

“Coal helps fuel China’s surging economy. The country tripled its annual output of coal from 1 billion tons in 1999 to 3 billion tons in 2009, according to the state-run China Daily.

Accidents killed 2,631 Chinese coal miners in 2009, according to China Daily. The most dangerous year on record was 2002, with 6,995 deaths.

In China, poor safety conditions, a lack of training and the flouting of laws contribute to the high number of deaths.

By comparison, the United States had 34 mining deaths in 2009, a record low for the country. In 2008, the United States had 53 mining deaths, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

A typical Chinese miner works 21 shifts a month, for 12 hours a shift, according to the state-run newspaper.

“It felt like hell,” one miner said of his first time down in a maze of mine tunnels.

Wang Gang, a 24-year-old miner, gave his account to China Daily.
“Given a choice, I would never work in a mine,” said Wang, whose father and grandfather were miners.

He turned to mining in March 2009 only after starting a family. He became a miner at the Wangping Mine Co. in northern Shanxi province, a state mine where his father once worked.

Wang’s wife stays up till he returns from work safely, among many such concerned family members in the coal-rich province.”

And that’s only part of it.

Update 1: BBC World Service has a good programme on the Chilean Miners, Waiting for Omar – The Rescue of A Chilean Miner.

Written by modernityblog

13/10/2010 at 15:27

Uganda.

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From the PA:

“Suicide bombers linked to al Qaida killed more than 60 people in attacks on crowds watching the World Cup final on TV in Uganda.

Explosions targeted a rugby club and a restaurant in the capital Kampala.

Police suspected the Somali militant group al-Shabab was behind the attacks, as Uganda’s president declared on Monday: “We shall get them wherever they are.”

The blasts came two days after an al-Shabab commander called for attacks in Uganda and Burundi, two nations that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

At least 64 people died and a US aid group said one of its American workers was among the dead. Ethiopian, Indian and Congolese nationals were also among the victims.

There were signs that the simultaneous attacks were by suicide bombers. Blood and pieces of flesh littered the floor among overturned chairs at the scenes.
The attack on the rugby club, where crowds sat outside watching a large-screen TV, left 49 dead. Fifteen others were killed in the restaurant .”

Written by modernityblog

12/07/2010 at 11:38

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The Flotilla And Fascists

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We are often told that those on the Flotilla to Gaza were humanitarians and peace activists, and it is conceivable that some of them were, but news is coming out of a slightly less savoury group of passengers on the Mavi Marmara, fascists.

Well, more accurately neofascists from the Turkish, Büyük Birlik Partisi (BBP)

The BBP is renowned for its connections with the Grey Wolves movement, older readers will remember the activities of those neofascist terrorists in the 1970s and their murderous campaign of bombings and killings.

Not the sort of people that you would immediately associate with humanitarian aid? It doesn’t make much sense, until you remember that they are also renowned for their anti-Jewish racism.

Jean-Yves Camus in an article on the European Extreme Right and Religious Extremism describes the Turkish Extreme Right:

“There are two political parties form the Extreme Right in Turkey: the Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi (MHP) and its youth wing, Bozkurtlar (Grey Wolves), and the Büyük Birlik Partisi (BBP), led by Muhsin Yazicioglu. The former, which is very active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and to a lesser extent in France, is secular and mostly concerned about the ethnic essence of the Turkish Nation, although some experts within the German Verfassungschutz believe that there is one “Turkish nationalist” and one “Turkish-Islamist” wing within MHP.[27] The latter split from MHP in 1993 precisely because it felt the party’s Islamist credentials were “weak”. It received 1.02 % in the 2003 general election and did not contest the 2007 election. It operates in Europe under the name of Avrupa Tûrk Birligi, or Verband der Turkischen Kulturvereine E.V. in Europa, and promotes a mix between the Atatürk tradition of nationalism and the Koran. Although BBP seems to have failed politically, while its rival MHP has become Turkey’s third political force with 14.29 % of the vote, the movement is worth monitoring, because of its extreme anti-Kurdish and anti-Armenian propaganda, and also because of its alleged involvement in violent activities.”

Not exactly natural bedfellows for humanitarians or peace activists, but violence would be second nature to these neo-fascists and might explain some of the activities on the deck of the Mavi Marmara?

From the IHH page, applauding the visit offered the BBP leader, Yalcin Topcu:

“Topcu handed over a letter to Bulent Yildirim, General President of IHH, which he wrote to Palestinian President Ismail Haniye, following his speech. After receiving the letter, Bulent Yildirim has offered his thanks to Yalcin Topcu and accompanying members of BBP who do not hesitate to give their support to the campaign. He also mentioned Muhsin Yazicioglu in his speech, deceased former leader of BBP, put great importance into the Palestinian cause and it would be a great honor to deliver the letter written by Yazicioglu’s followers to Palestine and to Ismail Haniye. “

The Z Word blog has more.

The Weapons on the Mavi Marmara.

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Does the term, peace activist, aptly describe those on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, when the IDF soldiers tried to land?

Did they deliberately decide to attack the IDF soldiers?

Did their own reckless conduct bring about these unnecessary deaths?

Was the attack premeditated ?

More information is coming out from the ship’s crew which sheds light on the activities of these supposed peace activists:

“According to the clip, released by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the ship’s captain Mehmut Tuval had attempted to prevent a violent altercation by disposing of metal bars and chains IHH activists had cut ahead of the IDF takeover.

Mehmut said that “once we see that the boats [were] around us…actually not us, but around the total ships…about two hours [before the takeover]… I see they were cutting the steels…chains. And I said to the chief officer, he collected all of them and also we put it in the radio room in the bridge.”

The captain also indicated that he had thrown some of the bars and chains into the sea, while adding that he also asked IHH activists to pass over the bars and chains that had collected later on.

Tuval said he sent his chief officer to ask for the bars, “saying …he cannot take directly from the guys..he spoke with the IHH to collect the [steel bars and chains]…we asked them to drop them, drop in the sea, because if they take it from the bridge that’s when we have a problem…and [after that] we didn’t see any in their hands.”

The Mavi Marmara captain said he was indeed worried that the presence of the makeshift weapons would worsen the situations, adding he thought that nothing would eventually happen since the IHH commanders were at hand to prevent any violence.

“I was worried but if their [leader] on the ship that there would be no effect, nobody will fight… I said many of times because I know the end,” Tuval told investigators, adding that he thought that nothing would happen since there were civilians on the ship/

“I worried [that’s] why I collected the things to the bridge and I take how many I see in their hands and I drop them in the sea.”

Asked whether or not he knew if the IHH activists were preparing a violent welcome to the IDF takeover, Tuval said that “they were preparing to violence against the soldiers: Yeah from what I was informed.” “</blockquotes?

Written by modernityblog

12/06/2010 at 00:41