Dutch Nijmegen University lectures for refugees

This Dutch 30 November 2015 video shows a Nijmegen University lecture for refugees from Heumensoord refugee camp.

Translated from NOS TV today:

Especially for highly educated refugees the Radboud University in the near future will be organising lectures. The objective is to give refugees academic depth. Speakers from different departments will participate. …

For many highly educated refugees it was a relief to be guests at lectures specially organized for them. According to the Syrian Manal Abdullateef these lectures give hope: “The hope that we will again take up our own studies one day.”

One of the speakers was Serkon Heno. He himself fled from Syria more than one year and a half ago and is now studying law at the University of Nijmegen. Heno knows what study means for the refugees. “It really means a lot. They want to be active, not passive.”

Tuition fees

For many refugees it is impossible to study during the asylum procedure in the Netherlands. They are not entitled to financial assistance. Furthermore, the tuition fees for students from outside the European Union are much higher than for Dutch students. If refugees have a legal status, then they are subject to the same rules as Dutch youths.

The refugees can hardly wait until the time comes and they like Serkon Heno will be able to resume their studies. “A future for everyone,” laughs Serkon. “And a smile on all faces.”

Disaster for refugees in European winter cold

This 6 November 2015 punk rock music video from Germany is called VOLKER PUTTREFUGEES WELCOME – HARDCORE WORLDWIDE (OFFICIAL HD VERSION HCWW).

By Martin Kreickenbaum:

Humanitarian disaster on the Balkan refugee route

30 November 2015

The crisis situation for refugees seeking to enter Europe escalated November 28 on the Greek-Macedonian border. Macedonian police used stun grenades to repel refugees who have been prevented from entering Macedonia from Greece. A total of 40 people were injured and photos show refugees with severe head injuries.

Hundreds of refugees, men, women and children, have been stranded on the border in freezing weather and without food at the cordoned-off border near the northern Greek city of Idomeni. For about a week, only refugees with Syrian, Iraqi or Afghan passports have been allowed to cross the border. Refugees with other nationalities are rejected on the grounds that they do not come from “war zones.

In particular, refugees from Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Somalia and Bangladesh are stranded on the Greek border and do not know what is going to happen to them. The makeshift camp at Idomeni operated by the UN refugee agency UNHCR is completely overcrowded. Hundreds of refugees are camping outdoors, without adequate sanitary provisions, and with inadequate supplies of food and clean drinking water.

In protest against the racist screening of asylum seekers at the border, the refugees have been blocking the single-track rail link between Macedonia and Greece for days. More than 60 refugees have gone on hunger strike, and eleven of them have sewn their own mouths shut.

Last Thursday around 200 desperate refugees stormed the border, throwing stones at the border policemen stationed there. The newly erected barbed wire fence along the border was demolished over a length of approximately 40 metres. Some refugees were caught in the barbed wire, others were chased by the police and forced back with batons. Only five people actually managed to get to the Macedonian side, where they were quickly intercepted and detained. Police officers armed with assault rifles moved to block the place where the border fence had come down.

“We cannot wait any longer, last night we slept in the rain,” 31-year-old Heritier Shabani told the press. He comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and arrived on the Greek island of Samos about ten days ago. The refugees do not receive any help from the Greek authorities. “If there were buses, we would return to Athens, but there are none, at least not enough,” said Shabani.

As a result, more and more refugees are stranded at the border. Of the approximately 4,000 refugees who had previously crossed the Greek-Macedonian border each day, more than 90 percent were allowed to cross because they came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. However, hundreds of refugees arrive each day for whom the border remains closed.

The humanitarian disaster developing along the Balkan route began with the decision by the Slovenian government on 19 November to no longer allow so-called “economic migrants” into the country. The governments of Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia followed suit.

Dimitris Christopoulos from the International Federation for Human Rights fears that the “nightmare scenario for Greece” has begun, because the border closures mean the country has now gone from being a transit state to one in which refugees are detained. There was no appropriate infrastructure in Greece for looking after asylum seekers, he said. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sharply condemned the actions of the authorities in the Balkans.

“To sort out refugees based on their adopted nationality violates the right of all people, regardless of their nationality, to apply for asylum, and their right to an individual examination of their need for protection,” Ban noted in a statement on Tuesday.

Asylum seekers from African countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea or the Republic of Congo, where no less bloody wars are raging, are routinely turned away at the borders along the Balkan route “by visual inspection” as alleged “economic refugees.” Hundreds of African refugees, taken by surprise by the developments, are now sitting in no man’s land in Croatia, Serbia or Macedonia, since they can neither move on or go back.

The real originators of the border closures are the governments in Germany and France. They are taking advantage of the terrorist attacks in Paris to further seal off Europe against refugees. The target of these racist measures, which constitute a blatant violation of international conventions on refugee protection, is to turn away as many refugees as possible at the borders of Europe.

While in Germany, the demands for a “ceiling” for refugees are growing louder, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has called for a complete stop to the influx of refugees from the Middle East to Europe. “We cannot accept any more refugees in Europe—that’s not possible,” Valls told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The European Union must find solutions with Syria’s neighbouring countries in order to process more refugees, Valls said, “otherwise Europe is placing in question its ability to effectively control its borders.”

On Sunday, the European Union heads of state and government met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in an attempt to negotiate a dirty deal. In return for a payment of 3 billion euros and the prospect of opening up further EU accession negotiations, Turkey would commit itself to preventing refugees from travelling to the EU.

Turkey has so far accepted around 2.5 million war refugees from Syria, but they do not have refugee status there. Some 250,000 people live in 25 huge camps without access to work or education.

Although the war in Syria has intensified with the enormous air strikes by France and the United States, as well as Russia, and the remaining infrastructure of the country, including schools and hospitals, is being razed to the ground, Turkey has begun to reject all refugees at the border.

In March, Turkey had closed the last two open border crossings. Until recently, however, refugees who needed urgent medical help could still enter. But in recent weeks they have also been denied this possibility. “The closure of the border forces pregnant women, children, old people, the sick and injured to run a gauntlet of border guards in order to escape the horrors of the war in Syria,” said Gerry Simpson of Human Rights Watch.

As a result, hundreds of refugees are gathering in the woods in the hills southeast of Antakya, Turkey in order to be taken across the border illegally by smugglers. There, border guards mercilessly hunt down refugees, forcing them back into Syria. Refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch tell of gunfire and severe mistreatment by the Turkish border police. Families are torn apart, and refugees herded into detention camps, before being forcibly removed to Syria.

These massive violations of the Geneva Convention are being carried out by Turkey under pressure from the European governments, which do not want to accept any more refugees, and are using Turkey to do their dirty work in pushing back refugees. In face of the inhuman treatment of the now millions of Syrian refugees, all talk of a military escalation in Syria being necessary to stop a humanitarian catastrophe is exposed as pure hypocrisy.

Robert Lewis Dear, far-right misogynist terrorist in Colorado, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Book by Professor and Alumna Spotlights Anti-Abortion Violence

23 June 2015

Kline School of Law Professor David S. Cohen and alumna Krysten Connon, ’12, discuss “Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism,” which Oxford University Press published in May 2015. The book exposes the threats with which doctors and clinic workers and volunteers around the U.S. must contend.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

Planned Parenthood shooter motivated by right-wing smear campaign

30 November 2015

As details emerge of Friday’s lethal assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the killer, Robert Lewis Dear, has been linked to the right-wing smear campaign against the organization, which provides health care, including abortion services, to nearly five million women.

Wearing a trench coat and wielding an assault rifle, Dear murdered two victims who were seated in the packed waiting area, killed a university police officer who was dispatched to the scene and hit a total of nine other people with gunfire.

After he was persuaded to surrender after a five-hour standoff, he gave what has been described as a “rambling” interview to police detectives. During this interview, he allegedly made the statement, “No more baby parts.”

The shooter’s reference to “baby parts” aligns him with the ultra-right smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that has been under way since the summer of this year. The clinic in question has been the site of regular anti-abortion protests, with as many as 300 people demonstrating there on August 22, with regular picketing to harass women entering the building.

No Planned Parenthood staff members were killed in the November 27 attack, thanks to safety precautions implemented by the organization. Quick-thinking personnel followed their training, locked themselves inside clinic rooms and switched their phones to silent mode to avoid being detected by the attacker.

The ongoing campaign against Planned Parenthood focused on a number of doctored videos produced by a well-funded anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress. The videos purport to show members of the organization discussing the sale of “baby parts” for profit.

A wide section of the political establishment joined in this opportunity to denounce Planned Parenthood, initially including Hillary Clinton, and a virulent campaign was mounted in the Republican-controlled Congress to reduce or cut off the organization’s services.

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health services to nearly five million women each year, including birth control, abortions, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, breast exams and counseling. For many poor and working class women and their families, Planned Parenthood is the only accessible and affordable provider of these services. The campaign against the organization makes use of religious prejudice against abortion as a cover for undermining working people’s medical and social services.

In September, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was summoned to Washington for a five-hour interrogation by congressional Republicans, who together with the Republican presidential candidates used the opportunity to grandstand and compete with each other to see who could make the most bloodcurdling denunciations of the organization.

In September, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina claimed during a primary debate that there were videos that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’” The fact that none of this ever happened did not prevent the multimillionaire former CEO from emphatically insisting that it was true.

These poisonous conceptions apparently made their way into the disturbed mind of Robert Lewis Dear, who decided to take matters into his own hands. The Denver Post reported that Dear had a reputation for being combative and “spouting off politically.” One neighbor reported that Dear had tried to hand him a right-wing leaflet within minutes of being introduced.

A small businessman who spent most of his life in rural North Carolina, Dear moved recently to the Colorado Springs area, a hotbed of the ultra-right, headquarters of Focus on the Family and more than 100 other Christian fundamentalist groups, as well as the site of the United States Air Force Academy and five military bases.

While it was Dear who pulled the trigger, moral responsibility for the attacks rests with those who have sought to pollute public consciousness with lies and religious bigotry for their own ends.

In the first 48 hours after the attack, only a handful of the 14 Republican presidential candidates deplored the attack—always without mentioning Planned Parenthood as the target of the violence, and usually only when pressed for a response by the media. They invariably dismissed the attacker as mentally ill rather than politically motivated, as though the two were diametrically opposed.

However, an unnamed Colorado Springs law enforcement official, in a widely reported statement to reporters, called the attacks “definitely politically motivated.” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Republican and former state attorney general, called the attack an example of “domestic terrorism.”

Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, released a statement following the shooting that placed responsibility for the attacks on those who have been unjustly persecuting the organization: “We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence.”

In a televised interview, Fiorina responded to Cowart’s statement by denouncing any efforts to link the attack to anti-abortion rhetoric as “typical left-wing tactics.” Fiorina went on to contradict herself by implying that the murderer was, in fact, an anti-abortion “protester.” She stated, “Any protesters should always be peaceful. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or pro-life protesters.”

“This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” she added somewhat incoherently, implying that she agrees with the murderer’s “message.”

The National Abortion Federation reports that since 1977, when anti-abortion fanatics began launching physical attacks on clinics and personnel, eight doctors and staff members have been killed. There have also been 17 attempted murders, 186 arson attacks and thousands of other crimes targeting abortion clinics.