Ravensbrück, Hitler’s death camp for women


This video is called Holocaust: Ravensbruck and Buchenwald, part 1.

These two videos are the sequels.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbrück, Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm – review

Ravensbrück is a camp relatively unknown because it doesn’t fit the Holocaust narrative. The hundreds of survivors’ stories in this account bear witness to the terrifying heterogeneity of Nazi crimes

Early in 1938 Heinrich Himmler began to plan a concentration camp for “deviant” women: prostitutes, abortionists, “asocials” and socialists, habitual criminals, communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, among others. He chose a site near the village of Ravensbrück in the picturesque Lake District of Mecklenburg, an hour away from Berlin, where one of his best friends in the SS had a country house. Male prisoners were sent from Sachsenhausen and built the new camp; on 15 May 1939 the first 867 women arrived, and 130,000 more would follow before Ravensbrück was liberated by the Red Army in April 1945. Himmler had been warned from the start that the camp – grotesquely crowded, holding 50,000 at its peak – would be too small.

Sarah Helm’s first book was about Vera Atkins, who worked in the French section of the Special Operations Executive and after the war traced some of the female agents she had lost in action to Ravensbrück. Helm is a tireless researcher. She has recovered the testimony of scores of women, many from eastern Europe, many of whom had until now been silent; she describes the Nazi medical experiments at the camp from the perspective of its terrified victims; and she recovers the history of the ancillary children’s camp nearby. She makes unimaginable suffering seem almost graspable through hundreds of intimate stories. She rightly says her book is the first exhaustive “biography of Ravensbrück beginning at the beginning and ending at the end”.

That said, Ravensbrück is not “still today, hidden away, its crimes unknown, the voices of its prisoners silenced”, as Helm claims. Far from it. A bibliography published in 2000 has almost a thousand entries; the camp became a memorial in the German Democratic Republic in 1959 and since 1993 has become part of a new, larger commemorative site. Two of the Ravensbrück doctors, Herta Oberheuser and her boss Karl Gebhardt, were among those convicted in the well publicised Nuremberg Doctors’ trial of 1946, and the records of the trials, conducted by British occupation authorities, of another 21 women and 17 men for war crimes committed at Ravensbrück, have been open for decades. The camp has been well known and intensively studied for almost half a century. But Helm is nonetheless getting at something; well known for what?

Not for the sheer numbers murdered there. An exact accounting is impossible, but orders of magnitude are clear: 5,000-6,000 died in a gas chamber hastily built in late 1944 when Auschwitz stopped taking new arrivals, and several thousand more in the gas chambers of a nearby Nazi euthanasia centre. Between 30,000 and 50,000 died from cold, starvation, shooting, beatings, lethal injections, disease and medical experimentation; tens of thousands were sent east to be murdered. But, in the quantitative league tables of Nazi crime, these numbers scarcely register. In Auschwitz, 400,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed during six weeks of the summer of 1944 alone; the purpose-built killing factory at Treblinka murdered between 870,000 and 925,000 Jews in just over a year, between July 1942 and November 1943.

Ravensbrück is also not seared into the western visual imagination. Unlike the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Ravensbrück’s was not recorded by a professional film crew; unlike Dachau, Buchenwald or Orhdruf, no iconic photographs were taken there: no tiers of emaciated prisoners on bunks, no German civilians made to see what they had wrought, no shocked American generals standing over corpse heaps.

Ravensbrück does not fit well into the Holocaust story. In the first place, the number of Jews there was always relatively small in comparison with other categories of prisoners; Himmler declared it Judenfrei after the last thousand or so Jewish women were sent to Auschwitz in late 1942. It did not stay that way – some Hungarian Jewish women who had escaped the summer roundups of 1944 ended up in Ravensbrück as did the survivors of the infamous winter death marches from the east – but the camp does not figure prominently in the story of genocide. For a time its role, however small, was almost forgotten. Two recent books on Jews at Ravensbrück now restore it to memory by bearing witness on a human scale. In neither is the argument quantitative. One estimates that Jews constituted about 20% of a total of 132,000 prisoners; the other, after an exhaustive survey, identifies 16,331 Jewish prisoners — probably a low number — of whom 25% are known to have survived. The author, Judith Buber Agassi, provides a compact disc with their names and other information.

More importantly, Ravensbrück is an outlier to the Holocaust narrative because the question of who counts as a Jew, not measured by Nazi racial laws but by more subtle markers of identity and memory, is more exigent there than in any other camp. Helm implicitly recognises this in her account of the life and death of the camp’s most famous victim: Olga Benário Prestes, Jew and communist. Benário was the model for Die Tragende (“Woman Carrying”), a statue of an emaciated woman carrying a comrade which stood over the East German memorial site at Ravensbrück. For the communist regime she represented anti-fascist heroism and brought the camp into line with the official state narrative which held that all the perpetrators were in the west and all the resisters in the east. Perhaps her statue does not portray adequately a “tortured wife and mother”; it certainly elides her Jewishness and yet, according to Helm, she lived and died in the camp as a Jew.

The truth is more complex. Olga was so deeply estranged from her German Jewish family that her mother refused to take the infant daughter to whom Olga gave birth in prison. Luckily for the baby, Anita Benário Prestes, she was taken by her Brazilian grandmother and is now a retired professor of history in Rio. Her father was the Brazilian insurrectionist communist leader, Luís Carlos Prestes. He was jailed and his wife, Olga, was betrayed by British intelligence services to the Brazilian authorities who put her on a closely guarded boat to Germany as a goodwill gesture to Hitler. The SS took her off in Hamburg and threw her in prison. International pressure got her released for a time; then came the war, re-imprisonment, this time in Ravensbrück, and finally death.

Benário was, without question, not taken to Ravensbrück as a Jew; like another famous prisoner with whom she was gassed, the Austrian socialist Käthe Pick Leichter, she was a political prisoner who was Jewish; she wore a yellow star but also a red badge.(Some sources say that her other badge was black to label her an “asocial”, intended to make the communist prisoners shun her. They did not.) …

Even her end is difficult to fit into a Holocaust narrative. She and Leichter were among 1,600 women gassed over the course of a few days: Jews, yes, but also infirm and weak prostitutes (the asocials, who wore black triangles) and criminals (who wore green triangles). “All sorts” were taken by the end, reports a witness. They were killed in one of the clandestine euthanasia centres where the Aryan mentally ill and disabled were taken, from the institutions where they had lived, to be murdered; relatives were sent notices that they had died of natural causes. This is what happened in the case of Herta Cohen, a Jew among the 1600, who was in Ravensbrück because she had had sex with a Dusseldorf police officer in violation of racial hygiene laws. The camp commandant wrote a letter to local authorities saying that Cohen had died of a stroke and asked them to find her sister to inform her of Herta’s death, and to inquire whether there was a space in a local cemetery to receive her ashes. If there was no word within ten days her remains would be tossed away; Leichter’s ashes were sent back to Vienna along with a last letter. We have only a letter of Benário’s to her family, sent on the eve of her murder. …

The deepest problem in knowing Ravensbrück has to do with gender. Helm aims to “throw light on the Nazis’ crimes against women”, and at the same time to show how “what happened at the camp for women can illuminate the wider Nazi story”. Of course there were Nazi crimes against women qua women and Helm exposes them in great detail: in prison for prostitution, they were then forced to be prostitutes; a midwife imprisoned for performing abortions, illegal in Germany, performed them on inmates. …

In the first place, Ravensbrück was unique: the only camp especially for women in the entire murderous Nazi archipelago. Helm never explains why the regime kept it up. They did so, it seems, in part because Ravensbrück trained female guards for other camps. They also needed a place for all sorts of special prisoners: Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the famous New York mayor; SOE agents; spies; members of the French resistance; Polish aristocrats and Scandinavian nationals whom Himmler hoped to bargain away.

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah on British general election


This video from Britain says about itself:

21 February 2009

Benjamin Zephaniah reads his poem ‘Money’ on the hoof in Newcastle city centre, back in 1991. Now even more topical, this poem is from his 1992 Bloodaxe collection CITY PSALMS.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Benjamin Zephaniah

Wednesday 1 April 2015

If I were Prime Minister: I’d order a review of all deaths in custody and dismantle the honours system

Our series in the run-up to the General Election – 100 days, 100 contributors, but no politicians – continues with the poet, writer and musician

I’m an anarchist. So maybe I shouldn’t be here. After seeing what politicians of all persuasions have done to our country (and our world), there was no other way to go for me. People need to understand just how much they can do for themselves, so if I were forced to do the job I’d abolish the post of Prime Minister.

Before I put myself out of a job I’d get rid of every bit of privatisation in the NHS and have a radical shake up of health services. I’d introduce a new 999 service – for emergency mental health issues. Between 20 to 30 per cent of all police call outs relate to people with mental health problems, problems that the police are not trained to deal with.

I’d introduce new health awareness programmes for things like prostate cancer and HIV. There’s a lot of ignorance and fear and that can mean people die needlessly. Most black men, for instance, have no idea that prostate cancer is racist! 1 in 4 of them will get prostate cancer, compared to 1 in 8 men overall. Prostate Cancer UK’s Men United campaign aims to tackle that injustice through research and making sure men know their risk, and are informed about their own health. I’ve already written a comedy about prostate cancer, so I’d back Men United in research and in getting its messages out to people through football, music, comedy – any way they can.

With HIV there’s been huge advances in research and treatment since the eighties and nineties, when it was considered a death sentence. But attitudes haven’t changed. Like prostate cancer it’s still a taboo subject for some. So I’d aim to get families and communities talking about these things, understanding risks, and learning that early diagnosis can save lives. I’m currently heading an awareness campaign in the West Midlands that I would roll out all over the country. HIV, three letters, not a sentence.

A lot of this comes down to education and I would turn all schools back into good old-fashioned schools for all pupils. Forget academies, free schools, foundation schools and all those other fancy names, I’m talking about good schools, with well paid, creative teachers. There’d be excellent universal education for every student, paid for by all of us, for all of us. Everyone would have the same opportunities, and education would be wide-ranging.

I would order a review of all deaths in custody. That’s in police stations, prisons, hospitals, the lot. And that would be part of a comprehensive prison reform. My new prison system would be based on preparing prisoners for life beyond their sentence. Rehabilitation would be the top priority.

I might end up pushing up the prison population though, because I’d make it a criminal offence for employers to pay women less than men. The Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, but forty-five years later and men still earn 17% more than women on average per hour. I’d give mandatory prison sentences to bosses who discriminated against female staff.

I’d also put a value on the work done in the home. Housework and caring for family members would be factored into the Gross National Product. There are people working very long hours at home who get no recognition for their role in underpinning the economy – I’d have to change that.

I would stop sending young men and women to fight in foreign lands, and I would get them building hospitals and trains for a nationalised rail service instead.

I would abolish the House of Lords and make all them so called Baronesses and Lords apologise for thinking they were better than us, and then I would recognise the State of Palestine. I would also get all those police officers that beat me up in the seventies and eighties to apologise to my mother, and then stand in a truth and reconciliation commission to confess their sins.

I would get rid of that Trident nuclear war machine, tax banks appropriately, make sure that big companies don’t use loop holes and trickery to avoid paying their share of tax, stop wasting money paying for the monarchy and politicians’ privileges, and I would invest in the green economy. The green economy is the future no mater what anyone says, it really is just a matter of how long we delay it, and how many lives are lost before we wake up.

I would dismantle the honours system. That would include abolishing the post of Poet Laureate. Poets should be poets of the people and shouldn’t be paid to work for the monarchy, writing about living or dead tyrants, or for so called state occasions. Poets should be free spirits. They should spend their time seeking truth, beauty, and attending sex parties.

Benjamin Zephaniah is Professor of Creative writing at Brunel University. He latest novel for young adults is Terror Kid.

USA: Texas could cut $3 million from HIV prevention programs in favour of abstinence education: here.

Stop Saudi war on Yemen, United Nations say


This video says about itself:

40 Dead, Hundreds Wounded in Air Strikes-Humanitarian Group

31 March 2015

Humanitarian workers say at least 40 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in [Saudi] air strikes on a refugee camp in Yemen.

By Niles Williamson:

UN warns of collapse in Yemen amid Saudi-led assault

1 April 2015

The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, released a statement on Tuesday warning that the Yemen is “on the verge of total collapse.” Scores of civilians have been killed in airstrikes led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt in direct violation of international law.

“The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days,” Al Hussein stated, expressing shock at the killing of dozens of refugees by a Saudi airstrike on the Al Mazraq camp in northern Yemen. Doctors Without Borders reported that Monday’s bombing had claimed the lives of at least 40 civilians, wounding another 200.

… Saudi Arabia is seeking to militarily defeat the Houthis and their allies and reinstate President Adb Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the country last week. …

The United States, which has provided intelligence and logistical support for the airstrikes, gave further support to the growing bloodbath in Yemen with the announcement on Tuesday that it would resume the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Egypt, which has pledged to send ground forces into Yemen.

US President Barack Obama approved the delivery of 12 F-16 jet fighters, 20 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. The shipment of new equipment and weapons had been halted in the aftermath of the military coup that brought military dictator Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to power.

The deeply impoverished Yemeni population is bearing the brunt of the expanding US-backed air war. Airstrikes have destroyed homes, hospitals, schools and critical infrastructure in civilian areas throughout the country. Bombs have been dropped on airports and power plants in the capital city of Sanaa, the Houthi stronghold of Saada, and the western port city of Hodeida. Thousands of people have already been displaced, with many fleeing the major urban areas for rural villages where they are less likely to be killed by an airstrike.

… The UN has confirmed that since Friday at least 93 civilians have been killed and another 364 wounded by airstrikes and ground battles in the cities of Sanaa, Sadaa, Dhale, Hodaida and Lahij.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal stated that the bombing campaign, codenamed Operation Resolute Storm, would continue until “security, stability and unity” was achieved in Yemen.

The ongoing assault has been backed with repeated threats of an imminent ground invasion, aimed at militarily defeating the Houthis, to be led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt with contingents of soldiers from Sudan and possibly Pakistan.

While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged “all potentials of the Pakistani army” in a phone call with the Saudi king over the weekend, the Pakistani government has yet to give open support to the air war. Pakistani Defense Minister Kawaja Asif and foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz met with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss their country’s role in the coalition. There are concerns within Pakistan that any intervention will exacerbate existing tensions between Pakistani Sunni majority and its Shiite minority.

Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told reporters on Tuesday that the initiation of plans for a ground invasion was not “automatic” and that any eventual ground war would be targeted to specific areas of the country. Despite this equivocation, Asseri concluded that “when the coalition forces confirm the need for land operation, it will not hesitate to carry this out.”

Even as it remained unclear when a Saudi-led ground war would begin Yemeni foreign minister Riyadh Yaseen, who remains loyal to Hadi, told reporters on Tuesday that he had requested a Saudi-led invasion “as soon as possible.”

Saudi Arabia has mobilized approximately 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery and other military equipment on its border with Yemen. Multiple exchanges of rocket and artillery fire between Houthi and Saudi forces were reported along the border on Tuesday. Explosions were heard in the Shida and Al Hisama district of Saada province and in the town of Haradh in Hajja province. Residents in the area also reported Tuesday that Saudi helicopters have made multiple incursions into Yemeni airspace all along the border.

As another component of the assault, Saudi Arabia and its partners, including Egypt, have initiated a naval blockade on Yemen’s ports under the pretext of blocking weapons and supplies from reaching the Houthi fighters. The blockade has the potential to intensify hunger in a country that currently imports 90 percent of its basic wheat and rice stock. It is estimated that if food imports were to be blocked, Yemen would exhaust its reserves in approximately six months.

Honduran death squads murder 13-year-old girl


This video, in Spanish from Honduras, is about the grandmother of Soad Nicole Ham denouncing the death squad murder of her grandddaughter.

Soad Nicole was three years younger than Anne Frank when Hitler’s nazis killed her

It is not easy to find English language information on this murder on the Internet. Here is some.

By Eric London:

Honduran death squads kill four student protesters, including a 13-year-old

1 April 2015

The remains of 13 year-old Soad Nicole Ham were found in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa last Wednesday after a death squad kidnapped and murdered her for participating in recent student demonstrations against the country’s crumbling education system. A medical examination of the girl’s remains, which were discovered in a plastic bag on the street, revealed signs of brutal torture.

Soad Nicole was the fourth demonstrator to be killed by death squads in Tegucigalpa last week. The bodies of Elvin Antonio López, Darwin Josué Martínez, and Diana Yareli Montoya—all between the ages of 19 and 21 and all actively involved in student protests—were also discovered in various neighborhoods of the city. Yareli Montoya, whose body was riddled with 21 bullets by masked attackers, took two painful days to die.

The victims and the timing of the killings underscore the likely complicity of the rightist government of President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, with the help of his Education Minister, Marlon Escoto.

In the days prior to the disappearances, thousands of high school and university students were carrying out large demonstrations against the country’s education system. Many of the capital city’s middle schools, high schools and universities were on strike against poor education conditions and a lack of adequate school resources.

Students were further enraged by Education Minister Escoto’s callous proposal for changes to the school schedule, which is divided into morning and afternoon shifts. Under the March 16 proposal, students would be forced to travel to and from school either in the early morning or late evening hours, when darkness makes it easier for the armed gangs who roam the streets to attack them.

According to the non-profit Casa Alianza, 86 students are killed each month on the way to and from school in Honduras—a figure that has doubled since the 2009 US-backed coup that toppled the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya.

Soad Nicole herself was targeted because of a brief statement she made to a Globo-TV news crew at the scene of a demonstration in the days before her death.

As students chanted, “We need school desks and we receive gunshots,” Soad Nicole told reporters, “It’s not possible for us to be seated on the floor like dogs! We don’t even have chairs!”

Addressing the Education Minister, she added: “Man, buy chairs, you son of a bitch!”

It is a testament to the real state of social and political life in Central America that such a statement of justified indignation from a 13-year-old is sufficient to earn her the penalty of death by assassination squad.

The government has responded to the students’ demands by deploying heavily armed soldiers to fire tear gas, flash grenades and water cannon, as well as by placing schools under military lockdown. On March 17, Escoto announced that to suppress the demonstrations, the Honduran military police would begin occupying schools in the capital.

“Beginning this afternoon [March 17], the police will be at the gates to ensure that those students who want to come in to study can do so,” he said, noting further that the government had been “tolerant enough” with the peaceful student protesters.

As the crackdown on protestors continues, Escoto has taken to posting pictures of demonstrators on his Twitter account and publishing their names, sending the message that they too could end up like Soad Nicole Ham.

In the course of the demonstrations, several journalists have reported being harassed by the police, including two who said that a police official approached them, held up a pistol, and provocatively unlocked the gun’s safety mechanism. Many students have also been wounded in clashes with police.

As demonstrations began on the morning of March 16, Escoto’s office issued a statement requesting that teachers provide lists of those students who were participating in demonstrations. According to the Education Ministry, this was being undertaken so that the government could “apply corrective measures” to demonstrators.

Though the government has of course not admitted to carrying out the murders itself, there is every indication that it is precisely such “corrective measures” that were applied to the four young people whose bodies have since been found abandoned in the streets of Tegucigalpa.

Behind the brutal acts of the Lobo administration stands American imperialism, whose role in enforcing police-military terror on the countries of Central America dates back to the 19th century.

The Obama administration backed the military coup of 2009 and has supported all the regimes that followed, including those headed by coup leader Roberto Micheletti and Porfirio Lobo, winner of an election organized by the coup regime, with less than half the population voting.

Hernandez himself was named victor amid charges of vote fraud and violent intimidation by supporters of his opponent, Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro. He ran in the election on a campaign promise of “a soldier on every corner,” and has since made good on his vow to militarize policing in Honduras, despite the prohibition against using troops for this purpose in the country’s constitution.

At the time of the coup, a US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the New York Times that the State Department spoke to “military officials and opposition leaders” about “how they might remove [former president Manuel Zelaya] from office, how he could be arrested, on whose authority they could do that.”

By 2011, the Pentagon had increased military spending to the Honduran police and military by 71 percent, to $53.8 million, while providing $1.3 billion for US military electronics to the Honduran regime. In 2012, Defense Department contracts increased to $67.4 million—tripling the total from 2002. It costs the Obama administration $89 million per year to house 600 US troops at the Soto Cano air force, which was recently expanded to the tune of an additional $25 million.

Recently, the US has announced the deployment at Soto Cano of a new Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-South, or SPMAGTF-South, consisting of 250 Marine special operations troops who are charged with rapid intervention wherever in the region Washington sees fit.

The status of Honduras as the “murder capital of the world” and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere is the product of over a century of oppression by US imperialism. Washington invaded the country seven times in the first two decades of the 20th century to defend the interests of United Fruit Company, making Honduras the first country to be branded a “banana republic.”

The CIA used the country as a staging ground both for its 1954 coup that overthrew Guatemala’s democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, and for the Nicaraguan Contra forces who carried out a bloody campaign against the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan peasantry in the 1980s. During this latter campaign, the Honduran military, with the aid of the CIA, utilized its own death squads to hunt down and murder trade unionists, leftists and students.

The recent events in Honduras underscore the fact that cold-blooded murder at the hands of the state is becoming an increasingly common element of everyday life for young people all over the world. The events in Honduras closely parallel last September’s government-backed killing of 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. In both cases, the killings were carried out in response to widespread opposition to social inequality, poverty, and lack of quality social programs and education. In Honduras, as in Mexico, what follows will be a government cover-up with the full backing of the United States.

A Ferguson demonstrator speaks


Michael Brown memorial in Ferguson, USA

From boingboing.net in the USA:

Ferguson protestor describes traumatic nights following Mike Brown’s death

By Caroline Siede at 8:15 am Tue, Mar 31, 2015

St. Louis native Johnetta “Netta” Elzie has been one of the most active voices in the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that sprang up in response to the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO.

In a new article for Ebony, Elzie describes the first few traumatic nights in Ferguson following Brown’s death—when the city saw massive police militarization—and the motivation she’s found to continue leading the movement:

The next day [after Mike Brown’s death], a few hundred people gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Department‘s new million dollar headquarters to peacefully protest. The crowd was filled with people from all walks of life. We marched on the station’s grounds, past officers and into and out of the building yelling phrases like “HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!” I could feel the tension in the air. Everyone was angry. I was angry. Being among such a large group of people—some strangers and others, familiar faces—I was not afraid of standing with them. The anxiety and fear grew inside of me as more and more police officers arrived to the station from different municipalities, including the K-9 unit.

We were all there for the same reason: to demand answers, to know why an unarmed Black teenage boy was gunned down. Mothers among the protesters gave testimonies to anyone who would listen about how the men in their family, or their sons (and even themselves) have experienced a form of police brutality. This was the first time I had ever seen police dogs ready for attack in real life. I felt as if time was rewinding back and showing me scenes from Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s instead of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. I never imagined that this would be my reality as a young adult in America in the 21st century. I tried to remain as calm as possible in such a volatile situation but seeing those police dogs snarling at young Black children filled me with anger and rage.

I became less of a peaceful protester and more of an active one. Using my voice to chant loudly along with other protesters seemed to be enough but it wasn’t. Instead, I decided to yell directly at the police. I decided to dare the police to look at the faces of the babies and children their dogs were so ready to chase down. As more people began to look directly at the police and yell their grievances, the more aggravated they became.

Read the full article on Ebony and follow Elzie on Twitter to learn more about her activism.

(Image: Memorial to Michael Brown, Jamelle Bouie, CC-BY)

Saudi Arabia’s refugee-killing bombs in Yemen


This video says about itsdelf:

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp

30 March 2015

At least 40 people have been killed in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people in north Yemen, as a Saudi-led coalition continued to strike Houthi targets around the country for a fifth day. Al Jazeera‘s Kim Vinnell reports.

By Niles Williamson:

Dozens of refugees killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen

31 March 2015

The International Organization for Migration reported on Monday that an airstrike on the Al Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen’s Hajjah Province killed at least forty people and injured two hundred others. The attack occurred on the fifth consecutive day of airstrikes carried out by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by intelligence and logistical support from the United States.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at least five hundred families had entered the camp in recent days to escape airstrikes in northern Yemen being carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies with the support of the United States.

MSF reported that its doctors treated 34 people wounded in the airstrike at its hospital in the nearby town Haradh. The group also reported that women and children were among 29 people dead on arrival at the facility.

The camp, which currently houses approximately 5,000 people in crude tent shelters, was established in 2001 to house people displaced by fighting between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia in the northern provinces. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said in a statement released on Monday.

The MSF also reported that it has treated more than 500 patients at its emergency surgical unit in the southern port city of Aden …

Saudi-led airstrikes over the weekend destroyed power plants in Houthi stronghold Saada, knocking out power to most of the province. Jet fighters also hit targets throughout the capital of Sanaa for a fifth straight day Monday. Bombs rained down on the presidential palace as well as air defense systems, missile launch pads and jet fighters. Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since last September.

In less than a week, the Saudi-led campaign of unrelenting airstrikes has reportedly destroyed a significant portion of Yemen’s air force and anti-aircraft defenses. Military bases and arms depots throughout the country have also come under attack.

The Houthi rebels have continued their assault on Aden, where Hadi had rallied loyal military forces before he fled the country for Saudi Arabia last week. Houthi forces that made an assault against Aden’s northeastern suburbs Monday were met with heavy rocket and artillery fire from Egyptian warships.

Saudi and Yemeni officials have asserted that military operations will continue until the Houthi militias are militarily defeated and Hadi is in a position to reassert control over the entire country. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud promised that his country would continue its military operations “until stability is returned” to Yemen.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday, ousted Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin rejected the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Houthis. “The operation will end when Yemen is safe and secure. But we will only negotiate with those who are willing to disarm,” he stated. “We won’t negotiate with [the Houthis] because they carried out a coup. They used the state’s weakness to take over.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close US allies, have backed the expanding campaign of air strikes with the threat of an imminent ground invasion to push back the Houthis. Saudi Arabia has mobilized as many as 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen. Egypt has reportedly stationed troop ships off the coast of Yemen in preparation for an amphibious assault.

A delegation headed by Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaj Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz will be in Saudi Arabia today, where they are expected to officially announce Pakistan’s decision to send troops to take part in the military assault in Yemen.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters on Monday that his government was planning on dispatching a contingent of soldiers to Saudi Arabia to support military operations. “We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official stated.

The open participation of Sunni majority Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, in a ground invasion spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and backed by the United States would mark a significant escalation in the conflict. What began as a proxy war between the Shiite Houthis backed by majority Shiite Iran and the Yemeni government backed by the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia could rapidly devolve into an open sectarian conflict drawing in countries from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.