Japanese government party honours war criminals again


This video says about itself:

European right-wing politicians worship Japanese war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine

AFP – European right-wing politicians, including French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo on Saturday ahead of the anniversary of Japan’s surrender.

The shrine, which honours 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 top war criminals from World War II, has often been regarded as a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression.

“It doesn’t bother me to honour veteran soldiers of a former enemy,” 82-year old Le Pen, who will retire in January 2011 after the party elects his successor, said Thursday. …

The ‘election’ turned out to be that Jean-Marie appointed his daughter Marine Le Pen as his successor.

The European politicians arrived in Tokyo earlier this week at the invitation of Japan’s Issui-kai movement, which organised a two-day conference to discuss the future of nationalist groups.

Among other participants were Adam Walker, the British National Party‘s number two, and other representatives from far-right parties of Austria, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Romania and Belgium.

From AFP news agency:

Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni war shrine on eve of Obama trip

By Agence France-Presse

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:04 EDT

Nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine which honours the nation’s war dead, raising the stakes in an already tense region on the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit.

A cross-section of parliamentarians — including at least one cabinet minister — paid their respects at the shrine, which honours those who have fought for Japan including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes.

China and South Korea see the shrine as a symbol of what they say is Japan’s unwillingness to repent for its aggressive warring last century. The United States tries to discourage visits, which it views as unnecessary provocation.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said it “deplored” the mass visit as the shrine is a “place that enshrined war crimes that caused a war and destroyed peace.”

“I think it is such an empty gesture to talk about the future with neighbouring countries while paying respects to such a place,” ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said.

Japan’s conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from Yasukuni, having offered a symbolic gift on Monday at the start of the three-day spring festival.

However, the right-leaning minister for internal affairs and communications, Yoshitaka Shindo, was among the worshippers early Tuesday, paying his second visit in 10 days.

Shindo’s grandfather was General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, the figure sympathetically depicted by actor Ken Watanabe in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima”.

The mass visit will inevitably further aggravate strained ties in East Asia, and could irritate the White House, coming the day before Obama arrives on the first leg of a four-nation trip which also includes South Korea.

Washington would desperately like Japan and South Korea — its two chief allies in the region — to bury the diplomatic hatchet and stand together against Beijing’s increasingly confident regional swagger and against unpredictable Pyongyang.

‘Like Arlington’

Abe’s own visit to the shrine on December 26 soon after a trip to Tokyo by US Vice President Joe Biden immediately sparked fury in Asia and earned him a slap on the wrist from Washington, which said it was “disappointed”.

The Japanese premier’s gift on Monday provoked a Chinese charge that he was offering “a slap in the face” to Obama.

Conservative lawmakers make regular trips to the shrine during spring and autumn festivals, and on the August 15 anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat.

They compare the site with Arlington National Cemetery in the US, where America’s war dead are honoured.

“Speaking personally, my father is enshrined here,” said Hidehisa Otsuji, an upper-house lawmaker who was at Yasukuni.

“The souls revered here are the people who lost their lives purely for the sake of the country.”

About 160 lawmakers visited the shrine during the spring and autumn festivals last year.

Sanae Takaichi, the policy chief of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, who went to the shrine as a member of the group, said politicians’ display of reverence should not provoke diplomatic difficulties.

“It happens to be the time for the spring festival,” she told reporters. “We welcome the US president’s visit to Japan from the heart.”

Others paying their respects at the shrine were some vice ministers and a special adviser for Abe, Seiichi Eto.

Chief Cabinet Secretary and Abe’s righthand man Yoshihide Suga said the administration would not interfere with shrine visits by members of the government.

“When a minister visits the shrine personally, it is a matter of an individual’s freedom of faith. The government should not step into it,” he said.

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Hitler’s holocaust in Ukraine, documentary


This video says about itself:

The Killing Fields – Einsatzgruppen – The “other” Holocaust

****This video contains disturbing images ****

Holocaust deniers seem to think that the Holocaust is all about whether people were gassed or not in the death camps. Before the extermination camps even started operation, the Nazis were already shooting hundreds of thousands of men, women and children all over Eastern Europe.

Deniers will say that the images and clips in this video are all manufactured by the Soviets, totally disregarding historical documents and the eye-witness accounts of victims, bystanders and even the testimony of the perpetrators themselves.

By Clara Weiss in Germany:

French TV documentary: “Shoah by Shooting—SS Death Squads in Ukraine

22 April 2014

Earlier this year, the 2008 French television documentary “Shoah by Shooting—SS Death Squads in Ukraine,” by Romain Icard, was released on DVD with German subtitles by Absolut Medien. The documentary describes the journey of the French Catholic priest Patrick Desbois through Ukraine in his search for the mass graves of some 1.5 million murdered Jews.

The release of the DVD coincides with the German- and US-backed coup in Kiev that brought to power an extreme right-wing regime that includes neo-Nazi forces. The documentary underscores the criminal character of a policy of relying on fascistic forces.

The Nazis occupied Ukraine in the summer of 1941 and were expelled by the Red Army two-and-a-half years later. During the period of German occupation, the war and the mass murders carried out by the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators took the lives of between five and eight million people. Another one million Ukrainians were deported to Germany to serve as forced laborers. The Soviet Republic was plundered and savaged. Hitler planned to resettle 20 million Germans on the territory of Ukraine.

At the time of the attack on the Soviet Union, the Nazi leadership had already decided on the annihilation of European Jewry. The systematic murder of the Jews became an integral part of the occupation.

In Lithuania, the Nazis and their collaborators liquidated over 90 percent of the Jewish population. In Belarus, the Nazis murdered a quarter of the total population—800,000 people—including more than 90 percent of all Jews. In Ukraine, an estimated 1.5 million Jews were murdered—over half of the total Jewish population of 2.7 million.

As the director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum explains in the documentary, “Ukraine is and will remain a vast cemetery.”

The Catholic Church played an important role in supporting the Hitler regime, together with other fascist regimes in Europe. Through its backing for Desbois’ work, the Vatican sought to erase the traces of its crimes. Nevertheless, the research carried out by Desbois, whose own father was held as a French prisoner of war in Ukraine and later informed his son of what he had seen of the Holocaust, is of great importance. Many crimes of the Nazis in Eastern Europe have not been fully explored and the sites of most of the mass graves in Ukraine were unknown until Desbois’ investigations.

Through systematic interviews, beginning in 2004, with thousands of eyewitnesses and survivors of the Holocaust, most of whom had never been questioned before, Desbois and his team were able to locate some 700 mass graves. The results of the research by his organization Yahad in Unum, which is also active in other countries in Eastern Europe, have been compiled on a web site.

At the moment, Yahad in Unum’s Internet map of mass graves is not working properly. Was the site hacked by some anti-Semite?

In total, some 1,200 mass graves have now been identified in Ukraine.

The majority of Ukrainian as well as Belarusian and Lithuanian Jews were shot by the dreaded Nazi SS strike forces (Einsatzgruppen) in mass actions, with the Ukrainian police playing an important role.

The most powerful scenes in the documentary are the interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses of the mass murders. Desbois encounters many of the survivors in impoverished rural areas that are more evocative of the 19th than the 21st century. “The Holocaust in the East remains in the memory of the poor,” he comments.

Desbois conducts most of the interviews with villagers who were between 8 and 15 years old during the occupation. These survivors remain marked by the horrors they witnessed as children, when the German occupiers terrorized the entire population and murdered their Jewish neighbors.

Temofis Ryzvanuk, a poor farmer from the village of Bakhiv (in the Lutsk region), observed a mass execution at the age of 14. “Everyone was afraid here,” he tells the interviewer. “We were terribly fearful of the Germans.”

Ryzvanuk relates how Jewish men and women were forced by the lash to dig their own graves, only to be mown down by machine guns. “They were stripped naked. Men and women without distinction. After they killed them, they laid them head to head next to each other to save space…They were stacked like sardines.” German officers drove by during the executions and honked.

After questioning other villagers, Desbois was able to determine the location of the mass grave in which an estimated 9,000 people were buried. Grave robbers have searched there recently for jewelry and dental gold, leaving skulls and bone fragments strewn over the ground.

The mass executions were carefully planned. SS officers of the strike forces often drew up sketches of the executions in advance.

Desbois carried out particularly thorough research in northwest Ukraine, which is today one of the poorest regions of the country. Prior to the war, more than 150,000 Jews, almost half of the local population, inhabited the region. The area was also called “Jewish land” and was a cradle of Jewish culture. During the Holocaust, all of the Jews there were liquidated.

Resistance against the German occupation was brutally put down in “revenge actions.” Thousands of Ukrainians—the populations of entire villages and rural communities—were burned alive. Nadia Stepanova, whose father was burned along with other villagers in a church, describes the attack on the area:

“The German soldiers came from Lutsk to occupy the whole region. There are almost no houses there anymore, if you noticed. There was resistance against the Germans. After the shooting, they came into the village. They stayed overnight and in the morning rounded up all the residents.

“They separated the Jews and drove them to a ghetto. Then they separated men on one side, women and children on the other side of a barn. We thought, now it’s over. We thought we would all die, burn, as was the case in other villages.”

Her husband, Misha Stepanov, leads the film team to two mass graves of murdered Jews. He relates that trucks full of Jews were brought to the spot. He estimates that around 1,000 victims are buried in the two nearby graves, with many children among the murdered.

Leonid Kvil, who was just seven at the time, watched the executions. “They killed them, collected their clothes and brought them to the ghetto in the city,” he says. “Then they threw more Jews on top of the dead. Some were still alive. And it began again. They killed them and then brought new victims. They all came from the ghetto. This went on for two days.

“They covered the grave. It was still moving after six months, with blood seeping out. The Germans took jewelry, earrings, they took everything. It…[the blood ] flowed out three or four hundred yards. It flowed down to the river. It was awful.”

After their defeat at Stalingrad in February 1943, the Nazis were in retreat, as the Red Army began to retake the occupied territories. SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered that all traces of the war crimes of the SS and the Wehrmacht be systematically erased. In the course of so- called Operation 1005, hundreds of thousands of corpses of murdered Jews were disinterred from their graves and burned.

Often, Jewish survivors were forced to take part in these actions. Desbois spoke with Dr. Leon Wells (1925-2009), one of the few Ukrainian Jews to survive and a man who testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann in the 1960s. He was forced by the SS to burn corpses and then examine the ashes for gold. (A detailed interview with Leon Wells can be found on YouTube.)

In the forest of Lysinitchy, where 90,000-100,000 Jews were murdered, the burning of corpses lasted up to six months.

The documentary indicates that the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union had partly encouraged anti-Semitic sentiments in the Ukrainian population, and that following the starvation of millions of Ukrainian peasants resulting from Stalin’s forced collectivization (1929 to 1932), many, especially in rural areas, subsequently greeted the Nazis in 1941 as “liberators.”

At this point the documentary adopts a pronounced anti-communist stance. In fact, it was the October Revolution of 1917 and the victory of the Bolsheviks in the civil war in 1921 that brought an end to the anti-Semitism of the Czarist regime and the mass murder of Jews. Tens of thousands of Jews had been killed during the civil war in Ukraine by both the White enemies of the Bolsheviks and the regime of Symon Petliura.

The Soviet government, led by Lenin and Trotsky, fiercely opposed anti-Semitism. The incitement of anti-Semitism by the Stalinist bureaucracy, which began particularly during the Moscow trials in the 1930s and culminated in the anti-Semitic purges of the late 1940s and early 1950s, was one of the most egregious expressions of the counterrevolutionary nature of Stalinism.

After the Second World War, the Holocaust was treated in the Soviet Union solely under the category of “crimes against the Soviet people.” A “Black Book” on the systematic murder of Jews, assembled by the Jewish intellectuals Vasily Grossman and Ilya Ehrenburg from 1943 onwards, was published only in 1946. It was pulped in 1948.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Ukraine, a systematic rehabilitation of Ukrainian anti-Semites and Nazi collaborators has taken place. President Viktor Yushchenko, who came to power in 2004 in the Western-backed “Orange Revolution,” made the glorification of Symon Petliura and Stepan Bandera, head of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during the Second World War, official government policy. He authorized public monuments for both men.

The Fatherland Party of the new Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the far-right Svoboda party, which has several ministers in the coup government, both revere right-wing Ukrainian nationalists and fascists.

Berlin and Washington support this policy and are working directly with fascist forces to prepare for war against Russia and impose massive attacks on the Ukrainian working class. The documentary on the Holocaust in Ukraine is an important reminder of the monstrous deeds of German imperialism, which has now returned to the scene of its former crimes.

A day after the New York Times published a front-page report purporting to show the involvement of Russian Special Forces in protests in east Ukraine, its report, titled “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” has been exposed as a blatant fabrication: here.

US Vice President Joseph Biden’s two-day visit to Ukraine has ended with a resumption of the Kiev regime’s military crackdown against its political opponents in the southeast of the country and a dangerous escalation of US threats against Russia: here.

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Libyan artists in danger


This video says about itself:

Tadrart Acacus, UNESCO World Heritage Site

21 July 2009

Tadrart Acacus is a desert area in western Libya and is part of the Sahara. It is situated close to the Libyan city of Ghat. Tadrart means ‘mountain’ in the native language of the area (Tamahaq language). It has a particularly rich array of prehistoric rock art. The Acacus has a large variation of landscapes, from differently coloured sand dunes to arches, gorges, rocks and mountains. Major landmarks are the arches of Afzejare and Tin Khlega.

Although this area is one of the most arid of the Sahara, there is vegetation, such as the callotropis plant. The area is known for its rock-art and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 because of the importance of these paintings and carvings. The paintings date from 12,000 BC to 100 AD and reflect cultural and natural changes in the area. There are paintings and carvings of animals such as giraffes, elephants, ostriches and camels, but also of men and horses. Men are depicted in various daily life situations, for example while making music and dancing.

Now, four years after the making of this video, both this ancient Libyan art, and today’s Libyan art and its makers are in danger.

After George W Bush invaded Iraq, 90% of that country’s artists were killed or fled to other countries.

Something similar happens now as the consequence of another so-called ‘humanitarian’ war, the NATO war on Libya in 2011.

From Magharebia (Washington DC, USA):

Libya Chaos Impacts Artists

By Asmaa Elourfi, 17 April 2014

Interview

Benghazi — With Libya’s capital of culture facing daily bombings and assassinations, artists are left in a perilous position.

To get a handle on the situation, Magharebia met in Benghazi with Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi, a 42-year-old actor, playwright and songwriter. He began his theatre career in the ’90s, before later performing at events in Tunisia and Morocco.

As al-Obeidi explains, Benghazi’s “chaos and insecurity” is taking a toll on the city’s famed cultural and literary activities.

Magharebia: As an artist, how do you see the situation in Libya now?

Ahmed Bouakeula al-Obeidi: Writers, poets and intellectuals fully realise the deteriorating security situation and have their own visions about it. They only wait for calm to prevail to present their ideas on how to deal with these issues.

This is because artists are the closest ones to the street; in my opinion, they are the real mirror of the street.

Magharebia: What’s keeping writers and actors from proceeding with their careers in Libya?

Al-Obeidi: There are many obstacles, but the fact that theatres are not fully prepared for theatrical troupes is the main obstacle.

Writers have their own very profound imaginations, but the entities concerned with writers are not playing their roles as they should. For example, Benghazi, which is the cultural capital, has its own literary experiences and elements, and is known for its art, creation and culture, but its literary production is very modest.

Magharebia: What are your latest works?

Al-Obeidi: I’m now writing another play titled “I’m without Address”, a monodrama depicting the condition of Arab citizens following the revolutions, the ambiguity they live in, the concepts that have changed and the schizophrenia they live. The play is being rehearsed now by al-Mashhad al-Masrahi theatrical troupe in Morocco. I’ve also released, at my own expense, my first collection of lyrics and popular poetry.

Magharebia: What do you see for your country’s future?

Al-Obeidi: Building Libya is not an impossible wish. We have to reach national reconciliation and put aside hatreds and clean our hearts before we can talk about building the state or institutions.

We as Libyans are Arabs, and we depend too much on traditions, habits and tribes, and this is a double-edged weapon.

If we can utilise all of these capabilities, we’ll reach the shore of safety and the country and future generations will rest. However, if we proceed with retaliations, hatred and double standard policies, we’ll continue in this dark tunnel.

Magharebia: What part does an artist play in this?

Al-Obeidi: Their role is important and vital. They have to work day and night to get their ideas across using all peaceful means. They have to embody their visions through their works of art because the street is now looking for an alternative to solve the crisis, and here comes the role of the pioneering artist who can reach all categories of society with his/her distinguished style.

This is because the artist is loved by all, and stands at the same distance from all; therefore, the artist shouldn’t deal lightly with his assigned role in society, as he is responsible before history.

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Anti-Semitism in Ukraine and the US State Department


This video from the eastern Ukraine says about itself:

19 April 2014

Ukraine: In multinational Donetsk, all are equal – Pushilin

Leaders of the Donetsk interim government gave a press conference in the Regional administration building in Donetsk, Saturday.

Denis Pushilin, the Deputy ‘People’s’ Governor of Donetsk and member of the interim government, recently said that it’s up to residents to decide where and how they want a referendum to take place.

Pushilin also responded to questions relating to a forged leaflet which showed up on social media networks, calling for Jewish people in Donetsk above the age of 16 to register their names and pay $50 (€60) in cash. Pushilin said that the republic of Donetsk is multinational and that all people are equal.

By Alex Lantier:

US imperialism and the anti-Semitic leaflet in Donetsk

19 April 2014

US outrage at a vile anti-Semitic leaflet circulating in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, demanding that all Jews register with local pro-Russian authorities, is a hypocritical fraud. US officials have seized on the leaflet, whose authorship is totally unclear and which stinks of a provocation to smear protesters hostile to the US-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev, to denounce protesters and posture as opponents of anti-Semitism.

At talks between US, European, Ukrainian and Russian officials in Geneva, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “In the year 2014, after all the miles traveled in the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it’s grotesque … beyond unacceptable.”

What hypocrisy! In the February putsch that toppled Ukraine’s government, Washington and its European allies worked directly with fascists, including the Right Sector militia and the Svoboda party. These forces—which hail the World War II-era Ukrainian fascists led by Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis as they carried out the mass murder of Jews in Ukraine—now occupy top positions in the unelected, pro-Western puppet regime in Kiev.

Kerry was cynically seizing upon the leaflet to improve the US position in talks with Russia, by distracting from popular anger with the Kiev puppet regime’s ties to fascism and providing ammunition for hysterical attacks on Moscow.

US officials ignored the multiple signs that the document is a crude forgery. The leaflet—bearing the name of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic, which is occupying local government buildings in Donetsk, and signed by its leader, Denis Pushilin—was reported on Wednesday in Israeli media.

It begins, “Dear Ukrainian citizens of Jewish nationality, due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community support the Bandera junta and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, [we have] decided that all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age and residing within the republic’s territory are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register.”

It demands that Jewish citizens provide extensive documentation as to their property holdings and religion and pay a $50 fee to officials in Room 514 of the local government building occupied by the pro-Russian protesters. Otherwise, the leaflet said, they would face deportation.

The initial Israeli media reports made clear the highly dubious character of the leaflet. They cited Pushilin’s denials that his group had issued it, as well as broader doubts as to its authenticity. Alex Tenzer, a director of the National Association of Immigrants from the Former USSR in Israel, said: “It’s hard to tell whether the leaflet is valid or simply a provocation.”

Olga Reznikova, who sent YNet a copy of the document from Donetsk, said: “I do not intend to register. I am 32, I have lived in Donetsk my entire life, and have never had to deal with anti-Semitism until I laid eyes on this piece of paper. Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity.”

Reporters for the New York Times who visited Room 514 of the Donetsk local government building on Thursday found it empty. They spoke to protesters who said the leaflet was a trick of the Kiev regime to discredit them. “We are laughing; this is propaganda,” one said.

As Western officials and media prepared for the Geneva talks, however, they baldly attributed the leaflet to pro-Russian groups. Ignoring continuing reports from Donetsk challenging the authenticity of the leaflet, they speculated that it could harm the pro-Russian forces and “change the narrative” about Ukraine—that is, undermine the credibility of anti-Kiev protesters.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph wrote: “A shocking story coming out of Ukraine: pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country are accused of asking Jewish citizens to register their identity or face deportation … It could change the narrative of the conflict yet again: the Russian separatism becomes a call not for self-determination, but outright bigotry informed by a desire for racial purity and Orthodox chauvinism.”

Kerry’s denunciations of the Donetsk protesters over the leaflet were echoed by other US diplomats. “Everything we’re hearing suggests this is the real deal, and that it is coming from someone on the ground there among these radical groups,” US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt told CNN, “either to stir fear or to create provocation justifying further violence.”

Reporting from Donetsk, however, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh called the leaflet “by all accounts an isolated incident.” Referring to protesters and the Jewish community in Donetsk, he added, “All sides are really trying to calm this down. Bizarrely, really, it’s the US State Department focusing specifically on this allegation.”

This comment from CNN, which can hardly be accused of having a critical attitude towards US foreign policy, gives a far better idea than Kerry’s hypocritical statements about the political origins of the anti-Semitic leaflet. The US State Department, Kiev, and their collaborators in Europe know more about it, one may safely assume, than Moscow or the protesters in Donetsk.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Poland and the United States would announce next week the deployment of US ground troops to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO military forces in Central and Eastern Europe, in response to the crisis in Ukraine: here.

Leading German journalists, who have been agitating for weeks for a war against Russia, intensified their propaganda after Tuesday’s announcement that NATO was stepping up its intervention in Eastern Europe. Even after the experiences of the First and Second World Wars, some clearly can’t wait for a re-run of the Eastern Front: here.

Canada is deploying six F-16 fighter jets to Eastern Europe in support of the war threats against Russia made by the US, Germany and NATO, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday: here.

Russia: Fatal gun battle near Ukrainian city of Slovyansk shows Kiev is failing to rein in extremists: here.

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Bahrain regime kills a human being again


Abdulaziz Al Abbar

From the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights:

Excessive Use of Force Leads to the Death of a Bahraini Citizen

Posted on April 18, 2014

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) express their grave concern regarding the news of the death of Mr. Abdulaziz Al Abbar (27 years old).

Mr. Al Abbar died today morning (April 18, 2014) in Salmaniya Hospital. He was wounded in the head (tear gas canister and bird-shot).

Mr. Al Abbar, injured in protests held in the Saar area – February 23, 2014 -, remained in critical condition for a 55 days.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) demands urgent and immediate investigation into the death of Mr. Abdulaziz Al Abbar.

See also here.

Bahrain: massive protests against the killing of two young men: here.

$580 million base expansion ties US closer to regime in Bahrain & their terrible human rights record: here.

During a trip to India in February, Bahrain’s King Hamad Al Khalifa visited Mahatma Gandhi’s shrine. The King praised Gandhi as someone “who believed in his cause, which he pursued until it was realised”. Gandhi’s cause, of course, was gaining independence for India against British colonial rule. Bahrain, too, gained independence from Britain in 1971, following a decades long struggle by its citizens. However, King Hamad has suggested that Bahrain’s ruling family were not so keen on independence. At a reception held in his honour last May, the King told assembled British dignitaries  that his father (the former ruler) had said at the time: “Why? No one asked you to go!” Following Bahrain’s nominal independence, popular uprisings began to occur roughly once a decade, seeking genuine democracy and the wresting of power away from the ruling family: here.

Political, rights, and civil society activists launched a campaign under the slogan “Kingdom of Demolished Mosques”. The campaign marks the 3rd anniversary of the demolition of 38 mosques in Bahrain, by the regime, during the state of emergency, between March and April 2011. The campaign was launched on the same day of the demolition of Al-Barbaghi Mosque which is more than 450 years old. The regime still insists on keeping it in ruins, and is attempting to relocate the historic mosque: here.

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