Syrian refugee wins Olympic swimming heat


This video says about itself:

Yusra Mardini: A Refugee at the Olympics

6 August 2016

First she had to swim to Greece to save her life, now she is swimming for the gold at the Olympics: meet Yusra Mardini of Syria, competing for the Refugee Olympic Team.

Rio Olympic games 2016: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who saved 20 lives crossing the Mediterranean, wins 100m butterfly heat.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Perhaps the happiest tale of the day was that of swimmer Yusra Mardini who is representing the Refugee team under the Olympic flag and won her 100m butterfly heat to huge cheers in the pool at the Aquatics Stadium in Rio.

Her time wasn’t enough to win her a place in the semi-finals but it won the hearts of the spectators and is the latest chapter in an incredible story. Mardini, 18, and her sister fled war-torn Syria a year ago and travelled through Lebanon and Turkey before trying to reach Greece by a boat fit for six but carrying 20 people.

The motor failed and Mardini jumped in and swam for three and a half hours, pulling the boat and stopping it from capsizing before reaching land on the island of Lesbos where she could barely stand. She was given asylum in Berlin where her swimming talents were spotted and that led to Rio and Saturday’s sterling effort. She goes again on Wednesday in the freestyle heats.

MEET TEAM REFUGEES “Team Refugees, the Olympic Games’ first ever team of refugee athletes, received a standing ovation on Friday night when they entered the stadium during the games’ opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ” [HuffPost]

Yet the opening days of the Summer Olympic Games indicated that the authorities have zero tolerance for even minimal forms of protest (people holding signs protesting current “interim president” Michel Temer have been expelled from stadiums) and have brought back memories for many of the methods employed during the 21 years of dictatorship (1964-1985), when democratic rights were under constant attack and bloody police repression was an everyday affair. Democratic rights, in Brazil and elsewhere, are fast becoming “a dead letter”: here.

‘Admit child refugees’, ex-refugee from Hitler says


This video from Britain says about itself:

Journeys to Safety: Memories of the Kindertransport

21 January 2014

This is our second short film to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Prior to World War II, many children made journeys through Europe to escape the Nazis and the growing wave of anti-Semitism. The memories of those who travelled to safety as part of the Kindertransport programme are shared. The film also marks the 75th Anniversary of the Kindertransport programme (1938 – 2013).

Initiated by appeals from British Jewish leaders and non-Jewish agencies to the British Government, the Kindertransport was an organised programme to allow the temporary admission of unaccompanied children and teenagers up to the age of 17 years into the United Kingdom prior to the outset of World War II.

The first transports left Berlin on 1 December 1938, the last left Germany on September 1 1939. In all, nearly 10,000 mainly Jewish children escaped certain death had they remained in Nazi occupied Europe.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Lord calls on PM to take in child refugees

Saturday 6th August 2016

A PEER who was a refugee from the nazis has called on the government to show “more humanity and intelligence” towards child refugees than was shown by the Chamberlain government as World War II approached.

Lord Alf Dubs came to Britain from Czechoslovakia as part of the 1938-39 Kindertransport campaign to get Jewish children out of fascist countries, led by Sir Nicholas Winton.

In a letter delivered to Downing Street, also signed by actors Vanessa Redgrave and Aislin McGuckin, Lord Dubs requested Theresa May’s “urgent intervention” in reuniting children living in the Calais camp with their families in Britain.

They said post-Brexit Britain offered an opportunity for politicians to make progress with the refugee crisis.

Charity Citizens UK says 170 children in Calais have “a right to relocate to Britain in order to reunite with their families.”

“If the rights of these children are not upheld they are left with an appalling choice between train tracks on the one hand, and the very traffickers you have challenged every step of your career since you became Home Secretary in 2010,” the letter states.

“I deeply hope that your government may show more humanity and intelligence than the Chamberlain government showed to the Jewish people until after Kristallnacht in mid-November 1938,” said Lord Dubs, referring to the Nazi Party’s infamous attack on Jewish people, shops and synagogues.

“I’m convinced that British people have got this humanitarian wish that these children should be here. We can give some of them, at least, safety in this country.”

Lord Dubs was six when the nazis invaded Czechoslovakia.

Australian anti-refugee policies criticized


This video says about itself:

Report: Severe abuse of Australia’s asylum seekers in Nauru

2 August 2016

CORRECTION: 04/08/2016: This report states that Amnesty International and HRW were granted rare access to processing facilities in Nauru. In actual fact, while the groups were on the island, they were not granted access to processing facilities.

A new joint report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International has found evidence of severe abuse towards hundreds of people seeking asylum in Australia.

The men, women, and children who were forcibly transferred to the remote Pacific island nation of Nauru to have their asylum claims processed, said they have suffered inhumane treatment and neglect.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull reports.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Australia: Oz island refugee camps cruel in the extreme

Thursday 4th August 2016

AUSTRALIA was accused by human rights groups yesterday of deliberately ignoring the abuse of asylum-seekers held at the remote Nauru detention facility in the Pacific to deter future refugees.

A scathing joint report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that detainees on the island, where Australia sends asylum-seekers, are routinely denied critical medical care, frequently attempt suicide and endure physical assaults by locals.

Australia’s policy of exiling asylum-seekers who arrive by boat is cruel in the extreme,” said Amnesty International senior research director Anna Neistat.

“Few other countries go to such lengths to deliberately inflict suffering on people seeking safety and freedom.”

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection criticised the two groups for not consulting the government while preparing the report and said it “strongly refutes many of the allegations.”

The department did not, however, respond to a request about exactly what it was refuting.

Australia refuses to accept any asylum-seekers who attempt to reach its shores by boat, preferring to pay Nauru and Papua New Guinea to hold them, often for years.

Reports of abuse, miserably hot and crowded living conditions and frequent suicide attempts at the detention camps have circulated for years.

Human rights groups have consistently called on Australia to abandon its offshore detention policy, calling the practice a violation of the country’s international human rights obligations.

A report published this week by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch further exposes the deliberate violation of the human, democratic and legal rights of about 1,200 men, women, and children who have been detained on the remote Pacific island of Nauru for more than three years after seeking asylum in Australia: here.

Gay Syrian refugee murdered in Turkey


Murdered Syrian refugee Wisam Mohammed Sankara

Translated from Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, 3 August 2016:

Syrian gay refugee murdered by beheading in Istanbul

Syrian gay refugee Wisam Mohammed Sankara left his house in Aksaray street, Istanbul, Yenikapı quarter,the night of July 30. The next day he was found dead. Because of beheading, Wisam’s body had become unrecognizable. The perpetrators have not been caught yet.

[A friend of Wisam’s said:]

“Saturday night 30th oF June Wisam went out of the house. We already were nervous because of threats in the environment. We told him not to go, but a 15-20 minute walk on the street should be possible, he said. He did not come home all night. The next day we could not find Wisam, which distressed us. We went to the Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants Association (ASAM-STEP). They directed us to the police department. How can we get safety, as even they did not know what to say?”

Flatmates of gay Syrian refugee beheaded in Turkey fear they will be next. Three friends of Wisam Sankari, who was killed in a homophobic attack in Istanbul last week, say they have received death threats: here.

Hungarian nazis’ anti-refugee violence


This video says about itself:

Hungarians unite against antisemitism: huge anti-Nazi, anti-Jobbik rally held in Budapest

3 December 2012

Around 10,000 people have taken to the streets in Budapest in protest over what many see as a resurgence of neo-Nazi ideologies in government just days after a far-right MP belonging to the ultranationalist Jobbik party accused Hungary’s Jewish population of posing a national security risk, and called for them to be registered on special lists.

In a rare show of unity on Hungary’s deeply divided political scene, civil rights groups and party leaders from across the spectrum came together for the rally, which was held outside the main parliament building. During the protest, organisers played scenes from a 1944 film about World War Two, in which around 600,000 Jews and 30,000 Roma were killed by Hungarian fascists.

Many demonstrators carried signs critical of the far-right opposition party, Jobbik, which rode to power in 2010 by winning 44 out of 386 parliamentary seats, making it the third largest party in the country in terms of MPs. Many have accused the party of targeting Jewish and travelling Roma minorities in order to win votes, and of inciting racist attacks with hate speech.

From France 24:

08/02/2016

A Hungarian mayor makes a show of “migrant-hunting

In the small Hungarian town of Ásotthalom, migrants are regularly being photographed on their knees, hands on their heads, displayed like hunting trophies, with armed militiamen standing by. The mayor of the town is behind the hate-filled hunt for undocumented migrants. According to our Observer, this is just another example of the xenophobic, law-and-order policies in Hungary.

Refugees on the ground, hands bound behind their backs. Photo published by the Jobbik mayor on his Facebook page

Beneath a photo published in June on the Facebook page of Toroczkai Laszlo, the mayor of Ásotthalom, a village of 5,000 on the Serbo-Hungarian border, the caption reads, “Violent invaders 0 – Citizen militia 1.” The image shows three migrant men lying face-down on the ground, their hands bound behind their backs. In another photo, shared more than 300 times, a thickset man in camouflage poses in front of five young men, captured while illegally crossing the border.

Despite a recent report by Human Rights Watch denouncing the violent atacks on migrants by police and militia in Hungary, Laszlo hasn’t hesitated in broadcasting his guards’ “exploits.”

A rising star of the Hungarian far-right – he is vice-president of Jobbik, an openly xenophobic nationalist [neonazi] party –  last summer he launched an armed civilian patrol whose mission is to “capture” migrants near his village. …

Our Observer Márk Zoltán Kékesi is a professor of sociology in Szeged, just a few kilometres from Ásotthalom. With the Hungarian citizens’ collective Migzsol, he helps refugees who are stuck at the Serbo-Hungarian border. He’s worried about Laszlo’s militia and the mayor’s popularity.

“Originally, this militia was supposed to be the equivalent of village policemen, responsible for protecting the fields of the farmers in this border town… But I have spoken with a local farmer who told me there’d been no problems with theft or crime from the migrants, either in homes or in the fields.

In my opinion, this militia is above all else about the mayor portraying a certain image. For instance, he never goes anywhere without his militiamen…

As you can see on Facebook, he likes showing that he’s protecting his village. In his posts, the vocabulary he uses is revealing. He never speaks of ‘migrants’ or ‘refugees.’ He prefers to call them ‘invaders,’ and future terrorists. Of course, no one is shocked by this – it’s the ambient discourse here, especially among politicians. [Editor’s note: In July, for instance, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orbán, compared immigration to a “poison.”]

“Migrants report being attacked at the border”

What’s worrying is that he’s started a sort of fad. More and more groups are forming to ‘hunt’ migrants at the Serbian border. The idea of ‘self-defence,’ of taking up arms ‘against the invaders,’ is spreading, even if we’re still talking about a fairly small number of people.

Ásotthalom’s patrol is legal with regards to Hungarian law, and the men have the right to carry guns so long as they don’t fire them. The mayor is in total control of all the militia’s communications, so it’s hard to know too much about it – what it does with migrants after capturing them, for instance. We get reports from migrants attacked at the border, but we don’t know who’s behind these incidents. For the refugees, militiamen and uniformed police look alike, and this creates an even more confused atmosphere.

“There’s a fascination for his personality”

For us, the humanitarian workers, it’s impossible to work in this village. We’re not welcome there. The inhabitants don’t seem to care. On the contrary, the mayor is very popular. I think there’s a fascination for his personality. He ended up in Ásotthalom a bit randomly. Although he was born in the region, he started his political career in Budapest. Then he made this village his political showcase. He’s cultivating this image of a young man, surrounded by henchmen, who’s defending the border.” …

He’s also known for having founded the HVIM, the “Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement,” a group that is nostalgic for the era of Greater Hungary – the territory of Hungary before World War I, which included parts or Romania, Croatia, and Serbia – and which marches alongside neo-Nazis.

Refugees are ‘poison’, Hungary’s Orban says


This video says about itself:

28 August 2015

Hungary’s barbed-wire fence still proves no barrier for migrants

Screaming in agony, a young migrant girl gets her hair tangled in barbed wire as her family scramble through mud seeking a better life in Europe.

Barely old enough to understand what is happening to her, the girl was forced to crawl under a razor-sharp fence to get across the border into Hungary.

But as she wriggles through the dirt, her hair becomes caught and she lets out a cry of pain.

A woman, believed to be her mother, who is carrying a baby in one arm, uses her other hand to untangle her and the family rush to safety.

Again, unfortunately not that surprising news about the ‘Erdogan of Budapest’.

Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are the best of friends: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Hungarian prime minister calls migrants entering Europe a ‘poison’

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has described the influx of refugees and other migrants into Europe as a “poison” that his country “won’t swallow”. …

A House of Lords report published on Tuesday concluded Britain was failing to take in its fair share of unaccompanied child refugees. ..

Hungary will hold a referendum on 2 October on its participation in the EU migration relocation scheme.

Last year hundreds of thousands of migrants travelled through Hungary and Austria to try and reach other European nations.

But Mr Orban’s government curbed the flow by erecting razor wire and fences along Hungary’s southern borders.

Budapest, the country’s capital, introduced further anti-migrant laws this month, including a return of the controversial “no-man’s land” on the Hungarian-Serbian border, where the land is not recognised as either country’s territory. Hundreds of refugees and migrants are stuck in camps there.

The comments come after Mr Orban said the tough foreign policy of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was “good for Europe and vital for Hungary”.

Neo-nazi Soldiers of Odin paramilitarists in the Netherlands


This February 2016 video is called The Racist Vigilante Group called Soldiers of Odin in Norway.

In Syria, there are ISIS paramilitarists who behead people. In Syria, there are also ‘moderate’ paramilitarists, financed by taxpayers from the USA and other NATO countries, who behead small children.

In Ukraine, there are extreme right paramilitarists, financed by the oligarchical government and United States and other NATO countries’ taxpayers, who behead people.

In West European countries, there are paramilitarists with the same neo-nazi ideology as their Ukrainian counterparts. So far, as far as I know, they have not beheaded people yet. However, their violence has already started.

EXCLUSIVE – Nazi daggers, SS hats and a hangman’s noose: On night patrol with the ‘Soldiers of Odin’, neo-Nazi led vigilantes vowing to ‘keep Europe’s women safe from migrant sex attacks‘: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

PvdA [Dutch sister party of British Labour] MP Marcouch: methods of Soldiers of Odin are disgusting

Today, 08:30

PvdA MP Marcouch has asked parliamentary questions about the action by Soldiers of Odin this weekend in Winschoten [in Groningen province]. He thinks that such behavior does not fit in the Netherlands and calls the methods of the group disgusting. “It can not be that these people play frontier justice.”

Last weekend the group put a message on Facebook about a “manhunt” of a refugee who was “arrested”. The man was said to supposedly have harassed women. Police found an asylum seeker who was beaten up at the site of the Soldiers of Odin report. …

“I have submitted these questions to show that neo-Nazi-like groups should not have a free hand to hunt for migrants and refugees,” said Marcouch to the NOS Radio 1 News. He says that organizations like Pegida and Soldiers of Odin get on the streets in military uniforms to deliberately hunt refugees. “That is disgusting and we should not ignore that or play it down.”

Disappointed

The police said in response that such groups can act as extra eyes and ears. “But we always disapprove of lynch justice.”

Marcouch is disappointed by that reaction. “I think it’s unacceptable that the police would work with these people or would welcome their acts. We must reject this.”

He says there is a difference between citizens who may catch someone red-handed and organized groups. “They have an idea: to hunt migrants and refugees.” …

Soldiers of Odin (SOO) was founded in Finland in 2015 as a vigilante. The goal, according to the gang, is to protect people, especially women, against criminal immigrants. Members of the group are patrolling the streets. SOO says they are the extra eyes and ears of the police.

The reason for the establishment was the influx of thousands of asylum seekers to Finland. …

The founder is Mika Ranta, who has ties to far-right groups. He was convicted in 2005 for assault.

According to Finnish broadcasting corporation YLE, racism and neo-Nazism are rampant in the SOO.

Soldiers of Odin are called after the supreme god in ancient Norse mythology, Odin. In that mythology, Odin’s soldiers were called berserkers:

Berserkers (or berserks) were champion Norse warriors who are primarily reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. These Viking champions would often go into battle without mail-coats; the word “berserk” meant going into battle wearing only wolf or animal skins.

This abuse of ancient Scandinavian paganism for modern extreme right politics is an inheritance from Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Where, eg, an SS division was called Wiking. Where Odin was depicted during nazi Christmas celebrations. German neonazi band Landser has several songs in praise of Odin/Wotan.

Mika Ranta by the way is a strange sort of Finnish nationalist, calling his neo-fascist gang Soldiers of Odin. Though Finland is usually seen as part of Scandinavia, ancient Finnish pagans did not worship Odin or other Norse gods. The Finnish language is not related at all to Scandinavian or other Germanic languages; rather to Hungarian and North Asian languages.

Nineteenth century French racist ideologist Count de Gobineau, an inspiration for twentieth century nazism, even considered Finns to be not white, but as belonging to the supposedly inferior Asian ‘yellow race’.

Gobineau saw Finns as one of two threats to the ‘Aryan master race’ in Europe: Finns from the north, Africans from the south. Nineteenth century Swedish anti-Finnish xenophobe August Sohlman based himself on Gobineau for his propaganda against equality for ‘racially inferior’ Finnish people to ‘Aryan’ Swedes. So did elitists among the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.