The fishing community of Baga, by Lake Chad in Borno state, Nigeria, was under siege by armed Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram for a week at the start of January, writes Baba Aye. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, who condemned the “dastardly terrorist attack” against Charlie Hebdo cartoonists within hours of the tragic event in Paris, did not say a word about this tragedy.
Update: An earlier version of this article reported that asylum seeker Puvaneethan reboarded the plane after protesting passengers had been removed. Reports have now confirmed he is now back in Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne. *** Three passengers were removed from a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Darwin this morning after refusing to take their seats in protest against the transfer of an asylum seeker on the same flight.
The Barking Dog Edited by Caroline Lund Order via firstname.lastname@example.org US$20 in US or $25 elsewhere I asked Barry Sheppard, the longtime partner, friend and comrade of late US socialist, auto-worker and union activist Caroline Lund (pictured) to collect and publish The Barking Dog, because I thought it was one of the best shop floor newsletters from an auto worker I had ever read. I believed this collection would be an inspiration and a guide for the next generation of rank-and-file auto workers. But I was wrong: The Barking Dog is much more than that.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Costa Rica on January 28 that Latin America is living in a “new historic era” marked by unity and great opportunity. CELAC was first launched in 2011 in Venezuela, uniting all countries in the Americas except for the United States and Candada. It was set up as a counter-point to the Organisation of American States, which traditionally been dominated by the US.
“I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17 announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade. Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.
As predicted by opinion polls, Liberal National Party (LNP) Premier Campbell Newman was an early casualty on election night, January 31. He was defeated in his electorate of Ashgrove by Kate Jones, the Environment Minister in the previous Labor government. He is the first incumbent premier to lose his seat in Australia. With more than 70% of the votes counted at the close of counting on election night, the outcome for the ALP was even better than opinion polls had predicted.
American Sniper Directed by Clint Eastwood Starring Bradley Cooper & Sienna Millar In cinemas now Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper has two clashing narratives. The first is about a soldier in the US army (i.e. the content of the film). The second is much bigger, about war and terrorism (i.e. the content of the discussion the film has generated). The movie fails not in explaining these two topics properly and, as a result, leaving it up to the viewer to make up their own mind whether the action of the soldier should be applauded.
KENYAN POLICE FIRE TEAR GAS AT CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND The ABC reported that Kenyan police fired tear gas into a crowd of schoolchildren in Nairobi as the children protested against what they call an illegal confiscation of a playground. Around 40 armed police, accompanied by dogs, confronted the children, most of whom were aged between eight and 13.
Noam Chomsky had some choice words about the popularity of the Clint Eastwood Movie American Sniper, its glowing New York Times review, and what the worship of a movie about a cold-blooded killer says about the American people. It's not good.
Venezuela's left-wing government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's radical left SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, TeleSUR English reported. A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”
“Greece is turning the page,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras told an ecstatic crowd on January 25. The radical left party had just come first in historic elections in Greece with 36.3% of the vote. “Greece leaves behind the austerity that caused its destruction. It leaves behind fear and intimidation; it leaves behind five years of humiliation and grief. Greece advances with hope, with dignity and steady steps towards a changing Europe.” The news from Greece has spread hope around the world.
A 13-day hunger strike by asylum seekers imprisoned by Australia on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, was suspended on January 26 after Wilson’s Security flew in reinforcement to storm compounds where detainees were on hunger strike. The hunger strike was in response to plans to move those whose refugee claims had been accepted to a new camp on the island under the guise of releasing them into the community. This new camp at Lorengau, the Manus provincial capital, differs from the detention centre only in that its inhabitants are more vulnerable to violent attacks by vigilantes.
A recent decision by the organisers of one of Australia's largest pop culture conventions has sparked controversy in the fan community. A petition has been created to have the organisers of Supanova pop-culture expo revoke their invitation to Firefly actor Adam Baldwin. The US actor is due to appear at their Sydney and Perth conventions later this year.
The Cross Border Collective released this statement on January 28. *** Thousands of men, women and children held in Australia’s detention camps are growing increasingly desperate in their second year of incarceration in camps described as “hellholes”.
"Today was the best Invasion Day protest that I have ever been to," Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton told Green Left Weekly on January 26. "There was a real feeling of Aboriginal pride and resistance. The crowd was bigger today too." In Melbourne, the protest began with a smoking ceremony near Parliament House followed by a rally on the parliament steps. The rally then marched to the official "Australia Day" parade, moved the barricades and marched along the official parade route.
A man seeking asylum in Australia, who was due to be deported by immigration officials in December, is being held in Villawood detention centre after a protest on December 19 on the plane blocked the deportation. One plane passenger, Steph O’Donnell, said the asylum seeker, Wei Lin, made himself known to passengers on the plane before take-off.