Below is an extract of a letter Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent to the student leaders at UC Berkeley in March 2010 regarding Berkeley’s decision to divest from Israel. * * * I am writing to tell you that, despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.
More than 1000 Philippine Airlines (PAL) ground staff from the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) staged a torch-lit rally on April 1 between terminals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The protest was supported by several big labour federations. The union representing flight attendants has also pledged solidarity with PALEA. When police blocked the march, workers blocked a major road for several hours. This disrupted access to the airport and lead to flights being cancelled or delayed.
Three former members of the left-wing student group Capitalism Research Society (CRC) were taken into police custody on March 21. Among those arrested was the group’s former president Choi Ho-hyeon. They were charged under the National Security Act, a draconian anti-communist law that was enacted in 1948 during the height of bloody right-wing suppressions of popular grassroots democratic movements. The law has been repeatedly used to crack down on political opposition and progressive movements.
Locals from Lake Tyers, a small Aboriginal community in East Gippsland, set up a roadblock leading into their township on March 8. The action was to protest against a Victorian government-imposed administrator and call for a return to democracy in their community. The only exceptions allowed through the blockade were health service employees and school buses.
Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has been caught up in an increasingly violent conflict after the West African nation’s November 28 elections ended with the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his main opponent Alassane Ouattara both claiming victory. Ivory Coast is wracked by an armed conflict between the Ivory Coast army and rebel forces allied to Ouattara. Both sides have been accused of human rights abuses.
Despite crisis levels of overcrowding, many urban Aboriginal communities have been denied federal funding for new housing. On March 18, ABC online said town camps around Darwin were not allocated any of the $1.5 billion in upgrades planned for Aboriginal communities.
The Moro people of the Philippines’ southern Mindanao Islands have never considered themselves Filipinos. The Spanish colonisers never succeeded in subjugating the Moro sultanates. However, when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US in 1898, the Moro homeland, Bangsamoro, was included. In the ensuing war, which lasted until 1913, 20,000 Moros — fighters and civilians — were killed.
ITEC Employment and its related entity Community Enterprises Australia (CEA) are preparing a submission to the federal government that will argue “the pendulum has swung too far in favour of the jobseeker”, in relation to changes to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) on Aboriginal communities, The Australian said on April 2. CEA is the largest CDEP provider in Australia. You could be forgiven for thinking that the pendulum swinging “too far in favour of the jobseeker” meant, perhaps, that people were finding work.
This was inspired by the “Collateral Murder” video released in April 2010 by WikiLeaks. * * * 1. Oh, come all you American teenagers Put away your video games And get some real shoot em-up-action Wasting folks with weird-sounding names Now how would you like to bear true faith By joining an Apache crew In trouble spots around the world There’s killing work to do Light them up Keep shooting Look at all Those dead bastards 2. Well, there’s so many features to tell you about Like the Boeing M230 chain gun With that Arab-slaying motherfucker
The Venezuelan government will begin a process of recovering 300,000 hectares of land during April that have been in the hands of an unnamed English company, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in an interview during his trip to Uruguay. Chavez said the process of taking back or “recovering” land had been fundamental to the revolutionary process led by his government. He said this especially so that “worker control” could “prevent companies from exploiting the land and workers, and getting rich and taking the earnings overseas”.