democracy


A meeting in Rojava's capital, Qamislo, of the Assyrian ethnic minority. Photo from www.robertgraham.wordpress.com.


Marda Permaculture Farm in the West Bank. Photo from mardafarm.com.

Ownership of the land of Palestine is hotly contested, so it is little surprise that the Earth itself is often the first casualty of Israel's occupation.

If the horrific attacks in Paris, France have taught us anything, it is that some tragedies matter more than others.

For example, look no further than these headlines:

120 Dead in Paris Attacks, Worst Since WWII (ABC/AP, November 14);
Paris Wakes Up Under Siege After Deadliest Attack Since WWII (The Daily Beast, November 14);

Campaigning began in Venezuela on November 13 ahead of crucial National Assembly elections next month.

The vote will see the socialists supporting the Bolivarian Revolution, backed by President Nicolas Maduro, against the right-wing US-funded opposition amid ongoing tensions and economic problems.

From November 13 through to December 3, candidates from the ruling and opposition coalitions will be allowed to canvass for votes by public appearances, leaflets and on regional and national media.

I just want to get this straight: we cannot help Syrian refugees, many of whom are fleeing from ISIS, because of the ISIS attack on Paris that was carried out by French and Belgian nationals?

Well, who knew a horrifying mass murder thanks to a terror attack in a major world city would lead to such bizarre responses? If only we had some precedent to warn us.

A plan for a new national park to protect the endangered Leadbeater's possum has been dealt a blow with revelations VicForests has locked in millions of dollars of new logging contracts.

State Labor ducked a promise to create a Great Forest national park in the recent state election following pressure from the CFMEU, which had threatened to campaign against Labor on the basis that ending logging in the area would threaten jobs.

More than 50 teachers at Yeronga State High School in Brisbane, including principal Terry Heath, held an afternoon strike on November 17 as part of their campaign to free 21-year-old Mojgan Shamsalipoor from immigration detention.

After three years of campaigning, Tamil refugee Ranjini was suddenly released from Villawood detention centre on November 12.

Even though she had been granted refugee status, Ranjini was whisked off the streets of Melbourne and locked up in 2012, due to a sudden ASIO decision to declare her a threat to national security. She was never allowed to find out why this had happened, see the evidence or challenge it in a court.

More than 50 others suffered the same fate. Some have been released after six years in prison. Others are still there.

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the world's leaders and media have predictably reminding the world that the attacks' perpetrator – ISIS – has declared war to the death against humanity.

ISIS would not deny this. Indeed, making this point was the reason it carried out the Paris attacks, which killed 129 people.

Emergency protests were held in Sydney and Melbourne on November 14 against the Turkish government's military bombardment and siege of the Kurdish city of Silvan.

Since November 2 parts of the town of Silvan have been occupied by the Turkish military. There is a 24-hour curfew and civilians are not allowed to leave for basic necessities, to take the wounded to hospital or bury the dead. Armoured cars and helicopters have been machine gunning parts of the city.

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