Picture this: you drive past armed guards at the gate; then park your car next to a four-metre-high fence topped with electric wire. As you enter the building you’re searched, your phone is confiscated, your details are noted, then you pass through metal detectors and are tagged with ultraviolet pens. Once inside you find small children playing, and their families and friends, who have broken no laws. Surveillance cameras are ever-present and guards patrol the grounds.
The crackdown by Moroccan occupation forces on the protest camp at Gdeim Izik on November 8 may have brought more attention to the plight of Western Sahara than was intended. The 20,000-strong camp at Gdeim Izik, 15 km from the Western Saharan capital, El Aaiun, was established on October 9 to protest against the discrimination and oppression experienced by Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation.
Leaked military documents have confirmed that Indonesia’s elite special forces unit Kopassus routinely engages in “murder [and] abduction”. The documents also show Kopassus officially defines civilian dissidents as its “enemy” in its operations in West Papua. The documents, posted by journalist Allan Nairn at Allannairn.com on November 9, identify Indonesia’s primary enemies in West Papua as unarmed civilians involved in the independence movement.
Carly Dawson is a volunteer with Peace Brigades International (PBI), a non-government organisation that “protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts”. The organisation was formed during the 1980s and its first mission was to help counter the war in Nicaragua that was waged by US-backed Contras against the left-wing Sandinista government Dawson recently returned to Australia after 12 months volunteer work with PBI in Colombia. She spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Aaron Roden. * * *
“The National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) expresses its energetic condemnation of the massacre against the campesino community in El Tumbador, Trujillo, in which our companeros Ignacio Reyes, Teodoro Acosta, Siriaco Munozm Raul Castillo and Jose Luis Sauceda were assassinated”, the FNRP said in a November 16 statement. All of those killed were members of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA). The campesino activists were killed by assassins hired by pro-US oligarch Miguel Facusse, who helped fund the coup that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya last year.
The second suicide in little more than two months took place at Villawood detention centre on the night of November 15. Ahmad Al Akabi, 41, was found by fellow detainees hanged in a bathroom. After spending more than a year in the Christmas Island and Villawood detention centres, his asylum application had been rejected twice under the off-shore processing system that was found to be invalid in a recent High Court decision.
Triple J did a profile on youth unemployment in Wollongong that was posted on the ABC’s website on October 29. Five young people were interviewed about the difficulties in finding work, and the reasons for the high youth unemployment rate. These are the same problems faced by young people all over Australia: a reduction in the number of apprenticeships available, the effects of the financial crisis, the lack of experience young people have and how no-one is willing to give them a chance.
When the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit took place in September, leaders from rich countries, as well as aid and research organisatons, met with Third World nations and “recommitted” to eight anti-poverty goals. The goals were set in the Millennium Declaration in 2000, to be met by 2015. “Donor” countries pledged financial and technical aid to halve extreme poverty and reduce hunger, disease and illiteracy across the global South.
World renowned novelist and global justice activist Arundhati Roy is facing escalating threats of violence in India because of her support for justice in Kashmir — the disputed region partitioned between India and Pakistan and occupied by military forces in the area India controls. Roy faced sedition charges for comments she made about Kashmir at a public meeting in October. The government has since indicated it would not pursue the charge.