national liberation

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.

The courageous participants in the June 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla turned the world's attention to the plight of the Palestinian people. Yet Israel continues to defy international law, and thus the campaign to end the blockade of Gaza continues.

Responding to widespread international outrage at the attack on the freedom Flotilla, Israel announced an easing of its illegal blockade, intending to deflect criticism from its inhumane and illegal policies.

Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation.

Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, mass mobilisations in the early 1970s heralded the birth of the modern independence movement.

In 1973, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) was established to wage an armed independence struggle.

By 1975, Polisario had fought Spain to a standstill. Rather than grant independence, Spain made an agreement with neighbouring countries Morocco and Mauritania to occupy Western Sahara.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Munich Security Conference Plenary Session on February 5, said the US had always stood for the principle “free people govern themselves best”.

This, she said, is “not simply a matter of idealism, it is a strategic necessity”.

A cursory look at events — past and present — demonstrates the exact opposite to be true.

Thousands of West Papuans marched in the capital Jayapura on January 26, AFP said that day.

Marchers rejected the area’s “special autonomy” status within Indonesia and demanded a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

Protesters chanted: “Indonesia the coloniser, Indonesia the oppressor, Indonesia the robber.”

The action included students from Cenderawasih University, the Indonesian Christian Students Movement and church members, Tempo Interactive said on January 26.

West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea have been terrorised and arrested by police, West Papua Media Alerts said on January 28. They were allegedly arrested on behalf of the Indonesian military and local logging interests.

Police and soldiers rounded up 79 refugees living in camps around Vanimo, on PNG’s north coast near the border with West Papua, in the early hours of January 23.

The soldiers burned down at least 30 refugee houses, destroyed crops and food, and assaulted people, WPMA said. Other refugees have reportedly fled to the jungle.

Anger has erupted in West Papua at the light sentences handed to three Indonesian soldiers responsible for torturing two West Papuans.

The soldiers received between eight and 10 months' jail for “insubordination” rather than the more serious charge of torture, The Australian said on January 24. They will be allowed to continue their military careers.

See also: US, Israel oppose Arab democracy

Papers leaked to Al-Jazeera, as well as secret US cables published by WikiLeaks, have exposed how Israel and the United States have used the Middle East “peace process” to push total capitulation on the Palestinian side.

This merely confirms what many Palestinians already knew.

One of the claims made most often by Israeli officials and supporters is that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But in recent weeks, media outlets around the world have reported on a string of new laws in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) meant to curtail the work of human rights non-government organisations (NGOs).

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has even referred to such groups as “terrorism aids”.

The targeted NGOs report on human rights abuses in the entire area under Israeli control: that is, within the state of Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”

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