national liberation

The United Nations has declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day. But one place where there is still no press freedom is Indonesian-occupied West Papua.

Local journalists are arrested and tortured. Foreign journalists are not allowed in, or strictly monitored. Even international websites supporting West Papuan independence are hacked, and shut down. 

Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA), which waged a decades-long military campaign for Basque independence, released its “Statement to the Basque Country: declaration on harm caused” on April 8. The statement is an apology for the suffering arising from more than 40 years of violent operations that ended in a permanent ceasefire in 2011.

The most extreme Spanish reaction to the April 5 ruling of the Higher Regional court of German state Schleswig-Holstein that freed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was from radio shock jock Federico Jiménez Losantos.

“In the Balearic Islands there are 200,000 of them [Germans] as hostages,” he railed. “In Bavaria, well in Bavaria pubs could start being blown up. So, I’m proposing action? Of course, they’ve slapped us around, they’ve given us a kick in the you-know-what.”

Palestinians in Gaza had hardly begun their “Great March of Return” campaign before Israel responded with a level of violence and brutality not seen for some time, writes Lisa Gleeson. Yet their protests continue.

What began as a protest in 1976 after a rash of land confiscations by Israel — met by Israel with the killing of six unarmed Palestinians — Land Day each March 30 is an annual focal point for Palestinian frustration at being forcibly displaced and unable to return home.

At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire on Friday, March 30 on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel. As many as 1700 Palestinians were wounded, with videos posted online showing unarmed Palestinians being shot in the back while taking part in a protest that day.

“General strike! General strike! General strike!” In protests across Catalonia after the March 23 jailing of five MPs and the March 25 detention in Germany of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, these words rang out loud and appeared on placards and banners everywhere.

A general strike would certainly make the Spanish government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the senior judges doing its bidding think twice about their relentless persecution of Catalonia’s pro-independence MPs.

Except that a general strike, while desirable and important as a goal, will not happen until there is an earthquake in the Catalan trade union movement.

Five months after Hurricane Maria hit the United States’ Caribbean colony of Puerto Rico, swaths of the island still have no electricity, while food and water supplies have been slow to arrive, Democracy Now! reported on February 19.

Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament elected on December 21, suspended that day’s session, which had been set to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.

The decision of Torrent, leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled two days earlier that electing the exiled Puigdemont could not take place in absentia.

After receiving approval from Russia, the Turkish state has launched an air strike with 69 jets, bombing the Afrin centre and Cindirêsê, Reco, Shera, Shêrawa and Mabeta districts in northern Syria, ANF News reported on January 20.

The main war aim of the People’s Party (PP) government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the December 21 Catalan elections was to stop the re-election of a pro-independence government.

During the election campaign, the Spanish political, economic and media establishment even dreamed of the election of a pro-unionist administration on the back of unprecedented participation from a «silent majority» supposedly in favour of continuing the tie with Spain.

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