The Latin American Social Forum held a forum on February 7 in Sydney. About 80 people attended. We were welcomed by the Ecuadorian indigenous folksinger Manuel with a ceremonial greeting in Quechua to Pachamama and soulful pipe playing. The evening began with a video conference with Pablo Fajardo, representing the 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorians fighting against the ecological disaster caused by Chevron-Texaco.
The self-styled Islamic State (IS) may be one of the few unifying forces in the Middle East. A range of mutually antagonistic regional and global powers and non-state groups have joined the fight against them. While Western politicians’ pronouncements that the IS has declared war on the world are clichéd, they are echoed by the group’s own statements.
A statement released by the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK) in Diyarbakir says the union has 12,000 members who have pledged their willingness to assist in the reconstruction of Kobanê following the offensive from ISIS which left much of the city in ruins.
The US’s role in Latin America is facing a growing challenge. The 33 member states of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) vehemently rejected North American intervention in the continent, and particularly the US-led blockade of Cuba and recent sanctions against Venezuela. These positions were part of the “Belen Declaration”, approved during CELAC’s third annual presidential summit, held on January 28th and 29th in Belen, Costa Rica.
The world has started looking at Kobane and the other two liberated cantons of what the Kurds call Rojava (Western, or Syrian, Kurdistan) since the resistance in Kobane liberated the town from the brutal Islamic State (IS) forces. Their success is not good news for Turkish President Recip Tayyep Erdogan, achieving a symbolic victory against an underhanded ploy by Turkey’s regime to crush Kurdish resistance in Syria and weaken the Kurdish resistance against the Turkish state.
“I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17 announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade. Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.
At least a dozen anti-government protesters were shot dead by Egyptian security forces on the fourth anniversary of the uprising that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. More than 15 people were killed in Egypt on January 25 in anti-government protests marking the fourth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The slaughter marks the bloodiest day of protests since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president in June, with security forces and plain-clothed police officers reportedly firing at demonstrators.
After a fierce struggle lasting 134 days, mainly Kurdish fighters belonging to the Peoples Defence Units (YPG) and Womens Defence Units (YPJ) finally freed the town of Kobane on January 26 from attackers belonging to the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Kobane remains intact — although, only just.
Thousands took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on January 23 to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the toppling of the Perez Jimenez dictatorship. Marchers also voiced their support for the government of President Nicolas Maduro in the face of economic war and political destabilisation.
Ozgur Amed is a journalist, columnist, teacher, and activist from Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. He spoke to Dylan Murphy, in conjunction with Rojava Report, about the democratic revolution underway in predominantly Kurdish Rojava in the Syrian state ― opposing both the Assad regime and fanatical Islamic State (IS). Despite sustained attacks by IS on Kobane in Rojava, resistance fighters liberated most of the city ― and Rojava's fascinating and inspiring experiments in direct democracy live on.