Amoeblog

Happy MLK Day - Yo, whatever happened to peace?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 16, 2012 08:19am | Post a Comment
Martin Luther King Jr.

Today the USA celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (1929-1968). As we all know, Dr. King preached nonviolent activism in the global civil rights movement. Ironically, the other two persons honored with national holidays are Christopher Columbus and George Washington, two powerful slaveowners who advocated (and in Washington's case, waged) genocidal violence against people who fought for their civil rights.



Calls for the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day began almost as soon as King was assassinated in 1968 but it wasn't until 1983 that president Ronald Reagan signed it into law, over the objections of vocal opponents including Senator Jesse Helms and then-Arizona Congressman John McCain -- primarily over King's objections to the US's bloody invasion of Vietnam.


Outside of the US, the holiday is observed in Hiroshima, Toronto and probably elsewhere. But let's not get it twisted, his principles of nonviolence, as well as those of Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi before him, were not merely calls to pacifism -- silently accepting the rule and direction of those in power. On the contrary, they were calls to action. 
UNPO flag

Today, one of the most articulate (if not loudest) voice on behalf of  the civil rights deprived of the world's indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories is UNPO, or, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. The idea was conceived by Tibetan activist Tsering Jampa and Uyghur activist Erkin Alptekin, who were dismayed by blood-lusting global media's single-minded focus on violent struggles for independence such as have characterized Palestine's fruitless struggle through 65 years of occupation.


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Obscure and Unrecognized South Asia & Indian Ocean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 30, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment
South Asia

South Asia
is the most populous and densely populated region in the planet's most populous continent. Not surprisingly, therefore, it's home to many culturally rich nationalities who still struggle in the post-Colonial world for recognition, equality and self-determination.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and North Asia.)

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Flag of Assamese Seperatists 
Assam

Assamese Dancers
Assamese dancers (photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

The earliest known settlers in Assam are believed to be the Khasi and Synteng people of southeast Asia. The were later marginalized by the arrival of the Tibeto-Burman language speaking Monpas, Sherdukpens, Bhutan, Mishings, Deuris and Bodo-Kachari. The last major wave of immigrants seems to have been the Hindus around 500 BCE, although small numbers of many other groups have arrived since. As such, Assam today is a highly hybridized place that nonetheless is struggling for autonomy.

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Obscure & Unrecognized Republics of Eastern Europe

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2009 08:55pm | Post a Comment
Romanians shoveling

So as not to offend anyone, films set in Eastern Europe commonly take place in imaginary countries like Trouble for Two's Karovia, The Terminal's Krakozhia or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's Vulgaria. In reality, there are several little-known, obscure republics which enjoy various amounts of autonomy that would fit the bill. As portions of their citizenry actively campaign for self-rule, I thought I'd shine a light on the unrecognized peoples of eastern Europe. It turns out there's more to the region than ruthless spies, fortunetellers and stout babushkas.

The Caucasian nations and the trans-continental Bashkortostan are dealt with elsewhere.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, North Asia and South Asia)

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Flag of Chuvashia        Chuvash people

Papua - King Kong, Keep the river on your right, world music, south pacific section

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2008 07:39pm | Post a Comment
In Papua, a Kapiraya chief announced Monday that he's launching a campaign to get compensation for environmental damage wrought by US mining company Freeport. The gold and copper-mining giant has polluted the coastline and streams around the Karpiraya's lands in the world's largest copper and gold mine, established in 1971. Due to the considerable pollution, the Kapiraya are faced with a water shortage.


Freeport is a joint venture co-owned by Indonesia and the U.S.A.'s Freeport McMoRan. They pay an estimated 1.8 billion dollars in taxes to the Indonesian government, which doesn't help the Papuans, whose land is occupied by Indonesian soldiers who suppress the indigenous population.

How did West Papua end up in the hands of the notoriously heavy-handed Indonesian government?

Since then, like many of the 100s of non-Javanese peoples of Indonesia, things have been crappy all over. During the seemingly unending rule of the murderous, military dictator Suharto, the best that can be said about the Indonesians' treatment of occupied Papua is that they didn't do much. In 2001, the Indonesian government passed a law granting a degree of autonomy to Papua, although they've failed to enact any of the law's requirements.


Papuans have lived in the land for at least 40,000 years. It's the second largest island in the world and was created when, at the end of the last ice age, the glaciers melted and flooded the Torres Strait. With nearly 1,000 languages spoken, it's the most linguistically diverse area on Earth.

Ossetia - Ир, Ирыстон

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 8, 2008 03:41pm | Post a Comment
Remember how Russia was grousing when Kosovo declared independence? Remember how they said it would open a Pandora's Box of evils like autonomy, diversity, cultural expression and self-determination? Well, in an unprecedented about face, Russia invaded the breakaway region of South Ossetia today to repel US-encouraged Georgia's forces who launched a surprise attack on the hapless Ossetians at the encouragement of the Bush administration, killing unconfirmed numbers of Ossetian civilians without provocation. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how most of the media have used this to denounce Russia, and not to defend the Ossetians, whose homeland was invaded without apparent provocation.

Condoleeza Rice said, “This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” she said. “Things have changed.” It's sort of funny coming from the people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied their capitals, overthrew their governments and got away with it. But they're not our neighbor so it's ok. So why did the media throw their support behind the breakaway republics of Yugoslavia but not Georgia? Because Georgia is a tool and partner in the US's efforts to expand influence in the area, so they aren't beholden to the same standards as our enemies.