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2813SACW - 20 Jan 2014 | Bangladesh: Investigate violence/ Pakistan- India: Keep Talking / Maoist Defeat in Nepal Elections / India: AAP Democracy + Vigilantism / Afghans Defy Taliban / China and Africa / Brazil Military Abuse / Turkey Child Marriages / E. P. Thompson Special Issue (Past and Present)

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    Jan 19, 2014
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      South Asia Citizens Wire - 20 January 2014 - No. 2806
      [year 16]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Contents:
      1. India - Pakistan: Officials Must Keep Talking | Editorial, The Express Tribune
      2. Bangladesh: Investigate Rishipara cover-up | Editorial, Dhaka Tribune
      3. Maoist Defeat in Nepal Elections: The Price of a Missed Opportunity | Shyam Shrestha
      4. India: Janvadi Vichar Andolan, Bharat (JAVAB) A National Campaign for Secularism Launched
      5. India: Violence of piety hurts AAP | Shiv Visvanathan
      6. India: Photos from Protest Sit-in Against Racist Vigilantism Led by a Minister of Delhi's Aam Admi Party
      7. Video: Photographer Sunil Janah in a discussion with Ram Rahman, August 1998, in New York
      8. For Hire! — Bangalore Rickshaw - Animation film by Xaver Xylophon
      9. Filhal Issue 5 [History Archive]
      10. India: Joint Press Note by Women's Groups Regarding Sexual harassment complaint by former law intern of the Supreme Court
      11. India’s World TV Debate on Outcome of Bangladesh Elections of January 2014
      12. India: The AAP Revolution | Irfan Engineer
      13. For India’s Sikhs Amritsar casts a long shadow | Amit Chaudhuri
      14. India: Being left out | Akeel Bilgrami
      15. India: Why I joined AAP and Quit the CPI - A Personal Journey | Kamal Mitra Chenoy
      16. India: The AAP's place in Indian democracy: Appeal to members & supporters | Admiral Ramdas & Lalita Ramdas
      17. India: Cancel Environmental Clearance for POSCO Project - Press Release from Delhi Solidarity Group
      18. India: Politics of gigantism - A tall statue of Sardar Patel does little to convey that great man’s stature, wastes public monies | Gautam Bhatia
      19. Book Review: Buck on Ishikawa, 'The Formation of the Chinese Communist Party'
      20. Selected Posts from Communalism Watch:

      ::Full text & Select URLs::
      21. How Erik Prince, Founder of Blackwater, Will Help China Subjugate Africa
      22. The lost girls: Girls are still aborted in states with more educated women | Amartya Sen
      23. Pakistan: Heritage under threat - Editorial, Dawn
      24. Saving Relics, Afghans Defy the Taliban | Rod Nordland
      25. Descendants of Slaves Report Military Abuses in Brazil | Fabiola Ortiz
      26. One in every four marriages in Turkey involves child bride: NGO | Hurriyet Daily News
      27. Japan: Study: Nearly one-third of localities call for end to nuclear power | Toru Nakagawa
      28. Some articles from Past and Present February 2014 - E. P. Thompson Special Issue

      =========================================
      1. INDIA - PAKISTAN: OFFICIALS MUST KEEP TALKING | EDITORIAL, THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
      =========================================
      Given the bitter wars of words we have had over the past few months between senior Indian and Pakistani military officials over skirmishes on the border dividing the two nations, and along the Line of Control (LoC) between the two segments of Kashmir, the brigadier-level meeting that took place January 17 on the Rawlakot-Poonch sector of the LoC comes as very good news.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7328.html

      =========================================
      2. BANGLADESH: INVESTIGATE RISHIPARA COVER-UP | EDITORIAL, DHAKA TRIBUNE
      =========================================
      A new and proper investigation into this attack must be carried out as a matter of priority. We are appalled by the reports that police in Rishipara, Jessore have allegedly tried to cover up the gang-rapes of five women from minority communities. Investigations into this case reveal that three of the women were encouraged by officers to retract their statements . . .
      http://www.sacw.net/article7327.html

      =========================================
      3. MAOIST DEFEAT IN NEPAL ELECTIONS: THE PRICE OF A MISSED OPPORTUNITY | SHYAM SHRESTHA
      =========================================
      Organisational issues, adjustment with the status quo and tactical errors resulted in the Nepali Maoists gaining an unfavourable image among the electorate in the second Constituent Assembly elections. This resulted in a humiliating defeat. If the Maoists reorient themselves to mass struggle and develop ideological clarity, they can work to retain most of the progressive features of the draft Constitution, nearly agreed upon in the first CA.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7316.html

      =========================================
      4. INDIA: JANVADI VICHAR ANDOLAN, BHARAT (JAVAB) A NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR SECULARISM LAUNCHED
      =========================================
      on 19 January 2014 at a press conference addressed by : Lalji Desai (Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat (JAAG)), Indu Kumar Jani (Editor Naya Marg), Rajnibhai Dave (Editor Bhoomiputra), Gagan Sethi (Janvikas), Manan Trivedi (Anhad) and Shabnam Hashmi JANVADI VICHAR ANDOLAN, BHARAT (JAVAB) was announced.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7323.html

      =========================================
      5. INDIA: VIOLENCE OF PIETY HURTS AAP | SHIV VISVANATHAN
      =========================================
      Immediately, one saw two aspects of the Aam Aadmit Party that could haunt it in the future. One is a sickening sense of piety about their idealism, their sense that campaigning for the good gives them a hygienic sense of superiority. If power created a sense of distance for the Congress, piety seems to create that same sense of violence for AAP. Secondly, AAP has to be clear that corruption must be fought within the law. AAP as a vigilante crowd would be a horror.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7324.html

      =========================================
      6. INDIA: PHOTOS FROM PROTEST SIT -IN AGAINST RACIST VIGILANTISM LED BY A MINISTER OF DELHI'S AAM ADMI PARTY
      =========================================
      On 19 January 2014 there was a sit-in at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, to protest the violent racism against Africans that was encouraged by a Delhi minister. Photos by Mukul Dube and by Harsh Kapoor.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7320.html

      [SEE ALSO:
      FIR against ‘unknown persons’ for raid on African women by J. Balaji and Kritika Sharma (19 January 2014)
      http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/nhrc-notice-to-delhi-govt/article5593899.ece

      An Honest Instability- Filling up the decoy of democracy from the inside by Ruchir Joshi (19 Jan 2014)
      http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140119/jsp/opinion/story_17837890.jsp%5d

      We are stoned, spat at on roads: Africans in Delhi by Mallica Joshi (January 18, 2014)
      http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/newdelhi/we-are-stoned-spat-at-on-roads-say-africans-in-delhi/article1-1174126.aspx

      Sack minister Bharti: NCW (18 January 2014)
      |http://www.asianage.com/delhi/sack-minister-bharti-ncw-640

      A minister has no right to tell cops arrest him or arrest her: Harish Salve (18 January 2014)
      http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/a-minister-has-no-right-to-tell-cops-arrest-him-or-arrest-her-harish-salve/305836?h_also_see

      =========================================
      7. VIDEO: PHOTOGRAPHER SUNIL JANAH IN A DISCUSSION WITH RAM RAHMAN, AUGUST 1998, IN NEW YORK
      =========================================
      Photographer Sunil Janah (1918-2012) in a discussion with Ram Rahman during his exhibition at the Gallery at 678 in New York in August 1998.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7318.html

      =========================================
      8. FOR HIRE! — BANGALORE RICKSHAW - Animation film by Xaver Xylophon
      =========================================
      http://www.sacw.net/article7331.html

      =========================================
      9. FILHAL ISSUE 5 [History Archive]
      =========================================
      1978 issue 5 of Filhal a workers periodical in Hindi published from Delhi.
      Filhaal [फिलहाल] - The 1970's workers magazine in Hindi / India, Labour, Left, workers rights, Politics, SACW - Archive
      http://www.sacw.net/article7330.html

      =========================================
      10. INDIA: JOINT PRESS NOTE BY WOMEN'S GROUPS REGARDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT BY FORMER LAW INTERN OF THE SUPREME COURT
      =========================================
      Praying that the Supreme Court ensure a mechanism for the prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women for the entire judiciary, (including Judges and Judicial officers) from the Supreme Court downwards to the magisterial court, four petitioners in the earlier case of 1992 which brought the guidelines popularly known as Vishakha guidelines, once again moved the Supreme court of India today, the 15th of January, 2014.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7308.html

      =========================================
      11. INDIA’S WORLD TV DEBATE ON OUTCOME OF BANGLADESH ELECTIONS OF JANUARY 2014
      =========================================
      Analysis on the elections in Bangladesh. Debate on India Rajya Sabha TV Guests: Hiranmoy Karlekar (Senior Journalist) ; Veena Sikri (Former Diplomat) ; Pinak Ranjan Chakravarthy (Former Diplomat) Anchor: Bharat Bhushan
      http://www.sacw.net/article7301.html

      =========================================
      12. INDIA: THE AAP REVOLUTION
      by Irfan Engineer
      =========================================
      Aam Admi Party has aroused a lot of enthusiasm among the people of India after its spectacular debut in the Delhi elections. Though AAP could not get majority and was not even the single largest party, it was obliged to form its government. AAP was nudged by both – Congress as well as the BJP to form its Govt. in the National Capital Territory - Congress by extending unconditional support and BJP, by deciding to sit on opposition benches in spite of being the single largest party.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7300.html

      =========================================
      13. FOR INDIA’S SIKHS AMRITSAR CASTS A LONG SHADOW | AMIT CHAUDHURI
      =========================================
      The history of the Sikhs in independent India is a history involving laughter and tears. On the one hand they were identified with both irrepressible joy and industriousness, qualities converging in the figure of the farmer. Propagandist photographs of the success of Punjab’s "green revolution" necessarily required a picture of a Sikh on a tractor. The martial Sikh – no one could doubt his valour or patriotism – had taken up, if not the ploughshare, then the latest fertiliser (although a disproportionately large number of soldiers in the Indian army were and are Sikh), and achieved successes on farmland comparable to battles fought and won. Alongside such uplifting stereotypes were ruder ones, comprising the well-known "Sardarji" (the Hindi colloquialism for the Sikh) jokes, portraying a dim but well-intentioned personage.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7299.html

      =========================================
      14. INDIA: BEING LEFT OUT | AKEEL BILGRAMI
      =========================================
      The Left in India has lost touch with the instincts and knowledges on which it has traditionally based its theoretical and practical positions.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7298.html

      =========================================
      15. INDIA: WHY I JOINED AAP AND QUIT THE CPI - A PERSONAL JOURNEY
      by Kamal Mitra Chenoy
      =========================================
      I first became conscious of politics as a student of economics in Kirorimal College, Delhi University in 1969 when I was elected to the students union executive committee. The same year I was persuaded by a senior to stand for the Delhi University Students Union’s Supreme Council. The latter body elected the DUSU office bearers. These were heady days with some of the leading pro- Naxalites students, students like Avdesh Sinha, who later became a highly respected IAS officer, and Rabindra Ray now a sociology professor in Delhi University. Another leading star who has written on his experiences was Dilip Simeon. I also became Left but did not agree with armed struggle. At this stage I watched the mainstream Left parties and along with Marxist texts read some Left Party pamphlets.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7291.html

      =========================================
      16. THE AAP'S PLACE IN INDIAN DEMOCRACY: APPEAL TO MEMBERS & SUPPORTERS - by Admiral Ramdas & Lalita Ramdas
      =========================================
      There is no doubt in our minds about why we support AAP. At the same time there are anxieties about the increasing set of questions, doubts and confusion in the minds of so many, as to the nature of this new creation called AAP – which defies all existing prescriptions and definitions of what politics and movements should be. It is in this mood of both excitement and some agony, that we share with you the following piece which has been put together by a small, passionate group of people who have have subsumed their doubts, their scepticism, their very different ideologies, and which attempts to capture and to address the questions that so many of you are asking today.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7321.html

      =========================================
      17. INDIA: CANCEL ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE FOR POSCO PROJECT - PRESS RELEASE FROM DELHI SOLIDARITY GROUP
      =========================================
      New Delhi, January 15: A protest was organised by 14 groups under the banner of Delhi Solidarity Group at Paryavaran Bhavan today to protest the Environmental Clearance given to POSCO project in Odisha in violation of the Honorable National Green Tribunal’s decision and the Meena Gupta Committee findings. The groups demanded cancellation of the clearance until recommendations of the NGT and Meena Gupta Committee are fulfilled as well as a complete halt on forceful land acquisition and destruction of forest and beetel vines. The action was organised in solidarity with POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) as part of observing January 15th as National Protest Day against POSCO.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7290.html

      =========================================
      18. INDIA: POLITICS OF GIGANTISM - A TALL STATUE OF SARDAR PATEL DOES LITTLE TO CONVEY THAT GREAT MAN’S STATURE, WASTES PUBLIC MONIES | Gautam Bhatia
      =========================================
      When LK Advani announced in all seriousness that the proposed Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat will be the tallest in the world, he sounded like a Dubai sheikh taking credit for the highest building, the biggest island, the largest aquarium. Something not for public good but for the Guinness Book of Records.
      http://www.sacw.net/article7283.html

      =========================================
      19. BOOK REVIEW: BUCK ON ISHIKAWA, 'THE FORMATION OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY'
      =========================================
      Ishikawa's arguments challenge the accepted interpretation in the People's Republic of China that Communism in China developed mostly from the revolutionary efforts of Chinese radicals, who came to follow the logic of Bolshevism on their own. Instead, Ishikawa shows that Chinese conceptions of Marxism in 1919 were quite limited and they learned their Marxism through translations of the works of Japanese Marxists, along with considerable influence from translations of English-language materials, especially works printed by the American Communist Party in Chicago. In this process Chen Duxiu looms particularly important because of his strong, often dictatorial personality. Ishikawa casts Li Dazhao in a clearly secondary role to Chen Duxiu. Ishikawa emphasizes how Chen mounted continuing attacks against the moderate socialism favored by many Chinese revolutionaries who have been labeled “anarchists” because they rejected a Bolshevik-style revolution and the necessity of a dictatorship of the proletariat.

      =========================================
      20.. SELECTED POSTS FROM COMMUNALISM WATCH:
      =========================================

      India: There are no goodbyes | Rahul Pandita
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2014/01/india-there-are-no-goodbyes-rahul.html
      India - BJP takes renewed aim; RSS brings the ammo | Panini Anand
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2014/01/india-bjp-takes-renewed-aim-rss-brings.html
      India: How ghettos get made: It’s dangerous that Akhilesh’s government has outsourced riot relief work to religious outfits
      http://communalism.blogspot.in/2014/01/india-how-ghettos-get-made-its.html

      ::FULL TEXT::
      =========================================
      21. HOW ERIK PRINCE, FOUNDER OF BLACKWATER, WILL HELP CHINA SUBJUGATE AFRICA
      =========================================
      Posted on January 15, 2014
      (http://tinyurl.com/prffhct)

      China’s ongoing colonization of Africa represents yet another sad development in the continent’s tragic history. I briefly highlighted this topic once before in December 2012, via a “Guest Post” I suggest reading titled: Africa in the Crosshairs.

      Unfortunately, Erik Price of Blackwater infamy is now coming to town, which can only mean more pain, suffering and servitude for Africa.

      From the South China Morning Post:

      Shares of DVN Holdings, controlled by Hong Kong businessman Johnson Ko Chun-shun and state-owned Citic Group, surged 7.3 per cent after it appointed Erik Prince – former owner of controversial US security firm Blackwater – as chairman, and granted him more share options.

      This is in addition to five-year options granted to him that allowed him to buy 205.1 million shares at 73 HK cents each in late November, as part-payment for a start-up East African aviation and logistics firm injected by Prince into DVN. The two options mean he could own about 23 per cent of DVN.

      Prince last November sold to DVN a company that plans to build a pan-Africa provider of aviation, logistics, risk management, security services and exploration support services, needed by many Chinese businesses active in Africa. He received US$3 million plus the first batch of options.

      Prince has logistics, aviation, manufacturing, resources and energy business interests in Africa, the Middle East and North America, and is the founder of Frontier Resource Group, a private equity firm active in African aviation, exploration, mining and logistics, DVN said.

      He was also the founder of Blackwater, which he sold in 2010 and was renamed Xe Services and then Academi, after four years of federal investigation into allegations of sanctions violations, illegal exports and bribery against the firm and its staff. Blackwater was a security services firm that protected US officials in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The firm subsequently paid US$42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of US export rules, to avoid criminal charges, The New York Times reported.

      Just like with the banks, Prince gets to pay a fine and walk free. Get the joke yet?

      Full article here. (http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/1404994/dvn-shares-surge-former-blackwater-owner-named-chairman)

      =========================================
      22. THE LOST GIRLS: GIRLS ARE STILL ABORTED IN STATES WITH MORE EDUCATED WOMEN
      by Amartya Sen
      =========================================
      (The Independent - UK - 14 January 2014)

      A distinct bias of "boy preference" can be found in countries extending from North Africa and West Asia to South Asia, including India, and East Asia, including China. That such discrimination has a place in a large part of the modern world is distressing: the number of "missing women" can be quite large.

      When I wrote on "missing women" in the 1980s and the early 1990s, my conclusions were based on the picture that was clear on then, and on data available up to the 1980s. The missing women could be identified then as the result of the differences in mortality rates between men and women. These in turn reflected inequality and sometimes even discrimination, mainly in health care, against girls and women.

      Over the last couple of decades those kinds of discrimination have substantially declined in most of the countries I wrote about. Even though female mortality is still higher than male mortality for children in many Indian states, and the gap is even higher for infants in China, nevertheless in both China and India, and indeed in many of the other countries in the region, women now have a substantially higher life expectancy at birth than men.

      However, since the 1980s, the wide use of new techniques such as ultrasound scans for determining the sex of foetuses has led to huge and growing numbers of selective abortions of female foetuses, offsetting the gains in declining difference in mortality rates. Selective abortion of female foetuses - what can be called "natality discrimination" - is a kind of high-tech manifestation of preference for boys.

      Because of this counteracting influence, the proportion of missing women in the total population has not declined in many countries, including China and India. Women's education, which has been a powerful force in reducing mortality discrimination against women and also in achieving other important social objectives such as the reduction of fertility rates, has not been able to eliminate, at least not yet, natality discrimination.

      It is important to ask why women's education and the corresponding enhancement of women's voices and influence in family decisions have not done much to eliminate selective abortion of female foetuses. Educated mothers seem clearly less inclined to neglect girls compared with boys once they have been born; but they seem almost as keen on having boys rather than girls as uneducated mothers are.

      Here larger questions of enlightened understanding and scrutiny of traditional values become central and go beyond women's role and influence in family decisions. There seems to be a lack of adequate awareness of the oddity of seeing girls as inferior to boys, and a lack of knowledge about what happens in other places where such discrimination against girls is not present. In China and South Korea, the standard routes to women's empowerment, such as female literacy and economic independence, have resulted in major achievements. But with the new techniques of sex determination of foetuses, discrimination through selective abortion of female foetuses became surprisingly common in both countries, and continues to be very large in China.

      Female schooling is one of the most liberating factors in reducing gender discrimination in general, including the neglect of girls compared with boys, which is sharply less for children of educated mothers. Yet the effectiveness of this liberating factor sadly seems very weak in preventing the abortion of female foetuses, at least in the absence of political advocacy.

      There is another interesting - and ultimately policy-relevant - empirical fact to note as far as India is concerned. The country splits into two halves as far as the prevalence of selective abortion of females foetuses is concerned, reflected in the lowness of female-male ratio at birth. All the northern and western states, from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to Gujarat and Maharashtra have much lower female-male ratios at birth than in the European countries, whereas all the states in south and the east, from Kerala and Tamil Nadu to West Bengal and Assam have female-male ratios well within the European range. This calls for research on the impact of the diversity of cultural traditions even within a single country, in this case India.

      Amartya Sen, professor of economics and of philosophy at Harvard University, is an Indian-born Nobel laureate.

      =========================================
      23. PAKISTAN: HERITAGE UNDER THREAT - EDITORIAL, DAWN
      =========================================
      Dawn, 14 January 2014
      LAND-grabbing is a serious problem across Pakistan, as is encroachment and poor governmental oversight vis-à-vis new development. State or private land is gobbled up with impunity, and even historical sites are not spared. Islamabad and its surroundings are also not immune, as encroachers have occupied some of the capital`s most historically important sites.

      As reported by this paper on Monday, ancient Buddhist caves in the Shah Allah Ditta area of the Margalla hills are being threatened by commercial activities.

      Restaurants and housing colonies sprouting up in the picturesque environs pose a threat to the ancient caves, which are said to contain paintings dating back 2,400 years. As some observers note, in many cases such enterprises are illegal, built in defiance of court orders.

      Apparently the Capital Development Authority had drawn up plans to preserve the caves, but they remain on ice.

      Elsewhere in the capital`s surroundings, Taxila a World Heritage Site is also facing dangers from encroachers and commercial interests, while the Paharwala Fort needs protection from land-grabbers.

      What is more, not far from the caves of Shah Allah Ditta lies a mosque said to date back to the Ghaznavid period, as well as a stupa and monastery belonging to the Buddhist period. If efforts are not made to stop the illegal occupation of land, these sites may be next in line to be taken over and commercialised.

      Apart from putting historical treasures in peril, of which there are many in the Islamabad region, such unplanned `development` also puts the environment at risk. There is a lot of space to build housing societies and eateries; why spoil the environment or damage archaeological treasures just to make a quick buck? The CDA, archaeology authorities and other government organs must play a more active role in preserving Islamabad`s heritage and environment. For one thing, the plan to preserve the Buddhist caves must be reactivated while other historical sites in the capital region need to be protected from the rapacious land mafia.

      =========================================
      24. SAVING RELICS, AFGHANS DEFY THE TALIBAN
      by Rod Nordland
      =========================================
      (The New York Times - Jan. 12, 2014)

      KABUL, Afghanistan — Every piece of antiquity that is restored to the halls of the bombed, pillaged and now rebuilt National Museum of Afghanistan sends a message of defiance and resilience.

      These are messages to the Taliban, who in 2001 smashed every museum artifact that they could find that bore a human or animal likeness. But these are messages for others as well: to the warlords who looted the museum, some of whom are still in positions of power in Afghanistan; to corrupt custodians of the past who stood by while some 70,000 objects walked out the door.

      Just a few years ago, the National Museum here was defined by how much it had lost — some 70 percent of its collection destroyed or stolen, including precious objects dating back to the Stone and Bronze Ages, through Zoroastrianism and Buddhism to early Islam, and documenting some of the world’s most mysterious ancient cultures.

      Now, it might better be defined by how much it has regained.

      Three hundred of the most important of the 2,500 objects the Taliban had smashed have been painstakingly reassembled in recent years, and many of the others are arrayed in boxes and trays, awaiting their turn for restoration.

      The looted objects have also been returning, as word has gotten around to customs agents worldwide about how to identify Afghan artifacts. In recent years, Interpol and Unesco have teamed up with governments around the world to interdict and return at least 857 objects — some of them priceless, like 4,000-year-old Bactrian princess figurines that had disappeared from the National Museum. Another 11,000 objects have been returned after being seized by the border authorities at Afghanistan’s own frontiers.

      A recent security upgrade at the museum financed by the United States government was just completed, at least some hedge against the kind of pillaging that has plagued the institution over the past three and a half decades.

      And a team of archaeologists from the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute are halfway through a three-year-long grant from the American government to register every object in the museum’s collections, creating a digital record. Intended to guard against future theft, the project will also help with restorations, and serve as a resource for scholars worldwide.

      “If you don’t know what you have, you can’t protect it,” said Michael T. Fisher, the American archaeologist heading the Chicago team. “When you do, the whole story opens up, and it’s incredible what you can see. A lot of the collection is world class.”

      Presiding over this institution is Omara Khan Masoudi, who does not have a degree in archaeology, but has even more impeccable credentials: He is one of the key keepers. These are the men who kept the keys to the vaults where some of the museum’s greatest treasures were hidden, including the Bactrian Hoard, a collection of exquisite gold and silver artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years.

      Through guile and deception, Mr. Masoudi and his fellow key keepers kept many such valuables — the ones most easily melted down — safe during the country’s wrenching civil war and the following stretch of Islamist rule.

      They hid some of the best statues in rooms at the Ministry of Culture, or in obscure corners of the storerooms scattered around the museum, preserving many before the Taliban’s rampage in March 2001. In those few weeks of fury, Islamist fighters raced to destroy images of people or animals, which they considered sacrilegious, including the giant ancient Buddha statues of Bamian Province.

      Afterward, people like Abdullah Hakimzada, a restorer who has spent the past 33 years working at the museum, were on hand to sweep up the fragments of the objects that the Taliban smashed — sorting many of them hurriedly into sacks and boxes that later would help the reassembly work.

      “If we had enough time and resources at our disposal, we could restore everything,” he said.

      Mr. Hakimzada was also one of the key keepers, to three safes inside the presidential palace that the Taliban never found.

      After years of damage by the Taliban and the warlords, many of whom looted the museum’s collections on demand for wealthy collectors, the museum was a mess when it reopened in 2004. Its storerooms were stuffed with boxes and bags of fragments, and even intact objects had deteriorated during the years the museum’s roof was largely missing.

      Since then, a series of archaeological teams, mainly French, have helped put it back together again. Restorers like Mr. Hakimzada were sent abroad to study techniques at museums in Europe and America.

      When Mr. Fisher’s team went to work registering and digitizing the collection in 2012, it was like doing archaeology on the museum itself. “Sometimes we feel like we’re excavating the present, going through the museum and seeing what has happened,” he said.

      Along the way there have been striking discoveries, many not on display for lack of exhibition space and resources. A new home for the museum is planned, but it is still in the fund-raising stage.

      A clay tablet with lines of cuneiform writing, originally unearthed in an ancient trash dump in Kandahar, long thought lost, was found in a basement storeroom by the Chicago team. It is evidence that the sixth-century B.C. Persian civilization of Cyrus the Great had reached that far east.

      Returned were some of the Begram ivories, stunningly intricate, carved decorations believed to have been stolen from the museum. Some resurfaced in the museum’s own collections, others were confiscated by border police.

      Some of the most satisfying successes, though, were restorations of objects smashed by the Taliban. Often the archaeologists did not know even what object the pieces belonged to.

      “It’s like taking 50 jigsaw puzzles all mixed up, the tough ones, that you don’t know you have all the pieces to, with no picture to work from, and putting it together,” Mr. Fisher said.

      From such efforts, they reassembled objects like the cross-legged, second- or third-century A.D. Bodhisatva Siddhartha, which now has pride of place at the top of the museum’s staircase. Larger than life-size, it had been reduced by the Taliban to a pile of shards.

      Mr. Hakimzada’s favorite restoration, though, was the statue of King Kanishka, from the Kushan empire that ruled much of South Asia from its Afghan base in the first through fourth centuries A.D.

      “During that time, Afghanistan was at peace, and society was very tolerant and religiously inclusive,” he said.

      A series of restored statues from the centuries after Alexander the Great’s invasion look like perfectly muscled Greek gods — except they are Greco-Bactrian Buddhas, among the earliest representations of the Buddha in human form. They are compelling evidence that ancient Afghanistan was not just a crossroads for the cultures of its powerful neighbors — China, India, Persia — but also contributed greatly in its own right. Two of them have deep gouges from hammer blows, and missing faces, but remain exquisite.

      “Archaeological artifacts are our national identity,” said the museum’s archival head, Mohammad Yahyeh Muhibzada. “It’s our national responsibility to protect them so future generations will know who we are and who we were.”

      While the emphasis is on the ancient, there are more modern artifacts as well — including several rusting steam locomotives in the gardens. “We have them to remind people that at the end of the 19th century, Afghanistan had railroads, while at the end of the 20th, it did not,” Mr. Masoudi said.

      Hardly a day goes by that the Chicago archaeologists do not discover some intriguing new object in the storerooms — like a clay lid, with an inscription from the extinct Kharoshti language, found in December.

      “There are so many things that are very, very, very beautiful,” said Mr. Masoudi, the museum director. “First we need a new building.”

      The crown jewels of the museum’s collections are the Bactrian Hoard, recovered from ancient burial mounds in northern Afghanistan in 1978 by Russian archaeologists.

      They have been on tour since 2007, seen in France, the Netherlands, Britain, North America and Australia, and have provided the museum with an important source of revenue, $3.5 million so far.

      But as the war against the Taliban has stretched on, some here see another good reason to keep them on tour.

      “I personally hope they never return,” Mr. Hakimzada said. “At least where they are now, we know they are safe.”

      Correction: January 13, 2014
      An earlier version of this article incorrectly described a tablet with lines of cuneiform writing, originally unearthed in Kandahar, that restorers found in the basement of the National Museum of Afghanistan. It is clay, not stone.

      A version of this article appears in print on January 13, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Saving Relics, Afghans Defy the Taliban. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

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      25. DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES REPORT MILITARY ABUSES IN BRAZIL
      by Fabiola Ortiz
      =========================================
      Inter Press Service
      A protest by the residents of Rio dos Macacos against the occupation of their land and violations of their rights by the Aratu naval base. Credit: Coha.org

      RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 14 2014 (IPS) - Residents of the small community of Rio dos Macacos, made up of descendants of slaves in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, reported to United Nations bodies that they were attacked by military personnel from the Aratu naval base, which occupies part of their land.

      Ednei dos Santos, one of the leaders of the quilombo – the term given to remote communities in Brazil originally founded by runaway or freed slaves – and his sister Rosimeire say they were beaten by members of the navy on Jan. 6, in front of her daughters, before they were detained.

      Human rights organisations secured their release four hours later.

      Ednei dos Santos, 28, told IPS that the incident was just the latest of the frequent threats and intimidation against the 70 families living in the quilombo.

      On Friday, Jan. 10, human rights groups presented the case to the U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent and three U.N. special rapporteurs. They are also preparing to file a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

      The families of Rio dos Macacos have been struggling for five decades to gain legal title to their land, which is located on the São Tomé de Paripe peninsula on the fringes of the municipalities of Simões Filho and Salvador, the capital of Bahia.

      There is evidence that the quilombo has existed for 150 years, and indications that slaves took refuge on the land there as early as 238 years ago.

      In Brazil, slavery was not abolished until 1888, decades after the country’s independence from Portugal, in 1822.

      The 300-hectare area has been at the centre of a legal dispute since the 1960s, when the navy built a base there as well as a village for the families of navy personnel, during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

      Two years ago, the courts ruled in favour of the community’s claim to the land, but the state appealed the sentence.

      In the meantime, the quilombolas – as the residents of quilombos are known – have to walk or drive through the navy village to reach their community.

      “The violence is constant; they stop us from coming and going – even ambulances are frequently kept from reaching the community to provide medical assistance,” Ednei dos Santos said.

      He and his 35-year-old sister said they were hit, punched and threatened with firearms by navy personnel. She said she was also the victim of sexual assault.

      The incident began when they were accosted by military personnel from the navy village as they drove back from a nearby town, where they had registered Rosimeire’s two daughters, aged six and 17, for the coming school year.

      “A sergeant, who had already threatened us before, and five other armed men, smashed open the door to my car and started to hit me,” Ednei said. “They also hit my sister, until leaving her partly undressed. The girls were terrified.”

      Ednei and Rosimeire dos Santos were detained, and were only allowed to leave when officials from the government’s Special Secretariat for Policies on Promotion of Racial Equality and lawyers from Afro-Brazilian movements showed up.

      The Aratu naval base happens to be a favourite vacation spot for Brazilian presidents to spend the year-end holidays. President Dilma Rousseff was there until Jan. 5, the day before the incident reported by the dos Santos.

      “We don’t trust the government anymore,” Rosimeire dos Santos, who was hospitalised after the attack, told IPS. “People don’t understand that in today’s Brazil, torture is still occurring, just like in times of slavery. We are still fighting for our freedom.

      “I don’t go out with my daughters anymore because I’m afraid that they’ll kill me in front of them. They told us that when they were out of uniform, they were going to burst open our heads with bullets.

      “Two men got on top of me, one of them put my head between his legs, with my pants down and my breasts uncovered. It was total humiliation; holding a gun to my head they spit on my face,” said an anguished Rosimeire.

      She warned that people could get killed in Rio dos Macacos if the routine violence the residents face isn’t brought to a halt.

      “Our territory is not for sale, we’re not going to swap it and it’s not up for negotiation. I was born and raised here, and this is where my mother has our family buried,” she said, with emotion.

      A report completed in August 2012 by the National Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian Reform confirmed that residents of the community were descendants of slaves from plantations that produced sugar for the Aratu mill in colonial times.

      But despite the fact that the Brazilian constitution specifies that quilombos are entitled to collective ownership of the land they have historically occupied, the community of Rio dos Macacos has not yet been issued title to their 300 hectares.

      In October 2012, a federal court ruled that the navy must pull out of the area. But the ruling has been appealed by the state.

      Meanwhile, the public defender’s office demanded on Jan. 8 that the navy urgently clarify the incident involving the dos Santos.

      The next day, a group of social movements issued a statement deploring the attacks on the community and defending legal recognition of the quilombo and the local residents’ right to their land

      It also demanded that a road be built so residents could go in and out of the quilombo without having to pass through the navy village, to avoid the aggressive military control over access to the community.

      On Jan. 10, three of the organisations filed complaints about the incident to three U.N. special rapporteurs – in the Field of Cultural Rights, on the Right to Adequate Housing, and on the situation of Human Rights Defenders – as well as to the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which visited Brazil in December.

      “In the community you can’t tell that the military dictatorship is over,” Marisa Viegas, a lawyer with Justiça Global, one of the human rights groups that brought the complaints, told IPS. “The military continue to use repression against the local residents, who are unable to achieve minimal living conditions.”

      Her organisation has been assisting the Rio dos Macacos community for the past decade.

      According to Viegas, two activists who defend the human rights of the quilombolas were attacked.

      She said cultural and housing rights and freedom are under attack in the community, and the quilombolas are not allowed to freely move about, receive visitors or build decent housing.

      Pointing out that the constitution guarantees the quilombolas’ right to their land, the activist said that “in practice the contrary is happening, with people being pressured to leave.”

      Viegas said the state has failed to live up to international commitments to not violate, and to not tolerate violations of, the rights of residents of communities like the quilombos.

      “In this case it is the state itself committing the violations, which is doubly serious,” she said.

      A communiqué issued by the navy stated that an investigation of the complaint filed about the incident involving the dos Santos was being carried out with support from the public prosecution service, “to determine what happened, and the circumstances and responsibilities.”

      The institution also stated that the inquiry would be conducted “with transparency and in an impartial manner.” It added that the military personnel accused of attacking the dos Santos had been temporarily suspended.

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      26. ONE IN EVERY FOUR MARRIAGES IN TURKEY INVOLVES CHILD BRIDE: NGO
      by AYDIN – Doğan News Agency
      =========================================
      http://tinyurl.com/dyoobqs
      The legal age for marriage in Turkey has been raised to 17 from 15, however many roups are calling to set the age to 18.

      The legal age for marriage in Turkey has been raised to 17 from 15, however many roups are calling to set the age to 18.
      One out of every four brides is a child as families are increasingly applying to the court to change the date of birth of their daughters so that they can legally marry, warned an association of Turkish female lawyers May 4. “There is an increase of 94 percent in application to courts by families to show their daughters age older, in order to get marriage permit,” said Gülten Kaya, head of the female lawyers’ commission of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, during a meeting of the group in Kuşadası.

      The legal age for marriage in Turkey has been raised to 17 from 15, however the commission members said that the limit should be increased to the majority age of 18.

      Istanbul bar’s women commission head Nilüfer Ay said that the increase in the number of child brides showed the lack of awareness of women’s place in society.

      Lack of shelters for women victim of violence

      Ay also said that despite the enactment of a law on violence against women, shelters for victims existed in only 14 provinces out of 8. “So laws are not enough; Awareness should be raised,” she said.

      May/04/2013

      [See also:

      WHY IS EARLY MARRIAGE A PROBLEM IN TURKEY?
      by Kym Beeston
      (theguardian.com, 29 June 2011)
      On 13 June 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected Prime Minister of Turkey. His election manifesto 'Target 2023' promises the people a new constitution that supports democracy and freedoms, and that Turkey will, within ten years, become one of the top ten economies in the world. Four days prior to his election victory, he abolished the Ministry for Women and Family, leaving Turkish parliament with no specific department with an explicit focus on women's rights.
      http://www.theguardian.com/journalismcompetition/why-is-early-marriage-a-problem-in-turkey ]

      =========================================
      27. JAPAN: STUDY: NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF LOCALITIES CALL FOR END TO NUCLEAR POWER
      by Toru Nakagawa
      =========================================
      (Source : The Asahi Shimbun - January 19, 2014)
      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201401190021

      Nearly one-third of the nation’s local assemblies, including those at the prefectural level, have submitted statements calling for the abolition of nuclear power plants to the Diet since the Fukushima crisis in 2011, according to a study by The Asahi Shimbun.

      Most of such statements by 455 assemblies were adopted in prefectures that share borders with prefectures hosting nuclear power plants. The declarations called for a sweeping change in the nation’s energy policy, and a large number also advocate a significant increase in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

      The Kochi municipal assembly in Kochi Prefecture demanded a “review of dependence on nuclear power plants whose safety is not established,” while the Kunitachi municipal assembly in Tokyo pressed for a “switch to a society not relying on nuclear power.”

      The Fukaya municipal assembly in Saitama Prefecture went further, calling for an “immediate halt to nuclear power generation.”

      The results of the study showed that nuclear power generation could emerge as a central issue in local elections like the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial race, campaigning for which kicks off Jan. 23. Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, serves Tokyo and neighboring prefectures in the Kanto region.

      According to the local autonomy law, a local assembly can adopt a statement representing an opinion on issues to get it reflected in national policy.

      Such a statement is submitted to the government or the Diet, although it is not legally binding.

      According to the secretariat at the Upper House, the Diet has received 1,475 statements on the energy issue since the accident occurred at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011.

      The Asahi Shimbun tallied the submissions, excluding those related to compensation for evacuees and leaks of contaminated water at the plant.

      With 54, Hokkaido topped the nation’s 47 prefectures in terms of the number of local assemblies adopting an official position.

      Prefectures neighboring Fukushima Prefecture also had high numbers, with Yamagata, 25; Tochigi, 22; and Ibaraki, 19.

      In Kochi Prefecture, 23 local assemblies, or more than half of the total, passed such statements. The prefecture is located next to Ehime Prefecture, which hosts Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant in Ikata.

      ====================
      28. SOME ARTICLES FROM PAST AND PRESENT FEBRUARY 2014 - E. P. THOMPSON SPECIAL ISSUE
      ====================

      E. P. Thompson
      Hunting the Jacobin Fox [1994] in Past and Present February 2014 - E. P. Thompson Special Issue
      http://past.oxfordjournals.org/content/142/1/94.full.pdf+html?sid=00bd2f44-32fc-44ac-a469-f733b9e4d421

      E.J. Hobsbawm and J. Wallach Scott
      Political Shoemakers [1980] in Past and Present February 2014 - E. P. Thompson Special Issue

      http://past.oxfordjournals.org/content/89/1/86.full.pdf+html?sid=a90160f1-f446-4b18-941f-88ddb50ca023

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      South Asia Citizens Wire
      Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
      matters of peace and democratisation in South
      Asia. Newsletter of South Asia Citizens Web:
      www.sacw.net/

      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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