More From Alder's Ledge

December 30, 2012

The Slow Walk Into Hell

A Look At Burma's Forced Famine
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Blockades Hold Back Food, Water, and Medical Aid)

As Burma prepares the Rohingya for "citizenship" the order of the day appears to be starvation and police brutality. Thein Sein has publicly claimed that any Muslim who is a citizen of Myanmar will be treated as such under the newly formed democratic regime. Yet Rohingya and other Muslim ethnic groups in Burma have been subject to ethnic cleansing since June of 2012. This sort of violence occurred under the old Junta control and prior to Colonial power in the region. However this time around the threat of a total genocide against the Rohingya appears more plausible than ever before now that neighboring countries are developed enough to prevent escape. 

In the months that followed the massive influx of ethnic violence in the region the Junta style authorities reappeared in the Rakhine region of Burma. Police and military leaders immediately began rounding up Rohingya and in some incidents mass executions have taken place. Rohingya who were able to fight back were dealt with through systematic roundups and disarming by government and Buddhist militia like mobs. Those who survived were forced into camps that greatly resemble the small concentration camps used by the Japanese during World War Two. 

For those who were taken to police run camps and prisons the stories of torture became a very real situation. Boys as young as their early teens have been taken to these "safe houses" and prisons where they have been subjected to torture without ever once being convicted of any crime. Piles of bodies have been reported near or behind these facilities so as to leave the Muslim bodies out and unburied well past the time allotted for such ceremonies given by the Koran.

Yet now that the outside world has shown even the most minimal amount of interest the Burmese government has pulled back on outright slaughter of the Rohingya. Instead of the mass executions that immediately followed the outbreak of violence, the Myanmar authorities have turned to their Communist teachings for inspiration in implementing the Rohingyas' "final solution". Following in the footsteps of Stalin, Thein Sien's government has begun expanding upon their original goal of starving out the Rohingya who they claim hide in the "illegal refugee camps". This method is meant to recreate Stalin's infamous "forced famines". 

(Wasting Away As The Outside World Watches)

The goal of this barbaric method of warfare is to force submission or extermination of a selected group by withholding the basics all humans need to live. In the case of the Rohingya the Burmese have decided to blockade the camps and keep all sources of food, water, and medical aid out of Rohingya hands. Police and military have been recorded going into the camps to fetch any source of food or water that the Rohingya may scavenge. The blockades also serve as a way to keep the Rohingya in the camps so that they have no hope of escape. In affect, the refugee camps within Myanmar have become death camps. 
Starvation is the new reality for the Rohingya who hoped this wave of ethnic cleansing would pass like all the rest. Their children are dieing at an alarming rate as malnutrition claims the weakest members of their community first. Without some form of help soon the Rohingya within Burma may face total hell at the hands of their tormentors. 
There are stories leaking out of Burma that the government is growing tired of waiting. That the regime wants the "final solution" sooner than later. Military personnel have been reported to have been growing in number in regions further away from where Western media normally has access too. These soldiers, as usual, carry only more ammunition and absolutely no aid for the Rohingya they are now harassing. Even with starvation claiming more lives every day... it appears the Buddhists in charge are looking to cleanse their land of all other religions once and for all. 

This is the face of genocide in the modern age. This is the face of genocide in Myanmar. How long till we act? How many more times do we have to watch this before our hearts begin to beat?


December 20, 2012

If They Were Christians Would We Help?

From Syria to Burma
(The Darkness Visible series)

(Just Another Funeral in Syria) 

Over the past few months I have found it hard to not ask myself if things would be different if the current genocide victims were not Muslim. From Syria (where Assad, an Alawi, slaughters Sunni Muslims) to Burma (where the Buddhist regime targets Muslims for extermination) the victims all have one thing in common. Their faith. 

The response given by the United Nations and the Western governments that help guide it has reminded me since the start of how the UN responded to Bosnia. In 1992 the Serbian forces within Bosnia decided that the Muslims had to die to help create a "Greater Serbia". The United Nations responded just as one might have expected. Their actions helped further the cause of the Christian Serbs while punishing the Bosnian Muslims. No arms were allowed to be distributed to the Bosnian forces so as to help defend themselves and their families. Aid to the Bosnian community was seemingly given under the conditions that Bosnian Muslims would not defend themselves but commit to damned attempts at "diplomacy". All the while Serbs were allowed to funnel arms and ammunition across the border from Serbia so as to fuel their war upon Islam. 

The entire time I spent studying Srebrenica I couldn't help but ask myself... if the dead weren't Muslims would the West care? 

In Syria today the Alawi, a minute percentage of the population, have taken every action to reduce the Shiite population while securing power for the Shia minority. Dehumanization began from the very start of the protest against Assad. But it wasn't the rebels who were comparing their opposition to cockroaches. Instead it was Assad who was laying the ground work for genocide. And it was Assad who began working his way through the steps of genocide as if reading them from a book. Yet in Syria today the UN and US can be seen as only helping the Shia die in a little more comfortable ways than Assad would wish. They do not seem willing to stop the bleeding. 

Children are massacred in waves of violence not seen in the region since Saddam's campaign to annihilate the Kurds. Yet the UN did nothing more than ask Angelina Jolie to come and visit the refugee camps... across the border in safety. Aid has been slow (it wasn't till recently that America secured 1.5 billion in aid... with vast restrictions on its use of course) and at times has been left rotting on docks in neighboring countries so as to never arrive. The only thing that the UN seems competent to deliver has been the dirty white tents that help cameras capture the appearance of UN aid. Most aid has arrived through private organizations that have stretched themselves to the limit so as to save at least some of the refugees who have fled. 

Those left in Syria have been subjected to mortars, artillery, jet and helicopter attacks, and scud missiles that may be used to deliver chemical weapons. The dead are buried wherever a spare patch of ground can be found. Water, food, and electricity are subject to Assad's desire to either starve a region out or reward a region for their loyalty. All of these are seemingly random since Assad has begun to see rebels behind every rock and around every corner. 

So why does the West not act to help end the genocide in Syria? 

(Humanitarian Aid Remains Behind Blockades While Rohingya Starve To Death)

In Burma the Buddhist regime has been praised almost religiously by the West as the governments of Europe and America prepare to race in and claim as much of the economy as they can before China gets it all. In doing business with the Myanmar government the governments of the West are funding genocide. For decades now, of and on, the Burmese have been attempting to slaughter the Rohingya minority and all other Muslim groups. Under the Junta regime the Rohingya were not only dehumanized but often massacred. This latest burst of genocidal slaughter was just an extension of the decades of systematic slaughter the Junta perpetrated. 

As the violence spread the Rohingya were rounded up into camps where the Burmese military was seen attacking the Rohingya who attempted to flee. When it wasn't the military killing Rohingya it was the Rakhine mobs that the police let through from time to time to keep the Rohingya terrorized. In effect the Myanmar government was establishing concentration camps like those the Serbs established for the Bosnian Muslims. Yet the West refused to call these "refugee" camps what they truly were. Instead we now find ourselves in a place where Rohingya are banned from leaving the camps and aid is blockaded from entering the camps. 

Food and water have been restricted while the Burmese Muslims are starved to death. Babies, some seen on previous post, are left forever harmed by this cruelty... if they survive at all. Yet the West fails to go beyond their business prospects in Myanmar. 

Once again I have to ask, if the Rohingya were not Muslims would the West care anymore?

Many "humanitarians" in the media and Western culture have spent years upon years trying to get governments to help the victims in Darfur and the Congo. The obvious difference in this post is that the victims in this case are predominately Christians. And the attackers are predominately Muslims. This is not to say that genocide in these two cases should not be protested or should not be stopped. But it is painfully clear that those speaking out for the victims share a fairly obvious link to the victims themselves. Their faith.

With this we should all take a look at the reasons for why we get involved. And more importantly we should take a real hard look at the reasons why we tend not to get involved. Both are the sources for our inaction when faced with genocide. And both have effects that last for generations. By not taking action to help those in need we show our true selves... our greatest weaknesses... and most of all our prejudices.

December 17, 2012

With Eyes Wide Shut

The World Looks To Burma
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Boy Starving To Death As Aid Is Blockaded)

MTV Exit recently did a concert to help raise awareness of modern day slavery that plagues Southeast Asia. The use of sexual slavery and indentured servitude has been a horrific part of life for many around the world. But there is in fact a far worse reality than slavery for some in Southeast Asia. This reality is a systematic slaughter of a people based on their ethnic and religious background. This reality is the genocide occurring to the Rohingya people of Myanmar. 

Make no mistake, Alder's Ledge has written article after article depicting the horrors of slavery and human trafficking around the world. We do not discredit the drastic need for action to be taken to save those kept in bondage across the globe. But we do believe that the living should take backseat to those about to die. 


This is the Hidden Genocide. It is not a "humanitarian crisis" like that of slavery. This is murder. This is genocide. There is no tomorrow for many of the faces we have shown here on Alder's Ledge. There is no hope for many who are now dead after months of neglect. These are the faces of souls that are lost to genocide or about to die due to the ineptitude of the Western world. 

In Sittwe, Burma the genocide has taken on the characteristics of Nazi Germany. The "undesirables" are being kept in what can only be described as concentration camps. These are the Rohingya. These are the "ethnically unclean" that Burma and Bangladesh have denied citizenship to. These are the people that Thein Sein's government has marked for annihilation. 

On Myebon Peninsula (in the Rakhine State) the Rohingya concentration camp is kept isolated and blockaded from humanitarian aid. Meanwhile the Buddhist who had fled the summer fighting are allowed to come and go form their camp freely. Their camp is the only one on the peninsula that is open for humanitarian aid to come in. The Buddhist are given food, water, and medicine in excess while the Rohingya die daily from starvation and readily preventable diseases. 

 Phu Ma Gyi's home was destroyed in the fighting. She is Buddhist. For that reason she is given a home in the government camp for the "Burmese citizens". In her own words...

"The government is looking after us here," she says. "We have food, medicine and what we need."

 As for the Rohingya on that same peninsula life has given them no certainty. They are prevented from receiving food. Those who have any form of bartering material left or money are prevented from going into neighboring villages to purchase food. Water is all around them, but it is salt water. Those who are sick in this concentration camp are left to die from ailments that could be prevented. Communicable diseases are just as fatal killers as are the bullets and knives of Rakhine Buddhists. 

(Rohingya Baby Starved To Death As Blockades Hold)

There is no famine currently occurring in Myanmar. There is no shortage of food in the country, anywhere. This is forced famine. This is a method of systematic slaughter through attrition. And this is why Alder's Ledge remains relentless in presenting the tragic fate these innocent souls now face. This is a fate that could be prevented. It is a tragedy that could be stopped right now. 

In this modern age of mass media it is impossible to hide these crimes against humanity. With even the poor now armed with cell phones it is hard for dictators to silence the outcry of oppressed. Even with the best attempts, such as Assad in Syria, the ruthless tyrants have had little luck in preventing the images of genocide from making it out to the rest of the world. And yet the world seems helpless to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place. 


December 9, 2012

Sometimes We Are All Nothing But Fleas

Trapped By Our Own Limitations
(Part of the Battle Cry series)



During an experiment on the behavior of animals a scientist once found that the common flea could be tricked into living its miserable life starving to death. Keep in mind that the common flea is as persistent a pest that even two fleas left untreated can reproduce into thousands of fleas withing weeks. With any source of food the flea can live on with the hope of finding a suitable meal. In this aspect the flea is driven by food more than anything else. Food is what keeps the little fleas hopping.

The experiment was simple really. It was so simple that it almost doesn't seem real. But it worked, and it worked so well that all the fleas died while food was just on the other side of the glass.

Placing a dozen fleas in a glass jar the scientist shut the lid and watched the fleas hop like crazy. For some time after shutting the lid the scientist could hear the constant pop of the bugs hitting the tin lid. Pop, pop, pop... the little fleas would not stop till they were free. Pop, pop, pop... or so it would seem.

All at once, as if in unison the fleas stopped. Somewhat surprised, the scientist looked inside to see if the bugs had all died. For it seemed odd that the ever persistent flea would ever stop trying to escape. And yet the scientist was in for a treat.

Hopping just below the level of the lid the fleas continued to jump. Like sad clowns performing the role nature had cast for them, the fleas jumped with no hope of ever being free again. Yet despite the realization that they could not be free the fleas jumped straight up and down. Tiring themselves out without reward.

Taking the lid off, the scientist fully expected his little pest to jump to freedom. A gust of fresh air pacified the fleas for a moment. It almost seemed as though they were thinking about what had just happened. It was almost as though they could sense that their little world had dramatically changed.

So what happened next? Was the scientist just inviting these little pest to infest his work station?

One by one the fleas hopped up and down once again. Without the lid the fleas could easily jump to freedom. Without the lid their prison was now unlocked. The barrier that had prevented their escape was clearly gone. And once again their chance to find food was readily made available to the little pests. So what happened now that the lid was gone?

Not one flea jumped any higher than they had before the lid was removed. Instead the fleas continued to jump up and down in the apparent safety of their jar. It appeared now that the little pests had learned to accept the limitations the lid had imposed upon them. It appeared that even without the presence of the lid the fleas would remain within its confines.

In many ways we as a society have become like the fleas of this study. In many aspects of our lives we have come to accept the limitations imposed upon us by obstacles that either do or do not exist. Some of these "lids" in our lives are very real indeed. For example we know that law keeps us from doing things we might otherwise want to do. Other "lids" however only exist in our minds.

For months now I have asked for those who read this blog to step out of their comfort zone... or jar, if you will. And yet time and time again I am presented with the question "what can I really do?" The question is presented in many ways. It is asked with a sense of defeat before the person asking it ever really begins to fight. It is asked with the idea that our lives are lived within the confines others impose upon us. And yet when we stop to think about it these limitations are more often than not brought upon us by our own fear.

The flea fears hitting their little bodies against the tin lid overhead. This is what keeps them locked inside the jar even when the lid is gone. For us the fear that limits us can arise from many things. When it comes to Alder's Ledge it seems that the fear that stops many from sharing these post arises from the fear of breaking with conformity.

Despite our modern notion of the beauty of the individual our society still prizes above most other qualities the ability to fit in to the crowd. Sure, sharing these post can make you look big hearted, but it also makes you appear far to serious.... perhaps preaching. And with the frequency of these post pushing the share button could even make you appear annoying on FaceBook, Twitter, or any other social media site.

This is where stepping outside the comfort of your jar comes in. This is where the sense of morality that keeps people reading these posts should trump the fear of stepping on a soapbox. But it seems far to many of us are still stuck in our jars.

As the Hanuka continues and Christmas approaches I would like to take this opportunity again to ask Alder's Ledge's readers to step outside their jars. It is a custom for many to give to charity during this season. And for most the act of giving these donations is an act meant to be done in silence. Yet we here at Alder's Ledge would like to invite our readers to share on their social media sites and with their friends the fact that you have donated. And in doing this we would ask that you invite them to do the same.

Alder's Ledge has decided to give a gift to World Vision. This is a charity that is helping Syrian refugees and Congolese refugees as genocide ravages their homelands. You can find the links for this below.

In closing we would like to ask all who read this to take time this holiday season to step out of your comfort zone and help those in need. Take a stand with Alder's Ledge and help those who are suffering most during this holiday season.



World Vision Emergency Relief

Syria
http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10339&item=2035030

Congo
http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10339&item=2449385

Video For the Congo Relief Effort

December 3, 2012

Assad's al-Anfal

Syria's Inevitable End Game
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Iraqi Kurdish Children Killed in Gas Attacks)

As the fighting worsens in and around Damascus the West has begun to realize that Assad has no way to leave the battlefield with any honor left intact. This fight to maintain control of Syria has left the dictator helpless as the country has descended into the abyss of war. It is in this sense of desperation that has become nearly palpable in the heart of Syria. A sense of desperation that is leading to more hopeless means of combat. Helping fuel the fear of another al-Anfal genocide within the region. 

In 1986, toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein launched the worse campaign of genocide since the Nazis conquest of Europe. Attacking the Kurdish villages in northern Iraq, Saddam targeted all minority populations as well, the dictator embarked upon a war of annihilation. This was a barbaric battle to rid Iraq of those who Saddam deemed to be "non-Iraqi" or "non-Arabic" populations. 

"... Allah willed to justify the Truth according to His words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers..." Koran 8:7 

Saddam took the name of his genocide from the Holy Koran. Yet his war was far from holy. It was so barbaric and ghastly that not even the Western world couldn't look the other way. This was a war that would scar the minds of world leaders for decades to come. 

For the first time since the world wars the West would watch as gas was used to kill off thousands of people in just a matter of minutes. Men, women, and children died where they were standing as the shells carrying the gas fell from above. The images of children gasping for air were suddenly seen around the world. All were victims of Saddam's al-Anfal. 

Today Turkey joined the United States in warning the world of the lingering threat of Assad's vast chemical weapon stores. The United States State Department managed to piece together strong words of warning for Assad as they talked about the "red line" these unconventional weapons presented. Turkey on the other hand has a very real fear of these weapons being used along the border with Syria. After all, chemical and gas don't know the limits of the battlefield and rarely behaves as the murderers intend. 

Yet for all the warnings and all the nervousness surrounding the use of chemical weapons the Syrian government has already begun deployment of chemical weapons to the embattled areas. In Aleppo the West believes that enough chemical shells could already be in place to kill the local population without warning. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians could be at risk as this post is being written. Even an upwards of a million civilians could be at risk as chemical weapons make their way across the country.

“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” President Barack Obama. 12/3/2012

It is clear now that Assad has every intention to use some measure of chemical weapons on his own citizens. It is also clear that Assad will use these weapons without warning and without relent. Once the gas begins to flow it will not stop till the UN or US step in to stop it. A level of commitment that the White House has finally begun to show it is willing to take on. 

But the question remains... just how many Syrians will have to die before the West starts to take military action to stop the genocide in Syria? 

A spontaneous offensive with the use of chemicals as it's spearhead will kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians in a matter of days at best. With Syrian civilians clustered together, so as to avoid the fighting, their populations are gathered in small areas. Gas will allow their numbers to be drastically decreased in the first few hours of the attacks. This appears to be what Assad is hinging his bets upon as his chemical weapons are now being deployed. 

“This is a red line for the United States,” Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. 12/3/2012

We may be watching. We may have plans to take action to stop the attacks. But as of now the United States can not nor will not be able to prevent the gas from being used. Once again the West has put themselves in a position where they can not protect those in the most need of it. We have failed the Syrians. 

This will be Assad's end game. 

The final stages of his rule are falling in place. The rebels are closing in upon their old master's stronghold. Assad is now nothing more than an animal... an animal that has been backed into a corner. Yet like most beast, Assad won't go down without a fight.

If the West wants to declare checkmate it should had already entered the fight and prevented this scenario from ever taking place. Now we have little we can do but attempt to limit the number of civilians Assad can take to Hell with him. Yet even this depends upon men like Barack Obama who have done nothing to stop us from getting to this point to begin with. 

How much more of this wretched war can Syria take? 

November 30, 2012

The End of the November Blitz

Thank You For Your Support


This month's relentless bombardment of post is an unprecedented move in Alder's Ledge's history. It has always been our goal to bring you the most important news on the most important subjects we have to offer. In that sense I feel that Alder's Ledge has kept that goal relevant while maintaining our blitz throughout November.

We began this month with the goal of covering the Native American Genocide in tribute to National Native American History Month. We accomplished that in a couple post and also managed to upload a video on Thanksgiving covering the topic in some detail. Now we would like to thank you for watching that video and sharing it. It was important to us to upload it on that day and to bring some recognition to the tragic events that also shaped this great nation.

In addition to covering the ongoing genocide in Burma, the Congo, Sudan, and Syria we have brought up the subjects of modern day slavery, sex trafficking, and child labor. In fact, if you recall, child labor was the first post of November when we covered the use of child labor in the production of chocolate. This was a post that was intentionally put up on Alder's Ledge the day after Halloween... a chocolate based holiday anymore.

With that said I would imagine that it is now clear to those who read this blog that Alder's Ledge is now covering a wider range of human rights issues. While genocide is still the main focus of our blog it will now be added to in our arsenal of topics to cover. We will now cover human trafficking and sex trafficking both here in America and around the world. In addition we will also be focusing on child labor and child soldiers anywhere and at any time these issues might occur. And finally, we will also be focusing on all forms of slavery and indentured servitude that come to our attention. After all, each and every one of these subjects are important and need to be brought into the conversations we have a society. It is only in recognizing these problems that we can start to find ways to combat them.

Please understand that this post is not meant to say goodbye to our newly increased level of activity. This post is meant to offer once again the opportunity for anyone who might be wanting to help write for Alder's Ledge. As we end November we begin our next campaign. And in December we will be making a concentrated effort at finding new sources and new contributors to Alder's Ledge.

Feel free to contact us or leave you information in the comment section below. Note that your information will not be posted since all comments must be read before they are allowed to be posted. We will contact you as soon as possible if you do wish to write for our blog. And once again, thank you to everyone who has supported us on FaceBook, Twitter, and even on Instagram. More importantly, thank you for your patience with us as we have had a sudden increase post. We understand that this blitz was unannounced and for many a sudden surprise.

~ Alder's Ledge

Kaman Suffer Alongside Rohingya

No Place For Muslims Within Myanmar
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Organized Slaughter of Muslims in Burma) 

Since mid summer the world has watched as the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state have been targeted and attacked by their Buddhist neighbors. For nearly half a year now we have seen countless cases of violence that are tantamount to ethnic cleansing. And yet the world has failed to do anything about it. Worse of all, most world leaders refuse to call these killings what they really are, genocide. 

As the darkness of genocide has spread across western Burma the victims of these attacks have all but been forgotten. The reasons for their deaths have been pushed to the back of newspapers or websites so as to hide the conflict all together. And in doing this we have failed to stop the killings or even recognize those who are dead and dieing. 

For those of us who are bearing witness to this tragedy it is hard to look past the Rohingya, who make up the majority of the victims. We have in a way made them our poster child in a campaign to halt the blood shed. And with some justification in doing so, we have focused on their plight with a sense of tunnel vision as the world passed us by. 

In reality their are more than just Rohingya men, women, and children being targeted in the Rakhine. Their Muslim brothers and sisters who are not ethnic Rohingya are also being targeted. The Kaman Muslims in Myanmar are at risk of being targeted simply due to their religion. They too suffer from the wave of ethnic cleansing that has engulfed Burma. Yet the world has given little concern for their well-being or for their dead.



November 29, 2012

The Truth Will Always Find A Way

WARNING: Very Graphic Content. Viewer Discretion Is Advised.
(Part of the Darkness Visible series)



No sooner had I posted the prior update on Syria that a video out of Aleppo leaked out onto the web. This video is the latest look at what an "all out push" by Assad looks like. MIG jets once again bombing civilian targets as heavy artillery "softens" the the targets ahead of Assad's military.

This video is not pleasant for anyone to watch. The deaths of these civilians could have and should have been prevented. But this is what it looks like when the world does nothing. This is what it looks like when good men remain silent while evil men go unopposed.

It is time to wake up. It is damn well past the time to stop this cold blooded slaughter of innocent civilians. Assad must be stopped.

Blacked Out In Hell

Assad Guarantees No Syrians Will See This Post
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Internet Shut off at 10:30am Across Syria) 

With the war in Syria grinding its way through the 20th consecutive month the Assad dictatorship has apparently become desperate to stop the uprising from having access to its lifeblood... the outside world. In a move that has drawn harsh criticism Bashar al-Assad has shut down the Internet within Syria. It is not clear if the services will return under foreign pressure. But it is clear to human rights observers as to why Assad has taken this dramatic action in his attempt to smash his opposition.

Media blackouts have been common when it comes to Assad and his massacres. Before the last two massacres there were minor interruptions in communications with the outside world. In the last pogrom Assad interrupted the Internet surrounding Houla in an attempt to black out any videos arising from the area. These attempts to stifle the truth from flowing out of Syria failed. So now we must ask if this new nationwide black out is a smoke screen like it had been back in Houla?


We do know now that Assad is fighting fierce battles in and around Damascus. The war for Aleppo was lost to a stale mate for Assad's forces. Now the war is coming with even more ferocity to the capital city. Car bombs rack the Syrian army every time they try to rush off to a new guerrilla street fight. Planes that had ruled the air around Aleppo are now being brought down by Free Syrian Army surface to air missiles. And yet the fighting seems to still be stuck in grid lock as Russia and China continue to poor money into Assad's reserves. 


With Russia printing Assad's money for him the dictator can continue to pay off Iranian mercenaries and Shabiha thugs. The flow of cash means that Assad can continue to pay for his secret prisons and purchase new tools with which to torture his own citizens. These billions of dollars means that Assad can use his own money, thus keeping Russia's hands clean, to purchase more Iranian weapons and Chinese ammunition. It also means that Assad has the money to fund an all out push for wide spread atrocities across the country.

In addition to cutting Internet services Assad also cut cellphone services in the country. This makes it appear that the dictator has admitted that cellphone pictures have been the leading source of "eyewitness testimony" against his war crimes. After all, it was the cellphone videos uploaded to YouTube that first alerted the West to the horrific war crimes committed by the Shabiha in Houla. It was the images of children having been bound and executed by Assad's thugs that first raised concern amongst governments in Europe and the Americas. So once again we must pose the question of whether or not Assad is preparing to launch an all out push against his opposition across the country? And how far will Assad take the country before the lights come back on? 

Some outside sources have suggested that the cutting of communications was an overreaction to the car bomb attacks that rocked suburbs of Damascus earlier this morning. Around 50 people were killed in the attacks. Yet it is hard for Alder's Ledge to buy into this excuse since the car bombs were set off in Christian and Druze neighborhoods. A fact that rules out any sympathies an Alawite Islamic leader might have for the dead. In addition the very leader that cut the communications is the same leader that began targeting Christian and Druze Syrians shortly after the uprising began. 

(Syrian Neighborhood Rocked By Explosions This Morning)

We do know that Assad had already made plans to make a push somewhere around the international airport where rebels had been attacking for days. And shortly after cutting communications Assad did in fact start such a push against the Free Syrian Army. And in an effort to get planes back in the air and landing at the airport Assad has begun shelling civilian areas nearby. In this assault to reopen the airport Assad has sent the bulk of his forces into the villages of Babila and Hujaira to the south and Harran al-Awamid to the east. These are also areas where the cellular communications were slashed ahead of the military's arrival. 

If this is a new push to kill off as many "rebels" as the Assad regime can dig up or gather from the civilian population the West may never know. The fact is the lines of communication with the rebel militias are now cut. Outside of the foreign governments supporting the uprising, the rest of us will have to wait till information leaks out over the border into Turkey or Lebanon. What little news reporters are on the ground will also find it hard to get their reports out of the country. 

When the next massacre occurs we will have to wait to hear about it. When the next batch of children are sent off to an alleyway to be gunned down we will never be able to bear witness. When the next wave of Shabiha enter Syrian homes in the middle of the night the world will not hear their screams. This is precisely what Assad wants. The genocidal regime he has led now has all it has ever needed. A vacuum in which to operate. 

It is time for the world to wake up and take action. The darkness that has been covering Syria for nearly two years has now descended into pitch black. The monster in power now has the ability to operate without impediment. The people of Syria are now at risk of suffering far worse than they already have.







Source Document 

World Magazine
 http://www.worldmag.com/2012/11/deadly_twin_car_bombs_explode_in_a_christian_and_druze_suburb_in_syria

Forbes 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2012/11/29/syria-shuts-off-internet-but-can-they-really-block-information-flow/

Voice Of America 
http://www.voanews.com/content/syria-pushing-back-as-rebels-advance/1555248.html

BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20547799
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20493687


(note that not all documents used are listed)

November 28, 2012

Wal-Mart's Inferno

Bengali Workers Burn Alive As West Turns Away

(112 Workers Died Due To Lack Of Safety)

Last weekend 112 workers showed up to Tazreen Fashions to work for less money than Wal-Mart employees in America make in one hour. The difference is, these Bengali workers would earn that same amount of money in month's time rather than an hour's time. In addition the workers in Bangladesh were given no guarantee of safety in the work place as they worked in a poorly ventilated garments factory. They were also not allowed to leave or take breaks like the Wal-Mart employees back in the States. 

It has become popular these days to attack Wal-Mart without just cause. In this case the death of 112 workers in a sweatshop is just cause. The lives of these workers is far more valuable than the few dollars that shoppers at Wal-Mart will save from their demise. In no way should profits be allowed to trump the human cost of production. 

(Bangladeshis Prepare the Dead for Burial)

In this particular fire the victims were working to produce clothing for not just Wal-Mart. The factory also filled orders for Walt Disney, Sears, and Sean Combs' ENYCE label. All of these companies had orders that were lost in the fire. Each of these companies hold a portion of the responsibility for all 112 deaths their purchases helped cause. And like flies, each of these companies are now abandoning Tazreen Fashions Ltd. without daring to accept that responsibility. 

When tragedies like this occur it is rare that any Western company ever takes responsibility for their own actions. The loss of these peoples' lives is just the "natural order" of things in the world economy. While families and friends bury their loved ones the West looks the other way. While children cry for their parents the companies that funded their deaths are allowed to walk away without a single dime in reparations.

It is a sad fact that this very industry is the backbone of Dhaka and the rest of Bangladesh. In a country impoverished and struggling to modernize it is the textile industry that accounts for 80% of Bangladesh's exports. Yet for its apparent dominance in the Bengali economy the textile industry only accounts for 17% of Bangladesh's economic output. With much of the money earned in this industry never making it into the local economies where the factories produce the exports to start with. 

In a country where textiles are king it appears that the common worker is slave. Foreign investment in the socialist system that prevails in Bangladesh only furthers the lack of income that keeps common Bangladeshi citizens in servitude. And it is this cycle of poverty that has promised all of Bangladesh lower wages and longer hours than even their neighbors in Sri Lanka. This system gives garment companies a nearly free source of labor. 

This latest fire is just another tragedy in a long line of tragedies that has been growing for decades. Since 2006 just over 300 workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh. Every one of these were lives lost so that the exports of garments could go unchecked. These lives were lost so that Europe and the Americas could receive cheap goods. Yet it is the cost of production, in human lives, that keeps ticking upward. 

There is no clear solution on how to stop governments from allowing the conditions that led to this tragedy from existing within their borders. It is clear however that companies like Wal-Mart and Sears have the power to extract change within the industry through the power of their dollars spent. If Wal-Mart (and other companies in the industry) were to insist upon safe working conditions and fair labor practices within the companies they purchase from the change would occur rapidly. For it is the cash cow, the garment industry, that companies like Tazreen Fashions can not live without. And without demand for their product, or a halt in orders, the industry within Bangladesh (and China for that matter) would have to meet the demands of companies like Wal-Mart. 

Until the buyer of these garments insist upon change, the producers of them will continue to rack up deaths in their production. Both in dealing with factories in Bangladesh and in the checkout lines at your local Wal-Mart.

November 27, 2012

Killing Those Yet To Be Born

Sterilization As A Means of Genocide
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)


In previous post Alder's Ledge has covered the use of sterilization as a weapon and means to keep "undesirables" from maintaining a growing population. Countries such as Norway and Switzerland have used forced sterilization to keep Roma citizens from having children in the past. Germany made the practice notorious with the use of it during the Holocaust. And in America the use of sterilization to further the practice of Eugenics occurred in nearly every state. Today the Rohingya face this threat as Burmese President Thein Sien continues to plot the final stages of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

The fear of forced sterilization has arisen as authorities in Burma have ramped up pressure on the Rohingya minority. In Tan-Seik village Rohingya youth are routinely charged with crimes they have not committed or have not even occurred. In Tan-Ran-Daing village police have confiscated the Rohingya fishing equipment to keep the Rohingya from their main profession. This harassment is only complicated by the fact that the Burmese police also take part in burning the Rohingya homes and attacking those who flee.

Fear of sterilization arises even more prevalently when the police who participate in ethnic cleansing are the same ones who run the jails, detention centers, and ghettos in Myanmar. Have the ability to detain Rohingya youth and women at will give the authorities in Burma the ability to subject the Rohingya to sterilization. For all we know, sterilization may have already begun in the Rohingya ghettos and in Burma's official and secret prisons.

In Norway sterilization of the Romani took place without consent of the woman by disguising the process as another type of surgery. In many cases the Roma woman who was sterilized did not realize what had happened until years later. And in some cases the Roma woman may never have learned that she was sterilized at all.

It is not clear whether or not Burmese officials will use this form of deceit to get Rohingya women to the operating table. In Sin-Gri-Daung village reports are already coming in that medical workers showed up with armed guards unannounced. These reports indicate that the Burmese authorities have no intention of tricking their victims into the procedure. Instead it appears that if widespread sterilization begins the Myanmar authorities will be performing random sweeps to track down their victims.

Other cases of sterilization in Myanmar may arise out of the detention centers that house Rohingya victims. Just as jails in Indiana were once used by Eugenicist to sterilize their victims, it appears that Burma will be doing the same. The only difference is that unlike America's sterilization cases, Myanmar's sterilization may be more closely related to Hitler's final solution.

Just as with Hitler's genocide, Thein Sien's pogroms are geared toward the total annihilation of the Rohingya. The use of sterilization as a tool of genocide guarantees the Burmese government that even if some Rohingya survive their numbers will be forever inhibited. And even if Thein Sien's government does not kill every Rohingya, but sterilizes most of them, they will in affect kill off the next generation of the world's most persecuted people.

November 26, 2012

Genocide and the Bible

The Genocide of the Amalekites


The Jewish Encyclopedia: 'David waged a sacred war of extermination against the Amalekites.' 

Throughout the history of Judaism and the nation of Israel the memory of the Amalekites has never truly been blotted out. Though the story of their annihilation may be hard to retell with historical facts to back it up, the tale of their demise has lived on. Mainly in part to its repeated mention throughout the Torah. 

Numbers 24:20 "Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said, 'Amalek first among the nations, but it ends in utter destruction.'"

It is in these accounts of the battles against the Amalekites that the ancient Israelis are often seen as killing ruthlessly this opposing tribe. It is in the Torah that the accounts note that G-d commanded of Israel to not only kill the men of Amalek who took to the battlefield but also to slaughter all of the Amalekite women, children, infants, and even their animals. And it is in these accounts that we can not ignore the fact that this act would today be called genocide. 

"Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." 1 Sam. 15:3

Today Christians and Jews alike write off the genocide of the Amalek people. Many claim that G-d himself commanded the actions of Israel so the killing is totally without blame. Others just simply consider the genocide part of ancient history. 

I myself can not answer the questions this subject brings to the surface. I will not attempt to place the blame with my G-d. I will not squarely place the blame with the ancient Israelites. But unlike most of my fellow believers, I will give this ancient tribe its justice in admitting that this was genocide. 


It is also important to note that no religion or race of man today can say that their ancestors have not done the same. Wherever we look in history there are accounts of genocidal wars and what would be called ethnic cleansing today. Islam started out with clear cases of ethnic cleansing in Arabia. Christianity spent countless years of "crusading" to rid the world of opposing views in both recent and ancient times. Buddhism has been used to justify ethnic cleansing in places like Myanmar every since it's spread. And Judaism has recorded it's own cases of genocide throughout the Torah.

It is only when we can accept this part of our own history that we can fully accept our past in its entirety. And when we finally accomplish that we can begin to take meaningful steps to end this grotesque chapter in our history as a species.

November 25, 2012

History In Replay Mode

A Plea For Humanity To Save The Rohingya
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(The Darkness Continues To Engulf The Rohingya)

Words without action are meaningless when one is dealing with irrational minds. The soul once tainted with hate knows no sense of reason. The heart once blinded by this disease knows nothing but pain. This is the reason Obama's good will speech to the Rohingya in Myanmar was worthless. This is why the political gain from Obama's actions were all the President wanted from this trip. 

We live in a world where we let the voices of cowardly leaders heal our sense of injustice far to rapidly. We allow their desire to preserve their own image rather than to act boldly in the face of evil overwhelm our own desire to fight. For this we have no one left to blame but ourselves. For all evil has ever needed was for truly good men to do nothing. And by putting our faith in man that is known for what he doesn't do... we did nothing. 

As the world watched Obama's speak they did not listen to what he had to say. They did not once ask the President to clarify what America thought needed to be done to end this genocide. He did not once lay out a method of attack that America would be willing to take to end the killing. He did not stand toe to toe with the wretched men and woman who have carried out this latest spat of ethnic cleansing. Instead we got what we have always got out of Obama... softly spoken lullabies for those who were about to die.

The Rohingya in Sittwe and the rest of the Rakhine state remain on the run or in hiding as the genocide continues. The ethnic cleansing has spread eastward in Myanmar as the radical Buddhist infect the rest of Burma with their cancer. Rape has become a more pronounce weapon of war against the Muslim Rohinya as the Buddhist attempt to rid "their homeland" of this "invader". Attacks on Rohingya children are on the rise as Myanmar sinks further into the darkness. 

For nearly half a year the world has sat back and listened to their screams. We have watched as the satellite images show their homes and ghettos being burned. We have closed our eyes as images of their dead flash on random news reports. And as best we could, we have covered our ears to attempt to block out the Rohingya peoples' pleas for help.

G-d himself should not forgive those who have the power to stop this sin against all humanity. The leaders of Europe, Canada, and America should all be accused just as much as the Burmese government for these atrocities. China's leaders should burn in hell for their part in helping these crimes flourish... and not just in Myanmar; but in Sudan where China buys oil from war criminals, in Syria where they prop up Assad's murderous rule, and in Tibet where their heavy hands crush the will of a nation. 

Over Thanksgiving Americans sat down to feasts as we celebrated what we were thankful for. Over that same time span nearly a million Rohingya have picked through sacks of rice to make sure everyone had enough food to fit in the palms of their hands. Thousands of Rohingya went without water or food again as Myanmar maintains a forced famine on the Rohingya still trapped in ghettos and Burmese concentration camps. Had this same thing happened here in the States there would be public outrage beyond measure. This morning at churches across the country preachers, pastors, and fathers of the faith would be giving a call to arms for all the good little Christians to come to the aid of their fellow men. On Shabbat the Rabbis would have been pleading with their congregations to give all they had to help those in need. But none of that happened. 

Yesterday Alder's Ledge gave a short review of a movie "The Machine Gun Preacher". A line from that movie has stood out for such an occasion as this. 

"G-d doesn't want more sheep, he wants wolves. Something with more teeth..." 

Now many of you might disagree with the religious meaning of that quote. And for that I wish I could say I am sorry. But as for me, the author of this blog, that quote rings more clearly than anything else ever could when faced with genocide and ethnic cleansing. After all, sheep didn't storm the beaches when my ancestors were being slaughtered by the fascist. Wolves came to Dachau to set the captives free. Wolves came to Buchenwald to liberate those who could not fight for themselves. 

The Western world should stop being the sheep that the genocidal regimes around the world thrive off. We should show that we are willing to stop this sin wherever and whenever it arises. And when need be, we should be willing to take up arms and fight to stop it. We should be willing to die in our battle against it. 

With Myanmar this would mean taking every action to inhibit the government there from committing it. Obama should not have lifted sanctions on Burma. Obama should not have extended America's hand to a government currently engaged in genocide. And we should not be ready to reap the benefits of trade with a government that is willingly engaged in ethnic cleansing.

Instead Obama should have started speaking out against Myanmar the day these attacks began. If Obama is the humanitarian he claims to be, we as a nation should be taking every diplomatic stance we have to leverage our weight against Myanmar's willingness to kill their own people. And if need be, Obama should have taken the steps to force the US and UN into action to stop the genocide given that diplomacy had not worked. 

The United Nations should have been on the ground with guns hot as quickly as possible. Rohingya should have seen the world coming to their aid the minute the pogroms began. Peace Keepers should have been given the command to stop the ethnic cleansing at all cost. 

But all this is fantasy. We live in a world where the good intentions of our leaders is meant to suffice as an excuse for the deaths of millions as genocide spreads across the map. We live in a world where genocide in Libya is met with limited action so as to serve a political aim. We live in a world where genocide by Assad's hands is ignored as long as it stays within Syria's borders. We do not live in a world where the armies of the world come storming the beaches as evil rains all hell down upon them. We do not live in a world where brave men open the gates of hell and liberate those history had forgotten. We do not live in the world my ancestors were blessed to have been brought out of.

November 24, 2012

Machine Gun Preacher in Review

A for Awareness


This might be a first for alder's ledge:  a movie review. 

This author recently watched a Netflix available movie titled "Machine Gun Preacher."  It's gritty, it's rated R for a reason and it's controversial.  But it brings to the table a method to heighten awareness of the child soldiers and mistreat going on in the Sudan if not anything else. 

The movie is based on a real person and a real conflict.  As covered in previous posts- the Sudan has been in the clutches of horrific genocides and rebellions for many years.  This particular film focuses the horror tactics used by the Lord's Resistance Army in terrorizing villages and abducting children for the use of their militia.   This is currently still ongoing.  The real person- the Machine Gun Preacher- Sam Childers is a man that has created a orphanage in the Sudan through the non-profit organization Angels of East Africa he founded.  This too is still currently operating as the war continues in Sudan.

The controversy is always where the facts end and fiction begins.  The movie is "based" on his (Sam Childers' life from his book Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan) Childers' has stated himself the movie has been a bit "hollywoodized" with minor character changes and slight time sequence differences, but overall gets the point.  There are nay-sayers and yay-sayers about this film, about this man and about this ministry.  That is not the point of this post.

This movie begins a much needed awareness to the main stream about the the issue of child soldiers and land mines being used in the world (focusing on the Sudan in this case.)  This movie also shows an audience there are means for them to do something about it.  There are ministries, reliefs, and organizations that one can donate, volunteer and participate in.  (please thoroughly research these before giving out personal information, though.) So the movie gets an A for Awareness from me.  Personally I enjoyed the film, too.


source documents:
Machine Gun Preacher
http://www.machinegunpreacher.org/features/

CP Entertainment
http://www.christianpost.com/news/machine-gun-preacher-real-life-sam-childers-more-unbelievable-55857/

Not all resources are listed




November 23, 2012

A Concert For The Damned?

In Very Poor Taste
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

(Rohingya Die From Starvation Every Day)

On December 16Th Jason Mraz will be playing a concert to help bring awareness to the plight of people bound in modern day slavery. These victims are bound in modern day practice of slavery we call "human trafficking". Many are traded for slave labor in factories and house servants. Others are indentured servants kept in slavery for most of their lives with the lofty dream of being free once their "debt" is payed off. Most however are traded as sexual slaves forced into lives of prostitution. All are robbed of their freedoms that G-d himself gave each and every one of us from our first breath. 

The concert is part of MTV's program MTV EXIT. It is a project I have supported on Twitter in the past. However the problem with this concert is simple... and obvious to those who follow human rights issues. Especially that of genocide. 

MTV plans to take their showmanship to one of the world's most impoverished hell holes. This place violates all its citizens' basic human rights and liberties. It denies citizenship to those who it deems unworthy of life. And at the current moment is a country actively engaged in the intentional destruction of a specific ethnic group on basis of religion and ethnicity alike. MTV is planning to host this concert, mainly for a Western audience, in Myanmar. 

(Internally Displaced Rohingya Die From Disease)

It is beyond a doubt the most blatant and disgusting attempt at self-adulation I have seen in some time. Practically breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back, MTV EXIT has decided to host a lavish concert in a country where portions of the population can barely eat one meal a day. And instead of recognizing the hellish conditions the Rohingya in Myanmar are subjected to, MTV EXIT wants to point out a human rights violation that has little to do with the genocide Myanmar's government is perpetrating right now. 

Even President Barack Obama, a humanitarian when his political image benefits from it, took time to at least mutter some words of condolence for the Rohingya who were dieing from starvation as he spoke to the Rakhine. MTV EXIT however does not seem ready to confront the worse evil our species has ever brought upon this earth. Instead they would rather carry on with a concert that in the end will only serve to glorify the pompous rich like Jason Mraz. 

(Rohingya Children Are At The Greatest Risk)

Instead of taking meaningful action to help those in need the liberal ideals that tug at the heart would have us listen to hollow words and lullabies for the dead and dieing.

November 22, 2012

No Thanks Thanksgiving

How An American Tradition Is Tainted By Genocide



Please note that this video and post are not meant to protest Thanksgiving but are rather meant to get you to think about the actual story of the Pilgrims. In our attempts to whitewash history we have often romanticized the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe and other Native Americans.

Thank you for visiting and please watch and share this video.

November 21, 2012

Nowhere Left To Hide

Two Hundred Thousand Children At Risk
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)


 Within twenty four hours of capturing Goma the Congolese rebels of M23 began their search for anyone loyal to the government. Those who had worked for the city were hunted down and executed in mass. Anyone who had ties to the military were also rounded up and killed. The numbers of how many were killed are still being estimated as the rebels prepare to move onto their next city.

As for the 200,000 estimated children (under the age of 18) within Goma, the roundups are still happening. These children are now at risk of being forced into conscription with the M23 rebels. This would mean that they would be turned into child soldiers and used as slave labor by the rebel army. Their task would be more dangerous than their adult captors. They could be facing task such as placing landmines, running ammunition under fire, and fetching weapons off fallen soldiers. 

According to UNICEF around 600 children are in immediate danger due to having been separated by from their families. "We know from the recent practices of the groups involved in this latest fighting that unaccompanied children in this part of DRC are in immediate and real danger of forcible recruitment into armed groups," reported World Vision. Once again it is important to remember that nobody can say for sure how many children are being forced into the rebel army. Yet reports of forced recruitment are coming in. 

"Children have nowhere to turn, we can't get to them, and we are hearing reports of groups arming people around Goma. Local partners have seen armed people passing guns and ammunition to civilians this morning, including children aged 16-18. A former child soldier we have worked with in the past told us today: 'I have seen some of my friends receiving weapons and going to fight... they are being told to go and fight the rebels and take their guns'." As reported by World Vision.


These children are, just as everyone else in Goma, afraid and lost as confusion sets in and lawlessness take over. Loyalist are just as likely to take advantage of this sense of helplessness as they too force children into makeshift militias in an attempt to fight off the M23 rebels... something the Congolese military refused to do. With this irony the children of Goma are quickly finding themselves with nowhere left to hide.

Organizations like World Vision and UNICEF are urgently petitioning the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take action to stop this criminal activity. Many of the human rights groups working in the area have tried to get permission to enter the conflict areas to rescue innocent civilians caught up in the battle. However it is more than likely that nobody will be able to reach the conflict region until most of the atrocities and crimes have already been committed.

As the M23 rebels prepare to march on their next target, Kinshasa, the citizens of Goma will continue to suffer mass executions, gang rapes of women and children, and the looting of their homes and businesses. One can only hope that the majority of the 200,000 children of Goma will escape with their lives.... and avoid the horrors of becoming a child soldier.

November 20, 2012

Hide And Go Seek

Rebels Accused of Using Children as Weapons.
(Part of the Lost Childhood series)

(Children of Refugees in the Congo)

As the rebel group M23 marched into Goma, in the eastern part of the Congo, they bore weapons more sophisticated than most Congolese soldiers. Rwanda, and Uganda to an extent, have been funding these barbaric rebels and supplying weaponry such as night vision goggles and 120mm mortars. And for this reason the Democratic Republic of Congo's government has declared the M23 rebels are nothing more than "mercenaries". 

For the children of Goma, a city of nearly 1 million people, the approach of the M23 rebels was a sign of terror. It has been recorded that the rebels have in the past and currently engage in the deployment of child soldiers. These young combatants are often forced into battle against their will. And those who do not fight are often killed by the forces that brought them into the war in the first place. 

So far the United States has imposed sanctions upon the M23 rebels for the use of child soldiers. This measure is odd in the light of Obama's decision to relax sanctions on the government of the Congo itself. Meaning that while the United States is going to be sending goods and providing aid to a government that fled Goma like dogs with their tails between their legs. So it is hard to imagine that any aid provided would somehow not make its way into rebel hands. 

Meanwhile both the United States and the United Kingdom both offer aid to Rwanda and have lucrative trade deals with their ally in the region. It is now questionable whether or not this very aid provided to Rwanda is simply being funneled into M23 rebels' hands. And if the aid is being diverted into a proxy war with the Congolese government then any sanction imposed upon the Congo will further aid the rebels. 

As for the children trapped in the path of the M23 rebels the horrors of war still await. An untold number of children will be forced to flee as the rebels attack their villages. Others could face the terror of being forced to fight for the rebels. But most could simply grow up in refugee camps facing starvation, disease, and the lack of what could be considered a normal childhood. 

All of this could be prevented however. UN peacekeepers could be given a mandate to engage and stop the march of the M23 rebels across the eastern part of the Congo. Currently the UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) can not and do not fight back against rebel attacks. Instead of defending the international airport in Goma, the UN stood down. Their actions helped the rebels in their war against the Congolese government. 

If the UN does not change its approach to defending even the most basic of human rights we could be watching Rwanda play out its genocide on foreign soil.

November 19, 2012

More Lies From The Tablecloth

Obama's Ghost Prisons

(Obama Signing The Order To Close CIA Secret Prisons)

In 2009 Barack Obama became the first president in American history to openly curtail the liberties the CIA had taken with human rights around the world. In a historic signing, Obama sat alone as his pen put into law the limits to which the CIA could go in detaining of foreign nationals. This move was supposed to end the existence of secret prisons that the CIA was running in countries around the world. 

For European governments this was a call for celebration as they were now being promised that the CIA would stop using their countries to transport terrorist into custody. For Eastern European nations this meant that their airports would finally cease to be the last destination for countless terrorist coming from the Middle East. But all this was a hoax. All those "atta-boys" and pats on the back were for nothing.


 
When Libya fell to the rebels it became clear that CIA prisons were still in operation. And when those same rebels attacked the United States Embassy earlier this year... it was obvious that at least one was still in operation within Libya itself. The order Barack Obama had given was nothing but a rouse. This demand to end the rendition of terrorists in ghost prisons was a hollow command... the law had no teeth at all. 

So once again the world is watching as the "humanitarian" Barack Obama takes to the air in a campaign for "basic human rights". We are meant to ignore that this is the man who flew off to Egypt months after the rebellion so as to claim victory for a fight he had nothing to do with. This the man who claimed that his mere election to office had ushered in a new wave of "hope" around the world. This is the man who now rushes off to Burma so that he can talk about human rights while the Rohingya die at the hands of his hosts.

All this and we are to forget that this is also the man who has sat on the fence when dealing with Syria. We are meant to ignore Obama's waffling during the "Arab Spring" when the Green Revolution started in Iran. We are supposed to forget that Obama signed an order to end illegal prisons around the world only to be caught running one in Libya. 

When it comes to human rights issues... we are meant to forget everything we have learned about Barack Obama.