More From Alder's Ledge

September 30, 2012

Mouths Sewn Shut

A Muffled Scream
(Part of The Darkness Visible post) 

For hundreds of thousands of years humans have celebrated death with a perverse sense of fascination. Neanderthals have been documented to have buried their dead with flowers. We exercise the same sort of flirtation with death today. But what is it about the death of innocence that shocks us... immobilizes us... paralyzes us?

It is one thing to bury someone who has died of old age. It is one thing to bury someone who dies of a disease. But it never seems to make sense to us when the life of an innocent man, woman, or child is lost in a violent way. It takes the breath out of our lungs and stifles our tongues.

In many ways this kind of death forces us to close our eyes and keep our mouths shut as if our lips have been sewn shut.

In Myanmar this sort of death has been given a face. It has taken on a physical form that can no longer be ignored. In Myanmar death is the being that walks about while the living remain paralyzed with fear. We watch as the country of Juntas and murders commits a full scale holocaust. The innocence of the Rohingya is bleeding before our eyes. And yet here we are... with our mouths rigidly shut tight.

Today Aung San Suu Kyi was rewarded another hollow award in San Fransisco. Once again she was paraded before an audience of Westerners. Once again she was shown as a symbol of our collective guilt as the audience, men and women who will go home and never know the fear Burmese live with, applauded a woman who supports genocide. Aung San Suu Kyi supports ethnic cleansing in much the same manner as the West does.

By remaining silent.

Silence in the face of genocide is complacency. To do nothing is to condone the killings of helpless women and children. To say nothing is to help clean up the corpses of innocent babies as the murders move on to kill again and again. This is how we support the Juntas in Myanmar. This is how we supported the machete wielding hordes in Rwanda. And this is how we supported the snipers in Bosnia.

When the corpses of this genocide are carried off to the back of the history books will we once again tell ourselves that there was nothing we could do? Will we once again put a hand to our lips and force another crocodile tear for the lives we helped end?

Never Again...

When the SS were sent into villages in Poland the neighbors always knew what these black coated jackboots were there to do. In many cases the neighbors helped rat out their Jewish "friends". It was no secret what the death's head pins meant.

So when the Holocaust was over... when the killers were trying their best to fit back into crowd... when the graves were still fresh... we promised ourselves "Never Again". We told the world that this sort of tragedy would never be unleashed upon the world again. We promised all before us that no matter who the targeted population might be... we would never allow this again.

So here we are again.

Syria continues to degrade into a war of attrition. The jackboots in Syria continue to use a scorched earth policy as they slaughter their victims daily. And the world shuts its eyes as we cover our ears.

Myanmar now ramps up a policy of ethnic cleansing as the Myanmar military establishes rape centers where their soldiers can receive "comfort" and "moral". The bodies of Rohingya children are literally stacking up before our eyes. Their fathers' bodies are forming a barrier along the border with Bangladesh as the Rohingya are reminded that they have nowhere left to run. And all the while the world turns its back.

It is long past time that we wake up. It is time that we cut the thread that binds our lips. It is time that we open our eyes to what crimes our inaction has allowed. It is time for us to finally live up to that promise... Never Again.

Join with us where at Alder's Ledge by sharing these post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Help up raise our voice as one so that we might scream... that we might scream so loud that those in Washington and the UN might hear us. Do your part... Scream.

September 29, 2012

Stealing Dead Mens Obol

The Price of Sanity

As the world continues to heap praise upon Aung San Suu Kyi the Rohingya of Myanmar continue to be attacked. Rohingya men have resorted to fleeing in such a panic that their families are left behind. The hope is that the Buddhist in Burma will have mercy upon women and children. All the while the Junta in Myanmar take to hunting the fleeing men down like dogs as they kill them wherever and whenever they find them.

Entire villages have been burned to the ground as the Rohingya who are trapped in the Rakhine region take to the forest to hide. The Rohingya families now hide until the sun goes down till they dare come out and look for food and water. Any Rohingya who had a job prior to this recent bout of ethnic cleansing is now without a job and most likely a home.

The Burmese military has been deployed in greater numbers to the Rakhine region to supposedly bring about peace in the countryside. Instead the Myanmar police and military have taken to aiding the Buddhist in the region in raids and bombardments of Muslim homes and villages. Myanmar's military has gone as far as gathering Rohingya women and taking their female prisoners to rape camps. The efforts of ethnic cleansing have only been advanced by the increase in Burmese military presence.

Where is the world's rage when it comes to the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children? Have we forgotten the promise we made upon leaving the gates of Auschwitz? Do we not recall those two simple "Never Again"?

We stood silently off to the side while the Serbian militias raped and pillaged Bosnia. We did nothing to stop the Serbian beasts as they constructed death camps once again on European soil. We closed our eyes while the barbarians raped Bosnian women and bashed their babies against walls. We said nothing when the dark legions set up Sniper Alley and shot innocent civilians indiscriminately.

Now we set silently off to the side as Myanmar's militias rape and pillage Muslim Rohingya. We do nothing to stop the Burmese beasts as they make death camps out of Rohingya villages. We close our eyes as the barbarians rape Muslim women and bash their babies against the ground. We say nothing as the dark legions set out to shot innocent civilians indiscriminately.

See a pattern?

As 2012 passes away into the history books the world will forget a lot of things about this miserable year. We will most likely remember Syria in our own way and not as the genocidal blood bath it really is. We will most likely remember how the Sudan has become an abyss of genocide and never ending war as the we did little to stop it. But most of the world will forget about this boy in the picture above.

Myanmar has been carrying out a genocide against the Rohingya every since the British left their colony in the hands of the Junta. This year the Burmese have taken that genocide to its next most logical conclusion. The world did nothing when Myanmar shut the door and started their genocidal efforts. The West said nothing when Myanmar cracked the door open and stepped up their genocidal campaign against the Rohingya. So why would Myanmar stop now?

President Obama has begun making efforts to set up more normalized trading with Myanmar. In a gold rush with China, Russia, and Europe; Obama has made Myanmar a target for economic exploitation. And to do this Obama has decided to turn a blind eye to the genocide currently taking place in the Rakhine region.

The United States is not alone in doing this however. Great Britain, Germany, France, and Switzerland have all ignored the plight of the Rohingya while parading Aung San Suu Kyi around like a prize pony. Not one Western government seems to have any motivation in attacking Myanmar's Junta for its ethnic cleansing of the Rakhine region. All seem complacent due to the rewards of natural resources Myanmar has to offer the greedy Western world.

China, having proved its heartless approach to human rights time and time again, has no inclination toward addressing genocide. After all, it was China who set up oil production in the Sudan while the government there set out to slaughter its own people. It was China who first came to the defense of Syria's bloody butcher. And it is China who continues to oppress Tibet. So why would we expect the Chinese government to put any pressure on Myanmar to stop the genocide of the Rohingya?

The wolves are out in force. The Rohingya have no place left to run. This will be a fight for their lives. So the question remains... how many more dead do we need before the West will act? How much more blood does our collective conscience need before we will bother to even say anything against the killers?

If you have read this then you can't claim ignorance. If you have seen the victims' faces then you can't be considered innocent. To do nothing is to be complicit. To say nothing is to help the murders commit their bloody deeds.

September 26, 2012

Left To The Wolves

Preparing for Porajmos
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

As attacks on Roma continue to escalate in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania the rest of Europe seems complacent as they ramp up attempts to deport their Romani populations. In France it has become evident that the police are more like the SS than civil servants... no longer enlisted to protect and serve but rather harass and deport. In England the Roma live in constant fear that the government's bipolar disorder might switch for the worse. Yet now we watch the rest of the world begins to turn its back on the Roma once again.

Canada and the United States have both recently begun to take steps to deny entry and to deport Roma within their borders. Canada claims that the Roma who came to Canada to seek refuge from Hungarian pogroms no longer deserve to stay within Canada as refugees. In doing this the Canadians must first ignore the rise of violence against Roma communities throughout Eastern Europe, let alone within Hungary itself. Secondly the Canadian government will have to ignore the fact that the Hungarian government may not be willing to allow the Roma back into Hungary.

We are watching as the most abused and neglected people within Europe are once again facing ethnic cleansing. Pogroms have already begun to take shape in Hungary and the Czech Republic. These violent flash mobs are part of daily life for Roma within Romania, Bulgaria, and other Balkan states. Now we have the other hallmark of ethnic cleansing... deportations.

France has been the leader in this deplorable act of fascism. In France today the police wear jackboots and even strap on red armbands. The "democracy" of France no longer recognizes the civil liberties they claim to uphold as they now pick who has the right to live free and who must leave or die.

The bulldozing of camps, burning of caravans, and beatings of Roma citizens can not be overlooked. The bastions of freedom can not be allowed to operate in a manner that mirrors the crimes of their Nazi past. And with that I know I may be pushing the envelope with some...

But was it not the brown shirts in Washington who lobbied for our government to set on the sidelines while Hitler put Roma in the first concentration camps? Was it not the Vichy regime who helped the SS gather up France's Roma for the first Porajmos? And was it not Germany that gave us the horrors of the Holocaust in the first place?

All these governments have had their failures when it comes to the Roma. Now they are slipping into the darkness of their past failures once again. Over the past decade alone we have become apathetic when dealing with the right wing and their anti-Romani demands. We have watched as groups like Jobbik in Hungary have grown out of control. We have remained silent while French president after president has wrongfully deported French citizens....

Again, for those of you who disagree with me.... France's dragnet approach at rounding up Romani who have illegally immigrated to France has been used to deport Roma who have lived and were born in France. It was an inevitable consequence of actions that originated in the radical right wing of France's government. And it continues even as a left wing socialist rules as president.

None the less the West is setting up all the right conditions for another genocide of the Romani people. When we allow people to be loaded up on planes (or cattle cars) and be sent away we condone the first part of ethnic cleansing. When we allow politicians or political parties (Jobbik for example) to publicly push for violence in any manner against a group of people we condone the final solution.

This post isn't meant to blindly accuse any one government. It is meant to blame all the Western world of once again failing to uphold our pledge of "NEVER AGAIN". It is time to wake up. It is time to uphold the rights of all mankind; regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or livelihoods. It is time to start working to set right all the areas of civil rights in which our parents generation and their parents generation failed.

September 18, 2012

Land Of The Fallen Sun

Japanese Atrocities Rehashed

Last week Japan claimed to have purchased a series of islands in the East China Sea. These islands are in dispute due to China's historical claims to them. And it seems that this purchase has only served to highlight a day that China has never forgotten.

On September 18Th, 1931 when the Japanese decided they would invade main land China. This was the day that the Japanese Imperial Army set into motion a long brutal and barbaric occupation of Manchuria. An occupation that would peak with the Rape of Nanking.

For the last 70 years or so the Japanese have received a horrible review in the eyes of history for their actions in World War Two. In Southeast Asia the Japanese built the rail line from hell upon the backs of prisoners of war and indigenous slave labor. On the coast of Australia and New Zealand the Japanese made it a habit to bomb civilians and sink noncombatant ships. Then in Pearl Harbor the Zeros were launched to commit a savage attack on a nation that had no dog in the fight till that day in December.

For us here on Alder's Ledge this image of a blood thirsty war machine of heartless barbarians is well deserved. We do not make an attempt to distinguish between the soldier and the master he served. For it was the soldier who willingly risked his life for a cause he could not deny nor be ignorant of. It would for me be the same idiotic view to say that the German people had no idea what the SS was actually doing than to say that the Japanese people had no idea what happened in Nanking.

On December 13Th, 1937 (just over 6 years from the initial invasion) the capitol of the Republic of China fell to the Imperial Army of Japan. For the next six weeks the Japanese army released its soldiers, all the way from the grunt to the commanding officers, to commit some of the worse atrocities of World War Two. The hallmarks of the following six weeks were beheading, executions, immolation, molestation, infanticide, and the ever present rape.

Upon capture of Nanking the Japanese ordered that all Chinese women were to "provide comfort" to the ruling Japanese soldiers. To achieve this all girls from around 8 years of age to their late 20s were dragged out into the streets and escorted to areas where the Japanese soldiers could gang rape their captives. When traditional rape lost its appeal the soldiers resorted to sodomy and sadism to continue their savaging of Nanking's female population.

Those not subject to rape were taken to the killing fields. There men and children were subjected to shootings, beheading, and babies were often thrown into the air for target practice. In Japanese culture the bayonet was traded in for the sword of the Samaria. The killings were so common that within days the city was littered with corpses and decapitated heads.  In all around 300,000 Chinese citizens were slaughtered by the Japanese in Nanking within those six weeks.

The man with whom the most blame for the massacre rest is without a doubt Prince Asaka Yasuhiko. This member of the imperial court was sent from Tokyo to the front lines just as the Japanese forces approached Nanking. It was under his command that the 10Th Army of Japan began implementing mass rapes and massacres while on approach to Nanking. And it would be Prince Asaka who would give the command to kill all Chinese soldiers captured and to massacre the population of Nanking once the city is under Japanese control.

Once in the city the Japanese soldiers were let loose like dogs. The initial attacks did not need much encouragement seeing as how the Japanese soldiers appeared far more than willing to slaughter and rape the Chinese civilians. However within a short period of time the commanders in the Japanese Army decided they needed to implement "killing contest" to drive up the death toll. These "games" would result in some of the most sadistic acts of the entire war.

Japanese soldiers were often ordered to have Chinese men dig mass graves in which the Japanese would bury the Chinese alive leaving only their heads exposed upon the surface. It was at this point that the Japanese would let loose their dogs, war animals trained to attack men, so that the hounds could finish the job. At other times the Japanese would force their horses to charge over the graves so that the horses hooves would crush the Chinese civilians' heads.

Another game often involved wrapping a Chinese captive up so that the civilian could hardly stand let alone run. The Chinese captive was then told to run as the dogs were sent out after him/her. If the dogs did not kill the captive the Japanese soldiers would savage the animal then force the Chinese captive back at the abused dog. This would often lead to the dog mortally wounding the Chinese victim.

In another recorded case the Japanese soldier recorded that he had enticed a dog to bite off the genitals of a Chinese man. His torture of the Chinese victim was only outdone by another Japanese soldier who reported that his unit had gotten a dog to rip open the abdomen of a Chinese man. The dog was said to have run off with the Chinese victim's entrails dangling from his mouth.

These forms of savagery were all to common. And sadly children were not spared the wrath of the Japanese Empire.

Children were often tied to poles and used for bayonet practice. Babies were flung into the air as Japanese soldiers lined up for target practice. Older children were not spared as they were often told to run only to be gunned down or charged by soldiers on horseback. The treatment of these most innocent of lives shows that, at the time at least, Japanese viewed the Chinese as less than human.

This is why the Chinese, from all over the country, came out to protest the Japanese Embassies. The wounds that Japan inflicted upon China have never truly healed. And the collective heart of China has never forgotten the atrocities Japan unleashed upon its people. These islands are historically Chinese. And this purchase appears, to China at least, to be Japan spreading its imperialist will upon the Chinese once again. 

September 4, 2012

Hundreds Dead... Assad Still Lives.

The Lion Strikes Again.
(part of The Darkness Visible post)

As the world grumbles about the unjustifiable attacks Assad carried out over the weekend the death toll keeps ticking upward. The Syrian Free Army claimed that there were over 400 dead in Daraya, Syria after the regime blitzed the town. Now we know the death toll in this latest massacre is at the very least 200 but most likely closer to the 400 mark. This was yet another hunting trip for the lion of Damascus.

Sending his shabiha door to door once again the beast reaped his reward as the butchers murdered scores of innocent Syrians. Men, women, and children were all taken out into the streets and beaten to death then shot to finish them off. Those who dared to fight back were shot down where they were found. Anyone who cooperated was treated as a friend at first... then shot in the back.

This is how Assad works. This is how a genocidal maniac kills his victims as the world watches from the sidelines. And all we can do is watch as the dead scream out for help.

Bed sheets become burial shrouds as Assad's bloody footsteps encircle the Syrian capitol city. Daraya is just southwest of Damascus. It was under the Syrian army's guns for weeks as the artillery threatened to wipe the town off the map. Helicopters appeared as the night began. Then the blitz. People's homes became their coffins as Assad's forces entered the city.

Abu Kinan told the Guardian, "One of the massacre survivors told me that when the Syrian army stormed their alley, they put more than 50 people up against the wall.

"As they began spraying them with bullets, he threw himself to the floor. He was covered with blood though he was not shot. He pretended that he was dead. Four of his family were killed."

So where is the outside world as Syria suffers yet another crushing blow from the mad man of Damascus? Where is Obama and the White House, with its professional mourners? Where are the big hearted Europeans when yet again more Syrian children are put against the wall and shot between the eyes?

It is clear now that the world has stopped paying any attention whatsoever to Syria's pain. Images of butchered children and blood splattered woman have left us callous. The sights of war torn cities and smoldering villages have left Europe numb to the suffering of Syria's vulnerable. Videos of bloodied bodies laying in the streets as rag tag soldiers tip toe between them has taken to its toll on American sensibilities. Yet despite all this... those we have turned our eyes away from still suffer regardless of who is watching.

This is not the time to turn our backs on the Syrian people. This is not the time to grow weary in the face of such despicable acts as these. We must once again raise our voices and clearly state our demands that the Western world act and act now to stop the killings in Syria. We must demand that our leaders take all necessary actions to put an end to the madness Assad has unleashed upon Syria's innocent civilians. And most of all, we must demand that those in the outside world who supported Assad be punished for their support of crimes against humanity.

Because when we fail to act...

.... this is what happens.