Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Iraqi students win a concession, Turkey continues assault

Al Rafidayn reports that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has made the decision to improve the graduation rate for school students following disappointing test scores and that this will allow for easier admission to college. This has been a huge problem country-wide. The only US press response to this, of course, has been to mock the students for protesting. So this changes the outcome for the 2010-2011 school year which, for those who missed it, is what the students were protesting for. Meanwhile Dar Addustour notes the huge garbage problem and how garbage is everywhere. The piece wonders how people are supposed to live with garbage and how it can be managed noting that it's in the alleys and streets of Baghdad, that the waste is human and chemical (including a mention of Depleted Uranium -- which the US used in Iraq).

In other news, Turkey continues its assault on northern Iraq. Have Turkish ground forces entered Iraq? That's in dispute. AFP reports that the country's military guarding the borders -- citing Iraqi Maj Gen Ahmed Fadheleddin in particular -- as well as the PKK state Turkey has not entered Iraq. By contrast, Reuters reported yesterday that "Turkish tanks and armored vehicles crossed into northern Iraq" while the National Turk reports that Turkish military entered Iraq on Saturday: "Around 20 tanks and 30 military trucks entered Iraqi territory from Siyahkaya village around 15 kilometers east of the Habur border gate in Turkey."

This wave of the Turkish assault has been going on since August 17th. The Turkish government just 'knows' the way to deal with an aggrieved population is to target them with killings and to kill innocent bystanders and that's how you put down a rebellion! Their actions are breeding more violence and the US has egged them on it -- possibly to ensure that Turkey does not come to the prominence so many have been predicting for the country for several years now. Certainly every principle of conflict resolution would tell you this is not how you defuse a tense situation.

The mountains of northern Iraq have many villages. The people in those villages have been terrorized with non-stop bombings for months now. While some were evacuated last week, not all were. It was cute to read the press on the evacuations, about how they were being re-settled in places where millions had been spent. But no press went to those areas to confirm that, did they? It's easy to make claims and especially when the press never bothers to check out your claims.

The PKK is one of many Kurdish rebel groups. The long standing mistreatment of the Kurds by the Turkish government created a large number of Kurdish rebel groups. Until the Kurds are brought into the political process in Turkey with full inclusion, the PKK will continue to be a problem for the government of Turkey.

The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night:

I believe that's everyone but Trina. I link to her in the first paragraph of the next entry but her piece last night was "Iraq, OWS." David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. This is from his "Letter from Oaxaca" (Investigative Fund):

If there's one experience that Mexicans have in common more than any other, more even than hatred and repudiation of the mutual violence of the narcos and the government, it's migration. In Oaxaca, 18% of its 3.7 million people have left for other parts of Mexico, and especially for the U.S. Almost half its towns have shrunk, and migration has become part of the daily experience for almost every family.
I just spent three days listening to indigenous people here talk about it, in a unique organization that brings together people from both sides of the border, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB).
Two things make this organization different from the average hometown association organized in the U.S. by people from the same Mexican village or state. It's not just an organization of the people who've left, but of those who still live in those hometowns as well. And while FIOB members spend a lot of time talking about their indigenous culture (languages like Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui, and the dances, music, food and history shared by people for hundreds of years before Columbus arrived in this hemisphere), their organization has very political goals.
The debates at the FIOB meeting, which lasted for two days in Oaxaca, revolved around two general rights. One is the right to migrate, and in particular the rights of Oaxacan indigenous migrants in the U.S. The other is the right to not migrate - to stay home.
Naturally, the members of FIOB in California, where it was first organized and today has several offices, feel the attack on migrant rights strongly. They came to the meeting after debating and adopting probably the most advanced and progressive proposal for immigration reform made by any migrant organization in the U.S.
Mexican members, who live mostly in Oaxaca (some of whom are also migrants within Mexico itself, principally in Baja California), came to talk about the right to not migrate. To implement this right, people

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