The (((Cartoon Version of the Lebanese Civil War))) Most Americans Have Heard Is Wrong

Sisera: And naturally Hezbollah was arch rivals of Israel, who was defending the Christians.

But now the tides have turned because Israel’s pet Jihadis genocide Christians.

Israel didn’t invade to rescue any Christians and they were not defending any Christians. They didn’t participate in the Civil War much. They invaded to conquer the PLO in Lebanon.

This is a cartoon (((evil Muslim Islamist Christian haters trying to genocide good Christians minding their own business version of the Civil War))). This version that most Americans believe was concocted in Israel. So the knowledge most Americans have about that war is just Israeli propaganda.

The war was pretty much rightwing or fascist Maronite Christian groups versus Leftist and Arab nationalist secular Palestinians. That was the war in a nutshell. Later others allied with one side or the other. Most of the groups who allied with the Palestinians were secular. Religious Muslims were mostly not involved in the war.

There was no Hezbollah until 1985. They were caused by the Israeli invasion. And you have it backwards. When Israel invaded, the Shia in the South (Hezbollah’s territory) welcomed them with flowers. They turned on them when the Israelis started being shits like they always do.There was no Hezbollah until 1985. They were caused by the Israeli invasion. And you have it backwards. When Israel invaded, the Shia in the South (Hezbollah’s territory) welcomed them with flowers. They turned on them when the Israelis started being shits like they always do.
The Christians didn’t need any rescuing. They started the Civil War in the first place. They stopped buses full of Palestinians and ordered everyone out and shot everyone in the head.  They did this a few times and the PLO took up arms. But left-wingers were on the side of the PLO too, and the Greek Orthodox were always fighting with the Muslims, etc. against the Maronites. And the leftwing movement of the Druze, a non-Christian, non-Muslim religion, fought alongside the Muslims. Socialists, Communists and Arab nationalists all fought with the Muslims.
The Maronites were sick and tired of the Palestinians living in their country. That’s why they started the war.
The Christians have always run Lebanon. They’re no poor victims. More like minority rule thugs.
The war started with Leftists, Syrian nationalists and Arab nationalists against the Phalange fascist Christian militia modeled after the Nazi party (your heroes). None of the former were very religious. Those were secular groups. Sunni Muslims and Armenian Christians sat out the war. The people who took up arms against the Maronites were secular Arab nationalist types. The Shia sat out the war for a very long time. They did not want to get involved. But they had sympathies with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians set up refugee cams all over Southern Lebanon to attack Israel. During this time, the Shia hated them. The Palestinians ruled like thugs and the religious Shia saw them as a bunch of Commies. They were so sick of Palestinian rule that they welcomed conquering Israelis with flowers as I mentioned.
The main Shia movement, the Amal, fought against the Palestinians alongside the Maronites at the start of the war. The Shia only turned against Israel due to Israeli abuses. They formed Hezbollah, but they spent most of their time fighting Israel. An Armenian Communist organization fought the Maronites for most of the war. These were Christians.
The war actually started when the Maronite President of Lebanon tried to force a fishing monopoly for his group along the coast. Fishermen in Sidon objected and there were popular demonstrations. Palestinians joined these demos. A sniper killed the former mayor of Sidon. To this day no one knows who killed him or why. The sniper fired at the  end of a demonstration and appeared to try to start a conflagration. The situation soon spiraled out of control and the Maronite government lost control of the situation.
The actual beginning of the war was fighting versus Maronite and Palestinian militias. The Maronite government was not involved.
You are going by the (((officially narrative))) of the war of evil Muslim Islamist Christian haters trying to genocide the good Christians of Lebanon. Except most of the “Muslims” were not even religious and the Christian militias were objectively fascist and in particular opposed to democratic rule via a census which would have made them a minority.
The war was secular Palestinians versus fascist Maronite Christians. Most religious Muslims sat out the war. There was no “evil Muslims trying to exterminate good Christians out of religious hatred” bullshit. Hezbollah never took part in the civil war itself. All they did was fight against Israel and its puppet Maronite army in the south. However, most of the soldiers in this “Maronite” army were Shia Muslims! So the war in the South was Shia Muslims in the SLA versus Shia Muslims in Hezbollah. Also there were many Palestinian Christians in the PLO fighting against the Maronites.

Socialism, Populism, and Neoliberalism in the Arab World

Sisera: The CIA’s coups have been out of control for decades, agreed.
But you support minority rule governments in the Middle East (Saddam Hussein, certainly and possibly Assad who is at least an ethnic minority. Hezbollah operated for years in a largely Christian country, etc.) because the alternative would mean Americans die in terror attacks from those countries becoming terror bases.
I don’t know that you could argue any Latin American oligarchy was more brutal than Saddam Hussein.
So you just value certain American interests that are different than his.

Saddam was brutal but he was a populist. He just didn’t tolerate any minority rebellions or opposition really. But in return for that he was a great socialist and populist leader who did great things for his people. Saddam’s rule was not oligarchic rule by a ruling class. Actually when the Ba’ath took power, they took out the local oligarchs, confiscated their land, imposed heavy taxation, nationalized many industries, etc.
Saddam was a man of the people. He was for the little guy, the average Joe Iraqi Workingman. You could also argue that Stalin and Mao were brutal in similar ways. Leftwing regimes can be pretty brutal. I am not one to dismiss that. But leftist and Communist regimes are not cases of ruling class rule or the rule by a small group of rich and capitalists over everyone else.
The whole time Hezbollah was around, Lebanon was a minority Christian country. It hasn’t been majority Christian since the 1960’s or maybe 1970’s. Anyway the Christians are not in opposition to Hezbollah. One of the Maronite leaders, Aoun, is in an alliance with Hezbollah. Hezbollah has Christian and Sunni militias in Christian and Sunni areas. The Greek Orthodox have always supported Hezbollah. It’s a populist movement. Hezbollah only came into existence because of the Israeli invasion.
You may be correct about Syria. Democracy may well vote in radical Islamists, and that would not be a pretty picture. The Syrian rebels give you a taste of what life would be like without Assad.  We already know what life in Iraq was like post-Saddam. A sheer Hell of a charnelhouse. Surely Saddam was better than what came after.
Assad is a populist. He works for everyone. It’s not a matter of the rich running the place and fucking everyone over. They just had elections for Parliament and 85% of the seats were run by Sunnis. The Sunnis run the business community. The army is full of Sunni generals. The minority rule thing is sort of dumb. Assad cuts everyone in because he has to. Anyway, if you go the democratic route in the Middle East, you end up with Islamists.
I actually do not mind popular or populist dictatorships that serve the people. That’s fine. Assad appears to have majority support too. It’s not like the majority want Assad gone and he just usurped them.
Saddam was difficult, but there were 1 million Shia Ba’ath Party members. Shia were persecuted not for being Shia but for being Islamists. Anyway, Saddam was the best choice. Look what happened when he was gone.
For whatever reason, the rich and the capitalists in the Arab World are not evil like in Latin America, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Everyone wants socialism in the Arab world. But Arab socialism allows businessmen to earn money, so everyone gets cut in. You don’t have hard-line socialism or Communism because you don’t have diabolical ruling classes like you have in Latin America. If the rich and the capitalists are willing to go along with a socialist or populist project, why can’t they have full rights?
Hezbollah does not control Lebanon. Anyway, Lebanon is minority rule and has been forever. Christians are guaranteed 50% of seats in Parliament but are only 30% of the population. Hezbollah is not a ruling class group. They are basically socialists like most Islamists.
You see, radical neoliberalism, Latin American style economic conservatism, Republican Party politics, etc. is a no seller in the Arab World. Literally nobody but nobody but nobody wants it. The only people proposing it are Lebanese Maronites because they are close to Europe and they are trying to distinguish themselves from Arabs by being individualists and different.
You can’t sell any sort of oligarchic rule, ruling class rule, economic conservatism of any of that in most Muslim countries. Because Mohammad, if you read him closely, was a pretty socialist fellow. Now the ruling classes in the Arab world used to be feudalists who worked the fellahin like serfs.
But the Arab nationalist revolutions that rocked the Arab world got rid of all of that. All rulers wiped out the feudal holdings and liberated the peasants. The large landowners tried to justify their rule by saying that Mohammad said there are rich and there are poor and that is fine. They got corrupt Muslims clergy to go along with this, similar to how the ruling classes get the Catholic Church to go along with the project of the rich.
This alliance was most notable in Iraq, but it existed in other places like Palestine. Egypt was largely feudal before Nasser. Nasser was not only an Arab nationalist but also a working class hero. Leftists all over the Arab World used to have pictures of Nasser on the walls. He too liberated the Muslim peasants. Feudal rule ended in Palestine in the 1930’s in the midst of an Arab nationalist revolution there.
Getting rid of oligarchic and feudal rule was easy in the Arab World because the masses never supported the oligarchs or feudalists. Rather, they hated them. So Arab socialism was an easy fit all over the region. Even the business communities gladly went along.

Watching ISIS Videos

That’s what I have been doing a lot of these days. I do not like the execution videos, and I have seen enough executions anyway.
But there are a lot of really cool combat videos, and those are really cool to look at. Basically firefights with automatic weapons, RPG’s, machine guns, technical vehicles with guns, various types of mortars, rockets, and antiaircraft guns. There is a fair amount of night fighting, which is a trip.
It’s just guys shooting at each other and blowing stuff up, so you hardly see any gore in the battle videos. However, at the end, sometimes they go to the position that they overran, and among all of the other things present at the camp there are typically the dead bodies of some of the folks that ISIS is fighting. They also have really cool music in the background. There are interviews with ISIS fighters, but I have no idea what they are saying.
The worst ISIS of all seem to be in Iraq. They look like a bunch of very, very pissed off guys. Boy are they mad!
The one thing that shines right through their rage and hatred is one word…revenge. ISIS in Iraq seems to be out for revenge. For what I am not sure, but 30% of ISIS in Iraq is former Iraqi military. I assume they are still angry that their country and leader was taken away from them in a US invasion and conquest whereby afterwards, an Iranian puppet regime was put in in place. The Iraqi Army was transformed from a radical Arab nationalist and pro-Sunni organization into a mostly Shia and objectively anti-Shia force. The Shia militias which operate separately from the Iraqi Army are particularly despised.
I have heard that the many of the people in back of ISIS at the very top are Baath Party people and former Iraqi military. Obviously they are out for revenge for the last 13 years. They want paybacks, and paybacks are a bitch.
The ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan don’t seem to be as pissed off, but I have not watched a lot of their videos out of Syria.
There’s nothing to be worried about watching these videos. I am sure that hundreds of thousands if not millions of people watch at least some of those videos. I know that the site I found the videos on is a US site, and almost all of the commenters have a savage hatred of ISIS. So the idea that watching ISIS videos means you’re a terrorist is crap. I would say far more ISIS haters watch their videos than ISIS supporters.
Just for the record, I utterly hate these scumbuckets, and if it ever comes down to it, I will grab an automatic weapon myself and try to kill them.  I am very much afraid of death, but dying fighting for your homeland and lifestyle against these hellions would actually be worth it. I would rather die fighting them than live under their rule, let’s put it that way, ok?

Other Than the Homeland, What Else Is There?

Take for example the Bashar Assad and Saddam Hussein. Both were and are horrible men in many ways, but there is one thing I always respected about both Assads and Saddam. Both were members of the Baath Party. The Baath Party was one of the few patriotic parties in the Arab World. They stood for the Arabs ferociously against the invaders.
After the US invaded Iraq in 2003, I stood 100% behind Saddam. I remember when a farmer shot down a US helicopter with an old rifle. Saddam paid a visit to him, recorded on TV.
Later during the huge battle for the Baghdad Airport, a man said that Saddam appeared out of nowhere with his bodyguards. He just turned around, and there was Saddam.
Saddam said, “Look, I don’t care whether you hate me or like me or whether you support my government or not. Now is the time to fight for our country. Don’t fight for me. Forget about me. I am not important. Fight for Iraq.”
Then Saddam gave him his gun. The man said that Saddam even moved towards the battle and fired some rounds himself. The man grabbed the gun and ran to save the airport from the invaders who were waging a Nazi-like war of aggression on the homeland, the War Against the Iraqi people.
Then, eight days after Baghdad was conquered and the government vanished, Saddam mysteriously appeared outside a mosque in Adhamiya, a Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad. He was soon mobbed by a large crowd of scores of men chanting his name. They hoisted him on their shoulders and carried him through the crowd. It was a brazen display of contempt for the new occupiers, and it was all recorded on cameras. Not only that, but the invaders never figured out where he came from or where he went afterwards.
One of the very first things the invaders did after they conquered Baghdad was to move towards the statue of Michael Aflaq, the founder of the Baath Party. Aflaq was a Christian. The Americans wanted to topple the statue but they wanted Iraqis to do it, not Americans. But they had a hard time finding Iraqis who wanted to tear down the statue as Aflaq is a hero to most Iraqis.
Finally they found some country-sellers from Chalabi’s party to do it.
The Americans wanted to tear down Aflaq’s state first of all since Aflaq was an Arab nationalist, a patriot. There is nothing America hates more than true nationalists and patriots, especially in the Third World. America wants satellite and colonies and little else. Anyone who steps out of line will be destroyed. This was the statement that was made by toppling the statue of Michael Aflaq.
Really, after the love of the homeland, what else is there?

Sykes-Picot: The Reason for the Chaos in Arabia

Arab nationalists are still mad about this one.
Not so much Bush invading Iraq or whatever the Hell Obama has done. All Obama has done is support bipartisan US foreign policy consensus that the Republicans themselves support, with the only variation being that Republicans want to double down on Barack’s machination. But all of this was just accelerating the inevitable.
Interesting how the British double-crossed the Emir of Arabia by promising support for an independent Arabia in the former Ottoman lands in 1915 and then going back on it later after they defeated Turkey. They backstabbed the Emir in typical British fashion. Recall US imperialism is very much like British imperialism as Americans are first and foremost a British people in genes and culture. After the war, they dissolved the Ottoman lands and instead of giving the Arabs freedom as they promised, they simply stole their lands from the Ottomans. The British, out of sheer coincidence, happened to donate to themselves exactly those lands where oil had just been found (Mesopotamia) and the Emir got a worthless (at that time) hunk of desert in the middle of the Arabian peninsula.
Syria and Lebanon were donated to the French for no particular reason, while the British stole Palestine (including Transjordan) and then promptly donated it to Lord Rothschild’s Jews who had demanded it as a bribe for financial support to help the British win the war.
The Kurds were screwed worst of all. There were many proposals to give them a state, but they were all ignored. The Kurds were chopped up into four countries – Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, with a bit in Armenia (cool map at the link). They have been stateless ever since – the Kurds, who have existed as a nation in one form or another for possibly 3,000 years. Now, at long last, the West seems to be keen on giving the Kurds a new nation in northern Iraq, something they have been deathly opposed to for a century. Why the sudden change of heart? Color me suspicious! Imperialism never does anything decent out of the goodness of its heart. Never, ever.

PFLP-GC Battling Syrian Rebels in a Syrian Palestinian Refugee Camp

Video here.
This is a great video showing fighting between the PFLP-GC and the Syrian rebels in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. The rebels entered the camp where the PFLP-GC has a huge presence, and the PFLP-GC, a very well-armed and well-trained force, fought the rebels. The Syrian Army unfortunately would not enter the camp to help the PFLP-GC fight the rebels. Quite a few of the Palestinians in the camp, including PFLP-GC members, joined the rebels to fight against their Palestinian brethren. However, over time, the PFLP-GC defeated the rebels and rousted them from the camp. In the meantime, much of the camp was destroyed.
The Palestinians are getting dragged into this conflict despite their best efforts to stay out of it.
The PFLP-GC is a pro-Syrian split from the PFLP group. The group is an old-line secular group that used to include quite a few Christian members. They strongly oppose the new radical Islamist turn that the Islamic world has been moving towards. They consider these new Islamists to be intolerant and fanatical.
The PFLP-GC has high praise for the Syrian regime. It is true that Syria has treated Palestinians better than most Arab regimes. Palestinians are allowed to work in Syria, whereas they often cannot work in other places. In addition, the PFLP-GC says that Syria still stands with the Palestinians while the rest of the world has abandoned them. There is certainly quite a bit of truth to that statement.
In terms of its relationship with Israel, the PFLP-GC is a pretty hardline group. Recently in the West Bank, there was a gathering of Palestinians at which both Hamas and the PFLP-GC spoke. Both groups praised each other although the PFLP-GC is about as secular as Hamas is Islamist. The reason both groups praised each other is because both of them take a very hard line against Israel.
The fighting in Syria has split the Palestinian movement badly. In particular, the PFLP proper has called for the PFLP-GC to be thrown out of the PLO (the PFLP-GC, along with a number of other organizations, is part of the larger PLO) for needlessly endangering the lives of Palestinians by getting involved in the Syrian Civil War. One might argue that as the rebels entered the camp, the PFLP-GC had little choice but to fight. Some say that the PFLP-GC is fighting alongside the Syrian army in other places in Syria, but this is dubious. The PFLP-GC also has training camps and a presence in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, in particular in the south of Lebanon.
This group is rather unpopular among Palestinian groups, but after reading an interview with some of their elder members who edit and write the party’s newspaper, I rather like them. Old-time secular Arab nationalists, just like the Palestinians used to be.

Does Multilingualism Equal Separatism?

Repost from the old site.

Sorry for the long post, readers, but I have been working on this piece off and on for months now. It’s not something I just banged out. For one thing, this is the only list that I know of on the Net that lists all of the countries of the world and shows how many languages are spoken there in an easy to access format. Not even Wikipedia has that (yet).

Whether or not states have the right to secede is an interesting question. The libertarian Volokh Conspiracy takes that on in this nice set of posts. We will not deal with that here; instead, we will take on the idea that linguistic diversity automatically leads to secession.

There is a notion floating around among fetishists of the state that there can be no linguistic diversity within the nation, as it will lead to inevitable separatism. In this post, I shall disprove that with empirical data. First, we will list the states in the world, along with how many languages are spoken in that state.

States with a significant separatist movement are noted with an asterisk. As you can see if you look down the list, there does not seem to be much of a link between multilingualism and separatism. There does seem to be a trend in that direction in Europe, though.

Afterward, I will discuss the nature of the separatist conflicts in many of these states to try to see if there is any language connection. In most cases, there is little or nothing there.

I fully expect the myth of multilingualism = separatism to persist after the publication of this post, unfortunately.

St Helena                        1
British Indian Ocean Territories 1
Pitcairn Island                  1
Estonia                          1
Maldives                         1
North Korea                      1
South Korea                      1
Cayman Islands                   1
Bermuda                          1
Belarus                          1
Martinique                       2
St Lucia                         2
St Vincent & the Grenadines      2
Barbados                         2
Virgin Islands                   2
British Virgin Islands           2
Gibraltar                        2
Antigua and Barbuda              2
Saint Kitts and Nevis            2
Montserrat                       2
Anguilla                         2
Marshall Islands                 2
Cuba                             2
Turks and Caicos                 2
Guam                             2
Tokelau                          2
Samoa                            2
American Samoa                   2
Niue                             2
Jamaica                          2
Cape Verde Islands               2
Icelandic                        2
Maltese                          2
Maltese                          2
Vatican State                    2
Haiti                            2
Kiribati                         2
Tuvalu                           2
Bahamas                          2
Puerto Rico                      2
Kyrgyzstan                       3
Rwanda                           3
Nauru                            3
Turkmenistan                     3
Luxembourg                       3
Monaco                           3
Burundi                          3
Seychelles                       3
Grenada                          3
Bahrain                          3
Tonga                            3
Qatar                            3
Kuwait                           3
Dominica                         3
Liechtenstein                    3
Andorra                          3
Reunion                          3
Dominican Republic               3
Netherlands Antilles             4
Northern Mariana Islands         4
Palestinian West Bank & Gaza     4
Palau                            4
Mayotte                          4
Cyprus*                          4
Bosnia and Herzegovina*          4
Slovenia and Herzegovina*        4
Swaziland                        4
Sao Tome and Principe            4
Guadalupe                        4
Saudi Arabia                     5
Cook Islands                     5
Latvia                           5
Lesotho                          5
Djibouti                         5
Ireland                          5
Moldova                          5
Armenia                          6
Mauritius                        6
Lebanon                          6
Mauritania                       6
Croatia                          6
Kazakhstan                       7
Kazakhstan                       7
Albania                          7
Portugal                         7
Uzbekistan                       7
Sri Lanka*                       7
United Arab Emirates             7
Comoros                          7
Belize                           8
Tunisia                          8
Denmark                          8
Yemen                            8
Morocco*                         9
Austria                          9
Jordan                           9
Macedonia                        9
Tajikistan                       9
French Polynesia                 9
Gambia                           9
Belgium                          9
Libya                            9
Fiji                             10
Slovakia                         10
Ukraine                          10
Egypt                            11
Bulgaria                         11
Norway                           11
Poland                           11
Serbia and Montenegro            11
Eritrea                          12
Georgia*                         12
Finland*                         12
Switzerland*                     12
Hungary*                         12
United Kingdom*                  12
Mongolia                         13
Spain                            13
Somalia*                         13
Oman                             13
Madagascar                       13
Malawi                           14
Equatorial Guinea                14
Mali                             14
Azerbaijan                       14
Japan                            15
Syria*                           15
Romania*                         15
Sweden*                          15
Netherlands*                     15
Greece                           16
Brunei                           17
Algeria                          18
Micronesia                       18
East Timor                       19
Zimbabwe                         19
Niger                            21
Singapore                        21
Cambodia                         21
Iraq*                            21
Guinea-Bissau                    21
Taiwan                           22
Bhutan                           24
Sierra Leone                     24
South Africa                     24
Germany                          28
Namibia                          28
Botswana                         28
France                           29
Liberia                          30
Israel                           33
Italy                            33
Guinea                           34
Turkey*                          34
Senegal                          36
Bangladesh                       39
New Caledonia                    39
Togo                             39
Angola*                          41
Gabon                            41
Zambia                           41
Mozambique                       43
Uganda                           43
Afghanistan                      47
Guatemala                        54
Benin                            54
Kenya                            61
Congo                            62
Burkina Faso                     68
Central African Republic         69
Solomon Islands                  70
Thailand*                        74
Iran*                            77
Cote D'Ivoire                    78
Ghana                            79
Laos                             82
Ethiopia*                        84
Canada*                          85
Russia*                          101
Vietnam                          102
Myanmar*                         108
Vanuatu                          109
Nepal                            126
Tanzania                         128
Chad                             132
Sudan*                           134
Malaysia                         140
United States*                   162
Philippines*                     171
Pakistan*                        171
Democratic Republic of Congo     214
Australia                        227
China*                           235
Cameroon*                        279
Mexico                           291
India*                           415
Nigeria                          510
Indonesia*                       737
Papua New Guinea*                820

*Starred states have a separatist problem, but most are not about language. Most date back to the very formation of an often-illegitimate state.

Canada definitely has a conflict that is rooted in language, but it is also rooted in differential histories as English and French colonies. The Quebec nightmare is always brought up by state fetishists, ethnic nationalists and other racists and nationalists who hate minorities as the inevitable result of any situation whereby a state has more than one language within its borders.

This post is designed to give the lie to this view.

Cyprus’ problem has to do with two nations, Greeks and Turks, who hate each other. The history for this lies in centuries of conflict between Christianity and Islam, culminating in the genocide of 350,000 Greeks in Turkey from 1916-1923.

Morocco’s conflict has nothing to do with language. Spanish Sahara was a Spanish colony in Africa. After the Spanish left in the early 1950’s, Morocco invaded the country and colonized it, claiming in some irredentist way that the land had always been a part of Morocco. The residents beg to differ and say that they are a separate state.

An idiotic conflict ensued in which Morocco the colonizer has been elevated to one of the most sanctioned nations of all by the UN. Yes, Israel is not the only one; there are other international scofflaws out there. In this conflict, as might be expected, US imperialism has supported Moroccan colonialism.

This Moroccan colonialism has now become settler-colonialism, as colonialism often does. You average Moroccan goes livid if you mention their colony. He hates Israel, but Morocco is nothing but an Arab Muslim Israel. If men had a dollar for every drop of hypocrisy, we would be a world of millionaires.

There are numerous separatist conflicts in Somalia. As Somalians have refused to perform their adult responsibilities and form a state, numerous parts of this exercise in anarchism in praxis (Why are the anarchists not cheering this on?) are walking away from the burning house. Who could blame them?

These splits seem to have little to do with language. One, Somaliland, was a former British colony and has a different culture than the rest of Somalia. Somaliland is now de facto independent, as Somalia, being a glorious exercise in anarchism, of course lacks an army to enforce its borders, or to do anything.

Jubaland has also split, but this has nothing to do with language. Instead, this may be rooted in a 36-year period in which it was a British colony. Soon after this period, they had their own postage stamps as an Italian colony.

There is at least one serious separatist conflict in Ethiopia in the Ogaden region, which is mostly populated by ethnic Somalis. Apparently this region used to be part of Somaliland, and Ethiopia probably has little claim to the region. This conflict has little do with language and more to do with conflicts rooted in colonialism and the illegitimate borders of states.

There is also a conflict in the Oromo region of Ethiopia that is not going very far lately. These people have been fighting colonialism since Ethiopia was a colony and since then have been fighting against independent Ethiopia, something they never went along with. Language has a role here, but the colonization of a people by various imperial states plays a larger one.

There was a war in Southern Sudan that has now ended with the possibility that the area may secede.

There is a genocidal conflict in Darfur that the world is ignoring because it involves Arabs killing Blacks as they have always done in this part of the world, and the world only gets upset when Jews kill Muslims, not when Muslims kill Muslims.

This conflict has to do with the Sudanese Arabs treating the Darfurians with utter contempt – they regard them as slaves, as they have always been to these racist Arabs.

The conflict in Southern Sudan involved a region in rebellion in which many languages were spoken. The South Sudanese are also niggers to the racist Arabs, plus they are Christian and animist infidels to be converted by the sword by Sudanese Arab Muslims. Every time a non-Muslim area has tried to split off from or acted uppity with a Muslim state they were part of, the Muslims have responded with a jihad against and genocide of the infidels.

This conflict has nothing to do with language; instead it is a war of Arab Muslim religious fanatics against Christian and animist infidels.

There is a separatist movement in the South Cameroons in the nation of Cameroon in Africa. This conflict is rooted in colonialism. During the colonial era, South Cameroons was a de facto separate state. Many different languages are spoken here, as is the case in Cameroon itself. They may have a separate culture too, but this is just another case of separatism rooted in colonialism. The movement seems to be unarmed.

There is a separatist conflict in Angola in a region called Cabinda, which was always a separate Portuguese colony from Angola.

As this area holds 60% of Angola’s oil, it’s doubtful that Angola will let it go, although almost all of Angola’s oil wealth is being stolen anyway by US transnationals and a tiny elite while 90% of the country starves, has no medicine and lives unemployed amid shacks along former roads now barely passable.

The Cabindans do claim to have a separate culture, but language does not seem to be playing much role here – instead, oil and colonialism are.

Syria does have a Kurdish separatist movement, as does Iran, Iraq, and Turkey – every state that has a significant number of Kurds. This conflict goes back to the post-World War 1 breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds, with thousands of years of history as a people, nominally independent for much of that time, were denied a state and sold out.

The new fake state called Turkey carved up part of Kurdistan, another part was donated to the British colony in Iraq and another to the French colony in Syria, as the Allies carved up the remains of the Empire like hungry guests at a feast.

This conflict is more about colonialism and extreme discrimination than language, though the Kurds do speak their own tongue. There is also a Kurdish separatist conflict in Iran, but I don’t know much about the history of the Iranian Kurds.

There is also an Assyrian separatist movement in Iraq and possibly in Syria. The movement is unarmed. The Assyrians have been horribly persecuted by Arab nationalist racists in the region, in part because they are Christians. They have been targeted by Islamo-Nazis in Iraq during this Iraq War with a ferocity that can only be described as genocidal.

The Kurds have long persecuted the Assyrians in Iraqi Kurdistan. There have been regular homicides of Assyrians in the north, up around the Mosul region. This is just related to the general way that Muslims treat Christian minorities in many Muslim states – they persecute them and even kill them. There is also a lot of land theft going on.

While the Kurdish struggle is worthwhile, it is becoming infected with the usual nationalist evil that afflicts all ethnic nationalism. This results in everyone who is not a Kurdish Sunni Muslim being subjected to varying degrees of persecution, disenfranchisement and discrimination. It’s a nasty part of the world.

In Syria, the Assyrians live up near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. Arab nationalist racists have been stealing their land for decades now and relocating the Assyrians to model villages, where they languish in poverty. Assad’s regime is not so secular and progressive as one might suspect.

There is a separatist conflict in Bougainville in New Guinea. I am sure that many different tongues are spoken on that island, as there are 800 different tongues spoken in Papua New Guinea. The conflict is rooted in the fact that Bougainville is rich in copper, but almost all of this wealth is stolen by Papua New Guinea and US multinationals, so the Bougainville people see little of it. Language has little or nothing to do with it.

There are separatist movements in the Ahwaz and Balochistan regions of Iran, along with the aforementioned Kurdish movement. It is true that different languages are spoken in these regions, but that has little to do with the conflict.

Arabic is spoken in Khuzestan, the land of the Iranian Arabs. This land has been part of Persia for around 2,000 years as the former land of Elam. The Arabs complain that they are treated poorly by the Persians, and that they get little revenue to their region even though they are sitting on a vast puddle of oil and natural gas.

Iran should not be expected to part with this land, as it is the source of much of their oil and gas wealth. Many or most Iranians speak Arabic anyway, so there is not much of a language issue. Further, Arab culture is promoted by the Islamist regime even at the expense of Iranian culture, much to the chagrin of Iranian nationalists.

The Ahwaz have been and are being exploited by viciously racist Arab nationalists in Iraq, and also by US imperialism, and most particularly lately, British imperialism, as the British never seem to have given up the colonial habit. This conflict is not about language at all. Most Ahwaz don’t even want to separate anyway; they just want to be treated like humans by the Iranians.

Many of Iran’s 8% Sunni population lives in Balochistan. The region has maybe 2% of Iran’s population and is utterly neglected by Iran. Sunnis are treated with extreme racist contempt by the Shia Supremacists who run Iran. This conflict has to do with the fight between the Shia and Sunni wings of Islam and little or nothing to do with language.

There is a separatist movement in Iran to split off Iranian Azerbaijan and merge it with Azerbaijan proper. This movement probably has little to do with language and more to do with just irredentism. The movement is not going to go very far because most Iranian Azeris do not support it.

Iranian Azeris actually form a ruling class in Iran and occupy most of the positions of power in the government. They also control a lot of the business sector and seem to have a higher income than other Iranians. This movement has been co-opted by pan-Turkish fascists for opportunistic reasons, but it’s not really going anywhere. The CIA is now cynically trying to stir it up with little success. The movement is peaceful.

There is a Baloch insurgency in Pakistan, but language has little to do with it. These fiercely independent people sit on top of a very rich land which is ruthlessly exploited by Punjabis from the north. They get little or no return from this natural gas wealth. Further, this region never really consented to being included in the Pakistani state that was carved willy-nilly out of India in 1947.

It is true that there are regions in the Caucasus that are rebelling against Russia. Given the brutal and bloody history of Russian imperial colonization of this region and the near-continuous rebellious state of the Muslims resident there, one wants to say they are rebelling against Imperial Russia.

Chechnya is the worst case, but Ingushetia is not much better, and things are bad in Dagestan too. There is also fighting in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. These non-Chechen regions are getting increasingly radicalized as consequence of the Chechen War. There has also been a deliberate strategy on the part of the Chechens to expand the conflict over to the other parts of the Caucasus.

Past rebellions were often pan-Caucasian also. Although very different languages are spoken in these areas, different languages are still spoken all across Russia. Language has little to do with these conflicts, as they have more to do with Russian imperialism and colonization of these lands and the near 200-year violent resistance of these fierce Muslim mountain tribes to being colonized by Slavic infidels.

There is not much separatism in the rest of Russia.

Tuva reserves the right to split away, but this is rooted in their prior history as an independent state within the USSR (Tell me how that works?) for two decades until 1944, when Stalin reconquered it as a result of the conflict with the Nazis. The Tuvans accepted peacefully.

Yes, the Tuvans speak a different tongue, but so do all of the Siberian nations, and most of those are still with Russia. Language has little to do with the Tuvan matter.

There is also separatism in the Bashkir Republic and Adygea in Russia. These have not really gone anywhere. Only 21% of the residents of
Adygea speak Circassian, and they see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. This conflict may have something to do with language. The Adygean conflict is also peripherally related the pan-Caucasian struggle above.

In the Bashkir Republic, the problem is more one of a different religion – Islam, as most Bashkirs are Muslim. It is not known to what degree language has played in the struggle, but it may be a factor. The Bashkirs also see themselves as overrun by Russian-speaking immigrants. It is dubious that the Bashkirs will be able to split off, as the result will be a separate nation surrounded on all sides by Russia.

The Adygean, Tuvan and Bashkir struggles are all peaceful.

The conflict in Georgia is complex. A province called Abkhazia has split off and formed their own de facto state, which has been supported with extreme cynicism by up and coming imperialist Russia, the same clown state that just threatened to go to war to defend the territorial integrity of their genocidal Serbian buddies. South Ossetia has also split off and wants to join Russia.

Both of these reasonable acts prompted horrible and insane wars as Georgia sought to preserve its territorial integrity, though it has scarcely been a state since 1990, and neither territory ever consented to being part of Georgia.

The Ossetians and Abkhazians do speak separate languages, and I am not certain why they want to break away, but I do not think that language has much to do with it. All parties to these conflicts are majority Orthodox Christians.

Myanmar is a hotbed of nations in rebellion against the state. Burma was carved out of British East India in 1947. Part of Burma had actually been part of British India itself, while the rest was a separate colony called Burma. No sooner was the ink dry on the declaration of independence than most of these nations in rebellion announced that they were not part of the deal.

Bloody rebellions have gone on ever since, and language has little or nothing to do with any of them. They are situated instead on the illegitimacy of not only the borders of the Burmese state, but of the state itself.

Thailand does have a separatist movement, but it is Islamic. They had a separate state down there until the early 1800’s when they were apparently conquered by Thais. I believe they do speak a different language down there, but it is not much different from Thai, and I don’t think language has anything to do with this conflict.

There is a conflict in the Philippines that is much like the one in Thailand. Muslims in Mindanao have never accepted Christian rule from Manila and are in open arms against the state. Yes, they speak different languages down in Mindanao, but they also speak Tagalog, the language of the land.

This just a war of Muslims seceding because they refuse to be ruled by infidels. Besides, this region has a long history of independence, de facto and otherwise, from the state. The Moro insurgency has little to nothing to do with language.

There are separatist conflicts in Indonesia. The one in Aceh seems to have petered out. Aceh never agreed to join the fake state of Indonesia that was carved out of the Dutch East Indies when the Dutch left in 1949.

West Papua is a colony of Indonesia. It was invaded by Indonesia with the full support of US imperialism in 1965. The Indonesians then commenced to murder 100,000 Papuans over the next 40 years. There are many languages spoken in West Papua, but that has nothing to do with the conflict. West Papuans are a racially distinct people divided into vast numbers of tribes, each with a separate culture.

They have no connection racially or culturally with the rest of Indonesia and do not wish to be part of the state. They were not a part of the state when it was declared in 1949 and were only incorporated after an Indonesian invasion of their land in 1965. Subsequently, Indonesia has planted lots of settler-colonists in West Papua.

There is also a conflict in the South Moluccas , but it has more to do with religion than anything else, since there is a large number of Christians in this area. The South Moluccans were always reluctant to become a part of the new fake Indonesian state that emerged after independence anyway, and I believe there was some fighting for a while there. The South Moluccan struggle has generally been peaceful ever since.

Indonesia is the Israel of Southeast Asia, a settler-colonial state. The only difference is that the Indonesians are vastly more murderous and cruel than the Israelis.

There are conflicts in Tibet and East Turkestan in China. In the case of Tibet, this is a colony of China that China has no jurisdiction over. The East Turkestan fight is another case of Muslims rebelling against infidel rule. Yes, different languages are spoken here, but this is the case all over China.

Language is involved in the East Turkestan conflict in that Chinese have seriously repressed the Uighur language, but I don’t think it plays much role in Tibet.

There is also a separatist movement in Inner Mongolia in China. I do not think that language has much to do with this, and I believe that China’s claim to Inner Mongolia may be somewhat dubious. This movement is unarmed and not very organized.

There are conflicts all over India, but they don’t have much to do with language.

The Kashmir conflict is not about language but instead is rooted in the nature of the partition of India after the British left in 1947. 90% of Kashmiris wanted to go to Pakistan, but the ruler of Kashmir was a Hindu, and he demanded to stay in India.

The UN quickly ruled that Kashmir had to be granted a vote in its future, but this vote was never allowed by India. As such, India is another world-leading rogue and scofflaw state on a par with Israel and Indonesia. Now the Kashmir mess has been complicated by the larger conflict between India and Pakistan, and until that is all sorted out, there will be no resolution to this mess.

Obviously India has no right whatsoever to rule this area, and the Kashmir cause ought to be taken up by all progressives the same way that the Palestinian one is.

There are many conflicts in the northeast, where most of the people are Asians who are racially, often religiously and certainly culturally distinct from the rest of Indians.

None of these regions agreed to join India when India, the biggest fake state that has ever existed, was carved out of 5,000 separate princely states in 1947. Each of these states had the right to decide its own future to be a part of India or not. As it turned out, India just annexed the vast majority of them and quickly invaded the few that said no.

“Bharat India”, as Indian nationalist fools call it, as a state, is one of the silliest concepts around. India has no jurisdiction over any of those parts of India in separatist rebellion, if you ask me. Language has little to do with these conflicts.

Over 800 languages are spoken in India anyway, each state has its own language, and most regions are not in rebellion over this. Multilingualism with English and Hindi to cement it together has worked just fine in most of India.

Sri Lanka’s conflict does involve language, but more importantly it involves centuries of extreme discrimination by ruling Buddhist Sinhalese against minority Hindu Tamils. Don’t treat your minorities like crap, and maybe they will not take up arms against you.

The rebellion in the Basque country of Spain and France is about language, as is Catalonian nationalism.

IRA Irish nationalism and the Scottish and Welsh independence movements have nothing to do with language, as most of these languages are not in good shape anyway.

The Corsicans are in rebellion against France, and language may play a role. There is an independence movement in Brittany in France also, and language seems to play a role here, or at least the desire to revive the language, which seems to be dying.

There is a possibility that Belgium may split into Flanders and Wallonia, and language does play a huge role in this conflict. One group speaks French and the other Dutch.

There is a movement in Scania, a part of Sweden, to split away from Sweden. Language seems to have nothing to do with it.

There is a Hungarian separatist movement, or actually, a national reunification or pan-Hungarian movement, in Romania. It isn’t going anywhere, and it unlikely to succeed. Hungarians in Romania have not been treated well and are a large segment of the population. This fact probably drives the separatism more than language.

There are many other small conflicts in Europe that I chose not to go into due to limitations on time and the fact that I am getting tired of writing this post! Perhaps I can deal with them at a later time. Language definitely plays a role in almost all of these conflicts. None of them are violent though.

To say that there are separatists in French Polynesia is not correct. This is an anti-colonial movement that deserves the support of anti-colonial activists the world over. The entire world, evidenced by the UN itself, has rejected colonialism. Only France, the UK and the US retain colonies. That right there is notable, as all three are clearly imperialist countries. In this modern age, the value of retaining colonies is dubious.

These days, colonizers pour more money into colonies than they get out of them. France probably keeps Polynesia due to colonial pride and also as a place to test nuclear weapons and maintain military bases. As the era of French imperialism on a grand scale has clearly passed, France needs to renounce its fantasies of being a glorious imperial power along with its anachronistic colonies.

Yes, there is a Mapuche separatist movement in Chile, but it is not going anywhere soon, or ever.

It has little to do with language. The Mapudungan language is not even in very good shape, and the leaders of this movement are a bunch of morons. Microsoft recently unveiled a Mapudungan language version of Microsoft Windows. You would think that the Mapuche would be ecstatic. Not so! They were furious. Why? Oh, I forget. Some Identity Politics madness.

This movement has everything to do with the history of Chile. Like Argentina and Uruguay, Chile was one of the Spanish colonies that was settled en masse late. For centuries, a small colonial bastion battled the brave Mapuche warriors, but were held at bay by this skilled and militaristic tribe.

Finally, in the late 1800’s, a fanatical and genocidal war was waged on the Mapuche in one of those wonderful “national reunification” missions so popular in the 1800’s (recall Italy’s wars of national reunification around this same time). By the 1870’s, the Mapuche were defeated and suffered a devastating loss of life.

Yet all those centuries of only a few Spanish colonists and lots of Indians had made their mark, and at least 70% of Chileans are mestizos, though they are mostly White (about 80% White on average). The Mapuche subsequently made a comeback and today number about 9% of the population.

Because they held out so long and so many of them survived, they are one of the most militant Amerindian groups in the Americas. They are an interesting people, light-skinned and attractive, though a left-wing Chilean I knew used to chortle about how hideously ugly they were.

Hawaiian separatism is another movement that has a lot to do with colonialism and imperialism and little to do with language. The Hawaiian language, despite some notable recent successes, is not in very good shape. The Hawaiian independence movement offers nothing to non-Hawaiians (I guess only native Hawaiians get to be citizens!) and is doomed to fail.

Hawaiians are about 22% of the population, and they are the only ones that support the independence movement. No one else supports it. It’s not going anywhere. The movers and shakers on the island (Non-Hawaiians for the most part!) all think it’s ridiculous.

There are separatists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, but I doubt that language has much to do with it. Like the myriad other separatist struggles in the NE of India, these people are ethnically Asians and as such are not the same ethnicity as the Caucasians who make up the vast majority of the population of this wreck of a state.

This is another conflict that is rooted in a newly independent fake state. The Chittagong Hill Tracts were incorporated into Bangladesh after its independence from Pakistan in 1971. As a fake new state, the peoples of Bangladesh had a right to be consulted on whether or not they wished to be a part of it. The CHT peoples immediately said that they wanted no part of this new state.

At partition, the population was 98.5% Asian. They were Buddhists, Hindus and animists. Since then, the fascist Bangladesh state has sent Bengali Muslim settler-colonists to the region. The conflict is shot through with racism and religious bigotry, as Muslim Bengalis have rampaged through the region, killing people randomly and destroying stuff as they see fit. Language does not seem to have much to do with this conflict.

I don’t know much about the separatist struggle of the Moi in Vietnam, but I think it is more a movement for autonomy than anything else. The Moi are Montagnards and have probably suffered discrimination at the hands of the state along with the rest of the Montagnards.

Zanzibar separatism in Tanzania seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with language, but has a lot more to do with geography. Zanzibar is a nice island off the coast of Tanzania which probably wants nothing to do with the mess of a Tanzanian state.

The conflict also has a lot to do with race. Most residents of Zanzibar are either Arabs or descendants of unions between Arabs and Africans. In particular, they deny that they are Black Africans. I bet that is the root of the conflict right there.

There were some Talysh separatists in Azerbaijan a while back, but the movement seems to be over. I am not sure what was driving them, but language doesn’t seem to have been a big part of it. Just another case of new members of a fake new state refusing to go along for the ride.

There were some Gagauz separatists in Moldova a while back, but the movement appears to have died down. Language does seem to have played a role here, as the Gagauz speak a Turkic tongue totally unrelated to the Romance-speaking Moldovans.

Realistically, it’s just another case of a fake new state emerging and some members of the new state saying they don’t want to be a part of it, and the leaders of the fake new state suddenly invoking inviolability of borders in a state with no history!

In summary, as we saw above, once we get into Europe, language does play a greater role in separatist conflict, but most of these European conflicts are not violent. In the rest of the world, language plays little to no role in the vast majority of separatist conflicts.

The paranoid and frankly fascist notion voiced by rightwing nationalists the world over that any linguistic diversity in the world within states must be crushed as it will inevitably lead to separatism at best or armed separatism at worst is not supported by the facts.

What’s Going On In Iran? (With Emphasis on Iranian Nationalism and Iranian Secessionist Movements)

Repost from the old site.

Updated February 6, 2008:

Most people do not realize that the famed Shah of Iran was actually a blood and soil, Persian supremacist, ethnic nationalist, primordialist, volkisch, fascist along the same lines as Hitler’s Nazis and Milosevic’s Serbs. Yet it is true – in fact, the Shah even formed an alliance with Nazi Germany.

The Nazis attempted to form all sorts of alliances with people they mistakenly regarded as genetic inferiors – including Bosnian Muslims, Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs, Ukrainian, White Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian rightwing nationalists, Iranians and some of the upper-caste peoples of East India.

The East Indians, of course, are part of the original Aryans – the light-skinned invaders who descended from the steppes into India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at various times in the past 3,500 years. In India, they displaced the native Indians – the Dravidians or South Indians – and pushed them to South.

They also twisted the Hindu religion by adding on their casteism, which was apparently not present in the original pre-Aryan system. Originally, in the caste system, those at the top were the lightest-skinned and the lowest castes tended to be the darkest. It is interesting that over thousands of years the Brahmins have become progressively darker.

The Nazis were fascinated that these Brahmins regarded themselves as fellow Aryans and even sent researchers over to India to measure skulls and analyze the facial characteristics of statues and engage in other peculiarities of Nazi racial research. The Brahmin class of India has always returned the favor and many have long been supporters of Hitler, Nazism and fascism in general.

The fascinating article linked above deals with something that is little known to most Americans – a neat summary of many of the views expressed by what are best termed Iranian nationalists. Americans have no understanding at all of this ancient, proud culture.

The piece notes the Western deceit that modern nationalism began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1600’s Europe, when the principle of inviolable national borders was first codified. In fact, this is a Western narcissistic view. Other nations, in particular Persians and Iranians, have a long history of what could be called nationalism, depending on how one defines the term, dating back maybe 2500 years to Cyrus the Great.

US idiots like George Bush and the council of clueless super-Zionist advisors whispering in his ear provoke this ancient culture at their peril.

The piece goes on to discuss the Minorities Question in modern Iran. Most people do not recognize that Persian and Iranian are not synonymous. Persian is an ethnic group, but Persians only constitute 51% of all Iranians. Azerbaijanis are a huge group in the northwest, constituting 23%.

US imperialism and Kurdish nationalism make much of Azerbaijanis supposed desire to break away from Iran, but there is not much truth to that. Those who say such things do not understand history. It is true that there is an Azerbaijani minority that invokes irredentism and wishes to break away from Iran and reunite with “northern Azerbaijan”, the independent state of Azerbaijan.

But the majority of Azerbaijanis have no desire to do such a thing. People do not understand that despite the racist Persian ethnic nationalism of the Shah, Azerbaijanis have typically ruled Iran for many centuries now. In fact the Supreme Jurisprudent Ayatollah Khameini is an Azerbaijani.

The Sassanid Empire was one of the most prominent empires in the world from 200-600, a rival to the Roman Empire. This culture, to many, represents the pinnacle of Iran’s power in the world. Its religion was Zoroastrianism and it was characterized by great tolerance towards religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews.

The Sassanids were defeated in the mid-650’s by invading Arab Muslim armies, many Iranians were put to the sword, and many Iranian nationalists have resented the resulting forced imposition of Islam ever since. According to these nationalists, there is a difference between those societies where Islam was “native” – supposedly Arab societies, and those where it was imposed by force – supposedly all non-Arab countries.

This greatly simplifies matters, and in many ways is false. For instance, Islam has deep roots in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Muslim India, Eastern China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Albania, Kosova, Bosnia, the Caucasus and in Sub-Saharan Africa.

So the case of Iran is not generalizable. In most cases, where Islam conquered non-Arab lands, many of the natives converted and become passionate Muslims. In fact, some of the world’s most ferocious and fundamentalist Muslims have traditionally come from non-Arab lands like Afghanistan and Pakistan. But in Iran, something different happened: Islam ran up against Persian nationalism.

To understand the conflict between Iranian nationalism and Islam is essential to understanding modern Iranian culture. The Khomeinists have enraged Iranian nationalists by declaring wholesale war on Iranian nationalism. According to the mullahs, there is no need for Iranian nationalism since Islam supplants it. Iranian nationalists are often theologically diverse, secular, atheists, agnostics, or even Zoroastrians.

Even worse, the mullahs seem to have imposed a pro-Arabism on Iran. This is sure to infuriate Iranian nationalists. Iranian nationalists have always had a resentful and bigoted attitudes towards Arabs (and some towards Muslims – who they regard as having a barbaric Arab religion).

When you hear an Iranian nationalist hurl an insult like “lizard-eating Mohammadens”, this is the rage they are mining. It is the rage at a primitive culture of desert barbarian wanderers – so barbaric, in fact, that they “ate lizards” – that invaded the glorious, superior, Sassanid Zoroastrian Empire and destroyed it, supplanting it with inferior Arab Islamic culture and religion.

The mullahs have not only waged war on symbols of Iranian nationalism, but they have also tried to import Arab culture and language, much to the fury of Iranian nationalists. Since, to Islamic fundamentalists, Arabic is the language of Islam (a bigoted and irrational construct on its face), they tend to promote Arab culture and language over native culture and language.

This tends to produce friction between Islamic fundamentalists and non-Arab nationalists in the non-Arab parts of the Muslim World. For instance, it is often difficult to find a copy of the Koran in any language other than Arabic. And many non-Arab Muslims claim that Arabs, especially Gulf Arabs, look down on them and despise them when they go Mecca on hajj.

The Arab chauvinism in Islam has been a long-term hindrance to spread of the religion. Furthermore, for centuries after the conquest of Islam, the greatest Iranian poets, authors and scientists – beloved by all Iranian nationalists – were ordered to be killed by the fundamentalist Islamic morons ruling Islam at the time. Few of these heroes of Iranian culture were killed, but the fact that their deaths were even condoned stings.

It is important to note that Shia Islam was also imposed at the point of the sword sometime later and many Sunni Iranians were put to death.

The remains of this violent religious imposition can be seen today, when one notes that Sunni Islam (Iran is only about 75% Shia Muslim) continues to hold sway in the outliers of the Iranian state – in the desolate Balochi barrens of the southeast, in the northeast near Afghanistan, and in wild, mountainous Iranian Kurdistan in the northwest.

All of these parts of the Iranian state remain largely outside of the regime’s control, and Sunnis continue to complain, legitimately, of discrimination by Iranian Shia Muslims.

The rage between Iranians and Arabs is difficult for outsiders to fathom, but is essential to understanding the region. Sunni Islam is synonymous with Arab identity and nationalism, as Juan Cole astutely notes, in the same way that White Christianity is synonymous with American nationalism. Hence, the secularism of Arab nationalists has always been a bit of a lie.

The Arab masses and regimes are Sunni. Shia minorities have traditionally been suppressed in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Lebanon. This is the root of the Sunni-Shia conflict that rages ferociously in Iraq today.

See here for a particularly bigoted and insane example of Sunni Iraqi bigotry from the interesting blog of a secular Iraqi woman. Note that she ridiculously claims that Shia Islam was invented by the Iranians to destroy the Sunni Islamic civilization of the Arabs.

I realize that sounds like the ravings of a mentally ill person, but this is how many Sunni Muslims, especially Sunni Arabs from Mesopotamia, the Gulf and the Levant, regard Iran and Shiism.

When we understand this sick, crazy, racist hatred, we can understand why Saddam attacked Iran, and why he was supported in that war by all of the states in the Arab peninsula. We can understand why the secular King of Jordan intones darkly about a “Shia Belt” snaking ominously from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria and Southern Lebanon under Hezbollah control.

We can understand the insane, Nazi-like massacres of crowds of Shia civilians – men, women and children of all ages – in Iraq by both the Sunni Islamist guerrilla animals and Saddam’s secular, Shia-hating fascist Arab nationalists. We can understand why the government of Yemen launched a murderous war on the Zaidi Shia of northern Yemen, who constitute 40% of Yemen but are locked out of the state.

We can understand why the Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf are supporting the preliminary plans for a US attack on Iran, and why these states and the Iraqi Sunni-Nazi rebels will stand up and cheer till they can’t talk if the US invades Iran. We can understand why the viciously racist Sunni Arab bigots of Iraq intone darkly, “We will never be ruled by the blackhats (the Shia)”.

While the Arab attitude towards Iran and the Shia has always been one of sheer, Nazi-like racist hatred, the Iranian attitude towards Arabs has tended to be one of the disdain of a supposedly superior people for a supposedly inferior one.

I have droned on enough on this subject, and we need to move on to the rest of the post. If you wish to dive into this fascinating matter further, click the link above and take a crash course in Iranian history, the minorities of Iran and modern-day Iranian nationalism. I hope you enjoyed this excursion.

April 7, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot and seriously wounded Hojatoleslam Yusef Mohammadi Soleimani, a top cleric who represents Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Centre for Higher Education here.

April 8, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: 6 armed Sunni Islamist guerrillas abducted Eshaq Nezamdoust, a local Iranian official who was in charge of distributing oil products here.

April 9, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot dead 2 Iranian army officers here, Mostafa Ahmadi and Behzad Qolipour.

May 4, 2006

*****
Many of you are probably aware of the furor over Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the figurehead President of Iran, and his comments regarding Israel and the Holocaust. This much-distorted comments are grist for the propaganda for a campaign to get the US to wage a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, primarily for the benefit of the Zionist state in Israel.

If the US won’t do it, “mad dog” Israel says, then Mad Dog Israel herself may be forced to take matters into her own hand. Ahmadinejad shoots off his mouth quite a bit and says some dumb things, but it’s important to note that he is just a figurehead with little power. Remember when reformist Khatami had the same office as Ahmadinejad, and all the Iran-haters said that Khatami had no power anyway?

Well, shoot, Ahmadinejad has the same power as Khatami. If Khatami had no power than Ahmadinejad also has no power, logically speaking. In Iran, the office of the President seems to be mainly utilized these days to vent off steam from the unhappy population, to give them somewhere to channel their dissatisfied energies.

Ahmadinejad’s comments in question concern his purported remarks to “wipe Israel off the map” and his Holocaust denial. First of all, let us note that Holocaust denial in various forms is not unusual at all amongst Arabs and Muslims, especially Islamists.

Furthermore, many misguided non-genocidal persons on both the Right and Left, are caught up in the nonsense of Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Revisionism. Lamentable as it is, it does not necessarily make one a new Hitler.

As far as Ahmadinejad’s comments to wipe Israel off the map, Juan Cole makes clear that he was apparently paraphrasing Khomeini’s remarks from 25 years ago, when the Ayatollah compared Israel to the Shah’s regime, and said in poetic Persian that “the Occupation regime over Jerusalem shall vanish with the page of time”. Cole is adamant that there is no killing of anyone, much less military action, implied in that remark.

Nevertheless, led by the Jewish Lobby and their Gentile fellow travelers on the Fox TV circuit, the US neoconservatives have been hammering out a devious propaganda campaign designed to paint Ahmadinejad, and Iranian Muslims in general, as insane suicidal maniacs out to finish the work that Hitler started.

The supposed evidence is the Holocaust revisionist remarks and the “wipe Israel off the Earth” remark, which Cole has convincingly demonstrated that it is being misquoted. Supposedly, Ahmadinejad is a member of a Shia mystical sect that believes that the 12th Mahdi, or hidden Mahdi, who supposedly vanished on the site of holy Shia mosque in Samarra that was recently detonated by Al Qaeda, is going to return soon.

This religious belief is roughly analogous to the Christian crazies who think that the “end times” are here and Jesus is coming back soon. The common thread in both loony beliefs is that the world is coming to an end. Because Ahmadinejad believes in this nonsense and supports suicide bombers fighting the Zionist regime in Israel, the Israeli Lobby paints him, and an entire nation of Shia Muslims, as suicidal nutcases.

They want to get a nuclear bomb in order to suicidally fire it at Israel, which in the process will destroy Iran with the inevitable US and Israel nuclear retaliation. Clearly, this is a serious question: Is Iran actually capable of such an insane act? We can’t afford to be wrong about our answer here. I have thought about this for months now, and I do not believe that Iran or its leaders are suicidally insane.

I realize there are ominous consequences if I am wrong, including the deaths of maybe 100,000 Israeli Jews. But I am willing to stick my neck out here, just for the sake of argument. I would also like to take this time to argue passionately against any kind of lunatic US or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program, a disastrous idea with truly dangerous consequences.
******

May 13, 2006

****
Kerman Province, Between Kerman and Bam: Armed terrorists with the radical Sunni Islamist group Jundallah (Army of Allah) disguised themselves as cops and set up a roadblock on this highway deep inside Iran and stopped motorists and pulled them out of their vehicles. 11 males were lined up next to a ditch and executed. A 12th man was killed when another vehicle was sprayed with gunfire as it drove past.

A 12-year-old boy was wounded by gunfire, but instead of finishing him off, the terrorists strung him up on a power pylon. He survived, but was badly traumatized. Afterward, the terrorists fled into the Kofout Mountains southeast of Kerman.

The scene of the terrorist attack by Jundallah on the Kerman-Bam highway 130 miles from where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran come together. Terrorists set up a fake roadblock and murdered 12 civilians in cold blood here.

The murders stunned the nation, which despite its “terrorist” reputation, is actually a very safe country for travelers. Jundallah has its origins in the Sunni population of the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan.

The Sunnis here complain of discrimination and ethnic cleansing by Iranian Shia officials, charges which have a basis in fact. There are suggestions that Jundallah may be based over the border in Afghanistan, possibly in the wild deserts of Nawruz Province. Clearly, Jundallah has a safe haven in the area where Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all come together. This is one of the more dangerous places on Earth.

Travelers heading there are advised to take a bodyguard, or preferably several bodyguards. None of the three governments in the region have much control over this area. It is overrun with drug traffickers (usually smuggling heroin or opium), who travel in large, very heavily-armed convoys.

They periodically fight it out with Iranian troops. Iranian troops have lost an incredible figure of hundreds of troops in just a few years fighting running battles in this border region with drug traffickers. Jundallah has links to Al Qaeda. In March, they killed 22 people in Zahedan, a very wild and dangerous city located where Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran all come together. Last year, the group beheaded an Iranian security officer.

Iranian officials say that Jundallah is the arm of Al Qaeda inside Iran, and they say that Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi is bin Laden’s right hand man in Iran. That is probably correct.
*****

May 15, 2006

Kerman Province: Iranian Basij and Revolutionary Guard paramilitaries tracked down and killed 10 terrorists who murdered 12 drivers in cold blood on the Kerman-Bam highway 130 miles from where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran come together (see May 13 entry for details).

May 19, 2006
****
Syria: Syrian officials arrested dozens of leaders of the various Shia Arab Ahwaz fronts who are waging guerrilla war in Iran’s oil-rich Ahwaz Province. I cannot support this struggle, which is simply designed to steal much of Iran’s oil wealth. However, the Arabs in this region fought bravely in the Iran-Iraq War and suffered heavy casualties.

They complain that they do not see much of the oil wealth in this region. The area was heavily damaged in the war, and the Iranian government hasn’t even rebuilt it very much. The Arabs also complain of discrimination. There is some truth to all of this, but one of Iran’s top military leaders is an Ahwaz Arab.

If Iran had any sense, they would institute affirmative action to hire Ahwaz Arabs, rebuild the Ahwaz region and let the area see much more of their present share of the wealth. This conflict has always been fed by Arab nationalist fascists like the Baath fascists in Iraq, whose hatred of Iran borders on the insane and pathological.

Furthermore, in recent days, US and British Special Forces and intelligence are in the region assisting the insurgency. By arresting most of the top leaders of the insurgency, Syria is spitting in the eyes of Arab nationalist bigots all over the Arab World, and is throwing its lot in with Shia solidarity (Syria is ruled by a Shia sect) and Syria’s alliance with Iran.
*****

Where Helen Thomas is Coming From

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14]

This is the famous video where some rabbi set up Helen Thomas and got her on camera saying that the Jews should get out of Palestine and go back to Europe where they came from.

This comment has been attacked as everything from stupid to anti-Semitic. It’s neither, really.

The comment is best analyzed in seeing where Thomas herself is coming from. Helen Thomas is the child of Lebanese Christian immigrants to the US, specifically Greek Orthodox Arabs. These comments of hers are quite in line with the typical Arab attitude about the Zionist Jews forming their state on the ashes of Palestine. The attitude is that the Jews are occupying Arab land in Palestine and that they ought to go back to Europe where they came from. So, she’s just talking like a typical Arab, nothing more, nothing less.

Although many Arabs who say such things are anti-Semites, not all are. Surely they are anti-Zionists. Rather than a battle of racists, this is really a war between two tribes, the Arabs and the Jews, and increasingly between the Muslims and the Jews. Tribal wars are not very pretty affairs, but it’s often incorrect to accuse the parties involved in the war of racism. Were those who hated Germans and Japanese during WW2 a bunch of racists? Get real.

The Jews do not like Arabs very much. Understandably so, as the Arabs won’t stop trying to kill them. Likewise for the Arabs in turn. If members of some enemy tribe kept trying to kill my people and more particularly me, I would surely opt to paint myself with the flimsy stain of temporary racist sin as opposed to daubing my body with the sturdy blotch of universalist death.

But it’s not much of a choice.

Further, Thomas’ comments must be seen in terms of her Greek Orthodox Arab religion. There were many Greek Orthodox living in Palestine before the Nakba, and many were ethnically cleansed. George Habash, leader of the PFLP, was ethnically cleansed with his family from Lydda, and his own sister was killed by the Jews. He was permanently radicalized. The Greek Orthodox refugees spread out to the surrounding Arab states, and many were attracted to secular Arab nationalism. Waddi Haddad, another PFLP radical, was also Greek Orthodox.

In Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox live heavily in the South with the Shia, but they often have their own villages. During the latest Lebanese war, when Israel invaded a Greek Orthodox village, the Lebanese Army surrendered, but the Israelis were soon attacked by a Greek Orthodox militia from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a pro-Syrian and pro-Hezbollah political party.

In the early days of the Lebanon War of 1982, the first suicide bombers were often Leftists, often Lebanese Christians, typically Greek Orthodox, from parties like the SSNP. Only later did Hezbollah take up the tactic.

In Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox support Syria and Hezbollah and despise Israel. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is a ferocious anti-Zionist and even anti-Semite who has supported suicide bombings and Hamas. The Greek Orthodox had a large population in Jerusalem. Recall that one of the four quarters of the Old City, the Christian Quarter, is mostly Greek Orthodox.

Unfortunately, the Greek Orthodox, and the Orthodox Church in general, has a long history of anti-Semitism. Note the anti-Semitism of the Russian Orthodox Church. Some say that Orthodox anti-Semitism is even worse than Catholic anti-Semitism. Note that the Orthodox Church sees itself as the true pure church, and has never gone through Vatican I, forget Vatican II. My understanding is that they don’t even like Catholics, and consider Catholics to be some sort of liberal deviationists.

The anti-Semitism of the Orthodox involves accusations that the Jews are Christ-killers and the ancient enemies of the Christians. In this way it is similar to Catholic anti-Semitism, which is all about a homicidal or even genocidal response to their descendants of those who committed the Deicide.

The Nazis killed 80% of the Jews of Greece, who were mostly living in the formerly majority-Jewish city of Salonika (now Thessaloniki).  Israelis who vacation in Greece report that Greeks are quite hostile, and describe them as anti-Semites.

One of the worst Christian anti-Semites was the 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople, Church Father Saint John Chrysostom. He delivered a series of homilies about Judaizing Christians, suggesting that they needed to choose one religion or the other.

The Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: “Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer.”…

Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: “But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them.”

Here’s an excerpt from Homily 6…

You [Jews] did slay Christ, you did lift violent hands against the Master, you did spill his precious blood. This is why you have no chance for atonement, excuse, or defense.

Pretty ugly stuff.

In spite of these sentiments, or, even more frighteningly, possibly due to them, this man was made an Orthodox saint! His hatred for the Jews was palpable. He wanted them hunted down and killed, and he wanted their synagogues burnt to the ground.

In that sense Orthodox anti-Semitism is worse even than Catholic anti-Semitism founded in part on Saint Augustine. At least Augustine felt that the Jews should be preserved in humiliation as witnesses to the triumph of Christianity. Neither accorded the Jews full humanity, but at least Augustine was willing to let them survive, albeit as some sort of Catholic version of the dhimmi.

So, while I have no knowledge of whether or not Thomas is an anti-Semite, this is the cultural milieu that she comes from. She may have heard dinner-table conversations like this while growing up in her Greek Orthodox home.

Settlers are Not Innocent Civilians

Retrospectively, I support the American Indians for heroically defending their lands against the White settler-colonial imperialist invaders. Defending the homeland against the invaders of all types is the sort of nationalism that is progressive and that everyone should rally around.
Not only that, but it is acceptable for the nationalists defending their homelands to kill the settler-colonial fascist invaders and colonists, including the so-called “innocent civilians” in their midst.
So it was right and proper for Amerindians to kill White adult settlers, for Uighurs and Tibetans to kill Han adult settlers, for Palestinians to kill Jewish adult settlers, for Sarahwi in Spanish Sahara to kill Moroccan adult settlers, for West Papuans to kill Indonesian adult settlers, on and on. I leave child settlers off the target list since they don’t have the ability to leave and go home.In this framework, settlers are not “innocent civilians” at all.
The Chinese fascist regime deliberately flooded Tibet and Xinjiang with Han settlers, who colonized these lands, monopolized the economy, relegated the natives to minority status, and oppressed the natives. This is sheer ethnic warfare of the most barbaric fascist type and it is what was behind the recent ethnic riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang, in China’s West.
The situation with the settler-colonialism of the fascist Jews in Palestine is well-known and needs no elaboration here.
Fascist Indonesia invaded the sovereign state of West Papua in 1965 after the Dutch colonists fled. Since then, they have committed genocide against the natives, most of whom are Melanesians or Papuans and are ethnically unlike the Malays of Indonesia. They have stolen the resources and flooded the land with fascist Malay settler-colonists.
The West Papuans are very poorly armed, often defending themselves with bows and arrows. The West has supported fascist Indonesia to the hilt in this conflict, probably because big US corporate interests have made alliance with the Indonesian fascist elite in plundering the land of West Papua for valuable natural resources.
Spanish Sahara was decolonized and immediately declared its independence in 1953. It was immediately invaded on very hazy and spurious grounds by Morocco. This blatant invasion and conquest of territory by armed imperial force, similar to the case of West Papua, has been supported to the hilt by every single US regime ever since.
The implication is that 65 years after the Great War Against Fascism, fascist regimes the world over continue to find a warm and fuzzy place to call home in the corridors of Washington, DC.
This is due to the fact that monopoly capital will always support fascism, and any state dedicated to monopoly capitalism as the US is will always support fascist regimes around the world, and probably has no choice about the matter. As long as monopoly capital rules the US, we are probably stuck with fascist-lovers in the White House.
The Algerian revolutionaries (I get a lot of my ideology from Frantz Fanon) targeted the pied noir settler-colonialists, and most of them fled.

The Role of Iran in Arab -Islamic Resistance to Imperialism and Zionism

This post will provide an overview of why the Iranian regime is hated so much by US imperialism and Zionism, and why they plotted a Green “color revolution” to throw out one of the last holdouts of Arab – Islamic resistance in the region.
Except for Iran, Syria, Hamas-Gaza and Hezbollah, all of the rest of the Arab and Islamic World has folded in the face of the Zionist onslaught or been bought off by US imperialism.
Saddam was another rejectionist, but the Zionist traitor neoconservatives engineered an illegal invasion to bring him down.
Ghaddafi was threatened with invasion by the same folks, and promptly folded.
The Palestinians now effectively have no outside support.
Egypt collaborates with Zionism to police the Gaza border and assists in the starvation and deprivation of the Gazans. Egyptian police prevent guns from flowing to the Gazans for their noble resistance to the Zionist enemy.
Jordan was captured long ago. Elections are not allowed in Jordan, because the 65% Palestinian population would elect a radical anti-Zionist regime.
Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco are bought off and sold to the US. Anti-US and anti-Israel demonstrations are regularly crushed with brutality in Tunisia. None of these states are democracies, because democracy would allow an anti-Zionist and anti-US regime to be elected.
In Arabia, there are no democracies. All of the regimes are sold out to the US. There are US military bases in all nations, for the sole reason of policing the Arabian peoples. The effect is that the Arabian peoples are under a dictatorship of US military bases combined with local satraps and Quislings. It’s true the Saudis allow fighters to go to Arab lands, but only to Iraq to fight the Shia that they hate so much.
Lebanon has been under imperialist-Zionist assault for years now. With the election of a French Jew to head the French state, France is now firmly in the Zionist camp. This, along with a colonial attachment to the Lebanese fake state that never died, explains why France has gone along with imperialism-Zionism in Lebanon.
Iraq is now occupied by imperialism-Zionism in the form of the US military and will be occupied into the forseeable future. Iraq was attacked because it was one of the only Arab holdouts that stood steadfast against imperialism and Zionism in the region. Also, they allowed no bases and opened up their oil to non-Americans.
The invasion, in collaboration with the Zionist enemy, was planned to remove the holdout Saddam of the Arab resistance, to remove the competitors of US oil companies from the oil fields they were developing, to take over Iraq’s oil for the US, to use Iraqi oil to flood the oil market and lower the price, killing the Saudis and Gulf states of their oil weapon (the Gulf Arabians, while US allies, are distrusted by International Zionism, and they hatched the Iraqi invasion).
With permabases in Iraq and the biggest US embassy on Earth in Baghdad, US control over the region was seized by force.
It was only due to fortitude that the Iraqi resistance soon led an insurgency against the invaders. If they would not have done this, we know for a fact that the US military would have done a “left turn at Baghdad, and headed for Syria”, as their Zionist masters were ordering them too.
With Iraq out of the way, Libya was quickly subdued with threats of force.
Arafat was murdered by the Israelis. They placed a Mossad agent as his cook and poisoned his food. The Abbas clique went along with the poisoning since they hated Arafat. Getting Arafat out of the way was a long-standing goal of the Zionist agenda. Then elections were held in Palestine, but the results came out wrong and Hamas won.
The Abbas forces were trained by the US to be the shock troops of Zionism in Palestine. Indeed, Abbas forces are utilized primarily against those Palestinians in Hamas who still dare to resist the Zionist enemy.
A plot was concocted to oust the pro-Syrian regime in Lebanon, but it failed. Syria probably killed Hariri, but Hariri was selling out Lebanon to imperialism and Zionism, and Syria would not stand for that.
What does Syria want? One thing and one thing only. They want the Golan back. For this, they will sacrifice everything, the Palestinians, Arabism, you name it. The only card left that Syria holds to enable it to get back the Golan is their auxiliary force in Lebanon, Hezbollah. This is why Syria must not allow Hezbollah to be dismantled. If Hezbollah is dismantled, Syria has lost their last cards too get the Golan back, and they will never be able to get their land back.
The killing of Hariri resulted in international pressure against Syria, including sanctions. There was also an international effort made to disarm and dissolve Hezbollah. The effort to get rid of Hezbollah seems to have failed, although pro-Hezbollah forces won 45% in the last elections. The mini-Hariri crowd that won with 55% is widely seen as the voice of imperialism and Zionism in Lebanon.
A few years ago, with the connivance of US imperialism, US neoconservatives along with Israel concocted a plot to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon. The purpose here was to decisively defeat Hezbollah and wipe out their substantial missile stockpile. This invasion largely failed to accomplish this mission.
The UN was then given the task of occupying South Lebanon to enforce Zionist and imperialist rule on sovereign Lebanese land. This effort has largely failed, as Hezbollah has restocked their missiles and they are now better armed than before the invasion.
This background shows you that Ahmadinejad is one of the last holdouts in the region against total dominaton by US imperialism and Zionism. This is why the Iranian regime is being targeted so forcefully.

George Habash, a Revolutionary Life

Repost from the old site. On the George Habash, leader of the Palestinian PFLP, who died a little over a year ago.
The following tribute to George Habash, leader of the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was delivered to a meeting organized by the CPGB-ML in Central London on last year, February 2008, soon after Habash’s death. The Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist, basically a hardline pro-Stalin group, last time I checked. This document is interesting for various reasons.
For one, it shows that hardline Communist rhetoric in the style of the former USSR is still popular. The PFLP are lauded for being a hardline Marxist-Leninist organization. It’s hard to say whether they still are or not, as they seem to be downplaying this in recent years, and no one really knows what Communism even means anymore.7
It is true that there was a Communist state in South Yemen, but I am not sure if they accomplished much down there.
One of the biggest heroes of the Arab Left is Gamel Nasser, leader of Egypt. One great thing that he did do was to initiate a land reform. Most Arab states probably do not have feudal or semi-feudal land relations in the countryside anymore, but Egypt did in the 1950’s. 10% of landowners owned most land, and 25% of landowners owned almost all of the land.
The vast majority of the rural population was reduced to the status of landless laborers or sharecroppers in debt peonage on the land of the landlords.
Nasser was able to break up the large estates by buying them up via the government and giving the land to the sharecroppers. It was one of the great progressive events in modern Arab history. Back in the day in Yemen, you would go into the houses of the poor in South Yemen and see Nasser’s picture on the wall – they knew he was a hero to the Arab poor, and mostly for the land reform.
Unfortunately, land reform was not enough. Population was exploding and Egypt desperately needed to put more farmland into production. Hence the Aswan Dam, a necessary evil.
But even this did not solve the problems, as the rural poor continued to pour into the cities to look for nonexistent work. The landowners were bought off by assuring them a place in industry, which was and is heavily corrupt and tied in with the state. But the Egyptian economy was so shaky that the rich didn’t really feel like investing in it.
Socialism was and is a pretty easy sell across the Arab World, in part due to Islam. Islam is a pretty socialist religion, although fundamentalists will argue the point with you and point out that the Koran says that there are those who have more and those who have less and this is ok. Nevertheless, the Koran is hardly a raging individualist tract.
Nor are the deserts of the Arab World suited for individualism. In such an environment, the every man for himself libertarian is lost and probably dead quite quickly. One must form alliances or one will be destroyed. One must work cooperatively or the elements will take your life. In a world of perennial scarcity, mass hoarding by a few means death for many more.
Hence, in the past century, most independent Arab states have opted for some kind of socialism. Where the states could not do it, the religious or militant groups did. There is no hatred of welfare or government as we have it in the individualist US. Socialism is simply normal and free market libertarianism is seen as a bizarre and cruel aberration.
Nevertheless, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and probably other places, the clergy did resist land reforms on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. Iraq, newly emerging from semi-feudal relations in the 1960’s, saw the Iraqi Communist Party become one of the largest parties in the country. It was particularly popular with poor Shia who flooded in from the countryside and poured into what later became Sadr City.
At that time, the Shia clergy were widely regarded as corrupt. They were tied in with large landowners, often involved in money-making scams, and were noted for enticing women into sexual relationships with them.
One of the few great things that the Shah of Iran did was to institute a land reform to realign the semi-feudal relations in the Iranian countryside. It went off pretty well, but some ethnic groups opposed it and hence were persecuted.
The tone of the Communist Party Great Britain Marxist-Leninist in the statement below is what might be called Stalinist or anti-revisionist.
Anti-revisionists hold that the problems with Communist states came from them leaving the path of true Communism and diluting their economies with capitalist relations. I do not know how much there is to that, so I can’t comment on revisionism. But even staunch Marxist sites nowadays post long pieces stating flat out that the Soviet model failed.
The North Star Compass is a pretty interesting site. It’s run by former Communists from the East Bloc and the USSR, and it is dedicated to the reestablishing of the Soviet Union as a socialist state. For these folks, Gorbachev was enemy #1. There are quite a few interesting essays there, and for those who think that Putin is a Communist, these guys really hate Putin.
For those who think that Russian Communists are all racists and anti-Semites, note that the North Star Compass despises the newly emerging fascist threat in the USSR.
There are many Trotskyite sites on the Net. The Trotskyites used to be totally nuts on the question of “Stalinists”. Can you believe that they supported the German attack on the USSR and opposed the Soviet army’s war in Afghanistan?
Trotskyites seem to have calmed down a lot lately. Many of them are supporting the Nepalese Maoists and the Colombian FARC. They even support Cuba. Usually this is measured with a tone that these states and movements would be better off if they adopted Trotskyism. Truth is that it is possible that Trotskyism has hardly even be tried anywhere, except possibly in the USSR from 1917-1922.
Trotskyites have a reputation as the ultimate splitters, and in the Philippines they have, incredibly, taken up arms alongside the feudal and fascist state against the Maoist NPA. In Defense of Marxism is a good example of a Trotskyite site.
It seems that many Communists nowadays in the West are Trotskyites of some sort. No one really knows what to make of them, and many Stalinists just laugh about them and regard them as irrelevant. Western Trotskyites seem to have a lot of money for some reason, and often put up nice websites. Non-Trotskyite Communist sites often have mild critiques of Trotskyism as some sort of irrelevant hairsplitting movement.
Western Trotskyites were heavily Jewish in the West until 1967 or possibly earlier. World Trotskyism opposed Israel in the Six Day War and Jewish Trotskyites consequently defected en masse. Many seem to have made their way into the neoconservative movement.
There are a variety of reasons for the heavy Jewish presence in Trotskyism, and that Trotsky himself was Jewish cannot be ignored. Trots have tended to oppose both Stalinism and Maoism as horribly brutal ideologies that committed atrocious human rights violations. Trotskyism has been a serious movement only in the West and it has tended to flounder in the rest of the world.
One of the Trots’ main points is that a rapid buildup of urban industry is essential for the development of a modern socialist state. Trots are almost the opposite of the Maoists and their emphasis on the peasantry.
There are sites that basically uphold the former USSR and even Stalin, but they are often angry at Maoists, whom they accuse of adventurism. In India, Maoists are killing traditional Communists in the state of Bengal, a state that has been run by pro-Soviet Communists for about 30 years now.
Marxism-Leninism Today is an example of a pro-USSR, pro-Cuba, anti-Maoist site. They support the CPI-M (Communist Party India-Marxist) in Bengal and are not too happy with the Indian Maoists for killing their comrades.
Here is a cool site by a Georgian artist who is the grandson of Joseph Stalin, showing the Stalin family tree among other things.
Stalinism.ru is a site run by Russian Stalinists, but if you can’t read Russian, it’s not for you.
The National Bolshevik Party is some sort of a bizarre marriage of Stalinism and racial nationalism (I don’t want to say Nazism, but I fear that is what it is). It’s Russian too, but check out the scary party image, complete with Nordic lettering, and the background on the homepage. Lots of related links at the bottom – looks like they have chapters all over the place.
Another great site, coming from a somewhat different point of view, a Maoist one, is Single Spark (now offline but their materials were collected and are available at another site). Although Maoists are often described as ultra-Stalinists, Maoists and Stalinists are not necessarily the same thing.
The Maoists have always been the real bomb-throwers on the Far Left.
Despite Cold War rhetoric, pro-Soviet Communists often did not take up armed struggle until all peaceful avenues for change were blocked, and the Left was up against a death squad state. Otherwise, the idea was to try to gain power through parliamentary means, despite Lenin’s denouncements of “parliamentary cretinism”.
If the state was reasonably democratic and not killing the Left, the pro-Soviets often argued that “an objectively revolutionary situation did not exist”. On the other hand, Maoists tend to reject all bourgeois democracy as invalid, particularly in very backward societies with mass extreme poverty and accompanying disease, hunger and premature death.
Hence, Maoists have launched insurgencies against formally democratic states as Peru, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Philippines, Nepal and India in recent years. In most of these cases, the pro-Soviet Left decided to sit out armed struggle, and the Maoists were denounced as adventurists irresponsibly taking up arms in spite of a lack of an objectively revolutionary situation.
In Peru, the war launched by the Shining Path led to a state that was less and less democratic and soon became just another Death Squad State. Thus in 1984, the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took a vote and decided that “an objectively revolutionary situation existed” and opted to take up arms.
Another difference is that despite Cold War rhetoric, Maoists are often a lot more vicious than the Castroites and pro-Soviet rebels. Maoists have no qualms about killing “class enemies” – anyone prominent advocating rightwing politics or abusive landowners – whereas the Castroites often try to take the high ground in guerrilla war.
Examples in Latin America are the Castroite ELN in Colombia, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, FMLN in El Salvador, the aforementioned MRTA, and the FARC in Colombia. Despite crap from anti-Communists and the US government, all these groups have tried pretty hard to abide by the rules of war. At any rate, the overwhelming majority of grotesque human rights violations in each of these conflicts were committed by the state.
On the other hand, the Maoist Sendero Luminoso was a profoundly savage and cruel guerrilla group, though they almost seized power.
Communism doesn’t mean that much anymore. Cuba allows religious believers to join the party, and there are millions of liberation theology Leftist Catholics in Latin America and the Philippines. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communists have introduced major elements of capitalism into their economies, while retaining a great deal of socialism at the same time.
Over the course of a few years, from 2003 to 2005 and 2006, the Nepalese Maoists underwent a sea change in politics. They went from hardline Maoists railing against revisionists and opposing anything but the dictatorship of the proletariat, to an embrace of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy and measured critiques of Mao, Lenin and Stalin as outdated for the needs and realities of today.
I think this is fantastic. I care nothing about dogma. I just want results, and I don’t really care how you get there – capitalism, socialism, communism or whatever. If Marxism is indeed an ever-evolving science (which, if it is a science, it must be) then there must be no treating its elementary texts as some sort of religious books.
The works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and others must be regarded as the works of men, not Gods, positing theories. These theories must be tested in praxis to see how well they test out, as in any empirical investigation. The theories of these mortals will either test out or they will not, and if not, we need to adjust them accordingly.
We know what our goals are; all that is at stake is how to get there.
Let us listen to top leader Prachanda and other Nepalese Maoist leaders, from the Single Spark site:

Since MLM is a progressive science, the people’s war calls for ideology and leadership that is capable to complete a new People’s War in the 21st century. Our Party’s CC Extended Meeting last September held that the ideologies of Lenin and Mao have become old and inadequate to lead the present international revolution.
The political and organizational report passed by the meeting says, ‘The proletariat revolutionaries of the 21st century need to pay their serious attention towards that fact that in today’s ground reality, Lenin and Mao’s analysis of imperialism and various notions relation to proletariat strategies based on it have lagged behind.’
As Marxism was born in an age of competitive capitalism, the strategies and working policy formulated during the times of Marx had become old when they arrived at Lenin’s times of imperialism and proletariat revolution.
Similarly, the ideologies developed by Lenin and Mao at the initial phase of international imperialism and proletariat revolution have become inadequate and lagged behind at the present imperialistic phase. Therefore, ‘the main issue is to develop MLM in the 21st century and to determine a new proletariat strategy.1
The second [wrong trend] …is not to concentrate on how revolutionary struggle can be developed in one’s country by developing correct strategy and tactics, but to talk more of world revolution, enjoy classical debate, eulogize strategy and tactic of the past successful revolutions, teach other fraternal parties as if they know everything about the concrete situation in that country and stick to what Lenin and Mao had said before.
This trend represents dogmatism.2
What we think is that situation has undergone a considerable change, so the communist revolutionaries must not stick to what Lenin had said about insurrection and what Mao had said on Protracted People’s War.3
Q. You have envisioned a people’s republic, no?
Prachanda: Mao Zedong’s People’s Republic cannot fulfill the needs of today’s world. It cannot address today’s political awareness appropriately. Mao said cooperative party theory; we called it competitive party theory. We have said let’s move ahead from the conventional People’s Republic and develop it as per the specialties of the 21st century.
Q. You do not follow the old concept of communism?
Prachanda: Definitely not. What happened without competition? In the USSR, Stalin gave no place to competition and went ahead in a monolithic way. What was the result?4
Q. Does Communism make sense today?
Prachandra: It’s a big question, starting with Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who wanted to apply the Marxist teachings in semi colonial countries. Now, we still need Marxism, but in accordance to the needs of the 21st century. We have to apply Marxist science in a very new context, understanding social, economic and also technological changes, without dogmatism and without sectarianism.
We are trying to develop a completely new concept, different from what happened in the past century. When we are in the government, our experiment will surprise everybody.
Q. This will happen only if foreign investors trust a communist government…
Prachandra: Yes, I know. We cannot ignore the whole process of liberalization in the world. So, we will apply mixed economics to this country. Right now, we are not saying that we plan a total socialist economy, though we will not blindly follow western liberalism. We have some national priorities and we will welcome foreign investors, using capital from abroad for the well being of Nepal.5
Though Mao made some bold experiments to revive and develop socialist democracy, his efforts did not result in any qualitative advance. Why did socialist democracy ultimately fail? Why did it have to bear the stigma of ‘totalitarianism’ from its adversaries?
If the revolutionary communists of the 21st century have ‘to win the battle for democracy’, as Marx and Engels had declared in the famous Communist Manifesto, we must dare to question the past practice in socialist democracy and take some bold initiatives.6.
All selections from this document7.

CPGB-ML Tribute to Habash

In his 1944 speech, “Serve the People”, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words:

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements.

Nice memorial poster of PFLP leader George Habash. In all of the obits in the US news, few detailed the reason for the radicalization of Habash. At university in Lebanon, he was apolitical and preferred to play guitar. He raced home during the “Israeli War of Independence” to his home in Lydda. Jewish militias attacked the town and forced 95% of the city to flee.Most were Palestinian Christians. His sister died of typhoid fever during the siege of the town and Habash buried her in the backyard. He blamed the Jews for blocking access to the hospital that could have saved her. There were some notorious massacres of Palestinians during the attack on Lydda, including the execution of many young men in a mosque.The Jews forced Habash and others to line up and leave their homes and all of their possessions. One man asked if he could return to get the keys to his house and for making this request, he was shot dead in front of Habash’s eyes. From that point on, the apolitical future doctor was transformed into a revolutionary.

Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda.
At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a Zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the Zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession.
At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the Zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe:

It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.

During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees.
Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Around this same time, he and his comrades founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), the first pan-Arab movement to take up armed struggle against colonialism and to win back the lost lands.
The significance of the ANM should not be underestimated.
It was the root of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Not only that, but from its ranks also came revolutionary forces in many parts of the Arab homeland, including the National Liberation Front in Aden and South Yemen, which not only defeated British imperialism in a revolutionary armed struggle to win national liberation, but, later as the Yemen Socialist Party, leading the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, stood in the vanguard of to date the only real attempt to build an Arab socialist state on the basis of the scientific principles of Marxism-Leninism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In the 1960s, Comrade Habash, like many other anti-imperialist fighters then, before and since, came to accept that the liberation struggle of the oppressed people, if it was to be crowned with success and carried through to the end, needed to be based on Marxism-Leninism. Lamis Andoni, an analyst for al-Jazeera, who knew Comrade Habash well, expressed matters this way in his tribute to his friend:

He belonged to a generation influenced by Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, General Vo Nguyen Giap and later by Che Guevara. In their views, colonialism epitomised systematic, institutional violence and subjugation of people under its control …
In the early 1960s, George Habash, already a paediatrician in Amman known for treating the poor for free, endorsed Marxism as he grew convinced that the national struggle should not be separate from the struggle for social justice.

After the founding of the PFLP in December 1967, following the Arabs’ bitter defeat in the June 1967 war, Habash declared that the struggle was “not merely to free Palestine from the Zionists but also to free the Arab world from remnants” of Western colonial rule. All Arab revolutionaries, he said, “must be Marxist, because Marxism is the expression of the aspirations of the working class”.
In a 1969 interview, he declared:

By 1967, we had understood the undeniable truth, that to liberate Palestine we have to follow the Chinese and Vietnamese examples.

Indeed, Comrade Habash paid close attention not only to the Chinese and Vietnamese revolutions, but to the experience of all the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement in all parts of the world.
Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were also two countries close to his heart and with which he and the PFLP forged tight bonds of active solidarity. In the memorial hall for Comrade Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, the Korean comrades proudly display the several awards and medals presented to their great leader by the PFLP over the years.
Under Habash’s leadership, the PFLP forged close and active ties of combat solidarity with national liberation movements in all parts of the world – the ANC in South Africa, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Irish Republican Movement, to name but a few, embracing training, material assistance, joint operations and moral encouragement.
In the September 1970 hijackings that gave the PFLP worldwide fame, Leila Khaled was joined by Patrick Arguello Ryan, a militant of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and the only martyr of those operations.
In 1983, after the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinistas commemorated Arguello by renaming the Geothermal Plant at Momotombo in his honour. A poster still available on the PFLP website describes Arguello as the “symbol of common Nicaraguan/Palestinian struggle”.
Comrade Habash sought to translate into reality, and himself embodied, these inspiring words of Che Guevara, which go to the very essence of proletarian internationalism:

Let the flag under which we fight be the sacred cause of the liberation of humanity so that to die under the colours of Vietnam, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil will be equally glorious and desirable for a Latin American, an Asian, an African and even a European.

Comrades, the Palestinian revolution is a complex and difficult one, throwing up many challenges and inevitably differences of view. Equally inevitably, Comrade Habash often found himself embroiled in internal controversy, particularly in terms of the sometimes painful compromises, concessions and retreats that have been forced on the Palestinian people at various times.
But what shines out is the fact that he never lost sight of the importance of unity in the national liberation movement.
In their own tribute to their leader, the PFLP put matters this way:

In 1987, with the outbreak of the great Intifada, Dr. Habash called for upholding Palestinian national unity, and convening the Palestinian National Congress in Algeria in 1988.
Comrade Al-Hakim always understood national unity as a necessary condition for the continuation of the struggle and the national liberation movement, whether in Beirut during internal fighting among Palestinians and after as well, recognising that the internal contradictions among Palestinians could not be solved through military mechanisms, but rather through the democratic processes of the liberation movement.

Lamis Andoni, to whom we have already referred, wrote:

‘His message to the Palestinians was to restore our unity,’ Issam Al Taher, a senior aide, who saw him a day before his death said.‘Unity, unity, unity — that was his only message,’ said Al Taher.

Andoni notes of the relationship between George Habash and Yasser Arafat:

The two men never severed ties and continued a complex relationship of camaraderie and rivalry until the end.

Andoni continued:

Tall and handsome, Habash exuded a certain charisma that disarmed his distracters who admired his persistence but criticised what they saw as rigidity. A stroke that partially paralysed half of his body changed his appearance later but did not affect his ardour for the cause.
It was that Habash that I saw and met for the first time in Tunis in 1983. The PLO was expelled from Beirut too and most its leaders moved to this northern Mediterranean capital of Tunisia. Habash moved to Damascus, Syria instead.
On that day the PLO was holding a meeting. Most of the leaders had arrived and then there was a stir and silence. Habash entered slowly on crutches, hampered and subdued by his physical disability.
The hall, filled with hardened fighters, stood on their feet while Arafat hugged Habash and escorted him to his seat.

Of the final period of Habash’s life, Andoni notes:

He would get so distressed during conversations discussing the events in Palestine and most recently in Iraq, that his wife, and closest friend Hilda, would interfere to stop it.When Israel besieged Arafat in 2002 in his compound in Ramallah, Habash stood by his rival. When Arafat died, amid Palestinian suspicion that Israel may have been involved, Habash deeply mourned him.
The few times I was able to see him over the last three years, he never stopped monitoring and learning every detail about Palestinian life. His physical ailment deepened the sense of soulful pain he internalised.
Those who were with him during his last days recall how disturbed he was by the rift between Fatah and Hamas. He opposed the strategy of Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, of accommodating US and Israeli demands but did not endorse Hamas’ military take over of Gaza.
His main concern was the damage brought upon the Palestinians by the most serious internal rift in their history.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the mourning for Comrade Habash has transcended the differences in the Palestinian ranks. President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning, noting that Habash had dedicated his life to struggling for his people. Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said, “Dr. George Habash spent all his life struggling for the cause of the Palestinian people.”
Islamic Jihad described him as a “real leader” and other Palestinian organisations paying their tributes included the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front, who said that his path was and is one of liberation for the Palestinian and Arab people.
In its December 1967 Founding Statement, the PFLP declared:

The masses are the authority, the guide, and the resistance leadership from which victory will be achieved in the end. It is necessary to recruit the popular masses and mobilise them as active participants and leaders …
The only language that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence …
The slogan of our masses must be resistance until victory, rooted in the heart with our feet planted on the ground in deep commitment to our land. Today, the Popular Front is hailing our masses with this call. This is the appeal. We must repeat it every day, through every breakthrough bullet and the fall of each martyr, that the land of Palestine today belongs to all the masses.
Every area of our land belongs to our masses who have defended it against the presence of the usurper, every piece of land, every rock and stone, our masses will not abandon one inch of them because they belong to the legions of the poor and hungry and displaced persons …
The struggle of the Palestinian people is linked with the struggle of the forces of revolution and progress in the world, the format of the coalition that we face requires a corresponding … coalition including all the forces of anti-imperialism in every part of the world.

Much more can be said on the life, work and legacy of Comrade Habash, but in summary these are some of the things he advocated and taught:
• That the fundamental way to liberation lies through armed struggle and people’s war based on the masses.
• That for the struggle to be successful and carried through to the end it needs to be based on Marxism-Leninism, the scientific world outlook of the working class.
• That the oppressed peoples must uphold proletarian internationalism in their struggle for liberation, based on militant unity within and between the three major currents of the world revolutionary process, the socialist countries, the national liberation movements, and the working-class movement in the imperialist heartlands.
• That the liberation of the nation necessitated the principled and democratic unity of all the forces of the nation, even though major differences will also exist and must be struggled over.
Clearly, all these are not just lessons for the Palestinian people alone.
In June 2000, age and ill health led Comrade Habash to step back from the day-to-day leadership of the PFLP. Giving an inspiring speech on that occasion, in many respects he wrote his own epitaph. He told his comrades:

What I have lived through over the course of these militant decades, and the rich experience I have acquired, is not a matter to be taken for granted. It is your right, and the right of coming generations to review the content and lessons of this experience with all of its many successes and failures.

As befits a man who gave all of his own life and strength to the revolution, Comrade Habash said of the martyrs, the prisoners and his comrades, and it is with Comrade Habash’s own words, from his farewell address, Palestine Between Dreams and Reality, that we conclude this tribute:

I remember each of the martyrs, one by one, and without exception – those martyrs to whom we are indebted, for whom we must continue the struggle, holding fast to the dream and holding fast to hope, and protecting the rights of the people for whom they shed their blood. Their children and their families have a right to be honoured and cared for. This is the least we can do for those blazing stars in the skies of our homeland.
I also remember now the heroic prisoners in the jails of the occupation and the prisons of the Palestinian Authority – those militants who remind us morning and night of our patriotic duty by the fact that they are still there behind bars and by the fact that the occupation still squats on our chests. Each prisoner deserves the noblest signs of respect …
Now permit me to express my gratitude to all the comrades who have worked with me and helped me, whether in the Arab Nationalist Movement or in the Popular Front. They stood beside me during the hardest conditions and the darkest of times, and they were a great help and support for me. Without them I would not have been able to carry out my responsibilities.
They have been true comrades, in all that the word implies. Those comrades helped to create a congenial atmosphere, an environment of political, theoretical, and intellectual interaction that enabled me to do all that was required. Those comrades have a big place in my heart and mind.
I offer all my thanks and appreciation to each one of them by name. In addition, to the comrades who vigilantly guarded me, looking out for my safety, all these long years, I offer my gratitude …
As a last word, I feel it necessary to say that I know well that the goals for which I worked and struggled have not yet been attained. And I cannot say how or when they will be attained. But on the other hand, I know in light of my study of the march of history in general, and of Arab and Palestinian history in particular, that they will be attained.
In spite of this bitter truth, I leave my task as General Secretary of the Front with a contented mind and conscience. My conscience is content because I did my duty and worked with the greatest possible effort and with complete and deep sincerity. My mind is content because throughout my working years, I continually based myself on the practice of self-criticism.
It is important to say also that I will pay close attention to all your observations and assessments of the course taken by the Popular Front while I was its General Secretary. I must emphasise that with the same close attention, if not with greater attention, I will follow and take to heart the observations and assessments of the Palestinian and Arab people on this course and my role in it.
My aim in this closing speech has been to say to you – and not only to you, but to all the detainees, or those who experienced detention, to the families of the martyrs, to the children of the martyrs, to those who were wounded, to all who sacrificed and gave for the cause – that your sacrifice has not been in vain.
The just goals and legitimate rights which they have struggled and given their lives for will be attained, sooner or later. I say again that I don’t know when, but they will be attained.
And my aim, again and again, is to emphasise the need for you to persist in the struggle to serve our people, for the good of all Palestinians and Arabs – the good that lies in a just and legitimate cause, as it does in the realisation of the good for all those who are oppressed and wronged.
You must always be of calm mind, and of contented conscience, with a strong resolve and a steel will, for you have been and still are in the camp of justice and progress, the camp whose just goals will be attained and which will inevitably attain its legitimate rights. For these are the lessons of history and reality, and no right is lost as long as there is someone fighting for it.

Notes

1. Ashok. May 2006. Our Experiences of Ten Tumultuous Years of People’s War, The Worker#10, pp. 68-73. On Lenin and Mao , p. 71.
2. Basanta. May 2006. International Dimension of Prachanda Path. The Worker #10, pp. 82-90.
3. Ibid. On Models: Page 87.
4. Kishor Nepal. June 2006. Prachanda Interview. Maoist Revolution Digest.
5. Alessandro Gilioli. Early November 2006. Prachanda: Our Revolution Won . Italy: L’espresso. Excerpts.
6. Prachanda. November 18, 2006. Democracy: The Forbidden Fruit or Nectar for Progress? Speech at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.
7. MLM Revolutionary Study Group in the U.S. Dec. 21, 2006. Assessing Recent Developments in Nepal: A Bibliography on the State, a Peaceful Transition to Socialism, Democracy and Dictatorship, Negotiations and Their Relevance to the International Communist Movement in the 21st Century.

The Yezidis – A Mysterious Kurdish Religious Sect

About two years after the publication of this post, I wrote an update to this article, Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil? which goes into much more detail about the religion.
Since hardly anyone has any idea about who or what the Yezidis of Northern Iraq are, an introduction is in order. The Yezidis are a minority religious group that lives in Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey, Eastern Syria, Armenia, Northwestern Iran, Georgia, Russia and Germany.
Some estimates put the number of Yezidis at 100,000. However, Yezidi spokesmen say there are 600,000 Yezidis, mostly in Iraq. Other estimates put the number of Yezidis as high as 2 million. There are 10,000 Yezidi refugees in Germany. German Yezidis have created a home page to help introduce others to their religion, but unfortunately it is all in German.
The Yezidis are more of a religious than an ethnic grouping. All Yezidis are Kurds and they all speak Kurdish. In Iraq, most of them live north of Mosul and in the Sinjar Mountains near the Syrian border. There are also Yezidis in Tel Afar, Mosul and the city of Sinjar. Iraq’s Yezidis are seizing Iraq’s democratic moment to press for their rights for the first time.
Yezidis have long been persecuted by Muslims as heathens and devil-worshipers. Although it’s true that the Yezidis worship a peacock angel they call Lucifer, they are basically good, upstanding, moral people. They are not in any way analogous to the actual devil-worshipers who exist in the West, like Anton Levay’s Church of Satan (COS), etc.
Yezidis do not believe in Heaven or Hell and they do not regard Satan, who they regard as the Chief of the Angels, as evil. Instead, he is sacred. The Yezidis feel the Devil created the world and is de facto in charge right now. From the perspective of my life at the moment, those scenarios seem distinctly possible.
Yezidis are allowed to eat pork, unlike Muslims. But bizarrely, they cannot eat lettuce (because the Kurdish word for lettuce rhymes with their word for devil) or wear yellow. This dietary code is not often followed these days. The restriction on eating lettuce may have been due to outbreaks of E. Coli.
Like the Zoroastrians, Yezidis do not accept converts – a tendency which may result in the end of Yezidism with time. Yezidism shares many things with Zoroastrianism, and some commenters regard it as either a Zoroastrian sect or a religion with roots in Zoroastrianism.
My opinion is that a synthesis between Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism and pre-religious paganism is more accurate. It is likely the Yezidism predates all of these – Zoroastrianism, Islam and Judaism – in fact, it may be one of the oldest extant human religions.
Somewhat similar to the caste system of Hinduism, another ancient religion, Yezidis have seven levels of initiation, or classes. The classes are princes, sheiks, senators, seers, ascetics and the community of the faithful. The large faith community class makes up 70% of the community.
This split, with a small elite sect who retain most of the (oral) knowledge of the religion and a large majority of mere followers who are kept in the dark about most of the religion, is also similar to other “secret” religions in the area, including the Sabeans, the Druze and Alawi.
The Alawi of Syrian and Lebanon are a highly divergent Shia sect, a split-off from the extremist Nusairi split early in the history of Shiism. Although the Druze call themselves Muslims, it is probable that they are not Muslims at all, since their religion is so divergent. Instead, like Bahaism, the Druze religion is more properly considered to be related to Islam, rather than part of Islam proper.
The Druze date back to the 1100’s and also seem to be the result of a Shia split, similar to the split that birthed Alawism. Both sects persisted via extreme tribalism, refusing intermarriage, accepting no converts, keeping their religion secret, pretending to be Muslims to avoid persecution while still practicing the religion in secret, and especially, seeking shelter in the difficult, mountainous terrain of the Levant.
The Sabeans or Mandeans of Iraq are probably the last remains of the ancient Gnostic religion; they may also be former Diasporic Sephardic Jews who split off from Judaism in Iraq around the year 600. The Mandeans also worship the North Star, revere John the Baptist and consider Jesus Christ as the font of all evil on Earth!
In Yezidism, marriage across classes is strictly forbidden, again reminiscent of Hinduism. However, people do marry across caste nonetheless. Although the new Iraqi regime is basically a puppet regime of US colonialism, at least the Yezidis do have three members of the new Iraqi Parliament, all elected on the Kurdish list.
Saddam’s regime persecuted the Yezidis first for being Kurds and second for their religion as they were viewed as heathens. Yes, Saddam’s regime was not completely secular. Under Saddam’s extremely racist, fascist-like, Sunni Arab Nationalist regime, Yezidis, Kurds, Assyrians, Shia and Turkomen were all persecuted by the Ba’ath Party.
For instance, Assyrian Christians were denied an identity by the Baath and referred to as “Kurdish Christians”. The Baath forbade the use of the Assyrian or Turkoman languages in the schools. Yezidi religious studies have been banned in Iraq since 1963, the year of the Baathist coup.
In its censuses, Baathist Arab nationalist racists called the Yezidis “an Arabic people”, clearly a falsehood. Saddam’s racist Arab regime engaged in ethnic cleansing of the Yezidis on several occasions. Usually, the Yezidis were driven off their land onto other lands, and their land was given to nearby Arabs.
In 1978, 126 Yezidi villages in Sinjar were “collectivized” into 10 villages while 10 villages near Dahuk were destroyed and the villagers were forced into another village. The new villages created for the Yezidis lacked even basic health care, and it was hard to earn a living. Arab invaders who colonized Yezidi lands forbade the Yezidi from herding animals, and the new villages the Yezidis were pushed into lacked decent pasture.
In 1997, two Yezidi teachers from Elqush were arrested by Saddam’s intelligence services and tortured until they agreed to stop teaching the Yezidi religion.
In the same year, in Ayn Sufna, Baathists stole 1,500 Yezidi properties and gave them to Arab and Kurdish tribes in the region. Saddam’s army surrounded a Yezidi village in 2000, but left after the Yezidis staged a defiant demonstration.
In the no-fly zones formed by the allies in the Kurdish Regional Government area of Iraq instituted after the Gulf War, the Yezidis have fared much better than they did under Saddam.
They liberated many villages that were seized by Arab colonists and today in school, classes in the Yezidi religion are even taught in areas where there are good numbers of Yezidi pupils. However, since the US invasion, the Yezidi situation in some ways has worsened.
The entire north of Iraq has come under the control of Kurdish racist fascist parties, the KDP and PUK. These parties are lately promoting a sort of Kurdish Sunni racism which attacks Sunni and Shia Arabs, Shia, Christian and Yezidi Kurds and Assyrian Christians – in short, everyone who is not a Sunni Kurd.
The racist Sunni Kurds succeeded in preventing large numbers of all of these groups from voting in the election in February 2005.
In the case of the Yezidis, Kurdish racists never even allowed polling stations to open in a number of Yezidi zones. Racist Sunni Kurds have been attacking and ethnically cleansing Assyrian Christian villages in the north for decades now, a process which accelerated when the Allies granted the Kurds their Kurdish Zone in 1991.
This is a continuation of long-standing Kurdish Sunni Muslim racism against Assyrian Christians extending back to the 1920’s. In that decade, Kurdish Muslims gleefully slaughtered huge numbers of Assyrians in a naked display of Islamist bigotry that reached genocidal proportions.
Formally, the Yezidi religion was founded in the 1100’s by Sheikh Uday bin Masafel al-Amawi. Uday was born in Damascus but died in Shaikan in northern Iraq. His tomb in Shaikan is now Yezidism’s holiest site. As noted above, many scholars trace Yezidism to one of the world’s oldest extant religions, Zoroastrianism, founded in ancient Persia.
Traditionally, Yezidism is variously regarded as either an offshoot of Zoroastrianism or Shia Islam. Those who say the Yezidis are Shia hold that they are an extreme Shia “Sevener” Ismaili sect similar to the Druze and the Alawi (see discussion of the Alawi and Druze above).
A better analysis is to regard Yezidism as a syncretic mix between Zoroastrianism and Shia Islam.
Others note Judaic traits in the Yezidis; some suggest that the Yezidis are former Jews who broke away from Judaism and formed a new religion. Indeed, some theorists that the Kurds in general are former Jews. See Rabbi Joe Katz’s Eretzyisroel site for more on that interesting theory, which may have some validity.
The best analysis would leaven the Zoroastrian-Shia syncretism of Yezidism with dollops of Judaism and tablespoons of ancient paganism, while noting the Yezidism is probably older than any of its parts, except for the pagan.
Oddly enough, the Yezidis have a monk and nun class, men and women who dress in white and have taken a vow of celibacy. Yezidis are also said to be sun worshipers, in another similarity with Zoroastrianism.
A famous Yezidi, Sharfadin, has a tomb in Sinjar. Sharfadin also serves as a personified sun god. Note that sun-worship is one of the most ancient of human religious tenets, dating back to the Egyptians and probably beyond.
The leader of the Yezidis is a prince called mir, or mireh shekha. The Yezidi religion is passed down orally through families and officially, there are no Yezidi religious texts. However, closer analysis seems to reveal that there are a couple of Yezidi holy books, but they are hidden by followers, and their existence is denied to outsiders.
Outsiders have somehow managed to get a hold of a couple of copies of these holy texts, or at least parts of them, and they have been published, both in print and on the Internet. Some say that these supposed Yezidi holy texts are actually fakes, and that no extant holy texts exist, as all knowledge is oral.
I glanced through the material in these texts along with an analysis of them. Shall we say that Yezidism is an immensely complex religion and that this article does not begin to tickle out an understanding of it?
Kakaism is another Kurdish sect that is very similar to Yezidism. It arose 1000 years ago in northern Iraq due to conflicts between the Umayyad rulers of Islam and the Zoroastrian priesthood. Kakais, like Yezidis, are forbidden from cursing Satan on religious grounds. Hence, many Muslims see them, like the Yezidis, as devil-worshipers. There are 300,000 Kakais in Kurdistan.
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