Among the diminutive ranks of the vocal minority is Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen, who reports relentlessly on the hazards to African existence in the Jewish state.
These range from verbal and physical abuse - including, for example, the pelting of African women and children with bottles, cassette players, and other impromptu projectiles and the firebombing of homes and daycares - to long-term incarceration in inhumane conditions without trial, to the mass secret forcible repatriation of Sudanese asylum seekers in violation of the UN convention on the status of refugees.
In a May blog post for +972 Magazine, Sheen marked the one-year anniversary of the ”anti-African pogrom" in Tel Aviv, when "a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets… smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across."
As Sheen notes, Regev “apologised after the violence, not to African asylum seekers, but to Israeli cancer victims, for comparing them to Africans - [and] was appointed by [PM Benjamin] Netanyahu to head the Knesset Interior Committee, the very body that decides the fate of those asylum seekers”.
In an email, Sheen shared his response to Mizroch’s allegation that writing a book about racism against Africans in Israel without also discussing racism against Africans in Arab countries constitutes racism against Israelis: ”When I mocked his logic, asking him if it was necessary, in order to put the reports in their proper context, for me to also be locked up in an underground jail and tortured - sadly, the fate of many of these African refugees before they arrive in Israel - Mizroch tweeted: “now THAT I’d pay to see ;)”.
It’s worth reiterating that the mistreatment of Africans in non-Israeli locales often occurs in the countries from which they have fled and to which Israel has no qualms about illegally deporting them. Netanyahu haspledged to rid the country of its “tens of thousands of infiltrators” from Africa.
When Abdallah Awele moved to Saudi Arabia from Ethiopia last year, he thought he would land a good job and earn enough money to send home to his family.
But instead, Abdallah, 21, said he was beaten, robbed and jailed for living in the country illegally.
"I wanted a good salary and a good life, that’s why I crossed the border," he said.
"When I was in Saudi Arabia, I was successful, I was saving a lot of money and I had nice things. But I lost all of it. Now I am home and I won’t go back there."
Abdallah was one of at least 23,000 Ethiopians living illegally in Saudi Arabia, and part of a group of close to 400 flown home on Friday after being expelled.
According to Ethiopian officials, three of their nationals were killed this month in clashes with Saudi police as the clampdown - set in motion after a seven-month amnesty period expired - got under way.
"I had 3,500 Saudi Arabian riyals (930 dollars, 690 euros). We were taken to prison, I lost my luggage, and all of my money was collected by the police," Abdallah said.
"Even my shoes were collected by the police," he said, speaking barefoot after leaving the airport with about 30 other men and showing scars on the back of his neck.
Abdullah, who had a job guarding animals, was jailed for six months - during which he said he was denied food and medical help.
Facing limited job prospects and harsh economic realities back home, large numbers of Ethiopian men and women head to the oil- and gas-rich Arabian peninsula every year seeking work.
The International Labour Organisation said many face physical and mental abuse, menial pay, discrimination and poor working conditions, and the Ethiopian government announced last month it was banning domestic workers from travelling to the Middle East to look for jobs after widespread reports of mistreatment.
Like Abdullah, Abdurahman Kamal said he too was beaten before being jailed for ten days. His employer revoked his salary and his visa before handing him over to the authorities, he says.
"The police asked for money but at that time I didn’t have the money, so the police beat me," said Abdurahman, 21, who worked as a driver.
Now he says he is relieved to be home after three years in Saudi Arabia.
"I get to go back to my family," he said, wearing a torn shirt that revealed his scarred torso.
With 91 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous country in Africa after Nigeria, but also one of the poorest. Ethiopia’s unemployment rate - 27 percent among women and 13 percent among men, according to the ILO - is the main driver for young people seeking better opportunities abroad.
The UN refugee agency says that over 51,000 Ethiopians risked their lives this year alone on the risky sea crossing across the Gulf of Aden, where reports are common of ships sinking or refugees drowning after being thrown out too far from the shore.
'Thousands' in prison
It was greener pastures that led Ahmed Abduljebar, 25, abroad three years ago. He moved to Yemen to work as a waiter and was arrested when he crossed into Saudi Arabia without a visa.
He said he was robbed and beaten before being jailed for three months, and complained that the Ethiopian embassy should have responded faster to release Ethiopians from prison.
Ahmed said while he is happy to be home, he “feels sick” knowing there are still thousands of Ethiopians still in jail.
While they now face the difficult task of finding work at home, they agree they have no plans to go back.
"I would never go back again to Saudi Arabia," Abdurahman said.
November 10, 2013 - It was Halloween ten days ago in the United States. Having spent the last 11 years in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I’ve learned a fair amount about American culture. I understand that it is customary for people to dress up in masks and embrace different identities for a night. In Camp 5 at Guantanamo, the masks rarely come off.
Take one of our military guards here. Standing 195cm tall at 114k, Biggie is the name that the prisoners have given him. A young soldier in his 20s, Biggie can be both courteous and helpful. He often runs errands for us and speaks to us respectfully. But Biggie is also the most brutal of guards.
In February of this year, my fellow Guantanamo prisoners and I began a hunger strike to protest our indefinite imprisonment without charge. I also routinely stage peaceful sit-ins, refusing to leave my cell or the recreation area.
A procedure known as “Forced Cell Extraction” (FCE) is used to transport protesting prisoners. A typical extraction begins with the FCE team slamming my face into the ground. Four men grab my legs and arms and a fifth takes my head. The team leader pins my feet and arms together behind me at a single point while all the other guards press down on him with their cumulative weight.
Biggie is the FCE team leader on my cellblock. He is the one who nearly breaks my back during each forced extraction. He is also the one who handcuffs me using tight, cutting plastic restraints and then subjects me to a humiliating body search. I’m lucky if Biggie and the FCE team handle me like a sack of potatoes.
I recently confronted Biggie about this contradiction. His only response is that he’s “just doing as told”.
I often reflect on how Biggie mirrors his country’s contradictions. Elected American officials labeled me and the other prisoners here as “the worst of the worst”. They called us “terrorists”. Yet, despite these claims, I have not been charged with a single crime nor has any evidence been presented to support my imprisonment these long years. In fact, I have been cleared for release by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Of course, Guantanamo does not define me. I arrived here bound at the hands and feet, blacked-out goggles covering my eyes, and expecting death. But up until that point, I had been an English teacher, a translator, a volunteer with a humanitarian group, a resident of Great Britain, a husband, and a father of four.
I know who I am. I ask the American people which face they wish to choose for their country - the good or the bad. I pray that Americans do not continue to allow fellow human beings to suffer such atrocities in the name of their security. I dream that they will find the strength to peacefully challenge those in power. And I hope that their actions are shown more humanity than ours have seen.
Shaker Aamer is the last remaining UK resident imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has been in US custody since 2002 and was one of the very first prisoners moved to Guantanamo, and was assigned Internment Serial Number ISN 239.
This article was provided by his legal team at CUNY School of Law.
Here is a really comprehensive visual timeline of the history of drone warfare in Pakistan since its inception in 2004 during the Bush administration. Also, note how drastically the strikes increased since Obama has been sworn into office, as high as 3000% in “high profile” areas, though only two percent of the killed have been confirmed targeted militants.
“What I supported as a younger politician was exactly what the whole world now supports for Israel and Palestine, namely separate nation states will be the solution. In our case we failed. There were three main reasons. We failed because the whites wanted too much land…
Here is a PDF of a full scale analysis on the abuse and torture suffered by detainees at Guantanamo Bay from doctors hired at the detention camp.
Kissinger then went apocalyptic. “I would keep open the possibility that we’ll pour in arms into Pakistan,” he said angrily. “I don’t understand the psychology by which the Russians can pour arms into India but we cannot give arms to Pakistan. I don’t understand the theory of non-involvement. I don’t see where we will be as a country. I have to tell you honestly, I consider this our Rhineland.”
Kissinger direly warned that “the rape” of Pakistan, an ally of the United States, would have terrible consequences in Iran, Indonesia, and the Middle East. When this did not sway Nixon, he added that if the Soviet Union grew too confident after an Indian victory, there could be a Middle East war in the spring. Nixon nervously said, “We have to know what we’re jeopardizing and know that once we go balls out we never look back.” Kissinger agreed that the president was gambling his relationship with the Soviets, but hoped that the very willingness to bet such big stakes would scare them.
This doomsday argument persuaded Nixon. He went forward on all the interlocking parts of Kissinger’s plan: moving a US aircraft carrier and asking China to deploy its troops toward India’s border. And the president again approved the illegal movement of Jordanian warplanes. Kissinger said, “I’d let the Jordanians move some of their planes in,” and added, “And then we would tell State to shut up.” Nixon agreed to that. Kissinger continued, “we would have to tell him”— King Hussein— “it’s illegal, but if he does it we’ll keep things under control.” Once again, neither Nixon nor Kissinger flinched at breaking the law. Nixon said, “with regard to the Jordanians, no sweat.” Soon after, he ordered, “Get the planes over.”
On Pakistan and Bangladesh. How Kissinger and Nixon brought the world to the brink of a third great war.
Jinee Lokaneeta: Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India.
By Saadia Toor
Discourses of race, gender and sexuality have always served an important ideological function within imperialist projects. The current phase of American imperialism, characterized by the Global War on Terror is no exception, as evidenced by the cynical deployment of ‘women’s rights’ by the Bush regime to legitimate the bombing of Afghanistan. Given the contemporary geo-political context, the current imperialist project requires the deployment of increasingly explicit forms of Islamophobia, and ‘queer rights’ have become the latest front in this purported battle between Civilization—liberal modernity as embodied by ‘the West’—and Barbarism—as connoted by Islam. Within this neo-Orientalist discourse ‘the Muslim’ enemy is today configured as both misogynyst and homophobic, with an essentialized Islam comfortably posited as the roots of his illiberalism. This illiberalism is then presented as both the mark and the evidence of Islam’s radical alterity from Western civilization, an alterity that cannot be tolerated and must, in fact, be destroyed. Like colonial and imperial projects in the past that relied on ‘civilizing missions’ (cl)aiming to ‘save brown women from brown men’ (for a counter argument see Spivak 1999), the new imperial project thus uses the imperative to ‘rescue’ Muslim queers (as well as women, of course) as an ideological cover for racist wars abroad and xenophobia at home.
The main thrust of this essay is to show how misleading the contemporary mainstream Western discourse on ‘Islam’ and gender/sexuality is, and the degree to which it is premised on an essentialized and monolithic ‘Islam’ emptied of history, diversity, complexity, and dissent.
Read Saadia Toor on this as well as liberalism vis a vis Pakistan and how the former deteriorated the latter.
Temporary international migration for employment is not a new phenomenon and much has been written about ‘guest workers’ to European countries. Labor migration to the oil producing Middle East countries is, however, a relatively recent occupation?one that is likely to have far reaching impacts on both labor importing and exporting countries. Serageldin et al. (1983) have estimated that from about 1.6 million migrant workers in 1975 the number would increase to about 4.3 million in 1985 in the major capital rich labor importing countries.
In some oil producing countries, such as Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, non-national workers comprise over seventy percent of the total labor force. In recent years, the relative proportion of non-Arab migrant labor has increased, proportionately more South and South East Asian and East Asian workers are now employed in the Middle East than in the mid-seventies.
Highly informative. You can download the entire PDF by clicking on the link provided.