The girl in the picture is Amal. Ten days or so ago, I signed a letter with a hundred other artists and writers to Donald Trump against his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The letter carried this picture. Amal saw this picture. She wrote us letter, which I posted on my blog. I recommend it. Amal, like 'Ahd Tamimi (age 17 from Nabi Saleh in Palestine's West Bank) and Fawzi Al-Junaidi (age 14 from Hebron) are the new frontline fighters for justice for the Palestinian people. There will be no end to this resistance. As the UN put it in 1960, the process of liberation is irresistible.
The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to side with the Palestinians against Trump's inflammatory policy on Jerusalem. The vote was conclusive: 128 countries voting yes with the Turkish and Yemeni resolution that rebukes Trump on Jerusalem. Nine countries voted against the resolution (the United States and Israel certainly, joined by islands of the South Seas, Guatemala and Honduras - more on that country below). There were 33 abstentions, which is interesting. These include US allies such as Australia and Canada, but also countries that are under the thumb of the US in one way or another. It was interesting that these countries decided to abstain rather than take a firm position on the matter (Mexico's abstention is of interest). Personally glad that India voted for the Turkish and Yemeni resolution.
This resolution was provoked because the United States vetoed the Egyptian resolution in the Security Council on the same matter. I went on The Real News to briefly talk about that resolution and the veto, in anticipation of the ThursdayGeneral Assembly move. You could watch this ten minute segment here.
For background on this maneuver by Trump, in the latest Frontine I have a report on 'Trump as Balfour', which you could read here. Children have been at the heart of the protests in recent weeks. Please remember that 1960 statement by the UN on liberation. It has passed from generation to generation, remaining alive in a material way now amongst the young teenagers. Israel has to realize that it has a simple choice: be a permanent colonial power with apartheid conditions and resistance at its centre, or admit to the genuine call for freedom amongst the Palestinians in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, in Gaza, inside the 1967 lines of Israel and in exile. The voices of the Palestinians for liberation refuse to go extinct.
The photo above is from Honduras. It has disappeared from the news. It is worth saying it plainly, an election has been stolen from the people and delivered directly to the entrenched oligarchy. There is ugliness afoot in this country that has never been given a chance. I wrote a short report on the stolen election this week for Alternet. You can read it here.
No wonder that the Honduras government voted with the United States against Palestine. It is in the marrow of its oligarchy to be against freedom. These are the allies that the United States and Israel cultivates.
The United States has decided to support the presidential ambitions of Juan Orlando Hernández, the candidate of the oligarchy who first corrupted the Supreme Court and then stole this election. Matters are so grave that even the Organisation of American States, a reliable ally of the US, rebuked the election theft. This disdain for the appearance of liberal hegemony is part of the new Trump Doctrine.
If I were to paraphrase that Doctrine, it would read: the Goal is War, the Strategy is War and the Tactic is War. It is not too much to be afraid of the Trump agenda, drawing as it does from a longer history of US imperialism, but now with the liberal sheen rubbed off. I went on The Real News to talk about the latest security document from the Trump administration. You can watch the twenty minute segment here.
At the end of the segment I hope that some countries - perhaps Bolivia - will call for a UN special session to discuss belligerence and the world arms trade. That wasn't an idle thought. I hope that the countries that voted against the US in the General Assembly consider something like this......
All history is not ugly. There is the good side. India had its assembly elections, whose results came out early this week. The BJP - the party of the hard right - was able to win both in Gujarat and in Himachal Pradesh. But these were not total victories. In Gujarat, the party did not come near its previous vast margins.Things were much tighter - showing that the tide might be turning against the hard right in its bastion.
In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won because the incumbent Congress government was wracked by corruption scandals. The Left is too weak to break the lock that these two parties have on the state's politics. But, and this is important, our comrade Rakesh Singha (above) of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won the assembly seat in Theog. He will be a voice of the people in the Assembly. In Gujarat, meanwhile, our friend Jignesh Mevani won from the Vadgam constituency. He will be a thorn in the side of the BJP. When NDTV's Prannoy Roy asked Jignesh if he'd work with the BJP, he said, 'not with the fascists'. This is the kind of clarity that we like.
At LeftWord Books, we have a short blog post on the elections; at Newsclick, Subodh Varma has a good assessment of the BJP's election result in Gujarat.
Two books to recommend to you. What unites these two authors for me is that I had the pleasure of walking through Mark Twain's house with both! And both are dear friends.
First, from P. Sainath comes the 20th anniversary edition of his classic - Everybody Loves a Good Drought, with a powerful foreword by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Just as India entered liberalisation in 1991, Sainath went out to document the devastation in India's rural districts. This is one of my favourite books. Coming soon, from LeftWord Books, is our edition of John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World, with Sainath's brilliant introduction. I'll let you know when it is out. If you have a spare half an hour, watch Sainath's indictment of Modi's demonetarization policy from the standpoint of rural India. He is equal parts entertaining and heart-breaking.
Second, from Santiago Gamboa comes the English translation of his novel - Return to the Dark Valley. I am in the middle of it, and enjoying it as much as I've enjoyed his previous fiction. There are two lovely essays on Santiago's work, one in El Pais and the other in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Soon, I'll be bringing out Santiago's lovely essay on writing about India - where he lived when he worked at the embassy of the government of Colombia.
Finally, from the good side of history again, comes a story by our friend Ilhem Rachidi of The Hirak - the people's movement from Morocco. You can read her report it here. The struggles in Morocco are not over. They are alive and well. As I was reading Ilhem's report I heard that the Communist students in Kerala's Sanskrit University won all the seats in the student election. They then took out a march, the picture of which is below. History has its bad side, but - through our struggles - it has its good side too.
This list has now been around for four years. It has thousands of subscribers. I am grateful to hear from some of you off and on. Some write to give me tips on stories to cover or read. Please keep the feedback coming. From mid-January, this list will transition into another form as my work with the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research will become more focused. More on that later.