Today, in Washington, DC, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived to protests outside the Turkish embassy. This is to be expected. There is a great deal to voice outrage about - the purges that are ongoing and the suppression of the Turkish southeast. The size of the protest was modest - two dozen people. Erdoğan's supporters - and perhaps Turkish security guards - attacked these protestors. A Facebook video showed them bloodied.
In today's Alternet, I have a report to coincide with Erdoğan's arrival in Washington. The report covers the Turkish purges and the war in Turkey's southeast - as well as two sets of hunger strikes that call attention to these two ongoing atrocities. I'm grateful to my Turkish friends for speaking to me about the mood in the country. One of my long-standing contacts - who is a supporter of Erdoğan - is nonetheless disturbed by the purges; they might, he feels, deny the next generation of experienced teachers.
My report ends with a poem - now banned - by the leader of the HD - Selahattin Demirtaş. 'May the smile of people remain fadeless', writes Demirtaş, a man of great conviction and hope. It is with some emphasis that I end my report. The two who are on hunger strike against the purges sent a message that their 69th day of the strike would be dedicated to solidarity with the hunger strike of the Palestinian political prisoners. There's is a broad outlook, not the narrowness of right-wing nationalism.
You can read my report here.
News comes that US President Donald Trump revealed intelligence secured from the Israelis to the Russians. This is the drama of the front page. Meanwhile, off the radar of the media is the acceleration of the use of military power in the landscape of the War on Terror - from Libya to Afghanistan. I spent thirteen minutes with Paul Jay of the Real News Network talking about Trump's warfare and his eagerness to substitute diplomacy for militarism. It is one thing to say that the United States continues to bomb Afghanistan because it cannot afford to lose that war. This is the Afghanistan Syndrome, a repacked version of the Vietnam Syndrome. Sadly, the people of Afghanistan are paying the cost for the psychological dilemmas of the American elite.
You can watch the segment here.
We just passed Nakba (Catastrophe) Day on 15 May - the day when over three-quarters of a million Palestinians were displaced from their homes in 1948. To honour that day, I wrote a short blog post at my site on Nehru's flight out of Gaza in 1960. As his UN aircraft took off, two Israeli fighter jets engaged it in the air - and if not for the UN pilot's nerve, Nehru might have suffered a plane crash. The incident is barely known. Nehru talked about it in Parliament. India has never openly asked Israel to apologize. It is an incident buried in the past.
My blog post begins there, takes us to Beirut where Nehru gave a lecture at the AUB (see the picture) and then to the current situation, where the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans a visit to Israel - the first by an Indian head of government. If in 1960 Indian troops held the line in Gaza to protect Palestinian refugees, today Indian warships are docked in Haifa to play war games with the Israelis. A shift in policy to be sure.
You can read my blog post here.
Finally, some news from LeftWord Books.
Sudhanva and I just sent out our periodic letter. This one goes over our list of new books - now expanded with four more titles, including B. R. Ambedkar's India and Communism as well as a volume I have edited called Red October: The Russian Revolution and the Communist Horizon. Details of the books are in our letter, which you can read here. If you have comments about our books, please let us know. Sudhanva and I are eager to get your feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
There is also a letter to our book club members, which you can read here. There are many benefits to being in our book club - discounts surely, but also gatherings such as one in Delhi to talk about what you'd like us to publish and how you want us to improve. Please join our book club. See you on the 26th of May.