Part Two
(Part One was published on 09.03.2012)


Map story of Palestinian nationhood
From washingtonsblog.com

The opinion makers are polarized according their political bias, and rarely change their ideas because of facts. They assemble facts to suit opinions. Depending on whom you read, the latest disaster is the fault of the Jews, the Moslems, and the infidels, the Arabs or the United States. If we believe the pundits, the latest crisis, whatever it is, has inevitably proven both that the anti-Zionist Noam Chomsky and the pro-Zionist Charles Krauthammer were absolutely right in their analyses. The Gush-Shalom movement, the Yesha Council, United Rabbis for Greater Israel, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all claims that they knew and warned of the impending disaster and all of their contradictory analyses and solutions could have averted it if adopted in time. Likewise the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), CAIR and the Arab League can explain exactly how they predicted what would happen, and how it came about because nobody listened to them.
You may get reinforcement for your ideas from such summaries. You may get “talking points” that will allow you to become part of the great parade of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations that substitute for thinking and dialog in the region. In this way, you can impress your friends and dialog partners with pseudo-facts or one line quotes from Gandhi or Herzl or Haj Amin El Husseini or Osama Bin Laden and win arguments: “The Jews became a nation in 1312 BC – there is no such thing as a Palestinian People” or Jabotinsky said that we have to broom all the Arabs out of Palestine.” It may impress people, but it is probably not a way to find the truth. It is not a way to solve the problem. It is a way to become part of the problem, a soldier in the armies of hate and disinformation.
Two State Partition Solution – The British first partitioned Palestine in 1922, cutting off Transjordan from the Palestine mandate of the League of Nations, along with the announcement by Winston Churchill that the Mandate called for a Jewish home in Palestine, but not necessarily in all of Palestine. The Peel and Woodhead commissions of 1937 and 1938 recommended a further partition, into a tiny Jewish state and much larger Arab state. The Arabs rejected this solution and the British abandoned it. The UN called for the establishment of two states in UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which became the basis for the establishment of Israel. The Arab countries opposed Resolution 181, and were also not enthusiastic about creating a Palestinian state, preferring to divide the territory of Palestine between them.
While Jewish immigration to Palestine in the 1920’s caused little alarm, the situation escalated markedly with the rise of Nazi persecution in Europe. Large numbers of European Jews flocked to Palestine, inflaming nationalist passions among all Arabs, who feared the creation of a Jewish state in which they would be the losers. Palestinian resistance erupted into a full-scale revolt which lasted from 1936-39. This revolt, which in some respects resembled the intifada of the late 1980s, was the first major outbreak of Palestinian-Zionist hostilities.
Although the strict terms imposed on Transjordan since 1921 prevented Emir Abdullah from establishing official contacts with Palestinian Arabs under the British mandate, he nonetheless gave refuge to Palestinian leaders and political activists. He constantly warned the British against earmarking Arab lands for a Jewish national home and allowing increased Jewish immigration to Palestine. He also intervened at various levels on behalf of the Palestinians, while warning of impending disaster should a diplomatic solution to the problem not be found. His predictions fell on deaf ears, but came true nonetheless.
As the Jewish population in Palestine increased sharply during the 1930s, fighting between Jews and Arabs increased also. Both sides blamed the British, who failed miserably in their attempts to reach a settlement acceptable to all. The conflict was muted by the onset of World War II, during which both sides cooperated with the British. Transjordan’s Arab Legion also joined the side of the Allies, helping the British and the Free French drive the Vichy forces from Syria.
The crisis of Palestine reached a boiling point in the years immediately after the war. With international sympathy firmly behind the Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, Zionist leaders pressured the British to admit thousands of displaced Jews. At the same time, underground Jewish groups such as the Irgun and the renegade Stern Gang initiated a campaign of terrorism against the British. Washing its hands of the whole imbroglio, Britain declared in February 1947 that its mandate over Palestine would end on May 14, 1948. The matter was then addressed by the United Nations, which, after rejecting various plans, voted for the partition of Palestine in November 1947. The plan called for the partition of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, with al-Quds (Jerusalem) to be placed under UN trusteeship. More than half the territory, including the valuable coastal strip, had been allotted to the Jews, who only owned about 6% of the land. The Arabs were shocked, and conflict was inevitable.
On May 14, 1948, the British terminated their mandate over Palestine, and the Jews immediately proclaimed the independence of the state of Israel. The Soviet Union was the first country to recognize Israel, followed promptly by the United States. The tragedy of Palestine was born.
There isn’t any single Israeli view; rather, there are many different Israeli views, which differ widely in their content:
Most Israelis see the predominant Palestinian views of the peace process that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and indicate, in their opinion, that the only real long-term Arab goal is the complete destruction of the Jewish state.
Jews hold that Zionism is not colonialism, since it does not wish to enslave any other peoples or lands, or to exploit them. Zionism is limited solely to allowing Jewish people to have a state in one small area. To the objection that the Palestinians were being exploited simply by the Israelis living on what used to be their land, Israelis reply that the Palestinians were, up until recently, on a path to their independence from Israel, a path from which, as most Israelis now feel, the Palestinians diverted by starting a war against them.
At stake is the very existence of the state of Israel. Israelis regard many of the Arab criticisms against the state of Israel as threats to the state’s existence, and point out that against the multitude and power of the Arab states, there is only one Jewish state, which, as they feel, should behave vigilantly, and in particular never give up if bullied.
There isn’t any single Palestinian view; rather, there are many different Palestinian views, which differ widely in their content:
Palestinians feel that the Jewish state of Israel was established under conditions that were deeply unfair to them. Some do not oppose a Jewish state as such, and all Palestinians feel that it should not be established at the expense of another people. They argue that after World War II, the world allowed a state for Jewish people in Palestine to be made without much concern for the existing Arab population.
They further support the statement made by Count Bernadotte concerning the right of return of refugees: “It would be an offense against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine” (UN Doc Al 648, 1948). Count Folke Bernadotte was subsequently assassinated by the Stern gang, widely considered to be a terrorist organization.
Palestinians claim that they have International law on their side. To take a few examples, UN General Assembly Resolution 194 calls for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return. UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. The Fourth Geneva convention forbids an occupying power to settle seized territory. General Assembly Resolution 446 has declared that the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal. However, there are doubts as to whether the return of refugees is compatible with the continuous existence of the state of Israel, and the preservation of a “just and lasting peace” in the region.
Palestinians point out that Israel continued to expand the settlement community in the occupied Palestinian territories throughout the Oslo peace process — Palestinians claim this was done to make any meaningful Palestinian state impossible. The settlements are off limits to Palestinians, while any Jew in the whole world can at any time choose to settle there. In 2000 at Camp David the Palestinians were offered an independent state composed of most of Gaza and the West Bank. Led by Arafat, the Palestinians rejected this offer, claimed that this state would be a “Bantustan” (a state divided in many pieces or fragmanted states) and walked out of the negotiations. The Israeli proposal was rejected. President Clinton and the Israelis asked the Palestinians to offer a counter-proposal, but Arafat refused and went back to the West Bank. Later, further negotiations did take place, but they were terminated by the Israeli side as Israeli government policy held that it was futile to negotiate while actually under fire.
In 2002 Saudi Arabia offered a peace plan in the New York Times, as if it were its own original idea, the UN’s resolutions which call for withdrawal from the territories in addition for full recognition of Israel by the whole Arab world. This proposal was backed by the entire Arab world. The Israeli government was not prepared to discuss this proposal.
Many Arabs deny that historical grounds can justify the existence of a Jewish nation today. They hold that events that happened thousands of years ago do not justify evicting the Palestinians from what they see as their homeland.
Some Arabs maintain that there is nothing wrong with Jewish immigration into Palestine, in itself, any more than there is with Jewish immigration into any other part of the world. But most of the Jews arriving in Palestine did so with the intention of taking it over and establishing a Jewish majority state. Most Arabs maintain that Israel’s settlement policy is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a crime against international law. On their view, Israel, because of its expansion of settlements, has the lion’s share of responsibility for the failure of the peace process.
There is an old saying: “No one can unscramble scrambled eggs.” That cliche is true. And in no circumstance is the application of that quip more apropos than in the current Middle East conflagration.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a “scrambled” mess that has a meager possibility of resolution in the foreseeable future. The blood-thirsty Palestinians, with their Muslim background, would like to see all of the people of the state of Israel gone —preferably dead! The Israelis equally long to see the infidel Palestinians banished to some remote desert —at least somewhere out of their “sacred” territory. But both want the same real estate, and thus far each has been unwilling to work seriously for a peaceable coexistence. And definitely this is a situation where it takes two to tango, yet both have been doing the war dance!
It does not require a “Solomon” to see that if these hostile parties do not attempt to find a workable, side-by-side plan for neighborliness, like Eugene Field’s “gingham dog and calico cat,” they will consume one another eventually.
Just who does own the deed to the land over which these feuding peoples are willing to shed so much blood? That’s like asking who owns Texas — the “Texicans” or the Mexicans? It once belonged to the latter, you know. Who has the title rights to the vast western region of our nation? The Apaches, the Comanches, the Sioux, the Utes —or the U.S. government? Need we rehearse who took what from whom? The tragic point is: history cannot be undone. Men must learn to live together in peace, and, to some extent, accept the long-standing status quo, if there is to be tranquility and prosperity in their lives. Complicating this issue is the belief, entertained by Israel, that she has a “divine right” to the territory east of the Mediterranean.
(The Middle East Conflict by Wayne Jackson at christiancourier.com)
“Palestine became a predominately Arab and Islamic country by the end of the seventh century. Almost immediately thereafter its boundaries and its characteristics — including its name in Arabic, Filastin — became known to the entire Islamic world, as much for its fertility and beauty as for its religious significance…In 1516, Palestine became a province of the Ottoman Empire, but this made it no less fertile, no less Arab or Islamic…Sixty percent of the population was in agriculture; the balance was divided between townspeople and a relatively small nomadic group. All these people believed themselves to belong in a land called Palestine, despite their feelings that they were also members of a large Arab nation…Despite the steady arrival in Palestine of Jewish colonists after 1882, it is important to realize that not until the few weeks immediately preceding the establishment of Israel in the spring of 1948 was there ever anything other than a huge Arab majority. For example, the Jewish population in 1931 was 174,606 against a total of 1,033,314.
In 1948, at the moment that Israel declared itself a state, it legally owned a little more than 6 percent of the land of Palestine…After 1940, when the mandatory authority restricted Jewish land ownership to specific zones inside Palestine, there continued to be illegal buying (and selling) within the 65 percent of the total area restricted to Arabs.
Thus when the partition plan was announced in 1947 it included land held illegally by Jews, which was incorporated as a fait accompli inside the borders of the Jewish state. And after Israel announced its statehood, an impressive series of laws legally assimilated huge tracts of Arab land (whose proprietors had become refugees, and were pronounced ‘absentee landlords’ in order to expropriate their lands and prevent their return under any circumstances).
Joseph Weitz was the director of the Jewish National Land Fund…On December 19, 1940, he wrote: ‘It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country…The Zionist enterprise so far…has been fine and good in its own time, and could do with ‘land buying’ — but this will not bring about the State of Israel; that must come all at once, in the manner of a Salvation (this is the secret of the Messianic idea); and there is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer them all; except maybe for Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem, we must not leave a single village, not a single tribe’…There were literally hundreds of such statements made by Zionists.” Edward Said, “The Question of Palestine.”
“Before the end of the mandate and, therefore before any possible intervention by Arab states, the Jews, taking advantage of their superior military preparation and organization, had occupied…most of the Arab cities in Palestine before May 15, 1948. Tiberias was occupied on April 19, 1948, Haifa on April 22, Jaffa on April 28, the Arab quarters in the New City of Jerusalem on April 30, Beisan on May 8, Safad on May 10 and Acre on May 14, 1948…In contrast, the Palestine Arabs did not seize any of the territories reserved for the Jewish state under the partition resolution.” British author, Henry Cattan, “Palestine, The Arabs and Israel.”
(The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict by Jews for Justice in the Middle East at ifamericansknew.org)
For about 40 years, there has been an international consensus that Israel must stop colonizing territory outside its 1967 borders. The consensus has been blocked by the United States, in isolation from the international community (much like the USA’s isolated, strong support for South African Apartheid). Every year there is a UN vote on the issue, and every year it goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel. This continues under Obama. All human rights groups support the consensus, as does Hamas, the Arab League, Iran, the Organization of the Islamic Conference… Virtually everyone, except the US and Israel.
To get a quick visual understanding of the difference between Gaza and Israel, take a look at the images of people and cities being wantonly pummeled by Israeli terrorism when you search the word “Gaza“, and the images of opulence, wealth and luxury that come up when you search “Tel Aviv“.
It is not expansion of the huge settlement and infrastructure program (including the separation wall) that is the issue, but rather its very existence—all of it illegal, as determined by the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice, and recognized as such by virtually the entire world apart from Israel and the United States since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who downgraded “illegal” to “an obstacle to peace.”
(On Israel-Palestine and BDS, Noam Chomsky, July 2, 2014 at thenation.com – This article appeared in the July 21-28, 2014 edition of The Nation)
So you’ve heard about the sufferings endured by Palestinians at the hands of Israelis. You’ve seen pictures of Palestinian children killed by Israeli bombs, read about targeted killings, learned about the West Bank separation barrier and checkpoints, and heard of the hardships, discriminations and humiliations daily endured by the Palestinian people. You’ve seen the UN and other international organizations repeatedly issue sharp criticisms of Israel for its actions. You’ve learned of the Palestinian exile, and of their decades-long struggle for the land.
Any decent, justice-seeking person who hears of such suffering would, and should, act to stop it, correct it, and make it known. But what is the best way to stop Palestinian suffering? What if its true roots are more complex than they are often made to appear? What if many of these sufferings turned out to be ultimately self-inflicted – what then? How best to end them?
Following Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs’ declaration “Palestinian Authority doesn’t exist,” the relationship between the State of Palestine and Israel is deteriorating rapidly. Historical moments cannot be analyzed by the rules applied to regular ones. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cannot consider the aftermath of Palestine having been recognized as a state by the UN as a moment in which he can continue things as usual. For a similar reason, Yasser Arafat couldn’t sign the agreement proposed in Camp David in the year 2000. At such moments, future implications must be carefully considered.
The favorite argument of the Hebrew media regarding the Israeli negotiations with Palestine is that the failure of the 2000 Camp David Summit between US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat proves that a comprehensive peace agreement is not possible. Barak offered what to Westerners looked like a good deal. In several stages, Palestinians were to achieve sovereignty on over 92% of the West Bank and Gaza while Israel would have dismantled over 60 settlements. Israel was to keep Kiryat Arba (adjacent to the holy city of Hebron), a road connecting Jerusalem with the Dead Sea, and parts of Jerusalem’s metropolitan area. Yet, all these were secondary to the central issue: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israeli negotiators proposed that the Palestinians be granted administration, but not sovereignty, over the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the Old City, with the Jewish and Armenian Quarters remaining in Israeli hands. Mahmoud Abbas, at that time Arafat’s chief negotiator answered, “All of East Jerusalem should be returned to Palestinian sovereignty. The Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall should be placed under Israeli authority, not Israeli sovereignty. An open city and cooperation on municipal services.” This issue could not be solved; the last serious negotiation between Israel and Palestine ended with no results.

Here is a letter Letter That Albert Einstein Sent to the New York Times
1948, protesting the Visit of Menachem Begin:

Letters to the Editor
New York Times
December 4, 1948


Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughoutthe world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement. The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants ? 240men, women, and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model. During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a “Leader State” is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin’s efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.
There are, of course, a number of different ways to look at the current round of the Middle East Peace talks, possibly the longest continuous entertainment spectacular on the planet since Johnny Carson retired after 30 seasons on The Tonight Show. One might well wonder why it has been so difficult to create a Palestinian State of some kind, a development that would seem to be in nearly everyone’s interest and which would also impact on many related issues, to include international terrorism, instability in Lebanon and Syria, Iran, and even Arab democracy. The reason is, of course, simple, involving Israeli unwillingness to permit such a state to come into existence coupled with the United States role as an enabler of Israel. So the peace process spins on and on.
(Palestine’s Quislings: A Hand in the Till Not on the Tiller, Philip Giraldi, Published on AntiWar.com, January 9, 2014 at ifamericansknew.org)
The Palestinian people have already been carved up into a multitude of constituencies. There are the Palestinians under occupation, those living as second-class citizens of Israel, those allowed to remain “residents” of Jerusalem, and those dispersed to camps across the Middle East. Even within these groups, there are a host of sub-identities: refugees and non-refugees; refugees included as citizens in their host state and those excluded; occupied Palestinians living under the control of the Palestinian Authority and those under Israel’s military government; and so on.
(Can the Arab World be Turned into Gaza’s Jailers? Divide and Rule, Israeli-StyleJonathan Cook
CounterPunch, June 26, 2007 at ifamericansknew.org)
The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has added another milepost with Israel’s initiation of Operation Pillar of Defense. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is retaliation for rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israel. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has said those rocket attacks were designed as a retaliation for the continued occupation and blockade of Gaza by Israel, which does not recognize Hamas as a legitimate government of the Palestinian territory.
This cycle — one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict retaliating for actions by the other side, which were retaliations for previous actions — is a familiar and dispiriting one for neutral observers to watch. A look at just the recent history of the conflict makes clear that both sides in the conflict have taken offensive actions — in both senses of the word — and that both have legitimate grievances against the other. Unfortunately, that means both sides have reason to mistrust the other, and both sides can persuade themselves that they are the aggrieved party in the conflict.
(The Neverending Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Explained by Jeff Fecke, November 30, 2012, at care2.com)
Every form of traditional and cyber media is saturated with debate and commentary. Characteristically, it is vehemently polarized, full of more empty talking points than verifiable facts, and virtually always spinning around unproductive tangential issues: who started it, whose weapons are less immoral, who is a terrorist and who isn’t, which incendiary statement is the vilest, who deserves what, who has right to what, ad infinitum.
(The Simple Issue Missing From Debate Over Gaza: The Legitimacy of Palestinian Resistance By Brian K. Barber at AlterNet)
Who started this so-called ‘conflict’?
It is not a “conflict.” It’s an invasion, an occupation and a massacre.
We have Israel the 4th most powerful military force in the world with the most technologically sophisticated weapons provided by the U.S. and the entire military might of the entire western world behind this Zionist enclave and then we have a defenseless people with sticks and stones and AK-47′s and unguided rockets without explosive heads, the Palestinians trying to fight for survival and we call this “a conflict”? This is how absurd it is. It’s completely unjustified.
The United States, this bully gangster country does everything in its power to weaken and undermine and threaten any country in the Middle East that tries to help the Palestinians, eg: Iraq, Iran, Syria. The Arab “governments” that care nothing for the Palestinians are the ones that are fully supported by the United States and propped up, eg: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations Security Council did not even ratify the partition plan. It is a myth that the United Nations put an approval stamp on this.
This is equivalent to somebody breaking into your home and demanding that you leave because they say that thousands of years ago their ancestors lived here. It’s as bizarre as that
(People use deceptive language to whitewash the true nature of the so-called Israel-Palestine “conflict.” by Brandon Martinez at veteransnewsnow.com)

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on July 22, 2014

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on July 22, 2014
AP Photo/Hatem Moussa at theatlantic.com


An explosion during an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip early in the morning of July 26, 2014

An explosion during an Israeli strike in the northern Gaza Strip early in the morning of July 26, 2014
Reuters/Ronen Zvulun at theatlantic.com


Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on July 29, 2014 2

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on July 29, 2014
AP Photo/Hatem Moussa at theatlantic.com


Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as chairman of the PLO, has twice petitioned the UN to accept Palestine as a member state. In September 2011 he approached the Security Council and asked for full membership for Palestine. The petition did not receive the nine required votes. In any case, the United States would have vetoed the petition, preventing it from being passed on to the General Assembly for a vote. On November 29, 2012, the sixty-fifth anniversary of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine, Abbas asked the General Assembly to accept Palestine as a non-member observer state, the same status enjoyed by the Vatican (and Switzerland before it joined the UN). This request was overwhelmingly approved with 138 votes in favor and 9 against, with 41 abstentions. The no votes came from Israel, the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.
The vote had no effect on the ground. Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It did, however, open the possibility that Palestine could approach the International Criminal Court to pursue Israeli officials for crimes committed in the course of the occupation.
International opinion is nearly unanimous that a two-state solution, including a sovereign Palestinian state, is the best if not only way forward in the century-old conflict over historical Palestine. Yet there is no visible movement toward achieving this outcome.
One reason is the seismic rightward shift in Israeli Jewish opinion, which since the outbreak of the second intifada holds that no peace is possible with the Palestinians. Rather than “conflict resolution,” many feel, Israel should pursue a policy of “conflict management.” Partly to cater to such opinion, and partly to please the powerful settler lobby, recent Israeli governments have been unwilling to negotiate in good faith. Settlements grow apace.
A second reason is the split between Abbas and Hamas in the Palestinian body politic. Their dispute over strategy—negotiations versus resistance—divides ordinary Palestinians as well. Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel and refugees in neighboring Arab countries are adamant that a comprehensive peace must include them. There are increasingly pressing questions about the viability of the two-state vision and even the utility of international law for delivering a minimally just “solution” to the question of Palestine.
Still a third reason is the lack of political will in Washington, where the Obama administration (for the time being, at least) retains stewardship of the “peace process.” In the spring of 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry began traveling frequently to the Middle East in an effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a two-state solution. He succeeded in doing so, and at the time of writing maintains a brave face in public about the possibility of success. There is no indication, however, that a peace agreement is on the horizon.
In January 2014 President Obama himself told the New Yorker that he estimated the chances of a successful conclusion to negotiations to be “less than 50–50.” In our judgment, the odds are much lower.
(Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict at merip.org)



We are left with a paradox. The Roman Empire set up and spread many of the structures on which the civilisation of modern world depends; and through history it provided a continuous model to imitate. Yet many of the values on which it depended are the antithesis of contemporary value-systems. It retains its hold on our imaginations now, not because it was admirable, but because despite all its failings, it held together such diverse landscape for so long.
(Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill at BBC)
A gap of 2,000 years may seem to have put the Romans at a safe distance from our own lives and experience, but modern world with its Union is unthinkable without the Roman Empire. It is part of the story of how we came to be what we are.
The Romans are important as a conscious model, for good or ill, to successive generations. Why do they have such a powerful hold on our imaginations? What attracts us to them, or repulses us? What do they have in common with us, and what makes them different?
(Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill at BBC)
People have inhabited Italy for a long time, because of its fertility, but the time when Ancient Rome was powerful did not begin until after the immense power of Greece and Egypt. History of Rome is usually divided into three main phases: before the rise of Rome, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is usually divided up according to who was emperor.

Before the rise of Rome:
Stone Age (to 3000 BC)
Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BC-1000 BC)
Etruscans (ca. 1000 BC-500 BC)

Roman Republic:
The early period (ca. 500 BC-300 BC)
The Punic Wars (ca. 275 BC-146 BC)
The Civil Wars (ca. 146 BC-30 BC)

Roman Empire:
The Julio-Claudians (30 BC-68 AD)
The Flavians (69 AD-96 AD)
The Five Good Emperors (96 AD-161 AD)
The Severans (161 AD-235 AD)
The Third Century Crisis
Constantine and his family (312 AD-363 AD)
The Theodosians (363 AD-450 AD)
The Fall of Roman Empire (476 AD)

After the fall of Rome:
The Ostrogoths
The Visigoths
The Franks
The Vandals
The Byzantines
The Lombards, the Pope, and Islam

From its early days as a monarchy, through the Republic and the Roman Empire, Rome lasted a millennium … or two. Those who opt for two millennia date the Fall of Rome to 1453 when the Ottoman Turks took Byzantium (Constantinople). Those who opt for one millennium, agree with Roman historian Edward Gibbon. Edward Gibbon dated the Fall to September 4, A.D. 476 when a so-called barbarian named Odoacer (a Germanic leader in the Roman army), deposed the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, who was probably partly of Germanic ancestry. Odoacer considered Romulus so paltry a threat he didn’t even bother to assassinate him, but sent him into retirement.
At the time of the coup and for the two preceding centuries, there had been two emperors of Rome. One lived in the east, usually in Constantinople. The other lived in the west. The emperor whom Odoacer deposed had lived in Ravenna, Italy. Afterwards, there was still one Roman emperor, Zeno, who lived in Constantinople. Odoacer became the first barbarian king of the western empire.
Some say the Roman Empire never fell. But assuming it did fall, why did it fall? There are adherents to single factors, but more people think Rome fell because of a combination of such factors as Christianity, decadence, and military problems. Even the rise of Islam is proposed as the reason for Rome’s fall, by some who think the Fall of Rome happened at Constantinople in the 15th Century
Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, it became one of the largest empires in the ancient world.
In its centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an oligarchic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. It came to dominate South-Western Europe, South-Eastern Europe/Balkans and the Mediterranean region through conquest and assimilation.
Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire, including Italy, Hispania, Gaul, Britannia and Africa broke up into independent kingdoms in the 5th century AD.
The Eastern Roman Empire, which was governed from Constantinople, comprising Greece, the Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, survived this crisis. Despite the later loss of Syria and Egypt to the Arab Islamic Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire would live on for another millennium, until its last remains were finally annexed by the emerging Turkish Ottoman Empire. This eastern, Christian, medieval stage of the Empire is usually referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians.
Roman civilization is often grouped into “classical antiquity” with ancient Greece, a civilization that inspired much of the culture of ancient Rome. Ancient Rome contributed greatly to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology, religion, and language in the Western world, and its history continues to have a major influence on the world today.
After the overthrow of the Tarquin monarchy by Junius Brutus in 509 BC, Rome does not revert back to a monarchy for the rest of its history. The era of the great expansion of Roman power and civilization is the era of the Roman Republic, in which Rome is ruled by its Senate and its assembly, which were institutions formed at the beginning of the monarchy. The history of the Republic is a history of continuous warfare; all of the historical stories which the Romans will use as stories of Roman virtue and values date from this tumultuous period of defense and invasion.
The Romans had at the beginning of the Republic a constitution which had laid down the traditions and institutions of government; this constitution, however, was not a formal or even a written document, but rather a series of unwritten traditions and laws. These traditions and laws were based on the institution of a monarchy, so while the Romans did not revive the monarchy, they still invested enormous amounts of power in their officials. At the top were the consuls, who were two patricians elected to the office for one year. These patricians exercised imperium in much the same way the kings had in the Roman monarchy. These consuls initiated legislation, served as the head of the judiciary and the military, and served as chief priests to the nation. They even dressed as monarchs, by wearing purple robes and sitting on the seat traditionally reserved for the monarch: the ivory chair.
(Rome: The Roman Republic by Richard Hooker. Washington State University)
The empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valor. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government. During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines.
The vast extent of the Roman empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of virtue and wisdom. The armies were restrained by the firm but gentle hand of four successive emperors, whose characters and authority commanded involuntary respect. The forms of the civil administration were carefully preserved by Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines, who delighted in the image of liberty, and were pleased with considering themselves as the accountable ministers of the laws. Such princes deserved the honor of restoring the republic, had the Romans of their days been capable of enjoying a rational freedom.
(Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, 18th century historian)
One of the striking features of Roman life, whether under the Republic or Empire, was that Rome was specifically an urban culture — Roman civilization depended on the vitality of its cities. There were perhaps only a handful of cities with populations exceeding 75,000, the typical city having about 20,000 permanent residents. The city of Rome, however was greater than 500,000 and some scholars have projected a population of one million or more. Like people who today visit a place like New York City, London or Paris for the first time, most people must have been overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Rome. Of course, if the Roman poet Juvenal (c.60-131), was an astute observer (see above), Rome must have been a rather horrifying place at the same time.
The very wealthy lived in private homes called domus, which were usually single-storied houses with several rooms and a central courtyard. Although these homes were quite large, only a small percentage of Rome’s population lived in them (yet they occupied one third of the available space). Public buildings of all kinds took up about one quarter of Rome. What this meant is that less than half of the available territory in the city of Rome was used to house the vast majority of Rome’s population. Most Romans lived in multi-storied apartment buildings called insula. Amenities were few and the buildings were hot in the summer, cold in the winter and full of smoke from the fires of small, cooking stoves. Without central plumbing, the residents had to make many trips to wells or fountains for water. Chamber pots had to be emptied, usually into large vats on the landing of each floor, but sometimes their contents were emptied into the streets from a window.
Although life in the city offered many cultural benefits to its people, daily life was actually quite precarious. Because the floors of apartment buildings were supported by wooden beams, and because there was no running water, fires usually meant disaster. And the dark of night brought other problems. Again, the words of the satirist, Juvenal, speak volumes:
Look at other things, the various dangers of nighttime
how high it is to the cornice that breaks
and a chunk beats my brains out
or some slob heaves a jar
broken or cracked from a window
bang! It comes down with a crash and proves its weight on the sidewalk
you are a thoughtless fool, unmindful of sudden disaster
if you don’t make your will before you go out to have dinner
there are as many deaths in the night as there are open windows
where you pass by, if you’re wise, you will pray, in your wretched devotions
People may be content with no more than emptying slop jars
Since the earliest days of the Republic, Roman society was a society of status. Institutionalized in what is called the patron-client system, Roman society was really a network of personal relationships that obligated people to one another in a legal fashion. The man of superior talent and status was a patron (patronus). It was he who could provide benefits to those people of lower status, who then paid him special attention. These were his clients who, in return for the benefits bestowed upon them, owed the patron specific duties. Of course, since we are talking about a network of relationships, a patron was often the client of a more superior patron.
In the early days of the Roman Republic, Rome did not have any public education. What education there was, and we’re speaking of education for the citizens of Rome, was done within the context of the family. In other words, it was within the family that children learned the basic techniques of farming, developed physical skills for war, learned Roman traditions and legends, and in the case of young boys, became acquainted with public affairs. However, in the second and third centuries B.C., contact with the Greek world during the Macedonian Wars stimulated new ideas and education. The wealthiest classes wanted their children exposed to Greek studies, especially rhetoric and philosophy. This was necessary, so they thought, to make them fit for successful public careers. This was a practical ideal because these children would eventually serve Rome as administrators, officials, and perhaps even members of the Senate. Incorporated in this new educational ideal was the concept of humanitas, an education in the liberal arts or humanities. It was hoped that such an education in the liberal arts would prevent overspecialization and instead promote sound character. A sound knowledge of Greek was positively essential and schools taught by professional scholars began to emerge. And, of course, the Romans already had the example of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum.
The very wealthy provided Greek tutors for their children. For the less wealthy there were private schools in which Greek educated slaves would instruct students. Children learned the basic requirements of reading, writing and arithmetic. By the age of twelve or thirteen, and if the child had shown promise, he could attend the grammaticus, or grammar school. The standard curriculum in the liberal arts included literature, dialectics (or the art of reasoning), arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. At the core of this curriculum was, of course, Greek literature. So, students were exposed to Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, as well as Pindar’s Odes. The philosophies of Plato, Aristotle and Zeno of Elea, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides and dramas of Sophocles and Aeschylus were also standard fare. One result of all this is that the Romans were bilingual — they knew Latin and Greek. And with the growth of empire, students also knew a third language, their local dialect. Very promising students would end their education by studying Greek oratory, the best schools being found at Athens. Schools in the Empire were important vehicles for spreading Roman culture and ideas. The influx of Greeks scholars, language, and writers also stimulated the Roman mind. And there were first rate Roman writers: Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the Odes of Horace, Livy’s History of Rome, Tacitus’ Histories, and the Satires of Juvenal are just a few examples.
Gladiatorial contests were originally an Etruscan practice and so date back to the days before the Roman Republic was founded. For the Etruscans, armed combat between individuals was connected to religious practice. Men fought to the death beside the tomb of their chief in order to strengthen their spirits as well as the spirits of others. The first Roman practice of these contests took place in 264 B.C. By the reign of Augustus Caesar, however, the gladiatorial contests were made public and although gladiatorial contests were a source of entertainment for everyone, there were those like SENECA who thought differently. The gladiators were usually criminals, slaves or prisoners of war. The Romans, as is well-known, forced the gladiators to attend combat schools where they would learn the necessary skills of killing. At these schools, there were three groups of gladiators, based on defense: those who were heavily armed and wore helmets; those who carried a light shield and sword; and those who carried a net, trident and dagger.
Mosaic at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid (above) showing a retiarius (net-fighter) named Kalendio fighting a secutor named Astyanax. In the bottom image, the secutor is covered in the retiarius’s net, but doesn’t seem to be hindered. In the later image, Kalendio is on the ground, wounded, and raises his dagger to surrender. The arena employees await his fate from the editor, not pictured. The inscription above it shows the sign for “null” and the name of Kalendio, implying that he was killed.
The Romans also had other events during the gladiatorial contests. In one case, boxers wore leather gloves laden with metal studs. Artificial lakes were often created and ships conducted a mock battle (called the Naumachia). These “sea” battles were often recreations of past victories.
The chariot races were the passion of all social classes and bound wealthy and poor together. There were keen rivalries between teams — Reds, Whites, Blues and Greens. Each team had its own faction who would find the best horses and riders. Carried out in the Hippodrome, there were 12 starting boxes, six on either side of the gate above which sat the starter. The drivers cast lots for their starting position. The races were usually seven laps in length, counted by the lowering of an egg or figure of a dolphin, and lasted about 20 minutes. Each race was run for a sum of money and prizes were given for second, third, and fourth place. When two or three chariots from one faction raced, they did so as a team and not individually. There is evidence, as in all sports, of cheating, bribery, throwing an event, and even the doping of horses. The chariot races occupied an entire day of festivities, and there were usually about 24 races. The Romans were not that much fascinated with the skill of either driver or horse, but rather, which color crossed the finish line first. In other words, allegiance was to color and not to skill. Obviously, the major attraction of the races was to place bets and people bet both at the course and off. In fact, the Romans are known for betting on the outcome of just about anything.
(Steven Kreis at The History Guide)
There were several reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire. Each one intertweaved with the other. Many even blame the initiation of Christianity for the decline. Christianity made many Roman citizens into pacifists, making it more difficult to defend against the barbarian attackers. Also money used to build churches could have been used to maintain the Roman empire.
Even during PaxRomana (A long period from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius when the Roman empire was stable and relativly peaceful) there were 32,000 prostitutes in Rome. Emperors like Caligula and Nero became infamous for wasting money on lavish parties where guests drank and ate until they became sick. The most popular amusement was watching the gladiatorial combats in the Colosseum.
There were many public health and environmental problems. Many of the wealthy had water brought to their homes through lead pipes. Previously the aqueducts had even purified the water but at the end lead pipes were thought to be preferable. The wealthy death rate was very high. The continuous interaction of people at the Colosseum, the blood and death probable spread disease. Those who lived on the streets in continuous contact allowed for an uninterrupted strain of disease much like the homeless in the poorer run shelters of today. Alcohol use increased as well adding to the incompetency of the general public.
One of the most difficult problems was choosing a new emperor. Unlike Greece where transition may not have been smooth but was at least consistent, the Romans never created an effective system to determine how new emperors would be selected. The choice was always open to debate between the old emperor, the Senate, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s’s private army), and the army. Gradually, the Praetorian Guard gained complete authority to choose the new emperor, who rewarded the guard who then became more influential, perpetuating the cycle. Then in 186 A. D. the army strangled the new emperor, the practice began of selling the throne to the highest bidder. During the next 100 years, Rome had 37 different emperors – 25 of whom were removed from office by assassination. This contributed to the overall weaknesses, decline and fall of the empire.
Wealthy Romans lived in a domus, or house, with marble walls, floors with intricate colored tiles, and windows made of small panes of glass. Most Romans, however, were not rich, They lived in small smelly rooms in apartment houses with six or more stories called islands. Each island covered an entire block. At one time there were 44,000 apartment houses within the city walls of Rome. First-floor apartments were not occupied by the poor. The more shaky wooden stairs a family had to climb, the cheaper the rent became. The upper apartments that the poor rented were hot, dirty, crowed, and dangerous. Anyone who could not pay the rent was forced to move out and live on the crime-infested streets. Because of this cities began to decay.
Another factor that had contributed to decline and fall of the Roman empire was that during the last 400 years of the empire, the scientific achievements of the Romans were limited almost entirely to engineering and the organization of public services. They built marvelous roads, bridges, and aqueducts. They established the first system of medicine for the benefit of the poor. But since the Romans relied so much on human and animal labor, they failed to invent many new machines or find new technology to produce goods more efficiently. They could not provide enough goods for their growing population. They were no longer conquering other civilizations and adapting their technology, they were actually losing territory they could not longer maintain with their legions.
Maintaining an army to defend the border of the Empire from barbarian attacks was a constant drain on the government. Military spending left few resources for other vital activities, such as providing public housing and maintaining quality roads and aqueducts. Frustrated Romans lost their desire to defend the Empire. The empire had to begin hiring soldiers recruited from the unemployed city mobs or worse from foreign counties. Such an army was not only unreliable, but very expensive. The emperors were forced to raise taxes frequently which in turn led again to increased inflation.
For years, the well-disciplined Roman army held the barbarians of Germany back. Then in the third century A. D. the Roman soldiers were pulled back from the Rhine-Danube frontier to fight civil war in Italy. This left the Roman border open to attack. Gradually Germanic hunters and herders from the north began to overtake Roman lands in Greece and Gaul (later France). Then in 476 A. D. the Germanic general Odacer or Odovacar overthrew the last of the Roman Emperors, Augustulus Romulus. From then on the western part of the Empire was ruled by Germanic chieftain. Roads and bridges were left in disrepair and fields left untilled. Pirates and bandits made travel unsafe. Cities could not be maintained without goods from the farms, trade and business began to disappear. And Rome was no more in the West. The total fall of the Roman empire.


Che Guevara at the La Coubre memorial service
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alberto Korda took this popular photograph for a Cuban newspaper on 5 March 1960, at a memorial service in Havana. Mr Korda still has the photograph’s negative and the camera that took it. Che Guevara was a key figure in Cuba’s 1959 revolution alongside Fidel Castro, who still rules the country. When Che Guevara was killed by the Bolivian army in October 1967, he was hailed a martyr to the revolution. The photo has been a rallying image in student revolts ever since.

A 22 year old Ernesto Guevara in 1951 while in Argentina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna or Ernesto “Che” Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader. After his death, his stylized image became a ubiquitous countercultural symbol worldwide.
Che Guevara wrote in 1960:
“After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming famous for making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people”
Some view Che Guevara as a hero; for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as “an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom” while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as “not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age.” Guevara remains a beloved national hero to many in Cuba, where his image adorns the 3 $ Cuban Peso and school children begin each morning by pledging “We will be like Che.”
In his native homeland of Argentina, where high schools bear his name, numerous Che museums dot the country, which in 2008 unveiled a 12 foot bronze statue of him in his birth city of Rosario. Additionally, Guevara has been sanctified by some Bolivian campesinos as “Saint Ernesto”, to whom they pray for assistance.
Conversely, others view him as a spokesman for a failed ideology and as a ruthless executioner. Johann Hari, for example, writes that “Che Guevara is not a free-floating icon of rebellion. He was an actual person who supported an actual system of tyranny.” Detractors have also theorized that in much of Latin America, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism for many years. He also remains a hated figure amongst many in the Cuban exile community, who view him with animosity as “the butcher of La Cabaña.”
Moreover, Guevara has ironically been subsumed by the capitalist consumer culture he despised. The primary variable of this phenomenon has been a monochrome graphic of his face, which has become one of the World’s most universally merchandized images, found on an endless array of items including: t-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and even bikinis. Yet, Guevara also remains an iconic figure both in specifically political contexts and as a wide-ranging popular icon of youthful rebellion.
(Source: BBC News Online)
V. SRIDHAR wrote about Alberto Korda, the photographic chronicler of the Cuban revolution in Frontline, Volume 19 – Issue 25, December 07 – 20, 2002, India’s National Magazine, publishers of THE HINDU:
‘THIRTY-FIVE years after his death, Ernesto Che Guevara, the popular revolutionary hero who was killed by the trained militiamen in the Bolivian jungles in 1967, continues to inspire people aspiring for social change. His extraordinary courage and passionate devotion to the cause of social change throughout the world have made him a revolutionary icon. Nothing symbolises this better than a photograph of him taken at a memorial service on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba. No other image — apart from the one of Marilyn Monroe standing at a subway grid — has been reproduced as many times in history. That photograph of Che, with his long hair flowing from underneath his beret with a star affixed to it, his eyes gazing into the distance, can be found on posters, subway walls and countless consumer articles such as T-shirts, mugs, key chains, wallets and cigarette lighters all over the world. It also adorns walls across Cuba where Che is loved for the part he played in the cause of the revolution. However, the man who took that photograph, Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, known to the world as Alberto Korda, never made anything for himself from the image he gave the world.”

Che Guevara Internet Archive:
1952: The Motorcycle Diaries [partial transcription] 1963: Our America and Theirs [partial transcription] 1963: Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War [partial transcription] 1967: The Che Reader [partial transcription] 1967: The Bolivian Diary [partial transcription]

April 18, 1959: Abstract of: A New Old Interview August 19, 1960: On Revolutionary Medicine October 8, 1960: Notes for the Study of the Ideology of the Cuban Revolution March 28, 1961: Mobilising the Masses for the Invasion April 9, 1961: Cuba: Exceptional Case or Vanguard in the Struggle Against Colonialism? August 8, 1961: On Growth and Imperialism September, 1962: The Cadres: Backbone of the Revolution 1963: Guerrilla war, a method [note: not to be confused with his famous book on the subject.] March 25, 1964: On Development December 11, 1964: Colonialism is Doomed February, 1965: Second Economic Seminar of the Organization of Afro-Asian Solidarity March, 1965: Man and Socialism in Cuba April 1, 1965: Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro April 16, 1967: Message to the Tricontinental


Portrait of President Abraham Lincoln
The Civil War Home Page

Photo of General Ulysses S. Grant
Officer of the Union Army
The Civil War Home Page

Portrait of General Robert E. Lee
Officer of the Confederate Army
The Civil War Home Page

The American Civil War, until halfway through the Vietnam War, was bloodier then all other American wars combined. Nearly one million soldiers were killed during its four years. From its ruins, a new freedom would come for millions of Americans previously held in bondage. The nation would pay a great cost for those four years, and the years after were no less turbulent. It would take nearly a century to complete the changes that the war brought about and many feel those changes have not yet been fulfilled.
(A Hollow Argument Southern Nationalism, Myth or Reality By Brian Pulito at civilwarhome.com)

A Refugee Family Leaving a War Area
Belongings Loaded on a Cart
From CivilWarPhotoGallery.Com

The roots of this tragic conflict go back to the birth of the country. The founding fathers, for all their wisdom, could not solve all the differences between the original thirteen states.
The products of their labors, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, failed to totally define the relationship between the Federal Government and the States. The slavery question received no more than a partial and temporary solution.
(eHistory Archive)

Slaves in the South
Virginia Group of “contrabands” at Foller’s house
Created in 1862 by Gibson, James F., b. 1828
From old-picture.com

The Civil War has been given many names: the War Between the States, the War Against Northern Aggression, the Second American Revolution, the Lost Cause, the War of the Rebellion, the Brothers’ War, the Late Unpleasantness. Walt Whitman called it the War of Attempted Secession. Confederate General Joseph Johnston called it the War Against the States. By whatever name, it was unquestionably the most important event in the life of the nation. It saw the end of slavery and the downfall of a southern planter aristocracy. It was the watershed of a new political and economic order, and the beginning of big industry, big business, big government. It was the first modern war and, for Americans, the costliest, yielding the most American fatalities and the greatest domestic suffering, spiritually and physically. It was the most horrible, necessary, intimate, acrimonious, mean-spirited, and heroic conflict the nation has ever known.
Between 1861 and 1865, Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers — if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible. What began as a bitter dispute over Union and States’ Rights, ended as a struggle over the meaning of freedom in America. At Gettysburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said perhaps more than he knew. The war was about a “new birth of freedom.”
The Confederate States of America: South Carolina led the way out of the Union on December 20, 1860, and by March 1861, six more states, outraged over Lincoln’s election to the presidency and emboldened by South Carolina’s example, also seceded: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. After the bombardment of Fort Sumter Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina followed suit, bringing the number of states in the new Confederacy to eleven.
After her secession from the Union, South Carolina perceived herself as a sovereign state – the presence of Union forces in an armed fortress whose guns commanded her principal harbor was intolerable as it belied her independence. For President Lincoln the voluntary abandonment of this fortress was equally intolerable as it would be a tacit acknowledgment of South Carolina’s independent status.
Lincoln learned that the garrison at Fort Sumter was in trouble on the day he took office in March 1861. The garrison was running out of food and supplies and had no way of obtaining these on shore. The President ordered a relief expedition to sail immediately and informed the Governor of South Carolina of his decision. Alerted, General P.G.T Beauregard, commander of the Confederate military forces, realized he had to quickly force the evacuation of the fort before the relief expedition’s arrival. He would try threats first, and if these failed he would bombard the fort into submission.
Fort Sumter returned the Confederate fire. The artillery duel continued throughout April 12 and into the following day. Slowly, the fort was being destroyed. Fire broke out and threatened to explode the gunpowder stored in the fort’s magazine. At mid-day on April 13 a white flag of surrender was raised and the garrison evacuated the fort on the 14th. The next day, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to help put down the rebellion.
The Rubicon had been crossed. The next four years can only be described as an intensely fought conflict between two groups of Americans, each believing their cause was just. Over 380 major engagements were fought across 26 states. Brother fought brother; almost every family felt the pain of war. Important cities were left in ruins and a generation of young men were much diminished in number.
Americans are still dealing with the original issues addressed by the founding fathers, striving to meet the needs and desires of a large and diverse population. However, the sacrifices of their ancestors, those brave and noble men and women who struggled from Fort Sumter to Appomattox and beyond, helped create the foundation to form an even more perfect union.
(eHistory Archive)

President U.S. Grant
Made between 1860 and 1865
From old-picture.com

In September 1862, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made ending slavery in the South a war goal, and dissuaded the British from intervening. Confederate commander Robert E. Lee won battles in the east, but in 1863 his northward advance was turned back at Gettysburg and, in the west, the Union gained control of the Mississippi River at the Battle of Vicksburg, thereby splitting the Confederacy.
(© Session Magazine 2008 – 2009)
Long-term Union advantages in men and material were realized in 1864 when Ulysses S. Grant fought battles of attrition against Lee as Union General William Sherman captured Atlanta, Georgia, and marched to the sea. Confederate resistance collapsed after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
The war, the deadliest in American history, caused 620,000 soldier deaths and an undetermined number of civilian casualties, ended slavery in the United States, restored the Union, and strengthened the role of the federal government. The social, political, economic and racial issues of the war decisively shaped the reconstruction era that lasted to 1877, and continued into the 21st century.
(© Session Magazine 2008 – 2009)


From nickhaus.com

In February 2006, the Philippines marked 20 years of freedom since its “people power” uprising sent former President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Trinidad Romualdez Marcos into exile in Hawaii. Marcos was driven from power following a 20-year reign, which included nine years of martial law used to keep him in office and jail his opponents.
In light of Imelda Marcos’ reputation for extravagance, 65 parasols are easy to explain. After all, the sun is hot in Manila. But what did the former Philippine First Lady do with 15 mink coats? These were among the items listed in the government’s inventory of possessions left behind in Malacanang Palace by the fleeing Marcoses. Also listed were 508 floor- length gowns, 888 handbags and 71 pairs of sunglasses. The final tally on Imelda’s shoes was 1,060 pairs, less than the 3,000 originally reported.
( time.com)
Imelda’s family is described as a respectable middle class family that has produced lawyers, politicians, and artists. She was born on July 2, 1929 in San Juan de Dios Hospital in Manila. Her parents were Vicente Orestes Romualdez, a lawyer, former dean of the law school of St. Paul’s College, and a music and culture afficionado; and Remedios Trinidad, a dressmaker who traces her roots from Baliuag, Bulacan. Imelda was also a niece of Daniel Romualdez, the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the early 1950s.
A beauty queen in her own right, Imelda was also a fixture in several beauty pageants during the 1950s. Imelda was crowned the “Rose of Tacloban” at the age of 18. In 1953, she also competed in the Miss Manila beauty pageant. Although she placed among the top winners, the pageant – and Imelda – generated controversy due to Imelda’s complaints about not winning the title. This prompted then Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson to bestow upon her the title of, “Manila’s Muse.” The controversial incident would prove to be the start of a life surrounded by one controversy after another.
Imelda Romualdez grew up in the southern province of Leyte before returning to Manila when she was in her 20s, where she met rising political star, Ferdinand Marcos in the Congressional cafeteria and married him 11 days later. As she recalls, the common opinion was that “Whoever will not marry this guy is stupid.”
When her husband was elected president of the Philippines in 1965, Imelda Marcos became an unusually politically active first lady, not only helping to campaign but also establishing public institutions and cultural projects and serving as the governor of Metro Manila and the minister of human settlements and ecology. After the Marcoses declared martial law in 1972, they continued to rule the Philippines as a dictatorship, using their power to amass great amounts of private wealth and siphoning billions of dollars in foreign aid and domestic profits into private international bank accounts, while most Filipinos remained in extreme poverty. Opposition to the Marcos administration was quickly squelched, with thousands of journalists, students and other dissenters taken into custody as political prisoners. Meanwhile, Imelda Marcos remained a beloved and powerful figure worldwide, traveling around the globe and increasingly taking the place of her husband as his health began to deteriorate.
(Adapted from The Biography Channel: Imelda Marcos Marcos, Imelda Romualdez at INDEPENDENT LENS)
On December 7, 1972, an assailant, Carlito Dimahilig, tried to stab her to death with a bolo knife during an award ceremony broadcast live on television. Critics claimed the assassination attempt was staged. The assailant was shot to death by security police and the wounds on Marcos’ hands and arms required 75 stitches. In 1978, she was elected as member of the 165-member Interim Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly) representing the National Capital Region.
As a Special Envoy, Imelda toured China, the Soviet Union, and the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, etc.), the Middle East, Libya, then ruled by strongman Muammar Gaddafi, the non-Soviet dominated communist state of Yugoslavia, and Cuba. To justify the multi-million expenditure of traveling with a large diplomatic entourage using private jets, she would later claim diplomatic successes that included securing of a cheap supply of oil from China and Libya, and in the signing of the Tripoli Agreement.
Imelda’s extravagant lifestyle reportedly included five-million-dollar shopping tours in New York, Rome and Copenhagen in 1983, and sending a plane to pick up Australian white sand for a new beach resort. She purchased a number of properties in Manhattan in the 1980s, including the $51-million Crown Building, the Woolworth Building (40 Wall Street) and the $60-million Herald Centre; she declined to purchase the Empire State Building for $750m as she considered it “too ostentatious.” Her New York real estate was later seized and sold, along with much of her jewels and most of her 175 piece art collection, which included works by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Canaletto. She responded to criticisms of her extravagance by claiming that it was her “duty” to be “some kind of light, a star to give (the poor) guidelines.
When the Marcoses were ousted from power by a popular uprising in 1986, they fled to Hawaii, where Ferdinand died in 1989. Imelda stood trial in New York on charges of fraud, but was acquitted of all charges. Philippines President Corazon Aquino ordered Marcos’s enormous collection of shoes, clothes and art to be put on display at Malacanang Palace as a demonstration of the regime’s corruption and extravagance.
Imelda Marcos returned to the Philippines in 1991 and campaigned unsuccessfully for president, but soon after won election to the House of Representatives. Two of her three children, Imee and Bongbong, are also active in politics, while her daughter Irene remains out of the public eye.
Numerous court trials followed, in which Marcos was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 18 years in prison. She successfully appealed and was never imprisoned. In 2001, Marcos was arrested and charged with amassing wealth illegally and sentenced to nine years in prison, a conviction that was also overturned. She continues to face more than 150 additional corruption-related charges, and has become a reviled yet notorious cult figure. Today, she receives a monthly pension of $90 from the Filipino government as a widow of a war veteran.
(Adapted from The Biography Channel: Imelda Marcos Marcos, Imelda Romualdez at INDEPENDENT LENS)


From aljuned.rm’s photostream

“Forty years ago when we were studying what was then called ‘Guerrilla Warfare,’ the Army taught us that there were just three successful cases where a legitimate government in power had beaten back a Communist insurgency. They were the Philippines, Greece, and Malaya. In the Philippines the victory against the HUKs was won by land reform, in Greece by tightening the borders and not allowing the guerrillas to slip into Albania for refuge and resupply, and in Malaya by separating the insurgents from the general population and letting them starve in the jungle. Since that time, there have been dozens of insurgencies, some successful, some not…..”
(Psychological Warfare of the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.) at PSYWAR.ORG)
Among the battle-seasoned veterans who marched down Piccadilly in London’s 1945 Victory Day Parade was a flap-eared Chinese lad who wore the Order of the British Empire. No one who noticed slim, sickly Chin Peng that day could have guessed that in a few years he would be responsible for 7,000 Commonwealth casualties, including 4,000 dead and missing.
A Communist long before World War II, Chin Peng earned his O.B.E. honestly. British Intelligence Officer Lieut. Colonel F. Spencer Chapman, who spent 3½ years dodging the Japanese in Malayan jungles, called him “Britain’s most trusted guerrilla representative.” Malayan-born Chin, who speaks fluent English, Malay and several Chinese dialects, was on the receiving end of secret British submarine landings and air drops in occupied Malaya. He fought the Japanese bravely and shrewdly, but always with Communist ends.
After London’s Victory Parade, Chin went visiting among Chinese and South Asian Communists, soon picked up the new “imperialist” line on his old World War II allies. When the secretary general of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) ran out with the party’s funds in 1947, Chin stepped into the party leadership. The next year he began a reign of terror to drive the British out of Malaya and set up a Communist state. Soldiers and civilians, men, women & children fell to the bullets of his tight, 5,000-man gang. Chin’s tactics were modeled on his guerrilla experience. His arms were mostly British weapons air-dropped during the war and cached in jungle hiding places.
The Communist war in Malaya has been deeply embarrassing to the British. So has Chin Peng. They quietly withdrew his O.B.E. in 1948, but for years did not name him as the leader of the Communists. The advantage was Chin’s: his terror gained from being secret and anonymous.
In May 1952) Britain’s dynamic General Sir Gerald Templer, new High Commissioner for Malaya, upped the price on the heads of 26 of Malaya’s Communist guerrilla leaders. But for 31-year-old Chin Peng, believed hiding in the Pahang jungles, Templer offered the highest reward. He would pay, he said, $42,000 for Chin’s dead body, or $83,500 for Chin alive. A Singapore wag pointed out that $83,500 was no more than the first prize in the Malayan Chinese Association Lottery. It is also exactly what Chin’s operations cost the British in Malaya each day.
Succeeding Winston Churchill, Attlee was Prime Minister during the vital years between 1945 and 1951. His government’s foreign policy was marked by contradictions: the seemingly eager move away from colonial rule in the sub-continent contrasted with a ‘new colonialism’ in Africa. The British administration’s policy in post-war Malaya was also characterised by contradictions and changes of heart.
The withdrawal of Japan at the end of World War II left the Malayan economy disrupted. Problems included unemployment, low wages, and scarce and expensive food. There was considerable labor unrest, and a large number of strikes occurred in 1946 through 1948. The British administration was attempting to repair Malaya’s economy quickly, especially as revenue from Malaya’s tin and rubber industries was important to Britain’s own post-war recovery. As a result, protesters were dealt with harshly, by measures including arrests and deportations. In turn, protesters became increasingly militant. On 16 June 1948, the first overt act of the war took place when three European plantation managers were killed at Sungai Siput, Perak.
The British brought emergency measures into law, first in Perak in response to the Sungai Siput incident and then, in July, country-wide. Under the measures, the MCP and other leftist parties were outlawed, and the police were given the power to imprison without trial communists and those suspected of assisting communists.
The MCP, led by Chin Peng, retreated to rural areas, and formed the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), also known as the Malayan Races Liberation Army (MRLA), or the Malayan People’s Liberation Army (MPLA). The MNLA began a guerrilla campaign, targeting mainly the colonial resource extraction industries, which in Malaya were the tin mines and rubber plantations.
(From Wikipedia)
The communist terrorists, many of whom were Chinese, began disrupting village life in the jungles of the newly established Federation of Malaya (under the rule of a British high commissioner). They carried on hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against army outposts, police stations, and other government places; a state of emergency was declared, and British and indigenous Malay forces fought back. In 1949, an intense campaign was mounted against the guerrillas, hundreds of whom were slain or captured. One effect of the jungle warfare was to bring leaders of the various ethnic and religious communities closer together with more mutual understanding. The government-implemented Briggs plan (1950) resettled so-called “squatter” Chinese farmers, who were easy prey for raiding guerrillas, in protected Malay areas. In 1951, the terrorists increased their activities, destroyed rubber trees, intimidated plantation workers, and assassinated the British high commissioner. In 1952, Sir Gerald Templer (1898-1979), the new high commissioner, headed the government forces and began a concerted anti rebel campaign, and encouraged cooperation among the diverse Malay peoples. Rigid food control in suspected rebel areas forced many terrorists to surrender or starve. By 1954, the communist high command in Malaya had moved to Sumatra. After the Malay Federation became an independent state in the British Commonwealth (1957), the war petered out; increasing numbers of terrorists surrendered (a government amnesty was offered to them in 1955, and many accepted it). Still, a hard core of several hundred communist guerrillas continued to operate in the thick jungles along the Malay-Thai border until 1960, when they were defeated.
(Wars of the World)
Templer was a hands-on manager and was famous for flying to trouble spots. Sometimes his chastising of the villagers had humorous consequences. Noel Barber mentions such a case after a guerrilla ambush caused Templer to immediately fly to the nearest village where he harangued the collected inhabitants:
“You’re a bunch of bastards,” shouted Templer; and Rice, who spoke Chinese, listened carefully as the translator announced without emotion: “His Excellency informs you that he knows that none of your mothers and fathers were married when you were born.”
Templer waited, then, pointing a finger at the astonished villagers to show them who was the ‘Tuan’ or Master, added “You may be bastards, but you’ll find out that I can be a bigger one.” Missing the point of the threat completely, the translator said politely, “His Excellency does admit, however, that his father was also not married to his mother.”
(Templer is praised by Dr. Klev I. Sepp in ‘Best Practices in Counterinsurgency,’ Military Review, May-June 2005)
During the 1950s Malaya Emergency, Sir Gerald Templer a declared antiracist strived for political and social equality of all Malays. He granted Malay citizenship en masse to over a million Indians and Chinese; required Britons to register as Malay citizens, elevated the public role of women; constructed schools, clinics, and police stations; electrified rural villages; continued a 700% increase in the number of police and military troops; and gave arms to militia guards to protect their own community. In this environment, insurgent terrorism only drove people further from the rebels and closer to the government.
Sunderland points out how Templer brought everyone into the fold: Templer took office in February 1952. On midnight, 14 September, 1,100,000 Chinese and 2,630,000 Malayans became what were called “federal citizens.”
In July 1961, Chin Peng met Deng Xiaoping in China. Deng had proposed to the MCP that it conduct a second an armed struggle. Deng insisted that Malaya should revolt and used the success of the Vietnam Communist Party in the Vietnam War as MCP propaganda to launch a second revolt in Malaya. Deng later promised Chin Peng that China would assist the MCP and promised to give the MCP US $100,000 for the second insurgency in Malaya.
On 1 June 1968, the Central Command of the MCP issued a directive entitled “Hold High the Great Red Banner of Armed Struggle and Valiantly March Forward.” The MCP was ready to start a new insurgency in Malaysia. On 17 June 1968, to mark the 20th anniversary of their armed struggle against the Malaysian Government, the MCP launched an ambush against security forces in the area of Kroh–Betong in the northern part of Malaysian Peninsular. They achieved a major success, killing 17 members of the security forces. This event marked the start of the second armed revolt of the MCP…
(From Wikipedia)
“Chin Peng is not a Hakka, but a Hokkien. Chin Peng is not his real name, but the paty name. His surname is Ong (Wang=King) Eng (Yong=forever) can’t remember his third name. He was born in Sitiawan in the district of Dinding near Pangkor Island, the famous island resort. He was educated in Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) Ipoh, the capital of the State of Perak, Malaysia. His father owned a bicycle shop in Sitiawan. He was not the founder of the MCP which was founded by Yuen Ai Guo (later he changed his name to Ho Chi Ming, the father of modern Vietnam), a North Vietnamese in Singapore in 1935. After the formation of MCP he went back to Vietnam and left his assistant called Loi Tek to be in charge of the MCP. Loi Tek became the Secretay-Genral of MCP.
Three months before the Japanese attacked Malaya, the British Government in England sent Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Chapman to Singapore with the intention to train a special force called 136 to remain behind if Japan overran Malaya. Just ten days before the Japanese attacked Malaya in December 1941 the colonial authority accepted to train 165 Communists at the 101 Special Training School in Singapore. Later when the Japanese occupied Malaya these 165 Communists became the core of the Malayan People’s Anti- Japanese-Army (MPAJA) which in 1943 came under the command of the British officers from Force 136. The commander of Force 136 was Colonel Chapman who stayed behind with the Communists throughout the Japanese occupation of 3 years and eight months. He was the military instructor of the MPAJA and Chin Peng was with him most of the time.
During the war Loi Tek, the Secretary-General of MCP, was a double agent. In order to consolidate his control of the MCP Loi Tek informed the Japanese on the upcoming meeting of top senior Communists in Batu Cave near Kuala Lumpur on 31 August-1 September 1942. During the meeting the Japanese surrounded the cave. Chin Peng and Loi Tek were present in the meeting. The Japanese killed almost all the senior executive officers (most of them were Hakkas) of the MCP. Chin Peng, Loi Tek and a few other communists escaped.
After the war, many senior members of the MCP suspected that Loi Tek betrayed the Batu Cave Conference to the Japanese. The Central Committee planned to meet on 6 March 1947. Loi Tek did not turn up in the meeting because he had alreday disappeared with the MCP’s fund. The disappearance of Loi Tek gave the MCP a great blow. Later the MCP Central Committee elected Chin Peng as the new Secretary-General of MCP. Many communists believed that Loi Tek went back to North Vietnam.”
(Is Chin Peng of Communist Party of Malaya a Hakka by CHUNG Yoon-Ngan at asiawind.com)
“The collaboration of the MCP-led Malayan national resistance forces with the British worked successfully, but it was always an arm’s length collaboration. Anticipating future conflict with the British, a MCP underground army stashed 5,000 weapons in jungle caches, many supplied by the British for the war against the Japanese. But rather than preparing for a serious struggle against the British, the programme outlined by the MCP, under the pressure of its then leader Lai Te, was watered down: from a ‘democratic republic’ of Malaya, which would involve independence from the British, to ‘self governance’. Chin Peng and his comrades were imprisoned by the Stalinist theory of ‘stages’: first bourgeois democracy and independence; and only later could the social issues, and particularly socialism, be posed. However, only by linking the struggle of Malayan workers and peasants for independence with the social issues – freedom, especially from imperialism, land, peace and bread – would the possibility of real national liberation be posed.
The government introduced the Federation of Malaya on 4 February 1948, a blow to the MCP’s perspective of national independence. This set in train the decision of the MCP to engage in rural guerrilla warfare. To say the least, this was a questionable conclusion to draw from the experiences of the Malayan workers and peasant…
The MCP was clearly influenced by the success of Mao Zedong in the Chinese revolution. But while the struggle was heroic, a defeat ensued because the MCP lacked a clearly worked-out perspective. Chin Peng gives the statistics on the population of Malaya at the time: “5.8 million people, of whom 2.2m were Malays, another 2.6m were Chinese and a further 600,000 were Indians”. Moreover, why engage in a guerrilla war, by its very nature focused in rural areas, when such an important class base had been established in the cities and urban areas, as well as in the countryside? The guerrilla struggle of Mao Zedong was itself an echo of the defeat of the Chinese revolution of 1925-27, which was a product of the false policies of Joseph Stalin and the Russian bureaucracy.
The aim of the MCP was to establish not a socialist regime but – as in China, Vietnam and Eastern Europe – a ‘people’s democratic republic’ of Malaya. Chin Peng says: “In hindsight, I think we made another critical mistake here. What we should have done was to announce our aim of fighting for the broad concept of independence. This approach should have gone on to emphasize independence for all political persuasions and all races. Our battle cry should have been: Independence for Malaya and all Malayans who want independence”…
Some of the most interesting chapters deal with the methods of the British in successfully curtailing the guerrilla war. Lieutenant-General Harold Briggs was its rather reluctant director of operations. His plan involved the establishment of ‘new villages’ throughout Malaya. These were fenced, patrolled and fortified centers, illuminated at night and continually monitored by day. They complemented the policy of dividing the population along ethnic lines, and isolated them as a possible source of food for the guerrillas.
The author admits that (Chin Peng) attracting significant numbers of Malays to the guerrilla forces and, more importantly, support from the poorest sections was crucial to the success of their struggle. In a six-month period from late 1949 to early 1950, the guerrillas were able to attract more than 500 Malay recruits. Unfortunately, when they were attacked by KMT bandits organized by the British High Command, they melted away or were captured. Isolated, with dwindling food supplies, the guerrillas faced a brick wall: “The realization that a military approach from late 1948 through to 1951 had been utterly inappropriate was a bitter pill to swallow”.
Chin Peng deals with the repressive methods of the British at length. He reproduces the famous photograph that first appeared in the Daily Worker (the then paper of the British Communist Party) on 10 May 1952. It showed a British soldier holding the severed heads of two guerrillas. Truly, the barbaric al-Qaida inspired terrorist groups in Iraq had good teachers in the form of British imperialism in Malaya, Kenya and elsewhere in the past. But by 1953, almost five years since the guerrilla struggle to evict the British began, “it was very obvious we held no territory, no liberated zones”. The guerrillas were forced northwards over the border to Siam, now Thailand…”
Despite the weaknesses of the MCP, it struggled on until 1987 when successful ‘peace negotiations’ began in the Thai resort of Phuket. When all hostilities ceased, the total number of MCP members was 1,188: 694 were Thai-born and 494 claimed Malaysian origin. They were given temporary grants and promised integration into Malaysia. Chin Peng never returned officially to Malaysia but has continued his exile in Thailand up to the time of the publication of this book.
(End of Empire: Memoirs of a Malaysian communist guerrilla leader, My Side of History By Chin Peng, Published by Media Masters, 2003, Reviewed by Peter Taaffe at socialistworld.net)
The Communists were fairly successful in their campaign of terror, killing a total of 400 civilians and torturing many others during the first year of the uprising. Their activities did not extend into the urban centers, but they ran wild in the rural rubber plantations, tin mines, smaller villages and railway stations.
They embarked on a protracted war, but the cost was high both in military and political terms. In the first three years of its operations, the MCP lost 2,842 men while the government security forces lost 971 killed and 954 wounded. Official statistics indicate that by the end of the 12-year Emergency, 6,710 insurgents were killed, 1,287 were captured, and 2,702 surrendered.


An unidentified young boy & his burned brother
Aug 10, 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan
AP Photo at community.livejournal.com

On 6 August 1945, a number of eyes in the Japanese city of Hiroshima turned skyward at the drone of a US B-29 bomber flying across the cloudless sky, accompanied by two other aircraft. Their arrival was not a surprise; the early warning radar net had detected the incoming planes and an air-raid alert had been issued for the city. But soon the Japanese military realized that only three planes were incoming, and the alert was lifted. The anti-aircraft guns sat silent, and the fighter planes lingered in their hangars.
The sound of the American planes drew the attention of the city’s residents, many of whom were outdoors participating in work programs. A few saw a large parachute unfurl beneath the B-29 before it flew away, but most saw only the flash that soon followed. The events that unfolded that morning on the streets of Hiroshima were recorded by those who survived. These survivors would come to be known as hibakusha– “people exposed to the bomb.”
For those who didn’t see the planes, the sudden flare of harsh light was the first indication that something unusual had happened. In that eerily silent moment, white clouds sprung from the clear blue sky as the ‘Little Boy’ spilled the destructive equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of TNT over the city, projecting intense radiation in every direction.
(Eyewitnesses to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Alan Bellows, 03 May 2006 at Damninteresting.com)
The nuclear weapon “Little Boy” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, followed seventy-six hours later by the detonation of the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. In a blinding, searing flash of light, one bomber and one bomb instantly blasted the two cities to rubble. The great difference between the devastation of the two cities was a result of the different topography. Hiroshima was on a low flat delta interlaced by seven tributary rivers; Nagasaki was divided by a mountain spur into two distinct valleys.
In Hiroshima, the bomb exploded over the center of the city, destroying everything in a one-mile radius. In Nagasaki, the bomb was detonated in an industrial valley flanked by a mountain spur so that the total destruction took place within a half a mile that shielded the major business and residential districts. Yet the more powerful Nagasaki bomb of 20 kiloton (TNT equivalent) compared to the Hiroshima bomb caused a far greater radius of damage than in Hiroshima.
Earlier, on April 25, 1945, U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson met with the new president Harry S. Truman to brief him about a major military secret. “Within four months,” Stimson said, “we shall in all probability have completed the most terrifying weapon ever known in human history.” This briefing lasted 45 minutes. There was no debate over whether to use this weapon. The leaders of the United States condemned tens of thousands to an awful death, without hesitation.
On August 6, 1945, the U.S. military plane Enola Gay circled over Hiroshima, and released a single bomb. It plunged toward the Japanese city below and detonated in an enormous fireball as hot as the sun. At Ground Zero almost everything was simply destroyed and every human being died. Even two miles from the blast, human skin was severely burned.
The wind blew at 1,000 miles per hour—shattering the bodies of thousands of people as it hurled them through the air or brought buildings crashing down upon them. When the firestorm died down, the former city was a scorched plain. A heavy black rain brought radioactive dust back down to earth. Some of the dead had been vaporized; many others lay where they died, in their thousands and thousands.
When President Harry Truman was told of the Hiroshima bombing, he said, “This is the greatest thing in history.” The U.S. high command felt that the destruction of one city was still not enough. Three days later, also without warning, they dropped a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Long after the bombing, people kept dying, from a then-mysterious illness — radiation. Five months after the bombing 140,000 people had died in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.
(Burning Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the Name of freedom at revcom.us)
The Atomic bomb, named “Little Boy” was created by Robert Oppenheimer under what was called The Manhattan Project. The first test was known as “Trinity.” It was conducted by the United States on July 16, 1945, at a location 35 miles southeast of Socorro, New Mexico on the White Sands Proving Ground, headquartered near Alamogordo.
A blinding flash and unbelievable heat seared the New Mexico desert—the world’s first nuclear explosion. Code-named Trinity, the Manhattan Project’s test of the plutonium implosion bomb was a stunning success. The explosion almost equaled 20,000 tons of TNT, many times what some had expected. General Groves and his Project leaders were jubilant and relieved. But for some, the spectacle also cast an ominous shadow.
The plane that carried “Little Boy” was named Enola Gay (named after Colonel Tibbets’ mother) and was accompanied by two other B29s. The Great Artiste, commanded by Major Charles W. Sweeney, carried instrumentation; and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil (the photography aircraft) was commanded by Captain George Marquardt.
The bombs killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki by the end of 1945, roughly half on the days of the bombings. Amongst these, 15–20% died from injuries or the combined effects of flash burns, trauma, and radiation burns, compounded by illness, malnutrition and radiation sickness. Since then, more have died from leukemia (231 observed) and solid cancers (334 observed) attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the majority of the dead were civilians.
In essence, the Little Boy design consisted of a gun that fired one mass of uranium 235 at another mass of uranium 235, thus creating a supercritical mass. A crucial requirement was that the pieces be brought together in a time shorter than the time between spontaneous fissions. Once the two pieces of uranium are brought together, the initiator introduces a burst of neutrons and the chain reaction begins, continuing until the energy released becomes so great that the bomb simply blows itself apart.
Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target since it had remained largely untouched by bombing raids, and the bomb’s effects could be clearly measured. While President Truman had hoped for a purely military target, some advisers believed that bombing an urban area might break the fighting will of the Japanese people. Hiroshima was a major port and a military headquarters, and therefore a strategic target. Also, visual bombing, rather than radar, would be used so that photographs of the damage could be taken. Since Hiroshima had not been seriously harmed by bombing raids, these photographs could present a fairly clear picture of the bomb’s damage.

Survivors of the first atomic bomb
Awaiting emergency medical treatment, on August 6, 1945
Hiroshima, Japan
AP Photo at community.livejournal.com

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb’s blast. It was the first big lie. “No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin” said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century. “I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”. For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared – and vindicated.
(The lies of Hiroshima live on, props in the war crimes of the 20th century by John Pilger, The Guardian, Wednesday 6 August 2008 at guardian.co.uk)
Since 1945, the United States is believed to have been on the brink of using nuclear weapons at least three times. In waging their bogus “war on terror”, the present governments in Washington and London have declared they are prepared to make “pre-emptive” nuclear strikes against non-nuclear states. With each stroke toward the midnight of a nuclear Armageddon, the lies of justification grow more outrageous. Iran is the current “threat”. But Iran has no nuclear weapons and the disinformation that it is planning a nuclear arsenal comes largely from a discredited CIA-sponsored Iranian opposition group, the MEK – just as the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction originated with the Iraqi National Congress, set up by Washington.
The role of western journalism in erecting this straw man is critical. That America’s Defence Intelligence Estimate says “with high confidence” that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 has been consigned to the memory hole. That Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” is of no interest. But such has been the mantra of this media “fact” that in his recent, obsequious performance before the Israeli parliament, Gordon Brown alluded to it as he threatened Iran, yet again.
This progression of lies has brought us to one of the most dangerous nuclear crises since 1945, because the real threat remains almost unmentionable in western establishment circles and therefore in the media. There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel. The heroic Mordechai Vanunu tried to warn the world in 1986 when he smuggled out evidence that Israel was building as many as 200 nuclear warheads. In defiance of UN resolutions, Israel is today clearly itching to attack Iran, fearful that a new American administration might, just might, conduct genuine negotiations with a nation the west has defiled since Britain and America overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953.
(The lies of Hiroshima live on, props in the war crimes of the 20th century by John Pilger, Wednesday August 6, 2008 at guardian.co.uk)
In 2005, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued an “Interim Global Strike Order” that reportedly includes a first strike nuclear option against a country such as Iran or North Korea. There were also nuclear weapons options in the planning guidelines for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bush administration has taken steps toward the development of new “bunker-busting” nuclear weapons specifically designed for use in combat situations. Existing stockpiles have been modernized, and according to a New York Times article from February 7, 2005, “American scientists have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives” than the old weapon stockpiles.
The US repeatedly issues threats against countries over their alleged development of nuclear weapons and other “weapons of mass destruction.” The most recent target has been Iran, which the US has threatened with military attack if it does not abandon its nuclear energy program. All these threats are meant to justify future US invasions, in which the use of nuclear weapons by the United States is by no means excluded.
Through the policy of preemptive war, the US has arrogated for itself the right to attack any country that it deems to be a threat, or declares might be a threat sometime in the future. There is no part of the world in which the United States does not have an interest. It has sought to progressively expand its influence in Central Asia and the former Soviet Union through the war in Afghanistan and political intervention in countries such as Ukraine. It is seeking to dominate the Middle East through the war in Iraq and the threat of war in Iran. It is expanding its activities in Africa and has made repeated threats against North Korea and China as part of its efforts to secure its influence in East Asia.
Under these conditions, there are innumerable potential scenarios in which a war will erupt leading to the use of nuclear weapons. This includes not only invasions of countries such as Iran; an American war against a smaller power could easily spark a broader conflict—with China, Russia or even the powers of Europe, all of which have nuclear weapons themselves.
The catastrophe that befell Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be forgotten. Their fate will stand forever as testimony to the bestiality of imperialism. Against the backdrop of the renewed eruption of American militarism, the events of August 1945 remind us of the alternatives that confront mankind—world revolution or world war, socialism or barbarism.
(Sixty years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Part three: American militarism and the nuclear threat today, By Joseph Kay, August 9, 2005 at wsws.org)