Monthly Archives: August 2009

Laughing at the Past, Remembering the Lies

Mainstream media lies.  Hopefully after the laughter subsides we’ll still remember whom not to believe and trust.  If they did it once they can do it again.  And they have.  Different countries, same tactics.

Remembering the Disappeared

embossed disappeared

Rosendo Radilla was 60 when he was forcibly disappeared in August 1974. A social activist and former mayor of Atoyac municipality, Guerrero state, Mexico, he was last seen in a military barracks, days after he was detained at a roadblock. Fellow detainees reported that he had been tortured.

As in other enforced disappearance cases, successive Mexican governments have refused to clarify what happened to Rosendo Radilla. But his family also refused to give up and took his case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This year, they hope that the court ruling will force the Mexican government to tell them the truth and ensure their right to justice.

“People ask ‘why don’t you forgive?'”, says Rosendo Radilla’s daughter Tita Radilla Martinez. “Because they don’t tell me what they did to my father. Is he dead or alive? I don’t know. I remember he would often feel cold. When he was detained I thought about that. Is he cold, hungry or thirsty? Is he in pain? How is he? We’ve spent our whole life like this. They say ‘Don’t reopen the wound’. ‘Reopen’? The wound is open, it never healed.”

All around the world, families are waiting to find out what happened to those loved ones who have been taken away from them by agents of the state or by people acting with its support or acquiescence.

Friends and relatives have no means to find out what has happened to them. The disappeared are beyond the protection of the law. Anything could happen to them. Many are tortured. Many are killed.

Sunday 30 August marks the 26th International Day of the Disappeared. Every year, Amnesty International, along with other NGOs, families associations and grassroots groups, remembers the disappeared and demands justice for victims of enforced disappearances through activities and events.

Governments use enforced disappearance as a tool of repression to silence dissent and eliminate political opposition, as well as to persecute ethnic, religious and political groups.

More than 3,000 ethnic Albanians were the victims of enforced disappearances during the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999. These were at the hands of the Serbian police, paramilitary and military forces. More than 800 Serbs, Roma and others were abducted by armed ethnic Albanian groups. Some 1,900 families in Kosovo and Serbia are still waiting to find out what happened to their relatives.

Enforced disappearances often take place in connection with counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism operations. Chechnya, which tried to secede from the Russian Federation in 1991, has since been ravaged by two armed conflicts and a counter-terror operation. Both Russian federal forces and Chechen law enforcement officials have been implicated in enforced disappearances, which run into the thousands.

In the Philippines, over 1,600 people have disappeared since the 1970s, mostly during counter-insurgency operations against left-leaning or secessionist groups.

James Balao, an Indigenous Peoples’ rights activist and researcher, disappeared in September 2008, while driving to visit his family in La Trinidad, Benguet province.

He was stopped and bundled into a white van by armed and uniformed men claiming to be police officers. Eye-witnesses signed affidavits describing his capture and are now in hiding in fear of being persecuted.

The families and friends of those who disappear are left in an anguish of uncertainty, unable to grieve and go on with their lives. Chief Ebrima Manneh, a Gambian journalist, was arrested in July 2006 for trying to publish a BBC article critical of the Gambian government. His whereabouts remain unknown despite a landmark ruling by a West African regional court ordering the Gambian government to release him and pay damages. Ebrima Manneh’s mother says she finds it hard to enjoy anything because her son is constantly on her mind. The family told Amnesty International that they felt increasingly isolated because other people were afraid to associate with them. They also face hardship because the depended on Ebrima Manneh’s salary.

To combat enforced disappearance, in 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Once entered into force, the Convention will be an effective way to help prevent enforced disappearances, establish the truth about this crime, punish the perpetrators and provide reparations to the victims and their families

The Convention’s definition of enforced disappearance is:
“The arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons, or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”


Conflict (1983)

This is amazing.

Running a Prison is Not Cheap

US military experts have presented a detailed plan to Egyptian security officials and donated high-tech equipment to uncover tunnels.

Read the rest of the article.

I thought the US Government had no money to spend on its own population’s basic medical needs?

The Body Snatchers Have Seen These and Laughed

The revelation from the Swedish newspaper about Israel’s systematic murder-for-organs of Palestinians should continue to disturb each and every human being.  I thought I had seen enough pictures.  Then I bumped into a website, Palestinian Mothers, and I grew weak with horror and anger.

There is a long article I ended up reading, Kawther Salam – The Body Snatchers of Israel – which puts together a long list of people who were murdered and remain missing, perhaps buried in secret graves.  I advise you to follow the link only if you think you are strong enough to see the result of such savagery.

This one photo will haunt me forever.

The Land of Air

This is a first draft.  A friend of mine got attacked and so I have written this for him.  I hope he doesn’t mind its raw and unfinished state.  Maybe one day I can fix it up a little bit.


The Land of Air
For Scott

In the land of air
heads were full of something
close to nothing.  Rocks
were dreams.  Hard and sharp,
possible materials for hunting,
cutting, building, or scratching
magic symbols on trees.

Then came the thuds.
Recalled the days of roaming
dinosaurs.  Not the slow,
vegetarian ones, but the clawed
and roaring, with teeth to gnash,
grind bones to dust.  Brains
smaller than writing instruments.

Everyone shuddered.  Thoughts
grew dim and turned to rubble.
With every roar came declarations,
demarcations, amputations,
castrations.  The land of air grew
thin.  Whoever resisted was slain,
thrown to twisting, bitter winds.

Until like air folks moved
closer to invisibility.


Do Not Play With Our Organs!

Back in high school I was walking around a shopping mall with a classmate – no, we were not bunking school at that time – when my friend saw this sign on a musical instrument from one of the shops: Do Not Play With Our Organs!  I am sure the shop owner didn’t appreciate our wild laughter.

Now on to something straight out of a horror movie:  stealing human body parts!

Read the Jerusalem Post article and this link to the original article from Swedish paper Aflonbladet.  Copy and paste the Swedish text into and you can have an idea of the article’s content.  Related links are also found here.


ps – the mall back home was called “Ali Mall” and was then owned by Muhammad Ali, or so I remember being told.  🙂  these random thoughts will eventually work their way into your nightmares.

ps2 (not the game console) – the following videos are courtesy of a new friend to matangmanok, morris.  thanks morris!