Reports indicate that in the past week, at least 170 civilians—including dozens of women and children—have been killed by the U.S.-led airwar in Raqqa, a Syrian city controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS). (Photo: @Raqqa_SL/Twitter)
As President Donald Trump expands the war in Afghanistan, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday is partly inspired by “successful” tactics used in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS), Reutersreports that in the past week alone, more than 170 civilians were killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Raqqa, a Syrian city ISIS considers its capitol.
“The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 42 people, including 19 children and 12 women, were killed on Monday in strikes that destroyed buildings where families were sheltering,” Reuters reports. The observatory claims this marks the single largest daily death toll since the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab militias, began their mission to capture Raqqa in June. Continue reading →
Kurdish women and their supporters held a vigil outside UK parliament today to mark the 3rd anniversary of ISIS genocidal attack on the Ezidis of Sinjar. Photo: Mark Campbell/Facebook
Marking three years since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) attacked the Yazidis in Syria, a United Nations-mandated inquiry has called for justice and rescue plans.
“The Commission of Inquiry calls on the international community to recognize the crime of genocide being committed by ISIL against the Yazidis and to undertake steps to refer the situation to justice,” said the expert panel in a statement marking the third anniversary of ISIL’s attack on the Yazidis. Continue reading →
It appears that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gotten himself elected dictator of Turkey through 2029, by a conveniently slim margin of 51-49%. So for other autocratic world leaders out there hoping to replicate his feat—who are tired of pesky Constitutions and Executive limitations—here are a few helpful steps he took that you can follow:
(1) Stage a military coup against your authoritarian regime and blame the so-called conspiracy on an America-living cleric (Fethullah Gulen), who you can then accuse of being a shadowy foreign puppet. And don’t worry if you’re actually a member of NATO and host U.S. military bases on your territory, most of your paranoid lumpen supporters will barely notice the disconnect between your words and reality. Continue reading →
Turkish women are leading the opposition. “This is not a coincidence,” writes author and activist Elif Shafak. “When societies slide into authoritarianism, ultranationalism and fanaticism, women have much more to lose than men.” (Photo: Guido Menato/cc/flickr)
Turkish citizens head to the polls on Sunday to vote on a historic referendum that could potentially cement autocratic rule in the nation, consolidating power for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
If the referendum passes, “it will abolish the office of prime minister, enabling the president to centralize all state bureaucracy under his control and also to appoint cabinet ministers,” AFPreports. Erdoğan would also “control the judiciary” and essentially “rule by decree,” Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan further noted. Continue reading →
Men load the bodies of people recovered from the rubble of a house in western Mosul. More than 200 are feared dead after what appears to be a U.S. bombing raid. (Photograph: Cengiz Yar)
The carnage continues. And appears to be growing.
With the war that President George W. Bush started and that President Barack Obama failed to end now in the hands of President Donald Trump, global outrage and condemnation was expressed over the weekend as details emerged over a U.S. bombing in Iraq that may have killed 200 or more innocent civilians, many of them children and families seeking shelter.
The aerial attack on homes and buildings in the city of Mosul, where Iraqi and U.S. coalition forces have been battling Islamic State (ISIS) forces for months, actually took on March 17 but as evidence of the destruction and deathtoll emerged, the Guardianreported Saturday it may turn out to be “one of the deadliest bombing raids for civilians since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.” Continue reading →
Though a number of U.S. soldiers were previously deployed to Syria under the Obama administration, the U.S. government has just sent an additional 400 troops to Syrian territory without congressional approval, without approval from the Syrian government, and without approval from the U.N.
Given the illegality of the move, the real question regarding the operation must focus on the motive. Why is the United States military, under a president who ran on a campaign of focusing less on wars abroad, sending more troops to Syrian territory? Trump supporters often argue this is to fulfill his campaign promise to defeat ISIS. Continue reading →
“I have met young girls who were raped at an age when they didn’t even know what the word meant. I met people who lost their entire families; whole families were wiped out.”
Written by Carol Benedict
In 2014, ISIS advanced on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq (also known as Şengal in Kurdish), capturing or killing thousands of Yezidi (Ezidi) people. Many of the women were taken as sex slaves into the ISIS barbaric practices. Nadia Murad Bassee was one of those women. She survived long enough to escape.
Driven to end the suffering for her community in captivity and to stop an enemy bent on genocide of the Yezidi people, Nadia began to tell her story. Again and again. It became a burden of reliving those moments of hell so others would not have to. It meant revealing the most horrific details of her ordeal to get people to understand and listen. It is easier to hide than to step out of the shadows. Nadia did that, knowing full well what it meant.
In an interview from October of 2016, Nadia commented, “I was not raised to give speeches. Neither was I born to meet world leaders, nor to represent a cause so heavy, so difficult,” she said.
But she would continue “so that one day we can look our abusers in the eye in a court in The Hague and tell the world what they have done to us,” she said. “So my community can heal. So I can be the last girl to come before you.”
Being a survivor of genocide comes with great responsibility –for I am the lucky one. Having lost my brothers, mother and many more family members and friends it is a responsibility I embrace fully and take very seriously. My role as an activist is not just about my suffering — it is about a collective suffering. Telling my story and reliving the horrors I encountered is no easy task, but the world must know. The world must feel a moral responsibility to act and if my story can influence world leaders to act then it must be told.
After the Holocaust, the world decried, “never again” but yet Genocide occurs with haunting frequency. What’s puzzling to me is that it occurs in full view of the world community. When ISIS trapped the Yazidi community on Sinjar Mountains, the world watched and world leaders chose not to act. In fact, we still find ourselves begging the United Nations to act – to stop ISIS – to hold ISIS accountable for all the horrific crimes committed. A fundamental goal for me is to fight impunity for crimes committed against all margined communities devastated by global terrorism.
I am committed to leading a campaign to prompt peace through de-radicalization. I will focus my power to deliver a message to the Muslim world to condemn extremism, particularly against children and women, carried out in the name of Islam. We must work together to counter terrorism and deter the youth from joining or supporting radical groups and united to teach all youth the importance of tolerance towards the beliefs of others.
Recent terrorism brought sufferings beyond our any understanding, and women and children have become the population mostly affected, notable, human trafficking and mass enslavement have become a tool used by terrorists to humiliate societies and humanity at large, I am committed to fight human trafficking and mass enslavement.
We cannot depend solely on the actions of the United Nations and world leaders. Individuals can contribute to the fight as well. If we all do our small part, in every corner of the world, I believe we can end genocide and mass atrocities against women and children. If we have the courage to stand up and fight for those we don’t know – who live thousands of miles away – we can make a difference. The world is one community and we need to act as such.
I ask you as a survivor and a friend, to join my Initiative and help all victims in the conflict zones, especially those targeted for their identify . ISIS must be stopped. Please contribute to this important cause, for we all humans that deserve to live peacefully.
With much gratitude,
Nadia Murad Bassee
About the Author: Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist. She is also an independent Journalist and a professional member of the US Press Association.
Tayyip Erdogan, John Kerry and Barack Obama; Wales, 2014. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
The Turkish mission to weed out every possible element of dissent continues, with the government of Turkey reportedly dismissing close to 1,700 military personnel and shutting down 131 media outlets throughout the country.
Of the servicemen recently fired in Turkey, 149 were generals and admirals, meaning approximately 40 percent of all of generals and admirals in Turkey’s military are now without jobs. Continue reading →
“Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide because it strives to kill the memory of the event; denial seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators; denial creates what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has called “a morally counterfeit universe for the survivors and their legacy.”
Written by Carol Benedict.
“THOSE WHO FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation.” Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
President Barack Obama declined Friday to call the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, breaking a key campaign promise as his presidency nears an end, reports now say.
“Armenian-American leaders have urged Obama each year to make good on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2008, when he said the U.S. government had a responsibility to recognize the attacks as genocide and vowed to do so if elected. Obama’s failure to fulfill that pledge in his final annual statement on the massacre infuriated advocates and lawmakers who accused the president of outsourcing America’s moral voice to Turkey, which staunchly opposes the genocide label.
“It’s a Turkish government veto over U.S. policy on the Armenian genocide,” Aram Hamparian, head of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in an interview. “It’s like Erdogan imposing a gag rule very publicly and an American president enforcing that gag rule.” He was referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
In 2015, during remarks observing the 100th anniversary of the event, Pope Francis describes it as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” Turkey responded by recalling their ambassador to the Vatican.
Turkey recalled their ambassador to Austria after the Austrian parliament passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, also in 2015.
One hundred and one years ago this month, the Ottoman Empire began carrying out a systematic plan to exterminate its minority Armenian population. Approximately 1.5 million people were killed or died of starvation. On April 24, 850 intellectuals, doctors and writers of the Armenian community were rounded up in what was then Constantinople and later executed. That was just the beginning.
The spring and summer of 1915 became the bloodiest in Armenian history. Men and older boys were separated from the rest of the population and killed without question. Women, children the elderly and the disabled were forced into long death marches into the Syrian dessert with no food or water given them, and those that survived the march were placed in annihilation camps.
For a documentary that is worth watching, please view the following. We can not write a summary that can do better justice to the Armenian Genocide controversy than this. The images and descriptions of the methods used to carry out the extermination of the Armenian peoples by the ruling Turkish government presented in this film are the blueprint for the subsequent genocides of the past one hundred years. Warning:Not for the weak of stomach or those who seek “quick videos” to explain things. Running time: 93 minutes.
The man who invented the word “genocide”— Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin — was moved to investigate the attempt to eliminate an entire people by accounts of the massacres of Armenians. He did not, however, coin the word until 1943, applying it to Nazi Germany and the Jews in a book published a year later, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.”
Long before humanity knew about the horrors of Auschwitz, the Turkish government demonstrated the depravity of government force over vulnerable populations. Long before we knew of the term, genocide became a practice so routine that the Turkish government remains in denial of it to this day.
An article by the New York Times dated 15 December 1915 states that one million Armenians had been either deported or executed by the Ottoman government. Image via Wikipedia.
Even the Jewish community has taken pause. In a recent commentary regarding the Armenian genocide, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin writes, “Why should Jews be talking about this? Because when we look at the Armenians, it is as if we are looking in the mirror.”
Standing on arguments of the numbers of deaths and whether it was intended to eliminate the entire Armenian group, the Turkish government refuses to accept the term “genocide” in reference to the Armenian slaughter. It is not part of their official recognized history; existing laws in Turkey basically prohibit and criminalize mentioning or talking about the Genocide. According to Turkey, “our memory does not support the Armenian narrative on the events of 1915, [but] it is only Turks and Armenians who can effectively address their issues together and work jointly to find ways forward. Turkey is ready to do its part”. They argue there is no “evidence”, no one is demanding the recognition, and that the death count could not possibly be as high as claimed.
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has compiled figures by province and district that show there were 2,133,190 Armenians in the empire in 1914 and only about 387,800 by 1922. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
Entrenched so deeply in denialism, in 2007 the Turkish government threatened the United States with closing bases in their borders if the US were to officially recognize this as a genocide. We also know, “The United States isn’t the only target of this censorship effort. At their government’s prompting, Turkish diasporan organizations in 2009 mounted a campaign to stop the Toronto school board from including the Armenian genocide in a human rights curriculum. In 2010, Ankara succeeded in pressuring the Rwandan government to scrap a presentation on the Armenian genocide at a panel on genocide at the United Nations. In 2012, the Turkish government was successful in demanding that the British government order the Tate Gallery to remove the word “genocide” from the wall text of an Arshile Gorky exhibit.”
This year, the Wall Street Journal published a full page advertisement denying the event as a genocide.
Despite these efforts, currently there are 20 countries that officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In the United States, more than 40 states, including California, have passed proclamations recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, the House of Representatives has passed legislation also recognizing the Genocide, lastly in 1996.
Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers. Image via Wikipedia.
In 1915, the New York Times alone ran 145 articles reporting the Armenian crisis. The world was aware. No one did anything.
Turkey is now doing this to the Kurds in SE Turkey. The main stream media remains silent. Will you?