KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
On the fourth year of disappearance of Leo Velasco, an NDFP [National Democratic Front of the Philippines] consultant for the peace talks, her daughter, Lorena “Aya” writes a letter to him as she and other relatives of missing consultants stage a protest action in front of the Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP].
This is Aya’s letter.
Dear Tatay (Father),
Kamusta? (How are you?)
A few days ago I had a dream about you. I knew you were here because I can almost smell you. We were talking casually when, out of nowhere I asked, “Are you still alive?”
“No,” you said.
My heart was suddenly stabbed. You said something else that I couldn’t comprehend because I was stuck at the word “No.” Then you hugged me like I had never been hugged my whole life. I hugged you back and I cried. Hard.
Then I was awaken by my own sobs.
Were you telling me that I should start accepting that you are gone? Was that a goodbye hug? It pains me to think so. But four years of searching for you is quite an obvious sign that you will never come home. Today is the fourth year of your disappearance, Tatay. There was never a day that I didn’t miss you nor thought of you.
‘Tay, in those four years, you taught me so much. You taught me to continue this struggle even with the heavy heart of missing you. You taught me to use this anguish and turn it into a fuel in seeking for justice. And even without you, you taught me that your principles are worth fighting, and even dying for. You brought me out of my comfort zone and into the frontlines to confront the perpetrators of injustice and repression in our country. You may not be here but my search had brought me closer to you, and the cause that you carried.
Isn’t it ironic that the fourth year of your disappearance is also the time for the renewal of formal peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, which you had also worked for. If only the peace talks could surface you and all other missing victims.
Forgive me for not being able to find you yet. Even with the change of administration, disappearances still continue, “desaparecidos” like you are still missing, and perpetrators are still walking free. You are right when you said that it is not the change of administration that will bring significant change in the society but the other way around.
Today, in your fourth year of disappearance, as much as I wanted so bad to forget that you’ve been missing this long, I stand with your photo in front of the institution that abducted you, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to call for your surfacing and for other victims of enforced disappearances.
Together with other families of “desaparecidos” we will continue to fight against this heinous crime and against a repressive state.
Your disappearance has led me to find more of myself.
It has also led me to continue what you strived for. Nanay (Mother) and Kuya (older brother) are still here, of course, but also, I stand along many others like me, whose loved ones were disappeared by state security forces. I stand with the Filipino masses who continue to seek justice and genuine social changes, to which you and the other “desaparecidos” had committed your lives.
Thank you for teaching me to find courage in all this, if not, I would have driven myself crazy not knowing what to do. Thank you for bringing me closer to the people whom you served for they give me comfort and strength to continue the struggle.
Tay, my heart still hopes that you are still alive and will be able to read this. I am still waiting for your return.
I miss you so much!
Your loving daughter,
Group also condemns state atrocities and criticizes filing of false charges against Dr. Ilina Sen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Free Binayak Sen Campaign, Toronto Chapter
There has been world-wide condemnation of the sentence of life-imprisonment for sedition
handed out to noted human-rights activist and physician Dr. Binayak Sen, along with two other
accused, on Dec 24th, 2010, in the town of Raipur in central India. He was accused of
collaborating with “anti-state forces”.
Dr. Jonathan Fine, founder of Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge (MA), was in the court
premises in India during the verdict. “I could not help crying when speaking with Binayak’s wife
before and after the verdict was declared,” he said. According to Nobel Laureate economist
Amartya Sen, “…the whole thing seems a ridiculous use of the laws of democratic India”. Read more…
by Noaman G. AliDecember 12, 2010, Kathmandu Reporting for basicsnews.ca
Noaman Ali is the Assistant Editor / Vice Chairperson of BASICS Community News Service. This article was written directly from Nepal, on the second day of the 18th National Convention of the All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary).
“No, we do not accept that,” says Prabha Kini, lecturer of sociology at Tribhuvan University. She is referring to an academic article that argues that the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) or, UML, relied upon the heavy-handed oppression of landlords to gain votes.
These two parties are considered to be the leading status quoist parties in Nepal, in opposition to the revolutionary Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Read more…
Pragash Pio – BASICS Issue #22 (Sep/Oct 2010)
The August 13 arrival of the MV Sun Sea, with 492 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka—380 men, 63 women and 49 children—has been met by a wave of racism and xenophobic hostility in Canada. Unfounded accusations of terrorism and human trafficking spread by the Government of Sri Lanka and regurgitated by Canadian officials have further confused the matter, leading many to question the legitimacy of the refugees’ claims.
However, Canada has a long history of racism against all types of asylum seekers and migrants of colour (for one example, see Sikander Panag’s article on the Komagata Maru on pg. 3), which is now being played off by the Sri Lankan government. Read more…
Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils
Editorial Note: In response to the solidarity work of the Tamil human rights organization Canadian HART in Venezuela, SriLanka has extended its campaign of misinformation into the Bolivarian nation and across Latin America in an attempt to turn the Latin American people against the Tamil struggle for justice and liberation.
Supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution across the world were shocked when one of Venezuela’s most important public intellectuals, Eva Golinger, wrote a piece on May 15 referring to SriLanka as an “anti-imperialist” and “progressive”, despite its close military ties to Israel and the United States. Golinger, following the slanderous line of the SriLankan government intended to isolate and criminalize all Tamil activists, referenced Canadian HART as a front group of the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
The following public statement was written by Canadian HART to counter the campaign of disinformation being spread by SriLankan diplomats and taken up by the likes of Golinger. See basicsnews.ca for more information.
Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for Relief of Tamils (Canadian HART) both condemns and refutes the campaign of misinformation and intimidation being employed by the SriLankan government and it’s envoy to misrepresent Canadian HART’s international solidarity work in Venezuela.
Rule of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ending, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III expected to assume office on June 30.
by J.D. Benjamin – BASICS Issue #20 July/Aug 2010
With the widely despised and thoroughly corrupt regime of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on it’s way out of office, peoples’ organizations in the Philippines and around the world are already asserting their demands to soon-to-be President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Aquino ran a campaign that promised “change” and an end to corruption.
After enduring violent repression, kidnappings, assassinations of popular leaders and massive theft of public wealth, many are anxious to see those responsible behind bars. Since 2001, more than 1,000 progressive workers, farmers, students, church people and lawyers have been killed, while hundreds more have been abducted.
by Derek Rosin – BASICS Online June 2010
In early May, the revolutionary movement in Nepal under Maoist leadership called for and launched a general strike that shut down the whole country. Their main demand in the strike was the resignation of the government led by M.K. Nepal, leader of the Unified Marxist-Leninists (UML) party. The Maoists argued that the UML leader and his government were the main obstacles towards implementing their proposed constitutional changes. The main constitutional proposals of the Maoists are for civilian control of the army, federalism and autonomy for minority nationalities, more economic rights for the people, better status for women, and other anti-feudal changes.
by Eric Ribellarsi, Reporting from Nepal – BASICS Issue #20 July/Aug 2010
(Reprinted with permission from author – Originally printed at firecollective.org)
Going into May, Nepal’s Maoist movement put forward a series of demands, particularly the resignation of Prime Minister M.K. Nepal. He represents a corrupt party called the Unified Marxist Leninists (UML), a status quo party with Indian backing and Marxist-Leninist in name only. This man, who lost two elections and came to power through a coup d’etat, has seen to it at every turn that the peaceful restructuring of Nepal’s society would be impossible. He has stood in the way of the peace process by blocking the restructuring of the Nepal Army, denying federal autonomy to Nepal’s oppressed nationalities, and ensuring the protection of India’s interests in Nepal.
The Maoists and their supporters prepared for the possibility of insurrection, “a final conflict” as the Maoists put it, if those demands were not met and if the conditions for revolution were there. Nepal was shaken as nearly a million people took to the streets in the capital city alone, and the economy came to a grinding halt during the following general strike. Demonstrators moved with incredible discipline and organization, systematically shutting down the city, sometimes in celebratory ways.
…and Keeping the Freedom Flame Alive
by Jeevini Sivarajah & Pragash Pio – BASICS Issue #20 July/Aug 2010
At the end of May 2009, the Sri Lankan army brutally murdered tens of thousands of Tamil civilians with heavy artillery, mortars, bombs, rockets, and even chemical weapons in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’. While thousands of Tamils were protesting in Toronto and around the world, the Sri Lankan army had mercilessly corralled, starved, and then bombed tens of thousands of Tamils out of existence in what has come to be known as the massacre of Muilivaaykkaal.
In the so-called government-declared ‘safety zone’ at Muilivaaykkaal, where 350,000 fleeing Tamils had been crowded, thousands died by both heavy bombardment and a Sri Lankan government blockade of food, water, and medicine. Even after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the surviving Tamils were forcibly interned in SLA-run concentration camps. These camps were noted for their deplorable conditions, while UN aid agencies weren’t allowed full access to provide assistance or monitor conditions.
Press Release – April 8, 2010
Twenty-two Canadian citizens, including representatives from churches, labour unions, academics, lawyers and a sitting Member of Parliament, Don Davies, are preparing to head to the Philippines as part of an international observers mission during that country’s upcoming presidential elections.
On election day, scheduled for May 10, 2010, more than 17,000 offices will be contested across the country including the key posts of President, Vice President along with representatives to the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a range of provincial, municipal, and local offices.