Friday, August 31, 2012

South Africa miners charged with murder


'Height of callousness?'

South African prosecutors have charged 270 mine workers with the murder of 34 striking colleagues shot dead by police, in a decision panned as 'madness'.

Police said they acted in self defence when they opened fire on workers at a platinum mine outside Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, on August 16 killing 34, after a stand-off that had already killed 10 including two police officers.

The incident was the worst day of police violence in South Africa since the end of white-minority apartheid rule in 1994.

Prosecuting authorities said the 270 detained workers would face trial for the murder of their colleagues.

'The court today charged all the workers with murder, under the common purpose law,' the spokesman for the prosecutor's office Frank Lesenyego said.

He did not give details saying they would be revealed in court next week.

Julius Malema, a former youth leader with the ruling ANC, however, said he was dismayed by the decision to charge the miners who survived the August 16 bloodbath at the Marikana mine.

'That is madness. The whole world saw police kill those workers. The policemen who killed those miners are not in custody,' he said.

A legal expert also questioned the decision to lay charges.

'In charging the miners for the death of miners killed by the police, I don't see how common purpose doctrine could be used here,' said Vincent Nmehille, a law professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, referring to a so-called common purpose law under which they had been charged.

Watery Grave for Asylum seekers: Ships ignored survivors' pleas

Asylum seekers who were plucked from the sea as their friends drowned around them say five ships passed them during their two days in the ocean but refused their pleas to stop to help.
Muhammad Zahir, 25, told reporters on the dock at the Indonesian port of Merak that, as 150 refugees floated in the ocean, one boat came close enough for the crew to speak to them, only to say they would not pick them up.
The refugees, all Hazaras from Afghanistan and Pakistan, told traumatic stories of watching relatives die in the ocean after their flimsy vessel sank and the Indonesian crew swam away.
Mr Zahir said his brother and his sister, Hameeda, had both died, along with perhaps 10 other women and children.
"My sister, she was 29 years old. I was about to help her. But inside the water without any facilities, how could we help her? I was like, 'No, please don't go'."
"People are gone, my brother, my sister gone, so how can we go back to Indonesia? Somebody help us please," he said, crying.
A 10-year-old boy, Omed, sat on deck looking dazed. Other refugees said he had made the trip with his father, cousin and uncle, all of whom had died in the water. His mother had stayed in Afghanistan.
The refugees confirmed that the boat had been arranged by people smuggler Haji Ghulam, a Pakistani also known as Hassan, who is based in Indonesia. They said they had only ever heard his voice on the phone.
He had charged them $US5500 ($6800) per person for safe passage to Australia.
"He told us, and lying and saying everything is clear, 'You guys aren't going to face a problem," Mr Zahir said.
Another rescued asylum seeker, Reza, said he had worked as a translator and in providing security for international troops in Afghanistan, but that he and his family had been harassed by the Taliban, and they had been forced to flee the country.
"They threatened our families and had to move them to Pakistan and we had no security, we couldn't travel," he said.
About 55 asylum seekers were rescued from the ocean, about 47 on the first Indonesian search and rescue boat, and the rest arrived on a second boat operated by Indonesian police.
On that boat is one refugee who died. It is not clear if this happened after he or she was pulled from the water.
After landing, the refugees were taken to the Feri Merak hotel in the town of Merak to be processed by the Indonesian immigration department. It is not clear what will happen next, but it is likely they will be sent to a detention centre.
"We are not happy to go," Mr Zahir said. "We are ready to kill ourselves to jump in the water. We're not going in Indonesian immigration."
He said to live in detention you needed money, and they had none because they had sold everything to pay the people smugglers to come to Australia.
 -The Age

Taiwan believes U.S. has no stance on disputed Tiaoyutais

Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) Taiwan believes the United States' decision to officially use the Japanese name for the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands is unrelated to the islands' sovereignty and does not signify a U.S. stance, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.

Under the premise that the U.S. says it does not take a position on the uninhabited rocky islands, the government believes the name does not imply a U.S. stance on sovereignty of the islands, MOFA spokesman Steve Hsia said at a regular media briefing.

The U.S. has called the islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands. The U.S.' official name of the islands has come to the forefront in recent days as tensions over the territorial dispute between China and Japan have escalated.

Addressing the U.S.' consistent statement that the island chain falls under the scope of Article 5 of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty, Hsia said that regional stability is the treaty's major concern and it is not necessarily related to sovereignty.

Despite not taking a position on the islands, Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department, said Aug. 28 the islands are covered by the treaty because "the Senkakus have been under the administrative control of the Government of Japan since they were returned as part of the reversion of Okinawa since 1972."

The latest flare-up over the islands came after a group of Hong Kong activists landed on the islands and raised People's Republic of China and Republic of China flags Aug. 15.

Four days later, Japanese lawmakers led a group of Japanese activists to the Tiaoyutais, some of whom landed on the island, prompting the MOFA to lodge an official protest with Japan. The incident also triggered anti-Japanese protests across China.

Lying about 100 nautical miles off Taiwan's northeastern tip, the Tiaoyutais are known as the Diaoyutai Islands in China and as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, which currently controls them.

On Yilan County councilors' plan to sail to the islands in October to assert Taiwan's claim, Hsia said as long as the process is legitimate, the Coast Guard Administration will do its best to protect them on their voyage.

Taiwan claims the islands come under the administration of Daxi Village in Yilan's Toucheng Township.

At the same news briefing, Su Qi-cheng, deputy secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations under the ministry, said Taiwan's Fisheries Agency and Japan's relevant agency are still discussing what issues to put on the agenda of the 17th round of fishery talks between the two sides.

The annual talks have been postponed due to fishing disputes since last being held in February 2009.

Asked whether it is possible to resolve the Tiaoyutai row by taking the case to an international court, Su admitted that such an eventuality is unlikely because Taiwan is not a United Nations member. 

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Kendra Lin)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Terrifying a generation

Pic courtesy:
Omar Abdullah with Family


Omar Abdullah owes it to his own future to regain the lost confidence of his nearest next-generation
It was Tufail Mattoo's martyrdom that defined the 2010 summer uprising in the Kashmir Valley and, two years later, it is the terrified look of Faizan Ahmed Sofi in police custody that defines the undiluted cruelty of the state and the regime.
Obviously, nothing has changed since the time when Tufail, carrying his school bag on way to his home, was felled by indiscriminate police firing that eventually went on to score a dubious 'century' of casualties.
It may be only a coincidence but it is gruesome enough that a flowering generation of Kashmiri youth happened to be at the receiving end of state terrorism under a regime headed by one from their nearest older generation. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's power and position ought to have instilled confidence and inspired hope amongst his following -generation. But, tragically, he happened to be presiding over a regime whose report card is blood-stained and whose public face betrays ruthlessness. Omar might have his share of excuses and explanation to justify his failure in this regard but the history is bound to record its harsh verdict on the basis of ground reality.
Even as the process of investigation and prosecution of cases involving largescale killing of young boys in 2010 is struggling to make headway, mainly because of official apathy, the list of victims of excesses and atrocities committed by the state apparatus has been lengthening day after day. It looks as if the younger generation is specifically targeted for indiscriminate use of state power. If and when the immoral extra-ordinary legal protection provided to the security apparatus is lifted and rule of law is allowed to prevail, as indeed it should be, floodgates of redressal are bound to be flung open. The long and lengthening list of victims has been haplessly hoping for that day to come as they encounter frustration in their quest for justice.
The culture of unaccountability and immunity cultivated by the state apparatus over the past three decades has become a breeding ground for gross injustices and grave violation of basic rights of citizens in general and the younger generations in particular.
The ease with which the state and its coercive mechanism including police commit gross atrocities and go on to defend their action is a blot on the face of decency, democracy and civilised behaviour. The victims are robbed of every option to seek justice. Tufail Mattoo's court case continues to drag on and on, like dozens of cases of other victims. Affected families have lost hope of securing justice. Meanwhile, the ruthless regime continues to steam roll 'erring' young boys with not even the least sense of humanitarian consideration. The least that the government could have done, if indeed it so intended, was to arrange fast track investigation and prosecution of long pending cases. That a 12-year young boy was seen as being such a great threat to the security of the state that he had to be thrown behind bars and booked under draconian laws along with hardened criminals smacks of totalitarianism. Thanks to the small mercy shown by a court that Faizan was shifted to juvenile home until he was released on bail.
For over three years this government has been promising to reform its outdated juvenile justice act but till now nothing has been done. Reason is not far to seek. Reformed act would require the police to justify their action against young boys and to convince law courts on putting them behind bars without trial. No civilised society can tolerate gross victimisation of its youth on such a large scale and for such a long time. Omar owes it to his own future to wake up to his own responsibility in this regard and restore public confidence in his ability to protect the legitimate rights and aspirations of his nearest next-generation. Otherwise, he stands to suffer the inevitable historical verdict.

[editorial-Kashmir Times-Aug 30, 2012]

Friday, August 24, 2012

What the coal scam is all about

Pic courtesy:

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on coal block allotment to private parties amounts to a very damaging accusation of financial irregularity.

Unlike some other scams — such as the much-publicised securities scam, fodder scam or even the latest 2G scam — where a section of the business and politics class stood to gain, ‘coalgate’ can unsettle the high and mighty across the board. Hence, there are strong doubts about whether the beneficiaries of this staggering scam will ever be taken to task. The indications were clear in the rejoinder issued by the Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal last week, elaborating the roadblocks in introducing competitive bidding for block allotment.
States such as Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and West Bengal have opposed a bidding process, Jaiswal said. This has left the state dispensation route — a major source of corruption — open. Examining the parties in power in these States since 2004, it is obvious that political groupings across the ideological spectrum — Left, Right and Centre — are allegedly involved in the scam.

Similarly, the industry players who secured coal blocks were from varied backgrounds — including those with no track record in power generation or even manufacturing. Yet, they managed to secure coal blocks against proposed projects.
The route was simple: take the state leadership into ‘confidence’ and they would, in turn, recommend the name for block allocation. A little known Kolkata-based company, for example, promised huge capacities in Chhatisgarh.

What the Central Minister did not say is that till date the political class, cutting across ideology, is yet to come to terms with the decision to auction blocks. And, it has sufficient reasons to be ill at ease with the idea.

It is with political connections that certain corporates managed to acquire access to natural resources. The list of consortium members in blocks makes it clear that there are many who do not have any ‘business’ to be there.

The real beneficiaries were big players. A rough assessment shows that a couple of industrial houses, as mentioned by the CAG, bagged a lion’s share of blocks. The Centre cannot deny responsibility, as attempted by Jaiswal, for awarding blocks free of cost for merchant power generation, thereby helping private players earn a windfall profit. And, we are not talking about coal blocks allotted to firms with power purchase agreements and captive generation plans.
In its defence, the Government now refers to the urgent need to step up coal production and fuel economic growth.
And, since Coal India (CIL) was not in a position to cater to the projected demand, policymakers were forced to draw an ‘emergency plan’ to ramp up production. Assets which were yet to figure in the CIL’s development agenda were dished out to captive users.
Between 2004 and 2009, a committee headed by the Union Coal Secretary, distributed nearly 150 blocks, more than two-thirds of the total of 215 blocks allotted since 1993.
The beneficiaries were selected by a screening committee based on project planning. A share of assets went to nominees identified by the State Governments. Under the current legal dispensation, where CIL is the owner of all coal resources, it was argued that charging the beneficiaries a price for being allotted the coal blocks was not possible.

Natural resources were given free of cost.
The Centre may use this argument, of coal being a nationalised resource, to counter the allegation that it deprived the nation of substantial revenues that could have been generated through auction. “There could not have been a better policy than this,” the Coal Minister has been quoted as saying.

The underlying argument is: to auction the blocks the government needed to amend Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act. And, given the track record of the coalition politics, any such amendment could have been inordinately delayed.

Even if we accept this argument, Jaiswal’s contention that the process of allotting blocks has been transparent rings hollow. It is true that the process adopted post-2004 was better than the practices followed during 1993 and 2004, when 60 blocks were doled out without any non-performance clause or earnest money. The broad-basing of the screening committee also helped to reduce the element of ad hoc selection.

But, why did the government not restrict such allotment only for commercial power generation, ensuring that such electricity be available to the nation either at a regulated price or through PPA with designated distribution utilities? This simple measure could have ensured ‘power for all’ at an affordable price.

On the contrary, captive blocks were granted to steel, cement, merchant power and even downstream industries such as ferroalloys. They pocketed the benefit of getting coal free of cost. Some fly-by-night operators even monetised the benefit by selling their project plans to serious players.

And, going by the chain of events, the murmur of opposition voices — even within the screening committee — against such largesse, one may argue that some omissions were deliberate.

What’s worse, only one of the 57 blocks allotted to private sector is developed and is in operation (the figures are just a shade better for the public sector).

The bottom line: the nation was not merely deprived of revenues against allotment but also of the required coal production (which was the cornerstone of the argument in favour of such ad hoc distribution of assets free of cost) — and is now paying for imports.

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)

South Africa: The massacre of our illusions … and the seeds of something new

By Leonard Gentle, director of the International Labour Research and Information Group (South Africa)
August 23, 2012 -- ILRIG -- The story of Marikana has so far been painted shallowly as an inter-union spat. In the first few days after the August16 police killing of  34 striking mineworkers, employed by the Lonmin mining corporation, and the shock and horror of watching people being massacred on TV, there have correctly been howls of anger and grief. Of course no one wants to take responsibility because to do so would be to acknowledge blame.
Some pundits have even gone the way of warning at anyone “pointing figures” or “stoking anger”. That buffoon, African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema, stepped forward as if scripted, and promptly lent credibility to those warnings. So South African President Jacob Zuma’s setting up of an inquiry and his call for a week of mourning for the deceased and their families could come across as “statesmanlike”.
But this is not just a story of hardship, violence and grief. To speak in those terms only would be to add the same insult to injury perpetrated by the police on the striking workers as many commentators have done – that of seeing the striking miners as mere victims and not as agents of their own future and, even more importantly, as a source of a new movement in the making.
The broader platinum-mining belt has been home to new upsurges of struggles over the last five years – from the working-class community activists of Merafong and Khutsong – who drove the then African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Terror Lekota out – to the striking workers of Angloplat, Implat and now Lonmin. These struggles – including the nationwide “service delivery” revolts – are the signs that a new movement is being forged despite the state violence that killed Andries Tatane and massacred the Lonmin workers. Rather than just howl our outrage it is time to take sides and offer our support.                        
Marikana now joins the ranks of the Sharpeville and Boipatong massacres in the odious history of a method of capital accumulation based on violence. The ANC’s moral legitimacy as the leading force in the struggle for democracy has now been irrevocably squandered and the struggle for social justice has now passed on to a whole new working class – including the workers at Lonmin who went on strike – who are outside the Tripartite Alliance and its constituent parts [ANC, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), South African Communist Party (SACP)].      
In this sense, after Marikana, things will never be the same again.     
First, the killings mark the end of the illusion of a moral high ground occupied by the ANC and the completion of its transformation into the governing party of big capital. For some while now the ANC could trade on its liberation credits in arguing that all criticism came from quarters who were trying to defend white privilege. The Democratic Alliance(DA), of course, was perfect to be cast in this role because it always attacked the ANC for not being business-friendly enough.
NGOs who ramped up the criticism of the ANC’s attacks on the media or freedom of speech could be dismissed as “foreign funded” or having darkly hidden agendas or being the tools of the liberal onslaught on majority rule.
But Marikana was an attack on workers in defence of white privilege – specifically the mining house, Lonmin. Although it is partly owned by one of Cyril Ramaphosa’s companies, its major shareholders include British investors and ex-South African (and ex-Eskom) Mick Davis’s Xstrata. [Cyril Ramaphosa was once a leading anti-apartheid activist and is a former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).]
Mining company profits
In this the ANC steps squarely into the shoes of its predecessors – apartheid’s Nationalist Party and Smuts’ South African Party – acting to secure the profits of mining capital through violence. This was Bulhoek and Bondelswaartsmassacres all over again. This was the setting up of forced recruitment over southern Africa leading to the dreaded migrant labour system, the compounds and the dompas (black South Africans had to carry passbooks). This was the stuff of Hugh Masekela’s "Stimela" (Coal train).
Always successive governments did what was necessary to ensure a cheap, divided and compliant labour force for the mines.
Lonim epitomises the make-up of the new elite in South Africa – old white capital garnished with a sprinkling of politically connected blacks in the name of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).
Second, the strike and the massacre mark a turning point in the liberation alliance around the ANC – particularly COSATU. Whereas the community and youth wings of what was called the Mass Democratic Movement of the 1980s and 1990s – specifically the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) (remember the United Democratic Front was disbanded by the ANC) – became disgraced by their association with corrupt councillors and eclipsed by the service delivery revolts (and the ANCYL became a home for the tenderpreneurs), COSATU’s moral authority was enhanced after 1994. Within what is called “civil society” COSATU continued to be a moral voice. So anyone who had a campaign – whether challenging the limitations on media freedom or fighting for renewable energy – sought out COSATU as a partner. This moral authority came because COSATU was simply the most organised voice among the working class.    
Today COSATU’s links with the working class is only a very tenuous one.
It is almost intuitive that we consider the notion of a worker as someone working for a clearly defined employer, on a full-time basis, in a large factory, mine or supermarket. Indeed classical industrial trade unions were forged by workers in large factories and plants and industrial areas. This was the case in many countries where such unions won the right to organise and bargain collectively – and was also the case in South Africa, when a new wave of large unions formed industrial unions after 1973’s Durban strikes. And going along with this structure of work were the residential spaces of townships. From the 1950s in South Africa apartheid increasingly came to accept the de facto existence of a settled urban proletariat – which intensified from the early 1970s – and built the matchbox brick houses in the townships of the apartheid era: the Sowetos, Kathlehongs, Tembisas and the like.
So the working class was organised by capitalism into large industrial sites and brick houses in large sprawling townships.
Neoliberal phase of capitalism
The neoliberal phase of capitalism – since the 1980s – has begun to change even this. Neoliberalism has not only been about privatisation and global speculation. It has also been about restructuring work and home. Today casualisation, outsourcing, homework, labour brokers and other forms of informalisation or externalisation have become the dominant form of work – when work is available at all – and homelessness and shackdwelling the mode of existence of the working class. The latter is in indirect proportion to the withdrawal of the state from providing housing and the services associated with formal housing.
Twenty years ago the underground mineworkers of Lonmin would have lived in a compound provided by and policed by the company. Today the rock drill workers live in a shanty town nearby the mine.    
Also mining itself has changed. Much of the serious hard work underground is now done by workers sourced from labour brokers. These are the most exploited and insecure workers who work the longest hours and most flexible arrangements. It is even possible today to own a mine and not work it yourself but to contract engineering firms like Murray and Roberts to do the mining for you. Into the mix are so-called “illegal miners”, who literally mine with spades and their own dynamite and then sell on to middle men who themselves have links to big businesses.
Lonmin has exploited these divisions – exacerbated by the old mining industry strategy of recruiting along tribal and regional divisions – the drill workers at Lonmin were known as Xhosas railed in from the Eastern Cape into an area which is largely Tswana speaking – to heighten exploitation at the coalface of drill workers while making cosy deals with the more skilled and white-collar National Uunion of Mineworkers members.
Add to this the toxic mix of mine security, barbed-wire enclosures and informal housing – identified by researchers such as Benchmarks and a picture of institutionalised violence emerges.       
By way of contrast the dominant trade unions in South Africa have largely moved up upscale – towards white-collar workers and away from this majority. Today the large COSATU affiliates are public-sector white-collar workers – the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) and the unions among white-collar workers in the state-owned utilities – Telkom and Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Transnet and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU). The lower level blue-collar workers are now in labour brokers and in services that have been completely outsourced – like cleaning, security etc, so they do not fall within the bargaining units of the Public Sector Bargaining Council.
The Lonmin strike was second in the last three months to hit the platinum sector. It was preceded by a strike at Implat (and before that at Angloplat). All involved the new Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) as workers sought an outlet for their frustrations. In this sense the recent strike has been simmering for years.
The mining trade journal Miningmix published this story in 2009:
“One such issue was an agreement signed between the NUM and Implats in 2007, which stipulated a 50% plus one member threshold for recognition – practically making Implats a closed shop where minority unions have no rights. That removed any competition and gave the NUM a monopoly in South Africa’s largest single mining complex. Secondly, and most importantly, a gradual change had taken place in the profile of the NUM membership over the last 15 years; one that nobody had taken notice of. The NUM was originally borne out of the lowest job categories of South African mineworkers, mainly from gold mines. More than 60% of its members were foreigners, mostly illiterate migrant labourers.
Nowadays that number has dropped to below 40%. On the other hand, an increasing portion of the NUM’s membership comes from what can be described as white-collar mining staff, who had previously been represented exclusively by Solidarity and UASA. The local NUM structures in Rustenburg, like the branch office bearers and the shop stewards, are dominated by these skilled, higher level workers. They are literate, well spoken and wealthy compared to the general workers and machine operators underground. For instance, there are two NUM branches at Implats – North and South. And the chairpersons at both these branches were beneficiaries of the 18% bonus that sparked the strike. During wage negotiations in September 2011 Implats wanted to give rock-drill operators a higher increase than the rest of the workforce, but a committee of NUM shop stewards demanded the money be split among the whole workforce. Needless to say, there wasn’t a single rock-drill operator on the shop stewards’ committee.”
So while the NUM remains the largest affiliate of COSATU, it is moving on from the union of coalface workers, to a union of white-collar above-ground technicians. It is these developments within the NUM that led to the formation of the breakaway union – the AMCU. Whatever the credentials of AMCU, its emergence is a direct challenge to the hegemony of NUM and of COSATU. As such the federation has embarked on a disgraceful campaign of slandering the striking workers and their union.
In this they have been joined by the media..
With the notable exception of the Cape Times, which gave space to stories of family members of the dead workers and editorialised on the police and Lonmin’s practises, the media’s culpability in demonising the striking workers has been equally reprehensible. In addition to only quoting NUM sources for information of the strike or focusing on Julius Malema’s opportunism, there has been no attempt to dig beneath the idea of manipulated workers and inter-union rivalry.
In general the media all painted the rock drillers as uneducated, Basotho or Eastern Cape Xhosas etc., while flogging the idea of an increase to R12,500 as “unreasonable” (nobody has even bothered to check what rock drill workers actually earn at present).  
Then there is the notion that workers went to AMCU because they were promised R12,500. This fiction is repeated endlessly by the media. Journalists are of course happy to source this from (unnamed) NUM sources and are simply too lazy to check with the striking workers themselves, or from  the AMCU, and do not even observe the most basic principle of saying this is an unsubstantiated allegation coming from NUM sources. The slander here is that workers are so open to manipulation that they will believe any empty promises. This plays to the prejudice – repeated by Frans Baleni of NUM from his Nyala (armoured car) – that rock drill workers are ignorant and uneducated – and it bolsters the idea that AMCU is some kind of Slick Willy operation which must take responsibility for the massacre.
Anyone with any experience of organising knows that trade unions don’t come to workers like insurance salespeople or vendors of encyclopaedias. In the main, workers form their own committees and then send a delegation to the union office demanding that an organiser come and sign them up ... or simply down tools forcing their employer to contact a union organiser to come and talk. Nor is any strike decision, let alone such a strike such as this one –unprotected, under the umbrella of an unrecognised union, in a workplace with mine security and where the workers themselves are far from home in a strange region – ever taken lightly. Wildcat strikes are probably the most conscious acts of sacrifice and courage that anyone can take, driven by anger and desperation and involving the full knowledge that you could lose you job and your family’s livelihood.
In normal times trade unions can be as much a huge bureaucratic machine as a corporation or a state department with negotiations conducted by small teams of no more that a dozen or so far from the thousands of rank-and-file members. Strikes change all that. Suddenly unions are forced to be conduits of their members’ aspirations.  Whatever the merits of the AMCU as a democratic union or as one with any vision of transformation; whatever the involvement ofThemba Godi and whoever else, the workers of Marikana made their choices – to become members of the AMCU and risk everything – including their lives – for a better future. For that we owe them more than just pious sympathy. There is a job of mobilisation and movement building to be done.
Almost 40 years ago – in 1973 – workers from companies like the Frame Group in Durban came out in a series of wildcat – then really illegal – strikes. Now this event as celebrated by everyone as part of the revival of the anti-apartheid mass movement and the birth of a new phase of radical trade unionism, which culminated in the formation of COSATU in 1985.
But in 1973 the media highlighted the threat of violence and called for the restoration of law and order. The apartheid state could not respond with the kind of killings that happened at Marikana because the strikes were in industrial areas around Durban, but they invoked the same idea of ignorant misled workers (then they were seen as ignorant Zulus) and had homeland leader Mangosutho Buthelezi send his emissary, Barney Dladla, to talk to the workers.
While in exile the South African Communist Party (SACP) questioned the bona fides of the strikes, invoking the involvement of Buthelezi to perpetuate the fiction of “ignorant Zulus”, because they were not called for or led by the official liberation aligned union body – the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). Some in SACTU–SACP circles (like Blade Nzimande today) raised the spectre of liberals and CIA involvement in the new workers' formations with an agenda to “sideline the liberation movement”. This separation of the ANC and its allies from the early labour movement was to lead to the divisions between the “workerist unions” (independent) and the “populist unions” in the labour movement and was to continue within COSATU until the period of the political negotiations when there was more or less an agreement that the ANC would take centre stage. 
How easily people forget when workers forge new movements today.
Current struggles
For a long time now the ongoing service delivery revolts throughout the country have failed to register on the laptops and blackberries of the chattering classes. This is because of the social – and even geographic distance – of the middle classes to the new working classes and the poor.
Now the sight of the police shooting striking workers on TV has brought the real world of current struggles right into the lounges and bedrooms of public opinion.
According to statistics supplied by the University of Witswatersrand’s Peter Alexander:
In 2010/11 there was a record number of crowd management incidents unrest and peaceful), and the final data for 2011/12 are likely to show an even higher figure. Already, the number of gatherings involving unrest was higher in 2011/12 than any previous year. During the last three years, 2009-12, there has been an average of 2.9 unrest incidents per day. This is an increase of 40 percent over the average of 2.1 unrest incidents per day recorded for 2004-09. The statistics show that what has been called the Rebellion of the Poor has intensified over the past three years.
This kind of “spontaneous” revolt is now also extending to the industrial sphere – witness the unprotected strikes in the platinum mines at AngloPlat, Implats and now Lonmin.               
So far the strikers have stood form not only against the police, and Lonmin threatening dismissal, but also against the media labelling their strike “illegal” (strikes are not illegal in South Africa, they are only protected or unprotected) and the NUM and COSATU rallying behind their ally – the ruling ANC – to stigmatise the strikers and their union as “paid by BHP Billiton and/or the Chamber of Mines" (why either of these would pay to form a striking, volatile union rather than a sweetheart union like NUM who sits in all their bargaining chambers and acts to respect agreements, makes no sense. But some people choose to believe this nonsense). The SACP even goes on to call on Zuma’s Commission of Enquiry to investigat the AMCU and the possibility that it is being financed by business interests to break NUM (that vanguard of the working class) – this from the SACP cabinet minister, Blade Nzimande, who wines and dines with big business every day of his life.     
In the midst of our outrage at this brutality let us acknowledge that a new movement is emerging. Such early signs do not as yet indicate something grand and well organised. Movements are notoriously messy and difficult to assign to some kind of predetermined ideological box. We do not know what ups and downs people will go through but when the seeds of a new movement are being planted it is time to ask what the rest of us can do to help it to grow.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Government Notifies Framework and Guidelines for use of Social Media by Government Agencies and Citizen Engagement for E-Governance Projects

The Department of  Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has approved and notified two important frameworks to ensure effective  citizen engagement and communication with  all stakeholders using  various offline  as well as online channels including Social Media.
            As more and more projects  are getting implemented, an increasing need has been felt for wider and deeper participation of an engagement with all stakeholders especially public at large to ensure that citizen centricity  is maintained in all projects.  To enable and support this goal, the Citizen Engagement Framework for e-Governance Projects has been developed for all government agencies.  There is now a   consensus that citizen participation and civic engagement  are the  building blocks for good governance  and e-Governance is a critical component of good governance. 
Media is transforming the way in which people connect with each other and the manner in which information is shared and distributed.  In order to encourage and enable government agencies to make use of this dynamic medium of interaction, the Framework and Guidelines for use of Social Media by government agencies in India has been formulated. These guidelines will enable the various agencies to create and implement their own strategy for the use of social media. The document will help them to make an informed choice about the objective, platforms, resources, etc. to meet the requirement of interaction with their varied stakeholders.
The guidelines provide an in depth review of types of social media, their characteristics and challenges in their uses. In order to assist the departments to undertake such an engagement, the document provides for a framework and detailed guidelines governing each element of the framework.
While at a personal level, the uptake and usage of social  media is gaining rapid popularity, use and utility of such media for official purpose remain ambiguous. Many apprehensions remain including, but not limited to, issues related to authorisation to speak on behalf of department/ agency, technologies and platform to be used for communication, scope of engagement, creating synergies between different channels of communication, compliance with existing legislations etc.
Social Media is being used across the world by different government agencies. It is believed that the Framework and Guidelines will be useful for departments and agencies in formulating their own strategies and will help them in engaging in a more fruitful manner with their respective stakeholders.
Awareness and communications in e-Governance is a high priority area to ensure  wide spread dissemination of e-Services  and service access channels  and DeitY has been mandated to  enhance visibility  of e-Services enabled under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).  Also there was an immediate need to create framework for citizen engagement and use of Social Media which would enable Government Agencies  to undertake meaningful engagement with citizens as well as leverage  Social Media  platforms more effectively for such engagements.
            E-Governance marks a paradigm shift in the philosophy  of governance-citizen centricity  instead of process centricity, and large scale  public participation through Information Communication Technology (ICT) enablement.

 The Frameworks can be downloaded from and .

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August is a black month for the Russian Navy

Pic courtesy:
By Andrei Mikhailov
August is a black month for the Russian Navy. On August 12, 2000 the nuclear submarine "Kursk" sank, on August 30, 2003 submarine "K-159" sank in the Barents Sea, on August 7 of 2005 bathyscaphe "AC-28" almost sank off the coast of Kamchatka. The loss of "Kursk" 12 years ago still causes heated discussions: how could this happen?
At the time, "Pravda.Ru" was one of the first (if not the first) of the Russian media outlets that published the most horrible theory of death of the missile submarine a year after the tragedy. A group of Russian 'conceptual' scientists thought that the submarine was killed by a collision with a foreign military submarine, presumably American. They say the report turned up on the desks of the top officials of the country. However, there has been no response to it so far. To this day, that theory is not completely rebutted.
K-141 "Kursk" was the Russian nuclear missile-carrying cruiser of Project 949A "Antaeus." It was built at the Severodvinsk shipyard "Sevmash" in 1992, and commissioned on December 30, 1994. From 1995 to 2000, "Kursk" served in the Russian Northern Fleet and was based in Vidyaevo. It sank in the Barents Sea, 175 kilometers from Severomorsk at a depth of 108 meters in a crash that occurred on August 12, 2000. All 118 crew members on board were killed. In terms of the number of deaths it was the second largest accident in the postwar history of the Russian submarine fleet after the explosion of ammunition on the submarine B-37.
Immediately after the accident a few admirals and officials claimed that "Kursk" was torpedoed by an American submarine. Later, this theory was silenced in favor of the official one. The admirals were ordered to keep silent.
However, director Jean-Michel Carré in his film "The Kursk: A Submarine in troubled waters" that aired on January 7, 2005 on French television, argues that "Kursk" was torpedoed by a U.S. submarine "Memphis." According to his theory, "Kursk" was performing a test shot of the new torpedo "Squall", and the tests were observed by two American submarines - "Memphis" and "Toledo."
There's nothing unusual there - normally both Russian and NATO submariners watch each other during tests and in the ordinary course of combat training. This is understandable as it is the best way to teach divers combat skills. However, it is done at a safe distance.
"Toledo" came dangerously close under the guise of "Memphis" that was "in the shadow." At some point "Kursk" and "Toledo" clashed (a video of "Kursk" sitting at the bottom of the sea shows long gaps in its case) and to prevent "Kursk" from shooting at "Toledo," "Memphis" has opened fire at "Kursk". Some of Russia's top retired military officials still think this theory to be true.
Apparently, even if we learn the truth, it will not be any time soon. One way or another, "Kursk" was the most "uncomfortable" of the Russian submarines for the American fleet. A year before the accident the Russian submarine bomber scared the entire NATO.
In August - October of 1999 the ship that NATO called "the killer of aircraft carriers", participated in the march into the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea after performing an "excellent" missile firing at the order of the Russian Navy commander.
The ship secretly broke into the Mediterranean via Gibraltar. The "Kursk" conducted covert surveillance of the group of the Sixth Fleet of the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean that included the aircraft carrier "Theodore Roosevelt," used against Serbia during the NATO operation against Yugoslavia. During the campaign in the Mediterranean, "Kursk" performed five conventional attacks at the real targets. As a result of the campaign, 72 crew members were presented with the government awards. In fact, "Kursk" was covering Yugoslavia.
The sudden appearance in the Mediterranean of the newest "killer of aircraft carriers" caused panic in the U.S. Navy. All anti-submarine forces of the Mediterranean countries of NATO were involved in the search of "Kursk."
However, the K-141 disappeared as suddenly as it emerged, inflicting a crushing blow to the American pride.  
Several top ranking officials, including the commander of the Gibraltar defense zone, lost their jobs, and "Kursk" and its commander were elevated to the rank of "personal enemies of America." The commander of the nuclear submarine, captain of the first rank Gennady Lyachin, was awarded the title of the hero of Russia. He never received his well-deserved reward because of red-tape.
In 1999 captain of the crew, commander Lyachin, was preparing for the new long march as part of a powerful group. after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was preparing the return to the Mediterranean Sea.
On July 30, 2000, the crew of "Kursk" took part in the military-marine parade dedicated to the Day of ​​the Fleet in Severomorsk. On October 15, 2000 the submarine was to access the Mediterranean Sea from Severomorsk, but sank on August 12.  

Nuclear powered submarine Kursk


Displacement, tons: 13,900 surfaced; 18,300 dived

Dimensions, feet (metres): 505.2 x 59.7 x 29.5 (154 x 18.2 x 9)

Main machinery: Nuclear; 2 VM-5 PWR; 380 MW; 2 GT3A turbines; 98,000 hp(m)(72 MW); 2 shafts; 2 spinners

Speed, knots: 28 dived; 15 surfaced

Complement: 107 (48 officers)

Missiles: SSM: 24 Chelomey SS-N-19 Shipwreck (Granit) (improved SS-N-12 with lower flight profile); inertial with command update guidance; active radar homing to 20-550 km (10.8-300 n miles) at 1.6 Mach; warhead 750 kg HE or 500 kT nuclear. Novator Alfa SS-N-27 may be carried in due course.

A/S: Novator SS-N-15 Starfish (Tsakra) fired from 53 cm tubes; inertial flight to 45 km (24.3 n miles); warhead nuclear 200 kT or Type 40 torpedo. Novator SS-N-16 Stallion fired from 65 cm tubes; inertial flight to 100 km (54 n miles); payload nuclear 200 kT (Vodopad) or Type 40 torpedo (Veder).

Torpedoes: 4-21 in (533 mm) and 2-26 in (650 mm) tubes. Combination of 65 and 53 cm torpedoes (see table at front of section). Total of 28 weapons including tube-launched A/S missiles.

Mines: 32 can be carried.

Countermeasures: ESM: Rim Hat; intercept.

Weapons control: Punch Bowl for third party targeting.

Radars: Surface search: Snoop Pair or Snoop Half; I-band.

Sonars: Shark Gill; hull-mounted; passive/active search and attack; low/medium frequency. Shark Rib flank array; passive; low frequency. Mouse Roar; hull-mounted; active attack; high frequency. Pelamida towed array; passive search; very low frequency.

Programmes: There is some doubt whether K 530 will be completed. Name/Number attribution is still uncertain, and Omsk may have been renamed Petropavlosk Kamchatsky. Structure: SSM missile tubes are in banks of 12 either side and external to the 8.5 m diameter pressure hull; they are inclined at 40є with one hatch covering each pair, the whole resulting in the very large beam. The position of the missile tubes provides a large gap of some 4 m between the outer and inner hulls. Diving depth, 1,000 ft (300 m) although 2,000 ft (600 m) is claimed. Operational: ELF/VLF communications buoy. All have a tube on the rudder fin which is used for dispensing a thin line towed sonar array. Pert Spring SATCOM.

No. K 141, Builder - Severodvinsk Shipyard, Launched May 1994

Monday, August 20, 2012

Japan-China dispute: little islands, big problem


TOKYO: The governor of Tokyo wants to buy them, Taiwan says it would like them back and China has made 
their return a national priority. But for the Kurihara family, the islands Japan knows as Senkaku are just a bit of land they would really rather sell.

"The conflict is escalating more and more," Hiroyuki Kurihara told AFP in an interview 
about the islands, known in China as Diaoyu, where Japanese nationalists landed Sunday after a similar venture by pro-Beijing activists.

All 14 involved in that action were deported Friday in an apparent bid by Tokyo to head off a potentially destabilising row with Beijing.

"We are worried that the government cannot cope with the situation over the islands," said Kurihara.

His powerful merchant family are the legal owners of four of the five islands in the Senkakus, an archipelago some 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) from Tokyo but less than 200 kilometres from Taiwan.

China, Taiwan and Japan all say they are part of their territory. They are administered by Tokyo, which holds title to the fifth island and bans development on them all, not allowing anyone to land.

While Beijing claims more than five centuries of control, Tokyo says a Kyushu businessman landed on the uninhabited -- and unclaimed -- outcrops at the end of the 19th century.

That businessman was Tatsuhiro Koga, who set up factories there processing bonito fish and albatross feathers.

The tumult of war led to the islands being abandoned, and along with Okinawa they were put under US military control following Tokyo's surrender at the end of World War II.

When Okinawa was handed back to Japan in 1972, the Senkakus were returned to Koga's son Zenji.

Around that time
 geologists said the seabed nearby could contain large reserves of oil and gas, while Beijing and Taipei began asserting their claims.

With no heir of his own, Koga decided to sell the islands to the Kuriharas, long-time friends from the suburbs of Tokyo who ran a trading house and owned land throughout Japan.

The eldest brother Kunioki, now 70, holds the legal rights to Uotsurijima, Kitakojima and Minamikojima, which the national government leases for 25 million yen (US$300,000) a year. A fourth island is owned by his sister and rented to the defence ministry for an undisclosed sum.

Koga made only one demand when he sold the islands to the family.

"My brother promised Mr Koga that he will never do anything to sever history," said Hiroyuki Kurihara. "That means he won't sell them to private entities."

But with a potentially huge inheritance tax bill if the islands are passed on to the next generation, the Kurihara family want to sell up.

Conveniently for them, the nationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, earlier this year announced that his administration wanted to buy them, catching the governments of Japan and China off-guard.

He has since collected more than 1.4 billion yen ($18 million) in donations towards a reported purchase price of up to 2 billion yen.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stepped into the row in June, saying the national government was also thinking about putting in a bid, provoking a frosty response from Beijing.

The Kuriharas insist their ownership of the islands is not political and they do not want to be involved in the dispute.

"It is not about guarding the islands," Kurihara said. "All that matters to my brother is that he retains his honour as the 17th heir of the Kurihara family."
Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute timeline

Key dates in the dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan:

- 15th-16th centuries: Chinese books, published in 1403 and 1534 during the Ming Dynasty, mention Diaoyu in chronicling journeys through the island area.

- 1895: The Japanese government annexes a group of five uninhabited islands and three rocks as part of Okinawa on January 14 on the grounds that they have never been controlled by any other country.

- 1896: The Japanese government leases the island group to Japanese entrepreneur Tatsushiro Koga. Koga builds plants to process bonito fish and albatross feathers, later employing up to 280 workers.

- 1918: Koga dies and his son Zenji takes over his business.

- 1932: The Japanese government sells four of the islands to Zenji Koga.

- 1940: Koga abandons the business, leaving the islands uninhabited again.

- 1945: Japan surrenders to the US-led allied nations at the end of World War II. The islands remain under US occupation as part of Okinawa until 1972.

 1949: The People's Republic of China is founded by the Communist Party, with the Nationalists retreating to the island of Taiwan.

- 1969: The UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific reports there may be potential undersea oil reserves in the vicinity of the islands

- 1971: The governments of China and Taiwan formally declare ownership of the islands.

- 1972: Okinawa is returned to Japanese rule.

- 1972-1985: Koga sells the islands in individual transactions to the Kurihara family, which runs a trading house and owns land throughout Japan.

- 1978: About 100 Chinese fishing boats sail close to the islands. A Japanese nationalist group builds a lighthouse on Uotsuri, one of the islands. (In 2005, the lighthouse is handed over to the Japanese government.)

- 1996: The nationalist group builds another lighthouse on another of the islands. Several activists from Hong Kong dive into waters off the islands on a protest journey. One of them drowns.

- 2002: The Japanese ministry of internal affairs starts renting three of the four Kurihara-owned islands. The other is rented by the defence ministry.

- 2004: A group of Chinese activists lands on one of the disputed islands. The then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi orders their deportation after two days.

- September, 2010: A Chinese fishing boat rams two Japanese coastguard patrol boats off the islands. Its captain is arrested but freed around two weeks later amid a heated diplomatic row that affects trade and political ties.

- April 16, 2012: Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara announces he has reached a basic agreement to buy the Kurihara-owned islands.

- July 7, 2012: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says his government is considering buying the islands.

- August 15, 2012: Japanese police arrest 14 pro-China activists, five of them on one of the islands.

- August 17, 2012: All 14 are deported.

- August 19, 2012: Japanese nationalists land on the islands without permission.

- AFP/wm

Friday, August 17, 2012

மூழ்கடிக்கப்பட்ட கப்பல்களும் மிதக்கும் வெற்றுப் படகுகளும்: பூநகரான் குகதாசன்

“தெளிந்த நீரைக் கொண்ட ஊற்றுத் தான் முதலில் இறைக்கப்படும், உறுதியுடன் நேராக வளர்ந்த மரந்தான் முதலில் வெட்டப்படும்” இதன் படி இலட்சிய உறுதியுடைய பலமான கட்டுக் கோப்பைக் கொண்டிருந்த புலிகள் இயக்கம் வெட்டிச் சாய்க்கப்பட்டு விட்டது.
களத்திலோ தளத்திலோ போராட புலிகள் எவருமில்லை. வழி நடாத்த தளபதிகள் இல்லை. முகாங்களெதிலும் படைகளுமில்லை தலைவனும் இல்லை. ஈழப் போராட்டம் வெற்றுப் படகு போலாகிவிட்டது.
பல கப்பல்களைக் கொண்டிருந்த இயக்கத்தின் கப்பல்கள் மூழ்கடிக்கப்பட்டுவிட்டன. இருந்தாலும் வெற்றுப் படகுகள் பல தாங்கள் போராட்டத்தை தொடர்வதாக ஆங்காங்கே மிதந்து கொண்டிருக்கின்றன. ஆக காகித ஓடப் பாட்டை அன்றெழுதிய கலைஞரின் டெல்லிக் கூட்டுத் தயாரிப்பே இந்த டெசோ மகாநாடாகும்.
1983 ஆடி அடியுடன் அரசிற்கு எதிராக போராடப் புறப்பட்ட இதர இயக்கங்கள் எல்லாம் தொடர்ந்து போராடாமலே அரசுடனே சேர்ந்து கொண்டன. அவை புலிகளுடன் தான் பின்னர் போராடிக் கொண்டிருந்தன. திரு பாலகுமாரனும் ஈரோஸ் இயக்கமும் தான் இதற்கு விதி விலக்கு. புலிகள் பலி கொள்ளப்பட்ட பின் எங்சியிருந்த இயக்கங்களும் சோர்ந்து போயின.
புலிகள் தான் தங்களை போராட விடாது தடுக்கிறார்கள் என்ற ஏனைய இயக்கத்தவர்கள் கூட இன்று புலியின் தேவையை உணர்கின்றனர். ஆம், ஈழப் போராட்டப் படகு இன்று வெறுமையாக்கப்பட்டு விட்டது.
தமிழ் ஈழ ஆன்மா மட்டும் சிலரின் சிந்தனைகளில் ஊசலாடிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. அந்த உன்னத தமிழர் வாழ்வாதார இலட்சியத்தை மறக்க, கை விட முடியாது வெளிநாடுகளில் பலர் கொடிகளை ஏந்திக் கொண்டிருக்கின்றனர்.
இவர்களையே பேராசிரியர் பீரிஸ் தோல்வியை ஏற்றுக் கொள்ள இயலாத தமிழர்கள் என்று கேலி செய்துள்ளார். இருந்தும் உண்மையதைத் தெரிந்து கொண்டும், இந்தியாவுடன் சேர்ந்து கொண்டு அதோ! கொடி பறக்கிறது, புலிகள் இன்னமும் இருக்கிறார்கள் என்று தங்களது பழைய பரப்புரையை உலகில் தொடர்கின்றார்.
தமிழர்கள் எல்லாம் புலிகளோ என்பது எனக்குத் தெரியாது. ஆனால் போராட்டம் என்றால் அது புலிகள் தான். அந்தளவு தீரத்துடன் அவர்கள் ஒவ்வொருவரும் போராரடினார்கள். ஒரு காலத்திற்கு பிற்பாடு மன உரம் மிக்கவர்கள் எல்லாம் அந்த இயக்கத்தில் தான் சேர்ந்தனரோ என்னமோ? ஆரம்பத்தில் கூட மனோ வைராக்கியம் மிக்கவர்களைத் தான் அந்த இயக்கமும் உள் வாங்கிக் கொண்டதே என்னமோ? போராட்டம் என்றால் அது புலிகள் தான்.
அதனாற் தான் இதே பீரீஸ் அவர்களுடன் சென்று பேச வேண்டியிருந்தது.  உலகில் வெற்றியும் தோல்வியும் மாறி மாறி வருபவை. உலக வரலாற்றின் கடிகார ஊசல் என்றும் வெற்றி தோல்வி என்ற இரு துருவங்களிற்கு இடையிலேயே அசைகிறது.
இந்த அச்சத்தினாலேயோ என்னமோ, இனியும் யாராவது புலிகளிற்கு மாறான நேர் எதிரான வழியிற் போராடினாற் கூட, அவர்களை புலி என்றே முத்திரை குத்துவே இவர்கள் தயாராக நிற்கிறார்கள். ஏனென்றால் புலி என்றால் பயங்கரவாதிகள் என்றே உலகத்திற்கு அவர்கள் உரைத்திருக்கிறார்கள்.
எனவே தான் அவர்கள் தமிழர் தரப்பு நியாயத்தை ஆதரித்த சில வெளிநாட்டவர்களைக் கூட வெள்ளைப் புலி என்றனர். புலி என்றால் இலகுவாக எவரையும் அடக்கலாம் தேவைப்பட்டால் அழிக்கலாம் அடித்துக் கூட அதைச் செய்யலாம். உலகம் அதனைப் பார்த்துக் கொண்டேயிருக்கிறது.
இனியும், யாராவது உலகம் ஏற்கும் வழியில் ஜனநாயக வழியிற் போராடினாற் கூட அவர்களையும் புலிகள் என்றே இந்தியா கூடக் கூறும். ஏனென்றால் யாரையும் தடுத்து நிறுத்த, தண்டிக்க அவர்களிற்கு புலிகள் என்ற சொல் தேவை. எனவே தான் அது இல்லாத புலிகளின் மீதான தடையை விதித்துள்ளது.
இந்தத் தடையின் பொருள் என்னவெனில் யாரும் இனி தமிழர் உரிமைக்காக எங்கும் போராடக் கூடாது. ஆர்ப்பாட்டங்களை கூட்டங்களை மகாநாடுகளை நடாத்தினாலும் ஈழம் பற்றி மூச்சே விடக் கூடாது.
இது தான் பெரிய தேசமான மகா பாரதத்தின் புலி இயக்கத்தின் மீதான தடை. இது எதிர் காலத்துடனும் தொடர்புடையது. இந்த நிலையில் விடயம் நீதி மன்றத்திற்கு உயர்த்தப்பட்ட போது ஈழம் என்ற சொல்லை நீங்கள் உங்களிற்குள் அரசியல் நடாத்தப் பாவிக்கலாம் ஆனால் மத்திய அரசு ஒரு போதும் ஈழத்தை அனுமதியாது என்று மத்திய இந்திய அரசு ஈற்றில் மீண்டும் உரைத்துள்ளது.
இதன் பொருள் யாதெனில் ஈழ வேட்கை தமிழரிடமுண்டு. ஆனால் ஈழத்தை எங்களால் அனுமதிக்க இயலாது. இருந்தாலும் கொதிக்கும் தமிழர்களின் மனத் திருப்திக்காக, அவர்கள் அமைதியடைய, குழப்பங்கள் மற்றும் உண்மையான விடுதலைப் போராட்டங்கள் முளைப்பதைத் தவிர்க்க, யாராவது அரசியல்வாதிகள் ஈழம், ஈழ ஆதரவு, தமிழ், நாடு, அரசு என்று பெயர்களையும் கோஜங்களையும் போட்டு தங்கள் ஆதரவை பெருக்க, கூட்டம் சேர்க்க ஈழம் என்ற சொல்லைப் தாராமாகப் பாவிக்கலாம் என்று தான் இந்தியா கூறியுள்ளது.
கொதிக்கும் தமிழ் நெஞ்சங்களை அடக்கி சாந்தபப்படுத்தும் கலைஞரிற்கு மத்திய அரசு நன்றி கூடக் கூறலாம். இது தான் வெளிநாடுகளிலும் நடைபெறுகிறது. நாங்கள் புலிகளைத் தடை செய்துள்ளோம். ஆசைப்பட்டால் கொடிகளை நீங்கள் பிடிக்கலாம் ஆனால் புலித் தடை அது கேட்கும் பிரிவிணைத் தடைகள் போன்றன நீடிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.
ஆனால் உங்கள் ஆசையை விருப்பத்தை கருத்துக்களை வெளிக்காட்டி விட்டு நீங்கள் நிம்மதியாக வீடு சென்று உறங்கலாம் என்று தான் மேற்குலக அரசுகளும் உள்ளன. அமெரிக்காவைப் பொறுத்தவரை அதுவும் புலிகள் தடையை நீடித்துள்ளது.
எங்களது தூதரகத்திற்கு முன்பாக யாரும் வந்து எப்படியும் எவ்வளவு காலமும் எத்தனை தடவைகள் எத்தனை ஆயிரம் பேர் வந்தும் ஆரப்பாட்டம் செய்யலாம். அது உங்கள் சுதந்திரம். ஆனால் நாங்கள் புலிகளைத் தடை செய்திருக்கிறோம். எனவே நீங்கள் தெருவிலேயே நின்று விட்டு நீங்கள் போகலாம். ஆனால் எதுவும் நடவாது என்று தான் அமெரிக்காவும் எண்ணுகிறது. இத்தகைய உண்மை நிலைமைகளை நாங்கள் உணர வேண்டும்.
என்னைப் பொறுத்தவரை, உண்மையாக நிஜத்தில் ,ஈழப் போராட்டம் எதுவும் இன்று உலகில் எங்கும் யாராலும் முன்னெடுக்கப்படவில்லை. எந்த நாட்டு அரசையும் சந்தியாத சிந்திக்க வைக்காத வெற்று ஆர்ப்பாட்டங்களில் நாம் காலத்தை வீணடிக்கிறோம் என்பதே உண்மை.
எனவே தான் தமிழகத்திலாகட்டும் பிற வெளி நாடுகளிலாகட்டும் அர்த்தமற்று எதவித பெறுபேறுமின்றி தொடரும் ஆரப்பாட்டங்களை வெறுமையானவையாகவே கருத வேண்டியுள்ளது.
அதனாற் தான் அங்கென்று இங்கொன்றாக அவ்வப்போது கூட்டப்படும் ஈழப் போராட்டங்களை வெறும் வெற்றுப் படகுகள் என்கிறேன். எல்லாம் வெறும் பேச்சிற்கும் திருப்திக்கும் தமிழரை இந்தச் சொற்களால் வசப்படுத்தி கூட்டம் சேர்த்து தங்கள் அரசியலை தொடரவுமே ஈழக் கோஜ அரசியலை அநேகர் பாவிக்கின்றனர். சிலர் தெரிந்தும், பலர் தெரியாமலும் இந்தத் தவற்றைத் தொடர்கின்றனர்.
ஈழத்தை தேடும் தமிழகத் தமிழர்கள் கலைஞர் என்னமோ ஈழத் தமிழரிற்காகச் செய்கிறார் என்று நம்பி அமைதி அடைந்து ஈழத்தை நோக்கி ஒரு அடியைக் கூட உண்மையாக எடுத்து வைப்பதைத் தடுக்க மத்திய இந்திய அரசு மேற் கொள்ளும் தந்திரமாகவே இதனை நான் பார்க்கிறேன்.
அதாவது கலைஞரின் டெசோ மநாட்டைத் தடுத்தால், தமிழக மக்கள் சீமான் ,வை கோ போன்றவர்களின் பின்னால் சென்று குழப்பங்களையும் கலகங்களையும் விளைவிக்கலாம் என்ற அச்சத்தில் தான் இந்த டெசோ மாநாட்டை கலைஞர் நடத்த மத்திய அரசு தடை போடாது அனுமதியளித்துள்ளது.
இது ஒரு புரிந்துணர்வு அடிப்படையில் ஆடப்பட்ட ஒரு மாநில மத்திக் கூட்டு நாடகம். செல்வி ஜெயலலிதா இறுக்கமாகவும் ,விவேகமாகவும் இலங்கைப் பிரச்சனையைக் கையாள்வதால், குறிப்பாக சிறீ லங்கா சென்று வந்த இந்திய அதிகாரியைச் சந்திக்க மறுத்தமை மற்றும் இந்திய பாராளுமன்றக் குழுவில் அங்கம் வகிக்காமை போன்ற காரணஙகளினால் விசனமடைந்துள்ள மத்திய அரசின் கபடச் செயல் இது.
இலங்கைத் தமிழர் விடயத்தில் எள்ளளவும் விட்டுக் கொடாமல் நடந்த ஜெயலலிதாவின் கையிலிருந்து தமிழர் விவகாரத்தை பறித்து கலைஞரிடம் தள்ளிவிட ஆடப்படும் ஆரியக் கூத்து இது. இதனை நாங்களும் புரியவில்லை அங்கே கொழும்பில் கலைஞரின் கொடும்பாவியை எரித்தவர்களும் புரியவில்லை.
தமிழராகிய நமது நோக்கமோ ஜெயா அம்மாவையும், அப்பா கருணாநிதியையும் உள்ளடக்கி உலகளாவிய ரீதியில் ஒரு பரந்து பட்ட டெசோ போன்ற ஒரு ஜனநாயக உலக தமிழ் வலைப்பின்னலை அமைப்பதாக இருக்க வேண்டும். முடிவெடுக்கும் அதிகாரங்களை புத்திஜீவிகளிடமும் விட்டு விட்டு இந்த இரண்டு தலைமைகளையும் வெளியேறாது பார்த்துக் கொண்டால் அது இன நலன் மிக்க நகர்வாக அமையலாம்.
இதனை மனதிற் கொண்டே, இங்கு கனடாவில் ராதிகா அவர்கள் கனடாப் பாராளுமன்றத்திற்கு தெரிவான போது உலகளாவிய தமிழர் ஜனநாயக வலைப்பின்னல் ஒன்றை வலியுறுத்தியிருந்தேன். அவ்வாறான ஒரு அமைப்பால் இலகுவாக நிறைவேற்றப்பட்ட தீர்மானங்களை ஐ நா வைச் சென்றடைய வைக்க இயலும் என்றே இன்றும் நம்புகிறேன்.
உண்மையான உறுதியான ஈழப் போராட்டம் என்பது புலிகளுடன் முள்ளி வாய்க்காலுள் ஆழத் தோண்டி புதைக்கப்பட்டு விட்டது. அதனை உறுதியற்று செய்த இயக்கங்களை இரண்டு அரசுகளும் உயிருடன் விட்டுள்ளன.
இலட்சியத்தை கை விடவே மாட்டோம் என்ற இயக்கத்தை இரணடு அரசுகளும் கூட்டுச் சேர்ந்து அழித்து விட்டன. அதற்காக அவை தொடர்ச்சியாக கப்பல்கள் பலவற்றை மூழ்கடித்து வந்தன. அரசியலாகவும் ஆசைக்காகவுமே தேவை என்பதாலுமே பலரும் ஈழப் போராட்டக் கப்பலை கடலில் விடுகின்றனர்.
அவை வெறும் தீர்மானங்கள் எழுதப்பட்ட காகித ஓடங்களாக, பலமானதாக இல்லாது போனாலும் உறுதியானதாக உண்மையானதாக இவை அமையாமையினாலேயே இவற்றை மிதக்கும் வெற்றுப்படகுகள் என்கிறேன். இந்தக் காகிதக் கப்பல்களை கடல் நடுவே விடுபவர்களிடமே எந்த நம்பிக்கையும் அறவே கிடையாது.
ஆனால் புலிகளிடம் அதிக நம்பிக்கை இருந்தது. அந்த எல்லை மீறிய அதீத அபார நம்பிக்கைகள் தமிழர் மனங்களில் மிகவும் ஆழமாகப் பதிந்து விட்டதானாலேயே புலிகள் வருவார்கள் என்று இன்னொரு சாரார் காத்துக் கொண்டு கரையில் நிற்கின்றனர். இந்த நேரத்தில் இவர்கள் விடும் காகித வெற்றுக் கப்பல்களே இந்த ஈழக் கோஜங்கள்.
இவை உண்மையும் உறுதியுமற்றவை என்றாலும் சிங்க அரசுகள் இவற்றை பெரிதாக்கி புலிகள் என்பர். இதன் மூலம் உலகத்திடமிருந்து தமிழர் தேசியக் கூட்டமைப்பை அனனியப்படுத்தவே சம்பந்தரது உருவத்தையும் சேர்த்து எரித்தனர்.
எனவே தான் சிறீ லங்கா தவிர்ந்த இந்தியா அடங்கலான அரசுகள் மறுக்க இயலாத வகையில் ஒரு உலகாளவிய தமிழர் ஜனநாயக அமைப்பின் தேவை உணரப்பட வேண்டியதாகிறது. அங்கு இயலுமான அளவு பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர்களையும் ஐ நா சாசனம் மற்றும் மனித உரிமை அடிப்படையில் சேர்த்துக் கொள்வது பற்றி ஏற்கனவே உள்ள அமைப்புக்கள் சிந்தித்தால் அது இனப் பாதுகாப்பானதான மாற்ற மடையலாம்.
தமிழக உள்ளக கட்சி அரசியலைத் தாண்டி கலைஞர் மற்றும் முதல்வர் செல்வி ஜெயலலிதா ஆகியோரை பெயரளவிலாவது உள்ளடக்கிய ஒரு பொது தமிழர் ஜனநாயக அமைப்பை ஏற்படுத்துவது தொடர்பில் கவனம் செலுத்தினாவது அதற்கு ஒரு பெறுமதியும் கணதியும் இருக்கும். இல்லாவிடின் திமுக அதிமுக போட்டியை மத்திய அரசே பாவித்து தனது தேவைகளை நிறை வேற்றிக் கொள்வது தொடரும்.
இதை விடுத்து, அங்கென்று இங்கொன்றாக வெற்று ஓடங்களை காட்சிக்கு மிதக்க விடுவதில் அர்த்தமில்லை. இதனை அறிஞர் கலைஞரே வருமாறு கூறியுள்ளார். அவர் டெசோ மாநாடு வெற்றி என அறிவித்துள்ளார்.
அங்கு நிறை வேற்றப்பட்ட தீர்மானத்தின் ஒன்று கூட அமுலாகாத நிலையில் அவர் மாநாடு வெற்றி என்றால் அதன் பொருள் என்ன? தீர்மானம் நிறைவேறுமோ இல்லையோ மக்களை கூட்டி ஒரு மாநாடு நடாத்திவிட வேண்டுமஎன்பதிலேயே அவர் குறியாக இருந்தள்ளார் என்றே கணிக்க வேண்டியுள்ளது. ஜெயலலிதாவின் ஆதரவை குறைத்து விட வேண்டும் என்ற அந்த நோக்கம் நிறைவேறியுள்ளதால் அது தனக்கு வெற்றி என அறிவித்துள்ளார்.
அங்கு வநதிருந்த ஒரு பேச்சாளி 1944 இல் ஜே. ஆர் பிரதமாராக இருந்தார் என்று மேடையில் பேசினார். 13 வது திருத்தச் சட்டத்தின் வலுவின்மை பற்றி கருணாநிதியோ கனிமொழியோ அறிந்திருக்கவில்லை.
யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழக விரிவுரையாளரின் உரையைக் கூட யாரும் இவர்களிற்கு அனுப்பி வைக்கவில்லை. இதனாற் தான் ஒரு பொது உலக அமைப்பு வேண்டும் என்கிறேன். இந்தக் கனிமொழி 13 வது சட்டம் வலுவற்றது என்பதற்கு ஒரு காரணத்தையாவது கூறும்படி கேட்டுள்ளதாக செய்தி வந்துள்ளது என்றால் இவர்களால் எவ்வாறு சிக்கலான நமது தமிழர் பிரச்சைனயை புரிந்து கையாண்டு தீர்வைப் பெற்றுத் தர இயலும்?
இதில் அவ்வப்போது நடப்பவற்றை அங்காங்கே உலகெலாம் தெரிவிக்க ஒரு அமைப்பும் நம்மிடமும் இல்லை. உலகத் தமிழரிடையே ஒருங்கிணைப்பும் இல்லை. ஒன்றிற்கும் மற்றதிற்கும் தொடர்பும் இல்லை.
இது தீவிற்கு வெளியே ஒரு பாரிய ஜனநாயக வலைப்பின்னலின் அவசியத்தையும் தேவையையும் உணர்த்தி நிற்கின்றது எனலாம். இது கடினமாக போதும் சாத்தியமானதே. பண்டார வன்னியனின் கற்சிலைமடு வரை புத்தர் சிலை வைப்பது ஒரு திட்ட மிட்ட இன வரலாற்று ஆதார அழிப்பின் வெளிப்பாடே.
இதனை ஒரு முழுமையான இன அழிப்பெனலாம். பாலஸ்தீனம் அபகரிக்கப்பட்ட அதே பாணியில் தொடரும் நில இன அழிப்புக்களை தடுப்பது மிகவும் கடினம். அதற்காக எதையாவது செய்து பலனை பெற வேண்டுமானால் உலக அனவிலான ஜனநாயக மனித உரிமை விடயங்கள் மட்டும் முன் வைக்கப்பட்டு ஒரு உலகளாவிய தமிழர் அமைப்பு அதனை முன்னெடுக்க வேண்டும்.
இதற்கான மாற்றங்களையும் முயற்சிகளையும் வெளிநாடுகளில் உள்ள மிதவாத அமைப்புக்களே தொடங்க முடியும். இல்லாவிடின் ஆங்காங்கே தொடர்டபுகள் எதவுமற்ற வெற்றுப் படகுகளே மிதந்து கொண்டிருக்கும். அதை யாரும் மூழ்கடிக்கவும் முயலமாட்டார்கள் எனென்றால் அங்கு நிறைந்திருப்பது வெறுமை மட்டுமே. தமிழ் இனி மெல்ல அல்ல, விரைந்தே புலிகளின் கப்பல்கள் போல் மூழ்கடிக்கப்படும்.