Monthly Archives: March 2018

Green party names veteran journalist Jo-Ann Roberts as deputy leader

Jo-Ann Roberts

No Journalsit is Safe in Kashmir/Kashmir journalist Kamran Yusuf released after six months in jail

Kashmir journalist Kamran Yusuf released after six months in jail

Kamran Yusuf, accused of ‘waging war against India’ and ‘stone throwing’, gets bail after more than six months in jail.


Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown Pulwama on Thursday [Shuaib Bashir/Al Jazeera]
Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown Pulwama on Thursday [Shuaib Bashir/Al Jazeera]

Pulwama, Indian-administered Kashmir – A photojournalist in Indian-administered Kashmirhas been released on bail after spending more than six months in jail on charges of “waging war against India” and “stone throwing”.

Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown on Thursday after a court in the Indian capital, New Delhi, found the state’s case against the 22-year-old freelancer lacked facts.

Rubeen Thahseen, Yusuf’s mother, told Al Jazeera she was jubilant about her son’s return.

“He is innocent … I haven’t slept a single night during all these months,” she said from Tahab village in Pulwama district.

Yusuf was arrested last September by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after he left for work in Pulwana in southern Kashmir, where a new wave of protests against Indian rule has erupted following the Indian army’s 2016 killing of a young separatist leader.

Both India and Pakistan claim the Muslim majority state in full but rule it in part. An estimated 70,000 people have been killed since an armed revolt in 1989. That figure includes 21 journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists said journalists covering Kashmir have “walked the razor’s edge”, working under threats and intimidation from various actors in the conflict.


Kashmir: Civilian killings threaten new anti-India protests

Yusuf’s arrest marked the first time a Kashmiri journalist was held by the NIA, a body formed to combat “terrorism” in 2009, months after attacks on Mumbai, the Indian financial capital.

The NIA contended Yusuf was not a “real journalist” as he had never covered “any developmental activity of the government” including inaugurations of hospitals, school buildings, roads and bridges.

Justifying his arrest before the court, NIA told judges Yusuf’s mobile number was “persistently located at places where counter-terrorist operations were in progress”.

But the court, in a ruling on Tuesday, said the NIA “has not placed on record a single photo/video showing that the accused was indulging in stone pelting activities at any site”.

Kamran’s work as a photojournalist makes his presence at sites of stone throwing “intrinsic”, the ruling said.

Warisha Farasat, Yusuf’s defence lawyer, said the order was “very welcome and reasoned”.

Human rights groups have previously condemned Yusuf’s arrest, with Amnesty International branding the charges against him “fabricated” and “politically motivated to stifle journalism in Kashmir”.

Yusuf has contributed to several newspapers in Kashmir, including the Srinagar-based newspaper Greater Kashmir.

“He was always first to reach the spot and cover the stories, we have saved all the papers where his pictures have been published,” said Irshad Ahmed, Yusuf’s uncle.


The children of Kashmir’s decades-long conflict

Showkat Nanda, a freelance journalist in the region, told Al Jazeera that journalists have become “easy targets” for the Indian state in Kashmir.

“The situation here is such that anyone can be framed like Kamran. When the narrative goes against the state, they go to any extreme to suppress the voice,” he said.

“No journalist is safe in Kashmir.”

Slovakia’s PM resigns amid scandal over murder of journalist

slovakia PM

Slovakia’s PM resigns amid scandal over murder of journalist

Robert Fico’s position became untenable after coalition partners withdrew from government

Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, has resigned after more than two weeks of political turmoil and public protests sparked by the murder of an investigative journalist.

slovakian journalistslovakia PM

The country’s president, Andrej Kiska, accepted the resignation at a ceremony and mandated Fico’s deputy, Peter Pellegrini, to form a new government.

The position of Fico, who served as prime minister for 10 of the past 12 years, appeared untenable after one of his junior coalition partners announced this week that it would withdraw from the government and support early elections unless he went. He agreed to resign on Wednesday after two days of talks with coalition leaders.

“I told the president: ‘Rest assured, I’m not leaving politics, I want to be an active party leader,’” Fico told a news conference on Thursday. “My role will be to have the new prime minister’s back and push for priorities that are important for [his party] Smer: a clear pro-European and pro-Nato orientation.”

Fico’s resignation comes weeks into a political crisis sparked by the murder in February of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová. Kuciak had been investigating alleged mafia infiltration into the country, with questions raised about Fico’s judgment after it emerged that one of his close aides, was the former business partner of an alleged member of the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta clan.

Fico caused unease in some quarters in the immediate aftermath of the murders with a misjudged press conference during which he posed with €1m in cash and appeared to imply that he had taken personal control of the investigation.


Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable


March 16 -2018

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada _ USA ) is disappointed by  Gatineau, Quebec   Police unacceptable action of arresting Radio Canada Journalist Antoine Trépanier .

We call on Quebec prosecutor to dismiss the case immediately.   

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada _ USA )

Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable

Antoine Trépanier was arrested this week after a harassment complaint from an investigation suspect


Journalists are standing behind an Ottawa reporter arrested after a criminal harassment complaint from the subject of a story he had been writing.

A Radio-Canada investigation, with a team including reporter Antoine Trépanier, revealed that the executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Gatineau, Que., falsely portrayed herself as a lawyer and practised law without a licence.

Yvonne Dubé told Radio-Canada she knew nothing about the case and insisted she never represented anyone as a lawyer.

​Trépanier had talked to Dubé over the phone Monday, eventually offering a formal interview request for the story before it was published earlier this week.

After initially accepting the interview, she declined it at the last moment. She instead spoke by phone.

Arrested Tuesday evening

The next day, ​Trépanier sent an email reiterating the offer for an interview.

Subsequently, Dubé contacted Gatineau police and made a complaint of criminal harassment against Trépanier.

Trépanier was arrested Tuesday evening and he signed a promise to appear in court.

The Crown has not yet decided if charges will proceed.

antoine trepanier gatineau radio canada reporter

Trépanier, left, waits outside a Gatineau police station after the criminal harassment complaint was levied against him this week. (CBC)

Radio-Canada stands behind the work of its journalist, both ethically and legally.

“Journalists should be free to contact anybody they want. People can say, ‘No, I don’t want to answer,'” said Yvan Cloutier, director of French services for Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau.

“People have the right not to answer our questions, but to complain to police and for police to put you under arrest because you’ve asked questions, this is abnormal and we can’t accept that.”

Cloutier said he doesn’t know exactly what Dubé told police, so it’s tough to comment on the police decision to arrest the reporter.

He said he had never seen anything like this in his 30 years in journalism.

Advocates for journalists called the arrest troubling.

“It’s extremely concerning that the Radio-Canada reporter was arrested just for doing their job,” said Duncan Pike, co-director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. “It certainly undermines press freedom and puts a chill on the kind of public interest reporting that Canadians rely on everyday.”

He said the case is rare and reporters need to be able to do their job.

Stéphane Giroux, president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, said that from what he knows, police acted too soon.

“Gatineau police claim they’re doing their job by the book and I’m sure they are, however, police have a lot of discretionary power.… I think police should have taken the time to further investigate,” he said.

‘We have the obligation to listen’

Gatineau police held a media briefing early Friday afternoon, where the force’s director, Mario Harel, said “we have the obligation to listen to the victims … regardless if [the accused] is a journalist, a politician, a star or an ordinary citizen.”

When asked about what Trépanier did to necessitate an arrest, Harel said he couldn’t get into specifics, and could only speak to what happens when someone files a complaint at the police department.

“If there are criminal details in the complaint, the officer has the obligation to protect the public and the victims, and to act accordingly,” he said.

Doug Ford New leader of Ontario conservative Party -but party divided

doug ford

Doug Ford New leader of Ontario conservative Party -but party divided – Christine Elliot does not accept her defeat .Doug Ford says Kathleen Wynne’s ‘days are numbered’ in 1st appearance as Ontario PC Party Leader
By Jessica Patton Global News
WATCH: After narrowly winning on Saturday, the new leader of the Ontario PC Party Doug Ford walked the St. Patrick’s Day parade route in Toronto.

– A A +
Hours after being named the new Ontario PC Party leader, Doug Ford says he is focused on defeating Kathleen Wynne and only wishes rival Christine Elliot the best, despite the candidate voicing concern over irregularities in the voting.

Ford made his first public appearance, at Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, since being announced as leader. He was all smiles as he walked along Bloor Street shaking hands with parade-goers, many congratulating him on his win.

Ford was announced as leader late Saturday night, seven hours later than the winner was originally scheduled to be heard at a convention centre in Markham, Ont. Party President Jag Badwal said Ford narrowly eked out the win over former provincial legislator Christine Elliott on the third ballot. Elliott finished 153 points behind Ford on the final ballot.

READ MORE: Doug Ford declared Ontario PC Party leader after chaotic convention

Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney placed third, while social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen finished last.

Language barrier: Why some of Canada’s diverse filmmakers are shut out of funding

Language barrier: Why some of Canada’s diverse filmmakers are shut out of funding

Ava won prize for best 1st feature film but wasn’t eligible for financing because it’s in Farsi

By Nigel Hunt, CBC News Posted: Mar 10, 2018 4:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 10, 2018 4:00 AM ET

Ava has been nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards including best actress for Mahour Jabbari, right. But the Farsi-language film didn't qualify for funding from Telefilm Canada, which only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages.

Ava has been nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards including best actress for Mahour Jabbari, right. But the Farsi-language film didn’t qualify for funding from Telefilm Canada, which only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages. (Sweet Delight Pictures)

A small film called Ava — the story of a teenage Iranian girl facing pressures from family and society — is the biggest movie at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards. It has eight nominations and one special win already: it was announced in late January that Ava had won the Best First Feature Award, sponsored by Telefilm Canada.

Telefilm is the country’s main film funding agency, helping Canadian filmmakers get their movies made. Last fiscal year, Telefilm allocated more than $100 million to the production and promotion of Canadian films.

But Ava was not eligible for Telefilm funding.

That’s because writer-director Sadaf Foroughi is a Canadian citizen but decided to make Ava in Farsi, her native language, and film it in Iran.

The co-production with Iran and Qatar qualified as a Canadian film under the federal government’s rules, since key creative roles are filled by Canadians. But Telefilm only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages.As a result, Foroughi had to rely on smaller grants from arts councils, which meant making her film on a shoestring budget, and sometimes not having enough money left over to feed herself.

“I had lots of difficulties,” she told CBC News. “Sometimes I ate less to keep all the money, because I knew that I didn’t have any other funds.”

Films in Mandarin, Korean also shut out

Foroughi is not the only diverse Canadian filmmaker facing this language barrier.

Last year, Old Stone by director Johnny Ma won the same Best First Feature award sponsored by Telefilm. It was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards, but it also wasn’t eligible for Telefilm funding because it was made in Mandarin.

Albert Shin was born in Canada of South Korean descent, and decided to make his debut feature film, In Her Place, in Korean. His film played the Toronto International Film Festival, and garnered seven Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2015.

In Her Place

Albert Shin’s debut feature film In Her Place, starring Gil Hae-yeon as a pregnant teenager who is convinced to give up her baby for adoption, was made in Korean. (TimeLapse Pictures)

Even though it also qualifies as a Canadian film, it too was ineligible for funding from Telefilm because of language, a situation Shin calls “frustrating.”

He feels a film can be “uniquely Canadian” due to the artistic sensibility of its writer and director, even when it is set outside of Canada and filmed in a language other than English, French or an Indigenous language.

A ‘very difficult choice’

The executive director of Telefilm Canada says the agency receives four to five times more requests from filmmakers than it can afford to fund.

“It’s a very difficult choice to make,” said Carolle Brabant, who is stepping down this month after eight years in the job, adding, “We would love to, if only we had more money to do so.”

Brabant said there has been some discussion around changing the eligibility requirements, but “we’re not ready yet.”

Chair of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Martin Katz pointed out that Indigenous language films used to be ineligible, as well. That rule was changed a few years ago.

“If we look at a film like Ava, which is such a beautiful film in Farsi, and it’s really about issues that young women all over the world are facing at the same time, I think we look at that and step back and ask ourselves the question ‘Why are our rules like that? Why are our rules not different?'”


Deepa Mehta’s Water was able to get Telefilm funding because she also shot a version in English — which was never released. (Mongrel Media)

Given that Canada participates in international co-productions all over the world, Katz thinks there should be a way to make those films “part of the Telefilm family.”

One veteran Canadian filmmaker did find a way. Deepa Mehta got around the language rules when she made her Oscar-nominated 2005 film Water in Hindi: she shot an English version at the same time just to qualify for Telefilm funding, even though it was never released.

Films ‘uniquely Canadian’

For those filmmakers caught in the funding gap due to their choice of language, change can’t come soon enough.

“We can make films that take place in different countries but they’re uniquely Canadian because we’re a country that embraces other cultures and other creeds and religions,” Shin said.

Albert Shin

Canadian director Albert Shin shot his first feature at a family farm in South Korea. He wants to see Canada at the vanguard of a ‘post-national’ cinema. (TimeLapse Pictures)

“We can be in the forefront of that — we have the population to do it, we have the stories to do it. This is a unique thing that Canada can bring to the world cinema stage.”

For now, Shin has to keep those ideas on hold. He’s writing his next feature film in English so it will be eligible for Telefilm funding.

Foroughi, however, is already planning her next movie in Farsi.

“[Telefilm] has to believe in us,” she said. “I think we have talent even if the film’s language is in Chinese or Korean or Arabic or Persian, but we are Canadian.”

The Canadian Screen Awards broadcast gala will air on CBC-TV on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

UK partly responsible for thousdans Yemen civilian deaths by support Saudi invasion , says Labour

jermy corbin

UK partly responsible for Yemen civilian deaths, says Labour

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman says government has some complicity due to relationship with Saudis

Labour has said the British government must be held partly responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen, after Jeremy Corbyn challenged Theresa May over the lavish welcome for the visiting Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

may - saudi prince

The Labour leader used prime minister’s questions to accuse May of failing to stand up to the Saudis over human rights abuses and possible war crimes in Yemen.

May defended her links with Bin Salman, who will meet the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, as well as senior ministers, during his three-day visit. She said engagement was the only way to have influence over the Saudis.

But Corbyn urged the prime minister to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its intervention in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and worsened a humanitarian catastrophe, and take the crown prince to task on human rights.

Women’s Day -18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018


18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018

March 8 is International Women’s Day. To celebrate,

Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot is the author of the forthcoming book Heart Berries. (Isaiah Mailhot)

Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band in British Columbia. Her upcoming memoir, Heart Berries, is a poetic look at mental health, love, intergenerational trauma and growing up in her west coast First Nation community. Mailhot is a columnist and is part of the creative writing faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, as well as the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight is a writer based in Vancouver. (Greg Ehlers/

Chelene Knight grew up as the only mixed East Indian and Black child in her family during the 1980s and 1990s in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In her recent memoir, Dear Current Occupant, published in 2018, she writes a series of letters addressed to the current occupants of the homes she lived in as a kid. Growing up, her family lived in 20 different residences. In the book, she revisits each one as a way to make sense of her own past.

Emmanuelle Chateauneuf

Emmanuelle Chateauneuf is the author of Queen Street, a graphic novel. (Emmanuelle Chateauneuf)

In her debut graphic novel, Queen Street, Emmanuelle Chateauneuf draws from her experiences as a second-generation Canadian to create a touching tale about a woman who leaves her job at a prestigious law firm in the Philippines for love, marriage and motherhood in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. While she deals with poor job prospects in the small town, only able to get gigs serving at Asian restaurants, her daughter struggles to fit in among the fair-haired, pale-skinned girls.

Carrianne Leung

Carrianne Leung’s debut novel The Wondrous Woo was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. (Carrianne Leung)

Carrianne Leung is a fiction writer based in Toronto. In 2014, her first novel, The Wondrous Woo, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. Her second, That Time I Loved You, explores life’s challenge through the eyes of one young Canadian of Chinese descent living in 1970s Toronto.

Lorina Mapa

Graphic novelist Lorina Mapa’s Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me is a memoir about growing up in the Philippines in the 1980s. (Lorina Mapa)

Quebec artist Lorina Mapa first began illustrating early memories of her father after his sudden death. It was a form of therapy that evolved into her debut graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me. The book chronicles her coming of age in the Philippines as a new wave rock enthusiast and politically active teenager during the 1980s with the People Power Revolution as the backdrop.

Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Nadra Ginting)

Sharon Bala may have just published her debut novel, The Boat People, in January but she’s been receiving praise for her growing body of work for a while now. The Boat People is about a group of Tamil refugees who arrive off the coast of British Columbia on a ship with the hopes of gaining asylum in Canada. Though fictional, it gives a sobering look into the tumultuous experiences of refugees in North America. The manuscript won the 2015 Percy Janes First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 NLCU Fresh Fish Award. Now it’s a Canada Reads 2018 finalist.

Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is the author of the novel Scarborough, which appeared on CBC’s best Canadian fiction of 2017 list. (Yeemi Tang)

Catherine Hernandez is a Canadian playwright. Her debut novel Scarborough, was shortlisted for the 2017 Toronto Book Awards. Set in a low-income urban neighborhood, the story follows three kids, who struggle to overcome poverty and abuse, and the community around them.

Carleigh Baker

Carleigh Baker is the author of Bad Endings. (Callan Field)

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis and Icelandic writer whose debut short story collection Bad Endings was shortlisted for the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. In what began as a form of catharsis after her divorce, Bad Endings explores mental health, strained relationships and family dynamics through humour.

Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom, a writer and social worker, has published a novel, a children’s book and a poetry collection.(Jackson Ezra)

In the last two years, writer and social worker Kai Cheng Thom has released a novel called Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, which led to her winning the 2017 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. That same year she published a children’s book entitled From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea and released a book of poetry called a place called No Homeland.

Durga Chew-Bose

Durga Chew-Bose, author of “Too Much and Not the Mood.” (Carrie Cheek)

Durga Chew-Bose is an essayist, from Montreal and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Hazlitt and The Guardian. In 2017, she became a published author with her collection of essays Too Much and Not the Mood, a poetic exploration of identity and culture.

Katherine Ashenburg

Katherine Ashenburg is the author of the forthcoming Sofie & Cecilia, her debut novel. (Katherine Ashenburg)

Katherine Ashenburg may be an award-winning nonfiction author with various titles and newspaper columns under her name, but at 73, she’s taking a foray into new territory — fiction. Her first novel, Sofie & Ceciliaexplores the nuances of female friendship in adulthood.

S.K. Ali

S.K. Ali is the author of the YA novel Saints and Misfits, which can be found on the Canada Reads 2018 longlist.(Andrea Stenson)

Up and coming fiction writer S.K. Ali puts faith and devotion at the heart of her stories. Her debut YA novel, Saints and Misfits, longlisted for Canada Reads 2018, is about a teenage Muslim woman’s struggle to understand how a trusted and prominent member of her religious community could commit assault.

Jennifer Houle

Jennifer Houle is the author of The Back Channels. (Jennifer Houle)

Jennifer Houle is a New Brunswick poet. Her debut poetry collection, The Back Channels, explores building a meaningful life in a rapidly changing environment and culture. It won the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick’s Alfred G. Bailey Prize for best poetry manuscript and the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award in 2017. Her writing has also appeared in various literary journals.

Canisia Lubrin

Born in St. Lucia, poet Canisia Lubrin now makes her home in Whitby, Ont. (Anna Keenan)

Canisia Lubrin is a St. Lucia-born poet, living in Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, is informed by her experience growing up in the Caribbean and then moving away, along with the stories her grandmother would tell her as a child. It explores Black identity, displacement and colonialism.

Kate Harris

Kate Harris is the author of the autobiographical book Lands of Lost Borders. (Joanne Ratajczak/Glorious & Free)

Kate Harris is a Rhodes Scholar, explorer and writer published in The Walrus and Canadian Geographic. Harris travelled 10,000 km through 10 countries across the Silk Road with a friend. She wrote about it in her first book, Land of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road. During the 10-month journey, she explored the political, cultural and environmental history of the places and people she encountered.

Liz Howard

Liz Howard is the author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, winner of the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016. (Griffin Poetry Prize)

Liz Howard is a Northern Ontario poet of Anishinaabe descent. Her debut collection of poetry Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 2015. In 2016, it won the Griffin Poetry Prize in the Canadian category. The collection, inspired by her upbringing in an isolated rural town, explores the demands of life in the contemporary world.

Eva Crocker

Eva Crocker is the author of Barrelling Forward. (Alex Noel)

Eva Crocker of Newfoundland is a fiction writer and an editor at the arts and culture newspaper The Overcast. Her debut short story collection Barrelling Forward, was shortlisted for the 2015 NLCU Fresh Fish Award. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers and won the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award. The book delves into the anxieties of new adulthood in the midst of economic uncertainty.

Djamila Ibrahim

Djamila Ibrahim was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Canada in 1990. (Dana Jensens)

Djamila Ibrahim, an Ethiopian-born writer, moved to Canada in 1990. Her debut collection of short stories, Things Are Good Now, published in February 2018, delves into the migrant experience, the difficult choices newcomers often have to make and the weight that carries on the human psyche. Her various stories take place in East Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Canada.

Man arrested in connection to Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh murder

Gauri Lankesh

Man arrested in connection to  Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh murder in sep 2017

 March 9 -2018
Picture of Gauri LankeshImage copyrightFACEBOOK/GAURI LANKESH
Image captionShe was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of prominent Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh.

KT Naveen Kumar was earlier arrested in an arms trafficking case, but he had revealed his role in the murder during interrogation, police say.

Ms Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore in September last year.

She was the most high-profile journalist murdered in years. Her death sparked off protests across India.

Police say however, that Mr Kumar is not the main accused in the case.

As a journalist, Ms Lankesh often made statements that were constructed as dissent against the establishment.

She was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle. The motive for the crime was not clear.

A week after her death, there were protests against her killing in several Indian cities, including the capital, Delhi.

She was known for her left-leaning views. As a journalist, she edited a weekly newspaper and cast a critical eye on Hindu fundamentalism in politics and fiercely opposed the caste system.

Indian reporters are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists, activists say.

In the last few years, journalists seen to be critical of Hindu nationalists have been berated on social media, while many women reporters have been threatened with rape and assault.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-governmental organisation, has ranked India as a country with a poor record in safeguarding journalists. Their research shows that at least 27 journalists have been murdered because of their work in India since 1992.

UK hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators

may - saudi prince

UK  hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators -If I were the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, I’d be cynical about this state visit
The truth is, you just can’t tell who your real friends are these days

Robert Fisk @indyvoices

March 9-2018-

may - saudi prince

Thank heavens Theresa May is giving a warm welcome today to the illustrious Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Majesty Mohammad bin Salman. For it is meet and right that she should do so. His Royal Highness is a courageous Arab reformer, keen to drag his wealthy nation into the 21st century in a raft of promises – women’s rights, massive economic restructuring, moderate Islam, further intelligence gathering on behalf of the West and an even more vital alliance in the “War on Terror”.

Thank God, however, that Theresa May – in her infinite wisdom – is not going to waste her time greeting a head-chopping and aggressive Arab Crown Prince whose outrageous war in Yemen is costing thousands of lives and tainting the United Kingdom with his shame by purchasing millions of dollars in weapons from May to use against the people of Yemen, who is trying to destroy his wealthy Arab brothers in Qatar and doing his best to persuade the US, Britain and sundry other Westerners to join the Saudi war against the Shias of the Middle East.

You see the problem? When it comes to money, guns and power, we will cuddle up to any Arab autocrat, especially if our masters in Washington, however insane, feel the same way about him – and it will always be a “him”, won’t it? And we will wash our hands with them if or when they have ceased to be of use, or no longer buy our weapons or run out of cash or simply get overthrown. Thus I can feel some sympathy for young Mohammad.

I have to add – simply in terms of human rights – that anyone who has to listen to Theresa “Let’s Get On With It” May for more than a few minutes has my profound sympathy. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, a very intelligent Richelieu, must surely feel the same impatience when he listens to the patently dishonest ramblings of his opposite number. Boris Johnson’s contempt and then love for the Balfour Declaration in the space of less than 12 months is recognised in the Arab world as the cynical charade that it is.

Human rights groups, Amnesty and the rest are angrily calling Crown Prince Mohammad to account this week. So are the inevitable protesters. Any constable who raises a baton to keep order will be “doing the Saudis’ work”, we can be sure. But I fear that the Crown Prince should be far more concerned by the Government which is now grovelling to his leadership. For he is dealing with a Western power, in this case the Brits. And the only advice he should be given in such circumstances is: mind your back.

A walk, now, down memory lane. When Gaddafi overthrew King Idris, the Foreign Office smiled upon him. A fresh face, a safe pair of hands with an oil-bearing nation whose wealth we might consume, we thought Gaddafi might be our man. The Americans even tipped him off about a counter-coup, just as we much later helped Gaddafi round up his opponents for torture. Then Gaddafi decided to be an anti-colonial nationalist and eventually got mixed up with the IRA and a bomb in a West Berlin nightclub – and bingo, he became a super-terrorist. Yet come the “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq, Gaddafi was kissed by the Venerable Blair and became a super-statesman again. Until the 2011 revolution, at which point he had to become a super-terrorist once more, bombed by Nato and murdered by his own people.

Talking of Iraq, Saddam had a similar experience. At first we rather liked the chap and the Americans even tipped him off on the location of his communist opponents. He was a head-chopper, to be sure, but as long as he invaded the right county, he was a super-statesman. Hence we helped him in his invasion of Iran in 1980 but declared him a super-terrorist in 1990 when he invaded the wrong country: Kuwait. And he ended up, like Gaddafi, killed by his own people, albeit that the Americans set up the court which decided to top him.

Yasser Arafat – not that we even think of him these days – was a Palestinian super-terrorist in Beirut. He was the centre of World Terror until he shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton, at which point he became a super-statesman. But the moment he refused to deviate from the Oslo agreement and accept Israeli hegemony over the West Bank – he was never offered “90 per cent” of it, as the American media claimed – he was on the way to super-terrorism again. Surrounded and bombarded in his Ramallah hovel, he was airlifted to a Paris military hospital where he conveniently died. The Israelis had already dubbed him “our bin Laden”, a title they later tried to confer on Arafat’s luckless successor Mahmoud Abbas – who was neither a super-terrorist nor a super-statesman but something worse: a failure


It should not be necessary to run through the other Arab transmogrifications from evil to good to evil again. Nasser, who helped to overthrow the corrupt King Farouk, quickly became a super-terrorist when he nationalised the Suez Canal and was called the “Mussolini of the Nile” by Eden – a slightly measly comparison when you remember that Saddam became the “Hitler of the Tigris” in 1990. Khomeini was a potential super-statesman in his Paris exile when the Shah was overthrown. Then he became a super-terrorist-in-chief once he established the Islamic Republic. The French Jacobins thought that Hafez al-Assad was a potential super-statesman but decided he was a super-terrorist when Bashar al-Assad – lionised in France after his father’s death – went to war on his opponents, thus becoming a super-terrorist himself. The Brits quickly shrugged off their loyalties to Omani and Qatari emirs when their sons staged coups against them.

Thus Mohammad bin Salman, may his name be praised, might be reminded by Adel al-Jubeir as he settles down in London: “Memento homo”, the gladiator’s reminder to every emperor that he is only “a man”. What if the Yemen war is even bloodier, what if the Saudi military become increasingly disenchanted with the war – which is almost certainly why the Crown Prince staged a putsch among his commanders last month – and what if his Vision2030 proves a Saudi South Sea Bubble? What if the humiliated and vexatious princes and billionaires he humbled in the Riyadh Ritz Hotel come to take their revenge? What if – dare one speak his name? – a future British prime minister reopened the Special Branch enquiry into the Al-Yamamah arms contract? And, while we’re on the subject, what if someone discovers the routes by which US weapons reached Isis and their chums after 2014?

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