Saturday, August 20, 2011


The trouble is STATES can never be an anwswer anymore. No mater what the original intent of their anti colonial struggle, their struggle for national liberation, once they "win" the repressive and reactionary forces of the national bourgeois and of state nationalism gain control. Such states simply cannot break free of global Capital. Global capital will be overthrown, but not by a State.

The following is from PAMBAZUKA NEWS.

South African food sovereignty campaigners move to occupy land
Ronald Wesso

2011-08-18, Issue 545

Furious emerging farmers in the Kareeberg municipality in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province have decided to stop paying rent for the municipal owned land they are farming on. These farmers have been robbed and excluded from land ownership and access by colonial conquest, segregation and apartheid. Now South Africa’s protection of capitalist property and its neo-liberal state policies are keeping them landless still.

‘Our members cannot be held back anymore,’ says Basil ‘Die Hond’ Eksteen of the Kareeberg Emerging Farmers Association. ‘They are just too angry. We talked, we wrote letters, we marched - now we are ready to take the land. The municipality gives us no support and now they want to charge us these impossible rents. They know we can’t pay. They just want to get rid of us and put white, commercial farmers on the land. We are in contact with a group in the Kimberley district that has occupied a farm of one of the richest land owners there. A man that owns 15 farms while people sit with nothing. Neither the police nor the army has been able to remove these members from the land. If they can do it, so can we!’

Since 1996 the South African government has followed a strict neo-liberal policy path that includes cutting state expenditure on ‘unprofitable’ social services. A key strategy has been to cut transfers of funds from the national treasury to local governments by more than 90 per cent over a ten year period, while at the same time transferring responsibility for delivering social services such as housing, water, electricity, health and policing from the national to local governments. The national treasury could thus balance its books and even generate a surplus, but municipalities had to deliver far more services to many more people with less resources. They therefore became trapped in a well-known cycle of poor service delivery, desperate cost recovery and community protests. As far as municipal land is concerned the pressure became overwhelming on municipal executives to charge the highest possible rents. Emerging farmers find it unaffordable, which leaves them effectively landless, as the national land reform process is a complete failure that managed to transfer less than five per cent of agricultural land from white to black ownership.

Patrick Steenkamp of the Loeriesfontein Emerging Farmers Association explains that they have been doing the same thing that their Kareeberg comrades are planning. ‘We became fed up with the municipality. They collected rent but they did nothing for us. There were no services. So we decided to develop the land ourselves. We put up our own fencing and our own windmills. We refused to pay rent. This has been going on for two years now. The land reform has failed us. The municipality has failed us. We will not fail ourselves. We are occupying this land. We will not be removed. Ever!’

Both the Kareeberg and the Loeriesfontein emerging farmers are part of the Food Sovereignty Campaign, a network of emerging farmers and farm workers active in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces. Rosina Secondt, the campaign’s convener, is an emerging farmer in Pella on the banks of the Orange River. She draws attention to the case of the Ithemba Farmers in Eerste River in the Western Cape. ‘In our meeting the delegate of the Ithemba Farmers Association reported that nothing much happened there in the last two months, they are still farming on the land. I am claiming that as a victory for the Food Sovereignty Campaign. The people did not have jobs or income. They occupied the land. The municipality, three government departments, lots of lawyers, the police and a mining company all worked together to throw the Ithemba Farmers off the land. They all failed and they are still failing. Why? Because the Ithemba Farmers mobilised themselves and the Food Sovereignty Campaign mobilised supporters from as far as Pella, 700km away in the Northern Cape. We physically stopped those who tried to evict the farmers. Today the Ithemba farmers are making a living on the land that they otherwise would not have had. That is a victory!’

South Africa’s political system and governing elite are of course quite hostile to these kinds of land occupations. Property rights are enshrined in the constitution of the country. The land reform programme is based on a ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ model, where private land owners have absolute discretion over whether to sell and at what price. They have priced the land not only out of reach of land hungry blacks, but often even out of reach of the state. There is no provision in law, like that of Brazil, which allow hungry people to grow food on unused land of absent owners. Some municipalities have gone so far as to create special ‘anti-land invasion’ police units that quickly developed a reputation for ruthless brutality. Despite this the Food Sovereignty Campaign insists that the land starved poor have no choice but to keep land occupations in their strategic arsenal.

‘We see land occupations as legitimate,’ explains Ricado Jacobs on behalf of the campaign. ‘Our actions do not conform to the constitution, we understand that. But for us that is fine as we see the constitution as seriously flawed. This neo-liberal, capitalist constitution claims to give equal protection to the rich and the poor, but all it does is to consolidate wealth for the few and poverty for the many. Through land occupations the poor can take steps to agrarian reform and food sovereignty without waiting on the capitalist state.’

In May this year Julius Malema, the president of the ANC Youth League, called for the expropriation of white owned farm land without compensation. This must be considered an election ploy to gain votes for the ANC by tapping into black frustration with persisting apartheid land ownership patterns. The ANC Youth League claims a membership of hundreds of thousands and a support base of millions. They have millions of rands and a huge apparatus for organising and propaganda. If they were serious about expropriating land from rich, white farmers they could organise land occupations that would eclipse even that of the MST in Brazil. That they have not organised a single one should not surprise us. Land occupations attack both the authority of the state and the rights of the capitalist owners of production resources and therefore threaten the foundations of the capitalist system. The ANC Youth League and its leadership are part and parcel of this system. Recently the newspaper City Press ran an exposé of the personal finances of Julius Malema that showed how the Youth League leader benefits to the tune of hundreds of millions of rands (some even say billions) from the state capitalist system. No wonder he and his colleagues say so much but won’t do anything about this system.

The Food Sovereignty Campaign has only a few hundred members and practically no money, but with these land occupations it is taking actions with revolutionary implications. It has demonstrated that all you need to do this is a politics that values the people above the state and the capitalist class. This should be seen as only a beginning, and a small one - but it is the beginning of a movement with huge potential.

For more information or comment contact:
- Basil Eksteen, 0846664653
- Rosina Secondt, 0732822465


* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Last saturday night on the Country Club Plaza
I am going to start this off by saying I am a white guy and I am opposed to me getting beat up just because of it (even if I can come up with reasons why).  That said, here we go.

The article you will find posted below pertains largely to Philadelphia, but what I am writing about pertains largely to Kansas City, Missouri, which is where I live.  

Just yesterday the city, my city, adopted a 9PM curfew on youth similar to the one in Philadelphia.  The curfew came in response to "large crowds of  (black) youth and acts of violence" on the Country Club Plaza.  The Country Club Plaza is the city's premier outdoor  shopping and entertainment district.  It was designed and built long ago and resembles a Spanish town.  It is also a prime tourist destination (for the few tourists who come to our city).  It is privately owned and features numerous upscale stores, restaurants, bars and is surrounded by hotels and high-rise condos.  A waterway runs along one side.

 (Disclosure: In 1970, when I had only just passed youthdom, and looked like the radical "hippie type" that I was, I was arrested on the Plaza for "interferring with a police officer making an arrest" of a friend who was selling the underground newspaper Vortex).  

Last Saturday night the mayor, an African American man, took a walk on the Plaza to see for himself what the hubbub about gangs of youth swarming the place was all about and to, in fact, talk to the kids.  Not a terrible idea.  Unfortunately, while there, a few shots were fired about a block away from where he stood and he was knocked to the ground by his bodyguards.  Three kids were slightly wounded in the incident.  Voila:  Curfew Time.  

The facts are that although black kids had been gathering in large numbers on weekend nights on the Plaza for several summers now, this is only the second time any shots were fired. The first time, in truth, actually was a block off the Plaza in a nearby park.  

Now, these "large numbers" of black youth have been hanging out on the Plaza for the same reasons you and I used to hang out somewhere when we were kids AND because for most of these kids hanging out on their block is dangerous.  It also leaves them open to gang activity.  So yeah, their parents figure they are better off on the Plaza.  They are right.

The media and talk shows here have been all atwitter about the "mobs" of  African American young people on the Plaza ever since the "phenomena" began a few summers back.

Interestingly enough, I live about a mile from the Plaza and virtually every weekend night (and many other nights as well) I take myself and my greyhound, Whitney, out for a late night stroll down to the place.  We wander about the Plaza amidst the "mobs" and you know what?  I have never been shot.  I have never been hassled.  I have never felt in any danger from those "large numbers of kids."  Yes, there are a whole lot of black kids there - as well as a whole lot of white people enjoying themselves.  So what?  Personally I find it refreshing to see these kids enjoying themselves, acting like kids...generally bothering no one.  Again, I am white.  Lots of these kids ask me about my dog and we talk.  It's cool.  It's almost like being IN A CITY.

No one has much cared when these same kids have been shot every night, as long as it has been "East of Troost Avenue," which in KC's quite segregated community, means the black neighborhoods.

Black kids in what has been sort of considered a playground for white folks and middle and upper class "others," now there is the rub, you see.  Can't have that.

I ask where in the hell are these kids supposed to hang and be kids and be somewhat safe.  There are no places like the Plaza, or even close, to hang out east of Troost.  Not every kid (in fact, damned few) are interested in "midnight basketball," gatherings at a local community center with adult supervision, church, after school activities and the like, which is what old fogies always seem to come up with as an alternative to the dangers of the streets.

I need to add here that these same black kids used to hang out in Westport, which is a smaller entertainment district, famous for drunken white twenty something males.  Westport didn't like the black kids being there and before you know they had been shooed away.  Some African American kids with cars tried cruising in Swope Park and the city thought that was no good and they were shooed away.

So a 9PM curfew is starting tonight on the Plaza and several other "entertainment" districts in town.  It begins slightly later in the neighborhoods.  The mayor says he wants to protect the kids.  Actually, because of who he is and where he comes from, I tend to believe him.  As a matter of fact, until his encounter last weekend, he has opposed such a curfew.  Still, the mayor is my age and his youth has passed him by.  Apparently, unlike me, his memory of that youth has passed on as well.

Placing a curfew on an entire community of young people is in reality a  military action, nothing less.  It is a vast overreaction to an unreality of media making and white fear...and wealthy businessmen.

Until this city, Philadelphia, and this whole nation wake up to the endemic and  unrelenting racism which is our history and which has left black youth living in poverty, living in danger, growing accustomed the sounds of gunfire, attending lousy schools, harassed constantly by police, with no job prospects, and incarcerated in huge numbers, all the curfews, all the talk, all the late night hoops programs, mean absolutely nothing.  

Philadelphia and other cities are experiencing the results of the same system of Capital, of white supremacy, and racism that led to the recent rebellions in England - and will eventually lead to the same large scale uprisings in this country.

Meanwhile, Whitney and I will head on down to the Plaza tonight and tomorrow night and check out the scene.  I fear that what we will find is that the white people will still be there, some older and middle class African Americans will still be there, the mobs of police that occupy the place every weekend will still be there - but the black kids will have been driven away and out of sight again.

America, love it or leave it.

The following is from


PHILADELPHIA — On Saturday, August 20, at 8:30pm, the Black is Back Coalition (BIBC) for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations — in conjunction with the Committee to Elect Diop Olugbala for Mayor, the Philadelphia Coalition of the Heart and the African People’s Solidarity Committee — will hold a demonstration and march starting on Broad and South Street, located in the Center City area of Philadelphia, to oppose the war on the African community worldwide.

The demonstration is part of the Black is Back Coalition-led International Day of Action Against Imperialism’s Wars on Africa and African People around the world. It is being held with the recognition that the essential wars that imperialism has been making have been against African People as well as the rest of the non-white world.
Since the day the first slave catcher set foot on African shores more than four centuries ago imperialism has made continuous war against Africa and African People.
In Philadelphia, the U.S. government’s war on the African community specifically manifests itself in the form of the anti-democratic, anti-African curfew and martial law that Mayor Michael Nutter has imposed on the African community in the name of a war against “flash mobs”.
By Nutter’s own definition, the flash mobs are groups of primarily African youth from the most impoverished sections of Philadelphia who are going into resource rich, predominantly white areas of the city (primarily Center City and University City) and taking items from the residents and businesses.
It cannot be ignored that there is a history of wealth in the white community and the poverty in the black community of Philadelphia that is based in slavery and colonialism. The end result of this legacy of theft of black wealth and labor is the white community having 20 times more wealth in hand than the black community.
The end result in Philly is the average white household bringing 65,100 per year while the average black household takes in only 40,000 per year. These stark contradictions help us understand why poor African youth gravitate to resource rich Center City, a predominantly white community.
These conditions are currently maintained by the City’s economic policies as carried out by Nutter’s regime.
In 2010, Philadelphia was the city with the second highest child hunger rate in the country. Yet, it is also the city with the highest incarceration rate in the country.
While in African communities, more than 40 percent of the people live at or below the poverty line, Nutter spends $1billion on police, prisons and courts. 
While the public safety budget has increased, the budgets for several essential services that could otherwise provide a future for our youth are being cut. The most glaring examples of such cuts are those on the education system at a deafening 12 percent. 
Nutter’s policies produced so-called flash mobs
The so-called flash mobs are products of Nutter’s repressive policies. They are a collective act of resistance of African youth against the violence of poverty, unemployment, budget cuts and police terror.
These uprising began in the winter of 2010. In an archived article of The Burning Spear, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement wrote the following on the uprisings:
“In February and March there was a standoff between the masses of young African workers and the police and merchants of Center City and downtown Philadelphia.
“These youth uprisings began as calls on African youth, relayed through cell phone text messages, to participate in the filming of dance videos in different spots in downtown Philly. 
“When the police violently attacked these gatherings they turned into uprisings, where the youth then began to defend themselves from the police. 
“At its peak, the sequence of youth uprisings in downtown Philly reached the thousands. They brought Center City to a standstill.
“The youth who participated in these uprisings were then criminalized and labeled by the media and the police as ‘flash mobs.’ 
“In that process, mayor Michael Nutter, district attorney Seth Williams and police chief Charles Ramsey, all Africans (who InPDUM calls the Uncle Tom Trinity), joined forces to carry out a media lynching of African youth that resulted in the trial and felony conviction of at least 31 African youth.”
Today, as the war on the African community intensifies with rising unemployment and poverty, budget cuts and increased police containment the youth uprisings have also intensified.
However now, the youth are doing more than just gathering. They are engaging in assaults on white people and invading businesses owned by parasitic merchants who steal tremendous amounts of wealth from Africans by selling them substandard products for high prices.
Nutter’s administration criminalizes African community
In response to this intensified resistance, Nutter has called for a curfew and martial law, specifically targeting young Africans.
As a justification of the curfew, Nutter and leading representatives of his administration have been engaged in a media propaganda campaign to criminalize African youth and win popular support for Nutter’s assault on the community in the name of white power.
In a speech he gave to Mount Carmel Baptist Church, in West Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter stated in reference to the youth resistance, “That's part of the problem in our community. Let me speak plainer: That's part of the problem in the black community... We have too many men making too many babies they don't want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children."
While Nutter and his neo-colonial administration attempt to criminalize the entire African community around the flash mob issue he continues to leave every other force known for violence and mayhem in the city off the hook.
White youth are not met with such repression and criticism even when they rioted downtown after the Phillies won the World Series.
The police department certainly does not come under criticism for its ongoing reign of terror on the African community. Such terror includes the vicious Rodney King-style beating of Askia Sabur by Philadelphia police in September of 2010 (
It must be stated that Nutter’s ideological justification for the curfew is not unlike the UK’s prime minister’s criminalization of the young Africans who rose up in righteous resistance in London.
Nor is his response, from a military standpoint, unlike that of Wilson Goode’s dropping of a C4 bomb on an entire neighborhood in West Philadelphia in 1985 as an attempt to silence the militant MOVE organization.
This approach is used to liquidate the underlying contradiction in the African community, which is that we as a community are separated from our resources.
Instead of addressing the poverty imposed on the masses of Africans, the State invests in its own expansion: the deployment of more police and the building of more prisons to contain the masses of Africans who are lashing out against the violence of poverty that we suffer.
Nutter administration is engaged in counterinsurgent war on African community
In Philadelphia, the City spends $56,000 per weekend on overtime for special police forces to enforce the curfew. This same amount of money could have easily provided employment for all of the 72 young Africans who have been locked up as a result of the curfew.
This overall strategy on the part of these agents of imperialism is consistent with imperialism’s war strategy in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
The curfew, which collectively punishes the entire African community, reveals the government’s perception of African people as some type of enemy or “insurgent” population that must be contained through military tactics.
The State also recognizes those youth who do participate in the uprisings and assaults on center city as a particular threat to class peace in Philadelphia.
In an Uhuru News article run earlier this year, InPDUM stated,
“Since the first youth uprisings occurred the city has intensified its efforts to imprison the masses of young African workers. This is being done for two reasons:
“One: resistance among young African workers poses a clear threat to Philadelphia’s parasitic economy. If African youth were ever to achieve organizational capacity alongside revolutionary consciousness that InPDUM is increasingly providing, our revolution would wield a deadly weapon capable of dealing the decisive blow to U.S. imperialism.
“The State has been aware of this threat since the 1960s, when African resistance was led by revolutionary organizations like the Black Panther Party and the original JOMO in Florida. For this reason, the flash mobs were listed in the same document published by the Institute for International Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) that listed InPDUM and its president Diop Olugbala as ‘terrorist threats.’
“In this document the ITRR writes, ‘ITRR analysts see the “flash mob” phenomenon, even if it is initiated as an innocent youth gathering and event, as potential cover for more intentional criminal activity such as “pre-operational probing of security force reactions and weaknesses, or even as a diversion ahead of, or during, coordinated criminal activity or terrorist attack.”’
“The State’s strategy to contain this threat is through its increasing repression of the African community. This is part of the basis of heavy-handed police programs like Stop and Frisk and the brutality and harassment associated with it.
“Two: at the same time Philadelphia’s economy is built off the imprisonment of African people. Philadelphia is the city with the highest rate of imprisonment in the U.S. and arguably the world.
“The city spends $1.1 billion annually on police, prisons and courts as an investment in an industry that generates billions more through court fines, bail and bond, prison labor as well as under the table payments to judges, police and other agents of the State for participation in the mass imprisonment of our youth.
“In 2010, there were at least two Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judges under investigation for taking bribes from private prisons in exchange for convictions.
“More evidence of this growing industry is the city of Philadelphia’s building of a ‘state of the art’ youth prison in West Philly where it aims to contain masses of young Africans.
“Philadelphia’s public school system only receives $200 million for every $1 billion received by the police and prison system. This explains why Philadelphia’s largest youth prison is called the Youth ‘Study’ Center.  The city’s long term plan is to get rid of the education system as we know it and replace it with prisons.”
Since that article was printed, the education budget has been cut by 12 percent, and it is no coincidence that the curfew became a discussion only when the economic interests of the merchants of Center City and the general white population began to be challenged by these militant youth.
The march on South Street is a call for the African community, especially the youth, to unite and engage in organized resistance against the U.S. government’s war on our community. Our objective is to disrupt class peace in Philadelphia – to make it impossible for the tourism and all other industries upon which Center City thrives to exist at the expense of the African community.
The march is also a call for the general white community to unite with Africans in resistance against the war on the African community, raising the fact that there should never and will never be peace as long as others are oppressed.
Demands of the march
The following are the demands of the Community March Against the Curfew.
Point #1: We demand the immediate repeal of the discriminatory curfew and openly segregationist, Jim Crow like policy of the city of Philadelphia.
Point #2: We demand the right of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for the Black community.
Point #3: We demand an immediate end to the unlawful and anti-democratic search, detainment and arrest of Black youth, including the policy of stop and frisk.
Point #4: We demand an immediate end to policies which criminalize and unjustly fine black parents and unlawfully threaten to remove their children by the Department of Human Services (foster care system).
Point #5: We demand an immediate end to the $1billion war budget for prisons and police which target the black community and its immediate investment for economic and neighborhood development programs and services offered to the benefit of black youth.
Point #6: We call for the development of an independent movement for knowledge of self and responsibility through the struggle to achieve self-determination and self-governance for the black community and all oppressed communities.
Point #7: We call for the immediate release of the more than 70 youth who have been detained as a result of the anti-democratic curfew and an immediate dismissal of all charges brought against their parents. We demand that reparations be paid to the parents who have incurred fines as a result of their children’s detention.
Point #8: We defend the right of black and other youth of all oppressed communities to resist the government-imposed violence of increasing poverty, budget cuts and police brutality.
Point #9: We reject the government and media criminalization of the resistance and creativity of black youth and their labeling of these youth as “flash mobs”.
Point #10: We demand an end to the U.S. and Europe’s war on Africa and African people in Philadelphia, London, Congo, Haiti and anywhere else in the world where black people are.
Point #11: We declare that Michael Nutter and forces like him do not represent the best interests of the black community in Philadelphia or anywhere in the world. They represent white power as its black face.
Point #12: We call on white people to stand in principled solidarity with the demands of this document.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The article below demonstrates how little the Center cares about the periphery, Capital cares about the poor, Empire cares about the Multitude, the First World cares about the Third(whatever or however you look at the world system).  Even in something so basic as helping people to simply stay ALIVE, the people with the money and power and the States they control can't be bothered.  Oh, how I wish it were their children, or better yet them who were forced to "beg" or "fight" for the right to live out their lives.  My friend used to always advocate eating the rich.  Maybe, she had something there.

The following is brought to you by there is a revolutionary source.


By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - A global health group on Thursday accused the United States, Canada and Europe of harming efforts to fight cancer, diabetes, heart and other diseases because they will not agree to set United Nations targets.

The main sticking point is money, said Ann Keeling, chair of the NCD Alliance, which groups some 2,000 health organisations from around the world focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Rich nations fear they will have to foot much of the bill for tackling a chronic disease epidemic in poorer nations, and are reluctant to commit to this when their economies are in turmoil, Keeling said.

But such fears were short-sighted, she added.

"The reason we called for a U.N. summit in the first place was to move towards a global action plan," she said. "The world is essentially sleepwalking into a sick future. It's time to get back to the table and get serious about this."

The alliance singled out the United States, Canada and the European Union. It said they were stalling talks by blocking proposals for a U.N. summit scheduled for September to set a goal to cut preventable deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by 2025.

"The situation is urgent. Yet sound proposals for the draft declaration to include time-bound commitments and targets are being systematically deleted, diluted and downgraded," it said in a statement.


Non-communicable diseases, often known as chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma and other lung and respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide each year, causing 36 million deaths in 2008 and accounting for 63 percent of all deaths.

Experts say that over the next 20 years, this epidemic is projected to accelerate and that by 2030, the number of deaths from NCDs could reach 52 million a year.

NCDs also account for half of all global disability, including blindness and amputations, and impose huge costs on families, healthcare systems, businesses and national economies.

The U.N. meeting, slated for September 19 and 20 in New York, is only the second ever such high-level meeting to be convened on a threat to global health.

The first, a decade ago, was dedicated to HIV and AIDS and was seen as a turning point in efforts to get care, treatment and prevention programmes to some of the hardest hit countries.

Keeling, who is also chief executive of the International Diabetes Federation, said in a telephone interview that negotiations before the UN meeting, which the alliance had hoped would be a similar turning point for chronic diseases, had broken down due to disagreements over whether targets should be set and measured.

The World Health Organisation says many deaths from NCDs could be prevented by curbing excessive alcohol intake, improving diets, discouraging smoking and promoting more physical activity.

Better screening programmes and awareness could also help reduce the number of deaths from breast and cervical cancers, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The article below asks, "who?"  We know who and we know why.

Raise your voice and face death.  That is the message the minions of Capital sent to all of us when they murdered Shehla Masood.  Shehla dared to point an accusatory finger at the bosses who rule all of us and the bosses cut it off.  Why?  They are afraid and they are running out of room to maneuver and they,more than we, know that just one of us can be the single spark, that Mao once said, can start a prairie fire...and they fear fire.

Well, just as their war on the earth has caused a planet wide rampage of wildfires in return, so will their war on us...sooner or later...surely.

The following I found at Safe World for Women (which it isn't)

A police woman inspects the car belonging to activist Shehla Masood (left), who was shot dead while going for an anti-corruption rally in Bhopal on Tuesday. Shehla Masood - Environmental Activist

Who shot Shehla Masood, anti-corruption activist and environmental 'warrior'?

Anti-corruption and environmental activist Shehla Masood was murdered on August 16th.

She had many enemies, as the three reports below show.


Woman RTI activist shot dead in Bhopal

A prominent Right to Information activist and supporter of social activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign was shot dead outside her residence in Bhopal on Tuesday morning.

Shehla Masood was shot dead by an unidentified assailant outside her house in the city's posh Koh-e-Fiza locality as she was on her way to an anti-corruption campaign being organised by her and other activists in support of Mr. Anna Hazare at the Bhopal Boat Club.
“We have registered it as a case of unnatural death. Anything more can be said only after the postmortem report,” Bhopal Senior Superintendent of Police Adarsh Katiyar told The Hindu.
Bhopal, not used to the professionally executed metro-style shootout, was stunned at the activist's death. “I am shocked. We had planned a proactive campaign where people would have been asked to write, on a 200-foot-wide banner, about the most corrupt government departments and officers in Madhya Pradesh,” Ajay Dube, RTI activist and long-time associate of Ms. Masood told The Hindu.
Ms. Masood, who also ran an event management company, had managed to constantly annoy the powers that be with her incisive RTI queries and public campaigns, mostly against corruption and for wildlife conservation. She was also a freelance journalist, contributing regularly to news website on issues related to the environment and tiger conservation.
Last year, Ms. Masood had told the authorities she “feared for her life” from a senior officer of the Indian Police Service and had complained about the matter to two successive police chiefs of the State.
Ms. Masood had written to the current Madhya Pradesh Director-General of Police S.K. Raut, complaining against a particular officer.
In the letter, Ms. Masood had accused him of harassing her and making threatening calls to her, about which she had lodged a complaint at the city's Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station in 2008.
“I fear for my life from [him]. Please do the needful and oblige,” she had urged the DGP.
The officer concerned, whose name The Hindu is withholding, did not answer calls or reply to text messages seeking his clarification on the matter. However, Bhopal IG Shailendra Shrivastava told The Hindu: “Yes, there was a complaint against the said officer. We sent Ms. Masood several notices offering probes at the thana level, additional SP level and DIG level, all of which she refused. Finally, I requested her to give me her statement. But she said she had filed a case against the said officer in Lokayukta and that she would give me a statement only once the Lokayukta probe was over.”
Like other RTI activists across India who have paid the ultimate price for making persistent and uncomfortable queries, Ms. Masood's efforts may well have put her in harm's way.
She was planning to file a Public Interest Litigation petition against a private college based on recent media reports. “It is a very powerful group of people, including local political leaders, that I will be up against once I file this PIL. I know who they are but I can't speak out much as I am still collecting information,” Ms. Masood had confessed, speaking to this correspondent last week.
Ms. Masood was also an active tiger conservationist and environmental crusader, constantly digging up information on the poaching mafia, illegal diamond mining mafia, timber mafia and the hospitality industry, which she said was violating environmental laws.


Was Shehla shot for fighting illegal diamond mines?

"The purpose of civil resistance is provocation. Anna# has succeeded in provoking the government and the opposition. Hope he wins us freedom from corruption. Meet at 2 pm at Boat Club, Bhopal."

This was Shehla Masood's message on Tuesday, minutes before she was shot dead. Shehla, a Madhya Pradesh-based civil and environmental rights' activist was shot dead by an unidentified person in front of her residence in Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal around 11 am on August 16.
The brutal murder of Shehla exposes the fate of those protesting illegal mining and fighting to save tigers and forests. "The government did nothing after RTI activist Amit Jethawa's murder in Gujarat and hence we lost Shehla now," remarked Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation.

Happy Independence Day

A day before, Shehla said, "I'm proud to be an Indian. Happy Independence Day."
The next day she was shot dead. Wildlife activists and environmentalists are aghast at the irony that tigers, tribals, trees and civil and environmental rights activists are being hunted and killed.
They fear that the possible connection between Shehla's murder and her raising the issue of illegal diamond mining project in Chhattarpur in Madhya Pradesh by Rio Tinto, a transnational mining company headquartered in the United Kingdom.

Fought to save tigers and forests

In September 2010, her NGO Udai had launched a massive signature campaign in MP against killing of the Jurjuria tigress in Bandhavgarh reserve on May 18, 2010.
She demanded the arrest of the culprits, who were influential persons. She was also keen to save the watershed of the Panna tiger reserve and the Shyamri, one of the cleanest rivers in the country from Rio Tinto's mining activity.
"The timing of her elimination when she was on her way to support Anna Hazare's fast was meant to overshadow the issue of illegal diamond mining project in Chhattarpur by Rio Tinto and the political mafia," a section of activists feared.
The diamond mining block is inside a forest which is the northernmost tip of the best corridor of teak forests south of the Gangetic plain. It is an established law that mining is non-forestry activity. There is an immediate need for a probe to determine who allowed mining to take place in such an ecologically fragile area.

Fighting against Illegal Mining

The Bunder mine project, near Chhatarpur, is likely to be one of the largest diamond reserves in the world. It is estimated that there is a 'inferred resource' of 27.4 million carats, a diamonds resource seven times richer than the Panna mine, the country's only working diamond mine.
On March 22, 2011, the need to review the diamond mining project in Chhattarpur which is posing serious threat to environment in the region was raised in the Lok Sabha.
Two district collectors were transferred to facilitate the ongoing illegal mining. The fact that the new collector has allowed mining came to light when a PIL was filed stating that Rio Tinto has been exploiting mineral resources in Chattarpur by violating provisions.
Shehla was fighting against mining activity. On January 19, 2010, she had filed a complaint with the DGP of MP, accusing IPS officer Pawan Shrivastava of making threatening calls to her. Shrivastava was harassing her for the past two years, Shehla stated in her letter. She also feared threat to her life from Shrivastava but the police did not act.
"We salute the struggle and martyrdom of Shehla who defended our forests, rivers, land and wildlife in the face of the unscrupulous corporate assault in nexus with the ruling political regimes," the activists stressed.
Shehla used to conclude her messages with a proud "Roarrrrr" that can't be silenced by the bullets of her assailants. Her murder exposes how government power is used to kill whistle blowers and RTI activists.
"We strongly condemn this murder of our fellow activist. It seems that we are not safe," said Rithe.


Prominent Wildlife Activist Tragically Murdered in India

Source: Bush Warriors

Prominent wildlife and anti-corruption activist, Shehla Masood, was murdered in cold blood today, just outside her home in Bhopal, India.

Shehla Masood was one of the strongest voices in the tiger conservation front. Her deep passion fueled her undying commitment to wildlife, the environment, and humanity. She was unafraid to speak the truth, unwilling to stand by and witness the injustices against those without a voice, and was intensely committed to making a difference in the world. Yet, today, it is with great sorrow that we report that this beautiful warrior has been tragically murdered in cold blood.
As a prominent conservationist in India, Miss Masood condemned the brutal and extensive poaching that has brought the world’s treasured tigers to the very brink of extinction. With an almost superhuman drive, she continually called attention to the rapid loss of these majestic creatures, demanding action to be taken on the many issues that have allowed this to happen. She rightfully and repeatedly presented the public with critical information regarding corrupt individuals involved in these heinous crimes. Fearlessly, she questioned the motives of government officials and park and reserve staff about suspicious activities surrounding the deaths of several tigers under their protection.
“There have been no forensic reports till yet. What is the reason? There were almost 18 vehicles being confiscated, but they have been let off. What for? Just because those vehicles were owned by big politicians, big bureaucrats’ sons, the power brokers of our country. These are the people who are running resorts in and around the tiger reserves,” Shehla pointed out last year about the death of a tigress in the Bandhavgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, one of several in that area during that time.
“They were given from 2004 to 2009, 2000 crore rupees, which is not a joke. And the report, which is yet not tabled, it says there are no Panna tigers since 2006. My dear friends, where is that money?” she boldly questioned.
There is no doubt that, in her exhaustive, passionate, and integrity-driven work, she has made enemies with those of ill intent. Such malicious, exploitative wrong-doers conducting their dirty deeds in secrecy would not want their surreptitious acts to be known by the world. Shehla Masood fought against the corrupt, the greedy, and the insensitive with immense courage, risking her own life to save the lives of others. She valued the essence of life over money, materialism, and self pleasure, and this was clear in her everyday actions.


Further Information

#Anna Hazare

Anna Hazare is one of India's well-acclaimed social activists. A former soldier in the Indian army, Anna is well known and respected for upgrading the ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi which is located in the drought prone Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state. The erstwhile barren village has metamorphosed into a unique model of rural development due to its effective water conservation methods, which made the villagers self-sufficient. Earlier, the same village witnessed alcoholism, utter poverty and migration to urban slums. Inspired by Hazare’s unique approach of salvaging a hopeless village, the state government has implemented the `Model Village’ scheme as part of its official strategy. Hazare is now synonymous with rural development in India.
The common man is put to lot of hardships and it has become difficult to make both ends meet as prices of essential commodities are rising constantly due to corruption. Hazare believes that our freedom is at the teeth of danger due to corruption and unless it is eliminated, the country will not be free in its true sense. Therefore, a peaceful war has been waged against corruption with the help of immense support from people"