SACW - 21 June 2018 | Bangladesh: Islamists Again / China-India: Border Tensions, Environmental Crisis / India - Pakistan: Proposals from Peace activists / India: Killing of Shujaat Bukhari; Appeal to University Teachers; Religious Sermons in school / Ukrainian Neo-Nazi C14 / Brazil: Lula's Manifesto To The People

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at
Wed Jun 20 13:42:21 EDT 2018

South Asia Citizens Wire - 21 June 2018 - No. 2991 
[via South Asia Citizens Web - since 1996]

1. Bangladesh: The murder of Shahjahan Bachchu and spectre of Islamist fanaticism | Syed Badrul Ahsan
2. India-Pakistan Borders: Request to start bus service across suigam-nagarparkar and replace military ceremony at attari-wagah with a peace ceremony
3. A critique of the Indian govt.’s response to the OHCHR report on Kashmir | Tapan Bose
4. China and India’s border dispute is a slow-moving environmental disaster | Ruth Gamble
5. India: Killing conversation - The death of Shujaat Bukhari | Mukul Kesavan
6. India: Release Piyush Manush & others arrested and drop all fabricated cases against them - Statement by Coalition for Environmental Justice in India – CEJI
7. India: Lift Evaluation Boycott at Delhi University - Appeal to Teachers on 17th June 2018 |  Mukul Mangalik
8. The "Letter" - The Letter (or Letters!?) that Discloses the Plot to Assassinate Indian Prime Minister Modi | Sukla Sen
9. India: Saints in Schools | Subhash Gatade

10. Recent on Communalism Watch:
 - India: Image making videos of PM Modi now include his excercise & fitness work is packaged for wider echo
 - India: Untruth Prevails - Tales From The 4G Rumour Mill | Dola Mitra
 - India: Devendra Fadnavis Led Govt in Maharashtra Gives minister's status to Siddhivinayak Temple Trust Chief
 - There are no detours in history - Krishna Kumar's comment on Pranab Mukherjee’s survey of history being at variance with Nehruvian values
 - India: Saffronising Ambedkar
 - Is Church trying to destabilize Modi sarkar?
 - India: Why Malayalam novelist KP Ramanunni undertook a penance for the Kathua gangrape in a Kerala temple
 - India’s rising paranoia and the myth of the persecuted Hindu | Samar Halarnkar
 - India: BJP MP to fund defence of lynching accused
 - India: I killed Gauri Lankesh to save my religion: says the assassin Parashuram Waghmore
 - India: Shabby Changes in Social Science School Textbooks goes against the spirit of the textbooks and established rules
 - Which Hedgewar? Pranab Mukherjee’s description of RSS founder does not stand up to scrutiny | Shamsul Islam
 - India: UP BJP to set up 'cyber sena' of 200,000 social media experts
::: URLs & FULL TEXT :::
11. French Pondichery | Lakshmi Subramaniam
12. India: Assam Lynching - Digital Bombs of Mob Violence | Dola Mitra
13. Ukrainian neo-Nazi C14, known for racist and homophobic attacks, gets public funding for 'patriotic education'
by Halya Coynash
14. Manifesto To The People Of Brazil | Lula da Silva

The murder of Shahjahan Bachchhu pierces the complacency that had set in with regard to the terrorism challenge, as Bangladesh braces for political turbulence ahead of polls.

The present work is an attempt to suggest new alternative ways to ease tensions between two countries through citizen engagement/integration/assimilation from both sides

The United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on June 14 published “Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from June 2016 to April 2018”. This is the first such report on Jammu and Kashmir by the UN. It covers both India and Pakistan controlled areas of the former princely state. Government of India has rejected the OHCHR report as “fallacious.” The spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs claimed that the report was overtly “prejudiced” and was seeking to “build a false narrative.” Read Tapan Bose’s critique of Indian govt.’s response

Chinese and Indian competition on their shared Himalayan border is more likely to create a slow-moving environmental catastrophe than a quick military or nuclear disaster.

5. India: Killing conversation - The death of Shujaat Bukhari
by Mukul Kesavan
The deaths of Shujaat Bukhari and Gauri Lankesh have different local histories and a few all-India similarities. Lankesh and Bukhari were both journalists who had worked for what passes as the national English press before committing themselves to publications principally aimed at readerships in their states.

We strongly condemn the late night arrest (on 18th June 2018) by the Tamil Nadu police of Piyush Manush Sethia of Salem Citizens’ Forum, Mansoor Ali Khan, an actor and Valarmathi, a student activist, and possibly others, who have been engaged in opposing a range of socially and environmentally destructive projects.

by Mukul Mangalik
This appeal to teachers of Delhi university was written on the 17 June 2018 and on the 18th of June the general body meeting of Delhi university teachers association (DUTA) called off the evaluation boycott, but the text of this appeal still remains relevant.

by Sukla Sen
whats all this about the assassination plot against Mr Modi. In order to make sense of the issue on the table, let us first try to arrange the events in (rough) chronological order.

by Subhash Gatade
BJP introduces religious propaganda in government run schools in Rajasthan

 - India: Image making videos of PM Modi now include his excercise & fitness work is packaged for wider echo
 - India: Untruth Prevails - Tales From The 4G Rumour Mill | Dola Mitra
 - India: Devendra Fadnavis Led Govt in Maharashtra Gives minister's status to Siddhivinayak Temple Trust Chief
 - There are no detours in history - Krishna Kumar's comment on Pranab Mukherjee’s survey of history being at variance with Nehruvian values
 - India: Saffronising Ambedkar
 - Is Church trying to destabilize Modi sarkar?
 - India: Why Malayalam novelist KP Ramanunni undertook a penance for the Kathua gangrape in a Kerala temple
 - India’s rising paranoia and the myth of the persecuted Hindu | Samar Halarnkar
 - India: BJP MP to fund defence of lynching accused
 - India: I killed Gauri Lankesh to save my religion: says the assassin Parashuram Waghmore
 - India: Shabby Changes in Social Science School Textbooks goes against the spirit of the textbooks and established rules
 - Which Hedgewar? Pranab Mukherjee’s description of RSS founder does not stand up to scrutiny | Shamsul Islam
 - India: UP BJP to set up 'cyber sena' of 200,000 social media experts
 - India: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members vandalise gate installed at entrance to Taj Mahal
 - India - Gauri Lankesh assassination case: Key accused points to leader of Hindutva outfit
 - Bangladesh: Shahzahan Bachchu the owner of Bishaka Prokashoni publishing house is shot dead
 - India: What's Behind the Shillong communal clashes ?
 - Revealed: Archive of Delhi Police Secret files on RSS activity and plans Oct-Dec 1947
 - Say No To Double Standards in Using Public Funds for Religious Places in India
 - India: BJP joined hands with Maoist-backed outfit in rural possls in West Bengal
 - India: Surprise surprise, there is now a Francois Gautier (Consul General of France in Bangalore) is he the same person as the famous hindutva driven Francois Gautier ? The French authorties in Delhi would do well to clarify
 - U.S. television studio ABC crime drama “Quantico” episode featuring India's nationalists in terror plot comes under fire from hindu-right fans
 - Open Letter To Pranab Mukherjee, The Former President Of India | Shamsul Islam

 -> available via:
::: URLs & FULL TEXT :::
11. FRENCH PONDICHERY | Lakshmi Subramaniam
 Danna Agmon. A Colonial Affair: Commerce, Conversion, and Scandal in French India. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018. 236 pp. $55.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-5017-0993-7.

Reviewed by Lakshmi Subramaniam (Institute of Advanced Studies, Nantes)
Published on H-Asia (June, 2018)
Commissioned by Sumit Guha (The University of Texas at Austin)

This is a detailed exposition of a scandal, the Nayiniyappa affair, that took place in Pondichery. The episode is used to explore the complex fault lines of European colonial empires in the eighteenth century (in this case the French enterprise) and to introduce more frontally the role of religion and missionary enterprise in the configuration of political projects. The book’s central proposition is that commerce and conversion in French India were both symbiotic and simultaneously conflicted, and that authority was distributed across a variety of agents, Indian and French, secular and religious. If traders wished to work with the status quo with minor modifications that helped their cause, missionaries were equally anxious to fundamentally transform the social scenario while retaining their material interests. Local intermediaries meanwhile showed a nimbleness in deploying their access to family, kinship networks, and linguistic expertise for advantage. The two sides—local and European—were locked in a complex dynamic and worked out a range of strategies that the author calls “distributed sovereignty” that resembled neither collaboration with nor resistance to colonial rule. Just how original this is as a formulation and how the idea of distributed sovereignty helps us understand the experience of colonial encounters better is not fully fleshed out, and we will come back to this later.

At the heart of the book is the scandal, which in its essentials was quite simple but one that carried all the elements of a tragedy that ended up with farcical elements. Nayiniyappa came to Pondichery as a young aspirant and became by his astute dealings and networks the chief broker to the French Company and rose to become an important and affluent personage in the French colony, capable of mustering local commercial contacts to drive the trade of the French Company and its servants. His ally initially was Guillaume Hebert, governor of Pondichery (1708-13), who resisted the demands of the Jesuits to press charges against the broker on grounds of sedition and treachery and of instigating weavers and traders to cease work. For the Jesuits, the broker’s reluctance, indeed resistance, to embrace the true faith was anathema, and they insisted that he had been instrumental in humiliating poorer Christians of the town. In 1716, with Hebert’s help, the Jesuits were able to arrest Nayiniyappa. This was not the end of the sordid episode as the arrest and public shaming of Nayiniyappa was followed by the efforts of other missionaries, rivals of the Jesuits and traders based in St. Malo, to fight for the ex-broker’s rehabilitation. Nayiniyappa did not benefit from this support as he died in prison. His son was able to reap the benefits as he returned as an ennobled and loyal Christian, after being baptized in the royal chapel in France.

Even in these bare details, the affair hints at several larger themes relating to faction fights in the French colony, the portability of French law and its access among more privileged subjects, and the nature of early French colonial rule in South India. The author does justice to the reading of the affair and its chaotic archiving, and helps tease out the complex layers of colonial rule: the tensions between the metropole and its colonial outpost, the tensions among multiple agents involved in empire making, and the active role played by local commercial society in safeguarding their interests in relation to the early articulations of French sovereignty. While these questions may not be particularly original and in fact have been asked by scholars working on the British Empire in Asia, the method followed by the book is striking as it peels layer by layer the confused archive of events and episodes. It is therefore an excellent instantiation of micro-history as a method; it uses an event and its excavation to address issues of kinship, language practice, and judicial protocols resorted to by local Indian intermediaries and Europeans and their implications for the expression of sovereignty and its limits. The emphasis on language practice as a manifestation of changing asymmetries of power is especially important.

The site of the scandal was Pondichery town, which under the French Company was projected as a safe enclave for commerce and religious tolerance. The self-representation was often belied by actual practice and in this respect, the French settlement was no different from English colonial centers. However, what seemed perceptibly different about the French urban experience was the relative authority and influence that religious groups assumed and the way in which this split the nature of French Empire in India. A not so close parallel may be found in the competing claims and roles of agency houses, free traders, and missionaries during the renewal of the company’s charter in India, but these do not seem to have had the same salience. In any case, the author argues that the scandal was a local affair, typical to the French colony and whose ramifications revealed the agency of indigenous actors, especially intermediaries. Here again there is a strong resemblance to developments in India during the eighteenth-century transition; both Kumkum Chatterjee for eastern India (Patna) and I for western India (Surat) have made a strong case for local mediation that inflected imperial enterprise. It is curious that neither work finds mention in this book. In fact, the author seems to endorse an earlier position that referred to the subordination of mercantile men by the English East India Company in Surat without engaging with the evidence of a robust Anglo-Bania order wherein Bania capital sponsored imperial expansion. Banias, as indeed other religious groups like Parsis and Konkani Muslims, were encouraged to settle down and were given explicit assurance of religious protection.

What made the Pondichery case especially singular, however, was the interplay of religion and politics and the leverage religious groups were able to exercise in the course of their dealings with the administration and the local populace. Was this exceptional to French India and if so why? The opening chapter tracks the politics and dealings of the Jesuits in the town of Pondichery—of the demands they made for restricted use of Hindu temples and for facilitating greater conversions. In such a milieu, Nayiniyappa who resisted conversion evidently stood out as a sore thumb. His protestations that he had done nothing to demean the Catholic religion and that his gift of rosaries to poor Christians was entirely innocent and not intended to slight them or indeed to flaunt his own resistance to embracing the true faith were disregarded. For the Jesuits however, these were lame excuses; furthermore, the very act of gift giving to indigent people (like stray dogs) was a mockery of Christian charity. The broker’s ex-patron Hebert turned his back and in fact used the opportunity to side with the Jesuits and denounce Nayiniyappa’s actions by construing them as inimical to the larger project of conversion and commerce. Such a volte-face points to the immense power that Jesuits seem to have enjoyed in the town. The broker’s arrest had unexpected consequences as a warring religious faction along with the St. Malo traders intervened to reinstate the broker. As things transpired, the broker died, but his son, who took the case to Europe, returned to Pondichery, better armed with a new religion and a new title. He rehabilitated his late father’s reputation. Clearly French religious groups were extensively involved in the town’s public life; this was not a town that was simply split between white and black, but one in which competing religious and commercial interests produced major crevices in the imperial enterprise that would have subsequent consequences for the Indian population. Thus ironically, even before the doctrine of laicite and the demand for complete religious renunciation in the late nineteenth century as a precondition to French citizenship, the colonial project of the French Company subsumed religious affiliations and groups whose interests and influence could not be entirely bypassed.

The explorations of the back story of the affair gives the reader a taste of the social world of an eighteenth-century French Indian colony where the family and extended familial networks functioned as the principal medium of political articulation. Kinship was a condition of political negotiation and survival. It is the author’s contention that family more than caste played a keen role in cross-cultural encounters; familial networks were extensively deployed to consolidate business interests and explore new opportunities. What is particularly important about the analysis is the way the author demonstrates the intersection between notions of Indian kinship and those entertained by the French via the stories of father and son in relation to Hebert the governor, at one time patron of Nayiniyappa, to Nayiniyappa himself and subsequently to Moutiyappa, the Jesuit head native catechist. In all three cases, the strength of affective relations expressed in familial terms was evident and in full display as each tried to bolster and salvage their reputation and ventures. It may be worthwhile to note that in the case of British India, anthropological studies like those of Mattison Mines, have identified the language of friendship and not of kinship as the preferred idiom of self-representation.

Probably the most striking aspect of Pondichery’s commercial and social world was its linguistic landscape. The proceedings of Nayiniyappa’s affair after he was jailed vividly brought out the power of language; who used what language and how translations were to be affected and accessed became crucial determinants. For a considerable period, well into the eighteenth century, Portuguese had operated as the lingua franca; merchants and rulers alike used it for political and commercial communication. Religious men on the other hand invested in the learning of Tamil. It was thus a matter of some consternation when the denial of Portuguese as a language for communication during the interrogations and the insistence on French and on Tamil (understood by a few in the room and left to the translation devices of one) became devices to be pitted against the broker. The way translations were made to work in the case of Nayiniyappa make for fascinating reading as all sorts of translations and undercover operations were relied on to stack evidence against him. But the story did not end here. His son not only was able to reclaim his reputation, and assume for a while the post of chief broker, but also was able to retain his old ancestral habits even after embracing the Christian faith. It is this quality of negotiation, of social hybridity, that makes the Indo-European entanglement so hard to study. What are we to make of such a case, of a person who could draw on extensive support from friends and family, from Europeans and locals, who could negotiate two faith practices simultaneously? Does it speak of a brief moment that was typical of transition politics or was it specific to the Pondichery experience?

Agmon recounts the quirky tale of the broker, his fall and rehabilitation, with admirable finesse. What stands out is the way she disaggregates the archive and assumes the lens of administrator, missionary, and native intermediary at the same time to reflect on an episode of French India that presents a complex story of self-interest, human experience, and political contingency, elements that were by no means exceptional to the French settlement.

Outlook Magazine
25 June 2018

Social media rumours fan a medieval barbarity within us. This time it’s Assam.

People in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district—like in most parts of the state—have grown up hearing stories about the ‘xopadhora’, the Assamese word to describe a child-lifter. ‘Xopa’ means both a gag and to gag someone and ‘dhora’ is to catch. In remote Assam, where superstition has a firm grip on the populace, the telling and re-telling of xopadhora horror tales has given birth to a ghas­tly creature in imagination—described variously as having long, braided hair and flashing eyes which hypnotise little children before he catches hold of them and devours them.

On June 8, when Nilotpal Das, a 29-year-old sound engineer, and his friend Abhijeet Nath, 30, a businessman, set out to visit a popular tourist spot in Karbi Anglong’s Dokmoka—about 180 km from state capital Guwahati—they had no idea that the area was in grip of virtually generated paranoia: messages claiming that a group of child-lifters had entered the area from Bihar had gone viral on social media and WhatsApp.

Even if they had known, would they have thought anything of it? It was just an online rumour after all. But as other ­examples from the last two months have shown us, hysteria has rendered the ­absurd as hard fact, bringing out the worst manifestation of fear—brutal violence. The ‘child-abductor’ lynchings have come almost like a wave: a 52-year-old transgender in Hyderabad, a 26-year-old youth in Bangalore, a 55-five-year-old woman in Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu, all lynched by mobs gone paranoid over social media and WhatsApp rumours in the month of May itself. In all these places, the victim fell into an ‘outsider’ category.   

Nath and Das, the latter with his Rastafarian dreadlocks, were fitted into the image of the ‘xopadhora’ by a mob of around 200 people when they stopped their car to ask for directions in a village. They had no chance. Even their pleadings, “I’m Assamese...My father’s name mother’s name is…” failed to deter the murderous rage of the mob, comprising mostly of Karbi and Bodo people.

The next day, Assam woke up to one of the most shocking news in recent times. There are no convenient explanations. This cannot just be pinned as a one off incident of a superstitious, ‘remote’ people. This had happened in the heart of urban India too. Increasingly, it appears to be a barbarity aided directly by the technology of the times.

“Superstition was behind the attack,” Mukesh Agarwal, Additional DGP (law and order), Assam, tells Outlook.

“It was not conspiracy of one section of the tribal community against the mainstream Assamese as has been projected in dozens of reports,” he adds, referring to a sentiment that is seeing this as a tribal vs non-tribal issue. Another police officer, who does not want to be named, describes the potency of the rumour: “Since a fortnight before the tragic incident, locals were taking turns and staying up at nights and keeping vigils out of fear”.

Nath and Das, the latter with his Rastafarian dreadlocks, were fitted into the image of the ‘xopadhora’ by a mob of around 200 people.

The police were criticised for not doing anything to stop the spread of rumours and allay fears. Pictures and video clips purportedly showing a police official shooting the assault on his mobile phone have also added to the public’s anger.

At least twenty four people have been arrested so far in the case and a few other have also been rounded up for posting rumours and hate messages on social media after the lynching.
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“We are also in the process of pinpointing other culprits who were present during the attack by the mob on that fateful day. There was a core group of attackers, then there were those who were egging them on and also bystanders who were witnessing the incident. Individuals are being booked as per the degree of their offense. But we want to ensure that not a single innocent person is arrested,” says Agarwal.

Shocked people took to the streets of Assam to demand justice for Nilotpal and Abhijit. Protests have rocked the state since the incident. The local media has also been highlighting the issue, with print, digital and electronic media covering little else over the past week.

Afrida Hussain, founder and editor-in-chief of the online portal ‘Inside NE’ (North East), which has extensively reported on the incident, tells Outlook: “The public outrage is unprecedented. The area where the double murder took place is a tourist spot, visited by ­tho­usands of people from all over. The exact location of the lynching is just 12 km from the local police station. When two Assamese youth are beaten to death for visiting a part of their own state, the kind of fear and insecurity that it can generate has to be felt to be believed.” She too questions the police. “When the rumours were circulating, what was the police doing? Why didn’t ­their cyber crime cell swing into ­action?” she says.

The police of the state now have ­another set of problems to deal with. Post the murders, some reports of Bodos and Karbis facing retaliatory ­violence has come to the fore.

“Here too, social media is being used to fan fears. The administration and police have launched a two-pronged attack to check these rumours,” says Sabir Nisad, the state’s Information and Public Relations Officer. “The first step is to prevent rumour-mongering and the next step is to stop the vicious cycle of counter attacks by cracking down on the spread of online hate.”

The Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisation of Assam (CCTOA)—an umbrella body of groups representing different tribes—rushed to hold a press conference to both condemn the incident and appeal to the people of Assam to not indulge in vengeful violence. Other Northeastern states, such as Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, saw largescale protests too, both against the lynching and the stray incidents of attacks on Bodos and Karbi.

According to a source, Abhijit Nath, his parents’ only child, was asked by them to return to Guwahati from ano­ther part of the country where he had been living for sometime. “Now his parents cannot forgive themselves for calling him back,” says the source. The family of Nilotpal Das has said that the police could have done their bit to ­dispel rumours.
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A police officer, as procedure demands, puts together the minute details—the timing of the attacks, drunk people in the mob. “The duo entered the area after dusk, around 6 pm, when, usually, tourists return from there,” he says. “One of them was an avid collector of exotic fish, maybe they were hoping to reach at night for a good catch.” He also mentions alcohol, that evening is usually drinking time for locals and that some in the mob may have been drunk.

It was a potent, fatal mixture. The childhood stories of the ‘xopadhora’, rumours bombarding inboxes, the fading daylight filtering in through the dense forest against which two strange men in a car were silhouetted.

By Dola Mitra in Calcutta 

by Halya Coynash
Human Rights in Ukraine
June 13, 2018

[Text with links]
'C14', a neo-Nazi group involved over recent months in anti-Roma, homophobic and other attacks in Ukraine, has become one of the recipients of Ministry of Youth and Sport grants, together with an organization linked to the far-right Svoboda party.  The news was first reported by Hromadske Radio a day after the authors of a Freedom House report warned of a sharp increase in political violence from precisely such radical groups in Ukraine and of the danger they pose for Ukrainian democracy.

Three organizations were successful in the competition for 'national-patriotic education projects'.  'Educational Assembly' [«Освітна асамблея»], founded by the head of C14, Yevhen Karas; 'C14 Sich', founded by Volodymyr Karas, who shares the same patronymic, surname and address as the head of C14; and Holosiyiv Hideout [«Голосіївська криївка»], whose founders include several members of Svoboda.

Three events by 'Educational Assembly', as well as a C14 Sich children's camp will all get 440 thousand UAH (a little over 14 thousand euros), while Holosiyiv Hideout will receive 760 thousand UAH (nearly 25 thousand euros) for four festivals.  The successful projects included 'National-patriotic education as guarantor of Ukraine's information security', a nationwide distance learning centre for such national-patriotic education, and the use of historical simulations as a means of popularizing Ukraine's historical heritage.

The commission which chose successful applicants for grants is headed by Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport, Mykola Danevych, although he was not present at the final meeting on 8 June.  The chair on that occasion was the commission secretary, Mykola Lyakhovych who is the head of the Ministry of Youth and Sport's Department for National-Patriotic Education.  The number of people present at the final meeting seemed rather small, however there are officially four representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, as well as other civil servants on the commission, with 51% of the members from representatives of civic society.  There is nothing to indicate how representatives of NGOs are chosen.

Lyakhovych asserts that the competition was held in full accordance with legislation.  He claims that the commission cannot analyse the ideology of the organizations which put forward their proposals, and that they merely assess whether the projects meet the priorities outlined for the competition as per the relevant Cabinet of Ministers resolution from 12 October 2011.

Any NGO that has existed for over two years can apply, and while Lyakhovych says that as a citizen, he understands the concern about support for destructive movements, this is not something he, as a civil servant, can influence.

In fact, some scepticism may be justified here, especially given that Lyakhovych himself has a background in the UNA-UNSO [Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian People's Self-Defence], an extremely far-right movement with views similar to those espoused by Svoboda and C14.

According to this logic, movements whose members do not conceal their antagonism to members of ethnic, religious or sexual minorities could come up with an educational project which would then be allocated taxpayers' money. This could lead to camps, etc, being run by activists who both espouse and practise intolerance towards minorities and other groups of Ukrainian society.  

C14, Svoboda and several other far-right organizations (National Corps, National Druzhyna vigilante groups, for example) have tried to present themselves over recent years as defending Ukraine against 'separatists', as promoting 'law and order' and as fighting corruption.

Ukraine has been facing the gravest of threats from Russia over the past four years, which can make it difficult to counter the 'patriotic rhetoric' that such movements use.  This is especially frustrating given the multiple issues with such claims, and with the methods these far-right movements use against Ukrainian citizens either on racist grounds, or because their views, sexual orientation or style of life are not to their liking.  

On January 19, 2018, members of C14 and other far-right groups prevented the traditional remembrance gathering in Kyiv to honour Russian rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Novaya Gazeta journalist Anastasia Baburova, murdered in Moscow in 2009 by members of a far-right nationalist group. The claim that this had anything to do with 'fighting separatism' was simply offensive.

The police on that occasion detained only people who had come for the remembrance gathering, and did nothing to prevent the illegal obstruction of a peaceful gathering.  

It seems likely that louts from these far-right groups were responsible for the vicious attack on a young Briton, Liam Anthony Tong that same afternoon.  Although the young man had a hood on (concealing his brightly-coloured hair), he had facial piercings which would make him a fairly typical target for such attacks..

Anti-Roma pogroms

There have been four attacks on Roma camps in different parts of Ukraine since April this year.

The first such attack on 20-21 April, 2018 was boasted about (in veiled terms) on Facebook by a prominent C14 activist. The Kyiv police initially claimed to have received no complaints from Roma families driven from a camp on Lysa Hora in Kyiv  and to see no reason to take any action.  They were forced to change their position and, at least formally, initiate a criminal investigation only after posted a video clearly showing families running in terror from the thugs.

It is likely that the 30 young masked thugs who burned down a permanent Roma settlement in Rudne, near Lviv on 9 May were also from far-right groups. While the Human Rights Ombudsman had no difficulty in identifying this (and the earlier Lysa Hora attack) as hate crimes, the police only initiated an investigation into 'hooliganism'. There have since been two more such pogroms - in the Ternopil oblast on 22 May and in Kyiv on June 7.

The police initiate criminal proceedings, and then nothing more is heard.

C14, National Corpus and the National Druzhyna vigilante units are often present inside the courtroom and outside high-profile court hearings. It has to be said that they do often reflect widespread concern, for example, over the initial suspended sentence passed on Yuri Krysin, a known criminal and titushki (hired thug) leader involved in the killing of Maidan journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy.

Their behaviour is often openly lawless. On May 4, 2018, C14 activists seized Rafael Lusvarghi, a Brazilian who not only fought for the Kremlin-backed militants in Donbas, but also provided propaganda to recruit other militants.  A Ukrainian court had sentenced him to 13 years' imprisonment, however this sentence had later been quashed, and the case sent back for retrial.  Lusvarghi had been spotted by an RFERL journalist living at a Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox Monastery outside Kyiv.  The C14 activists grabbed him and took him by force to the SBU [Security Service].  Whatever one may think of the authorities' actions with respect to Lusvarghi's prosecution, the C14 behaviour was highly questionable, and probably criminal.

The same is true of the C14 blocking of the Kyiv-Pecherska Lavra in Kyiv on 8 January 2018 and damage to a car which tried to get through.  

In claiming that the Ministry of Youth and Sport was powerless to prevent far-right racists and homophobes from winning grants for patriotic education programmes, Mykola Lyakhovych mentioned the need for a mechanism to be added to the above-mentioned Cabinet of Ministers resolution. In the absence of such, the only available methods for challenging such competitions is to appeal to the Prosecutor General's Office or the Justice Ministry, and implement proceedings and an investigation into the organization's illegal activities.

The SBU were, in fact, forced by the court on 19 May to initiate criminal proceedings against C14 leader Yevhen Karas over the treatment of Lusvarghi.  This was on the application of Lusvarghi's lawyer, and there is nothing to indicate whether a real investigation will follow.  It is doubtless the lack of firm police action, identified in Likhachev's report that explains the recent upsurge in political violence and attacks on certain groups by C14 and other far-right groups.

Criminal proceedings are important, but will not let the Ministry of Youth and Sport off the hook.  You need only look to the large number of Ukrainians who feel understandably threatened by C14 and their ilk and recall C14's offer to provide head-bashing 'services' for money, to understand that there were and remain compelling grounds for withdrawing these shockingly misallocated grants.
Lula da Silva
("We have the right to dream again, after the nightmare that was imposed on us by the 2016 coup. They lied to overthrow the legitimately elected President Dilma Rousseff. They lied saying that the country would improve if the Workers’ Party was ousted from government; that there would be more jobs and more development... They lied to give away the nation’s wealth and to favor the economic and financial powers, in a scandalous betrayal of the people’s will manifested clearly and unequivocally in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.")

“For two months now, I have been unjustly incarcerated without having committed any crime. For two months I have been unable to travel the country I love, bringing the message of hope of a better and more just Brazil, with opportunities for all, as I always did during 45 years of public life.

I was deprived of my daily life with my sons and my daughter, my grandsons and granddaughters, my great-granddaughter, my friends and comrades. But I have no doubt that they have put me here to prevent me from being with my larger family: the Brazilian people. This is what distresses me the most, because I know that outside, every day, more and more families are back to living in the streets, abandoned by the State that should protect them.

From where I am, I want to renew the message of faith in Brazil and in our people. Together, we have been able to overcome difficult times, serious economic, political and social crises. Together, under my government, we overcame hunger, unemployment, recession, the enormous pressures of international capital and its representatives in the country. Together, we reduced the age-old disease of social inequality that marked Brazil's formation: indigenous genocide, the enslavement of blacks and the exploitation of the workers of the city and the countryside.

We fought injustice tirelessly. With our heads held high, we have come to be considered the most optimistic people in the world. We have deepened our democracy and we have gained international prominence with the creation of Unasur, Celac, BRICS and our relationship of solidarity with African countries. Our voice was heard in the G8 and in the most important world fora.

I am sure we can rebuild this country and dream, once again, like a great nation. That's what keeps me fighting.

I will not settle with the suffering of the poorest and the punishment that is falling on our working class, just as I will not settle with my situation.

Those who accused me in Lava Jato know that they lied, because I never owned, never had possession, nor spent one night in the Guarujá apartment. Those who condemned me, Sérgio Moro and the TRF-4 judges, know that they set up a judicial farce to arrest me because I was able to prove my innocence in the case and they were not able to present proof of the crime that they accuse me of.

To this day I ask myself: where is the proof?

I was not treated by the prosecutors of Lava Jato, Moro and TRF-4 as a citizen equal to everyone else. I have always been treated as an enemy.

I do not cultivate hatred or hold any grudge, but I doubt my executioners can sleep with a clear conscience.

Against all injustices, I have the constitutional right to appeal out of jail, but this right has been denied to me so far, for the sole reason that my name is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

That is why I consider myself a political prisoner in my country.

When it became clear that they were going to take me in by force, without crime or evidence, I decided to stay in Brazil and face my executioners. I know my place in history and I know the place reserved for those who persecute me today. I am sure that Justice will make truth prevail.

In the caravans I recently took part in, along Brazil, I saw hope in people's eyes. And I have also seen the anguish of those who are suffering with the return of hunger and unemployment, malnourishment, school dropout, rights robbed from workers, destruction of the constitutionally guaranteed policies of social inclusion, that are now denied in practice.

It is to end the suffering of the people that I am again running for President.

I take on this mission because I have a great responsibility with Brazil and because Brazilians have the right to vote freely for a project of more solidarity, a more just and a sovereign country, persevering in the project of Latin American integration.

I am a candidate because I sincerely believe that the Electoral Court will be coherent with its judicial precedents, since 2002, not bowing to the blackmail of exception only to hurt my right and the right of voters to choose who represents them best.

I ran many times during my career, but this race is different: it is my life’s commitment. Those who had the privilege of seeing Brazil advance on behalf of the poorest, after centuries of exclusion and abandonment, cannot sit out during the most difficult time for our people.

I know that my candidacy represents hope, and we will take it to the final consequences, because we have the strength of the people at our side.

We have the right to dream again, after the nightmare that was imposed on us by the 2016 coup.

They lied to overthrow the legitimately elected President Dilma Rousseff. They lied saying that the country would improve if the Workers’ Party was ousted from government; that there would be more jobs and more development. They lied to impose the program that was defeated at the polls in 2014. They lied to destroy the project of eradicating misery which we put in place under my government. They lied to give away the nation’s wealth and to favor the economic and financial powers, in a scandalous betrayal of the people’s will manifested clearly and unequivocally in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

The hour of truth is coming.

I want to be president of Brazil once again because I have already proved that it is possible to build a better Brazil for our people. We proved that the country can grow for the benefit of all when the government places the workers and the poorest at the center of the concerns, and does not become a slave to the interests of the rich and powerful. And we proved that only the inclusion of millions of poor people can make the economy grow and recover.

We govern for the people and not for the market. It is the opposite of what the government of our opponents, at the service of financiers and multinationals, who abolished the historic rights of workers, reduced real wages, cut off investments in health and education, and is destroying programs like Bolsa Familia, Minha Casa, Minha Vida, Pronaf, Luz Para Todos, Prouni and Fies, among many actions aimed at social justice.

I dream of being president of Brazil to end the suffering of those who do not have money anymore to buy gas, who now have to use wood for cooking or, even worse, use alcohol and become victims of serious accidents and burns. This is one of the cruelest setbacks caused by the policy of destruction of Petrobras and of our national sovereignty, led by PSDB supporters who backed the 2016 coup.

Petrobras was not created to generate gains for Wall Street speculators in New York, but to ensure oil self-sufficiency in Brazil at prices compatible with the popular economy. Petrobras must be Brazilian again. You can be certain that we are going to end this tale of selling its assets. It will no longer be hostage to oil multinationals. It will once again play a strategic role in the country's development, including in directing the pre-salt resources to education, our passport to the future.

You can also be sure that we will prevent the privatization of Eletrobrás, Banco do Brasil and Caixa, the emptying of the BNDES and of all the tools available to the country to promote development and social welfare.

I dream of being the president of a country where the judge pays more attention to the Constitution and less to the headlines.

Where rule of law is the rule, without measures of exception.

I dream of a country where democracy prevails over anyone’s discretion, media monopoly, prejudice and discrimination.

I dream of being the president of a country where everyone has rights and nobody has privileges. A Country where everyone can have three meals a day again; where children can attend school, where everyone has the right to work for dignified wages and with the protection of the law. A country in which every rural worker has again access to land to produce, with finance and technical assistance.

A country where people will once again have confidence in the present and hope for the future. And where for this very reason is once again respected internationally, promotes Latin American integration and cooperation with Africa once again, and exercises a sovereign position in the international dialogues on trade and the environment, for peace and friendship amongst peoples.

We know the way to carry out these dreams. Today it goes through the holding of free and democratic elections, with the participation of all political forces, with no rules of exception to prevent just one candidate.

Only then will we have a government with legitimacy to face great challenges, that can dialogue with all sectors of the nation supported by the popular vote. It is this mission that I am taking on by accepting my nomination as presidential candidate of the Workers' Party.

We have demonstrated already that it is possible to make a government of national appeasement, where which Brazil walks in the direction of the Brazilians, especially the poorest and the workers.

My government was one where the poor were included in the Union’s budget, with more income distribution and less hunger; with more health and less child mortality; with more respect and affirmation of the rights of women, of blacks and of diversity, and with less violence; with more education at all levels and fewer children out of school; with more access to universities and technical education and fewer young people excluded from the future; with more popular housing and fewer occupancy conflicts in the cities; with more settlements and land distribution and fewer conflicts of occupation in the countryside; with more respect for the indigenous populations and quilombolas, with more salary gains and guarantees for the rights of workers, with more dialogue with unions, social movements and business organizations and less social conflicts.

It was a time of peace and prosperity, as we have never had before in history.

I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that Brazil can be happy again. And it can advance much more than we had already conquered together, when the government was of the people.

In order to achieve this goal, we must unite the democratic forces of all Brazil, respecting the autonomy of the parties and the movements, but always having as reference a project of more solidarity and a fairer Country that will rescue the dignity and hope of our suffering people. I am sure we will be together at the end of that path.

From where I am, with the solidarity and energies that come from all corners of Brazil and the world, I can assure you that I will continue working to transform our dreams into reality. And so I am preparing, with faith in God and a lot of confidence, for the day when I will once again unite with the beloved Brazilian people.

Only, if my life is taken, will this reunion not come to be. 

And this reunion will not happen only if my life is lacking.

See you soon, my people.

Long live Brazil! Long live Democracy! Long live the Brazilian people!

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Curitiba, June 8, 2018"


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