Voices from Russia

Saturday, 30 June 2018

America’s Problem Isn’t Immigration… America’s Problem Is White Supremacy

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The USA appears to be destined by Providence to plague [the continent of] America with misery in the name of liberty.

Simón Bolívar

These words of the great 19th-century Latin American emancipator accurately describe the relationship between the USA and Latin America to this day. It’s why the punitive treatment by the Trump Administration of migrants attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the USA constitutes a double injustice.

The first injustice is the role that Washington plays and played in destabilising and impoverishing the economies of Latin American states over generations, while subverting and helping to bring down those governments south of the border that dares attempt to unshackle their countries from the chains of US imperialism, in process of which rampant crime, corruption, and violence prosper. The second injustice is the dehumanisation and demonisation meted out to the victims of the ensuing instability and social and economic dislocation wrought when in a state of extremis they flee their homes for sanctuary across the border with their families. Under no moral code can you justify or defend the forced separation of children, including infants, from their parents… none whatsoever. We saw this in the justifiable outcry unleashed in response, which eventually forced Trump to rescind the policy. However, this being said, the nauseating hypocrisy of liberals excoriating the president over the policy of separating children at the border with Mexico has been near impossible to bear. The likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, people who when they weren’t responsible for the mass slaughter of children in the Middle East with their régime-change wars, have, in the case of Clinton, supported mass incarceration in the USA itself, involving the forced separation of families, such people have absolutely no right to take any moral high ground on this issue.

Focusing on the whys and wherefores of mass migration, it’s incumbent on those who are serious about grasping the issue at its roots to identify its causes, rather than continue to deal with its symptoms, and thereby only succeed in creating more causes. In so doing we come to the role of US imperialism in sowing uneven and combined development throughout the Americas. Putting it another way, the development and wealth of the USA were contingent on the underdevelopment and poverty of Latin America… the former impossible without the latter. As Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano pointed up in his classic work Open Veins of Latin America:

Underdevelopment isn’t a stage of development, but its consequence. Latin America’s underdevelopment arises from external [European and US] development and continues to feed it. The strength of the imperialist system as a whole rests on the inequality of its parts.

No leader of a Latin or Central American country defied and resisted the juggernaut of US imperialism more than Fidel Castro did. Of the countless speeches he gave during his time at the helm of Cuban politics and society, The Second Declaration of Havana (1962), is among the most powerful:

Since the end of World War II, the countries of Latin America have become more and more impoverished. Their exports have less and less value, their imports cost more. The per capita income falls, the frightful rate of infant mortality doesn’t decrease. The number of illiterates is higher; the people lack jobs, land, adequate housing, schools, hospitals, means of communication, and means of life. Latin America is the provider of cheap raw materials and the buyer of expensive finished articles.

Lest anyone believe that Castro’s views of the relationship between North and South America in the early 1960s bear no relation to the same relationship today, consider, if you will, the plight of Honduras. According to Human Rights Watch, the Central American country in 2018 has violent crime, corruption, and political repression. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, over 6o percent of its people live in poverty. What we shouldn’t forget is that in 2009 the army toppled the country’s democratically elected leftist President, Manuel Zelaya, in a coup sanctioned by the Honduran Supreme Court and supported by the Obama Administration. As Stephen Zunes reminded us in a 2016 article:

During his [Zelaya’s] tenure, he raised the minimum wage and provided free school lunches, milk for young children, pensions for the elderly, and additional scholarships for students. He built new schools, subsidised public transportation, and even distributed energy-saving light bulbs. None of these was particularly radical, but it was nevertheless disturbing to the country’s wealthy economic and military élites. More frightening was that Zelaya sought to organise an assembly to replace the 1982 constitution written during the waning days of the US-backed military dictator Policarpo Paz García.

With this sorry fate of the country in mind, is it any accident that the number of illegal Honduran migrants into the USA across the Mexican border spiked in recent years? At this juncture, I feel obliged to make a confession. Back in the early to mid-1990s, I was an illegal immigrant living in the USA. However, unlike those crossing the border from Mexico, I wasn’t fleeing natural disaster, grinding poverty, political repression, or a society plagued by crime and violence. I instead had travelled to the USA compelled to do so by nothing more than personal ambition, succumbing to the myth of the American Dream, which as the saying goes is a dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. Anyway, I spent five years in LA as part of the British expat community in Santa Monica, replete with its British pubs, shops, and all the rest, rubbing shoulders and working alongside many other Brits who lived there illegally, many of them having done so for a long time. I worked, paid tax, and was able to exist as if completely legal.

Of course, the difference boils down to the fact that I, and we, happened to be white Europeans, and thus accorded the unwritten but nonetheless obvious privileges white skin affords you in the land of the free. This, ultimately, brings us to the heart of the matter. America’s problem isn’t immigration, its white supremacy. Whether conscious or unconscious, it matters not. The result is brutal treatment meted out to people of colour, migrant and non-migrant alike.

25 June 2018

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201806251065767940-us-problem-not-immigration/

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Archbishop Oscar Romero, Martyr, to Become Saint at Vatican Ceremony on 14 October

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After a 38-year-wait, it’s now official. Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered in 1980 for speaking out against military oppression, will become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a Vatican ceremony on 14 October. On 19 May, Pope Francisco, the first pontiff from the Americas, announced the decision during a meeting with cardinals based in Rome. Romero, long considered a saint by Catholics across the Americas, will be elevated to universal veneration at the Vatican ceremony alongside Pope Paul VI, the pontiff who first appointed him a bishop and made the fateful decision in 1977 to make him archbishop of San Salvador. Four others… two Italian priests and German and Spanish founders of separate women’s religious orders… will also become saints at the ceremony.

The Salvadoran’s canonisation, while expected in recent months, nonetheless represents the culmination of one of the clearest turnabouts of Francisco’s nearly five-year papacy. The cause for Romero languished for decades under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who expressed unease with his connection to liberation theology and his vocal denunciations of government killings and kidnappings. Less than two years after his election as pontiff, Francisco placed Romero firmly on the sainthood track, formally decreeing in February 2015 that the archbishop was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. He then authorised his beatification, the last step before sainthood, in May of that year. El Salvador’s ambassador to the UK, Elisabeth Hayek-Weinmann, told us:

Romero’s coming sainthood represents a unique opportunity for us to heal our historical wounds, restore our social fabric, and build a new sense of national identity based on common values, with social justice and respect for human dignity at its core. His teachings and legacy provide us, as a nation, a strong moral compass.

During the 19 May meeting with cardinals, known as a consistory, Francisco formally received the request to authorise the canonization of the six persons by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Amato gave Francisco a brief biographical sketch of each of the sainthood candidates. He said:

Romero was archbishop during a time of great political crisis in El Salvador and was outraged at seeing the violence against the weak and the killing of priests and catechists, he felt the need to assume an attitude of fortitude. On 24 March 1980, he was killed while celebrating Mass.

After hearing each candidate’s history, Francisco announced their canonisations as a group and set the date and place of the ceremony. As it became clear in recent weeks that Francis would announce Romero’s canonisation, discussions in Rome focused on whether the pontiff would decide to hold the ceremony at the Vatican or in El Salvador. Considerations included trying to make the event accessible to Salvadorans wishing to attend but wanting also to emphasise that, as a saint, Romero will be an example of Christian witness not just for El Salvador but the entire world. Carlos Colorado, a Salvadoran who runs the popular Super Martyrio blog that closely followed the process of Romero’s canonisation, said in an interview:

A ceremony in San Salvador would’ve been a blowout with people attending numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

In a recent blog, Colorado hypothesised that Francisco may still go to El Salvador soon in order to venerate the new saint’s tomb and bring a sense of celebration to the country. One opportunity would be for the pontiff to make a stopover there during his expected January 2019 visit to Panama for World Youth Day. Paulita Pike, an American who lived in El Salvador off-and-on since the early 1970s, knew Romero and now helps coordinate the popular Amigos de Romero/Cultura Romeriana Facebook page, said:

By canonising Romero in Rome, Francisco is holding him up as the model pastor, the model bishop, for the bishops gathered there. Wherever he’s canonised, he’s going to be our saint.

Pike kept vigil at Romero’s tomb in San Salvador’s cathedral overnight on 18 May with members of her group, awaiting news of the canonisation. She said:

He isn’t ours but he’s St Romero of the Americas. Now, he’s going to be St Romero of the world.

19 May 2018

Joshua McElwee

National Catholic Reporter

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/archbishop-romero-martyr-be-made-saint-vatican-ceremony-oct-14

Saturday, 26 August 2017

26 August 2017. Geophysical and Cultural Map of North America

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The original lettering on this map SUCKED. Therefore, I pulled out the old PS and got to work. I also spiffed up the map itself with some PhotoShop enhancements to make it POP. By the way… most of the cultural regions are spot-on. New England and Atlantic Canada do share a common culture… Texas IS distinct from the rest of the old Confederacy (and West Texas is more aligned with Arizona/New Mexico/Norteño Mexico)… the Prairie Provinces and the Upper Midwest are one… “California” is really only a small coastal strip and Washington/Oregon/BC/Northern California are the Northwest… the Northeast and Southern Ontario really do make a discrete region… the First Nations do “rule” most of Canada. The most interesting region is Deseret… the Mormon heartland. It’s the most Anglo part of the country, so one could even say that Mormons are the most “American” of Americans. They’re Anglos who follow a made-up American religion. They have no cultural ties left to foreign parts, as most of the rest of us do.

BMD

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

17 September 2013. OCA Makes Big Deal Over “Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America”… IMPORTANT Issues Left Silent… I Wonder Why

01 smoke and mirrors

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On oca.org, they made a big deal over a so-called “Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America”. This is nothing but an EP-sponsored talk-shop. It generates tons of wind, issues pretty position papers, and does nothing of practical import, save for publishing a pretty group photo. It does serve one purpose… it’s a venue where the contestants in the EP/MP Great Game can meet and palaver… it’s much like a Cold War Summit in that regard. In short, it’s not important at all… but do note that oca.org made it sound like it was such… in a pathetic attempt to pump up the shaky position of the OCA.

Note how oca.org pumped up an EP-financed-and-run centre at ChambésyGenève and a so-called “Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference” (mistranslated into English, since we’re of Russian background, it should be “Fourth Pre-Conciliar all-Orthodox Conference”; we shouldn’t be pandering by using constructions derived from Greek). Firstly, the EP centre at Chambésy is inactive, shuttered for four years, as the Greek government defunded it. That was its major source of funds, so, the centre closed down for all practical purposes (it’s formally-open, but there’s been no conferences since 2010). You can see where oca.org is sucking up to the EP… if they were loyal to the MP, they’d point up the fact that centre was a dead duck and a sham.

Secondly, the so-called Fourth Pre-Conciliar all-Orthodox Conference was phoney baloney. These conferences have been going on since the ‘60s with no practical result whatsoever. There’s going to be NO Eighth Council any time soon… there’s no one to call it! The Roman Emperor called all of the Seven Councils; today, there’s no Christian Emperor to call the council, ergo, there can be no Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch has NEVER had the ability to call Ecumenical Councils; he’s NOT the “Orthodox Pope”. In short, there’s not going to be an Eighth Council any time soon (or any time later), so, one can see that’s nothing but SVS wind and bullshit, 100 percent pure, straight from the Ivory Tower.

Thirdly, there’s going to be NO resolution of the canonical situation in the diaspora. Besides the EP, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, and Romania all share a common position… they don’t accept the legitimacy of the OCA as an autocephalous Local Church, they see the OCA as the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of North America… they don’t accept it as being the Territorial Church at all (neither does the MP, as it’s never given up its claim to North America as its canonical territory). The OCA is the odd man out, everyone knows it, and do note that the service for this so-called “Assembly” was at the ROCOR cathedral.

Lil’ Mizz Ginny isn’t a good spin doctor. She attempted to spin it… but you can see her laziness. The post sounds like an EP press release; she didn’t even rewrite it to make it look like it came from Syosset. The OCA should fire her… but they won’t, they’re sucking up to the konvertsy for some odd reason (probably, they’re the only group that attends to the noxious treacle that issues from SVS).

Crazy world, ain’t it? It hasn’t gotten any saner in the last 24 (nor is it going to in the next 24). Do note that there wasn’t any mention of the Syrian Golgotha in the post (nor in any other on oca.org). Our brethren are dying, killed by American government-supported militant fighters, but our Church here is silent. That’s EVIL… none dare call it treason and blasphemy (although it’s both, in spades).

Remember Ma’loula… the OCA doesn’t, take heed of that fact (and DO follow the money)…

BMD barbara-drezhloBarbara-Marie Drezhlo

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Albany NY

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