Protests mount as Morocco expels Western Saharan human rights activist
Excerpted from an article in the Nov. 26 Portuguese weekly, Avante. The struggle for independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco has been represented by the POLISARIO front.
Morocco is intensifying its repressive policy against the Saharan people, according to the president of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz. The evidence for this fact is the recent expulsion from the country of political activist Aminatu Haidar.
Last Nov. 14 Haidar was returning from the United States when Moroccan authorities stopped her from entering El Aiun and reuniting with her family. Instead the next day they sent her, without her passport, to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands [Spain]. Though her health had been damaged by past stays in Moroccan prisons, the 42-year-old Saharan stayed in the airport in that city and began a hunger strike to protest the decision of the government in Rabat [Morocco].
[Among the many protesting internationally were] Portuguese writer José Saramago. In his text, the Nobel-for-Literature winner wrote: “In relation to the Western Sahara, Morocco oversteps all the norms of good conduct” and appeals to the Spanish government for Haidar and the people of the Western Sahara. “We should let Aminatu go back to her home with the recognition of her worth, in the light of day, because it is people like her who give personality to our time and without Aminatu all of us would surely be poorer.”
250,000 public workers strike in Ireland
Nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public workers in Ireland walked out Nov. 24 to protest budget cuts that threaten the services they perform and their pay and pensions. As many as 250,000 workers succeeded in stopping most government services for the day, except in Ireland’s flooded areas where the unions suspended the strike. All public offices and schools were closed.
After more than a decade of rapid economic growth, Ireland has become one of the European countries hit hardest by the collapse in the housing market and the economic downturn. The government and ruling capitalists—like capitalists all over—have been placing the costs of the crisis on the working class. A section of organized labor is finally saying, “Enough.”
The unions have said they cannot take any more wage cuts after an emergency budget earlier this year already imposed cuts on the workers. “Nobody wants a public service strike,” a group of more than 10 unions said in an advertisement placed in newspapers Nov. 24. “Ireland’s international image doesn’t need it. ... It’s happening because the government is refusing to seriously consider alternatives to more public service pay cuts.”
U.S.-built flying gas tank crashes in Pisa, Italy
One of the Italian Air Force’s C-130J cargo planes, built by Lockheed Martin, crashed shortly after takeoff Nov. 23. It burst into flames on a track of the Rome-Pisa-Genoa line, not far from a train. All five crew members were killed, but no one on the ground.
An article published in the Nov. 24 issue of Il Manifesto by Manlio Dinucci, an expert on NATO militarism, exposes the expanded role of this C-130J. A notice in Flight International made it clear that the plane was one of 22 C-130Js that have been modified so that instead of simply transporting large amounts of equipment, they can be used as flying tanks to refuel helicopters, jet fighters and bombers in the air, two at a time. Thus they can be used to help the Italian military operate quickly at long distances—for example, while supporting the U.S. attempt to occupy and subdue Afghanistan.
The Pisa center-left government had already made the decision to prepare civil defense measures, like evacuation of the wounded, in case of a possible aerial disaster—such as one of the C-130Js exploding with a large amount of fuel on board.http://www.workers.org/2009/world/international_briefs_1210/