Buried under the Rubble
There are few words to adequately describe the heartbreaking scenes that have unfolded across Turkey and Syria after two major earthquakes. The first was of magnitude 7.8, and struck on February 6, in the early hours of the morning, as young and old alike slept in their beds. The second was a magnitude of 7.6, and happened in less than 12 hours later.

Thousands died in places like Antakya, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Diyarbakir, Idlib, Aleppo and Hama. The sheer size of the area affected, hundreds of kms apart, reveals the power of what were two of the largest earthquakes by magnitude in the 21st century. Cities across the region are, without any form of exaggeration, devastated, as these before-and-after satellite pictures reveal.

Rescue workers have found it impossible to access some areas after roads became difficult to travel on, and airports were forced to close. The workers who do get through simply don’t have the numbers or the equipment to clear every collapsed building, and are forced to make the horrible choice of what pile of rubble to prioritise, listening for the faintest sound, signalling that someone is still alive. Even days on, people have been rescued, pulled out of the rubble, greeted by tears and cheers of joy from the crowds that have gathered. One, a newborn baby, was still attached by an umbilical cord to her dead mother. But with plummeting temperatures, and time cruelly passing, the hope of finding more survivors is fading.

In Turkey, there is growing anger from some at what they see as a slow response by the government, with authorities saying they’re doing the best they can given the extreme circumstances. Then there’s the question of whether the contractors who built the multi-storey buildings that collapsed had actually followed building codes introduced after previous earthquakes.

In Syria, it has been a further calamity for a people who have faced the horrors of a war that’s lasted almost 12 years. The opposition-held northwest is no stranger to demolished buildings, a result of years of bombing by the Syrian government and Russia. But even for people in this often forgotten corner of Syria, the destruction is unprecedented. And the reality in both countries is that, buried under the rubble, there are almost certainly thousands more people who have died.
Abubakr Al-Shamahi
Danylo Hawaleshka
Al Jazeera

What is Marxism?
We have come across different readings of Marxism in its long history. Very recently, an English translation of the eminent French Marxist thinker, Henri Lefebvre’s seminal book, bearing the title Marxism (1948), has been published from Kolkata (translated by Runjhun Verma, Sampark, 2023). Lefebvre’s book has explored the uniqueness of Marxism as a worldview in contrast to other dominant worldviews–the Christian worldview and the individualist worldview, which corresponds to liberalism.

Lefebvre’s reading offers valuable insights for our understanding of Marxism: “Marxism” was the result of real collective work in which Marx’s own genius flourishes. The contribution of Frederic Engels to Marxism cannot be silenced and pushed into the background. In fact, it was Engels who drew Karl Marx’s attention to the importance of economic facts, to the situation of the proletariat, etc.

Lefebvre’s conclusion projects Marxism as a living critical tradition. To put it in his own words: “…Marx analysed capital; capitalisms remained and still remain to be analysed, in the different countries of the world, with their particular structures, their concrete characteristics, their degree of development, their different sectors, and the forms of State, etc. It also remains to analyse, in the present situation, the crisis of capitalism, …announced by Marx but whose concrete modalities he was not able to describe and understand…”

Lefebvre’s insights and observations place Marxism in the proper perspective and liberate it from the Eurocentric and orthodox frameworks.
Arup Kumar Sen, Kolkata

Shanti Bhushan
Tributes to respected Shanti Bhushan-ji, a tall lawyer, great teacher and humble leader! Instrumental in dethroning Indira Gandhi, gathering of forces for the post-Emergency Janata Party and bringing AAP and Kejriwal to the political forefront. I remember his surprise appearance for me in the Operation Bluestar Report–bail matter in the district Court of Tis Hazari, when I was unconditionally set free. A senior advocate appearing in the district court was very rare. He was my first senior and mentor before I joined the bar, when I used to visit him at his NOIDA residence every afternoon. He had assigned me the special task of looking through the case law and selecting the relevant judgments to be presented before the court the next day. He was strong in intent but gentle in speech and mannerisms. Come to think of it, I was so fortunate for he was my first teacher for law training. Shanti Bhushan-ji took meticulous interest in the cases I brought before him each day. My heartfelt gratitude. My deepest condolences to my friend Prashant, and the family. We will miss you Shanti Bhushan-ji. You will live in our hearts.
Aurobindo Ghose, Lawyer, Writer and Human Rights Activist

In Solidarity
In the early hours of 6 February, a major earthquake struck ten provinces in south-eastern Turkey and even in Syria. More than ten thousand buildings were destroyed or damaged and tens of thousands of people were trapped under the collapsed buildings. The death toll from the rubble now exceeds thirteen thousand. Unfortunately, this number will increase in the coming days, as not even five per cent of the rubble has been removed.

The one-man administration of Erdogan, which only seeks to maintain its power, has done nothing to prepare for the earthquake. Almost half of Turkey is an earthquake zone and scientists have been warning the government for a long time about the possibility of an earthquake in the region where the disaster occurred on February 6. Roads leading to the earthquake zone were closed due to snow and traffic congestion. On the third day, sufficient rescue teams and vehicles had still not reached the region. In many city and towns and particularly villages where no rescue team reached, the earthquake victims were completely alone with their fate. Some areas were snowy, others rainy and the temperature was below zero. On the third day of the earthquake, survivors are still deprived of shelter and warmth and are hungry and thirsty with no food. Telephones work intermittently or not at all.

Due to the time and weather conditions, the possibility of rescuing people alive from the rubble is getting weaker and weaker.

The government declared a State of Emergency in ten provinces, citing the earthquake as an excuse. However, the last State of Emergency experience has shown that the State of Emergency targets Erdogan's opponents, not the needs of the people. It will not be surprising that this time it will also work to suppress the voices of the people who are angry with the government for not receiving aid.

The people of Turkey need international solidarity and aid. The government has centralised the delivery of aid, does not allow anyone to help outside its control and is not trustworthy because of its reputation for corruption. Aid to the people must therefore be in the form of material aid and delivered to non-governmental organisations. The need for cold-resistant clothing, hygiene materials, barracks and cold-resistant tents, as well as financial aid to meet the needs of the earthquake victims.

As the Coordination Committee, we send our condolences to the working class and labouring people of Turkey for their losses, health for their wounded, and success in their work to the sister Labour Party, whose provincial buildings in Malatya and Iskenderun were destroyed and who suffered losses, and we convey our feelings of solidarity.
Coordination Committee

26,000 Martyrs
Soldiers are revered in India. And yet India doesn’t have a grand war memorial to honour the sacrifice of 26,000 soldiers from the Indian National Army (INA), who laid down their lives for the freedom of the country. It’s not too late if the government takes action in 2022 - the year of 125th birth anniversary of a great soul called Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. 

Had the iconic Netaji been alive today he would have most earnestly wished for the construction of a grand War Memorial for the martyrs of the INA. The Indian National Army (INA) had a strength of 60,000. Out of these a staggering 26,000 laid down their lives to free India. This amounts to 44% of the force–an unprecedented scale of sacrifice with few parallels in global military history.

The present National War Memorial today has a total of 26,466 names of all martyrs since 1947. This is from a total strength of 1.3 million men of the Army, Navy and Air Force. This helps to place in context the colossal scale of sacrifice made by the INA for India’s freedom.

In July 1945 Netaji had laid the foundation stone of the INA War Memorial in Singapore. This was completed in August 1945. The war ended thereafter with the Allied Nuclear bombing of Japan. In September 1945 Lord Mountbatten came to Singapore. He ordered his army engineers to blow up the INA War Memorial with explosives.

In 1996 the Indian origin citizens of Singapore contributed money and built another memorial for the INA. Tragically even 75 years after independence, there is not one war memorial to honour the 26,000 martyrs of the INA in the whole of India.

Since the proclaimed objective of the INA was the Red Fort and also the INA trials were held there, one suggestion would be to erect it in the vacant plot near the car park at the corner of the Red Fort wall. Should that not be possible for any reason it should be constructed at any suitable location which is easily accessible to the common people.
Maj. Gen. (Dr.)
G.D Bakshi (Retd) SM, VSM

It's doomsday in Turkey and Syria
Over 12,000 people are dead–and thousands are trapped under mountains of rubble after two thumping earthquakes.  And in Syria nearly 300,000 are displaced.

The next few days are critical for rescue efforts–but while a massive rescue operation is underway in Turkey… in war-torn Syria it's a totally different situation.

After a decade of all-out war, millions are almost completely cut off from international aid, and hospitals are thoroughly devastated.  Sanctions imposed by America and western countries are actually killing thousands of Syrians, particularly elderly and children.

But one brave group of Syrian volunteers is already responding, literally digging people out of the rubble with their bare hands. The White Helmets are the best hope for people in parts of Syria. They are crying out for rescue supplies, fuel, and emergency shelter. When the bombs fall, they‘re the people who haul babies and bodies from the rubble.
Wissam, Antonia, Kaitlin, Adela, Mike, Bert Avaaz

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Vol 55, No. 35, Feb 26 - Mar 4, 2023