Weapon Seller (Wins)
No country wins any wars; only private weapon manufacturing companies benefit from wars as they make huge profits. Only peace is the most powerful weapon in the world. All countries should strive to make the world peaceful.
T S Karthik, Chennai, TN

In Solidarity with Palestinians
Across India, several organisations including workers’ unions, civil liberties and feminist groups, student organisations and kisan unions, along with more than 100 Indians—writers, artists, students and educators, and queer persons, and non-resident Indians across walks of life have released a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle and their enduring national cause against Zionist occupation.

The November 1 statement came amid severe repression of pro-Palestine protests across Indian cities, as protestors have been detained, assaulted and booked under criminal charges by state police. The signatories demand the end of Israeli occupation of Palestine and Palestinians and call attention to the Indian government’s complicity in its ongoing war on Gaza. India abstained from a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an enduring humanitarian truce on Israel’s barbaric war on Gaza, with the poor excuse that the resolution lacked “explicit condemnation” of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. With this statement, Indian citizens continue to push the government to “commit to a boycott of the Israeli state and military combined, and immediately end all military, strategic and industrial cooperation between the governments and private entities of India and Israel. End all arms deals between India and Israel NOW.”

Human rights groups and independent fact-finding investigations have recorded the use of Israeli drone technology to drop bombs on Adivasi homes and lands in Bastar and Bijapur in at least 4 separate incidents since 2021, the latest being reported on 7 April 2023.
Feminists in Resistance

Deporting Afghan Refugees
The move to expel Afghan migrants from Pakistan has enraged the Taliban regime in Kabul and could push the Islamists faction to move closer to their ideological allies across the border.

Islamabad is conducting a massive deportation effort directed at Afghans, expelling over 200,000 refugees since the push started this month. This is just the beginning– Pakistani authorities estimate four million Afghans are living in Pakistan, and some 1.7 million of them are undocumented refugees. The government has warned that anyone staying in the country illegally past November 1 would face arrest and confiscation of assets.

The deportation drive, along with reports of refugees being harassed and humiliated, has prompted outrage in Kabul. The Taliban regime urged the Pakistani government to refrain from what they described as acts of cruelty.

In the years following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, several militant groups in Pakistan formed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a local offshoot of the Afghan Taliban. They declared that, since Islamabad sided with Washington, the Pakistani army had become an ‘‘apostate force’’ and fighting against them was justified.

The Pakistani Taliban have since carried out hundreds of attacks. A 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar prompted the Pakistani authorities to launch a massive crackdown against them. Most of the militants took shelter in Afghanistan and continued to hit targets in Pakistan using Afghanistan as their base, though with reduced intensity.
A Correspondent, Islamabad

Capitalism & Climate
Capitalism, as a system, is based on producing and selling more and more goods and services. Large corporations make goods that become obsolete within a short period, forcing consumers to buy newer, more advanced models. The measure of a country's Gross Domestic Product is based on the goods and services produced and sold. However, there is no measure to assess the natural resources.

In the name of boosting economic growth, Governments are decimating natural resources. Forests are being decimated to mine minerals, leading to a loss of biodiversity.

This has a direct impact on the climate. Global warming is causing floods and starvation. But what can be done about it? Is capitalism compatible with managing climate change? The answer is ‘No’.
Team Madras Courier

Killing the Amazon
My people [Surui] have cherished this rainforest for 6,000 years—it is the greatest manifestation of life, anywhere on the planet.

But oil companies don't see that. They drill precisely where the rainforest is most alive, spilling their black death, poisoning rivers—and fuelling the climate fever. They are killing the rainforest and all the life it holds.

Now those same oil giants are ready to grease negotiations at the UN climate talks. A huge oil boss will lead the summit in Dubai, and hundreds of industry lobbyists are ready to feast.

“We don't just live in the rainforest; we are a part of it. The Suruí people, the Baniwa, Karipuna, Ashinka and so many others… let us ALL be heard”.

My father was the Great Chief AlmirSuruí—he taught me that we must listen to the stars, the wind, the animals, and the trees. They are pleading with us now.

Today the climate is warming. The animals are disappearing. And our plants don't flower like they did before. The Amazon has more plant species than the number of stars you see in the night sky—and look what they're doing to it!

The Amazon is Earth's most intricate ecosystem—and my people are part of that web. If the rainforest is under mortal attack, then so are we. The fate of the Amazon hangs in the balance, and we must be heard.
Txai Suruí with Avaaz

Pakistan expels Afghans
It began in October, with the Pakistani government’s announcement of mass deportations for all migrants without papers by November 1. The vast majority of these migrants are Afghans. This is a forced expulsion campaign aimed at well over a million residents. The interior ministry established a special telephone number encouraging Pakistanis to report any “illegal foreigners” living in their neighbourhood. Landlords were threatened with fines for continuing to rent to foreigners without papers.

Tens of thousands of Afghans fled the country in the weeks before the deadline. They were prohibited from taking much with them—not their cattle nor other property and only a limited amount of money. Since November 1, police have been going door to door to check migrants’ documents. Those without papers face arrest, or are taken to the Afghanistan border and expelled. It is estimated that over 350,000 migrants have been expelled, with thousands forced out every day. There are perhaps 1.4 million undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan. Millions of others with different types of provisional papers are not necessarily safe.

Why have Pakistani authorities decided on this mass expulsion campaign? After all, millions of Afghans have lived in Pakistan, some for decades—first during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, then during the first Taliban rule in the 1990s, and now with the most recent Taliban government which routed the U S and its allies in 2021.

The most immediate reason lies in the deteriorating relations between Pakistan and the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan. At issue are the armed attacks being carried out in Pakistan by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned armed group which swears allegiance to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Founded in 2007, the TTP says its goal is to impose its hardline interpretation of Islamic law on Pakistan. Bombings carried out by TTP have increased since the Taliban returned to rule Afghanistan. Pakistan has pressured them to stop the TTP attacks, but without success. Now Pakistan is carrying out mass expulsions of Afghans to force the Taliban to take action. What an inhuman action!
Eugene Walker

The Silkyara Tunnel Collapse
The Silkyara tunnel collapse is the chronicle of a tragedy foretold. While authorities try to pass the buck on climatic or natural phenomena for such accidents, it is the very nature of such ill-conceived projects that must be called into question. Since its start, this 4.5-km-long structure has been questioned by innumerable people, activists, and scholars. The chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed high-powered committee (HPC) on the Char Dham all-weather road project, Ravi Chopra, expressed grave displeasure that authorization for "brazen widening of roads" was granted in the ecologically vulnerable Himalayas.

The tunnel is a component of the Char DhamMahamargPariyojana, a mega-project to build wide, all-weather roads between the Hindu pilgrimage sites of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. The government pushed to complete the project at any cost before the forthcoming parliamentary elections, sidestepping matters of environmental clearance. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have long expressed concerns about the potential adverse effects of extensive drilling and construction activities, which can result in subsidence, landslides, and significant environmental damage in the ecologically vulnerable Himalayan region. WPC demands that environmental norms and due diligence be strictly followed before clearing such projects in the Himalayas. No ‘development’ projects be undertaken at the expense of causing ecological imbalances and threatening the lives of people engaged in the projects or those living in the region.

WPC demands stringent health and safety measures to rule out accidents at workplaces, as well as the ratification and strict implementation of ILO conventions about ‘a safe and healthy working environment’ that have been brought under 'Fundamental Principles of Rights at Work' by the United Nations agency in a session in 2022.
Raju Bhise, General Secretary
Dharmendra Kumar,
WPC–North Zone

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Vol 56, No. 24, Dec 10 - 16, 2023