Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Sarkozy curtails religious freedom and women's rights in attack on Islamic dress

In the light of the recent concern expressed in the western media and elsewhere about the Hamas 'virtue' campaign in Gaza which has apparently been marked by attempts to impose a particular view of what is considered 'Islamic dress' , the actions of the French authorities provides a useful counterpoint. Perversely in the name of gender equality Sarkozy and his judges have deemed it 'against the republic' and un-French to wear the Islamic version of the bikini. So much for Muslim women's rights.
A Paris swimming pool has refused entry to a young Muslim woman wearing a burqini, a swimsuit that covers most of the body.

The pool ban came as French lawmakers conduct hearings on whether to ban the burqa after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe veil was "not welcome" in secular France.

Officials in the Paris suburb of Emerainville said they let the woman swim in the pool in July wearing the burqini, designed for Muslim women who want to swim without revealing their bodies.


Ahava at the heart of West Bank occupation exploitation

Video report by TheRealNews on Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava and the boycott campaign against them.

After the Israeli attack on Gaza earlier this year, the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign (BDS Movement) escalated all around the world. Now, activists are targeting AHAVA, an Israeli cosmetics company founded by and based in an Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank. The AHAVA company, as many others in Israel that are based in the Palestinian Territories or profit from their occupation are owned by the powerful Israel family - the Livnat family. The Real News investigates how the family's dynasty is invested in the economy of the occupation.

J-BIG (Jews for Boycoting Israeli Goods) recently picketed the Ahava outlet in London's fashionable Covent Garden

Egypt's post office workers, tax collectors and textile workers strike for justice

Start of a huge struggle in Egypt

by Mustafa Bassiouny, Cairo

A battle over pay and working conditions in the post office marks a new phase of the Egyptian workers’ movement.

Since the beginning of May, thousands of postal workers have joined picket lines across the country, signalling the start of a hugely significant struggle.

The post office employs more than 50,000 workers across Egypt, many on monthly wages as low as £30.

The trigger for the recent strikes was a new appraisal system imposed in February, which allows managers to sack workers if they receive poor performance reports over two years.

Meanwhile, other groups of workers are also continuing to organise strikes and demonstrations.

The last week of May alone saw strikes at the Nile Cotton Ginning factories, a

1,000-strong strike by workers at Tanta Flax and Oil Company, a sit-in by steel workers in Tebbeen, in the south of Cairo, and threats of a strike by workers in the antiquities sites in Nubia.

The Egyptian tax collectors’ union is calling for international solidarity after state repression of its activists.

The tax collectors have formed the first independent trade union in Egypt since 1957.

“The crackdown of the state came swift, with administrative penal measures, witchhunt, physical attacks, and threats of arrest,” they wrote to Socialist Worker.

The government has also reneged on a promise to pay the social welfare fund. The tax collectors have called a one day protest strike.

Rush messages of solidarity to

Israel's South African mercenaries face prosecution at home

The military alliance established with Israel by apartheid-era South Africa lives on it would seem.
(Bloomberg) -- South African prosecutors are considering a request to bring charges against South Africans who took part in Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, the South African Press Association said.

The country’s National Prosecuting Authority is studying an affidavit seeking an investigation into about 70 South Africans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza hostilities, SAPA said, citing Mthunzi Mhaga, a spokesman for the authority.

Former Malaysian premier launches ship aid for Gaza

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday launched the Gaza Fund to raise money to purchase a cargo boat to transport aid to Gaza.

He said there was urgency in raising funds for the purchase of the vessel because with winter approaching, the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza would worsen.

He also welcomed Malaysians to volunteer and join the effort since they needed as much participation as possible.

"Of course, there is limitation in terms of the capacity on board.

"But we want to carry building materials as we need to rebuild the houses, because they (Palestinians) are now living in tents and when winter comes, it will be terrible for the old, sick and children. Many of them may die because of the winter," he told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here.

Also present were his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, chairman of the Free Gaza Movement Huwaida Arraf and trustee of Yayasan Salam Datuk Ahmad A. Talib.

Mahathir also announced that the prime minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is the patron of the Palestinian Humanitarian Fund, donated RM1.5 million to the Gaza Fund.

It also received another RM100,000 from individuals and companies after the launching.

"I think we need about RM3.5 milion to buy the boat. Beyond that, of course we need to buy supplies, construction materials and other things so that they can rebuild their city," he said.

Fatah's Gaza delegates resign over election rigging

Abbas's attempt to bend Fatah conference to his will were largely successful but the undercurrent of opposition shows no signs of weakening. The long delayed vote on the Fatah parliament is finally set to begin today.
GAZA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Fatah leaders in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip announced their resignation Wednesday, protesting the internal election results of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's party.

Ahmed Nasser, a member of the higher committee of Fatah in Gaza, said he and his 10 colleagues have resigned because the internal elections which brought a new central committee for the movement were "unclear."

"Our votes have gone to other people and some candidates were elected twice," Nasser, who did not get elected, told Xinhua, referring to manipulation.

The elections of the highest decision-making body in Fatah took place Tuesday during Fatah's general convention which began last week in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Hamas security forces, which control Gaza, prevented some 400 Fatah members of the convention from traveling to Bethlehem. Nasser said Fatah's decision to go ahead with the conference despite the absence of the Gaza-based members affected the Gaza members' right of voting.

Only two new candidates from Gaza were elected to the 18-member central committee. "There are some people who controlled the movement and abducted it," Nasser said, refusing to reveal the names of the Fatah officials he accused.

Some of the Fatah delegates in Gaza were able to vote over the phone or via Email.