Monday, 27 October 2014

Oslo Freedom Forum - "Aristocracy of Activists" - AND - UM shutdown at 4pm due to "electrical improvement"

I had planned to finish the posting  "Oslo Freedom Movement - Aristocracy of Activists"  last night but the weather's beginning to bite a little and all I wanted to do was to snuggle down and watch "War and Peace"  on TV.

Woke up this morning and read this news about the electricity problem and the possibility of  a  'rumble in the jungle'  at Universiti Malaya.

Read :

There's this same character playing the starring role - he has appeared at the Oslo Freedom Forum before - and at other countless shows at home and abroad.  The other stars are Leong Yu Sheng,  the "student leader" engineering this big  pageant and  the hapless UM Academic Prof  Datuk Dr Rohana Yusoff.   What delights await us?   Are we to be indulged with the same 'demotainment'  as in the Hong Kong Student's Protest Movement - as tutored by the "aristocracy of activists" at the Oslo Freedom Forum?  Perhaps  security officials may have noticed a run on the sale and stock-up of  mineral water, Coca-Cola and Diet Pepsi.  (See paras 2 and 3 of my posting below)

Watch out too for a rise in the sale of snacks like nuts and other junk food.  I also reckon some macik and  ah soh and achi somewhere can expect big orders for nasi lemak, vaday and char siew pau to feed the rally??    Also keep an eye on how the rally marshalls get their members to pick up their litter - something which all Malaysians should learn from.  ( Again, see paras 2 and 3 of my posting below)

However, the theme for the rally - "40 Years from University of Malaya to Jail"  - is not really catchy enough.  Can't they get some panduan from the media-savvy experts in the protest-movement industry?

Hopefully, my original  post below should enlighten us (at least some of us) about the human rights, democracy and freedom movement.

I am old - but I am a cynic and I don't swallow  most things I see, read and hear about.  There is a fine line between knowing "everything" and gullibility.  The next step from gullibility is manipulation and exploitation.    I often impressed upon my students  the importance of  reading between, behind and beyond the lines.  We should apply these prepositions to many aspects of our thinking and doing.

Here's the first post.

Being "old dears", we spend our evenings watching re-runs of Midsomer Murders, Lewis, Morse, Foyle's War , Poirot and Miss Marples.  We don't bother much with News on BBC or ITV.  They're all very predictable, serving the same old Eurocentric agenda - with self-righteousness and double standards thrown in and of course with a good dose of fluffy news about the Duchess of Cambridge,  Dame Angelina Jolie, and Mr and Mrs George Clooney's wedding extravaganza.

But last night (22 October), I came down to earth.    I clicked on BBC2 Newsnight (by accident) at 11pm and caught a bit about the "aristocracy of activists" attending the Oslo Freedom Forum.  We heard about "meetings in the basement" where concerned and committed activists were instructed on how to organize and plan protest movements.  According to Newsnight, the student protest in Hong Kong was hatched two years ago and Jianli Yang, the well-known activist from China was keeping in touch with the protestors every hour, giving them the benefit of his expertise and experience.

In an interview with a young female activist we learned about how to use nonviolent action as a "weapon of mass destruction".  She mentioned a series of "hows" when one is organizing and running a protest: like how to keep ranks, how to use marshalls (during the protest) how to speak to the police, how to behave when arrested, how to manage a water cannon and the need to arrange the logistics of providing food and water - because a protest movement can last longer when people are taken care of.  ( I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that defenders of "free speech, democracy and human rights" in Malaysia must be taking down notes from this Forum and from the Hong Kong protestors for their next big do).

The BBC reporter - Laura Kuenssberg - also spoke to Srdja Popovic, leader of the Centre of Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies - the man credited with bringing down Slobodan Milosevic.  He claimed that he had taught in almost 40 centres but only about 6-7 had applied his teachings, including the Arab Spring Movement.

At this "Freedom Forum", according to Newsnight, deals were done - and there was schmoozing for democracy - over glasses of champagne and Norwegian canapes, against a backdrop of activists dressed up like penguins (males) and Hollywood celebrities (females).  The reporter described this setting as "Davos for Dissidents".

For more details read :

You may ask - what is this group that managed to get the attention of the pukka BBC's Newsnight?    And why should we even care?  

The Oslo Freedom Movement is a gathering held annually in Norway's capital city by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) which is headquartered in the Empire State Building, New York.  HRF was founded by Thor Halvorssen Mendoza, a Venezuelan film producer and freedom activist. (Wiki).

The Oslo Freedom Forum's founder Thor Halvorssen speaks at the opening sessionMonday.  To his left is Amnest International Norway's general secretary Joh Peder Egenaes.  (Berit Roald/AFP/Getty Images) 

Its mission  is to "unite people in the common cause of defending human rights and promoting liberal democracy"  (Wiki).

Aaahh, now I see why Datuk Ambiga Sreenevesan  and Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) have been  guest speakers at this Freedom Forum.  After all, in their book, Malaysia is a violator of human rights; and according to DSAI an example of Governments  "that hide behind a facade of democracy and commit crimes in its name".

Pardon me for being a simpleton, but doesn't this 'facade of democracy' also apply to UK and USA as well - don't they too commit crimes in the name of democracy and human rights?

Check :

Image 1

Image 2 - Enlargement of the text above

Furthermore, at this Freedom Forum, DSAI  claimed that Malaysia "has suffered under this new type of authoritarian rule".   (See link above).  If that's the case how do you explain the results of the 2013 Election and the fact that the Opposition are 'alive and kicking' - not only in their "home states"  Penang and Selangor but in the rest of Malaysian politics?

Their antics in my home-state Selangor in the last few months would not inspire their comrades, the aristocracy of activists, at the Oslo Freedom Forum

Democracy in India (the world's "largest democracy") has brought to power the Hindu fundamentalist-inspired Bharatiya Janata Party - a party that advocates Hindutva  (Hindu-ness), with an "ideology that sought to define Indian culture in terms of Hindu values" - and a leader like Narendra Modi, who is proud to describe himself as a "Hindu nationalist".   Halvorssen's HRF and Oslo Freedom Forum would have no quarrel with India as a model of democracy. Is this therefore a good model for  'authoritarian'  Malaysia?     Is this the 'democracy' that DSAI and his acolytes 'trust' and spout about?

DSAI  implored the audience (at the 2010 Freedom Forum) "to scrutinize the validity of vote-winning slogans such as freedom, democracy, and human rights, which are now too often used as empty promises or skewed in meaning".  Of course, he was referring to the Government.   But these very same slogans of freedom, human rights and democracy are  also bandied about and manipulated by the NGOs  (religious and secular) and by the Opposition!


But in the global scheme of world politics, Malaysia is just a small fry.  Of greater concern is the make-up of HRF and the Oslo Freedom Forum  and their ties with funding groups who inspired the mass killer and Islamophobe Anders Breivik - Norway's "crusading knight"  on his 2011 mission to save Europe from the scourge of Muslim Immigration.

Read the article by Max Blumenthal in the  link below.

Here are excerpts from an interview with Max Blumenthal.


Image  3

Image 4


Read and think - between, behind, and beyond the lines.


IT.Scheiss said...

Thanks and I really like the tag "Aristocracy of Activists", bacause that is exactly what they are.

They are nothing but the left face of western imperialism and in Hong Kong, ordinary Hong Kong people have hot back at the aristocratic Occupy Central protestors.

"(Reuters) - Pro-democracy protesters faced off against supporters of Chinese rule in Hong Kong's teeming Mong Kok district early on Saturday, in a tense confrontation that has undermined hopes for talks aimed at ending a week of turmoil."

To them and others in the Aristocracy of Activists, I offer then the second stanza of the Charles Kerr version of The Internationale, the communist anthem, as published in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Songbook.

"We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from their judgement hall
We workers ask not for their favors
Let us consult for all.
To make the theif disgorge his booty
To free the spirit from its cell
We must ourselves decide our duty
We must decide and do it well."

Anyway, this Aristocracy of Activists are worse than saviours of the working class, condescending or otherwise, but are the left face of imperialism and capitalism, masquerading as "leftists".

The Hong Kong people who opposed the Occupy Central protestors may not have been singing Kerr's second stanza of The Internationale in the protestor's faces but they were in effect saying the same thing.

Here are more links.

"Human Rights Imperialism"

"Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War"

"End human rights imperialism now
Groups such as Human Rights Watch have lost their way by imposing western, 'universal' standards on developing countries"

"Soros Funded Human Rights Watch: Another imperialist tool to mislead public opinion "

"Human Rights Watch: Another imperialist tool to mislead the public opinion"


IT.Scheiss said...

Now this is what I was looking for by Sara Flounders of the Workers World Party, U.S.

Here, real leftist parties like Workers World recognise this NGO, "civil society: "human rights" charade for what it really is - i.e. the left face of imperialism.

Hong Kong protests: Why imperialists support ‘democracy’ movement
By Sara Flounders on October 7, 2014

Demonstrations in Hong Kong, China, raising demands on the procedures to be followed in city elections in 2017, have become an international issue and a source of political confusion.

The protests, called Occupy Central, have received enormous and very favorable U.S. media coverage. Every news report describes with great enthusiasm the occupation of central business parts of Hong Kong as “pro-democracy” protests. The demonstrations, which began on Sept. 22, gained momentum after Hong Kong police used tear gas to open roads and government buildings.

In evaluating an emerging movement it is important to look at what political forces are supporting the movement. What are the demands raised by the movement, who are they appealing to, and what is the social composition of those in motion?

Click on the link below for more of the very long article.

IT.Schess said...

This is a splendid description of the Aristocracy of Activists in the Workers World article.

"Even a Hong Kong poll showed that most of those making $10,000 a year or less opposed the protests, while support was highest among people making $100,000 a year or more."

Well there you go.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you IT.Scheiss for the comments and the links

I like your description of 'the left face of western imperialism' May I add the 'the right-wing face of western liberalism'.

IT.Scheiss said...

Sure, the right face of western liberalism is also involved.

However, when you get avowed "leftist" organisations in Malaysia siding with the Hong Kong protestors and condemning the China government, then what else can you describe them as but the left face of western imperialism, either wittingly or unwittingly.

"Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) strongly condemns the use of excessive force by the Hong Kong police for the last few days against peaceful protesters who are standing up to demand for democracy."

Further down the statement reads:-

"PSM expresses its solidarity with all the people of Hong Kong who are now courageously standing up for democracy and social justice."

So the student protestors are the "Hong Kong people", when the majority of Hong Kong's lower income people oppose the protestors.

I guess they are part of the Aristocracy of Activists.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you IT Scheiss,

When I write the 'right face of western liberalism', I do not mean 'right' as opposed to 'wrong'. I mean the 'right-wing face of western liberalism'

In all my earlier postings I have always seen the 'liberal-lefties' as those with pockets on the right and hearts on the left. Just look at that great leftie Tony Benn! More so today, even their hearts are somewhere else.

But thank you for giving me the chance to clear the misunderstanding of the word 'right'.

IT.Scheiss said...

Dear Anak Si Hamid,

I did not misunderstand "right". Perhaps I should have said the rightist face of western liberalism.

Anyway, many leftist liberals and old Labour social democrats have swung towards the right (wing).

The problem I find with such former leftist-liberals and social democrats tend to look at issues in a limited perspective as the battle between labour and capital domestically, but ignore the role of imperialism.

Some of the "democratic" countries which they look up to are also the most aggressive imperialists and most ruthlessly oppressive of people and exploitative of labour overseas, especially in developing nations.

These types also want everyone to abide by their perspectives on how people should behave and act, and do not respect nor understand local conditions in countries which they criticise.

Thus, they wittingly or unwittingly are liberal imperialists, in that they support whatever actions by their country to impose their liberalism on other countries, thinking that they are "liberating" them.

For example, if they thik that the government of Iran downgrades women or persecutes gays, then it is "OK" to bomb them.

Such types tend to regard the government of Iran as a "worse enemy" than the imperialists.

I have gotten sick with most anti-establishment NGO-types in Malaysia who cite the UN Declaration of Human Rights and other such documents in parrot fashion with regards to Malaysia, without taking into account domestic conditions.

Like there was an academic from Singapore who spoke at a conference on freedom of speech, that the Malaysian government should not ban those offensive Allah cartoons by that Danish or Norwegian newspaper, but should "let the people decide".

What that clown did not realise is that of the people are left to decide, they might well decide to go on a bloody rampage, which the Malaysian government will find very hard to contain.

That Singapore professor seemed like one of those NGO types.

Perhaps he should have told his own government to allow offensive Mohammad cartoons and let there be Natrah/Maria Hertogh riots all over again in his country.

Also, the PSM is close to NGOs which have received funding from the NED and Soros, yet at the same time pass resolutions of support for the socialist government of Venezuela which NGOs financed by the NED are trying to destabilise by instigating trouble.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you IT Scheiss,

You read and think well - between, behind and beyond the lines.