#SpeakOut for Freedom

From http://www.sodahead.com

Now dreams
Are not available
To the dreamers,
Nor songs
To the singers.
In some lands
D
ark night
And cold steel
Prevail
But the dream
Will come back,
And the song
Break
Its jail.

By Langston Hughes

Russia: “Speak out for Freedom” – show of solidarity against repression

Amnesty International has launched a Week of Action, from 6 to 12 October 2014, to show solidarity with independent voices in Russia who speak out against the pernicious creep of repression in the country.

To mark the start of the Week of Action Amnesty International is publishing a new briefing, Violation of the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Russia, which focuses on the following areas of concern:

  • Independent media in Russia – journalists threatened, harassed, physically attacked and even murdered with impunity;
  • Non-governmental organizations smeared, fined and forced to close down for independent and critical work spuriously presented as “political activities” in the interests of foreign sponsors;
  • Protesters denied the right to express their views in public spaces; arrested and tried in unfair proceedings.

The week of action coincides with the 8th anniversary of the murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, one of the all-time staunchest critics of the Kremlin and once a prominent free voice of the Russian media.

Freedom

Related posts:

THE END

The cruelest animal…

Cruelty
From https://www.azquotes.com/quote/355811


From http://izquotes.com/quote/285251

* * *

India
2014

A few days ago, two Indian girls were gang-raped and murdered after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet. Those two cousins were just 14 and 16 years old.

“The father, a 45-year-old agricultural laborer from a low-ranking caste, said in a telephone interview that the two girls were last seen alive on Tuesday evening in a mango orchard, in the company of a man named Pappu Yadav. (The man’s surname is the same as his caste.)

The father said a relative saw the girls with Mr. Yadav and two of Mr. Yadav’s brothers and that, for reasons he did not explain, the relative tried to intervene between Mr. Yadav and the girls. One of the Yadav brothers pulled out a pistol “and put it to the head of my cousin-brother,” the father said, using a common term in India for a close relative. “He got scared and ran away.”

When he heard what had happened, the father said, he went to the local police station and asked that Mr. Yadav’s house be searched. But the police officers, who are members of the Yadav caste, “took the side of the culprits,” the father said.”

The girls were members of the Dalit community, India’s lowest caste once known as the “Untouchables”.

violence-against-women-indiafrom Witch hunt in India

* * *

Russia
1800s

One old nobleman, along with a band of spongers, moved to his countryside estate and took to hunting with hounds. One day, a peasant boy (the nobleman had three thousand souls there) accidentally hit a hound from the landlord’s kennels in the leg with a stone. When he saw that his Nalet was limping, the landlord became incensed and asked, “Who injured the dog?”

The kennel attendants had to reveal the little boy’s identity. They produced the boy. He confessed.

In the morning, the landlord ordered preparations for the hunt in full complement. They went to the field and took their places near the forest, the hounds were let out, and the borzois were held on leads. There they brought the boy. The landlord ordered that the little boy be stripped of his clothes and set loose in the field to run. Then they let out the dogs from all the packs to chase him—literally to hunt him.

The borzois approached the little boy, sniffed at him, but did not touch him… His mother got there in time; she had run through the forest. She clasped her child in her arms. They dragged her back to the village and again set the dogs loose until the little boy was torn to pieces. The mother went insane and died within three days.

From ‘A life under Russian serfdom’


From http://eco-trophy.ru

However don’t put all the blame on men. As history shows, women in power are as cruel as men. Take as an example Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, commonly known as Saltichikha who made her infamous mark with the atrocious killings of her serfs, mostly women. She tortured children and pregnant women to death by beating them, breaking their bones, throwing them out of the house naked into the frost, pouring boiling water on their bodies and many other vicious and bloody tortures. She enjoyed torturing and mutilating her victims.

She didn’t make a habit of killing men – only three accidentally – although she tortured them in a different way. She killed the ones they loved. One of her serfs lost, one by one, three of his wives. .

Saltichikha was the epitome of boyar abuse of serfs in pre-reformation Russia. She pleaded guilty to the murder of at least 138 serfs at her estate, and the torture of many more. The name Saltychikha became a synonym for bestial treatment of the peasants.

darya-saltykova_1-t
Saltichikha

I wonder sometimes where such cruelty originates. Is there a template for cruelty laid down in the human brain? Is it something that is unique to our species? Why do human beings find pleasure in deliberately inflicting pain on other living things? And what can we do to stop it because…

“Not much we can do about that,” you might say.

I think we can. The stories presented in this post have one common theme: these cases are the product of certain beliefs (or memes) held in the society. The stories from Russia happened at the time, when surfs were not perceived as human beings – they were perceived as property and therefore their owners believed that they could do anything with them, including torturing and killing them. Russian writers and artists were the first to object that deeply ingrained belief. Book after book, painting after painting, they slowly changed that ‘meme’ and eventually serfdom, like slavery, has been abolished.

This clearly demonstrates that even the most deeply ingrained memes and beliefs can be changed. We just need to keep talking about such cases and spread positive beliefs to combat mind viruses and memes that cause cruelty and violence.

Don’t close your eyes to ‘Hell on Earth‘. As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

sacredness

Related posts:

THE END

The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.

Memory
From Memory Quote

“The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others.”

Solomon Ibn Gabriol

* * *

The Giver
by Lois Lowry
(excerpt)
Giver

“Giver,” Jonas asked the next afternoon, “Do you ever think about release?”…

“I guess I do think about it occasionally,” The Giver said. “I think about my own release when I’m in an awful lot of pain. I wish I could put in a request for it, sometimes. But I’m not permitted to do that until the new Receiver is trained.”…

“Me,” Jonas said in a dejected voice. He was not looking forward to the end of the training, when he would become the new Receiver. It was clear to him what a terribly difficult and lonely life it was, despite the honor.

“I can’t request release either,” Jonas pointed out. “It was in my rules.”

The Giver laughed harshly. “I know that. They hammered out those rules after the failure ten years ago.”…

“Giver,” he said, “tell me what happened. Please.”…

The Giver looked sad, thinking about it. “She was a remarkable young woman. Very self-possessed and serene. Intelligent, eager to learn.”… I loved her…

“What happened to her?” Jonas asked.

“Her training began. She received well, as you do. She was so enthusiastic. So delighted to experience new things. I remember her laughter…”

The Giver closed his eyes. “It broke my heart, Jonas, to transfer pain to her. But it was my job. It was what I had to do, the way I’ve had to do it to you.”…

“Five weeks. That was all. I gave her happy memories: a ride on a merry-go-round; a kitten to play with; a picnic. Sometimes I chose one just because I knew it would make her laugh, and I so treasured the sound of that laughter in this room that had always been so silent.

“But she was like you, Jonas. She wanted to experience everything. She knew that it was her responsibility. And so she asked me for more difficult memories.”

Jonas held his breath for a moment. “You didn’t give her war, did you? Not after just five weeks?”

The Giver shook is head and sighed. “No. And I didn’t give her physical pain. But I gave her loneliness. And I gave her loss. I transferred a memory of a child taken from its parents. That was the first one. She appeared stunned at its end.”…

The Giver continued. “I backed off, gave her more little delights. But everything changed, once she knew about pain. I could see it in her eyes.”…

“She insisted that I continue, that I not spare her. She said it was her duty. And I knew, of course, that she was correct…

“I gave her anguish of many kinds. Poverty, and hunger, and terror….

“Finally one afternoon, we finished for the day. It had been a hard session. I tried to finish – as I do with you – by transferring something happy and cheerful. But the times of laughter were gone by then. She stood up very silently, frowning, as if she were making a decision. Then she came over to me and put her arms around me. She kissed my cheek…. She left here that day, left this room, and did not go back to her dwelling. I was notified by the Speaker that she had gone directly to the Chief Elder and asked to be released.”…

“When the Speaker notified me that Rosemary had applied for release, they turned on the tape to show me the process. There she was – my last glimpse of that beautiful child – waiting. They bought in the syringe and asked her to roll up her sleeve… And I listened as Rosemary told them that she would prefer to inject herself.

“Then she did so. I didn’t watch. I looked away.”…

Jonas stared at him. “Release is always like that? For people who break the rules three times? For the Old? Do they kill the Old, too?

“Yes, it’s true.”

“And what about Fiona? She loves the Old! She’s in training to care for them. Does she know yet? What will she do when she finds out? How will she feel?” Jonas brushed wetness from his face with the back of one hand.

“Fiona is already being trained in the fine art of release.” The Giver told him. “She’s very efficient at her work, your red-haired friend. Feelings are not part of the life she’s learned.”…

“Jonas,” The Giver said, after a moment, “it’s true that it has been this way for what seems forever. But the memories tell us that it has not always been. People felt things once…. We know that they once felt things like pride, and sorrow, and – “

“And love,” Jonas added, remembering the family scene that had so affected him. “And pain.” He thought again of the soldier.

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”…

The Giver shook his head. “Jonas,” he said, “the community has depended, all these generations, back and back and back, on a resident Receiver to hold their memories for them. I’ve turned over many of them to you in the past year…. If you get away, if you get beyond, if you get to Elsewhere, it will mean that the community has to bear the burden themselves, of the memories you had been holding for them.

“I think that they can, and that they will acquire some wisdom. But it will be desperately hard for them…. Remember how I helped you in the beginning, when the receiving of memories was new to you?”

Jonas nodded. “It was scary at first. And it hurt a lot.”

“You needed me then. And now they will…. My work will be finished… when I have helped the community to change and become whole… When my work here is finished, I want to be with my daughter.”

Jonas had been staring glumly at the floor. Now he looked up, startled. “I didn’t know you had a daughter, Giver!”…

Her name was Rosemary,” the Giver said.

Giver2

* * *

Let’s never forget the killed, neglected, hungrybullied and torturedhumiliated, abused. Let’s share their stories, let’s share the wisdom, let’s stop that pain…

tearsFrom Heart-Wrenching Sorrow

THE END

Ideas are far more powerful than guns…

“Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t let our people have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?”

Joseph Stalin

* * *

  • Sattar Beheshti, Iranian blogger and social media activist, tortured to death in November 2012:

 

  • The 54-year-old Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi also died under torture while in detention in Iran, on 10 July 2003. From TheEpochTimes

  • Omid Reza Mir Sayafi (also Omidreza Mirsayafi), a 29-year old Iranian blogger and journalist died in Evin Prison in Tehran on March 18, 2009. Mir Sayafi was the first blogger to have died while in prison for his publication.

From Wikipedia

  • Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri, also spelled Al Asheri and Aushayri, (1971– April 9, 2011), was a forty-year-old Bahraini blogger and journalist, worked as an editor and writer for a local blog news website in Al Dair, Bahrain. He was killed on April 9, 2011 while in custody of the Bahraini Government.

     

     

Human Rights and Trial by Timeline

All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”

The Dalai Lama

* * *

Trial by Timeline

Trial By Timeline – Facebook application provided by Amnesty International, that scans a person’s Facebook page and determines what crimes they might have committed in other countries simply through listing their occupation, gender, relationship status or liking posts that an oppressive regime may deem offensive. The application then lists what the punishment for that ‘crime’ is likely to be in particular countries.

A sample of thoughts from this blog has been posted on Facebook and ‘trialed by timeline’. Trial summary is provided below.