The Maidan

                       Rainbow Resistance…




Women form self-defense brigade in Aleppo
Women have formed a neighborhood self-defense brigade in the city of Aleppo, Syria.

In the war-torn and divided city of Aleppo, Syria, women in the neighborhood of Şexmeqsud have formed a self-defense brigade, according to the news agency ANHA. The YPJ women's self-defense forces have trained a group of Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen women in using weapons.

YPJ Commander Dorşin Birhat noted that women could now defend themselves, their neighborhood and their children in extraordinary circumstances.

"By defending themselves, women in the neighborhood won't allow there to be events like those in Shengal," said Dorşin, referring to the day in August 2014 when Daesh invaded the city of Shengal, Iraq and abducted more than 7,000 women and children to sell as "slaves".




Neoliberal realities in India
Listen to an interview with Indian economist and academic Jayati Ghosh who speaks about on contemporary political and economic realities in India. In this interview Jayati speaks critically about the current BJP government in India, detailing the inequalities and attacks on workers movements that took place in Gujarat state while the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister in Gujarat.

This interview also details the wave of neo-liberal policies in India that extend from the past Congress government and into the current BJP government, highlighting the massive displacement of indigenous communities in central India and the responding popular armed resistance that has been responded to by the state via Operation Green Hunt.

This interview was recorded / conducted by Stefan Christoff at CKUT fm in Montreal at 90.3fm on Free City Radio, accompanying graphics are shape based and / or utilize colours / elements of the Indian flag, remixes by Stefan.
(Reproduced with permission)

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A Tribute

Suzette Jordan (40) succumbed to encephalitis in Kolkata on 13 March 2015. She is survived by two teenage daughters.

Suzette was a survivor. She was the "Park Street Rape Survivor" whose case had unnerved the West Bengal government in February 2012.

Suzette was a fighter. She had forcefully cast away her victimhood and emerged as an anti-rape campaigner. She refused to live as a nameless, faceless object of pity. "Why should I hide my identity when it was not even my fault?" she asked, looking straight at the cameras. "I was subjected to rape and I am fighting and I will fight. Even if I had to lose this case, I'm going to do it with a lot of dignity."

Suzette has died with dignity.

The prime accused in her case is still at large.

A Demand
Rafida Bonya Ahmed


My husband, Avijit Roy, wrote about science and rationalism and critiqued religious fundamentalism. Because of this, he was murdered. On February 26, 2015, he and I were attacked in a crowded area on the Dhaka University campus. Avijit was hacked to death by a machete; I survived.

As his wife, fellow writer, and a freethinker, I strongly condemn this gruesome act of terror.

The Dhaka University campus has historically been a space for progressive movements. It is also where Avijit grew up. Despite the death threat, we could not fathom that such a heinous crime could take place in such an area - a crime not only against a person, but against freedom of speech and humanity. While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the local police stood close by and did not act. Now, we demand that the Bangladeshi government do everything in its power to bring the murderers to justice.

I do not believe that simply catching the killers will be enough. I urge the government to address terrorism and stop a legal culture of impunity, where writers can be killed without the killers being brought to trial. I urge the world to recognize what has happened and join us in this demand for justice. 23 February 2015

A Condemnation
People's Union for Democratic Rights


PUDR expresses its condemnation and grief at the death of respected social activist and CPI leader, 82 year old Govind Pansare on 20 February 2015 as a result of the murderous attack on him and his wife Uma Pansare by gun carrying assailants in Kolhapur four days earlier. Govind Pansare had been actively and intensely involved in a wide range of social and political struggles throughout his life. He was an AITUC leader and set up the Shramik Pratishthan, through which he organised cultural programmes to challenge both the religio-cultural right and powerful vested economic interests. He also organized Com. Annabhau Sathe Sahitya Sammelans to invoke literary, cultural traditions of resistance against caste, class, patriarchy and religion, and wrote popular books including the one on Shivaji, debunking myths built by the cultural nationalists around the Maratha ruler. He had recently been leading a strong and successful campaign against the setting up of several toll booths across Kolhapur imposing toll taxes on citizens for using roads.

As an active member of "Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti" led by the late Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, he had also been campaigning against superstitious practices and exploitation of people under the guise of religion by fundamentalist, obscurantist forces. The shocking similarity between the murder of Dr. Dabholkar in Pune in August 2013 by gunmen while he was on his morning walk and that of Govind Pansare has been remarked upon in the press - it needs to be remembered that eighteen months after Dabholkar's murder none of the culprits have been caught. Identical methods were used to murder RTI activist Satish Shetty in Talegaon, Maharashtra in January 2010 where he had been campaigning against land-grab by IRB Infrastructure Developers. Incidentally this is the company that runs the toll booths that Pansare was protesting against. Over five years after Satish Shetty's murder, those responsible have not been identified, and a closure report was filed in the case in August 2014. However, on the morning Com. Pansare was attacked, the CBI claimed it would reopen Satish Shetty's murder case in the light of new evidence it claimed it had discovered.

In all cases, delay in justice not only amounts to its denial but also to a stimulus to commit more such crimes. It is particularly urgent to punish the criminal forces as these murders are violently trying to silence the voices of those fighting for rights, for reason, against communal forces and social injustices. Delay in justice here amounts to impunity for the forces Govind Pansare and the others fought against and is thus utterly fatal for democratic rights. Whether Govind Pansare was murdered by Hindu fundamentalist, communal groups whom he challenged or the companies whose profits were affected by his committed activism, or by a conspiracy of the two, PUDR demands that all those guilty of his murder should be identified, charged and prosecuted without any further delay. PUDR hails the efforts of Govind Pansare, Dr. Dabholkar and Satish Shetty in the struggle against vested and anti-people forces and giving real meaning to democracy.

Sharmila Purkayastha and Megha Bahl
23 February 2015


Dublin Poems
Sunandan Roy Chowdhury

Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons


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