A Travellerspoint blog

May 2008

Human Rights. Does Anybody Care?

Human Rights

Some time ago Australia's new government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued a formal apology to Aborigines for the abuses they suffered in the past centuries. Nothing has been heard about their grievances since then.

Mr. John Howard, the defeated PM refused to offer a full apology to the Aborigines, saying the current generation should not feel guilty about mistakes from the past. What arrogance and hypocrisy.
The Indigenous Australians have been the victims of the white population for nearly a hundred years. Will the mutilation of their culture, uprooting of their children and handing over to white families under the Australian government’s so called “assimilation” policies for nearly sixty years, can be remedied by an apology from the current PM?

The US government has never apologized to the Pueblo Indians for taking away their lands, destroying their heritage and their culture, denying them the right to own their own lands.Without looking much back,the present US government has not apologized to Iraqis for invading their country and killing over a million Iraqis.

The British government has also refused to apologize to Iraqis.British govt has not apologized to the inhabitants of Chago Islands who were duped, deceived and uprooted from their motherland and dumped on Mauritius Islands. Chago islands and Diego Garcia were under British yoke and were secretly handed over to US government with a promise to get rid of its inhabitants.No past or present British government has ever apologized or expressed regret or remorse over its role in African slave trade .

No French governments ever apologized for slavery by their country men on their plantations in the Carribean and south pacific islands. No Belgian governments ever apologized for their atrocities and human rights abuses in Congo.

The Spanish conquistadors destroyed ancient civilizations in South America, plundered and annihilated, debased and destroyed entire populations. The European nations wiped out entire populations in the South Seas islands. By introducing alcohol, guns, Christian religion, diseases, they wiped out generations of islanders. The list is interminable.

What is in an apology from an incumbent politician of a country? If I were to step on the toe of a person, drop hot coffee on his jacket, then I would apologize. But countries and their respective governments who systematically plundered, destroyed, annihilated other countries and their populations, should be held responsible. They should be forced, through international courts of justice, to pay compensation to the descendants of all those people whose ancestors were made slaves, their civilizations destroyed, killed outright and whose human rights were systematically abused.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan still goes on, Palestinians are being systematically punished, for more than 40 years they have been languishing in refugee camps pushed and punished there by Zionist Government of Israel, who even now, never stop making the German Government and its people responsible for putting Jews in Ghettos and Concentration Camps by the Nazis. People of Tibet, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, North Korea and many African
Countries have become refugees, trampled, beaten, abused and killed by their respective rulers. Why do dictators believe that they must kill their own populations in order to rule over them?

In Europe the Governments never stop self praising themselves as being civilized, protectors of Human Rights, however, there is increasing While Slavery in Europe, children and women from eastern European countries kidnapped, promised jobs and better living standards, then forced into prostitution. There is no end to abuse of African immigrants. Monopolies, Subsidies, High Inflation, High Gasoline Prices, all are well and alive, filling their own pockets and the pockets of their shareholders, forcing ordinary people to fill in their coffers. What is the difference between governments of today and the kings and sultans of yesteryear who used to burn the villages, hang people who could not pay their taxes?

Is it not time we all stand up together UNITED and SHOUT OUT LOUD

STOP HUMAN ABUSE !. Thank you.

Posted by The Islander 05:18 Comments (0)

Marrakesh (Morocco) V

The Legend of Al Maghrab

sunny 40 °C

Summer 1967

Late that evening, after we had a delicious dinner of CousCous and lamb curry, hummus and kebabs, Nan bread with Harisa (chilli paste), olives and Dates, drank many glasses of hot fresh mint tea, we met a Veterinary doctor and a man called Moussa. I do not remember if his name was Ahmed or Mohamed, every body called him Moussa. He was a Tuareg, originally from Mali but was settled in Morocco and knew everything about camels and their transportation. He was a tall and thin man, with a narrow pointed nose, deep set eyes and a cruel mouth, I remember it well. With his white robe and a long blue tunic on top, with a white turban on his head, he looked clumsy.

When I was young, I had read many books about adventures of soldiers of fortune, convicts and con men, who had joined the Foreign Legions to seek fame and fortune. When I went to live in the Canary Islands, I gave myself the nom de plume Tuareg. I was very fascinated about the stories of Tuareg warriors fighting the French colonial masters and French Foreign Legion which was garrisoned in Algeria. And their caravans journeying from Morocco to the legendary and mysterious town of Timbuktu.
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This meeting was arranged by my friend Hugo who knew many people in Marrakesh. After a long talk, much of it in Arabic which I could not understand, it was settled that Moussa will, on the next day, travel with us to a settlement on the outskirts of Marrakesh, where he had arranged for the Vet to examine the camels which were to be bought and brought to Casablanca. I promised to arrange for the payment with my businessman in the Canary Islands.

Early on the morning of the next day, we started towards the town settlement to view the camels. We were on the outskirts of the city, outside the city walls and going back towards Casablanca. The Tuareg Moussa took us to a place called Palmeraie, which we had seen while coming in to Marrakesh. Moussa told us that this place was the original settlement of the city, where there were more than 140,000 Date Palm trees and with a large Oasis. He told us that there was a legend that at night, Yusef Ben Tashfin, the founder of Marrakesh and his warriors, used to rest in this Oasis which was not populated with many palm trees. But the warriors used to eat the dates which they brought from other oasis's and they would dig holes in the earth with their spears and bury the date bones, which after a time germinated in Date Palm trees, thus creating the settlement with thousands of Palm trees.

Every village, town and city needs a legend, in Pune (India) there used to be a Temple of Hanuman (The Monkey God) and in its courtyard there was an ancient Banyan tree with a large girth. This tree was hundreds of years old and from its base to the top, there were literally millions of iron nails hammered in its trunk. And the tree was alive, green. The popular legend was that every night, Hanuman patrolled the city, and nailed the evil spirits to the tree trunk, which would otherwise scare the devotees of the temple.

As we neared the village, a languor settled over me, I was sweating a lot and my stomach was bothering me. Soon we reached the house of the man whom we had come to see, and before Hugo had switched off the motor, the wide metal door in the mud wall of the house opened and a swarthy Arab stepped outside, shook hands with everybody and invited us in. We entered a large cool room, more like a covered veranda, and settled down on thick carpets and pillow-cushions. Soon two young girls brought us hot mint tea, goat cheese, dates and fresh baked Nan bread.

By now I was not feeling well at all and would have declined to eat anything except to drink tea, but the Arab customs of hospitality obliged me to partake of food. The cheese was so smelly that I felt sick and ran outside in the courtyard and vomited. Our host immediately called some one and from behind the house, from another quarter, his wife and young daughter emerged, took me by the arm and led me to a tap in the corner of the yard. I wet my head and washed my face and arms, but the sweat just poured down my body and I was extremely hot, feeling feverish and uncomfortable.

Presently we left this place and after walking ten minutes, came to another large mud house. The stench of camels hovered over the place and the air was full of foul smell, which the camels emit while chewing their cud. I felt terrible and refused to enter the house. Every body else entered, and later when the Vet had inspected the camels which were for sale, the deal was struck, they came back and we started for Casablanca. The return journey was a torture and when we reached our hotel, I fell totally sick. The doctor who came to examine me told me that I had some virus in my stomach which could have been caused by drinking bad water or some bad food.

I sent a telegram to the businessman in the Canary Islands, told him to send details for finalizing the sale, and by next day had a reply in which he detailed about the shipment from Casablanca harbor. He also instructed me to buy 600 water jars to be sent to El Aaiun. I was flabbergasted. Now I told my friend Eric to take charge and with the help of Hugo to arrange for the completion of job at hand. I was feeling retched and wanted to go back to the Canary Islands.

Some time later, I learnt that camels arrived safely at their destination but all 600 water jars were broken on the way.

Posted by The Islander 11:33 Archived in Morocco Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Marrakesh (Morocco) IV

Medina and Markets

sunny 40 °C

Summer 1967

If a visitor bestirs himself from the mesmerizing spectacles of Djemaa El Fna, he can stroll around the Plaza in the labyrinth of Zocos (Souks). Most popular is The Semnarin, with its colors, aromas, variety of cloth and carpets on display. Or you can visit the casbah of Télouet (outside the city and 170kms) which is a very impressive Kasbah, albeit in ruins but attractive anyway and go further to visit the casbah of Ait Benhaddou, which has been perfectly conserved and is worth a visit.

Marrakesh is famous for the tombs of its kings, as is The Bedi Palace which is entirely constructed in Marble. Against the backdrop of snowy Blue Atlas Mountains are the waterfalls at Vuzoud, about 160kms from the city. And if you like the ethnic handicrafts, then a visit to Chichaova Coop Society is worth the trouble. There you will see the making of carpets with typical Berber designs and basic colours of red. The carpets are called Chichaova, which has given the name to the society of artisans.

My favorite museum is Dar Si Saíd, which is housed in a beautiful building of 19th Century, and has an important collection of Moroccan art, a colorful display of female attire, ceramics, carpets, Berber jewelry and articles of adornment. Its carved wooden doors with beautiful Ablutions of 10th century, etched in Spain on one single slab of marble. There are more than 200 Mesquites (Masques) with the beautiful designs and ceramics and etchings of typical Arab artisan work, all worth seeing. Moors conquered Spain in 9th century and their cultural heritage, Art, their buildings have left an everlasting impression in many regions of Spain, specially in Andalusia (Al-Andalus).

My favorite place in the evenings, whenever I visited Marrakesh, was the Casino at La Mamounia. I knew the Director of that time and went there almost every evening, together with some Indian business men, to drink whiskey and soda and gamble. Black Jack, Open Poker and English Roulette (One Zero).were popular games and every evening you saw rich and famous local dignitaries and Europeans playing there.

Moroccans are friendly people and once you knew them well, their hospitality knows no bounds. I made many influential friends in Tangier, Casablanca and Marrakesh where late in the night, whether we won or lost on the gaming tables, when we had a good amount of whiskey and had deliciously satisfying food, we would head towards a Cabaret. As I remember, La Mamounia also had a Cabaret, but now, after a lapse of so many years, I can not remember well.

That evening while playing Roulette, I made the acquaintance of yet another Italian business man, who was living in Paris but had come down to Marrakesh to play the tables. He usually went to Nice to play roulette because only there you could play American Roulette (with two zeros) which was lucky for him. Two zeros were lucky for me too, so we made a promise to sometime visit Nice together. I had been lucky at roulette, once in Gibraltar, at the newly opened Rock Hotel Casino, I had won, at one sitting, Five Hundred sterling Pounds. Quiet a sum in those heady days of 1960s.

Posted by The Islander 14:44 Archived in Morocco Tagged automotive Comments (0)

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