Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Student Action Committee USA launched

We have finally formally launched SAC-US chapter. There is a group of students from DC, Boston, Florida and New York, but hopefully we will get more support. Our blog is set up as follows: http://studentactioncommitteeusa.wordpress.com/

Our short term activities are as follows:

Members will organise awareness-raising events on campuses in her or his area. At least one event will be held by the second week of February.

Members will organise protests following the awareness-raising events. Protests in different areas will be staged simultaneously shortly before the elections in Pakistan.

SAC will collaborate with other organisations to promote advocacy on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. An event is being planned on the Hill, tentatively scheduled for 7 February.

SAC will begin cultivating a long-term relationship with the US media, starting by distributing a press release to media contacts in the second week of January.

SAC will communicate, and establish a working relationship, with SAC Lahore and SAC Islamabad.

The principles that SAC-US agreed on are as follows:

Establishment of an independent Election Commission and independent interim government before the upcoming Pakistani elections can take place.

Lifting of all restrictions (including restrictions on spot checks, random visits to the polling stations) on agencies that are monitoring elections in Pakistan before the elections. The government should also make sure that international monitors can reach Pakistan well in time before the elections to monitor the pre-poll process.

Restoration of the Pakistani judiciary to its status pre-November 3, 2007.

Release of all political prisoners in Pakistan, including lawyers, judges, students, civil rights activists, and political party workers.

Lifting of all restrictions on the media, including Code of Conduct for the Press and PEMRA ordinance, so that the media can broadcast live political events, rallies, and political debates.

Lifting of all restrictions on right to assembly, right to effectively campaign, and right to protest before the elections.

We will be issuing a press release in the second week of January InshAllah to the US media to whatever contacts we can gather till then. The press release will be aimed at introducing SAC and their stance/principles/demands to the US media.

Student Action Committee USA

So will our fist strike again!

By Umer Chaudhry
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
Slaughter is an act of heroism…
How hard it is to sing when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
Horror which I am dying.

So wrote Victor Jara in his immortal poem Estadio Chile, moments before his death by the hands of one of the most brutal dictatorship that the world has ever seen - the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile; a tyranny sponsored, as ever, by the U.S.A. While repeating Jara's words again, I remain convinced that the social-realist literature makes immensely more sense to people who have gone through the experience that the particular literary piece is talking about. I have read the quoted verses of the Jara's last song countless times, but never before it generated so much strength and meaning for me as it does when I read it today.

The unforeseen and sudden death of Benazir Bhutto led to some of the most agonizing moments of my life. My first reaction when I heard the news of Bhutto's death over the phone from a friend was utter disbelief - it has to be a rumor. But the news was soon confirmed as I switched on my TV set and messages started pouring in on my cell phone. What happened was horrific. For the first time in my life, I felt shocked to the extent that I was wordless.

To my young mind concerned with the good of my people, the assassination of Bhutto brought immense confusion and horror. As I stayed glued to the TV screen, there were a number of questions that cropped up, but I could not find an answer to any of them. It was like my thinking half died with Benazir. What will happen next? How will the powers that rule Pakistan use this event to their favor? What will happen to our struggle for democracy and social justice? How will people respond to the sense of insecurity that the assassination of Benazir has created? How will this event contribute towards the prevailing threat of religious extremism? Somewhere between all these questions was also a deep sense of sympathy for all those who once witnessed and mourned the death of great leaders like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and President Salvador Allende. I was living through the ordeal that they once went through. I could comprehend what it is to deal with political uncertainty and insecurity and what it is to live under the shade of fascist terror.

Confusion, however, is temporary, particularly if your mind is equipped with the tools of Marxist theory and revolutionary practice defines the motto of your life. So, I started explaining to myself what might be there behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in order to reach a conclusion about what needs to be done.

In my view, as I have written elsewhere, the murder to Bhutto resulted in collusion between the Islamic Extremism and the pro-Taliban lobby in the ruling establishment of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was not as much a threat for the former for the lack of effective power as she was for the latter. The pro-Taliban lobby in the armed forces knew very well that their defacement would be construed as the disgrace of their institution internationally and, therefore, enjoyed a strong cover through this blackmail. They also knew well that Benazir Bhutto, with a history of opposing the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq that killed her father and with the patronage of Washington, will not miss a chance to publicize the activities of the remnants of Zia era in the international arena. Had that happened, the armed forces would have lost the much needed international image with which they justified its continuous rule over the people and resources of Pakistan. Benazir became, as Aitzaz Ahsan correctly pointed out, a threat for the establishment of Pakistan.

The retributive struggle against the death of Benazir, therefore, has two main forces to blame: Islamic Extremism and Armed forces. Without ending the power of Army, the pro-Taliban elements within the Army responsible for the assassination of Bhutto can not be brought to justice. The struggle for democracy is now not just a struggle against Pervez Musharraf, but a struggle to bring the clandestine activities of intelligence wings of armed forces under public scrutiny. Army must no longer benefit from the privilege that it has been enjoying since the colonial era. People should not merely throw the Army out of power, but must conduct its post-mortem to see where the problem lies. Our struggle is no more about the separation between Army and politics, but about the subjugation of the former to the latter.

At this point in the history of my country, I humbly will call upon all my people to heighten their effort for democracy and resistance against military dictatorship and religious extremism. It's time to refurnish long lost popular unity built on the foundations of democracy and social justice. It's time to refresh our resolve for a better world. It's time to renew our commitment for people's rule. It's time to live, for slavery is no better than death.

The water is transparent
White between our fingers
it flows"El Fascismo-el Fascismo"-

Take your guitar
and play play
until our arteries burst
let the dusts
wallow your brain
the women
will give birth to grenades.
- Andrée Appercelle, To Chile, To Allende

The task that the history sets out for us is difficult but it's crucial. Without struggle and unity, we will perish, and history will never forgive us. Hope, we can not loose. Struggle, we can not put down. And when we move forward, let the verses of Victor Jara, ready to embrace death for his cause, give us strength and courage:

To see myself among so much
And so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment…
So will our fist strike again!

Student Action Committee gathering in Islamabad

On january 5th 2008 SAC(Student Action Committee) members gathered at Aabpara(Islamabad) 3pm to discuss with the people of Pakistan, the current political, economical and social situation of Pakistan, to get to know how the common man, the general public of Pakistan think in real, instead of the false claims made by the government and its puppetry policy makers.

We, the people of Pakistan are told by this dictator Musharraf and his people that economy is prospering and so the Pakistan. We daily hear the word that people of Pakistan are in favour of Mr. Musharraf and all those generals in power by the mouth of the dictator and his group. They think we are ignorant enough to believe all those white lies.

So SAC was there at Aabpara as it is a centre of Islamabad, to unveil all those false claims made by them, to tell the dictator, the generals , their civilian puppets that the people of Pakistan are not decieved by you and your false claims anymore.They do not believe your stories. What they believe actually is the fact that you all are alike, murderers and liers. So you better stop fooling yourselves. Your fallacy can only satisfy your own group of people. You might ask the question why the people do not voice out against your tyranny and you well know yourself why because of the system which is production of your military rule that has occupied the people with their financial issues much and they are forced to live hand-to-mouth however.

SAC questioned people who do you think is responsible for your sufferings, for our sufferings? Generals? The answer was yes. All the people around just raised their hands and when asked if Musharraf is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Ms.Bhutto? Everybody there raised the hands.

This is real public opinion and not that made by the tyrant.

Later the members of SAC alongwith the people moved to shops, took rounds of the market to show solidarity with the people and everyone there was voicing out against this tyrant and his tyranny because everyone is victimzed now. We are living in a country where some generals alongwith some beaurocrats are ruling and ruining the country and the people. SAC wanted to message them and to the world that the people of Pakistan do not accept your policies and we will keep on fighting till the sun of tyranny sets.

God helps those who help themselves.