France

This Map Shows Every Attack on French Muslims since the Attack on Charlie Hebdo

From VOX.com B67eRvTCcAAwU24.0 According to reports by AFP and others, the attacks have included:

  • Three training grenades thrown at a mosque in Le Man; a bullet hole was also found in one of the mosque windows
  • A bomb blast at a restaurant adjacent to and associated with a mosque in Villefranche-sur-Saone
  • Gunshots fired at a mosque in Port-la-Nouvelle
  • A boar’s head and entrails were left outside an Islamic prayer center in Corsica with a note: “Next time it will be one of your heads.”

The attacks have been relatively small-scale, especially compared to the Charlie Hebdo massacre and subsequent violence committed by its apparent culprits. The only serious harm so far came from a gang assaulting a 17-year-old of North African descent. But these incidents point to a long-worsening trend of hostility in France toward the country’s Muslim minority, which makes up an estimated eight to 10 percent of the population, and a sense among French Muslims that they are not welcome.

Attack on Paris a Direct Consequence of Western Imperialism

The tragic shooting in Paris of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in 2011, that left 12 people dead is a direct consequence of Western imperialism’s interventions in the Middle East.

The U.S. and its Western imperialist allies have continuously violated the national sovereignty and the right to self-determination of every country in the Middle East and North Africa in the last 50 years. Attacks such as the shooting in Paris, the September 11th attacks on New York (if we are to believe the dubious official story of the U.S. government), the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the attempted attack on the Eiffel Tower by Algerian hijackers in 1994, the London bombings of 2005, the Sydney Hostage Crisis, all are an inevitable consequence of the Western imperialism’s policies towards the people of the Greater Middle East and North Africa. From the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, the overthrow of Iran’s democratic leadership in 1953, to more recently supporting some of the world’s most reactionary and undemocratic monarchies and funding Islamic paramilitaries in Syria and Libya, the people of the Greater Middle East and North Africa have had their human and political rights subordinated to the interests of Western imperialism for decades.

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The Conflict Continues in the Central African Republic

With the West’s latest war in the Middle East against the Islamic State and the vilification of Russian President Vladimir Putin dominating the news it is easy to forget that the West is involved in numerous brutal military interventions around the world – in Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Niger, Haiti, Yemen, and elsewhere.

The Central African Republic, an impoverished former French colony with abundant mineral resources, has been marred in sectarian violence since the start of hostilities between Seléka, a coalition of insurgents led by Michel Djotodja, a former guerrilla leader in the Bush War, and the regime of Francois Bozize. The Seléka rebels accused the regime of failing to abide by the peace agreements made in 2007 and 2011 that ended the Bush War.

Seléka rebels in Bangui. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Seléka rebels in Bangui. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Bozize, who had come to power through a military coup in 2003, had run afoul of Western imperialism when he signed mining and oil contracts with China; the U.S. and France indirectly supported the Seléka rebels by withholding support for the Bozize regime. In the words of Bozize: “Before giving oil to the Chinese, I met Total in Paris and told them to take the oil, nothing happened, I gave oil to the Chinese and it became a problem.” French President François Hollande cynically declared that the hundreds of French troops in the country were “in no way to intervene in internal affairs,” a clear indication of support for the rebels considering France has been intimately involved with the internal affairs of the country since its independence in 1960, including launching air strikes against anti-Bozize rebels in 2006 and 2007. The U.S. has dozens of Special Forces stationed in the CAR, ostensibly to assist in the search for Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, although likely being another deceptive cover for a regional imperialist intervention. When Bozize was overthrown in 2013 and Seléka’s leader Michel Djotodja declared himself president, then U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, infamous for her leaked “Fuck the EU” tape, symbolically condemned the coup, but stopped short of calling for Bozize’s return to power.

The country quickly deteriorated into a state of warfare following the coup; the predominately Muslim Seléka rebels that brought Djotodia to power, many of whom came from Chad and the Sudan, refused to disarm and committed mass atrocities against civilians, especially Christians from the country’s south. Christian peasants and Bozize supporters formed anti-Seléka groups known as anti-Balakas, and armed with machetes, committed retaliatory massacres against Muslims. Close to a million have since become internally displaced or fled to neighboring countries and there have been reports of widespread rape, torture, beheadings, recruitment of child soldiers, and even cannibalism.

The African Union and the United Nations formed the International Mission to Support CAR (MISCA), launched in the summer and expanded in December 2013 with a force of 6, 000 and support from the nearly 2, 000 French troops, to replace the regional African peacekeeping force. However these “peacekeepers” inflamed tensions in the country; the ‘neutral’ French soldiers have been accused of siding with the Christian anti-Balakas, and the African peacekeepers sent to restore peace have different agendas, with soldiers from Chad supporting the Seléka militias and soldiers from the Republic of Congo and Burundi supporting the anti-Balakas. Indeed, soldiers from Chad and Burundi attacked each other, causing Chad to withdraw its forces from the CAR.

Two protesters fatally shot by foreign peacekeepers in Bangui. (CNN)

Two protesters fatally shot by foreign peacekeepers in Bangui. (CNN)

France forced the resignation of Djotodia to be replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza, the former mayor of Bangui, in January 2014. Violence nevertheless continued, and the European Union deployed a thousand soldiers to the CAR, its first mission in six years. Several controversial incidents occurred where foreign soldiers killed unarmed protestors demonstrating against the transitional government and the presence of foreign troops in the country.

Despite the arrival of a larger United Nations peacekeeping force and a peace agreement between the belligerents, the sectarian violence continues, and in July the leader of Seléka called for the country to be partitioned into Christian and Muslim states.

The exploitation of the CAR’s extensive natural resources – oil, timber, gold, diamonds, copper, iron, and uranium – by Western corporations and competition with Chinese investments are the true reason for the Western-backed intervention.

It is well known that both Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo and former president François Bozize of CAR got into trouble with the master – meaning France – because they turned to China for win-win cooperation. They were swiftly removed from power. In the case of CAR, France opted for Michel Djotodia who headed the Seleka…which overthrew Bozize in a matter of weeks.

Former French President Jacques Chirac famously acknowledged in 2008 that “without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power.”

Several Western corporations have invested heavily to exploit the country’s mineral resources. Areva, the French-state owned nuclear corporation notorious for its exploitation of African uranium, was forced to suspend its Bakouma uranium mine, which is “France’s biggest commercial interest in its former colony,” following an attack on the mine by rebels. The first French troops to arrive in the country were sent to “protect its [France’s] nationals, many of whom work in Areva’s large uranium mine at Bakouma in the south-east of the country,” as reported by the BBC. Nuclear power is France’s main source of electricity, therefore a continuous supply of cheap uranium from Africa is vital for French economic interests, a fact that was not lost on the French ruling class when Bozize’s regime contested Areva’s acquisition of the mine.

French Workers Call for Strike against Amazon

From RFI

From Monday, workers at four warehouse sites throughout France could down their tools just days before Christmas, when Amazon is at its busiest time.

Barbed wire in front of the Amazon logistics centre in Graben, Germany

Barbed wire in front of the Amazon logistics centre in Graben, Germany. Reuters/Michaela Rehle

Amazon claims that this strike won’t affect their business.

Sebastien Boisonnet, a CGT delegate who called the strike, says industrial action will have a major impact on the US company’s deliveries and will damage Amazon’s reputation that one click online will send a package to your door.

Amazon strikers in Germany went on strike last week which caused the brand to send more of its orders to France to fill.

Boisonnet says that the strike is not to upset customers or to block the trucks delivering Christmas parcels, but for Amazon to pay attention to worker claims.

CGT is calling on Amazon to open negotiations on work conditions and salaries.

40% of Amazon’s staff are members of the CGT union, the first union to organize workers in the company. But there are fewer card-carrying union members in Northern France.