Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Leaving Ghouta (Death and Exodus) | John Godfrey: Civ Dis (blocked by hands in the air) | Device Exposure | Touch and Go

.

Leaving Ghouta @AFPphoto by Louai Beshara: image via gersende rambourg @gersende75, 16 March 2018


#Syria #Ghouta Death and exodus as two Syria assaults escalate #AFP Photo Louai Beshara: image via Aurelia BAILLY @AureliaBAILLY, 16 March 2018



Thousands of Syrian civilians flee from a rebel pocket in eastern Ghouta in the first mass exodus from the besieged enclave since Syrian government forces launched an assault to capture it.: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 16 March 2018


Thousands of Syrian civilians flee from a rebel pocket in eastern Ghouta in the first mass exodus from the besieged enclave since Syrian government forces launched an assault to capture it.: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 16 March 2018

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain and tracks the conflict though a network of contacts, said that as many as 20,000 people had fled the region for government-held areas.


Syrians evacuating from eastern Ghouta through a government-controlled corridor on Thursday.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018


Syrians evacuating from eastern Ghouta through a government-controlled corridor on Thursday.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

Video of beleaguered civilians carrying satchels and children, some piled high onto trucks and tractors, aired on Syrian state news media. Some people had been wounded in the recent airstrikes by Syria and its Russian allies that have reduced much of the area to rubble.

The mass migration served as a new reminder of the seven-year-old war’s great cost to Syria’s civilians and the brutal means the government has used to crush the remnants of the rebel movement that sought to topple it.

Many left on foot, carrying what they could on their backs. Trucks, vans and buses crammed with civilians and their belongings traveled dirt roads, while huge crowds milled around waiting for transportation. The booming of the continuing bombardment echoed as the government pressed its offensive against neighboring towns.

 

Syrians with their belongings in Hawsh al-Ashaari.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

  

Syrians with their belongings in Hawsh al-Ashaari.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

The intensity of the government assault left civilians in a confused panic, said Mohammad Adel, an activist in Douma. Though the majority evacuated to government-controlled areas, he said, some fled farther into rebel territory because they feared the government.

“There was no food, no medicine, nothing,” a woman leaving the enclave said on Syrian state television. “We were dying in there.”

Marwan Habaq, whose family was from Arbin, said he, his wife and infant daughter had spent the past month fleeing the bombardment, each trip more dangerous than the last.
 

A Syrian government soldier gave water to civilians who were fleeing from eastern Ghouta on Thursday.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018
 

A Syrian government soldier gave water to civilians who were fleeing from eastern Ghouta on Thursday.: photo by Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

“We don’t know what will happen,” Mr. Habaq said in a voice message, the sound of rocket fire in the background. “I run to Hammouriyeh, they bomb it. I run to Zamalka, more bombing is ahead of us.”

About 1,200 civilians have been killed since the Syrian government began its campaign to take the area last month.

The roughly 400,000 people that the United Nations estimates are in the area have faced harrowing challenges. The United Nations Security Council endorsed a 30-day cease-fire for the region nearly a month ago, but attacks have continued unabated. While government warplanes drop bombs, rebel snipers on the ground have shot civilians trying to reach the government side. 
 

Smoke billowed above Hazeh in eastern Ghouta on Thursday during shelling by Syrian government forces.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

 

Smoke billowed above Hazeh in eastern Ghouta on Thursday during shelling by Syrian government forces.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018
  
For many, the bleak situation in eastern Ghouta reflected the state of the war seven years to the day after the first protests that led to Syria’s conflict. Inspired by Arab Spring revolts in other countries, Syrians in a number of areas took to the streets to demand political changes. The government responded with force and the conflict escalated.

Now, the rebel movement that had once controlled large parts of Syria holds very few areas, and civilians are leaving.

The war has been characterized throughout by increasing brutality.

United Nations investigators said Thursday that Syrian government troops and affiliated militias had raped and sexually assaulted women and men in a systematic campaign to terrorize, humiliate and punish civilians seen as linked to the opposition — actions that amounted to crimes against humanity.


A makeshift clinic in Zamalka during Syrian government airstrikes this week.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018  


A makeshift clinic in Zamalka during Syrian government airstrikes this week.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018 
 
Opposition armed groups had also committed rapes and sexual violence. Although such acts by rebels were “considerably less common,” the investigators said, extremists had carried out executions and harsh punishments to enforce their rigid social order.

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry monitoring Syria’s conflict said it had documented the rape of women and girls in 20 government detention facilities and military intelligence branches between 2011 and 2016, and the same violence against men and boys in 15 branches.

Such attacks were “not isolated incidents but rather part of a pattern observed countrywide,” the investigators said in a 29-page report, which the panel’s chairman, Paolo Pinheiro, said was “based on 454 powerful, devastating interviews” with victims and witnesses.
 

Peter Maurer, second from right, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaking with aid workers in Douma in eastern Ghouta on Thursday.: photo by Credit Hamza Al-Ajweh/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

 

Peter Maurer, second from right, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaking with aid workers in Douma in eastern Ghouta on Thursday.: photo by Credit Hamza Al-Ajweh/Agence France-Presse, 15 March 2018

The panel’s hope, he added, was that the report would serve as “an equally powerful trigger for accountability,” he told a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva. It was “particularly repulsive” that such violence continued to go unpunished, he said.

During house raids searching for opposition supporters in the early years of the conflict, troops and militias raped women and forced family members to watch the assault, the panel said.

In detention centers, guards subjected women to humiliating invasive searches, gang rapes and torture to force confessions and extract information. Low-ranking officers were often the perpetrators, the panel found, but “numerous cases of rapes by high-level officers have also been documented.”
 

A wounded man waited for treatment at a clinic in Zamalka on Tuesday.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 13 March 2018  


A wounded man waited for treatment at a clinic in Zamalka on Tuesday.: photo by Amer Almohibany/Agence France-Presse, 13 March 2018 

Male detainees, some as young as 11, also suffered a wide range of sexual abuse, including rape, torture and genital mutilation. Investigators said they had documented such abuse in the political security and military intelligence branches in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, Tartus and Damascus, including the infamous Sednaya Prison, sometimes “seemingly for amusement.”

Rape and sexual violence by armed opposition groups was not systematic, the panel said, but throughout the conflict it had received regular reports of extremist groups attacking people suspected of being gay, including throwing them off rooftops.

Militant groups such as the Nusra Front and the Islamic State had sentenced women accused of adultery to death by stoning, and subjected women who violated their dress codes to lashings. In areas controlled by Islamic State, women and girls as young as 14 were forced to marry fighters.



#Syria Thousands flee Syria rebel enclave after month-long bombardment #AFP #Ghouta Photo @abdfree2: image via Aurelia BAILLY @AureliaBAILLY, 16 March  2018


Kashmiri villagers cross a temporary bridge made by lining up boats for people to cross a river to attend the funeral of Shabir Ahmad, a suspected rebel in Awantipora, south of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. | Photo @Daryasin: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 16 March 2018



 Encounter pictures at Balhama pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 15 March 2018

 

 Encounter pictures at Balhama pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 15 March 2018

 

 Encounter pictures at Balhama pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 15 March 2018

 
  
Encounter pictures at Balhama pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 15 March 2018



 Picture speaks itself.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 14 March 2018
 

Pigeons take flight as it rains in Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 14 March 2018

 
A man carries a child in his lap as it rains in Srinagar.: image via BASIT ZARGAR @basiitzargar, 15 March 2018
 

#President @realDonaldTrump steps off Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base.: image via Evan Vucci @evanvucci, 14 March 2018

Trump

President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.: photo by Evan Vucci/AP. 14 March 2018 

Trump

President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.: photo by Evan Vucci/AP. 14 March 2018





McCabe statement: image via Jake Tapper @jaketapper, 16 March 2018



#Goodnight High-rise buildings are seen in the evening in Shanghai, China Photo @johaynz: image via Aurelia BAILLY @AureliaBAILLY, 16 March 2018

China Politics

Chinese security personnel sit on duty during a plenary session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. China is set to give President Xi Jinping a powerful new weapon as he prepares to rule indefinitely a Communist Party-led anti-corruption agency to police not only the party's cadres, but also doctors, teachers, entertainers and other state employees.: photo by Aijaz Rahi/AP, 14 March 2018

China Politics

Chinese security personnel sit on duty during a plenary session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. China is set to give President Xi Jinping a powerful new weapon as he prepares to rule indefinitely a Communist Party-led anti-corruption agency to police not only the party's cadres, but also doctors, teachers, entertainers and other state employees.: photo by Aijaz Rahi/AP, 14 March 2018


#India A man walks through heavy rain along a street in Guwahati. Photo @BoroBiju: image via Aurelia BAILLY @AureliaBAILLY, 16 March 2018

Touch and Go

8581 | by pkomo

Untitled | by umberto verdoliva

7 comments:

Jack Kimball said...

How did you put this together in the time being?
You are the news. What focus!

TC said...

Germania Anno Zero | Roberto Rossellini 1948 - Edmund

Germania Anno Zero | Roberto Rossellini 1948 - The strong eliminate the weak

Germany Year Zero: Rossellini - the ending

tpw said...

Great to see (and read) a John Godfrey poem here. Thank you for that, Tom. McCabe's statement is truly depressing. Republicans really know how to fuck people, including other republicans.

TC said...

Jack and Terry - thanks my heroes!

The poem came yesterday in an actual typescript in an actual envelope from the legendary dashing cavalier JG, whom, like everyone else worth knowing, I haven't seen in forever - but is my hero!

I hope he is reading / seeing this. The both of us may or may not inhabit Electronica. If me, surely not much longer, for (Jack), this simply can't go on. The world - the death of me. In a way good riddance. But still.

His letter reminds me of certain propinquities.

He reminds me he was present among a small group convened and loitering with intent at Peter Schjeldahl's apt on E 3rd St on the sorta fateful day I got off the boat from Angleterre with swiss pharmaceutical LSD packed under my fingernails... except that, in the III class bar of the United States, passing the Statue of Liberty, a minor concern about the trunk full of olympia press pornography that was about to be offloaded from the hold... took aholt of me... and (none of this is true of course) I licked it all off.

Making it difficult to tell the players w/o a scorecard, the rest of that day.

At one point the subway. Linda O'Brien of Oak Park, RIP. Pete snapped a picture. My purple or was it pink portobello road tie with polkadots, my potato dyed portobello road hospital orderly's jacket.

Long day it was, as Ted insisted on awarding me the Golden Ticket Cook's Tour of the LES. Garfinkel's Surgical Supply, upstairs of which Frank... and so on.

Some Fiorello LaGuardia businesses & c. Before the Age of Busy, there was so much more time for inessentials.

At one point Jim Brodey wouldn't peel off from the tour so Ted charmingly appointed a meeting. Jim would wait on the corner of whatever, I think it was 3rd St & B, and meet us there.

Ted's way of ditching the baggage.

And they say Ghouta was brutal.

The other propinquity and though JG doesn't remind me of it, we hung out in Buffalo the week after a beautiful and innocent (??) stranger made the terrible mistake of marrying me, in St Marks Church of all places. Then Niagara Falls iced and so on.

Brutal I tell you.

This is fifty years ago this coming Monday I think. Simply can't go on.

We listened to a lot of Sam & Dave, and then... nutty LSD eclipse viewing by no not the newlyweds but the very people who were about to drive us off a cliff.

JG wisely loitered on the civilized coast. Surely he will survive us.

Meanwhile Happy St Paddy's Day!

Edmund - Don't look down!

Ghouta - What can we do for you but wait and believe. Time may be circular.

Kashmir - You beauties!

Republicans - In what way do you differ from Democrats and vice versa? You both are every asshole in an SUV who tries to run me over on the freeway feeder.

And on the Golden yet!

TC said...

For context

Martha & The Vandellas: Jimmy Mack, live (sync), Shebang - TV (Casey Kasem), 1967

Just in time for Opening Day.

kent said...

Just yesterday responding to childhood friend on FB who went to see Bonnie Raitt Wednesday night...the time I got to meet BR backstage and who was right behind us in line but Martha. We ambled a moment after our moment to listen and watch that historic meeting (happy tears on both sides). As for Opening Day, I'm afraid for the Tigers there's nowhere to run. k

TC said...

Ah the memories...