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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1289 March 23rd 2006

Revelations about yet more Blairite sleaze are forced out by imperialist defeat despite ruling class desperation to prop up parliamentary rule illusions and cover over increasing fascistisation of society. But seeming hiatus in warmongering cannot last — imperialism’s crisis is intractable and historic economic disaster grows ever deeper and the only strategy the capitalists have for survival is the destruction of capital and major rivals. More terrorising by warmongering is inevitable. The only full strategy for the working class is revolution to end this foul system for good. Development of theory vital.

The deafening sound of stampeding feet as even the most senior New Labourite rats scuttle to jump off the Blairite sleaze boat is a better clue to the state of the ruling class in Britain than the rash of brittle boasting about Stock Exchange peaks and property price increases, littering the more superficial bits of the bourgeois press.

The question to ask if everything is so supposedly rosy, is why the nervous opportunist jostling over another almost routine lobbying and influence scandal?

Background string-pulling for a fistful of dollars, “meet-the-man” dinners and other slimy influence peddling and sucking up to the fatcats of capitalist racketeering, both informally and as overt policy (for the laughable and fraudulent notion of a “more efficient Britain” by profiteering “entrepreneurship”), has been a central feature of the Blairite spin-and-deception machine since it came into power, as numerous bourgeois press exposures made clear within the first 12 months and various exposés and scandals ever since.

It has staggered on for nine years and nothing has changed in that respect with the latest rash of sleaze revelations, despite the renewed “surprise” now. As plenty of the same cynical bourgeois commentators will always declare at such times, affecting enormous boredom as if it is all an inevitable part of nature, sleaze, nepotism, clubbiness, freemasonry-style backscratching, favour dealing, and insider influence has always been part of bourgeois rule, not just under the Tories but right back to the 17th century beginnings of modern parliament.

The reality of parliamentary democracy has always been a complete confidence trick in other words, a class dictatorship, in which the bourgeoisie looks after itself very nicely at the expense of the working class and the grotesquely exploited Third World colonies.

But in its early revolutionary period capitalism could at least claim to be driving the whole world forwards into a new industrialisation and scientific progress from the stultifying contradictions and superstition of decaying feudalism, however brutally and piratically. Now its tyrannical profit motivated system is tangled in contradictions greater than all past class-dominated production systems and expressed in the endless chaos and routine slump collapses that have beset it with increasing ferocity for 150 years – ending in the disastrous disintegrations into inter-imperialist wars of 1870, 1914-18 and, most destructively of all, between 1937 and 1945, signals of giant historic failure.

And despite yet more growth and expansion in the post-war US dominated imperialist period of extended exploitation and fascist stooge dominance, the mess continues of deepening contradiction and crisis. Especially since the turn of the new century it has been heading ever more obviously towards warmongering and its ultimate Third World War conclusion, the only end point there can be to the anarchic reality of capitalist economic and political logic.

No one expects the Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq war sequence to the be the end of it. Nor will it; the only end point for capitalism can be the destruction of capital on a world scale, taking on a defeating all the major imperialist challengers and rivals, once the onset of massive overproduction contradictions turns international monopoly competition into a fight to the death (see Marxist economic quotes).

Alongside the inter-imperialist drive to war, the relentless globalisation of capitalism, as Marx noted, has drawn in and educated billions of the world’s proletarian masses, training them to serve capitalist wage slavery but enough therefore to turn them into sophisticated modern people, increasingly no longer willing to suffer the inequities and exploitation of the system, the unfairness and poverty imposed on them and the tyranny used to keep it all going. Capitalism has created its own gravediggers.

Rebellion is erupting worldwide and revolution gets ever closer to the surface – driven by crisis pressures and feeding into them to.

Labour was supposed to change it all, relatively quietly and harmoniously “improving things”, “within the legal framework of democratic law” but 150 years of this reformist trade unionism and its political parliamentary wing, in power some ten times, has managed instead to teach the working class a deep cynicism about all “politics” and “politicians” (by which they mean, consciously or unconsciously, parliamentary and reformist politics).

The same old bourgeois rackets continue and the same old dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (with Big Money and the establishment networks making all the decisions that count).

By the time of the Callaghan government of the 1970s, amid the endless economic crises that buffet imperialism with growing strength, the working class was already showing its disgust with all of parliament including Labourism, making direct class challenges to their “own” government like the “Winter of Discontent” which forced the ruling class to turn to the incipient fascism of Thatcherism (paralleling the larger scale US Reagonism after the defeat of the US in Vietnam).

But this was also finally unable to keep the lid on the increasing contradictions of continuing capitalist crisis, only winning its class civil war onslaughts (on the 1984 miners most obviously) because of the hampering limitations of Scargill’s reformist perspectives for a new Labour Government (as if Callaghan had not been enough) and the fanciful “Plan for Coal” somehow pushing capitalism back up hill when its profitability and competitive pressures did not allow it.

Blairism was already a desperate move for the ruling class when this brash Tory rule became incapable of controlling the deepening capitalist crisis and Britain’s ever more marginalised position within the imperialist system. But its superficial slick new soundbite promises did not last long as was glaringly clear even in 2000:

Crude free-market domination in 18 years of Thatcherism left society as unstable and discontented as ever with the sleaze, incompetence, and corruption of it all, but New Labour is already being despised after only 3 years for laying the country open to the chaos and sharp practices of free enterprise even worse than the Tories did.

The PFI (private finance initiative) rackets in investments for hospitals, roadbuilding, schools, higher education, railways, etc, and other public services are only going to stuff more ill-gotten millions (literally) into individual pockets of the ‘entrepreneurial’ class (which as well as genuinely talented inventors, innovators, and administrators also includes a far larger portion of conmen, publicity-seeking opportunists, and profiteering rogues) while achieving little rational progress, and frequently making things a whole lot worse.

Now comes the astonishingly early disintegration of Blairism into vicious back-stabbing feuds, all bitterly blaming each other for what has gone wrong.

But before the detailed recriminations get a worthwhile examination, it is important to note how a quite feverish mood of overall insecurity and dissatisfaction in the country as a whole is coinciding with a worldwide phenomenon of growing anger at how the wealthy minority on earth are grabbing an ever-increasing share of the good things in life for themselves, and creating an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.

And while there is not the faintest immediate prospect of international revolutionary strings being pulled anywhere, it nevertheless remains a Marxist understanding that the capitalist system will always follow an unalterable pattern of forever roping wider and wider sections of world society into its wealth-creating network of organisation and exploitation, and of forever frustrating and alienating wider and wider sections of world society because the incurable monopolisation tendency (for surviving the cutthroat “free” market) cannot avoid making the rich ever richer, and the poor ever poorer, relatively speaking.

And while the soothing oil of debt-relief and aid can be poured onto squeaking wheels during good times when world trade is still expanding without too much inter-imperialist conflict to wreck aspirations and drive frustrations to fever-pitch, the past historical record and every current logical expectation must be that once an international capital-overproduction crisis and subsequent markets collapse is reached (see Capital vol. III, p 472), then that discontent must spontaneously reach revolutionary proportions.

In practice, though?? With 50 or so wars and revolutionary struggles of various kinds already raging around the world from Colombia to Indonesia and the Philippines, the G8 group of leading world powers has just held yet another summit conference utterly barren and pointless as far as being able to do anything about the current chaotic organisational mess of the planet.

[From EPSR 1053 July 25 2000]

It sounds astonishingly familiar to the few who have argued for a Leninist world perspective – even down to the stalled world trade talks still festering five years later as the bourgeois press reveals:

Over the weekend, trade ministers from the EU, the US, Japan, Brazil, India and Australia met for two days of talks in London. While they were far from representative of the 149 countries that make up the World Trade Organisation, the plan was to break the seemingly endless stalemate in trade liberalisation negotiations by doing what one observer has called a “collective striptease”.

...Japan, the EU and the US would show a bit more leg when it came to agriculture; the Indians and the Brazilians would show a tantalising glimpse of flesh on industrial tariffs...If they can cut a deal, so the theory goes, the rest of the WTO members will sign up. A limited, but still significant, round of liberalisation will be done and dusted before President Bush loses the right in the middle of next year to hand a trade treaty to Congress for ratification on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

...The weekend talks were less “collective striptease”, more a throwback to the days of the old Windmill Club, where the girls were only allowed to titillate wartime audiences provided they didn’t move a muscle. Celso Amorim, Brazil’s foreign minister, said the talks lacked “click”, while Kamal Nath, India’s trade minister, said there needed to be more understanding of the needs of developing countries.

This was the outcome Blair expected when he issued a joint statement with President Lula of Brazil last week. The prime minister ... thinks a summit of the eight leading industrial nations and five leading developing nations in the late spring or early summer can achieve it...the WTO will fail to meet its end-of-April deadline on the two key parts...- agriculture and industrial ministers and presidents [will] succeed where trade ministers have failed.

But a trade summit faces opposition from the man who runs the WTO, Pascal Lamy. He is painfully aware that his two predecessors both presided over a fiasco - Seattle in 1999 and Cancún in 2003. His fear, almost certainly correct, is that the WTO cannot sustain many more body blows, and that the negotiations will be dead in the water if the summit is a flop.

...Even were France, Germany, Italy and the UK able to forge a common position, Lamy questions how that could be translated into a negotiating position for all 25 EU states. Lamy’s plan is to move forwards in small steps. Eventually, he argues, there will be enough on the table to make WTO members reluctant to walk away...

Not everyone shares Lamy’s confidence that a deal can be done with a bit of prodding and some goodwill on all sides. The mood has improved since the rancorous meeting in Hong Kong late last year, but observers say that there is scant evidence of urgency or real movement on the big issues...

The Doha round did not - as was previously customary - start because of lobbying from business, but because it was agreed at the completion of the Uruguay round in 1993 that negotiations should eventually resume. As far as the multinational corporations are concerned, the big prize was the 2001 agreement to admit China to the WTO; the Doha round, by comparison, is a sideshow. What this means in practice is that the French government stands to get more grief from its farmers for agreeing to further concessions on agriculture than it will from its industrialists for defending the Common Agricultural Policy to the last ditch. Yet, unless Peter Mandelson can improve his offer on agricultural market access to the EU, Lamy has no chance of setting off the chain reaction of mutual concessions he needs for a deal by the end of the year.

As things stand, the Doha round is already a failure as judged by its own ambition. It has failed to remedy the pro-rich bias of the Uruguay round, and it is by no stretch of the imagination a package for developing countries. The EU, for example, is insisting on a list of sensitive agricultural products that will continue to be more heavily protected; the US insisted in Hong Kong that only 97% of products from least-developed countries should be allowed in duty free, but the other 3% - you guessed it - includes all the items that matter to LDCs. Protectionist sentiment is running high in both Europe and the US, and much of the developing world feels aggrieved at being left in the dark while the WTO’s charmed circle negotiates in secret.

It may therefore prove tougher than Lamy thinks to get the rest of his members to rubber-stamp an agreement cooked up by the G6.

...lapsing of the US fast-track legislation imposes a deadline. But allowing the vagaries of the US legislative process to determine the outcome of years of negotiations involving 149 countries is absurd... There are worse things than no deal. A botched, rushed, unbalanced deal, for a start.

The fake-”lefts” and the petty bourgeois cynicism which variously surrounds the EPSR will certainly sneer that this apparent “unchanging” scenario somehow invalidates the EPSR’s continuing insistence on pointing to the catastrophic crisis disintegration of the imperialist order as the key feature of history – the staggering-on “explaining” and “justifying” their cowardly insistence that all talk of revolution should be “put off for another day” because “ordinary people are not ready for it yet” and that the system continues despite these “perturbations” and that to “make too much of them” is simply hysterical.

This shallow and limited philosophy simply does not grasp the point of revolutionary theory at all, seeing it solely in terms of “events”, street episodes and “insurrection”, or bigger and bigger trade union strikes or demonstrations (all of which may or may not be on the cards at any particular time) but miserably incapable (because of petty bourgeois complacency, combined with discomfort at real class struggle and the reality of working class rule) of seeing that it is a framework for a complete underlying perspective about the nature of all development and movement in nature and history and especially of the development of humanity and class society.

The point of the struggle to understand the world in revolutionary terms is not to “stir up insurrection now” (it will stir of its own accord as real crisis drives people into struggle) and pointlessly urge nonsensical activism on people (who therefore will most likely be unresponsive).

There will be, and is, plenty of spontaneous (and often highly organised) struggle against imperialism and its domination.

Seeing it when it occurs, as now throughout the Third World and particularly to the Middle East (carried in various bizarre at times ideological forms but with an underlying anti-imperialist motivation) demands a perspective and deep historical and scientific understanding, which can only be revolutionary.

Grasping that hidden change is relentless accumulating with material and historical development and that matters will come to a head as the contradictory pressures in the physical world or in society grow ever more intense – and that only revolutionary transformation can resolve the now vicious and insane degeneration towards warmongering destruction and slaughter by the American Empire and the capitalist system as a whole is crucial for the masses to grasp, to see their own struggle in a proper context and to understand both their own strength, the weaknesses and remaining strengths of their class enemy and the overall perspective that allows the development of the best tactics and strategy.

Revolution is the nature of all development in nature, resolved by the sudden transformation of the existing, where molecular development has built up existing contradictions breaking point, and the conflict between them has turned things upside down. It is a fundamentally different understanding to that of endless gradual changes slowly altering the world.

One leads to a deluded view of the world that sends the working class running round in circles for decades behind a bunch of charlatans, spivs, and fascists eventually; the other to a fight to overturn the profit system for good so that workers states, and within them planned socialism and ultimately a self-disciplined rational humanity can be built.

With a revolutionary perspective, the clear, long historical view, and the broadest possible most wide ranging world framework of understanding of the class struggle on the planet it is immediately apparent how shallow, superficial and reactionary is any notion that “basically it is still the same” and that the understanding that capitalism is facing its greatest crisis in history is just mockable “catastrophism” to be sneered at, as is universally suggested one way or other by the fake-”lefts”.

With a revolutionary grasp of the movement of history the pattern is clear.

And the fact of continuing disastrous chaos and turmoil within the leading imperialist countries – with Bush’s popularity plunged to an all time low and the Blairites a floundering and dissembling laughing stock – is confirmation of the astounding depth of capitalism’s crisis.

Blairism was in deep trouble already six years ago and has held on only because its has ridden the Nazi tail of American neocon imperialism in craven service to the British ruling class, which is now so decrepit and worked out historically it can find no leadership of its own for society, offering at best a pale imitation of failed Blairism.

It all gets by using sleight of hand and overt lies and now the same coalition politics that the treacherous McDonald sold out with in the 1930 slump prelude to WW2. Blair even had to deny nervously this week that he is “Ramsay McBlair” as the Tories bolstered his disintegrating facade.

And much deeper down, nothing is the same, nor is it “simply staggering on”. Everything has changed since 2000, with the turn to overt warmongering, begun in the monstrous NATO blitzing of Serbia war, taken to a new level of Goebbels justified destruction and terrorising tyranny in the onslaughts on Afghanistan and Iraq.

The chaos and incompetence of the imperialist dominated world and the impossibility of doing anything about it has broken through with a watershed shift in imperialist bullying completely intertwined with, and an expression of, its intractable economic crisis, stripping all pretence at the social and trading contracts implicit in “normal” capitalism and declaring that brute domination and might is now the only right on the planet.

Alongside goes the equally deliberately terrorising stripping away of human rights and pretences of democratic freedoms and justice, to be replaced with the more and more open fascistisation of society, with a calculatedly intimidating atmosphere of torture, kidnap and imprisonment-without-trial etc being created to try and head off the inevitable rise of domestic resistance, rebellion and intensifying class struggle that the crisis must bring.

It is totally combined with the insane in-your-face escalation of the already intractable and unrepayable dollar deficit - notably in the giant Bush tax giveaways – and the new policy that from now on the world owes a living to the ever more insatiable consumption of the greed ridden imperialist lifestyle come what may.

The crystallised labour and the raw materials of the whole planet will continue to be sucked into the vortex of ruling class imperialist greed and sweet complacent comfort, luxury and power the planet is told, and the only return will be the ever more devalued inflationary dollar paper to clog and disrupt the economic systems of other nations (driving up their own currency rates e.g. to make their competitiveness less if they don’t play ball). Anyone who argues knows what they will get.

What they were to get was to be demonstrated on Iraq, Afghanistan and subsequent, equally demonised “rogue states” and members of the Hollywood fantasy level “villains” of the ludicrously Goebbels painted “axis of evil” – a shock and awe destruction and blitzing to overwhelm and cow even the thought of challenging the Empire, no matter what burdens it decided should be placed on the rest of the world.

The point is precisely the turn to open fascist warmongering as a “solution” to the deepest ever, and potentially terminal crisis 800-year of capitalist system. The point is destruction, intimidation and terror on a worldwide scale, to be maintained far into the future as the latest Pentagon strategic outlines make clear.

The point is not (essentially) about “restructuring the Middle East” for better exploitation as the Trots shallowly maintain, or “securing the oil” as the revisionists expound in books and articles, both views that miss completely the depth and transformation taking place in the imperialist order.

By all means if the Empire can also do these things, building military bases, plundering resources and fragmenting the rapidly coalescing hatred of the Arab, Persian and Muslim worlds (and the general Third World ferment alongside and potentially allied with it) it will.

But it does it to further ram home that its message that the Empire is in charge and ready to aggressively deal with all challenges, the desperate hope of the neocons to evade the realities of history and keep the out-of-time bankrupted capitalist order in place with all its sweet privileges and pleasures for the tiny minority.

What has muddied the waters and stretched out a seeming hiatus at present is the shock and awe the ruling class has been given by the stunning and continually developing resistance of the masses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the running together of that resistance with the already heroic and inspiring Palestinian struggle at the heart of the Middle East.

Instead of halting the world in its tracks the festering discontent throughout the Third World at the endless exploitation, bribery, unfairness and often deathsquad tyranny of imperialism has exploded further into a struggle which for all its crudeness and inadequacies is continuing to grow and rapidly picking up in sophistication and confidence.

It can only lead to enormous debate and discussion and stirrings of greater understanding and clarity on the way to a revolutionary grasp ultimately.

Three years into the Iraq war and the imperialist superpower has neither established a replacement stooge for the maverick Saddam, nor pacified the resistance. The chaos and mayhem gets worse and whatever murky dealings and provocations the CIA and other agencies might be carrying out to muddy the waters, feed sectarian hostilities and keep the resistance split, the situation looks like an enormous failure and defeat for the US, most of all because it has not proved its own ruthlessness.

And the insanity of the warmongering solution has fed back into the underlying economic crisis as even the Nobel prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz has recently declared:

...cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion after factoring in long-term healthcare for wounded US veterans, rebuilding a worn-down military, and accounting for other unforeseen bills and economic losses...[which] far exceeds projections made by the Bush administration.

The figure is more than four times what the war was expected to cost through 2006 -- around $500 billion, according to congressional budget data.

The new study is billed as a detailed analysis not only of the potential costs of sustaining the operation in Iraq for at least several more years, but also the expenses likely to be incurred by taxpayers long after US troops withdraw.

The government will have costly obligations to a new class of veterans, be forced to make new investments in stressed military ranks thinned by multiple tours of duty, and withstand the enduring impact of the war on the nation’s overall financial outlook.

For example, the study attributes a portion of the increase in oil prices -- $5 per barrel -- to instability in the Middle East caused by the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and sparked a bloody insurgency.

It estimates that the shock to the oil industry has already added at least $25 billion to the price tag of the conflict.

The analysis also attempts to account for the war’s impact on the ballooning federal deficit, its ripple effects on overall economic growth and investment, and losses in productivity.

‘’There are quite a few things that are not being captured in the budgetary numbers” presented by the government, said Stiglitz ‘’When you add up all of those numbers, it increases substantially. I think $2 trillion is conservative.”

The authors said their predictions were largely based on previous data -- including from past conflicts -- that were compiled by government agencies, including the Pentagon, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Congressional Budget Office.

For the purposes of their study, Stiglitz and Bilmes assumed the US mission in Iraq would last until 2010, but with a steadily declining number of US troops each year.

The White House, which predicted in 2002 that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, declined to comment on the new study. The Office of Management and Budget ‘’does not comment on this type of speculation,” said spokesman Rich Walker.

...Predicting overall an imprecise exercise. But the range of some future expenses can be assessed, such as the likely medical bills and disability payments. Twenty percent of soldiers, for example, have serious brain or spinal injuries that will require life-long care.

The cost of death benefits to military families and bonuses being paid to soldiers to re-enlist and to sign up new recruits can also be tallied.

Researchers used data from the 1991 Persian Gulf War to try to predict long-term healthcare costs for the veterans who have long-term injuries and who need other benefits.

Those costs bring the price tag of the war up to about $650 billion, Stiglitz said, but that doesn’t include broader economic factors such as the war’s drag on the federal deficit.

‘’We have to borrow money, and we have to pay interest, and we have to pay interest on the interest,” he said. And then there are macro-economic costs, such as the war’s overall effect on the economy.

Only this disastrous further accumulation of inflationary and never repayable insane debt has kept the imperialist economic order afloat and the tearing contradictions hidden for a little longer – and as a by product given the New Labourites the capacity to hang on in power a little longer (with support by a desperate ruling class).

But while imperialism’s “solution” piles it own problems of overproduction even higher, its warmongering onslaught is equally adding to its difficulties, provoking the escalating hatred and hostility of the masses worldwide and rapidly educating them ever deeper in the lies and fraud of “freedom and democracy”.

The masses have not been cowed but encouraged by the developing struggle and the tide of rebellion is lapping at the edges of the empire all around the planet, from the continuing inability of the royal dictatorship to suppress the Maoists in Nepal to the surge of left wing mass sentiment in South America.

Even if much of this is yet safely (for imperialism) misled by posturing frauds and reformist anti-communists from the “centre-left” in Chile to the compromising class collaborating Lula in Brazil and has yet to see any clear Leninist understanding even in the successful anti-imperialist militancy of Venezuela or the possible (but yet uncertain) anti-imperialism of Morales in Bolivia, it will still be being watched with enormously fearfulness and hatred from Washington, as the safety of its dominance even over its own arrogantly assumed “backyard” is increasingly threatened. Colombia is already a major problem and the escalation of US trained death squad terror (which has lasted 40 years (has failed to put the lid on the FARC and guerrilla resistance).

Chavez at least shows signs of understanding the readiness of the US to mount counter-revolutionary attacks – even talking of arming the masses for defence – and is helped by the increasingly overstretched resource of the US Empire as its troubles mount worldwide. But a Leninist grasp that imperialism will never willingly give up its rule and will try every measure to drown resistance in blood for as long as it exists, would not come amiss.

One of the biggest lessons is being learned in the heart of the Middle East struggle by the titanic and stamina filled struggle of the Palestinians, which has stepped up a level after the defeat of the old Arafatite compromising by Hamas militancy. To the confusion of imperialism Hamas was able to take hold of capitalism’s lying and manipulated supposed democracy weapon and turn it back on them, winning “legitimately”.

The monstrous bullying refusal by imperialism across the planet and the Zionist fascist occupiers now to supply previously guaranteed funding to the Palestinian Authority (and even in the Zionists’ case the tax money it refuses to allow them to collect themselves - part of its prison treatment of the people in Gaza) to starve them out and the repeated demands that Hamas “recognise Israel” the heart of the vicious Zionist usurpation of the Palestinian land in 1948 onwards, is a clear lesson in exactly what imperialist democracy really means – democracy if we win – more dictatorship if you win.

Only revolution will ever end the dominance and dictatorship of capital.

And the failure of the foul “democracy rackets” of western funded fascists and greed driven petty bourgeois elements in the periphery of the former Soviet Union – formulaic CIA controlled public relations stunts backed with the underlying threat of force and public violence provocation (like the now failing “Orange revolution” in the Ukraine) – is also notable. The old-guard Stalinist bureaucrat Lukashenko in Byelarus, now balancing like Putin between the still smouldering remnants of working class influence and the new piratical oligarch capitalists has been able to see off the latest challenge easily enough to the sour disgust of the more reactionary “liberals” in the bourgeois press.

But at the cost of continuing confusion for the working class at the crude manipulations of the “election”.

Democracy does not come into of course and it would be much better for the working class if it was able to understand that the battle there and throughout the former USSR is raw class struggle driven by imperialism’s endless subversive pressure to smash down all remnants of the old communist legacy and completely open the fragmented Soviet legacy to raw monopoly exploitation.

The dire revisionist confusion which initially liquidated the Soviet Union and whose remnants now posture around pointlessly trying to “control” capitalism and assert the “nationalistic pride” of Russia in a dizzy bonapartist balancing act between class forces (mostly like a shabby parody of imperialism) is not the solution – but the desperate continuing decline of the economy despite its temporary oil and gas revenues boost (mortgaging that and other resources) must relentlessly pile on the survival pressure for the ordinary people.

Except they are not so ordinary but the population with the greatest experience of communist success and progress on the planet, 70 years of major development without a capitalist in sight.

Imperialism fears that exactly that lesson will be learned and that a much more vigorous communist revival could be triggered if it pushes too hard and too obviously.

It is already shocked at the massive response by the Serbians to the death of former nationalist revisionist leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Leninists burn no candles for the confused revisionist nationalism of Milosevic himself which in the end proved its confusion and impotency with the failed wasting of the still powerful Yugoslav army resistance when the fascist NATO blitzkrieg was carried out. But the class spirit demonstrated in Belgrade goes deeper.

Whether or not the circumstances are suspicious as Russia and Serbia allege – and the death certainly gets the western show trial racket out of some major difficulties because of its failure to prove much against him at all – the endless campaign of demonisation of the Yugoslav war is in growing trouble, further undermining the Goebbels lies and tricks used to get into warmongering.

More and more the lies about supposed cold-blooded genocide are unravelling, despite the repeated intelligence agency lies about Racec and Srebrenica as this long analysis explains:

From the U.N. Secretary General’s 1999 Report on Srebrenica, it emerges that the idea of a “Srebrenica massacre” was already in the air at a September 1993 meeting in Sarajevo between Bosnian Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic and members of his Muslim party from Srebrenica. On the agenda was a Serb proposal to exchange Srebrenica and Zepa for some territories around Sarajevo as part of a peace settlement.

“The delegation opposed the idea, and the subject was not discussed further. Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.”

Izetbegovic later denied this, but he is outnumbered by witnesses. It is clear that Izetbegovic’s constant strategy was to portray his Muslim side in the bloody civil war as pure helpless victims, in order to bring U.S. military power in on his side. On his death bed, he readily admitted as much to his ardent admirer Bernard Kouchner, in the presence of U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke. Kouchner reminded Izetbegovic of a conversation he had had with French President Mitterrand in which he “spoke of the existence of ‘extermination camps’ in Bosnia.”

You repeated that in front of the journalists. That provoked considerable emotion throughout the world. [...] They were horrible places, but people were not systematically exterminated. Did you know that?

Yes. I thought that my revelations could precipitate bombings. I saw the reaction of the French and the others-I was mistaken. [...] Yes, I tried, but the assertion was false. There were no extermination camps whatever the horror of those places. (2)

Like the Bosnian Serbs, the Muslims also herded their adversaries into “horrible” camps at the start of the civil war, on the way to expulsion. Unlike the Bosnian Serbs, the Bosnian Muslims enjoyed the services of high-powered U.S. public relations experts in the Washington-based Ruder Finn agency who knew how to “spin” the Bosnian conflict in order to equate the Serbs with the Nazis-the quickest and easiest way to win public opinion over to the Muslim side. The news media and political figures were showered with press releases and other materials exaggerating Serb atrocities, whereas Muslim atrocities (such as the decapitations of Serb prisoners, fully documented) remained confidential. ...

The general public did not know that Srebrenica, described as a “safe area”, was not in fact simply a haven for refugees, but also a Muslim military base. The general public did not know what Lord Owen knew and recounted in his important 1995 book, Balkan Odyssey (p.143), namely that in April 1993, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was extremely anxious to prevent Bosnian Serb forces from overrunning Srebrenica. “On 16 April I spoke on the telephone to President Milosevic about my anxiety that, despite repeated assurances from Dr. Karadzic that he had no intention of taking Srebrenica, the Bosnian Serb army was now proceeding to do just that. The pocket was greatly reduced in size. I had rarely heard Milosevic so exasperated, but also so worried: he feared that if the Bosnian Serb troops entered Srebrenica there would be a bloodbath because of the tremendous bad blood that existed between the two armies. The Bosnian Serbs held the young Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, responsible for a massacre near Bratunac in December 1992 in which many Serb civilians had been killed. Milosevic believed it would be a great mistake for the Bosnian Serbs to take Srebrenica and promised to tell Karadzic so.”

Thus, many months before the July 1995 “Srebrenica massacre”, both Izetbegovic and Milosevic were aware of the possibility and of its potential impact - favorable to the Muslim cause, and disastrous for the Serbs.

A few other indisputable facts should not be overlooked:

Shortly before the Bosnian Serb attack on Srebrenica, the Muslim troops stationed in that enclave carried out murderous attacks on nearby Serb villages. These attacks were certain to incite Serb commanders to retaliate against the Srebrenica garrison.

Meanwhile, the Muslim high command in Sarajevo ordered the Srebrenica commanders, Oric and his lieutenants, to withdraw from Srebrenica, leaving thousands of his soldiers without commanders, without orders, and in total confusion when the foreseeable Serb attack occurred. Surviving Srebrenica Muslim officials have bitterly accused the Izetbegovic government of deliberately sacrificing them to the interests of his State.

According to the most thorough study of Srebrenica events, by Cees Wiebes for the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation report, the Bosnian Serb forces set out in July 1995 to reduce the area held by Bosnian Muslim forces on the outskirts of Srebrenica, and only decided to capture the town itself when they unexpectedly found it undefended.

“The VRS [Republika Srpska Army] advance went so well that the evening of July 9 saw an important ‘turning point’ [...] The Bosnian Serbs decided that they would no longer confine themselves to the southern part of the enclave, but would extend the operation and take the town of Srebrenica itself. Karadzic was informed that the results achieved now put the Drina Corps in a position to take the town; he had expressed his satisfaction with this and had agreed to a continuation of the operation to disarm the ‘Muslim terrorist gangs’ and to achieve a full demilitarization of the enclave. In this order, issued by Major General Zdravko Tolimir, it was also stated that Karadzic had determined that the safety of UNPROFOR soldiers and of the population should be ensured. Orders to this effect were to be provided to all participating units. [...] The orders made no mention of a forced relocation of the population. [...] A final instruction, also of significance, was that the population and prisoners of war should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. On July 11 all of Srebrenica fell into the hands of the Bosnian Serbs.”

In testimony to a French parliamentary commission inquiry into Srebrenica, General Philippe Morillon, the UNPROFOR officer who first called international attention to the Srebrenica enclave, stated his belief that Bosnian Serb forces had fallen into a “trap” when they decided to capture Srebrenica.

Subsequently, on February 12, 2004, testifying at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, General Morillon stressed that the Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region, and this prompted the region of Bratunac in particular---that is the entire Serb population---to rebel against the very idea that through humanitarian aid one might help the population that was present there.”

Asked by the ICTY prosecutor how Oric treated his Serb prisoners, General Morillon, who knew him well, replied that “Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself. I think that he realized that these were the rules of this horrific war, that he could not allow himself to take prisoners. According to my recollection, he didn’t even look for an excuse. It was simply a statement: One can’t be bothered with prisoners.”...

In short, Srebrenica, whose Serb population had been chased out by Muslim troops at the start of the civil war in 1992, was both a gathering point for civilian Muslim refugees and a Muslim army base. The enclave lived from international humanitarian aid. The Muslim military did not allow civilians to leave, since their presence was what ensured the arrival of humanitarian aid provisions which the military controlled.

When the Bosnian Serb forces captured the town on July 11, 2005, civilians were clamoring to leave the enclave, understandably enough, since there was virtually no normal economic life there. Much has been made of the fact that Serb forces separated the population, providing buses for women, children and the infirm to take them to Tuzla, while detaining the men. In light of all that preceded, the reason for this separation is obvious: the Bosnian Serbs were looking for the perpetrators of raids on Serb villages, in order to take revenge.

However, only a relatively small number of Muslim men were detained at that point, and some of them are known to have survived and eventually been released in exchange for Serb prisoners. When the Serb forces entered the town from the south, thousands of Muslim soldiers, in disarray because of the absence of commanding officers, fled northwards, through wild wooded hills toward Tuzla. It is clear enough that they fled because they feared exactly what everyone aware of the situation dreaded: that Serb soldiers would take vengeance on the men they considered guilty of murdering Serb civilians and prisoners.

Thousands of those men did in fact reach Tuzla, and were quietly redeployed. This was confirmed by international observers. However, Muslim authorities never provided information about these men, preferring to let them be counted among the missing, that is, among the massacred. Another large, unspecified number of these men were ambushed and killed as they fled in scenes of terrible panic. This was, then, a “massacre”, such as occurs in war when fleeing troops are ambushed by superior forces.

...So we come to the question of numbers. The question is difficult, both because of the uncertainty that surrounds it, and because merely pointing to this uncertainty is instantly denounced as “revisionism”...Suffice it here to note:

1. ... In many if not most disasters, initial estimates of casualties tend to be inflated, for various reasons, such as multiple reports of the same missing person, and are subsequently corrected downwards. This was the case for the World Trade Center disaster, where initial estimates of up to 10,000 victims were finally brought down to less than 3000, and there are many other examples. In the case of Srebrenica, the figure of 8,000 originated with September 1995 announcements by the International Committee of the Red Cross that it was seeking information about some 3,000 men reportedly detained as well as about some 5,000 who had fled to central Bosnia. Neither the Bosnian Serbs nor the Muslims were ever forthcoming with whatever information they had, and the “8,000” figure has tended ever since to be repeated as an established total of “Muslim men and boys executed by Serb forces”. It can be noted that this was always an estimate, the sum of two separate groups, the smaller one of prisoners (whose execution would be a clear war crime) and the larger one of retreating troops (whose “massacre” as they fled would be the usual tragic consequence of bitter civil war). Anyone familiar with the workings of journalism knows that there is a sort of professional inertia which leads reporters to repeat whatever figure they find in previous reports, without verification, and with a marked preference for big numbers.

...Despite unprecedented efforts over the past ten years to recover bodies from the area around Srebrenica, less than 3,000 have been exhumed, and these include soldiers and others - Serb as well as Muslim - who died in the vicious combats that took place during three years of war. Only a fraction have been identified.

...retention of the unproven high figure of massacre victims in the case of Srebrenica is clearly the result of political will on the part of two governments: the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic and, more importantly, the government of the United States. From the moment that Madeleine Albright brandished satellite photos of what she claimed was evidence of Serb massacres committed at Srebrenica (evidence that was both secret, as the photos were shown in closed session to the Security Council, and circumstantial, as they showed changes in terrain which might indicate massacres, not the alleged massacres themselves), the U.S. used “Srebrenica” for two clear purposes: to draw attention away from the U.S.-backed Croatian offensive which drove the Serb population out of the Krajina which, as much as Srebrenica, was supposed to be protected by the United Nations; to implicate Bosnian Serb leaders in “genocide” in order to disqualify them from negotiating the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina. (The U.S. preferred to replace them at Dayton by Milosevic, whose eagerness to end the war could be exploited to get concessions the Bosnian Serbs might refuse.)

Exploitation of “Srebrenica” then helped set the stage for the Kosovo war of 1999:

by blaming the United Nations ... by falsely identifying Milosevic with the Bosnian Serb leadership and by exploiting the notion that Srebrenica killings were part of a vast Serb plan of “genocide” carried out against non-Serbs for purely racist reasons, Madeleine Albright was able to advocate the NATO war against Yugoslavia as necessary to prevent “another Srebrenica”.

To use “Srebrenica” as an effective instrument in the restructuring of former Yugoslavia, notably by replacing recalcitrant Serb leaders by more pliable politicians, the crime needed to be as big as possible: not a mere war crime (such as the United States itself commits on a serial basis, from Vietnam to Panama to Iraq), but “genocide”: “the worst atrocity in Europe since the Holocaust”. That arouses the Hitler image...and implies a plan decided at the highest levels, rather than the brutal behavior of enraged soldiers (or paramilitaries, the probable culprits in this case) out of control.

But what plan for genocide includes offering safe passage to women and children? And if this was all part of a Serb plot to eliminate Muslims, what about all the Muslims living peacefully in Serbia itself, including thousands of refugees who fled there from Bosnia? Or the Muslims in the neighboring enclave of Zepa, who were unharmed when the Serbs captured that town a few days after capturing Srebrenica? To get around these common sense obstacles, the ICTY prosecution came up with a sociologist who provided an “expert” opinion: the Srebrenica Muslims lived in a patriarchal society, therefore killing the men was enough to ensure that there would be no more Muslims in Srebrenica. This amounts to shrinking the concept of “genocide” to fit the circumstances.

It was on basis of this definition that in August 2001 the Tribunal found Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic guilty of “complicity in genocide”. Although he neither ordered, participated in or was even aware of any executions, the judges ruled that he took part in what the ICTY calls a “joint criminal enterprise” simply by capturing Srebrenica, since he must have been aware that genocide was “a natural and foreseeable consequence”. This is the ruling that established “genocide” as the official description of events at Srebrenica.

Why such relentless determination to establish Srebrenica as “genocide”? ... On a practical level, if the court determines Srebrenica does not fit the legal definition of genocide, it would be very difficult to make the charge stick against Milosevic, said Michael Scharf, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, one of the designers of the ICTY who has also coached the judges for the trial of Saddam Hussein: .

“And it is crucial that he be convicted of genocide,” Scharf said. ...

It is striking that from the very start, the effort of the United States and of the Tribunal in The Hague - which it mainly finances, staffs and controls-has been to establish what it calls “command responsibility” for Serb crimes rather than individual guilt of actual perpetrators. The aim is not to identify and punish men who violated the Geneva conventions by executing prisoners, but rather to pin the supreme crime on the top Serb leadership.

The office of the ICTY prosecutor has chosen to rely heavily on a single confessed participant in the Srebrenica massacre...Drazen Erdemovic, a petty criminal of Croatian nationality who was hospitalized in Serbia in March 1996 after a near-fatal brawl in a bar in Novi Sad. Quite possibly in order to escape further threats from his personal enemies, Erdemovic confessed to Western news media to having taken part in mass murder in Bosnia. He was arrested by Serb authorities who then, at his request, turned him over to the Hague Tribunal.

From then on, the prosecution has used Erdemovic repeatedly as its star witness, using the U.S. procedure of “plea bargaining”...He has told his story to the judges at his own brief trial, where he was exempted from cross examination thanks to his guilty plea, as well as at a hearing incriminating Karadzic and Mladic (in the absence of any legal defense) and at various trials whenever “Srebrenica” comes up.

His story goes like this: after briefly serving in the Bosnian Muslim army, Erdemovic joined an international mercenary militia unit that seems to have been employed by the Bosnian Serb command for sabotage operations on enemy territory. On July 16, 1995, his unit of eight men executed between 1,000 and 1,200 Muslim men near the village of Pilice, some 40 kilometers north of Srebrenica. From around 10:30 in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon, these eight mercenaries emptied bus load after bus load of prisoners and lined them up to be shot by groups of ten.

... in Pilice...forensic investigators exhumed 153 bodies. One hundred and fifty-three executions of prisoners of war is a serious crime, and there is material evidence that this crime was committed. But 1,200? According to the manner of execution described by Erdemovic, it would have taken 20 hours to murder so many victims. Yet the judges have never questioned this elementary arithmetical implausibly higher number than can be supported by material evidence? Obviously, the Tribunal wants to keep the figures as high as possible in order to sustain the charge of “genocide”. The charge of “genocide” is what sharply distinguishes the indictment of Serbs from indictments of Croats or Muslims for similar crimes.

In August 2000 after not quite four and a half years in jail, the self-confessed mass murderer Erdemovic was freed, given a new identity, residence in an unspecified Western country and a “job”, so to speak, as occasional paid and “protected” witness for the ICTY...In contrast, General Krstic was sentenced to 35 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

...The transformation of Srebrenica into myth was illustrated last July by an article in the Italian leftist daily Liberazione (close to the “Communist Refoundation” party) reporting on a semi-documentary film entitled “Srebrenica, luci dall’oblio” (“Srebrenica, lights from oblivion”)...

Here we have the usual self-flagellation: “...what happened in Srebrenica: the massacre of 9,000 civilians, in the most total silence/absence on the part of the world institutions [responsible for] peace...” The author accepts without question the term “genocide” and raises the figure of victims to new heights. “Around 9,000 men between the ages of 14 and 70 were transported by truck to nearby centers where they were massacred and buried in mass graves...” This was “the greatest mass genocide committed since the days of Nazism until today”... What is the point of this exaggeration, this dramatization? Why is Srebrenica so much more terrible than the war that ravaged Vietnam, with countless massacres and devastation of the countryside by deadly chemicals, or the cold-blooded massacre of surrendering Iraqis at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991? But that is a genuinely forgotten massacre - not only forgotten, but never even recognized in the first place, and the “international community” has not sent teams of forensic scientists to find and identify the victims of U.S. weapons...

But the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not of that nature (between “aggressor” and “victim”)...[but] the result of an extraordinarily complex legal situation (an unsettled small Federal Republic constitutionally composed of three “nationalities”: Serb, Muslim and Croat, itself part of a disintegrating larger Federal Republic) exacerbated by myriad local power plays and the incoherent intervention of Great Powers. Moreover, this occurred in a region where memories of extremely bloody civil war during World War II were still very much alive. To a large extent, the fighting that broke loose in 1992 was a resumption of the vicious cycle of massacres and vengeance that devastated Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1941-44, when the Nazi occupation broke up Yugoslavia, attached Bosnia-Herzegovina to Greater Croatia, which proceeded to eliminate Serbs.

...the memory of victimhood is a moral and political capital of great value for the heirs of victimhood and especially for their self-appointed champions. And in the case of Bosnia, it promises to bring considerable financial gain. If Milosevic, as former president of Serbia, can be convicted of genocide, then the Bosnian Muslims hope to win billions of dollars in reparations that will keep Serbia on its knees for the foreseeable future.

...In the world today, few people, including Bosnian Muslims, are threatened by “genocide” in the sense of a deliberate Hitler-style project to exterminate a population - which is how most people understand the term. But millions of people are threatened, not by genocidal maniacs, but by genocidal conditions of life: poverty, disease, inadequate water, global climate change. The Srebrenica mourning cult offers nothing positive in regard to these genocidal conditions. Worse, it is instrumentalized openly to justify what is perhaps the worst of all the genocidal conditions: war.

Whatever happened in Srebrenica could have best been prevented, ...if...the Yugoslav crisis of 1990 settled by negotiations. But first of all, Germany opposed this, by bullying the European Union into immediate recognition of the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from Yugoslavia, without negotiation. All informed persons knew that this threatened the existence of Bosnia Herzegovina. The European Union proposed a cantonization plan for Bosnia Herzegovina, not very different from the present arrangement, which was accepted by leaders of the Bosnian Muslim, Serb and Croat communities. But shortly thereafter, Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic reneged, after the U.S. ambassador encouraged him to hold out for more. Throughout the subsequent fighting, the U.S. put obstacles in the way of every European peace plan. These years of obstruction enabled the United States to take control of the eventual peace settlement in Dayton, in November 1995.

...The false interpretation of “Srebrenica” as part of an ongoing Serb project of “genocide” was used to incite the NATO war against Yugoslavia, which devastated a country and left behind a cauldron of hatred and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The United States is currently engaged in a far more murderous and destructive war in Iraq. In this context, the Western lamentations that inflate the Srebrenica massacre into “the greatest mass genocide since Nazi times” are a diversion from the real existing genocide...

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions published by Monthly Review Press:

Goebbels lying has already unravelled over Iraq. But plenty more is on the way as others are lined up. Bush has restated the Empire’s pre-emptive strike policy, and the arms spending will be stepped up. But Iran is a tougher nut than Iraq eg. Imperialism needs to terrorise the planet and nothing is ruled out including nuclear weapons. Only revolution will stop the plunge to mayhem.

Build Leninism

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

How tiny socialist Cuba has provided massive resources to the forgotten Pakistan disaster

Nobody has surpassed the Cuban doctors

Pakistani Army chief of staff has praised the Cuban medical contingent’s professionalism, commitment and determination to help earthquake victims

“WE never dreamt that the Cubans would come to this part of the world, so far away, in such difficult times,” affirmed Major General Nadeem, chief of staff of the Pakistani Army, during a visit to field hospital number 20 in Muzafarabad in Kashmir where more than 55,000 people died October 6, 2005 due to a devastating earthquake.

This Cuban field hospital, staffed by 77 participants including 10 rehabilitators, includes intensive care, hospitalization and emergency units, among others, has attended to more than 9,000 patients and saved some 50 lives.

“What I saw during my tour of the installation is an expression of the professionalism, commitment, and determination of every one of you to help us. And in this nobody had been able to surpass you,” said Major General Nadeem.

“You are doing a great job, and everyone whom I have met in the areas affected by the earthquake is grateful for what you are doing here,” confirmed the military chief, noting that the Cuban contingent is the largest working in his country today. The Cuban doctors from the Henry Reeve International Contingent, who are in the Kashmiri area of Pakistan, had performed 3,572 operations - including 1,780 major ones - by December 25, 2005.

Bruno Rodriguez, first deputy minister of foreign affairs, explained that the 1,430 physicians making up this group of 2,260 participants have attended to 200,000 patients and saved hundreds of people in imminent danger of death,

According to official information, the earthquake left Pakistan with 73,000 dead and 70,000 wounded, including approximately two million child victims, and 3.3 million people homeless. Losses in the health and education sectors are calculated at $118.5 and $320.3 million, respectively.

Two months after the disaster, Indiana Gonzalez Mairena, director of unicef in this nation, qualified the Cuban efforts as “effective and useful.”

“I am convinced that this is a solidarity effort that we would not find in many other countries with more or less resources than Cuba; it is not a material issue but one of will,” she emphasized in Islamabad. Caring for survivors is the priority of Cuba’s medical personnel, who are carrying out their humane and noble labors in the areas most affected such as Bakalot and Muzafarabad, where they arrived with medicines, surgical instruments and materials.

According to a PL report, the communities attended by Cuban doctors have been declared free of risk from epidemics and are receiving universal and systematic medical coverage.

A baby named Cuba

For the first time and coinciding with the arrival of the Cuban doctors, a woman gave birth in the Attar Shisha hospital, located on the road between Mansehra and Balakot. Dr. Miriam Salas Calvaire, on call that night, assumed the responsibility. She had experience attending other births from her internationalist mission in Zimbabwe. The infant girl was named Cuba.

Dr. Salas, who has already attended to more than 500 patients, explained to Granma that in Pakistan, where the climate is dryer, acute respiratory infections, scabies, muscular disorders, gastritis and urinary sepsis are abundant. In addition there are other illnesses such as abdominal tuberculosis, malaria and pellagra (vitamin B 6 deficiency), which are rare within the Cuban health system. Twenty-two Cuban physicians and one nurse arrived at that hospital on October 31, 2005 and by December 16 they had seen some 5,700 patients representing 43% of the 13,000 inhabitants of the zone, 1,900 of whom are children.

Jared: destroyed but not forgotten

Currently bulging with hundreds of tents where the Pakistanis, for fear of further tremors, are sheltering from the low morning temperatures, the one-time tourist resort town of Jared has been destroyed but... not forgotten by the Cubans. It is located at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains, where the earthquake resulted in 776 deaths, 1,500 evacuees and 5,000 wounded as well as the destruction of 98% of homes.

Field hospital No, 13 has 43 Cuban health personnel, 29 of them are physicians. “From the beginning we have been supporting the Pakistani physician (Captain Ashfaq Ahmed) who was here when we arrived,” surgeon Miguel Cabrera, for whom this experience “is beautiful and hard at the same time,” informed Trabajadores.

The beauty of this mountain-surrounded valley and the disaster provoked by the worst earthquake in memory is indelible in the eyes and heart of these brigade members, whom the inhabitants of Jared and other nearby locations already recognize and greet with affection.

My people greatly appreciate this humane contribution

“I am surprised to see such participation’ and the people of my town are greatly appreciative of this really humane contribution,” said Ahmed, who confided that he felt more secure in being able to count on the Cuban specialists with whose help “we are attending to 100 patients daily.”

Today, they are still working alongside him, giving consultations and providing ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, in addition to going to nearby towns to do field work, a journey they generally make on foot, in the chill of the morning.

Meanwhile, in another area of Pakistan in the refugee camp of Bassian, more than 160 kilometers and four hours distant from the capital Colonel Atif Shafique affirmed without hesitation that “Cuba is now in my blood and in my sentiments.”

According to the head of the 21st Cavalry Regiment in the city of Peshawar, “the Cubans are not afraid of the weather or these low temperatures. They are only interested in helping people affected.”

Yuramis Gonzalez, a general medical practitioner from the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, recalled that when they arrived there were doctors from the United States, Holland and other countries. “We thought we would be rejected. Nevertheless, within a week the people were looking for us, and now they prefer our treatment.”

In one and a half months in Bassian, the area closest to the so-called “lost city” of Balakot, the Cuban doctors have attended to 9,000 patients and saved 15 lives, according to Dr. Jesus Roberto Mendivil Lopez.

Dr. Mendivil expressed his thanks for the cooperation of the Pakistani army, which helped to assemble tents upon their near-nightfall arrival, offered them food and provided them with a translator, since in this rural area many of the residents only speak Urdu.

“Thanks to them we have better living conditions; they are helping us with purchasing food, with transportation and providing security for all of the doctors.”

Determination of the women

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, who had “the privilege,” as he himself acknowledged, of meeting members of the Henry Reeve Contingent in Pakistan in full force, recalled the amazement of the Pakistani soldiers at the fortitude and determination of the Cuban women who represent nearly 50% of the members of this humanitarian aid mission.

During his speech to the Cuban Parliament on December 23, he mentioned that a military chief told him how he was asked to correct himself in the General Staff, when he stated that, upon reaching a point at which the jeep could not continue because the road was closed, the Cuban women carried their backpacks on their shoulders and walked five kilometers. When they saw that, the Pakistani soldiers decided to cooperate with them. •

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