The Indian Express – US to withdraw from Paris Climate agreement, Donald Trump says deal not tough enough on India, China

“As President I can put no other considerations before the welfare of the citizens,” Donald Trump said after announcing that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

Amitabh Sinha

New Delhi, 2 June 2017. Confirming the worst fears, President Donald Trump today stunned the world with the announcement that the United States would withdraw from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement that seeks to safeguard the planet from the increasingly disastrous impacts of climate change.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump, leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, said in one of the most nervously-anticipated announcements ever.

Trump said he will begin negotiations to “re-enter” the Paris accord or “entirely new” agreement on “terms that are fair to US, its businesses, its people, its taxpayers,” he said. Trump said the agreement was putting every other country at an advantage by putting America at a “great financial disadvantage”. He called the Paris agreement a “self-inflicted major economic wound”.

He said the deal was not tough enough on India and China. “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020,” he said, adding even Europe was allowed to do that. Trump’s decision to withdraw means the United States will become just the third country to remain out of the Paris Agreement, the other two being Nicaragua and Syria, both of which, unlike the US, never joined.

Trump said he was willing to work with Democrat leaders to reenter the Paris agreement on terms fair to the US. “Until we do that, we are out of the agreement,” he said. He said America was committed to protection of environment but the onus had to be borne by all participating countries equally.

The US action jeopardises the carefully built and delicately balanced agreement that was the result of decade-long intense negotiations. The Paris Agreement asks each of its 195 member countries, 194 after US pull out, to make self-determined ‘contributions’ in the global fight against climate change, with the overall objective of restricting the rise of earth’s temperatures to within two degree celsius as compared to pre-industrial times.

Trump had criticised the Paris Agreement, which the United States under the eight years of Barack Obama administration had played a key role in negotiating, during his campaign trail and had promised to pull the US out of it, if elected. He had also described climate change as a ‘hoax’.

To be sure, the Paris Agreement will not fall apart as a result of US withdrawal but there is a possibility of some other countries following suit or losing interest in the agreement objectives.

In the absence of the United States, the biggest historical emitter, the Paris Agreement is also in danger of meeting the fate of Kyoto Protocol that has remained a major under-achiever. Kyoto Protocol is the climate treaty that Paris Agreement seeks to replace.

Negotiated in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to die in 2020. The United States was not a member of the Kyoto Protocol either.

Besides the fact that the emission reductions from the United States are crucial to achieving the global targets, Washington’s ability to mobilise financial and technological resources to fight climate change are absolutely vital for the success of the Paris Agreement.

Advertisements – Labour Race & Faith Manifesto Pledges to Defend Right to Wear Religious Dress for Sikhs and Others

Sikhs for Labour

London-UK, 30 May 2017. The UK Labour Party has today published its Race and Faith Manifesto for the General Election taking place on 8th June 2017.

As part of the Race & Faith Manifesto, Labour is committing to address a longstanding issue for UK Sikhs by defending the right of Sikhs to wear religious dress. Practicing (Amritdhari) Sikhs are required to wear the five K’s and also wear a turban.

These articles of faith are mandatory for Amritdhari Sikhs and several of them will be worn by all Sikhs.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson said, “The Labour Party believes in a society where faith is valued and people are able to practice their faith freely. I know how important it is for Sikhs to be able to wear their articles of faith but I’m also aware of the challenges that can arise when they do so.

By making a commitment to defend Sikhs’ right to wear their articles of faith Labour is addressing an issue of real concern for the UK’s Sikh community.”

Watson added, “The Sikh community is well-established and there is a long shared history between Sikhs and the UK. But although there are some protections for Sikhs in law, the existing legal framework rests on a wide range of legislation and guidance that is often unrelated and does not always provide the protection Parliament intended.

I will work with Sikh organisations, including Sikhs for Labour, to examine how Parliament can bring the existing protections together so they are simpler to understand and easier to implement”.

Statutory Regulations on the 5K’s and Turban

Sikhs accept that the legislative and regulatory framework within the UK is among the best in the world for observant and practicing Sikhs. However, there continues to be difficulties experienced by Sikhs which present challenges to Sikhs to freely practice their faith.

These difficulties tend to concern the wearing of Kara, Kirpan or Turban in a multitude of environments.

There are many pieces of legislation and guidance from Government and other bodies addressing varying aspects that Sikhs rely upon when facing difficulties. However, due to the dispersed nature of this legislation and guidance it can be difficult for employers, officials and public and private organisations to understand their responsibilities and the rights of Sikhs.

Introduction of Statutory Regulations that collates current legislation and guidance and that has legal basis will help simplify and ensure consistency thus preventing discrimination in the workplace, public spaces and by public and private organisations.

Such a Statutory Regulations document could also include guidelines on the protocol when visiting Gurdwaras, participating in Guru Ka Langar and understanding and respecting Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Liège Gurdwara – Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan

Liège Gurdwara – Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan
30 April 2017

Rue Saint-Léonard – Gatka Akhara

Rue Saint-Léonard – Gatka Akhara

Rue Saint-Léonard – Panj Piare

Rue Saint-Léonard – Palki truck

Turning into Rue du Tir

Rue des Steppes – Sortie d’Ecole – Ralentir
School exit – slow down !
The Nagar Kirtan was slow enough already

Gurdwara Guru Nanak Prakash
Rue St Léonard 625
4000 Liège/Luik – Province de Liège

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue – What We Have Unleashed

A long and interesting article about Trump’s USA
Man in Blue

This year’s string of brutal hate crimes is intrinsically connected to the rise of Trump.

Jamelle Bouie

Last week, in Portland, Oregon, a man with a history of white supremacist rhetoric allegedly killed two men and injured one other who had tried to stop his harassment of two young women, one black, the other wearing a hijab.

A week earlier, in College Park, Maryland, another young man, active in white supremacist Facebook groups, killed a black college student after confronting him on the street, according to police.

In March, a white supremacist reportedly traveled from Baltimore to New York City with the express purpose of killing a black man, which he did, before turning himself into police. Earlier that month, a Sikh man was shot and injured in front of his house in a Seattle suburb.

His alleged attacker reportedly shouted “go back to your country.” Days earlier, in Kansas, authorities described how a man walked into a bar and shot three men, including two immigrants from India, after shouting “get out of my country” and yelling racial slurs. One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died of his wounds.

More recently, a California man was alleged to have stabbed a black man with a machete after yelling racial slurs, he’s facing charges, and a Native American man was run down and killed by an assailant who allegedly shouted racial slurs.

These events are not isolated. They represent a growing tide of intolerance in the United States, fanned by the presidential election and embodied by the sitting president. At the same time, they, and the larger forces they represent, aren’t novel.

The rise of racist reaction in politics almost always brings a similar rise of racist violence in civil society. For as much as the current period feels new, we are living through an old, and very American, cycle of behavior.

Nationally, white supremacist and white nationalist activity is on the rise, from more aggressive recruiting online, to active organizing and intimidation on college campuses.

Law enforcement officials in cities such as New York have seen a surge in reported hate crimes, and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports an increase in the number of hate groups. All of this takes place against a backdrop of political intolerance.

Donald Trump ran for president on a platform of ethno-nationalism, offering interested white voters a chance to express and vote their resentments against Hispanic immigrants, Muslim Americans, and groups like Black Lives Matter.

His campaign brought explicitly racist groups, individuals, and institutions into the mainstream, from Steve Bannon, who rode the success of his hate-fueled site Breitbart to a position as a top adviser in the Trump White House, to formerly fringe figures like Iowa Republican Steve King, who routinely traffics in white nationalist rhetoric.

Millions of white Americans stomped the floor for Trump’s promise to end “political correctness” and restore prosperity through tough action against foreign others, turning out at higher numbers than either 2008 or 2012. This rhetoric has a real impact.

A recent working paper suggests that when people view Trump’s popularity as going up, it “increases their willingness to publicly express xenophobic views.” It’s a straightforward idea: High electoral support for a candidate who espouses prejudiced views may shape how individuals perceive the social desirability of those views.

In our case, the election of Trump may have weakened norms against the expression of various bigotries, including racism. To all of this, add the return of “scientific racism” to public view and the recent controversies over Confederate memorials and Confederate remembrance, which have galvanized a broad stripe of racial reactionaries.

The centrality to all this of Trump, a reality television star turned public conspiracy theorist turned president of the United States, makes it unusual, as far as American history goes.

He is a novel figure in the annals of presidential politics, a modern-day P T Barnum representing an extremely ideological and uniquely politically dominant Republican Party. But while we live in somewhat unfamiliar times, the larger dynamic at work is unfortunately too familiar.

Throughout American history, the ascendance of political racism, the use of explicit prejudice to energize voters and win elections, often as a backlash to the social and economic advancement of black Americans and other nonwhite groups, has brought corresponding waves of racial violence.

The “white supremacy” campaign that struck North Carolina in the state’s 1898 elections combined heated, racist rhetoric with a campaign of terror against black Republican voters and their white allies.

Likewise, during the heyday of the civil rights movement, the heated demagoguery of segregationists was fuel for the violent responses that marked the crusade for black rights.

To that point, this week marks the 96th anniversary of the massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst anti-black pogroms in American history. The attack began on May 31, 1921, following an accident.

As Tim Madigan details in The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, had stubbed the toe of 17-year-old white elevator operator Sarah Page. (There’s evidence that they knew each other and may have even been romantically involved.)

A clerk in the building heard her scream and saw Rowland fleeing the building. Thinking she had been assaulted, then a common euphemism for rape, the clerk called the police. After speaking with Page, authorities concluded that this was a minor incident, and Page herself declined to press charges.

This may have all dissipated if not for coverage from the Tulsa Tribune, a white-owned newspaper known for virulent racism. The Tribune broke the story of the elevator incident with the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in an Elevator,” with a corresponding editorial titled “To Lynch Negro Tonight”.

From here, events snowballed. Rowland was arrested and taken to the Tulsa County Courthouse, where local whites were gathering. Fearing a lynching, blacks in the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood, including veterans of World War I, armed themselves and went to the courthouse, determined to support the sheriff and defend Rowland.

Seeing armed blacks, this group of whites gathered their own guns, even attempting to raid the local National Guard armory. As tensions built between the thousands of armed whites and the smaller group of armed blacks, a gunshot went off. What followed was a shootout between both groups, leaving 10 whites and two blacks dead or dying.

Gunfights continued throughout the night and into the next day, reaching Greenwood, as armed whites attacked bystanders and set fire to homes. By the morning of June 1, whites were using biplanes to drop incendiary bombs over the neighborhood.

The mob destroyed Greenwood, burning it and its wealth to the ground. Thousands of families fled, and the best estimates suggest a death toll of at least 100.

This history doesn’t just matter as an event in its own right; it matters because of its context. The racist anger of the white citizens of Tulsa, their zeal for vigilante violence, was part of a larger mood of nativism, anti-Semitism, and racism in the United States.

Leading figures like Henry Ford stoked hatred of Jews through the Dearborn Independent, a weekly newspaper with a circulation in the hundreds of thousands. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan claimed millions of members, including influential lawmakers in states and localities across the country.

Woodrow Wilson, who resegregated the federal government and turned a blind eye to lynching, had just left office. He was succeeded by Warren Harding, who embraced the “Anglo-Saxon” chauvinism that consumed American intellectual life at the time.

And countless Americans were still flocking to theaters to catch Birth of a Nation, with its starkly racist imagery and celebration of anti-black vigilantism.

Adding fuel to this fire were the winds of backlash. Tens of thousands of black Americans had served in World War I, and they returned home with a new sense of dignity and worth. They believed that their service entitled them to the fruits of American democracy, to equal rights, equal participation, and equal opportunities.

They were entitled to that, of course. But the truth of that threatened racial hierarchies and white dominance. What followed the end of the war was a nationwide storm of violence against black communities, as white anxiety mixed with racist ideology to produce a wave of racial repression.

Key to all of this is the interplay between racism in culture, in politics, and in public life. Each reinforced the other, creating an atmosphere of hostility and violence that wasn’t otherwise inevitable, even as it had its antecedents.

Put differently, racist violence isn’t spontaneous; it creeps up from fertile ground, feeding on hate and intolerance in the public sphere.

The lynching epidemic exploded with the end of Reconstruction and the reconciliation of Northern and Southern whites under the banner of white supremacy, pogroms in towns like Tulsa occurred in an atmosphere of unimaginably virulent racism, and the killings and assassinations of the civil rights era were inseparable from the segregationist fire-eaters that governed states like Mississippi and Alabama.

Today, the rising pace of hate crimes is tied to a political style that has harnessed and weaponized white resentment by way of an ethno-nationalist movement that sees America in narrow, racially exclusionary terms.

This is why social and political sanctions against racism have historically been so important. This is why we tolerate the public expression of racism at our own peril. Embedded in racism is an eliminationist impulse that grows out of the explicit call for exclusion.

In the right environment, under the right conditions, the call to remove “others” can become a drive to destroy them. We are living in an age of political racism and mainstreamed hate, where white supremacists act and organize in the open, so we are now also living in those conditions. Through our political choices, we have unleashed one of our deadliest legacies. We can already count the victims.

The Hindu – Saharanpur Dalits fear they will be driven out

Complain to District Magistrate, SSP of harassment

Meerut, 1 June 2017. Dalit residents of Shabbirpur village, which witnessed caste clashes and violence last month, approached the District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police of Saharanpur on Thursday, alleging that members of the dominant Thakur community were harassing them and trying to force them to leave the village.

They also complained to the DM Pramod Kumar Pandey and SSP Babloo Kumar about eve teasing by members of the Thakur community. The DM and the SSP assured the dalits that police had been deployed in the village and no one would harm them.

Large-scale destruction

Two people died and over three dozen were seriously injured in caste clashes that broke out in Saharanpur after the dalits of Shabbirpur objected to the loud music being played by a Maharana Pratap Memorial procession taken out by the Thakurs on May 5. Around 60 houses of dalits were burnt down by a violent mob.

“A general environment of fear is being created to force us to leave the village. We are getting open threats that dalits will not be allowed to live here. Our women are being eve-teased on the village roads and when they go out to attend nature’s call,” Suggan, who was part of the group that met the DM and SSP, told The Hindu.

“Thakur men are roaming the village with arms and swords. They are looking for an opportunity to attack us again. We will have no option but to migrate to other villages,” said Suggan, who is in his late sixties. He said most of the youth have left the village fearing arrest.

Members of the Thakur community, however, rejected the allegations. Pawan, a Thakur youth, told The Hindu that the dalits were lying. “First they burnt their own houses to claim compensation,” he said.