“it wasn’t Russian sailors themselves who were clubbing or shooting each of these animals. The Aleutian Islands, and much of the southern rim of Alaska that Russian shipmen explored, already housed tens of thousands of locals. Aleuts and Tlingits, Inuit and Yupik, nation after nation of Alaska Natives already claimed a home in the region, largely untouched by European explorers.
And then the Russians came. And just as they had among Indigenous peoples in Siberia — and just as British, French, Spanish, and Portuguese explorers had done in the warmer climes of the Americas — Russian troops saw Indigenous peoples as little more than a subhuman hindrance, but also as a potential means to an end.
It didn’t take long after the Russian landing for the familiar pattern of colonial crimes to play out, sending Indigenous populations reeling. Almost immediately, Russian colonizers began implementing the same playbook they’d perfected across Siberia. The first step was known as iasak, in which Russian representatives demanded tribute — furs, typically — from Indigenous populations. In order to assure compliance, Russian traders implemented the playbook’s second element: amanaty, in which Russians would seize hostages from Indigenous populations, held until the iasak requirements were completed. Often, Russian representatives would kidnap the children of local leaders — all the better to ensure compliance. In some cases, as historian Anne Hyde has written, the Russians would abduct the children of up to half of the male populations of a given community.
Nor did they stop there. As the U.S.’s National Institute for Health notes, such an arrangement allowed the Russians to effectively “enslave” local populations. Demanding “furs in exchange for [the] lives” of women and children, Russians would “sexually exploit the hostages” — and even “execute the hostages” should the fur intake fall short. All of it, just “to set an example” for other recalcitrant Indigenous populations.”
“About 15 minutes into President Joe Biden’s Zoom call last Friday with families of Americans taken hostage by Hamas, a White House aide started to end the session.
But Biden wouldn’t have it, according to one of the family members on the call.
“The president actually looked at him and said: ‘Last time I checked I’m the president of the United States. And this meeting will end when I say it ends,'” said Ruby Chen of Israel, the father of Itay Chen, a 19-year-old member of the Israel Defense Forces and a dual US-Israeli citizen who is among those missing. “He actually wanted to hear from every single one of us.”
The moment encapsulated Biden’s sudden transformation from a political figure whose commitment to Israel was often questioned by conservative critics inside and outside the Jewish state to – right now – arguably the world’s leading champion of Israel outside the Middle East.
Biden’s actions and words since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, capped by a dramatic visit Wednesday to Israel, have been lauded even by many of Biden’s biggest skeptics in Israel as he stands in solidarity with Israel and pledges “unprecedented” military assistance.
“Israelis were hungry for a father figure that will hug them and show empathy. And the president has done that in such a way that really touched every Israeli,” said Nimrod Novik, a former foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and now a fellow with the Israel Policy Forum.”
“Hamas terrorists targeted primary schools in order to kill babies and children or take them hostage, according to plans retrieved from the bodies of dead gunmen.
The documents, published by NBC News on Saturday, reveal that the terrorists were instructed to attack schools and a youth centre in the kibbutz of Kfar Sa’ad.”
“two years on, 3,000 civilians have reportedly been killed by the Tatmadaw, though the number of civilian deaths caused by both the junta and the resistance is likely higher. The airstrike is also indicative of the junta’s determination to retain power no matter the cost, despite its inability to maintain territorial control.
Though Myanmar has a long history of brutal and repressive military rule, the stunning violence of the current regime has made it “the worst regime in Southeast Asia since the Khmer Rouge,” according to former US Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel, referring to Pol Pot’s murderous dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.
The junta, or Tatmadaw as it’s called in Myanmar, has solidified the country’s status as a pariah state with its repressive tactics and scorched-earth military attacks. Yet it has stated its plans to hold elections this year in order to legitimize its control of the government on the international stage — or at least make an attempt to do so.”
“opposition to military rule has morphed from protests to outright conflict, as armed factions aligned with Myanmar’s many ethnic groups battle government forces for territorial control. Though many groups fight under the banner of the shadow government, the National Unity Government (NUG), the opposition has thus far proven ineffective at — and perhaps uninterested in — building the coalitions necessary to create a future democratic government, according to David Scott Mathieson, an independent analyst.”
“Given that the Tatmadaw controls all of Myanmar’s state enterprises, including the oil, mining, and timber industries, it can — and will — continue its horrific campaign as long as those resources hold out, even as that battle plunges the country into extreme poverty.
According to a 2022 report from the UN OHCHR, the Tatmadaw government “has collapsed in many areas nationwide, the public health system has effectively broken down, and more than half of all school-aged children have not accessed education for two academic years.” Ye Myo Hein, a global fellow at the Wilson Center and visiting fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, tweeted in late March regarding the fuel cuts and energy crisis affecting Myanmar, noting that, “The country has been experiencing increasingly frequent and disruptive power cuts — up to 14 and 15 hours a day in some areas.”
But neither side has the impetus to negotiate a solution so that Myanmar can rebuild its society and economy, nor does either have a particularly convincing vision for the future. If the Tatmadaw does manage to hold elections, they will be a sham and will convince few besides themselves of their mandate to govern.
Should the resistance somehow outlast or defeat the regime, it will have to grow from a symbolic government-in-exile to a unifying political force capable of not only rebuilding the nation and its economy, but also establishing a diverse governing coalition that reflects the Burmese people’s interests.”