Saturday, January 31, 2009

Äidille: I met Jesus in Gaza last night

photo caption: unknown dead boy Gaza

I thought of my mother when I read this new poem by distinguished South African poet Rassool Snyman. I wondered, is her Jesus big enough to embrace the Jesus in Gaza?

Jesus in Gaza

By Rassool Jibraeel Snyman

I met Jesus in Gaza last night

Nailed to a concrete wall

Impaled by shrapnel

Through hands and feet

Wearing a crown of barbed wire

And a countenance of sorrow

At his feet

A bloodied child




Tattered were her clothes

Ugly were her wounds

I wept for her

He wept for us

Soldiers with blues stars

And white apparel

Stared stonily


With no emotion on their faces

And death in their souls

Moonlight reflected on their guns

And their dead eyes

I met Jesus in Gaza last night

I’ve aged a thousand years

And died a thousand times

I met Jesus in Gaza last night

Life will never be the same

(South Africa – January 29, 2009; "Tales of Extreme Sanity")

A message from Father Manuel Musallam, the Pastor of the Catholic Church of God in Gaza:

"The world has to find a solution for the Palestinian people and not simply revert to the position they were in before it began. The borders with Israel must be redrawn and the occupation, which began 60 years ago, has to end.

The status of Palestinian refugees must be resolved pursuant to the Right of Return, and East Jerusalem must be the Palestinian state capital. We must tear down the Apartheid Wall, open the border crossings, free Palestinian detainees and remove Israeli settlements so the land can be returned to its original Palestinian owners.

Peace is only possible if it embraces justice. If the world grants the Palestinian people their human rights there will surely be peace in the Middle East.

From all the people of Gaza we thank you, our friends everywhere, for your constant prayers and particularly for the support which we urgently need and we hope will reach us soon. We thank His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI for his stance in calling for peace in the Middle East and for his generous support to the poor of Gaza. And we thank all bishops, priests, pastors, monks and nuns across the world for remembering us in their prayers.

On behalf of every Gazan, we share your prayers and say to the world: “From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” (Galatians 6: 17-18)"

Gaza City church. from Kennysideshow blog

ending military technologies

According to my 1969 Webster's Dictionary, to 'aid' means to help, to assist, to come to the support or relief of. My Q: how can aid and products of death be linked? Logically? How is that possible? Helping bring death and suffering through bombs and other technologies of terror? Aid is not the word for making and exporting military technologies.

Of course, I agree with the statement in this poster. The US must stop sending armaments to Israel. It must stop giving military technologies, but it must stop making arms, period.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama defends and supports military & economic aid to Israel

If anyone has any doubts where Obama's undivided loyalties lie, just take it from The Man himself. I've bolded the areas that speak to the absolute alignment of the US with Israel, and while I found most, if not all, of his statement troubling, I was dismayed to read of Obama's support of the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in 2006. So, what else is new?

Especially troubling is that funding Israel militarily and economically is a "funding priority." Now, shouldn't all those Americans without health plans, or jobs or homes start jumping up and down and protesting this? Shouldn't African Americans who bear the brunt of much of America's inadequate funding of social policies start jumping up and down RIGHT NOW and protest this? Read it folks: Obama advocates INCREASING this foreign "aid" to Israel. That's your tax dollars, folks. Going into the killing machine instead of your neighbourhoods. What was all that post election tv propaganda about Obama working in disenfranchised neighbourhoods? How can we read that in light of his absolute alignment with the Israeli Ashkenazi (white European) elites, that is, the oppressors of those in the disenfranchised neighbourhoods, that is, the Palestinians?

From President Obama's official White house website. Under Foreign Policy, there is a special section just on Israel (now, why don't I find that unusual?):


* Ensure a Strong U.S.-Israel Partnership: Barack Obama and Joe Biden strongly support the U.S.-Israel relationship, and believe that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the region. They support this closeness, and have stated that the United States will never distance itself from Israel.

* Support Israel's Right to Self Defense: During the July 2006 Lebanon war, Barack Obama stood up strongly for Israel's right to defend itself from Hezbollah raids and rocket attacks, cosponsoring a Senate resolution against Iran and Syria's involvement in the war, and insisting that Israel should not be pressured into a ceasefire that did not deal with the threat of Hezbollah missiles. He and Joe Biden believe strongly in Israel's right to protect its citizens.

* Support Foreign Assistance to Israel: Barack Obama and Joe Biden have consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. They defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. They have called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems.

Vanunu on the Wall and peace

Vanunu's Message to Hillary Clinton re: The Apartheid Wall

Mordecai Vanunu, a Mizrahi Jew, spent 18 yrs in an Israeli prison, much of that in solitary confinement, for warning the world about Israel’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), that is, its nuclear weapons program.

Mordecai Vanunu:
"The only way to peace is peace; the only way is non-violence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peace-full voice. When I became the spy for the world I did it all for the people of the world. If governments do not report the truth, if media does not report the truth, all we can do is follow our conscience... Israel is not a democracy unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMD's. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians, right here in Israel."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Canada Park: Canadian cover-up of war crimes

Canada Park: Park with No Peace. 5th Estate documentary (1991) 31 m. produced by Neil Docherty

Canada Park in Occupied Territories, built on the site of the destroyed villages of Imwas, Yahu, and Bayt Nuba, from which 1000s of Palestinians were expelled. Israeli writer and former Knesset member Uri Avnery states that "by putting this park there and calling it Canada Park [it's] a Canadian cover-up of war crimes."

Canada Park was built by Canadian Jews and Christians, whose donations were tax-deductible in Canada, and the Jewish National Fund. The hypocrisy of the Jewish National Fund is mind-boggling: on their website they urge people to "plant trees in Israel", appealing not only to a romanticized "homeland" discourse but also to their environmental and green consciousness, yet they forgot to mention on their "When you plant a tree in Israel" page the criminal activities of the Israeli army and extremist settlers in bulldozing and uprooting Palestinian olive trees, orange trees, and entire orchards and groves!

Above: "Yasmin Khayal stands chained to olive trees
in the path of an Israeli military bulldozer at work expanding the Israeli settlement of Yakir in violation of international law and cease-fire agreements. Yasmin was part of a protest to stop the destruction of the orchard belonging to the Palestinian village of Dir Istya in the occupied West Bank. For her action, Yasmin spent time in Israeli women's prison."

what Urho said about Moti

I hear a lot of stories. This morning, sitting at the Hoito coffee bar, where I had gone to deliver to Urho the copies I made of the newspaper articles he wanted, I was given 2 stories by 2 different Finnish Canadian men. One from an 80yr old man wearing a wolf fur Russian-style bomber hat that looked like a rolled porcupine, the other by an overweight middle-aged man who fancies himself an outlaw having driven 10 cop cars into the ditch with his white Camaro.

But today I am going to tell you the story that Urho told me on Monday when I was telling him about Palestine and explaining Hamas to him and who the real terrorists were and how Zionist Jews, both proto-Israeli terrorist groups like Irgun and, since 1948, the Israeli army have for more than 60 years been killing innocent Palestinian villagers and farmers in order to raze their villages and claim their lands and put their own towns on top of them, and even green spaces--like Canada Park. The 14,000 Palestinian inhabitants of Beit Nuba, Yalu and Imwas, the three demolished villages that once stood where Canada Park is now, were forcibly expelled from this land. If you are NOT Palestinian or an Arab national (highways of racism exist all over Israel--including in the West Bank which only Israeli settlers can drive on), you can drive on the John Diefenbaker Parkway, named after a former Canadian prime minister, that now travels through the stolen lands seeped in Palestinian blood.

Here is one story of how that blood found its way under that park in Israel paid for by Canadians:

Urho told me that in the early 80s he met a man in Florida; it was 1982 to be exact. He was going to the same pilot school as Urho and he was an Israeli, now an American, about 40 yrs old and his name was Moti Gal. Moti told him that as a young man he had been in the Israeli army but he had been given a very hard time because he had refused to do what he had been ordered to do. Indeed, his army superior had held a pistol to his temple because Moti said he will not go and kill the people he had been ordered to kill.

He recounted to Urho a story of being trucked, along with a group of other young soldiers both male and female, into a Palestinian village in the dead of night. He said that the missions they were trained for were for night, and that there were trucks bringing troupes of soldiers to these villages where unsuspecting villagers lay sleeping. The soldiers didn't carry guns, but knives. Long knives, said Urho, showing me with a flourish. The soldiers were trained to use knives so that they wouldn't make a sound and give away their "mission."

Urho said Moti told him that it was after one of the members of his troupe, a 19 yr old female soldier, came back and gleefully showed him her bloodied knife that he felt revulsion and refused to participate in the killings. That's when the gun was put to his head.

Urho told me that Moti told him that he had a very hard time after that and spent some time in jail and was humiliated and scorned by others for his military "failure" and when he was free he went to America. And that's where Urho met him, in aviation classes. He was a real smart man, said Urho, and was eventually hired by the Saudis as a pilot.

And that is what Urho told me about Moti from Florida.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


"What does it say about Obama's character that he sides with the Israeli slaughter machine against those that it slaughters?," asks Russell Mokhiber.

"What does it say about the character of his "progressive" supporters, who cry for joy at his inauguration, but say not a peep about the slaughter machine and its victims?
In response [to ads Israel placed in North American newspapers], the American Arab Anti-Defamation Committee (ADC) last week put up an ad on its web site titled – What If Israel Were in Your Neighborhood?


Death and Destruction with American built F-16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters."

Cleansing war crimes: The page where I found this Reuters image of a US-built Apache Helicopter Gunship, which in its upwards look fails to show the carnage this death machine was wreaking on the ground in Gaza, has the following caption, that again cleanses the atrocities inflicted on the Palestinian population of Gaza by the Israelis. Further, beneath the caption is an ad that appeals for donations: "Support IDF Soldiers! You Too Can Strengthen Israel's Defense."

"An Israeli Apache gunship flies over the Gaza Strip January 5, 2009. Israeli tanks, planes and ground forces pounded Gaza on Monday and the defence minister said the offensive against Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave would go on until Israel was safe."

from The website for the defence industries--army:

Apache Attack Helicopter Gunship

"The Apache is a twin-engined army attack helicopter developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). It entered service with the US Army in 1984 and has been exported to Egypt, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The US Army has more than 800 Apaches in service, and more than 1,000 have been exported. The Apache was first used in combat in 1989 in the US military action in Panama. It was used in Operation Desert Storm and has supported low intensity and peacekeeping operations worldwide including Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo."

What I want to know is who named this death machine an Apache? Are American Indian groups speaking out against this outrage?

Chávez says "the same stench is coming"

bench in Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico.

Takes on Obama from Latin America from the Weekly News Update on the Americas from the blog of the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York:

"Latin America: Reactions as Obama Takes Office
Latin American leaders were generally cautious in their assessment of Barack Obama, a former Democratic senator who was sworn in on Jan. 20 as US president, succeeding conservative Republican George W. Bush.

On Jan. 19, during his weekly radio show, "Breakfast with the President," Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said: "I think if he wants to, Obama can improve the bilateral relations" between Brazil and the US. He urged the new president to end the US trade embargo against Cuba since "there is no scientific and political explanation for the embargo to continue." (Xinhua 1/20/09)

In an opinion piece posted on Juventud Rebelde's website on Jan. 22, former Cuban president Fidel Castro wrote: "I personally harbor no doubt of the honesty with which Obama expressed his ideas" in his inauguration address. But Castro added that "despite his noble intentions, some questions remain unanswered. Like, how can a wasteful, consumerist system protect the environment?" (Bloomberg 1/22/09) Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was visiting Cuba when Obama was inaugurated, remarked that it was good to have a president with "intelligence and rationality." (World Politics Review 1/22/09)

The harshest words came from Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. During the week of Jan. 11 the US Spanish-language network Univision broadcast an interview in which Obama accused Chávez of blocking progress in the region and "exporting terrorist activities." On Jan. 18 Chávez said he thought "the same stench is coming" as with Bush. "This is the US Empire we're talking about," he added. (World Politics Review 1/22/09; La Jornada (Mexico) 1/25/09 from AFP, Notimex, DPA)"

Thunder Bay is by the 3rd eye

[click to enlarge] The Great Lakes

Thunder Bay is inside the white, in the upper left hand corner, on the north shore of Lake Superior, which takes the shape of a Wolf's head. The wolf's nose is in Duluth, Minnesota, USA; our city is by the 3rd eye of the wolf. North Bay is to the east, on Lake Nipissing, which is the 2nd small lake due north of Lake Ontario and the city of Toronto.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

bombs behind flowers

Did you watch the video clips on bombs that I posted in the previous post? Not easy to watch--that is, if you see yourself behind the eyes of someone underneath those bombs. As the target. Those clips are made, however, from the perspective of those dropping the bombs, or dreaming to drop them. The clips are just a few of the videos on bombs and other war technologies available on the net, that are, horrifyingly, posted to provoke awe. Who dreams up these technologies of war? Who lies in bed at night dreaming about how to make flechettes?

Bombs even come decorated in flowers. As'ad AbuKhalil, on Obama's recent interview on Al-Arabiyya tv, writes: "Obama as a representative of the White Man (and he can also be referred to as the White Man, analytically speaking just as Margaret Thatcher was a representative of the White Man) did not deviate from the deep racism that characterizes US foreign policy to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I mean when he refers to Israel's security as "paramount" he is basically saying (like previous US president) that the security of the Palestinians is inferior because they are seen as inferior people. There is no question about that. It means that and the racism is reflected clearly in the disregard of Israeli WMDs. It never comes up in any interview with US officials on Al-Arabiyya (it is featured regularly in AlJazeera as yesterday's interview with Brent Scowcroft showed). Karl Marx wrote somewhere about the danger of covering up the chain with flowers. Obama is no different than Bush but American bombs and missiles under his administration will be decorated and covered with flowers. If that is a reason to celebrate, please open the champagne bottles NOW."

will Obama stop making these?

B-2 Stealth Bomber. The end of this clip reads: "Do Something Amazing."

US Apache helicopter.

SFW or Sensor Fused Weapon or 1000 pound "Smart" bomb that covers 360 acres.

Someone in the Israeli army has uploaded a video from their fighter jet cockpit of bombing a mosque in Gaza. No mention of dead and burned bodies here, rather the language is stripped of death: "Weapons Hidden in Mosque Neutralized by Israel Air Force 31 Dec. 2008"

CBU-97 aka Cluster Bomb

During the summer of 2006, Israel dropped millions of US-made cluster bombs in southern Lebanon. Below is a poem I wrote, which I read as part of a poetry road crew for Random Acts of Poetry, during our stop at LU Radio last October.

Our combined efforts are needed

They lie in wheat fields, tobacco fields,
schoolyards and gardens,
on the ground in olive groves.
They hang from citrus trees,
rest on the broad leaves of banana trees and stud the roads of southern Lebanon.

On the ground they look like toys.
Each has a white tail — like the tail of a kite — so children run to play with them. Often, children are the ones injured or killed
by CBU-87/B combined efforts munitions.

60 small dense bomblets are packed into a cylinder to make one cluster bomb.


The US is one of the largest manufacturers, stockpilers, users, and exporters of cluster bombs.
Countries opposing their ban:

US, Israel, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Brazil.

“Cluster bombs are legal if aimed at military targets and very efficient,” military experts says.
Fired from Israeli aircraft and artillery, cluster bombs sprayed
4 million bomblets across the fields, forests, groves and gardens of southern Lebanon.
“We covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” reports Ha’aretz, an Israeli newspaper.

“The land has become my enemy,” laments Hussein Abdullah,
a farmer from southern Lebanon,
“I’m afraid for my children.”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

bearing witness, calling for action

photo from FreeGaza on Flikr

Yesterday afternoon we held the Vigil for the dead Palestinian children of Gaza. It was -27 windchill, but we had 60-70 people show up to express their respect for the children targeted by Israel. I will post some photos and the newspaper article soon, as well as relate what we did at the Vigil. After the Vigil, many people came to my and my husband's home; this is our life for 30 plus years: our house is an open door for talking about justice while eating good food together. So, this is what we did.

Later in the evening I read testimonies of people in Gaza. Ewa Jasiewicz, of has collected some testimonies, describes the devastated landscape and families, as well as talks about actions that have been taken and are needed to do to change the ongoing history of catastrophe. Jasiewicz's complete "Eyewitness to Yesterday and Tomorrow" can be found on The Palestine Chronicle. I have excerpted some of what Jaseiwicz writes below:

about "Home"
"The war was felt and heard in every home, it invaded some homes, soldiers occupied and destroyed peoples homes, tank shells, burning white phosphorous and bulldozers smashed homes, some people were buried under their homes, some are still entombed in their homes. Where is this home now? 50,000 people are homless according to the UN. Living in tents, classrooms, crowded rooms in the homes of relatives, under tarpaulin stretched over roofless rooms on family land, still standing."

about "the Dead Zone"
"We got the call early Sunday morning. We finally had 'co-ordination' to get into the closed military zones that Israeli forces had been occupying for the past three weeks. These were the 'closed military zones' in which ambulance staff, the Red Cross and UN had been fired upon and rescuers killed trying to enter.
These 'closed areas', these blind spots and dead zones, are Towam, Zaiytoun, Atatra, Ezbit Abed Rubbu, Toffah. These are communities, neighbourhoods, with schools and shops and homes that people would sit out in front of, on plastic chairs drinking tea, fingering prayer beads, staring at the sparkling blue sea, communities with farmland, orange orchards and strawberry fields. All locked down. The medics from the Red Crescent would come back by turns stunned and weary eyed. An old man with a gunshot wound to his head clasping a white flag from Atatra, bodies trameled by tanks – unidentifiable – and the girl, the famous, red, half eaten girl, Shahed Abu Halim, aged one and a half according to paramedics, left to die and half eaten by dogs, her body a beacon of horror for everyone who saw her being brought in to Kamal Odwan hospital in Jabaliya."

about "The Walking Living"
We made out at the break of dawn, red lights rotating into action, speeding towards Towam, close to Atatrah. Drizzle mixed with a haze of white phosphoric smoke, like a thin grey gauze over our eyes. Above us, surprisingly, and awesomely, soared a rainbow, high, wide and perfect, arching over the grey broken streets of Jabaliya and the freshly bombed Taha mosque with its' insides spilled over the road, the knocked down houses like knocked out teeth, downed power lines, blown out and blackened apartment blocks, grey all around us, but if we looked up, a beautiful technicolour arch.
The first body was that of a young man, face down and crumpled outside the doors of the Noor Al Hooda mosque, his navy jumper singed from shrapnel injuries.
Behind us was a wasteland. Where houses had been, just days earlier, there were jagged edges of crushed walls, mangled with clothes, glass, books, furniture; houses turned into a lumpy sea of lost belongings, bombed and bulldozed into the ground. Amidst all this, was the crumpled body of Miriam Abdul Rahman Shaker Abu Daher, aged 87. It was her arm that we saw first, sticking out of a dusty blanket, trapped under rubble. We managed to hoist her onto a stretcher, paramedics took her away and I was left standing next to a man. 'That was my mother' he said to me.
Climbing up the main road, pulverized and impassable by car, a group of 10 men come walking towards us carrying their heavy dead wrapped in blankets, struggling to find their footing on their descent. We spend the rest of the day searching for the dead, along with everybody else, another collective walk, a collective search, 'Where are the martyrs? Are there martyrs here?' and to everyone, the Arabic Islamic expressions of condolences and goodwill, 'Thanks be to God for your peace', 'God will give', 'God protect you'. We are following the scent of rotting corpses, the scent sometimes of already decayed flesh, or decaying animals – a donkey, a goat, dogs, a horse. One man we bring from Toam, Moayan Abu Hussain, 37, is brought to us by donkey cart, his badly decomposed and bloated body wrapped in two blankets. He fills the white zip up heavy plastic body bag."

about "Torture and Relief"
"Families are familiar now with the trawling delegations and caseworkers, notebooks in hand, I include myself in this walk, the walk of the hundreds of journalists, human rights workers, Red Crescent, Red Cross, United Nations workers, asking the same questions, noting the same details, preparing families for temporary shelters, giving out plastic sheeting for broken windows and replacement doors, blankets, emergency food packages, tents, cooking stoves, everyone expects them and expects us; the same donor agencies and charities, rolling up their sleaves to issue fresh appeals and re-build the same community centers, police stations, hospitals, that were rebuilt after the last annihilation; a rewound and fast-forwarded cycle of destruction and reconstruction, yesterday and tomorrow being blurred together into a circle of a collectively expected return to ruins and a slow rebuilding, again and again. It is no wonder that 'human rights' workers and the notes and testimonies frantically taken down with shock and condolence, time after time, year after year are met with replies of 'Its all empty, write it down but what will it change? It's all empty'. There is no post-traumatic stress disorder here because there is no real 'post' to the traumatic stress. Traumatic events keep on happening again and again, relief un-processed, grief unprocessed, as people watch and wait and brace themselves for the next attack."

about "Pieces"
"Pieces. One afternoon, in the yesterdays of this war, we were called out to respond to a car bombing in Gaza City. We arrived on the scene, in bright light, to Palestine square, close to the Ahly al Arabi Hospital. Two injured had already been taken away. The car was a mangled sliced heap. Somehow there was no burning. We picked up a large, headless, man, still bleeding. Nobody wanted to touch him, they were terrified of him. Before we left the scene, someone put a small plastic ID card in my hand, Arabic script and his head, his face, bearded, in his late 30s, taken alive, he looked strong. I couldn’t let go of it, as the ambulance bounced along the broken streets, he behind us, handless, legs torn open, on a rickety stretcher, I held it in both hands, and couldn’t let go of it, keeping it in my hand wrapped round one end of the stretcher, pressed together, trying to keep it together somehow, close to his body."

about "Today"
"I told many people, friends, taxi drivers, doctors, policemen, about the peoples' strike on EDO-MBM Technologies in Brighton, UK this month. EDO manufactures the bomb release mechanism for F16s. Activists filmed themselves explaining to camera that they were decommissioning the facility in protest at the company's complicity in the war on the Palestinian people, and specifically the killing of the people of Gaza. Over a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage was caused as activists threw computers out of windows and smashed equipment. They had taken their resistance out of the powerful but symbolic realm of the streets and into the offices of those responsible for arming Israel, physically imobilising their business. Three remain on remand in prison.

about "Enough"
"'Enough' is when you know you can do more, and you know you can take a step forward into a space of activism that you have never entered before and you do it. 'Enough' is when you know, you have pushed yourself, when you took risks and made sacrifices that you knew would be painful, knew could weigh heavy, could change your life forever, but you did it. When you knew the potential consequences of your actions but you confronted your fears and took the step forward, stepping over your own line. From stepping out into the streets for the first time to demonstrate, to picking up a chair and barricading yourself into your university, to telling the world you're going to decommission an arms factory or war plane or settlement produce facility and doing it, we need to cross our own lines of fear, hesitation, and apprehension. We can push our movements forward, person by person, group by group, party by party, network by network, by crossing our lines and making sacrifices, small compared to the intensive blood letting, loss and devastation here.
We can't afford yesterday to repeat itself. We cannot wait until tomorrow happens to us. Between yesterday and tomorrow is today and we need to build our intifada today. Our intifada of solidarity needs to grow beyond demonstrations, and to put Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) politics into practice through direct action. The BDS campaign was initiated and called for by over 135 Palestinian grassroots organizations in 2005, a call that needs to be amplified and spread internationally, targeting the corporations and institutions enabling Israel to keep violating international law and destroying peoples lives. Through direct action, popular disarmament of Israel, and a real grassroots democracy movement, we can collectively come into our 'enough'. We can affect that which hasn't happened yet, we can change what happens tomorrow. This is our intifada, this is our today."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"They claimed that it was a morning"

Palestine Chronicle photo.

"They claimed that it was a morning."

by Lebanese poet Shawqi Bazi`
(translated by As'ad AbuKhalil)

I will talk to you about Ayman.
About the splendid joy of the forests
in his eyes
about the magic of his hands
If the river of the earth were to flee
he would hide them between his fingers
I will talk to you about Ayman,
about a moon over which the trees fight
about its forgotten blood
so it falls in forgetfulness
about a child running after butterflies
about a dagger
in the farthest
of valleys
They claimed that `Iziyyah was not a village
that it was an oleander flower
that it opens every morning the window of flowers
and that it grows leaves before
the rising of the Arab trees
with one sun and two springs
and it opens with thunderstorms
the underground water reserves
When Jaffa would be besieged by the enemies
when its green was stolen by the other summer
it would borrow green from the trees of `Iziyyah
they claimed `Iziyyah was not a village
it was magic
emerging from under the water springs
and opening the mornings
and it had two children:
and the closed fire in the womb of volcano
they claimed it was a morning
they claimed it was sand
and winds crawling behind the dead
suffocating but not by smoke
The child went to sing
to blood sprouting under the wing
of a swallow in the wind
and he gives as gifts
two irises to the children of Palestine
and a tobacco plant
flowering in the wounds of
the southerners
and he sings:
"the sun is far
but I shall sneak the sun shape
and pick it
and the sea is far
but my father shall chase the sea waves
and my mother will sew two dresses for me
and cloth me when `id comes,
Ayman sang
to the high cypress over the water
and he sang for the birds of water
he prayed to grow up
to be able to see the end of the trees
and the end of the rivers
and he sang for the sleeping grass
in the rain
On the horizon, there are enemy birds
there are black birds on the horizon
there is blood and thunderstorms on the horizon
the sun is coming back
it fell near a pine tree
a sad tear fell over the cheek
a sun that was running after
tomorrow's morning fell down
Don't run, run
Don't run, run
The child carried his white butterfly
and he aimed
at the first plane...
and he was hit
he aimed at the sun and it did not fall
he aimed at the sea and it did not fall
he aimed at the earth...and he died
The trees cried
The cypress tree cried in secret
Narcissus cried in public squares
the river tolled the bells that
are forgotten in the dreams
the earth wore the graves of martyrs
And it came...
To watch Ayman as he slept
And the river walked toward him,
and the sea walked toward him,
and the Arab nation walked toward him,
we walked toward his steps
he was fleeing southward,
carrying his corpse and migrating
toward borders
running after borders
running after borders
he shall cross flowers and blood
and dams
they claimed that it was a morning
they claimed it was sand
and the blood of a child flowed
on the rocks to be drank by valleys
And it shall emerge one morning
to give us beads as gifts
and anemone
*A child of four who was martyred during Israeli jets' bombing of the village of `Iziyyah in South Lebanon [in 1978 before Hamas and Hizbullah were born].

As'ad AbuKhalil explains:

"This poem is sung beautifully by Marcel Khalifah. I translated it this morning. The last section was very tough emotionally for me to translate: when Ayman died."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jewish and Israeli people can see, why can't you?

The bxw photos show German soldiers abusing Jewish people; the colour photos show Israeli soldiers abusing Palestinian people. I had sent this out earlier onto some groups I belong to.

In response, a woman sent me an email accusing me of sending hate mail.

Why do some people not do their history homework? Why do some people insist on speaking their piece yet they are not even informed and have no idea of how to form a credible argument? Why do small minds keep reducing any criticism of the apartheid state of Israel to a "hate crime" and/or "anti-semitism"?

For the woman who sent me that email, please read the long list of Jewish and Israeli individuals and groups who are working on justice for Palestine and to stop Israeli aggression, violence, colonization, and death. Perhaps you may learn some things that can help you move beyond your myopia and racism.

Please read this DETAILED page of a compilation of Jewish and Israeli voices speaking out against Israeli policies and actions so that you can begin to stop reducing the attempted ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to a simplistic dichotomy.

world's turning point? Sharpeville 1960, Gaza 2009

Wissam Nasser, Ma'an photo.

I am in Fort Frances as I write this, sitting at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Rainy Lake. My room overlooks the lake, I see the sunrise, the field of snow covering the lake ice and the silence of beauty surrounds me. I took a photo of the serenity in which I am enveloped, of this white and blue wonderland kissed by the glow of the rising sun. Others in the world, like Wissam Nasser, are not so privileged. His heritage and home is Palestine. He is enveloped in death. Nasser and other photographers in Gaza have had the grim task of photographing the sheer opposite of what I live: they are documenting death, archiving the Palestinian lives and bodies sacrificed because of the world's support of Israel. Their photographs are shocking, troubling, saddening, angering, and heart-wrenching. Wake up, world leaders and ignorant masses. Trouble yourself to see the truth of Palestine. Don't let your silence support the murderers of Palestinians. Speak out against the apartheid state of Israel.

Sharpeville 1960, Gaza 2009

Dr. Haidar Eid, The Electronic Intifada, 22 January 2009

Please take the time to read Dr. Eid's full article. I've excerpted some of the questions he has for us below:

The 2009 massacre in Gaza will be for international solidarity with Palestine what the Sharpeville massacre was for the international solidarity against apartheid in South Africa."

"Subhi's [who lost 17 family members] words echo the harsh reality of all Palestinians in Gaza: alone, abandoned, hunted down, brutalized, and, like Subhi's grandson, orphaned. Twenty-two days of savage butchery took the lives of more than 1,300 Palestinians, at least 85 percent of them civilians, including 434 children, 104 women, 16 medics, four journalists, five foreigners, and 105 elderly people.
Are there any other 10-year-olds in the world who are asked to carry this experience [of watching his family die of bombardment] around with them for the rest of their lives? Of course not -- this "privilege" is reserved just for Palestinian children because they were born on the land that Israel wants for itself. But it is these traumatized children who will deny Israel what it wants because their very survival is a challenge to that apartheid state. It is these same children who will surely inherit Palestine: it is their birthright and no assault can change that fact -- not today, not ever.
Amira, Muhammad, Rashid, Subhi and the more than 40,000 families whose houses have been demolished know differently. Those people who rushed to the cemetery after it was bombed and found the body parts of their dead relatives exposed to the elements know differently. They know that they were deliberately targeted because they are Palestinian. All the rest is propaganda to appease the conscience of those with Palestinian blood on their hands -- those who are both inside and outside Israel.

For 22 long days and dark nights, Palestinians in Gaza were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world -- an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs. Twenty-two sleepless nights, 528 hours of constant shelling and shooting, every single minute expecting to be the next victim.
Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." The UN, EU, Arab League and the international community by and large have remained silent in the face of atrocities committed by Apartheid Israel. They are therefore on the side of Israel. Hundreds of dead corpses of children and women have failed to convince them to act. This is what every Palestinian knows today -- whether on the streets of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or refugee camps in the Diaspora.
Similarly, the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions has been gathering momentum since 2005. Gaza 2009, like Sharpeville 1960, cannot be ignored: it demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Now is the time to boycott the apartheid Israeli state, to divest and to impose sanctions against it. This is the only way to ensure the creation of a secular, democratic state for all in historic Palestine."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

more critique of Obama's speech

More critique of Obama's speech from As'ad AbuKhalil:

"Well, it took two longs days before Obama dispelled any notions of a change in US Middle East policy. For some reasons, many Arabs and many American leftists I know (you know yourselves) have wanted to believe so bad that Obama will deviate from the Zionist path of US foreign policy. I knew that it would be a matter of weeks that he would prove me right, but I did not know that he would prove me right in a matter of hours. His speech on the Middle East today could have easily been written by Benjamin Netanyahu. Only this morning, my mother was quizzing me again about Obama, which has been doing regularly in every conversation. She--like many Arabs and Muslims--wants to believe that he would be different than Bush. The fact that he is--unlike Bush--intelligent, competent, and articulate is irrelevant. The set of Zionist--in fact, we should say Revisionist Zionism because American establishment Zionism has been Revisionist Zionism since the Reagan administration (there was a slight deviation from Revisionist Zionism during the Bush-Baker administration, but Clinton quickly "corrected" that) dogmas that guide US foreign policy will remain in place, even if a potato or Sarah Palin is president of the US. Richard Holbrooks is his special envoy to Pakistan-Afghanistan and the man did not waste time before establishing his foreign policy credentials when he said that Afghanistan and Pakistan are "distinct" countries (that reminds me of the wisdom of Michael O'Hanlon of Brookings who yesterday told CNN--you have to monitor the insights of this dude--that we learned from our experience in Iraq that we can't predict the future exactly in Iraq--I kid you not, he said that). But Obama's speech was quite something. It was like sprinkling sulfuric acid on the wounds of the children in Gaza--those who survived the Israeli terrorist festival of butchery and massacres. His remarks leave you with the impression that there are two sets of problems in the holy land: that there was terrorism against civilians in "southern Israel" and then there is some undefined civilian suffering in Gaza from some undefined natural disaster--an earthquake or hurricane. He specifically mentioned the violence against "southern Israel" left it unclear as to what happened in Gaza. He then did the typical dance: of saluting Mubarak for not only oppressing his own population but for oppressing the Palestinians and imposing the siege on them. He then followed the Zionist line that all aid should pass through the transparent gangs in Ramallah--but that is important because Fatah has a very long record of integrity, transparency, merit, and high ethical standards--along with collaboration with Israel. He also defined the requirements for implementing the "Arab peace plan": Arab governments have to normalize relations with Israel. All Arabs are now asked by Obama to hug the nearest Israeli: and no, shoes are not accepted as tools of affection--not in the Western culture. But you may tell me, optimistically, that he did not mention Dahlan. I say: oh, no: he did mention Dahlan, I kid you not. He made reference to the Jordanian oppressive state's training of "Palestinian security forces." Palestinian security forces is a mere fancy name for the Dahlan gangs (seen above). But I also noticed when he left the podium he went down to shake hands, and the first head I saw was none other than Martin Indyk. If Obama would now appoint Steven Emerson at his ambassador-at-large to the Muslims world, I would expect the Arab-Israeli conflict to end, as well as US problems with the Muslim world.
PS Now I am pissed. AlJazeera net is playing (and I mean distorting) Obama's remarks as if they were a message of love and compassion to the Palestinian people. For how long will some supporters of the Palestinians delude themselves about Obama? Answer me NOW."

About Martin Indyk, As'ad AbuKhalil also posted:

"“He’s neither pro-Israeli nor pro-Palestinian,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and an adviser to the Clinton administration. “He’s, in a sense, neutral.”" And who is better to judge neutrality on Arab-Israeli issues, than a founding element of the Israeli lobby in the US (and Australia). By the way, since James Zogby takes his marching orders from Indyk, watch: Zogby will come to the defense of Mitchell now. Hell, Zogby would come to the defense of Netanyahu if asked."

map of Gaza with casualty no's & bombing intensity

[click on image to enlarge]
thx to my Facebook friends, Patricia and Sedista, for posting this map of bombing intensity and casualty numbers from Dec 27-Jan 16 from Solidarity Maps.

Obama is asked to go to Gaza--now

Haroon Siddiqui writes for the Toronto Star; he has written a good analysis of Obama's inaugural speech, regarding how it can be read through justice for Gaza.
I've excerpted it below, but you can read the whole text here. He calls it "Obama should go to Gaza -- Now."

"to Muslims – arguably his most important foreign audience – Obama had multiple, and mixed, messages.

He was resolute, as he needed to be, in warning terrorists: "You cannot outlast us; we will defeat you."

He did well to say, albeit indirectly, that Muslims are Americans, too: "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers." During the campaign, he had avoided Muslims.

To the larger Muslim world, he issued a clarion call: "We seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

But he followed that with a passage that was crisp in its generalities but confusing, or deliberately vague, in context:

"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Which Muslims was he talking about? Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and other non-state actors?

Or the leaders of Iran and Syria, who also blame "the West"?

Or such close American allies as Hosni Mubarak who rules Egypt with a clenched fist?

Or the pro-American oil sheikhs, many of whom are corrupt and almost all of whom squelch domestic dissent?

Something else was jarring.

Obama's assertion ("we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders"), along with one of Senator Dianne Feinstein's ("the freedom of a people to choose its leaders is the root of liberty") and Rev. Rick Warren's prayer ("for every one of our freely elected leaders") must have sounded hypocritical to Gazans.

They have been starved for electing Hamas in a free and fair election. They have seen official American indifference to their plight, even after the 23-day Israeli onslaught. About 1,300 are dead and 5,000 wounded, a majority of them civilians by some counts.

To dramatize his new approach to Muslims, Obama should consider going to Gaza as soon as possible.

Without having to meet Hamas, he could witness decomposed bodies still being pulled from the rubble of 5,000 homes reportedly destroyed. He could attend some of the funerals and hear the cries of Palestinians. He could sample the foul water from the broken mains.

His visit would balance out his trip last July to Sderot, the Israeli town where he, quite rightly, shared the agony of Israelis traumatized by Hamas rockets.

A trip to Gaza would signal the end of American double standards.

It would certainly be far better received than Obama phoning Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah and the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas, the three most discredited Arab leaders at the moment.

At about the same time as the president was talking to them yesterday, Human Rights Watch of New York was condemning the three, along with the governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the ruling mullahs of Iran, for banning or cracking down on public demonstrations in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Obama will need more than words to meet the challenge he has so eloquently set for himself and the United States."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vigil for the dead children of Gaza

Oh, Obama! What a shame!

People in Gaza have died and Obama calls the murderer.

Of course. Who thought the US would be any different on its "Middle East" policy? Obama calls the war crime kingpin and his cabal of Arab comrades in arms. Seeking to confirm "their continued cooperation and leadership." Not only are these 4 "leaders" completely discredited in the Arab world, Abbas is not even accepted as a leader of the Palestinians, not in the West Bank--where his term expired this month--but especially as he is seen as a collaborator in the deaths of the people of Gaza and was refused a place at the Kuwaiti meeting.

Further, Obama wants to work towards stopping the smuggling of arms to defend the people of Gaza! He has his eyes on backwards and his brain upside down. He has to work on stopping the belligerence of Israel and his nation has to STOP ARMING Israeli state terrorism. The Palestinians, the Palestinians living in Gaza, and the critical masses of the Arab world knew/know Obama was/is more of the ugly same. If, according to Israel and the US, Israel does not occupy their version of Palestine--Gaza and West Bank--then, is not each nation entitled to a defense force? to arm itself? to protect itself? Or is this a double standard? Are Palestinians not allowed to arm themselves against military aggression by other nations--like Israel? Should Palestinians be slaughtered again and again so that the US and other liberal democracies can re-build them? I'm left reeling.

"Obama called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. [my emphasis]
Gibbs said Obama "emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the cease-fire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming," and by working with Palestinian leadership to help create a "a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza."

for Mohammed and Bilal

Please watch this report by Jonathan Miller explaining the war crimes that happened at the UN school in Beit Lahiya where people were sheltering.

Cringe in horror at Tzipi Livni's last words. She is evil. Her evil has a history, it was nurtured by her father, who, like the fathers of Ehud Olmert and Rahm Emmanuel (Obama's chief of staff--who I already told you about), were the original terrorists of Palestine. That is, they were Irgun terrorists, an extremist Zionist cabal whose ringleader was Menachem Begin (who became a future Prime Minister '77-83 of the stolen land). The Irgun slaughtered, maimed, terrorized and forcefully expelled Palestinians out of Palestine causing the Nakba and setting the seeds for the Gaza massacre today. That Israel was created through blood and terrrorism and that these original violent extremists became the government of Israel is documented history.

UNRWA school bombing aftermath.

The terrorizing of the Palestinian people is haunting; those who sought shelter from the UN were ruthlessly attacked. The images of the dead children of Gaza are haunting. I have been busy helping to plan a vigil for the dead children of the Gaza massacre. The Vigil will be this Saturday at 2:30 pm at Hillcrest Park. With Vanessa and Leila, I have been collecting the names, ages, and home places of the Palestinian children of Gaza killed by the Israeli army.

We will ask each person present to say a child's name aloud.

UNRWA school bombing aftermath

In my archiving of death, I came across the names of the 2 boys, brothers, who were killed at Beit Lahia UNRWA school. I found their names on the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights site.

Mohammed Hamad Shihda al-Ashqar, 4

Bilal Hamad Shihda al-Ashqar, 5

The mother of the two dead children, 24-year-old Nojoud Sha'ban al-Ashqar, had a hand and leg severed.

Their 19 yr old cousin had both his legs blown off. [as Johnathan Miller reports]

UNRWA school bombing aftermath

In my archiving of death, I came across these photos of the aftermath of the UNRWA school bombing on the Palestine Chronicle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

decolonizing Israel: a must

Ali Abunimah), once again has written a brilliant analysis on the Palestinians, Why Israel won't survive. Once again, I recommend reading the entire article:

"The dehumanization and demonization of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims has escalated to the point where Israel can with full self- righteousness bomb their homes, places of worship, schools, universities, factories, fishing boats, police stations -- in short everything that sustains civilized and orderly life -- and claim it is conducting a war against terrorism.

Yet paradoxically, it is Israel as a Zionist state, not Palestine or the Palestinian people, that cannot survive this attempted genocide.

Israel's "war" was not about rockets -- they served the same role in its narrative as the non-existent weapons of mass destruction did as the pretext for the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
But anyone surveying the catastrophe in Gaza -- the mass destruction, the death toll of more than 100 Palestinians for every Israeli, the thousands of sadistic injuries -- would surely conclude that Palestinians could never overcome Israel and resistance is a delusion at best.

True, in terms of ability to murder and destroy, Israel is unmatched. But Israel's problem is not, as its propaganda insists, "terrorism" to be defeated by sufficient application of high explosives. Its problem is legitimacy, or rather a profound and irreversible lack of it. Israel simply cannot bomb its way to legitimacy.
Israel began its massacres with full support from its Western "friends." Then something amazing happened. Despite the official statements of support, despite the media censorship, despite the slick Israeli hasbara (propaganda) campaign, there was a massive, unprecedented public mobilization in Europe and even in North America expressing outrage and disgust.
... Every new massacre makes it harder, but a de-zionized, decolonized, reintegrated Palestine affording equal rights to all who live in it, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and return for refugees is not a utopian dream."

AlJazeera image.

Once again, the UK Guardian has posted a great article, this one by Ben White, on the sinister goal of Israel to turn Gaza into a humanitarian crisis, purposely. Which of course, while Gaza is a catastrophe and many were people were massacred and are terribly injured, as the Free Palestine Alliance reminds us, it is the resistance of the Palestinians to liberate themselves and their lands that will never be killed, taken away, quashed, or beaten out of them:

"it is impossible to list every atrocity. Israel has repeatedly hit ambulances, medics, clinics, and hospitals, while last week, aid volunteers who tried to douse a fire in a Red Crescent warehouse (attacked by Israel) were then shot at by Israeli forces.

UNRWA facilities have also been attacked, including several schools sheltering civilians – just this last weekend, a civilian refuge was repeatedly shelled. Last week, the UN headquarters was also shelled, hitting a vocational centre, a workshop, food warehouse, and fuel depot. Like the massacre of 6 January, Israeli officials quickly began to produce a confusing fog of denials, apologies, promised enquiries and contradictions.

Those are just some of the more shocking examples from a military operation that has targeted everything from schools, money-changers and a bird farm, to entire apartment blocks, harbours, and a market. Palestinians have been killed when Israeli tanks fired shells at residential neighbourhoods. Every day has brought fresh horrors; last Wednesday, for example, 70 unarmed civilians including 18 children were killed by the Israeli military. This week's Observer carried a story alleging Israel bulldozed homes with civilians inside (not for the first time) and shot those waving white flags. Little wonder that Israeli officials predicted with concern that "negative sentiment" towards the state would "only grow as the full picture of destruction emerges".

Much of this is widely known, and easily accessible; yet still the analytical emphasis has remained on Palestinian rockets, Israeli elections, and deterrence.
Ironically, the same Peres who now justifies collective punishment, in 2002 chastised Avigdor Lieberman for suggesting that the IDF should bomb civilian targets, warning the minister that such a tactic would be a war crime. The last three weeks show that proposals made by Israel's political extremists and originally considered outlandish, do not take long to become normal policy.

Israel seeks to turn the Gaza Strip into a depoliticised humanitarian crisis, always on the brink of catastrophe, always dependent; its population reduced to ration-receiving clients of international aid. Yitzhak Rabin famously wished that Gaza "would just sink into the sea", but perhaps the best Israel can do is to share the problem with the international community, possibly to the extent of troops on the ground."

This sinister goal, however, will be thwarted not only by the determination and the resistance of the Palestinian people, but also the solidarity of all justice-minded peoples, groups, and nations.

Hopeful is the report that
"Some groups are already preparing legal action against Israel over the Gaza onslaught. These groups from around the world are engaging in the work of bringing the Israeli war criminals to international courts. You can read who they are in the article. They are joined by groups inside Israel, too:

"A coalition of Israeli human rights groups, including the local chapter of Amnesty International, also wants an international investigation into war crimes in Gaza."

the language of resistance

We will return blogspot

You can find the full text of "How History is Made" and other statements by the Free Palestine Alliance on their website. I strongly recommend reading the entire statement.

"Once again, we remind all that the same areas that were bombed by the Zionist army were also bombed and destroyed in the early seventies. Yet, the Palestinians remained strong. In fact, the people at the receiving end of this latest assault are the same ones that were expelled first in 1948 from their homes, then again in 1967, and later attacked in the early seventies and into the eighties and beyond.
the need for humanitarian relief should be recognized as an obligation on the part of the Arab and international community. It is not a substitute for the political national demands that could dangerously transform the Palestinian national liberation movement into a humanitarian crisis campaign needing pity and aid. This is very dangerous. Many organizations are already falling in that trap, and are being leveraged for the purpose of marginalizing the recently achieved political victory in favor of a campaign of pity and humanitarian aid. This should be rejected by all of us.

The Palestinian movement is not about a group of dispossessed refugees seeking food and shelter. It is about a movement for liberation by a people robbed of their land and who are determined to emerge victorious against their colonists. The Palestinian people do not need handouts. We reject them and return them to the sender. We demand and expect solidarity and reciprocate it in kind.
This is the time to strengthen our movement by giving it a program of solidarity that involves boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. This is the time for war crime tribunals to be enacted everywhere, and for war criminals to be apprehended and brought to justice. This is a time to expose the sadistic nature of the weaponry used by the Zionist, paid for by US taxpayers. This is a time to end all support to Israel, in every way, to properly position it as the Apartheid regime of today, and to isolate it economically, culturally, and diplomatically. This is a time to once and for all recognize that Zionism is nothing but a colonial ideology rooted in racism and hate.

In essence, we can build on this victory and the steadfast of the Palestinian people, by building on our own small victories in our workplace, towns, and universities.

The Free Palestine Alliance
January 19, 2009

American people show me I am wrong

photo from Palestine Think Tank

Obama is on my tv now, giving his much-anticipated inauguration speech. At this momentous time, I give my well-wishes to my American readers on ridding themselves of years of corrupt, damaging, cruel presidents such as the Bushes and Reagan to name possibly the worst. I wish them well on the purposed turn towards possible hope and change. Hope is a deep belief, but change is action--I hope. I dearly hope Obama's hope and change are not just rhetoric, but ethical action that you, the American public, will hold him accountable to.

On this historic moment on an historic day, "In Memory of Martin Luther King" Yousef Abudayyeh has posted from The Free Palestine Alliance (FPA), Statement 15 "How History is Made". "In this fifteenth installment, the FPA remembers Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr. through our own eyes, reflects on the destruction of the Zionist assault, analyses the cease fire, and puts forward a plan of action." The FPA statement asks of Obama:

"For President Obama to stand on these dignified shoulders [of those who resisted and suffered American racism and brutality], he now has an obligation to do what is right – to take even the smallest steps in that direction, all while he remembers that "yes, he can". This is not a choice in any way. Obama has an obligation to place equality in morality; and to place morality in public policy, both foreign and domestic. And when he finds out that the US system of government and geopolitical interests do not allow him so, he must make the change he championed. To this day, he has been a follower not a leader on these critical issues."

Cornell West on Obama.

Let's hope Obama's ethics transcend the existing power cabals of the US, Israel, and other collaborators of world fear.

Obama is not a critic of militarism, rather a supporter. He has promised to increase the military presence of the US in Afghanistan. His first foreign visit will be to Canada. Will his aura of kindness and hopeful rhetoric be used to convince Canada to extend its "mission" (read Occupation) in Afghanistan beyond its projected end? Will his pleasant manner be put into play to ask Canada to commit more soldiers to Afghanistan? This is what I fear. A kind face of the ugly. American readers, show me I am wrong. That what I fear will be unfounded. That Obama will not continue the rhetoric of terrorism and the racism against Arab and Muslim people and nations. American people show me I am wrong.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel to help fund treatment of pets hurt by rockets

Israeli State to help fund treatment of pets hurt by rockets.

of course, that only means if your dog lives on the side of the land called Israel. If you are a dog from Gaza, you will not get money for treatment against rockets. You know, dear readers, that I love dogs. I have told you many times about Musti and Tassu, the mother and daughter dog duo that I walk each Sunday. I love those dogs. They yelp and howl for joy when they smell me coming down their street on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., waking up all the folks who just want to sleep in on Sunday morning. And, after I tie them up when we are finished our walk, Musti (Blackie) and Tassu (Paws) moan and howl most beseechingly. I can hear their yowls all the way up the street as I head back home. But really, dear readers, Israeli dogs are treated better than Palestinians in Gaza!!! And in their love of animals, did the Israelis ever think of all the animals their bombs and other ugly munitions slaughtered in Gaza? The cows? the horses? the donkeys? the sheep? the birds? the butterflies? and I am sure, THE DOGS. Seriously, this outrageousness of treating dogs better than PALESTINIAN HUMAN LIFE, and treating dogs AS LONG AS THEY ARE ISRAELI is a corrupt statement of the lack of clear vision and inhumanity in that racist state. I think I will contact the minister at the end of this article and ask if the dogs of Gaza are included in the health plan?

by Erez Erlichman
"With cats and dogs facing rocket threat just like their human companions, Agriculture Ministry decides to help pay for medical care of pets injured by rocket fire

Last week a Qassam rocket hit a house in Sderot and killed the family's dog, which was at the building's yard during the attack. The dog was rushed to the veterinarian for treatment, but died due to severe shrapnel injuries and massive loss of blood.

Dog Therapy

Following this incident and in light of the fact that like their human owners, pets in Israel's south are also under the constant rocket threat, the Agriculture Ministry has decided it would help pay for the medical care of dogs and cats injured by rocket fire from Gaza.

"One of the main problems arising from the treatment of wounded animals is that the tax authorities do not consider pets as property, and therefore owners are not compensated for medical treatment of the animal," said Dganit Ben-Dov, DVM, the Veterinary Services official in charge of enforcing the Animal Protection Law.

"This is the aspect we wish to rectify, since treatment to a wounded animal could cost thousands of shekels," she added.

According to Ben-Dov, the ministry will also consider funding the treatment of street cats and dogs without owners.

For further details, please contact Dganit Ben-Dov at the Agriculture Ministry by email: or by fax: 03-9681661 "

I have added an addendum to this post. Here is the email that I just sent out:

Dear Ms. Dganit Ben-Dov,

I just read the article by Erez Erlichman called "Israeli State to help fund treatment of pets hurt by rockets" that is found online on Ynet news, URL below.

As a pet lover, especially a dog lover, I was wondering if the Israeli Agriculture Ministry's financial help for dogs hit by rockets also applies to the dogs hit by Israeli bombs in Gaza? Does it also cover cows, horses, donkeys, and sheep?,7340,L-3651173,00.html

thank you for considering my question,
Taina Maki Chahal

and the sanctions remain

If you think that the photo from my last post is an exception, it's not. I was watching Arabic Al-Jazeera this morning after I got back from teaching (btw, Arabic Al-Jay is substantially different than English Al-Jay), and the landscape of Gaza looks like a bombed out moonscape. Children were sitting among the ruins and rubble--can you imagine the carcinogenic materials they are enveloped in?--and people were walking about, slowly surveying the terrible devastation, looking themselves devastated.

I guess so.

The destruction is mind-boggling. Saudi Arabia reports to give $1 Billion for reconstruction. I believe I heard that Canada will give 4 million. So, that is how the world expresses its belief in the lives of the Palestinians of Gaza? Killing them--no problem. Nothing done about that--I mean, what I should say is actually supporting and encouraging Israel on that and then turning a blind eye. Yet money for rebuilding. How humane of us! How generous of us! Of the dead of Gaza--who cares. Of the maimed of Gaza--who cares.

We have blood on our hands. Look at them. We have blood on our hands.

Painting: Iraqi female artist, the late Layla Al-Attar, killed by Enemy bombs in Baghdad. from Arabwomanblues blog.

Last night I kept thinking of that homeless old man. Where did he sleep last night? What of all the displaced people who lost everything, I mean, not just lost everything but had their ENTIRE WAY OF LIVING DESTROYED? The students who have neither a bed to sleep in, a roof over their heads, any books left to read, or even a school to attend.

What of them?

Government building remains. Maan photo. Hatem Omar

If citizens of Gaza need to request their elected government's services, that is, Hamas, who provides social services, health, welfare, etc, well, here is the help they can give. Thanks to Israel and its backers--which includes Canada--here is your current infrastructure.

Sanctions are still on, don't forget. Canada was the 1st nation in the world to call for sanctions against the people of Gaza, which they have suffered since 2006. Now their land is destroyed, refugees and their descendants slaughtered and maimed and left destitute once again and THE SANCTIONS REMAIN.

The world is trying to starve the Palestinians of Gaza to death. If the bombs didn't kill them, don't expect the heart of the world to open up and dismantle the sanctions.

What a cruel, cruel world....

unless, of course, the blood on your hands bothers you and you decide to do something about this.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I don't even know where my home is

Gaza aftermath. Palestine Chronicle photo.
How many times must a person be bombed, terrorized, chased out of their lands and homes? This elderly Palestinian man is a survivor of the Nakba and of the Gaza massacre. Can not this elder find peace in his later years? Can not the leaders of the world's nations find it in their hearts to help him and his beleaguered people? Must he be homeless, stateless and bombed for eternity? Must catastrophe be his?

"It's a massacre not only against our people, but also against our homes."

In Tal Al-Hawa another resident glanced around the depressing landscape.

"Everywhere I look there is rubble. There is still smoke rising from some places. The roads and buildings have huge gaping holes," said Jumma Nasser, 62.

In the southern city of Khan Yunis, Mohammed Al-Najar sought desperately to find [his] home -- in vain -- in the rubble.

"At least 20 residential houses are completely destroyed in our neighborhood," he said.

"I came to see my home. I searched for it. There is no home. I don't even know where my home is."

Mats Svenssen

"But one did not learn anything [from the war crimes of WW II]. The mistakes are repeated with a creepy sense of precision. The Nakba came shortly after the peace agreement of the Second World War was signed. The ink had dried but all the crimes of the war seemed to be forgotten. Every Palestinian family was affected and many have since then lived in refugee camps. It is these refugees or their children who are being bombed today."

Elna Sondergaard asks

"The crucial question is however: To which courts of justice can Palestinian victims bring their claims? There are Palestinian courts in Gaza but they have no jurisdiction over criminal cases involving Israelis. As stateless people, Palestinians have no state which could sign the Rome Statute with a view to seeking the adjudication of the ICC, or which would be entitled to bring a case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague as Bosnia and Herzegovina did concerning the massacre at Srebrenica. Without a state, Palestinians are also denied the legal protection offered by classic interstate diplomacy."

Regev: spokesman of distortion

Here is the name of another war criminal to hold accountable for the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, Mark Regev, the ultimate lying propaganda mouthpiece of the state of Israel, aka, the spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"Mark Regev says Hamas ordinance is to blame for the death of children and women in the Gaza Strip. At least 500 women and children have been killed in the Israeli assaults.
Regev's response prompted a shocked Gavin Estler, the News Night presenter, to ask him, "You are not serious that Hamas is killing Palestinian children, are you?"

The Israeli spokesman responded, "I am a 100 percent very serious and this has been documented and I am sure more information will be coming out. And we have no doubt that Hamas ordinance was responsible for many of the deaths."

He added that the Israeli military is convinced that "a large number of civilian casualties were caused by Hamas."

Regev said if a "sustained period of quite" follows the military campaign in Gaza, Tel Aviv would consider the operation as "a job well done."

No one pays except the dead and the maimed

Yesterday, with my husband and some members of the Arab and the Muslim groups here in town, I went to NDP MP Bruce Hyer's office for its grand opening. I carried a sign reading "Canada's Shame: Gaza", which I draped with a Palestinian keffiyah. I will write about that next post.

Last night my mind, like many of yours I am sure, was spinning with the horrors committed on the Palestinian people of Gaza through this terrible Israeli massacre, and I was thinking about how a ceasefire, while absolutely necessary to prevent more deaths and injuries, is but only what it says: cease fire.

It does not mean anything more than a breather for now.

Which means all the fire is just waiting. Which means the fire is not seen as the problem. Which means nations keep making fire, and I don't just mean the rhetoric of fiery language but the technologies of fire that maim and kill.

Ceasefire has to mean more than just stopping this terrible massacre of civilians, which is the latest one in a long line of many, and many more to come unless we rise up collectively and say NO! Not in our names!

It is the military mindset, the militarization of nations, the normalization of war and the military, and the military industry and its growth through neoliberal economies and ideology, the impunity of nations like the US and Israel that are not held accountable for the illegal crimes that they commit through their militaries and their military technologies that have to be exposed, protested, resisted and CHANGED.

Normalizing war and the military is wrong-headed. These so-called legal munitions are used illegally by US and Israel. This has been shown time and time again. UN Resolutions have been made. BUT THERE IS NEVER ANY ACCOUNTABILITY.

Nothing happens. No one is charged. No one goes to court or to prison, except for some lowly soldiers who all the blame gets pinned on. Nations are exonerated. National representatives are exonerated.

No accountability. No one pays except the dead and the maimed.

Now Gaza, numerous times Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan ongoing, and what next? Which civilians next to suffer cluster bombs, phosphorus bombs, bunker busters, drones, Apaches helicopters and other terrible death technologies?

Apache helicopter
And btw, how can the US get away with calling these killing machines "Apache" after AMERICAN INDIANS who they slaughtered mercilessly in colonizing Turtle Island and creating the U. S. of A? What arrogance and racism allows that?

So, today I found Julie, one of my readers, has been thinking about these munitions, too, and questioning them. Please read the comments in the last few posts where I have linked to some articles worth reading about the making, shipping, and normalization of bombs and other military technologies, which Canada is deeply involved in.

Anna Nieminen (1995) writes that Canadian Uranium Perpetuates the Weapons Business:

"In 1965, Canada banned all exports of uranium for military purposes. Since then, however, Canadian uranium has been involved in what Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility has called 'Canada's quiet nuclear export.'"

Exposing and resisting Canada's increasing militaristic role is our ongoing work as Canadians so that we can do what we can to prevent the next massacre of civilians. Today, I am writing another letter to Jack Layton, the PM and other Canadian govt represenatives to take them to task on Canada's role in creating death not peace.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Will Obama pose with the legless children of Gaza?

Obama visiting Osher Twito, Israeli victim of Qassam rocket in Sderot in July 2008.

Will Obama also pose with the hundreds of legless, armless, and seriously damaged in the body Palestinian children of Gaza after the carnage is over?

Will Obama also then issue a statement that he stands behind the Palestinians right to defend themselves against terrorism -- that is, the state terrorism of Israel?

Will Obama do that?

In July 2008 Obama met with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem and declared:

"I'm here on this trip to reaffirm the special relationship between Israel and the United States and my abiding commitment to Israel's security and my hope that I can serve as an effective partner, whether as a US senator or as president."

Will Obama come to Gaza and lay a wreath at the graves of the hundreds of martyrs of the Israeli massacre of the Palestinian civilian population and will Obama shed a tear?

And will Obama tell the world that

"if someone were firing on his home, where his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything to stop the attacks – and that this is how he expects PALESTINE to act as well."

And will Obama declare to the elected officials of the Palestinian people of Gaza that

"I'm here on this trip to reaffirm the special relationship between Palestine and the United States and my abiding commitment to Palestine's security and my hope that I can serve as an effective partner as the president of American."

Will Obama say that?

Will Obama say that?

Will Obama say that?

and who is responsible for this massacre?

don't tell me that those who take up armed resistance to 61 years of occupation are to blame.

Here are the names of some of the criminals:

"Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, and Air Force Commander General Ido Nechushtan."

Unbearable. The image text reads: Old man cries save child. Palestine Chronicle photo

The Guardian UK has posted a video from Fida Qishta in Gaza personal narratives of human rights abuses in Gaza.

The overworked doctors and nurses in Gaza City are the lifeblood of help for the injured of Gaza. These outstanding people are doing humane work under inhumane conditions--now their residence has been bombed. Watch Aftermath of attacks on Tar El Hawa district.

Yet, thanks to the corporate media of the US (and Canada, I would add), as Shirin Barghi and Dex A. Eastman state in "The rosy picture US media paints of genocide":

"While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that has its roots in the injustices of history, the average American who follows the news has almost no knowledge of the endless problems faced by the Palestinians as well as their philosophy of resistance.

Most Americans therefore know not even the simplest fact about the conflict: that there was no Israel before 1948 and that their own corrupt government joined European powers to steal the native land of the Palestinians. "