Friday, January 30, 2009

Good for the Turkish Prime Minister

'At his induction, the Bishop of Norwich was told by his predecessor "Welcome to Norfolk. If you want to lead someone in this part of the world, find out where they're going. And walk in front of them".' (Jeremy Paxman, The English)

"The enjoyment of power inevitably corrupts the judgment of reason, and perverts its liberty." -- Immanuel Kant - (1724-1804) German philosopher Source: Perpetual Peace, 1795

This quote just about sums up the reasons for the past sixty years of an unjust war and reckless politics against a civilian people in our midst. And this article in the Christian Science Monitor just reconfirms it!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moab Musings

Hubby laughed as we were clearing away the breakfast things … “this bread we just made is really like cake … add a little molasses and it may be gone by the end of the day”. Our meals have taken a decidedly vegetarian turn these days and we are enjoying the fruits of our labours, tinged with a weird sense of guilt. For I know how many people are starving in Gaza, in Africa, and Afghanistan too. It is truly overwhelming. I was not in a humourous mood even though I was married to a clown. “Well live with me then, you know I laugh at everything, it’s the situation silly and it’s a million years old!”
"Precisely!" says me .... "just when is man going to heed the lessons of the past?"

He picked up the newspaper … (silence) … as a pained, grim smile slowly appeared on his face that spoke volumes of sadness.

At times like these, laughter is simply therapy that counters the effects of depression, always simmering under the surface at the sad, mad, bad situation we are forced to live day in and day out. Laughter shields us from the horrors of war and the plight of the Palestinian people, the temptations of political activism, the inadequacies of our political system, and the outrageous silence of the rest of the World. We live with eyes and ears wide open, and its painful. God only knows what I might do if hubby were not around.

“You know Israel still maintains its blockade on Gaza …. what would you do?” asks me.

Hubby slowly lowered the paper and with that look that I wished could move mountains and a few nations besides, said:

“Reactivate the defence pact between Arab States; terminate all contacts with Israel; And declare a state of war … without actually fighting. Let Saudi Arabia, that keeper of the faith and wealth, and the three hundred million Arabs actually get out from under its veils of hypocrisy and say and do something useful!”

And the sounds of laughter with a hint of cynicism, echoed throughout the house ….
It did wonders for my mood!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CIMG1108 Um Rassas - Blowing away the cobwebs 2

Um er Rassas - blowing away the cobwebs

CIMG1103 photo by T
Originally uploaded by jojournals

May the Circle Be Unbroken...

Living in Jordan, our second home, many of us face the problem of how to keep informed and provide support to loved ones back home or far flung around the world when they are ill, hospitalized or near the end of life.

During the past couple of years, I have discovered this wonderful, free web-based service that allows the sick person or their caretaker-family to make frequent updates available to everyone who needs to know and for those loved ones to send messages of love, support and encouragement. It's really very simple but such a powerful way to keep the circle unbroken.

I am pasting in below the brief info and URL of the CaringBridge site, in case you should ever need this or be able to recommend it to others. They will thank you.

Hope all our loved ones stay healthy and safe! Um D

Tell Someone About CaringBridge
CaringBridge is a free, nonprofit web service that connects family and friends to share information, love and support during a health care crisis, treatment and recovery.
Every month, over 1 million people use CaringBridge to stay connected during a hospitalization, cancer treatment, surgery and recovery, a significant accident or injury, a premature birth, while waiting for a transplant, or while caring for an elderly parent. These families share information and receive love and support for a wide array of medical conditions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

how to blow away the cobwebs


Had a lovely morning visiting Um er Rassas with bright blue skies and a chilly wind blowing. Since I was last there a tourist centre has been built and the area has been fenced in and the wonderful mosaics have a new shelter. Well worth a visit and it is less than an hour's drive from Amman. T

Today is January 27th ...

Do you know what today is: Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Back in 2005, The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution introduced by Israel to designate January 27 as an international Holocaust remembrance day.

So everyone … today is Holocaust Remembrance Day … let us remember all those Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza who died and suffered horrific injuries in a holocaust of Israel’s own making.

January 27th … will indeed go down in history as the world remembers how the Jews of Israel can be just as fascist, bigoted, racist and just plain evil as the next man.


Monday, January 26, 2009

What now?

Many Israeli Jews empathise with the plight and suffering of the Palestinians as this letter printed in today's Jordan Times shows .... but empathy is not enough to stop evil in its tracks. We need you, Barbara et al, to rise up in Israel itself and make your voices heard to enforce the change this region so desperately needs. Bush's America wanted a 'new Middle East' ... let's pray that Obama's America will start with change in Israel itself .... so that all the crimes against humanity committed by the Fascists in government and the IDF will be pursued ... regardless of how much money the Israeli government can muster to cover its tracks. The truth will out. J

Greater than expected

I entered the Gaza Strip Wednesday night with a friend and fellow activist after waiting for 10 hours at a border crossing. The destruction and trauma is even greater than I expected.

In two short days I met with families who were given minutes to evacuate their homes and are now living in overcrowded UN schools; I saw the ruins of bombed greenhouses; I looked out the window at fields and roads torn up by the tread of Israeli tanks; and I visited two universities where Middle East Children’s Alliance supports students with scholarships - severely damaged by Israeli bombs.

Of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her 10 children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel”. As she screamed in horror, they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then the soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her.

The concept of “Jewish morality” is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.

Two days later I visited Jabaliya refugee camp and the Zaytoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, two of the areas hardest hit by Israel’s brutal attacks. Pharmacies, schools and homes were indiscriminately hit in Jabaliya.

In Zaytoun, I saw families gathering wood from charred trees. The almost two-year blockade of Gaza has deprived people of cooking gas, so these terrified families build fires to keep warm and cook the little food they can get.

I talked to people on the street who told stories of wild dogs coming to eat their dead neighbours, relatives bleeding to death because Israel would not allow emergency workers into the area, and Israeli soldiers entering houses to beat and kill.

But despite the immense mourning and devastation, people are starting to put their lives back together. Sabreen, a young woman from Rafah, told me: “We are a strong people. No matter how many times Israel bombs us we are not leaving. We will keep trying to live as normal a life as possible.”

Barbara Lubin,
Gaza City,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What's in a label?

Allow me to post the following by Zina Jardaneh in the UK
about yet another loophole the Israelis have flown through
and got away with - agricultural produce exported from the
Occupied Territories of Palestine grown in illegal Israeli
settlements and sold on UK supermarket shelves
"produce of the West Bank" ...

What's in a label?

By Zina Jardaneh

Shopping at my local supermarket during October of last year, I saw for the first time packs of flat leaf parsley labelled produce of the “West Bank”. I became suspicious that these packs could have come from illegal Israeli settlements. Days later, my good friend Sue told me how thrilled she was to be making tabouleh with Palestinian parsley! This prompted an investigation!

Since then, the West Bank label has been making an appearance on
many packs of fresh herbs at major supermarkets. More recently, packs of Medjool dates on supermarket shelves blatantly declare:
"grown in the West Bank, by Masua” or “by Netiv Hagdud”, both illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley.

It is a fact that settlement produce has found its way to our
supermarkets and continues to do so, labelled as produce of Israel.
These settlements are illegal under international law. The Geneva
Convention states that the transfer of a civilian population into
occupied territory is a war crime; to be complicit in this crime is
also a crime in English law. The UK government’s policy is quite clear. The government’s website reiterates the UN Security Council
Resolution: “Settlements are illegal under international law and
settlement construction is an obstacle to peace.” Despite this and
many other resolutions and agreements, Israel continues to export
settlement produce to the UK with impunity.

Moreover, most settlement produce benefits from the preferential (reduced or nil) rates of customs duty under the EC-Israel
Preferential Trade Agreement in force since June 2000. This has
cost British tax payers millions of pounds in unpaid customs duties.

Israel has been under pressure from EU member states to stop this illegal practice since 2003. This brought about what is known as the “Technical Agreement” between the EU and Israel Customs Co- operation Committee. The agreement entered into force in February 2005 and was engineered by Ehud Olmert, Trade Minister of Israel at the time. In order to differentiate between settlement goods and Israeli goods, Israeli exporters undertook to indicate the names of
the cities, villages or industrial zones where production had taken place. This practice would set apart settlement produce (Occupied Territories) from Israeli produce. The former would pay customs duties and the latter would be exempt under the EC-Israel Preferential Trade Agreement.

With the customs and duties issue put to rest, the Olmert agreement
conveniently allowed Israel to continue exporting settlement produce into the EU. It is no longer a question of whether the export of settlement produce to the EU is legal or not. Rather, it has become a matter of tariffs.

The agreement has not been effective in making Israel declare the
origin in all cases. However, it has prompted importers to probe further, for fear of accruing substantial amounts of unpaid duties. This is clearly illustrated in the following statement by Waitrose (the most forthcoming of the supermarkets we approached): “The reason for the change in packaging description was on the back of work being led by our herb supplier, who is part of the British Herb Traders Association. We believed that all our products were from the EC definition of Israel, which does not include any disputed territories. This was confirmed by our agents over there. However, on closer scrutiny, the information we were receiving was based on maps which the Israelis were using, which does include the disputed territories. Once this discrepancy was identified, we sought guidance from the Fresh Produce Consortium and we corrected our packaging to reflect this.”

Pressure from consumers and media reports have further reinforced
the trend to change the label. In November 2007, a group of UK
activists went inside Tomer, a settlement in the Jordan Valley, and took photos of produce labelled “Made in Israel” bound for UK supermarkets. An ITN report covered the story and interviewed
representatives of Sainsbury and Tesco, who admitted ‘mistakenly’
mislabelling settlement produce in the past and undertook to label
settlement produce as “West Bank” in the future.

Dialogue with supermarkets has revealed that they rely on their
suppliers for information which they pass on to consumers. This information is often unclear and contradictory. Further scrutiny
by activists has led to further probing with the suppliers and more
facts being released.

Two major supermarkets now admit that they label all produce from
the Occupied Territories as produce of the West Bank. They say that this complies with DEFRA guidelines on correct labelling. These stipulate that: “Under EC law, the origin of a product for retail labeling purposes can be given as a region or other geographical indication that does not equate to a country or state, provided that the meaning is clear to the consumer”.

The West Bank has become synonymous with Palestine in the public mind. Labelling produce that comes from the Occupied Territories as
produce of the “West Bank” misleads the consumer. Consumers buying
these products believe that they are supporting the Palestinian economy while in fact they are supporting the economy of these illegal settlements. The vast majority, and very probably, all produce that comes from the West Bank, comes from the settlements. Very little, if any, produce that comes from Palestinian farms makes it to supermarkets in the UK.

This unlawful practice denies consumers informed choices between
Palestinian goods, of which there are almost none, and illegal
settlement goods. For consumers to make ethical choices, settlement
goods must be clearly labelled as settlement produce and thereby set apart from Palestinian produce.

We must continue to ask three fundamental questions:

1) Why is illegal settlement produce sold in our supermarkets?

2) Why does Israel get away with all these illegal practices?

3) Why do we remain silent about the huge customs debt incurred
due to wrongly labelled settlement produce?

Note by Jo Ladies:

Yes, indeed we would all like to know the answer to Zina Jardaneh’s
fundamental questions …. would somebody, somewhere, with a
a clue … speak now ... please .... hellloooooooooo?
silence ... absolutely golden!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

I witness ...

Another harrowing example of a crime against humanity in Gaza

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy to be an American

For the first time in a long time I felt pride that I am an American. Watching the inauguration of President Obama brought tears of hope – something that I haven't felt during the past eight years. I know that Barack Obama is a man; a human being who can't perform miracles. I know that the American system of government is complicated and many powerful players are involved in it. I know that change takes time,effort, and cooperation, but I also know that it is possible. I hope that our new president has the time, the health, the energy, and the support necessary to bring about the changes he envisions and we all need.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Martin Luther King Day 2009

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction
of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of

Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

"Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and
violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge,
aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, December 11, 1964.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Day Mail...

This is a very well written and genuine message from Laila Halaby (an Arab-American novelist – see her books “West of Jordan” and “Once in a Promised Land”). It was written much earlier in the Gaza war…death toll was “only” 200.)

I share many of her feelings about Obama – despite different life experiences.
Because it’s so personal, I find it very powerful. I hope the new president gets a chance to read it—maybe on his Blackberry!

I wish more Americans could access the Al-Jazeera English news channel, which has been reporting in an extremely courageous and professional manner from inside and outside Gaza. It is one of the very few to have broadcast the inside story from the beginning. I am curious to know how easy or difficult it is to get Al-Jazeera English on a satellite package in the USA; and what it costs. My sister says people would be afraid to get a call from the FBI if they subscribed (she was joking but not completely.) After tomorrow, I hope they will not be afraid.
Um D

An Open Letter from Laila Halaby to the President Elect Obama

Dear President Elect Obama,

Belatedly, I congratulate you on winning the election.
Belatedly, I offer my condolences for the death of your beloved grandmother.
Hopefully not belatedly, I implore you to consider your role in Palestine.

Though I try to avoid watching the news, last night I forced myself to look at coverage of Gaza. I started with CNN or Reuters, and though at that point over 200 Palestinians had been killed, the footage I saw was of the funeral for the one Israeli who died. I watched several men carry a coffin. I saw attractive women crying. It was both public and private and one felt their grief. The message was clear: one Israeli death is one too many whereas more than 200 Palestinian deaths are in a different category.

So I decided to watch al-Jazeera. Do you ever watch it? Shirin Abu Aqle, who
has been reporting from the Occupied Territories for the last eight or
so years, is looking very, very tired. I forced myself to watch the scenes of destruction, the ambulances, the men and women slumped over the bodies of their family members. I forced myself to listen to the screams, the wailing.

I forced myself to watch these images because I feel that as long as my country is supporting the country that has caused this, I am guilty.

I got to thinking about your campaign and my reasons for supporting you:
You were by far the smartest and wisest candidate.
Your plans were clear and intelligent.
Your ego did not get in the way.
There was another more personal reason.

I also supported you because you are familiar. Like you,
my mother is white and my father was brown and foreign.
Like you, I had a funny name.
Like you, I did not grow up with my father, but his absence shaped the person I became.
Like you, I had connections abroad, an entire other world that seemed as though
it should in some way belong to me. Or I to it.
Like you, I was, at times, an Other.
Like you, I became very good at gauging situations and people.

This is why I trust you.

Why I knew you were the only candidate who would truly treat other world leaders as equals, thereby earning their respect.
Why I sang your praises over Senator Clinton to anyone who would listen.
Why I wrote letters, wore t-shirts, bought my kids t-shirts, and bought a second bumper sticker for my car after the first one was stolen. (My younger son, who was eight at the time, wrote you a letter and you wrote him back. He has that letter
pinned to his door and he was your spokesperson in the third and fourth grade.)

You see, President Elect Obama, the familiarity that I see in you is one of fairness
and justice: you can see both sides of a situation because you are both sides and it's why you ultimately choose what is right and not what is popular. You also have a tremendous sense of history, so I know you are aware that what we see today is not

Which brings me back to Palestine.
Gaza is filled with people whose family homes are being lived in by Jewish settlers from all over the world. Many of those people, if they are permitted entry back into the country that was once theirs, have to wait an hour or more for the privilege to walk by those homes on their way to working in a factory to make underwear or t-shirts for western women.
They smell the freshly mowed lawns, hear the splashing of children in bright blue pools on land that was once theirs. Most of them try to tune out the past, focus on the few constants they are allowed in this present life: family and faith.

It is never just today. Just as you are not simply a Black man in his forties who got a new job, this is not simply an explosive situation between good guys and bad guys.

Gaza is also filled with very creative people: all sorts of artists, musicians,
actors, dancers, who hone their skills and dream. There are teachers and doctors and lawyers and nurses and engineers. And there are lots and lots of students who dream and hope, in spite of the fact that their options are fewer than most of us can imagine.

Gaza is filled, literally, with children who can describe the villages that were taken from their families two or more generations ago. They can tell you the number of olive trees that surrounded the house, or describe the scent of citrus blossoms
that filled the air, or the old man who lived two houses down who always sang whenever he walked, and how his voice was terribly unmelodic, but what an enormous void there was when he died. They can tell you these things because their parents and
grandparents are determined that they not forget; that they, in turn, will not be forgotten.

It is never just today. Just as you are not simply moving into the White House in a month, refugee camps are not ancestral homes; populating a country that was already populated can involve unacceptable tactics.

Just as we took the time to get to know you, to understand your history, and to believe in you, I ask you to stop looking at today, at what is wrong with today, and to look at how it got that way.

Just as we took the time to get past your funny name, your foreign father, your all-over-the-place upbringing, I beg you to do the same for Palestine.

Until the wrongs of slavery were admitted, there was anger and extremism. Until the wrongs of occupation are admitted, there will be anger and extremism. And fathers and mothers like you and like me will continue to live through what is unimaginable.

I will end with something Mohandas Ghandi said, something I know that you believe: "A
confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer."

Very sincerely yours,

Laila Halaby

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bono and Pavarotti - Ava Maria (live)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What Happened to 'Never Again'?

After the Holocaust it was thought there would never be another genocide. In fact the Genocide Convention adopted by the UN in 1948 was meant as a pledge to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust would never happen again. But since then we have had Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and now Gaza. Probably before this war there were many people who didn't even knew where Gaza was. But what is more perplexing is why the politicians also pretended not to know about Gaza. After all, Gaza is not somewhere deep in the heart of Africa but shares its border with some very modern and so called democratic states. They all have state of the art equipment and know exactly what is going on in Gaza.

It had been under a terrible siege for months prior to the war and before it even began the Red Cross and many other humanitarian agencies were screaming to the world that Gaza was in a crisis. The people didn’t have enough food, medicines and all the other basics with which to lead a normal life. But all these world leaders chose to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to these facts.

Today the people of Gaza are being bombarded from the land, air and sea and there is no place for them to go. They are frightened, separated from their families, hungry, sick, cold and homeless. Gaza has become their Auschwitz.

And the fact that the leaders of this world have let this happen has made a cruel joke of words like ‘modernization’, ‘rule of law’ and ‘democracy’...........z

This pretty much says it all ....

An American friend summed up the following article printed in the Washington Times with this:
“I have a long held dislike for and distrust of The Washington Times (very conservative paper), but I’m getting over it so I can share this brilliant parable with you.
Please try to “get over” any resistance you may have to new information that may conflict with your long held categorizations of who is “good, bad, right, wrong” in the Middle East.
With the death toll now at 13 Israelis to more than 1000 Gazans (398 women & children), it’s bizarre that the Israeli Foreign Minister and our Secy of State met yesterday to discuss how to keep rockets from getting into Gaza, while sidestepping the millions of dollars worth of US –made and purchased arms that have been pounding Gaza daily these past three weeks. How about keeping those weapons out of the region?
Think about it.
It’s time for change, a new look at things and to do something about it.”

The Washington Times

When Israel expelled Palestinians

By Randall Kuhn

January 14, 2009

"Think about what would happen if for seven years rockets had been fired at San Diego, California from Tijuana, Mexico." Within hours scores of American pundits and politicians had mimicked Barak's comparisons almost verbatim. In fact, in this very paper on January 9 House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor ended an opinion piece by saying "America would never sit still if terrorists were lobbing missiles across our border into Texas or Montana." But let's see if our political and pundit class can parrot this analogy.

Think about what would happen if San Diego expelled most of its Hispanic, African American, Asian American, and Native American population, about 48 percent of the total, and forcibly relocated them to Tijuana? Not just immigrants, but even those who have lived in this country for many generations. Not just the unemployed or the criminals or the America haters, but the school teachers, the small business owners, the soldiers, even the baseball players.

What if we established government and faith-based agencies to help move white people into their former homes? And what if we razed hundreds of their homes in rural areas and, with the aid of charitable donations from people in the United States and abroad, planted forests on their former towns, creating nature preserves for whites to enjoy? Sounds pretty awful, huh? I may be called anti-Semitic for speaking this truth. Well, I'm Jewish and the scenario above is what many prominent Israeli scholars say happened when Israel expelled Palestinians from southern Israel and forced them into Gaza. But this analogy is just getting started.

What if the United Nations kept San Diego's discarded minorities in crowded, festering camps in Tijuana for 19 years? Then, the United States invaded Mexico, occupied Tijuana and began to build large housing developments in Tijuana where only whites could live. And what if the United States built a network of highways connecting American citizens of Tijuana to the United States? And checkpoints, not just between Mexico and the United States but also around every neighborhood of Tijuana? What if we required every Tijuana resident, refugee or native, to show an ID card to the U.S. military on demand? What if thousands of Tijuana residents lost their homes, their jobs, their businesses, their children, their sense of self worth to this occupation? Would you be surprised to hear of a protest movement in Tijuana that sometimes became violent and hateful? Okay, now for the unbelievable part.

Think about what would happen if, after expelling all of the minorities from San Diego to Tijuana and subjecting them to 40 years of brutal military occupation, we just left Tijuana, removing all the white settlers and the soldiers? Only instead of giving them their freedom, we built a 20-foot tall electrified wall around Tijuana? Not just on the sides bordering San Diego, but on all the Mexico crossings as well. What if we set up 50-foot high watchtowers with machine gun batteries, and told them that if they stood within 100 yards of this wall we would shoot them dead on sight? And four out of every five days we kept every single one of those border crossings closed, not even allowing food, clothing, or medicine to arrive. And we patrolled their air space with our state-of-the-art fighter jets but didn't allow them so much as a crop duster. And we patrolled their waters with destroyers and submarines, but didn't even allow them to fish.

Would you be at all surprised to hear that these resistance groups in Tijuana, even after having been "freed" from their occupation but starved half to death, kept on firing rockets at the United States? Probably not. But you may be surprised to learn that the majority of people in Tijuana never picked up a rocket, or a gun, or a weapon of any kind. The majority, instead, supported against all hope negotiations toward a peaceful solution that would provide security, freedom and equal rights to both people in two independent states living side by side as neighbors. This is the sound analogy to Israel's military onslaught in Gaza today. Maybe some day soon, common sense will prevail and no corpus of misleading analogies abut Tijuana or the crazy guy across the hall who wants to murder your daughter will be able to obscure the truth. And at that moment, in a country whose people shouted We Shall Overcome, Ich bin ein Berliner, End Apartheid, Free Tibet and Save Darfur, we will all join together and shout "Free Gaza. Free Palestine." And because we are Americans, the world will take notice and they will be free, and perhaps peace will prevail for all the residents of the Holy Land.

Randall Kuhn is an assistant professor and Director of the Global Health Affairs Program at the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He just returned from a trip to Israel and the West Bank.

When will the UN stand up to Israel?

For years and years and years Israelis have attacked UN property and killed civilians sheltering there. When will the countries of the United Nations get together and do something about it? If this so called democracy can murder innocent civilians anywhere they choose and flout all international conventions and laws, where does that leave the rest of us? T

Friday, January 16, 2009

Forest for Gaza

Today is Arbor Day … the day we plant trees in numerous sites around the country, and lay down small roots that take hold with branches of green and shelter us with hope and comfort.

If we can do nothing else to stop the slaughter in Gaza, perhaps we can mourn the great sacrifice of the Palestinian people with a forest named Gaza and a tree for all those who have given their lives in the struggle to be free from oppression over the last century and into this.

After all, we name forests after Presidents and leaders of foreign lands, it’s now time to respect our own and plant a Forest for Gaza …. a spiritual place to go and reflect on the madness and futility of war

… lest we forget.


Gaza: A Pawn in the new Great Game

Analysis from the Asian Times: read this

Did Anyone In Gaza Play Tennis Today?

Did anyone in Gaza play tennis today,
did anyone go for a swim?

Did anyone go for a walk down the street,
or shop in the mall at a whim?
Did anyone go to the mosque or to school,
or just wander around outside?
How bout doing the wash or watching the news,
instead of finding a place to hide.
No tennis or swimming or walking or shopping,
more important things to do today,
like surviving the bombs and calming the crying,
no time for idle play.
What food there is is not enough,
and the water is gone or going.
The only thing that's certain is
the bombing isn't slowing.
Hospitals can't cope with all the wounded,
the dying and the pain.
And all attempts to stop this slaughter
are until now, in vain.
What did ordinary people with ordinary lives do,
to create so much hate?
Are they supposed to think that this
is simply their fate?
No bombs or rockets or tanks or guns
can ever bring anyone peace.
The rage that's planted from obscenity like this
will simply never cease.
Has nothing been learned from the pain of the past
of the futility of war?
Or is man's inhumanity to man
something in everyone's core?
So now I weep for Gaza, the world's biggest trap
It has to be the most miserable place on this planet's map.

Moab Mourning

“We have a war pimp in our midst,
serving up anger and hate on a plate
that gets fed to our kids day after day,
month after month and year after year
A mother’s love and hope that heals
cannot compete in this cesspool of divide and rule
as our leaders cower in the corner of their
cowardice.” J

I sat curled up on the sofa with the cat curled up in the crook of my arm purring her head off. It was strangely comforting, in the face of the eerie deathly silence of a world waiting and watching the horrific images of death and destruction in Gaza leaping off the TV screen, late into the night. And If that is not Israeli State Sponsored Terrorism, enacting a War OF Terror on a captive, civilian, oppressed and occupied people that number one and a half million … would someone please define it better for me?

Perverted still, is the mighty Israeli war machine bombing UN compounds, Red Cross Hospitals, NGO aid agencies such as CARE and international media offices all the while the Secretary General of the United Nations is currently in Israel, that great beacon of democracy …. to try and convince Livni to “cease fire” . And all he can do is leave with his tail between his legs having expressed a sense of disappointment.

… and all I saw in Livni’s face was the look of smug arrogance and lust for power and blood that knows no bounds. Is she actually human? No, she is the face of a true Zionist … racist to the core … that afflicts not just the Arab world but America and Israel itself; something that she and her ilk share with their ideologist bedfellows, the Nazis.

And I thought that ‘never again’ would humanity arrive at this stage …

As Rami Khouri so aptly wrote in the Jordan Times today :

“Gaza will get its ceasefire soon, but will Washington ever find relief from the choking stranglehold of Israel’s political thugs?
These congressional votes in the past few days were not an unusual event, sadly, but rather a routine reaffirmation of the chokehold that Israel enjoys over the elected representatives of an otherwise healthy democracy. For example, two years ago, when Israel attacked Lebanon with similar ferocity, the US House of Representatives voted 410-8 to support the Israeli onslaught and to condemn Hamas and Hizbollah for “unprovoked and reprehensible armed attacks against Israel”.
Two years before that, in 2004, the House voted 407-9 to support President Bush’s position that it was “unrealistic” for Israel to return completely to its pre-June 1967 borders.
On no other foreign policy issue does the US Congress collectively sticks its head in its back pocket, turns off its power of independent judgement and disregards the impact of its decisions on how the United States is perceived around the world. At no other time does the US Congress vote according to the interests of a foreign country, rather than according to the US national interest. This kind of blind, wholehearted plunge into a maelstrom of pro-Israeli fanaticism and zealotry reflects precisely how strong the pro-Israeli lobby is in the United States, and how weak the voices of reason, balance and justice as drivers of American foreign policy are.
This is the distorted reality that Obama will inherit in a week’s time, and what an ugly thing it is. It captures the worst of all worlds rolled into one - the vicious, hysterical force of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States that buys and terrorises politicians as easily as buying bags of peanuts at a circus; the anaemic, mindless and spineless Arab governments who stand naked before Israel and the United States, and shameless before their own people; and the American political establishment that behaves on this issue, with a handful of brave and decent exceptions, in a most un-American manner in the face of the omnipotent pro-Israeli forces that decide if they live or die politically.
None of this is surprising or new. It only amazes me that Americans expect us to take them seriously and not to laugh - or throw up - when they preach to us about promoting democracy.”


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza, Vomiting Violence

When is enough enough? Who finally decides that there are a sufficient number of dead bodies? When does this vomiting of violence end? How much more horror will one have to witness before it’s over?

Who will have the bad luck of being the last child killed? Which father will be the last slain, leaving behind a devastated and dependent family? Which mother will be the last to die trying to protect her family? Which student will be mourned by his/her classmates and remembered for the potential that he/she promised? Who will never see their grandmother, or grandfather because she/he was the last victim of this obscenity? Who gets the “honor” of being the last one killed? And when is it going to happen?

If I could make it all end, that question would already be answered.

If you CARE, read on

Press release

CARE cancels distributions in Gaza due to bombing
Critical deliveries of food and medical supplies for mothers and infants jeopardized

Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territories (Jan. 15, 2009) – CARE has been forced to cancel distributions in the Gaza Strip today, as heavy bombing in Gaza City fell around CARE warehouses and staff distribution sites. CARE had been planning to distribute emergency medical supplies to hospitals and clinics today, as well as baby food and blankets for newborns in shelters.

“This is the first day CARE has been forced to totally suspend activities in Gaza,” said Martha Myers, CARE International’s Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. “This is a tragic situation – desperately needed supplies are ready to be distributed today, but we cannot reach the people in need because of the bombing. Last week, our staff had to flee a food distribution because of the bombing. Yesterday, while our workers were packing the medical supplies for today’s distributions, bombs fell near the warehouse and our staff had to drop and run. This is not humanitarian access.”

CARE is again calling for an immediate ceasefire, and for unrestricted humanitarian access to reach people in need.

Today’s distributions were particularly critical, said Myers, as they were to target pregnant women and new mothers and their infants. According to UNFPA, there are 40,000 pregnant women in Gaza, and 170 women are giving birth a day – many of whom are unable to reach hospitals or receive health care for their babies.

“Half the population is under 18. Gaza is a crowded classroom of children, and they are the least able to protect themselves. Babies born into this war – and their mothers – are paying the heaviest price,” said Myers.

“If you have 170 women giving birth a day, that means you have 340 new mothers and newborns who are especially vulnerable and who need specialized care – proper nutrition, access to appropriate health facilities, medical check-ups after the birth. Newborn babies need warmth, cleanliness, nutrition, and comfort,” said Myers. “None of this is not available in Gaza right now, and these infants and their mothers are suffering the consequences.”

CARE is providing medical supplies to treat sick children, including equipment such as infant heart rate monitors, ventilators and infusion pumps, pharmaceuticals, and basic nutritional supplements for pregnant women to prevent anemia and reduce the risk of miscarriage. CARE is also providing fresh vegetables, baby food, blankets, diapers, soap, and hygiene supplies, and plastic sheeting and material to repair broken windows to protect families against the cold.

“Humanitarian workers are just as at risk as other civilians in this conflict,” said Myers. “I am deeply concerned for my staff, and for the people we could not reach today because of the bombing. We hope to resume all activities tomorrow, if safety permits.”

About CARE: CARE is one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid agencies, providing assistance in nearly 70 countries. CARE has been working in Israel, West Bank and Gaza since 1948 (with a short break from 1984-1994), initially implementing programs to help refugees after the Holocaust. Today, CARE implements programs in food security, health and water, support for civil society groups, and distributions of fresh food. Since the conflict started Dec. 27, CARE has distributed fresh food, medical supplies, heaters, blankets and plastic sheeting to hospitals, families and feeding centres in Gaza.

Media contacts:
Juliette Seibold (in Jerusalem), +972.547797730,
Melanie Brooks (in Jerusalem), +972. 547797719, +41.795903047,


Thought for the day

"Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be." --- St Augustine.

I used to have a dream ....

I wake up practically every morning in a daze ... with an overwhelming feeling of foreboding, knowing that Israel's evil and unconscionable little war has no end in sight because no one country, international organisation or world body is willing to find the political courage to stand up to injustice (first step) and create a truly unifying and peaceful, new world order (second step).

And yet the reality of that is now slowly rising from the ashes of Gaza and the tragic sacrifice of the Palestinian people at the hands of Israeli fascists. Just read some of today's opinion pieces at the Jordan Times; and this article in Counterpunch as a bleak reminder of what is actually going on, and you have to ask yourself is there ever going to be a glimmer of hope?

There are some tough questions to answer ... now is the time to face them, if not for me then for my beloved children ... and yours.

PS There is one exception to the above first paragraph and that is .... Mr John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, Palestine ... a very courageous man indeed.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Other Option?!

No Other Option?!

by Sam Bahour

Occupation magazine
10 January 2009

I watch in shock, like the rest of the world, at the appalling death and destruction being wrought on Gaza by Israel; and still it does not stop. Meanwhile, we see a seemingly never-ending army of well-prepared Israeli war propagandists, some Israeli government officials, and many other people self-enlisted for the purpose, explaining to the world the justifications for pulverizing the Gaza Strip, with its 1.5 million inhabitants. Curious about how Israel, or any society for that matter, could justify a crime of such magnitude against humanity, I turned to my Jewish Israeli friends today to hear their take on things. One after
another, the theme was the same. The vast majority of Jewish Israelis has apparently bought into the state-sponsored line that Israel was under attack and had no other option available to stop Hamas` rockets. More frightening is the revelation that many Israelis--including one person who self-identifies as a former `peace activist`--are speaking of accepting the killing of 100,000 or more Palestinians, if need be.

I have a problem with this logic.

I am a Palestinian American based in Al-Bireh, the sister city of Ramallahin the West Bank. I can see how an observer from abroad could be blind tothe facts, given the blitz of Gaza war propaganda orchestrated by the Israeli military. But I know better. Like all other Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, I am not an observer from abroad. We live every day under the bitter burden of Israeli military occupation and we know that this question, presented as rhetorical--did we really have an option? --has a rational answer. Allow me, from my vantage point as an economic development professional, to touch on some of the other options that could have been chosen. Moreover, many of them will be forced on Israel anyway, sooner or later, whether after the next `war,` or in the coming days under the ceasefire agreement and the Egyptian-sponsored implementation mechanism being discussed as I write this. Meaning: all this death and destruction could have been easily avoided.

Dear Israeli citizen, short of ending the occupation, you could have:

1. Opted to agree on how to disagree: There are two bodies of law that deal with international relations in this world, International Law and the Law of the Jungle. Until today, your government--and maybe you--refuse to accept the global consensus that the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are all militarily occupied territory. The occupying power is Israel--as attested in dozens of United Nations resolutions over the past
four decades By ignoring this fact that Israel is an occupying power, thus removing (unsuccessfully, of course) any internationally recognized baseline for the conflict, you have created an environment that can only be described as the `Law of the Jungle,` where might is right and where, as we see in Gaza now, anything goes. You could have accepted international
humanitarian law, as stipulated in the Fourth Geneva Conventions regulating occupations, and avoided many of the seemingly impossible positions you find yourself in today: from the albatross of the settlement enterprise to the reality of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip.

2. Opted to allow for an international presence in the occupied territory: For over 30 years - yes, 30 years! - the Palestinians have begged the international community to create and maintain a serious presence in the occupied territory, something to stand between us and protect the civilians on both sides. Israel repeatedly refused to consider this. Instead your government chose to deal with the Palestinian territory as if it was its
own, always behaving in line with its meta-objective: getting a maximum of Palestinian geography with a minimum of Palestinian demography.
You could have avoided dealing directly with the natural reaction of any occupied people to resist their occupation, by allowing international players to get involved and serve as a sort of referee between you and those you are occupying militarily.

3. Opted to accept lawful non-violent resistance to your occupation:
For over 40 years, Palestinians have tried everything to remove the Israeli boot of occupation from our necks (all documented, for anyone interested enough to do the research): tax revolts, general strikes, civil disobedience, economic development, elections, and on and on. Your response every time was to rely on violence, on control; your message was that you respect nothing other than your own desires. Your children on the front line in Gaza may be too young to recall, but you might remind them, so that they will at least be informed as they march ahead to your drummers: Let them know you deported duly elected mayors back in the 1980s; let them know that you closed down entire Palestinian universities for years on end; let them know that you have imprisoned over 650,000 Palestinians since your occupation began, creating a virtual prison university for the resistance movement and stunning any possibility for a new leadership to arise; let them know that even after Oslo you prohibit, to this day, Palestinians from building fully independent utilities--not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well. You could have tried a little harder to understand that people under occupation do not throw flowers and rice at their occupiers and resolve to surrender to a slow death.

4. Opted to accept the results of Palestinian democracy:
For Palestinians, and believe it or not Israelis too, the best thing that happened in the recent past was when Hamas was chosen in peaceful elections to take over the governance of Palestine.
Prior to those elections, where was Hamas? They were in their
underground bunkers carrying out atrocities that were disrupting your daily agenda--and mine--with absolutely no accountability
whatsoever. When they accepted the Oslo process and ran for office and were duly elected, they stopped, for all intent and purpose, attacking inside Israel (by which I mean, inside the Green Line). Your citizens become significantly safer! Your government (and the U.S.) responded by refusing to accept the results of our elections and imposed sanctions on the elected Palestinian government. This was long before any violent infighting took place in Gaza between Hamas and Fatah. How did the Palestinians react to your intransigence? They pressed Hamas to replace its Hamas-only government with a unity government that had all the significant Palestinian political factions represented. You were thus presented with an accountable body that encompassed all Palestinian political flavors. Your government again responded by refusing to accept the results of our elections and continued with sanctions against the Palestinian government, repeating over and over the mantra that `there is no partner.` Beyond that, the Israeli government intensified its campaign of assassinating and arresting Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and introduced a whole new range of draconian punitive measures against the Palestinian public at large. Like what, you ask? Well, one such measure was that your government began blocking foreign nationals--people like me--from entering or doing business in the occupied territory, thus hindering any real chance to create a new, forward-looking reality. You could have accepted Palestinian democracy instead of propping up your own version of a failed Palestinian leadership.

5. Opted not to interfere in Palestinian internal politics: When Hamas violently struck at Fatah in Gaza--for reasons that have been well documented elsewhere--your government chose to punish all 1.5 million Palestinians by installing a hermetic seal on Gaza and allowing only a trickle of normal traffic to go in or out, meeting only a small fraction of Gaza`s needs. Lest you suspect me of indulging in empty clichés, I shall explain. International agencies have estimated that Gaza`s daily basic
needs amount to 450 truckloads a day. For 18 months prior to your aggression on Gaza, your government allowed 70 truckloads a day on average. Yes, seventy!
And these were allowed to enter only when the border crossings that you control were open, which was only 30% of the time. You could have chosen not to use food, medicine, education, cement, water, electricity, and so forth, as tools of repression. If you saw yourselves accurately as the occupying power you are, you could have kept in place a lawful security regime on the borders without creating a humanitarian disaster which led to irrational acts (such as missiles being lobbed over the border) by those you tried to starve into submission.

You could have made a firm distinction between your political
desires and your humanitarian obligations as an occupying power.

This list could go on and on.

The fact of the matter is that you had a long list of options open to you! So many, indeed, that it boggles the mind that your government has apparently been able to blind you to all of that today, as the bombs shriek over Gaza, you can say, and evidently sincerely mean it:
We had no other option.

Nevertheless, even with all these options effectively invisible to you, there is nothing on this earth--not law, not politics, not even a desperate and lengthy campaign of rockets creating widespread fear and even some civilian deaths on your side of the border--there is nothing that can justify, by Israel or any other country on this earth, the decision to opt for a crime against humanity as your chosen response. Nothing!

You accepted your government`s path to separate unilaterally from occupied Palestinians; you accepted an illegal barrier to be built on
confiscated Palestinian lands; you accepted a unilateral disengagement that simply redeployed your occupation from the heart of Gaza to its perimeter, on land and sea and in the air, rather than actually removing it; you accepted the continuing expansion of your settlements and their systematic harassment of their Palestinian neighbors while talking peace; you accepted, and sadly continue to accept, a consensual blindness to the fact that the majority of Palestinians live as refugees, far from your occupation (practically, not geographically), and feel much more rage than you have lately been creating in the Gaza Strip. I urge you to stop acquiescing in this policy of managed unreality. I urge you to open your eyes and wake up. If not for our sake, then for your own.

You may not see us over the Separation Wall you built; you may not see us from the cockpits of your F-16s or from the inside of your tanks; you may not see us from the command and control center in the heart of Tel Aviv as you direct your pilots to launch their ton of munitions over our heads. Still, I can assure you of one thing. Until you wake up and demand that your leaders choose a different path, a path toward a life as equals and neighbors instead of trampler-on and trampled-on,
you and your warrior sons and daughters will continue to see us--all of us, living and dead--in your nightmares, where we will continue to demand peace with justice.


Sam Bahour is a management consultant and entrepreneur living in Ramallah; he is co-editor of `Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians,` and blogs at

Web link

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What am I doing here?

This tape was aired two years ago on Israeli TV; the location: Bethlehem, Palestine an occupied land ... but nothing changed. In fact nothing has changed for the last sixty years ... geopolitical lies mount upon more lies and mount again on the plains of Palestine in Gaza, so exactly when is enough, enough? Wasn't it Joseph Goebbels (Nazi WW2) who said:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

And then there is George Orwell (English Novelist and Essayist,1903-1950) who said: “In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

So where do we go from here ...?

Well, the jews have the right ... don't they?

Blog alert!

Ok, what's going on?? My links to notable Palestinian sites are no longer accessible through this page the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish ... and Electronic Intifada .... I can still access these sites through the web though, just not on our blog page ...???

Does anyone else have this problem? J

A Message from Mohammed

Published on Monday, January 12, 2009 by
Gaza is Sinking in a River of Blood: A Message from a Gazan to the World

by Mohammed Fares Al Majdalawi

"I want to write about the suffering of my people and my family in these days of siege against the people of Gaza. 888 people have been killed and more than 3700 injured. The Red Cross has accused the Israeli military of repeatedly refusing to allow ambulances to go to Zeitoun area, so those who are injured become those who die; a premeditated and purposeful violation of human rights.

In my house we can't get basic needs. No food. No bread. No fuel. No future. Yesterday, my father went to the bakery at 5 AM. He waited 5 hours to get one loaf of bread, which is not enough for my family because there are 11 of us. So today it was my turn. I went to all the bakeries -- all were closed.

There is no safe place we can go. We cannot communicate with our relatives and friends -- networks are down as missiles rain on our homes, mosques and even hospitals.

Our life is centered around the burials of those who have died, our martyrs, At night our camp, Jabalya Refugee Camp, is a ghost town, with no sounds other than those of Israeli military aircraft.

There is a horror in every minute and it is clear especially in the lives of children. For example, there were five sisters in one family killed from the Israeli occupation while they stayed in their home. But there are 800,000 other children in Gaza, all afraid, all waiting for someone or something to help them. They are caught in a prison that is becoming a concentration camp. Every day we sleep and open our eyes to the Israeli crimes of killing children and women and destroying civilians' homes. My words are unable to convey my feelings about this life in Gaza.

I have two messages to the world, to those who claim they love peace and seek freedom.

Imagine your life consisting of no electricity, destroyed homes, the sounds and strikes of missiles, day and night, and the only hunger as great as that for food is the hunger for an end to this occupation and siege. Imagine it is not just you but your children and your family who tell you through their eyes and cries: "We are afraid of the missiles." "We cannot sleep." "We may never sleep again." Imagine you are the dam and the river of blood has turned into a flash flood. How long could you stand it?

We wouldn't have to stand it any longer if the world stood with us. If they demanded an end to the siege and the killings and demolition of houses for our children. If they demanded assistance reach the people through rallies and sit-ins.

Finally, I invite you to come to Gaza and see the Holocaust. Because despite the siege, the barriers, the killing of my people and homes, and the total destruction of our lives by the Israeli occupation, they can not and will not kill the will of our people for equality and justice."

Mohammed Al Majdawali is a university student, member of Al-Assria Children's Library, and volunteer with Middle East Children's Alliance. He lives in Jabalya Refugee Camp with his family and aspires to be a professional filmmaker.

To help MECA send more medical aid to Gaza for thousands of sick and injured people living under siege,

Song for Gaza ... We Will Not Go Down

This is a song of hope for the Palestinians in Gaza, composed and performed by Michael Heart Copyright 2009.

The song MP3 is available for download at:


A blinding flash of white light
Lit up the sky over Gaza tonight
People running for cover
Not knowing whether they're dead or alive

They came with their tanks and their planes
With ravaging fiery flames
And nothing remains
Just a voice rising up in the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

Women and children alike
Murdered and massacred night after night
While the so-called leaders of countries afar
Debated on who's wrong or right

But their powerless words were in vain
And the bombs fell down like acid rain
But through the tears and the blood and the pain
You can still hear that voice through the smoky haze

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die
We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight
You can burn up our mosques and our homes and our schools
But our spirit will never die

We will not go down
In the night, without a fight

We will not go down
In Gaza tonight

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thought for the day

"We do not want a PAX Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time." John F. Kennedy (1963)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


So as this brave and courageous American woman in Gaza works to build hope, her government works to destroy it ... J

Pssttt ... you over there .... it's the people, stupid!


Failing all

Israel looks set to launch a third stage of its aggression on the Gaza Strip, after the country ignored a UN resolution to cease fire immediately and as casualties continue to mount.

More than 800 Palestinians are now dead, apparently not enough casualties for American lawmakers who, in a shamefully one-sided resolution yesterday, backed Israel’s “right to self-defence”.

Who are these people? Did they miss the class which taught them that occupiers are aggressors? Did they fail basic maths so they cannot see the imbalance between 800 and 12?

Do they understand self-defence to mean the collective punishment of 1.5 million people for whose welfare Israel, by international law, is responsible?

Did they, furthermore, not learn from their own history, especially that of America’s unstinting support for apartheid South Africa, up until the last moment? Or are they really so deep in the pockets of the pro-Israeli lobby that they are incapable of even the most basic expression of humanity, support for the victims of unbridled and unchecked power?

And so Gazans will face another night of terror, bloodshed and despair as the international community, democracies and tyrannies alike, those who would be the guardians of freedom and justice, fail them and fail themselves.

How many dead will it take until the conscience of the world is finally pricked? How many children, women, men and ambulance drivers must be killed by the overwhelming and imbalanced firepower of an apparently insatiable Israeli army revelling in the support of an apparently insatiable Israeli public and backed by the ignorance and criminal apathy of the world?

The grapes of wrath have been stored for long now. One day, a vintage, entirely vengeful, will emerge.

The world has only itself to blame.

11 January 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Beyond the pain

I came across this group of inspirational people from Palestine and Israel, who work together in the name of peace, called the Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace. And so I give you their information because this is what should be appearing on the front pages of newspapers, because until we acknowledge the need to talk to our enemies, and stop the bloodshed, peace will elude us for ever. We do not have the right to do this to our children.

"Peace is a question of will. Wars and conflicts are not inevitable," said Martti Ahtisaari, The Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2008, arguing that they are caused by people who have something to gain from them. "All conflicts can be settled" ... J

Gaza on my mind ....

I woke up this morning
and what did I see
but bombs surrounding me

I woke up this morning
and what did I feel
but pain enveloping me

I woke up this morning
and what did I sense
but fear devouring me

But that is me
and I lie safe and secure
within my realm
of motherhood intact
where health and wealth
abound, far from the Gazan plains
of a suffering Palestine.

So why the emptiness
the devouring
the nothingness
of terror dysfunctioning
ingrained in the soul of
my eyes
for the children of Palestine.

I have nothing left
no words to empathise
no thoughts to justify
no way to stop
the suffering
so why Oh God
this infamy
nothing more than
of a person
called Palestine
who was "married to
another man" .... J

And to all those at the US Congress .... read this if you can spare a minute from your busy mind corrupting schedules of appeasement ...

Book: Married to Another Man by Ghada Karmi, Pluto Press

Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Eye for an Eyelash

Israel thinks it is getting away with "an eye for an eyelash in Gaza ...."; but for how much longer is the world going to bear this injustice, as we the people hang our heads in the shame of silence and mourn the passing of statesmanship. As American journalist H Mencken observed "... what stings is justice”. J

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Poem by Michael

Michael ... thank you for your words expressed in prose .... a plea from the heart for Gaza: J

Ann Frank Alive In Gaza

Genocide in the Gaza Ghetto

By michael

January 06, 2009

Their is a Warsaw Ghetto Uprising going on right now
This is a Rotterdam terrorized from shock and awe to induce fear and obedience
This is Pearl Harbor, Alamo, Wounded Knee, and the Amritsar Massacre all rolled up into one
This is Leningrad and i pray that it will morph into a Stalingrad, but not a Nangking when the storm troopers storm in

Yet this is not a battle or war between two armies
No, this is a holocaust perpetrated to destroy a democracy and cleanse a land ethnically
This is a professor getting terminated for speaking up for his people
An assassination executed while he was at home by a US supplied missile that killed his 11 kids, wounded 30 neighbors and murdered his 4 wives
This is 3 children playing outside, slaughtered by an F-16 fighter-jet with one of the boys decapitated
This is a Gazan mother and her 3 children having breakfast butchered by an Israeli tank shell and then when Shelly Rubin (CEO) of the Jewish Defense League was informed she e-mailed me: "Thanks for the happy news."
This is 7+days of this catastrophic carnage with 3000 dead and wounded human beings

For this is Gaza, ghetto to 1.5 million refugees
Inside the biggest prison the world has ever seen
And their jailer is their enemy
An adversary who sees them not as victims but vermin to be eradicated
And with US built weaponry, they are executing defenseless people quite efficiently

For those who've once suffered holocaust while the world was silent, now practice what was done to them
For those who were once the victims are now the victimizers
And they've learned their schooling well
And on the sideline once again, are those who are watching but quiet, once again; the world

Within this decades old prison, punishment meted out by their turnkeys
Who with a Jewish faucet manipulate what goes in and what goes out
Medicine, food, electricity, water and even sewage are used as a controlling device and collective punishment
And when some of the prisoners fire off some fireworks in retaliation for their predicament
Or, after another Israeli incursion and assassination that killed the quarry and a number of innocent bystanders
All hell then breaks loose

Two days after Christmas, a Hebrew anaconda death squeeze has now escalated into a blitzkrieg
Surrounded by three sides, with their backs to the sea and the air controlled by helicopter gunships, anana's and state of the art fighter jets
It's a turkey shoot and the Gazan's are sitting ducks
For on three sides is the world's fourth strongest army waiting for the green light,itching for butchery

And inside this tiny enclave i have heard that Ann Frank is alive and well
Ann is hiding from the bombs and the door-to-door search looking for her and her kind
As they blast holes in the walls from house to house
They shoot at anything that moves or anyone with a rock in their hand

This crime against humanity unfolding before our eyes is a civilian catastrophe lauded in the western press as a justified deed
But the truth is, it's a holocaust done by those who had it done to them 65 years ago
Ignored, swept under the rug, and gift-wrapped by sophisticated propaganda
History repeats again and again in it's indifference, silence once more
The silence is deafening and it needs to be broken
And the historical irony, God the irony of it all
To do to others what was once done to them and the world just as quiet as before

The world needs to make amends and atone for the wrong of the first holocaust
to sever the cycle of wanton genocide and break the betrayal of silence
This is our historical second chance
We need to crack this deafening silence with a worldwide outcry
To stop the bloodbath and this must be done today

Enough already!

The Free Gaza Movement plus useful links.





The vanishing ...

"Ex-Communicated tells the story of Israeli occupation in Palestine through the genre of landscape and the perspective of a camera lens. In his series of remarkable photographs, Gary Fields, a professor of communication at the University of California, San Diego takes us behind the walls, gates, and fences of this deliberately fragmented geography in revealing Palestinian life under Israeli military rule. What he shows in these images is how the forces of occupation use the landscape as an instrument of control over Palestinians and a mechanism for dispossessing them of land and property. Much of this story is untold and largely unseen. These photos convey forcefully how the process of enclosure on the landscape has 'ex-communicated' Palestinians, immobilizing them into ever-diminishing spaces, while at the same time inspiring them into heroic acts of peaceful resistance. "

Monday, January 05, 2009

Pharmacy One and donations to Gaza

I have just been to Pharmacy One to buy medicines for the people of Gaza. I think it is a great idea that the company provides a first aid package for a certain price and they will deliver it to Aramex.

Just a couple of questions - I hope Pharmacy One will be able to put together packages that are easy to distribute at the other end. In other words I think the same medicines should be together rather than all separated. And I just wonder are we paying pharmacy prices or wholesale prices for these medicines? T