Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Australians for Palestine

With entrenched notions of what it is to be a Jordanian today,  and the recent misconceptions and manipulations about the issue of national status of Jordanians of Palestinian descent, the issue needs to be seen in its true political context and it is more complex than we might realise.  This is an issue that goes to the heart of the matter that erupted with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and prior political agitations of a 'foreign nature' that unfolded at the beginning of the twentieth century, and resulted in the ultimate and cruel usurpation of the State of Palestine and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.  So it is quite heartening to read the following from Australians for Palestine which I post here for your opinion, whatever it happens to be;  this is an open forum after all.  Isn't that what the wars in the Middle East are ostensibly driven to achieve ... democracy and free speech?  Note to self .... 'the Palestinian fight for what is right has gained global recognition .... now if only we can get the powers that be to do what is right, we can all live on cloud number 9!'

“Every now and then one reads something that touches the heart and leaves a lasting impression.  This is a plea to people so caught up in their own world view that they have lost sight of humanity – forgotten that by and large people everywhere just want to live their lives in peace, enjoy the fruits of this earth and share them with loved ones and their neighbours.  

Tema Okun speaks to the essence of who we are as people and appeals to the very best in us. Her words are directed to her own Jewish community, but they are equally potent and necessary for all of us to contemplate because we are all guilty for what the Palestinians have suffered. And not just the Palestinians - although theirs is the longest running brutal oppression of an entire population – but all peoples who are being cruelly mistreated, violated and condemned for reasons that ought to shame us every waking moment.  How much more violence do we need to see, read and hear before we say “enough”, before we really mean “never again”? 

Please read Tema’s eloquent plea and then send it to others and encourage them to pass it on further.  We have no time to lose as the poisonous brew of racism bubbles over  threatening to contaminate everything we hold dear.  It is not the war on terror that we ought to be worried about, but the war on humanity. “

Tema Okun has worked with community-based non-profits for over 20 years.  Her work as a staffer for the Rural Advancement Fund, the Carolina Community Project, Grassroots Leadership, and the Institute for Southern Studies has formed the core of her organizational experience, where she has served in such varied roles as development director, training director, and interim executive director. Tema has a B.A. from Oberlin College, Ohio (1975) and an M.S. in Adult Education from N.C. State University (1997). She also teaches at Guilford College in Greensboro in their Justice and Policy Studies Department.  * See "Tema Okun & Tom Stern presented NC Peace Action’s Peacemaker Award for work with ICAHD-USA," May 18th, 2009  




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