Tag Archives: resistance

Action versus apathy

Today I participated in a Twitter Storm from Gaza #IseeGaza #UnlockGaza

Twitterstorm

Yesterday I was arrested outside Senator Murkowski’s office in the Hart Senate Office Building in DC with an estimated 40-50 others protesting #StopTrumpCare.

Megan from Ohio again

The day before I wrote postcards to my two US Senators from New Mexico.

The National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) has passed the House, with an additional $3.8 Billion for Israel plus $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation, a $558 million increase above the President’s request.

I urge you to submit an amendment to delete the $3.8 Billion and the $705 Million from the NDAA. Peace and security are not enhanced with these expenditures.

Tomorrow?  I’m not sure what action I’ll be taking but I know I will do something.

After walking out of the Capitol Police detention facility yesterday, a filmmaker making a documentary about the #Resistance asked me why I do these actions.

I spoke about the need to resist being lulled into complacency and treating current events as normal — they are not.

I spoke about the horrific consequences if the GOP’s healthcare bill is passed and about ignoring climate change.

I spoke about how inaction leads to depression, at least for me. Action is hope.

Finally, I said the most important thing.  I do this action for my family, my three sons and granddaughter. It’s their future that is on the line now.

Lila - 4 years old and Jeremy

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Filed under People, Politics

“Why can’t the Palestinian leaders build a state like the Zionists did after the Holocaust?”

“Why aren’t the Palestinian leaders building a country like my parents, survivors of the Holocaust and millions like them, did with Israel, instead of building tunnels, shooting missiles and subjecting their people to untold horrors?”

I gasped when I read this question sent to me by a well-educated, university professor in Israel. It was a serious question, deserving a serious response.

Where to begin?

To dissuade my friend of any notion that Palestinians might be incapable of building a country, I’ll remind him of the cities, industry, agriculture, schools and civic life that flourished in Palestine before my friend’s parents and other Zionists arrived. Please watch this 10 minute video.

When I returned from Gaza two years ago, I wrote my layman’s version of the history of Palestine here and here. Israel’s 67 years of dispossession, ethnic cleansing, and occupation of Palestine — as well as current events, including the Palestinian resistance and Israel’s successive military operations in the West Bank and Gaza — can only be understood in the context of the Nakba. I believe my Israeli friend’s question is sincere because either he doesn’t know about the Nakba (past and present) نكبة or he has decided to ignore and minimize the ongoing impacts of the Nakba.

I credit Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky for opening my eyes about the Nakba.

In the late 1980s, a group of Israeli historians, including Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris, began to challenge the commonly accepted version of Israeli history based on newly declassified Israeli government documents. Morris called them the New Historians. They went head-to-head with the traditional historians who cast Israel as the peace-seeking victim in a hostile Arab world, the David-and-Goliath narrative. The New Historians shared a more nuanced history of the exodus of the Palestinians and the reasons for the persistent political deadlock with the Arab states in the region.

Professor Ilan Pappe’s book “Ethnic Cleansing” was my education about the Nakba. I hope my friend will read it. In this video, Pappe describes in great detail about the Zionists who committed the Nakba crimes. He urges us to know the names of the perpetrators, the victims, the places and events of the Nakba. Pappe also speaks about the “conspiracy of silence” by the international community in 1948. Please watch.

So . . . . . why can’t the Palestinian leaders do what the Zionists have done (are still doing) in creating the State of Israel?

  • If my friend’s parents and other Zionists had decided to live peacefully side-by-side with the indigenous population when they arrived in Palestine, as Jews, Christians and Muslims had lived for many years, we would certainly be watching very different events unfold in the Middle East today.  The footage in this short clip shows a time when Palestinians of all faiths lived and worked side by side in harmony.
  • If the Zionists believed in a democracy that values plurality rather than an apartheid regime that values Jews over non-Jews, we would certainly be watching very different events unfold in the Middle East today. Saree Makdisi explains apartheid very well here and in his book “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.”

“Apartheid” isn’t just a term of insult; it’s a word with a very specific legal meaning, as defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1973 and ratified by most United Nations member states (Israel and the United States are exceptions, to their shame).

apartheid wall

  • If Israel had not waged three military campaigns in Gaza over the past six years, Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) which I witnessed first hand from the ground in Gaza, and the most recent Operation Protective Edge (2014), and if Israel lifted the multi-year siege and blockade of Gaza, and if Israel allowed Palestinians in Gaza to travel freely to pursue educational opportunities, visit family, accept jobs, seek medical attention, etc., — if none of these inhumane actions had occurred and were still occurring — we certainly would be witnessing a vibrant economy in Gaza with the next generation of Palestinians living in hope, not despair. Instead, the U.N. is predicting that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Some of my blog posts from Operation Pillar of Defense are here, here and here.

I can hear your retort now, my friend.  It sounds something like this.  (I hope you are not offended, but I’ve heard the same words spoken seriously by many, many Jews.)

albert_einstein_quotes2

So long as the Zionists maintain the brutal occupation and dehumanization of the Palestinians, as they have for decades, resistance will continue.  Resistance in the form of political resistance at the United Nations, resistance at the International Criminal Court, cultural resistance such as teaching the next generation the Palestinian traditions, economic resistance, non-violent resistance in Budrus, resistance with the pen, and violent resistance.

I’ll conclude with Noura Erakat’s well-reasoned explanation of why Israel’s occupation is illegal. As an attorney yourself, I hope you will give Ms. Erakat the time and respect she deserves by reading her paper.

I appreciate your question which initiated this blog post, and I hope we will continue this discussion. Even more, I hope the occupation and dispossession of Palestinians from their land, which your parents and other Zionists started so many years ago, will come to an end very soon.

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Filed under Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Nakba, nonviolent resistance, Occupation, Peaceful, People, Politics, Settlers, United Nations, US Policy, Video

Gaza street art rocks!

I don’t speak Arabic —– and can’t understand much of it even though I’m surrounded by it everyday 24/7 in Gaza.  Except for a smattering of words, I haven’t been able to string together a sentence to save my soul.   Perhaps the biggest disappointment of my three months in Gaza.

But I can understand the street art very clearly.  I don’t know any of the artists.  They may be young men, old women or anywhere inbetween.  Their voices are strong and passionate with each brush stroke.   What do you think?

art 1

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art 6

art 8

art 1

art 2

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art 4

art 5

art 6

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Filed under Gaza, nonviolent resistance, Peaceful

Bloggers Blogging Big Time in Gaza

I sat with a group of roaring lions this afternoon.  At least that’s how it felt to me.  A group of Palestinian bloggers met with a delegation from the US & UK.

roaring lion

Given a computer, and just a little bit of electricity, they roared through cyberspace with their stories, poems, news reports and eyewitness accounts of what was happening on the ground during Israel’s 8-day offensive in November.

No one is more powerful than a person with a passion for words and a desire to correct the injustices in the world.

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The bloggers met the UK/US delegation at the offices of the Centre for Political and Development Studies.

Several explained what motivates them to blog.  Rawan Yaghi said she writes short stories and started blogging after the ’08-’09 war “to draw attention to the individual lives of people in Gaza.”

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Sameeha Elwan wrote her dissertation on women bloggers and blogs herself to share the hopes and aspirations for the end of the occupation.

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A  teacher encouraged Nour Al Borno to blog.  She started writing poems in 6th grade and loves poetry.  She writes to be heard, knowing that her words will be read long after she is gone.  Many people are reading her blog from countries that she must Google to find on the map.

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Mohammed Abdullah from the Ministry of Communication mentioned that the most important site in this recent war was the media, with so many bloggers and citizen journalists sharing their perspectives about the events in nearly real-time format.  The world was paying attention this year as it hasn’t in the past.

Julie Webb-Pullman, a journalist from New Zealand, cautioned everyone to be aware of the massive cyber attacks that are ongoing.  Both Israel and Al-Qassam have apparently hired the same company to carry out cyber attacks.  (Did I hear that right?!?)

Two of the most exciting ideas I heard today give me alot of hope for the power of these bloggers.

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Malaka Mohammed talked about a project between her university in Gaza and Sheffeld University in the UK, I think.  Bloggers are sharing their stories which are being posted on each other’s university websites.

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And my hero, Ret. Col. Ann Wright, suggested that the bloggers host an international blogging conference in Gaza which she thinks would attract hundreds of international bloggers, but she added that the local authorities would have to facilitate their travel and entrance into Gaza with the Egyptian authorities.

I think that is a super cool idea!!

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Here are 14 Palestinian bloggers from Gaza that you should check out!
Freedom to Palestine    http://malaka383.wordpress.com/
Gaza in Words    http://fidaaabuassi.com/
More Angry Notes from Palestine     http://msuliman.wordpress.com/
Here, I was Born     http://sameeha88.wordpress.com/
I Am     http://rawan-hp.blogspot.com/
Here We Are     http://sarahmali.wordpress.com/
Palestine From My Eyes     http://palestinefrommyeyes.wordpress.com
In Gaza, My Gaza    http://thisisgaza.wordpress.com/
And Thereby Hangs a Tale     http://palinoia.wordpress.com/
He who is brave is free      http://yeljamal.wordpress.com/
Crossthets       http://crossthets.wordpress.com
Palestine: Memory Drafts and Future Alleys   http://ranabaker.wordpress.com
Live From Gaza    http://livefromgaza.wordpress.com
It’s not only a dream: persist, resist and exist    http://maha-hussaini.blogspot.com/

 

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Filed under Gaza, Media, nonviolent resistance, People