There is a war going on in the Middle East - the least we can do is stay well informed. Here are some messages we received recently and want to share with you: testimonies from the civilian front line, arab news updates and links for action and protest.
the page below brings posts from July 23-25.
most recent posts are here
follow these links for previous posts:
July 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6
From : san / jan ackenhausen
Date : Tuesday 25 July 2006 19:53
Subject : Thoughts on the side.
Thoughts on the side.
.looking at how mass media is covering what is happening in Lebanon and in Gaza, listening to phrases like the ones from Mrs. Rice and Israeli army chief Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz talking of birth pangs and cancer in using propaganda for their interests, not better then the Hezbollah, 'but in the name of democracy and freedom' justifying the death of now almost 400 civilians on Lebanese sides, 1/3 of them children, and already having planned this war for at least a year in advance, but clearly 'forgotten' in their strategies of 'the new Middle East' to help now the Lebanese civilians, which are not military Hezbollah...
The Israeli army chief spoke of a "wide-scale, intensive operation" against Hezbollah, which he called a "cancer" within Lebanon whose guerrillas must be removed from the border area.
RICE: But I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante. I think it would be a mistake. What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the growing -- the birth pangs of a new Middle East . And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East , not going back to the old one.
War on Lebanon Planned for at least a Year The Bush Administration's Grand Strategy and the Birth Pangs of Terror
...to see how we in the 'safe' zones on the planet are once again hardly reacting and most of us standing mute (at least to many mute in Germany where I live)... seeming to share the justification of killing civilians and destroying Lebanon, so we are 'safe'...
...it makes me shiver...
and remembering my grandmother, being born 1918 in Munich Germany, when she was watching 2003, shortly before her death critical movies about the bush politics from www.guerrillanews.com ... responding 'this is worse than Hitler'.
...realizing clearly by watching the movie 'terrorstorm' by Alex Jones video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5948263607579389947 how the orchestrating of inner terrorist acts is used throughout history to get interests thru... as 911, London bombing 77... reminds me again - I am living in a world full of Fascism.
[definition from wikipedia: Fascism is a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.]
... what is your plan of the 'new Middle East ' I wonder Mrs. Rice, looking at recent actions & interests by the us government and its allies?
Now Lebanese civilians are killed to achieve 'your plan of the new middle east'... who will be next?
Be critical. Think for yourself *san
Good coverage by Amy Goodman on www.democracy.now to get a wide view on what's happening, including the critical voices coming from inside Israel as Yonatan Shapira, Former Captain in the Israeli Air Force Reserves.
Ps. As I had cancer 7 years ago, Mr. Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz, and having recovered now, I have experience in dealing with cancer, and this is definitely not long term achieved by war. The whole system that produced the cancer, has to be changed and fine tuned to life again. You are only fighting the symptoms, not wanting to realize that you are part of the causes. There is no winning, securing or even 'healing' with such an operation.
From : Emily Jacir
Date : Tuesday 25 July 2006 15:59
Subject : from Zena and Rasha in Beirut
This will be my last forward from Zena as she now has her own blog and you can go yourself everyday as well as add your comments. Also Rasha's diary from day 8 of the siege is included below....she says that "writing has become increasingly difficult"....
My inbox is flooded with personal accounts from friends and loved ones in Lebanon and I don't know what to do. There is a kind of voyeurism that makes me extremely uncomfortable when I imagine lefties around the world sitting at home reading these accounts. I am aware of how quickly it has become "normal" what is happening in Lebanon . Perhaps most frustrating is the similarities between these accounts and all the accounts which came out (and are still coming out) of Palestine during this intifada including my own siege diaries...
I am sure there will be conferences organized, teach-ins and always the "hero" filmmaker who will risk life to make a documentary, the readings, the art exhibits, and the art world will eat the Lebanese artists like pieces of chocolate .......
And in the end nothing will have been changed or stopped. Is this all fodder for entertainment? Something for people to write about, make art about, make films about, cry about, complain about, shout about, and then go home and live while the bombs drop and entire countries are destroyed....
Last night I attended a crowded meeting of activists, artists, everyone planning protests, vigils, media campaigns, posters and graffiti, t-shirts......it felt like a re-play of meetings and ideas from organization meetings from the year 2001,.....how many times must we re-live this? Will our lives always be cyclical? How many generations have to live through these Israeli horrors. Can't we have one generation, just one that does not have an experience of being brutalized, bombed, shot at, imprisoned, exiled, home blown up?
Watching the generation of my parents having to re-live all this yet again....how many times 1948? How many?
I walk around and there is a huge ball of pain deep within me that threatens to come up every once in awhile and flood everything around me with tears and there is a kind of deep inner scream from the depths of my belly that also threatens and when it does make its way out I am afraid it will have such a force that my body might rip open.
Please forgive my bitterness.
Please read my beloved Zena and my beloved Rasha's words...two beautiful and amazing women on this earth.....
I want to tell you that I have not stopped writing.
It has become difficult for me to email my writing to my mailing list.. I also noticed a lot of people were receiving it in their junk boxes, because I am mass emailing. Also, mass emailing could spread viruses and spam..i got a weird email in my inbox today.
So, a friend set up a blog for me, and I have been posting there regularly.
I will not be mass emailing anymore, so please please check my blog daily.
You can leave comments on it too.
We have heard that our writings from this end of the world are reaching people globally. It is a great sign. We need to be heard. Keep writing. Keep taking pictures. Keep filming... Keep on...!
Please don't forget about me because I am not appearing in your inbox. And please, please pass the website around.
I can not thank you enough for all your love and support. Your good wishes... You efforts in taking action. Your desire to spread the news. Your unconditional faith in humanity.
As a people guided by love, we will get through this.
I have to confess that writing is becoming increasingly difficult. Writing, putting words together to make sentences to convey meaning, like the small gestures and rituals that make-up the commonplace acts of everyday life, has begun to lose its meaning and its cathartic power. I am consumed with grief, there is another me trapped inside me that cries all the time. And crying over the death of someone is a very particular cry. It has a different sound, a different music and feels different. I dare not cry out in the open, tears have flowed, time and time again, but I have repressed the release of pain and grief. My body feels like a container of tears and grief. I am sure it shows in the way I walk. Writing is not pointless per se, but it is not longer an activity that gives me relief. The world outside this siege seems increasingly far, as if it had evacuated with the bi-national passport holders and foreigners.
The past few days have been MURDEROUS in the south and the Beqaa Valley . The death toll has been increasing in a horrific exponential envigorated with the White House giving a green light for the military assault to persist. Beirut has been spared so far, but not the southern suburbs. Today is Day 12 of the war, the Israeli military has conducted 3,000 air raids on Lebanon in 12 days. Out of the total deaths so far, which range close to 400 (numbers are not definitive), almost 170 are children. The numbers of the displaced are increasing by the hour. Have you seen the pictures of the deaths? The mourners in Tyre ? Have you seen the coffins lined up? And the grieving mothers.
It is impossible not to grieve with them, it is impossible to shut one's ears to their wailing. It haunts me, it echoes the walls of the city, it bounces off the concrete of destroyed bridges and buildings. In trying to explain what drove Mohammad Atta to fly an airplane into one of the towers of the World Trade Center, someone (I forget whom- sorry facts-checkers) once said to me that Atta must have felt that "his scream was bigger than his chest". That description stayed with me, I don't know if I agree with it, or if that's how Atta felt in reality, but it comes back to me now because I feel that my grief is bigger than my chest and I have no idea how to dissipate it.
The Southern Suburbs
I accompanied journalists to Haret Hreyk two days ago. I suspect I am still shell-shocked from the sight of the destruction. I have never, ever seen destruction in that fashion. Western journalists kept talking about a "post-apocalyptic" landscape. The American journalists were reminded of Ground Zero. There are no gaping holes in the ground, just an entire neighborhood flattened into rubble. Mounds, and mounds of smoldering rubble. Blocks of concrete, metal rods, mixed with furnishings, and the stuff that made up the lives of residents: photographs, clothes, dishes, CD-roms, computer monitors, knives and forks, books, notebooks, tapes, alarm clocks. The contents of hundreds of families stacked amidst smoking rubble. A couple of buildings had been hit earlier that morning and were still smoking, buildings were still collapsing slowly.
I was frightened to death and I could hear my own wailing deep, deep within me.
I stopped in front of one of the buildings that housed clinics and offices that provide social services, there seemed to be a sea of CD-Roms and DVDs all over. I picked up one, expecting to find something that had to do with the Hezbollah propaganda machine (and it is pretty awesome). The first one read "Sahh el-Nom 1", the second "Sahh el-Nom 17". "Sahh el-Nom" was a very popular sit-com (way, way before the concept was even identified) produced by Syrian TV in the 1960s. It was centered on the character of "Ghawwar el-Tosheh", who has become a salient figure in popular Arab culture. I smiled mournfully, at the irony. Around the corner passport photos and film negatives covered the rubble.
Haret Hreyk was a residential area. The residents, I was told by our driver who lived a few blocks away, were evacuated by Hezbollah to other places before the shelling began. Those who refused to leave then, left after the first round of shelling. Haret Hreyk is eerily ghostly, there are practically no people left in that neighborhood. In the two hundred meters radius removed however, life is on-going. Residents testified that Hezbollah was securing food, electricity and medicines to all those who stayed.
Haret Hreyk is also where Hezbollah had a number of their offices. Al-Manar TV station is located in the block that has come to be known as the "security compound" (or "security square"), the office of their research and policy studies center, and other institutions attached the party. It is said that in that heavily inhabited square of blocks, more than 35 buildings were destroyed entirely.
Hezbollah had organized a visit for journalists that day, as they had the day before. They provided security cover for the area for the international media cameras to document the destruction. There was a spokesperson greeting journalists. A small rotund man, dressed in a track suit, fancy sunglasses, a two-day old stubble carrying two state of the art cell phones. He spoke in concise soundbites and was affable. There was nothing menacing about his demeanor, in fact were it not for the destruction around him he looked more like he would be an assistant to Scolari (similar dress code and portend) than part of the media team of a "terrorist organization".
The security apparatus of Hezbollah was also impressive, underscoring the identity of Hezbollah. They were all affable, welcoming, dressed casually and unarmed. They all held walkie-talkies, and when looming danger of another Israeli air strike seemed tangible, they all ushered the group of some 30 (and more) journalists to clear the area. They issued their warnings calmly and confidently.
One of the buildings was still burning. It had been shelled earlier that day at dawn. Clouds of smoke were exhaling from amidst the ravages. The rubble was very warm, as I stepped on concrete and metal, my feet felt the heat.
Israeli Warfare Mystery
Doctors in hospitals in the south have testified on television that they a number of bodies that have reached them have an unusual, unfamiliar skin color. Some of surviving injured exhibit a pattern of burns that doctors have also never seen before. The question is beginning to get attention for the world community of physicians and human rights organization. Israel is suspected of loading its missiles with toxic chemicals. The fear, in addition to their toxicity being immediately lethal on its victims, is that the waters and earth may now be poisoned. The inhabitants of the south may have to suffer from Israel 's wrath for a very, very long time, in chilling cold blood.
The as-Safir newspaper, the second largest running daily in Lebanon , has taken up the task to investigate the question.
Beyond the crime of toxic poisoning, the type of shells and bombs used is also astounding. I met a woman who was displaced from the borderig village of Yater . She is a native American, blue blood and apple pie, but with a hijab. She, her husband, her three babies and her husband's family, a total of 14 people were trapped in one room in their house in Yater. On the 6th or 7th day of shelling, she cracked and her kids could not longer handle the violence. Risking their lives, they jumped into their car, and decided to take their chance. They drove straight without stopping, taking circuitous ways when the main roads were impossible to tread. They expected to die on the road. After 14 hours of driving they made their way to the US embassy in the northeastern suburbs of Beirut . They were not aware of evacuations. They were lost on the way, and someone stole her husband's wallet with the 400$ in cash they carried (the totality of their fortune), his green card and her US passport. I came across her at the US embassy compound. She was trembling. She could barely tell her story coherently. She repeated over and over that she had seen houses fly, that the shells made the houses fly in the air and then collapse on the ground. She repeated that she ought not to have gone to the window, but she could not help it, she was curious, and she saw the houses fly.
As a holder of US passport (and real native) she had been allowed into the embassy. Her husband, only a green card holder, was not. The US embassy changed their policy, I was later told by people and journalists, but at various stages in the evacuation, green-card holders were not included in the evacuations plan. Pardon me, in the plans for "assisted departures".
I don't know what happened to the American mother from Portland Oregon and Yater south Lebanon . I know her babies are lactose intolerant and their only food was the stock of soy milk she had with her. She was very young, a face earnest, her skin transluscent white. In her pale blue eyes there was despair and fright that she will not recover from for a very long time.
The displaced have been dispersed in the country. They have been placed in schools, universities, government owned buildings. Aid is arriving, but still in chaotic manner. Volunteers are beginning to get tired. However nothing compares to the distress of the displaced. They are in a state of complete emotional upheaval. Their presence has already changed the habits and rituals of the neighborhoods where they have been placed.
As the sun begins to set and the harshness of its rays begins to dim, you find families strolling on Hamra street (a main commercial thoroughfare in West Beirut ). Shops are closed, sandwich shops are closed, cafes are intermittantly open, but the sidewalk provides an opportunity to escape the confinement from the shelter where they been relocated. You can see it in their walk, their body language. Their pace searches for peace of mind, not for a destination, their lungs expand drawing in oxygen to inspire quietude and calm, not for cardiovascular pressure. They have a deep, mournful, sorrowful gaze. They left behind their entire lives, maybe even their beloved.
In Ras Beirut, small backstreets have come to life. To escape the heat of indoor confinement, displaced families relocated to old homes or government-owned buildings, have grown in the habit of placing plastic chairs and their narguiles on small front porches or entrance hallways of buildings. I had to walk home after a long day of working with journalists, two nights ago, and as I zigzagged through these back streets, I was comforted by their gentle presence. They chatted, softly, quietly, huddled in groups, watching the night unfold, fearful of the sound of Israeli warplanes.
The ceaseless newscast from a radio kept everyone informed. It too sounded softly. It was a gentle summer night, and the families dispersed and uprooted surrendered to the gentleness of the night.
On the next block, three young woman stood in line, queuing for access to a public payphone. That too has become a familiar sight in Beirut . People lining at public payphones. They stood, clearly tired but resilient. To my "good evening", I was greeted back with smiles and another "good evening". I was relieved to see that they felt safe, that they roamed the city at night without qualms. How long can they afford to pay for these phone calls is another question. There is a definite need for a long term plan. This emergency solution will soon reach a crisis, and state structures need to be prepared to face the anger and frustration of nearly 500,000 people.
On the next block, a Mercedes car packed with people was parked at a corner, in front of the entrance of a building. The car's doors were flung open and the radio broadcast news. It was a visit. Two displaced families on a nightly visit. Everyone was gentle, and a soft breeze blew with clemency.
From : Lydia / jan ackenhausen
Date : Tuesday 25 July 2006 1:09
Subject : Fwd: massive destruction, and a request for help
Thank you for all your replies and support.
This is from a friend of mine, half American, half Lebanese, living in Damascus . It has good general information...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Munir Nabti
Date: Jul 21, 2006 10:27 AM
Subject: massive destruction, and a request for help
The purpose of the information below is to educate, and to spur action. I just wrote up a bunch of clarifying information (FAQsheet, if you will) about the current assault on Lebanon . The devastation is vast and increasing rapidly. The death toll in Lebanon has climbed well over 300. The vast majority civilians, and according to what I heard on the BBC, about 1/3 of all killed are children. The response by the Western media and governments, especially the US , is angering. We NEED your help. I will send you more information soon about other media activities, but I want to send this out the soonest…
To all who have written with concern about me and my family, so far we are all safe. I am in Damascus , doing the best I can to educate about the current situation, and helping with humanitarian efforts here with the Red Cross/Red Crescent . My parents are in the north of Lebanon , in the small village where my father is from (we have a small house there), and also
trying to figure out next moves. I have a lot of friends still in Beirut , some trapped with nowhere to go, and others refusing to leave and working full-time on relief efforts.
After reading, please consider (1) choosing the key points that hit you hardest, and writing up a quick "letter to the editor"; (2) sending a note to your local congressperson and senator; (3) sending this to other friends.
If you have any questions, comments, additions, ideas for what we can do, please contact me at dm(at)nabti.net
Enraged, but not hateful.
David Munir Nabti
Hillary Clinton gave a speech at a pro-Israel rally a few days ago. It was grotesque. I wrote this up but haven't sent it to papers yet. Please consider looking through your own local paper and seeing how they covered her speech, and sending in your own letter to the editor. Feel free to copy/borrow whatever material you want from what I have written.
*Not My American Values*
Our dear Hillary Clinton seems to have a twisted sense of "American values". According to what she said at the recent pro-Israel rally in NYC, she seems to think that massive disregard for human life, ignoring international law, making no distinction between civilian and military targets, collective punishment, and gross deceit are values that we should all live by. I am American, and those are not my values. But that is what the US is supporting in words and deeds in terms of Israeli actions and behavior in Lebanon (not to mention Gaza and all Palestine ). I am ashamed by our government, angry by its gross and active betrayal of democratic and humanitarian values, and fearful of the long-term consequences. And please
bear in mind, this is not a political attack. I used to be a proud Democrat, and worked as staff on two Democratic political campaigns in California . Bush Inc is no better, but bears the additional blame for being in charge now and actively supporting such injustices. I am not anti-Israel (I have many Jewish and Israeli friends, and to the dismay of some Jewish mothers have even dated a few wonderful Jewish girls), and I believe that it is possible for a peaceful
Israel to live alongside a peaceful Palestine and a peaceful Lebanon . However, I think there is little interest for that among the Israeli and American war-mongering regimes. Larger racist, hateful, anti-democratic, oppressive, and violent geo-political objectives are in the works, the media is complicit, and the public are being suckered into towing the line and paying the bill, with huge ethical, financial, political, and human costs and consequences.
POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND:
WHO PROVOKED WHOM?
- Many claim that the actions against Israel were unprovoked. I disagree. In Lebanon , a secret Israeli cell (suspected government intelligence, but more rightly called "terrorist cell") was recently broken up after planning and carrying out many terrorist attacks in Lebanon . Investigations were under way when the latest crisis erupted. At the same time, Israel has violated Lebanese airspace regularly (400 times per year) over the last several years with flyovers by fighter jets and military drones (frequently reported by UNIFIL, the UN monitoring force in southern Lebanon), and holds a large number of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners captive in Israeli prisons, including many women and children, and most with no charge or trial. Israel also still occupies Lebanese territory (in the Shebaa Farms area), and until recently there was word that Israel was planning on ending its occupation of that area.
In Palestine , the last months have witnessed a massive siege and oppression of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. They have been subject to continued arrests and targeted assassinations, economic assault, and increasing restriction of their daily lives. Civilians – non-combatants, women, elderly, children, even whole families in their homes or on the beach – are killed indiscriminately, and without remorse, investigation, or international condemnation and action. On occasion that someone in the international community finds the will to condemn such atrocities, it is usually followed by words of rationalization and promises of aid and continued support for Israel .
If the objective of Israel is peace (which I don't think is true, at least not the hard-core militant Zionists who control the public sphere), they acted in a way that promotes violence. When a militant group like Hamas makes a dramatic step away from violent action and towards political participation, that should be encouraged. Instead, the Israel and the US made all Palestinians suffer for electing the Hamas government. The US, after calously pushing the Palestinians to hold elections when there was rising anger against the ineffectiveness and corruption of the previous government and rising support for ANY change, made clear that they were only interested in "democracy" if the outcome was the US puppet regime they were looking for. Ironically, one democracy specialist who has worked on conducting and monitoring elections in the Middle East and around the world, and was also a key player in organizing the different elections in Iraq, told me recently that the Palestinian elections that brought Hamas to power, and the political campaign of the Hamas party, were the most clean, most democratic he has ever seen in the region, and were far better and more democratic than elections held in the US and many parts of the "democratic" world.
Indeed, after Israel 's unilateral evacuation from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, many problems and issues remained unresolved, and a state of war and low-level conflict remained between Israel and those groups. Israel may have withdrawn from those areas in the interest of its own stability and security, but not in the interest of justice and resolving the complicated situations that existed. Without addressing justice, there will be no security, and no stability.
Let's not forget how this current conflict began. Both Hamas and Hezbollah carried out precision attacks on military positions, far from civilian structures, and which left no civilian wounded or killed, no civilian infrastructure damaged, and (according to reports) are treating the captives well. While Israel , the US and other countries are pushing for the return of those soldiers, thousands of Arabs and Palestinians languish in Israeli jails, many without accusation, trial, or conviction, no recourse to lawyers, secretly abducted, refused visits by family or international humanitarian organizations, many of them civilians themselves, non-combatants, and many of them for long periods of time. For one combatant - one soldier of an oppressive, occupation army – Hamas demanded the release of women and children, non-combatants, from Israeli prisons.
Many Israeli military officials and political figures have called Israeli attacks in Lebanon "precision" strikes. One called them "surgical". If that is so, never go to a doctor in Israel . Israel 's "precision" and "surgical" violence in Lebanon has left well over 300 killed (and rising daily), the vast majority of them civilians. Some media have reported that more than a third of the victims are children. Many civilians were killed in vehicles, escaping from villages and cities that had received notice from the Israeli military to evacuate only hours earlier.
My greater fear is not that these are accidents, but that the officials were right, the targets were chosen carefully and hit precisely, and they are intentionally targeting civilians. This follows a pattern of Israeli aggression in Lebanon during and after the Lebanese war ended in 1990, and during and after the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon ended in 2000, and it will continue as long as those attacks garner them international support and little to no international condemnation. Many humanitarian assistance vehicles have also been bombed.
EXTERNAL SUPPORT AND LEGITIMIZING TARGETS
Israel is claiming that Iran and Syria are supporting Hizbollah and Hamas, and those countries are being pressured and threatened with military attacks. Israel also made claims that some munitions used by Hizbollah were supplied by (or through) Syria and Iran , thus legitimizing potential military action against those countries.
The US is the biggest military supplier for Israel , and American munitions are now raining down on the civilians of Lebanon . The Pentagon recently released a statement about a government approved (funded?) contract to send jet fuel to Israel "in use to keep peace and security in the region." By Israel and America's logic, disregard (and support) for Israeli atrocities in Lebanon and Palestine and unwavering support by the US government for whatever Israel does makes the US and US interests abroad legitimate targets for attack, increasing the danger to US businesses, ex-pats, embassies, and tourists abroad, and increasing the threat of attacks within the US.
WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG…
This question in this context is not so profound, nor the answer so difficult. Hezbollah was founded in 1982 to counter Israeli aggressions during the Lebanese war (some call it "civil war", but it involved many foreign groups). The gross violence perpetrated by Israel during that war led to a stronger, more determined, more sectarian group in Hizbollah. This current round of violence will not weaken Hizbollah, but will probably lead to a stronger Hizbollah, and the emergence of even more extreme, more determined, more violent groups to fight Israel , the US , and other supporters of this criminal violence. Hizbollah and Hamas negotiate, they participate in governments, they have long-term interests and desires, and they have objectives that can be understood and discussed (even if you disagree with them). This kind of senseless violence and injustice will likely lead to the emergence and strengthening of groups like Al-Qaeda, which have poorly-defined objectives other than the destruction of the West, don't negotiate, have weak hierarchical structures (making them difficult to control, contain, negotiate with, or pacify), and commit senseless acts of violence against all people.
ACTIONS DON'T MATCH STATED OBJECTIVES
There is fear that Israel is trying to spark a larger conflict – first Lebanon , then Syria and beyond – in order to rationalize and cover for an attack on nuclear facilities in Iran . Reliable sources (some publicly available) say that both Israel and the US have been working on plans for months (or longer) to knock out Iranian nuclear facilities by various military means. The response to that from Iran and many groups in the Middle East and globally will be massive, violent, long-term, and global, and will strengthen the most violent elements in the region and
From : jan ackenhausen
Date : Sunday 23 July 2006 15:28
Subject : lebanon update 23.7
This morning I received a disappointed e-mail from my friend San from Germany . We are both working on an arts workshop in Damascus , and we both have plenty of friends and colleagues in the region. Her concern in her e-mail was clear: "Where have all the demonstrators gone?"
I remember being on the streets so often. I remember receiving up to 20 calls for action and demonstrations against EU summits, crimes against Afghani people, crimes in Rwanda , crimes in every single part of the world. But what happened now? I remember being with hundreds of people, organising workshops on creative protesting, breaking our nutshells on new slogans, asking companies to supply us with paint and fabric, inviting 'experienced protestors' to talk about how to trick the cavalry of the police by using marbles. I remember spending days and days at meetings and brainstormings, discussions and debates, being backed in tents on a cold winter evening, receiving hundreds of protestors from all over the world, registering them and finding them accommodation. I remember sitting, standing, lying, hanging… in front of US embassies, yelling out our smart slogans, occupying entire streets, with thousands of people. But… where have they gone? What happened?
Nowadays, it seems a miracle to get the people out of their house, and yet, the most motivated seem to be those with the most diverting and non-moderate slogans, those who support the aggression and want the aggressor of their preference to drive up the speed, bloodyness and violence it is carrying out.
I suppose it was our own enthusiasm making us numb today. Or did we level up the immunity of those in charge? Was the energy we used to have stopped by some kind of a state of passivity?
Let's look at the media. They don't lie about it:
"Dozens dead in Iraq Violence"
"Dozens die in Iraq mosque attack"
"Siege of Ghaza"
"Humanitarian disaster looming in Ghaza"
"Suicide bombers target market in Baghdad "
"Bombs go off in Amman hotels"
But the streets stay calm. I guess we became immune. "It'll be over soon… It's always been like that." So why bother…? (Questioning my own passivity) --- The streets are calm... let's watch South Park ...
Here is the latest of my friend Chrystèle from Beirut :
JULY 22 2006 10:05PM – SUBJECT: MINCE ALORS! TOUJOURS VIVANTE?
"il est parait-il des terres brûlées donnant plus de blé qu'un meilleur avril"
plus de 320 morts.
aujourd'hui ils ont bombardé 2 antennes de diffusion de la télévision,de la radio et du portable.
(rodrigue tu peux plus joindre tes parents au portable. on ne peut plus joindre personne à partir de jounieh).
à la radio libanaise vous pourriez entendre maintenant parasyter une radio israelienne diffusant en arabe, qui nous menace de choses dignent des films de hitchcock. il parait que ça fait partie de la guerre psychologique.
j'ai une question à poser à l'opinion internationale: que vaut la vie d'un libanais? que vaut la vie d'un arabe en tout cas?
c'est mieux que les arabes meurent tous d'un seul coup; il parait qu'il n'y a plus de places dans les banlieues des grandes villes européennes pour les accueillir.
il faudrait demander au perse ahmadi nijad de finir vite ses bombes à l'uranium pour qu'on puisse les jeter sur le monde arabe et qu'on en finisse d'un seul coup. non?
je vous écris pour tous les jours où je ne pourrai plus écrire.
j'espère que le directeur général de la CNN périra au fin fond de l'enfer avec tous les sales journalistes américains. mais vraiment j'espère qu'il tombera dans les mains de quelques intégristes qui l'égorgeront vif ou qu'il meure dans un attentat à la voiture piégée et qu'on ne retrouve rien de ses membres et qu'on ne puisse pas l'enterrer.
(dana habibté bonne fête, je suis désolée pour ce mail minable et j'éspere que ton frère a été évacuer avec les allemands.)
je vous demande donc ce soir de méditer sur ces deux questions:
1)que vaut la vie d'un arabe?
2)que vallait la vie des milliers de tzigannes sont morts durant la Seconde Guerre ?
personne ne peut m'accuser d'antisémitisme parce que moi aussi je suis sémite.
je suis contente de pouvoir parler à la place de tous ceux qui ont toujours des complexes de culpabilité.
ça doit être lourd de porter des complexes de culpabilité durant 60 ans... surtout pour les libanais bloqués au Liban Sud...
And keep checking Mazen's blog, it's fuckin' worth it…: http://mazenkerblog.blogspot.com/
When one Israeli soldier is kidnapped, the whole world goes crazy, but Israel kidnapped a whole nation - http://news.bbc.co.uk/
news & articles
middle east times: http://www.metimes.com/
democracy now! (I hate the title): http://www.democracynow.org/
link tv: http://www.linktv.org
me report: http://www.middleeast.org/mereport/index.cgi
middle east news: http://www.middleeastnews.com/
multi media stuff
terror storm (video): http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7048572757566726569
From : sanna miericke
Date : Jul 23, 2006 1:38 PM
Subject : creative
Below an appeal to everybody using creativity 'to contribute statements as response to the disproportionate use of force by Israel and to the irresponsible exposure of innocent civilians to violence and death' from my friend alia in berlin. Please, forward to other interested. contributions will be shown during the Biennale des Cinemas Arabes in Paris next week and other media. Best *san
This is not a call for burning flags or demonizing the guilty ones and blindfoldly fighting on the side of the righteous ones. Of course the "conflict in the Middle East " has a long history and there are many perspectives on its causes and responsibilities. Although a genuine debate on these issues is an urgent and necessary need the first and foremost step should now be the immediate halt of innocent loss of life. Our main aim is to respond to the disproportionate use of force by Israel and to the irresponsible exposure of innocent civilians to violence and death.
This is a general appeal, calling on everyone to contribute short statements in the form of texts (500 words), short video clips or other materializations of protest. A compilation of statements will be presented to major newspapers, the clips will be shown during the Biennale des Cinémas Arabes in Paris next week and other media.
This appeal is initiated by Joana Hadjithomas, Adila Laidi, Alia Rayyan, and Fouad Asfour. There is no deadline for contributions, we will try our best to screen/publish each of the submitted statements. We will notify you beforehand about the place and time of publication/screening of your text/video clip.
Please feel free to forward this appeal.
Fouad, Adila, Joana and Alia
For screenings during the Biennale des Cinemas Arabes please send DVD/CDs until Sunday, July 30th 2006 via mai to:
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
snail mail to:
C/O Mahmoud Harb
12 rue de quatre fages
56-58 rue de Bercy
From : email@example.com
Date : Sunday 23 July 2006 5:23
Subject : PACBI Update 7--July 23, 2006
_ PACBI Update 7: Boycott Israel to stop its crimes in Lebanon and Gaza
BDS press release, calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions, international solidarity and related articles and anaylsis.
BDS Press Release:
Boycott Israel to Stop its War Crimes in Lebanon and Gaza !
Palestinian Civil Society Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel -- Acting Steering Committee July 18, 2006
Calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions:
1.Formation of SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL COALITION IN SOUTH AFRICA
Press release | | July 21, 2006
The crisis caused by the imperialist-backed Israeli state in their collective punishment of the Palestinians and the Lebanese people has demanded an urgent response.
2.Derry protesters demand Israeli goods boycott
Sarah Brett | Belfast Telegraph | July 21, 2006
Anti-war protesters will be on the streets of Londonderry tomorrow calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.
1.Greens to Bush: Press Israel to Stop the Attacks on Lebanon Green Party, USA | July 20, 2006
Slaughter of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians is a punishable war crime; use of U.S. weapons for such purposes violates U.S. laws.
2.Filmmakers Demand Withdrawal of Israeli Government Sponsorship of Film Festival
| | July 18, 2006
The following intervention by Arab and other filmmakers has resulted in the Locarno International Film Festival 2006 renouncing financial support from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
3.NADEL CONDEMNS ISRAEL'S FLAGRANT BREACH OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW
NADEL | | July 2006
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa condemns the flagrant breaches of international humanitarian law and the violations of the human rights of alestinians further exacerbated by the latest attack by Israel on the residents of Gaza in Palestine.
Related articles and analysis:
1.Analysis: could Israel face war crimes charges?
Michael Herman | TimesOnline | July 20, 2006
A UN warning that Israel's bombardment of Lebanon may constitute war crimes has legal legs - but with the issue as much about politics as law prosecutions are unlikely anytime soon, analysts say.
2.Film festival drops Israel as sponsor to protest attack
Jim Quilty | The Daily Star | July 21, 2006
BEIRUT: The organizers of the 2006 Locarno International Film Festival have dropped the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a festival sponsor because of that country's unremitting bombardment of civilian targets in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Bruce Dixon | The Black Commentator | July 20, 2006
Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin.
4.Nothing but anti-Arab racism can fully explain the behaviour of the Israelis
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown | The Independent | July 17, 2006
Born in Germany , Hugh was from one of those cultured, intellectual Jewish Berlin families crushed by Nazism. He escaped to Britain in the late 1930s to become a world-class scientist. Israel would bring out the worst in his people, he always said, and I argued with him. Survivors of the Holocaust, I believed, were on the side of the angels. "No, my dear," he would respond, "the Jewish state will make us nationalists, and will one day make us racialists." I am glad he is not alive to see his prophetic words turned flesh.
5.Boycott Israeli Dance Companies
Paul Ben-Itzak | The Dance Insider | July 2006
PARIS -- I'd love to be able to start this column with the dance angle, explaining why we should boycott the Israeli companies performing at this month's Lincoln Center Festival -- including Ohad Naharin's Batsheva, opening tomorrow -- but unfortunately, in the face of the dissembling and pandering to the Israel lobby by Senator Hilary Clinton and others, even as Israeli bombs continue to kill Lebanese children (the toll at the end of yesterday: 230 Lebanese civilians killed by Israel, 13 Israeli civilians killed by Hizbullah), I'm afraid some context is in order.
6.A New Middle East is Born: But not exactly the one Shimon Peres had in mind
Omar Barghouti | Electronic Lebanon | July 19, 2006
Six long, bloodstained days have passed since Israel launched its barbaric attack on Lebanon without succeeding in exacting a significant military toll on the resistance itself. Six days are exactly what it took Israel to deal a crushing and humiliating military defeat to the largely inferior armies of Egypt , Syria and Jordan in June 1967, and to subsequently occupy the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem , the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.
7.Peace With Justice Is Only Way Out
Sam Bahour | OhmyNews International | July 18, 2006
In case anyone had any remaining doubts, the flawed Middle East peace process and the international community's half-hearted efforts have miserably failed, culminating in Israel's most recent aggression in Gaza and Lebanon. Following the Palestinian's democratic legislative elections which brought Hamas to power, Israel announced that its goal was to topple the Palestinian government at any cost.
8.Ties with Israel open to debate, says Pahad
Boyd Webb | Cape Times | July 17, 2006
Pretoria: While the government is not entertaining thoughts of cutting diplomatic ties with Israel or imposing sanctions, it is open to debate on the issue, says Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of IsraelPACBI
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