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.

this page brings posts from july 28-31.

most recent posts are here .

follow these links for previous posts:
July 27 / 26 / 25 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6 / 5

 

From : jan ackenhausen
Date : Monday 31 July 2006 12:55
Subject : Plainte belge contre Isra ë l pour crimes de guerre

http://rsl-quotidienne.blogspot.com/

« Plainte belge contre Israël pour crimes de guerre.

Eljerroudi Mohamed eljerroudi56@yahoo.fr

Daniel Soil soil@walbruma.com


Madame, Monsieur,
Cher/e ami/e,

« Plainte belge contre Israël pour crimes de guerre.

Homicide intentionnel ; atteintes graves à l'intégrité physiques ou à la santé ; déportation, transfert ou déplacement illicite d'une personne civile, destruction et appropriation de biens…

Les termes de la plainte que dépose, ce jeudi, Me Georges-Henri Beauthier, avocat bruxellois, auprès du procureur fédéral belge, reprennent, texto, la définition des crimes de guerre telle que l'établit le Codé pénal. Chaque point du document renvoie à des faits de l'actualité dramatique de ces dernières semaines.

Comme celle vécue par Ali Abdul-Sater et son épouse Farkad El Husseini, auteurs de la plainte. Belges d'origine libanaise, ils passaient tranquillement leurs vacances au Liban, avec leurs trois enfants. Comme des centaines de milliers d'autres familles, ils ont été pris au piège de l'offensive israélienne contre le Hezbollah. Leur appartement à Beyrouth a été détruit. Ils ont fui, traumatisés et choqués.

Leur plainte, déposée dans le cadre de la loi de compétence universelle dont s'est dotée la Belgique , vise directement le Premier ministre israélien, Ehoud Olmert. Celui-ci devrait néanmoins bénéficier de l'immunité protégeant les chefs de gouvernement.

Jurisprudence à l'appui, il pourrait en être autrement concernant Amir Peretz, ministre de la défense, et Dan Halutz, chef d'état-major de l'armée.

D'autres plaignants pourraient suivre prochainement. »

Par ailleurs, voici le témoignage de Philippe El Hage, pianiste, membre actif d'ARTEMED, Association pour le Développement des Relations culturelles dans les Arts visuels et autres, en particulier avec les pays méditerranéens, partenaire occasionnel de Wallonie-Bruxelles.

« Les villages chrétiens de Ain Ebel, Debel, Rmeich Kawzah sont soumis a un blocus total. Plus de médicaments, pour le coeur, l'insuline, pour l'hypertension.... Plus de farine, de pain, d'eau. Dans les jours ou les heures qui viennent, des civils vont mourir au Sud-Liban. Israël empêche le CICR d'arriver sur ces lieux. Des villages musulmans entiers sont évacués de force, je cite, Marwahin, Kfarlila, Aitaroun, on estime a 10.000 les réfugiés, ils sont dans une situation terrible, plus de lait pour les enfants, ni de nourriture et médicaments pour les vieux. Ces villages, que j'ai pu contacter pour la dernière fois hier, émettaient un SOS de désespoir. Depuis, plus de lignes téléphoniques. Des familles sont enterrées vivantes sous les décombres et les israéliens ne permettent pas de les sortir des décombres, vu la pluie d'obus. (…) Il ne s'agit pas d'une attaque contre le Hezbollah, ni contre les civils chiites, mais bien contre tout le Liban, tous les libanais. L'usine de production de lait au Liban a été totalement détruite. Avec le blocus, nous allons bientôt manquer de tout. Ceci n'est plus une guerre, c'est un massacre organisé du peuple libanais, toute tendances confondues.»

--
????

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From : derek holzer (through nettime-nl)
Date : Sunday 30 July 2006 17:18
Subject : Soundtransit.nl presents sounds from Lebanon

Soundtransit.nl is proud to host Mazen Kerbaj's improvisation/field recording "Starry Night (excerpt)", recorded on Mazen's Beruit balcony during the first night of the Israeli assault on Lebanon .

"Starry Night (excerpt)":
http://soundtransit.nl/mp3/0881.Mazen_Kerbaj.Beruit.Starry_Nightexcerpt.mp3

"a minimalistic improvisation by:
mazen kerbaj / trumpet
the israeli air force / bombs

recorded by mazen kerbaj on the balcony of his flat in beirut, on the night of 15th to 16th of july 2006."

Mazen Kerbaj was born in 1975 in Beirut and lived there since. His main activities are comics, painting and music. After a lot of works for different publishers and magazines, it is in March 2000 that he releases some of his more personal works in his Journal 1999 (a dairy in comics format). He self-published eight other books and many short stories since.

Mazen's blog currently contains writings, drawings and sounds created under the threat of Israeli bombs in Lebanon :

http://mazenkerblog.blogspot.com

Please share this material with anyone who might be interested in a first-person account of what is happening right now in the Middle East .

best wishes,
Derek Holzer, Sara Kolster & Marc Boon
Soundtransit.nl

________________________________________________________________

From : info@boycottisrael.ps
Date : Sunday 30 July 2006 5:56
Subject : PACBI Update 8-- July 30, 2006

_ PACBI Update 7
July 30, 2006

Calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions intensify as the war on Lebanon and Gaza continues, and the level of destruction and killing increases. The state of Israel is committing war crimes on a daily basis. A wide range of protest actions at the popular level such as divestment and boycott, and calls on governments to impose sanctions on Israel is needed to put an end to this injustice.

Appeals and Calls for Action:

1.Appeal from Palestinian Women to Mr. Kofi Annan
  Women's Affairs Committee, Palestine | | July 29, 2006

We, the women of Palestine, are appalled by the criminal aerial bombardment by Israel of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and of the civil infrastructures of Palestine and Lebanon. Millions of Arab women ask when the United Nations will assume its responsibility in securing and safeguarding human lives in our area.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=300_0_1_0_C

2.Sanctions on Israel : If not now, when?
Merseyside trade unionists, UK | LabourNet UK | July 28, 2006

We are trade unionists with a record of action within our own industries and in opposition to racism and war. We watch with horror and outrage as Israel has bombed Lebanon indisciminately since 12 July with hundreds of civilian casualties, and their army begins a major ground invasion.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=298_0_1_0_C

3.Statement by Workers in the Public Cultural Sphere in Lebanon
 | July 25, 2005

We the undersigned declare:
1)Our conscious support for the Lebanese national resistance as it wages a war in defense of our sovereignty and independence, a war to release Lebanese imprisoned in Israel, a war to safeguard the dignity of the Lebanese and Arab people. 
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=297_0_1_0_C

4.Statement and Resolution from South Africa on Israeli Aggression Against Palestinian and Lebanese Civilians
 | July 25, 2006

We, people of conscience, gathered here at the WSF Preparatory Gathering, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, and comprising of individuals from social movements, trade unions, NGOs and academic institutions and consisting of a number of nationalities, inspired by statements made by the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (a group of 25 million members), the SA Council of Churches, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and a variety of SA Palestine Solidarity organisations, hereby declare that, 
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=295_0_1_0_C

5.Statement from the BRussells Tribunal Committee
  The BRussells Tribunal Committee | | July 2006

Israel's wanton bombing of Lebanese civilians is an unequivocal war crime States are obliged to protect Lebanon, militarily if necessary, lest international law become a travesty If the Security Council won't act, the General Assembly can and must
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=293_0_1_0_M


Related Articles:

1.Cosatu slams US foreign policy
   | Independent Online (SA) | July 29, 2006

The foreign policy of the United States, its support for Israel, and the Jewish state's perceived aggression against its neighbours came under strong attack from a senior ANC member at a Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial congress in Cape Town on Saturday.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=A301_0_1_0_M

2.Cosatu threatens daily protests against Israel
| Mail and Guardian | July 28, 2006

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Willie Madisha on Friday vowed that there will be regular protest action at the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=299_0_1_0_C

3.Broad opposition to World Pride in Jerusalem
Wyatt Buchanan | San Francisco Chronicle | July 26, 2006

An international gay pride event scheduled to take place in Jerusalem in less than two weeks is facing unprecedented opposition not only from religious leaders in the city, but from elements of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities worldwide.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=296_0_1_0_C

4.Calls for weapons embargo on Israel
Colin Brown | The Independent | July 25, 2006

Tony Blair faced new demands to suspend all arms exports to Israel amid warnings that Tel Aviv was guilty of "disproportionate" attacks on Lebanon.
http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=294_0_1_0_C

_________________________________________________________________

From: jan ackenhausen
Date: Saturday 29 July 2006 19:37
Subject: call for cameras; BEIRUT

from www.bidoun.com

CALL OUT FOR CAMERAS
The recent developments in Lebanon and in particular in the villages in the south, which have been under constant bombardment for the past week, call for immediate action on the part of the international community -- something which has been shamefully asbent. Indiscriminate bombing of civilians, reports of the use of chemical weapons,the levelling of villages and infrastructure with bunker buster bombs and the targeting of convoys of fleeing villagers, all constitute war crimes and contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention and due process. Israel 's style of combat can no longer be justified as resistance, but is clearly state terrorism.

A network of activists and filmmakers based in the UK, the US and Lebanon are now trying to coordinate an initiative to get cameras to the villages and towns in the south, as well as to vulnerable communities like the Palestinian refugees living in camps around Lebanon (which Israel threatens to attack on the basis of the connection between several pro-syrian, Palestinian factions and Hizbollah). Through networks in Lebanon , we hope to be able to deliver cameras to these areas so that these communities can document events on the ground as they occur and gather materials for future political advocacy. The hope is that this material can then be circulated through websites and other media outlets.

We are urgently seeking donations of small hand-held cameras, film stock or digital cameras. If anyone has any information or suggestions please contact:

Diana Allan ----- dallan@fas.harvard.edu (617 642 6358)
Vatche Boulghorijan ----- vmb@rebus-i.com
Curtis Brown --- cmbrown@fas.harvard.edu (617 642 8403)

--
????

_________________________________________________

From : nat muller
Date : Saturday 29 July 2006 14:42
Subject : suitcases

Suitcases

Nat Muller , curator Rotterdam.
Evacuated out of Beirut on July 17 th 2006.

My suitcases resemble a war-torn family. One is lying half-unpacked on my living room floor in Rotterdam , its contents spilling out as the gutted buildings we have seen on our TV screens, buildings which cannot tell the individual stories of their inhabitants anymore, since the debris effaced traces of humanity. The other one, still in Beirut , a refugee, without a home, holding belongings, which were deemed not important enough, hence left behind. This is the fate of refugees and the dispossessed: always left behind, never important enough in the violent and grotesque game of world politics and military strategies.

Suitcases: they usually function as an indicator of mobility. Yet, what is voluntary travel for one – the tourist – is flight and dispossession for the other– the refugee. How does one pack up a whole life in a small contained volume? What to take? What to leave? We continuously infuse the objects that surround us with meanings and narratives: a favourite piece of furniture; a childhood toy; a gift from a lover. They make up our memories, and inhabit our present; their loss is always a bereavement of personal history. More than 800.000 lives completely disrupted, more than 800.000 personal histories assaulted, more than 800.000 futures depleted.

I used to be jealous of people such as Jean Genet, who lived their whole lives out of a suitcase. Who made their homes in hotel rooms or grace to the kindness of others. How wonderful not to care about worldly possessions and to be able to move at every whim, I thought. Yes, how wonderful when one has a choice. 800.000 did not have a choice.

Suitcases are being pushed over the Syrian border in wheelbarrows; suitcases are being hoisted on carts, loaded into ships, trucks, buses and cars. Suitcases fill the parks and public schools of Beirut . Those carrying suitcases in their hands are burdened with the weight of memory and time stolen. And what about those without? Who didn't manage to salvage anything?

Whilst the bombs keep pounding the ruins in Dahiyeh, and flatten the South to rubble, I wonder about my suitcase left behind. Where is it now? From Qasqas to Ain Mreisse to Achrafieh, and where now? Who is its keeper? Does it stand forlorn in a corner, collecting dust, with its content meaningless; a battered object of war? And the other one; afraid to unpack out of fear to forget, and feign a sense of cosmetic normalcy. Can we open up our cupboards, put away our things and carry on as if nothing happened? This can and may not happen.

These suitcases of mine. When will they be reunited again? Which routes will they have to travel? When will I – together with all these other suitcases - be able to set them aside in peace?

________________________________________________

From : Lydia Wilson (through jan ackenhausen)
Date : Jul 28, 2006 3:53 PM
Subject : From Damascus ...

Yesterday I went to a refugee centre in a school with 580 refugees. The atmosphere was wonderful - so warm and supportive and welcoming - and some truly amazing stories...I'm going to a wedding there in the next couple of weeks, for a couple from the South of Lebanon – they prepared for four years, and on the morning of their wedding the house with everything in it was bombed.  So the whole 580, together with the charity running the refuge, are putting on a masssive wedding for them and funding a few nights in a hotel (there are many people sleeping in every classroom...).

Khaled - any news on the baby that was due yesterday?

There are many refugee centres like this one, as well as free clinics, which are provided with cookers and washing machines and fridges etc. I'm overwhelmed with the generosity of ordinary Syrians - their lives aren't the easiest in normal times.  One small mosque near me collected over 11,000 dollars after one set of Friday prayers last week.  The same day, a bigger mosque in a richer area collected 135,000 dollars.  And this isn't just about religion...the communities, sometimes rather intolerant, are all working together in this time of crisis.  (Also, a little more political: Christians, Druze and Sunnis are all supporting the Shiite Hezbollah.)

The Syrian government is building camps outside Damascus as this turns into a much longer-term problem than anyone anticipated.  I can't help but be reminded of Palestinians who left their houses back in 1948 with their front door keys, expecting to return in a few days or weeks; in some cases their grandchildren are still living in refugee camps.

Below are details of a what looks like a great event in London - I wish I could go.

And I'm about to forward a great newletter from the Stop the War Coalition.

Lots of love to you all, Lydia

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harvey, Kate
Date: Jul 28, 2006 12:18 PM
Subject: FW: This Sunday - Voices for Lebanon and Palestine - End Israel 's attacks - Ceasefire now


Lyd, will you forward this to your London list?  I'll write again at lunchtime.
Much love to you.
x


Hello hello.

This is an event that I am helping to produce. There are some very interesting people performing readings and it would be brilliant if you could come along to support the cause and spread the word.

Thanks a million

Love Cass




please circulate widely

Voices for Lebanon and Palestine

End Israel 's attacks on Lebanon and Palestine
Demand a ceasefire now!

Sunday 30 July
1-3pm Trafalgar Square

The latest news is that comedian Alexei Sayle and actor Simon Callow have confirmed they will be performing on Sunday in Trafalgar Square !

They will be joining actors including Maxine Peake, John Austin MP, veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, Tony Benn, 13-year old Zeinab Daher who has just returned from Lebanon, and many others (full details of speakers confirmed to date are on the attached leaflet)

The rally is organised by the PSC together with CND, Stop the War, British Muslim Initiative, Lebanese and Palestinian organisations.

Despite increasing international pressure for a ceasefire, our government has refused to put pressure on Israel to end its assault on the Lebanese and Palestinian people. We need to send a strong and clear signal to the government that we are calling for an end to Israel 's attacks and for an immediate ceasefire. Please join us on Sunday and urge everyone you know to come to Trafalgar Square to demonstrate their support.

www.palestinecampaign.org

________________________________________________

From : Emily Jacir
Date : Friday 28 July 2006 15:12
Subject : Ali La Pointe / Zena's words on the New York streets/ NYC Protest info

I was teaching students at a workshop yesterday. In the evening I showed them Battle of Algiers .
Remember Ali la Pointe's head butt at the begining of the film ? When the french racist tripped him?
ah it seems so so far away now Zidane Zidane Zidane.
Zizou and that magnificant, elegant, animalistic, brilliant, poem of a headbutt.
what a strange prelude to this madness.
(oh by sheer coincidence an Irish friend sent me an email about a " belfast kiss" yesterday. love the irish!)
More on the workshop in a bit.

i have been feeling like i have my own war room going on. a headquarters of sorts with phone and email and sms etc. Recently i have started receiving messages in my inbox which start by saying "Dear Sirs" and then I am asked to find loved ones in Lebanon,...can you help me find so and so or so and so. Last I heard from the American consulate was such and such.....Here is the most recent from one hour ago:

"Sirs; can you give me any advice on where to get info about US citizens (Lebanese born) in ad D'way near Nabitayah.  The US embassy is dealing with no. Lebanon only.  I don'have my friend's passport no. or birthdate, but I have managed to get a registration through to the embassy.  The State Dept is giving the same "guidance to So. Lebanese US citizens as it has for a week: register with embassy;listen to radio."

My inbox is also filled to the brim with endless petitions and "letters of condemnation" and in the midst of it all anjali k writes to me and says:
"-- i was struck a few days ago by something alex cockburn said on counterpunch about the left holed up in dark rooms on their computers --- mistaking a medium for a movement. it's hard ---"

Zena word's .......
Harrell Fletcher is the Artistic Director for a three-week, intensive program summer program, focusing on expanded ideas of art-making and creativity in relation to collaboration, community involvement, and activism. He invited me to teach there so yesterday I went. I gave a lecture in the morning and then in the afternoon I was asked to give the students an assignment that they could do in 2 hours. I decided to print emails from my inbox from the last two weeks. I also printed out the information about the Americans speed rushing bombs to Israel and spoke about the absurdity of the question Americans ask about wether to get involved or not when they are 100% involved! I gave each student a different email, and a copy of the article and told them to go out into the streets and do something in the public sphere based on their interaction, (or reaction) or whatever with the emails....

i wanted to share a few of the projects with you of the students who got Zena's emails. (Pics included below)

Jennifer was struck by Zenas description of her dog. Jennifer also had noticed how people in the Chelsea district all have dogs and LOVE their dogs so she subverted "lost dog" posters she made a bunch of posters but underneath the dog she put Zena's description of her dog and how dogs cant be evacuated- on another poster was the description Zena gave us about her friends dog. I think I loved this so much because it reminded me of what we used to say in Palestine whenever we were attacked by Israel:
"I wish we were animals then at least the animal rights activists would do something to help us"
The contact number on Jennifer's lost dog posters was to a site that is taking donations to help Lebanese civilians that Zena wrote about in her email.

Another girl took excerpts from Zena's email and wrote them all over chelsea like "Last night was probably the most frightful night of my entire life - zena" and then she wrote the blogspot address.

Another girl re-wrote Zena's email over and over and over on white lined paper and then folded each one up and "accidentely" dropped them on the street. She did change the words on the first page, every time Zena said Beirut she changed it to "you" so that it would sound even more like a love letter. But aon the second page it said beirut and had the blogspot address. Capitalizing on peoples curiosity and nosiness on finding such a private letter in public on the street she subverted love letters to suck people in.

Elena walked around reading her email out loud in to a pitch reminiscent of hysteria but with control, intensity and force. I actually cant describe how strong and powerful it was. How completely focused she was. Even while an African American fellow was yelling about how he hoped more bombs would drop, and that he loved christian zionists etc she just kept it up....She was unrelenting.

But the scariest of all. Oh god my stomach hurts when I think of it. One of the students was sitting outside, and he was focusing on the information about the Americans speed ordering bombs....he saw a postal worker and asked him if it was possible to mail a bomb! Struck by the idea that the USA could mail bombs to people, he thought why can't he. He then went around the neighborhood interviewing other postal workers about this possiblity!!! And at the peak of this he actually went INTO the post office ( now with another student who had a camera hidden in his bag to record everything) to ask them directly!!!!! And might I mention that neither one of them is American - one from Puerto Rico and the other from Albania . How the hell he didn't get arrested is beyond me. This could have gone down so so SO BADLY! I can just see them getting arrested, and saying that their Palestinian teacher gave them these emails from Beirut and Gaza and and and....oh god! We would have all been locked up. And folks it is serious. Had I known he was going to do that I would have stopped him!
And as you know the FBI is stepping up "visits" to my people.....well of course we Palestinians are used to this, we been recorded, taped, watched, "visited" since 72....only after 911 a whole bunch of other folk ended up joining our plight....other Arabs, South Asians,...welcome to our world babes...
http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2856

Lastly, there is a protest today in NYC and tomorrow in NYC so if you are here PLEASE COME!

FRIDAY PROTEST 28 JULY
Stop the war Stop the Killing
 When:    Friday 28 July, 3:30 to 6:30,
Where:  Israeli Mission at the UN, 2nd Ave , between 42nd and 43rd Sts.
What:     Join us in Saying NO to ISRAELI WAR of aggression against Civilians and Infrastructure in PALESTINE & LEBANON .  We MUST continue the pressure.
  Sponsored by: Arab Muslim American Federation, National Council Of Arab Americans, International Action Center , Troops Out Now Coalition , Alawda New York , Al-Khuli Islamic Center, ICNA N.Y, MAS New York .

SATURDAY PROTEST 29 JULY
March Across the Brooklyn Bridge
 When: Saturday, July 29,  
(MEETING AT 2 PM IN CADMAN PLAZA)
 - Stop U.S.-Sponsored Israeli Terror
- End the occupation of Palestine
- Stop the invasion of Lebanon
- Stop U.S. Aid To Israel
- Free Arab Political Prisoners in Israel
 
*** MARCH ACROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE ***
Saturday, July 29
2 PM
Gather at Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn
 
Called by the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East which was formed in response to Israel's attacks on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. We organized a petition, signed by more than 1000 organizations and individuals, that we delivered to the office of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. We have also organized several actions against Israel 's brutal assaults, including, most recently, a demonstration of 1,500 people infront of the Israeli mission to the UN. Come help us organize!
For more information e-mail: protectpalestine@gmail.com
Called by the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East .

 

follow these links for previous posts:

July 27 / 26 / 25 / 23 / 22 / 21 / 20 / 19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6 / 5

most recent posts are here