international solidarity

Hezbollah, Syria, and Historical Memory: A Tale of Two Nakbas

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May 18, 2015, Counter Punch

-Eric Draitser

Last week, millions around the world marked the 67th anniversary of the Nakba – literally “the disaster” or “the catastrophe” in Arabic – commemorating the seizure of Palestinian land and transformation of historic Palestine into modern Israel. Naturally, there is little ambiguity among pro-Palestine activists that the Nakba represents the opening salvo in the ongoing war perpetrated by Israel and Zionism against the people of Palestine; it is the continuing war of gradual (and not so gradual) erasure of Palestinian culture, Palestinian ethnic identity, and Palestinian collective memory. The weapons in this war range from Israeli bombs, to Zionist propaganda that seeks to dehumanize the Palestinian people, robbing them of both their agency and their humanity, their land and their livelihoods.

But these facts are only controversial when facing the barrage of pro-Israeli propaganda either in the media, or as parroted by liberal Zionists whose humanity and compassion somehow does not extend to a tiny strip of land called Gaza, or the disjointed and disfigured territory known as the West Bank. Indeed, most people of conscience have come to see the self-evident injustice of the Nakba and the occupation; they recognize the apartheid and continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, correctly believing this struggle to be one of the great injustices of the contemporary world.

However, there is another Nakba, another catastrophe, that is ongoing today that even many pro-Palestinian voices fail (or choose not) to see – the war on Syria, Iraq, and indeed much of the region. For while 1948 saw the destruction of whole villages, extermination of families, displacement of millions, and the stealing of land throughout Palestine, so too have the last few years seen a similar phenomenon in Syria and Iraq. But while the rape of Palestine is a cause around which millions all over the world can unite, the war on Syria and Iraq has left much of the international movement divided. Many even today refuse to see this continuing war as even a war at all; it is “sectarian conflict,” it is “merely a proxy war,” and many argue that “all sides should be condemned.” But is this really true? Or, are these merely the empty platitudes of intellectual and moral cowards who prefer to stick with just Palestine because Syria and Iraq are “not their issue”?
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Imam and scholar Zafar Bangash: staging the “revolution”


Mar 9, 2015

Imam and scholar Zafar Bangash on: Islamophobia, Harper’s proposed draconian new anti-terrorism legislation (Bill C-51), and Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria. Bangash is a world-renowned Muslim scholar, editor of Crescent International Magazine, author, and imam at the York Regional Islamic Centre in Markham, Ontario

**note: from around 16:00, Zafar lays out the behind-the-scenes meetings which planned the war on Syria (aka the “uprising”):

-former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, two years before 2011, was told by British officials  that Britain would launch operations in Syria, would France be interested in joining?
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challenge Canada’s nefarious role in war on Syria, Iraq

Words of Ken Stone, a friend who has long been active in anti-war movement in Canada, and who is a member of the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War. Ken Stone lectures on R2P (see attached business card at bottom):

“…both the Taliban and ISIS are creations of the USA. The Taliban was organized, funded, trained, and armed by the USA in order to drive the forces of the former Soviet Union out of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was created for the same purpose and later helped the USA to overthrow the government of the former Yugoslavia and to foment trouble for Russia in Chechnya. ISIS is the direct result of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had never allowed Al-Qaeda to exist in Iraq. But the US & UK invasion destroyed the state of Iraq and opened a Pandora’s box for Al Qaeda to emerge. ISIS grew out of the covert aggression against Syria, sponsored by the so-called “Friends of Syria” Group of countries which includes the USA, Canada, Britain, France, Turkey, the Arab monarchies, and others. In the illegal aggression against Syria since 2011, Obama, Harper, Cameron, et al have openly funded terrorist mercenaries who have laid waste to much of that country and its infrastructure, beheaded thousands, sold girls into slavery, destroyed churches and monasteries, executed prisoners of war, killed journalists, caused the deaths of over 200,000 people, turned millions into internal and external refugees, and produced youtube videos proudly displaying their crimes against humanity. Where was the indignation of the politicians and the mainstream media for last four years over the war crimes in Syria?
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Convening for Palestine

Delegate Feroze Mithibowala at the conference.

Delegate Feroze Mithiborwala at the conference.

December 8, 2014, Crescent-online

Beirut, Eva Bartlett:
As the Zionist state increasingly and openly reveals its criminal, genocidal nature, more and more citizens from around the world are waking up and standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice. Activists, academics, journalists, unions and ordinary people are confronting the lies of Zionist propaganda, rendering the Zionist narrative weak and its genocidal, colonial agenda opaque.

Rather than leaving the issues of justice, the return of Palestinian refugees, the release of Palestinian Political Prisoners from Zionist jails, the Palestinian just struggle for sovereignty, and ending the siege on the Palestinians of Gaza to institutions and governments, Palestinians and supporters take matters into their own hands, among other actions organizing conferences to share strategies and successes and build networks.

Over 80 delegates from around the world attended the Second “Global Convention of Solidarity With Palestine” in Beirut for two days of discussions (December 1-3), including delegates from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, North America, Britain, Europe, Russia, Iran, among other nations. Notably, delegates from Gaza under siege and other areas of occupied Palestine were unable to make it to the conference due to the Zionist, and sadly the Egyptian, control of border crossings.

Special focus was put on the Zionists’ summer massacre of Gaza and on the ongoing assaults on Palestinians in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the openly-admitted intent to Judaize Jerusalem and all of occupied Palestine.

“Two hundred thousand people came out to demonstrations to support Gaza. That’s even more than when Mandela was released,” said South African delegate Firoz Osman, of Media Review Network.
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Mads Gilbert: “I saw beheaded children in Gaza, I have pictures… what we see in Gaza, is by definition pure state terrorism.”

When he shares stories of Gaza, ‘the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans’, Gilbert says [AP]
Dec 7, 2014, Al Jazeera

[not endorsing Al Jazeera, but Mads Gilbert’s words deserve to be heard]

When called to return to Gaza to help out in al-Shifa hospital, doctor Mads Gilbert was denied access with valid papers. 

Gilbert told Al Jazeera that he was turned away at the Erez border crossing after Israeli authorities deemed him a “security risk”. After asking for an explanation, Gilbert was threatened with arrest.

Al Jazeera: Did you just get a note from the Israelis saying you are no longer allowed to come back?

Mads Gilbert: No, actually, I had been in Gaza in June for three weeks on an assignment for the UN and they had applied for a multiple entry visa for me, which I got from the Israeli army. It was a multiple entry visa valid until the 11th of November. So I went in on that to do the job for the UN, stayed for three weeks, wrote up the report and went home to Tromso in Norway to pick up my call in the helicopter.

It is a week-long call. While I was on call in my helicopter, the bombing started. I went back to Amman over the Allenby Bridge to Erez. I showed my papers in the guard house, and he called up and he said ‘you are not allowed in’. I told him that my papers are valid and he said ‘no, we have a security problem with you and I can’t tell you what’.

So I called the commander at Erez and he was very cross and he said ‘we have orders from the higher authority of security and we have a security problem with you’, so I asked if they can tell me what the problem is and he said, ‘it’s none of your business and if you don’t leave the premises we will call the police, I will arrest you’.

So I called my ambassador and I called Tel Aviv. My diplomatic missions there and my minister of foreign affairs called them and they said ‘there is no way he is getting in’.

So I returned to Norway and the Norwegian authorities, my minister for foreign affairs, formally inquired and asked why and they only get the response that there is a security issue from Shin Bet Mossad.

Interestingly, the minister for foreign affairs has been protesting this denial of entry formally; they do not accept it. They have asked Israelis to reverse this denial, citing that it is inconceivable and unacceptable that humanitarian staff should not be allowed in to support Palestinians in a difficult situation on the medical side.

AJ: What do you think the reason is for them not letting you in?

MG: I think the truth is the security risk because when I, as a white medical doctor with blue eyes and white hair, tell the real story of the realities in the sharp end of the Israeli attacks, the Palestinians change from being terrorists to being humans, the numbers change from being numbers to being people, and the children appear as yours and my children.

So when I write my articles and when I do my research, and when I publish in The Lancet and when I write my books, this is actually a danger to the Israeli narrative and, in a way, the global reputation of Israel, which is partially falling apart now.
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A Good Friend’s Project: Midwife to Gaza

    

This is the fundraising campaign of a good friend of mine, Sharyn Lock, who I worked with in Gaza in 2008/9 [her blog from Gaza].

A bit of background: Sharyn was on the first Free Gaza boat to Gaza in August 2008, and was a core component of organizing the boats, five trips of which (six boats) successfully arrived at Gaza’s port (I was on the third).  Along with others in Gaza at the time, we did farmer and fisher accompaniment, trying to be in solidarity with these vulnerable sectors who are bullied (read: killed, maimed, abducted) on a daily basis by the world’s most immoral army, and to document these crimes.  Similarly, during the 2008/9 Gaza massacre, we accompanied medics in their ambulances, documenting the worst of the war crimes. Sharyn was in the Quds hospital when it was bombed repeatedly [see her blog entry on that], including with white phosphorous.  And was among the first rescuers to reach the Samouni district in al-Zeitoun, where horrific crimes and massacres were committed against the extended family.

But beyond some of those key moments, Sharyn interacted with Palestinians in Gaza respectfully, whole-heartedly, with dedication and professionalism, and continued her activism after leaving Gaza.

Since then, she’s thrown herself into studying and practising to become a mid-wife, which she just has.

 

Please look at and consider supporting and sharing her fundraising appeal, to get back to Gaza. From Sharyn’s appeal:

I am aiming to raise £3000 after site fees. Rounding up, £5=$9, £10=$17, £20 =$34, £50=$84, £100=$167. I will be blogging here, so you can go click “follow” to be all ready if you like :)
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Is the British state supporting ‘ISIS’ and ‘Al Qaeda’?

Event to launch Dan Glazebrook’s new book: “Divide and Ruin: the West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis”
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Speakers:

Dan Glazebrook, Author of “Divide and Ruin”

Sukant Chandan, Chair of the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

Marcel Cartier, anti-war activist and hip-hop artist

Chaired by Hafsa Kara, Writer and broadcaster

Followed by food and socialising

Hosted by the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

4pm, Saturday, November 8th, Florence Park Community Centre, Cornwallis Rd, Oxford, OX4 3NH
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