Last week I had the honour of joining a number of incredible writers and orators in Derry, Ireland, in a panel, “Imperialism on Trial”. The five speakers were: John Wight, writer and host of Hard Facts; the former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford; author, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark; former MP and host of Sputnik Orbiting the World, George Galloway; and myself.
Organized by Derry resident Gregory Sharkey, the panelists addressed a wide range of issues. As one of the speakers, author Neil Clark, wrote:
“Five passionate and well-informed speakers, who included the former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, detailed the carnage and chaos that has been unleashed around the globe by the aggressive, warmongering policies of the US and its closest allies.
The full panel is online from RT’s livestream recording:
-By Eva Bartlett I first heard of the “Atatra baby” when Red Crescent medics and volunteers brought the burned, mutilated corpse back, weeks after its death. Nameless, it was only known that the baby was from the northwestern region that had been completely inaccessible for the duration of the Israeli land invasion. The volunteers present when the infant was brought in described their revulsion at her charred skin, her lower body which had been eaten by stray dogs. I first met the Abu Halima family in the burn unit in Gaza’s Shifa hospital. The various family members suffered serious and deep chemical burns which Dr. Nafez abu Shabaan, head of the burn department, had attributed to white phosphorous burns. “It is unlike any burns we have treated,” he had said. “The burns go to the bone, and smoke for hours after treatment.” The various members of the family had disfiguring burns, one of whom –a woman of 21 –had 43% of her total body surface area burned, her3 year old daughter with 22%. Visiting the Atatra region the other day, I made the connection between the baby girl, the Abu Halima family, and the house an a-Sifa (in Beit Lahiya) resident asked me to visit. It wasn’t until the sister of an Abu Halima family member had recalled her version of their tragedy that I made the connections between these different stories which were in fact all one collective, sordid story. post continues
On January 13, a day which began with a visit to the bombed Jazeera hotel (and neighbouring hotel), and continued to the Sheik Rajleen area on Gaza’s coast, where residents terrified by days of Israeli shelling and missile attacks were fleeing in droves and where what could be phosphorous fires still burned, we continued on to an area east of Gaza city, Zaitoun, where more of what might be phosphorous fires burned in patches on the streets, and where an entire neighbourhood of houses had been demolished.
In one day, over 15 houses were demolished by shelling and by the massive bulldozers Israel long-ago acquired specifically for this task. Lemon, orange and olive trees were run over, uproots in masses. While the surrounding streets were barren of life -everyone having evacuated or cowering in their homes -in the patch of destroyed land, newly-homeless residents picked through what once were houses, salving whatever they could: blankets, cooking pots, clothing… Most was destroyed, much unidentifiable. And their work was hurried, hasty under that on-going buzz of drones, the same drones capable at any moment of dropping a targeted missile on any area. As we toured, photographed, breathed in the burn of destructive fires and destroyed lives, we also began to hurry. The sound and sight of two Apaches approaching, gunfire in the distance, was enough to speed our work. post continues