Monday, June 26, 2006

Israel, Palestine, a Fence and "The Wall"

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd is in Israel this week. He had been scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv, but moved to the "Peace Village" Neve Shalom after criticism by British anti-apartheid activists. Neve Shalom is highlighted as an example of Jewish and Arab integration in contrast to much of the rest of Israel and Palestine.

This Reuters article (reprinted by Ynet) shows how the mainstream media often gives in to politicized terminology that favor the imperialist mythology of the Israeli government.

For example,

"Pink Floyd front-man Roger Waters, who inspired the rock band's iconic album "The Wall," has scrawled "tear down the wall" on the concrete panels of Israel's security fence on Wednesday."

It has become something of a politicized battle over the name of the "apartheid wall" or "separation fence." Once it became clear that apartheid meant separation, "security fence" has become the dominant terminology. Now I know some of the "barrier" is more like a fence and some is more like a wall, but have you ever heard of a concrete fence? Seriously, can we just be honest and call it whatever word in the English language best describes it.

By the way, as if Gaza hadn't exploded enough already, after some 20 Palestinian non-combatants including many children were killed in the last two weeks, militants claiming to be part of Hamas attacked a checkpoint and took an Israeli soldier hostage. Hamas representatives are saying, at least in Hebrew, that they are not responsible and that the soldier must be treated well by his captors.

This is bound to cause increased attacks by Israel and retaliation by Palestinian militants.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

HUD to New Orleans Poor: Go F(ind) Yourself (Housing)!

Bill Quigley, that Human Rights Lawyer and professor at Loyola New Orleans is at it again. For years he has been a steady, courageous voice of solidarity with the Haitian victims of political persecution since the ouster of Aristide. Since Katrina, where he suvrived for a week in Charity Hospital while his wife tended to dying patients, he has been a strong legal ally and editorial advocate of the marginalized people of New Orleans.

His new piece, a must read as always, is his most cleverly named.

HUD to New Orleans Poor: Go F(ind) Yourself (Housing)!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gaza Explodes

While I haven't commented on it here, a recent wave of civilians killed in Gaza has caused a firestorm that threatens to become high intensity warfare in the Holy Land. An entire family including 5 children were killed on a beach in Gaza by what witnesses described as incoming artillery fire.

Their deaths have ignited the passions of the nation. Their funeral was attended by thousands in Beit Lahiya, and the one survivor, 7 year-old Huda Ghalia, has been "symbolically adopted" by Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas.

The killing also prompted Hamas to end its 16 month ceasefire, and renew missile attacks on Israel.

An Israeli airstrike on a van carrying militants and rocket launchers killed 2 militants, and a second Israeli missile killed civilian bystanders including "an ambulance worker and two children. On the same day, Israeli officials were able to bump that ugly news from the headlines by releasing the findings of an Israeli army report that argues that Israel was not responsible for the deaths, arguing that Hamas landmines likely caused the killing. Immediately doubts are being raised on the Israeli government position. Human Rights Watch argues that their investigation comes to the opposite conclusion with regard to every piece of evidence.

Chris McGeal of the London Guardian spoke today on Democracy Now
refuting entirely the Israeli army report, saying that this is cover being laid down for Olmert and other Israeli politicians currently in Europe.

The Israeli military has made such false statements before for propaganda purposes. For example, in October 2004, the Israeli military announced in a press conference that they had irrefutable evidence that UN ambulances were being used to ferry heavy weapons in Palestinian Occupied Territories. They later admitted that the image "might be a stretcher rather than a rocket."

The International Solidarity Movement also reports "A claim circulated by The Associated Press... that Kalashnikovs had been found in an ISM office was completely retracted by AP and ...the Israeli army itself when it emerged that it was totally false."

McGeal also describes evidence that Israeli shelling was responsible, citing eye-witness reports and the discovery of shrapnel reading "155 mm" the type of artillery shell Israel was using nearby. The Isreali army report's own findings that 5 of 6 shells fired nearby were accounted for, and many of them exploded on the Gaza shore nearby, while the 6 one (presumably that struck the family) was "not accounted for" in the Israeli report.

Israeli officials have used the army report as a full exoneration of guilt, and Amir Peretz and Olmert are arguing that the exoneration gives Israel more right to increase attacks on Hamas militants and others.

As usual Remember These Children, memorializes the recent deaths of Palestinian and Israeli children. For those keeping count, 26 Palestinian children have been killed this year as has one Israeli child. Ironically, the Isreali child Khalid Salaam Ziadin, 16, was an Israeli Arab killed by Isreali ordinance in the Western Negev desert.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Atenco: Romper el Cero

Salón Chingón has a new video on the uprising and police repression in San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco in the state of Mexico. It is available here in Spanish. A version with Ensligh subtitles is "coming soon."

This comes by way of Narco News, and its powerful first hand footage, clips from Mexican mainstream media, and interviews with survivors (who suffered sexual violation and the death of family in some cases).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mark Hiew at the UN, ItsLateAgain

A good friend Mark Hiew, University of Maryland graduate and an activist with Student Global Aids Campaign blogs this week from the UN's High Level Meetings on HIV/AIDS in New York City. Message to Mark: write it hard-hitting. Make it compelling and worth our time every time. His best previous post (in my opinion) is on the complex race relations of Malaysia.

More on Duke rape case

The Washington Post has an article citing Justice Department figures that 13 out of 14 black female rape survivors do not report their crime. In comparison, %42 of the U.S. rape survivors report the crime.

This statistic is staggering, but it reflects the experience and work of others. Aishah Shahidah Simmons talks about the invisibility of rape in the black community in NO! The Rape Documentary.

An interview with her about the Duke rape case is available online. It should be required reading. (Watch out anonymous, it was written by a feminist).

I also found it interesting that the feministing site where that interview was published contained very strongly worded statements about how the "stripper" made the whole thing up, citing a very detailed history (likely fictional)of the accuser. The statement, in fact, suggested that the accuser was once arrested for attempting to kill a police officer.

I found this interesting, because these posts seem to be under every blog entry about the Duke case without any citations. In fact, these "facts" are not published anywhere by a reputable source. My own site received such posts by someone in Hawaii who blogsearches "duke rape" almost daily and cut-and-pastes these posts to my site.

It seems that there is an organized online campaign to discredit the survivor (organized campaigns by the rapists friends are typical in which the morals and the credibility of the survivor are attacked as a "lying slut"). I wonder, who these internet attack artists are? Are they college republicans? Are they friends of the accused? Are they connected to the law firm of the accused? Are they just sexually aggressive boys with too much internet time to waste?