Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘america’

Amani Alfarra is from Gaza, currently studying for her PhD in hydrology in Germany. We met in May 2006, in Gaza, while she was writing a report for the United Nations about the water situation in Gaza. She needed photos so I toured the entire region with her. I’ve slightly edited her writing.

Jan 16, 2009 at 3:16 PM

We hope at the end our voices will be heard and someone will feel the people’s pain in Gaza and help them. For 2 days now I can’t speak with my boys.

Even waiting for things to be improved is quite hard, my friend.

—Amani

Jan 16 at 9:22 PM (Gaza is 7 hours ahead in time)

Oh Amani, I’m so sorry to learn that you have boys still in Gaza. I shall pray.

Love,

—Skip

joe_devoir

By Joe Devoir

Jan 16, 2009 at 3:32 PM, Amani Alfarra <amani.alfarra@gmail.com> wrote:

I thought you knew. Don’t worry. I am just praying to God to keep them safe until things cool down and I find a way to take them out. I am sooooooooooo unhappy, my friend.

When I called them, trust me, I hold my self hard. They have no electricity, no bread. When their father could find some wheat for bread, that was good for them. Every day they make a fire to keep warm.

I try and try to call them to find out if they are still alive. For the third day now I can’t contact them. So can you imagine how hard waiting is?

What did all these children do to deserve this life besides being born as Palestinian-Gazan?

Life is hard my friend

—Amani

bernat-armangue

An Israeli soldier prays next to ammunition on the Israel-Gaza border, Monday Jan. 19, 2009. Israeli officials say troops will leave the Gaza Strip before Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the new U.S. president. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Jan 16 at 3:51 PM

At the beginning my ex-husband took them from me. But I had hopes that one day we might meet again. Now I am afraid the war will take them and I can’t see them at all.

Jan 19 at 12:29 PM

My Kids! I just spoke to them, el-Humdila (thanks be to god). Two days ago the Israelis pumped something into the area. During the night while my oldest son was sleeping the window broke and collapsed on his head. El-Humdila, he is ok. Some wounds but no problem, he is ok, still alive. This was God’s mercy that he doesn’t want me suffer.

Thanks for asking, my friend.

Warm Regards

—Amani

amaniboysmen7458-1

Amani Alfarra, Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, May 2006

My photos while traveling with Amani Alfarra, Gaza, May 2006

Set one

Set two

Amnesty International has accused Israel of using white phosphorus in civilian areas of the Gaza Strip.

CEASE FIRE NOW!

Large Gush Shalom ad – published in Haaretz, December 30, 2008

This war is inhuman, superfluous and harmful. Nothing good for Israel will come out of it!

The killing of hundreds of Palestinians and the destruction of the infrastructure of life in the Gaza Strip are abominable acts. Those who hope to reap electoral profits from them are greatly mistaken.

A ground invasion will cause even greater harm, destroy what is left in Gaza and cause many casualties – Israelis and Palestinians, soldiers and civilians.

If, after hard battles, the Israeli army will succeed in conquering the ruins of Gaza, the result will be, at most, to drive Hamas underground and to increase their influence both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.

The attack, which has already deepened the hatred, will

AROUSE the whole civilized world against us,

RAISE all over the region a new generation that will hate the State of Israel even more,

INCREASE the impact of Hamas,

UNDERMINE even more the status of peace-seeking Palestinians,

PREVENT Palestinian unity, without which there can be no peace.

On behalf of thousands of Israelis who have demonstrated in the streets of Tel-Aviv within hours after the start of the war, we demand:

– To stop at once the attack on Gaza!

– To propose – and to maintain – a cease-fire that will include the end off all violent actions by both sides, a real opening of the border crossings and the termination of the blockade against the population of the Gaza Strip.

– To start a dialogue with Hamas. Hamas is an integral part of Palestinian society and the Palestinian political system. Without their participation, all negotiations and agreements are meaningless.

Gush Shalom

P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 — info@gush-shalom.orghttp://www.gush-shalom.org

gazamourn-1-10-08

Boston, January 10, 2009

Read Full Post »

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

—Arundhati Roy

bruleriver1891-21

Lakota Sioux along the Brule River

wkwinter2-2-4

Wounded Knee, December 29, 1990

woundedkneemasacre-1

The medicine man

img_2887

Ibrahem Shatali

g35_17448923

Palestinian men bury the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan at Beit Hanoun cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008. Lama and her sister were reportedly riding a donkey cart Tuesday near a rocket-launching site that was targeted by Israel. (MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters)

INTRODUCTION

The Lakota Sioux Indian people, those massacred at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890 (that anniversary came just two days after the beginning of the massacre, December 27, 2008] had lived on the Plains for more than 100 years, long before white people settled there. And their roots on the North American continent continue back for perhaps 15,000 years. They were long-term residents. Whites entered the region in the early 1800s, mainly in wagon trains heading further west—to settle, they were settlers, they built settlements. Many of these whites believed god was on their side, that they had rights to the land because of their superior culture and because of their affinity with god.

Are there significant parallels between the massacre at Wounded Knee and the current massacre in Gaza?

OUTLINE

Lakota Sioux, 1890 Palestinians, 2008-2009
Some 300 killed As of January 9, 2009, more than 780 killed, 3300 injured and increasing
A few rifles, knives, perhaps bows and arrows Rudimentary rockets and mortars, some rifles
Against rapid firing Hotchkiss cannon
and other heavy weapons
Against Apache helicopters, F16 fighters, artillery, gun boats
Few noticed but some outcry existed Few noticed or spoke out, even among Arab-Muslim states, limited UN role
Massive firepower did not discriminate between Indian and civilian Massive firepower did not discriminate between Hamas militant and civilian
Forced onto reservations Forced into a concentration camp
White fear, in part a misreading of the Ghost Dance Jewish fear, in part a misreading of the Hamas Covenant
Memory of Indian raids, and especially Custer’s loss 14 years earlier Memory of the holocaust and two millennia of persecution of Jews
US belief in armed force, the
government resisted negotiations
Israeli belief in armed force, the government resists negotiations
Faulty treaties Faulty agreements, such as Oslo
Awarding Congressional Medals of Honor to 27 officers and soldiers Possible lauding of the officers and soldiers
Widespread white support Widespread Israeli and international Jewish support
Last major armed confrontation between Indians and rulers Last major armed confrontation between Palestinians and rulers?
Cemented white supremacy in the
United States
Cemented Israeli supremacy?
Accountability: virtually none altho some called for a truth and reconciliation process Accountability: virtually none altho some might call for a truth and reconciliation process, tribunal, or other forms of international adjudication
No rebuilding of the nation How will rebuilding of Gaza occur?

SET THE STAGE

For most of the 19th century the US army had forced American Indians from their ancestral areas into confined zones, mostly reservations with few natural resources. The Lakota Sioux people, a vigorous and hearty group of Plains Indians with roots on the east coast, were first “transferred” onto the Great Sioux Reservation (GSR), a large area in what is now South and North Dakota and Wyoming. This region shrank dramatically when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, originally a part of the GSR and for at least 2 centuries a sacred site for Lakota. By 1890 the remaining lands were minuscule compared with what Lakota roamed over in the late 18th century.

shermantreatylakota1867ftlaramie-61

General Sherman and other government officials with Lakota Sioux meeting about the treaty forming the Great Sioux Reservation in 1867

map1890

For good reason many Lakota resisted this imprisonment, notably Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Whites orchestrated the murder of Crazy Horse by his own people, and then in December 22, 1890, Sitting Bull, also by his own Lakota. A band led by the peace chief, Big Foot, fled south. They were trapped along the Wounded Knee creek in the Pine Ridge Reservation. Next morning, surrounded by elements of Custer’s old unit, the 7th Calvary, they were massacred. Some 300 died, most of them women and children and elderly. Warriors offered little resistance, since they lacked effective weapons. (Incidentally, early road signs erected by the state of South Dakota called the massacre a “battle” until many opposed this misnaming and the state agreed to change the wording to “massacre” at Wounded Knee.)

800px-big_foot_dead_at_wounded_knee_1890-11

Chief Big Foot propped up in death for a photograph

Prior to the massacre, whites had been settling in the area. Observing the Ghost Dance of the Lakota people, a failed attempt to non-violently resist white incursion, local whites mistook this for a war dance. They feared; they demanded army protection. Using newly developed weaponry which had not been fully field tested, mostly the Hotchkiss rapid firing cannon, the soldiers, some of them reportedly drunk, many of them recalling the debacle of their once heralded leader, General George Custer at the Battle of Greasy Grass or Little Big Horn, fired on everyone in the camp. Chief Big Foot, already sick from pneumonia, was one of the first killed.

People in the East noticed; there was an outcry against the massacre, leading to a hearing that questioned the officers. They were cleared, and many officers and soldiers awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

POSSIBLE PARALLELS

Now, what might be parallels with the current killings in Gaza? Is it fair to call the Israeli attack on Gaza a massacre? Is it a battle? Is it the proper and legal exercise of Israel to defend itself? Is it justified killing?

g15_17434239

A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on December 28, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. (Abid Katib/Getty Images)

As of this writing, January 9, 2009, at least 795 Palestinians are now dead (martyred in in the language of many Palestinians—a word I concur with), upwards of 3300 are injured (400 of them dangerously), at least 10 Israeli soldiers and 5 Israeli civilians are dead, some soldiers by friendly fire, some by militants shooting rockets and perhaps using other weapons. An unknown number of casualties lie beneath rubble. Among the dead—230 are children, 92 women, 60 elderly men, 6 medical assistants, 2 journalists, and 3 foreigners. (statistics based on UN and Red Cross figures) Estimates of the  proportion of civilian causalities ranges from 20% to more than 60%, that percentage rising with the ground campaign now underway. The carnage continues as I write this.

g11_17429551

Many bodies lie outside the Hamas police headquarters following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on December 27, 2008. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

Most media and most governments in the western world state, “Israel has a right to defend itself. The attacks will stop when Hamas stops firing rockets. Hamas broke the truce with their rockets.” However, numerous observers counter this and declare, “Back up a few steps. Israel has kept the Gazans under siege for nearly 2 years, ever since Hamas was elected in an open, fair, democratic election. Gazans have been suffering food, water, medical, and educational deprivations during this period, on top of the occupation that dates back to at least 1967. During the recent 6-month truce, ending on December 19th, Israel did nothing to end the siege. Palestinian rocket fire decreased dramatically.

g08_17444703

Samera Baalusha (34) (right) sits with her daughter Eman (15) and surviving son Mohamad (15 months) while waiting to see the body of her 4-year-old daughter Jawaher Baalusha during the funeral held for Jawher and her four other sisters who were all killed in an Israeli missile strike, on December 29, 2008 in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. Jawher Baalusha and her sisters were killed during an Israeli air raid while they were sleeping together in their bedroom. Medics stated that the raid had targeted a mosque near their home in Jabalia. (Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Until recently the US either blocked the UN Security Council from issuing a cease-fire demand or abstained from voting. In addition, the US Senate voted unanimously for an unqualified declaration of support for Israel. Should Israel be found to be committing war crimes, the US Senate is complicit. Not only that but the US supplies most of the weapons used by Israel, including helicopters, fighter jets, heavy artillery and communication equipment.

In early November Israel broke the truce by attacking tunnels and homes at the ends of those tunnels that they claimed were used by militants to bring in weapons. They killed some 5 Palestinians. Only then did Hamas and other armed groups significantly increase launching their home made, poorly targeted rockets and mortars on Israeli civilians. They also deployed for the first time longer-range rockets. Indeed, Israel’s attack did nothing to stop the rocket fire, it exacerbated it. These rocket attacks on civilians are deplorable and constitute war crimes. I and many others oppose them. Do they justify the disproportionate Israeli attacks?

g23_17430563

A medic crouches over the body of an Israeli man after he was killed in a rocket attack launched from the Gaza Strip and hit the southern Israeli town of Netivot on December 27, 2008 following Israeli bombardment on the Palestinian costal strip. The rocket attack killed one man and wounded four others, according to the Magen David Adom, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross. (HAIM HORENSTEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

During the late 1800s, whites claimed Indians had few rights to the lands they’d inhabited for centuries, and that Indian attacks on setters were grounds for retaliation. North American rulers left out the prior history—American Indian domination of the entire continent. And the fact that Indians never invited whites into their lands. Whites invaded and called it the equivalent of “Manifest Destiny,” or god’s will. They did not recognize the Indians rights to defend themselves, violently if necessary. Instead Indians were termed bloodthirsty savages, the 19th century equivalent of “terrorists.”

rosebudmargeryjumpingeagle2-1-1

Rosemary Jumping Eagle, town of Wounded Knee, 1982

Moreover: overwhelming white firepower against the Lakota matches Israel’s overwhelming force. World opinion, at least the western world, then and now, match. Resisting honest negotiation matches. Source of weapons matches for the most part: cannon, rifles, revolvers and ammunition used at Wounded Knee, and Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, 155 mm artillery rounds, artillery firing those rounds, missiles, rockets, bombs, all or mostly all USA made, and communication equipment made at least in part by Motorola, bulldozers if used manufactured by Caterpillar. Motives match: wipe out the Indians, wipe out the Palestinians, whether with the velvet glove, making conditions of survival so dismal that most, if allowed, would flee (as is happening in the west bank), or under cover of the “right to defend itself” commit outright murder—the Hanukah Massacres.

g09_17434407

An Israeli F15 fighter made in the United States flies over the northern Israeli-Gaza Strip border on December 28, 2008. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

OUTCOMES

Will results match? American Indians, altho surviving, are much diminished. What will become of the Palestinians? How will the Gazan nation—and the equivalent of a small nation it is—rebuild itself? Till now Israel prevents all building materials and most chemicals, experts, and money from entering. Unless the world community, thru the United Nations and the international court system, applies significant pressure, I’m afraid Israel will maintain its course of impunity. One possibility, as might be happening now in the US: self-destruction. A suicidal course. The minor empire in the Middle East, the “only democracy in the Middle East with its “army of pure means,” might founder. Israel, like the US, struggles with a hopelessly contradictory set of founding principles, more dishonored than honored. Can a nation hope to survive with such cognitive dissonance? Perhaps Marx will be right after all, not about the imminent implosion of capitalism, but of certain western nations whose war making boomerangs on them.

landloss-2-1

PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT

I am personally involved in both themes, American Indians and Palestinians. I’ve visited Wounded Knee several times, most recently for the Big Foot Memorial Ride to Wounded Knee in 1990, commemorating the centennial of the massacre. Inspired by Black Elk who prophesied that the seventh generation of Lakota would be the last generation able to “Wipe Away the Tears” and  “Mend the Sacred Hoop,” i.e., end the mourning period and rebuild the nation, for two weeks the ride traversed the same path at the same time of the year used by Big Foot and his people. I’ve camped near Wounded Knee, summer and winter, and have felt the powerful negative—and positive—force fields emanating from the earth. I grieve for the Lakota people and all native peoples who have been dispossessed. However, I do not feel their cause is hopeless.

fixedriders-5

Big Foot Memorial Ride to Wounded Knee, December 1990

teepees2-4-3

Big Foot Memorial Ride to Wounded Knee, December 1990

staff2-5-2

Big Foot Memorial Ride to Wounded Knee, December 1990

Similarly I’ve been 3 times to Gaza since 2004, most recently just one year ago, January 2008. I’ve lived under the siege, suffering the loss of electrical power, the sealed borders, the lack of food, the buzz of the drone that might target me at any moment, the nearness of death—and the presence of resilience, sumud, in Arabic, steadfastness. I’ve met young men volunteering in their communities to serve the poor, I’ve met members of the Palestinian Initiative, a group dedicated to nonviolently ending the fighting between rival political parties, I’ve worked with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program watching as psychologists assessed the psychic damages of the siege on children (their offices suffered indirect attacks recently and are closed), and the American Friends Service Committee’s youth programs training in community building and leadership skills. And I’m in close daily contact—if electricity and Internet work—with friends in Gaza. I also hope to return in summer 2009. What and who will greet me then?

I was not able to be present during the Wounded Knee of 1890. I’m unsure what I’d have done if knowing about the impending massacre, or what I’d call for once I’d learned its results. I am sure about Gaza: the occupation of Palestine is apartheid, the attack on Gaza is a massacre, several parties are committing war crimes, and all must be held accountable, as is true for all those governments supporting Israel’s occupation, siege, and ruination of Gaza. Which includes me, as a citizen of the United States. Especially if I pay income tax. I can act, you can act. Now.

Some are guilty but all are responsible.

—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

g25_17436795

The body of a Palestinian security force officer lays in the rubble after an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Fadi Adwan)

g36_17450371

Eli Azran father of Irit Shitrit (39), a mother of four, leans over her dead body as he mourns during her funeral on December 30, 2008 in Ashdod, Israel. Shitrit was killed yesterday by a Hamas rocket in Ashdod, Israel, after hearing a warning siren and taking shelter in a roadside bus stop. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

holocaust_remembrance_day_by_latuff2

Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2009

palestine013-1

Links:

Truly horrible photos from inside Gaza

“Too much to mourn in Gaza”
By Eva Bartlett, Live from Palestine, 8 January 2009

“US weaponry facilitates killings in Gaza”

Read Full Post »

amalsabawi8865

Ibrahim a friend sent me a message on my mobile said : look outside .. F16 warplanes are smiling for you, missiles are dancing for you, “Zanannaa” the discovery planes are singing for you, because I have requested them all wishing you “Happy New Year”

—Adham Khalil from Jabaliya Camp in Gaza, who blogs at Free Free Palestine

Amal Sabawi is at afscg@palnet.com, and directs the American Friends Service Committee’s Popular Achievement program in Gaza. Amal in Arabic means hope. All writing as is, unedited by me. Because of Israeli destruction of internet and phone infrastructure, further communications are in doubt.

12/30/08:

Dear Skip

How are you doing , i hope all is fine with you and you have plan to enjoy
the new year , i do think of you and know how you concern on people here ,
unfortunately things going badly , after the long suffer of people with
the tighten closure and prohibiting people of most important basic needs
and commodity , it was so horrible to have this bloodshed against
civilians ,
i try to write about the situation and update our friends outside on
what’s going on , hope this would be useful , will continue writing ,
hope you can come to come to Gaza next summer  as you already have plan to
do so ,
we pray to end this massacre and stop killing of civilians

My best wishes and wish you happy new year

Amal

img_2834-31

1/2/09:

After asking if I could put her writing on my blog:

Hi Skip

I hope you are doing very well and have blessed new year
for sure you can use it i hope it been useful , i try to write and update
my friends in US on the situation but the electricity most of the time is
cut off , will continue send you what i have
wish you and all people all over the world have peaceful time and the
joyous of the holidays

be well

amal

Later on 1/2/09:

Dear Skip

We used to live this tragedy long time , i dont have positive memory to
have safe time here , under occupation we grown up , we were very young
and the only thing we have around was the solders and their tanks ,
the first Intifada was also difficult continued for seven years to face
the shooting and prisons  , when the Palestinian authority established we
didnt belive that we have some peaceful time cross the pain and suffer ,
only few years when the second and current Intifada started as life turned
to violence , and the peak was with the fight and division among
Palestinian , Caza suffered a lot and every time you have new tragedy ,
this one is the most dreadful one , Gaza is comletely destructed under the
missiles and tons of bombs ,

despite that we shouldnt give up and well hold our dream and hope  to live
in peace and freedom , Gaza its not stones or cements Gaza is people the
people will rebuild it again and they will pass this , the sun will shine
one day

best wishes

amal

hope you the best

It’s a War

by Amal Sabawi
written a few days after the massacre began on the last day of Hanukah

The military operation against Gaza Strip began on Saturday noon of the 27th December 2008 by intensive air raids pounding all  security centers attached to the dismissed Hamas government. About 60 war planes took part in the air raid which has left some 150 killed and 200 wounded just on the first day of the assault. The timing of the air raid started as students were leaving schools and universities, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

Gaza is known to have the highest population density of the world, where one million and a half people live in an area of not more than 360 square kilometers.  Above all, it is worth mentioning that there are no air raid shelters or secure places are built. Thus civilians are more likely to be an easy target and more casualties are inflicted on them.

On the other hand, Israel has declared that this operation will continue as long as necessary until the capabilities of Hamas and other Palestinian associates are paralysed.  This is aiming at stopping rocket and mortar attacks that have so called ‘traumatized’ southern Israel.

These new waves of air raids have expanded to include homes and civilian possessions. These air strikes and mortar shelling have left 300 killed and 800 wounded according to hospitals statistics for the second day of the military action.

The Israeli aggression on Gaza began after 17 months of absolutely complete blockade, and closure of borders for goods, commodities as well as the mobility of people. This blockade includes the embargo of drugs and essential medical equipment.  According to the Ministry of Health estimates, more than 100 kinds of medicines are not available. Gaza hospitals are not well equipped and unable to receive a large number of casualties. When these hospitals are not able to give primary care to patients including simple surgical operations as well as shortage of medical manpower, they are completely unable  to cope with serious cases. To transfer such patients to neighboring countries hospitals Is hindered due to the conflict between the Egyptian government and Hamas. It seems that Hamas resents the role of the Egyptian government and accuses it having colluded with Israel. Thus, it refuses to transfer the wounded to the Egyptian hospitals. However,  this conflict will put the lives of hundreds of wounded at a great risk.

Subsequently,  Israel began a psychological warfare by striking civilian houses after their being notified of evacuating them. Several houses have been demolished, which resulted in a multiple number of casualties among inhabitants of adjacent houses; and if starvation, shortage of foodstuff is added, which necessitates immediate intervention to stop Israeli assaults, and lifting embargo and blockade for the dignity and humanity of people.

Links:

American Friends Service Committee in Gaza

Popular Achievement Program in Gaza

Photos of AFSC work in Gaza

AFSC Relief Work in Gaza, 1949

Photos of rally and march in Boston supporting Gaza, January 3, 2008

Read Full Post »