All posts for August 2008

Sailing into Gaza

August 28th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine

    Huwaida Arraf, August 2008.

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    Photo: Hiyam Noir. Breaking Gaza siege.

On Saturday, after 32 hours on the high seas, I sailed into the port of Gaza City with 45 other citizens from around the world in defiance of Israel’s blockade. We traveled from Cyprus with humanitarian provisions for Palestinians living under siege. My family in Michigan was worried sick.

They are not naive. They knew that Israel could have attacked us — as Israeli forces did in 2003, killing nonviolent American witness Rachel Corrie and Brit Tom Hurndall as well as thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians over the years.

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Breaking the Gaza Siege

August 28th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine

    Al Ahram. August 2008. by Ghada Karmi.

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    Photo: Palestinian fishing boats in a Gaza harbor, August 2008.

During a conference in California in May of this year I was surprised to receive an invitation from two American activists to join their group, the Free Gaza Movement, on a boat trip to Gaza in August. They spoke of their determination to break the inhuman Israeli siege of Gaza by facing it head on. They would sail directly to Gaza’s shores in boats laden with humanitarian supplies. At the time I thought them well meaning but unrealistic, even naïve, and I was sceptical about the success of their enterprise. I thought it unlikely it would ever take off, and an Israeli colleague, also invited, judged the Israeli navy would turn them back as soon as they sailed anywhere near to Gaza’s shores.

I could not have been more mistaken. Undeterred by our hints of problems they might encounter, these determined people pressed on vigorously with their preparations over the months, and this week they set sail in several boats as planned from Cyprus to Gaza.

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Lettre ouverte à Jean-Luc Godard sur l’Apartheid israélien

August 21st, 2008 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine

    Montréal, Juillet 2008.

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    Photo: copie d’écran du film de Godard “Ici et Ailleurs” (1976)

Cher Jean-Luc Godard,

En cette année où l’écran de fumée des célébrations du 60ème anniversaire de l’Etat d’Israël occupe tout l’espace médiatique, que ce soit de façon ouverte ou déguisée sous la forme de célébrations culturelles “apolitiques”, votre décision de ne pas vous rendre au Festival du Film de Tel Aviv le mois dernier nous a fait l’effet d’un rayon de soleil!

Notre association basée à Montréal, Tadamon, qui signifie Solidarité en arabe, tente de relayer les voix palestiniennes qui appellent la communauté internationale à un boycott des manifestations culturelles organisées par l’Etat d’Israël. Cette démarche est une forme de pression non violente et populaire qui peut avoir des effets bénéfiques, comme ce fut le cas pour l’Afrique du Sud dans les années 80.

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Israeli Government Recognizes “Humanitarian” Mission to Break the Siege of Gaza

August 19th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine

    letter from the Free Gaza movement.

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    Photo: Mediterranean Sea from the Gaza Strip.

Nicosia, Cyprus: In a letter today to the Free Gaza Movement, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the group of international human rights activists attempting to break the siege of Gaza were “humanitarian,” and stated that the Israeli government “assume[s] that your intentions are good.”

Greta Berlin, one of the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement stated that, “Since the Foreign Minister’s office responded to our invitation to join us, and said that we have good intentions, we now fully expect to reach Gaza.”

According to recent reports in the Israeli media however, the Israeli military is preparing to use force to stop the nonviolent campaigners from reaching Gaza. It’s not clear if the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signals a change of policy, or is simply an attempt to open up an official dialogue between the state of Israel and the Free Gaza Movement regarding the current blockade.

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Radio Tadamon! Arab Songs of Hope

August 19th, 2008 | Posted in Culture, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Independent Media, Politics

    World Skip the Beat, CKUT Radio. Monday July, 2008.

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Photo: Beirut by Piax. Tadamon! special edition: entire program is on-line for download.

A special edition produced by Mostafa Henaway, featuring music that spans different eras and moments in Middle East history, music composed and performed during the moments of social and political transformation. Music from the Middle East that either directly or indirectly is a reflection of these critical historical moments, from Egypt with music from the 1950’s and 1960’s that is a celebration of a new era, independent of colonialism, or more contemporary songs that present a critique dictatorship and tyranny in Egypt in the 1970’s song by Sheikh Imam.

Music from Lebanon, compositions and artists that emerged in the context of over twenty years of Israeli occupation and fifteen-years of civil-war in the country. Music from Lebanon that reflects a will of people to not be divided by sectarian politics, expressed by artists such as Ziad Rahbani in the famous song Ana Mesh Kafer, a song which asks how people of different religious faiths can condemn each other.

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Chronicling the story of Greater Palestine’s rappers

August 17th, 2008 | Posted in Culture, Lebanon, Palestine, Politics, Solidarity

    Jackie Salloum discusses ‘Slingshot Hip Hop,’ pop culture and art.

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    Daily Star. by Jim Quilty. Friday, August 15, 2008

Beirut: [Yet another] blackout has descended upon Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp this night. It makes your efforts to find the Palestinian Arab Center that much more atmospheric and inspires vague hopes that perhaps you won’t miss the first minutes of Jackie Salloum’s “Slingshot Hip Hop” after all.

You find the hall’s exterior bathed in generator-driven light. The interior is dim but for the concert footage projected on a screen and reflected back upon the white plastic chair-mounted eyeballs fixed before it.

Salloum’s first feature-length film, “Slingshot” chronicles the rise of the Palestinian hip-hop scene – starting in ’48 Palestine (sometimes called “Israel”) and the other occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

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Family Politics and the New Gaza Crisis

August 16th, 2008 | Posted in Civil-war, Palestine, Independent Media, Other, Politics

    Palestine Chronicle. by Ramzy Baroud, August 2008.

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    Photo: Svala Jonsdottir. Mediterranean Sea from the Gaza Strip.

Yet more haunting images of blindfolded, stripped down Palestinian men being contemptuously dragged by soldiers in uniform from one place to another. Yet more footage of bloodied men lying on hospital beds describing their ordeals to television reporters who have heard this story all too often. Yet more news of Palestinian infighting, tit-for-tat arrests, obscene language and embarrassing behaviour from those who have elected themselves — or were elected — to represent the Palestinian people.

Once again, the important story that ought to matter the most — that of a continually imposing and violent Israeli occupation — is lost in favour of Palestinian-infused distractions, deliberate or not.

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Palestine: Large picture lost

August 15th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine, Politics, Solidarity

    Al-Ahram. Khaled Amayreh, Ramallah, Palestine.

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Photo: Active Stills. Palestinians protest against Israel’s apartheid wall in Bil’in.

Despite largely facetious denials, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) has been carrying out a vindictive campaign against Hamas sympathisers and supporters. According to various sources, hundreds of school teachers, college students, journalists, and other professionals as well as ordinary citizens have been arrested and imprisoned on largely amorphous charges such as “constituting a threat to state security” — when the PA is neither a state nor a sovereign entity — and “violating the rule of law”.

In cities and villages throughout the West Bank, PA security agencies raided Islamic-oriented cultural and academic centres, non-governmental organisations, sports clubs as well as schools and charitable associations, closing them down and arresting members.

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Gaza’s shocking devastation

August 15th, 2008 | Posted in Palestine, Politics, War and Terror

    Hamilton Spectator. by Harry Shannon, August 14th, 2008.

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    Photo: Woman in Gaza mourns at funeral in Gaza Strip, 2008.

I had expected conditions in Gaza to be bad, but I was still shocked at the devastation when I went there in July.

Last month my companion and I entered Gaza at the Erez crossing through a modern building reminiscent of an airport terminal. After questioning by the Israeli border police, we left the building and had a kilometre walk to pick up transportation.

It was as if we had travelled to another planet. The sandy track is surrounded by the blown-up remnants of Gaza’s former industrial district. Rubble stretching for hundreds of metres lines the route.

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Artists Against Apartheid IV

August 14th, 2008 | Posted in Boycott, Culture, Lebanon, Palestine, Tadamon!, Politics, Solidarity

Bridges to Bil’in: performances, presentations and visuals against Israeli apartheid.

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    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th, 2008
    8pm. 5-10$
    La Sala Rossa, 4848 St. Laurent
    Montreal, Quebec

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