All posts for February 2009

Defend Freedom of Speech on Palestine

February 27th, 2009 | Posted in Canada, Palestine

Open Letter to university community on Palestinian Rights and Canadian Universities

    Photo: Fathima Cader. Palestinian solidarity protest in Toronto.

The last two years have seen increasing efforts to limit advocacy of Palestinian rights on Canadian universities, amounting to a pattern of the suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

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Photos: Khiam Detention Center

February 26th, 2009 | Posted in Hezbollah, Lebanon, Palestine
    photo essay on Khaim prison, southern Lebanon.

    Photo: Benjamin Aronoff. “A Solitary Confinement” at Khiam.

A striking symbol for the twenty-two year Israeli military occupation in southern Lebanon is the Khiam detention center. Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian political prisoners were detained for years at Khiam, living in squalor conditions, at times in solitary confinement and all without trial.

Multiple accounts from former prisoners at Khiam and reports issued by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International illustrate that torture was widely practiced against prisoners at Khiam. Israel’s proxy army in Southern Lebanon, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), maintained Khiam as a detention and interrogation center from 1985 until 2000 when the Israeli military was forced from southern Lebanon, leading to the collapse of the SLA.

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McGill must rally around equality and freedom

February 26th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine
    McGill Daily, by Nadim Roberts.

    Photo: Matthew Cassel. Olive branch and refugee tents in the Gaza Strip.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recently ordered an inquiry into the attacks against UN facilities in the Gaza Strip, including educational facilities. While Ban Ki-moon, Amnesty International, and many other human rights groups are looking for answers regarding Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip, McGill has shamefully excluded itself from the process of seeking truth and establishing justice and equality.

A recent motion submitted to SSMU’s General Assembly that called for the condemnation of Israel’s bombing of educational institutions in Gaza was not even given a chance to be discussed or debated; as it turns out, even human rights can be “postponed indefinitely.”

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Exposed: University of Toronto suppresses pro-Palestinian activism

February 26th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine
    rabble.ca By Liisa Schofield | February 18, 2009.

    Photo: Bissane. Solidarity demonstration with Gaza, January 2009.

The last few months have seen a global surge in support for the movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli Apartheid. Important solidarity actions have occurred across the globe, including: a wave of student occupations across the UK; union resolutions in Europe, New Zealand and Australia; and, most recently, the historic action of South African dockworkers refusing to unload Israeli ships.

These actions register important steps forward in building solidarity with the Palestinian people and show that popular opinion is beginning to shift towards an understanding of Israel as an apartheid state that must be isolated in the manner of the struggle that was waged against South African Apartheid.

At the same time, pro-Israel organizations have responded to the strength of the BDS movement with the familiar tactics of repression, stifling of dissent and bureaucratic harassment. This article details a remarkable case of repression against student organizing at the University of Toronto (UofT).

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U.S. Trade Unionists Support South African and Australian Dockers’ Boycott of Israeli Cargo

February 26th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine
    February, 2009

    Photo: Israeli walls surrounding the Gaza Strip.

“For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” –Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam, April 4, 1967

We salute the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban, and Western Australian dock worker members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), for refusing to handle Israeli cargo.

Theirs is a courageous response to Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Gaza that, since December 27 alone, have left some 1,400 dead and 5,000 wounded — nearly all of them civilians.

This action is in the best tradition of dock workers in Denmark and Sweden (1963), the San Francisco Bay Area (1984) and Liverpool (1988), who refused to handle shipping for apartheid South Africa; Oakland dock workers’ refusal to load bombs for the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1978); and West Coast dock workers’ strike against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2008).

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Beirut: Music is Life

February 21st, 2009 | Posted in Beirut, Culture, Lebanon
    A photo essay by Tanya Traboulsi

    Photo: Tanya Traboulsi. Scrambled Eggs perform in Beirut, Lebanon.

A striking compilation of photos presented by Tadamon! from photographer Tanya Traboulsi which document the underground music scene in Beirut, Lebanon, a center for groundbreaking culture in the Middle East today and for decades. Admits the political chaos of Lebanon these photographs present a glimpse into the thriving world of alternative musical culture in Beirut which has attracted international attention for it’s mix of Middle Eastern musical traditions and modern musical expression from hip-hop, to free Jazz, to electronic music.

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Prisoners of Apartheid: Soha Bechara

February 20th, 2009 | Posted in Hezbollah, Lebanon, Palestine, Prisoners

lecture from Soha Bechara, Lebanese author and former political prisoner.

    MONDAY MARCH 2nd 7pm
    cégep de St-Laurent, salle Émile-Legault
    625, avenue Sainte-Croix
    Montréal, Quebec
    (metro du Collège)

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Palestine: Global boycott action day

February 18th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine

March 30, 2009: Global day of action for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel.

    launched at the World Social Forum 2009 in Belém, Bazil.

In December 2008, Israel decided to mark the 60th anniversary of its existence the same way it had established itself – perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 23 days, Israel killed more than 1,300 and injured over 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza.

The irony of history is that Israel targeted those Palestinians – and their descendants – whom it had expelled from their homes and pushed into refugee-hood in Gaza in 1948, whose land it has stolen, whom it has oppressed since 1967 by means of a brutal military occupation, and whom it had tried to starve into submission by means of a criminal blockade of food, fuel and electricity in the 18 months preceding the military assault. We cannot wait for Israel to zero in on its next objective. Palestine has today become the test of our indispensable morality and our common humanity.

We therefore call on all to unite our different capacities and struggles in a Global Day of Action in Solidarity with the Palestinian people and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on March 30th.

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Gaza: Discord in narratives on war

February 18th, 2009 | Posted in Canada, Palestine, Quebec
    Interview with journalist Jooneed Khan, for Tadamon! by Stefan Christoff.

    Photo: U.N. school shelled by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip.

Major gaps exist between different narratives on the recent war in Gaza; as major Canadian media outlets and human rights organizations on the ground in Gaza offer strikingly different pictures of the conflict.

U.N. officials have labeled recent Israeli actions as ‘disproportionate’ while the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories issued a statement outlining the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip as representing “severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law.”

In discord to U.N. positions on Gaza statements from the Conservative government of Canada consistently painted Israel’s actions as defensive in nature. Editorials across the Canadian media offered a similar line to the Conservative government.

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Egypt: Workers strike against Israel exports

February 17th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine, Egypt
    Tadamon! translation from Mashahed, Egypt.

    Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy. Workers strike in Egypt.

In an unprecedented action, the first following the recent Israeli war on Gaza, workers of an Egyptian Fertilizers Company in Suez protested on Saturday February 7th against the export of fertilizers to Israel.

The Fertilizers Egyptian Company is owned by Sawiris family, Naguib Sawiris ranks 62 in Forbes’ world’s richest list, while his father Onsi ranks 96 and his brother Nassif ranks 226, under the name Orascom construction company. Fertilizers Egyptian Company signed an agreement to export 1000 tons of phosphate fertilizer to Israel, at a rate of 100 tons per week. An estimated 800 Egyptians work at this factory.

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