All posts for May 2009

Race, torture and the curious case of Obama’s myopia

May 31st, 2009 | Posted in Iraq by Sunera Thobani | May 8, 2009.

    Photo: Iraq war graphic by Jeremy Traum.

Where does the question of race figure in President Obama’s political calculations, for surely he cannot be ignorant of the historical relationship between race and torture in the American experience?

The tortured body has long been the site for the most spectacular display of the politics of race: the utter violation and dehumanization of black and other bodies of colour has been central to the colonial and imperialist expansion of American and European powers.

Amidst the media fanfare that marked the Obama Administration’s first 100 days in office, the five-year anniversary of the release of the Abu-Ghraib photographs by the CBS went largely unmarked.


Bil’in: Struggling for land and liberty

May 31st, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine

interview with Mohammed Khatib of the Bil’in popular committee by Stefan Christoff

    Photo: ActiveStills. Protest against apartheid wall in Bil’in, Palestine.

In April 2009 an Israeli soldier shot a high-velocity teargas canister at Palestinian activist Bassam Ibrahim Abou Rahme at close range during a protest against the Israeli wall in Bil’in.

Minutes after the shot Bassam Ibrahim Abou Rahme died, the eighteenth Palestinian to die in popular protests against the Israeli wall in Bil’in which have taken place each Friday for over four years.

Israel’s wall surrounds Bil’in residents, cutting the Palestinian villagers from large sections of their farms lands and olive groves, while Israel continue to construct settlements on lands belonging to the Palestinian municipality.


Bil’in: Three injured, and scores suffered gas inhalation at the weekly demonstration

May 30th, 2009 | Posted in Palestine

International Middle East Media Center report by Katherine Orwell, May 29th, 2009.

    Photo: ActiveStills. Protest against the Israeli apartheid wall in West Bank.

Residents of Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah marched on Friday after midday prayer in the weekly protest. They were joined by international and Israelis activists.

Demonstrators marched through the village towards the wall waving Palestinian flags, to protest the theft and destruction of around 60 percent of the village lands.


Amnesty: Israel violated laws of war in Gaza

May 28th, 2009 | Posted in Palestine
    Ma’an News Agency. May 28th, 2009.

    Photo: Israeli bomb exploding over the Gaza, Strip.

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel repeatedly violated the laws of war during its assault on Gaza last winter, a new report from Amnesty International charges.

“Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians,” the group said in its annual report on the state of human rights worldwide.


The Palestinian village of hope

May 27th, 2009 | Posted in Palestine
    Matt Kennard and Wilson Dizard,, Wednesday 27 May 2009.

    Photo: ActiveStills. Palestinian youth with slingshot in Bil’in, Palestine.

Ramallah is tired. The feeling you get walking around the streets here is that the Palestinians are weary of the struggle against the incremental destruction of their homeland, happening right now while the world looks the other way. You hear things like, “Our struggle has been long and it has got us nowhere”. And people ask how the world can stand by while the Israelis annex more land. It’s a good question.

In one village the flame of non-violent resistance still burns. Last week, we went to the weekly demonstration against the annexation wall in Bil’in, where it cuts deep into the farmland of this old Palestinian village and the Green Line (the internationally recognised border of Israel-Palestine). Since Israel started building the wall here in 2005 (stealing about 60% of the village’s land) the people of Bil’in have been inventively and non-violently resisting.


Palestine: Landscapes of Desire

May 27th, 2009 | Posted in Culture, Palestine
    John Halaka show at the Jerusalem Fund, DC.

    Photo: John Halaka art work on land and resistance.

John Halaka’s drawings Landscapes of Desire are inspired by the ruins of Palestinian villages and homes that were destroyed by Israel during and after the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The images compel the viewer to reflect on the unrelenting effort by the Jewish State to annihilate a culture that refuses to disappear and an indigenous people that refuse to go away. The ruins of stone homes from destroyed Palestinian villages such as Kafr Bir’im, Lifta and Al-Bassa, poetically represented in Halaka’s drawings, are a declaration that in the face of looming cultural annihilation, the persistence of memory is a crucial act of resistance.


In Lebanon’s Patchwork, a Focus on Armenians’ Political Might

May 27th, 2009 | Posted in Beirut, Lebanon
    New York Times, by Robert F. Worth. May 25, 2009

Photo: Bryan Denton. Supporters watch a speech by Hagop Pakradounian, a politician from the main party of the Armenians, Tashnaq, in Beirut, Lebanon.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Their political apparatus is a model of discipline. Their vast array of social services is a virtual state within a state. Their enemies accuse them of being pawns of Syria and Iran.

They are the Armenian Christians of Lebanon, one of the Middle East’s most singular and least-understood communities. And if they sound a bit like Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group based here, that is no accident.


Hopes and dreams on the Gaza coast

May 24th, 2009 | Posted in Palestine
    Al Jazeera by Ayman Mohyeldin in Gaza.

    Photo: Palestinian fisherman on the beach in Gaza Strip.

Every day, as the sun sets on the coast of Gaza, people make their way to the coffee shop-lined beaches and the pot-holed streets that run parallel to its coastline.

On the terrace of the famed Al Deira Hotel, patrons jostle for position, sipping sweet Arabic coffee as the sounds of legendary Arab musicians delicately waft through the air, mingling with the aroma of flavoured tobacco.


Commemorating the Nakba

May 24th, 2009 | Posted in Palestine
    Montreal: Commemorating the Nakba

    Photo: Beersheba, Palestine pictured prior to 1948.

Every May, Israelis celebrate the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. For Palestinians, however, this anniversary is known as the Nakba or “catastrophe” in Arabic because it commemorates the illegal expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homeland by Zionist forces in 1948.

In establishing Israel, the Zionist colonizers dispossessed more than 750,000 Palestinians of their dwellings, farmlands, and orchards and forcibly exiled them from their neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities. Despite Palestinian resistance to this colonial project, Israel was founded on May 14 1948 and a quarter of a million Palestinians who had fled their homes in search of safety were suddenly physically and legally alienated from their historical and ancestral lands since Israel refused to let the Palestinian refugees return to their homes. A further half million or so would become refugees during the war that followed the declaration of Israeli statehood.


Bil’in Tour: Israeli Apartheid on Trial

    cross-Canada speaking tour: June 5-22, 2009.

    Mohammed Khatib.
    Popular Committee Against the Wall, Bil’in, Occupied Palestine

    Emily Schaeffer.
    Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil’in

Bil’in, a Palestinian village in the West Bank, has become an internationally celebrated symbol of Palestinian popular resistance to the ongoing construction of the Israeli apartheid wall and settlements on their land. Since 2005, villagers have led weekly protests, with the active participation from both Israeli and international solidarity activists, in opposition to illegal Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestinian land.


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