Monday, May 3, 2010

Computers sent to Ireland


Subject: Computers sent to Ireland

Dear Gail,
I just want to let you know that the 3 laptops are in Ireland and should be on their way to Gaza soon.
Thank you and Thank MECR. 
Salam
Dina

Monday, April 26, 2010

OF BAMBOOZLEMENT AND BAILOUTS

Of Bamboozlement and Bailouts

Obama’s recent speech on April 22 on overhauling financial regulation, is an important example of the right, well crafted, cool message at the right time; a rather nice piece of expository writing that I felt needed to be analyzed and stirred a bit to get a clearer taste of content and substance; I read it several times; I enjoyed what I was reading as one enjoys an ice cold lemonade on a hot day. But you can only drink so much lemonade, especially when you taste artificial ingredients and unhealthy sweeteners.
The more I read and the less satisfied I became, as the lemonade's artificial ingredients surfaced to the top; the more I stirred this particular presidential lemonade, the clearer I began to see the artifice, the unhealthy ingredients, the cancerous sweeteners; it all raised the fundamental questions and serious concerns about our government’s words, weighed against reality and actions; here are just some key verbatim excerpts from that speech, my reactions, my question after each and my conclusions:
• 1. QUOTE: “a new foundation for economic growth and Wall Street is absolutely an essential part of that foundation”…
MY QUESTION/COMMENT: Why mention only Wall Street? Aren’t there other financial” streets” in other parts of our world?
MY CONCLUSION: this is very telling of our government’s sense of exceptionalism; it is implied that we’re the only ones that can make a difference; it is implied that the
dollar will rescue the world. Even if we were 100% certain, would not an inclusive approach be more effective? Furthermore our government's passionate focus on success defined by money and profit is not the “foundation” we need. The “foundation” we do need is a “Cultural foundation” where success is not measured by the dollars ones makes. Where success is measured by our principled words backed by principled actions, such as prosecution of well known war criminals who we know still are at large.

• 2. QUOTE: “…some of these lobbyists work for you and they’re doing what they’re being paid to do”… these reforms are in the best interest of the financial sector
MY QUESTION/COMMENT: why do the financial moguls need lobbyists? And if we conclude that lobbyists are needed to advance one’s plight/cause/company, in the “financial sector”, then where are the lobbyists for the “poor sector”? Where are the lobbyists for people at the other end of humanity’s spectrum; you know, the poor and those who do not make millions in bonuses, those who barely scrape enough to put bread on the table! Where are the lobbyists for the people of Gaza who are being strangled with our support and our dollars?
MY CONCLUSION: our government is in no uncertain terms more than ever a greedy corporacracy motivated by personal profit and accumulation of personal wealth; the above confirms it; the “regulations” being proposed in this handy speech, are just another puff of strong hopeium ;

• 3. QUOTE: ” …the failure of Lehman Brothers
MY QUESTION/COMMENT: why don’t you call what Lehman did by its proper name? Fraud and Criminal?
CONCLUSION: it’s a good old, privileged, well off, boy’s club , all controlled by, and paid for by white boys, who continue to control every presidency; what Lehman does is somehow only a “failure”, an implied lapse of judgment; nobody goes to jail for that; in fact, my friends, we’ll give you more money so you can keep doing it; but, in stark contrast, the poor, not privileged, often not white (or white looking) young man who himself may have had a lapse of judgment, surviving his world of daily despair, in defending himself against unwarranted police inquisition and instigation, is beaten, handcuffed and accused of resisting arrest and hauled to jail as a criminal.

• 4. QUOTE: “ We had to deploy taxpayer dollars”...to bailout the fraudulent criminal Wall Street slugs.
MY QUESTION/COMMENT: Mr. President, now that all these criminal firms seem to be once again making record profits; why not DEPLOY these criminal firms’ dollars to bailout the taxpayer?! Seriously!This would be equitable common sense! But common sense is not common practice when it comes to helping the common folk, isn’t that right?
CONCLUSION: See number 3

• 5. QUOTE: “…we’ll help ensure that our financial system-and our economy continue to be the envy of the world"
QUESTION/COMMENT: Why must our financial system be “the envy of the world? Why not strive to be the best that “WE” could be; We are focusing on the wrong and self-destructive motivational driver! A pernicious sense of superiority that is making us anything but the "envy" of anyone!
CONCLUSION: See number 1 ; this alsodemonstrates why our government’s foreign policy continues to fail: because we see ourselves as a Nation ABOVE Nations instead of a Nation AMONG Nations!

• 6. QUOTE: “…many of these practices (fraudulent)were so opaque, so confusing, so complex that the people inside the firms didn’t understand them, much less those who were charged with overseeing them
MY QUESTION/COMMENT: Please, please do not offend us! You expect us to believe that those fraudulent financial experts millionaires, advisors, with teams of PhDs and economists and MBAs from top USA Business Schools , did not understand the financial product they were selling? Really now? Assuming that’s true, then our Business schools are not doing a good job are they? And what about if firms in other sectors used the same logic as an excuse for their failings? For instance: if Toyota, Kia, Maserati, BMW, Volvo, Skoda or any other reputable firm’s innovative product (let’s use a car as an example of a new product; and let’s call this new car: the HoodwinCar) caused unexpected accidents and pain? Would you buy the excuse you are using for the failings of the fraudulent wall men with sacks of gold? Following that same logic the HoodwinCar manufacturer’s excuse could plausibly sound like this: “The new HoodwinCar failed and caused pain and suffering because the manufacturing process is so opaque, so confusing and its engineering so complex that even the people inside the firm don’t understand how the Hoodwincar functions”.
CONCLUSION: Our government thinks we are stupid; hence, they can tell us whatever they like and we’ll believe it as long as there are enough reality shows, and enough cheap gastroexplosive fast foods to keep our fat bellies full and our little mouths shut.

A final observation for our President on this particular speech: why does this speech end with “God Bless The United States America”? If you genuinely believe we must set the example for the rest of the "world'; if you truly believe this speech was about fixing the “global” financial machine(and hence those who suffer by this wretchedly broken machine), if you truly believe there is a symbiosis between "all the economies of the world", why not bless (if you must) our world and not just the US Of America?
mm

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gaza Freedom March - Report Back

Gaza Freedom March - Report Back
Sunday, April 25
2:00  - 4:00 pm 
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
67 South Randolph Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY   12601
Ten residents of the Hudson Valley took part in the Gaza Freedom March from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4. Members of this delegation will discuss their experiences as well as the emerging International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza.
Sponsored by: Dutchess Peace Coalition (http://www.dutchesspeace.org) Middle East Crisis Response (http://www.mideastcrisis.org) UU Social Justice Committee (http://www.uupok.org).

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's time to cement our solidarity

It's time to cement our solidarity with the people of Gaza!

 While conditions in Gaza have been steadily worsening (severe electricity cuts, lack of potable water, etc.), Palestinians have been bravely protesting the Israeli siege. Almost every day now there are marches to the border in protest of the Israeli declared buffer zones. Click here for some recent videos and the most recent reports. The IDF has been responding with live ammunition fire and a number of people have been wounded already.  

There is a ray of light, however. The Free Gaza Movement has purchased two passenger boats and has raised the money for a cargo ship.  Ireland, Sweden, Greece, and Turkey are working in coalition with Free Gaza to join the flotilla with boats of their own. People in Gaza, according to our own Max Ajl who is there right now, are preparing a welcome such has never been seen for the flotilla which should arrive sometime in May. 

We can demonstrate our solidarity by supporting Free Gaza's efforts to break the siege.  The Free Gaza Movement is calling on communities, schools, hospitals, trade unions and families around the world to sponsor bags of cement and school supplies to send to Gaza.  

They will be loaded onto Free Gaza's Irish cargo ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, as part of the international flotilla of ships sailing to Gaza in May. To donate, visit Free Gaza's "Cementing our Solidarity" page and add your bags of cement on the right-hand side, then click "Donate NOW!". Each bag of cement, bought in Ireland, costs about $6.50 and Free Gaza has found a cement company in Ireland that will match your contribution bag for bag!

We can further cement our solidarity by making our support for the buffer zone protests and the Free Gaza flotilla a theme for  Nakba Day (May 15) demonstrations world wide.  As the Palestinians of Gaza march to protest the buffer zones and welcome the Free Gaza flotilla, we can hold twin demonstrations of support in our home towns. Take photos of your actions and we will offer a prize (a $100 donation to Free Gaza in your name) for the best Nakba Day photos featuring support for the buffer zone demonstrations or Free Gaza. Go ahead -- let your creativity loose and tell the world about the flotillas aiming to break the siege.  Let us know your plans and please forward this call to action on to others.  

In solidarity for peace and justice,
Gaza Freedom March

ACTION UPDATES!

Support the Gaza Flotilla and Buy Cement Bags for the people of Gaza!

View latest reports and videos of the Buffer Zone activity!

Photo Contest
Submit the best Nakba Day action photo and we'll make a donation in your name to the Free Gaza Flotilla!

View report backs from BDS Day actions

Stay up-to-date on the Goldstone Report

Sign the Cairo Declaration!

Subscribe to GFM updates!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

One-woman play celebrates life of political activist


One-woman play celebrates life of political activist

By Thea Ballard
Reporter
|
Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2010
racorrie
About a month shy of her 24th birthday in March 2003, activist and Evergreen State student Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer while protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Gaza strip. Her controversial death may be what made her famous, but it is her life that is the subject of the one-woman play “My Name is Rachel Corrie.”

Showing this Friday at 8 p.m. in Rockefeller Hall 200, this production of “Rachel Corrie” is a traveling show, featuring actress Courtney Day Nassar. The Grassroots Alliance for Alternative Politics, a student organization, joined forces with local groups Middle East Crisis Response (MECR) and the Dutchess Peace Coalition to host the play.

The MECR, a group described on its website as “joined in support of human rights for Palestinians and an end to the U.S.’s aggressive policies in the Middle East,” has been working on staging a version of this play for some time. Wrote MECR member Paul Rehm in an emailed statement, “After returning from a visit to Israel/Palestine as members of a delegation from Every Church a Peace Church…my wife and I had the good fortune to see the play during its initial run in London and were deeply moved by it.”

He continued: “Along with other members of Middle East Crisis Response, we’ve been working for the day when people in the Hudson Valley might also be able to see this remarkable one-woman play and through it, to learn about Rachel Corrie,” wrote MECR member Paul Rehm in an e-mailed statement.

Written by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner, the play uses Corrie’s own e-mails, letters and journal entries as sources of material. Given the nature of Corrie’s death, there is something inherently political about the play, but it nevertheless focuses more on Corrie as a human character. MECR member Fred Nagel feels that the focus on the apolitical is an important part of the play. “I think that art brings us to a level of understanding that facts on the ground cannot,” wrote Nagel in an e-mailed statement. “This Friday, we will experience the truths as Rachel Corrie saw them. And the play will help us celebrate what is best in the human experience.”

The play has prompted some controversy in its brief history. A cancelled 2006 run of the show at the New York Theater Workshop caused a stir, raising claims of censorship. There have even been some bumps along the way for this particular production. MECR’s initial attempts to find Albany-to-Hudson area theatre companies interested in performing the play were met with discouraging results: “Honest theatre can be hard for some to handle,” said Rehm.

Once the MECR discovered Courtney Day Nassar’s performance, the search for a venue led the group to Vassar, where they got in touch with the Grassroots Alliance.

Peter Satin ’10, of the Grassroots Alliance, recognized the potential for controversy, but didn’t believe that it would present a significant issue. “I do know that there are a lot of Israeli sympathizers on campus,” he said. “But we hosted something in a similar vein about Israeli military conscious objectors earlier this year, and that went really well.”

Addressing the political nature of the play, he continued, “I guess the structure of the show is not so much agenda’d as it is bringing to light human rights abuses in general—it’s not politically charged. Hopefully the student body will see through the politics involved to look at the greater message.”

Rehm has a distinct vision of what this “greater message” entails: “We live in a society that tends to put on a pedestal those among us who pick up a gun, turning to violence to protect or promote the things we believe in,” he wrote. “Rachel’s life embodied the spirit, the ideal, the belief that there is another way and that defending the lives or homes of others non-violently requires just as much courage and may also call for the ultimate sacrifice.”

Satin continued, “That Vassar students might hear—above the din of voices calling for violent answers in conflict situations—one young woman’s voice rising in support of non-violent responses and from her life know something of the strength those responses require, is worth the efforts of all who care about the justice that accompanies real peace.” 
He added, “I hope the student body can approach it with open minds, and I think it’s an important message that regardless of your political stance towards the Middle East, conflict can speak to anyone.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"My Name is Rachel Corrie" to be performed at Siena and Vassar


Posted on: Mar 15, 2010
Sponsored by: Palestinian Rights Committee
Date(s): Mar 27, 2010
Time: 08:00 pm
Description: "My Name is Rachel Corrie" to be performed at Siena and Vassar

On the 16th of March, seven years ago, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian home in Gaza. Drawing on Rachel's journals, letters and e-mails, Katharine Viner and Alan Rickman created "My Name is Rachel Corrie," a one-woman play that paints a remarkable portrait of this extraordinary young woman.

TimeOut London called the play, "Funny, passionate, bristling with idealism and luminously intelligent."

Courtney Day Nassar, whose performance as Rachel was described by Sean O’Donnel of The New Olde Bank Theatre as "brilliant" and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as "almost overwhelming," will star in both productions.

"My Name is Rachel Corrie" will be presented on the 27th of March, in the Beaudoin Theatre, Foy Hall at Siena College, 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville and on the 26th of March, in Rockefeller Hall at Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie. Both performances begin at 8:00 PM. The Siena performance will be preceded by a panel discussion at 6:45 PM.
General Admission: $10. Students: free with ID

Tickets available at the door or to reserve tickets at Siena, phone the box office at 518-783-4242. For advance tickets at Vassar, phone 845-679-3299 or 518-966-5366.

The performance at Siena is sponsored by: The Palestinian Rights Committee, Upper Hudson Peace Action, American Jews for a Just Peace and the Creative Arts Department of Siena College.

The performance at Vassar is sponsored by: Middle East Crisis Response, the Dutchess Peace Coalition and the Vassar Grassroots Alliance for Alternative Politics.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE AUDACITY OF FALSE REGRET AND FALSE LEADERSHIP

I recall General Mc Crystal , upon recently taking over the macabre theater of invasion in Afghanistan, immediately informing us, that the cornerstone of his strategy would be his valiant, surgically precise vision of limiting civilian casualties to single digits. He was the cogent commandant par excellence, master of all selective destruction he surveyed.

It so happens that his strategy of surgically selective destruction hasn’t quite worked out at all, after dozens of civilians have been killed and family dwellings destroyed; so today he conveniently says that it is the fault of the special forces. It was the special forces who did it because…well, the good General says: “they were really not accountable to anyone”… Really General? So the cogent, strategic and benevolent General has decided that he will now begin to “reign in the special forces”.
And the NY Times once again proves consistent by having the audacity to print this and presenting it as a strategically progressive move, another outrageous propagandistic lie.
When in fact, with these words, Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi, the chief spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense sums up the reality of accountability.
These special forces were not accountable to anyone in the country, but General McChrystal
There you have it. We know this was all carried out by careful destructive design! Where are the true patriots, those who care about our future, that of our children, that of the children of the world? And not afraid to question leaders and hold them accountable?

The article tells us that “civilian deaths have been cut 28%”; oh my! Are we supposed to jump up for joy? This is precisely the kind of statistical analysis one expects from a genocidal mentality, in which humans are depersonalized and their killers exalted for lowering the body count. Did we forget what Einstein said so well?
"War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished."
Apparently we did FORGET!
I am outraged at the lack of anger by our people. Are people that naïve, that poorly informed? Where are the voices of patriotic dissent and justice?
There is no acceptable level of "civilian casualties," much as we are being conditioned to believe there is. And such deaths are not simply "regrettable," as every McChrystal apology suggests. They are, in fact, entirely avoidable.
But not when you have arrogant unaccountable leadership supported by a nation afraid to dissent and too timid to declare peace. Ciao!
Mm

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Father's Unjust Incarceration - The Case of the Holy Land Five


By Noor Elashi

A decade before my father received a 65-year prison sentence, he handed me an unusual book, one that ultimately shifted the way I perceive the world. It was titled Magic Eye, and it contained pages of what seemed like simple multicolored patterns. But each page had a hidden gift, a sensational truth. By diverging your eyes, my father told me, you’ll see an unexpected image. It seemed to challenge everything I’d ever known. I stared at the flat, distorted artwork until it transformed into a faded silhouette and then a three-dimensional shape like a group of dolphins or a rose-filled heart. Years later, as I flip through the pages of my family’s narrative, I see images that are far less whimsical, and indeed, painful.

Last week, U.S. attorney Jim Jacks filed a motion asking the federal judge of the Holy Land Foundation case to transfer my father—Ghassan Elashi, the charity’s co-founder—and his colleagues to a prison that closely monitors its inmates. If transferred to either of these so-called “Communication Management Units” in Terre Haute, Indiana or Marion, Illinois, my father’s phone calls would be more limited than they are now, in Seagoville, Texas. His letters would be monitored, his visitation time would be reduced to four hours a month and his conversations would be restricted to English, which is his second language.

Perhaps this may seem like an illustration of an effective justice system at work. But if one diverges his or her eyes, the camouflaged truth will slowly unfold, until it comes into focus. I, for one, see a hazel-eyed girl with pale skin and soft dark curls losing her home uponIsrael’s creation in 1948. The young woman, now my paternal grandmother, often tells me about her banishment from Jaffa, a once vibrant Palestinian city known for its orange groves and turquoise beach. I also see a man who was expelled from his native Gaza City in 1967 and was not allowed to return. I grew up hearing stories from this man, my father, about the plight of Palestinians, whom he called “a voiceless population” suffering from occupation, starvation, demolished homes, uprooted trees, constrained movement and a devastated economy.

As I look deeper, I see the Holy Land Foundation rise to stardom in the eyes of human rights activists worldwide who had witnessed this charitable organization alleviate poverty in Occupied Palestine through bags of rice, boxes of medicine, conventional humanitarian aid. I see my family scrutinized throughout the 1990s due to agenda-driven reports linking my father to terrorism—reports written by individuals who saw the HLF’s strength as a threat, for they wanted Palestinians to remain weak and desolate. I see President Bush shutting down the Holy Land Foundation three months after Sept. 11, 2001, calling the action “another important step in the financial fight against terror.”

I see my father and his colleagues tried in 2007 and almost vindicated. I see him tried a second time and convicted in 2008, thereby receiving a life-long sentence. In both trials, prosecutors argued that the HLF gave money to Palestinian zakat (charity) committees that they claimed were controlled by Hamas, which the U.S. designated a terrorist organization in 1995. To prove this, prosecutors called to the stand an Israeli intelligence agent testifying under the pseudonym of Avi who claimed he could “smell Hamas.” The prosecutors intimidated the jury by showing them scenes of suicide bombings completely unaffiliated with the HLF, and they used guilt by association by linking my father and the other defendants to relatives who are members of Hamas. The defense attorneys’ argument was simple: The Holy Land Five gave charity to the same zakat committees to which the American government agency USAID (United States Agency for International Development) gave money. Furthermore, none of the zakat committees included in the HLF indictment were named on any of the U.S. Treasury Department’s lists of designated terrorist organizations.

Nationally respected human rights law professors such as David Cole have associated the Holy Land case with McCarthyism, and other experts have called it a miscarriage of justice. The book that my father gave me had this subtitle: A New Way of Looking at the World. If one looks at our world with a fresh pair of eyes, he or she will see that Jim Jacks’ request for harsher prison conditions is unnecessarily cruel, and that supporting the appeal process is the only way to achieve justice. He or she will also see that the Holy Land Five arepolitical prisoners, and that we live in a twisted time, a time when humanitarians are pursued relentlessly for political purposes.

Noor Elashi is a Palestinian-American and writer based in New York City.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gaza Freedom March - Report(s) Back

Gaza Freedom March - Report Back

Wednesday, March 3
7 - 10:00 pm
Bertelsmann Campus Center, Weis Cinema
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504

Ten residents of the Hudson Valley took part in the Gaza Freedom March from  Dec. 25 to Jan. 4. Members of this delegation will discuss their experiences as well as the emerging International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza.

Sponsored by:
Middle East Crisis Response
http://www.hudsontogaza.blogspot.com

Contact: (845) 876-7906

Go to http://www.mideastcrisis.org to print out a PDF flyer for this event!

--------------------------------

Gaza Freedom March - Report Back

Wednesday, April 7
7:00  - 8:30 pm
/Root Grassroots Tech Cafe
60 Main St., New Paltz  12561

Ten residents of the Hudson Valley took part in the Gaza Freedom March from  Dec. 25 to Jan. 4. Members of this delegation will discuss their experiences as well as the emerging International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza.

Sponsored by:
Middle East Crisis Response
http://www.mideastcrisis.org
http://www.hudsontogaza.blogspot.com
New Paltz Cultural Collective
http://www.60main.org/

Contact: 845 255-5779

Thursday, February 18, 2010

If The Palestinians Were Blue, Would The World Care?

From Haaretz
Protesters against Israel's policies in the West Bank have added a colorful twist to demonstrations, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the movie Avatar.

Pro-Palestinian participants in weekly demonstrators against the route of the separation fence in the village of Bil'in, and the takeover of Arab homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, have also donned long hair and loincloths to resemble the 10-foot blue-skinned Na'vi of Avatar.

The demonstrators compare the Palestinians to the Na'vi - an indigenous people on the moon Pandora who find themselves up against militarily superior foreign invaders who seek to oust them from their homes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hideous Enginery Of War, Greed, Apartheid


I continue to read about our "mission" in Afghanistan and its provinces and sadly anticipate what awaits our brave troops(led by uncourageous, unscrupulous profiteers)in those mountainous provinces as they are being lured into it...
I think of VietNam...
I think of the lives of our overmanaged and poorly led soldiers...and:
I think of the many more civilians we'll kill and the lessons we never learned.
Are we learning anything from the Israel Palestine apartheid driven civilian killings?
Does History ever teach us anything?
Are we going to continue to command drones of mass destructions from our posh chairs from some comfortable gameland command center in middle america...as scores of civilians' blood is spilled to fill the coffers of war profiteers and corporate con-men?

The lessons of history are unfortunately many in this Country; and are timeless! But it seems like the students are very few...For instance: during the US war to take possession of Mexico, Horace Greely wrote in the New York Tribune, May12,1846:

"We can safely defeat the armies of Mexico, slaughter them by the thousands, and pursue them perhaps to their capital; we can then conquer and "annex" their territory; but what then? Have the histories of the ruin of Greek and Roman liberty consequent on such extensions of empire by the sword no lesson for us? Who believes that a score of victories over Mexico, the "annexation" of half her provinces, will give us more Liberty, a purer Morality, a more prosperous Industry,...Is not life miserable enough, comes not Death soon enough, without resort to the hideous enginery of War?"

Ciao, Bella Ciao!

Mm

Saturday, February 6, 2010

END THE SIEGE! FREE GAZA! (example of another report back)

Hi GFM friends,

Here's a press release for a GFM report-back I'm doing in the Bay Area. Can you spread the word?

Alan

--------------
What: END THE SIEGE! FREE GAZA ! Report back on the Gaza Freedom March with Alan Goodman

When: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST, 7 pm,

Where: BERKELEY FELLOWSHIP OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS, 1924 CEDAR
STREET , BERKELEY

 Info: 510-684-8270
_____________________________________________________________________________

ALAN GOODMAN,  A PARTICIPANT IN THE  GAZA FREEDOM MARCH AND A
CORRESPONDENT FOR REVOLUTION NEWSPAPER ,WILL GIVE A REPORT BACK ON THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH THAT TOOK PLACE ON DEC.31, 2009, IN CAIRO

His slideshow-presentation illustrates and brings to life the critical situation for the people of Gaza one year after Israel ’s massacre. It highlights the importance of the Gaza Freedom March, in the struggle to break the siege of Gaza .

This presentation paints a vivid picture of challenges in persevering with the mission of the March in Egypt after Egyptian authorities banned the marchers from going to Gaza – including a unique report on a major protest meeting of Egyptians to break the siege of Gaza, and insights into the “great debate” among the participants over whether to accept an offer from the Egyptian government to allow 100 of the 1300+ marchers into Gaza as a humanitarian mission.

And this presentation gives a sense of the kinds of “everyday people” from around the world who, at great risk and sacrifice, went on the march.

Based on interviews with dozens of participants – some of whom have been to Gaza recently –Alan Goodman’s report-back from the Gaza Freedom March provides a picture of the situation faced by the people of Gaza .

And, from the perspective of a reporter from Revolution newspaper (revcom.us), Alan’s
presentation poses important questions about the global forces behind the blockade of Gaza , and the oppression of the Palestinian people.

The presentation wili be followed by a question and answer session.


CO-SPONSORED BY THE BERKELEY FELLOWSHIP OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS
PEACE & COMMITTEE, THE  OAKLAND EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (OEA) PEACE  &
JUSTICE CAUCUS, AND REVOLUTION BOOKS

$10/Sliding scale for youth and unemployed--no one turned away for lack of funds for more
information, call 510-684-8270

Friday, February 5, 2010

We're Number ONE: In Body Count


A Conservative Estimate Of Our Nation's Achievements
(A Calculus of Colonialism and Corporacracy)

* Native Americans: 13,778,000

* Korea: 2,854,000

* Vietnam: 2,058,000 + 224,000 + 900,000 = 3,182,000

* Cambodia: 500,000

* Laos: 70,000

* Indonesia: 300,000

* East Timor: 150,000

* Latin America : 200,000

* Iraq: 1,400,000 and in other various destructions in progress 1,000, 000... = 2,400,000


TOTAL: 23.434.000 (twentythremillionfourhundredthirtyfourthousand)...killed as we brought PROGRESS DEMOCRACY and HUMAN RIGHTS to the above people.

YES: WE'RE NUMBER 1

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Fate of The Palestinians: Same as the Native Americans!


Genocidal Results of the Failed American Indian Policies of the United States Government:

Read the facts below because the same fate awaits the Palestinian people unless we UNITE AND ACT!


MORTALITY:
Lakotah men have a life expectancy of less than 44 years, lowest of any country in the World (excluding AIDS) including Haiti.
Lakotah death rate is the highest in the United States.
The Lakotah infant mortality rate is 300% more than the U.S. Average.
One out of every four Lakotah children born are fostered or adopted out to non-Indian homes.
Diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, etc. are present. Cancer is now at epidemic proportions!
Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S national average for this group.

DISEASE:
The Tuberculosis rate on Lakotah reservations is approx. 800% higher than the U.S national average.
Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S national average.
The rate of diabetes is 800% higher than the U.S national average.
Federal Commodity Food Program provides high sugar foods that kill Native people through diabetes and heart disease.

POVERTY:
Median income is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
97% of our Lakotah people live below the poverty line.
Many families cannot afford heating oil, wood or propane and many residents use ovens to heat their homes.

UNEMPLOYMENT:
Unemployment rates on our reservations are 80% or higher.
Government funding for job creation is lost through cronyism and corruption.

HOUSING:
Elderly die each winter from hypothermia (freezing).
1/3 of the homes lack basic clean water and sewage while 40% lack electricity.
60% of Reservation families have no telephone.
60% of housing is infected with potentially fatal black molds.
There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home (many only have two to three rooms). Some homes, built for 6 to 8 people, have up to 30 people living in them.

DRUGS AND ALCOHOL:
More than half the Reservation’s adults battle addiction and disease.
Alcoholism affects 9 in 10 families.
Two known meth-amphetamine labs allowed to continue operation. Why?

INCARCERATION:
Indian children incarceration rate 40% higher than whites.
In South Dakota, 21 percent of state prisoners are American Indians, yet they only make up 2% of the population.
Indians have the second largest state prison incarceration rate in the nation.
Most Indians live on federal reservations. Less than 2% of Indians live where the state has jurisdiction!

THREATENED CULTURE:
Only 14% of the Lakotah population can speak the Lakotah language.
The language is not being shared inter-generationally. Today, the average age of a fluent Lakotah speaker is 65 years.
Our Lakotah language is an Endangered Language, on the verge of extinction.
Our Lakotah language is not allowed to be taught in the U.S. Government schools.

Peace!
linda & maurizio

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Admiral Mullen Mulling Over Homophobia: He's Pathetic


Jeff Key (in photo)), a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, was deployed to Iraq in 2003. After coming out on CNN during an interview in March 2004, he was finally discharged two years later in April 2006. (Photo: Getty Images)

- QUOTATION OF THE DAY -
"No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact
that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who
they are in order to defend their fellow citizens
."

That pathetic quote is from Adm. Mike Mullen a career military and political man
who has been in the military all his life.
He is suddenly troubled by the bigotry, and homophobia which has been around him
all his life and of which he has been an enforcer and a silent accomplice. Shame
on him and the whole military establishment for expecting us to believe him.
Shame on the government for having people like him on their staff!
Shame on those who believe these situationally pc examinations of...
"inconscience". Exponential hypocrisy exposed when he's suddenly troubled by
this but not
by what is occurring in Palestine...or Congo...or Afghanistan...and the list
goes on...
Shame on Adm Mullen for saying "no matter how you look at this", implying
there's more than one way to look at this; to me there's only and only one way:
bigotry and homophobia!
Shame on Adm Mullen for diabolical opportunism by using his statement to further
propagandize the wars of aggression, colonization and occupation by implying
that soldiers are sent to wars to "defend fellow citizens"
Shame on US!
mm

DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED


Historian Howard Zinn, who died January 27 at 87, is shown being arrested at an anti-Vietnam war demonstration in the 1960s. Image from Telegraph, U.K.

AGAINST DISCOURAGEMENT... SPEECH BY HOWARD ZINN: READ PLEASE

U.S Troops Take Control: Haiti Kidnapped



READ ARTICLE:

TODAY: 50 Italians Chain Themselves to Cranes to Stop US Base Construction


This is footage from today in Vicenza, Italy, where 50 women and men entered the construction site of the proposed mammoth new US military base in a location called "Dal Molin". They chained themselves to cranes and other machines.


FOOTAGE

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mubarak's Street Interrogators:


We are being interrogated on the streets of Cairo.

Monday, February 1, 2010

ISRAEL: A STATE FOR SOME OF ITS CITIZENS

ISRAEL: A STATE FOR SOME OF ITS CITIZENS
“We must expel Arabs and take their places”
Ben Gurion in a letter to his son, 1937


if you look at the “Palestinian Loss of Land " map one quickly realizes that a map of the USA with Native Indians then and now , would look even worse, with Native American reservations now as invisible dots scattered in their own native land. Don’t let this happen to our Palestinian Brothers and Sisters
Do not be silent

Maurizio



Friday, January 29, 2010

We Will Not Be Silent




Nice website with good articles and some great shirts. Check it out: http://www.wewillnotbesilent.net/

Thursday, January 28, 2010

54 US Representatives sign letter to Obama on Gaza siege (thanks, Eldad)

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,


Thank you for your ongoing work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for your commitment of $300 million in U.S. aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip. We write to you with great concern about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

The people of Gaza have suffered enormously since the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt following Hamas¥ coup, and particularly following Operation Cast Lead. We also sympathize deeply with the people of southern Israel who have suffered from abhorrent rocket and mortar attacks. We recognize that the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups. This concern must be addressed without resulting in the de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. Truly, fulfilling the needs of civilians in Israel and Gaza are mutually reinforcing goals.

The unabated suffering of Gazan civilians highlights the urgency of reaching a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace efforts. The current blockade has severely impeded the ability of aid agencies to do their work to relieve suffering, and we ask that you advocate for immediate improvements for Gaza in the following areas:
* Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;

* Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials,

* Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;

* Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;

* Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials;

* Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;

* Access to fuel;

* Access to spare parts;

* Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and

* Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.

Winter is arriving and the needs of the people grow ever more pressing. For example, the ban on building materials is preventing the reconstruction of thousands of innocent families¥ damaged homes. There is also a concern that unrepaired sewage treatment plants will overflow and damage surrounding property and water resources.

Despite ad hoc easing of the blockade, there has been no significant improvement in the quantity and scope of goods allowed into Gaza. Both the number of trucks entering Gaza per month and the number of days the crossings have been open have declined since March. This crisis has devastated livelihoods, entrenched a poverty rate of over 70%, increased dependence on erratic international aid, allowed the deterioration of public infrastructure, and led to the marked decline of the accessibility of essential services.

The humanitarian and political consequences of a continued near-blockade would be disastrous. Easing the blockade on Gaza will not only improve the conditions on the ground for Gaza¥s civilian population, but will also undermine the tunnel economy which has strengthened Hamas. Under current conditions, our aid remains little more than an unrealized pledge. Most importantly, lifting these restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions.

Your Administration¥s overarching Middle East peace efforts will benefit Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region. The people of Gaza, along with all the peoples of the region, must see that the United States is dedicated to addressing the legitimate security needs of the State of Israel and to ensuring that the legitimate needs of the Palestinian population are met.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Arizona
Raul Grijalva

California
Lois Capps
Sam Farr
Bob Filner
Barbara Lee
Loretta Sanchez
Pete Stark
Michael Honda
Lynn Woolsey
Jackie Speier
Diane Watson
George Miller

Connecticut
Jim Himes

Indiana
Andre Carson

Iowa
Bruce Braley

Kentucky
John Yarmuth

Maryland
Elijah Cummings
Donna Edwards

Massachusetts
Michael Capuano
William Delahunt
Jim McGovern
John Tierney
John Olver
Stephen Lynch

Michigan
John Conyers
John Dingell
Carolyn Kilpatrick

Minnesota
Keith Ellison
Betty McCollum
James Oberstar

New Jersey
Donald Payne
Rush Holt
Bill Pascrell

New York
Yvette Clarke
Maurice Hinchey
Paul Tonko
Eric Massa

North Carolina
David Price

Ohio
Mary Jo Kilroy
Marcy Kaptur

Oregon
Earl Blumenauer
Peter DeFazio

Pennsylvania
Chaka Fattah
Joe Sestak

Vermont
Peter Welch

Virginia
Jim Moran

Washington
Jim McDermott
Adam Smith
Jay Inslee
Brian Baird

West Virginia
Nick Rahall

Wisconsin
Tammy Baldwin
Gwen Moore

Virginia
Glenn Nye

GAZA DIARY FROM A Human Resources Professional

A Human Resources worker from the USA, who participated in the GFM ponders about the real role of his country's ultimate Human Resources Office : THE US EMBASSY:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gaza Blockade threatens health of 1.4 million


Gaza blockade threatens health of 1.4 million, aid agencies warn

Israeli and Egyptian blockade means nearly one-fifth of requests to leave for treatment are refused or delayed, report says


An Israeli soldier relaxes at the Karni crossing with the Gaza Strip

A Gaza crossing point: A new report warns that the blockade is risking the health of 1.4 million people. Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

The health of 1.4 million people is being put at risk by the ongoing Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza, a report by more than 80 humanitarian organisations warned today.

The aid groups, including the World Health Organisation and UN agencies, said more than one-fifth of sick Palestinians who needed to leave the territory for treatment in Israel had either been refused or had their applications delayed. The groups called on Israel and Egypt to open the border crossings with Gaza.

Max Gaylard, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for the Palestinian territories, said the blockade undermined the local healthcare system and put lives at risk.

"It is causing ongoing deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health," he said.

"It is hampering the provision of medical supplies and the training of health staff, and it is preventing patients with serious medical conditions from getting timely specialised treatment."

The agencies highlighted the case of a student, Fidaa Hijji, who died of cancer while waiting for Israeli permission to go to hospital for a bone marrow operation.

Repeated applications to cross the border were ignored even though Hijji, who was 18 when her cancer was diagnosed in 2007, had confirmed medical appointments.

Permission for her entry to Israel was finally given a day after she died last month.

Israel generally permits supplies of drugs into Gaza, but not always of enough to prevent shortages. Certain medical equipment, such as x-ray and electronic devices, is difficult to bring in and clinical staff frequently lack equipment they need, the UN said.

The blockade was imposed after Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in 2007.

Health professionals in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world, with few doctors, nurses or technicians able to leave for the training necessary to update their clinical skills or learn about new medical technology during the past decade, the agencies said.

Many specialised treatments, such as heart surgery and some cancer treatments, are unavailable in Gaza.

"An effective healthcare system cannot be sustained in isolation from the international community," Tony Laurance, the WHO head in the West Bank and Gaza, said.

"Open borders are needed to ensure the health of the 1.4 million people in Gaza."

WHO figures indicate that 21% of the 1,103 applications last month to travel to Israel for hospital appointments were denied or delayed.

Twenty-nine patients died last year awaiting referral, down from 46 in 2008.

An Israeli spokesman said approvals had increased by 25% since 2008.

"Not only are we doing our utmost to allow the people of Gaza every possible medical treatment, but we are doing this in a situation in which their own government is imposing a state of war and trying deliberately to harm Israelis, including those whose mission is to assist the very people of Gaza," Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, said.


Monday, January 25, 2010

F R E E G A Z A

Fiery bombs
Rain upon us
Everywhere on
Everyone

Gigantic walls
Asphyxiate life
Zenith cries for help
Arise from the ashes
Love, Linda

HAIKKU FOR GFM


Our Pebbles of Peace

raised the Nile

Ripples of hope


Love
Maurizio

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gaza Freedom March - Report Back


Gaza Freedom March - Report Back

Saturday, January 23
2:30 - 5:00 pm 
Woodstock Community Center
56 Rock City Rd, Woodstock




Ten residents of the Hudson Valley took part in the Gaza Freedom March from  Dec. 25 to Jan. 4. Members of this delegation discussed their experiences as well as the emerging International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza.



    
Sponsored by:


Middle East Crisis Response

Contact: (845) 679-5301


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Honoring the Spirit Of Martin Luther King, In Cairo and in “America”

Having recently returned from Cairo as a Gaza Freedom Marcher, and reflecting most recently on that trip and on the significance of Martin Luther King’s day, I attended, on that day, with several other fellow Gaza Freedom Marchers, a community service in NYC; at that comminity service a poem by Langston Hughes was read that talked about this not ever being his America…or the America of many others who had come here with high and noble hopes. The title of the poem is: Let America Be America Again; I encourage everyone to read it.

Having myself come here as an immigrant, Langston Hughes’ words resonate continuously as an incessant tinnitus of my mind . This was never the “America” I had hoped for; this was never "America" to me. However, when Obama was elected as our president I must admit that I though this could become “my, our America”, so a warming glimmer of hope began to shine in my eternally optimistic heart: finally a hope for change, a hope for “good” change for the people! Not for the Banks and Insurance Companies and Lobbyists and Military Complex and Corporate greed masters. Our political system works! Finally!
That glimmer of hope quickly faded and is long gone as I begin to use my brain more actively these days to think and dissect reality…the "reality" fed to us by the mass media; as I begin to analyze what is being done to us and as I question everything I’m fed, I realize that the walk and the talk are diametric strangers in the House that is still...White.

Oh, have I changed! Did I become a pessimist? No: just a better informed optimist!

During the elections, I had placed my hopes incorrectly on the logical process of an election to bring about genuine, foundational social change; but as experience and history showed me as I became better informed, with all elections (I should have known better): elections are a theatrical illusion; a well crafted show a la Cirque Des Absurdites, which rarely have brought social change and are in fact, carefully orchestrated high tech propagandistic puppetry meant to destabilize and eventually crush any movement that dare demand social change. We had traveled to Cairo as representatives of "America" and we too we had, incorrectly, relied on logical, judicially sound, politically correct processes and diplomatic courtesies (i.e.: provided pre- trip information to local governments, lists of travelers, we asked permission to talk to our embassies) to travel to Gaza; naturally the approach did not work; we were denied entry into Gaza and in fact our requests for, and subsequent meetings with, the various embassies, resulted in their treating us, the Gaza Freedom Marchers as subversive and unwanted visitors (aided by Mubarak’s security & military forces who followed us everywhere, penned us in, blocked our hotels, harassed us daily and were violent with some of the peaceful protesters). We had come from "America" and all over the world to bring humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Gaza and we were now being asked to leave or if we stayed, we were ordered to become a tourist! The dissonance between the talk and the walk was never clearer : Obama, in his presidential inaugural speech had said: " we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders" yet... now our own embassy was not willing to help us bring aid to Gaza, and instead was aiding and abetting the dictatorship of Egypt in preventing our humanitarian mission outside our borders!

What would Martin Luther King have done? Leave or stay in Egypt and be a tourist as the government ordered us to do? Well, by now you know what we did…
I believe we honored Dr King’s spirit by not leaving and by not becoming tourists but rather organizing on a dime and engaging in powerful peaceful protests, vigils, hunger strike, press conferences and civil disobedience; as Dr King, we believe firmly and unshakably that our movement is operating on the side of human justice. We, the people can and will make change happen. We will never be silent. Those days in Cairo confirm this ardent belief.

As Billy Wharton aptly says in yesterday’s Rag Blog:

It is clear that no election or any judicial decision, no matter how slick the public relations scheme, can replace the powerful ability of regular people to create movements that change history and society for the better”.

We, the "regular people" will unite to make this the America it should be!

Maurizio