Category Archives: Middle East
Emergency Gaza Protest!
SATURDAY Nov. 17th @4pm
There will be an emergency Gaza protest on Saturday November 17th at 4pm at the South Carolina Statehouse.
Demonstrators call on President Obama, Israel, Hamas to end escalating violence & a ceasefire in Gaza!
Escalating violence in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militants took a decided turn for the worse on Wednesday as Israel broke a tenuous truce and assassinated Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in a string of airstrikes in Gaza. Hamas and Palestinian militant groups have retaliated by firing rockets deep into Israel, including at Tel Aviv. Over twenty Palestinians including children have been killed in the ensuing Israeli airstrikes and; three Israeli civilians were killed when rockets launched by Palestinian militants struck an apartment in Israel, the first Israeli civilian fatalities from rocket attacks this year. Israeli troops are massing on the border with Gaza and a ground invasion.
“It is well-known that Israel’s targeted killings of Palestinian militants in Gaza provoke rocket attacks in retaliation,” says President David Matos, who has traveled to Israel/Palestine twice on peace missions. “Israel deliberately escalated the violence by carrying out this targeted assassination .” At the same time, Matos notes that “an all out war in Gaza will be literal murder on both Israeli and Palestinian civilians caught in the cross-fire; it will take de-escalation on both sides to avoid that disaster.”
While the parties on the ground must de-escalate to avert further bloodshed, the US has considerable influence over Israel via the over $3 billion in military aid the US furnishes Israel every year.
“We call on President Obama to pressure Israel to stop its escalations and step back from the brink of war,” says Matos. “If President Obama goes along with more violence, blood will be on his hands.”
Institute for Middle East Understanding Timeline of Escalating Violence~
POLITICAL HISTORY OF IRAN
- 1908: Oil is discovered in Persia.
- 1914: Russian, British, and German troops occupy the country during WWI.
- 1935: Reza Shah had the official name of the country changed from Persia to Iran.
- 1941: During WWII, Reza Shah is forced by the Allies to grant the throne to his son, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi due to his alleged pro-German sentiments.
- 1951, the Majlis (Parliament of Iran) named Mohammad Mossadegh as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12, who shortly after nationalized the British-owned oil industry (see Abadan Crisis). Mossadegh was opposed by the Shah who feared a resulting oil embargo imposed by the West would leave Iran in economic ruin. The Shah flees Iran.
- 1951: Prime Minister Mosadegh nationalizes Iran’s oil industry.
- 1953: With British and U.S. help, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi returns to Iran via CIA’s Operation Ajax.
- 1953-1979: Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi makes Iran a rentier state (economy based on the selling of some commodity) based on oil and import substitution industrialization (focus on capital-intensive industry) which led to the neglect of agriculture and small-scale production.
The 1953 Iranian coup d’état was the first time the U.S. used the CIA to overthrow a democratically elected, civil government. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, encouraged by his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a defender of transnational corporate power, agreed to send the Central Intelligence Agency in to depose Mossadegh ending democracy in Iran.
The operation – code name “Operation Ajax” – took less than a month in the summer of 1953. Continue reading
The ancient word is dead.
The ancient books are dead.
Our speech with holes like worn-out shoes is dead.
Dead is the mind that led to defeat.
Our poems have gone sour.
Women’s hair, nights, curtains and sofas
Have gone sour.
Everything has gone sour.
My grieved country,
In a flash
You changed me from a poet who wrote love poems
To a poet who writes with a knife.
What we feel is beyond words:
We should be ashamed of our poems.
By Oriental bombast,
By Antartic (Antar, pre-Islamic poet & hero that was a symbol of an uneaten knight) swaggering that never killed a fly,
By the fiddle and the drum,
We went to war
Our shouting is louder than our actions,
Our swords are taller than us,
This is our tragedy.
We wear the cape of civilization
But our souls live in the stone age.
You don’t win a war
With a reed and a flute.
Cost us fifty thousand new tents.
Don’t curse heaven
If it abandons you,
Don’t curse circumstances.
God gives victory to whom He wishes.
God is not a blacksmith to beat swords.
It’s painful to listen to the news in the morning.
It’s painful to listen to the barking of dogs.
Our enemies did not cross the border
They crept through our weakness like ants.
Five thousand years
In our caves.
Our currency is unknown,
Our eyes are a haven for flies.
Smash the doors,
Wash your brains,
Wash your clothes.
Read a book,
Write a book,
Grow words, pomegranates and grapes,
Sail to the country of fog and snow.
Nobody knows you exist in caves.
People take you for a breed of mongrels.
We are thick-skinned people
With empty souls.
We spend our days practicing witchcraft,
Playing chess and sleeping.
And we the ‘Nation by which God blessed mankind’?
Our desert oil could have become
Daggers of flame and fire.
We’re a disgrace to our noble ancestors:
We let our oil flow through the toes of whores.
We run wildly through streets
Dragging people with ropes,
Smashing windows and locks.
We praise like frogs,
Swear like frogs,
Turn midgets into heroes,
And heroes into scum:
We never stop and think.
We crouch idly,
And beg God for victory
Over our enemy.
If I knew I’d come to no harm,
And could see the Sultan,
I’d tell him:
Your wild dogs have torn my clothes
Your spies hound me
Their eyes hound me
Their noses hound me
Their feet hound me
They hound me like Fate
Interrogate my wife
And take down the names of my friends,
When I came close to your walls
And talked about my pains,
Your soldiers beat me with their boots,
Forced me to eat my shoes.
You lost two wars.
Half of our people are without tongues,
What’s the use of people without tongues?
Half of our people
Are trapped like ants and rats
If I knew I’d come to no harm
I’d tell him:
‘You lost two wars
You lost touch with children’
If we hadn’t buried our unity
If we hadn’t ripped its young body with bayonets
If it had stayed in our eyes
The dogs wouldn’t have savaged our flesh.
We want an angry generation
To plough the sky
To blow up history
To blow up our thoughts.
We want a new generation
That does not forgive mistakes
That does not bend.
We want a generation
Corn ears of the future,
You will break out chains.
Kill the opium in our heads,
Kill the illusions.
Don’t read about our windowless generation,
We are a hopeless case.
We are as worthless as water-melon rind.
Don’t read about us,
Don’t ape us,
Don’t accept us,
Don’t accept our ideas,
We are a nation of crooks and jugglers.
Corn ears of the future,
You are a generation
That will overcome defeat.
(Translated by Abdullah al-Udhari) Continue reading
“You retire when we’re free. You retire when there’s no war left that our children are going to fight. You retire when everybody has health care and a hospital bed when they get sick. You retire when every prop up dictator is crushed. You retire when every glossy, pedigree, trickster, even if it happens to be the newest president, you retire when all of them are checked, and exposed. That’s when retirement comes…”
Jaribu Hill, Exec. Dir. of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights speaking on the panel “Perpetual War or Rule of Law?” October 17, 2009 at The National Lawyers Guild Law for the People 2009 Convention in Seattle.
HEDY EPSTEIN, [until Fri.] (314) 361-6820, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.hedyepstein.com
DANA BALICKI, (202) 422-8624, email@example.com, http://www.gazafreedommarch.org
ANN WRIGHT, now in Cairo, 011-20-19-508-1493, in Gaza, 011-972-59-950-1517, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDEA BENJAMIN, in Cairo 011-20-18-956-1919, in Gaza 011-972-599501519, email@example.com
Balicki, Wright and Benjamin are with the group CODEPINK, which is organizing the Gaza Freedom March on Dec. 31. A delegation to Gaza will begin in Cairo on Dec. 27, one year after the start of the “Cast Lead” bombing of Gaza by Israel.
Among the people going on the delegation are: author Alice Walker, musician Roger Waters, Filipino member of parliament Walden Bello, ElectronicIntifada.net founder Ali Abunimah, IPA communications director Sam Husseini and Epstein, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust and author of “Remembering Is Not Enough.” After World War II, she worked at the Nuremberg Medical Trial, which tried the doctors accused of performing medical experiments on concentration camp inmates.
CODEPINK recently put out a statement: “Citing escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us on Dec. 20 that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take. We also said that it was too late for over 1,360 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now.
“Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we’ve encountered — and overcome — before. No delegation, large or small, that has entered Gaza over the past 12 months has received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border. Most delegations were discouraged from even heading out of Cairo to Rafah. Some had their buses stopped on the way. Some have been told outright that they could not go into Gaza. But after public and political pressure, the Egyptian government changed its position and let them pass.”
The number for the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C. is (202) 895-5400; the contact person is Omar Youssef.
Farah, who has family in Gaza and grew up in Jerusalem, is a spokesperson for the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace. They are holding a march and vigil in downtown Washington, D.C. in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March that involves several groups including Jewish Voice for Peace.
He said today: “As people all around the world sing ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ the Palestinians in Bethlehem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian territories continue to be oppressed. Nowhere is that more bitter than in Gaza, where over 1,300 Palestinians were killed during 22 days of bombings. Living conditions in Gaza remain desperate as Israel continues to impose its siege on 1.5 million Palestinians, preventing almost anyone from leaving the strip and making it virtually impossible to rebuild or repair the thousands of homes and businesses that were demolished during the attack.”
Background: See the new report from Amnesty International, which states: “The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery, say a group of 16 leading humanitarian and human rights groups in a new report released today (22 December) ahead of the anniversary of the start of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza (27 December-18 January).” http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=18552
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167