In past hunger strikes, Palestinian political prisoners called for freedom, or at least for their plight to be recognized by Israeli and Palestinian officials. Today they are merely demanding that Israel abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention. But since these captive men and women (including many children) have no other choice but to keep their demands to a minimum, I don’t see why I should. I am not in Israeli custody; nor do I live at the mercy of Naveh and Hanegbi who would let me starve to death before they fix the sewer in my solitary confinement. Because I am not under the thumb of the Likud Party and its repressive regime, I decided to go to the extreme with my hunger strike demands list.Monday, August 30th, 2004
If the only reason you are holding out on voting for Nader is your conviction that he can’t win – then you are merely reinforcing the religion of the War Party. You have become a major part of the problem. A generation ago, the American peace movement voted for McGovern even though they were certain he would lose. Liberals voted for Carter knowing that Reagan was the likely victor. America Firsters voted for Buchanan as a matter of principal – not because of his political prospects. Besides, whatever happened to voting for the political agenda that would best serve the nation. This is not a horse race. It’s an election. There is more at stake here than a two-dollar bet. We shouldn’t be expected to vote on the odds – any more than we should consider voting for the candidate with the largest campaign coffers.Monday, August 30th, 2004
On a close inspection of the Middle East conflict, one cannot help but realise that a single process is in progress - to reshape the legacy of the Ottoman Empire in a manner conducive to the demands of the most influential powers in today’s world. Not only is Israel to be at the USA’s side in this, the events of the past ten years have shown that the USA is attempting to reorder the region to suit Israel’s interests. In this, both the Palestine liberation movements and the Iraqi resistance are the front line of defence against the American project of global hegemony and the Israeli project of regional hegemony. By their efforts, they have help to thwart USA-Israeli expansionist ambitions. Indeed, this role of the resistance is already being etched into the annals of history.Saturday, August 28th, 2004
The letters are kept in a pillow on the living room sofa. With trembling hands, as if it were a religious rite, Najiba Jelamne opens the zipper of the pillow and pulls out the envelope with the handful of letters and photos. Two folded letters, as brief as memos, written by hand on an official Red Cross form - the only sign of life that has arrived from their prisoner son, who is said to be very ill, but whose parents have been unable to find out what happened to him. One letter was sent in February and arrived in June, four months en route from the prison to the Jenin refugee camp, and the second was sent in June and arrived about two weeks ago; thatâ€™s how long it takes to get from the sender to the addressees.Friday, August 27th, 2004
As another inevitable result of the “smoke them out” diplomacy of the Bush administration and Iraqi Premier Iyad Alawi, untold damage is being done in the Muslim world: US Apache helicopters and AC-130 gunships bombing the vast holy grounds of the Wadi al-Salam cemetery, while the main shopping street leading to the Imam Ali Shrine - as well as most of Najaf’s old city - lies in ruins. And in an overlapping graphic display, US forces now also occupy much of the 2-million-strong Sadr City, the vast Shi’ite slum in Baghdad. Muqtada knows that the longevity of the standoff is directly proportional to his enhanced status as a resistance icon, and to Allawi’s loss of face. And if the Imam Ali Shrine is stormed, as his Baghdad spokesman Abdel Hadi al-Darraji puts it, there will be “a revolution all over Iraq”.Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
A recently declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report confirmed what human rights groups have been saying about Colombian President Alvaro Uribe: he has his roots firmly planted in Colombia’s narcotrafficking dynasties. The report lists 104 of Colombia’s most prominent cocaine traffickers. President Uribe’s name is 82nd on the list. In his own defense, Uribe claims that to become a senator from the state of Antioquia, he had to rub elbows with and shake the hands of suspected drug lords, but that doesn’t make him one, too. Well, yes, he certainly shook hands with narcotraffickers; Antioquia is run on drug money, and it would have been difficult for anyone to enter politics, much less become governor and win a seat in the Colombian Congress, without the backing of drug money and the willingness to push policies that protect and serve wealthy drug lords.Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
Being a Palestinian must be a mind warping experience. Consider a very short version of their tragic story: Their ancestors - the ancient wise men of the Holy Land - inspired by the most credible creation mythology, took the risk of exporting their illuminating spiritual experience to the rest of the world. For going to the trouble of sharing their creed, their descendants now pay the stiff price of losing their ancestral lands. Out of the blue, thousands of years later, a deranged messianic fool like Tom Delay emerges from some back alley in Texas with an eviction notice and George Bush shows up with a posse to help Sharon enforce it. The Palestinians ask the messianic nuts why they do what they do and they respond that they were inspired by something one of your ancestors might have said a few thousand years ago.Saturday, August 21st, 2004
Bush?s testimony as a born-again Christian appears to the sincere evangelical to be genuine; his heart was changed through a personal encounter with Christ, leading to repentance, reconciliation with God, and a conviction of God’s plan and purpose for his life. Desperate for a breath of moral fresh air after the putrid impropriety that disgraced the Clinton White House, honest Christians were swayed by Bush’s invocation of the name of “Christ”. He was, by his own admission, “one of them”. In those exuberant days that brought the warm glow of Christian fellowship right to the heart of the election campaign, who could have foreseen that in pursuing their quest for a leader of integrity and compassion in action, the Christian churches, armed with the Bible in one hand and the flag in the other, were just about to exchange one liar in the White House for a better one.Thursday, August 19th, 2004
In the decades following the establishment of Islam, Abdullah Ibn al-Zubair led a rebellion in Mecca against the ruling dynasty of the day, who sent their most ruthless commander to lay siege to the city. Abdullah took refuge in Mecca’s Noble Sanctuary around the Ka’ba. When the commander sent an envoy to ask him to come out, Abdullah replied, “Why do you want me to come out, leave me alone, consider me one of the doves of the shrine.” As bloodshed is forbidden in the Ka’ba, doves there are not afraid of humans and they fly around freely. The envoy called for his bow and arrow, aimed, and shot one of the many doves flying around. The dove fell bleeding and all the others flew away. The point was made; in a justification sarcastically known as “Muawyya’s argument,” the envoy blamed Abdullah for any bloodshed; it was the rebel who desecrated the Shrine by taking refuge there. It is a precedent that is still being used today.Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
Following a recent protest march in Boston prior to the Democratic Convention, I confided to a Pro-Palestinian activist that I am supporting John Kerry as President. He stared at me in disbelief. Shiny with sweat from the heat and exertion from the march, he immediately flew into a litany of the pro-Israeli stances the Senator has announced in recent months ? his support of Ariel Sharon, the Gaza Disengagement Plan, and the racist Apartheid Wall. He railed against my hypocrisy spouting off against the incongruity of my articles, my poetry that reveal the horror of the Israeli-Zionist policies on innocent Palestinians that contrasted so sharply with supporting such a man.… Genevieve Cora Fraser explains her continued support for John Kerry.Tuesday, August 17th, 2004
During his farewell address in the year 1961 outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Eisenhower’s fears have now become America’s reality, as the military-industrial complex has become America’s shadow government, covertly manipulating elections and governmental policies, only revealing itself when its machinations fail to produce the desired results. Although Americans are given the illusion they are “voting” for candidates, rarely does a candidate arise to the position of being on the ballot without paying homage and alms to the military-industrial complex.Saturday, August 14th, 2004
I don’t know how Jeanne felt when she was sitting in Yarl’s Wood detention centre for three weeks without her son, or when she was deported to Ivory Coast without him 10 days ago. How would you feel? It seems almost cheap to try to give words to experiences like this. Pain, sorrow, anger, fear; nothing seems quite big enough. The experiences of refugees in detention centres flare briefly into the public consciousness only occasionally, but it is necessary to try to keep a light shining on these experiences - because individuals working in this field say there is an increase in allegations of serious ill-treatment of refugees in detention centres or during deportation attempts.Saturday, August 14th, 2004
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