Genevieve Cora Fraser
Like a carrier pigeon landing on my windowsill, Fadi Madi suddenly appeared in my in-box bearing an urgent message with the subject heading: “Struggle with Fadi Madi”.
“Fadi Madi,” I thought. “Fadi Madi, who?” The name read like a nursery rhyme. As I perused the text I wondered if the message was a hoax or for real.
The message was addressed “TO ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS FREEDOM FIGHTERS - ANTI WAR MOVMENTS - PEACE HUMANITY JUSTICE MOVMENTS.” I examined the list of fellow recipients and soon realized I was one of the few individuals he had emailed, most of the other addresses were to well known groups or media stars like the pollster James Zogby.
If I had ever met Madi, he had slipped from my memory. Perhaps he had read my articles and somehow located my email address, I mused. Dozens of Zionist had also, so why not Madi? But they had written to tell me that Palestine doesn’t exist or to condemn my sensitivity toward the oppressed of Palestine and Iraq and the deliberate killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children. But Madi’s message was frantic, urgent, not exactly an appeal but clearly a man who wanted to be heard or to have his message heard.
After a quick perusal, I ran a spell check through the document to help clarify his message, but left his wording largely in tact. Madi began by reassuring that he would “not say so many words” but asked his friends who were with him in Paris and Geneva and Berlin in Bombay and Kankoun and Tsaloniki in Florence and Rome and Kopenhagen in Cairo and Beirut and New York and San Francisco and Los Angeles in Washington DC and Seyatele (Seattle?) and Montreal to just remember our struggle in 18 January and 15 February and 15 Mars and 27 September 2003 and 20 Mars 2004 to “just remember what I did to release our Japanese friends - just remember we was one unit all around the world saying in all cities only one words end the occupation in Palestine and Iraq,” Fadi Madi began. Clearly this was a man who traveled a lot and had developed many contacts from around the globe.
The next paragraph seemed to get to the heart of Madi’s dilemma. “And only for this reason they arrest me in Berlin airport 12 hrs and they deport me to Lebanon even (though) I am married with a German wife and my residence valid for no limit to stay in Germany,” the narration continued. “My fault was I refuse the deal and offer from Shroder and Shilly. The deal was I have to say in public occupation in Iraq and Palestine is legal and normal Zionism and imperialism are not terrorist, and Islam and Arabs are enemy to humanity.”
“That was exactly what they offer me at Berlin airport after they did so many wrong things for me against any law or human rights. They attack the law and the democratic and justice and peace and humanity, because Zionism….” I had a hard time deciphering the next part but I believe he was saying that Shroder and Shilly feared that his actions would alarm or frighten Germans if he was allowed to proceed with a conference he had planned. “Then we will start hard war in all Europe,” Madi wrote. Did this mean that Shroder and Shilly feared that his conference could ignite a war or were the Zionists threatening to start a war in Europe? I was getting confused.
“Yes it was clear message from international Zionism to Shilly and Shroder, you have to ban the Arab and Islamic conference or our war will cover all Europe,” Madi wrote.
According to Madi, they stripped him of his clothes, his money and his papers and in doing so also stripped him of his “soul my heart.” Apparently this all occurred in Frankfurt where they knew “very well I am sick with diabetes and thyroid in very cold room, and they hit me on the floor and they act with me like animals.” Madi narrates that when he reached the airport at 8 am on Saturday 18 of September, “they told me at tegel airport in Berlin, my residence on my passport is valid but on computer screen it’s denied, then they take me up to the first floor to their rooms 70 police man or more around me.”
I ask them to bring a lawyer to me they refuse, I ask them to call any ambassador Arabic or Muslim they refuse, until Shilly he came and ask me to sign a paper that I agree to cancel the conference and to agree that Palestinian and Iraqi ppl are not normal ppl (people?) and to say also that Zionism are not terrorism, then the General Chief of US security in Europe he came also to share Shilly deal and investigation with 2 guys from Mossad agent, all the picture was clear to me that time.
“Nobody will help me and nobody is allow(ed) to talk with me and nobody has any right to claim all what they did to me in Berlin airport 12 hrs from 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday 18 of September 2004 the dark day in Europe law and humanity. They didn’t find any single paper or item or any things belong to terrorist in my baggage and my home and my office till the lady from llandeseinwohneramt (Is this the name of a German office?) Berlin came in the room where I am arrested and she say to me, ‘Madi you defense the resistance of Iraqi and Palestine, you are against what you called terrorism of Zionism and imperialism. You are against what you called terrorism of US and Zionism, and you want to end the occupation in Iraq and Palestine is that right?
“I say, yes. Then she say to me ok for all those reasons you are not allow(ed) to stay in Germany and I will cancel your residence now even (though) you are married with German wife and you have open residence here. I ask her to bring any lawyer she say you no rights here noting at all you are animal. Then she takes my Qoran from my hand and she put it under her feet.
“Yes this is the democratic and justice of Germany. What I say here is documented and all papers are with my lawyer now. Will after all you stay silence or you have to do something to protect the last wall of human rights in this world. Yes or no? I believe god will never leave me alone. I will continue my struggle with my ppl in Palestine and Iraq."
So was this a hoax or for real? I typed the name Fadi Madi into a Google search and came up with many documents written in German. Unfortunately I neither read nor write in German so was dependent on the services of the Google translator:
A planned Arab-Islamic conference in Berlin (Germany) provided in the last weeks for much eddy. Also the nebula paths reported on it. Politics: Panic under citizen of Berlin politicians in the meantime was pushed away the main supervisor of the meeting, Fadi Madi, in Berlin living a Lebanese, into Lebanon. Thus the remaining do not seem to be supervisor inside the conference any more able to bring the meeting over the stage. ‘Who recognizes as foreign citizens not the laws of our country and from the soil of the Federal Republic out against other states rushes and terrorist attacks approves, is its right to stay incurred the loss’, said the Senator of the Interiors of the German Land of the Federal Republic Berlin Dr. Ehrhart Koerting (SPD) of the press."
Clearly Fadi Madi did exist and though this scrambled translation of the on-site text was ludicrous it appeared that the thrust of the article was to tell the other side of the story Madi had emailed me. I wondered why efforts to stage a conference had gotten him deported. Clearly, if he were a terrorist, he wouldn’t hold a conference, I reasoned. Can you imagine Osama Bin Laden or the Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi advertising an international conference on Islamic Jihad, and then showing up to act as moderator? My God, what a triumph for George Bush, and just before the election too!! He’d spring the net, and catch the quarry with nary a shot fired!
But who was Madi and what was his real intent? Was Madi merely a guy with an idea and $20 in his pocket who got local officials riled or was he a major player trying to stimulate open discussion on what he believed to be an important issue, namely resistance to oppression of the Islamic and Arab people? Resistance can take many forms, many quite legal and non-violent, such as peace vigils, international boycotts and divestment strategies. Other forms are protected under international law and might legitimately mirror violent actions committed by the French and Jewish resistance fighters against Nazi Germany during WW II.
According to what Madi had sent me he had made a difference on at least one front and had helped secure the release of Japanese citizens taken hostage in Iraq. If this were so wouldn’t he be hailed a hero and treated with respect? Throwing in the word “Japanese” into the Google search along with the words “Fadi Madi” I happened upon this text:
Friends all over the world,
Thank you very much for your support. I have just received the news that our three friends are released in Baghdad. They have been detained by resistance fighters from last Thursday in Iraq.
I believe that we, Japanese peace activists, must continue our fight against US occupation.
First of all we must demand to stop the massacre in Falluja. And also we must demand Japanese government to pull back troops immediately from Iraq.
As you know, two other Japanese, a photo journalist and a NGO worker, were kidnapped today in Baghdad. I ask your help for them too. They are also our friends.
I must say thank you especially to friend Fadi Madi and to friend Ayse Berktay. Your effort save the lives of our friends. Thank you again to all.
Osamu Yomono [Japan Confederation of Railway Workers’ Unions]"
Clearly, Fadi Madi was a hero at least in the eyes of the Japanese he had helped save. So why was Germany so incensed? Perhaps the title planned for the conference had stirred officialdom in Germany against him. “International Movement against American and Zionist Globalization and Supremacy” seemed straightforward enough to me. Perhaps the words “against” and “supremacy” were the keys to the uproar, inferring that certain Americans and Zionists were somehow in cahoots for world control and domination and that being against such a movement might be viewed as politically correct. That could be interpreted, by some, as promoting anti-Americanism and anti-Semitisms to boot.
Perhaps members of the German government wonder how any right thinking person could possibly be against the global spread of Zionism. Perhaps they don’t read the news and failed to note the recent incursion of Zionist forces in Gaza where a thirteen year old girl was shot 20 times, to the point where she was decapitated, and where Zionist snipers had blown the brains out of a child sitting at her grammar school desk and days later another child was shot by a sniper in the stomach at school and later died. In fact in the weeks of Israel’s “Days of Penance” 110 adults and 30 children were slaughtered by Zionist forces and those stats are merely from a report focusing on the Gaza Strip. During the same period, Zionist troops were bulldozing homes and killing unarmed people of all ages in Nablus, Jenin and at other sites throughout Palestine. And exactly what sort of people line up to support such brutal behavior, I wonder?
Meanwhile in Iraq as “Freedom is on the March” to quote George Bush, the country is in chaos and Iraqis are treated no better than their Palestinian cousins, perhaps worse. The leaders of the American forces have no compunction against whole-sale slaughter as they wage total war on Iraqi cities and villages. After all Freedom comes at a price – death to the natives and our war-weary reservists and an up-tick in oil prices is a small price to pay as we secure Iraqi resources on behalf of Israeli connected Neo-Con policy makers and their oil company cronies. Oh yes, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently reported that not only have the high precision tools used to make nuclear bombs gone missing in Iraq, satellite images showed that entire buildings - where tools that could make nuclear bombs were stored- have been dismantled and neither the interim government nor the U.S. appeared to have noticed despite our stated concern for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Someone must know something but isn’t talking because the real terrorists, the underworld-underbelly of outrageous profit masked as legitimate corporations are really directing what’s going on. Perhaps a clue to the identity of these actors might be found if the CIA or FBI or some other responsible party turned up whoever is holding the missing billions of taxpayer’s money meant to be spent on providing sufficient armor for our troops and on nation-building in Iraq. But instead since our Shock and Awe pre-emptive strike to root out the Terrorists, borders that were once secured by the disreputable Saddam Hussein are now as porous as a sieve allowing al-Qaeda and others bent on murder and mayhem easy access to the country. Good going, Dubya.
Meanwhile back in Palestine, Zionist forces funded by America must be careful not to appear Nazi-like in their hurry to cleanse Palestinians from the Promised Land. The next thing you know, some anti-Semite or other might be screaming Holocaust after adding up the millions of Palestinians dead and wounded from nearly six decades of Israeli assault, depredations and enforced starvation, dehydration and confinement. Mr. President, is Freedom on the March, or Fascism?
Back to Fadi Madi, I finally came across a story written in English. In an article entitled, “Germany Deports Organizer of Islamic Conference,” the Voice of America reported on September 20, 2004 that the three-day meeting planned by Mr. Madi was billed as “the first Arab, Islamic Congress in Europe.”
“The meeting’s web site calls for ‘the liberation of all the occupied territories and countries in the struggle against the American-Zionist hegemony and occupation,’” the VOA reported. “Two days ago, Germany’s foreign ministry said it will deny a visa to anyone seeking to attend the conference. Officials have said they want to ban the meeting, but cannot until there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing.” An Associated Press report provided additional information, “The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights group, had called on Germany to ban the meeting.”
If Fadi Madi was calling for Islamic Jihad such as beheadings and an increase in suicide bombings, the convention web site failed to note this. According to the Daily Star, the conference Madi was organizing aimed “at encouraging Arabs and Muslims living under U.S.-led occupation in Iraq and under Israeli occupation of Arab land to resist, but does not explicitly call for violence.”
“The Web site for the conference posts the declaration of what it calls the Berlin Call 2004, describing American and Israeli occupation of Arab land as terrorist and barbaric,” Cilina Nasser, the reporter for the Daily Star stated. “We say a clear and loud ‘no’ to colonialism, slavery, Zionism, racism, imperialism and American hegemony,” said the Call. “We say a clear and loud ‘yes’ to the liberation of all occupied territories and countries struggling against the American-Zionist hegemony and occupation,” it added.
“Although the statement mentions a call for establishing a ‘worldwide popular resistance movement for freedom and independence and for a just peace,’ it does not specify the methods of such a resistance and whether it supports a military campaign to fulfill its goals. The Call also aims at establishing an Islamic-European dialogue to secure and strengthen the rights of Arab and Muslim communities in Europe,” Nasser wrote.
So Germany, which I have been led to believe is a democracy similar to the USA that upholds citizen rights to free speech, couldn’t place an outright ban on the conference, at least not initially, but did the next best thing… tossed the organizer out, gave him the boot, permanently.
Later that weekend, I forgot about Madi and his troubles and attended a three-day Palestinian Film Festival in Northampton, Massachusetts that was a spectacular success. There I watched film after film which graphically depicted the horror visited upon the people of Palestine by their neighbor and occupier, Israel. But several films also offered insight into the injustice towards the Arab citizens within Israel, the so-called only democracy in the Middle East. Even Jews who are Semite rather than Caucasian Ashkenazi don’t escape the ugly face of racism in Israel. In Route 181, Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel (Co-directed by Palestinian Michel Khleifi and Israeli Eyal Sivan 2003), the documentary follows the original borders established by the United Nations Resolution 181 (56% of the territory was attributed to the Jewish minority while 43% was given to the Arab majority, with a small central area given over to international supervision) which Israel violated during Al Nakba in 1948 when Zionist forces gobbled up an additional 32% of Palestine.
In the film Route 181, a Moroccan Jew recounts the joy she had felt in her true homeland, Morocco, how the Arabs had sheltered them, saving their lives as the Nazis scoured the country in search of Jews to kill. Many of the Non-Ashkenazi Israeli Jews spoke of disappointments with their lives in Israel so much so that they wished they had stayed in Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia or Iraq. One woman explained that in Israel they were derided and referred to as “Brooms,” whose purpose was to help clean out the Arab population and how in general they were treated like second class citizens though they were Jewish.
But the documentary which most revealed the deep racism and outrageous treatment by Israel of the native Arab Israeli citizens is the film Citizen Bishara (Directed by Simone Bitton 2001) which features a biographical portrait of the Arab Israeli, Azmi Bishara, founder of the National Democratic Assembly and “silenced” member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). Bishara was indicted in 2001 by Israel for stating political opinions and has also been indicted for making arrangements of humanitarian visits for elderly Palestinian citizens of Israel to reunite with their refugee relatives in Syria. The documentary focuses on a period where Bishara bucked the system and ran for Prime Minister, recording his encounters with the press and his battle with bigotry as he attempted to serve as advocate for the Arab Israeli constituency which numbers 1 million citizens, or 20% of the Israeli population. In one episode, Bishara visits an unrecognized” Arab village where the government of Israel refuses to provide its Arab citizenry with electricity or running water or decent roads. In contrast, Jewish neighbors in the same village are provided with paved roads, electricity and running water.
Another fact we learn as the narration continues is that chickens owned by Jewish Israelis are provided with running water and electricity in their chicken coops. Bishara asks an Arab Israeli family and their friends what he can do for them. The male elder of the gathering spoke on their behalf, “We don’t ask for much, only equal rights with the Israeli chickens,” he pleaded sardonically.