Friday, 19 December 2014
Saturday, 6 December 2014
This is a Fifteen Minute video about Gaza, seen through the perspective of the Art Exhibition that I brought back in 2009. I hope it gives you the motivation to "do Resistance". Everything else is wasting time, don't you think?
Monday, 6 October 2014
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Why has Israel banned half-starved women from modelling?
Because it gave the Palestinians too many job opportunities.
Please Give support in any way you can to Hana Shalabi, who is on hunger strike and close to death:
She has not been charged with any offence, but is held in detention, and is reported to be determined to continue with her fast. She said "Freedom is even more precious and more powerful than their cells"
PSC asks you to write to the Foreign Office as well.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
When Hamas won the January 2006 election in Palestine, but were not allowed to take power, they eventually formed a power sharing government with Abbas' Fatah and some deals for practical implementation of the unitary government were put in place. One of these deals was that 'security' in Gaza would be put under the control of the Government in a unified force, rather than the collection of private militias that had existed since Arafat's time. These militia, you may recall, were responsible for kidnappings, including the BBC journalist Alan Johnson. A quick search of the BBC for "Johnson Gaza" brings up Jul 2004 - 'This weekend a string of high profile kidnappings and fighting...' April 2003 - 'Dahlan says he will disarm other militias by force if necessary', and so on. Johnson was captured on March 12th 2007 by the Dogmush clan, another fearsome tribe that had been allowed to run wild whilst Dahlan was head of security in Gaza under Arafat and then Abbas.
The reason for the kidnap at a time when Hamas looked certain to beat Dahlan, seems to have been an excuse to bring in International - ie Israeli - forces against Hamas, who had been fighting Dahlan as part of their mission to unify security, agreed as part of the coalition settlement. Dahlan was supposed to slot into the Hamas Parliamentary chain of command, but that was never going to happen after Israel - who preferred Gaza split, unstable, corrupt and divided - gave him a boatload of arms, and in the end the fighting became very bloody, but Hamas 'won'. Dahlan fled to the West Bank, where he was found a job in Tony Blair's re-organisations, but that spelt the end of any Hamas input there, as a wave of arrests of Hamas activists by Abbas, and Hamas MPs by Israel, took place.
So, the removal of Dangerous Dahlan is bravery by Abbas beyond what I would have considered possible. Does that make Abbas weak or strong? The BBC quotes him as under pressure, which he is, but I see this as poke in the eye for Israel, and a statement of independence from Abu Mazan (Abbas).
In Israeli eyes Abbas has been behaving strangely lately: he's refused to obey Israel slavishly, he insists on the settlement ban, and by removing Dahlan, he may actually be clearing the way for a dialogue with Hamas. So, as with Arafat, Israel'd want to get rid of him, so the coup charge against Dahlan looks realistic. And therefore getting rid of Dahlan is very brave, and a smack in the teeth for Netanyahu, isn't it? Well, I've always been a glass half full man, because otherwise I'd have to cut my wrists, it's so depressing, so let's look at the picture in the round.
Abbas had not folded in his demand for a settlement moratorium, he has a plan B (declare an independent state of Palestine) to go forward diplomatically in the face of Israeli Intransigence which is meeting with some success, and he has just got rid of the one man that Hamas would want him to, opening the way for genuine dialogue. He is now in a position where he can be a little bit generous to Hamas - even if Israel will portray that as weakness. A united front will be important to get a first ever Security Council Resolution against Israel's brutality, and then the Gaza Boats will be on the seas again in May, again with a powerful Turkish presence making it hard for Israel to sustain the Gaza blockade AND any credibility as a peace-loving state. Obama doesn't have to do anything, he just has to sit on his hands, and let it all happen. I think Abbas thinks he can actually achieve something, and I hope he's right.
Here's the BBC article in full; what a shame that it doesn't seem to feel it necessary to tell us Dahlan's blood-stained history:
- Palestinians pursue 'Plan B' after failed talks
- Profile: Fatah Palestinian movement
- Young leaders dominate Fatah vote
Thursday, 2 September 2010
In 2007, in the next world cup, without Barakat's support, and with West Bank pressures, they lost their pre-qualification match with Singapore, at 'home' in Qatar, and failed to show up for the return leg in Singapore, probably because of Israel visa issues, but also shortage of money and organising ability. The Pal FA failed to organise Palestinian TV coverage of the Singapore game, and failed to inform Al Jazeera (in Qatar!) or to make the most of Al Jazeera's coverage when I accidentally organised it for them following a fortuitous meeting in my hotel. I presented a shirt from Blackburn Rovers, but the Pals insisted that it be off camera, thus alienating Blackburn who were looking to build support in the Middle East, and also failing to get the important message, that they have friends in the West, out to their supporters. What was the explanation for this behaviour? I don't know, but it didn't help the team, and if the President thought it helped his position with Israel or the West Bank Fatah Government, he was mistaken. It just made it easy for him to be replaced.
Unlucky FA! Since his appointment, many foreign players, such as Chile's Roberto Kettlun, that were so prominent in Palestine's dramatic progress towards the 2006 world cup, when they beat Taipei 8-0, have not been recalled, even when they request it, and some are now being recruited by Jordan instead. Conversely, however, Jordan has pressured the Palestine FA not to recruit Jordan based Palestinians (70% of Jordan citizens) and the Palestine FA appear to have agreed. A recent story concerns two Croats, the Sharbini Brothers, called up for the Singapore qualifier in 2007, but too frightened by death threats in Croatia to leave at that time, but who have not been recalled subsequently even though they have signalled a willingness to be so. One has been approached by Croatia, but both seem likely to play for Jordan, who has also approached them. The team is thus being downgraded to a non-threatening position, although they were scheduled to play a friendly against a league side in Belgium last year, but I'm not sure if it happened. There are plenty of UK clubs that would play them if the UK FA could be persuaded to invite them, but there is a strong link with the Israel FA in London, both officially and by Zionist individuals in senior positions.
And so the Israelis will strut the International stage, while the football mad Palestinians languish at 171 out of 207, positioned above the Comoros Islands and Somalia, their only scheduled fixtures being friendlies against Yemen away (played in Amman) and Iraq at home (played in Amman, despite FIFA promises about their home stadium). They have previously drawn with Mauritania, Sudan and the UAE, lost to China 3-1, and to Iraq 3-0, then 4-0
Interesting and co-incidental that England's first game in its new Wembley stadium was against Israel. And while I have been writing this, Israel have beaten Malta 3-1. A hat trick by Yossi Benayoun, ex Liverpool, now Chelsea player. Well Done, how the Premier league has improved your play! What a shame that the UK Premier league will never be allowed to employ Ramzi, the 65 times capped Palestine keeper. I don't how many of Benayoun's goals he would have saved, but I do know that he would give his life for the opportunity to be allowed to try.
Monday, 12 July 2010
When a Massacre is not a Massacre
When a truth is not a truth
I don't write poems but, in any case, poems are not poems.
Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine;
I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians;
They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing.
And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me
that they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance.
And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation
they benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not arrogance,
oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not humiliation.
I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
But they told me that they were experts in misery, racism, inhumanity and concentration camps
and I have to take their word for it:
this was not misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
Over the years they've taught me so many things:
invasion was not invasion, occupation was not occupation,
colonialism was not colonialism and apartheid was not apartheid.
They opened my simple mind to even more complex truths that my poor brain could not on its own compute like:
"having nuclear weapons" was "not having nuclear weapons,"
"not having weapons of mass destruction" was "having weapons of mass destruction."
And, democracy (in the Gaza Strip) was not democracy.
Having second class citizens (in Israel) was democracy.
So you'll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today
that there were more things that I thought were evident that are not:
peace activists are not peace activists, piracy is not piracy,
the massacre of unarmed people is not the massacre of unarmed people.
I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited.
And they're so fucking intelligent. Really.
By Ghassan Hage, professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne.