The lies that the IDF and the Israeli propaganda machinery try desperately to force-feed to major media outlets can only be countered by the accounts of their victims.
Tag Archives: murder of civilians
Three poems from Sound Before Water have been posted on Dead Snakes. Please click THIS LINK to read them. Posting a comment (or three) will help encourage the editors to keep up their good work.
Thank you, Stephen, for making room for my work.
To remember is an attempt to piece together what can never be one again. The time, the place, the scent of flesh once beating. Today marks the invasion of Iraq. It seems the rest of the world has forgotten.
The following poems appear in my book Alien to Any Skin (UST Publishing House, 2011). Should I thank GW Bush for writing them?
Just This One
Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she
has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures
of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
The Fourth Geneva Convention
When someone says “Think about the bigger picture,”
I hide. My life has the legs of an ant. I find the resilience
of pebbles more inviting. They smooth themselves on riverbeds,
current rushing over their backs, pushing them to cling
with other pebbles or grains of sand pounded to near nothingness.
There are so many of them, too many to count. Each one
has something the others do not possess. Perhaps the thinnest streak
of brown, the sligthest indentation, the faintest crack.
Even when they are broken they are never the same. Caress
the jagged edge of this one with your index finger. Just this one.
The Day the Dead Tree Fell
years of fear
have come to this
longer than the arms of men
of foreign planes
a hollow in the ground
for a coffin
of loaded guns
all those fine veins
used to flow
November 2008 – August 2010
for the leader of invading forces
When you put your shoes on this morning,
do you remember which foot came first?
Does someone tell you when your collar gets stuck inside your shirt?
Do you let that person touch you?
What colours make your eyes stop searching?
Are those the ones you like or the ones you hate?
How many people have you met that had an extra finger
and wasn’t shy about it?
Have you ever held a firefly in your palms?
Was it warm? Were you alone?
When you close your eyes,
whose face lingers?
What was the first word you learned to write?
Did you use a pencil or a crayon or a borrowed pen?
If you had a dog, would you name it
after the person who blew up your house?
Is there something on my forehead
that only you can read?
Can you tell if someone is lying
or just scared?
Will my name be on a piece of paper?
Going Retro: The Victorious Army of Gobbledygooks Penetrates the City
“Why do they hate us? We’re setting them free!”
A foot soldier
They were expecting
sweaty hugs and kisses
from dark veiled women
and their adoring children.
Ears cocked, they anticipated the struggle
of the local band in playing
their beloved anthem,
as if it were not foreign.
But only hollow,
sporadic shouting of men
who gathered from nowhere
welcomed the forces.
The army was laden
with a quick,
craving for popular jubilation.
Instead, this caricature of a show
put on by these nowhere men.
Stick figures in the desert sun,
sure of only one thing:
Tear down the giant statue
by a previous generation
This show had been triangulated
for the world to see
moment by breathless moment
on their most trusted TV.
And then what? An awkward silence
as the statue grates to a stop,
refusing to crash down. A monologue broken
by coughing in the background, off camera.
Days later when the local population
finally came out with their voices raised,
the victorious gobbledygooks felt
strangely welcome, unable to decipher
Joy and ecstasy from utter hatred.
It is only now with proper translation
years later that we have
a clear understanding of gang rape.
It was a few years ago that this article came out: Israel recruits ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist Web sites. Prison Planet, among tons of others, mentioned it too. I only read about it today. I’m not one to quickly believe what I read. I also found THIS VIDEO.
But it seems the trolls have spawned and one discovered my blog. Last week, thudding about, spitting odd and flammable words, this troll sent me a number of “comments” in the form of lectures in “how dare you” tones because of a poem I wrote for Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer Issawi. The twisted logic could have made the most intricate pretzels, but I have given up eating pretzels when I found out that my favourite ones were made in Israel.
Here is one “comment” I received:
|Rachamim Ben Ami
Are you claiming that Israel has an institutional policy that aims to kill civilians? Let me simplify it for you. Israel kills civilians as a byproduct of legitimate military operations that seek to neutralise terrorists and their infrastructure. When Israel undertakes military operations, for example, Operation Pillar of Defence in Gaza recently, it makes hundreds of thousands of computer generated cellular phone calls warning Gazans of an impending attack and warning them to take cover. It drops tens of thousands of leaflets in targetted areas also warning civilians, it hijacks Gazan television, radio and internet to warn civilians and it Roof Knocks, drops a non-lethal shell on a targetted building. It makes a very loud sound and serves as a 10 minute warning to get out of the building. In Operation Pillar of Defence between 50 and 94 civilians died out of a population of 2.3 million who live in the most densely populated area on the planet- literally.
HAMAS on the other hand states quite clearly in its Charter that it aims to kill not only all Israelis but every Jew on the planet. Then, having expressed their intention repeatedly, they purposely attack civilians.
Do you see the difference?
I will spare you the racist remarks he threw my way. I just feel very sorry for him. He obviously loves his guns. He must sleep with at least a dozen so that when he gets woken up by the cooing of doves he can quickly silence them. I hope I don’t hurt his feelings. Such fragile creatures need a special kind of love.
Hatred and prejudice, among a lot of other things, are taught. It takes a lifetime to unlearn them. One has to start somewhere. I don’t take this comment lightly.
I always leave a door, or at least a window, open. One never knows what the next breeze may bring.
Trawling around the internet, I bumped into this image that made me laugh:
The cover-up of Bush-era crimes is taking a shocking but not unexpected turn. A fateful move has been made and it is certain to backfire.
A prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein is suddenly dead. Several weeks ago, Human Rights Watch investigators discovered the missing inmate and talked to him. He had been secretly transferred by the administration to a prison in Libya after having been held by the CIA both in secret “black hole prisons” and in Egypt.
Under conditions of extreme torture, the prisoner, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, agreed in 2002 to supply the Bush-ordered interrogators what they sought as a political cover for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq. Mr. Libi agreed to tell them whatever they wanted in exchange for an end to the torture. The now famous Torture Memos providing legal cover for the torture were written at the same time starting in the summer of 2002.
Libi’s tortured and knowingly fabricated testimony was the source of information used by Bush to sell the war to the U.S. Senate, and the source for Colin Powell’s bogus and lying presentation to the United Nations in 2003.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.
Having been discovered by human rights investigators two weeks ago, Mr. Libi’s story coincided with the release of the Torture Memos and the growing clamor for criminal prosecutions of Bush officials.
His testimony is the smoking gun that would reveal that the torture regime was not for “national security” but for the personal political aims of Bush and Cheney.
He was Exhibit A in the indictment that alleges that tortured confessions and the contrived legal justifications of torture set up by Justice Department lawyers in July/August 2002 were central to the launch of the war against Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture.
Two countries that one expects openness to most political and cultural views have shown a special narrow mindedness in the past few days.
Canada banned the British politician George Galloway and South Africa, surprise, surprise, refused a visa to the Dalai Lama. Canadians are apparently angered by their government’s actions, and the State of Israel must be having a party.
South Africans still have no idea why their supposedly democratic ANC-led government claimed that the Dalai Lama would detract from the promotion of the 2010 Soccer. I listened to the radio this morning and struggled to make sense of the sophomoric spin the spokesman for the current, temporary President was trying to mutter. Guess who’s also having a party?
Canada and South Africa are scratching the prickly backs of giants. It seems countries with atrocious human rights records against its own population and/or its neighbours need this special treatment.
One wonders what’s under the tables.
ps News just in: the new Health Minister – much admired because of her progressive stance on health issues – who spoke against the ruling party’s decision to ban the Dalai Lama has been reprimanded. Wonder what’s next.
Despite efforts to prevent ‘Viva Palestina’ from breaking a long-term blocked on the Gaza Strip the aid convoy has entered the coastal sliver.
The convoy which made its way across Europe and North Africa arrived in the besieged strip on Monday, Press TV reported.
On Sunday, several activists traveling with the group were injured after the convoy was vandalized by a number of attackers in Egypt.
British lawmaker, George Galloway, who is traveling with the convoy, said that Egyptian authorities did not protect the convoy despite their promises. “They are blocking us inside, but they don’t protect us.”
The convoy of peace activists including Press TV presenter Yvonne Ridley and film maker Hassan Ghani left London on February 14.
In the deeply spiritual film “The Willow Tree” by acclaimed director Majid Majidi, we find the lead character, a man in his forties, who has been blind since childhood about to undergo a personal journey. The last time he had seen an image of himself was at age ten. Now with his own wife and child, he regains his sight following a miraculous operation. He is instantly overjoyed by a world again made visible. And, within moments, he encounters a reflection of his aged features in the glass walls of the hospital.
Questions of faith and choice arise throughout the film as he rejoins the same people who had known him, including his own family, but whom he meets as if for the very first time. Sight becomes a new experience that introduces him to a changed world, but it also sends crashing the same world he once knew. The film culminates in a painful reawakening, a humbling down to the very core of one’s spirit.
The blindness that this sensitive film deals with is beyond the physical. It is a powerful film that quietly works its way to reveal the darkness inside us, and the light that we sometimes refuse to see.
There are many ways of going blind. Many ways of remaining in the dark.
Mainstream media – the BBC, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, and all other big corporate media – currently suffer from a particular blindness. They have chosen this affliction. They continue to ignore the historic significance of a convoy of humanitarian aid that was organized by ordinary citizens from the UK and supported by ordinary people from various countries.
How can one choose blindness to a common humanity?
Viva Palestina Email Alert
Midnight, Sunday 8th March 2009
A message from the Viva Palestina website
Viva Palestina is your story
Thirty years ago, as an 11-year-old boy, I remember eagerly awaiting 5.05pm on a Monday and Thursday for the start of Blue Peter. I, like millions of other children, was desperate for our first glimpse of the totaliser – the bright flashing lights showing us how much money we had raised between programmes for that year’s Blue Peter Appeal. The 1979 appeal, with it’s bring and buy sales, had been launched after the horrors of Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ had been exposed to the world.
And it wasn’t just children who wanted to know – the weekly total was reported on the national news and in the national papers, journalists sought out heart-warming stories of those who had given up their toys, clothes and books to help the impoverished and destitute thousands of miles away in South East Asia.
Working on the website for Viva Palestina I have had the daily task of making our own appeal totaliser reflect the generosity of another generation. Each day I’ve been overwhelmed by the scale of the donations and the stories that accompany them – of a four year old child in Manchester who emptied her piggy bank for the children of Gaza and so spurred her family into raising over £1,600; of the four girls in Torquay who baked cakes to sell at their school, of the hundreds of children in Preston who packed shoeboxes with toys and presents for other children whom they had never met. These stories have been repeated up and down the country – and they are a shining tribute to Britain at its best.
And just as in 1979 they should have been reported – shouted from the rooftops and celebrated in articles in the Sunday colour supplements.
Here was a truly incredible story – of an aid mission that in just eight weeks had galvanised community after community to create a convoy of over 100 vehicles, laden with over £1 million of aid and then driven over 5000 miles and two continents to relieve the suffering in Gaza.
And it was a movement that was created from scratch, with no full time staff – just a website, a few blogs, text messages, public meetings and a million conversations. Surely this would be worth reporting; surely this was news….
But the sad reality is that the Viva Palestina convoy, carrying the love and human solidarity from the people of Britain to the people of Gaza has been deemed un-newsworthy by nearly all of the British media.
The BBC, who next week will entreat us all to do ‘something funny for money’ in aid of Comic Relief has felt fit to mention the Convoy just three times on its website (and once hidden away in the Africa pages). The Guardian, that bastion of ‘liberal Britain’ only reported it once it thought it had the makings of a nasty little smear. The Independent showed its ‘independence’ by spiking a column by Mark Steel, which discussed Viva Palestina.
We did get media coverage from abroad – from France and Spain, Italy, Canada and a host of other countries but in Britain we had to rely on the work of a few journalists on local newspapers who still recognise a good story when they see one.
One can’t help but wonder how the national media would have responded had the convoy been headed for Darfur instead of Gaza – or had not been supported so over-whelmingly by Britain’s beleaguered Muslim community. Perhaps we may have even have made it onto Blue Peter.
Depressingly, our most prominent publicity came when nine of our convoy members were arrested in the piece of pure political theatre on the M65 – the day before the convoy departed. Yet the same media outlets, that reported the arrests with such gusto on the day of departure, chose to ignore or downgrade the news that all nine men were entirely innocent and had been released without charge. Even the terrible damage to community relations in Blackburn and Burnley resulting from these arrests was not a news-worthy topic for Britain’s ‘quality’ press.
The Viva Palestina convoy has been a remarkable achievement; it has overcome a virtual media blackout, the cynical arrests of some of its members and the refusal of banks to allow us to open accounts.
Yet despite all this we are now just a few hours away from taking our aid into Gaza. The vehicles and their contents represent the hopes of millions and the solidarity of whole communities: of families, mosques, churches and schools. Whatever happens at the Rafah crossing today – and we hope and pray for a swift and smooth crossing into Gaza – Viva Palestina has been a remarkable story.
It is a story that has only just begun. Its first chapter lasted just one hectic month from an inspired idea hatched by George Galloway in early January to the departure on Valentine’s Day in London’s Hyde Park. Its second chapter, the journey itself, is almost over and we hope it will soon be told in a film, report back meetings and, it has been suggested, perhaps a book as well.
The story will now continue into its third chapter with the distribution of the convoy’s aid and the purchase and delivery of even more – from water-purification systems for schools and neighbourhoods to a field hospital and medical equipment for the injured, tents for the homeless and much more. Convoy members will return with the names of clinics, schools and communities with which to twin their local communities in Britain.
If our media, whose own cynicism has been so badly exposed by their silence, continue to write Viva Palestina out of the news then we must do all we can to spread the news ourselves. We have shown that what ordinary people do can make a real difference – and perhaps that is what the editors and news-chiefs hate most of all. Or maybe we just didn’t have enough celebrities driving the fire engine!
So in the quiet moments before the crossing I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard for this project. Those who collected the aid, sorted it, packed it and filled the vehicles; those who donated online – from over thirty five countries across the globe – and who filled the collecting tins and buckets; the drivers with their legendary endurance and those who found time to blog their stories; the local newspaper journalists who reported the convoy and the journalists who wrote stories that their editors refused to print: to the people who sent in their pictures and video clips to the website – and finally to Farid Arada who kept us all up to date with his daily reports on the convoy’s location. The Viva Palestina story is your story.
The investigative journalist John Pilger, who broke the news of Cambodia’s ‘killing fields’ three decades ago, has made a film called ‘Palestine is still the issue’ – and he is right. The convoy story is but one bright spark in the ongoing tragedy of Palestine and its courageous people. The issue remains to be resolved but Viva Palestina has taken us one step closer to a solution – a solution based on solidarity, co-operation and love.
Viva Palestina website
Its heartbeat is not human.
Its gaze is cold, distant.
It flies above the clouds,
even in daylight, almost without sound.
It keeps its brain in a box
far away from its victims.
It listens to voices
in different frequencies,
voices of the soon to be dead.
Its presence is forever denied
even as it leaves
a trail of death and destruction.
Pray it does not hear
your most silent whisper.