End the Siege of Gaza! March on Washington, D.C., June 6 April 29, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Uncategorized.
Tags: crime against humanity, gaza, gaza march, gaza massacre, gaza rally, gaza rubble, gaza siege, israel bombing, israel massacre, israeli occupation, Palestine, roger hollander, solidarity palestine, War Crimes
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Solidarity Day on the 42nd Anniversary of Israel’s seizure of Gaza
RALLY & MARCH
Saturday, June 6
(14th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW)
Saturday, June 6 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Israeli seizure of Gaza. Organizations and individuals in solidarity with the people of Palestine will be taking to the streets once again to demand: End the Siege of Gaza!
The world looked on in horror this past winter as Israel mercilessly starved and bombed the people of Gaza, killing around 1,200 Palestinians (at least a third of whom were children). The Arab world now refers to the dark days from the end of December to mid-January “The Gaza Massacre.” Although the mainstream media no longer focuses on Gaza, the suffering continues there nonetheless. Using the pretext of combating terrorism, Israel has refused to allow in even one truckload of cement into Gaza. In other words, the city that was reduced to rubble still lies in rubble today.All these months later, people are still living in tents and are scarcely able to secure the necessities of life.
People of conscience around the world continue to raise their voices in outrage at this crime against humanity, and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza. We will also stand for all Palestinian people’s inalienable right to return to their homes from which they were evicted. Let your voice be heard — join us Saturday, June 6, at 12 noon at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC (14th St. and Pennsylvania NW).
Sponsoring organizations include ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) and more!
Contact us at (202) 544-3389 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
Tags: African Americans, afro-american leadership, black lawyers, black leadership, crime against humanity, discrimination, durban I, durban ii, geneva conference racism, genocide, glen ford, israeli racism, katrina, nsc, president obama, racism, roger hollander, samantha power, slave trade, slavery, transatlantic slave trade, zionism
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Where’s Rev. Wright When You Need Him? April 20, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Foreign Policy, Racism.
Tags: Afghanistan, anita hill, Barack Obama, black agenda report, chris hedges, clarence thomas, crime against humanity, durban I, gaza, geneva, genocide, glen ford, Iraq, israel war criemes, jeremiah wright, pakistan, racism, roger hollander, slave trade, slavery, slavery reparations, torture, u.s. war crimes, world conference against racism
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Published on Monday, April 20, 2009 by TruthDig.com
“The Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute CIA and Bush administration officials for the use of torture because it wants to look to the future is easy to accept if you were never tortured. The decision not to confront slavery and the continued discrimination against African-Americans is easy to accept if your ancestors were not kidnapped, crammed into slave ships, denied their religion and culture, deprived of their language, stripped of their names, severed from their families and forced into generations of economic misery. The decision not to discuss the genocide of Native Americans is easy if your lands were not stolen and your people driven into encampments and slaughtered. The doctrine of pre-emptive war and illegal foreign occupation is easy to accept if you are not a Palestinian, an Iraqi or an Afghan. ”
Israel and the United States, which could be charged under international law with crimes against humanity for actions in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan, will together boycott the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. Racism, an endemic feature of Israeli and American society, is not, we have decided, open for international inspection. Barack Obama may be president, but the United States has no intention of accepting responsibility or atoning for past crimes, including the use of torture, its illegal wars of aggression, slavery and the genocide on which the country was founded. We, like Israel, prefer to confuse lies we tell about ourselves with fact.
The Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute CIA and Bush administration officials for the use of torture because it wants to look to the future is easy to accept if you were never tortured. The decision not to confront slavery and the continued discrimination against African-Americans is easy to accept if your ancestors were not kidnapped, crammed into slave ships, denied their religion and culture, deprived of their language, stripped of their names, severed from their families and forced into generations of economic misery. The decision not to discuss the genocide of Native Americans is easy if your lands were not stolen and your people driven into encampments and slaughtered. The doctrine of pre-emptive war and illegal foreign occupation is easy to accept if you are not a Palestinian, an Iraqi or an Afghan.
|“The Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute CIA and Bush administration officials for the use of torture because it wants to look to the future is easy to accept if you were never tortured.”|
To victims of oppression, the past is never over. It is not even past. Trauma, suffering and discrimination do not afford them that luxury. Generations bear the scars of whips and chains. They carry heavy physical and psychological burdens. And these burdens do not disappear when someone glibly decides to look to the future.
The conference in Geneva will discuss racism and continued segregation around the world, including in America, where African-Americans remain the nation’s underclass. In addressing slavery, it will raise the issue of reparations, something we deem appropriate for Jewish victims of the Holocaust but not for African-Americans. And it will seek to force all nations to confront injustices they would rather keep hidden. But we are not ready to look.
The Obama administration at first refused to participate in the preliminary negotiations for the conference, chaired by Russia, Iran and Libya. It then agreed to attend for one week. It demanded the removal of references to Israel in the document outlining the goals of the conference. The references were removed. It also demanded other insidious changes, as Vernellia R. Randall, a University of Dayton Ohio law professor, pointed out. The Obama administration asked that the call for reparations for African-Americans be expunged. It insisted that the description of the transatlantic slave trade as “a crime against humanity” be cut. And it demanded the elimination of a call to strengthen the U.N. “Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent,” which deals with the African diaspora.
The document, however, ratified “Durban I,” which was the concluding document of the first World Conference Against Racism, held in South Africa in 2001. The 2001 document included a harsh condemnation of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians. And this, finally, proved too much for Washington.
“Barack Obama knows full well that he risks nothing by disrespecting African Americans at will,” wrote Glen Ford, the executive editor of The Black Agenda Report. “Across the Black political spectrum, so-called leadership seems incapable of shame or of taking manly or womanly offense at even the most blatant insults to Black people when the source of the affront is Barack Hussein Obama.”
The United States, which has a museum to the Jewish Holocaust in Washington but has never found the moral courage to officially atone for its role in slavery and the genocide of Native Americans, perpetuates a disturbing historical amnesia. Our national myth and deification of the Founding Fathers studiously preclude an examination of the bloody conquest, open racism, misogyny, elitism and brutality that led to the country’s establishment and that fester like an open wound.
We failed to fully participate in every world conference on racism, including those held in 1978, 1983 and 2001. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his delegation during the 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, walked out because of what the Americans termed “Israel-bashing.”
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on April 13, 2003, gave a 40-minute sermon called “Confusing God and Government.” Only a clip from the sermon-the phrase “God Damn America”-made it onto the airwaves. It was repeated in endless loops on cable news channels and used to turn Wright into a pariah. Obama denounced his former pastor. The rest of the sermon, and especially the context in which the phrase was used, was ignored. Obama would be a better president if he listened to voices like Wright’s and listened less to his pollsters and advisers.
The sermon was a cry from those who cannot forget what white and privileged Americans-as well as, now, the Obama administration-want us to ignore. It was a reminder that there are two narratives of America. And until these narratives converge, until we all accept the truth of our past, justice will never be done. We will continue until then to speak in two irreconcilable languages, one that acknowledges the pain of the past and seeks atonement and one that does not. We will continue to be two Americas.
“This government lied about their belief that all men were created equal,” Wright told his congregation. “The truth is they believed that all white men were created equal. The truth is they did not even believe that white women were created equal, in creation nor civilization. The government had to pass an amendment to the Constitution to get white women the vote. Then the government had to pass an equal rights amendment to get equal protection under the law for women. The government still thinks a woman has no rights over her own body, and between Uncle Clarence [Thomas], who sexually harassed Anita Hill, and a closeted Klan court that is a throwback to the 19th century, handpicked by Daddy Bush, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, between Clarence and that stacked court, they are about to undo Roe vs. Wade, just like they are about to undo affirmative action. The government lied in its founding documents and the government is still lying today. Governments lie.”
” … When it came to treating the citizens of African descent fairly, America failed,” he said. “She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters. Put them on auction blocks. Put them in cotton fields. Put them in inferior schools. Put them in substandard housing. Put them in scientific experiments. Put them in the lowest-paying jobs. Put them outside the equal protection of the law. Kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness.
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ Naw, naw, naw. Not God Bless America. God Damn America! That’s in the Bible. For killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God Damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is Supreme.”
There will be no delegation from the United States at the U.N. conference on racism. Not this year. Maybe not for several years. But the day will come, I hope, when justice will finally conquer hate, when the truth will allow us to speak as one nation. We can, on that day, send a delegation led by the Rev. Wright as part of reconciliation.
Rape is cheaper than bullets February 24, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, War, Women.
Tags: advertising, Amnesty International, anti-rape, bosnia, Congo, crime against humanity, heather harvey, herzegovina, rape, roger hollander, sexual assault, sexual violence, systematic rape, United Nations, violence against women, war, war crime, women's rights
Heather Harvey, www.guardian.co.uk
Tuesday 24 February 2009 15.30 GMT
Amnesty’s latest campaign about sexual violence being used as a weapon of war may be offensive. But at least it’ll make us think
This morning I received a text message from a friend who was on her way to work. It read: “Am just in the tube and there’s a really offensive poster up there but it says its Amnesty – do you know anything about it? It says ‘Rape is cheaper than bullets’.”
I quickly replied saying yes, it was an Amnesty International advertisement launched this week, and if it’s offensive then that is nothing compared to what hundreds of thousands of women and girls are suffering in conflict zones around the world.
The new Bullet ads that are appearing across the London Underground network over the next few weeks are designed to make passengers stop and think about some of the real horrors faced by women and girls. They’re meant to be provocative, because people are either immune or ignorant to the abuses that occur in global conflicts on a regular basis.
In previous and present wars, such as in Bosnia and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, rape and sexual violence are regularly used, and frequently the perpetrators go unpunished.
In the DRC’s troubled region of North Kivu, we are told that more than 2,200 cases of rape and sexual violence were reported in the first six months of 2008. Of these only 150 cases were heard in court, and in only one case was the perpetrator found guilty; that’s one out of 2,200.
Sexual violence against women isn’t unique to the DRC conflict.
The UN estimates that between 20,000 and 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-5 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Systematic rape is a crime against humanity. Even one rape during conflict is in fact defined as a war crime, although it is rarely treated as such.
If authorities fail to investigate and prosecute acts of rape in wartime, it will have an impact on the stability of the region once the fighting has stopped. Rape can cause entire communities to flee in terror, freeing up land and resources that are being disputed and ethnically reshaping whole societies. It can also destabilise a community by destroying family units.
The women who are raped regularly suffer horrific brutality, mutilation and violation. Frequently they pick themselves up and carry on but they are usually abandoned, ostracised, stigmatised and blamed for the rape they have suffered.
Meanwhile men turn away from the women in disgust and shame and blame them for their rape, as their ability to protect their family is called into question.
The legacy lasts for years and across generations with the whole community irrevocably displaced, damaged and broken and unlikely to recover for a long time.
In fact this act can produce a similar result as the one that is sought through the use of conventional weaponry but at a much smaller financial cost.
Various resolutions passed at the United Nations Security Council have acknowledged the impact of sexual violence against women in conflict. But they mean nothing if they’re not enforced on the ground.
More has to be done to protect these women from these atrocious acts. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks more people will be stirred into action by the Amnesty ad. After all, it’s not the ad that’s offensive – it’s the truth portrayed that should offend us.
Our myopic view of Gaza conflict January 8, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Media, War.
Tags: arab, blockade, Canada, collateral damage, conservatives, crime against humanity, gaza, hamas, haroon siddiqui, israel, lebanon, Muslims, Palestine, palestinian civilians, regugee camps, Richard Falk, roger hollander, Stephen Harper, United Nations
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Toronto Star, January 8, 2009
I was holidaying in India when the Israeli onslaught on Gaza began Dec. 27.
There were banner headlines coupled with editorial outrage in the Urdu media, the language of Muslims, and dispassionate but balanced coverage in the English media and the regional language newspapers.
Across the Arab Middle East, Al-Jazeera and others were providing one-sided, wall-to-wall coverage of death and destruction in Gaza.
Travelling through Europe, one could appreciate the powerful reporting and commentary, which conveyed the scale of the tragedy, without crossing the line into propaganda for either side.
It didn’t take long upon landing here to be reminded how much the political and media establishment – in the U.S. and, lately, Canada as well – are divorced from reality.
The Stephen Harper Conservatives, as well as many editorialists and pundits, seem to inhabit a make-believe world into which no inconvenient facts are allowed to intrude.
Their mantra is that Israel has a right to defend itself, has to protect its citizens from Hamas rockets, and had to retaliate for the breaking of the ceasefire by Hamas Dec. 19.
True. But deprived of other truths, this performs the desired magic of absolving Israel of any culpability.
According to this view, hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women and children and seniors, being bombed and shelled to death in schools – even clearly marked United Nations schools – mosques, refugee camps, streets and homes are acceptable collateral damage.
Few tears need be shed, especially since Hamas is to blame, anyway.
There’s amnesia about the brutal 40-year-old occupation.
There’s nary a mention that in Israeli military operations in 2008, 420 Palestinians had been killed prior to Dec. 28 vs. five Israelis, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights body,
And Israel’s crippling economic blockade had prompted the UN special rapporteur Richard Falk to say on Dec. 9 that Israel’s collective punishments amounted to “a crime against humanity,” and that the International Criminal Court ought to investigate whether Israeli leaders and military commanders should be indicted.He noted that the last time there had been “such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN officials” was during the reign of the apartheid government in South Africa.
On Nov. 21, the chief of UN Relief and Works Agency, Karen Abu Zayd, said supplies had run out. She reported “a chronic anemia problem” and “the stunting of children.”
All this was long before the latest carnage, which foreign journalists have been prevented from witnessing. Dead, as of yesterday, were 650 Gazans, a fifth of them civilians.
What our political and media establishment are telling us is this:
Israel must not be provoked but the Palestinians can be.
The trauma suffered by Israelis in the border area along Gaza is not acceptable. But 60 per cent of 1.5 million Gazans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is.
Israeli politicians, facing an election Feb. 10, have to be sensitive to electoral concerns, but Palestinians elected in a fair election Jan. 2006 must be isolated and jailed.
There’s an equivalency between Hamas’s handmade, ill-targeted rockets and the lethal hi-tech Israeli arsenal, some of it of American origin.
Palestinians must pay heed to Israeli/American/Canadian demands but Israel may ignore calls for a ceasefire by the UN, the European Union and even allies France, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Israeli lives matter, Arab ones don’t. In fact, it is worth prolonging the bloodshed in Gaza, as in Lebanon in 2006, to allow Israel time to achieve one or two more of its objectives. Arab blood is cheap.
“Unfortunately, all this plays into the hands of those Palestinians and Arabs, and more generally, Muslims, who say, `the West is against us because of who we are and is engaged in a civilizational war against us,’” says Jim Reilly, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto.
“If we include Iraq and Afghanistan, it reinforces the message of Al Qaeda and co-thinkers that they are waging war against a predatory and rapacious enemy.
“All this makes it that much harder for us to argue back against the militants and the zealots.”
Haroon Siddiqui’s column appears Thursday and Sunday.
Israel’s ‘Crime Against Humanity’ December 15, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East.
Tags: crime against humanity, egypt, gaza, gaza strip, gazan children, geneva convention, hamas, humanitarian catastrophe, International law, israel, israeli blockade, jerusalem, jewish settlements, Palestine, Richard Falk, roger hollander, warsaw ghetto, west bank
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Dec 15, 2008
|AP photo / Hatem Moussa|
By Chris Hedges
Israel’s siege of Gaza, largely unseen by the outside world because of Jerusalem’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid workers, reporters and photographers access to Gaza, rivals the most egregious crimes carried out at the height of apartheid by the South African regime. It comes close to the horrors visited on Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs. It has disturbing echoes of the Nazi ghettos of Lodz and Warsaw.
“This is a stain on what is left of Israeli morality,” I was told by Richard N. Veits, the former U.S. ambassador to Jordan who led a delegation from the Council on Foreign Relations to Gaza to meet Hamas leaders this past summer. “I am almost breathless discussing this subject. It is so myopic. Washington, of course, is a handmaiden to all this. The Israeli manipulation of a population in this manner is comparable to some of the crimes that took place against civilian populations fifty years ago.”
The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, calls what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza “a crime against humanity.” Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”
Falk, while condemning the rocket attacks by the militant group Hamas, which he points out are also criminal violations of international law, goes on to say that “such Palestinian behavior does not legalize Israel’s imposition of a collective punishment of a life- and health-threatening character on the people of Gaza, and should not distract the U.N. or international society from discharging their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people.”
“It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of their health,” Falk said when I reached him by phone in California shortly before he left for Israel. “This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people without the will to live. Over 50 percent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live.”
Gaza now spends 12 hours a day without power, which can be a death sentence to the severely ill in hospitals. There are few drugs and little medicine, including no cancer or cystic fibrosis medication. Hospitals have generators but often lack fuel. Medical equipment, including one of Gaza’s three CT scanners, has been destroyed by power surges and fluctuations. Medical staff cannot control the temperature of incubators for newborns. And Israel has revoked most exit visas, meaning some of those who need specialized care, including cancer patients and those in need of kidney dialysis, have died. Of the 230 Gazans estimated to have died last year because they were denied proper medical care, several spent their final hours at Israeli crossing points where they were refused entry into Israel. The statistics gathered on children—half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 17—are increasingly grim. About 45 percent of children in Gaza have iron deficiency from a lack of fruit and vegetables, and 18 percent have stunted growth.
“It is macabre,” Falk said. “I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.”
“There is no structure of an occupation that endured for decades and involved this kind of oppressive circumstances,” the rapporteur added. “The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives and survival and the overall conditions warrant the characterization of a crime against humanity. This occupation is the direct intention by the Israeli military and civilian authorities. They are responsible and should be held accountable.”
The point of this Israeli siege, ostensibly, is to break Hamas, the radical Islamic group that was elected to power in 2007. But Hamas has repeatedly proposed long-term truces with Israel and offered to negotiate a permanent truce. During the last cease-fire, established through Egyptian intermediaries in July, Hamas upheld the truce although Israel refused to ease the blockade. It was Israel that, on Nov. 4, initiated an armed attack that violated the truce and killed six Palestinians. It was only then that Hamas resumed firing rockets at Israel. Palestinians have launched more than 200 rockets on Israel since the latest round of violence began. There have been no Israeli casualties.
“This is a crime of survival,” Falk said of the rocket attacks. “Israel has put the Gazans in a set of circumstances where they either have to accept whatever is imposed on them or resist in any way available to them. That is a horrible dilemma to impose upon a people. This does not alleviate the Palestinians, and Gazans in particular, for accountability for doing these acts involving rocket fire, but it also imposes some responsibility on Israel for creating these circumstances.”
Israel seeks to break the will of the Palestinians to resist. The Israeli government has demonstrated little interest in diplomacy or a peaceful solution. The rapid expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank is an effort to thwart the possibility of a two-state solution by gobbling up vast tracts of Palestinian real estate. Israel also appears to want to thrust the impoverished Gaza Strip onto Egypt. There are now dozens of tunnels, the principal means for food and goods, connecting Gaza to Egypt. Israel permits the tunnels to operate, most likely as part of an effort to further cut Gaza off from Israel.
“Israel, all along, has not been prepared to enter into diplomatic process that gives the Palestinians a viable state,” Falk said. “They [the Israelis] feel time is on their side. They feel they can create enough facts on the ground so people will come to the conclusion a viable state cannot emerge.”
The use of terror and hunger to break a hostile population is one of the oldest forms of warfare. I watched the Bosnian Serbs employ the same tactic in Sarajevo. Those who orchestrate such sieges do not grasp the terrible rage born of long humiliation, indiscriminate violence and abuse. A father or a mother whose child dies because of a lack of vaccines or proper medical care does not forget. A boy whose ill grandmother dies while detained at an Israel checkpoint does not forget. All who endure humiliation, abuse and the murder of family members do not forget. This rage becomes a virus within those who, eventually, stumble out into the daylight. Is it any wonder that 71 percent of children interviewed at a school in Gaza recently said they wanted to be a “martyr”?
The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and Islamic radicals. Jihadists, enraged by the injustices done by Israel and the United States, seek to carry out reciprocal acts of savagery, even at the cost of their own lives. The violence unleashed on Palestinian children will, one day, be the violence unleashed on Israeli children. This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel.