December 25, 2012 § 5 Comments
Earlier this week, I found a message in my inbox by an Israeli, who’s a Jazz musician, who’s paying gig was canceled because of a successful BDS movement campaign to get Swedish Jazzist, Andreas Öberg, to cancel his gig in the Eilat Red Sea Jazz Festival. Usually, the extent of my response, when I get unsolicited mail from angry Israelis, is to take a screenshot and add it to my “Love Letters” albums on my Facebook profile. Call it an artistic form of exhibiting political repression, racism and sexism, if you will (but what does culture have to do with politics, I wonder…). This time, however, since we’re not talking about your typical angry Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, but someone who has lost a paying gig. I think it merits a response (even though, as I will argue below, I am actually not the address for cultural worker grievances).
You Don’t Know Me and I Don’t Know You
The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Story of the Wiping Out of the Indigenous People of a Land Formerly Known as Falastin
July 1, 2012 § 1 Comment
Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers,
It’s me again. After 11 letters from all around the world, a petition with over 6400 signatories that just keeps growing, and a couple groups on Facebook [1,2], it seems like you’re determined to go through the motions of a performance in apartheid Israel. Sure enough, after a long silence from you, we’re seeing the standard Shuki Weiss promotional video, reassuring fans that past cancellations won’t repeat, and that the world still in fact loves Israel. I can reiterate what was written in other letters and statements, but I much rather just respond to one thing you said in the video, which burns with irony: “We love playing for people. Children, middle aged, and old people. So come one come all.”
So here goes, the 12th letter asking the Red Hot Chili Peppers to heed the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid military regime of Israel.
March 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
by Najeeb Mubarki
(This article first appeared in The Economic Times, May 19, 2007, while the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, was still alive. Darwish was born exactly seventy-one years ago in the Western Galilee village of al-Birwa on March 13, 1941.)
In his 2004 film Notre Musique [Our Music], a journalese-philosophical meditation on war and reconciliation, Jean-Luc Godard gave pride of place to Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. In the film, repeating what he had once told an Israeli journalist, Darwish inverts the relationship with the ‘other’: “Do you know why we Palestinians are famous? Because you are our enemy. The interest is in you, not in me…” By saying that he was important because Israel is important Darwish wasn’t just referring to the erasure of identity and history the Palestinians have had to struggle against, but perhaps more to the continuum of suffering, of that erasure, that has been passed down, as it were, to the Palestinians by the Jews. Not that Darwish now needs to affirm his self as an inversion of his ‘enemy’, or that he needed a Godard to affirm his being. In fact, it is quite the other way round, he was in the film because one cannot make a film on reconciliation without him, and his is a poetry of love, loss, of memory and exile that is more a challenge to the occupier than slogans and bombs ever can be.
May 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
While in the US even CNN’s liberal icon Anderson Cooper is busy portraying Palestinian Nakba protests as a Syrian conspiracy (with able assistance from neoconservative house-Arab Fouad Ajami), the Economist shows how with all their constitutional protections, the docile American media can’t match the standards of an even staid and conservative British magazine. Check out this gem from from the Economist’s M.S.
FOR many years now, we’ve heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they’d have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination.
Palestinian commentators and organisers, including Fadi Elsalameen and Moustafa Barghouthi, have spent the last couple of years pointing out that these complaints resolutely ignore the actual and growing Palestinian non-violent resistance movement. For that matter, they elide the fact that the first intifada, which broke out in 1987, was initially as close to non-violent as could be reasonably expected. For the most part, it consisted of general strikes and protest marches. In addition, there was a fair amount of kids throwing rocks, as well as the continuing threat of low-level terrorism, mainly from organisations based abroad; the Israelis conflated the autochthonous protest movement with the terrorism and responded brutally, and the intifada quickly lost its non-violent character. That’s not that different from what has happened over the past couple of months in Libya; it shows that it’s very hard to keep a non-violent movement non-violent when the government you’re demonstrating against subjects you to gunfire for a sustained period of time.
May 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
by Brenda Heard
The 15th of May is a day of remembrance. Around the world, we remember the systematic displacement and massacre of the Palestinian people. In their honour, we take note of the necessity of safeguarding the sliver of impoverished land that has been left to the survivors. We pay tribute to those who have refused to be stomped into oblivion.
Yet the Israeli newspaper Haaretz bemoans self-righteously the ‘Palestinian protests for the annual Nakba Day, which mourns the creation of the State of Israel’. At this phraseology we can only shake our heads and say, ‘no, it is not about you; it is about the injustice done to the Palestinian people; it is this injustice that is the catastrophe’.
May 15, 2011 § 3 Comments
May 15, 2011 § 4 Comments
Palestinians crossing border: ” We are going back to Palestine.”
Israeli soldiers opened fire Sunday on throngs of Palestinian refugees and protesters as they attempted to cross Israel’s tightly secured borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 15 people and wounding scores of others, officials said.
May 11, 2011 § 3 Comments
This article first appeared on Gaza TV:
On 15 May, the annual commemoration of the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians, known as Nakba, Egyptians plan to march to Palestine under the slogan “Cairo’s liberation will not be complete without the liberation of Al-Quds [Jerusalem].”
Following Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, Egyptians are pushing for some of the country’s foreign relations policies to change, especially those related to Israel and Palestine. Aid or protest convoys to Gaza were frequently stopped or arrested during the Mubarak era by the ousted president’s regime, and now for the first time since the revolution thousands of activists are planning to march to the Rafah border town.