Lynne Stewart Speaks

At the United National Peace Conference that took place this weekend in Albany, Ralph Poynter, the husband of imprisoned activist lawyer Lynne Stewart and coordinator of her defense committee, was invited to read his own statement and a letter from his wife about her incarceration, the prison industrial complex, the state of the antiwar movement, and the importance of resisting state oppression.

For more on Lynne Stewart’s case, read Jasmin Ramsey’s “People’s Lawyer Sentenced to 10 years in Prison.”

Continue reading “Lynne Stewart Speaks”

Rumi On Reason

(adapted from his Fihi Ma Fihi )

M. Shahid Alam

Man seeks to know God, not because he is knowable;
not reasonably, but by reasoning he knows him.

When man accepted the trust, it was reason
he acquired, to say yes to his Creator.

Man is a moth, God a candle. When his wings
wrap around the candle’s flame,
why should they not burn –
and he perish in its fire?

A moth that shuns the candle’s flame
is not a moth. A candle that does not
draw the moth, that will not
burn it to ashes – is not a candle.

Man is not man if he denies God,
if he eviscerates his urge to know him.

A god that man can know is not
God, he is man’s alter ago.

— M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston, and author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave: 2000). Visit his website – http://qreason.com – and write to him at alqalam02760@yahoo.com.

Why Jeff Goldberg Is Losing It

by M.J. Rosenberg

For two days, the Atlantic’s Jeff Goldberg has been calling Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and other critics of Bibi Netanyahu “anti-Semites.” Nothing new about that. For Goldberg, a major AIPAC neocon, all critics of Israeli policies are anti-Semites by definition. (See this good piece on Goldberg).

But why is he obsessing about Walt so much now?

It is because, in August, Goldberg is coming out with his big Atlantic piece calling on the United States to bomb Iran so that Israel does not have to.

But Goldberg has a problem. As an American who chose to serve in the Israeli army (he was a guard at a Palestinian prison camp), he fears that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer — who accused the Likud lobby of promoting war with Iraq in their groundbreaking bestseller — will point out that Goldberg is just about the least credible advocate for war with Iran.

Continue reading “Why Jeff Goldberg Is Losing It”

A Friendly Conversation with the Shabak

Yonatan Shapira

Activist Yonatan Shapira (you may know him from actions such as The Pilots’ Letter, Tutu Disruption, and The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) was summoned to a “friendly talk” with the Shabak [translation via Promised Land]:

Yesterday Rona from the Shabak called me and asked me to come talk to meet her in the police station on Dizengof st. (Tel Aviv). She refused to tell me what was it about, but made it clear I wasn’t going to be arrested, and that this is just an acquaintance or “a friendly talk”…

At five o’clock I got to the Dizengof police station and was sent to the second floor of the rear building, where a guy who presented himself as Rona’s security guard waited for me. I was taken to a room and subjected to a pretty intimate search to make sure I didn’t install any recording device on my testicles. After I was found clean I was let into Rona’s room. She was a nice looking girl, apparently from a Yemeni origin, in her early thirties.

Continue reading “A Friendly Conversation with the Shabak”

“Truth Alone Triumphs”: of David, Goliath, Stones, and Speech

“Azadi” is also the chant whose echoes swirl in the Kashmir Valley with greater resonance each day, from the minarets and playgrounds, boulevards and alleys, schools and courts, despite the crushing screeches of teargas and bullets of the Indian (in)security forces. It is “scriptured” into utterance by each breath of Kashmiri women, children, and men; calligraphed by their blood on their emerald valley; embroidered by their bones in Kashmiri Arabesque on worn cobblestones of the downtown; and papier-mâchéd in paisley tears on the blue of their beloved lakes.

by Huma Dar

“A Defiant Kashmiri woman being frisked by Indian Security Forces.” 2007. Uncredited photograph from a Kashmiri blogger

 

And the night’s sun there in Srinagar?  Guns shoot stars into the sky, the storm of constellations night after night, the infinite that rages on.  It was Id-uz-Zuha: a record of God’s inability, for even He must melt sometimes, to let Ishmael be executed by the hand of his father.  Srinagar was under curfew.  The identity pass may or may not have helped in the crackdown.  Son after son–never to return from the night of torture–was taken away.

… But the reports are true, and without song: mass rapes in the villages, towns left in cinders, neighborhoods torched.  “Power is hideous / like a barber’s hands.”  The rubble of downtown Srinagar stares at me from the Times.

… And that blesséd word with no meaning–who will utter it?  What is it?  Will the women pronounce it, as if scripturing the air, for the first time?  Or the last?

… What is the blesséd word?  Mandelstam gives no clue.  One day the Kashmiris will pronounce that word truly for the first time.  (Excerpt from Agha Shahid Ali’s “The Blesséd Word: A Prologue,” in The Country Without A Post Office,  1997: 16-17)

Continue reading ““Truth Alone Triumphs”: of David, Goliath, Stones, and Speech”

The rising non-violent movement in Palestine: Mustafa Barghouti

A recent address by Mustafa Barghouti in Canada, in two parts. Born in Jerusalem in 1954, Dr Barghouti is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative founded in 2002 and a member of Palestinian Legislative Council as well as a former Minister of Information in the unity government in 2007. The full transcript from these Real News Network clips appears over the fold. Also check out Dr Barghouti’s excellent 2008 address to the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) National Convention and his recent piece in FP, The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy.

Part One

Continue reading “The rising non-violent movement in Palestine: Mustafa Barghouti”

The Stones On Our Streets

Lies are created around the truth of our struggle. But truth has a habit of confronting falsehood. Occupation is based on a pile of lies. There’s truth in the resistance of unarmed people on the streets. And truth triumphs in the end. It always does, even if it takes time.

by Majid Maqbool

The street is the home of our stones.  Streets can be occupied, but stones are free for us to pick up, and angrily fling in the air — in protest.  From the hands of the oppressed, once pelted, the stones deliver a message to the oppressor: while you kill with no remorse on my soil, and stage false encounters with all your advanced weapons, I’m not going to keep quiet.  I will not let you kill us without offering resistance.  I have these stones on my streets.  I exist in these stones.  If your occupation is in bullets, our resistance is in these rough-edged, homegrown stones.

We, who come out protesting on the streets, are not an ignorant, frustrated and unemployed lot — as the occupier likes to frame us, and the whole world seems to simplistically believe.  Far from it!  We are the ones who refuse to keep quiet in tyrannical times.  We are the ones who shape the songs of resistance, as we practice them in our streets.  It takes much courage and conviction to come out on the streets, and protest against the heavily militarized state forces.  The sentiment of freedom confronts the idea of occupation.  In every stone that’s pelted, there’s a promise to bring down the structures of occupation, bit by bit, crack by crack.  We know in our hearts and minds that this ugly structure of occupation —  built on deceit over the years — is bound to crumble one day under the force of our stones.  It is this hope that keeps the resistance alive.

Continue reading “The Stones On Our Streets”