Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GAZA: In Their Words, Through Their Eyes

Salwa El Tibi, Save the Children UK's Gaza programme manager, is in the Gaza Strip with her four children aged seven, 14, 15 and 19. She writes:
The situation is terrible. We haven't been out of our home since the bombing started on Saturday. We hear the F16s coming in and the bombs fall. The Apache helicopters are precise but the F16 fighters cause widespread damage to buildings around their targets. It goes on day and night.
We are all scared. My youngest daughter is panicked, talking in an agitated voice and has started to wet the bed. None of us are sleeping properly.
We have to keep all the doors and the windows of our home open otherwise they could get blown in by the bombs. That means it is very cold. We have long periods without electricity. The children are complaining.
I stocked up on food because we expected an attack and have enough for another three days or so. After that I don't know. I might be able to get to the market but many bakeries have stopped producing bread because there is a severe shortage of flour. We are living from day to day.
There is no milk available for children. Shortages of essential drugs for children also mean that they are not getting the health care they need.
The television is full of stories about children being killed and families destroyed. It is really very sad. They are all traumatised.
There is no escape for them or for their families. The air strikes began just as children were leaving school, exposing them to horrific scenes of violence. They just want to be like children in other countries.
Save the Children has lots of food parcels for families in desperate need, but we cannot distribute them until the bombing stops.
I don't know how we got into this situation but my message to the Israeli government is to stop what is going on. Negotiation is the best way. I request world leaders stop what is going on. Killing people will not help.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel Pounds OPT. Worldwide Protests; US, Not So Much.

The Horror

The Protests

Go here for info about protests planned around the U.S. Several Israeli embassies are slated to be picketed Tuesday, 12/30.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

al Zaidi Torture Confirmed by Brother

Raed in the Middle reports that al Zaidi's brother visited him today and told the following to al-Baghdadia:

...Montather told him that he was tortured with electric shock after being stripped naked, and that he was continuously humiliated and tortured throughout the period of detention, and that he had bruises all over his face and body, and that members of the Iraqi security forces disfigured his face through beatings and cigarette burns. Montather also told his brother Uday that confessions were extracted from him by force, and that he would like to bring a lawsuit against everyone who participated in his torture. Montather told Uday that he did what he did for all the Iraqi orphans, widows, children and for all the Iraqi people who where wronged.

Raed wrote to the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for an independent site visit to al Zaidi to evaluate his health. You can see his letter at his website by clicking on his name at the top of this article. He provided these addresses; I hope you'll join me in requesting the ICRC's participation:
Contact Mr Hisham Hassan at iraq.iqs@icrc.org and Ms. Dorothea Krimitsas at dkrimitsas.gva@icrc.org

Raed also posts that al Maliki visited Iraqi journalists today and claims that al Zaidi has revealed that his shoe-throwing was instigated by "a well known murderer who is linked to beheading people." Hmmm. Think there's any link between the news of his being tortured and Maliki's claim? Yeah. Me, too. Please write now.

Ring the Bell for Peace 12/21/08

Sorry to post this so late, friends. But folks West of the Rockies can do this on time: ring a bell for peace at noon today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Going To Take It Any More: Rebellion at Baghdad's 14th St. Bridge

McClatchy reporter Dulaimy writes of witnessing Baghdad drivers refuse to allow a road to close, preventing an official convoy near the Green Zone to pass as usual. For four years, he writes, drivers have tolerated delays; this time they refused. Horns honked, drivers yelled, soldiers brandished weapons and even fired shots overhead; ultimately, this time, the drivers won. Was it the shoes, Dulaimy wondered? Seems so.

Raed in the Middle notes the Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement in support of Muntadar al Zaidi. Aswat al-Iraq reports there were demonstrations in support of al Zaidi in Fallujah, Kut, al-Qaim and Samarra. Law students in Anbar marched to demand his release. His family reports that al Zaidi is in hospital with a broken arm and ribs, and injuries to an eye and leg. He reportedly faces seven years in prison for "offending the head of a foreign state."

Now is the time to speak up. Please add your voice to those calling for leniency and support:
Call the White House: - 202-456-1111 ; Fax the White House: 202 456-2461 (you'll be speaking to volunteers. Kindness, please!)

the Iraqi Embassy (202) 742-1600.

Monday, December 15, 2008

al Zaidi Update

Word from Raed in the Middle and Siun at Firedoglake suggest that Muntazir al Zaidi is being held at Camp Cropper and likely has been tortured. Please add your voice to those calling on President Bush to request leniency for al Zaidi, and on the Iraqi government to release this reporter. Call here: White House - 202-456-1111 ; the Iraqi Embassy (202) 742-1600.

Thank you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Soleful Send Off

You've seen the act: now the reviews. I'd say there are many happy people around the world feeling that Muntazir al Zaidi speaks for them. Gorilla Guides reports he said this as he threw the shoes, a parting shot heard round the world:
First Shoe: "This is the gift from the Irakis this is the farewell kiss you dog." Second Shoe: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those killed in Irak. "

Bloggers respond: Raed in the Middle: Message from the Iraqi People :)
A Star from Mosul: This Made My Day
3eeraqimedic: Cold Water on My Heart!!!!

I'm sending a shoe to the White House, myself. A perfect ending gesture (not farewell) to the Worst. President. Ever.

UPDATE: Go here to sign a petition supporting the release of Mr. Al Zaidi.

UPDATE II: Send shoes to:
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

and to:
George W. Bush Presidential Library
c/o SMU
6425 Boaz Lane
Dallas TX 75205

Reportedly, al Zaidi was beaten badly after he was removed from the pressroom. Please, if you can, send shoes in solidarity.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Israeli journalists rescue Palestinian family from "pogrom." Israeli extremists egged on by crowd

Haaretz journalist Ari Issacharoff describes what he terms a "pogrom in the worst sense of the word" during which dozens of Israeli extremists stoned the house of a family of 20 Palestinians, and set it afire. Hundreds of others Israelis watched and encouraged the mob; police and army forces failed to intervene. Ultimately, Issacharoff and other journalists intervened to save the family. He concludes:

Tess, the photographer, bursts into tears as the events unfold around her. The tears do not stem from fear. It is shame, shame at the sight of these occurrences, the deeds of youths who call themselves Jews. Shame that we share the same religion. At 5:05 P.M., a little over an hour after the incident commenced, a unit belonging to the Yassam special police forces arrives to disperse the crowd of masked men. The family members refuse to calm down. Leaving the home, one can hear a settler yell at a police officer: "Nazis, shame on you." Indeed. Shame on you.

Al Jazeera reports more on the news of how the eviction of Israeli settlers from a house in Hebron has resulted in extremist assaults on Palestinians and police: