Thursday, March 19, 2009

"We're Talking About a Very Different Category of Aggression"

IDF soldiers disclose they were allowed to kill civilians in Gaza and destroy their homes. Sherine Tadros hits it out of the ball park:

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Promise, Not A Poem: Suheir Hammad's Tribute to Rachel Corrie

Palestinian-American poet and actress Suheir Hammad on Rachel Corrie:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"We've Got to Understand That They Are Us; We Are Them." Long Live the Dreams of Rachel Corrie

Tomorrow, 3/16/09, marks the sixth anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie, killed by Israeli Defense Forces while trying to protect a Palestinian home from being bulldozed. Please watch the videos below, of fifth grader Rachel already standing up for justice, and of this compassionate and articulate young woman speaking of her experiences in Gaza just two days before her death. And please, tomorrow, commit an act of compassion in her name, in her honor, in solace and thanksgiving to her parents, and because, always, we have to remember those who suffer, especially those who suffer in the zoo that is Gaza.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

al Zaidi Sentenced to Three Years

Muntathar al Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison today, for throwing his shoes at George Bush last December. Bush, who was not harmed, observed at the time that al Zaidi was engaging in a form of self-expression. The showing of the soles of the shoes considered an insulting act in Arab cultures. As he threw his shoes, al Zaidi remarked that they were a "farewell kiss" adding also, "this is from the widows and orphans and all those killed in Irak."

Aswat al-Iraq reports that the journalists union is appealing to President Talabani and PM al Maliki for "fatherly mercy," and that al Zaidi be released. Two years ago, al Zaidi was kidnapped and briefly held by terrorists. This week, two of his al-Baghdadia news agency colleagues were killed, when a bomb exploded at a reconciliation conference the reporters were covering.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day 3/08/09

Here are some links to a few of the pressing stories on International Women's Day:

Did you know that 70% of the world's poor are women? That one woman dies of complications from childbirth every minute of every day?

Oxfam's report on Iraqi Women in PDF form: In Her Own Words. And here is a of the narratives from Oxfam's bog: Shafeeka's Story.

On the West Bank, a women's rights organization labors to get to the core of violence against women.

US: Time to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rainy Night in Gaza (Snow, too)

(photo: REUTERS, Mohammed Salem)

In my drought-benighted corner of the world, it's raining. The lid is off my rain barrel outside, and I'm adding to it from the buckets of water we collect from our sinks and shower. We can't relax our conservation measures, of course, but there's a sense of well-being that descends when the clouds are heavy above us and the heavier it pours, the cheerier my husband and I become. It's a different story in Gaza, though, where it rained and even snowed today, flooding the tents of the some of the thousands of families homeless since the Israeli onslaught in January. Rebuilding has yet to begin: Israel continues to limit the numbers of trucks bringing in food and other supplies to the OPT. Building materials, textbooks, clothing, seedlings, fertilizers and irrigation pipes are banned, according to Michael Bailey of Oxfam. Helena Cobban is in Jerusalem right now, and has some very interesting posts. In one this week she noted:
I have made a few attempts to ask humanitarian-aid people what the dreaded Israeli blacklist of foodstuffs that cannot be sent into Gaza contains. But they have stayed largely closed-lipped. The OCHA report says this:
The Israeli criteria used for processing import requests into Gaza remain unclear. During the reporting period the Israeli authorities rejected entry to 30 metric tonnes of chickpeas, 43 pallets of macaroni, 137 pallets of wheat flour, 131 recreational kits, 68 pallets of stationary items for students, 150 school-in-a-box kits, 33 boxes of medicine, 22 freezer appliances, 3 generators, and 4 water pumps.

While a conference begins Monday in Egypt to discuss how to repair Gaza, politics of many stripes will slow it down. Meanwhile, rain falls on the tents in Gaza, tonight.