Justice for Rasmea Odeh

by Nadine Naber

This past winter, I was privileged to participate in several events in Chicago organized by Rasmea Yousef Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee… One event I attended was a celebration of International Women’s Day, at which immigrant women performed a play that Rasmea Odeh had written. The play focused on several generations of women in an extended Arab immigrant family who grappled with gender-related struggles both in the family and in American society with recourse to their loving but often tense connections with one another. The audience was engrossed, laughing and commenting throughout the performance, perhaps because they rarely see their own life struggles thus affirmed in America. Rarely, in fact, do they see humane, nuanced representations of Arab women’s lives at all.

No More Truthless Heroes

Photo-Larry W. Smith European Pressphoto Agency   New York Times Photo-Larry W. Smith European Pressphoto Agency New York Times

…We see ourselves as the shining “city on a hill” and therefore a U.S. citizen who kills people in other lands becomes an unquestionably renowned hero. This must appear offensive and ridiculous to many people living beyond U.S. borders…

…Glorifying Chris Kyle’s story integrally connects to U.S. media and military efforts to affect public perception of ongoing warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as expanding war on terror policies which the Obama administration is aggressively attempting to institutionalize…

The Deep Wound of Wounded Knee

Israeli shell fired at Khuza'a, Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Photo- Desde Palestina Israeli shell fired at Khuza’a, Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Photo- Desde Palestina

December 29th marks the 122nd anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee. It is a story that remains fresh in the lives of many indigenous peoples across America. Each generation is taught to never forget.

In 1891, reviewing the history leading up to the massacre, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas Morgan said, “It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of the calamity which happened to the Sioux people by the sudden disappearance of the buffalo. The boundless range was to be abandoned for the circumscribed reservation, and abundance of plenty to be supplanted by limited and decreasing government subsistence and supplies. Under these circumstances it is not in human nature not to be discontented and restless, even turbulent and violent.”

Gazan Stories a Deterrent to Israeli Military Force

Joshua Brollier interviewed by Dennis Bernstein of Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio (This feature story begins at about 33:30.)

transcribed by Nicole Heiden and Buddy Bell

…Being here, it’s been kind of a contradiction in many ways, because you meet so many people who are so kind and so welcoming, and have a lot of personal experiences where you know your taken into someone’s home and things of this nature, but also it’s been very heavy because a lot of the people with whom we’ve been meeting with have lost loved ones and are still in a state of shock, are still very much grieving. You know the person just downstairs from our apartment has lost his brother in an attack. There’s been days of basically a folding tent that’s set up and people will come and have sort of a ceremony and they will open the tent back up for people to come back on other days. So people are still processing, you know, what has happened, it’s still very fresh…

Gaza’s Only Fisherwoman Continues to Sail

Madleen Kulab Madleen Kulab

December 26, 2012

“The problems started for me at eighteen,” Madleen Kulab said quietly, sitting just meters from the shore of the Mediterranean. “The police and port authorities did not want me to sail as a woman.” Though Madleen has emerged from this recent challenge, receiving a permanent permission to fish from the Gazan Interior Ministry, this is not the first hardship she has stared down and overcome in her lifetime.

As Gaza’s only professional fisherwoman, Madleen’s sailing career began at an early age. Her father, Mahrous Kulab, taught her how to fish from the time she was six years old. “I went with my father from six years to thirteen. Our boat had no engine at that time,” she remembered with a certain fondness. At thirteen, Madleen personally made the decision to carry on fishing and support her family when her father’s legs were paralyzed from a form of palsy. Her father initially refused to allow her to go alone, but having no other viable means to support the family, he conceded.

Palestine Poems after Operation Pillar of Cloud

From a forthcoming book

Operation Pillar of Cloud

The Israeli military’s eight-day assault
on the people of Gaza
was no downy pillar of cloud
no feathered wing
moving lightly across the landscape
defending its chicks
leading the way
to life.

It was iron talon and hooked beak.
It was switchblade and brass knuckles
a heavy metal club in the dark
from behind.
It was panes of glass
falling from the sky
opening arteries
severing limbs.
It was piano wire and guillotine
a child’s blood on the walls.

Connection to the Land Cannot Not Be Broken

Mohammed and Ahmed Qdeih Dec 15, 2012    Photo- Maher AlaaMohammed and Ahmed Qdeih Dec 15, 2012 Photo- Maher Alaa

The struggle for land rights near the Gaza border

December 15th, 2012

Gaza City-Yesterday in al-Faraheen, Gaza, Israeli Occupation Forces shot and wounded an unarmed 22 year old farmer, Mohammed Qdeih, from behind. Mohamed and nine others went out to their fields in the early afternoon, walking approximately 250 meters from the Israeli border. Within minutes, two heavily armed Israeli military jeeps rushed to the security fence. They issued a warning for the farmers and residents to leave the area and shortly thereafter the Palestinians, intimidated by the heavy military presence, began to head back to the village of Abasan. The soldiers were not satisfied and opened fire, piercing Mohamed’s right arm from the backside. Israeli forces continued to shoot rounds of live ammunition while Mohamed and the others frantically evacuated and waited for an ambulance. Another young Palestinian, 19, was shot yesterday near the border in Jabaliya.

Israeli forces fire on Gaza Farmers and Internationals in Khuza’a

December 12th, 2012
By International Solidarity Activists

Gaza- Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at unarmed farmers and international solidarity activists working in Khuza’a, a small village outside of Khan Younis located near the Israeli border. At 10:30 AM, the farmers arrived and began to plough approximately 100 meters from the separation fence while internationals lined up in between the border and the farmers. They were quickly met by an Israeli military jeep and transport vehicle. An Israeli soldier issued a warning in Arabic to leave the area and then fired two rounds into the air. The farmers and internationals remained calm and continued their work and the Israeli soldiers left the area.

Israeli soldier aiming Israeli soldier aiming

At around 11 AM, approximately 20 Palestinians and farmers gathered around 300 meters back from the fence. Two military jeeps returned to the area. One soldier exited his vehicle and fired four shots in the direction of the farmers and activists. The fourth shot crossed the line of the activists and landed in the field being ploughed. Again, the Palestinians and internationals were not deterred. The Israeli jeeps left and the farmers finished working on this section of land and moved on to an adjacent plot.

Gazan Farmers at Work in Kuzaa

Planting wheat in KuzaaPlanting wheat in Kuzaa

December 10th, 2012

Today, Gazan farmers from Kuzaa, a small village near Khan Younis, worked on their land in defiance of Israeli military harassment. Farmers ploughed approximately seven dunams and then sewed wheat in a plot that they had previously been denied access to before the November 21st, 2012 ceasefire. The farmers successfully worked up to 100 meters from the separation fence. The Israeli military arbitrarily designates this area as a restricted military buffer zone, otherwise known as the “kill zone.” According to the workers, they have not been able to farm on this specific plot of land for the past ten years. Formerly an orchard, Israeli forces bulldozed the field multiple times during military incursions and regularly shoots at farmers who attempt to work there.

Fares was the Generator

November 10, 2012

Fares Al-Basyouni was 8 years old. At 10:30 pm on Fri. 16 Nov. 2012 an Israeli warplane bombarded an olive grove in the east of Beit Hanoun adjacent to Fares’ home. Shrapnel, traveling approximately 100 meters, went through the wall of the home and decapitated Fares as he slept with his brothers and sisters. We visited with the family on 01 Dec 2012.

Fares was the Generator from Johnny Barber on Vimeo.

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