“Disengage, avoid, and withhold support from whatever abuses, degrades and humiliates humanity.” (Alice Walker, b:1944)
The siege of Leningrad is still considered the most lethal siege in world history, a shocking “racially motivated starvation policy”, described as: “an integral part of Nazi policy in the Soviet Union during World War 11.”
The 872 day siege began on 8th September 1941 and was finally broken on 27th January 1944. It is described as: “one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and overwhelmingly the most costly in casualties.” Continue reading →
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles.
Seamus Heaney, 1939 – present
Palestine’s recognition at the United Nations as a Non-Member Observer State, led the self proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East” to hurl its metaphorical toys out of the pram, appropriate $120 million of Palestine’s dues, and the day after the vote, grab a further vast swathe of land to build 3,000 more illegal homes. Continue reading →
We saw the faces of those who’ll throw our children
Out of the window of this last space
We will die here, here in the last passage.
Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.
— Mahmud Darwish, 1943-2008
The Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has now assessed the destruction caused to Gaza and to its 1.6 million people living in an area of land twenty-five miles long and between four and seven miles wide (forty one km and six to twelve km respectively.)
Light the fire so I can see my tears
On the night of the massacre … — Samih al-Qasim, 1939 – present
It was that “pinpoint accuracy”, “surgical strike” stuff again. There were “unavoidable tragic errors”, “mistakes”, “scrupulous efforts made to avoid” etc., blah. And as Britain’s Colonel Richard Kemp declared of the fourteen hundred dead of the Christmas and New Year onslaught on Gaza in 2008-2009: “Mistakes are not war crimes.”
Daddy, can people die of fright?
— Question of a nine year old child in Gaza to her father, 17th November 2012
As I write the lost in Gaza has reached 52, the injured 560. The Al Shifa Hospital has reported being close to running out of generator fuel – thus incubators, life supporting equipment will close down lives. Medical supplies are perilously low.
Israel decides how many calories the people of Gaza deserve and indeed what food (as all else) they can import. They now, again, decide who of the 1.6 million fellow human beings in the tiny Gaza strip can live or die.
“We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere …
We have a country of words.
Speak, speak so we may know the end of this travel.” (Mahmud Darwish, 1942-2008)
Wednesday, 20th June was World Refugee Day.
This acknowledgement of the tragically displaced was declared an annual event on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR.). Thus, in December 2000 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously designated June 20th as annual World Refugee Day.
“There was no honour left; ruin and war and the blood was flowing …
Sadness, hate and the reign of arbitrary destruction.” (Rachid Taha, Algerian Musician and lyricist, 1958-)
Shocking details have emerged from an impeccable source (not named for obvious reasons) of the execution on Thursday 7th June, in Baghdad, of Abed Hamid Hamoud, President Saddam Hussein’s former personal secretary and aide.
Mr Hamoud, fourth on America’s 2003 asinine, juvenile playing card list of Iraq’s sovereign government, has been held in jail since June 2003, after being arrested by US occupying forces.
The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt, M.P.,
Under Secretary of State,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Mr Burt,
Re: Mahmoud al Sarsak.
As Minister with responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa, the plight of Palestinians both held without trial, legal representation and on hunger strike in Israeli jails, is surely of deep concern to you.
“Israel is a parliamentary democracy represented by a very large number of parties, with universal suffrage for all citizens, regardless of race, religion or sex ….” (CIA World Fact Book, 2011)
Image by frecklebaum via Flickr
This week a sobering and highly informative closed door seminar was held on the plight of Palestinian Prisoners, in the elegant surroundings of London’s Westminster Central Hall, a stone’s throw away from the Houses of Parliament and the 11th century Westminster Abbey, the all affirmation of stability and continuity – in starkest contrast to testimony at the proceedings of the meeting.
“You fasten the triggers for others to fire,
Then you sit back and watch,
When the death count gets higher.
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in mud.” (“Masters of War”, Bob Dylan, 1941- )
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” (Madeleine Albright, 1937 – )
As the anniversary of probably one of the most infamous responses in broadcasting history approaches, the woman who uttered it is shortly to be awarded “the highest honour” that America bestows upon civilians: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
No person has the right to rain on your dreams.” (Martin Luther King, 1929-1968)
Many dreams have been rained on since peace was declared at the end of the Second World War, on 8th May 1945.(i) Two veritable historic hurricanes were commemorated on 9th April, as was the burial of the man who dreamed: Martin Luther King.