Footprint Modulation: art, climate and displacement

An exhibition by Metaceptive Projects + Media

5th June – 5th July 2015 across five venues in Durham, UK

Introductory description from the curator and artistic director, Kooj Chuhan
International artists, researchers, communities and local activists are combining forces using art to push climate change up the agenda in a ground-breaking exhibition titled Footprint Modulation. The exhibition focuses on the massive and increasing impact that climate change will have on humans by forcing us to abandon our homes and migrate. The renowned, award-winning Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam presents work for the first time in the North East. Platform based in London use film and performance to highlight the corruption within global oil. A number of UK-based artists from diverse backgrounds provoke us to connect with human realities in other countries. The New York based architecture and digital art company Diller Scofidio + Renfro present a film commissioned by the Cartier Foundation to artistically re-interpret data about climate migration.
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Defying the Laws of Gravity

Photographers in Bangladesh 1987 -2014

Rich Mix exhibition

It’s an unlikely mix.  The powerful but sage Abir Abdullah,, the protesting activist Taslima Akhter, the quiet and reflective Sarker Protick, the agent provocateur Jannatul Mawa, the deep and other worldly Anisul Hoque, the disturbingly questioning Tushikur Rahman and the visionary Shahidul Alam. Collectively they shape one of the most powerful photographic movements of modern times.

In fifteen years, and with the most rudimentary of equipment, they have taken a hundred square metres of Dhaka as their own and created a vortex of creativity that has shaken the world of photography. The whirlwind around that vortex, fueled by a revolution against injustice, has not only taken on a tired education system steeped in bureaucracy, but also a global and seemingly impenetrable photographic industry hijacked by wealthier nations. They are photo-militants who have learnt to defy the rules of gravity.

The work is remarkable for its range, but is bound by an underlying strand: a belief that the art of photography, cannot, must not, limit itself to the aesthetic alone. The compulsion to address wrong, regardless of the vocabulary of the art, is what holds this wild bunch together. Unlike other schools of thought however, Pathshala has been able to accommodate and thrive on this diversity.   Freed from the need to conform, unencumbered by role models other than in ethics and philosophy, each artist has found a unique signature, where the greater signature of the school only becomes apparent when one steps back to see the bigger picture. Multicoloured bogies in vastly different guises all on the train to justice.

Alam’s “Struggle for Democracy”, produced at a time when the concept of a photo story had not been developed, looks at politics not merely in terms of the physical struggle for power, but also in everyday life. Religion, class, gender and militarization are all addressed in a succinct essay produced and exhibited under oppressive military rule. An open letter to the prime minister, incorporated within a visual narrative, formsa window for other practitioners to peep through.

Abir Abdullah, at that time a young recruit at Drik, looks at the war veterans whom the euphoria of victory had left behind. Classic in its approach, it is the tender humanity of his work and his ability to relate to a dream that had shaped a generation before him, which makes the work stand out.

One could walk past Anisul Hoque without seeing him. Quiet, unassuming, almost invisible, Anis is almost like the bonsais that he grows. His work, influenced by the mother that he lost while young, is similarly diminutive, but detailed and laden with symbolism. He is the ultimate sufi photographer.

Taslima Akhter is inseparable from the labour movements she has singled out as her space. It is only fitting that perhaps one of the most iconic images of the decade, was seen through her lens. One that she was perhaps destined for. Typically, she scorned the award ceremony in Amsterdam, to be there with the workers.

Tushikur Rahman draws on his own troubling past to take us to uncomfortable realms. Dark and somber, the work unearths the subject of suicide, a common but taboo subject that middle class sensibility finds difficult to discuss. While it draws us into problematic areas, the work, through his own life, also gives us hope and provides an understanding of youth culture.

Sarker Protick’s delicate imagery floats amongst this heavy cast. The high key images surround their subject, wrapping them in tenderness. While the typical photojournalist photographs events and moments, Protick photographs feelings, his images lovingly brushing themselves across the canvas.

Jannatul Mawa returns us to the essence of documentary photography. She peels back layers of societal veneer and strips bare the relationships of power and class. Embedding herself within that social milieu, she offers images that are understated and unreliant on words, reminding us that the personal is political.

Diverse as they are, there are few courts of Justice that could deny the living, breathing documents, of these powerful witnesses of our times.

The exhibition is part of Freedom Week 2015

Palestine is still the issue

by John Pilger


King Abdullah’s historic speech was made in 1947. This film by Pilger was made in 2002. Even in 2014, Israelis and the western world seem to have learnt little.

As the Arabs see the Jews

“As the Arabs see the Jews”
His Majesty King Abdullah,
The American Magazine

November, 1947

Summary

This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

“As the Arabs see the Jews”
His Majesty King Abdullah,
The American Magazine

November, 1947

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less “anti-Semitic” than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment—far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow “always been a Jewish land.” Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their “historic claim.” I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most—but not all—of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to the country: “Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.”

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, “homeland” of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the “homeland” of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just as fantastic—as the Jewish “historic connection” with Palestine. Most are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish “religious claim” to Palestine is as absurd as the “historic claim.” The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years after war’s end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. “We have hurt these people terribly,” cries the West to the East. “Won’t you please take care of them for us?”

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore “cruel and heartless nationalists”?

We are a generous people: we are proud that “Arab hospitality” is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that “the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine.”

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: “My Jewish advisors tell me so.” He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice, and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.

The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called “Balfour Declaration,” which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a “national home” for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the “National Home” of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the “refugee ships” that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago?

Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

On being human

Humans by Arjun Janah
It’s not about Arab or Jew, my friend,
It’s more about humans and whether we’ll end.
It’s not about Hindu or Muslim or Serb,
It’s more about children and what they deserve.
2014 July 23rd, Wed.
Brooklyn


The Last Kiss (photograph)

The Last Kiss.jpg

The Last Kiss — photograph by Ali Jadallah
source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/361695413796613744/

The Gaza Bombardment – What You're Not Being Told

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXRO1YFreNA
The corporate media isn’t just distorting the facts on the Gaza assault, they’re flat out covering them up.

On July 7, 2014 Israel began a massive assault on the Gaza strip of Palestine. In the first week aloneIsrael dropped over 400 tons of bombs, killing over 130 Palestinians. Most were civilians, about half of them were women and children. By the time you are watching the the number will be higher.

Israel’s official justification for this wholesale slaughter: the murder of three Israeli teenagers which Israel blames on Hamas. That’s not the real reason. First of all Israel has not produced one single piece of evidence implicating Hamas or even a Palestinian in the murders, and in fact the the evidence we do have indicates that that murderers were Israeli. You see on Tuesday July 1st, The Jerusalem Post released the audio of the kidnapped teen’s distress call to police, and in that call the kidnappers can be heard telling the boys to put their heads down in HEBREW. According to the Jerusalem Post prior to being leaked to the public this audio was being held under a gag order by the Israeli government.

So why is Israel really attacking Gaza? It’s not about self defense and it’s obviously not about avenging those three teenagers. Those are just cover stories for the naive. What this is really about is natural gas.

It turns out that Gaza has quite a bit of natural gas on its coastline. One of the largest sources in the region. British Gas, which holds a joint exploration agreement for the area estimates that the fields hold at least 1 trillion cubic feet of gas. That gas belongs to the Palestinian people and they should be the ones to benefit from it. Israel disagrees.

(An interesting side story on this issue: At one point Russia was bidding for a chance to develop Gaza’s gas fields.)

After the death of Yasser Arafat, under questionable circumstances, Israel has controlled those fields, and British Gas has negotiated with Tel Aviv.

With power divided between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Palestinians have been too weak to put up any meaningful ,resistance and Israel would like to keep it that way. The Unity Government between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority threatens Israel’s control of those fields, and as such it has to be destroyed.

It’s pretty basic really. These are the real motives of all wars: resources, territory and power. They’ll always come up with an excuse, and it’s easy to fall for them if you don’t do your research, but there’s also a really easy way to avoid getting duped: always stand against wars of aggression. Period. Make it a matter of principle, and the facts and morality will always end up being on your side.

And speaking of morality, even if those teenagers had been killed by Hamas, what kind of psychopath thinks that this gives Israel the right to go and kill over a hundred people who had nothing to do with it? We’re talking about little kids here.

I’m not going to show you the pictures of the dead or dying children here in this video, but I have looked at them, and as a father it’s almost unbearable to see. If hearing about those bombs falling doesn’t phase you emotionally, if this is just a political debate for you, then go look at the pictures (these for example). You have no right to defend what Israel is doing, if you don’t have the courage to even glance at the consequences.

And anyone who would justify these crimes after seeing the civilian casualties should be ashamed of themselves.

The bombing heavily populated residential areas is a war crime, and the U.S. government is funding it with your tax dollars. That’s right. Israel receives over 3 billion dollars in foreign aid from the U.S. each year. (But hey, it’s not like the American people actually need that money, the national debt is only 17 trillion dollars.)

Of course it’s no accident that you’ve never had face what’s being done to the Palestinian’s in your name. If you turn on the mainstream media at any point during this crisis all you’ll see is constant stream of reports focusing on the Palestinian rockets being fired in response. These reports conveniently fail to mention that as of yet these primitive rockets have not killed one single Israeli.

The Obama administration is also running with this artificial narrative.

But the rockets, the rockets! Let’s all bring this back to the puny homemade rockets that the Palestinians are launching out of desperation and frame this as a question of Israel’s self defense.

Pretend for a moment that this wasn’t happening in the Middle East, but rather in the south west of the United States. Hey, just for kicks let’s say it was happening in Palestine Texas. So three teenagers from Mexico are visiting Palestine Texas and they get killed, by somebody, we don’t know who. Mexico of course takes this as an invitation to launch airstrikes, on the entire on the entire region. For ten days the Mexican air force dutifully pummels Palestine Texas, and the surrounding villages, but unfortunately these darn rednecks were unaware that this was perfectly within Mexico’s rights, so they started taking pot shots at Mexican fighter jets with their shotguns and deer rifles, and some started shooting in the general direction of the Mexican border. The bullets didn’t reach their targets, but still they tried to defend themselves, and THAT is unacceptable.

Sound absurd? That’s what you people sound like when you parrot the mainstream media and talk show pundits without thinking. Totally incoherent.

Israel isn’t defending itself against the Palestinians any more than the Europeans were defending themselves against the natives of the Americas. Year after year the Israelis have taken more Palestinian land, bulldozed more homes, set up new settlements, and systematically expelled the inhabitants. You can make up justifications or deny it all you want, but the maps don’t lie.

This isn’t defense, this is ethnic cleansing.

Of course there are those who are actually ok with what these maps tell us. There are people who like to assert that Israel has the right to steal every square inch of Palestinian land because supposedly one thousand five hundred or so years ago their Jewish ancestors were expelled. They call this the right of return.

Ok, let’s go with that.

Rights are an interesting topic. The thing about rights, is that if human right actually exists then it would have to universal to all of humanity.

So what about the Palestinian’s right of return?

Don’t you find it a bit odd that one of the primary stipulations that Israel always imposes upon the Palestinians during negotiations is that in order to reach a peace agreement the Palestinians have to accept that they have no right to return to the land that was taken from them in the past 50 years? We’re not talking about people who have some kind of abstract ancestral claim, these are the actual people who lost their homes, and their farms, and their businesses in this lifetime.

So is the right of return an actual right or is it not? You can’t have it both ways without exposing the dirty underbelly of this issue: which is that Zionism is a fundamentally racist and fascistic ideology.

The video below is an extreme display, but it’s not unique in Israel these days. If you do a little research on the topic you’ll find that hardline Zionism very much resembles a neo-nazi movement.

And no, Zionism is not inseparable from Judaism, and it has nothing to do with who you are genetically.

So what can we do to help the Palestinians? Start by actively engaging this debate everywhere it comes up. Don’t avoid the conversation just to be polite. Women and children are being massacred in Gaza right now, and silence in the face of oppression is to take the side of the oppressors.

It’s time to start confronting those who support what Israel is doing right now. This isn’t a matter of opinion or preference. To defend the use of the military against civilian populations, is shameful, it’s immoral and it has consequences.

A particular weight of responsibility sits on the shoulders of those in the so called conservative churches of the United States, because this is where the bulk of the support for Israel is found. It’s up to you who see what is really going on to wake the people in your church up. If the Pastor in your church defends bombardment of Gaza, or any war for that matter, you need to confront him, and if he doesn’t respond when you confront him in private then confront him publicly. If that sounds extreme to you, then go look at those pictures of the little kids who are on the receiving end of this. Go take a glimpse, but understand that the horror of seeing a photo of a dismembered child is nothing like what their parents are feeling.

And to the people of Israel, you need to do some serious soul searching. Is this the image you want the world to have when they think of Israel? An image of a brutal oppressor that murders civilians without hesitation? But more importantly, is this what you want to be?

Bonus Videos
1. Miko Peled Son of a high ranking Israeli general tells the real story of the Palestinian occupation:

2. Norman Finkelstein ends the argument properly:

And we all remain silent

what happens to war criminals
Living in the majority world, we have learnt to expect Western hypocrisy. We are used to the rhetoric on democracy accompanying active support of pliant dictators.? We see Western governments preaching human rights, while actively engaging in torture.? Assisting state machineries involved in torture. We see the deification of dissidents in non-Western countries, while Western dissidents are vilified, tortured, sometimes killed. We see extrajudicial killings being approved by presidents, because it is more cost-effective.
With the persecution of??Snowden?however, they appear to have given up the pretense. No longer are they concerned with appearing to be moral. A US citizen is being victimized because he believes in the core principles of his nation?s constitution. His crime lies in being patriotic. For putting public interest before state servitude.
Snowden?is indeed guilty. He spoke the truth. He protested against injustice. He upheld the rights of the common citizen. It is a guilt I would be proud to share. He should wear it as a badge of honour.
Snowden?is doing precisely what the founding fathers of the United States would have wished him to do. The spying by NSA is an assault on all of us who genuinely believe in democracy. A belief many have died for.
From the ashes of this witch hunt, many more Snowdens will surely rise.
Shahidul Alam
Dhaka
22nd August 2013
Stephen Dupont, Jack Picone and Tim Page are other photographers who are expressing their solidarity
Related links:
Father of Edward?Snowden?issues open letter to Obama denouncing ?Orwellian surveillance programs?
Australian film director Paul Cox denounces US-led manhunt of EdwardSnowden
Deepa Mehta also protests

When the lady ?not for turning?, turned

An insight into the realities of politics and the difference between what politicians say and what they do. By a journalist who knows more about politicians than most. Ed.

By Alan Hart?April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher
The news of the death of Britain?s Iron Lady, Baroness Thatcher, prompted me to recall my favourite story about her. In 1980, in the first of her three terms as prime minister, she said in a speech to her Conservative Party?s Conference: ?You turn if you want to. The lady?s not for turning.? Because I was personally engaged with her at the time, I know that she performed her first U turn in her first 48 hours of being prime minister. Continue reading “When the lady ?not for turning?, turned”

Barbarian Rhapsody: Ten Years Deeper Into Hell: Iraq

BY CHRIS FLOYD SATURDAY, 16 MARCH 2013 16:40 Empire Burlesque

Iraq burning 2
All forms of political media — in print, on line, on the air — have been awash in recent weeks with retrospectives on the tenth anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Amidst the mountainous heap of drivel and falsehood such an occasion inevitably produces among the vast and vapid army of analysts who happily spend their days chewing the cud of whatever happens to be the conventional wisdom of the day, there have been a few outstanding pieces that put this continuing war crime in stark perspective. Continue reading “Barbarian Rhapsody: Ten Years Deeper Into Hell: Iraq”