Go Tell Obama: Gazans Are Being Slaughtered

Go Tell Obama: Gazans Are Being Slaughtered


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The Israeli government claims that Gaza is no longer “occupied” since “settlers” were withdrawn

a few years ago. This is a boldface lie used to abdicate legal and moral responsibility for the welfare

of an occupied people and to demonstrate that Gazans cannot govern themselves


Go Tell Obama

Israeli Offensive on Gaza Continues

Gazans Are Being Slaughtered by Israeli Bombardiers

1093 Since Last Saturday, Over 5000 Wounded

January 16, 2009


We cannot begin to understand this life that we lead, these experiences that we have, and these people who come into and out of our lives. All of those things shape who we are, we imperfect human beings.—Miriam

All that you have done to our people is registered in our notebooks.”—Mahmoud Darwish, poet

Stop killing our children / stop killing our children.—Laila Yaghi, poet

 “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”      

Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002

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I urge you to listen to this Charlie Rose interview of Bob Simon if you have not already heard it.


“All that you have done to our people is registered in our notebooks.” Mahmoud Darwish, poet


Bloggingheads: Israel’s End?

Glenn Loury of Brown University and Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin Law School debate the Israeli-Palestinian endgame

 “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”      

Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002

“When the truth is replaced by silence the silence is a lie.” Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Soviet dissident

As we are in the middle of this crisis, we tell our people we, God willing,

are closer to victory. All the blood that is being shed will not go to waste. Ismail Haniyeh

Happy New Year! I raise my cup to you desirous of more prosperity and peace in 2009. The winds have slackened. The sky a cloudless blue, it is mild and warm here at Jerusalem, signs of hope and possibility of days to come: probably more for us Americans than the people of the Global South. As you must know the slaughter of Gazans continue. The last count: 400 dead and thousands wounded since last weekend. The bombs continue to fall from Israeli jets. Here are the words of  an Israeli journalist who is fully human and aware that this present violence will only breed more violence and death:

Imad Aqel Mosque in Jabalya refugee camp, bombed and strafed shortly before midnight on Sunday. These are the names of the glorious military victory we achieved there – Jawaher, age 4; Dina, age 8; Sahar, age 12; Ikram, age 14; and Tahrir, age 17, all sisters of the Ba’lousha family, all killed in a “precise” strike on the mosque. Another three sisters, a 2-year-old brother and their parents were injured. Twenty-four neighbors were wounded and five homes and three stores destroyed. This part of the military victory did not open our television or radio news broadcasts yesterday morning, nor did they appear on many Israeli news sites. Amira Hass

From what I’ve heard on NPR this morning the brutality and the bullying of the Israeli government and its armed forces cannot be abated by persuasion from the French government. I wonder how many have to die to satisfy the blood thirst of Israeli politicians—Baruch Marzel, Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu, Barak, and Lieberman. Women, children, and the elderly are unable to escape the prison in which they have been entrapped. Most US media place the blame, like the Israelis, on Hamas, the militant representative of the Palestinians. But their resistance is at the level of rebellion annoyance than providing a real threat to Israeli sovereignty.

I am at a lost. I do not know how to respond. I sit here wringing my hands, wondering how the Palestinian people are deserving of such cruelty and callousness from our own government and those of Europe. Are we afraid of APAC? Do we feel threatened by our Jewish neighbor if we speak up and say “Enough is enough.”

I read one email this morning on Runoko’s list that we have to be more concerned about the Congo and African suffering than Arab suffering because we have a long standing grievance against Arab brutality and slavery. So we thus should shelve our sympathies about the inhuman massacre that overwhelms Gaza.

It is too much for me these kinds of callous sentiments about the clinical murder that is being reported yet ignored. I imagine this same kind of distant response was prevalent in European civilized circles in the 19th century toward the savagery of America’s peculiar institution on reading newspaper reports and slave narratives about the murder and mayhem of the American South. They could not feel for our ancestors and seemingly we cannot feel for the sufferings of the Gazans.

Below is a report from the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, hoping that we can undermine the disinformation that is being propagated by the corporate media:

As of Dec. 31, the Israeli bombing of Gaza has killed over 400 Palestinians—the largest number of people killed by Israel in such a short time in decades. 1,400 more have been wounded, most all civilians—women, children and the elderly. The massing of soldiers and tanks along the Gaza border suggests that additional horrors are contemplated. The ruination of Gaza has been long in the making.

Over 75% of Gaza’s inhabitants are refugees from land that became Israel. They have been denied the internationally recognized right to return to their homes and are now denied the elementary right to flee relentless bombing and a threatened invasion. These are the families who had developed the agriculture and economy of Palestine under the rule of foreign empires for generations. Ripped from their land, they were crowded into what is now the most densely populated 360 square kilometers in the world.

Their homes have been bulldozed, their crops and livelihoods destroyed, food and fuel severely restricted, their borders closed, their water pilfered by settlers, their fishing restricted.

In 2006, the Palestinians of Gaza conducted a democratic election and chose Hamas as the governing party. They have desperately reached out to obtain basic food, medical supplies and the essentials for survival that have been denied them. It is for these “crimes” that the Palestinians of Gaza are being punished—for choosing their own leaders, seeking freedom, and refusing to be driven from their homeland.

The people of Gaza have seen their elected officials imprisoned. They have been put on a starvation diet and placed in darkness by an internationally-enforced blockade. They are subjected to night-time sonic booms that shatter windows and cause miscarriages, and suffer recurring aerial bombardments that have decimated their infrastructure.

The Hamas government’s signing and enforcement of the June 2008 truce with Israel led to no relief from this relentless siege. On November 4, Israeli strikes killed dozens of Palestinians. Isolated shelling attacks from Gaza, which resulted in few, if any, Israeli casualties, have been used as a pretext by Israel to launch genocidal attacks, which have been denounced by people around the world. Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, now says this will be a “war to the bitter end.” The Israeli government claims that Gaza is no longer “occupied” since “settlers” were withdrawn a few years ago. This is a boldface lie used to abdicate legal and moral responsibility for the welfare of an occupied people and to demonstrate that Gazans cannot govern themselves and live peacefully with their neighbors. A land that is completely surrounded and controlled, lacking the very basics of survival, is even more cruelly “occupied” than before. This describes a prison, not a sovereign territory.

The horrors experienced in Gaza are closely linked to the murderous U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which aim to control the resources in the Middle East. The systematic torture of Gaza, many call genocide, is a crime against all people of this planet. No one can be free while others are oppressed. It is time for the people of the world to unite and say, “No to the U.S.-backed Israeli war in Gaza” and “No to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!”

The atrocities carried out against Gaza are made possible by $8 billion in yearly U.S. aid to Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, with 30 billion more to be allocated over the next ten years. Israel has the fourth largest military in the world. 75% of our tax money pays for the U.S. war machine – for the most modern weapons of mass destruction, mainly profiting U.S. contractors and weapons makers.

We call upon Congress and the current president of the United States to cut all support and ties to Israel as long as this siege, this blockade and the occupation of Palestine continues. We call upon president-elect Barack Obama to denounce the present atrocities committed against the people Gaza. We call upon the people of the U.S. and the international community to declare solidarity and to offer all assistance to the besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

If you can, please pass this along to others. I know there are indeed other sufferings, like the Haitians. But we cannot raise one up and ignore other crimes against humanity.—Rudy

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Other Responses

Cynthia McKinney Appeals to Barack Obama—I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel.

Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, let us remember that he said:

1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and 2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.

I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote “no” on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.   Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let’s stop it and stop it now. There’s been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.   We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

*   *   *   *   *Gaza and Global Politics

By Marvin X

Gaza may go the way of Falujah, the city in Iraq that was completely eradicated of resistance fighters by American troops after two American mercenaries were hung from a bridge. Except Gaza may suffer worse by the Zionists. Even as we write American made bunker -buster bombs are dropping on Gaza, one of the highest population density areas in the world, surely innocent civilians are “collateral damage” to a high degree. Four hundred have died already. Mosques, schools, hospitals and office buildings are being systematically destroyed by the bunker busting bombs of the made-in-America Zionists.

The Vandals are at it again, destroying the holy land. Because a Zionist child is peeing in her pants, you must destroy a nation of people who have every right to live, certainly as much right as your peeing children. At least only a few Palestinian children have been bombed to death in Gaza.

But let us be clear, this present battle was not only hatched in Israel and America, but in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It is a conspiracy between all of the above Sunni Muslims (with Jews and Christian Americans) against the coming power of Iran in the Shiite crescent which includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and occupied Palestine, including the Gaza Strip.

Does the Hamas people of Gaza who voted in democratic elections for the rule of Hamas have the human right of self determination? So what if they are defined as terrorists by Israel, USA,  and the Sunni Muslim reactionary regimes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, along  with the neo-colonial collaborator regime of Abbas and his PLO, who reminds us of Mbeki and his billionaire ANC revolutionaries in South Africa.

We only know that similar to the Black Panther Party in the USA, Hamas won the loyalty of the people by providing their essential needs, food, clothing and shelter, schools, clinics, and security, while the PLO partied in Europe with women and booze and money stolen from the national treasury of the Palestinian people.

The Zionists may win the battle of Gaza but they shall not win the war of liberation by the Palestinian people. The reactionary regimes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others have revealed their running dog connection with Zionism and American imperialism now called Globalism.

If you are brave in the African warrior tradition, invite Marvin to your black history celebration. Call 510-355-6339.

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I signed on to a letter to Obama, I hope others do, too, for this is just plain atrocity.

I drive on a road and a pot hole gives me a flat tire. Next time I drive on the road, I avoid the pot hole. The third time, I stop to recruit other drivers to appeal to City Hall to fix the pot hole. The fourth time, after appealing to City Hall after the third drive, and they do nothing, we picket City Hall until they send a crew to fill in the pot hole. Then we stand and watch to make sure the pavers do their job.

The US, Israel and Hamas knew the Cease Fire would end; why didn’t Israel and US make sure it would not end?

Or do we not care how many “flat tires” we get driving through that same damned “pot hole?”—Ralph

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Hotep Brother Runoko, It is difficult for spiritual people to not feel the pain of others. It is no different than witnessing an animal being slaughtered, you will feel a twinge of compassion because all life is sacred to Afrikans including Arab lives. In spite of everything that has been done to us as a people we have not lost our humanity; in fact our tribulations in the Diaspora has only increased our hunger for righteousness. However, our position must remain steadfast; Afrika and Afrikans first! Despite any concerns that we may have for the Palestinians we have not grown to the place where we can defend our own people from the oppressors

We must focus on the redemption of Afrikans; that must remain our priority. When and if the Arabs decide to repent from the oppression and exploitation of our people and recognize that our enemy is the same; then there will be reason for us to consider a response to their genocide by Israel. Right now we can only determine to arrest the genocide of Afrikan people. We “must” save ourselves first, building coalitions where appropriate with any and all people of color that identify with the war against White Supremacy and its racist institutions. To date I am not aware that the Palestinians have made that connection. In Unity and Power, Adisa Franklin, The Liberation of the African Mind: The Key to Black Salvation 

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Yes, Rahim,   These so called Pan Africanists have no sense of the suffering of humanity as a whole. They do seem emotionally incapable of chewing gum and walking at the same time. I as a Muslim find it hard to comprehend that anyone would make such a statement. But a new dawn is emerging and people are turning away from that kind of parochial sentiment expressed by the Afro-Centrists. They can’t deal with an agenda broader than Africa. It is time that we move to a more mature understanding of humanity—the suffering of any human is the suffering of all humanity. . . . By the way, Happy New Year, my dearly beloved brother.—amin sharif

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Dear Rudy,   On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued what is famously called an emancipation proclamation. Despite the genuine joy I have in knowing Barack Obama shall occupy the White House later this month, my good feelings are diminished by a truth none of us can avoid: an evil which has neither face nor habitation nor name afflicts our planet. Genocide, imperial tendencies, global warming, enslavement of body and spirit, hunger and terrorism wax and wane and wax in our minds. We suffer odd combinations of mental and physical illness.  Bloodshed visits the guilty and the innocent, and those who were once the targets of genocide reenact the vulgar deed against their enemies and non-enemies in Gaza. Nevertheless, the evil of which I speak is not omnipotent.   I can reach no sane conclusions about the multi-layered and intersecting problems of 2009, about their rabid ironies.  Today I quote two sentences from page 464 of Samantha Power’s chilling book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2002).

History does not offer many examples of the victims of mass violence taking power from their former oppressors, in large measure because outside powers like the United States have been so reluctant to intervene on behalf of targeted minorities. Unless another country acts for self-interested reasons, as was the case when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1979, or armed members of the victim group manage to fight back and win, as Tutsi rebels did in Rwanda in 1994, the perpetrators of genocide have usually retained power.

No conclusions.  Only agonizing questions for writers. Can words mitigate the effectiveness of evil, or motivate billions of people to begin doing so? Are our witnessing words only so many sheets of rice paper in a storm?  All I know on January 1, 2009 is that “emancipation” and “enslavement to something” seem to be the two sides of a single coin. . . . Our struggles and obligations intensify,—Jerry

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The Truth May Not Set Us Free

By Jeannette Drake

(New Year 1-1-09)

 I awake this afternoon thinking of a word not in Webster’s; pensell—sounds almost like pencil, looks like pen and sell.  Though I remember no dream details, I realize this concocted word is a remnant from my dream two nights ago which introduced “The Noise Demon.” Pen sell is another hint from this urgent aspect of my unconscious.   “The Noise Demon” reminds me of a truth that is yet to manifest.  If I do my part, which, in this new year, is to more deliberately sit in silence, words that flow from my pen will more readily sell.   She reminds me once again of Robert Hayden’s advice, “read and think more and talk less.”

At three forty-five pm, I happen to notice a moon-shaped oval of sunlight fallen and centered midway near the bottom frame of my son’s abstract painting that hangs on the living room wall. The painting is full of foliage, masks and unspoken sorrows.  Since I barely passed geometry, I cannot ascertain from what precise angle the sun has found its way to this painting. I stand in the kitchen, next to the living room.  From the kitchen window the sun is indirect and almost triangles the wall on which the painting hangs.    I look around both rooms, still clueless as to which object has become a prism, calling in sun to grace  my son’s painting.   I take this measured gathering of sun on my son’s art as a blessing; a portent of goodness in this new year for him and for me.  Momentarily, the sunlight elongates into a comet, crossing acrylic greens, yellows, oranges and purples, then shifts.  I see a whale, a fat paintbrush, a bottle, a torpedo; movement from right to left. 

Earlier, I have been reading the book of St. Luke; about Jesus’s confrontation with the devil, Jesus’s trek though the countryside, his encounter with the lepers, his plucking of the corn on the wrong day, the disdain he received from the establishment, his need to get away from them (“pass through their midst”), speak his truth and continue work in his unique way.   

The angle of sun on my son’s painting shrinks from a comet to a dot, then disappears completely.  It is five minutes pass four o’clock.  I don’t know if the sun will smile from another awkward angle on my son’s painting again tomorrow.  I suppose I could stand in the same spot tomorrow at the same time to see.   But this moment will suffice. 

I have thought already this morning of Cain and Abel, bombs dropping in the Middle East, children starving in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa, crack dealers in Virginia.

I have prayed for relief of my own ills.  I cannot sanely bear these burdens alone. I give them back to Jesus and his other personas, God, The Father/Mother and ghost, Holy Spirit.

At day’s end I watch, for the third consecutive night, Venus’s alignment with Crescent Moon. Venus is sure of her destiny.  In my mind’s weary eye, I still see the golden illumination of December’s huge full moon.  In ten more days the January Hunger full moon will appear.  It will be a time for intentional quiet and gratitude.  And according to some, a time to set goals and plans on how to achieve.  But “Telling Obama” now or in ten or twenty days probably will not help stop the unnecessary spilling of blood in the Middle East.  The starvation of children, rapes, murders, genocides and shedding of tears across the world will not disappear.  Evil will not leave planet earth.  Of this I am certain.

I am also certain that the sun will come back. But maybe not tomorrow.  Whenever it reappears, I pray it will enter the rooms of my home; that I will continue to be warm, safe, and sound in mind and body, realizing that for many persons on the planet such desire represents  fantasy.  Now as before, I, too, ponder meanings as expressed by Jerry Ward, “can words mitigate the effectiveness of evil . . . are our witnessing words only so many sheets of rice paper in a storm?” 

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I don’t know if I will ever know. I only know that on this first day of this New Year I must honor my call and that is to come to you with words in my mouth and a pen in my hand to tell you about the mystery that I see and feel.  It is the least that I may do.  

(c) 1-1-09 Jeannette Drake

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The Nameless Evil with No Face or Home

 By Rudolph Lewis

Can words mitigate the effectiveness of evil, or motivate billions of people to begin doing so? Are our witnessing words only so many sheets of rice paper in a storm?  All I know on January 1, 2009 is that “emancipation” and “enslavement to something” seem to be the two sides of a single coin. Jerry

Despite the good intentions and outcomes of all wars, at whatever level and form, all suffer, whether the cause is just or unjust. I have praised Nathaniel Turner, the religious leader of the Southampton War (1831). There the deaths were in the hundreds, mostly in response to the slaughter of men, women, and children (about 63) of white slaveholding families. After 177 years local whites still flinch at any defense of the dignity and integrity of Turner and his men and are ready to subject punishment. 

The “evils” of modern wars—in which civilian populations (hundreds of thousands and millions) are subjected to slaughter, sighted in the cross-hairs of bombs dropped from airplanes or shot from huge cannons on battle cruisers anchored off the coasts of nations—have become common occurrences given little public concern, covered up by restrictions on media access. “Surgical strikes,” we all know are mythic and would be laughable if they were not so deadly for civil populations. There is also the militarily invented euphemistic term “collateral damage.” Hypocrisy and self-delusion by the civil populations of imperially aggressive nations are evils as dangerous as the creation of boy soldiers or the hacking to death of one’s neighbors with machetes.

We can easily recall too how the French for a century or more visited disaster after disaster year after year upon the people of the small island nation of Haiti in the 1820s into the 20th century. Then there were the Americans with their white superiority and Marines. The Haitians have yet to recover from American and French wars against them. That tragedy continues to this day with Brazilian UN Troops patrolling the streets while the masses go hungry eating dirt. We know too the devastation caused by our own Civil War in the 1860s: over a half million died “to free the slave” for a hundred years of Jim Crow terror.

We know the evils of two World Wars and its uses of chemical warfare on the battlefield and on cities crammed with the innocent: Germans, Russians, French,  Japanese, and others in the millions slaughtered. We know the evils more recently in Vietnam and Cambodia; in Rwanda, Sudan, and the Congo; in Afghanistan and Iraq. Again millions slaughtered or starved to death.

All these disasters far exceeded in duration and numbers dead in the one-day holy war of Turner and his men much more up close and personal than the dropping of atomic bombs. Yet Hiroshima and Nagasaki are dismissed blithely as future threats against nations of the Global South rather than cautionary tales of man’s inhumanity to man. They are justified and defended so much so that there is till talk of dropping such bombs on today’s lesser nations, like Iran. The war in Palestine has continued unabated for over a half century: vast populations of refugees unsuccessfully escaped whole from the bloody bomb-bursting decisions of European and American leaders.

I am not a fan or supporter of Hamas or Hezbollah. Or Bush and Cheney. During the primaries and general election, I was critical of Obama’s duplicitous views on both the invasion of Pakistan (continuing the war in Afghanistan) and his silence on the Israeli Wall (greater than the Berlin Wall). Yet I cast my vote for him during the primaries as well as during the general election. I know such policies will tarnish our perceptions of his idealism once he’s in office as president. But I felt my vote was necessary: there was no other reasonable choice. Such is it with Palestinians when they voted Hamas into power over Fatah and Mamoud Abbas.

You have dealt with such dilemmas of leadership before, as in your writings about the tragic response to New Orleans—its poverty and flooding—in your book, The Katrina Papers: a Journal of Trauma and Recovery. Likewise, you say now that it is difficult for us to avoid “the truth” that “an evil which has neither face nor habitation nor name afflicts our planet.” That view of evil (its lack of location and identification) seems to place all of us in a cosmic condition which may indeed imply that our disastrous global ongoing wars, poverty, disease, starvation, inordinate death rates may be beyond human solution or origin.

Of course, your view runs counter to Western, especially Israeli governments (of the last 50 years), which have continually argued that “evil” was not among them but rather could be located and had the face of (Germans and Russians) then either Egyptian or Palestinian leaders or leaders not in the pay of Western governments, such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The US government and its taxpayers have more or less supported that view (especially since the 1960s) financially, religiously (e.g., Evangelicals), and militarily.

I am too ignorant and unschooled in theology and religion to speak intelligently about a pervasive Cosmic Evil. I have a simple faith, homegrown and nurtured by very limited experiences. What you are suggesting about “evil” is probably much more limited than my interpretation of your faceless, nameless, habitation-less cosmic cast. Rather than mystic maybe your intent relates more to a social reference: that is, an evil without race (ethnicity), color, gender, political or economic persuasions; that all leaders and peoples are subject to be affected by that which is “evil,” for instance, by greed, jealousy, covetousness, and other destructive states of mind, embedded in systems. Fatah was corrupt and was not attending to the people’s business; thus the Palestinians opted for Hamas, which gave bread to the hungry.

But your more significant question deals with the role and effectiveness of poets and artists in contrast to the too often negative roles played by political and military leaders influenced by a corporate culture with an emphasis on profit and greed. Clearly, poets, writers, and artists possess powers of influence, which vary in relevance and intensity. The views of poets and artists are all over the political spectrum, some tending toward sentimentality and others toward the pornographic. Often the activism or involvement of poets and artists is limited or focused on non-controversial issues or highly personal ones.

One indeed may ask what roles do poets and artists and their works play in Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran in altering the trajectory of local politics toward non-violence and prosperity for all its citizens. Fundamentalists and other religious and jingoistic fears have taken their toll near and far with regard to poetic and artistic expression.

I support Ethelbert’s call for a congressional “stimulus package” for the arts, especially programs directed toward public schools and public libraries. I support a financing that will compel the poor and working peoples toward a new ethic of social and moral reform that will pull down fences and barriers, that involves a broader distribution of wealth and power.  I doubt if status quo politicians (Republican and Democrat) will support such a package that will make the necessary impact. Words and images can indeed be more than “rice paper in a storm”: they can seed a rightful protest against social injustice and war-mongering (at home and abroad). Not only will it require a great financial infusion, but the funding of such a social reform requires courage, conviction, and sacrifice.

That’s the rub: so many poets and artists find the ground too hard and the weeds too thick for them, for their expression to take root among the masses of the people. We still have many attracted to redemptive suffering and sacrifice. Beyond the military forces. In desperation against the odds of overwhelming and oppressive military forces with extraordinary military machinery, we have had, among first the Palestinians, and then among Iraqis, the rise of individual suicide bombers (men, women, and children) supported by religious clerics.

Then there are those poets and artists who are looking deeply and broadly and finding common cause across religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class, age, etc. All of these are healthy signs that change will come but probably not as quickly as we desire. What we have discovered most significantly in the late 20th century, with this pervasive evil (you recognize), is that progress cannot be tracked by a straight line.  This desired progress lacks the quality of inevitability (socially or environmentally), especially in the short run of 50 to 100 years: look at the material state of vast numbers of Palestinians or Native Americans or American blacks.

I know not whether this evil of which you speak is indeed cosmic or social. It is indeed pervasive and ubiquitous. If the former, we are lost if God does not intervene with a Cosmic Love; if the latter the words of poets can, but unlikely will, make a difference for a sustaining peace and global prosperity. Whatever the case—with or without stimulant packages, with or without change we can believe in—poets and artists must speak the truth as we know it to be.

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Dear Rudy,   Many thanks for your responses to my questions.  They help me to think more clearly about what I am pursuing.  They reaffirm the power of using historical frames in dealing with what can overwhelm us.  What is most important is that you are helping me to continue growing as a writer and thinker.   Two quick notes.  I too support Ethelbert’s call for a “stimulus package” for the arts, especially if it enables the poor, the unemployed, and the doubtful to lead more positive lives and all of us in participating in the mammoth project of changing the world and ourselves. I think the evil about which I write is at once social and cosmic. “Cosmic” rather than “universal” is my word of choice, because many conservative thinkers use “universal” as a code for phenomena that are not universal. Happy second day of 2009,— Jerry

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Escalation Feared as Israel, Continuing Bombing, Lets Foreigners Leave Gaza— JERUSALEM — Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in Gaza for a seventh day on Friday while Israel allowed hundreds of foreigners, many of them married to Palestinians, to leave the enclave, raising fears there that Israel was planning to escalate its week-old campaign.  Tensions spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Palestinian anger at reports of civilian casualties in Gaza seemed to be translating into at least a temporary increase in popular sympathy for Hamas. Israel has vowed to press its offensive until there is no more rocket fire out of Gaza; its troops and tanks remained along the border, poised for a possible ground invasion. . . . Israeli air and naval forces pummeled more bases of Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza. The military said it hit the houses of several Hamas militants that also served as weapons depots as well as tunnels used for weapons smuggling and missile launching sites. Warplanes also bombed a mosque in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza. The military said that Hamas was using the mosque as a terrorist base and that it was storing rockets there. It was the mosque where Nizar Rayyan, the senior Hamas militant leader killed in an Israeli strike on Thursday, used to preach. Mr. Rayyan’s four wives, at least nine of his children and several neighbors were also killed when his home was bombed. NYTimes

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Antisemitism Should Never Be A Blinder To Palestinian Suffering!—Cornel West


December 27, 2008 C-SPAN

Cornel West, author of Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom (Hay House, November 1, 2008), and Tavis Smiley author of the forthcoming book Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise (Atria, February 17, 2009), spoke at the Miami Book Fair International. Mr. Smiley spoke on his concerns about the U.S. as well as the election of President-Elect Barack Obama. Cornel West talked about the hope offered by the election of Barack Obama, but reiterated that leaders are only as strong as the people they lead. Both participants answered questions from members of the audience following their remarks. This was the opening evening presentation of the 2008 Miami Book Fair International. VideoCafe

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5 January 2009

Israeli Forces Push Deeper Into Gaza— Backed by fire from air, sea and land, Israeli troops and tanks continued to push deeper into Gaza on Monday after rebuffing diplomatic efforts to end the 10-day assault. . . . . The reported death toll of Palestinians passed 500 since the assault began, including 100 said to be civilians. . . . NYTimes

Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells—Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen. As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. . . . Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

The use of the weapon in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s mostly densely population areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 2,300 Palestinians have been wounded. TimesOnline

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6 January 2009

Death Toll Mounts in Gaza Offensive—Maxwell Gaylard, United Nations humanitarian affairs coordinator, said at a Jerusalem news briefing that because of the attacks, people could not reach available food.

Children are hungry, cold, without electricity and running water, he said, “and above all, they’re terrified. That by any measure is a humanitarian crisis.”

Haitham Dababish, emergency chief at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said that seven members of the Abu Aeisha family were killed earlier Monday after an Israeli naval shell hit their house in the Beach refugee camp in western Gaza City. The father, mother and five of their children died.

Haitham Dababish, emergency chief at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said that seven members of the Abu Aeisha family were killed earlier Monday after an Israeli naval shell hit their house in the Beach refugee camp in western Gaza City. The father, mother and five of their children died.

Eleven civilians belonging to an extended family, the Samounis, were also killed when a missile fired by an Israeli warplane struck the relatives’ house in which they had sought shelter in the Zeitoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, witnesses and hospital officials said.

In addition to Zeitoun, the neighborhoods where the Israeli military has been most active are Toufah and Shajaiah. All are poor areas where Hamas has strong political support. Residents said bodies of shot militants remained in the street. NYTimes

January 8, 2009

Israel Ponders Truce Plans as Conflict Enters Its 12th Day—GAZA—One day after Israeli mortar shells killed as many as 40 Palestinians, among them women and children, outside a United Nations school in Gaza, Israel pondered its next move in the 12-day conflict, under international pressure to accept a pause in the fighting but committed on the ground to breaking Hamas’ ability to fire rockets into Israel. With the death toll mounting, President Shimon Peres told Sky News in an interview on Wednesday that Israel would study cease-fire proposals put forward by Egypt. According to news reports, Israel’s security cabinet was also planning to debate the military options after almost two weeks of aerial bombardment of Gaza and a ground offensive that began Saturday.NYTimes

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January 10, 2009

The following story on the Vatican may interest you. Jimmy Carter, a Baptist takes a similar position. By contrast, note the joint resolution that passed the United States Congress today.

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To Live and Die in Gaza—As missiles rain over Gaza, I can only imagine what my grandfather is thinking. Much of the territory’s civilian infrastructure, including police stations, universities, mosques and homes, has been decimated. In the Jabalya refugee camp, five sisters, the eldest aged seventeen and the youngest only four, were killed on Monday as they slept in their beds when an Israeli air strike hit a mosque by their home. Their parents told reporters they assumed they were safe, since houses of worship typically are not military targets. The cemetery where the girls were buried was filled to capacity, so they were placed in three graves. A United Nations spokesperson said the killing is a “tragic illustration that this bombardment is exacting a terrible price on innocent civilians.” The bereaved father expressed the sentiments of so many in Gaza in an interview with the Washington Post. “I don’t have anything to do with any Palestinian faction. I have nothing to do with Hamas or anyone. I am just an ordinary person.” A few days after the attack, I found out that the girls were relatives of our family friends in Florida.

I asked my mother why my grandfather did not leave Gaza while its gates were still open. Why he didn’t leave before the siege, before life became unbearable, and before this latest bombardment. “Because that’s where he feels he belongs,” she said. “He was always homesick before. Gaza is where his parents were buried. It’s where he wants to die.” TheNation

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Naomi Klein: Enough. It’s time for a boycott—The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa. . . . It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era”. The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born. Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause – even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves .  .  . This international backing must stop.” Guardian

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Bloggingheads: Israel’s End?

Glenn Loury of Brown University and Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin Law School debate the Israeli-Palestinian endgame

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As Talks Falter, Israel Warns of More Extensive Attacks—Tank and artillery fire pounded Gaza all night and day, with plumes of black smoke visible especially in the eastern part of Gaza City. A tank shell landed outside the home of a family in Jabaliya, northeast of the city, killing eight members of the same family who were sitting outside, hospital officials said, bringing the death toll to more than 820. Nearly half of the dead were reported to be civilians. . . . Fred Abrahams, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, who has studied both the Kosovo and Lebanon conflicts, said he was concerned that Israel was not paying enough attention to international legal requirements for “distinction and proportionality — first, to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and second, whether an attack will have a disproportionate effect on the civilians in the area.” NYTimes

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A Gaza War Full of Traps and Trickery—Israeli intelligence officers are telephoning Gazans and, in good Arabic, pretending to be sympathetic Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians or Libyans, Gazans say and Israel has confirmed. After expressing horror at the Israeli war and asking about the family, the callers ask about local conditions, whether the family supports Hamas and if there are fighters in the building or the neighborhood.

Karim Abu Shaban, 21, of Gaza City said he and his neighbors all had gotten such calls. His first caller had an Egyptian accent. “Oh, God help you, God be with you,” the caller began.

“It started very supportive,” Mr. Shaban said, then the questions started. The next call came in five minutes later. That caller had an Algerian accent and asked if he had reached Gaza. Mr. Shaban said he answered, “No, Tel Aviv,” and hung up.

Interviews last week with senior Israeli intelligence and military officers, both active and retired, as well as with military experts and residents of Gaza itself, made it clear that the battle, waged among civilians and between enemies who had long prepared for this fight, is now a slow, nasty business of asymmetrical urban warfare. Gaza’s civilians, who cannot flee because the borders are closed, are “the meat in the sandwich,” as one United Nations worker said, requesting anonymity. . . . The backlash from the school attack is another potent example of the risks in an urban-war strategy: Israel may in fact be able to dismantle Hamas’s military structure even while losing the battle for world opinion and leaving Hamas politically still in charge of Gaza. NYTimes

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January 13, 2009

Israel Is Losing This War—Uri Avnery—The Hamas movement won the majority of the votes in the eminently democratic elections that took place in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. It won because the Palestinians had come to the conclusion that Fatah’s peaceful approach had gained precisely nothing from Israel – neither a freeze of the settlements, nor release of the prisoners, nor any significant steps toward ending the occupation and creating the Palestinian state. Hamas is deeply rooted in the population – not only as a resistance movement fighting the foreign occupier, like the Irgun and the Stern Group in the past – but also as a political and religious body that provides social, educational and medical services.

From the point of view of the population, the Hamas fighters are not a foreign body, but the sons of every family in the Strip and the other Palestinian regions. They do not “hide behind the population”, the population views them as their only defenders.

Therefore, the whole operation is based on erroneous assumptions. Turning life into living hell does not cause the population to rise up against Hamas, but on the contrary, it unites behind Hamas and reinforces its determination not to surrender. The population of Leningrad did not rise up against Stalin, any more than the Londoners rose up against Churchill. . . .

A person without imagination, like Barak (his election slogan: “Not a Nice Guy, but a Leader”) cannot imagine how decent people around the world react to actions like the killing of whole extended families, the destruction of houses over the heads of their inhabitants, the rows of boys and girls in white shrouds ready for burial, the reports about people bleeding to death over days because ambulances are not allowed to reach them, the killing of doctors and medics on their way to save lives, the killing of UN drivers bringing in food. The pictures of the hospitals, with the dead, the dying and the injured lying together on the floor for lack of space, have shocked the world. No argument has any force next to an image of a wounded little girl lying on the floor, twisting with pain and crying out: “Mama! Mama!” . . .

What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have severe consequences for our long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet.

In the end, this war is a crime against ourselves too, a crime against the State of Israel. Progressive

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Israel Bans Arab Parties From Election—Balad Chairman Asks Why Lieberman is so Afraid of Democracy—By a margin of 26-3, the Israeli Central Elections Committee decided to ban the Balad Party from running in next month’s election. By a margin of 21-8, they also banned the United Arab List-Ta’al (UAL-T). The two bans will prevent more than half of the current Arab members of Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, from running for reelection. The Arab parties earned the ire of the most hawkish elements in the Israeli government by publicly opposing the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. Balad likewise made enemies by explicitly calling for equal rights for all citizens of Israel, regardless of national or ethnic identity, which the ruling Kadima Party said would “undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.” Antiwar

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January 14, 2009

Israel Says Hamas Is Damaged, Not Destroyed—General Ashkenazi said that Israeli aircraft had carried out more than 2,300 strikes since the offensive began on Dec. 27.

In Tuesday’s fighting, 18 Palestinian fighters and seven civilians were killed, part of the 971 Palestinians who have died, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. Those figures are not thought to include many of the fighters killed since the ground war began.

Thirteen Israelis have died, including 10 soldiers. The Israeli military said one Israeli officer was critically wounded and two Israeli soldiers suffered light wounds in fighting overnight. They were hurt, the military said, after a bomb exploded in a booby-trapped house that they were searching.

General Ashkenazi said that Hamas fighters were using suicide bombers, sometimes women and sometimes dressed as Israeli soldiers, to try to get close to Israeli troops and kill them. One Israeli soldier was killed last week by a Hamas suicide bomber, the Israeli intelligence officials said. The method of the attack that caused the death had not been disclosed before.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, the exiled deputy to the Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal, told Al Jazeera television on Tuesday that while the organization had “serious reservations” about the Egyptian cease-fire plan, he believed that it might be accepted if changes were made.

“If the initiative is accepted, it will be in accordance with the position set out by Hamas at the start, namely an Israeli withdrawal, a cease-fire and the opening of the crossing points” between Gaza, Israel and Egypt, he said. NYTimes

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Clinton Pledges Tough Diplomacy and a Fast Start—Mrs. Clinton said she was “deeply sympathetic” to Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks by Hamas militants from Gaza, a stance that has been central to the Bush administration’s message. But Mrs. Clinton also said that the price being paid by Palestinian civilians as well as Israelis “must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement” that included a Palestinian state. Her emphasis on the civilian costs of the violence in Gaza suggested that the incoming administration might be more inclined than President Bush has been to urge restraint on the Israelis. NYTimes

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January 15, 2009

War on Hamas Saps Palestinian Leaders—The 19 days of bombing, aimed at impeding Hamas’s ability to threaten southern Israel with its rocket fire, have killed more than 1,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian health officials, and have turned the Gaza Parliament, government ministry offices and countless other buildings and homes to rubble. Foreign donors are expected to give money for extensive reconstruction. Israeli officials would rather see the authority vested with the responsibility and the budget for the reconstruction bonanza than the Iranian-backed Hamas. At the same time, they believe that Hamas will try to obstruct any such move, seeking to foster its own popularity and legitimacy by overseeing the rebuilding effort itself. The Palestinian Authority has had a reputation for corruption, though that has been redressed in part by the efforts of Mr. Fayyad. And even if Hamas were forced to agree to a Palestinian Authority presence.  CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela said Wednesday that it had broken off diplomatic relations with Israel to protest its military offensive in Gaza. The decision by President Hugo Chávez’s government came more than a week after it expelled the Israeli ambassador. Bolivia also broke off relations with Israel. NYTtimes

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Egypt Cites Progress Toward Truce as Gaza Toll Exceeds 1,000—Hamas’s leaders met with Egyptian officials in Cairo and agreed in principle to a monitoring force in Gaza composed of Europeans to prevent weapons smuggling, said a senior Egyptian official. A senior Israeli official is expected to travel to Cairo on Thursday to discuss the plan. Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, and his generals favor a temporary cease-fire of several days to a week, partly so that when President-elect Barack Obama is inaugurated next week it would be during a lull rather than in the middle of a battle, and his administration could offer its views on the next step, Israeli officials said. The short-term cease-fire would, if successful, be followed by a negotiated yearlong truce, something that Egypt says Hamas favors if it includes an opening of commercial traffic into Gaza. But splits in Hamas exist between its leaders based in Syria and those in Gaza. The Gazans are more open to a weeklong break, while the leaders in Syria want something from Israel in return for holding fire. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations arrived in Cairo early in the day as part of a regional tour to press all parties to carry out a Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire. He met with President Hosni Mubarak and then issued a plea for peace. NYTimes

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January 16, 2009

On Day of Heavy Fighting, Moves Toward Gaza Peace—Fighting continued amid the diplomatic activity. In past wars, Israel has intensified its military campaign in the final days and hours before a cease-fire in order to achieve favorable truce terms. Dozens of Palestinians died Thursday, bringing the toll to more than 1,090, according to Palestinian health officials. A Gazan Health Ministry official, Muawiyah Hassanein, said 375 children, 150 women and 14 medical staffers were among the dead. He said 5,000 people had been injured. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, including three civilians. As Israeli troops backed by helicopter gunships pushed into densely populated Gaza City, a U.N. compound and a hospital building were shelled and a Hamas leader was killed.

At the U.N. compound, an Israeli shell ignited a warehouse filled with food and injured three people. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — in Israel to push for the cease-fire — said Barak had initially apologized for the incident, calling it a “grave mistake.” But Olmert, while expressing regret, later said a Hamas fighter had used the building to take cover after firing at Israeli troops. U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness vehemently denied that charge, saying it was another in a series of incidents in recent weeks in which Israel has made excuses for striking U.N. facilities and personnel. “Their credibility is hanging in rags,” he said. Gunness also accused Israel of hitting the U.N. compound with white phosphorus, a weapon that under international law is not supposed to be used in urban areas because it is highly flammable. Israel has not commented on its possible use of white phosphorus but has insisted it is in compliance with international law. White phosphorus is permitted for use in illumination and in creating smoke screens. . . . .

In an interview, an Israeli sergeant, 20-year-old Almog, told the reporters that Hamas’s resistance had been less than expected. “They are villagers with guns. They don’t even aim when they shoot,” said Almog, a gunner on an armored personnel carrier who was not allowed to give his last name. “We kept saying Hamas was a strong terror organization, but it was more easy than we thought it would be. WashingtonPost

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Gazans count the cost of war—The Palestinian Statistics Bureau estimates that 20,000 residential buildings have been damaged in the Israeli bombardment. About 4,000 of those were believed to have been completely destroyed. . . . Sixteen health facilities, including al-Quds hospital, have also been damaged by shelling and fighting since the offensive began on December 27, World Health Organisation officials say. Tony Laurance, the head of the UN agency’s office in Gaza, said such attacks were a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”.

“If this continues it will be a humanitarian catastrophe, especially for the healthcare system. “Emergency rooms and intensive care wards are already at maximum capacity.” A storage facility for the Palestinian Red Crescent was also destroyed after being hit by Israeli fire.  The Palestinian Statistics Bureau said that the Palestinian economy had lost at least $1.4bn due to the bombardment, with each additional day of the war costing a further $420,000.More than 1,130 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive to date, more than half of them women and children. The destruction of roads, power lines, water and sewage pipes will also make it difficult for Palestinians to get the Gaza Strip up and running again once the conflict is over. Aljazeera

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January 17, 2009

Israel Declares Cease-Fire; Hamas Says It Will Fight On—— Israel declared late Saturday that a unilateral cease-fire would begin in Gaza within hours, but said its troops would remain in place for now.

After 22 days of war against Hamas, and the deaths of more than 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted that “we have reached all the goals of the war, and beyond.” Speaking to the nation late Saturday night, he said that Hamas had “suffered a major blow” and that if it continued to fire rockets into Israel, “the Israeli Army will regard itself as free to respond with force.”

Hamas, battered but hardly broken, said in Gaza that it would continue fighting so long as Israeli troops occupy Gaza. And Israeli officials say a new flurry of rocket launches, to prove that Hamas is neither cowed nor defeated, is likely for at least a short time. Heavy Israeli bombardment continued throughout the day Saturday, and in an attack that brought scathing criticism from the United Nations, Israeli tank fire killed two young brothers taking shelter at a United Nations school in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. NYTimes

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In Homes and on Streets, a War That Feels Deadlier—A number of government institutions were hit, including the police and fire station. Israel argues that Hamas is a terrorist organization and therefore many of its agencies are legitimate targets. To be sure, some members of the police department are part of the group’s security apparatus, but many officers, whose duties include writing traffic tickets or registering cars, have no ideological loyalty to Hamas.

So when the main police station was hit, Jabbar Shalah, 40, thought it was all-out war. He had been sunning himself outside his house in a plastic chair and felt an explosion thump in his chest.

“I thought — it’s over,” he said, sitting on a mat at home with his family around a hot plate that has served as the only cooking device since their gas supply was cut off. “They’re going after all of us.”

The building was demolished, and the police chief, Tawfiq Jabbar, had been obliterated, he said. Chief Jabbar’s family buried only his legs.

Samira Shalah, who was making coffee on the hot plate, chimed in: “They say it’s Hamas’s fault. They don’t want to take responsibility for anyone else they kill.”

Muhammad Muhaisin, 35, a member of the rival Fatah party who was not particularly enthusiastic about Hamas, said people were getting the sense that the real target was Palestinian civil society itself.

“We see this war as a war on the Palestinian state, not against a party,” he said. “They are targeting the institutions of the Palestinian state.”

The municipal building and another public building that handled marriages and electricity payments were also hit. Those buildings, he said, were built by Fatah.

“They say they want to replace Hamas with Fatah, but really they just don’t want anybody in charge,” he said in his living room, where the windows had no glass and a clock hung sideways, stopped at 12:27, the time a bomb hit the mosque across the street.

The war, he said, will not diminish Palestinians’ national aspirations.

“The idea of Palestine is in people’s minds, not in buildings,” he said. “Every time they press us it gets stronger.” NYTimes

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Hamas Announces Cease-Fire in Gaza—GAZA, Jan 18 (Reuters)—Hamas said on Sunday it would cease fire immediately along with other militant groups in the Gaza Strip and give Israel, which already declared a unilateral truce, a week to pull its troops out of the territory. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier that if a ceasefire held in the Hamas-ruled enclave, Israel could start the process of withdrawing its forces. . . . During the 22-day-long offensive, Israeli attacks killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, including some 700 civilians, Gaza medical officials said. Israel said hundreds of gunmen were among the dead. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed as well as three Israeli civilians hit by rockets. The mounting civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip and mounting destruction and hardship in the territory brought strong international pressure on Israel to stop the offensive. NYTimes

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Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village— Israel stands accused of perpetrating a series of war crimes during a sustained 12-hour assault on a village in southern Gaza last week in which 14 people died.In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza’a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village:

• attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside;

• killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags;

• opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded;

• used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells.

If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.Guardian

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January 23, 2009

Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Stance on Gaza Crisis “Approximately the Bush Position”

Exterminate all the Brutes: Gaza 2009—Thirty years ago Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur observed that since 1948, “we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities.” As Israel’s most prominent military analyst, Zeev Schiff, summarized his remarks, “the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously . . . the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets…[but] purposely attacked civilian targets.”  The reasons were explained by the distinguished statesman Abba Eban: “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities.”

The effect, as Eban well understood, would be to allow Israel to implement, undisturbed, its programs of illegal expansion and harsh repression.  Eban was commenting on a review of Labor government attacks against civilians by Prime Minister Begin, presenting a picture, Eban said, “of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood  reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr.Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.” Eban did not contest the facts that Begin reviewed, but criticized him for stating them publicly.  Nor did it concern Eban, or his admirers, that his advocacy of massive state terror is also reminiscent of regimes he would not dare to mention by name.

Eban’s justification for state terror is regarded as persuasive by respected authorities.  As the current US-Israel assault raged, Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that Israel’s tactics both in the current attack and in its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 are based on the sound principle of “trying to `educate’ Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population.” That makes sense on pragmatic grounds, as it did in Lebanon, where “the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.” And by similar logic, bin Laden’s effort to “educate” Americans on 9/11 was highly praiseworthy, as were the Nazi attacks on Lidice and Oradour, Putin’s destruction of Grozny, and other notable attempts at “education.”  Exterminate all the Brutes Gaza 2009 (Noam Chomsky)

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February 4, 2009

In Shattered Gaza Town, Roots of Seething Split—“We had advance intelligence that there were bombs inside the house,” Captain Y. said. “We looked inside from the doorway and saw things that made us suspicious. I didn’t want to risk the lives of my men. We ordered the house destroyed.” That seemed to be the guiding principle for a number of the operations in El Atatra: avoid Israeli casualties at all cost.

The elementary school was a similar story. Intelligence suggested that there were explosives inside, and an F-16 dropped a bomb on it, producing a house-size hole. When the Israelis inspected later, they found written material from Hamas but no explosives, Captain Y. said. Now the school is unusable, its giant metal flower decorations lying on their sides.For the Ghanem family’s 23-year-old son, Bakr, the act will not easily be forgotten.

“A house is something physical, but also something in your heart,” he said as he stood outside his collapsed home, taken over by cats and putrid odors. “The place in our heart has also been injured. There can be no peace after this.” This talk pains some of the older villagers, like Tamam Abu Halima, 65, who wants to return to the past she shared with Israeli neighbors, when she would fix dinners of fish and figs, and accepting an invitation was as easy as getting in the car. NYTimes

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Ethnic Cleansing and Israel— One of the more disturbing developments in the Middle East is a growing consensus among Israelis that it would acceptable to expel—in the words of advocates “transfer”—its Arab citizens to either a yet as unformed Palestinian state or the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt. . . . According to the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, anti-Arab incidents have risen sharply. “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” says Sami Michael, the organization’s president. Among the Association’s findings:

  • Some 55 percent of Jewish Israelis say that the state should encourage Arab emigration;  

  • 78 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose including Arab parties in the government; 

  • 56 percent agree with the statement that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development”; 

  • 75 percent agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent. Among Arab-Israelis, 54 percent feel the same way about Jews.

  • 75 percent of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

The tension between Israeli democracy and the country’s Jewish character was the centerpiece of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party’s campaign in the recent election. His party increased its Knesset membership from 11 to 15, and is now the third largest party in the parliament.

Lieberman, who lives in a West Bank settlement near Bethlehem, calls for a “loyalty oath” from Arab-Israelis, and for either expelling those who refuse or denying them citizenship rights. During a Knesset debate last March, Lieberman told Arab deputies, “You are only temporarily here. One day we will take care of you.”

Such views are increasing, particularly among young Jewish Israelis, among whom a politicized historical education and growing hopelessness about the future has fueled a strong rightward shift. Counterpunch

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The Return of Benjamin Netanyahu—Mustafa Barghouthi—Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative—The return of Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party does not bode well for the prospects for a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. Throughout his campaign, the cornerstone of Netanyahu’s policy toward the ‘Palestinian Question’ suggests an intention to deepen the conflict rather than solve it. Netanyahu has stated repeatedly that he does not want to get tangled up in ‘final status issues’ — the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, the rights of Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and water rights. These issues form the core of what must be negotiated between Palestinians and Israelis. Yet the man most likely to become Israel’s next Prime Minister does not want to discuss them. Instead, his plan for the ‘economic development’ of the Palestinian Territories is a euphemism for intensifying the Apartheid regime that exists there. Rather than move toward the solution that the majority of Palestinians, the United States and the international community embraces—an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel—Netanyahu would have the West Bank divided into disconnected Bantustans. Palestinians would be given “business projects” as compensation for the self-determination Israel has denied them for more than four decades. HuffingtonPost

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#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 1 January 2009 




Home  Marvin X Table  Marvin X Bio  Another look at Israel Table    Jonathan Scott Table    Maxwell Table 

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The Biggest Jailbreak in History   A Dialogic Forum on Cosmic Evil

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