A Sad Anniversary

Today is a very sad anniversary. 29 years ago today one of the bloodiest, but not the only one sadly, massacres in the history of the Palestinian struggle began and continued for three consecutive days. After having invaded Lebanon in 1982 the israeli army surrounded the refugee camp of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut and unleashed their fascist Lebanese allies of the Lebanese forces and Phalanges onto the civilian population. For three days the fanatic christian militias went through the camp killing, maiming, and raping the civilian population. The israeli army gave them it’s full tactical support and shelled the camp. The most conservative estimate, which is completely unrealistic, is that 800 Palestinian civilians were murdered during those three days of frenzy. More serious estimates put the number of deaths over 3000. The added tragedy that many of the dead will remain faceless and nameless is very disturbing.

Interestingly, the military leader responsible for that massacre, Ariel Sharon, went on to become the prime minister of israel. Clearly, the supervision of the murder of thousands of civilians and the invasion and subsequent 22 year occupation of a sovereign country are political capital in israel. He is now in a coma having never faced justice for his crimes, of which there are many, both in Lebanon and the occupied territories. The lack of accountability for israeli war criminals isn’t anything new. Many war criminals like Olmert and Levni are still honoured guests of western dignitaries and campuses. They are paid a great amount of money to give talks that whitewash their crimes and the crimes of their Apartheid state.

One of the Lebanese leaders responsible for the massacre, Elie Houbaika, was murdered in a car bomb shortly before he was going to give evidence on the massacre. Obviously this crime, which was clearly orchestrated, if not executed, by israel was not investigated. Something that might implicate israel doesn’t deserve the attention of the international community it seems. I do not like Elie Houbaika, in fact I despise him. He was a war criminal, a fascist, a fanatic, and a corrupt and disgusting little shit. He is a murderer and a warlord. However, his testimony would have been invaluable. Now, we will never know what he had to say about one of the bloodiest massacres of the Lebanese civil war.

It is a painful day for anyone who cares about Palestine and about international law and human rights. On this day 29 years ago a great atrocity has taken place, yet very few media outlets remember it. The names of the dead are not read out, one reason is that many of them were too disfigured to be recognised. Another reason is that entire families were murdered and no one was left to remember them and their names. The ceremonies remembering them were not beamed all across the world. Great selling bands didn’t play in a memorial service for them. No justice is given to the families and the survivours of the horrors of those three days of a bloody murderous frenzy. When it comes to Palestinians, and Palestinian refugees in particular, international law and the international community seem to be blind, deaf, and completely uninterested.

However, today we have a great strategy on our side. A strategy that is already starting to have incredible results. That strategy is BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against israeli products, physical, intellectual and artistic, and against the companies that profit from and promote the Apartheid policies of the israeli regime. Already a company that was deeply invested into the occupation and the Apartheid regime has gone into liquidation, agresco, and Veolia has lost many multi-million contracts all around the world. The TUC here in Britain has voted for cutting ties with israeli racist trade unions. Any event that tries to whitewash Apartheid is disrupted and not permitted to go ahead without an incident, just like the wonderful disruptions of the israeli philharmonic orchestra’s appearance on the BBC Proms. Also, israeli companies have been finding that their products aren’t selling as well as they used to. It is clear that BDS has achieved in 6 years a lot more than the oslo accords have in 20. So on this day, while I feel pain and I remember the dead, the wounded, and the traumatised, I also feel hopeful. We are getting closer to justice for all Palestinians, that means not only those living in Gaza and the West Bank, but also the Palestinian residents of israel and the Palestinian refugees and in the diaspora. We need to escalate our BDS and we need to keep educating people and getting them to join the movement. Soon Palestine will stop being an Apartheid state and we will achieve equality and a one-person one-vote system from the river to the sea in a single undivided country.

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