Archive for Flotilla

First Lesson

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 01/07/2011 by arabrhizome

So I had my first guitar lesson today. It was amazing. I had so much fun and really really enjoyed myself. In fact I enjoyed myself so much that the hour went by very quickly. I learned a whole bunch of stuff and now I need to set aside at least an hour to practice a day. I don’t want to go one about it because I need to go back to work anyway. I have to be done by the end of the weekend. I just wanted to mention that the Greek authorities are acting like israel’s hired guns. They seem to have been pressured into stopping the flotilla boats departing from Greece for Gaza. Today they took the official papers of the Canadian boat and stopped the American boat from leaving. As far as I understand the American boat is now in a military boat in Athens and the passengers are held in the boat and not allowed to leave. I can’t understand the legal basis for any of this. The passengers’ and organisers’ lawyers are filing suits right now, or at least that’s my understanding. We’re going to have to wait and see how this develops. In the mean time, stay safe. Love you bye.


Post in Two Instalments

Posted in about the blog, Food, Friends, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/10/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’m not home at the moment. I’m writing from my phone. This is just to lock the post on today’s date. I will write more once I’m home. I hope you don’t judge me too harshly for this underhanded tecnique. Now only those who read my blog at night will be affected. Since for most of you this will look like a single post. So anyway, I’ll talk more when I’m home.

Right so now I’m back home. Well I’ve been back home for a while, but haven’t been feeling great. I had a good day and a good evening, but then after I wrote the first paragraph on my phone and posted it, I suddenly felt very ill. It’s the same issue I’ve had for the past few days. I thought I was better but it seems I’m not. Good thing is I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I wanted to finish this post earlier, but decided to try to sleep. However I’m too nauseous to sleep, so I thought I’ll write a bit and take my mind off the unpleasantness and sleeplessness.

So let me start by talking about my day. I continued the cleaning of my flat and I’m almost satisfied. Today was mainly about laundry and changing the way I organise my clothes. I also did some vacuuming and general dusting. The flat wasn’t that dirty, as I’ve been vacuuming on a regular basis. So I think what’s left for me is to reorganise my kitchen storage, put up the art I have bought more then a year ago, and I think I’ll be done here. And since it looks like I will stay home until, and after, my doctor’s appointment tomorrow then I’ll probably try to do that then.

After this long and productive day, I had a nice evening planned. It’s A’s birthday today, well technically yesterday, and we had planned to go to a French restaurant for dinner. Guess what? We did exactly that! Don’t you love it when plans actually happen. So we went to this nice restaurant and had lovely food, also some alcohol. We had a lot of laughs, especially when we were making fun of A, even though it was his birthday. We were quite mean, but in a loving way, still mean though. After that went back home and that’s when I felt like shit. So there you go a nice little circle to end the story.

I said yesterday that I wanted to talk about Palestine today. I still feel that my thoughts on the issue I want to bring up are a little rough and not thought through. So I was thinking of postponing writing about it again. But then I thought that this might actually be the best place to think through them, and also I realised that this post was shamefully short. So here it goes.

Remember two posts ago I wrote about the new racist and proto-fascist (I’m being nice here because I do believe that it is actually fascist) loyalty oath to israel as a ‘jewish and democratic state’ that was approved by the apartheid government of israel. Well, obviously the arab population of israel, which remember makes up 20% (and is rising) of the total israeli population, are quite upset. Also, the Palestinians of the occupied territories are upset, but I think that the ones who are most upset are the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their land in 1948, and their decedents. As I have written before on this blog, I believe that there can be no peace in the region without the right of return, but that’s not the major point right now.

So with this happening on Sunday, the non-representative Palestinian Authority, which is somehow kept in power even though the term of the president has expired for a very long time, and the actual people who were voted in are not part of, said that there will be no negotiations with israel until the fake partial settlement freeze was extended. Netanyahu responded by offering to renew that freeze if the PA recognised israel as a jewish state. The PA surprised everyone by rejecting this ‘offer’. In other words they acted with a modicum of backbone, and did not collaborate more then they already have (which is on the levels of very high treason right now), at least not on that issue. The PA said that they already recognised the state of israel, they weren’t going to give more concessions until they get some results.

You see the problem with Netanyahu’s offer is the same as the problem with the oath. It alienates at least 20% of the population. Imagine the UK declaring itself a white and democratic state and demanding that everyone swear an oath to that. This is what israel has done. The other major problem of course is that if the PA recognise israel as a jewish state then the Palestinian Diaspora (which was kept away from power on purpose by the PA) would be seen by israel as not having a claim anymore to the right of return. You see if israel is a jewish state then it makes no sense anymore for arabs to say they have a right to return to that land.

Anyway, after the Arab League meeting, or as they’ve been called the circus of clowns, this weekend and its decision to give the US one month to sort out a deal to restart the negotiations, we have to wait a bit before this round of negotiations fails. I’m hoping that Abbas will go through with his promise and resign. I’m also hoping that he develops some kind of backbone during this time and decides to dissolve the PA, since it has failed miserably and made Palestinians lives worse because it is a set of institutions of collaboration with the occupier. If he does that, then israel will be in deep shit, because the PA that helps it mask and whitewash its apartheid and international law violations will be gone. The Palestinians will be seen for what they are, a people occupied, dispossessed, and systematically discriminated against through a racist system of laws and actions. In other words, Palestinians suffer from apartheid.

Well my thoughts are clear on the issue, it’s just my delivery of them that needs a bit of work. Anyway, that’s what I think about the recent developments. I could also talk about the violent take-over of the Jewish boat that was trying to reach the besieged Gaza a few weeks ago, but it’s a little bit late. Although this letter appeared in the guardian yesterday. The point that is important to make here is that israel said that the boat was taken peacefully. That’s a lie. Peaceful is taken here to mean without anyone dying, but that’s not what it means. You see tasering people and beating others while illegally boarding a boat in international waters, is not peaceful. Just because no one died or was seriously injured doesn’t mean the operation was peaceful.

Anyway, my nausea is better so I’m going to try to sleep now. Good night.

The Idiot Has Spoken

Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17/08/2010 by arabrhizome

So the story I linked to yesterday has gained some media attention. In fact, many things happened in quick succession. Here is the story again for those who don’t know what I’m talking about. You can read my previous post to know what I think about it. One interesting factor was the IDF’s (israeli defence force) response to the story. They condemned the girl and said that what she did was callous and disgusting. Now what she did was callous and disgusting but she isn’t alone there, and the IDF’s attempt to single her out and make her seem to be a bad apple is a bit rich. The reason for this will become clear as the post progresses (yeah, that’s right! I’m building suspense in my posts now with cliffhangers, The news isn’t better than me).

So the girl decided, or had the decision made for her, to take down the pictures and make her facebook profile completely private and only visible to her friends. But then she decided to give an interview in which she declared: ‘I still don’t understand what I did wrong’. Here’s the full story. So the girl doesn’t understand why her taking pictures like that and posting them on a social networking site is wrong, and why it shows a disregard for Palestinians as human beings with full rights. But as I said yesterday, I only blame her partially, she clearly isn’t very smart. In fact I’d go as far as saying that she sounds like a complete airhead. She did what everyone else does, and doesn’t understand why people got angry at her.

Indeed, it emerged today that this kind of practice is the norm amongst IDF soldiers. Remember that they see themselves as the most ethical/moral army in the world, that statement has been put to the test a great many times and how people still believe it is beyond me. A group of veterans called Breaking the Silence has published a number of very disturbing pictures showing israeli soldiers posing next to bound Palestinians, some of whom are dead. They say these are only the tip of the iceberg, and that there are thousands of such shots. In fact, they argue that this is seen by the soldiers as a normal part of their compulsory military service. These pictures are very disturbing so if you are of a sensitive nature don’t click this link.

What this shows, is that the girl (I am refusing to use her name on purpose, because this isn’t only about her, but about a culture of abuse in the IDF) is not a bad apple, or as Dr Ishai Menuchin of the Committee Against Torture in Israel puts it: ‘she is a bad apple, but all the box are bad apples’. Indeed, what we can now see is how banal and mundane the humiliation of Palestinians is seen by the young men and women of the IDF. This explains why it is so easy for them to shoot and kill Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. They have been conditioned to think of non-Jews as less human then them. This is what zionism does. It makes the accidental birth into Judaism, or Jewishness (depending on the religious or ethnic or cultural understanding of the term), be seen as a privileged position. According to Zionists Jewish people have rights that other people do not, for example the right to establish a state on someone else’s land and persecute the indigenous population ever since.

The IDF is the final state apparatus that cements the years of ideological indoctrination, began in school and at home. The children who are born in israel are taught that because they are Jewish they have rights and privileges that other people do not. They are taught that it is okay to use insulting words to refer to arabs. They are also taught that because they are god’s favourites, they are allowed to do a lot more than others are. The IDF comes at the end of a whole system of indoctrination which results in the apartheid state we have in israel today. Anyway, that’s my take on it so far, let’s see how this story develops.

Even Shorter

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Palestine, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , on 12/06/2010 by arabrhizome

I’m very sorry to announce that I will write a very very short post today (By the way I have edited yesterday’s post to fix the errors that came from writing it too quickly). I have been really very busy for the past two days, between work, the football, and a few social events I haven’t found a free hour to properly think about the blog and write a good post. I will try to write an extra, longer post, tonight if I have time.

So I wanted to share a couple of articles that I really enjoyed reading today. There’s this one, which is a very interesting non-zionist, or at least skepti-zionist, view from a pro-palestinian Jewish person. Also, this one, which is a very nice round up, quite angry, of the whole flotilla affair and israel’s refusal to allow a proper inquiry.

Tonight, after the football, A and I will be recording our first podcast. I will let you know how it went and whether we’ll publish it or no. So watch this space for information on the subject. I’m quite excited about it.

Well like I said extremely short post today. I gave you two articles to read though. I promise I will sort out my schedule so that I have time to write more. I like how I make it seem as if you all have no life and are waiting for my posts. It makes me feel better about myself to deceive myself into thinking that you are disappointed by short posts, when I know for a fact that you couldn’t give a fuck, or at least you don’t care all that much. Also, as a further present to say sorry, here‘s Mark Kermode “not ranting” about “Sex and the City 2”, and a lovely Blog post about it too.


Posted in Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/06/2010 by arabrhizome

Disclaimer: Some of the images in the video I link to are quite rough. You should be aware that you will see some injuries, a lot of blood, and possibly a dead person. However, I think it is important to share this video because no one else in the mainstream media seems to be doing it. I will therefore follow the indy media saying: “Don’t complain about the media, be the media”.

Okay very short post today. I will however make it up to all of you on another occasion. I want to talk about a couple of things. First, Yesterday after I wrote my blog some new images about the flotilla attack were released. A documentary maker, Iara Lee, was able to smuggle some of her videos in her underwear. It’s about an hour of footage that shows what happened before the attack and during it. You actually see that some people were killed or injured before the israelis boarded, and the blood all over the place. You also see that the israeli soldiers who were hurt were treated by the activists. In other words, there was no lynching. In fact, as she says in this interview, they could have killed them if that’s what they wanted. At the end of the video you can hear a woman saying over the PA system “We are treating the wounded. Please don’t use violence against us, we are civilians,” while we can hear gun shots. As is said as well it seems the israelis were there to kill. The israeli self-defence argument seems to fail as well. Finally, one of the activists shows what is clearly a list of some of the activists that the soldiers were carrying. There has been widespread speculation that this was a death list, listing who the israelis needed to target. I, however, do not read Hebrew and do not have any evidence that points in this direction. I am only reporting what a lot of people have been saying.

In completely different news, The world cup started today. I watched the opening ceremony and was moved to tears by the poem performed at the beginning. The line that really did it for me was: “We are all children of Africa and now we have returned home”. You see I am African, a bit, and I don’t know why this just struck some kind of buried emotional string. I was actually crying.

I also loved how the ceremony was really about Africa as a whole, and not just South Africa. They built the tree of life from 6 pieces of wood representing each of the 6 African countries representing the continent in this competition. I would really be happy if any of the African teams wins this year. Especially if it is Algeria.


Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 10/06/2010 by arabrhizome

So after a few heavily political posts I thought I would write something different today. However, circumstances meant this post will be another political one. Today on twitter a video is being circulated. Now I don’t know where it is from exactly. I believe it is part of the first footage we’ve seen, the one that was able to make it out before the israeli blackout. It seems to show israeli soldiers executing one of the passengers of the flotilla. The footage claims it is Furkan Dogan the 19 year-old Turkish-American high school student, who was killed by 4 bullets to the head, at very close range, and one to the chest.

The footage does not show the person being executed. It, however, clearly shows israeli commandos beating and kicking someone and then shooting him twice while he is at their feet. As I said we don’t see the person but we can tell that there is someone there, because of the way in which the soldiers are acting.

This article is a quite interesting analysis of it. The video is at the top. Do watch it and make up your on mind. But importantly think about the fact that not a single mainstream news outlet has shown it or even mentioned it.

The BBC has just ignored the flotilla story for days now. They showed the IDF edited images ad nauseam but are clearly uninterested in showing the other side of the story. As I wrote in previous posts, the way in which they questioned the flotilla survivors was quite telling, especially when you compare it to the way in which they interview the israeli spokes people. I am very very disappointed in the BBC’s coverage, or lack thereof, of the flotilla incident.

What this footage shows us is that there must be a proper independent investigation of the incident. There are too many questions that need to be answered. Of course there is also the question of all the footage that the IDF confiscated and refuses to release. The israeli medical and coroner hospital reports about the dead and wounded that have not been released. There are also many unconfirmed reports that some people are missing and unaccounted for.

Now, the israeli government has  proposed two different internal investigations. Both of which would not place blame and would not have the right to compel people to testify. In other words, a cover up. This is not acceptable. What is even more unacceptable is the silence of the mainstream media about this whole affair.

I do not necessarily claim that the video proves that someone was executed, although I do believe it does. But the fact that it exists shows that the israeli account is definitely questionable. This interview with the doctor who treated the israeli wounded seems to challenge the idea of “lynching” that the navy officers suffered. This article, which I shared before, compiles a few of the problems with the israeli story and the way in which some of the lies told have been unravelled. There has been numerous reports, from the survivors, that the israelis started shooting before they boarded the ship. All of this different evidence shows that israel cannot cover up this affair unless we stay silent. We need to hope that the people who died get justice, proper justice, and that the responsible people are held accountable. This cannot be swept under the carpet.

Cancellation and Absolutely Nothing

Posted in Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , on 08/06/2010 by arabrhizome

Well being ill means I don’t really have much to write about. I’m just stuck at home doing absolutely nothing. Well trying to work but not being able to and just playing Fallout and watching the news.

As I have disclosed in my previous post, I decided on Monday that there was no way I was going to be able to make it to Tuesday’s WIP (if you don’t know what that means then you aren’t a faithful reader of my blog, how dare you?). I sent an email to R in order to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I felt really bad about it, but luckily someone filled in for me. I will present a paper early on next year in order to make up for this.

Other than that, I’m getting quite far in Fallout 3 and it’s not getting boring yet. In fact, it’s getting better and better. I’m particularly enjoying the music, it is incredibly well done. The songs are made to feel like they were written in the 1950s. The lyrics are very smart and well written, also quite funny. The Capital Wasteland is huge and fun to explore, there’s a huge number of side quests to keep you occupied. The whole game is quite immersive and very well produced.

That’s really all there is to say, except that on the flotilla front: it is emerging that the Mavi Marmara was fleeing away from Israel at the moment of the attack. It seems that everything that the israeli government has said turned out to be a lie. This article compiles the different instances where the israeli hasbara (read propaganda) was exposed by the internet. It is nice to see that the internet is making it difficult for the truth to stay hidden for too long.