Archive for Politics

We Must Go Back To Coalition Building And Stop Cannibalising Ourselves

Posted in Culture, Friends, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23/11/2012 by arabrhizome

During the latest onslaught by israel against the besieged people of Gaza, most of the online pro-justice community was focussing on spreading information about the death, injury and destruction brought by israel on the tiny strip of land, as well as showing solidarity and organising local protests & actions. However, unlike the onslaught in 2008/2009 there is a strange oppressive atmosphere around the pro-justice community this time around. It has been there for a while, but I felt it most acutely during this past week. I am not interested in pointing fingers, or calling out particular people, because that would only contribute to that atmosphere.

No what is more important, in my opinion, is to talk about it and try to figure out a way out of it. I understand where the motivation to be careful and to be suspicious of those who come to the pro-justice movement originates. We have been stung before. Some very unsavoury characters tried to associate themselves with the Palestinian cause, some people used Palestine as a career opportunity and then left never to mention it again. I get it. I think that there is nothing wrong with being careful and being vigilant. However, we must be careful not to let that become our default setting. We must not let the movement cannibalise itself.

I have been speaking to many people in the twitter community about this for the past few days. Many feel the same way. They do not all feel like they can say anything openly, and that’s very problematic. We cannot have people in our movement feeling like they cannot express themselves freely because of an atmosphere that makes them feel they will be chastised and ostracised if they do. That is something, I think, we can all agree on. I am not trying to speak for them, but I’m hoping that by writing this we can all have an open and honest discussion of what has been a set of worrying trends.

There has been an upsurge of snark and ad hominem attacks on some people who seem genuine and who are doing a great job reporting the facts from Gaza, I am thinking of Harry Fear in particular here. I enjoy snark as much as the next person, however, when it is used to undermine allies it becomes problematic. Particularly when there doesn’t seem to be any reason for that attack. All it does is that it makes those who initiate the attack seem bitter and jealous.

I do not want to be seen as a fan boy or someone who wants to stick his flag on the Harry Fear ship and go down with it. If there are clear, reasonable, and cogent arguments that show him not to be a genuine ally, then I would be the first to criticise him and call him out. However, I haven’t seen any. All I’ve seen are ad hominems calling him a white saviour, an oppression tourist, a white messiah, and chastising him for appearing on media outlets.

The first three attacks are completely and utterly unsubstantiated. Harry has been very careful not to make any white savioury comments. He has been an activist for Palestine for a while, as attested by the many Palestinians who know him. He has also done a very good job spreading information and amplifying the voices of Palestinians during the onslaught. More importantly, many Palestinians in Gaza, many of whom are ones we have all been getting information from, trust him & share their information with him. It seems to me that if he is good enough for Palestinians in Gaza being bombed he should be good enough for us.

On the third point, about him appearing on media outlets and seeming to be constructing a career out of this. I do not get that criticism at all. I repeat he seems genuine and a good ally. What is the problem with him, remember he wants to be a journalist, having a career thanks to his great reporting. If we are to go down that route then many of the great allies we have who aren’t Palestinians must be chastised in the same way. For this criticism to have any consistency then every non-Palestinian journalist, or activist, who gets work talking about Palestine must be chastised, and that would be ridiculous. Otherwise, that argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

Let us remember that the BDS call explicitly calls for coalition building. This means that we cannot retreat within ideological rigidity. Everyone won’t agree with everyone within the movement about everything. However, we can all agree on the three central demands voiced by the BDS call.

We must have red lines. Any form of bigotry must be rejected without any qualms. Just because someone calls themselves an ally of the Palestinian people does not mean they have carte blanche to say or do anything. However, we must be careful not to draw red lines beyond that. People are coming to this movement with years of propaganda talking points intrenched within them. We must help them overcome this. Not through snark or rejection. But through understanding, open discussion, and education. The facts are on our side, rationality is on our side, if this is not enough to get through to them, then by all means snark away.

We must be an open movement that welcomes allies no matter where they come from. There are many people who come to the pro-justice movement with great enthusiasm and filled with honest genuine passion but who might not be up to date on all the subtleties of the arguments and different views that have been built up over the past six decades. I am not trying to rework the zionist “it’s complicated” argument here. I’m just pointing out that there is a plurality of voices within the pro-justice for Palestine movement and not everyone knows them all and the different arguments they advance.

Talking to some of my friends about this atmosphere we remarked on the fact that it must be very difficult for people who are just coming into the movement, unlike how it was when many of my friends came into it. It must be very hard for them to know what they can and can’t do. What they can and can’t say. What their role should be. Or even what they must read to learn more about a given issue. We need to be there to help them. We need to respond to, educate, and welcome them. I’m not saying that we need to become Kumbaya singing hippies, but we must make sure that our movement doesn’t become an exclusive club. Those who are appalled by the crimes of israel but aren’t educated well enough must feel like they can express those feelings and find a community that supports and educates them.

The final point I want to make is about how many people who have been fighting for justice in Palestine for years, if not decades, feel like they are sidelined and feel like they cannot trust those who they are fighting with to bring justice in Palestine. This feeling is particularly true of non-Palestinians who have consistently stood in solidarity with Palestinians. Some of them at great cost to their personal life, losing family, friends, & loved ones in their pursuit of justice. They were ready to give up those relationships because of their principled stance with the Palestinian cause. They should have found a new family, new friends, and new loved ones within the movement. Instead many feel like they are not welcomed anymore.

I had a private conversation with a friend about this very subject, I will try to protect this person’s anonymity in my writing. That friend’s words were the catalyst that pushed me to write this post. If that person cannot feel safe within our movement then we are definitely doing something very wrong. That person started by asking me whether the “language of justice” within our movement  is “towards a goal, or the goal itself?” In other words, are people truly fighting for justice or just for their family/dignity/people/country/sect. My answer was clear, we’re fighting for justice. There can be no dignity for a people or a country if justice isn’t the end goal.

The person then explained that they had given up their country/family/people/even dignity in their fight for justice, but that they feel like many in what should be their new family are busy backstabbing each other and would not hesitate to backstab them. This particular comment felt very painful, but I unfortunately had to agree. There has been a move towards ideological purity, which means that a small disagreement can lead to very damaging and personal attacks.

The most important point made by my friend about the subject is that the family of choice, which we need to be towards each other, seems to have been undermined by ideological rigidity and purity. The words that hurt the most, but that I think we all need to hear were: “My zionist parents are more likely to stand by me than some ideological purists who I think of as comrades. And with whom *I* will stand nonetheless, because I know what loss of either type of family is like.”

This is an important issue for our movement and its future. We shouldn’t dismiss the feelings of the members of that movement who feel like they have become potential targets because they do not fit a rigid ideological mold. Our tent must be a broad tent. It must accommodate those who seek justice, even if we do not agree on the finer points of a given issue. We must rebuild the solidarity within our movement and strengthen our ranks, otherwise we will find that people will start leaving the movement because of the psychological strain they feel.

We should not dismiss the concerns of those in our movement who feel like they are being edged out because they happen to be privileged in one way or another. It has been my experience that the vast majority of them are actively fighting against their privilege in order to achieve justice. Many are doing everything they can so that their privilege is dissolved and that those who do not enjoy their privilege can in fact live in a just society.I am not saying that they need to be mollycoddled, but they shouldn’t feel like they are not welcome either. They are trying to show solidarity with us, we must not reject them, we must not let our movement become exclusive, and we must not allow those who want to voice their disagreement on certain issues feel like they cannot.

I hope this post is taken in the spirit it was written in. I am trying to open a dialogue. I am not interested in shaming anyone, or silencing anyone. I am in fact trying to show that there has been a lot of silencing happening. Many people feel like their voices are not being heard. Many feel like they cannot be open about their feelings. This needs to be addressed. Thank you for reading.

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Remembering Qana

Posted in Lebanon, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18/04/2012 by arabrhizome

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the first Qana massacre perpetrated by the israeli armed forces in South Lebanon. During the murderous war of 1996 launched by israel and termed operation Grapes of Wrath, which on a side note makes me unable to actually read the book because I get so angry when I see the title, israeli forces shelled a UN compound in the village of Qana on the 18th of April. The compound was being used as a makeshift refugee camp for South Lebanese citizens who had been displaced by the israeli attack on their homes. That shelling killed 106 civilians and injured 106.

I remember this massacre very well, as that was the first attack by israel on Lebanon I remember. I was in Lebanon during the 1982 invasion, but do not remember that as I was two years old. This one however, is a very clear memory. I remember visiting friends when the first images from Qana were shown on television. An image that is etched into my memory, and which I recall everyday, is that of the little girl’s lifeless body being held to the camera. The child was missing half her head. She had been torn apart by the hellfire rained on that refugee camp by “the most moral army in the world”.

That little girl became a symbol for me, and probably everyone else who saw that photo, of the savagery of israel and its army. This was one of many massacres perpetrated by the israeli army in Lebanon. In fact, Qana would witness another massacre 10 years later when a civilian building was bombed and destroyed during the 2006 war. However, that massacre holds a special place for me. It is the first that I remember as an almost adult. I remember everything about it. I remember all the gruesome photos and videos that were taken there. Children, women, men, killed in a place where they were supposed to be safe, a UN compound.

Of course, that wasn’t the last time a UN compound was targeted by israel. In fact, UN compounds seem to be some of their favourite targets, along with schools, mosques, civilian buildings, hospitals, ambulances, power plants, and bridges. They basically like targeting civilian infrastructure. That is always very high on their target list. But returning to that particular massacre. I remember how I felt that day. I remember the amalgamation of anger, sadness, feeling of helplessness that I felt. I also remember the sense of determination it gave me. My anti-zionism was reinforced that day. I would never shift from that ideological position after witnessing that callous mass murder.

I will never forget the images from Qana. Those responsible must be brought to justice and tried for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN and Amnesty international both conducted independent investigations of the massacre. They both found that the evidence contradicted israel’s story. However, thanks to the US’s continued support the criminals are still free. This shows why we all need to do what we can to keep up the pressure on israel. Our governments have failed to hold israel responsible for its many crimes. We as citizens of the world must join the Palestinian led non-violent call for BDS against the state of israel until it complies with international law and human rights.

Remembering Deir Yassin

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 09/04/2012 by arabrhizome

Today is the 64’th anniversary of one of the first, although not the first, massacres in Palestine perpetrated by zionist terrorist groups against unarmed civilians. Deir Yassin was a village that was attacked and 254 villagers, and the rest were forced out of their homes which were destroyed. This is one of the many similar actions undertaken by zionist groups in 1947-9 in order to ethnically cleanse Palestine and establish israel as a majority Jewish country. In the days, weeks, and months following the massacre of Deir Yassin Palestinians were forced out of their ancestral homes en mass. The number of Palestinians forcefully expelled is estimated at 800000, half of which were expelled before the establishment of israel.

Today we must remember this horrible day. It is unfortunately not the worst massacre that Palestinians suffered, nor was it the first or last. Deir Yassin should remind us that zionism is racist, supremacist, and murderous ideology that is responsible for great injustice and unspeakable crimes. We must fight against it with all our power. The greatest weapon we have is BDS, boycott Divestment, Sanctions, which is a non-violent call to boycott israeli products and put pressure on israel until it complies with international law and human rights and respects the rights of Palestinians. I ask you all to read the call and join the struggle for justice.

A Year On

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14/01/2012 by arabrhizome

It’s been a year since I was sitting at this very computer in my dad’s appartment while he was watching tv in his room and the news that Ben Ali fled Tunisia came through. It is still very difficult for me to express in words how emotionally charged that moment was. It represented a moment of pure joy and hope that I only experienced once before, when israel was forced out of most of South Lebanon. However, this had another flavour. This event felt monumental in a different way. It wasn’t the defeat and humiliation of a colonising state, it was the victory of a people against their domestic oppressor.

I wrote last year that it felt like the first truely post-colonial revolution in the arab world, and maybe in the whole of the colonised world, and a year on I can but reiterate that thought. The revolution in Tunisia has changed the world. It might sound like a platitude or a blanket statement, but it doesn’t make it less true. The desperate act of Mohamed Bouazzizi has created a tidal wave of revolution that is still building up. I had hoped that the Tunisian model was going to spread to the rest of the Arab World, and maybe the rest of the decolonised world. I’m happy to see a year on that it is still going strong.

What we saw was Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya (although that particular revolution was marred by imperial and neo-colonial intervention), Syria, Kuwait, Saudi, and other Arab countries rise up, in different ways and to varying degrees that speak to the specificities of their situations. Today Nigeria is rising up. What I did not expect is to see the people of Europ and the USA rise up. Much can be said about their particular forms of protest, particularly occupy wall street and its refusal to show solidarity with the people of Palestine (I’m not letting that one go until they rectify the situation), but the point still remains that the revolution has gone global.

We shouldn’t forget the movements in South America, particularly the student movement in Chile. It’s also important to acknowledge the precursor to all that which is the student movement in the UK. I still believe that that particular movement, allied with the anti-cuts movement, has been central in awakening the revolutionary spirit in the world. While Mohammad Bouazzizi’s self immolation is the spark that started it all, it would be wrong not to see the student demonstrations as the kindling that was gathered and made the fire of revolution take.

Now we have seen countless regimes shaken by the tidal wave of revolution, some fell, others are hangging by thin threads, others are trying to weather the storm. We have also seen the forces of counter revolution try to coopt or destroy revolutions or revolutionary gains. The egyptian army is trying to destroy the revolution in Egypt. Saudi, israel, and the West are trying to crush the revolution in Bahrain, but to no avail. We must remain vigilant and continue to show solidarity with the people rising up.

While I think that the counter-revolutionary forces might get some gains in the near future, I believe that the writing on the wall is there for everyone to see. They will eventually be defeated, even if they make some tactical victories. It is important though to realise that in a post-Tunisia world (even though this was true before), we can’t be frightened by the popular uprisings of people. I find that many people are still stuck within a paradigm that sees some dictatorial and tyrannical states as allies. I’m of course referring to Syria and Iran.

We must realise that the people have broken through the wall of fear. We shouldn’t be afraid of their choices. Those who argue that if the Syrian regime falls Syria will become another Saudi or that it will make peace with israel, have no understanding of the significance of the Arab Revolutions. People will not accept a new form of dictatorship. Some puppet regime might try to establish itself, but as Egypt is showing us and as the rumblings against the NTC in Libya are showing us, that’s not going to happen. We must be on the side of the revolutionaries wherever they are and trust that they will not abandon their hard earned freedom.

Thinking About Ableism

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 07/01/2012 by arabrhizome

I caught up on a twitter fight that happened yesterday. Someone called out someone else for using ableist language. I follow both users and find that I generally agree with the politics of one and the work of the other. I thought we all were on the same page, but the Syrian revolution has exposed many arab leftists to be unable to criticise a regime that appears to be anti-israeli. I say appears because of course the Syrian regime has done nothing for its people in the occupied Golan heights. They’re happy to talk about and support resistance in other countries but not their own.

Now I’m not saying that the other account falls within that bracket, it’s just that their position is suspect. I don’t like accusing people of something without proof, and so far I only have circumstantial evidence. All I can say is that their criticism of the regime and support of the revolution has been conspicuously absent. But anyway, that’s not the point. The fight was about the use of ableist language. As that account used the term “lame” to refer to a stand up comedienne who they think has very suspect politics when it comes to Palestine. While I used to agree that she had problematic politics (that view has changed since I first published this post because I talked to her and she clarified her position. I was wrong and misinformed. She is a one state supporter and very vocal in her support for Palestine), the point was about the language used.

It’s very interesting to see that people are still very unaware of ableist privilege. The problem is that ableist language is so ubiquitous within our parlance. We don’t think twice about using certain terms that are derived from or mocking the physically and mentally disabled. To use the word “lame” to describe someone or someone’s comedy is very ableist. It is wrong to use it to describe someone who does not have a disability, but it’s even worse when you use it against someone with a disability. Even if you don’t mean to be ableist, using it is highly problematic. It perpetuates the idea that there is something wrong with certain forms of disability. It always comes from a place of privilege. Once that is pointed out one needs to realise and change their behaviour.

I must admit that I myself used, unthinkingly, a lot of ableist language. In fact, if you go back through my blog posts, you will probably come across a lot of ableist terms. I did not mean to use them to abuse or mock the disabled, but they still do. I have since realised that those terms are unacceptable and stopped using them. At the end of the day, all you can do is realise that you’ve done something wrong and try to fix it as best you can. No body is perfect, but it’s important to try not to hurt people because you unthinkingly use terms that abuse them and their being.

The problem is that people with disabilities suffer from real oppression, be it in accessibility or recognition, and that oppression is invisible. People without disability do not see the person with a disability but see the disability. When faced with someone in a wheelchair say, people don’t really see the person in the wheel chair but the wheelchair, they conflate the person with their disability. Moreover, the struggle of the disabled for recognition and accessibility is very often ignored by the media and its coverage is not as prominent as other forms of oppression.

We have been able to rid our language of much of the racist, sexist, classist, etc terms. However, ableist terms are still used wantonly without people realising. What happens when someone is challenged for using such language is that they become very defensive, and deny that they are doing anything wrong. Ideally, they would then think about it and realise that they were in fact in the wrong and stop using those terms. However, that doesn’t always happen, and cries of political correctness gone mad are uttered. The problem is that people aren’t always happy to acknowledge their privileged position.

All of us without disabilities are privileged, not in that we are better than people with disabilities, but we reap benefits within our society because of our lack of disability. It is imperative if we consider ourselves to be fighting for justice, that we take on the cause of the disabled as our own. We must recognise our privilege and work against it. This involves changing our language and not perpetuating the power relationship that they embody. Those terms normalise the idea that disabled people are not equal to people without disabilities. There is something absolutely wrong with that attitude and it must be fought with as much force as all other injustices.

The fight against oppression isn’t a simple one. We aren’t fighting against a group of people but against a system that created hegemonic power relations. Those power relations are actualised in real physical violence or lack of accessibility but are also mirrored in our language. If we want to fight oppression effectively we must dismantle all the forms of oppression including our use of terms that perpetuate and normalise that oppression. Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject. I’d like to hear what you have to say about it. It would be interesting to get your perspectives. Stay safe everyone. Live long and prosper.

Bye Bye 2011

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30/12/2011 by arabrhizome

I thought I’ll write my post saying good bye to 2011 tonight, as I don’t know if I’ll be able to write more than a few words tomorrow. I thought that I would very creatively write a review of 2011. I know no one is blogging about that. I’m the only person in the world who’s ever thought of reviewing the year that’s just passed. Being serious for a second, I thought I’d write about my perspective on the year, with a mixture of personal and not so personal stories that made this year what it was for me. So, let’s start at the beginning.

The year started in a bad place for me. I had just gotten out of a long relationship and wasn’t feeling very good about myself. I had very little self esteem and was not able to get much work done. I felt slightly lost and was not sure what to do to get out of the hole I felt I was in. It was a difficult time and in many ways I’m still dealing with the aftermath of that. I am much happier today, not only because I’m able to be friends with my ex, which is brilliant, but also because I’ve moved on and I’m able to work again, which was another big problem this year.

That was another feature of the year. The clear lack of work. I kept trying and sometimes wrote some stuff, but it was never good enough. It wasn’t even slightly acceptable. However the more common occurrence was me spending most of the year sitting in front of my laptop trying to write but not being able to concentrate. This spell was broken at the end of November and the beginning of December. I was able to write a work in progress which went down very well. That gave me a great boost in confidence in the work department. But the year wasn’t all bad.

To remain within the personal for a bit this year also involved me discovering comic books and Dungeons and Dragons. Well if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know all about Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve met some great people through it and I’m enjoying the great adventure that Andy our Dungeon Master has thought of for us. I’ve also met some new friends who are really brilliant through Remi’s poetry reading. I hope that I’ll get to see more of them  in the coming year. Nothing like meeting some great activist, feminist, pro-Palestine, vegan, anti-capitalists. I can’t wait to hang out with them soon. That also speaks to the other great thing that happened in my world this year. I became a vegan. I have to say that I still feel like this was the best things I’ve ever done. But I’ve written a whole post about that, you can read it if you want to know more.

Another highlight of the year was the wedding of two of my friends. I am not a fan of marriage but if there ever were two people who can make the institution work it’s those two. It was a wonderful wedding, with lots of emotion and many laughs. I met some very interesting people and enjoyed their company. Hopefully I’ll get to see more of them this year. Congratulations again to Mike and Becky. It was a beautiful wedding and I wish them all the happiness in the world. That was definitely a great day.

But how can we talk about 2011 and not talk about the great upheaval that shook the entire world starting in a village in Tunisia in 2010 when a fruit seller set himself on fire out of desperation and in so doing started a movement in the arab world that we are still living through. First it was Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. We’ve also seen protests in Kuwait, Saudi, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan. Dictators fell others are still clinging to power, either through the help of Western imperial powers and their Arab lackeys, or through brute military force. We’ve seen what the West’s intervention in Libya has done, and so even though I fully support the Syrian revolution, I’m not happy to see it repeated in Syria.

The revolutions also moved to Europe, North America, South America, and parts of Asia. The occupy movement made a difference, apart from Occupy Wall Street’s refusal to show solidarity with Palestinians because of some zionist pressure. I point this out because it is important. There can’t be no justice without solidarity between all oppressed people. Occupy Wall Street’s refusal to show solidarity is a stain on their record and needs to be rectified. The rest of the movements showed a lot more solidarity, including occupy Boston, LA, Oakland, Chicago, and others. We also saw how much the US’s political system is sold to corporations. The incredible brutality with which the police responded to those protests, which was reminiscent of some of the worst dictatorships in the world, showed that at the end of the day Corporations mattered more to the US political system than the people.

There was also the riots of the summer in the UK. I saw many people who call themselves leftists, when faced with the actual raw reality of class warfare and the real anger caused by police brutality and economic pain, turned to fascist language about the rioters. I was shocked, but not surprised, to see how many arm chair activists are happy to abandon all of their supposed beliefs when the poor stand up, however clumsily, and are ready to adopt rightwing narratives. The riots showed that a large section of the British society are disenfranchised and feel completely disconnected from their communities. What we saw, in my opinion, is the result of Thatcherism and Reganomics combined with the clear police brutality felt by the youths of deprived areas in Britain.

Then there was Palestine. This year so much in the struggle for justice in Palestine. I can’t cover all of it, however, I’ll write about a few events that marked me. First there were the protests on Nakba. For the first time, Palestinian refugees from neighbouring countries walked to the borders of Palestine demanding their internationally recognised right of return. Israel responded the only way it knows how, with brutality and without any regards for civilian life or international law. They fired across international borders killing and injuring dozens. This year the BDS movement kept growing and becoming more and more mainstream. There was also much unnecessary death and destruction. Palestinian human life is still too cheap in the eyes of israelis and the world.

However, I am feeling optimistic. I believe that public opinion is changing. The world thanks to the incredible work of many activists who work very hard to bring the truth about the Apartheid state of israel and the brutal racist policies of the zionist state to the world. I trust that when people see and understand the deep injustice in Palestine they can’t but find themselves in the anti-zionist camp. What we also saw was that israeli propaganda and intimidation tactics aren’t working as well as they used to. As many have said, the truth is that the facts are anti-zionist. On this note, I hope you all had a very good year. It certainly was an interesting one. Stay safe everyone. Live long and prosper.

There Are No Words

Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/12/2011 by arabrhizome

It’s very hard for me to write a coherent post today. I am angry and sad. Today Mustafa Tamimi, one of the many Palestinian Gandhis that liberal spineless orientalist westerners and their house arab lackeys keep asking for while simultaneously ignoring, has died as a result of the injuries he suffered yesterday. He is one of the many brave Palestinians who for years now have been staging peaceful weekly protests in West Bank villages affected by settlement activity and the Apartheid wall stealing their land, water supply, and cutting them off from their crops. He was shot in the face by a high velocity tear gas canister fired at close range from an armoured israeli military jeep.

Mustafa Tamimi was 28 years old. A life snuffed by the brutal military occupation force of the apartheid regime. That in itself, unfortunately, is not a remarkable event in the eyes of the world it would seem. We have grown accustomed to Palestinian deaths. They are numbers and statistics. Casualties of what is often represented as an intractable conflict that has plagued the land for centuries. Of course this analysis is flawed on several levels. The conflict is around 60 years old and is very simple. A native population is colonised and being ethnically cleansed at varying speeds since 1948 by a brutal racist ideology, zionism.

What happened today is not remarkable because for too long Palestinian deaths have been reduced to numbers or shorthand words that dehumanise the murdered. The dead are referred to as militants, protesters, rock throwing youths. Make no mistake all these terms are designed to obscure and hide the fact that these are human beings with stories, families, experiences, and histories. They are not just nameless statistics, or faceless numbers. They are human beings like Mustafa Tamimi with friends and families who will never be able to see them again. Who have to continue to live under a brutal military racist occupation. We must never lose sight of that.

The story however is even more disgusting than that. Mustafa’s sister was not allowed to get to her brother’s body after he was deliberately shot in the face with a high velocity American made tear gas canister at close range from an armoured military jeep. Medical services were deliberately delayed and were not allowed to tend to him straight away. Occupation soldiers laughed in the face of the other protesters as they cried because a young man, their friend, neighbour, and family member, was laying with a broken face on the floor unattended. The soldiers showed no remorse because they have been raised within a racist system that teaches them that they are the chosen people and that Palestinians are not human beings.

Mustafa’s father, and other members of his family, were not allowed to visit him in hospital. Eventually he died as a result of the injuries he sustained after being deliberately shot in the face with high velocity American made tear gas canister fired from a rifle at close range from an armoured military jeep. I hope that me repeating this fact bothers you and makes you uncomfortable because it should. These words should never be a sentence. These words however are the actual description of what happened. This is what the israeli army does to the Palestinian Gandhis. Remember that the next time you hear a liberal say something stupid like “where are the Palestinian Gandhis?” Remember Mustafa Tamimi’s name and deliberately shoot it in their face. Tell them this is where they are! Why don’t you open your eyes and see them?

I am angry. Mustafa is not the first to die, he won’t be the last. In fact, many have died this week in Gaza because of fighter jets bombing the besieged territory. There are no words to express how I feel. I am aware that no matter how angry or sad or outraged I might feel, it is nothing compared to how the families and friends of those who are being killed everyday must feel. I know that my anger, being righteous or not, is nothing. I did not know Mustafa Tamimi, now I never will. I recommend you read this article which articulates the anger that is felt today better than I ever could. I also recommend you read this article about the disgusting and stomach churning IDF attempts at justifying the murder of Mustafa Tamimi on twitter. And for those who think that this post is not balanced, please tell me what justification do you have for the deliberate shooting in the face of an unarmed 28 years old Palestinian named Mustafa Tamimi in the face with a high velocity American made tear gas canister fired from a rifle by an occupation soldier from an armoured military jeep?