Where The Head Spun: Sunday, 12th July 2009

This week has been busy with some writings on The Idea of India photo project, but I did manage to come across some fascinating stuff:

Ikea Is As Bad A Wal-Mart; A piece in Salon magazine that reviews Ellen Ruppel Shell’s book Cheap.

Yes, it is our consumer habits that are driving these climate changes – the degradation of the soil, the cutting of forests, the polluting of the oceans, the exploitation of human labor in china and mexico, to name just two places, is all for the sake of our cheap consumer goods.  We may prefer to avoid this fact by trying to simply shop ‘green’, but shopping, and repeateded, frequent cycles of shopping are in fact why the problems are emerging. Details »

Our Unbreakable Bond With…Er…Some Israelis

In response to an earlier post I received some comments that claimed, in an ironic mimicry of an idiotic argument often used by the Israeli government, that ‘there was no one to talk to’ in Israel, I am putting up this post to help us find ‘people to talk to’ in Israel.

So here are some suggestions for organizations we would do well to join, support, participate with, talk to and stand alongside.

I am little tired of the simplistic and dismissive ideas about Israel that seem to pervade conversations many young people from backgrounds Muslim. We have allowed our anger at the wrongs committed against the Palestinians to reduce us to ignorance and mindless invective.  I have said it before and I will say it again; we do not know Israel and the decades of ignorance of  its society, politics, history, culture, conflicts, strains and possibilities weakens our goals and our cause for the search for justice for the Palestinians.

Another place to begin would be to read those who know her, and write about her from within. Journalists like Jonathan Cook have been covering Israel’s politics and society for years. His books (Disappearing Palestine, Israel & The Clash of Civilizations and Blood & Religion) and articles reveal the complex political and societal workings of the country and help us understand her policies towards the Palestinians and the various agendas at work. His work helps us understand where to focus our resistance.

Ignorance, stupidity, and sheer thick headedness will not change anything, nor will it weaken the resolve of those we wish to confront and stop. There are individuals in Israel, yes, Jews, who are opposed to her policies and her terrorism against the Palestinians. These Jews, these Israelis, share with us our understanding of human life, morality and justice. So why not join them, stand alongside them, add our voices to theirs just as they will add their voices to ours?

Broken Promise: Israel Known & Unknown


HAMID SAMONI Father of Zakaria Hamid Samoni, 8 years of age, who was killed by a rocket fired from an Israeli helicopter

The Summer 2009 issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review magazine dedicated to matters Middle East has been published just as Amnesty International releases its report on Israel’s 22 day assault that began on December 27th 2008 on the territory of Gaza.

The report (download a copy at this link) provides a broad human rights and war crimes background to the work that writer Elliott Woods and I recently completed in Gaza thanks to the generous support of the Virginia Quarterly Review and The Pulitzer Center On Crisis Reporting. Details »

The Definition of Courage: The Israelis Speak

The testimonies now being given by a number of Israeli soldiers who took part in the recent war on Gaza, a war that Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights, called a criminal act, offer us a glimpse into acts of human and individual courage.

There is no other way to describe the actions of these young men who were involved in what was nothing short of an international war crime against the unarmed civilian population of Gaza.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has been publishing a series of testimonies – the paper’s Amos Harel’s has two pieces, IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement and ‘Shooting and crying’. Details »

How The Israeli Arms Industry Learned To Dance With Bollywood.

Rafael is an Israeli arms manufacturer and here is their attempt to convince ‘feminine’ India of her need for protection thanks to the modern, macho, western Israeli man?

With lyrics such as ‘I believe In You.  You believe In Me. Together. Forever. We Will Always Be. Dinga Dinga Dee’ we have a glimpse of the sophistication of the world this video emerges from and is distributed in to.

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more about “Iron Eagle Nominee: Israeli Armsdog-M…“, posted with vodpod

Gaza On My Mind

Wikipedia has an entry about Professor Ammiel Alcalay.

How cool is that?

It says that he is ‘…an American, scholar, critic, translator, and prose stylist. Born and raised in Boston, he is a first-generation American, son of Sephardic Jews from São Tomé and Príncipe. His work often examines how poetry and politics affect the way we see ourselves and the way Americans think about the Middle East.’

He is also the author of one of the most amazing books I have read in the last decade – Memories of Our Future. Details »

Gaza Diary: January 30 2009 10:33 PM

Are you from Pakistan?

I am not sure how he knew for we had not met nor spoken to each other.

I was just about the get up to leave Al-Awda mosque in Rafah, Gaza when a man sitting behind me introduced himself and asked if I was from Pakistan.

How did he know? Why did he think so? Nothing about my appearance that day – I in my conventional trekking pants and checkered shirt, suggested my background.

How did he know? Details »

Gaza Diary: January 24 2009 18:00 PM

The water pipe has many names.

In the balkans it is called a ‘lula‘ or ‘lulava’.

In Egypt and the Persian Gulf it is often referred to as a ‘shishe’.

In Iran it is called a ‘ganja’ pronounced as ‘ghelyoon’.

In India and Pakistan it is called a ‘huqqa’.

In the Palestinian Territories, the Levant, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Israel, it is called by the beautiful name of ‘narghile’- a word that has its roots in sanskrit.

But I doubt if it has ever been called a weapon of defiance. Details »

Gaza Diary: January 22 2009 14:25PM

On the Getty Images archive you can type in ‘Gaza Destroyed’ and retrieve over 5,500 images to select from.  If you run the query ‘Gaza Funerals’ you will get back over 7,000 images.  I was unable to check the Corbis archives because at the time of writing this entry their site was undergoing maintenance.  But I am confident that I would find a similarly large number of images for both the queries above.  Details »

What We Are Is Only What We Do

Huwaida Araf is a young American of Palestinian descent and a founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Here is a video of what it means to have the courage of your convictions

Details »

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