Shira Banki was the 16-year-old girl stabbed in the chest & stomach by the Israeli settler Yishai Schlissel at the Jerusalem gay pride march. She died in the hospital today. May she RIP.
What price barbarism! From the point of view of refugees trying to get to England through the Eurotunnel, the truckers picked a hell of a time to go on strike. Lorries that refugees hitched on through the tunnel (albeit dangerously) aren’t moving & the strikers are burning tires at the entrances.
This has made it much harder for the immigrants since they’re being assaulted by French gendermes & they’ve had to erect makeshift housing. This hasn’t stopped them from trying to pass through the tunnel–on one night alone, 2,000 attempts were made to enter the terminal. Nine have died already this summer attempting to cross the Channel.
Here a man is trying to get over a razor wire fence around the terminal near Calais. One has to stand in awe of their tenacity & determination. The brutality used to deter them only merits contempt.
We wish them godspeed on their journey. Immigration is a human right. Open the borders.
(Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
Today I received this letter from a Mexican friend I met while working together to build solidarity with the Ayotzinapa 43, the student teachers disappeared by the army in Mexico last September. It is a eulogy & tribute to Ruben Espinosa, a Mexican photojournalist, a friend of hers, & a fighter for justice under conditions of extreme repression & military occupation in Mexico. He was brutally murdered in Mexico because of his work. It’s an extraordinary & heartbreaking tribute which she is unable to post because of her family’s concerns for her own safety.
We should take a moment to honor this young man & the young women murdered with him–remembering they well knew the danger their activism placed them in & were undaunted. Our deepest respect & our condolences. May they Rest in Peace & Power. And may their lives inspire us to play our own parts in making this world free of violence & full of human joy.
“I woke up from a horrible dream, filled with chases, captive moments and myself filled with cow shit. I woke up jut to realize that this is the effect of the terrible news that I received before I fall asleep in tears. Ruben Espinosa, a colleague, a fighter for justice, a friend was found death tied like a pig, bound hand and feet, shot and tortured along with 5 other girls, girls who would dedicate their life to the arts and theater, just like me.
He left his hometown “Xalapa” as an auto-exile this past June, because it was not safe anymore for him; he was threatening, somebody did not like what he was writing. Since the election of the Governor Xavier Duarte in 2010, there has been thirteen journalists death, now fourteen counting him, making Veracruz most insecure state to develop as a journalist in México.
I must say that I am in shock right now. I remember having a conversation a couple of years ago with some friends back in Mexico, where we would say “We are not that important”, or “things like that only happen to people in the mafia”, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that Mexico is not safe anymore, specially for freedom of speech. My eyes hurt for crying. I promised my parents no to talk about the situation in Mexico on the social media, because they are afraid for me. Today the only thing I can say is… they should. This is why I write this letter in English and share it with you, far away from my country; because I need to release all this frustration and pain on my chest out of my system.
I fear for my friends who I follow everyday with their posts on the Internet, all this brave people, just like Ruben, who are brave enough to fight for justice. I fear for my colleagues who try to fight for justice and I fear for my family who leaves in Mexico and try very hard to be happy under the circumstances. As well I fear for myself for writing this letter, but above my fear there is hope; hope that there is a tiny possibility that everything could be better. Hope that they realize that the more they shout our voices; there will be more voices shouting out and multiply. Hope that the bad guys will realize how beautiful life is and how harm they do to the families and the friends of all the people that they took away from us.
I hope this people can sleep at night. I hope this people find peace in their harts to stop this horrifying situation. I hope we all as a humanity become more sensitive about the terrible crimes against freedom of being who we like to be. I hope one day I can go back home.”
Photo is of Ruben Espinosa; may he RIP.
In a decision sure to make Hong Kong jurisprudence the laughing stock of the world, a magistrate sentenced a woman to three-&-a-half months jail time for assaulting a police officer with her breasts at a recent protest. The whole thing is worthy of a Monty Python skit.
Thirty-year-old Ng Lai-ying, who works as a clerk at a shipping company, was protesting Chinese traders from the mainland whose practices are driving up shop rents & prices in Hong Kong. In a chaotic protest that apparently involved jostling & close quarters, chief inspector Chan Ka-po accused her of using her chest to bump his arm while he was trying to grab the strap of her handbag. She testified that his hand landed on her breast & that out of fear she yelled “indecent assault”–which made other protesters throw things at him. There is footage showing several police officers ganging up on her to arrest her when she fell to the ground & fractured her nose.
Magistrate Michael Chan (whose brain must be rotting under that horse hair wig they wear) said “If I do not hand down a deterring sentence, the public might mistakenly think it is a trivial matter to assault police officers during protests.” He accused Ng of using “her female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested her,” calling that a malicious act that damaged the chief inspector’s reputation. Not as much as this court ruling will.
Ng has three co-defendants, including her boyfriend & a 14-year-old boy. All three were also sentenced to jail time for the same offense but their role in this nefarious deed is not spelled out–so as not to evoke hilarity rather than outrage over this “malicious act” against the state.
Protesters gathered outside police headquarters last Thursday, the day of the trial. Many, including men, came wearing or holding up bras; banners read “Breasts are no weapons–give back our breast freedom”; a petition letter was turned in to the police demanding they review their guidelines to handle female protesters; & a topless male activist wearing a black bra told the crowd “We better watch out as one day police might accuse us of attacking with our penis or buttocks.” James Hon, a 66-year-old retired teacher told a reporter “It’s the first time to wear a bra in my entire life. We have come to this rather odd method to tell the world how ridiculous it is.” The charges were also met with scorn online with parodies & cartoons on Instagram.
Activists from a women’s coalition thought the charges against Ng might not be as innocent or ludicrous as they appear but might be used to set a precedent exploiting women’s rights to take part in protests. When we consider the lengths, including assault & rape, the Mubarak & Morsi regimes went to in Egypt to prevent women from entering Tahrir Square for protests, the feminist activists may very well have cause for concern.
Ng was released on bail pending an appeal but according to reports appeared to be quite shell-shocked as she exited the court. When we get over laughing we should think of ways we can strengthen her case in the appeal.
(Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
There’s only so much Israeli criminality media can cover up. At some point, chickens begin to come home to roost & the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel (BDS) is bringing on that day of reckoning with Palestinian justice. So when the gay pride march was attacked by an Israeli settler from the West Bank & when settlers torched the family home that killed an infant & seriously burned the rest of his family, the state of Israel knew they had to make an accounting to international public opinion. They’re running out of impunity even though they’re backed to the hilt by the US Pentagon.
At first it was inspiring to see thousands of Israelis in marches in at least four cities marching against the two incidents of violence. But when you take a look at the roster of speakers, you want to know who organized the rallies. Was it progressive, anti-apartheid, anti-occupation forces in Israel or was it public relations in the Israeli government to make it appear Israeli policy isn’t genocidal & isn’t suffering from advanced dry rot?
One of the featured speakers in Tel Aviv today was former president Shimon Peres. Peres, who was born in Poland, began his political career in Haganah, the paramilitary terrorist organization that drove Palestinians off their lands in 1948 & eventually morphed into the IDF. He has been a central figure in the development of Israeli military & apartheid policies. He has a rap sheet a mile long, including serving as Israeli president during Operation Ethnic cleansing last summer without uttering a peep of protest. What progressive activist in their right mind would consider him a suitable speaker at an anti-violence rally!?
His appearance as a featured speaker calls into question whether these protests were genuine expressions of citizen outrage or an orchestrated spectacle to counter Israel’s growing reputation for genocidal violence.
In his speech he claimed the Torah “given to us on Mount Sinai” was a code of values & Jewish principles forbidding murder or incitement to murder. There isn’t a damn thing Jewish about prohibiting murder; every civilized society shares that. But if Israel recognizes it as a principle, why is their entire state policy & military apparatus based on eliminating Palestinians by whatever means necessary?
There was a moment of candor in his speech when he said Israel was facing a ‘battle for its survival as a Jewish & democratic state’. As a democratic state, Israel lost that battle in 1948 when it established a colony on Palestinian territory. Its ethnic cleansing & settlement policies are to finish off that Jewish-only state perspective. Israel bombed the living daylights out of Gaza at least three times in the past six years, particularly targeting children. So when Peres says “those who are prepared to burn babies in the middle of the night & plunge knives into the hearts of our daughters are the enemies of the people,” he’s blowing smoke up our butts. The only thing that concerns this man of apartheid is that Israel be able to build that Jewish-only apartheid state without the impediment of international opposition to their systematic crimes against the Palestinian people.
Answer our man Peres by building the hell out of the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel.
(Photo of Peres at the Tel Aviv event today by Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)