“We Teach Life, Sir!”

Gazan children & Muhammed M.K.   Sept 27 2014

This photo of Muhammed M. Kabariti, an activist in Gaza, with small girls was taken after Israel’s murderous siege ended on August 26th. There are many reports about the unspeakable psychological trauma suffered by children who survived. If we consider that war veterans act out PTSD in mental illness, addiction, violence, homelessness, suicide, then we can imagine the scope of the suffering imposed on these small children by Israeli ethnic cleansing–especially when they were among it’s chief targets.

The many photos of children at the beach, playing in rubble, giving the “V” sign, & posing like this bring to mind the remarkable poetry reading in London (in 2011) by Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian activist & poet. The poem titled “We Teach Life, Sir” will leave you breathless.

Clooney and colonial politics

Clooney Sept 27 2014

For those who may not yet know, you haven’t lost a golden opportunity for love with George “Clueless” Clooney & he didn’t marry what media describes as ‘a very special woman’ today in Venice. Clooney & his bride, Amal Alamuddin, are both portrayed by media as progressive & humanitarian. In truth, Clooney is an international playboy who episodically makes brief forays into warmongering over Sudan alongside his mentor John Prendergast, who is called a human rights activist by the media but is more likely a CIA operative actively engaged in undermining democracy in African countries like Sudan & Uganda.

Clooney has neither said nor done anything to protest US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere & has never exhibited interest in a single other political issue. Why he’s impassioned when it comes to sending troops to Darfur & has more than once testified in the US congress & grandstanded for that purpose likely has more to do with being a celebrity shill of the Angelina Jolie sort. It’s just another role & it gets them invited to White House soirees.

Alamuddin is described in media as a human rights lawyer but that’s only if you agree with the US Supreme Court that corporations are people too. Her clients as a lawyer with a New York corporate law firm included Enron, & Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that helped Enron cook the books.

Other than Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, her clientele is not impressive from a human rights perspective. On the contrary. She represented corrupt Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko; Kofi Annan, now the chair of The Elders who actively oppose the BDS movement for Palestinian solidarity; & most despicably, Hamad Al Khalifa, the king of Bahrain, during his violent assaults on the democracy movement in 2011. She now works for a London law firm who describe themselves as involved in “criminal justice, public law, immigration, employment, human rights, & civil liberties work.” That doesn’t say which side of the aisle they work.

They’ll likely have good-looking kids. Hopefully the kids won’t absorb the stench from war-mongering & covering for bloody dictators.

The barbaric captivity of animals

Baby gorilla Sept 26 2014

If eyes are the window to the soul, this is the soul of bereavement & a condemnation of the zoo system throughout the world that takes complex living creatures out of their milieu & parks them in stinking cages until death. The smell of the kennel & the smell of the zoo are the stench of exploiting animals as spectator sport with no respect at all for their well-being.

This is 6-week-old Kamina, a Western Lowland gorilla originating in the forests & swamps of central African countries. Her mother, held captive at the Oklahoma City Zoo, shunned her at birth. Such antisocial behaviors are common in animals disoriented & made crazy by captivity. Zoo keepers (who must surely be among the most obtuse &/or cruel animal observers on the planet) moved the bereft Kamina to the Cincinnati Zoo to be adopted & reared by another adult female. We laud this unusual display of compassion but assume it was more a way of protecting the “merchandise.”

We hope the little gorilla girl finds maternal love in Cincinnati captivity & we work for the day when all zoos will be dismantled & animals rescued to live a suitable life.

(Photo by Michelle Curley/AP/Cincinnati Zoo)

U.N. Reconstruction proposal in Gaza a scheme to create Palestinian disunity

Gaza (2) Sept 24 2014

Gaza is out of the headlines but it is by no means getting a diplomatic bum’s rush. Machiavellian scheming abounds involving the UN, Israel, US, UK (in the person of Tony Blair), Norway, Egypt, & the Palestinian Authority (PA). No one has played a more perfidious role in all that than Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA, which serves as an Israeli proxy to police the West Bank. He’s at the UN General Assembly today talking a blue streak about Israeli genocide but his role throughout the latest phase of Operation Ethnic Cleansing was nothing short of traitorous. Abbas isn’t the elected head of the PA since his term expired nearly six years ago but he is such an effective double-dealer that Israel & other governments continue to treat him as head of the West Bank bantustate.

Prior to Israel’s murderous siege of Gaza this summer, the PA & Hamas (the elected leadership in Gaza) forged a unity agreement for a consensus government of Palestinians. Israeli apartheid needed to destroy that frail collaboration because it needs to posit Hamas as terrorist (in contrast to the PA’s sniveling collusion) to justify ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by carpet bombing. Despite the unity agreement, the despicable Abbas turned on Hamas during the siege, not because he is a fool but because he is a traitor to Palestinian justice.

His incendiary speech at the UN today is just part of his role as Israel’s proxy; he doesn’t mean a word of it. It’s just part of the theater required to betray Palestinians more effectively. But he isn’t just Israel’s proxy; he represents neoliberal economic & political interests in the Middle East & he hopes to be rewarded handsomely for his treacheries in peace prizes & honoraria. His ethnicity as a Palestinian means nothing to him because his class interests are much more highly rewarded & not just with prestige but big bucks.

Robert Serry is the long-time Dutch, European Union, & UN diplomat who brokers the Israel & Palestine conflict for the UN. He’s a hustler, practiced in lying & bullying, with a few decades experience maneuvering against Palestinians. He’s been the UN’s point man for Israel since late 2007 & just brokered an agreement between the UN, Israel, & the PA for reconstruction in Gaza.

Gaza is now mountains of cement rubble & can’t even begin to consider reconstruction until that rubble is removed. Meanwhile, estimates of those made homeless by the bombing range from 150,000 to 350,000. People are living in makeshift tents midst the rubble, in a few former schools used as UN-refugee centers, & in a measly 100 trailers provided by a relief agency. Ending the Israeli embargo prohibiting building materials from Gaza is essential to removing massive tonnage of cement & reconstructing thousands of schools, homes, hospitals, clinics.

The scheme our UN hustler is brokering includes Egypt (with a history of treachery toward Palestinians) & Norway (collusive with Zionist Israel since 1949) co-hosting a “donor conference” in Cairo on October 12th to raise money for private companies to rebuild Gaza. These donor conferences are an old scam. Usually about 70 countries show up, blither at each other, & pledge billions in reconstruction aid–most of which will not be dispersed. That which is dispersed is to corrupt government officials to steal or as bribery. Afghanistan & Haiti reconstruction aid are most recent examples of this travesty. And now Gaza–which is likely to see very little of that dough in housing & schools because reconstruction of Gaza is not what Israel & the neoliberal project have in mind to expand & cement their control of the Middle East. As we know from reconstruction in Iraq & the notorious operations of private firms like Halliburton, most of the dough will be stolen.

The heart of the reconstruction project is that it was brokered with & will be administered by Abbas & the PA, who are not democratically elected to run Gaza, & completely ignores & preempts Hamas officials, the elected leadership in Gaza. It’s a slick maneuver to decisively put the PA at odds with Hamas & break any possible future unity in action to defend Palestinian self-determination.

When billions of dollars are involved & there are corrupt officials like Abbas administering for Israel & denying Hamas any say, the possibilities for conflict, not to mention grand larceny, are rampant. The present political leadership of Palestinians will be engaged in internecine conflict that can only weaken the Palestinian struggle. And that is the grand hustle in the proposed reconstruction program.

The people of Gaza chose Hamas as their leaders like it or not, whether the politics of Hamas are adequate to their historic mission of Palestinian self-determination, or not. Israel, the UN, US, & the whole gang of neoliberal predators should have no say whatsoever & should not be allowed to get away with this treacherous scam without Palestinians & their supporters yelling bloody murder.

It’s hard to keep up with the scheming against Palestinian justice & it is for them to solve their leadership problems. Our course remains steadfast: building the solidarity movement by evangelizing for the cultural & economic boycott of Israel & demanding “No military aid to Israel!” “End the embargo of Gaza!”

(Photo of boy in Gaza against bullet-marked building from FB wall of Muhammed M. Kabariti)

The children of Gaza: resistance and loss

Gaza Sept 24 2014

Robert Croma, a photojournalist who worked in Gaza & the West Bank after the Intifada in 1988 said wherever he went children spontaneously flashed the “V” sign when they saw his camera & he has dozens of photos showing that.

This little guy in Gaza was photographed after the cessation of Israeli bombing on August 26th. The spirit of intifada & resistance to Israeli apartheid is clearly still alive but so is massive psychological trauma for children who sustained seven weeks of terror. Many are now orphaned, injured, homeless, hungry.

As admirable as the defiance is, this is no way for children to come of age, no way for them to live. That adage “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” doesn’t really fly when we’re talking about apartheid & ethnic cleansing.

The cultural & economic boycott (BDS) of Israeli products is the strongest way to stand with this little guy. He has a right to peace & a right to justice. But isn’t he something else!?

Boycott all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) & demand “No military aid to Israel!”

(Photo from FB wall of Muhammed M. Kabariti)

Coping with homelessness and rubble in Gaza

Gaza (3) Sept 24 2014

Since Israel ended the latest phase of Operation Ethnic Cleansing on August 26th Gaza hasn’t been much in the news. Israel has a lot of territory to recover to get a leg back up on that Exodus baloney–the Zionist version of “Climb Every Mountain”– because although psycho Zionists were not squeamish about ethnic cleansing, most people around the world were completely horrified & traumatized.

Media is doing it’s part by not reporting on recovery in Gaza & publishing nonsense like the op-ed in the LA Times titled “How do Israelis cope?” about the recovery in Israel. It was written by a US Zionist who settled in Israel & is quite accomplished at talking through his ass. There’s no need to belittle the trauma that affected many Israelis (especially those being attacked by goon squads & cops for protesting the war), but there’s no need to over-dramatize or exaggerate it either. It was after all Zionist media who at the height of the siege published articles like the psycho settler asking if ‘this war would make her fat’. There were dozens of photos of Israelis watching ethnic cleansing in Gaza like a spectator sport & cheering it on. So cut the crap!

One Guardian UK reporter said the psychos cheering genocide at Sderot should be understood “in context” because the children of Sderot were hovering in bomb shelters. Does that make sense? Did the parents leave their kids in bomb shelters & head for the parlors in the hills where they could take a front row seat to carnage? Because then we’re not talking “context”; we’re talking double-whammy psychosis. “In context” is the same kind of equivocation as “nuanced” & “measured”. It’s another way to pull a switcheroo to make Palestinians culpable for Israeli genocide.

An Israeli ceasefire in Gaza is a qualified thing because although they’ve stopped carpet bombing, they have not lifted the embargo of Gaza which requires massive medical aid, reconstruction supplies & equipment, food stuffs since their farm lands are devastated.

School started in Gaza & there is no place for kids to go since Israel bombed so many schools claiming they were taking out Hamas rocket nests. Photo after photo show children trying to learn in bombed out schools. There are images of rescue workers still looking for bodies in cement rubble; of children playing & people trying to camp & sleep & cook in rubble. Even a rookie reporter knows Gaza is where the story is if you’re talking about recovery from Operation Ethnic Cleansing.

Massive protests around the world have of course ebbed for now. Rallies, pickets, flash mobs, speak outs, forums, panels must now build the cultural & economic boycott (BDS) of Israel. Building the boycott is not at odds with protest rallies but comprise an integrated program for steadfast solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza & in the West Bank.

Lift the embargo on Gaza! No military aid to Israel! Long live Palestinian intifada!

(Photo of children in Gaza is from FB wall of

Drone bombing in Afghanistan at record highs

Afghani boy (Muhammed Muheisen:AP) Sept 24 2014

Israel’s Operation Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza, US bombing in Syria, & US war plans for Iraq have necessarily pushed the US-NATO war in Afghanistan out of the headlines. Serial & simultaneous catastrophes seems to be the nature of US militarism & neoliberal colonialism. But it’s important not to forget Afghanistan where drone bombing sorties number in the thousands.

There are reportedly more drone attacks in Afghanistan than anywhere else in the world; in the past year, the US & UK have doubled the number of drone strikes. Studies have shown that only an inconsequential percentage of drone strikes take out the militants US-NATO claim they’re going after; most kill hundreds of civilians including children in the most barbaric way. Unless the generals are all completely incompetent (which is not impossible) one can only conclude that taking out civilians is the real intent of drone missions.

There are gruesome photos of mangled children killed by drones in Afghanistan. May they RIP. This little guy, running to help a goat who got its head caught in a bowl of water, has so far dodged the bombers.

In response to US militarism going completely out of control, there will be pickets, rallies, & protests around the world. Keep this little boy in mind when you grab a placard & head out to join the chorus demanding “US-NATO out of Afghanistan!”

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

The 1960s generation and modern protest

Antiwar protest at White House (J. Scott Applewhite:AP) Sept 24 2014

So much for “going quietly into that dark night!” This woman whose youth was in the 1960s & 1970s is in front of the White House protesting US bombing in Syria. There is so much nonsense written about her generation whose gestalt was rebellion against the tyrannies & culture of the Cold War.

We got rid of our beehive hairdos cemented with hairspray, ditched the stilettos, put on bellbottoms & comfortable shoes, & protested & organized for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, disability rights & against the Vietnam War. Popular historians are now trying to turn us into uptight, blue-nosed prudes but that’s only to make rebellion look like the death of social life, a living hell of joyless Presbyterianism.

In fact, they were exciting days of ideas & ideals & commitment & many, like this woman, continue the gestalt. Many moved toward passivity & cynicism but the legacy of that generation stands tall. Activists like her continue to build antiwar activity despite the weakness of the movement so that when people in the US get off their leaden asses to oppose these wars, there will be an organizational matrix to accommodate growth.

No US bombing in Syria! No US bombing in Iraq! US-NATO out of Afghanistan!

(Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Emma Watson’s feminism covers for U.N. baloney on fighting women’s oppression

Emma Watson at UN Sept 24 2014

When Wolf Blitzer introduced Emma Watson at the UN meeting on Monday, you had to know there was a bag job coming. As one of those movie star goodwill ambassadors for the UN, she was asked to speak at the launch of the “He For She” UN campaign to engage one billion men & boys worldwide in the fight for gender equality. Oh so noble! And oh what a crock!

Watson’s speech reflected a sincere feminist grappling with issues of misogyny–but dealing with them solely as a personal issue & in that regard she was being played by UN officials. The audience she addressed were government officials, minions & enforcers of misogynist & oppressive policies all over the world. They clapped like trained seals at her words which laid out the basic concepts of feminism–but feminism as a personal matter. That takes the heat off governments.

Feminists of the 1960s & 1970s popularized the slogan “The personal is the political” because, to be frank, men can be devastating in their personal treatment of women; they are often patronizing, rude, insulting, demeaning. And they can be rapists & beaters & a lot of other ugly things. Feminism is partially to strengthen women to stand up against his crap & end it in personal lives.

But feminism is also, & maybe primarily, a political ideology that educates about the sources of women’s oppression; the way misogyny, racism, & class interact; & proposes a political program to oppose & end it. Watson’s speech was bereft of transformational politics–& in more ways than one.

Reflecting her elite position in society, she cited Hillary Clinton’s role promoting a women’s rights agenda. But Clinton’s role has always been part of the political attempt (conducted by the UN & governments) to preempt feminism, neutralize it, personalize it but make it a weapon to advance the most reactionary neoliberal agenda, including war & Islamophobia.

Regrettably Watson reflects that part of the feminist movement that is privileged, obtuse to the politics of feminism & its potential for social transformation. In the circles she’s now traveling in, including elite feminists & government officials, it’s all about male culpability, getting women elected to political office (regardless of their stinking politics), & won’t have a thing to do with governments denying reproductive rights, enforcing discrimination in employment, racism in population control programs, forced sterilization of black & brown women, or lack of childcare facilities.

Watson was played but there’s no need to castigate her for naiveté & the blindness that often comes with privilege. There’s also no reason to follow her off a cliff.

(Photo is screen shot from video of her UN speech)