Bernie Sanders has declined to speak at the AIPAC conference next week. There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about here & one hopes Palestinian supporters have a circumspect response to the news. He didn’t say, ‘I decline because of AIPAC’s bludgeoning role in promoting Israeli apartheid & colonialism & its stone-cold reactionary politics toward immigrants & Muslims.’ He said, “I would very much have enjoyed speaking at the AIPAC conference….Unfortunately, I am going to be traveling throughout the West & the campaign schedule that we have prevents me from attending.”

He added that he would send remarks to the AIPAC conference which he would like given to attendees because candidates are not allowed to address the conference remotely.

If would not just be compromising but dishonest if Sanders supporters report his declination as anything other than a schedule conflict.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is in a prison hospital seriously sick with Hepatitis C. As a cogent voice for Black liberation, he’s been kept in jail for 30 years in an unspeakable miscarriage of justice. He’s not the only Black activist framed-up & jailed, just one of the most prominent.

Please take a moment to sign & share this petition from his brother to get him the medical care he needs to survive.

US women Marines: the softer, gentler side of war propaganda

US woman Marine in Afghanistan (REUTERS:Monty Burton:U.S. Marine Corps:Handout) Mar 18 2016

This so-called tender moment is what you call war propaganda: a US woman Marine in Afghanistan sharing a cookie with an Afghan child. That doesn’t mean every US soldier should be demonized but let’s face it–going through combat training with guns & rifles, learning to drink cobra blood in jungle survival maneuvers, & being part of an occupying army does not bring out your maternal instincts.

The worst part of this rubbish is how brutally occupation has fallen on women & children in Afghanistan. What they’re not showing is the rest of the Marine battalion engaged in mortar & missile battles, the constant airstrikes, or the harassment of villagers for suspicion of harboring Taliban. It isn’t any less brutalizing if done by a woman than a man Marine.

What they’re also not talking about is the number of women soldiers sexually assaulted, not by the Taliban but by fellow soldiers & commanders. They’re not talking about the statistic that more soldiers now commit suicide than are killed in combat. That’s not from handing out cookies but from lobbing grenades & terrorizing children.

US out of Afghanistan!

(Photo taken by Monty Burton & distributed by Reuters from a US Marine Corps propaganda handout)

All our March 20th for Palestinian solidarity

March 20 2016 poster

Sunday, March 20th, is the Palestine solidarity march in Washington, DC. The Palestinian struggle is one of the most important anti-colonial struggles in the world today. That can be partially judged by the vehemence against BDS & because the most powerful forces of neoliberal barbarism are aligned against them. That is certainly not because they give a rat’s ass about the welfare of Jews. Those who stand against persecution of Jews also stand in support of Palestinians because that is where justice lies.

The antiwar movement has been weak for a long while now, unable to counterpose popular opposition to several US wars. That is even more true during an election period when historically political activity goes down to a whimper. That makes this march for Palestinian justice all the more significant & why we should make it large. No one should be disappointed if it isn’t in the tens of thousands. That it’s happening at all in an election year is a gigantic victory testifying to the growing power of solidarity & of BDS.

Long live Palestinian Intifada. All out March 20th in solidarity.

Little Mona Emad, 5-year-old Syrian refugee

Mona Emad, five, from Hasakah, Syria

This is little Mona Emad, five-years-old, from Hasakah, Syria, now living in a refugee camp in Jordan. She wants to go back to Syria but her dad wants to go to the US. Odds are, they won’t be leaving that refugee camp for quite a while unless they have substantial resources & can buy their way past racism & xenophobia.

Immigration is a human right. What’s the basis of that in law? Who gives a damn!? It’s a claim just because one is human. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen)

Syrian refugee children at an informal tent settlement in Jordan Muhammed Muheisen:AP

Muhammed Muheisen, the Palestinian photojournalist, is renowned for his portraits of Afghan refugee children in Pakistan. He has now done a series of portraits of Syrian refugee children at makeshift refugee camps in Jordan. Palestinians fleeing bombing in Syria are barred from entering Jordan & the country is now only partially opened to Syrians. (That’s part of an answer to the knuckleheads who keep blithering about Arab countries accepting refugees & asking why should Europe have to.)

There were several who took advantage of my posts about refugees to argue against immigration rights & cried “freedom of speech” when I cut them short. Experience tells me one of the arts of politics is knowing when to save your breath. I really don’t want to be one of those unfortunate souls who has to smarten up xenophobes & I don’t imagine most of my Facebook friends do either. They’re just too insular psychologically & emotionally. If you think like Drumpf, is pedagogy any use? Isn’t political power a much more effective educational device?

That’s to explain that my wall is not a democracy or a debating society on the issue of immigrant/refugee rights. In that regard, let’s not call it that, but it’s a dictatorship. Let the xenophobes remain silent (for once) & learn something rather than ruin our days with their rancidities.

These three traumatized-looking children are among the Syrians photographed by Muheisen. Posting them is partly my way of calming down the adrenalin from those who think they can use my wall to promote racism & hysteria about refugees. Mostly it’s to express solidarity with their right to find asylum wherever they want & to demand an end to the monstrous wars making their lives a living hell.

Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen)

BDS India petition protesting NDTV joint campaign with L’Oreal Paris

BDS India L'Oreal petition

L’Oreal Paris has extensive business ties with Israel & is included in the boycott of Israel. Indian media house NDTV has forged a partnership with L’Oreal in a campaign called “Women of Worth” in India. Palestinian solidarity activists in India have laid out a full program to build BDS, including this petition demanding NDTV sever its partnership with L’Oreal & appealing to the nominees of “Women of Worth” to dump the honorific. Supporting apartheid makes one so damn worthless.

Please take a moment to sign & share this petition. People wonder if signing a petition is worth the time. One circulated yesterday by BDS activists in Australia won a reversal from Sydney University which had cancelled a presentation by Ali Abunimah under the exemption “freedom of speech except for Palestinians.”

BDS politically arms unarmed Palestinians against one of the mightiest military forces in the world. So do sign & share.

Not to be a killjoy, but St. Patrick’s Day is the only day I claim to be Norwegian. My distaste for the festivities goes back long before I was political because it’s such an artificial thing. It’s been a long time since Tipperary for most Americans of Irish descent.

When I was 21-years-old, just out of the convent, & living in St. Paul, Minnesota, which once had a sizable Irish demographic, I was approached to be in the beauty contest for the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city. That was in 1966, not 1866. Having been in a pageant for my employer, I was already on to the misogynist & commercial purposes of beauty shows. And I was full of feminist outrage so I declined.

St. Patrick’s Day now is all about leprechauns & green beer, stripped of the rich cultural heritage & anti-colonial politics of Irish ancestry. If you don’t mind my saying so, it also has a large dose of white supremacy.

Having grown up with Norwegians, I like them & they don’t hold silly parades flaunting their nationality 100 years after they’ve been in the US. So today, je¬†suis¬†Norwegian.