A few weeks back I finally moved my library from San Antonio to McAllen & have had fun going through my old friends & putting them back on shelves. I came across a 2001 Verso book titled “The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid”, a powerful collection of articles written during the Second or Al Aqsa Intifada which began in September 2000 & lasted until early 2005. It was before the Palestinian call for BDS in 2005. Chomsky wrote an excellent introduction, Edward Said (who died in 2003) has a couple excellent essays, among several others including Mouin Rabbani, Omar Barghouti, Robert Fisk, & Ali Abunimah. There is discussion of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian refugees, the 1982 Sabra & Shatila massacre, a comparison of the 1987 Intifada with the Al Aqsa Intifada, the presentation of Palestinians as terrorists in media.
In rereading the book, I am struck by the extremes of violence which Palestinians have always sustained at the hand of Israel & that the abhorrent tactics used against unarmed protesters at the Great Return March in Gaza like killing little kids & emergency medical personnel were employed against protesters in the 1987 & 2000 uprisings. The internet & social media make that reality much more available to us whereas in 2000, with only mainstream media reporting, that information was not easily come by.
I recommend the book for its analyses but I warn you it is hard to read. The Palestinians have endured so much & lost so much at the hands of Israel & its supporters, especially the US, but still they resist with all their might. It will inspire you to redouble your commitment to Palestinian justice & to building BDS.
Michael Karadjis, an Australian professor who opposes the Assad regime, also advocates for a no-fly zone in Syria administered by the US Pentagon. He has never clarified what prompts his trust in the US other than hoping against hope & closing his mind to over 150 years of US war & colonial history. On September 11th, he posted this call on his Facebook wall & since I am unable to respond because of the 30-day ban I am currently sustaining I will respond to it here. This is his comment:
“FLOOD IDLIB WITH ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILES NOW! TO PREVENT THE ASSAD/PUTIN SLAUGHTER! Let the Syrian people on the ground exercise their right to self-determination, by providing them the means to bring hundreds of Assadist and Russian warplanes crashing to the ground in fire. After all these years of horror, give the Syrian children in Idlib the right to observe a massive fireworks display in the sky, rather than allowing the warplanes of the fascist regime and its invading Russian imperialist backer to roast those children. There is no humanitarian, ethical, political or even practical reason for this to not happen. The manpads are available and have been for years. They are only blocked from entry into Syria by the US government, which has blocked them since 2012. Anyone who thinks this statement is just mechanical “anti-Americanism” in the face of the Russians doing the slaughter, just try to deny these facts. It is an air war against civilians, launched, yes, by Russia and Assad; the means of bringing down their warplanes, without any intervention, by the Syrian people themselves, exist; these means are blocked by the US. For anyone that thinks that this call on the US to *end* its intervention is a call for “imperialist intervention” against nice Mother Russia and the nice secular Syrian government, you are the equivalent of neo-Nazis.”
This is my response:
Which country would be doing the flooding with anti-aircraft missiles? The US block on weapons is a form of military intervention on behalf of the Assad regime. It is an obfuscation of the role that the US is playing in the counterrevolution, not an abstention. Are we to call on the Pentagon to change its character and now become a partisan of the revolution? That sounds like pissing into the wind.
Those who oppose the Assad regime have been able to mobilize tens of thousands in protests around the world while the ‘official’ antiwar organizations refuse to protest & support Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians. Why does Karadjis completely ignore organizing principled antiwar mobilizations & instead substitute trust that the US Pentagon will deliver anti-aircraft missiles if we call for them to do so? It’s peculiar politics that looks to one of the most bellicose institutions in the world to save the Syrian revolution rather than mobilizing the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose all military intervention in Syria.
This is a very cogent article by Sina Zekavat showing the political convergence on the siege of Idlib by rightwing Islamophobe Tulsi Gabbard, fascist David Duke, & Vijay Prashad, a Bernie Sanders supporter who identifies himself as a Marxist. The convergence is more than deplorable since Prashad influences many people who lack confidence in their own ability to study & understand the complexities of the Syrian counterrevolution.
This article clearly lays out the problem. What has now to be done is sustained analysis of what political processes have led to such an international corruption of progressive & antiwar forces. It is not just a problem among western leftists as so many polemicists maintain. An understanding of this phenomenon is critical if we are to regenerate the antiwar movement on a principled basis. We need to understand how to work, even if it’s possible to work, with those who betrayed the Syrian Arab Spring uprising but who oppose US wars in other countries. Factionalism & sectarianism are not helpful here while at the same time we cannot compromise on opposing militarism, Islamophobia, & anti-Semitism which inform most support for the Assad regime & certainly the corruption of the antiwar movement.
Sniffles Kavanaugh: as a servant of the US ruling class, this lowlife creep has a rap sheet of human rights crimes a mile long. Now when he gets called out as a rapist, he breaks down & cries like a baby. The likelihood is that the FBI investigation will be mostly sham & this guy will be voted on to the Supreme Court, just like Clarence Thomas before him. Trump has managed to do what generations of social critics have been unable to do: discredit every institution of the US government, including the presidency, Congress, FBI, CIA, & Supreme Court. That’s a good thing. Now we can get down to the business of owning our responsibility for making this country suitable for all human beings to live in, not just white rich men.
Standing with Jeremy Corbyn against the scurrilous campaign by Zionists to portray him as anti-Semitic does not mean we have to stand dumb as a stump on his reactionary political views. It’s naive & injudicious, if not outright stupid, to treat political leaders like demigods. It’s ironic that his support for Palestinians set off the Zionists when he holds a quite conservative support for a two-state/bantustate solution to Israeli colonialism, apartheid, occupation, & genocide.
Addressing the 2018 Labour Friends of Palestine conference, he said a Labour government would recognize an independent state of Palestine “as soon as we take office.” What would be the national boundaries of that bantustate? Those of 1967? Those of 2008 or of 2018? The two-state solution was always a temporizing maneuver by Israel & its allies to blunt opposition to outright colonialism. The Oslo Accords legitimized not a bantustate solution but the gradual expropriation & integration of all of Palestine into the state of Israel. By endorsing such a solution, Corbyn puts himself & the Labour Party squarely in the camp of so-called left Zionism which the Oslo Accords, the embargo of Gaza, & repeated carpet bombing sieges of Gaza have shown to be utterly duplicitous & politically bankrupt. Only a fool or a scoundrel believes a two-state solution is possible. Palestinian activists long ago proposed the only workable solution which is a democratic secular state where Palestinians & Jews lives as equals, even as brothers & sisters. Just because Corbyn is under fire by Zionists, we do not have to stand silent while he sells Palestinian self-determination down the drain.
Tied to his left Zionist views is his refusal to oppose Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians & all foreign military intervention in Syria on behalf of Assad. Instead, in concert with the corrupted antiwar movement, he only opposes US military intervention whereas principled antiwar activists oppose all military operations against unarmed civilians. He sees the counterrevolution against the Syrian Arab Spring uprising as a war of national sovereignty against US imperialism. Thus he is willing to ignore the monstrous human rights crimes of the Assad regime, he compromises with militarism & marches with fascists & Stalinists who use Islamophobia & anti-Semitism to justify support for Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we compromise with human, political, & democratic rights in Palestine & Syria. We stand with Corbyn against all false charges of anti-Semitism but we part ways with him when he makes unacceptable compromises with justice.
Photo is comparison map of disappearing Palestine. Could Corbyn define for the Labour membership which national boundary would comprise the new bantustate of Palestine?
Syrians are protesting for the release of thousands detained by the Assad regime. Since 2011, over 250,000 have been arrested, including 3,000 children & 7,000 women. There is documentation for the forcible disappearance of over 80,000 people, also including women & children. 25,000 have been tortured & killed in Assad’s gulag, again including women & children.
In response, the corrupted antiwar movement dares to claim that these victims of counterrevolution against the Syrian Arab Spring uprising are all “Islamist jihadis” & that Assad has a right to use whatever means necessary to defend his national sovereignty. Not unlike how Madeleine Albright claimed the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were “worth it” to accomplish US policy goals in Iraq.
Since China played a central role in arming the Burmese genocidaires against the Rohingya people & is engaged in systematic persecution of the Uyghur Muslims in China, it is time to diligently reassess the character of the Chinese state. China is also involved in neoliberal plunder in Africa, Latin America, & Asia, most significantly Burma. One of the primary causes behind the conflict over Venezuela & other countries is that more countries are turning away from IMF-US & European loans & turning to China & secondarily Russia. This is a neocolonial conflict rooted in the competition of capitalist states. So is there even a vestige of the Chinese Revolution left or are chickens finally coming home to roost for Mao Tse Tung’s Stalinist vision for China?
Palestinians grieving the loss of loved ones in the Great Return March massacre on Friday, September 28th: I post this photo because the local newspaper, the McAllen Monitor, recently published an article denouncing the death of a militant Zionist settler in the West Bank whilst ignoring the deaths & shootings of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian protesters, including this most recent massacre. The letter I wrote to the editor in response detailing the genocide against Palestinians was not published. This news blackout resonates with the coverage of a local television station when a young reporter interviewed a Palestinian woman at a protest here on the slaughter in Gaza during the seven-week carpet bombing siege by Israel in 2014. The reporter allowed the activist to explain the Palestinian side of the story which was aired on the nightly news. I phoned the station later to thank them for honest reporting about the Palestinian struggle & was told that the reporter had seriously erred in her coverage & the station would be correcting it. That they did with frequent videos thereafter of Palestinians protesting the massacres but being presented as lawless youth–just as Black youth are portrayed in the US.
Our deepest condolences to Palestinians for the unbearable losses they are enduring. We need not stand helpless & distraught but can honor & build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel, educate others on the character of the genocide against Palestinians, & organize or attend protest rallies in defense of their struggle against colonialism, apartheid, occupation, genocide.
There are many heartbreaking photos from the Israeli massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Great Return March on Friday, September 28th. At least eight were killed, including three children, & 506 were injured, some of them critically & some who will be permanently disabled. This is just one of those photos; it is posted not to exploit the grief or invade the privacy of Palestinians but to show the utter moral depravity of Israel & the world governments & media which remain silent on the genocide.
Build the economic & cultural boycott of Israel to stand with Palestinians. Consider public rallies & protests in support of Palestinian self-determination.
(Photo from Basem Naim, Gaza)
A powerful statement on Facebook by Kashmiri Zulkarnain Banday on the occasion of the 89th birthday of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leader of the freedom struggle in Kashmir:
In my childhood I was told by 3 members of my family, two of them staunch supporters of People’s Conference of that time, that ‘when we visited Syed Ali Geelani and Abdul Gani Lone in one of the Notorious Prisons in Jammu, we saw both of them tortured and Nude. All they had on were trunks.’
The effect of this story on me was such that I used to get dreams of two people in dungeons with no clothes on at all. However, as I grew up all these things (Torture, Killings et al) became normal.
One night when our house was raided at around 10:30 PM my cousin and two others were caught and tortured (3rd degree) till morning. Children and women were locked in one room but we could hear the cries of those tortured in other room. After that night kids used to call that room as ‘interrogation koéth’ (interrogation room) for some time.
In another incident when my maternal uncle’s house was raided; He, along with his two sons, was tortured till morning. Back then he was a tailor and was accused of stitching a Payjama for some local rebel.
In another room where women and kids were locked up, his youngest daughter, 10, started crying, one Indian armed personnel of BSF shoved his gloves deep in her throat and for next week she was continuously bleeding from her mouth.
Torture, killings, blinding, maiming are normal under Indian occupation but Occupation is and never will be normal. Resistance shall continue and continue till the death of occupation.
(Photo is Syed Ali Shah Geelani)