We Will Not Go Down

This is a song of hope for the Palestinians in Gaza, composed and performed by California-based artist Michael Heart (www.michaelheart.com)
Copyright 2009

posted by Laila @ Saturday, January 10, 2009 19 comments links to this post
MSF: Temporary halt to Gaza bombing a paltry response

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)has put out the following press release (a day outdated-given the death toll is now over 800, but still) which they asked me to help advertise on their efforts in Gaza, and the extreme difficulties they are facing there.

The military offensive in the Gaza Strip is affecting civilians indiscriminately, while medical teams continue to face serious obstacles to providing assistance, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. The international community must not be content with a limited truce, which MSF said is largely inadequate for providing life-saving assistance.

As the Israeli military offensive continues, the toll, estimated at 600 deaths and 2,950 wounded in just 11 days, is reaching alarming proportions and is indicative of extreme violence indiscriminately affecting civilians.

“Today, 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, almost half of them children, are the victims of incessant shooting and bombing,” said Franck Joncret, MSF’s head of mission. “How can anyone believe that such a steamroller attack would spare civilians, who are prevented from fleeing and are crowded in a densely-populated enclave?”

The military offensive has sown terror within a trapped urban population. Residents no longer dare leave their homes to seek medical care. This insecurity also affects aid organisations. Palestinian humanitarian aid and health workers have been killed and hospitals and ambulances have been bombed.

Hospital emergency departments are besieged by wounded patients. In the last 10 days, medical staff at Al Shifa Hospital have performed more than 300 surgeries.

“The hospital’s six operating rooms are operating at full capacity, with two operations underway simultaneously in each room,” said Dr. Cécile Barbou, MSF medical coordinator in Gaza. “The Palestinian surgeons and the medical staff are exhausted, struggling to keep up with the number of wounded.” Most of the emergency cases involve patients with serious wounds, who have suffered multiple traumas, primarily to the thorax, abdomen and face.”

The MSF teams in Gaza, composed of three international and nearly 70 Palestinian staff members, have been trying to support Palestinian medical facilities and treat the wounded since the offensive began. They have already distributed medical supplies and medications to several hospitals that were close to running out of material. Today, approximately twenty MSF staff are treating Gazans in their homes, visiting close to 40 people every day.

“The level of insecurity is so high that our ability to travel and provide medical aid is extremely limited,” said Jessica Pourraz, MSF field coordinator in Gaza. “We need unfettered access so that we can reach the wounded around the clock and civilians need to be able to reach treatment facilities.”

At the request of doctors at Al Shifa Hospital, MSF is sending a surgical team (a surgeon, anesthetist and a surgical nurse) and a mobile hospital that includes an operating room and an intensive treatment unit, which will increase the hospital’s treatment capacity. MSF hopes to obtain the necessary authorisation allowing the team, as well as all necessary supplies, to enter the Gaza Strip.

Under these circumstances, and while entry into Gaza of personnel and material is still restricted, the temporary bombing halt may improve wounded patients’ access to healthcare facilities, allow aid workers to move about and enable the transport of supplies of lifesaving materiel (fuel, food, medical supplies and medication). “However, these partial measures, which are intended to soothe international opinion, have no effect on the direct and massive violence that the population is experiencing,” says Dr. Marie-Pierre Allié, president of the French office of MSF.

posted by Laila @ Saturday, January 10, 2009 19 comments links to this post
This is Gaza.

Tonight, Duke University held a vigil for Gaza. I was invited to speak, even after certain campus groups said they were displeased at the choice of speakers, saying they found my comments offensive last time I spoke.

Here is a rough copy of my speech:

Imagine if you will a land teeming with refugees; a land of the dispossessed, closed off from the outside world; where smuggling is often the only source of subsistence; where families who are not disappeared-are on the brink of starvation; surrounded by an army and bombarded by that army.

The year was 1943. The place: the Warsaw Ghetto.

The description is hauntingly familiar. But it is now 2009.

And this is Gaza.

As we speak tonight, more than 800 Palestinians have and 14 Israelis have lost their lives over the course of the past two weeks.

17 mosques have been destroyed, a church seriously damaged; Over 12 medics and a journalist killed; ambulances; schools; houses; women, men, children.

In fact-entire families-entire families have been eliminated from existence.

This is Gaza.

Roughly the size of this nation’s great capital, Washington DC, it is s closed in on all sides. There is no escape. There is not entry.

And it’s residents-already stateless after 40 years of occupation and a majority of them refugees – are at once being blockaded and bombarded by land, sea, and sky: it is a situation that is unprecedented in modern history.

Gaza-where acute malnutrition rates, after 3 years of Israeli blockade, are now on scale with the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, according to the UN; where half of all Palestinian families eat one meal a day; Where the siege has killed not only lives, but hopes and dreams and futures.

Today in Gaza, no where is safe. That is what friends and family have been repeating to me day after day after day for the past two weeks. They are trapped, terrorized, and traumatized.

The parliament building down the street from my parents’ home; the mosque around the corner; the university my cousin attends; the ambulance my friend drives; the pier where we get our fish; the playground my son used to play in; the farm my colleague’s father grew; the restaurant I had my evening coffees at.

Everything living, beautiful, and ordinary has been a target.

“You don’t know who is alive, you don’t know what is a target next; you feel you are in a trap, and where do you run to.. the Israeli navy is shelling from the sea, the F-16s from the sky, the tanks from the ground…where to?” my friend repeated again and again.

This is Gaza.

I have learned that my comments are considered offensive to some. For this, I do NOT apologize.

Sometimes, we need to be offended in order to wake up to the brutal realities around us; realities which we helped create-with our taxes, with our votes, with our silence;

And I say: Occupation is not only offensive; it is lethal;

The United Nations has described what is happening in Gaza as a Crime Against Humanity- both in terms of its Deliberateness; its Scope; and its Disproportionality

That an occupied territory-and yes-Gaza is still recognized as occupied- is not only subject to a deliberate siege after free and fair elections-depriving an already impoverished and dispossessed people` intentionally of electricity, aid trucks, and medicines, is then bombed, is not only unfathomable, it is indefensible.

It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out for peace and justice for all.

For Israel can only achieve the security is seeks by providing that same security to Palestinians.

In order to realize a sustainable resolution to this conflict, we must not only call for an end to arms: whether they are Palestinian rockets or Israeli laser guided missiles.

But we also also address the underlying cause of it all: We must demand an end to Israel’s siege and illegal occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. This is an obligation, not a concession.

We cannot continue to speak of it as an event occurring in a vacuum; or as though the firing of rockets onto Israeli towns was simply an event on its own, without context. As though Gazans were not dying a slow death by way of siege before this; or suffering under occupation throughout.

It is about the denial of basic Palestinians rights. the right to statehood; the rights of refugees to return to their homes; the rights of family to reside together and to visit one another; the right to travel freely; to receive medical treatment; to education; to a childhood free of violence; the right to worship; the right to live free of occupation and siege.

Palestinians must be allowed to realize their most basic human rights-freedom and self-determination, the same concepts this country was founded on.

The United States must change its long-standing policy of blind support for Israel.

It must become an even-handed broker in this conflict, addressing Palestinian needs for justice, equality, and yes, security just as they do Israel’s. It must demand that Israel end its illegal occupation, running on 40 years, of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

And friends don’t let friends run an occupation.

I end with a rough translation of a poem by the late Mahmoud Darwish, titled,

“silence for Gaza”

MAHMOUD DARWISH

“Gaza has no throat.
Its pores are the ones that speak in sweat, blood, and fires.
Hence the enemy hates it to death and fears it to criminality, and tries to sink it into the sea… And hence its relatives and friends love it with a coyness that amounts to jealousy and fear at times, because Gaza is the brutal lesson …and the shining example for enemies and friends alike.
Gaza is not the most beautiful city.
Its shore is not bluer than the shores of Arab cities.
Its oranges are not the most beautiful in the Mediterranean basin.
Gaza is not the richest city.
It is not the most elegant or the biggest, but it equals the history of an entire homeland, because it is more ugly, impoverished, miserable, and vicious in the eyes of enemies.
Because it is the most capable, among us, of disturbing the enemy’s mood and his comfort. Because it is his nightmare. Because it is mined with oranges; children without a childhood; old men without old age; and women without desires. Because of all this it is the most beautiful, the purest and richest among us and the one most worthy of love.”

posted by Laila @ Saturday, January 10, 2009 31

posted by Ed Kent at 12:22 PM 0 comments

Saturday, January 10, 2009

“Wall Street 1955”

Back in my junior year at Yale I edited a glossy publication of articles designed to entice college graduates towards Wall St. We did this cynically as a money maker (ads from all the big Wall St. houses). No one that I knew bought in. We were all too close to the Great Depression not to know how uncertain a Wall St. career could be. My own father had been a successful (and honest) broker who had been crippled by the crash although he had gotten his clients out of the market in good order. He had taught me that the game was often cooked in various ways ranging from inside info to hard sells of stuff not worth buying.

“All things change . . . ” It occurs to me that we will now watch another generation steering clear of such a precarious world of endeavor. Many of us became academics, but that world is now cooked, too.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
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http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

posted by Ed Kent at 9:39 AM 0 comments

Monday, January 05, 2009

None Dare Call It Genocide

One of the horrors of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for outsiders is that it seems apparent that neither side would miss the existence of the other and both have individuals willing to inflict collective punishment on the other. Such entails the denial of humanity. Writ large this has produced pogroms, genocide, and the horrible abuses that occur in all-out warfare.

One wonders how any real peace can be achieved under these conditions?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
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http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
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posted by Ed Kent at 9:37 AM 0 comments

Sunday, January 04, 2009

No Right of Return

During recent years I have watched caring Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who are email friends become more and more appalled by the Israeli abuses of the occupied Palestinians. I mention two in particular:

Dorothy Naor

http://peacetalksradio.blogspot.com/2008/03/interview-with-israeli-peace-activist.html

and Khalid Amayreh

http://www.p4pd.org/lifestories1.html

Khalid came to consciousness with the awareness that a number of his close relatives had been murdered during the course of the establishment of Israel in 1948. The game in those days was not unlike that today in Gaza — brutal military killing and wounding of civilians which drove many into exile. One has heard of the follow up — no right of return.

I shall return now to the CNN coverage of the current incursion. I hope that others will at least grasp the reasons for Palestinian resentment towards Israel.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AcademicFreedom
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FindingHumaneJobs
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OurStupidEconomy
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

posted by Ed Kent at 7:36 AM 0 comments

Friday, January 02, 2009

‘Republican’ts’

When I first began my personal shift from Republican to Democrat a half century ago, I had to get by the phenomenon of the Southern party racists — so called Dixiecrats. As a majority of Americans back then were white, it did not take the Republicans long to move in on this (‘moral’) majority to exploit its racist fears. We now have seen this process run full circle with the ‘Republican’ts’, as I would rename them, trapped by their own foul strategies. They are the party of the South now with remnants here and there elsewhere. They are opposed to government playing it essential roles in representing the public interests — raising fair taxes to cover the things that only governments can do right and efficiently ranging from maintaining infrastructures to running economical medical programs serving ALl.

Let us hope they can escape from this cage, if they can.

……………………………

OP-ED COLUMNIST
Bigger Than Bush
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make
itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that
has happened in recent years is a consequence of that
decision.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/opinion/02krugman.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AcademicFreedom
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrivacyRights
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FindingHumaneJobs
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OurStupidEconomy
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

posted by Ed Kent at 8:21 AM 0 comments

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza & the Warsaw Ghetto?

As I hear the preliminary reports today on the deaths and woundings in
Gaza from the Israeli bombings there, I am horribly reminded of the
Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising
— “A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli) — Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FindingHumaneJobs
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OurStupidEconomy
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

posted by Ed Kent at 7:27 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Madoff —> Anti-Semitism?

Frankly, I don’t see Madoff as an occasion for anti-Semitism as reported by this article. Rather it offers a critique of greed — both Madoff’s and many of those who profited from his scam — until the floor collapsed. I go with those who see Madoff as an exposé of our money-making systems of late.

Marx must be laughing.

…………………..

In Madoff Scandal, Jews Feel an Acute Betrayal
By ROBIN POGREBIN
Jews are sending up a communal cry over a cost they say
goes beyond the financial to the theological and the
personal.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/us/24jews.html?th&emc=th

………………

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CollegeConversation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceEfforts
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EndingPoverty
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/440neighborhood
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentConcerns
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AcademicFreedom
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrivacyRights
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Israel_Palestine
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FindingHumaneJobs
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OurStupidEconomy
http://BlogByEdKent.blogspot.com/
http://www.bloggernews.net

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