A Hundred Deir Yassin and Counting: Beit Daras and the Buried History of Massacres.

Via: The Palestine Chronicle.

The invasion of Beit Daras following the last battle in May 1948. (Photo: Palestine Remembered)

The invasion of Beit Daras following the last battle in May 1948. (Photo: Palestine Remembered)

By Ramzy Baroud

Few with any sense of intellectual or historical integrity would still question the bloody massacre that took place in the village of Deir Yassin 65 years ago, claiming the lives of over 100 innocent Palestinians. Attempts at covering up the massacre have been dwarfed by grim details by well-respected historians, including some of Israel’s own.

Even narratives offered by historians such as Benny Morris – an honest researcher who remained committed to Zionism despite the ghastly history he had himself uncovered – presented a harrowing version of the events that unfolded on that day:

“Whole families were riddled with bullets… men, women, and children were mowed down as they emerged from houses; individuals were taken aside and shot. Haganah intelligence reported ‘there were piles of dead. Some of the prisoners moved to places of incarceration, including women and children, were murdered viciously by their captors…”

It was the Irgun Zionist militias of Menachem Begin and the Stern Gang (Lehi) lead by Yitzhak Shamir that took credit for the infamy of that day; and both were rewarded generously for their ‘heroism’. The once wanted criminals rose to prominence to become Israeli Prime Ministers in later years.

The importance of the Deir Yassin massacre to historians often obscures important facts. Continue reading

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Tears of Gaza – The Movie

Via: Occupied Palestine.

By Susan Abulhawa

Tears of Gaza

‘Tears of Gaza’ by Vibeke Lokkeberg is a documentary film that should be watched by every American, to see how Israel spends our taxes. Every European should watch it, to see the true face of Israel. It should be viewed by every Arab, to renew our resolve not to allow a racist nation to wipe Palestine and her children from the map and from history.

I had read the stories from Gaza after Israel’s so called “operation cast lead”. I had read the reports. I thought I had cried enough then not to cry again. But this film went to my heart, stirred everything up, made the tears fall and fall and here I am now, with a hollow, spooned out hole in my gut because bombs were dropped on sleeping children, helicopters rained the death and disfigurement of white phosphorous on terrified civilians huddling at a UN school for shelter… and no one is doing anything about it.Tears of Gaza lays bare the lies, the cover ups and Richard Goldstone’s moral flip flopping. It takes you into the heart of Gaza’s tormented landscape to show the truth behind craven and mendacious headlines with words that describe Israel’s slaughter as an “incursion” or “self defense”. This film shows us these truths through the luminous spirits of children. It is not to be missed!

I first heard of “Tears of Gaza”, or “Gaza Traer” as the original Norwegian title is called, when Bernard Henri-Levi launched an attack against Lokkeberg and me in major newspapers throughout Europe. She and I were in touch after that and I was finally just able to get hold of the film to watch it. It is a monumentally important work. It is beautiful and painful and honest and devastating.

Vibeke Lokkeberg gives us the names, faces, and stories of three ordinary Gaza children with extraordinary spirits. We first fall in love with Yehya, a 12-year-old boy who wants to become a doctor so he can heal people who are shot by Israelis. We see him on a small motorboat, lost in the magic of childhood as he is taught to steer the boat. His beautiful eyes and brilliant smile during these moments make his tears all the harder to bear when he talks about his beloved father. The losses that follow in his life are incomprehensible and overwhelming merely to hear about.

Until you meet Amira, 14 years old, and walk through her world.

Amira is beautiful. It’s the kind of beauty that holds an ineffable pain not often seen in the young. Her life, too, is marred by death and destruction and disfigurement of her body by ammunition. She tells us that she wants to become a lawyer so she can take the Israelis to court for the crimes they’ve committed. Then, recalling her father and brothers, she admits wishing she had just “gone with them”.

Like Amira, Rasmia is far beyond her 11 years. Arabic speakers might detect things about her that non-Arabic speakers will not. This is largely because of the translation; and this is my only criticism of the film. When Rasmia goes into what seems like a waking trance, her mother tells us in Arabic that she is “imagining”. The translation says “memorizing”, which doesn’t make sense and it distracts from an important subtlety. Her mother explains that she sometimes just “imagines” things from the attacks. I suspect that most psychologists witnessing those scenes and hearing her mother’s explanation would agree that she was experiencing flashbacks and exhibiting clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another example where the wrong translation obscures important nuances is when Yehya is telling us about losing his father. He is, in fact, speaking in the third person: “when someone loses their father, it’s like they’ve lost the whole world” etc. But his words are translated as if in the first person: “when my father died, it’s like I lost the whole world.” The distinction might not seem important, until you realize that he cannot get the words out without breaking down when he speaks in the first person. It’s a faint distinction, but one that makes your heart break even more.
And we should all allow our hearts be broken over Gaza. It’s the least we can do. To hear these three children and ask others to hear them is the very least we can do. Vibeke Lokkeberg has given us a monumentally important record of what happened in December 2009 to January 2010; so no one can ever say “I didn’t know”.

Lest we forget, lest our tears dry or outrage subside, and lest our hearts heal before Palestine is free, I hope this film will be shown throughout the world, across university campuses, communities, organizations and living rooms. Take this not just as a review, but a call to action.

Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010) and the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.

Source.

Ilan Pappé – Gaza in Crisis.

Ilan Pappé talks about his latest book, Gaza in Crisis, at a Lannan Foundation event in Santa Fe, NM on December 8, 2010. Gaza in Crisis is an analysis and discussion of Israel’s war against the Palestinians featuring Pappé along with Noam Chomsky and published by Haymarket Books.

Source: International Socialist‘s Channel on Vimeo.
WE ARE MANY.

To Shoot an Elephant.

Gaza Massacre Anniversary


Via: To Shoot an Elephant.

Sinopsis

“…afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it’s owner fails to control it”.

George Orwell defined a way of witnessing Asia that still remains valid. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

George Orwell: “Shooting an elephant” was originally published in New Writing in 1948.

Context

Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an “enemy entity”. A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation “Cast Lead” on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organised members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip.

Were they journalists? Were they activists? Who cares!. They became witnesses. Being a journalist or being whatsoever depends on how you feel. It is an ethical responsibility that you manage to share with a wider audience what you and those who are around you are going through. It will be the result of your work that will lead you to a professional career as a journalist or not, rather than pre-assumptions and labels. Make them know. Make those who you want to: listen and be aware of what you are aware of. That is a journalist. Having a card, with “press” written on it, or getting a regular salary is not necessary to be a witness with a camera or a pen. Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no “official journalists” were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it. Continue reading

John Berger Reads Ghassan Kanafani’s Letter from Gaza.

Via: New Jersey Solidarity.

Letter from Gaza by Ghassan Kanafani

Dear Mustafa,

I have now received your letter, in which you tell me that you’ve done everything necessary to enable me to stay with you in Sacramento. I’ve also received news that I have been accepted in the department of Civil Engineering in the University of California. I must thank you for everything, my friend. But it’ll strike you as rather odd when I proclaim this news to you — and make no doubt about it, I feel no hesitation at all, in fact I am pretty well positive that I have never seen things so clearly as I do now. No, my friend, I have changed my mind. I won’t follow you to “the land where there is greenery, water and lovely faces” as you wrote. No, I’ll stay here, and I won’t ever leave.

I am really upset that our lives won’t continue to follow the same course, Mustafa. For I can almost hear you reminding me of our vow to go on together, and of the way we used to shout: “We’ll get rich!” But there’s nothing I can do, my friend. Yes, I still remember the day when I stood in the hall of Cairo airport, pressing your hand and staring at the frenzied motor. At that moment everything was rotating in time with the ear-splitting motor, and you stood in front of me, your round face silent. Continue reading

The Ongoing Erasure of Palestine. By Naseer Aruri

Via: ZCommunications.

While many still entertain the idea of two sovereign states, Palestine and Israel, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, history, politics, and geography have made this solution unattainable for certain people — whatever rhetorical changes in American foreign policy may emerge from the Obama Administration. In fact, if the handling of the Goldstone report by Obama and his UN ambassador Susan Rice is an example, then the difference between Bush and Obama on Palestine/Israel is perhaps imaginary.

The Zionist movement and the Israeli state are in the last stages of achieving effective sovereignty over all of historic Palestine. Jewish ownership of the entire land of Palestine has been the ideological sine qua non of the state and of its progenitor, Zionism, from the outset. This central goal has been consistently obfuscated by, among many other ploys, issues of “security”; eternal victimization, the Nazi Holocaust and demands of “recognition” both of the right of Israel to exist in general and specifically as a “Jewish State.”

The Israeli nomenclature, “Judaization” of the land, first entered general public discourse in 1976, during the massive land confiscations of the country’s Palestinian citizens of the Galilee. We must acknowledge that we are witnessing the Judaization of what remains to Palestinians of historic Palestine (with the possible exception of the Gaza Strip).

Failure to understand the process of Judaization, on the one hand, and the concomitant erasure of Palestinian WUJUD (existence), in all its forms, on the other hand, dooms all of us to continue granting Israel and its supporters the power to accomplish the process of negating Palestinian identity and nationhood. Israel continues to dispossess as many Palestinians as possible. Self-governance is a chimera. ‘Legal’ manipulations; confiscation; expulsion and brute force are the reality. Continue reading