Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

Hamas, Hezbollah: A Change of Tone

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Thanks to a Syrian tweet bot, I keep on top of everything that’s said about the country in the Twittersphere. And Today I came across a rather interesting AP article: Netanyahu: Israel open to peace talks with Syria. What caught my attention was not the doublespeak of an Israeli official about peace with Syria. Israelis have expressed no interested in returning the occupied Golan to Syria; To them, Syria has nothing to offer in return. Peace in their logic, is overrated. A simple search in prominent Israeli media shows how prevalent that opinion is.

I was especially interested in the particular use of words in the article. I quote:

It has been a quarter-century since Israel and Syria fought directly, but Syria backs anti-Israel forces like the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas. Israel’s sworn enemy Iran backs Hamas and Hezbollah.

In this article, Hamas and Hezbollah were not referred to as.. *gasp* “terrorist organizations.” Now I was not able to determine if this was an AP policy not to refer to them as such outside of a direct quote, or whether there’s more to the matter. I’m going to layout a few happenings, and let the readers come out with their own conspiracy theories.

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Welcome to Hell: Mohammed Omer

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Photo by Anas Qtiesh

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by the brilliant Palestinian journalist and photographer Mohammed Omer which was properly named Welcome to Hell. He demonstrated the the situation in Gaza, the Israeli war crimes, and his experience as a journalist working under the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the abuses and assault he was subjected to by Israeli soldiers.

Omer shocked an awed the audience with striking photos and videos almost never seen by a “western citizen” and he recounted tales of horror of families killed; homes demolished over the heads of its residents; children risking their lives to go to a bombed house looking for a bicycle, or to see whether their favorite school bag survived; and elderly women cooking grass to survive. Needless to say that’s all a result of the Israeli siege on Gaza that has been going on for years now while the international community stands silently on the sidelines.

What really amazed me was his talk about the fluffy names of Israeli operations in Gaza: Rainbow; Summer Rain; and, if I remember correctly, Plucking Flowers where Israeli soldiers would walk around randomly shooting civilians (children included) point-blank.

Looking at Omer’s Wikipedia page you’ll find out that “in 2008, Omer was awarded the 2007 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. In the award citation, Omer was honored as ‘the voice of the voiceless’ and his reports were described as a ‘humane record of the injustice imposed on a community forgotten by much of the world.’”

On his return to Gaza after winning the award, he was assaulted by Israeli Soldier’s at Allenby Bridge and received severe bodily injuries including broken ribs and spine damage. He is still receiving treatment for these injuries till this day. But that’s not the worst of his problems: in 2003 his 17 year-old  brother was killed by sniper bullets as he was going to school. Three years later his mother sustained severe injuries as she jumped out of a house window to escape with her life as an Israeli Army bulldozer was tearing down their 2-story house with no prior warning. Almost all of his younger siblings were injured by the Israeli army at one time or another.

After all he went through, he stood at Harvard advocating a nonviolent approach to end the suffering in Gaza. He asked the people to spread the message and pressure their congressmen to cease blind preferential treatment for Israel. He pointed out a small yet significant progress: The Congress condemned the Goldstone report as biased with a vote of 344 to 36. While the aggression were taking place the Congress overwhelmingly voted against condemning Israeli actions with only 2 in opposition. This counted as a success to a slowly, yet steadily, growing BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against Israeli occupation.

Mohammed Omer will go on with his tour before going to the Netherlands to resume medical treatment for the aforementioned injuries. His work is available on his website: http://www.rafahtoday.org .


Back to School, Gaza Style

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Back to School, Gaza Style

Back to School, Gaza Style

Text Reads: “Martyr Student: Ahmed Ziad Al-Absi, 6th Grade”

Photo courtesy of Al Baath Newspaper.


Concert: "Echo of Gaza's Children Screams"

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I got the following via email, asking me to publish it here.. I gladly comply

Dear ECHO Members and Friends,

ECHO Musical Cultural Association in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) invite you to support the children of Gaza by attending the following fundraising concert:

Concert: “Echo of Gaza’s Children Screams

Performers: - The Syrian National Symphony Orchestra

- The Syrian Military Band

- The Choir of the Higher Institute of Music

Venue: Opera Theater – Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 7:00 p. m.

All proceeds of the concert will be allocated to Gaza’s Children through the UNRWA.

Ticket prices are as follows:

- 20,000 SYP (rows: A to F)

- 10,000 SYP (rows: G to V)

- 5,000 SYP (first balcony and lodges)

- 1,000 SYP (second balcony)

Tickets will be sold at Dar Al-Assad from Jan. 25 to 29 (09:00 to 15:15 hrs).

This event will be televised LIVE by the Syrian Television.

Thanking you in advance for your kind contributions,

ECHO

Musical Cultural Association

I just need to add that I’ve already went to a musical performances by The Syrian National Symphony Orchestra, The Syrian Military Band and The Choir of the Higher Institute of Music. They are all amazing and the cause is worth the unprecedented ticket price. GO!


Where I've Been, Gaza took me

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Gaza took me, I didn’t go there, But ever since January 1st I’ve been spending most of my evenings at the Syrian Red Crescent, working with the volunteers on the Donations Campaign for Gaza relief efforts.

I will not say anything about the massacre, I still can’t find the words. Instead, here’s how you can help and stay updated with the latest news from the Syrian Red Crescent:

Follow the live twitter updates for latest info on the campaign and how you can help.

Check the Flickr page for photos of the campaign and aid convoys that have been sent.

Join the Syrian Red Crescent’s Facebook group.

Subscribe to the youtube channel for videos from the Red Crescent.
The donations drive has been great thus far and 4 convoys of aid have already entered Gaza. we need your support to spread the word online. Your donations are making a difference.
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In other news, I’m now an Author on Global Voices Online. You can grab my first post here.


Palestinian Scarf, Resistance 'a la mod'

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Scarf

Picture taken from a magazine ad for a local radio station.

Today, you can hardly walk the streets of Damascus without passing by quite a few young men and women wearing Palestinian scarves, which at one point became a symbol of the resistance and the “Fida’ees”, a symbol of freedom fighters and an ever lingering dream of returning to Palestine which constituted an integral part of the identity of many Arab generations.

But are they really wearing Palestinian scarves? as I recall the original scarf was white with black patterns exclusively, while the ones you see everyone wearing on the streets of Damascus come in a variety of wild colors to appeal to the different tastes of fashionable Damascenes, and to mix and match with any colors of the shirts or shoes they might be wearing. The symbol is now reduced to a mere fashion statement, it is what the “cool kids do.” and the irony of it all is that you can hardly find anyone wearing the original white scarf, which is by their standards plain and totally not cool!

This reminds of something that happened with a friend of mine; he saw someone (a college student) wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, so he asked him: “why are you wearing this T-shirt?” and that guy replied: “أخي بالمجمل أنا بحب المطربين الأجانب” [dude, I like foreign singers]!

My friend and I developed a habit of yelling “حيو الفدائية” every time one of those fashionistas pass us by in the street.

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