In a letter to the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS), 270 academics from 19 countries have called for the cancellation of the 5th Global Conference on Genocide taking place on 26-29 June at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The letter sent to the organizers of the conference on the 3rd of May points at the hypocrisy of having the conference in Israel at a time when Israel’s actions are “increasingly being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide linked to settler colonialism”. The signatories call on scholars and professionals to boycott the conference should it go ahead.
John Dugard, former UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT and a signatory to the letter, commented: “There are serious allegations that Israel committed crimes against humanity in its 2014 assault on Gaza. In these circumstances it is highly inappropriate to hold a conference on Genocide in Israel.”
Citing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the letter expresses shock “that INoGS plans to hold its 2016 Global Conference at the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University that is partially built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem”. The INoGS conference website bills Jerusalem as part of Israel, defying international consensus on the issue and ignoring Israel’s ongoing and systematic campaign of displacement of Palestinians from the city.
According to Professor John Docker, who has written extensively in the fields of genocide and massacre studies, “Genocide studies is now, it seems clear, actively seeking opportunities to be complicit in Israel’s flouting of international law, not least the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
INoGS did not respond to the joint letter and it had ignored an earlier appeal by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
Dr. Haidar Eid, a member of PACBI, said: “I am an academic living in besieged Gaza. I have witnessed three massacres committed by Israel, I almost lost my own life and saw my comrades, colleagues, relatives, and students perish in them. I have read with agony the names of 44 of our students and colleagues who lost their lives and 66 families wiped out by Israeli weapons. INoGS is lending its name to the perpetrators of these crimes in a move that is not unlike holding a conference on racism in apartheid South Africa.”
The conference is sponsored by five Israeli academic institutions, including the Hebrew University, which have been deeply complicit in Israel’s decades-long oppression of Palestinians. Thousands of academics in the UK, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, US and Brazil have signed national pledges to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The pledges are part of a growing movement to hold Israeli universities accountable to their role in systematic Israeli state violence against the Palestinian people.
The joint letter remains open for endorsements at the following link.
British Professor Catherine Hall
A prominent British academic and historian has refused to accept a $330,000 prize by an Israeli university.
Professor Catherine Hall of University College London was slated to receive the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University on Sunday, but withdrew her acceptance citing political reasons.
“This was an independent political choice, undertaken after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine, but with differing views as to how best to act,” Hall said in a statement.
The annual academic award includes a series of $1 million prizes which are handed out in three fields.
As a historian, Hall was due to receive the prize for her “impact on social history, as a pioneer in gender history, race and slavery.”
Hall’s work on women’s history in the 1970s has helped her become known as a major feminist.
The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine described Hall’s decision as “a significant endorsement of the campaign to end ties with Israeli institutions.”
Hall’s share of the million dollar prize will now be given to three economists involved in the fight against poverty, three nano-science researchers, and two historians of social history.
The news comes amid tensions between Tel Aviv and London over remarks by several key British political figures who have condemned the Israeli regime’s crimes against the Palestinian people.
Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was suspended from the Labor Party in late April after bringing up the issue of Israeli war crimes and stating that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.
Before him, Naz Shah, a member of the British Parliament resigned as an aide to the party’s shadow chancellor after being forced to apologize for backing calls for Israel to “relocate” to the United States.
In early July 2014, Israel waged a devastating war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day offensive claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children.
The British government has banned all public bodies from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel which demands the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land particularly through illegal settlement constructions in the occupied territories.
Although his life achievements cannot be briefed within a short article, this report summarizes the main contributions of Hezbollah senior commander, martyr Mustafa Badreddine.
Mustafa Amin Badreddine was born in Ghobeiry, Lebanon on April 6, 1961.
In 1982, martyr Badreddine formed jihadi groups and trained them to confront the Zionist entity. He is considered one of the most prominent mujahidin who encountered the Israeli invasion in Beirut and Khaldeh where he was injured during the clashes.
In 1992, the martyr became the commander of Hezbollah’s central military unit and started forming military formations and devising plans. Badreddine also prepared many heroic operations against the Israeli occupation, including clashes, martyrdom bombings and post incursions as well, which forced the Israeli army to withdraw cowardly in 2000.
Martyr Badreddine played a prominent role in confronting the major Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 1993, obliging the Zionist Prime Minster Isaac Rabin at that time to acknowledge the fact that the Zionist entity was defeated by Hezbollah.
After the major Zionist aggression on Lebanon in 1996, the martyr succeeded in driving the world to acknowledge the Resistance’s legitimacy and its right to defend its country.
In 1997, Mustafa Badreddine had a central role in planning and supervising the Ansariya operation which killed scores of elite Zionist troops.
Martyr Badreddine was further able to dismantle scores of Israeli spy cells in Lebanon.
With the inception of the Syrian crisis in 2011, the martyr was one of the first commanders who confronted the takfiri plot across Syria.
Martyr Mustafa Badreddine continued his jihadi work till embracing the honor of martyrdom in Damascus on May 13, 2016.
On April 2, 1969, twenty-one members of the Harlem Chapter of the Black Panther Party were formally indicted and charged with 156 counts of “conspiracy” to blow up subway and police stations, five local department stores, six railroads, and the Bronx based New York Botanical Garden.
By the early morning hours of April 3, mass sweeps were conducted city wide by combat squads of armed police. Law enforcement agencies ranging from the CIA, FBI, U.S. Marshalls and NY state police worked simultaneously to coordinate assaults on panther homes and community-based offices. After numerous raids, ten panther men and two panther women were formally arrested, processed and quickly jailed. To anyone who supported radical politics of the 1960’s, there was no doubt that the indictment of the Panther ‘New York 21’ was a political and racist frame-up to not only “disrupt, discredit and destroy,” but to utterly dismantle the Black Panther Party from the inside out.
The absurd and excessive nature of such charges were clearly mounted as a federal effort to pit chapters and regions against each other, in a manner that would totally paralyze panther party leadership. What these charges represented was a form of unprecedented legal repression, created as a structural alternative to break their stronghold, reputation and community base. For the panthers who fortunately weren’t murdered or assassinated, exiled or imprisoned, the courts became a convenient and effective form of legal lynching, a straight-jacket beyond the walls—a robbery of valuable time and resources.
Each member of the ‘New York 21’ was held on $100,000 bail, totaling over $2.1 million. It was not until January of 1970 that the first panther was able to post bail. That panther was 22 year old Alice Faye Williams, better known as Afeni Shakur.
Self-Appointed, Black Anointed
In a grueling and tedious trial, Afeni Shakur (facing 300 years of prison time) daringly chose to be her own attorney in court, partly because financial resources were already razor-thin. Afeni, however, meticulously conducted her own legal research, her own interviews, as well as in-court cross examinations – fully realizing that “she would be the one serving, not the lawyers.” She was the only panther who served as their own counsel.
Here was a small-framed impoverished black girl from the backwoods of Lumberton, North Carolina, staring down a full team of New York state prosecutors – outwitting a full cast of establishment-owned media outlets. Here was a single mother with no formal degree, going legally toe to toe with COINTELPRO.
Despite the odds, after all the surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, infiltration and frame-ups, not one shred of state’s evidence stood in court. In their undying efforts to “discredit,” it was revealed during the trial that the FBI had actually planted undercover infiltrators who, under oath, admitted their role as provocateurs.
Though the case of the Black Panther ‘New York 21’ was the longest trial in New York state history, on her own guts and wit, Afeni Shakur would successfully secure her freedom. No money. No attorney. No privilege. Pregnant with her second child, Tupac Amaru Shakur, what Afeni was able to do in that courtroom was nothing short of miraculous. Magical. Mind blowing.
On May 12 1971, after 2 years of legal proceedings, all 21 panthers were acquitted of their charges. The jury needed just a mere 45 minutes to see the truth.
Sister Soldier, Woman Warrior
Afeni Shakur may have hailed from the Black Panther Party’s, esteemed Harlem Chapter, but her roots were originally from the Black Belt South. Viciously poor, but still mobile, her family moved to the Bronx when she was 11 years. Her inquisitive affection toward the Black Nationalist scene fit right in there.
Afeni first learned of the Black Panther Party at the corner of 125th and 7th Avenue while listening to party co-founder, Bobby Seale deliver a speech. A dedicated soldier from the very beginning, Afeni always placed principle over profit, the people above her own individual desire. Black Panther Party member and ‘New York 21’ co-defendant, Dhoruba Bin Wahad very warmly remembers Afeni as, “the type of person that worked hard, who would stay up all night to get leaflets done.”
Afeni was the kind of comrade who garnered respect from both the women and the men. As former Black Panther, Jamal Joseph stated, “Afeni taught me more about being a man, more than any other man or woman.” As the only high school member of the New York 21, Joseph very often, looked to Afeni for guidance and leadership.
The name Afeni was given to her by a community elder from South Carolina, a descendant of the Yoruba tradition who chose the name Afeni meaning, “lover of the people.” And love the people is exactly what Afeni did. A dedicated community organizer, fearless warrior, activist, scholar, teacher, and real-life revolutionary, Afeni Shakur gave her life to the people, to the full embodiment of Black Power, people power, (and as the sisters say today) Black Girl Magic!
As we commemorate the mother of Hip Hop’s “Black Jesus,” let us not forget the Black woman general who indubitably blazed her own legacy, who literally offered her life as a gift to the people, who taught her son, Tupac Amaru to do the same. Farewell to the Black woman general who just joined Malcolm, Harriet, Ida. All power to the people! Black Power!
Lamont Lilly is a contributing editor with the Triangle Free Press and Human Rights Delegate with Witness for Peace and organizer with Workers World Socialist Party. He has recently served as field staff in Baltimore, Ferguson, Oakland, Boston and Philadelphia. In February 2015, he traveled to both Syria and Lebanon with Ramsey Clark and Cynthia McKinney. Follow him on Twitter @LamontLilly.
Events and actions are being organized around the world to mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba, the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and lands in order to create a Zionist settler-colonial state on the land of Palestine. These events both remember over 68 years of Palestinian struggle, steadfastness, and resistance, but also support the ongoing struggle for Palestinian refugees’ return and the liberation of Palestine.
The imprisonment of Palestinians has always been a tool of the colonial project in Palestine, meant to maintain occupation, apartheid and oppression and criminalize the existence and resistance of Palestinians. From the martial law imposed in 1948 on the Palestinians who remained in the 78% of historic Palestine occupied at that time, to the imprisonment of 7,000 Palestinian political leaders, journalists, and freedom fighters today, the imprisonment of Palestinians and their leaders has always been part and parcel of the Nakba.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is directly involved in Nakba events in several cities internationally and supports mobilizations around the world on this critical day. Numerous events will be taking place throughout occupied Palestine and in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
This list focuses on international events organized by Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora and solidarity movements. In order to add your city’s event to the list below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook. This page will be updated regularly!
Saturday, 14 May – Palestine Will Be Free Panel, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1558629097769523/
12 pm, part of the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, University of Sydney.
Sunday, 15 May – Commemorating the Nakba Demonstration: 68 Years On, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1402030143429918/
1 pm, Town Hall, Sydney. Organized by Palestine Action Group Sydney
Friday, 13 May – Al Nakba 2016 Vigil. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1528327857474082/
6 pm, King George Square, Brisbane. Organized by Justice for Palestine Brisbane.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba 1948: Palestinian Catastrophe and Israeli Ethnic Cleansing
1 pm, Zoo Lake, Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg. Organized by Women’s Boat to Gaza, BDS South Africa, Media Review Network, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, South African Jews for a Free Palestine, Food for the Soul
Saturday, 14 May – Performance at School of Decolonization. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1557093397918178/
5:00 pm, Puerta del Sol, Madrid.
Saturday, 14 May – Demonstration followed by performances, dance and Palestinian, African and Latin American food. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1557093397918178/
6:00 pm, Glorieta de Marques de Vadillo – General Ricardos – Luisa Munoz, followed by La Kupula sala.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba demonstration for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1557093397918178/
1:30 pm, Puerta del Sol, Madrid.
Sunday 15 May – Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba
5:30 pm, Recinto Ferial, Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain.
Includes collaborative mural, debate with Majed Dibsi, Palestinian journalist and political analyst, theatrical action, photo exhibition. Organied by Madrid Para Todos, the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, CJA and Alco Sanse en Lucha
11 May – 15 May – Series of events organized by the Coalició Prou Complicitat amb Israel (CPCI). Facebook:
Wednesday, 11 May – Seminar: Why is it important to break ties with Israel? Ways toward a just peace. 7 pm, Aula Magna, Faculty of Geography and History, University of Barcelona. With Raji Sourani, Riya Hassan, and Blanca Campos. Moderated by David Bondia and joined by Catalan municipalities who have adopted BDS.
Thursday, 12 May – Raji Sourani at Catalonia Parliament. 4 pm, Parliament of Catalonia.
Friday, 13 May – Hope Award to recognize individuals and groups defending Palestine. 7 pm, Palau Robert, Passeig de Gracia 107, Barcelona. Organized by the Palestinian Community of Catalonia, and hosted by actress Rosa Boladeras.
Saturday, 14 May – Film Screening, “The Land Speaks Arabic.” 6 pm, La Sedeta, Carrer de Sicilia 321, Barcelona, with the participation of Riya Hassan, BNC. Organized by Sodepau and Association Helia.
Sunday, 15 May – Demonstration for Palestine – Long live Palestine! 6 pm, Plaza Catalonia.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba Day Demonstration, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/226921581019252/
3:00 pm, Karl-Marx-Platz, Berlin. Organized by the Nakba-Tag-Bundnis
Saturday, 7 May – Palestine Nakba Day
1 pm – 6 pm, Schlossplatz, Stuttgart. With speakers George Rashmawi, Shir Hever, Attia Rajab, Reiner Weigand, Annette Groth, and performers Aeham Ahmed, Muhammad Tamim, Yalla Dabke. Organized by Palestine Solidarity Committee Stuttgart and the Palestinian Community of Stuttgart.
Saturday, 14 May – Demonstration in Commemoration of the Nakba. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/701962599944259/
2 pm – 4 pm, between Markthal and Hoogstraat, organized by Palestijnse Gemeenschap Nederland, Aidoun-Group Nederland, al Awda, Palestijnse Vrouwenunie, het Samenwerkingsverband Rotterdam voor Gaza and Nederlands Palestina Komitee
Saturday, 14 May – Demonstration in Commemoration of the Nakba
1 pm – 3 pm, on the Grand Market by the town hall, organized by Palestijnse Gemeenschap Nederland, Aidoun-Group Nederland, al Awda, Palestijnse Vrouwenunie, het Samenwerkingsverband Rotterdam voor Gaza and Nederlands Palestina Komitee
Event TBA, http://www.palestina-komitee.nl/agenda/1226
Event TBA, http://www.palestina-komitee.nl/agenda/1226
Saturday, 14 May – Demonstration in Commemoration of the Nakba
1 pm – 4 pm, on the Dam and the Spui, organized by Palestijnse Gemeenschap Nederland, Aidoun-Group Nederland, al Awda, Palestijnse Vrouwenunie, het Samenwerkingsverband Rotterdam voor Gaza and Nederlands Palestina Komitee
Sunday, 15 May – Forum on the Nakba, 1948-2016. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1107523392631820/
3 pm, International Institute for Research and Education, Lombokstraat 40, Amsterdam. With speakers Mohammed Matter, Hatem Bazian, Amin Abou Rashed, Mohammad Altamary, Sami Shabib and Saleh Salayma, Sarah, and Khouloud Ajarma. Organized by Back to Palestine
Series of events from May 9-May 15
Organized by the Nakba Initiative (Democratic Palestine Committees in Denmark, Boykot Israel, FN Forbundet, Human Rights March, Palaestina Orientering) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1701774023414034/, https://www.facebook.com/events/231959850498870/
Monday, 9 May – Palestinian film screenings, 5 pm – 9 pm, Verdenskulturcentret, Norre Alle 7, 2200 Norrebro
Tuesday, 10 May – History of Al-Nakba – presentation by Professor Nur Masalha of the University of London, 7 pm – 9:30 pm, Verdenskulturcentret, Norre Alle 7, 2200 Norrebro
Wednesday, 11 May – Palestinian culture and music, with dabkeh dance and traditional music performed by Nassim al-Dogom, 6 pm – 9 pm, Verdenskulturcentret, Norre Alle 7, 2200 Norrebro
Friday, 13 May – Demonstration for justice for Palestine, remembering the Nakba of 1948. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/231959850498870/ , 3 pm – 5 pm, Radhusplads, Copenhagen. With speakers: Trine Petrou Mach, Bilal al-Issa, Gerd Berlev, and music with Nassim al-Dogom,
Saturday, May 14 – Rally to Commemorate the Palestinian Nakba, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1062648220458440/
1 pm – 4 pm, Place de la Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium. Organized by the Palestinian Community of Belgium.
Sunday, 15 May – Movie Screening for Al-Nakba: 5 Broken Cameras. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/629274427223623/
6:30 pm, Valkeniersplein 19B, Maasmechelen. Organized by the Palestine Committee Maasmechelen.
Sunday, 15 May – Silent Wake to Commemorate Al-Nakba, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1720577544889621/
7:00 pm, Koning Albertpark, Kiosk, Antwerp, Belgium. Organized by Antwerp for Palestine.
Saturday, 14 May – What Road for Palestine? Marking the Palestinian Nakba, discussion with Khaled Barakat. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1735832763364560/
6:30 pm, Manifesten, 59 Rue Thiers, 13001 Marseille. Organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) Aix-Marseille and Generation Palestine Marseille
Saturday, 14 May – Demonstration to Support the Palestinian People, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1564176307216565/
2:30 pm, Place Bellecour, 69002, Lyon
Friday, 13 May – Palestinian Family Dinner and Evening Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1689505781301901/ 7 pm – 10 pm, Byblos Restaurant, Storgatan 75, Huvudsta Centrum. Organized by the Palestinian Association in Stockholm.
Saturday, 14 May – Palestinian Cultural Festival 2016, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/490506727788987/
11:30 am – 6 pm, Hallunda Folkets Hus, Borgvagen 1, 145 69 Norsborf (Stockholm)
Sunday, 15 May – Demonstration in memory of the Nakba, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/890420817746611/
12:30 pm, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Malmo. Organized by Malmo Palestine Network
Sunday, 15 May – Public Meeting on Palestinian Right of Return
3 pm, Studieframjandet, Ystadgatan 53 (following demonstration). Organized by Group 194
Friday, 6 May – Nakba – The Catastrophe after 68 Years. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1062237983822251/
7:30 pm, CSOA Lambretta, Milan. Featuring a speech by Rajeh Zayed and concert by Al-Raseef. Organized by UDAP (Arab Palestinian Democratic Union.)
Sunday, 15 May – Commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/777360559031857/
3 pm, Piazza Gabrio Rosa, Milan. Organized by Fronte Palestina, Palestina Rossa, Global Campaign to Return to Palestine
Monday, 16 May – Nakba 1948-2016, the Catastrophe Continues Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1720129394926553/
8:30 pm, Qoelet di Redona. Presentation by Nandino Capovilla, Pax Christi. Presented by Gruppo Iabbok.
Tuesday, 17 May – 68 Years of Nakba, Solidarity with Palestine. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678654302395719/
6:30 pm – 8 pm, Espaco Bento Martins, J.F. Camide, Largo das Pimenteiras, 6A (Junto ao Colegio Militar). Speeches by Hikmat Ajjuri, Pezarat Correia, Jorge Cadima.
Saturday, 14 May – Groovy Palestine, Alternative Music from Palestine on Nakba Day, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/605375089624773/
7 pm, OKAZ, Gusshausstrasse 14/3, 1040 Vienna. Includes discussion and performance by Jowan Safadi, Palestinian musician, followed by DJ sets by Kolonel Blip, El Captagon and Neva-i Solomon. Organized by OKAZ, Österreichisch Arabisches Kulturzentrum
Thursday, 12 May – BADIL Speaking Tour on Palestinian Refugees
Time and Location TBA. More info: http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/nakba-week-badil-speaking-tour-on-palestinian-refugees. Organized by Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Sunday, 15 May – Tesco, Stop Trading With Israel Nakba Vigil 2016. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1738915249676703/
2 pm, Tesco, 2 Royal Ave, Belfast. Call on Tesco to boycott Israeli goods.
Monday, 9 May – BADIL Irish Speaking Tour on Palestinian Refugees. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/124262787978021/
7 pm, Quay Co-Op, 24 Sullivan’s Quay, Cork. With speakers Lubnah Shomali and Nidal al-Azzah from BADIL. Organized by Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Tour info: http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/nakba-week-badil-speaking-tour-on-palestinian-refugees
Tuesday, 10 May – BADIL Irish Speaking Tour on Palestinian Refugees. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1603383736655913/
7 pm, Perys Hotel Limerick, Glentworth Street, Limerick. With speakers Lubnah Shomali and Nidal al-Azzah from BADIL. Organized by Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Tour info: http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/nakba-week-badil-speaking-tour-on-palestinian-refugees
Wednesday, 11 May – BADIL Speaking Tour on Palestinian Refugees. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1804239273138237/
6:15 pm, Academy Plaza Hotel, 10-14 Findlater Place, Dublin. With speakers Lubnah Shomali and Nidal al-Azzah from BADIL. Organized by Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Tour info: http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/nakba-week-badil-speaking-tour-on-palestinian-refugees
Saturday, 14 May – March and “Moving Gallery” for Palestinian Refugees. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1157920480940081/
2 pm – 3 pm, St. Stephen’s Green (Grafton St Entrance), Dublin 2. March down Grafton St to the Spire. Organized by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Friday, 13 May – BADIL Speaking Tour on Palestinian Refugees.
7 pm, UNISON Building, Clarendon St, Derry. With speaker Lubnah Shomali from BADIL. Organized by Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Wednesday, 11 May- Al-Nakba, 68 Years of Exile. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1403070739992193/
6 pm, Sala Auditorium, Austral University of Chile, Valdivia, Chile. With speaker Karmach Elias, Nakba survivor born in Palestine in 1948. Organized by Arab Youth for Palestine Valdivia.
Saturday, 14 May – Nocturnal Demonstration to Commemorate the Nakba; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1522138648094029/
7 pm – midnight, Station Metro Mont-Royale, Montreal. Organized by Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU), Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – UQAM (SPHR-UQAM) and Tadamon
Sunday, 15 May – Palestinian commemoration festival, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/927354794008542/
11 am – 5 pm, Concordia University, 1455 boulevard de Maisonneuve W., Montreal. With Palestinian cultural show, dance, music and children’s activities.
Tuesday, 10 May – Personal stories of Palestinian Nakba Survivors. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1539654333004677/
7 pm, Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St, Toronto. Part of the North America Nakba Tour, organized by Free Palestine Movement and Al-Awda Coaliation and co-presented in Canada by the Palestinian Canadian Congress and Canada Friends of Sabeel.
Sunday, 15 May – Commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/214844732229034/
2 pm – 5 pm, Celebration Square, Mississauga. Organized by the National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba 68 – Toronto
Sunday, 15 May – Toronto Palestinian Film Festival Nakba Commemoration, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/997858870282775/
2 pm, Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St, Toronto. Film Screening of Encounter with a Lost Land with director Maryse Gargour over Skype. Organized by TPFF, Palestinian Canadian Congress, Students for Justice in Palestine – Ryerson.
Sunday, 15 May – Commemoration of Al-Nakba 1948-2016, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/487890394740895/
1 pm – 4 pm, Memorial Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Including commemoration, community voices, Palestine dance, flag making and film screening. Organized by Winnipeg Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Canadian Palestinian Association, Canada Palestine Support Network, Independent Jewish Voices, Peace Alliance Winnipeg
Sunday, 8 May – Personal Stories of Palestinian Nakba Survivors. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/966654723404454/
7 pm, Ben Franklin Place, Chamber Hall, 101 Centrepoint Dr, Ottawa. Part of the North America Nakba Tour, organized by Free Palestine Movement and Al-Awda Coaliation and co-presented in Canada by the Palestinian Canadian Congress and Canada Friends of Sabeel.
Wednesday, 11 May – The Exiled Palestinians. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1708770512722607/
6:45 pm, Forest Hill United, 121 Westmount St. E., Kitchener, Ontario. Part of the North America Nakba Tour, organized by Free Palestine Movement and Al-Awda Coaliation and co-presented in Canada by the Palestinian Canadian Congress and Canada Friends of Sabeel.
Thursday, 12 May – Personal Stories of Palestinian Nakba Survivors. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1609037986088608/
7 pm, MAC Youth Centre, 366 Oxford St E, London. Part of the North America Nakba Tour, organized by Free Palestine Movement and Al-Awda Coaliation and co-presented in Canada by the Palestinian Canadian Congress and Canada Friends of Sabeel.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba Day March for Resistance and Return, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1720235081568888/
1:30 pm, Rally at City Hall Park before march over Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza for activities. Organized by NY4Palestine coalition.
Sunday, May 8 – Nakba commemoration, with speakers, and entertainment and a children’s program, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/510727702462408/
1:30 pm – 6:30 pm, speakers including Dr. Ahmad Tibi, Debkeh performances, Palestinian food and fashion show; Prayer Center of Orland Park, 16530 104th Ave, Orland Park, Illinois. Hosted by American Muslims for Palestine – Chicago.
Sunday, 15 May – Al-Nakba Protest. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/260517614279372/
1 pm, Loring Park, Minneapolis. Initiated by Anti-War Committee with many endorsers.
Sunday, 15 May – George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/551591961667213/
4 pm, Uptown Auto Body and Fender, 401 26th Street, Oakland. Remember the Nakba, Black Panthers and Indigenous Resistance. Art exhibition and performance highlighting a multimedia exhibition, curated by Greg Thomas. Organized by Art Forces and AROC.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba Day 2016 – Performances by Ryan Harvey and Kareem Samara. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/232554823767805/
6 pm, Location TBA. Check Facebook, organized by Baltimore – Palestine Solidarity.
Saturday, 14 May – Still Walking: Nakba 68, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1717651068510404/
5 pm – 8 pm, Joe Chillura Courthouse Square. 600 E Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL. Street theatre and reenactment of the Nakba of 1948. March from Joe Chillura Courthouse Park past Jose Marti Park, to the Immigration Statue in Centennial Park.
Sunday, 15 May – Nakba Day Poetry Reading. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1695026577430712/
12 pm, Market Square, Knoxville, Tennessee. Palestinian poetry read by friends, poets and community members.
Saturday, 14 May – Commemorating 68 Years of Al-Nakba. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1585392255108855/
5 pm, Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. Includes Palestinian dinner, talk by Dr. Jamal Nassar, music by Naima Shalhoub, testimonies of Nakba survivors. Organized by Nakba Committee (includes Jewish Voice for Peace, KARAMA, BDS San Diego, PAWA SD and CAIR)
Saturday, 7 May – Commemorating Al-Nakba with Nadia Ben-Youssef. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/488400578020681/
11 am – 1:30 pm, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, 202 Harvard Drive SE, Albuquerque. With speaker Nadia Ben-Youssef of Adalah.
List of activities below via Palestine Solidarity Campaign Nakba Week Schedule. Additional events below.
Tue 3 – Dr. Christos Giannou, A Surgeon in the Siege of Shatila, Guilford
Tue 3 – Prof. Manuel S. Hassassian, Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, Milton Keynes
Wed 4 – Mahmoud Zawahra, Nottingham
Fri 6 – Film screening: The Lab (dir. Yotam Feldman), Wolverhampton
Fri 6 – Mahmoud Zawahra, Cardiff
Sat 7 – Prof. Karma Nabulsi, Palestine, Freedom of speech and Prevent, Luton
Sat 7 – Nakba presentation, Bradford upon Avon
Sat 7 – Tower Hamlets-Jenin Friendship Association Stall for Nakba, London E3
Sat 7 – Nakba commemorative vigil, Hereford
Sat 7 – Sabrina Tucci, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme, Birmingham
Sat 7 – Nakba stall, Bradford
Sun 8 – Sponsored Walk for Palestine, Bristol
Sun 8 – Olive & PSC present- Palestine: A Journey Through The Culture, London NW10
Sun 8 – Nakba Week stall, Peterborough
Mon 9 – Live music, poetry & film screening, Tatreez Cafe, London N16
Mon 9 – Tim Sanders and Mahmoud Zawahra, Tower Hamlets, London E2
Mon 9 – Film Screening: Nakba, Bristol
Mon 9 – Eat for Palestine, Fundraiser, Norwich
Tue 10 – Nakba, Round Table Discussion with Prof. Karma Nabulsi, Parliament
Tue 10 – Film screening: Jaffa, the Orange’s Clockwork (dir. Eyal Sivan), London W4
Tue 10 – Screening of Miko Peled, The General’s Son, London SW9
Tue 10 – Mahmoud Zawahra, Oxford Town Hall
Wed 11 – Film screening: Five Broken Cameras, Wellingborough
Wed 11 – Awad Abdelfattah (National Democratic Assembly / Balad), London N15
Wed 11 – Kate Cargin, Living Under Military Occupation, Norwich
Wed 11 – Dr Khader Abu-Hayyeh, Nakba survivor, Hastings
Thu 12 – Haya al Farra (Palestinian Mission), Darlington
Thu 12 – Jafar Ramini, The Catastrophe that is Palestine, Salisbury
Thu 12 – Film screening: Life in Occupied Palestine (by Anna Baltzer, JVP), Exeter
Fri 13 – Film screening: The Time That Remains (dir. Elia Suleiman), SOAS, London WC1
Fri 13 – The Israel lobby and the European Union, Report Launch, London NW1
Fri 13 – Film screening: When I Saw You (dir. Annemarie Jacir), Shrewsbury
Fri 13 – Film screening: Palestine Blues (dir. Nida Sinnokrot), Hereford
Sat 14 – Day-School Conference: Prof Nur Masala, Awad Abdelfattah & more, London WC1
Sat 14 – Palestinian Forum in Britain, Nakba anniversary protest, London W8
Sat 14 – Remember the Nakba in quiet contemplation, Lancaster
Sat 14 – Nakba commemoration, Sheffield Town Hall
Sat 14 – Mahmoud Zawahra, Portsmouth
Sat 14 – Friends of Al Aqsa: Palestine Exhibition and Fun Day, Edinburgh
Sat 14 – The Nakba: Palestine Exodus, Video Conference with survivors, Bristol
Sat 14 – Nakba stall, Kettering
Sun 15 – Nakba stall, Northampton
Sun 15 – Interpal: Nakba Tube Trail, London E17
Sun 15 – Nakba Day, Lest We Forget, Kingston upon Thames
Sun 15 – Rafeef Ziadah, We Teach Life Sir album launch, Birmingham
Sun 15 – Nakba Day Vigil, Manchester
Sun 15 – Nakba Day, ‘Registered Alive’, with Maxine Peake, Ahmed Masoud & more, London N1
Friday, 13 May – Evening for Palestine. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/942198729227447/
7 pm, Hargrave Hall, Hargrave Road, Islington. Palestinian music, food, short film and talks by Palestinian youth. Organized by CADFA.
Saturday, 14 May – Nakba Day Commemoration. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1140770009308235/
12 pm – 9 pm, Piccadilly Gardens, Live Feed from Gaza, talks, music, drama and poetry. 9 pm, Film screening and music.
Monday, 16 May – Book Launch and Seminar, “Mapping My Return, A Palestinian Memoir,” by Salman Abu Sitta. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/210407026005655/
6:30 pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London. Organized by Palestinian Return Centre and Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Saturday, 21 May – Nakba Narratives 2016 Annual Dinner. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1595195460797894/
6 pm, Royal Nawaab London. Annual dinner for Interpal with speakers Majdi Aqil, Ang Swee Chai, Yvonne Ridley, Ibrahim Hewitt.
Monday, 16 May – Nakba Talk – One Democratic State with Awad Abdelfattah and Karl Sabbagh. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/580838385418582/
7:30 pm, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. Event chaired by Dr Ruba Salih (Reader at SOAS) and supported by One Democratic State (ODS) and Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Review of Dr Abu Sitta’s Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir
I spent the rest of my life on a long, winding journey of return, a journey that has taken me to dozens of counties over decades of travel, and turned my black hair to silver. But like a boomerang, I knew the end destination, and that the only way to it was the road of return I had decided to take.
— Salman Abu Sitta
The spirit of Dr Abu Sitta’s Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir mirrors precisely the dynamic quintessence and will of its creator – in a word – sumoud – a compelling steadfastness to his homeland Palestine and to the right of return of every Palestinian.
It is the determined will of people that counts. It must of course be accompanied by vigorous planning and action. An iron will does not bend in the face of obstacles or challenges, failures or disappointments. These challenges only sharpen it. Its ultimate reward is to enforce justice, to return home.
Abu Sitta’s personal experiences, great intellect, moral substance and totality of purpose confer authoritative soundness to his part in Palestine’s modern history. The Palestinian narrative is rare and future readings, such as Ilan Pappe’s definitive history outlining Israel’s systematic strategies and crimes of the Nakba, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, now, thanks to Abu Sitta, will be imbued with the flesh and breath of Palestinian truth and rights.
Opening the door of the memoir, we step into and see, through the eyes of the 10 year old Salman, his birth place, the village of Ma’in in the Beersheba district as yet pristine and undefiled by the Zionist scourge and anguished loss. We witness the prosperity of the land abundant in maize, barley, date palms, figs, grapes, almonds, apricots, melons, cactus fruit and wheat harvested, gleaned, and threshed by families and poor itinerant workers. It is a generous land that feeds well its people and their livestock of camels, horses, cows, oxen, sheep, and goats.
We join in the robust vitality of Palestinian village life: the flirting, courting, marriage customs, the rituals, like the blessing of wells, defined by religion, superstitions and omens, children’s games and school lessons, and listen to the men gathered in the shigg sharing ‘anecdotes, news, future plans, hopes and fears’ and listen to the poetic recitation of family histories by storytellers ‘who are the real source of our history’.
Abu Sitta’s memoir is rich in this tradition. It chronicles his family’s illustrious lineage of the Tarabin, ‘the largest, wealthiest, strongest tribe in southern Palestine’ that extends into Egypt as far as Cairo. The Tarabin is the tribal tree from which the Abu Sitta sheiks branched since the 16th century from Darshan I to Abu Sitta’s father, Hussein. The Abu Sitta bloodline of belonging to and defending their precious land begat landowners and warriors with a history of Arab resistance to invaders.
Resistance to foreign invaders is oxygen to Abu Sitta’s father Sheik Hussein, a self-educated man who was ‘chief judge at the tribal court in Beersheba’. He became a key player in the Palestinian national movement ensuring no land was sold to Jews and spurned collaboration with the British.
Cousin Abdullah was leader of the southern front of Palestinian 1936-39 revolt blowing up railways, cutting telephone wires and ambushing British convoys. In 1938, he, allied with Abd al-Halim al-Joulani of al-Khalil, liberated Beersheba, ‘an area equal to half of Palestine’ from British control for a year. He also resisted the zionists from 1947-56.
Abu Sitta details the fateful impact of the arrival of European colonialism. Its imperial machinations to control Palestine, he clarifies, were predetermined by decades of covert British, German and Zionist intelligence gathering culminating in the Sykes-Picot betrayal and the ‘legally void, morally wicked and politically mischievous’ Balfour Declaration that opened the immigration floodgates of Jews bent on Palestine’s annihilation.
Abu Sitta documents the post WWII departure of the British that shamefully abandoned the meagrely armed Palestinians to the well armed terrorist Haganah, Irgun and Stern militias. With cousins, Abdullah, Hamed and brother Ibrahim at the front line of defense, Abu Sitta details the tragi-heroic resistance of villagers in the Beersheba district doomed to join the surviving hoards of terrified Palestinians fleeing massacres such as Burayr, Tantura, Deir Yassin, and death from 670 ethnically cleansed villages.
At 11 years of age, young Salman, like his contemporary Naji Al-Ali and hundreds of thousands of children, becomes Handala* incarnate destined to wander the paths most travelled to the wretched camps of the dispossessed. The Abu Sittas set up tents in Gaza alongside fellow ‘uprooted people, robbed of their land, but not of their identity and least of all family cohesion. Groups maintained their social structures, complete with the village mukhtars and sub-mukhtars’. Here, Sheikh Hussein, despite losing everything, was determined to maintain university costs for his four sons.
After 1948, the refugee template, with its trials and triumphs, of itinerant study, employment and residence was cast. Abu Sitta himself studied in Egypt, UK and Canada as well as set up business in Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Canada , and the UK.
Page upon page is packed with firsthand personal and historic facts, figures, key players, letters, and Palestinian endeavours ‘to fight the occupier’; the formation of the General Union of Palestinian Students, the Palestinian National Council and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Palestinian Lawyers Syndicate, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, General Ahmed Fouad Sadek, Gamal And al-Nasser, Kamel al-Sharif, Ismail Shammour, Jawaharlal Nehru, Che Guevara, Edward Said, Khalil al-Wazir and Arafat with his ‘calamitous concessions’ peaking with the infamous Oslo Accords.
In the 60s the Royal Geographical Society library was the starting point of Abu Sitta’s journey of sleuthing maps and literature on Palestine before the Zionists savagely rent it to pieces ‘to wipe Palestine from memory.’ Then came the challenge, over decades, of meticulously making Palestine whole again.
Dr Abu Sitta is no dreamer. He is a pragmatic visionary whose unwavering yearning for home has morphed into the Palestinian Land Society, his literal pièce de résistance, that has created the phenomenal Atlas of Palestine, 1917-1966 and meticulous plans for the inevitable return.
We plan for the reconstruction of destroyed Palestinian villages. Our plans are derived from a massive database…. We are creating a file for every village, its house plans before 1948, its features and characteristics, its economies and its status of education… Young architects are now working on the reconstruction of these destroyed villages to be built in the same locations with the same beautiful old features, but with modern amenities.
Fahrenheit 451 is the burning point of paper, and at the end of (Ray) Bradbury’s book of the same name, hope, for a society that was culturally reduced to ashes by the systematic burning of books, lies in a group of intellectual renegade exiles who are individually responsible for memorising and preserving one book each and become its living version.
Dr Abu Sitta’s life is an Opus Magnus preserving the integrity of the land of Palestine, past, present and future in preparation for the certain return of all its stranded children. The outstanding feature of the memoir is its invitation to ‘meet’ a distinguished colossus of Palestinian sumoud.
* Handala is the eternal child; the eternal 10-year-old refugee child conceived in the Nakba fragmented childhood of the late Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali. In Palestine, Handala is loved and cherished as a symbol of righteous steadfast resistance.
The book will be launched in London on May 20th.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Aceh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.
Residents and local administration officials in the northern Syrian town of Al-Hasakah rallied on Wednesday to protest against the illegal presence of 150 US troops in the Kurdish-controlled town of Rumeilan, Syrian SANA news agency reported.
“We are categorically against the impermissible and flagrant violation of our country’s sovereignty. We will not allow American boots on our soil. We are also against any plans for a division or federalization of Syria,” Al-Hasakah Governor Mohammad Zaal said during the meeting.
A similar rally had earlier been held in the neighboring town of Al-Qamishli.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry called the reported deployment of 150 US troops to Rumeilan airport in the northeast of the country “an unacceptable and illegal intervention” which came without authorization from the Syrian government.
On April 28, US President Barack Obama announced that Washington would “deploy up to 250 additional US personnel in Syria including Special Forces.” They are reportedly expected to train the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The White House asserts that the deployment of the Special Forces is intended to repel Daesh terrorists.
On Wednesday, about 150 US soldiers arrived in the Kurdish-controlled town of Rumeilan in northeastern Syria, according to a Kurdish security source. According to the source, part of the contingent immediately headed to the north of Raqqa province.
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old US Army officer has sued President Barack Obama over the legality of the war against the Islamic State (Daesh), questioning Mr. Obama’s disputed claim that he needs no new legal authority from Congress to order the military to wage the ever deepening mission, The New York Times wrote on Wednesday.
Captain Nathan Michael Smith, an intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, voiced strong support for fighting Daesh but, citing his “conscience” and his vow to uphold the Constitution, he said he believed that the mission lacked proper authorization from Congress.
The legal challenge comes after the death of the third American serviceman in the fight against Daesh and as President Obama has decided to significantly expand the number of Special Forces members.
President Obama has argued that he already has the authority he needs to wage a conflict against the Islamic State under the authorization to fight the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, enacted by Congress shortly after the attacks.
Prologue: In 2004 I wrote Brazil and Lula: Year Zero (Edifurb: Blumenau, Sao Paolo 2005), in which I presented my analysis of the Lula-Workers Party (PT) regime in Brazil undergoing a Grand Transformation with the first stage represented by the PT’s incorporation into a government apparatus led by of bankers and exporters (the agro-mineral elite).
Two years earlier, my colleague, Henry Veltmeyer, and I had published Cardoso’s Brazil: A Land for Sale (Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham MD 2003) where we described how President Cardoso had sold off the major public resources, banks, petroleum and iron resources to foreign capital for rock bottom prices. The 2002 election of President Lula DaSilva of the Workers’ Party did not reverse Cardoso’s sell-out. Indeed, Lula accepted his predecessor’s neo-liberal policies – embellished them – and set about forging an alliance between the Workers’ Party and the economic elites, replacing Cardoso’s Party! For the next few years, we were attacked by the Left academic and pundit world for having dared to advance such a critique on their ‘worker president’! The consequences of what we had described as the PT’s pact with the Right are clear to everyone today: Brazil is enmeshed in swindles, scandals and coups.
“The nature of the multitude is to arrive rapidly and depart swiftly”.
For more than a decade, left-wing parties, accompanied by working class trade unions and landless rural social movements, dominated Brazil, the largest country in Latin America. Their political leaders were repeatedly elected; their trade union and rural social officials secured concessions from the state; the political process followed legal procedures adjudicating its agenda with the opposition business, banking and professional parties.
We were told the days of coups and revolutions were passed. Electoral processes, honest vote counts and mutual recognition of political legitimacy precluded any violent, dismissal and ouster of the established Left political leadership.
The Rise and Fall of the Political Left
The dominance of the Left is now only a memory! Its parties are in full retreat. Its leaders are scorned, insulted and prosecuted by their former political allies. The business allies of the past are now at their throats. Those politicians, who secured government positions in return for loyalty and votes, have fled clamoring for ‘impeachment’ and claiming deceit… while seeking new sources of patronage and plunder.
The great left political leaders, who had once bragged of 53 million voters, who were hailed in the international press for their command of a huge mass base while accommodating the interest of modern trade and business, are now condemned by the capitalist media as the cause of the current economic calamity.
The popular heroes of yesterday, who shared wealth and status with their rivals in the business elite, are now ostracized and facing show-trials for corruption.
The Trade Union and Rural Workers’ Leaders
Veteran trade union and rural leaders came to the Presidential Palace to celebrate the electoral successes of the ‘worker president’.
Once blushing with flattery, these mass leaders are now dismayed that the fiesta has ended and the music has stopped, while the workers and peasants are ordered to pay for the broken dishes and start the cleanup…
The mass popular organizations are now without allies in Congress; their voices are shut out of the bourgeois media; the domestic economy has been abandoned by the market; and the masses are in the streets clamoring for retribution against the politicians betrayal. Now trade union and peasant leaders appeal for resistance and a return to class struggle; but their followers are in retreat!
Toward an Understanding of a Historical Defeat
The rise and fall of the Left is a historical reversal, which requires a systematic analysis of a disastrous strategy. The left’s defeat cannot simply be dismissed as a betrayal by treacherous allies, corrupt party officials or plots concocted by billionaires and the US Embassy, leading up to a coup via a clearly phony impeachment process. The real question to ask is: Why did the Left allow such treachery and betrayal, culminating in a legislative ‘coup d’état’, to develop unopposed leading to reversal and rout of the Left? How could a huge multi-million-person voting machine, a vast and experienced trade union apparatus and a militant rural social movement fall defeated without even a struggle?
The Strategy of the Left
The Left parties deliberately adopted a short-term strategy of accommodation with the right, in part to avoid long-term, large-scale strategic confrontations with the defeated economic elite. For their part, the parties of the Right and their US advisors patiently chose to accept the Left’s compromises and offers of cooperation, in order to prepare for a strategic offensive when the Left’s mass of support had declined.
The Left parties embraced poorly thought-out ’short-cuts’ to governance. They occupied government posts while cutting cozy deals with all the major power brokers of the Right.
The Left signed ‘austerity’ agreements with the IMF to restrain budgets and accept debt obligations. Members of notorious rightwing and opportunistic political parties were brought into the cabinet, assigned strategic congressional leadership positions and placed on senior presidential advisory panels in exchange for their votes to approve loans, credits and regional development projects.
The Left negotiated deals with business elites, offering them generous subsidies and high profits, while restraining workers’ demands for structural changes. They viewed this accommodation as an exchange for economic growth, wage increases and trade union recognition as a legitimate power sharer.
The Left dismissed the grassroots demands for social transformation and they opposed any popular campaign to prosecute the financial elites for money laundering and white-collar crimes. Instead, they favored incremental increases in wages, poverty funds, pensions and consumer credit.
The Left ignored the reality that such arrangements with the business elites were only a temporary truce rather than a permanent, strategic alliance.
The trade unions followed the lead of the Left political leadership. They directed their mass organizations to accept negotiations based on periodic wage increases, more funds for trade union education and subsidies for new union building complexes. The trade union leaders discouraged strikes, repressed demands for public ownership and prevented any investigation into mining, banking and agro-business corruption, tax evasions and bribery. Even the well-documented wave of assassinations of landless worker activists and the naked land grabs of ‘protected’ Indian territories went unpunished.
The business elite realized they faced a potential radical mass movement, which was under the control of an elected ‘Left’ government. They were ‘delighted’ that this Left government was so willing to accommodate capitalist demands. They cautiously decided that short-term rewards and well-placed bribes would help prepare the ground for their restoration to power and reversal of the left’s concessions.
The Left rural social movements retained their radical socialist rhetoric and mass membership, but their leadership followed the Left parties in government.
In exchange for subsidies to set-up and expand community-based rural organizations and training schools for farmworkers, the social movements mobilized their mass activists to ‘turn-out the vote’ for the Left parties’ President and Congress people.
The rural movement leaders justified their accommodation with the Left- business alliance describing the Left regime as a ‘field of contention’, where they could press for radical changes. After more than a dozen years of successful mass struggle, the radical rural movement chose to ally with the Left party apparatus! Only when the ‘Left President’ was impeached did the rural workers’ leader call for the return to class struggle!
The Left’s Short Term Gains and Long Term Losses
The political leaders on the left, as well as trade union and rural movement leaders, all believed they had a winning strategy. They claimed their mostly superficial ‘gains’ were ‘evidence’ of their success. These included:
(1) Their governance for over four administrations where they increased or maintained the left’s voting majority.
(2) ‘Pragmatic’ political alliances with parties across the spectrum – won through various forms of bribery – as a formula for winning Congressional approval for major development contracts.
(3) Their funding of opposition allies, which attracted ‘respectability’ and enriched both Left politicians and their electoral campaigns.
(4) The decrease in social tension achieved by recruiting business opponents and gaining support among sectors of the capitalist class.
The Left political leaders’ strategy of accommodation depended on the economic success of the mineral-oil-agriculture export elites. This ignored the business sector’s fundamental policy of cutting social and productive investments whenever markets, profits and economic opportunities declined.
When the Left regime’s public subsidies for the export industry declined following the collapse of the global commodity market, the entire capitalist elite coalesced into a virulent Rightwing opposition.
When the previous political accommodation with capital, held together by corruption and questionable subsidies became the target, the Right launched their strategic offensive.
The fact that business, banking, media and agro-mineral elites were able to join forces so quickly and launch their attack on the Left shows how they had flourished for a decade during the commodity boom.
The entire façade of a ‘broad progressive coalition’ disappeared: The trade union and rural movement structures, linked to the Left political leaders, were incapable of mobilizing their mass base and countering the insurgent Right. For over ten years, the Left regime had cut all its political deals in Congress, in the corridors of elite power, while ignoring ‘class struggle’.
This was a ‘Left’ regime, wholly dependent on market conditions and business allies. It was unable to defend any strategic ground when the Right regained its power base.
The Left regime had retained an intact and fully functioning right administrative and judicial apparatus, composed of courts and judges, the prosecutors and investigators all aligned with the Right opposition. They were ready to undermine the regime’s congressional majority by opening ‘corruption’ investigations targeting the Left. Meanwhile, the business elite managed to intensify the consequences of the economic recession and insist that ‘recovery’ meant austerity against the poor.
The Right purchased its street crowds and mobilized its party allies, including the center, the fascists, the neo-militarists, the agro-business elite and the imperial and local financial press. From Sao Paulo to New York to London they were poised to forcibly oust the elected Left President from power and jail its leaders.
The Left believed in the myth of democratic capitalism. They had faith that their negotiations with the business elites would increase social welfare. They operated on a platform of gradual accommodation of class interests leading to multi-class alliances and strategic conciliation between business and labor.
The historical lesson has proven otherwise – again. Business and the capitalist elite make clear, tactical short-term agreements in order to prepare a strategic counter-offensive. Their patient long-term strategy was to mobilize their class allies and overturn the electoral process – at the ripe moment.
The Left parties depended on achieving a series of ’strategic understandings with the capitalist class’ where both would benefit at a time of peak global demand for Brazil’s commodities, instead of expanding their popular mandate by transforming the economy and domestic market.
The Left behaved as if favorable world market conditions would last forever. They lost their chance to use their 53 million-voter strength and radically change the organization and ownership of Brazil’s strategic economic sectors!
In this way, the Left imitated the Right, choosing to share its power bases through accommodation with their business-partners. These were amateurs at the bourgeois power game, who found themselves entrapped in corruption and crisis! How shocking!
It was so much easier for the Left politicians to get campaign funding through the usual practice of business payola than to campaign from door to door, factory to factory, village to village, fighting repression, elite media boycotts and armed vigilantes.
In the end, their ‘power base’ dissolved and their capitalist ‘partners’ and political ‘allies’ abandoned them: the Left President was impeached.
Victorious capital and empire neatly ended this charade of ‘market democracy’. The retreating Left parties begged for a reprieve via parliamentary vote and ended with a decisive defeat… bleating their last whimper as the door slammed shut…
Capitalists have never and will never recognize weak popular opposition. The capitalist political elite will always choose power and wealth over social democracy. The Left, in retreat, isolated and expelled from the corridors of power, now face retribution from the most corrupt and treacherous of their ‘former allies’.
They usher in a lost generation.
We won — and now, thirty years later, the government has finally admitted it.
It’s not often that government officials admit to failure in the face of popular resistance. When they do, it’s an occasion for celebration.
Draft registration was reinstated in 1980, supposedly to prepare for possible deployment of US troops in Afghanistan on the side of the Islamic fundamentalist warlords and “mujahideen” who were then fighting against the USSR. The US government put me in prison for refusing to agree to fight on the side of the people who would later become the Taliban and Al Qaeda! It’s no wonder that people of my generation, or later generations, have no faith in the ability of the US government to decide for us in which wars, or on which (if any) side, we should fight.
Today in U.S. News & World Report, Steven Nelson has the most significant piece of reporting about draft registration and the Selective Service System in decades, asking questions that journalists, politicians, and the public should have been asking years ago.
It’s been obvious — to anyone who wanted to look — that resistance forced the government to abandon the attempt to enforce draft registration in failure in the 1980s, after show trials of a handful of the “most vocal” nonregistrants. But this is the first time that responsible Selective Service officials and former officials have confirmed this on the record.
The article is worth reading in full, but I’ve posted some key excerpts below, followed by my analysis and comments:
Gender-Neutral Draft Registration Would Create Millions of Female Felons
by Steven Nelson, U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 2016
A key congressional committee voted last week to require young women to register for potentially compulsory military service, but the gender-equalizing reform threatens to make felons out of women who refused to participate.
Though prosecutions currently appear unlikely, men jailed for not registering with the Selective Service System and some former authorities who participated in the cases are concerned about criminalizing a large swath of the population.
“It will inevitably lead to massive resistance, whether visible in the streets or women just blowing it off the way men have,” says Edward Hasbrouck, prosecuted for not registering in the 1980s. “Congress is smoking crack if they think women can be forced to register.”
Hasbrouck served more than four months in prison after catching the eye of an ambitious federal prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who went on to be FBI director. He originally received a suspended sentence, but recalls an unamused judge sending him to prison in late 1984 [actually 1983] for doing peace activism to satisfy court-ordered community service….
The government was “faced with far more people who had initially refused to register in the start-up period than they had ever imagined — it was beyond their worst nightmare. They were self-deluded in the way people today who think they can just wave their wand and women will sign up for the draft are self-deluded,” Hasbrouck says….
In all, 20 men were prosecuted in the 1980s for not registering, a diverse and geographically scattered group including ideological advocates of individual rights and members of the historical peace churches.
The last indictment came in 1986 when Terry Kuelper of Arkansas was slapped with the felony charge. He agreed to register before trial and the charge was dismissed. Court proceedings ended when Gillam Kerley of Wisconsin was released from a three-year prison sentence after four months, with the case ending in 1988….
Former Selective Service associate director Edward Frankle … developed a process for … enforcement of the registration law…. “We did what we had to to keep at least some level of credibility in the system,” he says. “You couldn’t just totally ignore it — how could you do that and still with a straight face say, ‘Yeah that’s the requirement’?”
In the late ’80s the Justice Department discontinued prosecutions. Dick Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service who was with the agency at the time, recalls the Justice Department “decided that since there was no draft … there are limited resources and the FBI’s time would be better spent chasing white collar crime than some Mennonite kid through Pennsylvania.”
“We said, ‘Fine, we understand,’ and that’s why it ended in ’88,” he says. “The agency did agree to what the Justice Department proposed, a suspension of prosecutions [during peace time]. Since they did the prosecutions we didn’t have much leverage anyways.”…
Flahavan says the Selective Service had hoped for a much stronger approach from federal prosecutors, but was rebuffed.
“What we would have preferred was every year in all 95 judicial districts there be a prosecution to keep the heat on and the publicity going,” he says. “But they couldn’t sustain that.”
If someone registered just before trial, the prosecution would be dropped, Flahavan notes, making the pursuit of resisters “really a losing proposition for the feds” and often “a big waste of time.”
Wilfred Ebel, acting director of the Selective Service System in 1987, when further waves of prosecutions were being considered, says he can’t recall the precise discussions that led to abandonment of new cases. Former Attorneys General Ed Meese, who left the department in 1988, and successor Dick Thornburgh did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Mueller….
Though hard numbers are elusive, Hasbrouck says with confidence “compliance with the address update requirement is and has been since 1980 essentially zero.”
A central insight of both Gandhian and anarchist political theory is that governments have power only to the extent that people are willing to carry out or comply with their orders. But few of the people pontificating lately about whether extending draft registration to women is “desirable” (from one or another perspective) have stopped to ask whether it is possible. So far as I know, no historian or scholar has made a study of draft registration since 1980. (If I’ve missed something, please send me a link or citation, or post it in the comments.) There’s been no GAO audit of the accuracy of the Selective Service database of registrants and their current addresses since 1982.
Despite the refusal of the Justice Department to prosecute nonregistrants, the Selective Service System continues to refer names of possible nonregistrants identified by automated data-matching to the Justice Department “for possible prosecution”. According to the latest Selective Service System Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2015 (page 16), “If a man fails to register or fails to provide evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement after receiving Selective Service reminder and/or compliance mailing, his name is referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register… During FY 2015, 146,997 names and addresses of suspected violators were provided to the DOJ.” None of these nonregistrants were investigated or prosecuted, nor have any of the other millions of suspected draft registration resisters whose names have been referred by the SSS to the DOJ in the last thirty years.
If resistance rendered draft registration of men unenforceable, why would anyone think that young women will be more willing to sign up to kill or be killed on command than young men have been?
Resistance to any attempt to extend draft registration to women is inevitable, but people tend to (wrongly) discount the practical or political significance of silent resistance, despite its effectiveness. That’s a major reason why the ongoing resistance to draft registration by young men has been so little noticed or understood.
The political anthropologist James C. Scott analyzed this phenomenon in Domination and the Arts of Resistance (Yale University Press, 1990, Chapter 7):
Much of the active political life of subordinate groups has been ignored because it takes place at a level we rarely recognize as political. To emphasize the enormity of what has been, by and large, disregarded, I want to distinguish between the open, declared forms of resistance, which attract most attention, and the disguised, low-profile undeclared resistance….
For many of the least privileged minorities and marginalized poor, open political action will hardly capture the bulk of political action…. The luxury of relatively safe, open political opposition is rare… So long as we confine our conception of the political to activity that is openly declared we are driven to conclude that subordinate groups essentially lack a political life…. To do so is to miss the immense terrain that lies between quiescence and [open] revolt and that, for better or worse, is the political environment of subject classes….
Each of the forms of disguised resistance… is the silent partner of a loud form of public resistance.
And Scott said this in Two Cheers for Anarchism (Princeton University Press, 2012, Chapter 1):
Desertion is quite different from an open mutiny that directly challenges military commanders. It makes no public claims, it issues no manifestos, it is exit rather than voice. And yet, once the extent of desertion becomes known, it constrains the ambitions of commanders, who know they may not be able to count on their conscripts…. Quiet, anonymous,… lawbreaking and disobedience may well be the historically preferred mode of political action for… subaltern classes, for whom open defiance is too dangerous.
It’s past time for Congress to get real, end draft registration, and abolish the Selective Service System.
To make this happen, Congress and the public need to hear from young women who don’t plan to register for the draft. Otherwise they won’t think about the prospect of resistance by women to draft registration, or take it seriously. I’ll be happy to publish or link to “I Won’t Go” or “We Won’t Go” statements, anonymously or with names as the authors wish. If there are other things I can do to help young women prepare to resist draft registration, or to support their resistance, or to support the ongoing resistance by young men, please let me know.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the morning of the 24th of March around 8:30 am two Palestinian youths, Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, 21, and Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, also 21, were shot to death by Israeli forces after an alleged stabbing attempt in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida. The world became aware of the extra-judicial killing of al-Sharif by the Israeli-French army medic Elor Azaria through the footage shot by Imad Abu Shamsiya, resident of Tel Rumeida, co-founder of Hebron Human Rights Defenders and contributor to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Over the last month Imad has become something of a celebrity. He has appeared on Palestinian news, made appearances in international media and has even been interviewed by mainstream British newspaper The Independent. All of which has come at the same time as the settlers in Tel Rumeida and in wider Hebron have issued death threats and upped their campaign of persecution against him and his family.
Imad and his 3 sons, Awne (left), Soli (middle), Muhammed (right), who are all taking part in resistance against the occupation.
Last week ISM activists had the privilege of sitting down with Imad and talking about the impact of these events on his life, his family’s history in Hebron, his history of arrests by the Israeli Occupying Forces and his hopes and fears for his life both now and in the future.
Imad’s family have lived in Hebron for generations: “I was born here, my father was born here, my grandfather and my great-grandfather, all born here.” He can trace his family’s presence in Hebron back at least 218 years as the family had a house near to the Ibrahimi Mosque registered in their name from that time, in addition to the family home that they occupy to this day in Tel Rumeida.
Seven years ago in 2009, however, the family’s house in Tel Rumeida was standing empty. Imad knew that it would only be a matter of time before the settlers, by now established in Tel Rumeida and on Shuhada Street, would attempt to sieze the home. It was then that Imad decided to move from his home in H1 (Palestinian-controlled Hebron) to Tel Rumeida in H2. This extraordinary decision was supported by his entire extended family as well as his wife Faiza and his five children (then aged between 4 and 11). Imad himself felt confident in this choice: “At first we thought there was not a lot of difference, just that here there is a checkpoint when there was not one where we had lived before.”
But despite his initial downplaying of the situation, the decision had a huge impact on his family. From the get-go his children would go out to play in the street and they would be attacked by settlers or harassed by the army. However, this only served to strengthen Imad and his family’s desire to stay in Tel Rumeida. Even his youngest son – Salah, now 11 – knows that they are there to stop the settlers from stealing their home and their land.
Sadly this notion of resistance that runs through the whole family has, perhaps unsurprisingly, had some serious ramifications for all of them. No more so than for Imad’s oldest son – Aune, 17. Aune was shot in the foot with a ‘dum-dum’ bullet – live ammunition that splinters on entry – and Imad was further shocked when, at the checkpoint near his home, the local area commander of the Israeli Occupying Force told him that he would kill Aune if he saw him again. They decided it was best to send Aune away to live with relatives and so, a child of seventeen, he cannot live with his mother and father and never sees his four siblings. Moreover the other four children have all, at one time or other, been victims of abuse and attacks at the hands of the settlers. Although perhaps the worst that the family have lived through is the current situation and the death threats that Imad has experienced since his role in the video of the extra-judicial killing was made public. Imad, however, has been through extremely challenging times before and is undaunted by the situation he faces.
Imad in his house, which is regularly targeted by settlers and army
In the late eighties during the first Intifada a young Imad – sixteen years of age – would, like many young male Palestinians at that time, go to the demonstrations in protest of the Israeli occupation. The Israeli forces then, as now, would shut these demonstrations down with extreme measures. On one such occasion – on Friday 20th of January 1988 – Imad found himself hospitalised having been shot in the hand with live ammunition: “I was in hospital in Jerusalem for fifty days recovering and at that time the Israelis came and arrested me.” In prison Imad was questioned for eighteen days, accused of being a ringleader and organiser. Finally brought before the court he was sentenced to six months in prison for his role as a demonstrator: “then, thirteen days after I was released that first time, they arrested me again and sentenced me to another six months in prison.” He wasn’t to know it then but this was the first year of a total of four years and two months that he would spend in prison.
On the 16th of February 1991 Imad was arrested once again and this time he was kept in solitary confinement for 111 days: “Imagine it. You are alone, without water to wash with, you don’t see the sun, you are cold, it’s winter, you are in a t-shirt and shorts.” During this time he was tortured: beaten, subjected to stress positions and consistently interrogated. He was accused of throwing stones and molotov cocktails as well as being a leader within the Intifada. He denied all accusations and after 111 days, when they had nothing to charge him with, he was taken before the court and sentenced to another six months detention regardless.
Example of common stress-position (torture position) utilised in Israeli interrogation
Once again in 1992 he was arrested and again he was kept in solitary confinement, this time for a period of 75 days. Refusing to confess to the false accusations of violence that were leveled at him, Imad was sentenced to six more months of detention without charge.
In 1995 Imad, specifically due to his position as a citizen of the already divided town of Hebron, was part of a large group of Palestinians who objected to the terms of the Oslo Agreement. As such he was part of a mass-arrest and sent to the infamous Naqab Prison in the Negev Desert where he was detained for a further six months. Imad would be arrested twice more – in 1997 and 1999. On both occasions he was arrested in the middle of the night, taken from his family home, not questioned or interrogated, but sentenced to a further six months detention.
Taking this history of persecution and Imad’s lifelong resistance into account, it is perhaps less surprising to picture Imad and Faiza agreeing with their children to move to the front line of resistance when they moved to Tel Rumeida in 2009. Then two years ago he formed Hebron Human Rights Defenders with Badee Dwalik, and Imad’s journey towards infamy began. Having been trained in the use of video cameras by B’Tselem, Imad and Badee recruited others from Tel Rumeida and wider Hebron and trained them to use video cameras donated by anti-Zionist activists in the US. Imad even trained his wife and children to use the cameras: the whole family knows that if things get bad with soldiers and/or settlers then the first recourse is to pick up a camera and to document. Now Badee and Imad plan to teach the local children in Tel Rumeida how to use the cameras: they intend to resist the occupation by exposing it’s most inhumane and abusive elements.
Badia from Human Rights Defenders at a school in Tel Rumeida, teaching the kids how to film.
All of which leads us neatly back to the events of the 24th March this year (and you can read about the events of that day from Imad’s perspective here.) One would have thought that living with his wife and four of his children in occupied Hebron, with the constant threat of attack by settlers as well as harassment by soldiers out for revenge for him having made the video, Imad would feel some negativity about his life now, or at least have mixed feelings about having found fame in this way. Nothing could be further from the truth: “if I could go back in time and had the opportunity to maybe not shoot the film I wouldn’t take it. I would always want the world to see what Palestinians have always known goes on”. Still, one could forgive if he felt that perhaps it would be best if his family left Tel Rumeida: “we will never leave here. They can harass us and attack us but we will not let them have our family’s home and our land. This is something my wife and children agree with 100%. We will not leave.” And would he leave Hebron? “Never.”
The occupation could have ground Imad Abu Shamsiya down. They have tried everything that they can to ruin his spirit – from torture and arrest to death threats and harassment – but Imad is a man, supported by his extraordinary family, who personifies the strength and the generosity of spirit demonstrated by the Palestinian people in the face of such indignity and suffering. He certainly touched and moved the ISM activists that had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with him.
Lastly it is ISM’s pleasure to convey a message from Imad to the international community, to the political class and to all Palestinians:
“As Palestinians we always said that extra-judicial killings happened. Now people have seen my video I hope that the world will know that they do. Now people know what we live with and I hope we can work together to end the occupation so that we, the Palestinian people, can be free.” – Imad Abu Shamsiya
ODESSA — Eight foreign reporters were prohibited from entering the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa to cover the events commemorating the second anniversary of the massacre in the city, a lawyer representing one of the people accused of involvement in the deadly events said Monday.
“About eight journalists were not allowed to enter [the city],” Kirill Shevchuk told RIA Novosti.
He added that the reporters, including those from Poland, France, the Netherlands and Germany, were turned back at passport control in Odessa’s airport.
On May 2, 2014, pro-Kiev radicals blocked anti-government protesters in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions and set the building on fire by hurling Molotov cocktails inside. According to the official data, 48 people died and more than 250 were injured in the fire. No perpetrators have been brought to justice.
The mourning rally was scheduled for 2 p.m. local time (11:00 GMT), but because of an alleged bomb threat local authorities blocked the access to the tragedy site for people who wanted to commemorate the victims of the massacre.