Obama Sings and It’s Headline News – He Kills…. Nothing

So Barack Obama sings a song in the White House and it makes headlines worldwide. It was actually a news item on all Irish news bulletins on the national radio and tv stations today.  Obama sings the blues at White House

When people are killed in Obomber’s drone attacks it barely warrants a mention in the mainstream media, if at all.  The Irish media does not cover such stories, preferring to propagate the sycophancy that accompanies his presidency in this country. The continuing crime that is Guantanamo receives no coverage really.  There are great and honest journalists like John Pilger and Glenn Greenwald, among others, who document the war mongering, but the mainstream media remains complicit in it.  Murder people and we turn away, but belt out a tune and we’re all watching. It’s fucked up.

U.S. drones targeting rescuers and mourners

Cassandra Wilson Cancels Israel Concert, Citing Support for the Cultural Boycott.

Two time Grammy winner Cassandra Wilson was due to headline the the Holon International Women’s Festival in apartheid Israel from 22nd to 25th February, but cancelled on 21st stating:  “As a human rights activist I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel”.

There had been online efforts on Twitter to talk to Cassandra and show her the true nature of the apartheid state and the importance of the Palestinian call for BDS. Israeli group Boycott from Within sent this letter to Cassandra asking her to cancel. Cassandra Wilson, Please do not support selective empowerment of women under Israeli apartheid

You can thank Cassandra for her courage and integrity in supporting equality for the Palestinian people at her Twitter account @reallycassandra or Contact her here.

Reaction from the festival organisers has been ugly with them threatening to sue and a report in Haaretz claiming that music promoters are to introduce cancellation clauses into contracts with artists due to play Israel. This move is yet another to shut down freedom of speech and of action from apartheid Israel as it stipulates: “that the artist is aware of possible political pressure to cancel their appearance.” It is also indicative of the increasing success of BDS, particularly in the cultural arena, and its threat to the fallacy that Israel is a democratic state. Every artist that cancels or refuses to play there makes the struggle against apartheid that bit more winnable.

In 2012 already the tUnE-yArDs, Cat Power and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have cancelled their dates in apartheid Israel, all of them citing political reasons.  It’s a great start to the year, a great turn for justice for Palestine. We can only hope it inspires more artists to act in good conscience and not to play in apartheid Israel, artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers  and Guns N’ Roses.

Cassandra Wilson has had some great support on Twitter and some rotten racism from the supporters of apartheid too. See below, click on images to enlarge.

The beat drops when the wall falls! One world, one love.

A door opens – Solidarity for Khader Adnan

I saw an excerpt from this beautiful poem by a friend on the Solidarity Letters to #KhaderAdnan رسائل دعم لخضر عدنان page last night and I asked him if he was going to publish it, he kindly let me do so here.  The poet is Tomás  Mac Conmara member of Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, I think it is a really moving tribute to Khader Adnan and his inspiring act of courage.

A door opens
Solidarity for Khader Adnan

Big Tomás Ashe walks down a prison corridor,
The gates of death close behind,
Seán McGaughey from the county of Tyrone,
Food and water denied, life goes, eternal name
Bellaghy offered Francie Hughes, a giant of a man,
His final fight was hunger, he won, he died, he lives.

McSwiney, Lynch and McIlwee
Murphy, Stagg and Sands,
All have walked that lonesome road,
The doors of death closed in

Forever on my mind, forged indelibly,
Sacrifice everlasting, perpetual legacy,
Their life was not for living, but to give for you and me,
All forced to death by the cruel hand of tyranny.

An iron shackle, ties Khader, to a lonesome prison bed,
His wife, and fearsome family, filled with hope and dread.
Will he join the martyrs, or his family?
Both will gently take his hand and grant eternity.

Voices of the living fade,
You are nearer death than life,
Your body wastes, with every day,
A door opens to the afterlife,

You are weak and you are strong,
You are gentle wind and mountain side,
A broken body, impenetrable soul,
Weakened heart, relentless tide.

Israel holds your lovely life, in their cruel hands,
To them, your life it is nothing, like every Arab man’s,
For you death is permitted, but certainly is not willed,
I fear those awful tyrants, won’t stop until you’re killed.

Another walks now towards that death,
His shadow hard to see,
But in his battle cry there is,
A call for you and me.

Wherever man is denied, his basic liberty,
Wherever he is restrained,
He will not fall unto his knee,
Nor to the hunger pains.

A door opens to you now, Khader of Palestine,
Your God he waits for thee,
If you walk towards, his warm embrace,
I wish you eternity.

Israel you’re a terrorist,
Your crimes, the world can see,
Too often have you told your lies,
And sought immunity.

But the crimes that have made you monster,
Are the same that will make you pay,
When justice knocks those apartheid walls,
And Palestine gets its day.

Khader could not break you,
But you could not break him,
His weakened frame, attacked by pain,
Hold power and strength within.

If Khader goes and when a smile,
Cracks through your rotten face,
Remember this that every tide,
Returns and gathers pace.

More will follow Khader’s lead,
and join his noble fight,
You cannot stop the rising tide,
For wrong cannot trump right.

My own thoughts here:

Dying to Live – Khader Adnan, a Lesson in Dignity and the Essence of Freedom

Dying to Live – Khader Adnan, a Lesson in Dignity and the Essence of Freedom

As I write this a 33 year old Palestinian man, Khader Adnan, is into his 62nd day of a hunger strike. Adnan, a son, a husband, a father, a graduate, a baker, an activist, a Palestinian, has not been charged with anything – he is one of hundreds of prisoners held in administrative detention by apartheid Israel. He has not eaten since 18th December 2011, I can hardly remember that day it seems so long ago. For Adnan, it was the beginning of this amazing act of resistance, of defiance, of refusal of the illegality of the system he is being held under.

Although thousands of people in Palestine and all over the world have held vigils, have emailed, tweeted, posted, made phone calls and representsation to politicians, the Israeli authorities, the EU’s foreign affairs representative, the so-called international community has been predictably silent on this case.  While Catherine Ashton had many words for the family of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and often called for his release, she has had nothing to say about Khader Adnan until today when the usual vague statement calling on Israel to do what it could to “preserve the health” of Adnan, never calling for his release was issued. Having presided over 61 days of Adnan’s hunger strike, Israel clearly has zero interest in preserving his health or his human rights. Such a statement is an insult to Khader Adnan, to his family, to all Palestinian prisoners, unfortuatley this is standard stuff from the EU. My email to Catherine Ashton is below, I have received no answer. Until today the Irish media had not touched this story.

I wish I could do something for Khader Adnan, I can’t. All I can do is hope that all these messages of solidarity will be of comfort to his family and that his courage and will to resist help to end Israel’s brutalisation of Palestinians, and administrative detention. Yesterday I wrote this on the Facebook page Solidarity Letters to #KhaderAdnan رسائل دعم لخضر عدنان, it’s all I have:  “Khader Adnan, your humanity shines so brightly, especially in the face of Israel’s utter inhumanity. Your soul is beautiful and free, your struggle for justice is an inspiration – they will never break your spirit. We are with you. Kulna Khader. Much respect, solidarity and love, Zoe”

Email to Catherine Ashton

Dear Catherine Ashton,

Why have you not made any attempts to intervene on behalf of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian man into his 61st day of hunger strike? Khader Adnan has not been charged with any crime and is being held in Israeli administrative detention, like hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners. Khader Adnan is shackled to his bed. This ‘legal system’ is a sham and Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including Adnan, is barbaric.

You made statements in sympathy with the family of Gilad Shalit, where are your statements now? Are you an honest broker in the Middle East or another politician barely paying lip service to justice while the Palestinian people continue to be oppressed and occupied by Israel?

As a citizen of the EU and as a human being, I find your silence on this case reprehensible and unrepresentative of most European citizens who in fact do not support apartheid, administrative detention or people having to starve themselves to death to protest the inhumanity and illegality they are subjected to by Israel.

I await your response with interest. Meanwhile, time is running out for Khader Adnan.

Regards,

Please SIGN and share this petition:

Amnesty International -Israel: End use of administrative detention

 

 

BDS is unstoppable! Cat Power cancels Tel Aviv show.

On Thursday 9th February 2012 Cat Power, Chan Marshall, cancelled her date with apartheid – a Tel Aviv gig scheduled for 12th February. Palestinian and Israeli anti-apartheid activists had written to her asking her to cancel, as had international activists including DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel) who set up a Facebook page, wrote to, messaged and tweeted Marshall.

Cat Power, Please Respect the Boycott of Apartheid Israel      (Facebook page)

Cat Power: Listen to Palestinian Voices, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel     (Open Letter)

Letter to Cat Power from Boycott from Within

During the day of Thursday 9th,  Cat Power was looking for a gig in Ramallah on February 13th and soon was inundated with messages explaining that Palestinians didn’t want her to play in Ramallah, they wanted her NOT to play in apartheid Israel and to respect their call for BDS.  Screenshots of her tweets below, click on images to enlarge.

Looking to play Ramallah

Cancelling apartheid

Thanks are due to Cat Power who made this courageous decision to cancel, she should be very proud of her actions and proud to be part of the BDS campaign.

This is a good day for the BDS campaign, a great day for justice! We can only hope it inspires more artists to act in good conscience and not to play in apartheid Israel, artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers .

The beat drops when the wall falls! One world, one love.

Cat Power: Listen to Palestinian Voices, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Cat Power,

You may have heard about the growing movement of people who stand in solidarity with Palestinians and their struggle for human rights.  You may have heard of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel (BDS).  This is a people’s movement, and a growing number of musicians are choosing to be a part of BDS.

In 2006, the majority of Palestinian civil society united to ask artists like you to respect their call for a cultural boycott of Israel. [1] We are confident that, seeing the facts of Israel’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and colonialism,  you will decide to refrain from playing in Israel until justice is delivered to the oppressed Palestinian people.

This grassroots global people’s movement is the only foreseeable way to end Israel’s crimes.  The United Nations, despite numerous resolutions against Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, has not ensured that Israel is forced to comply with international law.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said

“International Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Apartheid regime, combined with the mass struggle inside South Africa, led to our victory … Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong … to perform in Israel.”

Roger Waters, founder of Pink Floyd, emphasised

“Where governments refuse to act people must, with whatever peaceful means are at their disposal. For me this means declaring an intention to stand in solidarity, not only with the people of Palestine but also with the many thousands of Israelis who disagree with their government’s policies, by joining the campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. This is [however] a plea to my colleagues in the music industry, and also to artists in other disciplines, to join this cultural boycott. Artists were right to refuse to play in South Africa’s Sun City resort until apartheid fell and white people and black people enjoyed equal rights. And we are right to refuse to play in Israel.”

Playing in Israel today, in violation of the boycott call, sends two messages:

  1. The artist has chosen to ignore the Palestinian people’s call for solidarity through BDS.
  2. The musician is aware of and accepts that the Israeli Ministry of Culture will endeavor to use an artist’s name to legitimize and promote the current oppressive, racist, apartheid government through social media like Twitter[2], through press releases, and via the CCFP. [3]

Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, former deputy director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, stated “We are seeing culture as a hasbara [propaganda] tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture.”  [4]
We hope you will refrain from playing in Israel, playing Tel Aviv has been compared to playing in Sun City during South African apartheid.  A musician does not need to play in Israel in order to “see” the human rights violations that are going on there.

Cat Power, this is your opportunity to be a part of a people’s movement and to choose to stand NOT with Israeli crimes against humanity, but with a movement that Belgium filmmaker Chris den Hond calls one of the “most prominent international grassroots movements against the Israeli policy of occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.”  [5]

Over 11 million people are oppressed by Israel’s violations of human rights against non-Jews. Howard Zinn referred to both American “western expansion” and Israel’s occupation of land as “ethnic cleansing.” [6] People were and still are forced from their homes, and made into refugees.  Gaza was made into a crowded, Israeli-controlled open-air jail.  The West Bank is surrounded by an apartheid wall and sprinkled with over 500 roadblocks and checkpoints. [7]

While Israel presents itself as a democracy, in fact it is a democracy only for Jews, whilst indigenous Palestinians, most particularly in the Occupied Territories,  are treated as less than human. Palestinians, lesser citizens within Israel itself, are discriminated against by 43 laws privileging Jews at their expense.[8]

Please cancel your concert, do it for Shabrawi and Ezz ad-Deen, the two Palestinian children whose story was recently featured in The Guardian [9].  These two boys lived through solitary confinement, interrogation, shackling of hands and feet, verbal abuse (“You’re a dog, a son of a whore” – is common), sleep deprivation, and threats against their families.We hope you’ll choose not to play in Israel while so many children are suffering just miles away from Tel Aviv.Peace,
DPAI
We are a group, of over 830  members, representing many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.
Notes:
[1] PACBI Guidelines for the International Cultural Boycott of Israel www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1047
[2] Punk Rocker’s “Simple Plan” part of Israel’s Apartheid Plan refrainplayingisrael.posterous.com/punk-rockers-simple-plan-part-of-israels-apar
[3]   Creative Community for Peace and Apartheid
www.artistsagainstapartheid.org/?p=1835
[4]About face
http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/about-face-1.170267
[5]  BDS boycott divestment sanctions against Israel by Chris den Hond youtu.be/utn7qOQyvfA
[6] Howard Zinn on Palestine blog.endtheoccupation.org/2010/01/howard-zinn-on-palestine-advance-of.html
[7] MOVEMENT AND ACCESS IN THE WEST BANK by UNITED NATIONS Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory
unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/8F5CBCD2F464B6B18525791800541DA6
[8] Haneen Zoabi at the Russell Tribunal Cape Town: ‘We need equality’  www.kadaitcha.com/2012/01/09/haneen-zoabis-presentation-at-the-russell-tribunal-cape-town/
[9]The Palestinian Children – Alone and bewildered – in Israel’s Al Jalame jail www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/22/palestinian-children-detained-jail-israel

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