To begin, please forgive me for not saying the right things or making the right points. There are different cultures between us and many different experiences.
It hurts me that I do not have the privilege to express myself. I want to have the honor to speak out in my own voice and reach you directly — you who are thinking people. I want to say thank you for caring. You are willing to view me as a human being and that is something so precious to me.
My exposure to the world came through Guantanamo. I was 17 when they sent me here. At that time, I had rarely seen a television or heard a radio. Every significant event in my life, from funerals, to my own wedding, to the birth of my beloved daughter, Hafsa, happened in the Diwan of my own home. Now I am almost 31.
That means I grew up in Guantanamo. I grew up in this system. I grew up in fear. I hope that helps you to understand me.
That a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing 43-year-old Eric Garner the same week that President Obama proposed spending $75 million in federal money to outfit 50,000 police officers across the country with body cameras would seem to be hack Hollywood writing with neatly applied plot points. Garner’s death was caught on video—video that the police were aware was being taken—and it still was not enough to indict anyone, least of all the man responsible for choking Garner to death, for any type of wrongdoing. It’s as if this decision was handed to us at this time in order to get us to say, “Now what?”
[Caught between its long-discredited mythological claim of “democracy” and its Jewish (Settler-Colonial and Palestinian-Expelling) State reality, the discrediting and de-legitimizing of Israel and the unraveling of its power relations is accelerating by the day. Even Israel’s closest backers are finding that the defense of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and war crimes carries an exceptional political price, so large that it not only damages the credibility of Israel, but the credibility of its backers, with no chance of recovery. — Frontlines ed.]
Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
Philip Weiss on December 6, 2014
OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Omar Barghouti’s appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday night felt like a landmark in the Palestinian solidarity movement in the U.S. A large hall at the law school was crowded to overflowing and the mood was celebratory. Luminaries of the community were in attendance, among them Lila Abu-Lughod, Rula Jebreal, Rashid Khalidi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Dorothy Zellner, Lia Tarachansky. Barghouti’s speech was hugely optimistic. He said that the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement was racking up victories far faster than the organizers had imagined when they began nine years ago, faster than the South African movement had progressed. And the BDS movement has the “closet” support of the Netanyahu administration, which was doing its utmost to demonstrate the fallacy of a Jewish democracy.
The suspense of waiting for the Israel supporters to say something was a bit of a fizzle, not the big drama it used to be at such events. Law professor Katherine Franke had urged the crowd not to be civil in discussing one of the most challenging moral questions of our time, and at the end, a man at the back said he had a short question.
“Do you believe that the Jewish people have a right to self determination?” And if so, “Where should it be?”
Barghouti said it was not up to him as a Palestinian to decide whether Jewish communities make up a nation, and where they should have a state. Though he pointed out that there was not consensus among Jews globally about whether they are a people; this is a recent debate, and in fact up till the 1945 the majority of Jews did not support Jewish nationhood. Then he said sharply:
Chaibasa jail has a capacity of 321 prisoners, but currently holds 980, including 30 women and over 100 accused Maoists. Jailbreaks have occured before at Chaibasa. In January 2011, senior Maoists Nirbhay, Sandeep and Dhirendra escaped, and remain at large.
Chaibasa (Jharkhand): Two undertrials of Chaibasa jail were killed on Wednesday in police firing and at least 10 others managed to escape in West Singhbhum district.
In an audacious breach of jail security, at least 15 prisoners of Jharkhand’s Chaibasa jail fled, spraying pepper powder into the eyes of guards and dodging bullets of jail sentries that killed two of them — both alleged Maoists —and injuring three others.
Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon’s repressing the demonstrators on Thursday, at the first of what’s to be a series of anti-austerity demonstrations and strikes planned for the coming weeks. More than 100,000 people were on the streets of Brussels where they marched peacefully for almost two hours before violence broke out.
Car windows were smashed, other vehicles were overturned or set alight, and protsetors threw paving stones and fireworks. There were also reports of serious injuries among police as well as demonstrators. 14 demonstrators were reportedly taken to area hospitals, Brussels newspaper De Morgenreports.
For two hours, the demonstrators peacefully marched down the main thoroughfares of central Brussels to protest government policies that will raise the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services.
“They are hitting the workers, the unemployed. They are not looking for money where it is, I mean, people with a lot of money,” said Philippe Dubois, who came from the industrial rust belt of Liege.
Belgium has a long postwar tradition of collective bargaining between employers and workers, and successive coalition governments representing a full scale of public opinion often have been able to contain social disagreements. But the current coalition, made up of three pro-business parties and the centrist Christian Democrats, is the first in decades that has been able to set such a clear free-market agenda.
A mural depicting Ferguson teen Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police earlier this year, was removed from a gate on the corner of North Broad and Hanover Streets on Monday Oct. 20, 2014 after concerns from police. (Jenna Pizzi / Times of Trenton)
TRENTON – A mural was painted over Monday afternoon after Trenton police expressed concern that the painting, depicting Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo., teen who was fatally shot by police in August, sent the wrong message about community and police relations.
The painting depicted Brown’s face with the caption “Sagging pants … is not probable cause.” Will “Kasso” Condry, the artist behind the mural, said he wanted to start a conversation about racial profiling.
The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community.
Saudi court sentences lawyers for public criticisms
A court in Saudi Arabia on Oct. 27 sentenced three lawyers to between five and eight years in prison for criticizing the justice system on the social networking website Twitter by accusing authorities of carrying out arbitrary detentions. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the lawyers were each convicted of different crimes, including using the social media outlet to propagate against the Saudi judiciary, criticize Islamic Sharia law and interfere in the independence of the judiciary. The lawyers are also banned from using social media and traveling. The court also warned other social media users that they could face similar punishment for similar offenses and that they were being monitored.