Bezetting en moraal: 2 stemmen

By Engelbert Luitsz                 ©                    (http://www.alexandrina.nl/?p=2616)

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
Desmond Tutu

shuafat vluchtelingenkamp

Het vluchtelingenkamp Shuafat.

Avner Gvaryahu is een voormalige Israëlische paratrooper en commandant van een elite-eenheid van scherpschutters. Tegenwoordig werkt hij bij de groep Breaking the Silence, een beweging die in 2004 is opgericht door soldaten die in Hebron hebben gediend. Dat zal geen toeval zijn: “Hebron is de beerput van de bezetting, de plek waar de meest kwaadaardige vertakkingen van het Israëlische beleid van segregatie en militaire controle het duidelijkst te zien zijn“, schreef de journaliste Mairav Zonszein.

De soldaten die in de bezette gebieden moeten dienen, hebben te maken met een Palestijnse burgerbevolking die toch al zwaar onder druk staat. Breaking the Silence heeft als doel, zoals de naam aangeeft, zaken naar buiten te brengen waar de Israëlische bevolking geen weet van heeft. Mensen van buiten Israël hebben vreemd genoeg maar al te vaak een beter beeld van de situatie dan de Israëlische joden zelf. Zeker in een stad als Tel Aviv kun je je afsluiten voor alles wat er gebeurt in de bezette gebieden en een heel leven lang in onwetendheid blijven.

Gvaryahu geeft als voorbeeld een uitspraak van Tzipi Livni, tegenwoordig minister van Justitie. Zij zei: “Ik weet dat Israëlische soldaten alles zullen doen om te voorkomen dat er onschuldigen sterven.” Je zou daar de opmerking van Shimon Peres aan toe kunnen voegen: “omdat wij beter op onze kinderen passen”, op de vraag waarom er zoveel meer Palestijnse dan Israëlische kinderen omkomen. In de afgelopen 10 jaar heeft Breaking the Silence getuigenissen van meer dan 950 soldaten verzameld, waaruit duidelijk blijkt dat de situatie anders ligt. Ook Tzipi Livni weet wel beter natuurlijk, want tijdens het bloedbad van Gaza, operatie Gegoten Lood, was zij minister van Buitenlandse Zaken. De leugen regeert, ook in Israël.

Zoals zoveel anderen had Gvaryahu de intentie een “humane soldaat” te zijn. Vanuit zijn opvoeding en het onderwijs had hij meegekregen dat Israël zich nu eenmaal moest verdedigen tegen “existentieel gevaar” dat overal op de loer lag. Maar als snel bemerkte hij dat het zo niet werkt. Hij kreeg het bevel een Palestijn als menselijk schild te gebruiken en hij volgde dat bevel op, ook al was dat nadat het Hooggerechtshof in 2005 had bepaald dat die praktijken onwettig waren.

Het doel van het Israëlische leger (IDF) is het belemmeren van het verzet door een bezet volk, door ze via intimidatie tot overgave te dwingen. Wanneer ons geleerd wordt het risico voor onze mede-soldaten te beperken door het leven van Palestijnen op het spel te zetten, dan vindt zelfs de meest morele soldaat het onmogelijk om moreel te handelen in de bezette gebieden. En voor je het weet wordt het in gevaar brengen van Palestijnen makkelijker dan je ooit had gedacht.

Wanneer ze midden in de nacht hun commandant horen zeggen: “Ok, mannen, laten we die huizen binnengaan, zodat ze het begrijpen. Zorg dat ze het begrijpen.”, moeten ze met geweld huizen binnengaan waar families met vaak veel kinderen in doodsangst de activiteiten van de soldaten moeten ondergaan. Er is geen enkele geldige reden voor dit soort “huiszoekingen”, de bedoeling is uitsluitend terreur te zaaien, opdat ook andere Palestijnen zich uit angst rustig zullen houden. Het is van belang dat het leger toont dat het altijd en overal aanwezig is. De hele Palestijnse bevolking moet permanent in angst leven, dat is het doel van deze missies.

We proberen niet eens de onschuldigen buiten schot te houden door ons op de meest gevaarlijke mensen te richten. Wij leren juist als soldaten om alle Palestijnen als potentiële bedreigingen te zien, zodat er uiteindelijk geen echt onschuldigen meer zijn. En zo we behandelen wij ze dan ook: van jongens vanaf 7 jaar oud tot ouderen van 70. We slaan ze. We vernederen ze. We ontdoen hen van hun menselijkheid. Hoe is het mogelijk nog moreel te handelen onder zulke omstandigheden?

In tegenstelling tot wat Livni beweert is de onmenselijke behandeling van de Palestijnen dus de norm en niet de uitzondering. De mannen en vrouwen van Breaking the Silence maken deel uit van een nieuwe generatie die niet langer klakkeloos de leugens van politici gelooft, of de immorele bevelen van hun leiders opvolgt. Een cruciaal en gezien de publieke opinie in Israël ook bijzonder moedig statement van Gvaryahu is dat hij inziet dat het om een collectieve verantwoordelijkheid gaat.

Het komt er uiteindelijk op neer dat als de jeugd van morgen rechtvaardigheid wenst voor Israëli’s en Palestijnen, dan is er geen andere weg dan de verantwoordelijkheid te nemen voor wat wij allen, voor een deel, hebben helpen ontstaan.

Een andere man, Moriel Rothman, moest vorig jaar 20 dagen de gevangenis in omdat hij weigerde in de bezette gebieden te dienen, wegens gewetensbezwaar. Hij bezocht onlangs het vluchtelingenkamp Shuafat in Oost-Jeruzalem. Hij had een vreselijke tijd gehad in de gevangenis, ook al was het maar 20 dagen. Maar nu ziet hij een gevangenis waar tienduizenden mensen al tientallen jaren in vast zitten. Het kamp stamt officieel uit 1965, maar de inwoners zijn al vluchteling vanaf 1948, ze werden later door Israël onder dwang overgebracht naar Shuafat. Wat hij hier ziet beneemt Rothman letterlijk de adem.

Vorige maand was er sprake in de media van het al dan niet vrijlaten van een paar honderd gevangenen door Israël, als aanzet voor een nieuwe ronde van het “vredesproces”. Maar Israël houdt geen honderden gevangenen vast in z’n gevangenissen; het houdt honderdduizenden Palestijnse gevangen vast in z’n gevangenissen. Gevangenissen als het vluchtelingenkamp Shuafat, onderdeel van een Verenigd Jeruzalem (behalve dan de racistische apartheidsmuur).

Deze mensen hebben een kant gekozen, zijn niet “neutraal”. Niets aan toe te voegen.

De getuigenissen die Breaking the Silence heeft verzameld zijn uitgegeven in boekvorm onder de titel Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers’ Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010.

Hamas prevents Fatah official from leaving Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas security forces prevented a Fatah official from leaving the Gaza Strip to attend a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday.

Amal Hamad, a member of Fatah’s central committee, said Hamas security forces prevented her from traveling despite having previously coordinated with Hamas through a Fatah official.

Hamad said she considers this a blatant violation of her human rights, and against Palestinian ethics and values given the Palestinian people’s long history of struggling to achieve freedom and independence.

Hamad added that Hamas’ policy of banning people from traveling through the crossings deepens the divisions between Palestinians.

(Source / 04.10.2013)

Assad warns Turkey

TURKEY: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned Turkey it will “pay dearly” for supporting rebels fighting to overthrow his regime, in an interview broadcast Friday on Turkish television.

“In the near future these terrorists will have an impact on Turkey. And Turkey will pay very dearly for its contribution,” Assad told the opposition station Halk TV.

He was being interviewed over the presence of Al-Qaeda-linked rebels on the long and volatile border between the two nations. There are several hardline Islamist groups among the numerous rebel formations fighting in Syria.

“It is not possible to use terrorism as a card and put it in your pocket. Because it is like a scorpion which won’t hesitate to sting you at any moment,” said Assad.

Relations between once close allies Damascus and Ankara have deteriorated since a popular uprising which began in March 2011 in Syria snowballed into a full-blown conflict that has claimed more than 115,000 lives and forced millions to flee.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted conservative government has become one of the most fervent supporters of the Syrian rebellion.

“All that he says about Syria and its people is a heap of lies, that is all… Erdogan is doing nothing but supporting the terrorists,” said Assad.

The Syrian leader again denied having perpetrated a chemical weapons attack outside Damascus in August which left hundreds dead and Washington threatening a military strike.

He said his country’s arsenal of chemical weapons — to be destroyed under a United Nations resolution — were in the hands of “special forces” who were the only ones capable of using them.

“Preparing these weapons is a complex technical operation… and a special procedure is necessary to use them which requires a central order from the army chief of staff. As a result it is impossible that they were used.” On September 17, Turkey downed a Syrian military helicopter that it said had violated its airspace, in a move Damascus said was aimed at heightening tensions between the two countries.

Assad admitted the helicopter had violated Turkish airspace, but said it was justified to prevent “the infiltration of a large number of terrorists”.

He said the two pilots had been “savagely decapitated” by Syrian rebels who captured them when the helicopter came down on Syrian territory.

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday extended for one year a mandate that would allow the country to send troops to Syria if necessary.

Turkey authorised military action against Syria shortly after a mortar attack fired from the neighbouring territory killed five of its civilians in October last year. Since then, the Turkish military has retaliated in kind for every Syrian shell that has landed on its soil.

(Source / 04.10.2013)

Hundreds march for ‘freedom’ in Sudan

Sudanese people living in Egypt shout slogans against Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government during a protest outside Sudan's embassy in Cairo October 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Sudanese people living in Egypt shout slogans against Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his government during a protest outside Sudan’s embassy in Cairo October 3, 2013.

KHARTOUM: Hundreds of men and women marched for “freedom” in the Sudanese capital on Friday despite the deployment of militia, troops and riot police, AFP correspondents reported.

One of the largest rallies occurred in the poor Shambat area of North Khartoum, where several hundred residents marched along the dirt roads between their houses.

They tried to make their way to a large lot but were blocked by uniformed security officers armed with rifles.

“A million martyrs for a new dawn,” they called.

“Freedom! Freedom! Justice! Justice!”

They chanted: “The people want the fall of the regime,” the rallying cry of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts which toppled longtime rulers around the region.

Elsewhere, hundreds demonstrated outside a state security service detention facility, a United Nations source said, adding there had been a number of other peaceful demonstrations.

The protests followed the main weekly Muslim prayers and came in spite of the roundup of hundreds of people after deadly demonstrations last week.

Authorities say 34 people died after petrol and diesel prices jumped on September 23 when the government cut fuel subsidies, sending thousands into the streets in the worst urban unrest of President Omar al-Bashir’s 24-year rule.

Amnesty International says security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 protesters, many with gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

The government said it had to intervene when crowds turned violent, attacking petrol stations and police facilities.

The intensity of protests decreased markedly this week.

In the Wad Nubawi neighbourhood of Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman on Friday, an AFP reporter saw about 10 pickup trucks carrying uniformed militiamen.

One held a gun but most of the men in the back of the light-green and brown vehicles appeared to be armed only with sticks.

Some wore balaclavas over their faces, while others had white headbands.

Parts of the street were blackened from a fire lit during last week’s demonstrations, and a burned-out car sat beside the road.

Riot police trucks were on standby behind the city’s most expensive private hospital, in the Burri district, as up to 100 people rallied outside the home of Salah Sanhouri, a 28-year-old pharmacist gunned down during a protest last week.

“They are surrounded by state security agents,” a witness said.

However, an AFP correspondent who toured several other parts of the Khartoum area found life proceeding normally.

Roadside vendors were selling watermelons, football matches were being played, and people gathered along the banks of the Blue Nile.

On Thursday, independent expert Mashood Adebayo Baderin, who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring Sudan, called for “prompt, thorough and impartial investigations” into allegations of the use of excessive force against demonstrators.

He urged Khartoum to charge all those arrested with a recognisable offence or immediately release them.

The government says it arrested about 700 “criminals” after last week’s protests.

But Amnesty International said the real figure appeared to be much higher, with indications “that people are being targeted for arrest for no other reason than they are members of opposition groups, or activists, lawfully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”

(Source / 04.10.2013)

Student Life Under Occupation

Horns beep, dog barks, fireworks crack. Night has fallen. City lights glimmer up the hill of cluttered housing constructions. In the road a father walks hand in hand with his two sons, one on either side, their shadows lead. In the distance there is the call to prayer, a sound to soothe. Stuck to the walls are poems about dreams of freedom, a sign that says ‘Welcome to the house of respect, peace, honesty and happiness’ and the colours of the flag of Palestine. I breathe a sigh of relief having made it through the invasive security measures at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv where in order to visit Palestine you must lie your way through border control and say you are only staying in Israel. One volunteer was interrogated for 8 hours, only to be intimidated, deported and denied entrance, all because she has a stamp from Lebanon in her passport and is Muslim.

Upon first impressions, walking into An-Najah University, Nablus, it appears just as any other university across the world. There is the hustle and bustle of students with files in hand moving from one class to the next, benches taken over by bodies of young people gossiping and a strong sense of community. But beneath the surface this is no ordinary university and no ordinary student lifestyle. The students at An-Najah University are both exceptional and unique. Some must wake up in the night to begin the journey to University, not long in distance but in the time they must wait to get through Israeli checkpoints.

Checkpoints themselves are a humiliating experience but one well-known to those who have grown up in Palestine. They live in what Professor Jawed Fatayer describes as ‘The largest prison on Earth’. The only way to pass through occupied Palestine or to leave, is past a soldier with a gun that may or may not be directed at your head, depending on who you get sizing you up. Others come from refugee camps, where there are constant disturbances from both the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) and building pressures within a community that does not have access to adequate health care or housing. Night time can be host to unexpected visits from the IDF into family homes, involving intimidation and arrest, often without due process. Some students have family members or friends who are held in prison for any length of time and are never given a reason for incarceration. Despite the daily restrictions of movement that Palestinians face and the circumstances under which they live, 95% of students arrive at University in the morning on time. These students value their education highly and are eager to learn. Ramsis from Balata Refugee camp showed us the bullet holes in the walls of his family home, ‘They come here to harass and intimidate us.’ He knows 5 languages and threw himself into education from a young age because he says ‘What else can you do here?’

I was involved in teaching English conversation workshops, for 2 weeks, on a project with An-Najah run by Zajel Youth Exchange Programme called “Journey Towards Hope”. I gained knowledge that will be carried with me for life after spending time with the students. They have a lot of inspirational lessons to teach the rest of the world and all of the International volunteers returned to their home countries with a new perspective. The students at An-Najah manage to stay motivated against all odds and will not let anything get in the way of their studies.

Before visiting Palestine, I had my own prejudices despite doing copious amounts of research on the occupation and the history of the conflict. But no amount of reading or documentary watching could prepare me for either the heartbreaking or the heart warming reality of life in Palestine. I was under the impression that the English classes were to help people get a real handle of the language in order for them to get out of Palestine and into the international job market, migrating to other countries for better conditions of living. However, I realised that it is not so easy to leave, both because of the permission that must be granted by the Israeli government and the conflicting sense of loyalty to ones country combined with the need to feel free. Many people do not want to abandon their country and its struggle; they have the burning need to fight for the freedom of Palestine, wanting only to leave for periods of time but always with the intention of return. And by fight I do not mean violently, contrary to stereotypes prevalent in many forms of mainstream media; Palestinian academics, students and workers alike participate in all forms of peaceful resistance and protest. Education is in itself an incredibly strong form of resistance. As one student told me, ‘We need to fight, not with killing, there are many ways to fight, we have intelligent people here, we can fight with the media for example.’

However, for some, the future looks bleak. Despite the need of many to stay in Palestine, after the initial hope offered with studying at university, unfortunately graduates often find themselves with no work and no source of income. One student said, ‘My brother got good grades at his degree, now there is no jobs with good salary, he wants to leave Palestine.’ Another reflected, ‘We have dreams. We have ambitions. But we do not have the ability to achieve these dreams. There is nothing for us here.’ However after a group discussion about never giving up, his faith was restored by the optimism offered from other members of the class. Mariam had the whole room in silent contemplation followed by applause when she said, ‘We have alota difficulties, alota obstacles that stand in our way but I don’t think we should give up our dreams. If I wanna be an engineer I´ll be an engineer, if I wanna be a doctor I´ll be a doctor, I ain´t gonna let anything get in the way of my dreams.’

An-Najah University is home to some of the world’s most inspirational learners, who are themselves, great teachers. It is an extraordinary place of study and offers hope in the shadow of life under occupation. This university produces graduates who not only complete their years of study with a degree in hand but with dignity and resilience despite the violations of human rights that are faced throughout their lives. Professor Fatayer aptly puts it, ‘I think these people are heroes because they really have adaptation management skills.’

(Source / 04.10.2013)

THE END OF THE PLO AND THE CRIPPLING OF THE ARMED RESISTANCE

The PLO is finished- after it has betrayed the National Palestinian Charter- and the situation has never been so bad said member of the Palestinian National Council Salah Salah who has been hosted by the radio of the Lebanese Resistance .

The Palestinian Authority has even given up the terms of the Oslo agreement who were in favor of Palestinians , according to which Israel is to remain confined to the 1967 borders and stop building settlements on territories acquired after 1967 and also release the Palestinian prisoners . Israel has not respected any of these terms that are not new but are part of the Oslo agreement itself that was signed between the two factions. Israel is still expanding significantly in the West Bank and is still confiscating Palestinian land and property whether in the West Bank or al Quds and has not released thousands of Palestinian prisoners. As a condition for resuming talks the Palestinian Authority has even given up the right to resort to 32 international organizations like the UN or the International Court to complain about violations or about being subject to war crimes and genocidal policies .

This way- as helpless as it could ever be- the Palestinian Authority is now to resume unconditional negotiations with Israelis for another seven or eight months and the Israelis are not admitting the presence of Martin Indyk on behalf of the US administration to attend these negotiations because Israelis do not want to be blamed –as usual- for the sure failure of these negotiations and be accountable in front of the International Community . For this reason, the Israelis have not yet accepted the return of Indyk to the negotiations table who is known for his pro Zionist stands but whose presence is not wanted at this point . Israel insists that the negotiations happen exclusively between the PLO and the Israeli officials.

In fact, these negotiations are but a loss of time that Israel is trying to use until it succeeds in carrying further its policies of expansion and aggression. Israel has nothing to negotiate about . The Israelis have only promised to release 104 Palestinian Prisoners within two months other than that the Oslo agreement has not been respected and God knows what kind of concessions would be made in the actual negotiations that will be fruitless . Even a demilitarized Palestinian state -that will be the only state of its kind- will not be possible.

There is necessity to reassess the whole situation – according to Salah Salah – because there is no other hope . HAMAS who was the Armed Resistance fighting on the ground is acting exactly like Fateh after compromising and accepting an Israeli State within 1948 borders on condition that the right to return is granted . There are only al Jihad and the FPLP who have not compromised yet; other than that Fateh -and the same applies to HAMAS- are both crippling their armed factions and forbidding the armed Resistance from operating on the ground .

(Source / 04.10.2013)

UPDATE 2: Constitution Party’s Khaled Dawoud stabbed by ‘pro-Morsi protesters’

Former spokesman for the National Salvation Front and spokesman of the Constitution party Khaled Daoud was stabbed in downtown Cairo by ‘pro-Morsi protesters’, according to his party’s official facebook page
Khaled Dawoud

Constitution party’s spokesman Khaled Dawoud
The spokesman for the liberal Constitution Party, Khaled Dawoud, has been stabbed in central Cairo on Friday afternoon.According to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, the former spokesman of the National Salvation Front (NSF) was stabbed in his chest and his hand in the Mounira district.

Shortly after the assault, Dawoud told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that he was attacked by protesters while driving his car down Qasr Al-Aini Street in front of Abou Al-Rish Bridge.

He told Al-Ahram that his car was attacked and protesters pulled him out of the vehicle, beat him and stabbed him with a knife.

Dr. Mohamed Salah from Egypt’s Children’s Hospital, where Dawoud was transferred, told Al-Ahram that he is “stable.”

On their official Facebook page, the Constitution Party accused members of the Muslim Brotherhood of the attack against Dawoud.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has rewarded his defence of their future by stabbing him,” read a post on the party’s page.

Former Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei denounced the attack on Dawoud and wished him a quick recovery.

“The barbaric assault on Khaled Dawoud … reflects the size of the tragedy we’re living through,” said the former vice-president on his official Twitter account.

Dawoud, a staunch oppnent of the Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, resigned from the NSF in mid-August to protest the group’s support for the violent dispersal of two large protest camps established by Morsi’s supporters. The dispersal by the security forces left hundreds of protesters dead.

Downtown Cairo witnessed unrest on Friday as security forces fired teargas at pro-Morsi protesters who had attempted to enter Tahrir Square.

Four pro-Morsi protesters was reportedly killed in clashes in Cairo between protesters and local residents.

(Source / 04.10.2013)

Ellen Umphrey: From inside, watching Egypt’s freedom fight

Bangor, Maine native and former John Bapst student Ellen Umphrey recently left her husband and home in Cairo because of unrest in Egypt.

I moved to Cairo, Egypt, as a student in the summer of 2010 to attend the American University in Cairo. I moved frequently, getting an idea of the different areas, even living close to Tahrir Square in 2011. After three full years of experience, and a revolution and a coup later, I walked awaywith some searing images but also fond memories — like rowing on the river Nile at the break of dawn.

I saw many things, aspects of humanity so far from Bangor, Maine. I saw what happens when the Internet and cellphones are cut indefinitely and the fear it instills. I saw thugs paid by the regime to attack civilians and sow chaos. I saw an orchestrated prison break and mass looting.

Mostly, I was inspired by the boundless, infectious hope and pride after Hosni Mubarak was ousted. People were practicing freedom of speech for the first time and, therefore, being tested by others’ opinions for the first time. Multiplicity in political belief and freeing of the media was often likened to opening an unused faucet to find that a stream of murky water needed to be expunged before clean, respectable content could spill forth.

The lesson in that was freedom, and the limits needed to protect it required practice and patience until a balance was found between regulation and liberation, the murky and the clean.

But the systematic failures and abuses of the state never changed. Liberals and seculars had no practice politically and became divided and weak, while the Muslim brotherhood emerged as the strong institution, as it has been organized underground for decades.

Shortly after the Revolution, I saw evidence that the police-state apparatus hadn’t been disabled. A friend of mine showed me his purple skin after being “taken” and tortured by the police for protesting the abuses by the Ministry of Interior. Coptic Christians were crushed by American-manufactured tanks, and I saw the sudden floods of men running to get away while I jumped on a fence to avoid being pulled into the tide. Friends of mine were kidnapped/arrested from their apartment by thugs and military police.

Ultimately, the internal issues of the state proved too large and complicated, while the political strata was too wide — from ultra-conservative Salafis to liberal seculars — for “New Egypt” to come to accordance. The collateral damage was a disbanded parliament, constitution and a new president who many felt held allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood first, Egypt second.

Unfortunately, they weren’t the only institution to put themselves first and Egypt second. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which leads the fascist military junta that deposed the (inept at best and malevolent at worst) civilian president, Mohamed Morsi, has favored stability for their business projects, including resorts on the Red and Mediterranean seas, gas stations, production of kitchen appliances, and construction projects over democracy.

Many Egyptians do not understand why the United States would want to supply massive amounts of ammunitions to such an abusive entity that most recently killed more than 1,000 civilians who opposed the military coup while embarking on a massive state-controlled propaganda campaign likening any Islamist, Christian, journalist, refugee, political dissident or Sinai resident to a terrorist. Many of those demographics have become social pariahs likely to be harmed.

I know most of the country has accepted the hate and blood lust that the military is espousing (aimed also at America). There is much economically that needs to be done to develop Egypt, and, without the democratic freedom to address systematic failures, it seems likely the military will let it rest, as it does not interfere with the segregate “Egypt” of military-business enterprises.

But as the economy tanks lower in Egypt, with the foreign reserves below 50 percent of what they were three years ago (even with recent support from Gulf countries), the currency depreciating, commodity prices increasing, a fiscal deficit fueled by large subsidies for the legions of the poor, and an inability to maintain electricity in all neighborhoods at all times due to outstanding debt to international energy companies, I have a hope that against all the odds of a failed educational system, someone will inspire a new revolution, one that will have the tools to change what needs to change.

Only Egyptians will be able to address what needs to be changed and rise as the proud people of their ancient heritage, working together and treating each other with respect. Revolutions and freedom take practice, and Egypt has had only one democratic year. So let’s not judge Egyptian transitions too harshly. Even the French revolution was followed by the tyrannical reign of Napoleon.

(Source / 04.10.2013)

Land Defense Colaition releases Olive Harvest Program

The Land Defense Coalition, a coordinating body of grassroots movements and organizations, announces the program of collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest and are calling on volunteers to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities and join in the harvest on October 3 until October 20, 2013.

The harvesting of the olives is becoming more difficult every year as farmers face an intensification of settler attacks, as well as the confiscation, isolation and destruction of their lands, and continued closure and permit restrictions. All of which have led to the strangulation of Palestinian communities across the West Bank. Local farmers have refused to be forced off their land, and continue the harvest each year in the face violence and repression from both soldiers and settlers.

Your participation is not only critical to help physically bring in the harvest, but to also be a witness to what is happening on the ground. As the Wall continues to be built and settler violence is on the rise, your presence is needed to witness what is happening, and document it for the international community.

The collective efforts during the olive harvest, a vital season for Palestinian farmers and villages, have become a symbol for Palestinian steadfastness and solidarity. International volunteers are encouraged to join groups of Palestinian students and harvest olives alongside farmers and their families in the threatened villages.For information on local activities, harvesting locations or general queries, please contact the Stop the Wall offices at:mobilize@stopthewall.org

 

Location District Date
Tel-Al-Rumaydah Hebron 3-Oct-13
Sabastya Nablus 5-Oct-13
Kufr-Al-Labad Tulkarem 8-Oct-13
Around Ariel Finger Salfeet 8-Oct-13
Al-Walaja Beithlehem 10-Oct-13
Ethna Hebron 10-Oct-13
Tura Jenin 12-Oct-13
Fara Qalqiliya 12-Oct-13
Haris Salfeet 12-Oct-13
Nilin Ramallah 12-Oct-13
Qaryout Nablus 20-Oct-13

(Source / 04.10.2013)

‘Humaner’ asielbeleid: baby van twee maanden deporteren naar Afghanistan

newborn-picture-ideas-baby-hands-kudakerKinderpardon? Humaner asielbeleid? Minder vluchtelingen in detentie? De laatste holle woorden van Teeven galmen nog rond in de Tweede Kamer, maar we kunnen al zien wat dat in de praktijk betekent.

Morgen, zaterdag 5 oktober, worden Haidar en Hamida naar Kabul gedeporteerd, samen met hun kinderen. De jongste zoon is net twee maanden oud.Is dit dan de ‘menselijke maat’ waar Teeven zo prat op gaat, een pasgeborene naar een oorlogsland uitzetten?

Pardon?

Haidar en Hamida, ouders van drie kinderen, zijn nu vier jaar in Nederland. De oudste dochter, Elenaz van vijf jaar, is in Afghanistan geboren. De twee zoontjes, Jafar van twee jaar en Amirali van twee maanden, zijn hier in Nederland geboren en nog nooit in Afghanistan geweest. Maar een paar maanden voordat ze in aanmerking komen voor het kinderpardon, worden ze gedeporteerd. De werkgroep Deportatieverzet heeft dit het afgelopen half jaar met veel gezinnen zien gebeuren: deportatie op de drempel van het kinderpardon.

Minder detentie?

Teeven wil niet uitsluiten dat kinderen in detentie terecht komen. Maar, benadrukt hij, het moet een ‘uiterst middel’ zijn. Het staat inderdaad niet zo netjes om een gezin door de Vreemdelingenpolitie van het bed te lichten, zoals we de afgelopen maanden zo vaak hebben gezien. Dit keer koos de Vreemdelingenpolitie voor een andere aanpak: het gezin werd gesommeerd op een gesprek met de Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek te komen. In het bijzijn van de kinderen werd de vader daar overweldigd en meegevoerd. Moeder werd met de kinderen teruggestuurd naar het AZC en kreeg te horen dat zij morgenochtend om half tien zal worden opgehaald door de vreemdelingenpolitie. Officieel zit ze dus niet in detentie, nee. Maar wat kan ze om de deportatie van haar en de kinderen te voorkomen? Vluchten, haar man verlaten en zo het gezin uit elkaar laten trekken?

Hamida en de kinderen hoeven niet fysiek achter de tralies: door Haidar op te sluiten worden zij en de kinderen emotioneel gegijzeld. Humaner, zei u?

Toekomst?

Haidar en Hamida komen uit de provincie Maidan Wardak in Afghanistan. Maidan Wardak wordt geteisterd door voortdurende gewelddadige conflicten tussen Taliban en Afghaanse leger- en politietroepen. Nog geen maand geleden, op 8 september, vielen er bij een zelfmoordaanslag door Taliban 16 doden en minstens 150 gewonden. Maar zelfs als Haidar en Hamida terug naar hun geboortestreek zouden willen, is het maar de vraag of ze dat kunnen. Alle uitvalswegen van Kabul staan onder controle van de Taliban en reizen is levensgevaarlijk.

Daar komt bij dat het gezin Hazara is. De Hazara’s, een ethnische minderheid in Afghanistan die duidelijk herkenbaar zijn aan hun aziatische gelaatstrekken, worden in toenemende mate vervolgd. Van de oorspronkelijke bevolking is inmiddels niet meer dan tien procent over en de Hazara’s staan derde op de lijst van meest vervolgde en bedreigde bevolkingsgroepen. Wat voor toekomst gaat het gezin van Haidar en Hamida dan in Afghanistan tegemoet?

Het ministerie gaat nog steeds uit van een ambtsbericht van 2012 waarin vermeld wordt dat de situatie van de Hazara’s verbeterd is en schroomt niet om Hazara’s te deporteren naar Afghanistan. Maar die verbetering betrof slechts de politieke situatie, niet het dagelijks leven. Het geweld tegen Hazara’s is in het afgelopen jaar juist verergerd, blijkt uit internationale rapportage. Inmiddels heeft een rechtbank tot twee keer toe de IND teruggefloten en gesteld dat het ministerie zich niet meer kan beroepen op het ambtsbericht.

Schuld en medeplichtigheid

Hoe kan het dan dat Haidar, Hamida en hun kinderen morgen worden gedeporteerd, terwijl ieder weldenkend mens kan inzien dat ze daarmee in een levensbedreigende situatie terecht komen? Omdat het asielbeleid helemaal niet ‘humaner’ is geworden. Omdat het ministerie de situatie in Afghanistan volkomen ontkent. Omdat de advocate, Mr. P. Kramer, zegt dat ze ‘het niet ziet zitten om nog iets te proberen’. Maar ook omdat wij ons in de luren laten leggen door de inhoudsloze toezeggingen van de staatssecretaris en denken dat ‘de menselijke maat’ in het asielbeleid echt weer terugkomt. Omdat wij dit alles láten gebeuren.

Een baby van twee maanden oud begint net aan zijn eerste glimlachjes en geluidjes. Hij zal zijn best doen om z’n hoofdje op te tillen en af en toe lukt het hem om de rammelaar echt beet te pakken. Een baby van twee maanden oud wil niets liever dan zich veilig en geborgen voelen en slaapliedjes horen.

Baby Amirali wordt morgen, samen met zijn zusje Elenaz en zijn broertje Jafar, uitgezet. Richting zelfmoordaanslagen, bermbommen, vervolging en oorlog.

Zie, de terreur van ons asielbeleid.

(Source / 04.10.2013)