Please feel free to share. Make a mention back to here if you can.
A couple of avatars leading up to the Global Fast in Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners on April 17th 2012, Palestinian Prisoners Day. Please feel free to use & circulate. I have made an undated one for use after April 17th.
Thank you to Samidoun for posting this on your site. Find out what you can do to take action for Palestinian prisoners’ rights by visiting their website.
And thanks also to Electronic Intifada for your link:
Amnesty joins global actions on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day with Twitter campaign
Inspired of course by the famous EDL idiot. If you don’t know the “muslamic” and “iraqi law” references, then you need to watch this man & marvel at the degree of utter stupidity and hatred we here in England live alongside.
It’s not just a poke at the EDL though; it’s mainly about islamophobia, militarism, genocide, apartheid, colonialism, and western corporate expansion and the lack of true reporting by the main stream media. I trust my Arabic friends will excuse this sweeping generalisation of the Middle East’s vast variety of cultures, and different political struggles into one drawing, but it was necessary to get the point across who is forcing their culture on others… who’s the real threat… and who’s the terrorist?
The other day I asked my son which Mr.Men book he’d like to have next (if he’s good). “Mr.Nobody, Mr.Nosey, and Mr.Rush” came his reply. I said “You already have Mr.Rush, you don’t need a second one”. And then I added “In life, it’s best to help those in need than to buy things you don’t need.” At which point I realised… I’ve become THAT kind of mum. 🙂
Here’s the letter I just wrote to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office via their website, urging for the release of Hana al-Shalabi and all the other Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention.
Please feel free to borrow from, or copy this letter.
To whom this may concern,
I am writing in regards to the illegal detention of the Palestinian Hana al-Shalabi by Israel. She is currently being held under administrative detention – kept imprisoned without charge, a practice which is in violation of international laws on human rights.
Israel defends this practice by stating it a 6 month limit to administrative detention, at which time a trial is held. However routinely this process just extends the administrative detention of the prisoner another 6 months.
Hana is currently protesting the only way she can – not through the Israeli justice system, in which she is powerless – but by hunger strike. She is currently in her third week.
We cannot allow this to carry on, uncontested. No country that performs this deplorable practice can be called a democracy. Likewise no country that ignores that their allies are performing this deplorable practice can be called a democracy either.
For the dignity of Hana al-Shalabi, for the dignity of the other 300+ Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention, for the dignity of the Palestinian people… and for the dignity of the British people – by knowing that we are not complicit to this crime through our silence – I urge you to please defend the human rights of Palestinians, and demand the release of Hana al-Shalabi.
I had a really nice day today. Sledging in the first snow of the season, watching the look of pure joy in the children’s faces… But it’s days like this that hit me hardest sometimes; how fortunate we are to enjoy the simplest pleasures life on this earth has to offer… how so many of us take this gift for granted… how so many people alive are deprived of basic pleasures, basic human rights, and basic necessities.
Days like this I want to create. I want to educate. I want to rattle people’s minds. I feel so angry at how the few who control the world’s resources deny so many the right to enjoy their time on earth. And so angry at those who are so absorbed in the mundane that they refuse to, or simply can’t see the bigger picture.
If you know me, or you’re familiar with my work, you’ll know this isn’t my usual style. But if those kids today taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful.
..When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Washington DC, August 28 1963 
What were you doing on New Years eve?
Perhaps you were spending time with family and friends, reflecting on the year past, and making plans and resolutions for the one ahead, or letting your hair down and indulging a bit too much.
Meanwhile, President Obama who had promised to shut down Guantanamo Bay  instead signed the National Defense Authorization Act the law which now makes it possible to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists without trial, under the usual spin of national security.
But unless you’ve really not been paying attention, you know that anyone bold enough to critise or revolt against America’s corporate and military interests is quickly labeled a terrorist.
Case in point, there are already documented instances of the Occupy movement being labeled as terrorists by America and its allies . Not forgetting the violent crackdown by police all over the world against people peacefully protesting against corruption and inequality. Terrorists?
People protesting against crimes against humanity. Against those profiteering from war, inflicting pain and misery onto billions of people. Terrorists?
People protesting against the plundering of the earth’s resources and the irreversible effects of carbon emissions spiraling out of control. Terrorists?
People standing up against US/Europe-backed brutal dictatorial regimes all over the world… and in the case of Palestine, nothing less than apartheid. Terrorists?
We are not terrorists. We have a dream, where people and the environment come before profit. Where our brothers and sisters all over the world unite as one, demanding peace and equality.
The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. His strength, courage and charisma inspired a nation, and the world, to demand change. His efforts succeeded, he but paid the ultimate price.
The passing of the NDAA is a blow to the vision that MLK, and all the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement worked so hard to achieve, so that we may have the freedom to live without oppression, irrespective of our beliefs or background.
This is the version for sharing online. If you’d like to use this in print then do get in touch, as the original version I made is in higher resolution & without pixel fonts.
I don’t watch much telly.
But I turned it on yesterday, and saw a commercial for a sofa company where a woman filled her front room with sofas because at those prices, she’d saved so much money. Am I such an oddball? Does that not scream out that our society is in a really sick state? And by sick I mean that kind of desperate sickness brought on by addiction, where we find joy in bargains, and achievement in spending.
Our consuming habits directly create misery, poverty, disease, famine, rape and war the world over. It’s all well and good pointing the finger at the political and corporate sleazeballs and their addicition to money for wrecking the planet and people’s livelihoods. But none of that is ever going to change unless we STOP giving them our money.
From a practical standpoint, to make any change at all, we need to seriously cut back our consuming habits. To start with, we can all buy less STUFF. STUFF we don’t need, STUFF cheaply made that breaks the next day, STUFF we feel obliged to give as presents, STUFF that fill our houses and our lives with an empty sense of achievement.
The stuff we do buy, we should ensure is ethically sourced and produced. Or bought second hand. Then we need to look after our stuff, so that it lasts longer.
We shouldn’t be afraid to break convention, for example with diamond engagement rings. We’re made to believe that this is a tradition but diamond rings didn’t become common until the 1930s.
Food First: “Migrant Farmworkers: America’s New Plantation Workers”
IHS Child Slave Labor: “Child Slavery Should Not Be Forever” (with further references)
Wikipedia: “Child labour in the diamond industry”
Wikipedia: “Blood diamond”
“Forced child labour in Uzbekistan”, Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights
Cotton Campaign – Stop forced and child labour in the cotton industry of Uzbekistan!
Craig Murray: “Child Slavery in Uzbekistan”
Salon.com: “Where Computers Go To Die – And Kill”
Greenpeace: “Where does e-waste end up?”
ZDNet : “Is Apple’s suicide factory outsourcing to even cheaper Chinese peasants?”
Triple Pundint: “Report Details Abuses At Chinese Factories That Manufacture Apple and HP Products”
SACOM: “The Dark Side of Cyberspace”
Oxfam international: Chilean fruit-picking workers’ story”
Slave Labour That Shames America
DEAD SEA SALTS:
Palestine Solidarity campaign – Fact sheet
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: Fact Sheet
Amnesty International: ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
New Internationalist: “The Looting of The Congo”
Raise Hope for Congo
Enough Project: Conflict Materials
Wikipedia: Second Congo War
Oxfam: “No End in Sight: The human tragedy of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo”
The “Big Four” banks in the UK all hold shares in the arms sector, and have all had dealings with known producers of cluster bombs. There is a link between which institutions we bank with and amuptated children in war-torn countries. If you bank with NatWest / RBS, Lloyds, Barclays or HSBC and want a clean conscience, move your money to an ethical bank, or a building society which puts money back into the community.
The flyer is available to download & print yourself, see the links further down.
Note I’ve designed this flyer independently from moveyourmoney.org.uk. Do pay it a visit though, there’s ample information on just what nasty dealings the big 4 are up to.
Printable version here (2 on an A4).
Since September 27th, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held captive in Israeli prisons in both Israel and Gaza have been on a hunger strike, and on Wednesday the 12th of October, I’ll be joining them. For a day.
I’m not a prisoner.
I’m not Palestinian.
I’m not Arabic.
I’m not Muslim.
I’m not religious.
I’m not anti-semitic.
I’m not an expert on the Middle East.
I’m not a journalist.
I’m not a serious blogger.
What I am is human.
And outraged that thousands of detainees, held without evidence or trial, are being denied medical attention, sufficient food and drink, family visits, access to lawyers, education, news, fresh air, space, light, interaction, hygiene, dignity. In the same facilities, those actually convicted of crimes receive far better treatment, while Palestinians are subject to solitary confinement and murdered from internationally banned torture practices, and medical negligence.
I’m outraged that an entire nation is being held prisoner by the state of Israel within its ever shrinking boundaries; brutalised, intimidated. They are not allowed to fish the seas and to do so to feed their families must risk being shot. Their houses and olive groves bulldozered to allow for the building of Israeli settlers’ houses. Their livelihoods destroyed, as with their families and hopes.
Outraged that Palestinians do not have the right to build houses, and even erect tents on their own land. That blockades prevent essential building supplies, medical supplies, food and aid from entering the country, while its population is living in fear, sorrow, poverty and unemployment.
Outraged that the mainstream media never reports on the true extent of these atrocities, if at all. There is nothing, nothing on this particular story on the BBC News website, at the time of writing anyway. Nor the Indepedent’s. Nor the Guardian. Sources I’d like to trust, at least more so than Fox News and CNN. France 24 has a tucked away article about the state of the prisoners’ health being good. Al Jazeera at least has a bit more.
I’m outraged and disgusted that the governments of the US, and European countries, aside of course from being the architects of the situation, do little now to prevent it. That they exasperate it through sanctions, support of the blockade, limit and reduction of aid, and worse of all supply arms to Israel who will indiscriminately bomb, missile and gun down innocent civilians under the guise of protecting themselves from terrorists.
Terrorists? An impoverished nation being crushed by Israel, proudly refusing to lie down and die. Wouldn’t you?
And if mainstream media continues to cover a diluted picture, at best, then just as with the Occupy movements worldwide, it’s time for people to take control and raise awareness ourselves throughout the international community. With each campaign, the Palestinian people’s voices are heard louder, globally. It’s time for more of us to speak up for those whose voices are being silenced and pressure our leaders that this is not acceptable.
It wasn’t acceptable during Apartheid, and there are so many parallels to draw on here; Thatcher declaring the ANC a terrorist organisation… The Reagan & Thatcher administrations vetoing the imposition of UN economic sanctions on South Africa… the widespread belief that the ANC would never gain power… The South African government at the end of its bloody reign becoming increasingly paranoid about security and increasing its brutality… Anti-Apartheid support growing from the international community… the release of political prisoners… reforms… the dissolution of the oppressive government… universal suffrage.
Granted this is just a quick overview of a much more involved process, but it shows that it can be done. It’s time to make the mass imprisonment of the Palestinian people – the most imprisoned people in the world – a closed chapter, to be remembered as nothing short of ethnic cleansing. The Israeli government needs to be scrutinised, stopped and held accountable for these crimes against humanity.
All things considered, a day of me not eating isn’t particularly newsworthy. But hopefully it’s grabbed the attention of a handful of people, who hopefully will pass the word on.
Thanks for reading.
Sources & further reading:
Palestinian Prisoners: Over 750.000 Since 1967 & just 1 Israeli in Palestinian Captivity
Occupied Palestine Blog
Every Fourth Palestinian Under Arrest
The Free Gaza Movement
The Electronic Intifada
New Internationalist Magazine: Palestine
South Africa under Apartheid
Update 5th Jan 2011 — This piece is being used in the campaign to tell Apple to Stop Slavery Practices at Foxconn’s Manufacturies. Please have a look, sign & promote! http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-apple-stop-slavery-practices-at-foxconns-manufactories (Good luck Monica, and thanks for the initiative!)