I would do whatever it takes for my right to live and dream
another fascinating video from Never Before Campaign
I would do whatever it takes for my right to live and dream
another fascinating video from Never Before Campaign
This post is not well-documented for I don’t have the time to search for links to support my claims, hence I realize my argument is weak nevertheless I don’t think it’s baseless.
A lot has been said and done, both by Syrian netizens and by western human rights organizations, about the vicious no good evil Syrian regime censorship of websites in Syria. It’s the favorite topic for almost all of the human rights websites and organizations, alternative and mainstream ones, to pin point the illegal censorship policies of certain regimes mostly Syria and Iran.
Whenever a website is found blocked in Syria, these organizations hurry and publish their appealing reports to the western world condemning the act that devalues one of the most important human right to the western world, freedom of speech. A right I think it’s also important to us here in this region, but in a whole different context.
Whenever a prominent blogger or a Syrian/Iranian activist is arrested, or rather, whenever the Syrian regime commits the crime of censorship, reports in the western world never stop from flowing.
But what is not known to many people who follow and salute these human rights organization is that many Syrians are arrested and recently prevented from leaving the country for no explained reasons (which is now considered the threat to Syrians activists than imprisonment) and contrary to a stupid report published here calling US and European officials to put pressure on Syria concerning its human rights record. Only the prominent political prisoners get attention from these organizations and from the mainstream and alternative western media. Of course the case is relatively the same with Syrian human rights organizations, not every Syrian political prisoner or detainee get the same attention from local human rights organizations and many prisoners remain unknown.
My point is that the term “human rights” is never about people’s rights really. It’s one of the major political terms used heavily in political contexts to support or condemn certain people or regimes according to the organization’s agenda or its source of funding agenda. If an authorial regime arrests people who resist its authority, authorial human rights organization support authorial political prisoners and ignore “marginal” ones. If Syria censored websites, all western human rights organizations heavily condemn the illegal act, but these very organizations stay still, and thus become cooperatives, when censorship is practiced “legally” by American websites and corporations like Google, which prevents Syrian users from downloading most of its products like Google Talk, Chrome, Gears, Video chat and from uploading a video to Google Videos.
I cannot upgrade and renew my wordpress account from Syria, because wordpress deals with Paypal and Syria and Lebanon are not listed in its countries’ list to allow me to pay. I have to rely on my friends on other parts of the world to do so. And the only reason I reserved a domain on wordpress is because the domain blogspot is blocked in Syria and I fear wordpress domain might be blocked in the future as well.
So what did Amnesty or Human Rights Watch or Reporters Without Borders have to say about these websites who censor, as the Syrian regime, Syrian users from using their services?
Yes, these three websites have not published not one single report condemning Google or Linkedin or Paypal about their decisions to prevent Syrian users from using their services, but they did however, publish heavily on Syria’s act of censorship. These so called prominent human rights organizations do not condemn the act of censorship itself but rather the doer of that act, and this condemnation always goes hand in hand with the American foreign policy, sorry no, intervention, hmm not really, “imperialistic occupation” in the region, as Azmi Bshara rightly once called it.
From how I see it, human rights organizations are like the United Nations, their job is not to defend people’s rights but rather to show the world who’s in power at the moment. We can see that from Human Rights Watch reports on both of the Zionist war crimes on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza 2008-09. HRW reports on July war were clearly biased to Israel because the whole world was siding with it, whereas with Gaza, the story was slightly different; HRW can no longer ignore the heavy amount of documentations and visual proofs circulated widely around the world by the Gazans and activists condemning Israel of committing war crimes in sieged Gaza. HRW is not objective and certainly not condemning Israel as much is depicting a historical moment the world is processing right now against Israel as a war-crimes state.
Western human rights organizations are only tools used by authorial western countries to put political pressure on Syrian and Iranian regimes exactly because of their support to Hezbolla and Hamas, the one thing that pleases me about these regimes.
Syrian regime censor websites and arrest people to secure its domination over the country, some American websites prevent us from using their websites because we support Hamas and Hezbolla. President Assad did not claim not once that Syria is a democratic country, but these websites, coming from proud democratic and civilized nation that is, are punishing us Syrians for our democratic choice; supporting resistance. So please, don’t ever talk to me about democracy, human rights and freedom of speech before, and as a starter, put Bush and his soldiers on trial and fucking kill him in front of his people (who elected him) on Christmas as you killed Saddam in front of his people (who did not elect him) on Eid.
For readers inside Syria who cannot view the video because of the block, please install UltraSurf 9.4 and WJ if you’re using Firefox browser. Follow the instructions to install Wj and let me know in the comment section if you have questions. I am sorry I tried to upload the video on Google Videos but Google is joining the US sanctions on Syria apparently so I cannot use the Google Video product.
Or, you can go here and watch the whole video if you have a good internet speed.
Noam Chomsky spoke on the recent US-backed Israeli war on Gaza in an event co-sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies and its Program on Human Rights and Justice. I think he mentioned some interesting points. There are eleven videos posted on Youtube of the event, I am posting the first one in this post but you can view the rest below:
In recent years, there has been a gradual growth in the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, calling to put economic pressure on Israel until it recognizes the rights of the occupied Palestinian people and puts an end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, starting on 27 December 2008, which lasted for nearly a month, has given this movement a powerful reason to redouble its efforts. Dozens of BDS campaigns have gained momentum and publicity; dozens of new ones were launched during or immediately after Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.
These campaigns range from calls to boycott goods from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to calls to stop all economic contacts with Israel altogether. They include protests at sporting events, two countries cutting diplomatic ties with Israel (Bolivia and Venezuela), and many demonstrations around the world, attended by hundreds of thousands of protestors.
The growing protest against the atrocities committed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip have begun to change something in the Israeli political discourse, and the first indication of this can already be seen in the Israeli economic media.
Although the Israeli economic media doesn’t concern itself with the moral dimension of the attacks on Gaza, the economic dimension of recent events have created a rising level of concern. In order to demonstrate this trend, here are summaries of four articles that appeared in the Israeli The Marker magazine for economic news:
1. On 2 February, Guy Grimland warned about a growing phenomenon of boycott of Israeli high-tech companies, and several Israeli companies received letters from European and U.S. companies explaining that they cannot invest in Israel for moral reasons.
2. In 3 February, Nehemia Strassler, one of Israel’s most famous economic correspondents, attacked the Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Eli Yishai, for calling on the Israeli military to “destroy one hundred homes in Gaza for every rocket that falls in Israel.” Strassler had nothing to say about the Palestinians living in these homes or about the loss of life, but he warned:
“[the minister] doesn’t even understand how the operation in Gaza hurts the economy. The horror sights on television and the words of politicians in Europe and Turkey change the behavior of consumers, businessmen and potential investors. Many European consumers boycott Israeli products in practice. Intellectuals call for an economic war against us and to enforce an official and full consumer boycott.
Calls are heard in board meetings of economic corporations to boycott trade relations with Israel. So far deals were cancelled with Turkey, the UK, Egypt and the Gulf States, and visits by economic delegations were cancelled. It’s much easier now to switch providers while abandoning Israeli providers. Many company boards are required to take wide considerations into account with regards to the good of society and the environment, and they put political considerations in that slot as well.
Of course there is an economic cost to severing diplomatic ties. Qatar cut its trade relations with Israel, Venezuela and Bolivia cut diplomatic relations. Mauritania recalled its ambassador and the relations with Turkey worsened considerably—and this bad ambience seeps into the business sector decisions. Here, just yesterday Dudi Ovshitz, who grows peppers for export, said that ‘there is a concealed boycott of Israeli products in Europe.'”
3. On 6 February, Shuki Sadeh wrote about even more companies that have decided to boycott relations with Israel. A Turkish company demanded that Israeli companies sign a document condemning the Israeli massacre in Gaza before they can offer their services for it. Sadeh quoted Naomi Klein’s recent call for boycott, the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott and Israeli organizations that support the boycott and provide information for the global BDS movement. Sadeh’s article also had concerned quotes by Israeli businessmen who demanded government intervention to protect them from the growing boycott.
4. In 11 February, Ora Koren reported that the Israeli business sectors feel the effects of the attack on Gaza. She reported that Israeli businessmen in Turkey are hiding their names so that the local BDS organizations won’t learn about their activities, and that the situation is even worse in the UK.
These four articles are a sign that there is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel, and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel, or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law, and ending the occupation.
In December Israel is going to celebrate its colonial establishment on Palestine. The Secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee calls us all to unite our different capacities in a Global Day of Action in solidarity with the Palestinian people [and for the sake of justice] and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel on 30 March 2009:
The mobilization coincides with the Palestinian Land Day, the annual commemoration of the 1976 Israeli massacre of Palestinians in the Galilee in struggle against massive land expropriation, and forms part of the Global Week of Action against the Crises and War from 28 March 28 to 4 April.
* Boycotts and divestment from Israeli corporations and international corporations that sustain Israeli apartheid and occupation.
* Legal action to end Israel’s impunity and prosecute its war criminals through national court cases and international tribunals.
* Cancelling and blocking free trade and other preferential agreements with Israel and imposing an arms embargo as the first steps towards fully fledged sanctions against Israel.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) includes: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations; Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI); General Union of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU); Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ); Coalition for Jerusalem; and Palestinian Economic Monitor.
Scott Campbell sent us this email:
I’m writing from New York University where I just started grad school. Very briefly, I’d like to let you all know that as of 9:30pm tonight we have occupied NYU. A website with more info is at www.takebacknyu.com. The list of demands is below. I don’t have internet time and my cell phone is dead, but please spread the word. Thanks!
We, the students of NYU, declare an occupation of this space. This occupation is the culmination of a two-year campaign by the Take Back NYU! coalition, and of campaigns from years past, in whose footsteps we follow.
The occupiers demand to establish a student elected Socially Responsible Finance Committee in which
the first two orders of this committee will be:
a) An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.
b) A reassessment of the recently lifted of the ban on Coca Cola products.
– Annual scholarships to be provided for thirteen Palestinian students, starting with the 2009/2010 academic year. These scholarships will include funding for books, housing, meals and travel expenses.
– The university to donate all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
Read their full demands on their website here.
See live streaming video from the occupation here
Scott has just sent this email too:
Demonstration in support of the NYU occupation:
Thursday, 12:15 PM
In front of Kimmel Student Center
60 Washington Square South, Manhattan, NYC
Since 10pm Wednesday night the third floor of the Kimmel Student Center at New York University has been occupied by more than 70 NYU and non-NYU students. Originally present for the first few hours of the occupation I had to leave for personal reasons, but it is still going strong and spirits are very high. It was recently announced the head of NYU university relations has cut his vacation short and is flying back home. They’re clearly worried.
This is in direct solidarity with the many occupations occurring recently across the globe, from Greece to Britain to the New School and the University of Rochester.
There are 13 demands relating to NYU investments in war profiteers and occupation, the cost of tuition, the lack of transparency and the lack of respect for NYU workers.
Help out and spread the word by:
* Come support the occupation!
* Send a letter to the administration in solidarity
* Send an e-mail to your professors, peers, listservs, facebook groups you name it! Tell the world.
* Have your parent write a letter or e-mail to the university
* Print the following demands and distribute them far and wide!
To those who’re not checking my tags, I have recently added the “Activists are my family” tag, those would be the occupiers.
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!), a San Francisco Bay Area solidarity group, is calling on international Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer filmmakers not to participate in the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival this June. QUIT!’s call for filmmakers to respect the cultural boycott of Israel initiated by more than 100 organizations of Palestinian civil society. The call has been joined by members of South West Asian and North African Bay Area Queers (SWANABAQ) and a founder of Trikone, the largest South Asian LGBT organization in the world.
One filmmaker has already notified festival organizers of his decision not to participate. Maher Sabry, director of the Egyptian film Toul Omry (All My Life), wrote: “It would be hypocrisy of me to call for boycotting the Egyptian government for mistreating gay men and not to call for boycotting Israel for the mass punishment of innocent Palestinian civilians for assault by few militants.” Sabry added, “One day, I dream to screen Toul Omry in the Holy Land, when it becomes a place of peace, when Jews, Christians, Muslims and others can live as equal with same rights, when there are no refugee camps, no religious or ethnic discrimination, no land-confiscation, tree-burning or house-demolition, no bloodshed and mass punishment, no injustice, no militants and no military aggression.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched in Ramallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals to join the growing international boycott movement. International signatories include filmmakers Sophie Fiennes, Ken Loach, Haim Bresheeth and Jenny Morgan, writers John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Amiri Baraka, Naomi Klein and Eduardo Galeano, and musicians Brian Eno and Leon Rosselson.
In a letter to British director Shamim Sarif, whose film I Can’t Think Straight has already been accepted by the Tel Aviv festival, QUIT! stated, “As queer people, we know that mainstream media and organizations don’t tell the full story of our lives, and frequently present outright lies that once accepted become difficult to refute. One example of this practice is the conscious public relations campaign presenting Israel as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East,’ and specifically representing it as a haven for LGBT people … LGBT Palestinians living in the occupied territories, like straight Palestinians, are denied their basic human rights.”
Tinku Ishtiaq, a founder of Trikone and previous co-chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission also wrote to Sharif: “Just as the international boycotts against South Africa during its apartheid era were helpful in finally bringing about the downfall of Apartheid it is hoped that similar boycotts against Israel would bring about the change that is necessary for Palestinians to survive … I believe that our rights should not supersede the rights of other oppressed groups. Your participation in the Tel Aviv film festival would be particularly sad for gay human rights activists who are struggling for Palestinian rights.”
QUIT! and its allies are asking international filmmakers to write to festival organizers notifying them that they will not submit their films or accept invitations to participate until Israel meets its obligations under international law. Israel is currently in violation of more than 80 United Nations resolutions, including Resolution 242, which affirms the right for the refugees to return home.
“Israeli queers are oppressed for their sexuality and gender identity, just as queers in every other country are,” said QUIT member Kate Raphael. “For the last several years their pride parades have been violently attacked by religious Jews. LGBT organizers in Israel should support the Palestinian boycott, which will lead to a more just society for everyone in the area. They should not ask international queers to break the boycott to participate in their event.”
QUIT! is a grassroots nonviolent direct action group based in San Francisco that has been active against war and occupation since early 2001.