I am Resistance: I won't be the Helpless Victim

I would do whatever it takes for my right to live and dream

another fascinating video from Never Before Campaign

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قولوا لرابطة السفر الدولية للمثليين والمثليات أن إسرائيل الفصل العنصري ليست مكاناً للاستجمام

الثامن من أيلول/سبتمبر 2009

صادر عن:

أحرار الجنس مناهضين للفصل العنصري الإسرائيلي، تورنتو

أحرار الجنس من أجل تقويض الإرهاب الإسرائيلي

الشبكة اليهودية الدولية المناهضة للصهيونية

أحرار الجنس الناشطون في حملة المقاطعة، وسحب الاستثمارات، والعقوبات على إسرائيل

تخطط رابطة شركات السفر الدولية للمثليين والمثليات IGLTA  لعقد مؤتمر سياحي في تل أبيب، وذلك في السادس عشر من شهر تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر من العام الجاري، من أجل تعزيز السياحة الترفيهية الخاصة بالمثليين والمثليات والثنائيين والثنائيات والمتحولين والمتحولات جنسياً (م.م.م.م.). من المتوقع أن يتألف جمهور المؤتمر من وكلاء السفر المختصين بالترويج للسياحة المتعلقة بال م.م.م.م. وستقدم منظمة IGLTA من خلال هذا المؤتمر، وبالتعاون مع منظمة إسرائيلية للمثليين Aguda، الدعم المالي والرمزي لدولة تستمر في احتلال وقمع وتجريد ملايين الفلسطينيين من حقوقهم، إضافة إلى قتل وسجن الآلاف منهم.

لذا نتوجه، نحن مجموعات وأحرار جنس ناشطين بنداء إلى كافة الم.م.م.م والأصدقاء حول العالم لمشاركتنا احتجاجنا في مواجهة ترويج IGLTA للسياحة الترفيهية في إسرائيل الفصل العنصري، ونطالبها بإلغاء المؤتمر المزمع عقده في إسرائيل وبوقف أي شكل من أشكال الترويج السياحي لهذا البلد.

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"Human Rights" and Syrian and American Censorship of websites in Syria

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.

this-product

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?

Absolutely nothing.

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.

Organize for boycott Israel Global Day of Action on 30 March 2009

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.

On 30 March BDS actions will particularly focus on:

* 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: NYU Occupied! (Watch Them on USTREAM Live)

Scott Campbell sent us this email:

Friends,
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!
scott

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.

See the full list of demands here: http://takebacknyu.com/2009/02/19/nyu-occupied/. See live streaming video from the occupation here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/take-back-nyu.

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!

Stay tuned.
To those who’re not checking my tags, I have recently added the “Activists are my family” tag, those would be the occupiers.

Queer activists call for boycott of Tel Aviv film festival

Via ei:

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.

Protest signs for the Batsheva Dance Company tour of North America

From Nigel Parry blog:

The University of Minnesota is bringing the Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv to Minneapolis [tonight] for one performance. This is a violation of the 2004 Palestinian call to “comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions”and the 2005 call of 171 Palestinian civil society organizations for broad boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. This dance company is funded by the Israeli government and is considered a “leading ambassador” of the Israeli government, by the Israeli government.

Several of Batsheva’s members are serving Israeli reservist soldiers. An atypically high number of reservist units in the Israeli army were deployed in the Gaza Strip–where an indisputable slaughter was carried out, with terrible stories published even in mainstream sources.

Bringing Israel government-funded, dancing Israeli soldiers to town after the gratuitous massacre of Gazans is utterly unacceptable.

Batsheva is described as “perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture” by the Israeli government and its self-description often includes the phrase that “Batsheva is proud to be considered Israel’s leading ambassador.” How does Batsheva reconcile its international mission as an artistic ambassador with the reality of the racist, militaristic, and expansionist state that it represents?

These flayers are made by Nigel Parry to help American activists in their protest to this Zionist company which is touring the US right now. check his post over here for more flayers.

Today's Bookmarks

Tulkarem to boycott Israeli goods starting 1 March

Tulkarem – Ma’an – The city of Tulkarem will begin a total boycott of Israeli goods starting March, the chamber of commerce announced Thursday.

The chamber, in conjunction with several local merchants and organizations, decided to launch the campaign, called “Keeping Tulkarem Clean of Israeli Goods.” The city will have assistance in organizing popular awareness of the efforts from coordinators from the popular anti-wall campaigns including Jamal Jum’ah.

Member of the local coordination committee Jamal Barham stressed the importance of unifying efforts to ensure the success of the campaign. This will include helping shop owners identify non-Israeli goods to replace common items like milk, flour, juice and chocolate.

The goal of the Tulkarem project is to increase the production of Palestinian goods from supplying 15% to 25% of consumer goods in Palestinian areas. They anticipate that this jump will provide at least 100,000 jobs in the production sectors.

Palestine is the second largest consumer of Israeli goods and imports 2.6 billion US dollars of Israeli made products per year.

French academics join the call to boycott Israel

Israel’s impunity must end

Reports have made it clear that Israel’s actions in Gaza amount to war crimes: a population denied all possibility of escape or self-defense has been starved, deprived of medical care, and massacred beyond the view of the media. Images and accounts of the results of these actions are now reaching us, and they are frankly unbearable. It is not a matter of “excesses” committed by a few soldiers, but rather of a deliberate policy that borders on ethnic cleansing. To quote a letter signed by 300 British-based academics and published in the Guardian January 16, “The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of their land and resources.”

Israel’s impunity must end. Neither humanitarian aid nor a call to extend the ceasefire will suffice. The blockade of Gaza must be lifted and Israel, together with its political and military leaders, must be tried for war crimes. We ask the French government and the French population to take all practical measures to force Israel to accept these demands, and, first of all, to define and apply to Israel a program of boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

We who have signed this text commit ourselves to cease all collaboration with Israeli institutions participating in the occupation, and declare our solidarity with those who in Israel struggle courageously for the human, social, and political rights of Palestinians.

Read the French version signed by French academics  on the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel blog.

and check these links:

Latest Guardian Article on Occupations and Sit-Ins

Israel used experimental weapons in Gaza developed at UC

UPDATE: Call on Israeli Soldiers to Stop War Crimes published in Haaretz

A fellow Egyptian blogger was sexually harassed

Another Blogger Detained For Gaza

World gets its first gay leader

My father once heard MLK denounce Israel

and don’t forget to check Mondoweiss blog for updates on Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, the first American college to divest from Israel.