Archive | May, 2010
Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old American student, was hit in the eye with a tear gas canister and her eye was removed yesterday. She is an art student at Cooper Union. A witness said, “It really looked like they were trying to hit us.”
Tear gas canisters are commonly used against demonstrators in the occupied West Bank. In May 2009, the Israeli State Attorney’s Office ordered Israeli Police to review its guidelines for dispersing demonstrators, following the death of a demonstrator, Bassem Abu Rahmah from Bil’in village, caused by a high velocity tear-gas projectile. Tear-gas canisters are meant to be used as a means of crowd dispersal, to be shot indirectly at demonstrators and from a distance. However, Israeli forces frequently shoot canisters directly at protesters and are not bound by a particular distance from which they can shoot.
Andrew Sullivan, in response to reports of activists attacking Israeli soldiers as they boarded their aid ship:
A simple point. The violence by the activists is pretty abhorrent. These are not followers of Gandhi or MLK Jr. But the violence is not fatal to anyone and it is in response to a dawn commando raid by armed soldiers. They are engaging in self-defense. More to the point: they are civilians confronting one of the best militaries in the world. They killed no soldiers; their weapons were improvised; the death toll in the fight is now deemed to be up to 19 – all civilians.
It staggers me to read defenses of what the Israelis have done. They attacked a civilian flotilla in international waters breaking no law. When they met fierce if asymmetric resistance, they opened fire. And we are now being asked to regard the Israelis as the victims.
This is like a mini-Gaza all over again. The Israelis don’t seem to grasp that Western militaries don’t get to murder large numbers of civilians because they don’t like them, or because they could, on a far tinier scale, hurt Israelis. And you sure don’t have a right to kill them because they resist having their ship commandeered, in international waters. The Israelis seem to be making decisions as if they can get away with anything. It’s time the US reminded them in ways they cannot mistake that they cannot.
Reuters reports that between 14 and 16 are dead after Israeli commandos used live ammunition against a humanitarian flotilla which was trying to reach Gaza with supplies yesterday evening. Reuters reports at least 30 injured too, while KUNA puts the injured at 60.
One Israeli serviceman was “moderately injured” by a knife wound during the assault, which took place just after dark and after Israel had attacked vessels flagged in America, Europe and Turkey, while they were still in international waters. The passengers included a holocaust survivor, USS Liberty survivors, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, EU MEPs & hundreds of humanitarian workers.
I’ll have more in the morning, especially on reactions from around the world, but this is a shocking crime against humanity showing no conscience whatsoever. President Obama has to realise at this point that supporting Israel is akin to Reagan’s support for the Botha regime in South Africa in the 80′s.
Update: Here’s some Sky News footage of the assault, via The Guardian, which is constantly updating its report here.
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the big Memorial Day parade that wends its way through my neighborhood every year. Yes, we’re honoring the service of those who fought. But why are we always fighting? No one ever seems to answer that question.
I’d love to see Iraq Veterans for Peace marching in my local parade, but I don’t think it would go over too well.
Doesn’t it seem like the earth is crying out against the various indignities we’ve visited upon her in the last 50 years? She just can’t take it anymore, and she’s trying to let us know: scorching heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes. “Enough! Please, stop hurting me.”
I’ve never been one of the Gaia worshipers who personalize the planet, but lately, that’s how I think.
And now today, the Israelis massacre people for trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Oh yeah, the Israeli PR machine is already in full swing (hey, if the activists really had guns, why were they trying to fight you off with sticks and poles?) and by the time the American right wing is done, the attackers will be the victims and the dead will be forgotten.
We are so vulnerable to the official version of events. Do you really believe everything we’re told? Hell, we still don’t have the truth about who killed the Kennedys, and Martin Luther King.
When after all, it was you and me.
I never wanted to be an activist. I just wanted all this stuff to go away, so I could live some semblance of a normal life. Enough to pay the rent, put food on the table and keep the car running while I write – fairly modest goals, right?
But that corporate war machine keeps getting in the way.
It sucks up all the money. The defense companies get paid, the contractors get paid, and the politicians get paid. (Oddly enough, soldiers barely get paid – and their injured bodies and spirits are certainly not sufficiently tended to.)
We always have money for bombs. We rarely have money for food.
And when it comes to protecting the planet, well, I think it’s too late. The first clue came decades ago with the shameless corporate and right-wing lobbyists and their fake campaigns, telling us global climate change is perfectly normal.
What planet do these amoral monsters live on? Where do they think their grandchildren will live?
So no, today I’m not going to honor the corporate war machine and its affiliated enablers. I’ll remember the soldiers who died, the ones who served, and all the human wreckage we left behind – both here, and in other countries.
And I’ll remember what the Gulf of Mexico used to look like.
But this is the only flag I’m going to fly.