Sunday, May 20, 2018


It began with a question: "What would happen "if 200,000 Palestinians headed peacefully to cross the border [into their ancestral home, now called Israel], while raising a poster that says they only want to go back to their land?" This was the idea that set the whole process in motion, explains Enas Fares Ghannam, a Palestinian translator and writer.

The UN has predicted that "Gaza will become unlivable by 2020." Ninety-seven percent of its water is contaminated and undrinkable. Only four hours of electricity are available per day. Unemployment runs rampant and its infrastructure is collapsing. The director of the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem said in a recent statement that Gaza residents, most of whom have "never had a chance to leave the small patch of land" have "lived their lives without any political rights, devoid of any hope for a reasonable future, totally subject to the decisions and policies of the Israeli government."

And this is what happened:

For more than a month, Israeli soldiers have been shooting and killing unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, using high-powered sniper rifles and live ammunition. Israeli soldiers wounded more than 2,700 Palestinian protesters and killed dozens more with rifle fire on Monday. At least five children were killed, including an 8-month-old baby girl who died after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers. Tuesday, a few hundred Palestinians have defiantly returned to protest near the Gaza fence after yesterday’s carnage. Early reports indicate that there has already been one death and dozens of injuries from live ammunition and gas inhalation, while casualties have been reported during separate protests in the West Bank.

Palestinians have been shot while kneeling for prayer. They have been shot in the back. Children have been targeted and killed. Journalists, clearly marked as such, have been shot, killed and maimed. Thousands have been injured, and some have had to amputate their limbs to survive their injuries.

Meanwhile a small region of western France totaling 4,000 acres in Les Landes, historically noted for its independence, established a small community of worker owned cooperatives. So when they defeated plans for the airport projected for Nantes, the government proceeded to move in on this anti-Capitalist community known as ZAD (zone a defendre) with rubber bullets, and bulldozed all their houses.

What’s to rejoice about

While Haspel, our grotesque torture queen, has been confirmed as the new head of the CIA, the UN approved a war crime probe, as the chief of human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein ripped Israel’s horrifying massacre of Palestinians. Only Big Brother voted against the probe (the U.S. and Australia) and 14 smaller brothers bravely abstained (Germany, the U,K,, and Switzerland among them).


Last week I attended the demonstration at the Israeli consulate in San Francisco called for the day after the new capital of Israel was moved to Jerusalem, and some 60 people were being shot dead by snipers not 70 miles away. Both sides of the trafficked street were crowded with protesters including a small contingent of people waving the Israeli flag, some of their faces bespeaking the centuries of vast intelligence and book learning—and sadness—that underlies Jewish history.

Both sides shouted at each other, slogans, a yes/no boondoggle leading to no where. Because no where is our name now. No where, and tears.  Endless tears that yet again, the human species, which always considers itself so exceptional, is capable of this.

Whereas it is a time to weep, its only possible response for us impotent ones protesting in the street, is to bear witness.  To bear witness with intent. Silently. It is not a time to shout. 

Over the week, the internet has been crowded with stories of Palestine, of the Nakba, of brave resistance by Palestinians. But what did the press have to say when the American frontier decimated the very people who had lived there for thousands of years in order to steal their land, their territories, to kill their buffalo, to take over their rivers and lakes—and oceans— and pollute them with the White Man’s glut? What did the American press have to say about that? What does anyone have to say about displacement, about invasion by the latest comer, pushing all aside in its wake?

And all the bought, mostly white, politicians who say nothing while this carnage goes on, because the killers du jour have cornered the purse strings, and the politicians need to be re-elected, and the tail wags the dog. What happened to the idea of the golden bough: the king must be sacrificed after seven years of rule? Where would our bottom feeders be then? There might—for one thing—be fewer slogans and fewer empty promises.

But would there be less racism? What is it about white European “civilization” that pushes all aside in its devastating wake?

The press says nothing about the dilemma when one country (Palestine) is magnanimously handed over to a group of stateless people who are told: Here, here is your promised land? How can such a dilemma conclude any other way? Silence is the only response possible in the face of a tragedy foregone.

Go to Care2 petitions to sign: the U.S. Must condemn the Indiscriminate Shooting of Gaza Strip Protesters to sign. (The link refuses to upload).

Support the effort to shut down the Miramar ICE center in Florida which forces hundred of visitors to stand for hours in the sun without shade, water, or bathrooms waiting for ICE meetings.

Tell the Senate: no nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Read why: John D’Agata: About a Mountain.

U.S. Senate votes to restore net neutrality.

There’s a strong probability (because they do not make any MONEY) that 25% of U.S. nuclear plants will close.

At the local and state level, new campaign aims to generate national support for un treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Wind overtakes nuclear energy in the U.K. in the first three months of 2018.

Judge William Alsup rules against the postal service in lawsuit against  Berkeley zoning overlay meaning that the gorgeous Italianate building housing the downtown Post Office cannot be sold to make into a Target store.

A new farming technique using drastically less water is catching on (Huff Post).

The Standing Rock Tribal Council endorse efforts to bring renewables to the rez.

Border patrol agent faces retrial for the killing of José Antonio.

Sen. Gillibrand introduces new bill to hold out-of-control Immigration agents accountable.

Richmond, CA, city council voted to enact a Sanctuary City contracting ordinance sponsored by councilmember Jovanka Beckles and Ada Recinos barring contracts with ICE data brokers,

Tucson passed a resolution banning the privatization of its jails and detention centers, joining a small but growing number of cities and counties that are tell GEO Group and Core Civic they are not welcome.

Burlington, Vermont nixes F-35s, citing environmental impact statement.

Progressive democratic wing of the Democratic party scores an upset victory in Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district.

Pennsylvania primaries deliver strong wins for Democratic women.

San Francisco sets up a task force to establish a city-owned bank.

A Philadelphia neighborhood achieves inclusive control through a community land trust.

Seattle reins in Amazon with a new tax.

A dozen Google employees quit to protest Google’s collaboration with the Pentagon automating drone targeting. And four thousand more sign a letter of protest.

Demonstrating deep hunger among the electorate for a progressive agenda, candidates running on platforms of Medicare for all, free college, and a living wage, emerged victorious in the primaries. Big wins were scored in Pennsylvania, Idaho, and Nebraska.

Democratic AGs  keep the DACA program alive, protecting Dreamers from deportation, fight back against Betsy DeVos, block Trumps attack on sanctuary cities, and stand up to EPA Pruitt’s agenda with over 80 actions protecting the environment.

Largest act of organized teacher political action is recorded as No. Carolina joins the national wave of teacher strikes.

A federal appeals court nullifies key permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The European Union moves to forbid members’ compliance with Trump’s economic sanctions reimposed on Iran.

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