Thursday, December 13, 2012

#Navajo #women in solidarity with #Palestine oppose Navajo president's visit to #Israel (#US #FreePalestine)

Louise Benally/Photo Brenda Norrell

Navajo women in solidarity with Palestine oppose Israel's genocidal practices, say Navajos don't need Israeli chemicals to grow food

Navajo women in solidarity with Palestine oppose Navajo President Ben Shelly’s visit to Israel this week and spoke out against the ongoing genocidal policies of Israel and Shelly’s longterm human rights abuses at home. 

Navajo women said Shelly and Israel are part of the war machine. Working with sustainable agriculture, Navajos said that Shelly does not need to go to Israel to learn how to use chemicals to grow food.

Louise Benally, Dine’ resisting forced relocation at Big Mountain, Arizona, said, "Ben should stay in Israel, to learn how to farm, they are only puppets for the war machines."

"Is he learning how to farm food, or weapons of mass destruction?" Benally and other Dine’ on Black Mesa say the Navajo Nation government is a puppet government of the US, which abandoned them for coal mining and power plant dollars.

Working with sustainable agriculture, Janene Yazzie, Navajo, said Shelly does not need to go to Israel to learn how to use chemicals to grow food.

“To hear that our president believes the apartheid government of Israel has more to offer than the Dine’ people in his homeland fighting against his policies is hurtful and unbelievably ignorant.”
Yazzie points out that Shelly’s visit to Israel this week is the latest in a long list of human rights violations, which includes schemes to sell out Navajo water rights, and sending armed Swat teams to intimidate Navajos at public forums.

Janene Yazzie said:

It should not shock or surprise us that our Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has taken an unexpected trip to visit Israel, a government that has committed itself to carrying out genocidal practices against its population of indigenous Palestinian peoples. 

"In communities across our nation there is a struggle to localize food production by returning to traditional methods of farming and irrigation suitable to our climate, our soils, our native foods, and the values of our culture," Yazzie said.

"Instead of visiting these projects or 
investing in them President Shelly has gone to Israel to learn about 'Fertigation,' a method that is dependent on the use of chemical fertilizers." Read more of her statement at:

Angela Davis, Navajo, points out that the Navajo Nation has used genetically modified seeds for years at its commercial farm, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, and promoted Monsanto on NAPI's website.

Davis said, "If Ben Shelly cares so much about agriculture, then he should stop buying genetically modified seeds from Monsanto. He also says he identifies similar problems with radiation contamination in Israeli water, while ignoring his own people who are sick and dying from radiation in their water from uranium mining that he supports! 

"He also sees similarities with Israeli peoples' struggles in their homeland and shares their leader's concerns. He's like Benjamin Natanyaho, a dictator that commits genocide of oppressed people in their own occupied territories. We have more in common with the Palestinians than the Zionist regime of Israel. Ben Shelly is a liar and I don't believe his visitation intentions are in the best interest of the people."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

#PHOTOS: #Gaza after #Israel's air strikes

Originally posted by the Alternative Information Center at

Photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

A child stands  amid the rubble of the destroyed Al Dalu family home, Gaza City. Ten members of the Al Dalu family were killed, as well as two neighbors, by an Israeli air strike on their three-story home on November 18, 2012. Four of those killed were children, and four were women.

A dentist chair remains among the rubble of a medical clinic destroyed by Israeli air strikes near Khan Yunis, Gaza. The clinic was the sole medical facility for a community of poor fishermen on the Gaza coast.

Sami Arafat (age 4) and his brother Jilal (8) sit near the ruins of their home, in which their 5-year-old sister Runan was killed when 10 Israeli missiles struck this mostly agricultural area in the Al Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. Jilal and his mother, four months pregnant, were found alive in the rubble. The children now suffer from frequent panic attacks at night. The family does not know why their area was targeted.

Majdi Whahidi, a steelworker, stands near a pedestrian bridge that he helped to build, now destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the Al Mughraqa area of the Gaza Strip. The bridge crossed an area regularly flooded by Israeli wastewater.

The ruins of a Palestinian football stadium hit by an Israeli airstrike, Gaza City. The stadium also housed the Palestinian paralympic commiitee.

A man holds his daughter, who was rescued after being buried to her neck in dirt thrown by Israeli air strikes that made the massive crater behind them in the Al Shoja’iya neighborhood of Gaza City.

A mosque minnaret and communications tower rise above a field of rubble at Abu Khadra complex for civil adminstration, completely destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City.

Palestinian youth on a Gaza City street sit in front of a spray-painted mural depicting rockets with the slogan, "Popular Resistance Movement".

A government employee searches for important documents in the remains of his office amid the rubble of the Palestinian National Authority Council of Ministers building, one of many Palestinian government buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes.

A woman stands in her kitchen, the walls cracked by Israeli air strikes that landed nearby in the Al Shoja'iya neighborhood of Gaza City.

A Palestinian boy stands in his home, the roof of which was destroyed by debris thrown into the air by Israeli bombings in the Al Shoja'iya area of Gaza City.

A mural of the Dome of the Rock appears on the interior wall of a bombed-out residential building in the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

UN General Assembly Grants Palestine Non-Member Observer State Status, 138 for, 9 Against, 41 Abstaining

Originally posted by Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding at,%20138%20for,%209%20Against,%2041%20Abstaining,%20November%2029,%202012%20.htm

UN November 29, 2012 
In opposition to the Palestinian bid for UN recognition were Israel, U.S., Canada, Czech Republic, Panama, and four islands in the South Pacific Ocean: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau.

Wide view of the General Assembly Hall as draft resolution to grant Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations is introduced. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The General Assembly today voted to grant Palestine non-member observer State status at the United Nations, while expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a permanent two-State solution.

The resolution on the status of Palestine in the UN was adopted by a vote of 138 in favour to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-member Assembly.

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, told the Assembly before the vote.

Mr. Abbas noted that the world was being asked today to undertake a significant step in the process of rectifying the “unprecedented historical injustice” inflicted on the Palestinian people since 1948.

“Your support for our endeavour today,” he said, “will send a promising message – to millions of Palestinians on the land of Palestine, in the refugee camps both in the homeland and the Diaspora, and to the prisoners struggling for freedom in Israel’s prisons – that justice is possible and that there is a reason to be hopeful and that the peoples of the world do not accept the continuation of the occupation.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said his delegation could not accept today’s resolution. “Because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards,” he stated, adding that peace could only be achieved through negotiations.
“There’s only one route to Palestinian statehood and that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he added. “There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions.”

The Israelis and Palestinians have yet to resume direct negotiations since talks stalled in September 2010, after Israel refused to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“Today’s vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after the vote was finalized. “We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel. I urge the parties to renew their commitment to a negotiated peace.”

Addressing the same gathering, the President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, appealed to “my dear friends from Palestine and Israel” to work for peace, to negotiate in good faith, and ultimately, to succeed in reaching the historical settlement.

“I have no doubt that history will judge this day to have been fraught with significance – but whether it will come to be looked upon as a step in the right direction on the road to peace will depend on how we bear ourselves in its wake,” he said. “Let us therefore have the wisdom to act in furtherance of the goal I’m sure we all share.”

In the resolution, the Assembly also voiced the hope that the Security Council will “consider favourably” the application submitted in September 2011 by Palestine for full UN membership.

The Palestinian bid for full UN membership stalled last year when the 15-nation Council, which decides whether or not to recommend admission by the Assembly, said it had been “unable to make a unanimous recommendation.”

Today’s action comes on the same day that the UN observed the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Established in 1977, the Day marks the date in 1947 when the Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning then-mandated Palestine into two States, one Jewish and one Arab.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#Israeli Blood Diamonds to Dust in Disgust, Grafton Street, Dublin, #Ireland 24-11-2012

Originally posted by  at

As Sean Clinton says in this video:  

Diamonds are worthless! Human lives are priceless! Free Palestine!

#Israel's Greatest Fear - Its Diamond Trade Exposed (#NoConflictDiamonds)

Originally published by at


The stakes couldn't be higher for the $60 billion global diamond industry, and Israel's burgeoning diamond industry in particular, as the dynamic forces of economics, human rights, and politics careen towards a major showdown in Washington. The fallout is likely to blow the lid on a cozy cartel that has kept the scandal of cut and polished blood diamonds hidden from public scrutiny.

In November members of the Kimberley Process (KP) diamond-regulatory system, ostensibly set up to end the trade in blood diamonds, will come under severe pressure to adopt a US proposal, rejected last June, which would slightly broaden of the definition of a "conflict diamond" to include rough diamonds linked to violence by government forces associated with diamond mining.

The US proposal falls far short of the reforms initially sought by the KP Civil Society Coalition and other members of civil society , who want all diamonds, including cut and polished diamonds, which fund human-rights violations, to be classed as "conflict diamonds" and banned.

The remit of the KP system of self-regulation, which came into force in 2003, has been severely limited from the outset when the definition of a "conflict diamond" was restricted to "rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to fund violence aimed at undermining legitimate governments." This allows diamonds that fund human-rights violations by government forces, including those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, to evade scrutiny. In 2011 diamonds from the Marange area of Zimbabwe, where government forces are accused of human-rights violations, were deemed KP compliant and allowed enter the international market. As a result, Global Witness, the London-based human rights organizations responsible for exposing the trade in blood diamonds and a founding member of the KP, withdrew from the scheme in protest, stating: "Most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes."

In a recent address to the World Diamond Congress in Mumbai the US Chair of the KP said : "Buying diamonds is an emotion-laden decision that is a choice, not a necessity. These kinds of purchases are particularly vulnerable to changes, sometimes rapid changes, in consumer sentiment." Western consumers, and increasingly so consumers in the East, have learned to consider diamonds as objects of romance and eternal love.

But that romantic image was damaged when reports of diamond-funded human-rights violations gained media attention and a Hollywood film exposed the uglier side of the diamond trade.   While the human-rights violations that lead to the establishment of the Kimberley Process were associated with rebel groups in Africa, recent revelations have exposed how cut and polished diamonds, sold as conflict-free diamonds in most of the world's leading jewelry outlets, are funding war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by Israeli government forces. 

Despite the fact that a significant percentage of cut and polished diamonds are crafted in Israel (50% in the USA) the jewelry industry has so far failed to take any action to curb the trade in these diamonds. In a clear indication of the unwillingness of the diamond industry to deal with the issue of Israeli blood diamonds, it was recently reported in the Israeli media that the US Chair of the Kimberley Process, Gillian Milovanovic, had assured the industry that diamonds that fund cross-border fire between Gaza and Israel would not be banned.

The double standards of the jewelry industry was evident earlier this year in an article supporting KP reform on a leading US jewelry magazine's website (JCK), which posed the question, "What if there were diamonds (either mined or imported to be cut) in Syria?" JCK Senior Editor Rob Bates ignored the fact that Israel, which illegally occupies part of Syria, is a leading player in the global diamond industry, is responsible for the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and stands accused of war crimes by the UN Human Rights Council.

Evidence given to the London Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in November 2010 by Israeli economist Shir Hever indicated that revenue from the Israeli diamond industry generates over US$1 billion per year in funding for the Israeli military/security industry. And yet jewelers facilitate the trade in Israeli diamonds, which are a major source of funding for Israel's nuclear-weapons programme and many grievous breaches of humanitarian law and international human rights laws.

Any mention of the link between Israeli diamonds and war crimes is likely to result in censorship and the castigation of those who questions the ethical provenance of diamonds crafted in Israel. The editor of the leading jewelry magazine, Retail Jeweller, was forced to withdraw copies of the April 2011 edition from the Basleworld Jewelry Fair and issue an apology for publishing a "Letter of the Month" that questioned why Israeli diamonds are allowed dodge the blood-diamond rules.

In recent months human-rights activists in London have been staging an on-going protest over the display, by De Beers, of a Forevermark Steinmetz diamond in the Tower of London in honor of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Steinmetz Diamond Group, through the Steinmetz Foundation, adopted a Unit of the Givati Brigade of the Israeli military, which it funded and supported during the Israeli assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008/2009. That assault resulted in the death of over fourteen hundred people, including more than three hundred Palestinian children, and left thousands maimed and traumatized. A UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigation concluded Israeli forces committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the three-week assault.

The Givati Brigade was directly responsible for one of the most serious examples of human-rights violations documented by human-rights groups and the UNHRC when 29 members of the Samouni family were massacred by the Brigade. When the Steinmetz Foundation's support for the Givati Brigade became public knowledge, the Foundation tried to conceal the facts by deleting from their website all reference to their funding and support for the Brigade during the assault on Gaza - but not before a screen short of the page was distributed on the internet.

Against this background, leading players in the diamond industry are trying to persuade the industry to back the US proposal for Kimberley Process reform. If successful this will allow the industry to claim they have eliminated the loophole that allowed some "conflict diamonds" to evade the regulations, while at the same time the trade in cut and polished blood diamonds that fund the Israeli military regime continues unchecked.

In the open letter to the jewelry industry, Matthew Runci, President and CEO of Jewellers of America, and 25 other leaders of the American jewelry industry called on companies to demonstrate their support by making a commitment that "they will not supply diamonds and diamond jewelry connected to violence or conflict in any way" and "to ask that their suppliers to not supply their businesses with diamonds and diamond jewelry connected to violence or conflict in any way."

On the face of it this sounds like a comprehensive rejection of all diamonds that fund human-rights violations. However, when Matthew Runci, who is also Chairman of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), and members of the RJC Management Team were notified in April 2011 about the trade in diamonds from Israel that fund human-rights violations, the Council's CEO responded on his behalf, saying the RJC "does not accept your proposition that the Israeli diamond industry, by virtue of being Israeli taxpayers, is funding human-rights violations and that, thereby, the diamonds sold by Israeli companies should be considered 'blood diamonds.'"

This selective righteousness, which has plagued the Kimberley Process from the outset, will continue as long as the vested interests in the diamond industry have a veto on what is and is not a "conflict diamond".   The US proposal looks set to fail as some countries see the move as an attempt to cut off diamond revenues from governments not in favour with the US and its allies.   Human-rights groups are also stepping up the pressure on the KP Civil Society Coalition to demand an end to the trade in all blood diamonds, including cut and polished diamonds that fund human-rights violations.

Palestinians are by far the biggest victims of blood diamond-funded violence.   The diamond industry is "one of the cornerstones of the Israeli economy" and revenue from that industry is used to deny Palestinians the most basic of human rights -- the right to life. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israel's diamond-funded military. Millions of Palestinians suffer daily humiliation and denial of the inalienable rights as they languish in refugee camps across the Middle East, eke out an existence under occupation and brutal subjugation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and endure discrimination in their daily lives under the apartheid regime in Israel.

If the diamond industry is to restore consumer trust in diamonds it will have to tackle the issue of Israeli blood diamonds and prevent Israel from using the industry to bankroll its apartheid regime and associated daily human-rights abuses. Jewelers should not allow their business to act as an economic shield behind which Israeli blood diamonds masquerade as conflict-free diamonds. The time for action is now -- jewelers must ban the trade in all blood diamonds and not just those associated with diamond mining.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why I care about #Israel’s occupation of #Palestine (#BDS)

Originally published by The Standford Daily at

Brought to my attention by @Rebuild_Detroit via Twitter

By Kristian Davis Bailey
From my writing and activism over the past few weeks, some students have asked why I am so interested in the illegal American-Israeli occupation of Palestine.
It seems as though it is weird for me to be concerned about the international human rights conflict in which I am most heavily implicated–both as an American citizen and as a Stanford student.
Underlying the American-Israeli occupation of Palestine are issues of grave importance to me:
State, police and military surveillance and control of marginalized people and dissenting voices; the immorality of global markets where multinational companies profit off of human rights violations at home and abroad without accountability; and a future where marginalized people of any background do not have to worry about discrimination, persecution and dehumanization at the hand of the nation-state or corporations.
As a member of the African diaspora I have a direct connection to all of these issues.
The mothers of the mothers of my mothers were torn away from their lands, cut off from their languages, histories and cultures to become “tools” and “things” on this soil–all in the interest of economically supporting a growing “democracy.”
The fathers of the fathers of my fathers have been controlled by state-sanctioned fear and police brutality since they were first forcibly taken here–first as runaway slaves, then as Emmett Till and now as Amadou DialloSean Bell and Trayvon Martin–all in the interest of maintaining the economic, political and social order of this nation.
Throughout American history, blacks seeking equal rights or liberation have been labeled “agitators,” “criminals,” “militants,” “combatants” and “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States,” all for demanding to be treated like any other human.
The story of America building itself off the backs of my ancestors runs parallel to the history of dehumanization, criminalization and military-state control that Native Americans have experienced–as does this country’s historical amnesia about the past and present racial injustice our communities have experienced.
Coming from this background, I feel compelled to speak out against similar forms of oppression this state perpetrates against other minority groups. I feel especially compelled to speak when the nation that supports Israel’s right to defend itself against an oppressed minority group has always predicated its success upon the oppression of some minority group.

Palestinian Land Loss 1946-2000 Native American Land Loss 1850-1990

Just as this state has justified oppressive policies by blanket-labeling Native Americans “savages,” blacks “subhuman,” the Japanese “enemies,” undocumented migrants “illegal,” and anyone brown and non-Judeo-Christian “terrorist,” so too is the state of Israel justifying its dehumanization, oppression and murder of Palestinians by blanket-labeling a population of 1.7 million people “combatants” or “collateral” in the pursuit of said “militants.”
The 34 children and 13 women Israeli forces killed last week were not terrorists. The 970 civilians Israeli forces injured last week are not terrorists.
The only way states have been able to justify the denial of rights to- or perpetration of violence against communities within their borders have been through criminalizing and dehumanizing various communities.
As in the past, apathy, indifference or lack of education support a violent and oppressive status quo that currently violates international humanitarian law in Palestine.
Furthermore, at stake in the multibillion-dollar American-Israeli occupation of Palestine are contemporary issues that I and many other Stanford students care about, including the increase of racial profiling, police brutality against nonviolent political dissidents, American immigration policy and the welfare of the global poor.
The Oakland police that used rubber bullets, tear gas, shot and critically injured an Iraq War veteran and dozens of others during the Occupy movement were trained a month before alongside Israeli police. The NYPD, which has been racially profiling Muslim and Arab citizens since 9/11 has been modeled on techniques Israeli forces use in the West Bank. Over 9,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officials have participated in Israeli-led training sessions that have led to increasingly militaristic surveillance and police control in airports, malls and cities across the nation.
Parts of the “separation wall” along the US-Mexico border are contracted by the same company that built the apartheid wall, which violates international human rights law, in Israel.
The state of Israel has provided Brazil and other Latin American countries with hundreds of millions of dollars in drones for police surveillance. Brazil claims to use these drones for “counterterrorism” and “drug trafficking”, but Brazil has also criminalized the slum dwellers across the state and used police brutality to evict its poorest citizens.
The F16s and missiles that companies like Lockheed Martin ($36.9 billion revenue FY 2011) and Raytheon($25 billion revenue FY 2012) develop are the same military weapons that Israeli forces used to kill 105 civilians, including 34 children and 13 women, in Gaza last week.
The bulldozers that Israel has used to demolish 25,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 and internally displace over 160,000 are provided by Caterpillar, Inc. ($60 billion revenue FY 2011), whose CEO addressed this campus last spring in the GSB’s “View from the Top” series.
Divesting from the US-Israeli occupation of Palestine is the only neutral option.
When more US aid goes to Israel than Latin America and Africa combined each year, the Israeli occupation of Palestine becomes the US-Israeli occupation of Palestine, and all American citizens become implicated in the side of the oppressor.
When Stanford’s $17 billion endowment does not even investigate whether any cent of its funds are invested in companies like Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar or Raytheon, all Stanford students become implicated in the side of the oppressor.
Our current status quo is one that supports oppressive policies and international human rights violations. To divest is to take our money out of this US-Israeli occupation.
The UC-Irvine student body unanimously passed a resolution for its university to divest from the Israeli conflict on Nov. 12. The Brown Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) recommended that the Brown Corporation consider divestment from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine on Nov. 14.
It is time for Stanford to do the same.
Sign Stanford’s divestment petition at Write to the University to investigate its investment practices at ircommunications ‘at’

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Freedom of movement NOW (#SupportGaza #GazaArk)

Israel pledged to allow freedom of movement for people and goods
Let's put that to the test!
In the ceasefire recently brokered by Egypt, the Israeli government promised to "open the crossings and facilitate the movement of people and the transfer of goods, and … refrain from targeting residents in border areas." The major question now is, will Israel live up to that commitment in the full letter and spirit of the words?  We have a project that will put that to the test: Gaza's Ark; it aims to stock a locally built boat with locally made Palestinian goods and sail them out of the Gaza harbour for export!
Like many others, we will be closely monitoring what the ceasefire means over time for freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza, including the ability of fishermen to fish in their full territorial waters, farmers to access their land and businesses to export. It's important to remember that to achieve a lasting, just peace, the blockade of Gaza must end, completely and permanently, so that Palestinians can rebuild the vibrant export economy they once enjoyed. This is what Gaza's Ark hopes to help achieve.
Watch this Gazan farmer (video who is hoping to resume exporting his produce, if the international community makes Israel stay true to its commitment. Then, please, click the "donate" button  to give whatever amount you can. Also please endorse Gaza's Ark, your support is very valuable to the project.
Run jointly by civil society groups in Gaza and a committee of internationals, Gaza's Ark will hire local workers to rebuild an existing boat and stock it with goods ideal for export — including dates, clothing and furniture, products that once fuelled an independent, self-sufficient economy.  (You can find a lot more detail at  
Through Gaza's Ark, we also will help create some much-needed employment for Palestinians in Gaza; stimulate the local economy by paying manufacturers, farmers and craftspeople for products that are now sitting unsold in warehouses; and bring media attention to Israel's continuing ban on exports.
However, we need your help to make this happen. Our previous appeal was well received, and we thank those who responded with a donation! We know there are many worthy humanitarian appeals to help Palestinians in Gaza at this time, but if we want to help build a lasting, just peace we need to keep building momentum towards ending the blockade. Please share this email with your networks and ask them to support Gaza's Ark! 
 In solidarity,
Gaza's Ark Steering Committee

#VIDEO | HADEEL (In memory of all children murdered in #Gaza) ~ by @RafeefZiadah

Originally posted by studiorevolt at and reposted by the Occupied Palestine Blog at

Nov 23, 2012 by 

Allow me to share with you our new and important spoken word video HADEEL by Rafeef Ziadah. I saw her performance for the first time in London this summer. She was already a YouTube sensation with her “We Teach Life, Sir” video but I had not heard of her. My only focus was Kosal Khiev with whom I was traveling in UK for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. I stumbled upon her spoken word poetry and bursted into tears behind the camera. Ever since I wanted to share this piece with the world as I experienced it.
It would be a great honor if you could share it and repost it in as many places as you find fit. The state of Palestine is the worst public relations disaster I’ve ever seen. They are the only people I know whose innocent ones get killed regularly by a military might and we seem strongly discouraged from feeling any sympathy for them. Palestinian kids are the original “collateral damages”. Hadeel is a poetry that reminds us of who they are.
Masahiro Sugano, Filmmaker / Studio Revolt
written and performed by Rafeef Ziadah
filmed, edited and animated by Masahiro Sugano
performance from Poetry Parnassus 2012, Southbank Centre, London
For prolog of this performance, please go to
You can buy Rafeef Ziadah’s CD “Hadeel” at
a Studio Revolt project
Other videos by Studio Revolt:
Why I Write:
1700% Project:
My Asian Americana:

How we made the world hear #Gaza, as citizen journalists by @RanaGaza

Originally posted by Rana Baker on the Electronic Intifada at

Palestinian schoolchildren cross the rubble of a building destroyed by earlier Israeli bombardment, as they make their way to their nearby school in Gaza City, on 24 November 2012
 (Ashraf Amra / APA images)
Since a ceasefire agreement brought a measure of calm back to our lives in Gaza, I have been trying to collect and recollect my thoughts and emotions.
Throughout the latest eight-day long Israeli offensive on Gaza, now known as “Operation Pillar of Cloud,” I had been unable to sit down and calmly tap my commentary or even intuitive thoughts on the attacks.
Instead, I had been involved in social-media-based reporting or citizen journalism. I’m not a doctor nor a resistance fighter, just an undergraduate student of business administration at a local university. In fact, I can hardly remember the number of times I cursed and mocked myself for not having enrolled in some first-aid course. What on earth was I thinking?

Gaza is “bliss”

But I was born in Gaza and have lived here my entire life. Although I managed to travel a number of times, I have never stayed out of this tiny, densely-populated enclave for longer than a month. For many, this may sound like something one would ooh and aah over. I, however, find it bliss.
This notion was emphasized last week, when many of my Twitter followers told me that they saw “nothing” of what we Gazans were reporting in their respective state-funded or national media.  The first step I took when I decided to cover the attacks was that I would put my views and sentiments aside in order to be “credible.” I couldn’t.
Covering the attacks on Gaza without tapping my own views felt more like being a mainstream journalist striving to keep the image “balanced,” “unbiased,” and “appealing” to everyone. It felt more like betraying the blood being mercilessly spilledby all kinds of warfare anyone can imagine, the screams that remained unheard under the rubble until they were silenced by the force of nature.
So by, Thursday, 15 November, the second day of the Israeli attack I surrendered to the fact that I could be credible without being “mainstream.” All attempts to split myself between my real self, an ordinary Gazan who belongs to and shares the feelings of this country, and a “balanced” journalist failed miserably. So I began voicing my “extreme views” (as Haaretz insisted on calling them) alongside real-time news, publicly and unabatedly.

An unbalanced situation

Since my childhood, I have always dreamed of becoming a journalist, of pursuing a career in one of the most well-known news corporations. However, as I grew up and became more involved, journalism was no less than a huge disappointment.
Bearing witness to the mainstream reporting of last week’s events was a cruel slap across in the face whose effect shall always remain. I was and still am very sickened by the amount misrepresentation we received.
Seeing our rights and blood being sold out as “collateral damage,” as having “caught in crossfire” means one thing to me: I no longer feel the urge to become a journalist of the kind BBC, CNN and others prefer.
After all, this is an unbalanced situation: a US-backed occupation and an occupied people doing everything to liberate their land. How can any reporting be “balanced” when reality itself is so unbalanced?

Mainstream media contact me

I still wanted, however, to make it to the mainstream with the very sentiments my tweets involved. To do this, I took it upon myself to tweet confirmed news only. I was thinking that if I tweet –- and retweet – news and pictures that would be later on proved false, I will lose the opportunity of penetrating the mainstream barrier.
To my great surprise BBCAl Jazeera EnglishCNNThe Sunday TimesThe Guardianor some of their journalists, either followed or contacted me.
Aided by a media contact list of citizen journalists in Gaza we collaboratively compiled and distributed, it became much easier for us, the people on the ground, to tell and share our experiences from our different perspectives. Indeed, even to win the cyberspace war.

Recording the sounds of destruction

Looking at my room back then with wires splayed all over the place, with the radio rumbling, bombs exploding nearby, phone ringing, windows rattling, I cannot but feel grateful to this country that taught us to love it and endure its boredom and difficulties.
I was teetering between my window, where I hung the iPad out to record sounds of explosions, and Twitter where I posted updates. Because I live just across the road from Gaza’s largest hospital, sirens and screams blended with the relentless buzzing of Israel’s unmanned drones were our everyday lullaby. 
Most of the news and tweets that came out engaged only one of the five senses: the sight. The sounds were lacking despite them being at the heart of the experience. In fact, there are countless incidents where the glass on entire buildings exploded as a result of the deafening noise that accompanies the raids. Many people were injured while lying down on their beds as a result of glass pieces falling down on them.
So it came to me that what if I engage the ears too? Navigating through what I had previously learned in a social-media course, was the right tool. This way, all followers of the worldwide trending hashtags of #Gaza and#GazaUnderAttack could hear real-time soundtracks of the explosions, sirens, screams and cries while reading the live updates pulsed in by young citizen journalists.

Despite the challenges, reaching the world, from Gaza

The number of views and shares I received on these audio-recordings was enormous. Mainstream media outlets embedded them into their live blogs and articles. Meaning, those who do not have Twitter or Facebook accounts were still able to access and listen to these recordings. In many occasions, the recordings were aired on local radios around the world.
However, this was not without challenges. We had to find a way to keep the world updated while the electricity and therefore Internet are out. Our friends and colleagues in the West Bank offered to tweet on our behalf if we send them the updates through the mobile network.
Using these techniques, we were able to keep in touch with the people who were eagerly following our posts and updates.

Solace and freedom of movement in cyberspace

Being young and Palestinian at the same time means that you should be aware of the resources available around you. Otherwise, you will isolate yourself and your people. After all, Israel is doing everything in its power to further cut Gaza off from the outside world. Since we have limited access to books and travel, we find solace in cyberspace.
There, in the virtual world, we can move freely from country to country and find the information we need. We can establish and expand our networks and as was the case last week, counter mainstream propaganda that is constantly portraying us the aggressors or “terrorists.”
Despite all the strength and perseverence you try to show, there is always that moment when you’re no longer able to hold back the tears you have suppressed.
That is when you fall short of the strength and preservation of others. A stroll around Gaza says it all. Out in the streets people are cleaning up the rubble, sweeping away dust and glass, extinguishing the fires that remained, and fixing the blown out doors of their homes.