Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Catastrophemas

Monday is the 58th anniversary of the Naqba, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and lands to make way for the Israeli apartheid state. Fifty-eight years of dispossession and savage oppression in full view of the rest of the world, which on its kinder days sat by and watched, and on other days (like today) jumped in and joined the fun. The Palestinians are a people so fucked by history it leaves me constantly gapemouthed and hollow-bellied with dismay. Just a few good points of reference to mark the day.

-Karma Nabulsi's excellent, angry Guardian piece on how the Naqba continues to define the identity of a new generation in diaspora.

-Virginia Tilley in Counterpunch on the moral and pragmatic bankruptcy of requiring Hamas to 'recognize Israel' as a condition for lifting collective punishment of the Palestinians.

-The Palestinian Center for Human Rights special report on Poverty in the Gaza Strip. Useful statistics:
From September 2000 to the end of 2005, the number of Palestinian civilians killed by IOF and Israeli settlers reached 2,936, including 651 children and 106 women. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were injured. The injured included 8,662 injured people from the Gaza Strip, including hundreds who now suffer from permanent disabilities.
And to bring the tally up to date:
In April and May, more than 40 Palestinians have been killed by the army - most of them civilians, at least eight of them children....Schoolchildren blown to bits while playing in Beit Lahia, like Mamdouh Obeid; Eitan Youssef, a 41-year-old mother from Tulkarm, shot in front of her children because troops "thought they saw a suspicious movement"; an old man, Musa Sawarkah, herding his flock in Gaza, gunned down; a taxi-driver, Zakariya Daraghmeh,"accidentally" shot in the back in Nablus.
As an American I spend a truly ridiculous amount of my life hearing people spout pompous bullshit about Palestinians' 'habitual slaughter of civilians', without the tiniest hint of awareness of the daily, unapologetic, unremonstrated civilian murder conducted by the IOF. Part of this is down to the media's criminal lack of interest in reporting these crimes. But at least as much is attributable to a stubborn moral blindness that has its roots in race preferences both long-standing and politically expedient.

The ongoing global abandonment of an occupied, brutalized people, the utterly disingenuous scapegoating of Hamas as the source of the current untenable situation, and most of all the deeply racist characterization of Palestinians as a pariah people devoted to the infamous 'cult of death', dedicated to the extermination of Jews, and the primary authors of their own misfortune: these are crimes in which we may be complicit or against which we can fight. There is no neutral position. Victory to the Intifada.

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