Archive | news RSS feed for this section

From Avaaz – Stop the Violence, End the Occupation!

18 Jul

Dear friends,

As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this nightmare. Our governments and companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence, but we can help stop it if we call on key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull out their investments.

It’s not enough just to call for another ceasefire. It’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this decades long nightmare.

Our governments have failed — while they have talked peace and passed UN resolutions, they and our companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence. The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families, Hamas firing rockets, and Israel bombing Gaza is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear.

We know it works — when EU countries issued guidelines not to fund the illegal Israeli settlements it caused an earthquake in the cabinet, and when citizens successfully persuaded a Dutch pension fund, PGGM, to withdraw, it created a political storm.

This may not feel like a direct way to stop the current killing, but history tells us that raising the financial cost of oppression can pave a path to peace. Click to call on 6 key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull out — If we all take smart action now and turn up the heat, they could withdraw, the Israeli economy will take a hit, and we can turn the calculation of the extremists politically profiting from this hell upside down:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?byfdzfb&v=42613

In the last five weeks three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank, a Palestinian boy was burnt alive, an American kid was brutally beaten up by Israeli police, and now over 40 Gazan kids have died in Israeli air strikes. This is not the “Middle East conflict”, it’s becoming a war on children. And we are becoming numb to this global shame.

The media makes out like this is an intractable conflict between two equal warring parties, but it is not. Palestinian extremists’ attacks on innocent civilians must be condemned and ended but the root of the conflict lies elsewhere — in the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Israel currently occupies, colonises, bombs, raids, and controls the water, trade and the borders of a legally free nation that has been recognised by the United Nations. In Gaza, Israel has created the largest open-air prison in the world, and then blockaded it. Now as bombs fall, the families, literally have no way to get out.

These are war crimes and we wouldn’t accept that anywhere else, why accept it in Palestine? Half a century ago Israel and its Arab neighbours went to war and Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Occupying territory after war happens all the time. But no military occupation should turn into a decades long tyranny which only fuels and benefits extremists who use terror to target the innocent. And who suffers? The majority of loving families on both sides that just want freedom and peace.

To many, particularly in Europe and North America, calling for companies to withdraw investments from financing or taking part in Israel’s occupation of Palestine sounds completely biased. But it’s not — this is the most potent non-violent strategy to end the ritual violence, ensure Israelis’ security and achieve Palestinian freedom. Israel’s power and wealth dwarfs Palestine, and if it refuses to end its illegal occupation, the world must act to make the cost unbearable.

Dutch pension fund, ABP, invests in Israeli banks that help fund the colonisation of Palestine. Massive banks like Barclays invest in suppliers of Israeli arms and other occupation businesses. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard supplies sophisticated surveillance to control the movement of Palestinians. And Caterpillar provides bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes and farms. If we can create the biggest global call ever to get these companies to pull out, we will show clearly that the world will no longer be complicit in this bloodshed. The Palestinian people are calling on the world to support this path and progressive Israelis support it too. Let’s join them:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?byfdzfb&v=42613

Our community has worked to bring peace, hope, and change to some of the world’s toughest conflicts, and often that means taking difficult positions to address the root cause. For years our community has looked for a political solution to this nightmare, but with this new round of horror unfolding in Gaza, the time has come to turn to sanctions and disinvestment to finally help end the horror for Israelis and Palestinians.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Fadi, Ben, Laila, Anna, Ricken, Jo, Nell, Mais and the entire Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

UN independent expert calls for boycott of businesses profiting from Israeli settlements (UN)
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43376#.U7_ynqhMrRI

12 more EU countries warn against trade with Israeli settlements (Haaretz)
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.603030

Israelis, Palestinians Pro Peace Process, but Not Hopeful (Gallup)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/161456/israelis-palestinians-pro-peace-process-not-hopeful.aspx

Under pressure, a strong EU-Israel relationship faces uncertain future (Middle East Monitor)
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/9675-under-pressure-a-strong-eu-israel-relationship-faces-uncertain-future

Israel-Gaza conflict: 80 per cent of Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes are civilians, UN report says (The Independent)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-80-per-cent-of-palestinians-killed-by-israeli-strikes-are-civilians-un-report-says-9606397.html

Rule 156. Definition of War Crimes (ICRC)
http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_cha_chapter44_rule156

Palestinians: Most Gaza dead are children, women, elderly (Haaretz)
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.604443

Caught on Tape: US Teen Allegedly Beaten by Israeli Police (ABC News)
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/caught-tape-us-teen-tariq-abu-khdeir-allegedly-24449873

A policy of displacement (Visualizing Palestine)
http://visualizingpalestine.org/infograhic/a-policy-of-displacement

Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry
http://www.whoprofits.org/

Additional sources for this campaign:
http://avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_sources_a/?blast

Re-blog: The Trigger Warned Syllabus

7 Mar Featured Image -- 2077

Sista Resista:

Excellent article by TressieMC on universities co-opting the notion of “trigger warnings” from online culture in order to further advance the goals of the marketized education system and make student-customers more “comfortable” with what they are asked to learn…

Originally posted on tressiemc:

Apparently universities are issuing guidelines to help professors consider adding “trigger warnings” to syllabi for “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression,” and to remove triggering material when it doesn’t “directly” contribute to learning goals.” One example given is Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” for its colonialism trigger. This from New Republic this week.

I have no desire to enter the fray of online discussions on trigger warnings and sensitivity. I have used trigger warnings. Most recently, I made a personal decision to not retweet Dylan Farrow’s piece in the New York Times detailing Woody Allen’s sexual abuse. I was uncomfortable shoving a very powerful description at people without some kind of warning. I couldn’t read past the first three sentences. I couldn’t imagine how it read for others. So, I referenced the article with a trigger warning and kept it moving.

But, I’m…

View original 469 more words

Saying Goodbye to Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger

29 Jan

This month the world said goodbye to two great men who dedicated their lives to cultural activism through art. Amiri Baraka, poet and playwright of the Black Arts Movement and folk legend Pete Seeger will always be remembered for the way their art shaped public consciousness and provided the soundtrack to American movements against war and segregation and for social justice. We thank them for their life’s work during their time here and wish peace and power upon their beloved spirits.

In love and remembrance.

Amiri Baraka, Somebody Blew Up America

Pete Seeger, We Shall Overcome

Pete Seeger, Where Have All the Flowers Gone

We also recognize that it is just as important acknowledge the many ways their contributions to culture wouldn’t have been possible without the women in their lives. This article from the New Yorker sheds some light upon Hettie Jones, writer, mother and Amiri Baraka’s first wife, and her role in his artistic and personal development, as does this conversation with Amina Baraka, artist, activist, and his second wife.

Justice for Renisha McBride

8 Nov

From the US comes another sickening case of racist violence and murder. This time it is a young black woman, Renisha McBride, a teenager who was murdered while seeking help after a late-night car crash in a white suburb of Detroit.

From this article by journalist Rania Khalek, who broke the story:

Dearborn Heights police initially told McBride’s family that her body was found dumped near Warren Avenue and Outer Drive, but that story quickly changed. Not only are police refusing to release the identity of the man who shot McBride, they’re now saying she was mistaken for an intruder and shot in self-defense on the homeowner’s front porch. Even if that’s the case, and there’s reason to believe it’s not, the shooter still failed to call 911 after shooting an unarmed woman in the head, instead leaving her there to die. Does that sound like the behavior of a law-abiding gunowner who made a tragic mistake?

Writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton and Detroit hip-hop artist Invincible organised a rally for justice for the slain teenager, whose conduct on the night of the shooting is being questioned in accusations by the police and the media. This Huffington Post article describes the rally, and Hampton’s critique of the blame-the-victim response:

“This is what happens, again and again,” Hampton said, invoking the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin last year. “It’s kind of textbook. We’re able to break it down in the public media, when it came to Trayvon, the criminalization of the victim, of the corpse. Look, he got a C, look, he was a teenager who smoked pot, he had a sugar problem, he liked Skittles. … It becomes the criminalization of the corpse. … The police are supposed to be advocating for victims.”

Black feminists on Twitter have called out mainstream white feminists for not engaging with the Renisha case. Intersectionality, or the interaction of multiple dimensions of oppression, is as important to remember in this case as ever. If Renisha had been a white woman, we suspect there would have been little chance of her being murdered when seeking help on a stranger’s porch.

As of today, Ranisha’s murderer, who first claimed he thought she was an intruder, later changing his story to “the gun discharged accidentally“, has not been arrested, and his identity is being protected. Due to a stand-your-ground law in Michigan, it is possible he will not be charged. The absurdity of her murder, and the official response to it – for her actions to be questioned, not those of the man who killed her – illustrates the continued calamity that is racialized violence in the United States, supported by a legal structure that systematically denies justice for victims whose bodies are black and brown.

US Government Shutdown Hurts Communities of Color

2 Oct

While we at Sisters of Resistance have been contemplating the US government shutdown as indicative of the imminent collapse of an empire, the incisive Imara Jones over at the excellent news site Colorlines.com has written this important and practical piece about how the shutdown will disproportionately affect communities of color, poor communities, and women and children who rely on the government for employment and services.

He writes:

What’s particularly distressing about the shuttering of the government is that it comes at a time when unemployment remains in the double digits for blacks and Latinos. As the Center for American Progress points out, federal, state and local governments since 2008 have eliminated 750,000 public sector jobs. Given unionization and strong anti-discriminatory hiring practices, people of color are more likely to have jobs in the public sector. This is particularly true for African-Americans, and it’s why joblessness remains so stubborn in communities of color.

The truth is that people of color represent a larger proportion of the federal workforce than the workforce overall. According to the Washington Post, 35 percent of federal workers are non-White versus 30 percent of all workers.  This means that a shutdown will only add to the economic woes and employment worries in communities of color.

Read the whole thing here.

We leave you with a brief but critical message to those in government who created this mess:

You Better Work!