Saturday, October 27, 2007

Trials and Tribulations of Riverbend

For those of use who have been following what was happening in Iraq through the writings of the Girl Blogger from Baghdad, also known as Riverbend, the decision she and her family made in April 2007 to quit Iraq was good and bad news.

Good news, if this courageous lady was able to reach safety. Bad news, as we would stop receiving the real story of common people in Iraq and their day-to-day sufferings.

On September 6th 2007, Riverbend updated her blog to tell how she and her family had crossed over into Syria. She ended her blog with this note:

"I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest..."
Life has not been easy in Syria as they live on a hour-by-hour basis. On October 22nd 2007, Riverbend described the sad and sorry choice of having to go through a "leave and re-entry process" so as to get an extra couple of months of safety in their lives.

How long is this charade going to last before the Iraqis can get control of their lives so as live in peace without foreign forces tearing apart their nation, especially the Americans in their greed for OIL.?

Our hearts bleed for Riverbend and all Iraqis who are suffering this turmoil, over 4 million of them!

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Through the eyes of an Arab Israeli Human Rights Activist

Posted on my Jacob's Blog, Jacob's Politics Blog, the Move The UN Blog, and the Liberal Talk Show Ratings Blog.

Yesterday, Tuesday 2.10.2007, between 18:00 and 20:00 hours, at the Kirjakahvila Nispero, Pakkahuoneenkatu 5, Oulu, owned by Jarmo Stoor and his wife, I had the privilege and honour to listen to Israeli Palestinian Human Right Activist Najib Abu Rokaya from the B´Tselem Human Rights Group. This is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories which was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members.

How would it feel if you got married to the person you love and are then told by your "Democratic" Government that you cannot bring your partner to your country but have to move away to another country where your partner lives and also give up your natural citizenship?

This is what happens in Palestine AND ALSO in Israel when it concerns Arab Israeli citizens!

No wonder that former US President Jimmy Carter addressed the present situation in Israel as being akin to the Apartheid that was prevalent in White South Africa!

But I digress.

Najib knows the effects of the Middle East conflict on the day to day life of those who live under it. His expertise has been used by the BBC (among others) in reporting on the situation there.

Najib Abu Rokaya is an Israeli Arab. He was one of the Palestinians who during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War stayed behind the green line (the internationally accepted border at the time between Israel and the planned Palestinian government) of what was to become the State of Israel. Today those Palestinians form about 18% of Israel's population.

Najib is a human asset in the position of Arabs inside Israel from his understanding of the law and personal experiences. He operates inside the internationally respected Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem.

The primary purpose of the group is to monitor the Israeli Army, Israeli governmental institutions and illegal West-Bank settlements in Palestinian areas. B'Tselem addresses its public reports to the Israeli political leadership as well as the general public.

Najib is the fieldwork coordinator of B'Tselem. Due to his position in B'Tselem and previous political activities, Najib has intimate details about the Arab minority question and the
current situation of the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

In his talk he started by drawing attention to the fact that the move to set up the State of Israel began as far back as 1890 and one of the locations suggested was Uganda! However, after the holocaust and World War II the United Nations gave Israel around 54% of Palestine.

After the various wars this increased to 70+% but when one considers the situation on the ground in Israel, Israel controls 100% of the territory.

However, clever politicking by Israeli "peace-brokers" and a feeling of absolute uselessness of the ability to stand and fight by the people of Palestine, Israel has transferred the international obligations of "the Occupier" on the Palestinians while continuing to occupy the whole territory.

As was rather strongly put by Najib, the Oslo Agreement was b------t! All it contained were paras which were to occur "God Willing", or in Arabisc "Inshallah"!

The wall / fence which has been built by Israel between "Palestine West Bank territory" on Palestinian land is another example of Israel usurping territory under the guise of "Security". The real border is about 320 km. But the wall / fence is over 700 km in length. Administration of the lands ursurped by the Israelis under this excuse is being integrated by a series of measures which makes it almost impossible for the Palestinians to even look after their own lands!

The absolute stranglehold by Israel over the Gaza is another example of how cleverly Israeli transferred "the obligations" onto the Palestinian Government while ensuring that they had absolutely no way of meeting those obligations.

There are two sides to every coin.

Najib was able, as an Arab Israeli, to put before the audience the side of not only the Palestinians living in "their" land of Palestine and of Arab Israelis, but also the 4 million refugees which have been packaged out of their land by this never ending conflict, most of whom are today stateless!

The stories given by Najib of the trigger-happy methods of the Israeli forces who have been ordered "not to take prisoners" as they infiltrate and murder the Palestinians was heart rending.

That is the other side of the story which is never told by the western media as the it has always been the Palestinians who have been accused of suicide bombings!

The Palestinians of all shades live in hope that they will once again be able to live in peace in their land. But it suits Israel to have a state of chaos prevailing as that way they will be able to draw on their superior public media presentation skills to highlight the Palestinians as the aggressors while they continue to enjoy and expand their hold of entire Palestine!

Many thanks to this outstanding personality for sharing his thoughts with us in Oulu.

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