Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘genocide’ Category

A fourth round of genocide committed on Gaza civilians

Mnd you this article was Posted on August 17, 2014 (and written on July 25, 2014)

Israel/Gaza conflict: Questions and Answers

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaeiya neighbourhood during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, 22 July 2014.

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Al Shejaiya (Shuja3iya) neighbourhood in eastern Gaza City during a military operation in eastern Gaza City, 22 July 2014. © EPA1.

What does Amnesty International think of the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 July? What should happen next?

Amnesty International welcomes resolution S-21/1 to establish a commission of inquiry and notes that the wording allows the commission to investigate violations of international law by all parties to the current conflict.

The commission of inquiry represents an important opportunity to break the cycle of persistent impunity for crimes under international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

In order to be effective the commission of inquiry must be thorough, independent and impartial, and look into violations by any party to the conflict.

It must be adequately resourced and have unrestricted access to all relevant areas.

Amnesty International urges all states – including all EU member states, who abstained on the resolution – to cooperate with the commission as required.

2. What are the key obligations of the parties to the conflict during the hostilities under international humanitarian law?

During an armed conflict, all parties – whether state or non-state armed forces – must respect international humanitarian law, which aims to protect civilians by regulating the conduct of all sides in hostilities.

States also continue to have an obligation to respect international human rights law during a conflict.

Under international humanitarian law, all sides in an armed conflict must distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian structures, and direct attacks only at the former.

Deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects – such as homes, medical facilities, schools, governmental buildings – that are not being used for military purposes are prohibited and are war crimes.

Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks (where the likely number of civilian casualties or damage to civilian property outweighs the anticipated military advantage to be gained) are also prohibited.

(Netanyahu told Biden a week ago that he is Not concerned about Palestinian civilians. Hundreds of Palestinians died and were injured for this indiscriminate attacks of Israel planes)

All sides must take necessary precautions in attack to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. This includes giving civilians effective warnings ahead of attacks, and cancelling or suspending an attack if it becomes apparent that the target is civilian or that the attack would be disproportionate.

They also must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks.

For example, warring parties should avoid endangering civilians by storing ammunition in, and launching attacks from, populated civilian areas.

3. What are the different patterns of violations by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip that Amnesty International has identified since Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” on 8 July 2014? 

Israeli forces have carried out attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians, using precision weaponry such as drone-fired missiles, as well as munitions such as artillery, which cannot be precisely targeted, on very densely populated residential areas, such as Shuja’iyyeh.

They have also directly attacked thousands of homes. Israel appears to consider the homes of people associated with Hamas to be legitimate military targets, a stance that does not conform to international humanitarian law.

Several medical facilities and non-military governmental buildings across the Gaza Strip have also been destroyed or damaged.

(In this current round, Israel bombed all the roads that lead to the 2 hospitals in Gaza City and north of Gaza. European States funds all the hospitals in Gaza. 35,000 took refuge in the 43 UNRWA schools)

The UN has reported that one of its schools sheltering displaced people in the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza was shelled by Israeli forces on at least two occasions.

Another such school sheltering displaced families in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza was struck on 24 July, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring many others, and the UN has called for an immediate investigation.

Although the Israeli authorities claim to be warning civilians in Gaza, a consistent pattern has emerged that their actions do not constitute an “effective warning” under international humanitarian law.

Israeli attacks have also caused mass displacement of Palestinian civilians within the Gaza Strip.

4. What is Amnesty International’s position on the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian armed groups?

Do other actions of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since 8 July 2014 violate international humanitarian law?

According to the Israeli army, Hamas’ military wing and other Palestinian armed groups fired over 1,700 rockets into Israel from 8 to 18 July, and scores of rockets continue to be fired every day.

(Mind you that in 2014 the rockets were puny and Not precise. Still, Israel attacked by land and totally destroyed Gaza infrastructures)

(Three civilians in Israel have been killed, a few civilian properties in Israel have been damaged, compared to over 1,500 Palestinians killed and 3 fold injured).

International humanitarian law prohibits the use of weapons that are by nature indiscriminate. The rockets fired from Gaza into Israel cannot be aimed exactly at their objective and their use violates international humanitarian law.

The firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars also endangers Palestinian civilians inside the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank ?.

Statements by some leaders of Palestinian armed groups also indicate that they have no qualms about launching attacks against civilians and that they in fact carry out such attacks intending to kill and injure Israeli civilians.

Attacks that directly target civilians and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitute war crimes.

5. When the Israeli military has warned residents of a specific area in the Gaza Strip to evacuate the area, does that fulfil its obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law?

Effective advance warning to civilians is only one of the prescribed precautions in attack aimed at minimizing harm to civilians.

When Israeli forces have given warning in many cases key elements of effective warning have been missing, including timeliness, informing civilians where it is safe to flee, and providing safe passage and sufficient time to flee before an attack.

There also have been reports of lethal strikes launched too soon after a warning to spare civilians.

In any event, issuing a warning does not absolve an attacking force of its obligations to spare civilians, including by taking all other necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian structures.

Israel’s continuing military blockade on the Gaza Strip and the closure of the Rafah crossing by the Egyptian authorities since the hostilities began mean that civilians in Gaza cannot flee to neighbouring countries.

6. The Israeli authorities claim that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups use Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “human shields”. Does Amnesty International have any evidence that this has occurred during the current hostilities? 

Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.

In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate.

However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment.

Under international humanitarian law even if “human shields” are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply. (Human shields is what Israel practice at a wide scale)

7. There are reports that Israeli forces have used flechettes in the current military operation in the Gaza Strip. What is Amnesty International’s position on the use of flechettes? Has the Israeli military used flechettes in Gaza before? 

Flechettes are 3.5cm-long steel darts, sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 of these darts are packed into shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m by 100m.

Flechettes are designed to be used against massed infantry attacks or squads of troops in the open, and obviously pose a very high risk to civilians when fired in densely populated residential areas.

Local human rights groups have reported cases in which civilians in Gaza have been killed and injured by flechette shells. Amnesty International has not yet been able to verify particular cases during the current hostilities, but has previously documented Israeli forces’ use of flechette rounds, for example during Operation “Cast Lead”, resulting in the killing of civilians, including children.

Flechettes are not specifically prohibited by international humanitarian law per se, however, they should never be used in densely populated areas.

8. What is Amnesty International calling on the international community to do at this point?

All states (particularly key suppliers, for example USA for Israel) must suspend all transfers of weapons, munitions and other military equipment and technology to all sides until there is no longer a substantial risk that such items will be used for serious violations of international humanitarian law or serious human rights abuses.

The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.

States should use the 2009 report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and the upcoming report of the commission of inquiry mandated this week by the Human Rights Council as a basis to exercise universal jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law before their national courts.

Most powerful USA/Israel bombs raining on Gaza

Fadi Quran – Avaaz

I am writing to you from Palestine with a broken heart. Children are being killed. 

I just watched one of them being brought to the hospital. His name is Hamza Nassar. He was just 11 years old.

This vicious spiral of oppression and violence must end.

Our strategy must be to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear. It worked to end apartheid in South Africa, and it can end Israeli apartheid in Palestine. Join the call for sanctions on Israel — stand up for freedom and justice.

For many of us reading, Hamza will become a statistic. A number that passes in the news cycle.
(No coverage of colonial powers media on the murder and suffering of the “Palestinian” kids in Gaza and the West Bank)

But Hamza is not a number, he is someone’s son. A brother. A grandchild. A classmate. He was a beautiful dream of a brighter future. And now he is gone, forever. 

This spiral of oppression and violence must end. The only way to stop Israel forcing Palestinians from their lands, the collective punishment of innocent families, Israel bombing Gaza is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear.

This strategy was key to ending Apartheid in South Africa, and it will be key to finally achieving peace in the Middle East. But it won’t succeed unless there’s a massive global movement behind it — and that’s where every one of our voices counts.

When this is huge, we’ll take it directly to members of the UN Security Council demanding sanctions on Israel until it puts an end to the military occupation.

Add your name now, and let’s make sure Hamza’s death is not in vain and no more dreams are vanished.
End the spiral of violence: Sanction Israel Now.

Currently, the Israeli government and extremist settlers make BILLIONS of dollars from the oppression of Palestinians. The settlers stealing the homes of Palestinians are often funded and supported by the Israeli government and USA taxpayers, which allows them to live a subsidized life on land they steal.

The Israeli government steals water and other natural resources from the Palestinian territories it occupies, while many Palestinians are forced to become cheap labour.

Before selling weapons and surveillance technologies to violent regimes, such as the military in Myanmar and dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, Israel often experiments with them on Palestinian communities.

To make freedom and peace viable, we need to shift this broken system that makes crimes against humanity a for-profit endeavor. 

Israel currently occupies, colonises, bombs, raids, and controls the water, trade and the borders of Palestine — 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 have no way to escape.

These are war crimes and we wouldn’t accept them anywhere else.

The Israeli government, occupying settlers AND extremists and corrupt leaders benefit from the status quo, and for too long the international community has ignored Palestinian suffering.

To bring peace to the Middle East, that must change. And now is the moment to change it. This must end. 

Israel’s power and wealth dwarfs that of Palestine, and if it refuses to end its illegal occupation, the world must act to make the cost unbearable.

Calling for sanctions on Israel is the most potent non-violent strategy to ensure sustainable peace for Israelis and achieve Palestinian freedom and justice. 


With hope and determination,

Fadi, Marie, Christoph, Mo, Nax, John, Risalat, and the entire Avaaz team.
For more information:
.

Human Rights Watch Report: Israel committing crime of apartheid

Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem are a human rights test for Biden (Vox)

Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque ahead of Jerusalem Day march (The Guardian)

What is happening in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah? (Al Jazeera English)

Hamas fires rockets into Israel after clash at Al-Aqsa Mosque; 20 reported dead in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes (Associated Press)

Birth Defects of Iraqis after US invasion

Posted on March 25, 2013

Iraqi Birth Defects Worse than Hiroshima

I watched a documentary on the cable ARTE yesterday on the birth defects suffered by babies in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003. And today Hot Posts is disseminating what Rania Khalek wrote. This is a reblog with minor editing. Rania Khalek posted on March 20, 2013 in her blog “Dispatches from the underclass”

The United States may be finished dropping bombs on Iraq, but Iraqi bodies and babies will be dealing with the consequences for generations to come in the form of birth defects, mysterious illnesses and skyrocketing cancer rates.

Al Jazeera’s Dahr Jamail reports that contamination from U.S. weapons, particularly Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, has led to an Iraqi health crisis of epic proportions.

Children being born with two heads, children born with only one eye, multiple tumors  disfiguring facial and body deformities, and complex nervous system problems…” are just some of the congenital birth defects being linked to military-related pollution.

In certain Iraqi cities, the health consequences are significantly worse than those seen in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of WWII.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

The highest rates are in the city of Fallujah, which underwent two massive US bombing campaigns in 2004. Though the U.S. initially denied it, officials later admitted using white phosphorous (like what Israel used on Gaza).

In addition, U.S. and British forces unleashed an estimated 2,000 tons of depleted uranium ammunition in populated Iraqi cities in 2003.

DU, a chemically toxic heavy metal produced in nuclear waste, is used in weapons due to its ability to pierce through armor. That’s why the US and UK were among a handful of nations (France and Israel) who in December refused to sign an international agreement to limit its use, insisting DU is not harmful, science be damned.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s refusal to release details about where DU munitions were fired has made it difficult to clean up.

Today, 14.7% of Fallujah’s babies are born with a birth defect, 14 times the documented rate in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fallujah’s babies have also experienced heart defects 13 times the European rate and nervous system defects 33 times that of Europe.

That comes on top of a 12-fold rise in childhood cancer rates since 2004.

The male-to-female birth ratio is now 86 boys for every 100 girls, indicating genetic damage that affects males more than females.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(On a side note, these pictures are rather sanitized compared to other even more difficult to look at images. See here if you can bear it.)

If Fallujah is the Iraqi Hiroshima, then Basra is its Nagasaki.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, a professional journal based in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, there was a 7 fold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

According to the Heidelberg study, the concentration of lead in the milk teeth of sick children from Basra was almost 3 times as high as comparable values in areas where there was no fighting.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among new-born is 6 times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

These phenomenon are not isolated to Fallujah and Basra. The overall Iraqi cancer rate has also skyrocketed:

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As Grist’s Susie Cagle points out, “That’s potentially a more than 4,000% increase in the cancer rate, making it more than 500 percent higher than the cancer rate in the U.S.

Dr. Mozghan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told Jamail that “These observations collectively suggest an extraordinary public health emergency in Iraq.

Such a crisis requires urgent multifaceted international action to prevent further damage to public

health.”

(Dr. Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

Instead, the international community, including the nation most responsible for the health crisis is mostly ignoring the problem.

To make matters worse, Iraq’s healthcare system, which was once the envy of the region, is virtually nonexistent due to the mass exodus of Iraq’s medical doctors since 2003.

According to recent estimates, there are currently fewer than 100 psychiatrists and 20,0000 physicians serving a population of 31 million Iraqis.

Dahr Jamail was on Democracy Now this morning discussing the horrific effects of military-related pollution in Iraq:https://www.youtube.com/embed/RNi_1pbSqGY?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Yanar Mohammad, President of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq was also on Democracy Now and addressed the toxic legacy of birth defects in Iraq. (I interviewed Mohammed for a piece I wrote for Muftah about the deterioration of Iraqi women’s rights since the invasion, which you can read here.)

BDS vs. the lie of ‘woke Zionism’

“Woke Zionism” is a lie that seeks to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

BY OLIVIA KATBI SMITH AND DYLAN SABA.

We must respond by reaffirming the reality and demands of Palestinians living under apartheid.

Amidst the post-Trump euphoria and inauguration festivities, President Biden’s Secretary of State nominee quietly affirmed the new administration’s intent to keep the U.S. embassy to Israel in the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the military occupation and colonial settlement of the West Bank continues unabated, despite immense cost in lives and human dignity as well as near-ubiquitous global condemnation.

Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on earth, remains under siege; its nearly two million inhabitants (over 40% of which are under the age of 14, and most of them are refugees from other parts of Palestine) do their best to carry on despite serial Israeli bombing campaigns from which Gazans are materially unable to rebuild.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new front to Israeli apartheid, as Israel refuses to provide vaccinations to millions of Palestinians within its sovereign domain.

The incoming Biden administration has signaled no desire to deviate from the unflinching American political, military, and diplomatic support for Israel that has maintained these degrading conditions for decades.   

In response, the American left, freshly torqued off four years of a Trump presidency and an insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential run, has seen the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Red Nation, and other left organizations join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

This call to end Israeli apartheid was originally initiated by wide swaths of Palestinian civil society in 2005.

The BDS movement emerged after the relative failure of two intifadas (the first unarmed and the second armed), bilateral negotiations mediated by the US, and appeals to US-controlled international bodies.

It calls for an international boycott of Israeli institutions that uphold the apartheid regime until three demands are met:

1) the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of lands, including the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights and the dismantling of the Wall of Shame;

2) recognition of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3) recognition and promotion of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Since its initiation, it has gained notable steam both globally and in the US as various unions, churches, NGOs, movement organizations, and celebrity activists and academics have pledged support for the effort.

Unsurprisingly, BDS has been systemically opposed by those in the US who support apartheid.

For years, critics have argued that the BDS movement is unfairly targeting Israel for its human rights and humanitarian abuses, since other such atrocities exist around the world without corresponding boycotts.

Critics claim on this basis that support for BDS within the US is veiled antisemitism directed at the only Jewish majority nation and that opposition to the occupation of Palestine operates as a cover for this hidden animus.

They point to growing incidents of antisemitism nationally and to openly antisemitic statements and demonstrations from neo-Nazi movements as part of a rising tide of cross-ideological antisemitism, of which they view the BDS movement as one expression.

It should go without saying that these criticisms are completely unfounded.

There is no reason why Palestinian civil society should be expected to organize boycott campaigns against other repressive regimes aside from the one imposing apartheid on their homeland.

The BDS movement directly targets those state institutions and private corporations which uphold the apartheid regime. This includes security and technology firms, but also universities and agricultural businesses that support the infrastructure of apartheid and occupation.

Any entity that refuses to participate in the oppression of Palestinians is by definition not a target of BDS. Neither is any person in their individual capacity as an Israeli subject to BDS. 

Help Mondoweiss match a $30,000 challenge!

Nevertheless, the smear of antisemitism has been increasingly levied against BDS and its proponents in the United States and Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause throughout his career, including through partial support for BDS. As a result, he and his allies in the party have been plagued by unsubstantiated accusations of antisemitism (based entirely on this support) since his 2015 ascendancy to party leadership.

These accusations from conservative forces within the Labour party escalated into an all-out witch hunt, resulting in a purge of hundreds of party members.

Corbyn himself was eventually suspended from the party and forced to apologize, even after it was revealed that his own party intentionally sabotaged his campaign.

New Labour leader Keir Starmer and his allies have made it their mission to eradicate any trace of respect for Palestinian rights and dignity from the party, creating purge lists of Labour MPs and members. 

This strategy has been so successful in Britain that pro-Israel counterparts in the US are now seeking to replicate it.

In the Fall of 2020, New York City DSA was lambasted by the Israel lobby and friends when the chapter’s city council questionnaire was leaked, asking candidates if they would pledge not to travel to Israel.

Following this, 50 Democrats in the New York State Assembly signed a statement suggesting DSA should be banned from its halls. And just last month, Queens DSA became the subject of a city council candidate forum after Soma Syed, a candidate who sought DSA’s endorsement, walked back her previous, favorable position on BDS, dragged DSA through the mud, and pledged her loyalty to capitalism.

Another frequent critic of DSA and self-proclaimed “pro-Israel progressive” Ritchie Torres has called BDS “an insidious form of antisemitism,” arguing “the act of singling out Israel as BDS has done is the definition of discrimination.”

Andrew Yang, who is now running for mayor of New York City, even went so far as to compare participants in BDS with Nazis refusing to patronize Jewish establishments in the lead up to the Holocaust.

Perhaps the best way to understand this phenomenon is as a marriage of convenience between the institutional forces within center-left parties opposed to socialists in their ranks and an Israel lobby concerned about growing momentum for BDS.

To this end, the framing of BDS as a front for left antisemitism accomplishes a dual function: first, it serves to castigate the anti-Zionist left in the ostensibly progressive language of nondiscrimination, and second, it serves to delegitimize the preeminent form of nonviolent Palestinian resistance by conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. 

In order to criticize the left in ostensibly progressive terms, the antisemitism smear employs a perverse form of what Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò dubs deference epistemology: the discursive practice of “listening to the most marginalized” or deferring to those in the proverbial room whose lived experiences are most at issue.

In the United States, Palestinians suffering under occupation tend not to be in the room, and advocates for BDS are generally engaging in political solidarity.

By redefining all solidarity action with Palestine as antisemitism, BDS critics demand ultimate deference to Jews directly experiencing antisemitism, cropping both Palestinians experiencing violent apartheid and their advocates out of the conversation.

Excluded by this institutionalized mandate for deference, oppressed Palestinians are prevented from defining the scope and source of their own harm; instead, that power is awarded to their oppressors. This allows critics from within nominally left-leaning institutions to oppose solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement, and indeed to oppose leftist political currents more broadly, all while maintaining their claims on a progressive identity and brand.

Wielding the language of identitarian politics against the left is not unique to proponents of Israel. In their 2016 presidential primary, Hillary Clinton infamously derided the Bernie Sanders campaign with the quip “if we broke up the banks tomorrow, would that end racism?” ( And Hillary lost the Presidency because Sanders followers refused to vote for her)

We can look to just a few months ago, when Democrat mayors were renaming streets and painting Black Lives Matter on roads while simultaneously increasing the budgets and military equipment of their police forces to see how the cooptation of identity and branding works to quell real movements for change.

Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that this strategy of specious progressivism forms the backbone of messaging against the anti-Zionist left. 

This framing aims to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and does so with some success. Political institutions in the United States and Britain have been systematically adopting formal definitions of antisemitism that are vague enough to include targeted criticism of the state of Israel—most notably the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, a definition so controversial that its original author now opposes its formal use.

By adopting these expansive definitions and then referring to them as evidence for the claim that BDS is antisemitic, institutional actors tautologically identify BDS as the left expression of a cross-ideological wave of antisemitism.

This is of course absurd: neo-Nazis such as Richard Spencer and his ilk are both openly antisemitic and support the Zionist project, going so far as to use it as inspiration for their imagined American ethnostate.

This association, which is common enough to be stated openly, is a much more damning one than any between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Additionally, there are many anti-Zionist Jews who support Palestinian liberation as well as BDS.

Nevertheless, these contradictions are routinely ignored, and the false association between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is assumed to be self-evident. 

Critically, the success of this rhetorical strategy, which we might call “Woke Zionism”, depends on the irrelevance of material Palestinian suffering. If proponents of BDS are antisemites operating based on anti-Jewish animus, the substantive basis of their claim—namely the inhumanity of the occupation—can be ignored as pretext for a covert bigotry.

Under the logic of Woke Zionism, the American BDS advocate is merely appropriating alleged harms suffered by Palestinians as a guise for covert bigotry.

As such, Palestinians, their experiences, and their harms endured are quickly evacuated from the discourse. There is a marked shift in subject: the material harms of occupation are supplanted by the supposed harms a national boycott inflicts on non-nationals of the same religion thousands of miles away.

This becomes an increasingly attractive rhetorical move for supporters of the status quo as conditions on the ground in Palestine worsen and the indignities of the Zionist project become harder to dismiss or justify on their face.

While the particular rhetorical tactic of Woke Zionism is a relatively modern innovation, the erasure of Palestinian existence, both physically and discursively, is one of Zionism’s fundamental features. “

“A land without a people for a people without a land” is more than a foundational myth for the Israeli state; it is the aspirational horizon that Zionism, as a settler-colonial project and as an ideology, is constantly operating towards.

It is to this end that more crass Zionists will insist, as a rebuttal to the charge of oppression, that Palestine does not exist and the Palestinians are an invented people.

The physical Zionist project operates to concentrate Palestinians living in historic Palestine into Bantustans, clearing the way for the expansion of the Israeli state.

To the same extent, its ideological commitment is to the de-subjectification of the Palestinians, scouring clean the discursive terrain to allow for Zionist logic to take root. Palestinian suffering must always be folded back into the frame of Jewish subjectivity.

For this reason, it is critical that we respond by reaffirming the subjectivity of Palestinians living under apartheid. Pro-Israel critics have clearly decided to attack BDS with specious claims of antisemitism because they are not comfortable defending apartheid directly.

Likewise, conservative forces within center-left institutions see an opportunity to scold the left in its own increasingly popular lexicon. As socialists, and as supporters of the Palestinian cause, we must reject this entire discursive frame. 

In DSA, we have already seen our own candidates and elected officials smeared along these lines, and we should only expect this to escalate as our movement builds power. Democrat and so-called progressive candidates for elected office will most often default to “security for Israel” and “the two-state solution” as their “safe space”: their uncontroversial, unexamined, and unquestioned position on Israel/Palestine.

If progressives are serious about challenging the status quo, their default position should not be to defend the status quo, which in this case happens to be an apartheid regime. If they feel the need to default, it should be to their values: equality for all and respect for human rights.

In any other context, this would be uncontroversial, and upholding these values consistently is all that the BDS movement asks.

So from those who claim to be progressives who support Israel, we’d like to know: which of the three objectives of the BDS Movement do you so vehemently oppose? Is it the demand to end Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, and to dismantle the apartheid wall?

Do you oppose recognizing the fundamental rights and full equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel? Or is it the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes as stipulated in UN resolution 194 that you can’t abide?

Like it or not, these are the only demands of the BDS Movement. Claiming that the movement represents anything other than demands for equality, freedom, and justice for Palestinians is simply false.

Our job as socialists is not to be defensive and apologetic when faced with baseless accusations meant to derail our advocacy, but to be proactive in promoting the virtue of our cause. We stand with Palestine because the Israeli apartheid regime is an ongoing and pervasive affront to law, justice, and fundamental principles of human dignity.

Anyone seeking to smear us, our candidates, and our organizations with ugly accusations of antisemitism should be made to answer why they do not.

The original version of this article ran in Partisan on March 30, 2021 under the title “Reclaiming the Palestinian Subject.” 

Partisan is a forum for communist discussion created by members from four caucuses in the Democratic Socialists of America: the Communist Caucus, the Red Caucus in Portland, Oregon, Emerge in New York City, New York, and Red Star in San Francisco, California. 

“Farewell Beirut” by late Mai Ghoussoub(book review, part 3)

Posted on December 4, 2008 (and written in Nov,16, 2008)

Note: Paragraphs in parentheses are my own interjections.

The third part of my review was hard and I delayed it too long because the demons that Mai is battling with are spread throughout the book.

I decided not to try to have a coherent or logical links among the different emotions that were troubling Mai, and I will leave it to the readers to do their own homework and reflections.

There are cases of transient insanity such as degraded human values, mocked tradition, and disobedience of State laws and rules.

For example, why we tend to be more lenient toward the rotten moral values of officials simply because they didn’t show rigidity in the mind? 

If we admit that “traitors” are the product of dictatorship and wars, and that this breed of people are present in locations fraught with danger (then most of us might have played the role of traitors under the right conditions).

People have the tendency to be more lenient with deficiency in morality than with extremist positions in ideologies and religious beliefs.

For example, burning witches is related to extreme social and religious dogmatism as a reaction for seeking consensus in an established social order. 

Heroes are not necessarily that honorable; take the case of this child who denounced his father, who helped a few Gulag prisoners to escape, to the soviet authorities and in return was awarded a medal of honor and much propaganda.

Take for example the French women who had sexual relationship with German officers during WWII and many of them begot offspring; they had their head shaven since hair is the most representative of female pride.

These head shaven ladies were the scapegoats to releasing the emotions of frustration and rage among the vanquished Parisians. The worst part is that the mothers brought their kids with them to watch this dishonoring ritual. The women watchers are badly dressed, which reflect a bad conscience in being part of the ceremony.

While the German used modern techniques to hide their genocide, the French “victors” adopted medieval means to humiliate and get revenge on the traitors and informers.

John Steinbeck said “We cannot take pictures of war, because war is fundamentally emotions“.

In our back head, we always have fears for the reaction of those we have persecuted.

The French star singer Arlettie reacted furiously and said “What! Are they also meddling in how we use our sex parts?”   Many women had to survive under siege and everyone according to his potentials and skills.

The Argentinean navy officer Adolfo Silingo said:

“I was responsible for killing 30 people with my own hands and I do not feel remorse or repentance because I was following orders, and I got used after the initial shock surprise. We knew that we were killing humans but we kept killing them!  The civilians were in a semi comatose state from torture and we threw them out of the airplane like puppy dolls.

Most of the navy contingents participated in these mass killings” Adolfo admitted. He is spending his life drunk on the streets trying to forget the “dirty war” during the dictatorship against his own people.

General Paul Tibits who dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima is not penitent.  These kinds of people were once considered heroes: how do you view them now?

Hannah Arendt would like to comprehend “Why these people did choose to stop thinking?

Brecht screamed in one of his plays “Woo to the nations that count too many heroes!

Simone Veil didn’t take it personal that she was incarcerated because she was Jew; she was interested to know “how people are propelled into a climate of condemning and defaming others

This question is pertinent “Is it legitimate to hide truth in order to secure social peace? How can we manage to forget, and yet not take chances, for the recurrence of the same sorts of atrocities?”

It is most difficult to find common denominators among the concepts of justice, moral values, and politics when judging cases of genocides.

Bertolt Brecht said: “Tragedies is about human suffering, expressed in less seriousness than comedies. The perpetrators of genocides are not great criminal politicians, but simple people who allowed horrifying political crimes to pass”

Note: The main theme in “Farewell Beirut” is “revenge” and the associated concepts of honor, genocides, nationalism, heroes, traitors, denouncers, martyrdom, punishment, hate, love and the fundamental human emotions that might be interpreted differently through the ages, and civilizations but where the moral values of wrong and right should not be left to personal matters of point of views.

Among the Worst 15 USA live experiments on people: Inside boundaries and outside

Posted on August 6, 2012

  • In: biographies/books | Essays | Events/Cultural/Educational/Arts | health/medicine | Human Factors/Ergonomics | medicine/medical treatment | professional articles | Safety | social articles | Time for Outrage
  • Mind Control in Project MKULTRA.
  • The CIA-ran Project MKULTRA and paid Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron for Subproject 68 (1957 – 1964) . Cameron was to conduct experiments involving mind-altering substances. The goal was to probe examination into methods of influencing and controlling the mind and being able to extract information from resisting minds.
  • Cameron took patients admitted to his Allen Memorial Institute in Montreal and conducted “therapy” on them. The patients were mostly taken in for issues like bipolar depression and anxiety disorders. The treatment they received was life-altering and scarring.
  • Cameron administered electroconvulsive therapy at 30-40 times the normal power. He would put patients into a drug-induced coma for months on-end and playback tapes of simple statements or repetitive noises over and over again.
  • The victims forgot how to talk, forgot about their parents, and suffered serious amnesia.
  • And all of this was performed on Canadian citizens because the CIA wasn’t willing to risk such operations on Americans.
  • To ensure that the project remained funded, Cameron, in one scheme, took his experiments upon admitted children and in one situation had the child engage in sex with high-ranking government officials and film it.
  • Mustard Gas Tested on Soldiers via Involuntary Gas Chambers.
  • As bio-weapon research intensified in the 1940’s, officials also began testing its repercussions and defenses on the Army itself. In order to test the effectiveness of various bio-weapons, officials were known to have sprayed mustard gas and other skin-burning, lung-ruining chemicals, like Lewisite, on soldiers without their consent or knowledge of the experiment happening to them.
  • They also tested the effectiveness of gas masks and protective clothing by locking soldiers in a gas chamber and exposing them to mustard gas and lewisite, evoking the gas chamber image of Nazi Germany.
  • EFFECTS OF LEWISITE: Lewisite is a gas that can easily penetrate clothing and even rubber. Upon contact with the skin, the gas immediately causes extreme pain, itching, swelling and even a rash.
  • Large, fluid-filled blisters develop 12 hours after exposure in the form of intensely severe chemical burns. And that’s just skin contact with the gas.
  • Inhaling of the gas causes a burning pain in the lungs, sneezing, vomiting, and pulmonary edema.
  • EFFECTS OF MUSTARD GAS:  There are no Symptoms until about 24 hours after exposure. Mustard Gas has mutagenic and carcinogenic properties that have killed many subjected to it. Its primary effects include severe burns that turn into yellow-fluid-leaking boils over a period of time.
  • Although treatment is available, Mustard Gas burns heal very, very slowly and are extremely painful.
  • The burns the gas leaves on the skin are sometimes irreparable.
  • It was also rumored that along with the soldiers, patients at VA hospitals were being used as guinea pigs for medical experiments involving bio-warfare chemicals, but that all experiments were changed to be known as “observations” to ward off suspicions
  • U.S. Grants Immunity to Involuntary-Surgery Monster.
  • As head of Japan’s infamous Unit 731 (a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II), Dr. Shiro Ishii (head of medicine) carried out violent human experimentation of tens of thousands during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
  • Ishii was responsible for testing vivisection techniques without any anesthesia on human prisoners. For the uninitiated, vivisection is the act of conducting experimental surgery on living creatures (with central nervousness) and examining their insides for scientific purposes.Ishii was giving unnecessary surgery to prisoners by opening them all the way up, keeping them alive and not using any anesthetic.For a disturbing video about vivisection, please go here .
  • During these experiments he would also force pregnant women to abort their babies.He subjected his prisoners to change in physiological conditions and inducing strokes, heart attacks, frostbite, and hypothermia. Ishii considered these subjects “logs”.
  • Following imminent defeat in 1945, Japan blew up the Unity 731 complex and Ishii ordered all the remaining “logs” to be executed. Not soon after, Ishii was arrested. And then, the respected General Douglas McArthur allegedly struck a deal with Ishii. If the U.S. granted Ishii immunity from his crimes, he must exchange all germ warfare data based on human experimentation.
  • So Ishii got away with his crimes because the US became interested in the results of his research.While not directly responsible for these acts, the actions of the American government certainly illustrated it was more than willing to condone human torture for advancements in biological warfare that could kill even more people.Ishii remained alive until 1959, performing research into bio-weaponry and probably thinking up more plans to annihilate people in different ways to his dying day.
  • Deadly Chemical Sprays on American Cities.  
  • The U.S. tends to test out worse-case scenarios by getting to them first.  With the advent of biochemical warfare in the mid 20th century, the Army, CIA and government conducted a series of warfare simulations upon American cities to see how the effects would play out in the event of an actual chemical attack.They conducted the following air strikes/naval attacks:
  • 1. The CIA released a whooping-cough virus on Tampa Bay, using boats, and so caused a whooping-cough epidemic. 12 people died.-
  • 2. The Navy sprayed San Francisco with bacterial pathogens and in consequence many citizens developed pneumonia.3.  
  • Upon Savannah, GA and Avon Park, FL, the army released millions of mosquitoes in the hopes they would spread yellow fever and dengue fever. The swarm left Americans struggling with fevers, typhoid, respiratory problems, and the worst, stillborn children.Even worse was that after the swarm, the Army came in disguised as public health workers. Their secret intention the entire time they were giving aid to the victims was to study and chart-out the long-term effects of all the illnesses they were suffering.
  • US Infects Guatemalans With syphilis STD
  • In the 1940’s, with penicillin as an established cure for syphilis, the US decided to test out its effectiveness on Guatemalan citizens.To do this, they used infected prostitutes and let them loose on unknowing prison inmates, insane asylum patients and soldiers.When spreading the disease through prostitution didn’t work as well as they’d hoped, they instead went for the inoculation route.  
  • Researchers poured syphilis bacteria onto mens’ penises and on their forearms and faces. In some cases, they even inoculated the men through spinal punctures.After all the infections were transmitted, researchers then gave most of the subjects treatment, although as many as 1/3 of them could have been left untreated, even if that was the intention of the study in the first place.
  • On October 1, 2010, Hillary Clinton apologized for the events and new research has gone on to see if anyone affected is still alive and afflicted with syphilis. Since many subjects never got penicillin, its possible and likely that someone spread it to future generations.
  • 6. Harness the power of the atomic bomb.
  • While testing out and trying to harness the power of the atomic bomb, U.S. scientists also secretly tested the bomb’s effects on humans. During the Manhattan Project, which gave way to the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. scientists resorted to secret human testing via plutonium injection on 18 unsuspecting, non-consenting patients.
  • This test included injecting soldiers with micrograms of plutonium for Project Oak Ridge along with later injecting three patients at a Chicago hospital. Imagine you’re an admitted patient, helpless in a hospital bed, assuming that nothing is wrong when the government suddenly appears and puts weapons-grade plutonium in your blood.Out of the 18 patients, who were known only by their code-names and numbers at the time, only 5 lived longer than 20 years after injection.
  • Along with plutonium, researchers also had fun with uranium. At a Massachusetts hospital, between 1946 and 1947, Dr. William Sweet injected 11 patients with uranium. He was funded by the Manhattan Project.And in exchange for the uranium he received from the government, he would keep dead tissue from the body of the people he killed for scientific analysis on the effects of uranium exposure.To the left is a video on the Manhattan Project.
  • 7. Injected Prisoners with Agent Orange 
  • Americans used Agent Orange as a biological warfare during Vietnam. It was  used on Americans, VOLUNTARILY injected into people for “testing” purposes… with the help of a very popular American company Dow Chemical Company.
  • The US Army, and Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Albert Kligman used prisoners as subjects in what was deemed “dermatological research”. The dermatology aspect was testing out product the effects of Agent Orange on the skin.
    1. For the effects Agent Orange had on the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, please click here (WARNING images in this article may be extremely disturbing, as they include extreme human deformation, including that of infants.)Needless to say the injecting of, or exposure to, dioxidin is beyond monstrous to voluntarily do to any human. Kligman, though, injected dioxidin (a main component of Agent Orange) into the prisoners to study its effects.
    2. What did happen was that the prisoners developed an eruption of chloracne (all that stuff from high school combined with blackheads and cysts and pustules that looked like the picture shown to the left) that develop on the cheeks, behind the ears, armpits, and the groin — yes, the groin.Kligman was rumored to have injected 468 times the amount he was authorized to.
    3. Documentation of that effect has, wisely, not been distributed.The Army oversaw while Kligman continued to test out skin-burning chemicals to (in their words) “learn how the skin protects itself against chronic assault from toxic chemicals, the so-called hardening process” and test out many products whose effects were unknown at the time, but with the intent of figuring that out.During these proceedings, Kligman was reported to have said, “All I saw before me were acres of skin … It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time.”8. Operation Paperclip While the Nuremberg trials were being conducted and the ethics and rights of humanity were under investigation, the U.S. was secretly taking in Nazi scientists and giving them American identities.
  • Under Operation Paperclip, named so because of the paperclips used to attach the scientists’ new profiles to their US personnel pages…N***s worked in the infamous human experiments (which included surgically grafting twins to each other and making then conjoined, removing nerves from people’s bodies without anesthetic, and testing explosion-effects on them) in Germany brought over their talents to work on a number of top-secret projects for the US.
  • Given then-President Truman’s anti-Nazi orders.The project was kept under wraps and the scientists received faked political biographies, allowing these monsters to live on not only American soil, but as free men.So while it was not direct experimentation, it was the U.S. taking some of the worst people in the world and giving them jobs here to do unknown, horrible experiments/research.
  • 9. Infecting Puerto Rico With Cancer
    1. In 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads was sponsored by the Rockefeller Institute to conduct experiments in Puerto Rico. He infected Puerto Rica citizens with cancer cells, presumably to study the effects. Thirteen of them died.The accusations stem from a note Cornelius wrote:“The Porto Ricans (sic) are the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever to inhabit this sphere… I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more… All physicians take delight in the abuse and torture of the unfortunate subjects.”
    2. Cornelius became vice-president of the American Cancer Society.
  • 10. Pentagon Treats Black Cancer Patients with Extreme Radiation. In the 60’s, the Department of Defense performed a series of irradiation experiments on non-consenting, poor, African-American cancer patients. They were told they would be receiving treatment, but they weren’t told it would be the “Pentagon” type of treatment: meaning to study the effects of high level radiation on the human body.To avoid litigation, forms were signed only with initials so that the patients would have no way to get back at the government.In a similar case, Dr. Eugene Saenger, funded by the Defense Atomic Support Agency (fancy name), conducted the same procedure on the same type of patients.The poor, black Americans received about the same level of radiation as 7500 x-rays to their chest would, which caused intense pain, vomiting and bleeding from their nose and ears. At least 20 of the subjects died.
  • 11. Operation Midnight Climax
    1. Operation Midnight Climax involved safe houses in New York and San Fransisco, built for the sole purpose to study LSD effects on non-consenting individuals.But in order to lure the individuals there, the CIA made these safe houses out to be, wait for it, Brothels. Prostitutes on the CIA payroll  lured “clients” back the houses.Instead of having sex with them, though, they dosed them with a number of substances, most famously LSD. This also involved extensive use of marijuana.
    2. The experiments were monitored behind a two-way mirror, kind of like a sick, twisted peep show. It’s alleged that the officials who ran the experiments described them as…” it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and bidding of the All-highest?”The most horrifying part was the idea of dosing non-consenting adults with drugs they couldn’t possibly know the effects of. Embedded is a video of a soldier talking about Operation Midnight Climax and his experiences with the C.I.A. and the U.S. Government.
  • 12. Fallout Radiation on Unsuspecting Pacific Territories.
    1. After unleashing hell upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States embarked on numerous thermonuclear bomb tests in the Pacific in response to increased Soviet bomb activity. They were intended to be a secret affair. However, this secrecy would fail.
    2. Detonated in 1954 over Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Castle Bravo was the most powerful nuclear device the US ever set off. What they didn’t expect was for the fallout from the blast to inadvertently be blown up wind onto nearby residents of other islands. The suffering included birth defects and radiation sickness.The effects were greater felt in later years when many children whose parents were exposed to the fallout developed thyroid cancer and neoplasms.
    3. This created Project 4.1, a study to examine the effects of radiation fallout on human beings. Essentially,it was the latest in a long string of studies where humans act as guinea pigs without giving consent and a project remembered by the US as a way to gather data that would otherwise be unobtainable.
    4. The US moral standard that history best remembers is that even though the radiation fallout on the people of the Marshall Islands was an accident, it might as well have been intended.In addition, perhaps as nature’s way of adding insult to injury, a Japanese fishing boat was caught in the fallout. The fishermen all fell ill and one died, making the Japanese livid that the US was still affecting them with nuclear devices.
  • Tuskegee
    1. The recent uncovering of the US exposing Guatemalans to syphilis brings back to mind this infamous study. In between 1932 and 1972, researchers recruited 400 black sharecroppers in Tuskegee, Alabama to study the natural progression of syphilis. But the scientists never told the men they had syphilis.Instead, they went around believing that they were being treated for “bad blood” disease as researchers used them to find out the extent of syphilis symptoms and effects.I
    2. n 1947, penicillin became the standard cure for syphilis. But along with withholding information about the disease, scientists also “forgot” to tell their subjects that what they were being treated for had a cure.The study continued for nearly 30 years more.
    3. Once it was discovered, the backlash to the study was so fierce that President Bill Clinton made formal apology, stating he was sorry that the government “orchestrated a study that was so racist”. Sadly enough, it would be horrific, but one of the more docile evil human experiments ever conducted by the U.S. Government. Note:

Road map of a civil war: (June 1982-1985)

Posted on October 22, 2008

The third phase (June 1982-1985) started with the invasion of Israel to Lebanon and entering its capital Beirut for two weeks. It ended by the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sidon and East Sidon to Jezzine in the South.

Israel withdrew its forces in phases from various parts of the lands it occupied. 

The tactics of Israel were to allow the Christian “Lebanese Forcesto infiltrate into mixed regions and let the factions fight it out among themselves when Israel withdraws.

These tactics started a civil war in the Chouf (Druze district) that ended with the evacuation of all Christian villages, and the follow-up civil war in the region of East Sidon that ended with the evacuation of all Christian towns toward Jezzine (under Israel occupation) or East Beirut.

Israel continued its occupation of a major part of South Lebanon until its total defeat in year 2000 (over 20 years of occupation) and the withdrawal of its forces without negotiation or conditions.

This phase witnessed the evacuation of the armed Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from Beirut to Tunisia, the landing of UN troops constituted from US, France, and Italy into Beirut, the assassination of elected President Bashir Gemayel (before his official inauguration), and the gruesome slaughter of the Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatila in West Beirut , contrary to the guarantees for their safety offered by the USA, France and Israel.  

More than two thousands civilians (Palestinians and Lebanese) were killed within two days and nights, the nights of the camps fully lighted by Israel to resume the slaughter hood.

The multinational forces composed of mainly French and American forces vacated Lebanon after two successful suicide car bomb attacks on their headquarters., leaving hundreds of soldiers from the US and France dead.  

The Shiaa party “Amal” was split, and Hezbollah was created

Battles between these two factions will intensify with Hezbollah taking over the control of Dahieh (South Beirut) and “Amal” (lead by current head of the Parliament Nabih Berri) retaining the administration of what is left of South Lebanon.

Amine Gemmayel was elected President of the Republic with Israel backing. 

The peace treaty with Israel that President Gemayel was negotiating failed miserably in May 17, 1983 and the Lebanese army successfully checked the advances of the Syrian forces in Souk Gharb in the Aley region and which could have left the Presidential Palace exposed at the mercy of direct artillery fires.

The relocation movements within Beirut were the consequences of Syria’s supported militias like “Amal” attacking the Palestinian camps in and around Beirut.

This war against the remaining Palestinian strongholds in West Beirut started in the summer of 1985 and lasted for 5 years, which enfeebled “Amal” (the main Syrian supporter) militias militarily and politically.

Hezbollah was set to broaden its base in the Shia population and become the sole resistance power against Israeli occupation of part of Lebanon, after Syria Hafez Assad prohibited the leftist Lebanese forces to participate in that national and legitimate resistance.

Warring Syria Goes Hungry: Stick Figures, Stunted Growth…

Posted on April 3, 2014

Rana Obaid began her life less than two years ago in a comfortable house draped with roses, the daughter of a grocer locally famous for his rich homemade yogurt.

War and siege brought hunger so quickly to their town near Damascus that when she died in September, at 19 months, her arms and legs were as thin as broomsticks.

ANNE BARNARD Published this November 2, 2013 on nyt Enlarge This Image

The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon —

Signs in Moadhamiya (Mo3zamieh?) read, “Kneel or starve.”

Suspected cases of malnutrition are surfacing from areas held by the rebels and the government.

In a nearby town, a woman with a son suffering from kidney failure makes her children take turns eating on alternate days.

In a village outside Aleppo in northern Syria, people say they are living mainly on wild greens.

Aid workers say that Syrian refugee children are arriving in northern Lebanon thin and stunted, and that suspected malnutrition cases are surfacing from rebel-held areas in northern Syria to government-held suburbs south of Damascus.

A boy, at a Syrian refugee camp near the border with Turkey, waiting in line for a hot meal, looked inside a tent at stacks of bread. Millions in the war-torn nation are suffering from hunger. Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Across Syria, a country that long prided itself on providing affordable food to its people, international and domestic efforts to ensure basic sustenance amid the chaos of war appear to be failing.

(Actually, one of the main reasons why the colonial powers hated the Syrian people is that Syria didn’t owe a dime to any foreign country. Syria was self-sufficient in almost everything. No foreign (sovereign) debt)

Millions are going hungry to varying degrees, and there is growing evidence that acute malnutrition is contributing to relatively small but increasing numbers of deaths, especially among small children, the wounded and the sick, aid workers and nutrition experts say.

The experts warn that if the crisis continues into the winter, deaths from hunger and illness could begin to dwarf deaths from violence, which has already killed well over 100,000 people, (a “civil war” that was induced in 2011) and if the deprivation lasts longer, a generation of Syrians risks stunted development.

“I didn’t expect to see that in Syria,” said Dr. Annie Sparrow, an assistant professor and pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who examined Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and was shocked to find many underweight for their height and age.

“It’s not accurate to say this is Somalia, but this is a critical situation,” she said. “We have a middle-income country that is transforming itself into something a lot more like Somalia.”

While the war has prevented a precise accounting of the number of people affected, evidence of hunger abounds.

The government is using siege and starvation as a tactic of war in many areas, according to numerous aid workers and residents, who say that soldiers at checkpoints confiscate food supplies as small as grocery bags, treating the feeding of people in strategic rebel-held areas as a crime.

Rebel groups, too, are blockading some government-held areas and harassing food convoys.

But even for those living in more accessible areas, what aid workers call “food insecurity” is part of Syrians’ new baseline.

Inflation has made food unaffordable for many; fuel and flour shortages close some bakeries, while government airstrikes target others; agricultural production has been gutted.

Though the World Food Program says it is providing enough food for 3 million Syrians each month, its officials say they can track only what is delivered to central depots in various cities, not how widely or fairly it is distributed from there.

One aid worker — who, in a sign of the political challenges of delivering aid in Syria, asked that his organization not be identified — said he recently met Syrian health workers who reported a dozen cases of apparent malnutrition in a government-held Damascus suburb.

He suspected that the situation could be far worse in rebel-held areas.

Lack of medical care and clean water exacerbates the problem.

So does the fact that Syrians have little experience diagnosing or treating malnutrition. Particularly troubling, aid workers say, are reports of mothers who stop breast feeding, unaware that it is the best way for even a malnourished mother to keep her child alive.

Some aid groups are trying to train Syrian doctors to use simple tools that measure upper arm circumference to assess malnutrition, as convincing data on its prevalence could help spur a stronger international response.

Aid workers caution against overblown claims that could discredit such efforts.

Some government supporters even dismissed the images of bone-thin children from blockaded areas as propaganda after several thousand civilians were evacuated from the encircled Damascus suburb of Moadhamiya in recent weeks, looking exhausted, shellshocked and thin, but not on the verge of starving to death.

NEXT PAGE »

Mohammad Ghannam contributed reporting from Beirut, and an employee of The New York Times from Qudsaya, Syria.

A version of this article appears in print on November 3, 2013, on page A6 of the New York edition with the headline: Stick Figures and Stunted Growth As Warring Syria Goes Hungry.

 Multimedia

 PhotographsThe Historic Scale of Syria’s Refugee Crisis

 Video Feature. WATCHING SYRIA’S WAR.Panic After Bombing in Village Near Hama

Note: It is 2021 and the “global war” on the Syrian people is Not over. Turkey occupies a large swath in northern Syria and the Kurdish backed USA militia occupies the oil rich North-Eastern region. Russia and Iran control many strategic centers, airports and seaports

Courage in researching a people history and keeping up to date to warmongering decisions and antagonistic political positions…

Paul Craig Roberts. March 16, 2021

I Have Outlived My Country 

I was born in the spring of 1939.  I was a few days shy of 5 months old when Germany invaded Poland on September 1.  The British and French governments responded to the invasion by declaring war on Germany, thus initiating World War II.  

Germany always gets the blame.  

Germany’s invasion of Poland is always said to be the event that triggered World War II, but never that the British and French declared war on Germany.  This is because the victors write the history.

The British, French, and Americans were victors only because the Soviet Red Army defeated the Wehrmacht, possibly the finest army ever in existence.  

The Soviets prevailed through sheer numbers and in weapons production capability far beyond Germany’s capability.

After reading Viktor Suvorov book, The Real Culprit, I don’t believe Stalin had any need of war supplies from the West.

The Normandy invasion did not take place until June 6, 1944, after the Red Army had been fighting the Wehrmacht for three years since June 1941. 

Hitler was putting Germany back together from its dismemberment by the Versailles Treaty.  

Only the German people and territory under Polish rule remained to be returned.  For reasons that make no sense, the British government interfered in the German-Polish negotiations and caused the Polish military government to break off the negotiations.  

The result was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler had a claim to German territory.  The Soviets had no claim to the Polish territory seized by the Red Army, but the British and French limited their objection to the invasion of Poland by Germany.

It was the mindless British “guarantee” to Poland that caused World War II.  In its absence the Polish government would have come to terms with Germany.  

Hitler did not want war with Britain and France, much less with the US. These were events forced on Germany.  After the swift  German  defeat of the British and French armies, Hitler offered Britain peace with German military guarantees to protect the British Empire, but Churchill kept the peace offer secret and refused.

Churchill continued to refuse German offers of peace, and some historians concluded that the reason Hitler attacked the Soviet Union was because of Hitler’s belief that Churchill was holding out with the expectation that Russia would come into the war on the British and French side.  

Therefore, Hitler decided that he would remove that British hope by overrunning Russia.

Suvorov says Hitler knew that Stalin was about to attack Germany, but David Irving’s histories have not uncovered  evidence to support Suvorov’s claim that Hitler knew of a planned Soviet attack. Neither side seemed to know of the other side’s intention.

Had it not been for an early Russian winter, Hitler might have succeeded in knocking out the Soviet Union. The early winter stopped the German advance and gave the Red Army time to recover and organize.

I am writing this as background to the world I grew up in.  

World War II did not harm the US.  It did America well. The war brought the US out of the decade-long economic depression and left the US as the world power with the reserve currency. 

US military deaths from both fronts—Japan and Germany—totalled 416,000, a number almost matched by Britain, a much smaller country and population, and exceeded by tiny Yugoslavia with 446,000 military deaths.  

In contrast, German military deaths totaled 4,300,000 plus an underestimate of 500,000 civilian war deaths from the British and American policy of targeting German civilian populations with bombing raids on residential areas.

The defeat of Germany was achieved by the Soviet Union with a minimum of 10,000,000 military deaths and between 24,000,000 and 26,000,000 civilian and military deaths. 

I grew up in halcyon days in Atlanta. In those days a person did not have to be brilliant or have ruling class connections in order to succeed.  This fact seperated America from the rest of the world in popular opinion. Americans lived in a land of opportunity. And it was true, not make believe. 

In Atlanta, Georgia, 5-year olds could walk alone or with neighborhood classmates a mile to school and a mile to home without being molested or kidnapped.  

Boys could have fights on the playground without being arrested. Parents together with teachers dealt with problems, which were few. Teachers were outstanding.  

There was no such thing as education degrees. Teachers had degrees in English or other languages, mathematics, chemistry, physics, history. They were people who loved their subjects and conveyed that to students.  

Misbehavior, which was rare, was dealt with a note home that had to be signed by a parent and returned the next day.  The last thing any of us wanted was a note home. There was no CPS we could call to complain of being punished for our misdeeds.

We got along well with black Americans.  They were part of even lower middle class white households.

In those days labor saving machines were unknown.  Clothes were washed by hand and hung on clothes lines to dry. Meals were cooked from scratch with real ingredients.

If mother was not present, Carrie (black home servant) was the boss, not us “white privileged.”  Carrie dined with us at the table, and if Carrie encountered a financial problem she couldn’t handle, my parents and her other day employers would pool our scant resources to help her. 

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, with no fear or hatred of black Americans.  This is no longer the case in Atlanta.  Many white Atlantans are fleeing the city.

It is not only the relations between the races that have deteriorated.  Everything has.  

America today bears no relationship to the American world that I grew up in.  

Of course, today the reply will be that I grew up in “white privilege.” But actually, I grew up in a community in which people and genders had different roles, and a person was judged by performance.  Performance included moral behavior.  If you were a moral person who did a good job and your word was true, you were respected.  Period.

Today if you aren’t a “woke” person who objects to gender pronouns and you don’t believe that the white working class are “systemic racists,” you are deplatformed and cancelled.

White people are now demonized by other white people, and the demonized are not permitted to object. Any “person of color” can destroy any boss, fellow employee, university professor or dean by claiming to be “offended.”

In America today there are very few free people.  Only those not dependent on employment and media approval are free.  

Even the few free Americans are in jeopardy as the expression of dissent is being defined by the Biden regime as domestic terrorism. (Are you a believer in the Prophet Donald Trump?)

The media speaks with one voice, and the voice is one of denunciation of all who challenge the ruling narratives.  (It has been this way since Nixon)

In America today, media protect the mistakes and avariciousness of medical bureaucrats allied with Big Pharma, and the media shield Establishment narratives from scientific experts who are silenced by being denied a forum.

Consequently, the public is informed only by self-serving propaganda that enriches material interests and increases government power over citizens.

The consequences are varied and disastrous.  With Covid there have been needless lockdowns that have destroyed businesses and individuals.  (Too general. Got to develop on that issue)

In foreign policy, antagonisms have been created that could lead to disastrous wars with Iran, China, and Russia.  The focus of the Biden regime on defining Trump supporters, all 90 million American voters, as domestic terrorists implies a civil war. (Sanctions on entire people are still in place, and Biden talks but does Not deliver on removing sanctions)

What I find most discouraging about America is that after all the proven deceptions Americans  have endured—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the assassination of foreign leaders who refused to toe Washington’ line, the Vietnam War, 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass deception, Assad use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russiagate, Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 2020 election, Trump insurrection at the Capitol…

The list goes on forever and (Not listing all the pre-emptive wars and countless military coups on undervelopped new States…)— And Americans continue to sit in front of CNN and the rest,  listen to NPR, and read the New York Times or Washington Post…

And continue to accommodate the ruling Establishment by consenting to being brainwashed. (That was the trend for decades, especially in US total support of Israel racist and apartheid policies and demonizing the Middle-East people)

A people this insouciant has no possibility of survival.

A bainwashed America, a brainwashed Western World, are not homes for freedom.

On this website, I attempt to make you aware.  

In contrast to the media, I give you good information about the subjects I explain.  Go back and compare what I told you compared with what the media told you. 

Consider, for example, my Covid reporting. I told you how to protect yourself.  I told you what the cures are if you are infected with a serious case. I told you the masks are not protective unless they are rated N95.

This is valuable information.  This website is valuable for everyone. Every person on earth is unique.  

We should respect everyone until they give us reason not to respect them.  The people in Western governments seem to be the least respectable.  They lie the most, and the presstitutes cover for them. Only those who speak truth are attacked.

Think about your sources of information.  I mean real information, not that which agrees with your biases.  Do you have better sources than this website?  

Does it keep you informed?  Does it make you think?

Note 1: Stalin did Not reduced drastically the ever increased demand of Nazi Germany for oil and gas. Russia and the US were the main importers of Germany goods. Hitler could have delayed another 6 months his invasion and destroyed all of England airports and seaports and forced Churchill to howl Uncle. Launching 2 wars in the same time has never been a good strategic decision.

Note 2: It was England that prompted WWI because Germany was the second trade giant behind the USA and its navy was at a par with British marine fleet.

France’s nuclear colonial legacy in Algeria

Malia Bouattia Feb. 12, 2021

President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statement that a “memories and truth” commission will be established to look into the history of the French colonisation of Algeria, has led to much public discussion over this bloody legacy.

And in this context, the absence of apologies or offers of reparations by the French state has not gone unnoticed. 

One area of particular contention in this process is the ongoing and detrimental effects of France’s nuclear testing in Algeria, (open air testings) conducted throughout the 1960s. 

France conducted its first nuclear test known as the “Gerboise Bleue” in February 1960 in the Sahara Desert – an atomic bomb that was 4 times the strength of Hiroshima. 

A total of 17 tests were carried out, four of them atmospheric detonations, and 13 underground.

Mustapha Khiati, president of the National Foundation for Health Progress and Research Development (FOREM) in Algeria, states that France had actually conducted 57 nuclear tests. In addition to the 17 tests, which are often mentioned, another 35 took place in Hammoudia in the Reganne region of the Sahara, and five nuclear experiments in In Ecker.

Nuclear testing continued in the region until 1966, four years after the independence of Algeria from French colonial rule, due to a clause in the Evian Accords which were signed by the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA).

The accords established the parameters for Algerian independence. The defeated colonial power demanded to be able to continue to destroy Algeria’s environment and poison its people. 

At the time of the tests, around 40,000 people lived in the affected area, and the tests had a horrific effect on these communities. Many were impacted directly, while others were poisoned over time due to the radiation. In fact, 60 years after Gerboise Bleue, babies are still being born with illnesses and malformations. 

The destruction caused to the land and animal species in the Sahara is also often overlooked. The radiation has caused a reduction in livestock and biodiversity as well as the vanishing of certain migratory birds and reptiles. The tests even led to the movement of sand dunes.

Algeria is still waiting to be told where the toxic waste was buried

“These nuclear tests need to be seen in the context of a cruel and inhuman colonial experience that was synonymous with expropriation, genocide, racism and pauperisation,” explains Hamza Hamouchene, co-founder of Algeria Solidarity Campaign and Environmental Justice North Africa.

Nuclear waste remains in the region with the French state refusing to take action to – literally – clean up its (radioactive) mess.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) called on the French government to take responsibility for the long-term damage that it has caused.

In a report last year, the Nobel Peace Prize winning group highlighted that, “The majority of the waste is in the open air, without any security, and accessible by the population, creating a high level of sanitary and environmental insecurity”.

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In addition to all of this, Algeria is still waiting to be told where the toxic waste was buried, a demand that ICAN also stressed.

Jean-Claude Hervieux, a French electrician who worked on the nuclear testing efforts in Algeria told DW, “When we left Algeria, we dug large holes and we buried everything”.

Furthermore, doubt continues to shroud all the facts related to these and other colonial crimes committed by the French state as they scrambled to maintain power over Algeria, and later refused to even acknowledge the chapter in the country’s history.

Important archives pertaining to the 132 years of occupation are yet to be returned or made public, for example. 

The list of colonial horrors linked to these tests includes rounding up Algerians from internment camps and prisons and tying them to pillars to analyse the impact of nuclear explosions on their skin.

The victims of France’s nuclear tests were not limited to Algerians (then and now).

The French government also faced backlash from former soldiers and settlers involved in the nuclear tests that were being conducted in Algeria. Veterans from the French colonisation of Polynesia have similarly since suffered the consequences of participating in these operations with little to no protection.

The French nuclear test veterans’ association Aven, forced the state to recognise the suffering caused to some 150,000 military personnel.

Despite decades of denying that the tests led to their infertility and illnesses, the government introduced a bill that would compensate these victims.

Algerians, however, are yet to even receive a basic recognition for the consequences of these events. Just one Algerian among hundreds has reportedly been compensated so far. 

This all adds further clarity as to why Macron decided not to apologise or pay reparations for the colonial crimes committed by his Republic: Not only would the reparations be considerable, but they would involve generations of Algerians who continue to be plagued by the consequences of France’s desperate attempt to be recognised as a leading world power in the second half of the 20th century. 

He offers symbolic but broadly irrelevant gestures, and makes sure to avoid anything that could impact France’s economic and political grip

As Hamouchene aptly stated, it’s not enough simply “denouncing these colonial and neo-colonial legacies, and raising awareness for the people whose health, bodies, land and livelihoods have been sacrificed in order to accumulate wealth and concentrate power […] we need to address these issues through a justice lens and through democratic and reparative ways (moral and material reparations)”.

Given Macron has chosen “truth” as a key theme within the commission on French colonisation of Algeria, whether he will completely avoid recognition of this dark chapter – among many others – is yet to be seen.

Nevertheless, let’s not hold our breath. Macron has been tactical in how he has approached the “reconciliation” that he has supposedly committed to with the Algerian state.

Returning the skulls of those Algerians barbarically killed for resisting French colonisation is meaningless in the face of the continued suffering and death of the earth, people and species in the Sahara desert at the hands of the same barbarians.

The French left no trace of their “civilising mission”, despite their claims. Only death and destruction. Without recognition and reparation, that legacy will continue to live on. 

Note 1: No matter how loud are the current outcries, the activities of the administration of a “past” colonial power expresses its “pride” of having colonized other people. The administration reflects the “pride” of its people, of “past power” and its urge to rekindle that power in other forms and shapes.

Note 2: There is No logic in “political economics”: this Europe that experienced successive famine periods, still colonized people who had learned to decently survive under their acquired customs and traditions. Political economics is a fancy term for wicked Greed.


Malia Bouattia is an activist, a former president of the National Union of Students, and co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network.

Follow her on Twitter: @MaliaBouattia

Have questions or comments? Email us at: editorial-english@alaraby.co.uk

Opinions expressed here are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer, or of The New Arab and its editorial board or staff.

Read more:  How France’s refusal to right historical wrongs marred a reconciliation project with Algeria


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July 2021
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