Adonis Diaries

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All kinds of Human trafficking: Forced child labor, sweatshop factories, immigrants, house helpers, sex slavery

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person’s labor.

By Noy Thrupkaew http://www.ted.com

About 10 years ago, I went through a little bit of a hard time. So I decided to go see a therapist. 

I had been seeing her for a few months, and one day she asked: “Who actually raised you until you were three?” Seemed like a weird question.

I said, “My parents.” And she said, “I don’t think that’s actually the case; because if it were, we’d be dealing with things that are far more complicated than just this.”

It sounded like the setup to a joke, but I knew she was serious. When I first started seeing her, I was trying to be the funniest person in the room. And I would try and crack these jokes, but she caught on to me really quickly, and whenever I tried to make a joke, she would look at me and say, “That is actually really sad.” 

I knew I had to be serious, and I asked my parents who had actually raised me until I was three? And to my surprise, they said my primary caregiver had been a distant relative of the family. I had called her my auntie.

I remember my auntie so clearly, it felt like she had been part of my life when I was much older. 

I remember the thick, straight hair, and how it would come around me like a curtain when she bent to pick me up; her soft, southern Thai accent; the way I would cling to her, even if she just wanted to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. 

I loved her, but [with] the ferocity that a child has sometimes before she understands that love also requires letting go.

But my clearest and sharpest memory of my auntie, is also one of my first memories of life at all. I remember her being beaten and slapped by another member of my family

I remember screaming hysterically and wanting it to stop, as I did every single time it happened, for things as minor as wanting to go out with her friends, or being a little late. I became so hysterical over her treatment, that eventually, she was just beaten behind closed doors.

Things got so bad for her that eventually she ran away

As an adult, I learned later that she had been just 19 when she was brought over from Thailand to the States to care for me, on a tourist visa. She wound up working in Illinois for a time, before eventually returning to Thailand, which is where I ran into her again, at a political rally in Bangkok. 

I clung to her again, as I had when I was a child, and I let go, and then I promised that I would call. I never did, though: I was afraid if I said everything that she meant to me — that I owed perhaps the best parts of who I became to her care, and that the words “I’m sorry” were like a thimble to bail out all the guilt and shame and rage I felt over everything she had endured to care for me for as long as she had.

I thought if I said those words to her, I would never stop crying again. Because she had saved me. And I had not saved her.

I’m a journalist, and I’ve been writing and researching human trafficking for the past 8 years,  and even so, I never put together this personal story with my professional life until pretty recently. 

I think this profound disconnect actually symbolizes most of our understanding about human trafficking. Human trafficking is far more prevalent, complex and close to home than most of us realize.

I spent time in jails and brothels, interviewed hundreds of survivors and law enforcement, NGO workers. And when I think about what we’ve done about human trafficking, I am hugely disappointed. Partly because we don’t even talk about the problem right at all.

When I say “human trafficking,” most of you probably don’t think about someone like my auntie. You probably think about a young girl or woman, who’s been brutally forced into prostitution by a violent pimp. That is real suffering, and that is a real story. That story makes me angry for far more than just the reality of that situation, though.

As a journalist, I really care about how we relate to each other through language, and the way we tell that story, with all the gory, violent detail, the salacious aspects — I call that “look at her scars” journalism.

We use that story to convince ourselves that human trafficking is a bad man doing a bad thing to an innocent girl. That story lets us off the hook: “I am Not a bad person. It shouldn’t be my problem”…

It takes away all the societal context that we might be indicted for, for the structural inequality, or the poverty, or the barriers to migration. 

We let ourselves think that human trafficking is only about forced prostitution, when in reality, human trafficking is embedded in our everyday lives.

Forced prostitution accounts for 22% of human trafficking.  10% is in “state- imposed forced labor” and 68 % is for the purpose of creating the goods and delivering the services that most of us rely on every day, in sectors like agricultural work, domestic work and construction.

That is food and care and shelter. And somehow, these most essential workers are also among the world’s most underpaid and exploited today. Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person’s labor.

And it’s found in cotton fields, and coltan mines, and even car washes in Norway and England. It’s found in U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s found in Thailand’s fishing industry. That country has become the largest exporter of shrimp in the world. But what are the circumstances behind all that cheap and plentiful shrimp? 

Thai military were caught selling Burmese and Cambodian migrants onto fishing boats. Those fishing boats were taken out, the men put to work, and they were thrown overboard if they made the mistake of falling sick, or trying to resist their treatment. 

Those fish were then used to feed shrimp, The shrimp were then sold to 4 major global retailers: Costco, Tesco, Walmart and Carrefour.

Human trafficking is found in places you would never even imagine.

Traffickers have forced young people to drive ice cream trucks, or to sing in touring boys’ choirs. Trafficking has even been found in a hair braiding salon in New Jersey.

The scheme in that case was incredible. The traffickers found young families who were from Ghana and Togo, and they told these families that “your daughters are going to get a fine education in the United States.”

They then located winners of the green card lottery, and they told them, “We’ll help you out. We’ll get you a plane ticket. We’ll pay your fees. All you have to do is take this young girl with you, say that she’s your sister or your spouse. Once everyone arrived in New Jersey, the young girls were taken away, and put to work for 14-hour days, 7 days a week, for five years. They made their traffickers nearly 4 million dollars.

What have we done about it? We’ve mostly turned to the criminal justice system. But keep in mind, most victims of human trafficking are poor and marginalized. They’re migrants, people of color. Sometimes they’re in the sex trade.

And for populations like these, the criminal justice system is too often part of the problem, rather than the solution.

In study after study, in countries ranging from Bangladesh to the United States, between 20 and 60% of the people in the sex trade who were surveyed said that they had been raped or assaulted by the police in the past year alone.

People in prostitution, including people who have been trafficked into it, regularly receive multiple convictions for prostitution. Having that criminal record makes it so much more difficult to leave poverty, leave abuse, or leave prostitution, if that person so desires.

Workers outside of the sex sector — if they try and resist their treatment, they risk deportation.

In case after case I’ve studied, employers have no problem calling on law enforcement to try and threaten or deport their striking trafficked workers. 

If those workers run away, they risk becoming part of the great mass of undocumented workers who are also subject to the whims of law enforcement if they’re caught.

Law enforcement is supposed to identify victims and prosecute traffickers. But out of an estimated 21 million victims of human trafficking in the world, they have helped and identified fewer than 50,000 people.

That’s like comparing the population of the world to the population of Los Angeles, proportionally speaking. As for convictions, out of an estimated 5,700 convictions in 2013, fewer than 500 were for labor trafficking.

Keep in mind that labor trafficking accounts for 68 percent of all trafficking, but fewer than 10 percent of the convictions.

I’ve heard one expert say that trafficking happens where need meets greed.

I’d like to add one more element to that. Trafficking happens in sectors where workers are excluded from protections, and denied the right to organize.

Trafficking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in systematically degraded work environments.

You might be thinking she’s talking about failed states, or war-torn states, or — I’m actually talking about the United States. Let me tell you what that looks like.

 I spent many months researching a trafficking case called Global Horizons, involving hundreds of Thai farm workers. They were sent all over the States, to work in Hawaii pineapple plantations, and Washington apple orchards, and anywhere the work was needed.

They were promised three years of solid agricultural work. So they made a calculated risk. They sold their land, they sold their wives’ jewelry, to make thousands in recruitment fees for this company, Global Horizons. 

But once they were brought over, their passports were confiscated. Some of the men were beaten and held at gunpoint. They worked so hard they fainted in the fields. This case hit me so hard.

After I came back home, I was wandering through the grocery store, and I froze in the produce department. I was remembering the over-the-top meals the Global Horizons survivors would make for me every time I showed up to interview them. 

They finished one meal with this plate of perfect, long-stemmed strawberries, and as they handed them to me, they said, “Aren’t these the kind of strawberries you eat with somebody special in the States? And don’t they taste so much better when you know the people whose hands picked them for you?”

As I stood in that grocery store weeks later, I realized I had no idea of who to thank for this plenty, and no idea of how they were being treated.

I started digging into the agricultural sector. And I found there are too many fields, and too few labor inspectors.

Mind you, none of what I am describing about this agricultural sector or the guest worker program is actually human trafficking. It is merely what we find legally tolerable. And I would argue this is fertile ground for exploitation. And all of this had been hidden to me, before I had tried to understand it. 

I found multiple layers of plausible deniability between grower and distributor and processor…

The Global Horizons survivors had been brought to the States on a temporary guest worker program. That guest worker program ties a person’s legal status to his or her employer, and denies that worker the right to organize. (No different of what’s happening in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates, under the Kafalat law)

 I wasn’t the only person grappling with these issues. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is one of the biggest anti-trafficking philanthropists in the world. And even he wound up accidentally investing nearly 10 million dollars in the pineapple plantation cited as having the worst working conditions in that Global Horizons case.

When Omidyar found out, he and his wife were shocked and horrified, and they wound up writing an op-ed for a newspaper, saying that it was up to all of us to learn everything we can about the labor and supply chains of the products that we support. 

What would happen if each one of us decided that we are No longer going to support companies if they don’t eliminate exploitation from their labor and supply chains?

If we demanded laws calling for the same? If all the CEOs out there decided that they were going to go through their businesses and say, “No more”?

If we ended recruitment fees for migrant workers?

If we decided that guest workers should have the right to organize without fear of retaliation?

These would be decisions heard around the world. This isn’t a matter of buying a fair-trade peach and calling it a day, buying a guilt-free zone with your money. That’s not how it works.

This is the decision to change a system that is broken, and that we have unwittingly but willingly allowed ourselves to profit from and benefit from for too long.

We often dwell on human trafficking survivors’ victimization. But that is not my experience of them.

Over all the years that I’ve been talking to them, they have taught me that we are more than our worst days. 

Each one of us is more than what we have lived through. Especially trafficking survivors.

These people were the most resourceful and resilient and responsible in their communities. They were the people that you would take a gamble on. 

You’d say, I’m gong to sell my rings, because I have the chance to send you off to a better future. They were the emissaries of hope.

These survivors don’t need savingThey need solidarity, because they’re behind some of the most exciting social justice movements out there today.

The nannies and housekeepers who marched with their families and their employers’ families — their activism got us an international treaty on domestic workers’ rights.

The Nepali women who were trafficked into the sex trade — they came together, and they decided that they were going to make the world’s first anti-trafficking organization actually headed and run by trafficking survivors themselves.

These Indian shipyard workers were trafficked to do post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction. They were threatened with deportation, but they broke out of their work compound and they marched from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., to protest labor exploitation. 

They co-founded an organization called the National Guest Worker Alliance, and through this organization, they have wound up helping other workers bring to light exploitation and abuses in supply chains in Walmart and Hershey’s factories.

And although the Department of Justice declined to take their case, a team of civil rights lawyers won the first of a dozen civil suits this February, and got their clients 14 million dollars.

These survivors are fighting for people they don’t even know yet, other workers, and for the possibility of a just world for all of us. This is our chance to do the same.

This is our chance to make the decision that tells us who we are, as a people and as a society.

That our prosperity is no longer prosperity, as long as it is pinned to other people’s pain.

That our lives are inextricably woven together; and that we have the power to make a different choice.

17:25 I was so reluctant to share my story of my auntie with you. Before I started this TED process and climbed up on this stage, I had told literally a handful of people about it, because, like many a journalist, I am far more interested in learning about your stories than sharing much, if anything, about my own.

I also haven’t done my journalistic due diligence on this. I haven’t issued my mountains of document requests, and interviewed everyone and their mother, and I haven’t found my auntie yet. I don’t know her story of what happened, and of her life now.

The story as I’ve told it to you is messy and unfinished. But I think it mirrors the messy and unfinished situation we’re all in, when it comes to human trafficking.

We are all implicated in this problem. But that means we are all also part of its solution.

Figuring out how to build a more just world is our work to do, and our story to tell. So let us tell it the way we should have done, from the very beginning.

Let us tell this story together.

Romy Assouad shared this link  from Shahd AlShehail

“This is our chance to make the decision that tells us who we are, as a people and as a society; that our prosperity is no longer prosperity, as long as it is pinned to other people’s pain; that our lives are inextricably woven together; and that we have the power to make a different choice.”

A powerful dose of reality

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Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works

Behind the everyday bargains we all love — the $10 manicure, the unlimited shrimp buffet — is a hidden world of forced labor to keep those prices at rock bottom. Noy…http://www.ted.com|By Noy Thrupkaew

Heavy pollution of all kinds hidden from the everyday observation of common people. The dangerous regions for pollution have Not been transferred, and increasing dramatically.

Pollution is here to stay and to increase: Air quality, water quality and food quality…

So far, the colonial powers crazily printed money with no reserves of any kind with the excuse that their people need to survive without working and producing what could sustain any economuy.

The global debt has reached $300 trillion. Mind you that the entire world produce goods to what amount to $5 trillion. The remaining GNP are plain reshafling and transferring debts in and out of countries.

The colonial powers borrow from one another at 3% and lend to other nations at 8%.

Every country has a national debt, excepting China. Japan is the second most indebted nation after the US. China is maybe the only country infusing “fresh money” into the world economy by buying bonds.

No colonial power will ever pay a dime on the Principles of its loans: they pay the interests after devaluing their currencies.

Syria was the other nation with zero national debt before 2011, and that is why Syria had to be punished with civil war that is still going on.

Saudi Kingdom and the Emirates were also infusing “fresh money” until the US started to blackmail them to fund terrorist movements and buying irrelevant weapons that they cannot repair, maintain or even use them.

So far, only China is infusing “fresh money” in this financial system of distributing “debt money” that amount to One $ trillion every single day by investment multinationals that do Not add any value to sustain the global economy.

It is the poorer nations that are adding value to products generated cheaply by millions of workers, badly paid and working in unsafe environment.

Green climate?

All the equipments and machines meant to generate green climate absorb plenty of rare minerals in order to work and function: Aeolien, sun plates to generate electricity, electric cars, computers…

Extracting rare minerals (about 10 of them) and processing them generate horrendous pollution to phreatic water, rivers and air quality.

People who work in rare mineral activities have low life expectancy. Actually, China is putting to work all the citizens who were displaced from their lands due to series of giga dams along the Yellow River and other rivers. And heavily polluting the Mekong River that crosses most of South- East Asia countries.

Just for the extraction of graphite in China is a worst reminder of colonial powers early industrialization period that hired children to excavate coal for their iron industry.

Lithium is a main element in the batteries of all equipment, and especially for electric cars. Bolivia is the set to generate most of this “rare element”. The open air deposit covers a land as vast as little Lebanon (10,000 sq.km).

Many colonial powers bid for the construction of Lithium plants and China ended up building it.

Actually, the colonial powers conducted a coup d’etat against Evo Morales in order to stabilize the price of Lithium and amass plenty of reserve of this ingredient.

Copper is another major element in the pipes and conducting coil for electricity.

Although copper is Not within the rare materials, Northern Chili is being depleted of its major vast open air extraction “pit”, in size and depth. Areas within 300 km radius of this pit are heavily polluted and 30% are dying Not from natural causes.

This observation is culminating in the constant erection of utility centrals powered by coal to feed the copper extraction.

Norway is set to have only electric cars on its street in the next decade. And Norway is sustaining its “green” program by exporting oil. Actually, it is an Iraqi immigrant, a petroleum engineer who started Norway extraction of oil in the sea and instituted its “Sovereign Fund” for the next generations.

The emission of CO2 and methane is increasing. Methane is 10 times worse than CO2 as the permafrost in the Poles are melting. Worst, the colonial powers are happy that they soon will be able to extract oil/gas from the arctic and that the northern “icy” water way is opened for maritime transportation.

Green climate? No see pollution around for most of us but here to stay and dying believing that pollution has been under “control”.

Note: This Covid-19 pandemics has decelerated the frantic “trade” in air, route and maritime transport. A few cities experienced clearing of its air pollution for a short while. It didn’t make a dent on climate change: the UN has confirmed, as facts, that the last 5 years were the worst in “natural” calamities. Reversing this trend to sustain a slow “normal nature recovery” requires a world trend in adopting “frugal” lifestyle and away from this fixation of constant “Growth economy”.

Maybe this slowing down of the economy didn’t make a dent in the short term on climate change, but it gave hope that the mental and emotional readiness of people to adopt an alternative standard of living and lifestyle will transcend the multinational greed.

A good time to die (October 16, 2008)

We know by now that decisions for resuming experiments on atomic explosions, in open air or underground, are bad news.  

We know that decisions to leave man out of the loop of programmed launching of guided ballistic missiles are wrong decisions.  

We are learning that the ozone layer is good and protects the living organisms from lethal doses of ultraviolet radiations; that the depletion of ozone over the Antarctic is very bad news.  

We recognize that the increased concentration of CO2 may be causing the “Greenhouse Effect”, melting the North Pole and increasing the Oceans water level.  (Methane increased emission from the poles from the melting of permafrost layer is extremely bad news)

We have this gut feeling that the deforestation of the virgin forests in the Equator is degrading the quality of air and increasing the numbers of tsunamis or cyclones or tidal waves or hurricanes.  

We blame those who still insist on residing around the targeted sea shores as if these cataclysms would disappear any time soon.  

We are less sure how the high tension pylons amidst towns alter the health of children. Active citizens must have learned the lesson to no longer wait for the results of funded research by multinationals and experiments when health and safety are of concern.

We know that our intelligence is intrinsically malignant, but the most malignant are those vicious, lengthy and recurring cycles of the decision processes to settle on remedial plans of actions.

We frequently don’t know the mechanisms to resolve what we initiated and much less these processes that takes decades to recognize the problems and reach agreements to act upon and persevere in our programs.  

Earth has mechanisms to stabilize harms done to it, but it requires man to leave it alone for hundreds and thousands of years.

Every time man creates a problem to earth’s quality and stability we have to wait for a valiant scientist to sound the alarm.  

Then we have to wait for this scientist to affiliate with a recognized international figure to give credit and weight for his discovery.  

Then we have to wait for the convinced scientists and professionals to sign up a manifest and present it to the UN so that the UN might receives a wake up call to take on its responsibilities in order to preserve human rights for clean air, clean potable water, clean environment and human rights for health and safety and security.  

Then we have to wait for one superpower to admit that what is happening is bad, that the level of tolerance, invariably set by unprofessional specialists in the field, is no longer acceptable.  

Then we have to wait for one superpower to unilaterally agree to distance itself from the pack of wolves and actively remediate.

Then we have to hear the complaints of economic infeasibility of regulations to remedial actions and

Then we have to set a period that lengthens to decades to start an effective program that agrees to everyone concerned.

Albert Schweitzer in his book of selected three calls to action “Peace or atomic war” describes the fundamental process that was initiated to put a halt on live atomic explosion experimentations.  

You discover that physicists and not medical specialists volunteer to set levels of tolerances to radioactive emissions.  

You hear Edward Teller, the “eminent” physicist and “father” of the hydrogen bomb say “We have got for our national security to keep testing for a harmless hydrogen bomb”; as if States at war intend not to inflict harms!  

The UN had to wait for 9235 scientists and headed by Linus Pauling to sign a manifest in January 1958 explaining the lethal harm to the next generations of radioactive emissions.  

Then the US Administration gradually stopped financing apologetics in Newspapers that the experiments constitute no tangible harms.

De Gaulle of France sank an entire atole in the Pacific to test His open nuclear bomb. The French operators (in shorts and naked chest) and the people in the adjacent islands were Not warned. Most of them died from Not natural causes.

16,000 US navy personnels on a destroyer were ordered to turn their faces into a direction and cover the faces. They were Not warned that a nuclear test is going to be experimented. The marines could see the bones of their comrades from the X-rays and many were blown off. 15,000 of them died, and Not from natural causes.

After the US, Britain and the Soviet Union were forced to agree on a moratorium to open air explosions they resumed their nuclear explosions in “controlled, secure, and safe” underground testing fields

I never stumbled on a manuscript describing the consequences for underground nuclear testing.  

Usually the consequences are of long term nature and time-line researches are too expensive to follow up.  

My gut feeling is that these underground testing are directly linked to the current drastic increase in large scale seism, volcano eruptions and tidal wave catastrophes.  

Earth may sustain one major destructive factor but it requires more than one main factor to destabilize earth and its environment.

Why and how Israel decided to flatten Beirut?

Is it Out of Spite, Israel/US decided to bypass their totally impotent and greedy Lebanese leaders’ allies?

Hezbollah has plenty of serious grievances against these militia/mafia leaders who have totally sided with US/Israel for many decades, and many of them who supported the Zionist movement before the creation of this colonial implanted colony Israel in our midst.

In fact, the Maronite Phalange Party, created by the French colonial mandated power in 1936, and headed by Pierre Gemayel, totally supported the Zionist movement and the creation of Israel as a counter-power against the predominantly Muslim population in lebanon.

The successive pre-emptive wars of Israel on Lebanon were supported by these “agent” leaders since 1948.

1) Actually, those who were elected in the parliament are the ones who sold their properties and lands in Palestine to the Zionist movement in order to run for election

2) In the first 3 decades of the “Independence” of this pseudo-State of Lebanon, the Southern region and its people were totally ignored in the successive budgets for any worthy infrastructure, schools and hospital.

And that indignity included the Akkar region in the north and the Bekaa Valley people.

3) The Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini dispatched his cleric Moussa Sader to Lebanon in the late 1960 in order to rally the Chia sect around a leader that was Not a feudal and landlord conventional “leader” or za3eem.

Moussa Sader did a great job and his “Disinherited Movement” called Amal grabbed the attention of the conventional Lebanese leaders in power for all that period and this movement became a force to negotiate with.

Hezbollah General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, in a speech declared that “All we need is to launch a couple of missiles on the Ammonium plant in Haifa. The conflagration is as powerful as an atomic bomb”.

It turned out that Israel actually executed this idea and stored an amount of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut and let it be forgotten

Who still believes that this calamity is a simple matter of laziness of every responsible during the last 6 years?

Who is still unable to believe that Israel is Not able to prepare for a long-term catastrophe and hangar #12 was being prepared and targeted for a timely decision to flatten Beirut?

Who still believe this conflagration was Not triggered by an electromagnetic pulse bomb, planted in the hangar?

Any good news in and out?

After Iraq invasion. (December 7, 2008)

Let me offer new facts and then older facts that were not disseminated; then I will ask the question “Why the Bush Administration needed a major war?

Then the follow up question “Why Iraq specifically?”

Then the resolution question “What where the results of this pre-emptive war, what after Iraq, what of the millions of Iraqis who suffered this harrowing invasion?”.

Since the Wall Street crash, the USA has lost over 550,000 jobs and as many in the developed States and there is no end to that trend.  

In 1989, the world experienced a nasty financial crash that destabilized the Asian markets and then Latin America and its ripple effect hit the US as Bush was being inaugurated.  

Thus, before the Twin Tower disaster the US was financially unstable and the joblessness rate was very high and increasing.  

After the 9/11 attack the stock market in the US hit its lowest and the rate of decrease was about 36%, almost as bad as today.  

The major difference was that the financial disaster then was not publicized and the whole affair turned to the necessity of preventing further terrorist activities and defending the “Nation”.

The US needed badly a major war.

First, to absorb the unemployed, especially the Latinos, and

Second, to divert attention from acute economical and financial problems that the Republicans were not equipped to handle under their free, non controlled capitalist policies.

Why Iraq then?  

Afghanistan was a non entity and very poor to launch a major war and invest so much on it. 

 Iraq had no Qaida elements within its territory, simply because Dictator Saddam Hussein was a Sunni leader and would not permit other Sunni organizations to eat from his own dish.  

Iraq had no nuclear weapons; the Nuclear Control Agency said so; the European leaders said so; the UN said so and refused to support this foolish pre-emptive war.  

The Bush Administration went solo against the World community. Why?

Iraq was a State with the highest reserve in oil and second to Saudi Arabia in potentials for production.

Iraq was strategically located amidst the oil producing countries in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia is a staunch ally to the US.  Iran is too big to swallow.  

Iraq was about right since it had been seriously weakened after 10 years of economic embargo by the Bush Father and Clinton. (Over 2 million babies died in Iraq in that period of embargo for lack of powder milk and basic medicines).  

The neighboring Arab States were easy prey for frequent US financial blackmail to invest in Treasury bonds and other financial gifts such as purchasing redundant military hardware at the highest prices.

For the long term, the US planned to blackmail powerful China, avid of oil, by controlling directly the distribution and production of oil.

When the US forces entered Baghdad, Bush Junior declared “Victory”.  

Two years later Bush Junior revised his declaration “Victory was way premature”.  Recently, Bush Junior was begging the Iraqis to accept the “Security Agreement” to save face for the retreat of his troops.  

What would you expect from an Iraqi government, appointed by the US forces, but to obey its Masters?

What were the results of this long pre-emptive war?

First, over one thousand Iraqi scientists in all fields have been systematically assassinated by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad.  

The names and professions of these scientists and professors are published on the internet. Israel was greatly relieved: The huge brain potential of the Iraqi people was a nightmare for tiny Israel; and backed by huge oil reserves and fertile lands and prosperous industries.  

It is said that the Egyptians write books, the Lebanese publish and the Iraqi read the books.  For over ten years now the “Arabs” have not been reading their published books!

Second, a catastrophic ecological situation has befallen Iraq: the oil that could not be processed or distributed was re-directed to be dumped in valleys; vast areas are lost for ever and ever to any reclamation.

Third, over one million Iraqi civilians died and three fold that number crippled.

Fourth, oil production never reached the level of ten years ago.

Fifth, the US has stolen, highway robbery, the oil produced in Iraq with nothing to show for it but destruction, miseries, and sectarian warfare.  

Security in Iraq is the last thing in the mind of the Bush Junior Administration; the Iraqis can go to hell and why? Why?

Sixth, China re-directed its investment for oil fields toward Africa and the US is totally impotent.

Seventh, China has struck deals with Russia and India and the oil pipelines are almost finished and freed from maritime transport and US blackmailing tactics.

Eight, the hatred and animosities against the US policies in the Arab and Muslim people has reached the zenith and no public image gimmicks would do.

Nine, Russia has checked the US-NATO expansion toward its borders.

Tenth, the US is totally bankrupt and humiliated economically, financially, and militarily.  Shall I go on?

The cycle is back from where we started.  

The financial conditions are worse than in 2001 and unemployment rate even worst.  What then?  

Which country is now ripe for another pre-emptive war in order to suck in the jobless population and to blackmail the Arab State for financial secure?   

Saudi Kingdom is ideal: nobody like this savage, ignorant, narrow minded Wahhabi sect of this theocratic monarchy family.  

The world can do without this hotbed of terrorism, salafist, wahabi sect which is the source of the Al Qaeda and its numerous branches; except the USA obviously.

Don’t you hate this hypocrite of a monster claiming that he was against war but the CIA lied to him?

The case is to be handled by the International Tribunal of war crimes and perpetrators of genocides on a wide scale.  

If the International community fails its duty towards this massacre of the decade and persists in acting biased toward the developed colonial nations then the underground organizations will take over in the name of justice and for a long, long time.

Forcing a COVID vaccine would violate The Nuremberg Code

When the Nazi atrocities were uncovered after World War II, where experimental procedures, drugs and vaccines were forced on unwitting subjects, the Nuremberg Code was written by American attorneys, which states,

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion.

And should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.” 

Since the data does not exist to have “sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements” of the COVID vaccine and how it will impact human beings, it violates the Nuremberg Code to force the coming vaccine on anyone.

(Many physicians claim that the covid-19 vaccine include several other dangerous viruses that will ultimately kill you since there are no remedies to them)

When you force a liability-free product on people does not increase their trust in the product or the authority that is forcing the product on them.

The PREP Act takes all liability away from the manufacturers of the vaccines. Which means that If they maim or kill anyone, no one can sue Moderna, AstraZeneca or Sanofi.

#1 – The world’s top vaccinologist says he may not take a COVID vaccine

When asked if he would take the COVID vaccine, the world’s most prominent vaccinologist Dr. Paul Offit said, “Sight unseen? No.”

Vaccinologist Dr. Peter Hotez is concerned that the coming coronavirus vaccine may cause “immune enhancement” which means the vaccine could help someone get sicker when they come in contact with the virus they were vaccinated for.

Immunologist Ian Frazer, co-inventor of the HPV vaccine has said we don’t know how to make a coronavirus vaccine, and we don’t know if any being currently developed will work.

#2 – A COVID vaccine currently does not exist

While there are currently many COVID vaccine trials, we do not know which, if any, will be safe and effective.

The top vaccinologists mentioned in reason #1 have told us there has been almost 20 years of work trying to create vaccines for coronaviruses, and every attempt to date has failed.

Immunologist Ian Frazier stated, “At the moment we don’t know how to make a coronavirus vaccine work. That’s why there are 100 vaccines under testing using every conceivable approach. We don’t know if any of them will work.”

#3 – On average a vaccine takes 7 to 15 years to come to market, not 2

The COVID vaccine will be one of the fastest vaccines ever to come to market. There can be no argument that it is an experimental treatment.

Vaccines take 7, 10, 20 even 30 years to fully develop, test for efficacy and safety, before bringing to market. The “warp speed” of 2 years means the data simply won’t exist on what the long term effects of the vaccine are, and everyone who gets the vaccine will be part of a mass experiment

#4 – The top experimental COVID vaccines have already caused adverse reactions

AstraZeneca has had a case of transverse myelitis (similar to polio) occur in a woman after she received her second COVID vaccine during experimental trials, according to CNN.

Symptoms of transverse myelitis are extremely similar to polio and can completely destroy someone’s life.

Moderna has admitted in an SEC filing that their vaccine ingredient LNP “may lead to systemic side effects related to the components of the LNP which may not have ever been tested in humans.”

Additionally their vaccine is an mRNA vaccine which has the potential to permanently alter human DNA. We don’t know this for sure, because an mRNA vaccine has never been deployed on a large population of people ever in history.

Sanofi was the company that launched the dangerous and deadly dengue yellow fever vaccine.

They took 20 years to develop that vaccine, but it ended up being a historic failure as children in the Philippines were injured and even killed by it, according to NPR.

Do you trust Sanofi to get the COVID vaccine right in a mere 2 years?

#5 – In 20 years of trying to make coronavirus vaccines, all have failed

If, as Ian Frasier tells us, no one has ever made a successful coronavirus vaccine since they tried in the early 2000s, why does anyone believe we can do it successfully in just 2 years today?

#6- The swine flu vaccine in 1976 was fast-tracked, killing and injuring thousands

The swine flu vaccine injured and killed thousands. Many people developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) from the swine flu vaccine, which is a horrifying condition that causes paralysis. 

60 minutes did an in-depth expose on the damage the swine flu vaccine caused thousands of Americans. History has show us it is never a good idea to speed through the process of making and deploying a vaccine.

#7 – Donald Trump has already indemnified the top 3 COVID vaccines

Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sanofi are developing what people consider the most likely vaccines to come to market. All of these vaccines have been declared countermeasures, and the PREP Act has been invoked by Donald Trump’s HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The PREP Act takes all liability away from the manufacturers of the vaccines. If they maim or kill anyone, no one can sue Moderna, AstraZeneca or Sanofi.

The only legal compensation that may be available would come from the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program. This is not a real court, but rather a program setup and run by the federal government.

#8 – COVID has a death rate under 1%

COVID-19 is a nasty illness and can be deadly, but we really need to be asking ourselves if we need a fast-tracked, risky vaccine that may do more harm than good when the death rate for COVID is below 1%.

#9 – Forcing a vaccine on the public sews distrust in authority

Right now as the conversation around the coming COVID vaccine gains momentum, the public’s trust in vaccination is dropping.

When you force a liability-free product on people that does not increase their trust in the product or the authority that is forcing the product on them. Some people are calling the coming COVID vaccine “an idea so good it has to be forced on you.”

NY Teachers Against Vaccine Mandates for Educators http://chng.it/NfSGhmfL 

Connecting a few dots.  Part 2. Posted in 2012.

You may start with part 1, if you wish https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/part-1-on-africa-and-blood-money/

Part 2 concerns the consequences of Colonialism on the African people (with slight editing and rearrangement of the original source):

Africa is almost 4 times the size of the United States of America in land size and in all kinds of riches, especially in raw materials such as platinum, cobalt, uranium, tantalum, gold, diamonds and oil…

Africa was destroyed by imperialist Europe and is still being destroyed by Europe.

The effects of colonialism past and present are visible all over Africa.

Africa has suffered the worst genocide and holocaust at the hands of the architects of slavery and colonialism.

What is called “European Renaissance” was the worst darkness for Africa’s people.

Armed with the technology of the gun and the compass that it copied from China and the Arab Empire, Europe became a menace for Africa against her spears.

So-called “civilized” Europe and claiming to be “Christian” came up with the Transatlantic Slave Trade. There was massive loss of African population and skills.

A few historians have estimated that the Gold Coast (today’s Ghana) alone, lost over 2 million of its people to slavery over 4 hundred years.

What would have been Britain’s level of development had millions of her people been put to work as slaves out of their country over a period of four centuries?

As if slavery had not already done enough damage to Africa’s people, European leaders met in Germany from December 1884 to February 1885 at the imperialist Berlin Conference.

The Belgian King Leopold stated the purpose of the Berlin Conference as “How we should divide among ourselves this magnificent African cake.”

Africa was thus plunged into another human tragedy.

The Berlin Treaty of February 26, 1885, of the European imperialists sliced Africa into “Portuguese Africa”, “British Africa”, “German Africa”, “Italian Africa,” “Spanish Africa”, “French Africa” and “Belgian Africa.”

There was no Africa left for Africans except Ethiopia, encircled by paupers of land dispossessed people who were now the reservoir of cheap native labor for their dispossessory.

Somalia, a tiny African country, had the misfortune of becoming “British Somaliland”, “Italian Somaliland”, and “French Somaliland.”

Colonial brutality on the colonized Africans knew no bounds.

Here are a few examples of atrocities committed against Africans by colonialists.

A British philosopher, Bertrand Russell wrote about some of these colonial atrocities perpetrated by Belgium in the Congo in the name of “Western Christian Civilisation.

Russell wrote:

“Each village was ordered by the authorities to collect and bring in a certain amount of rubber – as much as the men could bring in by neglecting all work for their own maintenance.

If they failed to bring the required amount, their women were taken away and kept as hostages…in the harems of colonial government employees.

If this method failed…troops were sent to the village to spread terror, if necessary by killing some of the men…They were ordered to bring one right hand amputated from an African victim for every cartridge used.” (Introduction To African Civilisations, John G. Jackson 310-311)

The result of these atrocities according to Sir H.H. Johnston was the reduction of the population in the Congo from 20 million to 9 million people in fifteen years.

The worst genocide also occurred in Namibia in 1904.

Namibia was then a German colony. The Herero people resisted German colonialism. A well armed army under General Lothar von Trotha defeated the people in Herero at the Battle of Waterberg.

The German colonial aggressors drove these Africans from their land to the desert where there was no water. Over 70% of the Herero population died of dehydration in that desert.

In South Africa, the Khoisan people were exterminated by colonialists after being hunted like animals and dispossessed of their land.

Colonised Africans were treated not only as sub-humans, they were denied basic rights such as education and the right to land for decent housing, farming, mining and fishing.

Colonial functionaries were honoured for barbaric actions and atrocities.  For example:

The British government honoured its colonial officials such as “Sir Andries Stockkenstrom“. Stockkenstrom had earlier said:

“The question of robbing natives of their land is not whether it is right or wrong to plunder their land, massacre and exterminate the Hottentots, the Kaffirs…the simple question is will it PAY?

But if the Bible and the missionary stands in the way of this one thousand per cent profit…If in short, they cannot promote the great work of converting a nation of shopkeepers into a nation of millionaires,…gun powder will produce a more efficient gospel for the purpose of our system of civilization.” (R.U. Kenny, Piet Retief, Cape Town and Pretoria: Human and Reason, 1976 page 77)

When introducing inferior education for African mental enslavement in South Africa, Hendrik F. Verwoerd, that arch implementer of apartheid colonialism, said:

“There is no place for him (the African) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour.

Until now, he (the African) has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his community and misled him by showing him the green pastures of the European society where he is not allowed to graze.” (‘Apartheid: The Story Of A Dispossessed PeopleMotsoko Pheko page 150 Marram Books London 1984)

Slavery and colonialism enriched Europe and reduced Africa to abject poverty.

The riches of Africa and her raw materials fueled the economies of imperialist countries. The British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill bore testimony to this fact when he said:

“Our possession of the West Indies gave us the strength, the support, but especially the capital, the wealth, at the time when no other European nations possessed such reserve, which enabled us to come through the great struggles of the Napoleonic Wars.

The keen competition of commerce in the 18th and 19th centuries enabled us not only to acquire this appendage of possessions which we have, but also to lay the foundations of that commercial and financial leadership which when the world was young,…enabled us to make our great position in the world.” (‘The Long Road To Humanity’, by Stanton A. Coblentz page 325 and Introduction To African Civilizations John G. Jackson page 306)

It was against this background of genocide in the name of “European civilization”  that Africans in the Diaspora who had been shipped from Africa and enslaved in the West Indies and in the Americas realized that the solution to Africa’s people both at home and abroad was Pan-Africanism…To be followed on part 3

Note:  Part 2 is another section of a long reply letter by Nalliah Thayahbaran, in reply to my post https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/mania-of-rebranding-africa-disaster-vogue-of-italy/

The View from Israel’s Occupation policies: hasbara (propaganda)

Rebecca Stein. Feb 19, 2018

Among the numerous ideological affinities and governing styles shared by Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a commitment to the rhetoric of ‘fake news.’

In the last year, Netanyahu has increasingly borrowed this Trump formulation in an attempt to quell dissent and undercut critical Israeli and international media scrutiny.

Netanyahu is not unique in this regard.

Over the course of the last year, authoritarian regimes across the globe – have adopted the fake news script to silence detractors and critics, frequently in response to the charge of human rights violations.

But while the global scale of this accusation may be unprecedented, charges of fake news have a long history and preceding the Trump era.

In Israel, the accusation of fraudulence, employed against political critics and foes, can be traced to the onset of the Zionist settler-national project.

As post-colonial studies show, the repudiation of indigenous claims (to history, land, humanity and so on) was a foundational logic of colonial projects, enabling the violence of colonialism in its various forms.

This formulation was also at work in the history of Zionism and has had a lasting hold on dominant Israeli ideology.

Over the course of the last two decades, amidst the ascendance of nationalist extremism in Israel, the fraudulence charge has grown ever stronger among the Jewish right-wing public as a popular means of indicting critics and undercutting Palestinian claims, particularly where Israel’s military occupation is concerned.

Mohammed al-Dura

Video footage of Israeli state violence against Palestinians has been a favorite target of this accusation – footage shot by international journalists and human rights workers, and increasingly as cameras have proliferated in the West Bank, by the cameras of Palestinians living under occupation.

It was in the language of fake news that Israelis famously responded to the killing of 12-year-old Mohammad al-Dura by the Israeli security services in 2000, in the early days of the second Intifada.[1]

His killing was filmed by French television and was replayed around the world in the aftermath of the event, becoming no less than a viral global icon of the Israeli military.

What ensued was an organized campaign by the Israeli right wing, and their international supporters, to debunk the images as fake.

Netanyahu convened an Israeli government committee of inquiry in 2012 to investigate the incident, (12 years later?) and the committee eventually endorsed the popular discourse of fakery, blaming manipulative editing for falsely producing the damning images.

The state committee did more than exonerate the Israeli security services in al-Dura’s death; indeed, they argued that he was Not actually dead.

Right-wing Israeli newspapers put it succinctly in their headlines: “Mohammed al-Dura: The Boy Who Wasn’t Really Killed.” 

Pleas by the al-Dura family to exhume the boy’s body were declined.

Despite the Israeli response to the al-Dura affair in 2000, it would take nearly two decades for this argument about Palestinian fakery to become commonplace where video evidence of Israeli state violence is concerned.

By 2014, amidst the ascendance of far-right politics in Israel, and the threatening spread of cameras among Palestinians living under occupation, the argument finally gained a mainstream foothold.

Footage from Bitunya

For example, the charge of fake news would predominate in Israel following the killing of 2 Palestinian youths in the West Bank town of Bitunya in 2014, fatally shot by the Israeli security services during an annual demonstration commemorating the Nakba (the transfer of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948).

The military denied responsibility, claiming that their forces had only used non-lethal rubber bullets that day, in compliance with regulations governing engagement in protest contexts.[2] 

But the scene had been filmed by numerous on-site cameras, including four security cameras, and those of CNN and a Palestinian photojournalist.

The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem took on the case, believing that the unusually high volume of associated footage conclusively established military responsibility for the deaths.

Mainstream Israelis felt differently, and the volume of footage from Bitunya did little to persuade them of the military’s responsibility.

To the contrary, the videographic evidence fueled a widespread repudiation campaign.

State actors and institutions were among the first to join the fake news chorus, including the defense minister, the foreign minister and official military spokesmen.

All argued that “the film was edited and did not reflect the reality of the day in question.”

Their assertions were parroted by the national media, who insisted that the shootings were “staged and faked.”

That accusation was then picked up by right-wing Israelis and supporters internationally.

Some focused on the image of the falling body, arguing for its self-evident theatricality (Palestinian “Pallywood”, Hollywood-like industry in manufactured images of Palestinian victims).

Others claimed there was a lack of adequate blood in the footage, proof that the victim had not been killed.

Most proponents of the fraudulent charge did not dispute the deaths themselves, as they had in the al-Dura case, but focused on exonerating the IDF through a re-reading of the footage, arguing that the bullets had come from other sources.

The charge of fraudulence haunted the case as it wound its way through the Israeli legal system.

The Bitunya case established the fake news charge as a default Israeli script for responding to video-graphic evidence of state violence against Palestinians.

A few months hence, during another violent Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Netanyahu would famously rehearse a variant of this discourse when he accused people in Gaza of performing their deaths for the media: “They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.”

The language of “fake news” had moved from the margins of the conspiratorial blogosphere to become the language of state – presaging a dynamic that we would watch unfold in the US in the Trump era, a few years hence.

High Stakes

For Israelis who support the fake news accusation, the stakes are considerable – just as they are in Trump’s America for those who parrot this rhetoric.

In the Israeli context, these accusations aim to protect the image of Israel by stripping Palestinian victims and Israeli perpetrators from the videographic scene of the alleged crime.

And to do so in a way that removes all traces of repressive Israeli military rule and its histories.

The charges of fraudulence, forgery or Palestinian theatrics are an attempt to correct the record, to right the wrongs done by a libelous Palestinian public that is intent on Israel’s defamation by means of fictive image-making – or so many believe.

In this way, the discourse of fake news is just another tool in the Israeli struggle against the so-called existential threat.

[This article was originally published in Middle East Report (Issue 283).]

[1] Adi Kuntsman and I explore this in more detail here.

[2] For a more detailed discussion of this case, see Stein, “GoPro Occupation: Networked Cameras, Israeli Military Rule, and the Digital Promise,” Current Anthropology 58/S15 (February 2017).

Can you Guess from which town the Third Palestinian Intifada (mass civil disobedience) Will Start? This article was posted in 2013.

Note: the first Intifada took place in 1936 and lasted 3 years against the British mandated power for denying municipality elections to the Palestinians, on the basis that the Jew were a minority (about 20%). Britain dispatched 100,000 soldiers to quell this Intifada and trained Jews to fight. Only the start of WWII stopped the intifada

South of the village of Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, an Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley.

This settlement was founded in 1977 by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village.

Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Kos, bubbles out of a low stone cliff.

In the summer of 2008,the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an trees for shade.

The land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, now 57 of age,

(Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.)

When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers threatened them and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized.

In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring water, but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region.

Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed.

Ben Ehrenreich wrote:

“On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison.

His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed (this young girl that defied with fists the Israeli soldiers).

Ahed had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier and this resistance won her, at age 11, a brief but startling international celebrity.

Their 9 year-old brother Abu Yazan was in tears in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s.

Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flat-breads. Slide Show

On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009.

Bassem was gone for 13 months to prison that time, released for 5 months before he was arrested again in October.

A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel.

Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot.

(All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.)

Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent. 

Is This the town Where the Third Intifada Will Start?Peter van Agtmael/Magnum, for The New York Times. Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. More Photos »

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July.

He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv.

When Bassem had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison.

He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears.

The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard.

They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half the injured were minors.

The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile.

And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live bullets.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home.

When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison.

In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones.

(In 2010, 99.74 % of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.)

The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law.

Thus, on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree.

They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced.

Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

There were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points.

In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation.

“Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and who coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later.

Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention.

That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press.

Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media teamBilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists.

Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right.

Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.”

Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s.

For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved.

The occupation persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend.

That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring.

Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far.

The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers.

Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish.

Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another.

Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house.

One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping.

Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast.

A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when Bassem was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited Shifra again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.”

On Fridays, Shifra said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel.

Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.)

Bassem would be jailed 7 times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike.

The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush Sr. administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo.

A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.”

An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said.

Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.

Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them.  Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame Said?

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged.

By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead (assassinated by Israeli poison), Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side.

The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work.

After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank.

The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. Bassem said: “If there is a third intifada,we want to be the ones who started it.

Bassem saw three options:

1.  “To be silent is to accept the situation, and we don’t accept the situation.”

2. Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful,

3.  “But by popular resistance, we can push Israel power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt.

Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance.

In an e-mail Eytan described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.)

Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence. Every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game. Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”)

We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night and rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. The shebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t. I can just throw stones.”

We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.”

While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.”

The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas Tamimi, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that the Israeli soldiers will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada.

The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation this time is 1,000 times worse. There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.”

Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That Palestinian  elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields.

For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats eeking a living in Ramallah who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside Ramallah, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult.

If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn? Don’t you want to make money..’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.)

In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “The P.A  have the power, more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of the shebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.)

I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside.

After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as the shebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her.

Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat Waed “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet.

Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.”

The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,but if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall.

Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.

Ben Ehrenreich won a 2011 National Magazine Award in feature writing. His most recent novel is “Ether,” published by City Lights Books. Editor: Ilena SilvermanAdvertisem

Hollywood turning into cesspit plagued by junkies and violent criminals

Hollywood’s Apocalypse NOW:

Rich and famous are fleeing in droves

By CAROLINE GRAHAM . 

Gold’s Gym has become synonymous with the Hollywood Dream.

Set just a few hundred yards from the ocean in sun-kissed Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Gold’s was the backdrop for Pumping Iron

This 1977 documentary followed a young, unknown Austrian bodybuilder called Arnold Schwarzenegger as he prepared for the Mr. Universe contest.

The film turned him into an overnight sensation.

He would go on to become a global superstar, marry a member of the Kennedy clan, and become Governor of California

A makeshift tent city made up of flapping tarpaulins and cardboard boxes surrounds the gym on all sides.

Junkies and the homeless, many of whom are clearly mentally ill, walk the palm-lined streets like zombies – all just three blocks from multi-million-dollar homes overlooking the Pacific.

Stolen bicycles are piled high on pavements littered with broken syringes.

TV bulletins are filled with horror stories from across the city.

Of women being attacked during their morning jog or residents returning home to find strangers defecating in their front gardens.

Los Angeles is a city on the brink. ‘For Sale’ signs are seemingly dotted on every suburban street as the middle classes, particularly those with families, flee for the safer suburbs, with many choosing to leave LA altogether.

British-born Danny O’Brien runs Watford Moving & Storage. ‘There is a mass exodus from Hollywood. And a lot of it is to do with politics.’ His business is booming. ‘August has already set records and we are only halfway through the month’

‘People are getting out in droves. from LA. Last week I moved a prominent person in the music industry from a $6.5 million [£5 million] mansion above Sunset Boulevard to Nashville.’

‘The homeless encampments are legal and there’s nothing the police can do. White, affluent middle-class folk are getting out. People don’t feel safe any more.’

O’Brien, 58, who moved to LA from London 34 years ago, is also planning to move to Tennessee.

A homeless man on Hollywood¿s Walk Of Fame. Junkies and the homeless, many of whom are clearly mentally ill, walk the palm-lined streets like zombies ¿ all just three blocks from multi-million-dollar homes overlooking the Pacific

A homeless man on Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame. Junkies and the homeless, many of whom are clearly mentally ill, walk the palm-lined streets like zombies – all just three blocks from multi-million-dollar homes overlooking the Pacific

With movie studios still shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic and businesses only just starting to remove the wooden boards put up after city-wide rioting following the death of George Floyd while being arrested by three white officers in Minneapolis, LA is now in the grip of white flight.

Lou Ferrigno became friends with Schwarzenegger when both worked out at Gold’s. While he might not be quite a household name like Arnie, Ferrigno starred in the TV series The Incredible Hulk and became one of the wealthiest bodybuilders in the world, with a fortune of $12 million.

President Donald Trump appointed him to his council on fitness, sports and nutrition in 2018.

But Ferrigno, for all his impeccable connections, has become fed up with what he describes as the ‘dramatic decline’ in LA. He and wife Carla recently sold their £3 million home in Santa Monica and moved into a 7,146 sq ft mansion two hours north of LA.

Carla says: ‘One morning around 7am I opened the curtains in our beautiful Santa Monica home and looking up at me from our driveway were three gang members with tattoos on their faces sitting on our retaining wall. They were cat-calling me and being vulgar. I motioned I was going to call the police and they just laughed, flicking their tongues at me and showing me their guns.’

Her husband added: ‘We put the house up for sale after 40 wonderful years and moved north. We feel lucky to have made it out. Now we are in a wonderful place and very happy.’

Renee Taylor, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and actress who appeared in the hit TV sitcom The Nanny, recently sold her Beverly Hills home after half a century and moved to the East Coast.

‘I feel so sad for my friends left in Beverly Hills who had to suffer through looting and rioting,’ she says. ‘I got out just in time.’

The virus only made matters worse. There are homeless encampments in some of the most instantly recognisable tourist traps.

Stretches of Hollywood Boulevard – embedded with glittering stars representing those who achieved their dream of fame and fortune – resemble a Third World shanty town rather than the heart of America’s second-largest city.

Outside the Chinese Theatre where Marilyn Monroe and other screen icons are immortalised by their handprints in concrete, the Michael Jackson and Superman look alikes who usually pose with tourists have been replaced by vagrants begging for change.Hundreds of LA’s homeless are still without protection

One of the city¿s homeless ¿ there are more than 66,000 people sleeping rough every night. The virus only made matters worse. There are homeless encampments in some of the most instantly recognisable tourist traps

One of the city’s homeless – there are more than 66,000 people sleeping rough every night. 

The virus Covid-19 only made matters worse. There are homeless encampments in some of the most instantly recognisable tourist traps

Meanwhile, the visitors snap photos of a large Black Lives Matter logo painted down the middle of the street.

Car parks beside the beach in Santa Monica – a popular tourist destination for Britons – are filled with bashed-up motorhomes, each housing several people.

The authorities have even put portable toilets on the streets to try to stop the homeless relieving themselves on private property.

The Westwood area of LA, home to some of the most upmarket blocks of flats in the city, has been renamed ‘West Hood’ by locals appalled by rising crime.

Veteran publicist Ed Lozzi says: ‘The city was changing before coronavirus brought us to our knees. The homeless problem has been escalating for years, exacerbated by weak politicians making bad decisions.

‘Hollywood has always been the wokest of the woke, so politicians have done nothing to stop people sleeping on the streets. It’s not illegal and the weather’s nice, so they keep coming.

‘There is insufficient housing, inadequate mental health care. Add in Covid and it’s a perfect storm.

‘When I first arrived in LA 40 years ago, the town smelled of orange blossoms. Now the streets stink of urine. There is a beautiful park in Westwood but you can’t go there because there are people slumped on the ground and you step on a carpet of needles.

‘White flight is real. The elites and middle classes are leaving. People are taking losses on the sales of their homes to get out.’

The divide between rich and poor has never been more glaring.

Just yards away from Gold’s sits the sprawling LA headquarters of internet giant Google.

The car park is housed in a building designed by architect Frank Gehry to look like a giant pair of binoculars.

Private security guards wander round as a handful of employees returning after lockdown drive into the complex in their Teslas, Porsches and Range Rovers.

Charity worker Robert (he declined to give his last name) mans two portable toilets opposite the Google HQ. Recently released from jail, this menial job is the only work he can get. He says two people have overdosed in the toilets in the past two weeks.

‘I have a Narcan pen which brings them back to life after they overdose on opioids. I’ve had to use the pen twice since the beginning of August.

‘The situation is terrible. I don’t blame those who can afford to get out of the city for doing so.’

Some 66,000 people now sleep rough every night in LA – up 12.5 per cent on last year.

‘There’s no hope any more. The rich are getting richer and there’s nothing for those on Skid Row. Trump has done nothing to help the poor. All he cares about are his rich friends making more money. If I had money I’d get out too.’

The pandemic has made many in Hollywood realise they don’t need to live in LA – or anywhere near it – to keep working.

Talent manager Craig Dorfman has moved to upstate New York. ‘A lot of people in the industry are re-evaluating their lives and saying,

‘You know, I never really loved LA. Where would I like to live? Because I can do what I want to do from anywhere,’ ‘ says Dorfman.

Fashion stylist Leah Forester and her film producer husband Bill Johnson have rented out their home and moved to the Mexican beach town of Careyes with their two children.

‘We wanted to be in the most healthy, supportive and serene environment we could be in so that we could have some sense of control over our immediate surroundings and our destiny,’ says Forester.

Comedian Joe Rogan, who makes $30 million a year from his self-titled podcast, has quit LA for Texas and says: ‘When you look at the traffic, when you look at the economic despair, when you look at the homelessness problem that’s accelerated radically… I think there are too many people here.

‘I think it’s not tenable. I don’t think that it’s manageable.’

Ironically, the celebrity enclave of Malibu – home to such leading members of the ‘wokerati’ as Leonardo DiCaprio – has cracked down hard on the homeless, bringing in local laws to prevent people parking their motorhomes along the beach overnight.

‘They’ve kicked the homeless problem into other areas of the city like Westwood and Venice,’ says publicist Ed Lozzi. ‘It’s a classic case of ‘not in my back yard’.’

Meanwhile, some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars are developing back-up plans, should the situation worsen. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson recently took Greek citizenship and have told friends they intend to spend more time in Europe.Skid Row residents force Eyewitness News van to turn around

More tents in Melrose Place, one of the trendiest addresses in Los Angeles. Stretches of Hollywood Boulevard ¿ embedded with glittering stars representing those who achieved their dream of fame and fortune ¿ resemble a Third World shanty town rather than the heart of America's second-largest city

More tents in Melrose Place, one of the trendiest addresses in Los Angeles. Stretches of Hollywood Boulevard – embedded with glittering stars representing those who achieved their dream of fame and fortune – resemble a Third World shanty town rather than the heart of America’s second-largest city

Producer Dana Brunetti, business partner of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey and producer of the Fifty Shades Of Grey films, has acquired Italian citizenship ‘because Italy is part of the EU – it gives me a lot of options if the s*** hits the fan’.

Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban have homes in LA, Nashville and her native Australia.

A source says: ‘They have been spending a lot of time in Nashville. There they can give their kids a more normal upbringing. They have been talking about getting rid of the LA place.’

When the news broke last week that Prince Harry and Meghan have chosen to make their home two hours north of LA in the upmarket hamlet of Montecito, the news shocked no one.

One Oscar-nominated writer told me: ‘They saw enough of LA those times they left Tyler Perry’s house to make them not want to raise Archie in a place like this. LA has always attracted beautiful and talented people from around the world who come here looking for fame or money or both.

‘Now the streets look like Haiti after the earthquake. It’s dirty, dangerous and work has dried up. Even when studios start to open up, people will choose to work from other places.’

The most recent high-profile name to quit Hollywood is Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, a darling of the showbusiness crowd.

Actor Robert Downey Jr has said it was Musk who inspired his portrayal of Tony Stark, the eccentric billionaire inventor in the Iron Man movies.

Elon Musk has recently sold his compound of 4 homes in Bel Air for a combined total of $62 million (£47 million) and is said to be considering a move to Texas, where he is building Tesla’s $1 billion new factory.

‘When the real-life Iron Man moves out of Hollywood, you know it’s all over,’ says a source at one of the major studio

Note: San Francisco was in no better shape in 1991-92. Homeless people crowded all the main streets. It was no longer a pleasure to walk the streets toward the many parks. I had visited West Hollywood in 1976 and walked to Beverly Hills and it was clean and nice to walk to.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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