White House Protest Corps


ETAN Action ALERT: East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

ETAN Action ALERT

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

Please do this simple task to support human rights and justice.


Call your representative in Congress. Urge him or her to co-sponsor H. Res. 1355, The resolution, submitted by Rep. Patrick Kennedy urges the government of Indonesia to improve  human rights in West Papua.

Prisoners of Conscience Filep Karma,Yusak Pakage and others may spend the next decade or more in prison in Indonesia for peacefully raising a flag. Indonesian assaults on freedom of expression and abuse in its prisons are well-documented. A year ago, the Indonesian government expelled the International Committee of the Red Cross in West Papua.

What YOU can do:

Call your Representative today. Urge her/him to co-sponsor House Resolution 1355 supporting human rights in Indonesia’s West Papua. A copy of the Resolution is below.

When you call, ask to speak to the foreign affairs legislative assistant. The Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121 (ask for the office of your Representative), or check www.congress.org for contact information. To sign on to the resolution, the office should contact Daniel Murphy in Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s office (5-4911).

Your call can make the difference.  Please keep us posted of the results of your calls by writing to etan@etan.org. Go here to check on current go sponsors. Be sure to thank your representative if she or he is on the list.  Support ETAN’s work by donating today. Thank you!!

[]

Talking points:

1. The U.S. Department of State, UN investigators and human rights organizations have documented threats to freedom of expression and dire prison conditions in the Indonesian provinces of West Papua and Papua.

2. The government of Indonesia must demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression by releasing people convicted for peacefully expressing their political views, improving prison conditions, and allowing access to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. The U.S. Congress needs to be a strong advocate for human rights in Indonesia and elsewhere. Representative Kennedy’s resolution is an opportunity for members to express their commitment to the rule of law and freedom of expression in Indonesia. This can only strengthen democracy.

4. The Congressmember should support human rights by co-sponsoring House Resolution 1355 by contacting Dan Murphy in Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s office.

You can e-mail your member of Congress on the Resolution via Amnesty International USA.


111TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION

H. RES. l355

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the human rights crisis in Papua and West Papua.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. KENNEDY submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on _____________

RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the human rights crisis in Papua and West Papua.

Whereas the Department of State’s 2008 Human Rights Report on Indonesia documents the detention of at least 30 peaceful Papuan activists, the killing of a Papuan man at a peaceful rally, and additional evidence of suppressed speech, societal abuse, and discrimination against religious groups, violence and sexual abuse against women, child labor, and human trafficking;

Whereas the Government of Indonesia has recently banned the International Committee of The Red Cross(ICRC) from the Provinces of Papua and West Papua which followed ICRC visits to detention facilities;

Whereas a 2007 United Nations report by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, found “widespread torture in Indonesian prisons” and “the use of excessive force by Indonesian security forces in particular in Papua” and that “beatings and other forms of torture are entrenched in much of Indonesia’s prison system where a culture of impunity reigns”;

Whereas Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid permitted Papuans to fly the “morning star” flag as a cultural and historic symbol;

Whereas Amnesty International has identified numerous prisoners of conscience in Indonesian prisons, among them Papuans such as Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage, imprisoned for peaceful political protests including the display of the “morning star” flag which has historic, cultural, and political meaning for Papuans;

Whereas 40 Members of Congress in 2008 petitioned Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on behalf of Papuan political prisoners Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage;

Whereas a Human Rights Watch report on June 5, 2009, noted “torture and abuse of prisoners in jails in Papua is rampant”; and

Whereas prominent Indonesian leaders have called for a national dialogue and Papuan leaders have called for an internationally-mediated dialogue to address long-standing grievances in Papua and West Papua:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that

(1) the Government of Indonesia should report to the international community specific progress made regarding

(A) the end of abuse of those detained by authorities in Papua and West Papua and prosecution of those guilty of that abuse;
(B) actions taken by the Government of Indonesia to improve conditions of incarceration, especially in Papua and West Papua;
(C) measures taken to protect the right of its citizens to peaceful assembly and association as well as the freedom of speech and specifically symbolic speech, such as raising banners or flags;
(D) compatibility of Indonesian law that criminalizes peaceful political dissent and conflicting Indonesian commitments concerning the  rights to freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed by international covenants to which Indonesia is a party, to include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
(E) provision to or access to detention facilities in West Papua by recognized human rights monitoring institutions, including the International Committee of The Red Cross; and

(2) the Government of Indonesia should allow an independent, third party human rights organization to review prison conditions with special attention to Papuan inmates and on the basis of that review, formulate a series of recommendations to the Government of Indonesia that would facilitate prison and legal reforms especially to

(A) address deficits in facilities, personnel training, and procedures for the purpose of improving the humanitarian treatment of those detained;

(B) formulating procedures, including judicial reform and legal remedies to ensure that prison authorities face appropriate punishment for mistreatment of those detained; and
(C) encourage reform of the Indonesian criminal code and sentencing procedures to ensure that they reflect Indonesia’s commitments under international undertakings and Indonesia’s own legal obligations to protect fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly and association.

see also

full alert and updates are here: http://etan.org/action/action4/32alert.htm

etanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetanetan

Support ETAN make a contribution here http://etan.org/etan/donate.htm
Thank you for your support.

John M. Miller, National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: +1-718-596-7668  Mobile phone: +1-917-690-4391
Email john@etan.org Skype: john.m.miller
http://www.etan.org

Twitter: http://twitter.com/etan009
Blog: http://etanaction.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/134122?recruiter_id=10193810

Send a blank e-mail message to info@etan.org to find out how to learn more about East Timor and Indonesia on the Internet



Israel’s Lifting of Gaza Blockade Means Junk Food, But No Cement to Rebuild Damaged Buildings

Salem-News.com http://salem-news.com/articles/june092010/blockade-reality.php

The marginal easement is a step in the right direction, but a very small one.

Raffah Crossing at Gaza
File image of Raffah Crossing at Gaza during a previous effort, Viva Palestina. Courtesy: Wikipedia

(JERUSALEM) – Some food items that had been banned under Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, are now finding their way into this battered, walled and tortured land.

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla set out with a goal of breaking the several years old siege that has brought this population to piteous depths of poverty, the likes of which even this place had been able to avoid.

Reporters with the Times of India spoke to officials Wednesday, who agree that it is a small step toward easing its three-year-old blockade of the territory, after worldwide criticism of last week’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound international flotilla.

The decision only narrowly expands the list of goods that can enter Gaza — and most of the newly permitted items are already being smuggled into the area from neighboring Egypt.

The move also does not include the most-sought items in Gaza, such as cement, steel and other materials needed to rebuild the war-devastated strip. But it is the first tangible step by Israel to temper the uproar caused by the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead after a clash with Israeli naval commandos on one of the flotilla’s ships.

Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said that soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. He said some products have already entered Gaza, and others would cross in the coming days.

The naval raid drew attention to the blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas militants seized power in Gaza in 2007.

The closure has devastated Gaza’s already battered economy, erased tens of thousands of jobs and prevented the area from repairing damage after a fierce Israeli military offensive in Gaza early last year.

Wednesday’s gesture was unlikely to blunt the global criticism, since it doesn’t lift the ban on materials needed to rebuild Gaza.

=======================================================

Special thanks to the Times of India



Erdoğan warns turning blind eye to raid will legalize future brutality
http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=212643

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the international community about the potential harm of turning a blind eye to the illegality of the May 31 Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean that led to the deaths of nine peace activists, saying such an approach would inevitably lead to repetition of similar violent acts.

//

<!–

“Look, I want to say it because it is important to our agenda. On May 31, there was a very grave violation of international law,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday at a UN meeting held in İstanbul.

Nine Turkish nationals were killed last Monday during an Israeli commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, part of a six-vessel convoy that set out to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel said its troops used lethal force in self-defense after they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding clubs and knives. Both Turkish leaders and the global public were infuriated by the killings.

“Israeli commandos attacked passengers of ship, which included civilian aid volunteers from 32 countries carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza and slew exactly nine innocent people.

Twenty-four people were wounded. Remaining silent, again, about this attack, which took place in international waters and which is completely unlawful, and turning a blind eye [to this attack] like [has been done in] the earlier [examples] will open a new wound in the conscience of humanity,” Erdoğan went on to say.

The two-day regional conference on progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals will close today. The conference, which draws on the full strength of the UN system, is hosted by the Turkish government and co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In line with the theme of the conference, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s call to international bodies, which it says should be more representative and should be proactive in dealing with regional and international disputes that erode mutual confidence among nations of the world.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned the international community that the May 31 Israeli raid may be repeated if the world turns a blind eye to it, while speaking at a UN meeting in İstanbul, on Wednesday.

“Violations of law committed by a state — in an irresponsible manner, thoughtlessly, fearlessly and without any hesitation — will harm humanity’s sensitivity to justice and will further diminish the trust among international organizations,” Erdoğan said.

“If we are talking about global peace and if we are sincerely aware that we have to find solutions to global problems together, then we have to display a humanitarian stance against these kinds of unlawful [incidents], — a just, determined and courageous stance. Those who remain silent, who remain indifferent, and who turn a blind eye will not only be partner to these massacres, but will also legitimize new attacks in the future and will be lending support to such attacks,” he said. Erdoğan’s speech in İstanbul came on the same day when certain powers notified the UN nuclear watchdog of their concerns regarding the proposal for Iran to send 1.2 tons of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for reactor fuel.

Russia, France and the United States handed a response to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano, said the IAEA and diplomats on Wednesday. It was then sent to Iran’s IAEA envoy before a pending UN Security Council vote on new sanctions against Tehran.

The United States has said Tehran’s decision to back the nuclear fuel swap deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil, is a ploy to avoid new sanctions against Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter. Diplomats said Iran’s proposal lacked practical details needed to carry it out. In İstanbul, Erdoğan called the deal “a diplomatic victory.” He said, “A victory of diplomacy has been gained in the name of regional and global peace.”



As Israel kills and Maims, Outrage is Directed at Helen Thomas

Alison Weir for Salem-News.com

http://salem-news.com/articles/june092010/helen-thomas-aw.php

In Thomas’s lifetime Israel has ethnically cleansed over a million people, replaced them with colonists from around the world, committed dozens of massacres, tortured thousands, killed and maimed untold numbers of children…

Salem-News.com
The one and on Helen Thomas, has been covering White House Affairs for half a century; like Dan Rather’s report about George W Bush’s shoddy and shameful military past,

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Whenever Israel commits yet another atrocity, its defenders are quick to redirect public attention away from the grisly crime scene.

Currently, there are headlines about allegedly anti-Semitic comments made by senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas. Pundits across the land evince outrage at her off-the-cuff 25-second statement made to a man who appears to be holding a camera right in her face.

Thomas issued a public apology for her words, but this was insufficient to assuage the wounded feelings of powerful antagonists, and she has now retired from a long and distinguished career.

Before we examine her comments and evaluate their possible validity, let’s look at other recent events having to do with Israel.

On May 31st Israeli commandos killed at least nine unarmed volunteers attempting to take humanitarian supplies to Gaza.

According to eyewitness reports and forensic evidence, many of these aid volunteers were shot at close range, including a 19-year-old American citizen killed by four bullets to the head and one to the chest fired from 18 inches away.

Israel immediately imprisoned eyewitnesses and hundreds of other aid participants, confiscated their cameras, laptops, and other possessions, and prevented them from speaking to the press for days. Among the incarcerated were decorated U.S. veterans and an 80-year-old former ambassador who had been deputy director of Reagan’s Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism.

When they finally emerged and were able to tell their stories, many described horrific scenes of Israeli commandos shooting people in the head, of those tending the injured being shot in the stomach, of people bleeding to death while flotilla participants waved white flags and pled for help.

They also described being beaten brutally by Israeli forces, again and again – including those on ships that, in the U.S. media’s judgment, experienced “no violence.” A 64-year-old piano tuner from California, Paul Larudee, described hundreds of Israeli commandos boarding his ship. When he refused to cooperate with them, soldiers then beat him numerous times both on board the ship and after he was imprisoned on land.

Eventually he was taken by ambulance to an Israeli hospital. He wasn’t treated, however, and Larudee believes he was taken there because Israel didn’t want media to see his black eye, pronated joints, bruised jaw and body contusions.

Marine veteran Ken O’Keefe described similar beatings while in Israeli custody. In his case, the public was able to see his bloodied, battered face in video clips and still images – but only on the Internet, since American mainstream media failed to report on his press conference or to publish the many still photos of his injuries.

Other gruesome photos available to the American public only on the Internet are of Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old American student whose eye and eye socket were recently shattered by Israeli forces. She has since had her eyeball removed, three metal plates inserted in her face, and her jaw wired shut.

Henochowicz was not on the flotilla; she was taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the Israeli assault when an Israeli soldier shot a high-velocity teargas canister into her face.

A Swedish citizen standing with Henochowicz said, “They clearly saw us. They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”

Henochowicz is not the first to have been shot by such a canister.

Thirty-year-old Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh died when an Israeli soldier shot one at him at close range while Abu Rahmeh participated in a demonstration against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian farmland. A video of this is also available on You Tube; U.S. networks have also chosen not to broadcast this.

Californian Tristan Anderson was shot in the head by a similar canister while he was taking photographs following another demonstration. Part of Anderson’s brain was removed and he was in a “minimally responsive state” for 6-7 months.

He is now in a wheelchair, has almost no movement in his left arm and leg, is blind in one eye, and his mental functioning is significantly reduced. Photos of the shooting are also available on the Internet.

Since at least 2006 Israeli forces have closed off Gaza to the outside world, essentially imprisoning 1.5 million men, women, and children, and denying them foodstuffs, medicines, and building materials, as documented by such agencies as Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Christian Aid, which said that Israel was using food and medicine as weapons.

One of the multitudinous victims of this illegal siege is five-year-old Taysir Al Burai, who suffers from an acute neurological disorder and requires round-the-clock care. According to the UK Guardian, he could be cured if Israel would allow him to leave Gaza, but to date his parents’ repeated requests have been denied.

Another victim is 7-month-old Mohammad Khader, whose swelling in the brain required specialized treatment unavailable in Gazan hospitals depleted by the Israeli siege. His distraught parents’ applications asking Israel to allow them to travel abroad were similarly denied. Their tiny son died a few days ago.

Such stories go on and on.

Thomas’s “outrageous” statement

Yet, the rage we see in the U.S. media is directed against none of this. People shot in the head, eyes and brain parts destroyed, the elderly beaten, small children and infants caused to suffer and die, parents to grieve – none of this has caused a hint of anger. In fact, most of it has been considered of too little importance even to report.

Instead, media reports are filled with outrage at “anti-Israel” words spoken by 89-year-old Helen Thomas.

In Thomas’s lifetime Israel has ethnically cleansed over a million people, replaced them with colonists from around the world, committed dozens of massacres, tortured thousands of people, killed and maimed untold numbers of children, mangled limbs, and committed outrages on women, old people, the weak and the infirm.

It has assassinated people throughout the world, invaded numerous countries, spied on the U.S., killed and injured 200 American servicemen (the anniversary is this week), and tortured and imprisoned Americans. All while receiving more American money than any other country on earth.

For years, long before her recent words, Thomas has been the target of Israel’s vicious American volunteers, the Zionist blogosphere abounding with nasty slurs on her looks and her Lebanese ancestry, this latter also consistently emphasized by the media, despite her Kentucky birth and upbringing.

One of the reasons for the ferocious animosity toward her is the fact that Thomas is one of the very few mainstream reporters to challenge the neocon engendered lies that led the U.S. into wars that have caused massive death, destruction and tragedy and to continue to expose ongoing policies of violence and cruelty.

As the same groups and individuals who pushed the US into attacking Iraq have in recent years been escalating their efforts to push the U.S. to now similarly decimate Iranians under the pretext that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons, Thomas’s questioning attempted to elicit from Obama the fact that Israel already posses nuclear weapons. While the rest of the press corps has conspired in the cover-up of this fact and others, Thomas worked to expose them.

Not surprisingly, the many people complicit in these manipulations, such as former Bush spokesperson Ari Fleischer, have led the charge against her.

It is useful to examine the video and context of Thomas’s allegedly “anti-Semitic” comment.

A man, apparently holding a camera right in her face, asks for her comments about Israel. She says, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied. And it’s their land…” He interrupts her and asks where they should go. She responds, “They should go home. To Germany, Poland, America, and everywhere else.”

While Thomas has since apologized for her hasty words and many Israelis have the right to continue living where they are, the reality is that Israeli settlers did, indeed, come from elsewhere; they are, in fact, illegally occupying Palestinian land (a fact acknowledged even by the U.S. State Department); and international law does require that they leave.

Many commentators evince particular anger at Thomas’s inclusion of Germany and Poland as places to which Israeli colonists should return, suggesting that Hitler is still in control and waiting to pounce.

The happy fact is, however, that World War II and the Nazi holocaust ended well over half a century ago. In Poland today there is a vibrant Jewish revival with a 10-foot tall Menorah being lit in the center of Warsaw during Hanukah, and Germany has become, according to the New York Times, “a country where Jews want to live.” In fact, in recent years more Jews have chosen to immigrate to Germany than to Israel.

Thomas’s call for colonists to return to America (this destination was left out of many articles) is far from outrageous given that a great many West Bank settlers are from the U.S.

Overall, reporting on the incident has largely departed from the standard journalistic practice of quoting people from both sides of an issue. Quotes from Thomas supporters are missing, even though the You Tube page featuring the infamous video contains a large number of comments supporting her. In contrast, quotes from Thomas’s detractors, almost all of them Zionists, are ubiquitous, but generally fail to divulge the speakers’ frequent conflicts of interest.

For example, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz quotes Jeffrey Goldberg without mentioning that Goldberg is an Israeli citizen who served as a prison guard at an Israeli prison that held hundreds of Palestinians without charge, some killed in cold blood by the prison commander.

Mainstream media organizations do not seem to have investigated reports that the man who videotaped Thomas, Rabbi David Nesenoff, also made an offensive video featuring himself and another man impersonating a buffoonish Catholic priest and Mexican immigrant.

Similarly, news reports that a high school had disinvited Thomas as a graduation speaker almost never inform readers that many of the school’s parents and students wished Thomas to remain, even though this unreferenced group may represent a majority of the school. Members of this group have created a Facebook page, “Helen Thomas should have been our graduation speaker,” that states:

“The purpose of this group is to quietly but firmly protest the ability of a small minority to impose its will on the larger group through engaging or threatening to engage in disruptive discourse. This group affirms a belief in reasonable discussion and feel that in this scenario, a clear minority was able to override a larger majority by distorting the issues and discussion.”

Replacing Thomas at the upcoming graduation ceremony will be CBS’s Bob Schiefer, who has close family ties to George W. Bush and has rarely, if ever, challenged administration falsehoods that sent the nation to war and that keep it there still.

Regarding his reporting on Israel-Palestine, media watchdog Fairness and Accurate In Reporting (FAIR) issued an alert in 2006 objecting to Schiefer’s “shallow, dismissive coverage of complicated and tragic events.”

It is not known who will take over Thomas’s front-row seat at White House briefings. Given the record of the current press corps, it is likely that Israel partisans are breathing a sign of relief.

One more obstacle to the Zionist juggernaut has just been removed.



Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

FAQ’s ABOUT TRISTAN

Tristan was critically injured when he was shot in the head at close range with a metal high-velocity tear gas canister at the Israeli Separation Wall on March 13, 2009, while taking photos following a demonstration against the apartheid wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. The shooting caused severe traumatic brain injury and blindness in his right eye. Tristan, 39 years old, has not yet regained the use of the left side of his body and faces a long period of cognitive and physical rehabilitation and remains in a wheelchair. However, in the last several months he has made significant strides forward, including regaining his ability to speak.

Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

Tristan Anderson, an American nearly killed by Israeli Occupation Forces

from Solidarity with Tristan Anderson by friendsoftristan

(as of May 1, 2010, written by Gabby, his partner)

1- Can he talk?

Yes, Tristan started talking in early December (shortly after he ripped out his tracheotomy tube).

2- What does he say? Does he know who he is?

Tristan knows who he is and he remembers his pre-injury life. He’s maintained a lot of specialized knowledge, he tells stories, he recognizes people in pictures, he sings his favorite songs, etc. His long term memory for life before the injury is generally excellent.

3- What does his voice sound like? Is there heavy slurring? Does he have trouble formulating language?

Tristan speaks clearly but softly. We have very good communication from him, but it can be difficult to hear what he’s saying if there’s competing noise. While other cognitive functions have been impacted, Tristan’s language abilities are more or less intact. He’s maintained adult grammar and vocabulary and has not needed therapy to re-learn language.

4- How did Tristan communicate during the months before he was talking?

Before he was talking, Tristan communicated primarily with gestures and pantomime, and also by writing and spelling words out on a communication board. (Although it’s very difficult to read his handwriting, and it used to be much worse.)

In earlier days (and for a long time) Tristan had very limited and sometimes inconsistent communication, primarily with yes/no hand signals.  Besides hand signals, communication was also achieved by presenting objects or writing choices on a board and asking Tristan to point to the correct or desired one. In the bad old days, Tristan could really only handle two options at a time.

5- I hear he was in a coma.

Tristan was never in a coma, but he lingered in a   “minimally responsive” state for his first six to seven months post-injury. During this time, life was almost completely dominated by medical complications and Tristan could only maintain wakefulness for a few minutes at a time. It was a horrible period with a lot of uncertainty about whether or not life would ever get better, but he pulled through it and it has.

6- What changed?

In August Tristan had two surgeries, a Cranioplasty (a reconstructive surgery on his skull) followed by a VP Shunt (to regulate the flow of Cerebrospinal Fluid in his body). Tristan started noticeably “waking up” more following the shunt surgery, then experienced a very serious infection and went septic. He was put on high doses of intravenous anti-biotics for an extremely long time. Weeks later he emerged from the fevers and started making the slow climb out of the abyss.

7- Has his personality changed? How has Tristan been most affected cognitively by the injury?

Tristan has maintained a lot of his values and knowledge base as an activist and as the person we knew, but he has been profoundly affected by the injury to his brain. Among other things, he suffers from difficulties with impulse control and short term memory retrieval that impacts everything he does all the time.

I’m afraid in answering this question that I’ll give an overly optimistic or an overly pessimistic view to the people who are reading it. At various times talking to friends, I feel that I have done both.  The fact is, it’s complicated.

Brain injury can make a person a bit of an enigma.

For instance, Tristan can legitimately play adult trivia games at a higher level than I can, but he can’t play Connect Four or other simple children’s board games because he gets too caught up in putting all the pieces in and he can’t wait his turn.

Tristan oscillates constantly between being knowledgeable and insightful to being unreasonable and child-like. There is never a time that I am unaware of his injury.

8-  What parts of his body and brain were injured on March 13, 2009?

Tristan was shot in the forehead above his right eye and was primarily injured in the right frontal lobe of his brain. He also suffered injury due to hemorrhaging and swelling during his first week in the ICU which very nearly took his life and did more damage. These secondary injuries caused significant harm to the right temporal lobe and to other areas of his brain.

Tristan was also blinded in the right eye and the orbit (the bone surrounding this eye) was smashed to pieces. He is classified as having had a “severe” traumatic brain injury.

9- How has he been affected physically?

Tristan is hemiplegic. He is not completely paralyzed but has almost no movement at all in his left arm and left leg. This is particularly difficult for him because he was left handed.

Tristan is also still recovering from the extensive damage done to his body by the months of being mostly bed-ridden and immobilized.

10- Will he walk again?

Tristan is in a wheelchair. Recently we’ve been seeing some movement come back in his left hip, and his physical therapist feels optimistic that given proper therapy, he will be able to regain some ability to walk. However, she has warned that this may take years of work.

11- What is daily life like for you guys at the Rehabilitation Center?

On a good busy day, the mornings are a flurry of activity as Tristan moves between physical, speech and occupational therapy appointments.  We squeeze in two meals and hopefully have time leftover for exercises and practice on a Standing Frame (a supported structure in the physical therapy room that lets Tristan’s body get used to standing again.)  Sometimes we also use a recumbent style stationary exercise bike that Tristan can peddle actively using his right leg and passively with his left.

In the early afternoon Tristan goes back to bed and rests for about two hours.  He typically gets up about 4:00 or 4:30 and goes on a long walk with his father, then comes back and eats dinner. He eats a lot of variations on rice and beans and vegetables and a lot of different kinds of soups.

After dinner we figure out what to do with the rest of the evening.  Sometimes Tristan works with a computer.  Other times we play card games, board games, stuff like that.  We try to get him used to operating his wheel chair for himself. Sometimes we work him pretty hard, other times we just hang out.  We read to each other a lot, including some of Tristan’s old writings.

We try to keep him company here and do something in between “work” and “play” in the free time we have. Mike, Nancy, and I have no lives at all. We’re here at the hospital pretty much all the time.

12- Does he ever get out of the hospital?

Not very often, but sometimes. We try to get out on the weekends.

13- How is he handling this emotionally?

For better or worse, Tristan has never heavily grieved over his injury. He is very aware of ways that the injury has affected him physically, but less aware or accepting of the cognitive repercussions.

In the last several months we’ve seen him slowly start to get more in touch with his feelings, and I believe this will continue to develop with time.

14- Are you still seeing improvement in his abilities?

Yes.

15- Is he still in critical condition?

No, at this point, Tristan is in the post-acute stage of his injury. He’s living in a hospital because he gets rehabilitation there.

16- Is he pretty much independent now or does he need a lot of help?

He needs a lot of help.

17- What’s happening with the court cases?

There are two court cases, a criminal case and a civil case.

As of now, the Israeli Police who investigated Tristan’s shooting have closed the case without bringing criminal charges against anyone involved. The investigation has been widely criticized as a sham, and we are appealing this decision.

(There was a misleading article published by Ha’aretz entitled “State to Re-investigate Wounding of U.S. Activist”, which was spread all over the internet and gave the false impression that the Israeli state was re-opening Tristan’s case. In fact all that happened is that our lawyers submitted an appeal and the other side is legally obliged to accept our paperwork, so they did. That’s it.)

Besides the criminal case, there is also a civil case which Tristan’s family is bringing against the Israeli military to help cover the lifetime of medical expenses, lost wages, and continuing care that Tristan will need. We have been warned that the civil case is likely to take years before coming to fruition. (Rachel Corries’ civil case, filed in 2005, first made it in to court here about a month and a half ago, which is appalling.)

18- What is the basis of your appeal to re-open the criminal case?

The investigation into Tristan’s shooting is a perfect illustration of why the police and the army can not be trusted to investigate themselves.

The investigators, for instance, never even bothered to go to the scene where the shooting took place. No physical evidence was ever collected.

Additionally, eye witnesses uniformly testified that the shots were fired from a nearby hill. Even though the military has confirmed that indeed there were Border Police armed with high velocity tear gas positioned on that hill, the entire investigation into Tristan’s shooting relates instead to the irrelevant conduct of an irrelevant squad of Border Police positioned on the other side of town.

To date, the Border Police on the hill where the shots were fired have never been questioned.

19- Is there anything we can do to help demand justice for Tristan?

We are demanding that the criminal case against the Border Police involved in Tristan’s shooting be re-opened immediately and a meaningful investigation begun.

Friends are urged to contact Barbara Lee, Tristan’s representative in Congress (202-225-2661) or to picket their local Israeli Consulate,

(http://www.israelemb.org/israeli-consulate-in-usa.htm) demanding that Israel take full responsibility for Tristan’s shooting.

We also recognize that during the time that we’ve been here in the hospital with Tristan, two other activists have died at demonstrations against the Wall. Their names were Basem Abu Rahme and Yousef ‘Akil’ Tsadik Srour. Basem was killed while screaming to soldiers that this was a non-violent demonstration and telling them to stop shooting at a woman protester who’d been injured. Akil died coming to the aid of a sixteen year old boy who’d been shot in the spine.

To date, Israel has killed 23 people to build their Wall, and seriously wounded many more, including Ehab Fadel Barghouthi (age 14), shot in the head at a demonstration several weeks ago.

Putting finishing touches on this document, I learn that Ahmad Sliman Salem Dib, age 19, was shot to death just days ago on the 28th of April, at a demonstration against land seizure in Gaza.

Demanding Justice for Tristan is also demanding justice for them, and recognizing the role of the United States government in war and occupation around the world.

20- Will Tristan make a full recovery?  Do the doctors have any kind of long term projection?

There is no long term projection.  As long as he’s still doing better, no one can tell how far he’ll go.  But the fact is, you can’t just shoot somebody in the head and then take it back.  Dead brain tissue stays dead, but the human mind can learn to compensate.

The most common metaphor I’ve heard to describe brain injury rehabilitation is this: You’re traveling down the road and the highway is blocked.  The question is: can you find a way to get to where you’re going using the back roads?  People who are successful at brain injury rehabilitation form new pathways and find them.

21- When do you think he will be ready to come home?

This is also the question that Tristan asks all the time. We expect to fly back in to California some time in the summer of 2010.

Tristan will move in with his parents and live with them in their small rural town. He will continue his rehabilitation on an out-patient basis from there. We plan to also set up a satellite home for him in the Bay Area and move back and forth.

My hope is that friends and family will accept Tristan for his abilities and disabilities, and find ways to welcome him back home.

For anyone inspired, there will be a lot of work to do.

We are accepting monetary donations through this website. Also, we’re starting a Welcome Tristan listserve for logistical coordination of accessibility projects and bright ideas.  To subscribe send a blank email to friendsoftristan+subscribe@googlegroups.com