White House Protest Corps


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

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Israel’s shoot to kill policy uncovered
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129575&sectionid=351021801
Despite claims of acting in self-defense, Israeli commandos have killed aid activists onboard Freedom Flotilla ships since they were carrying out a “shoot to kill policy”.

The Guardian has revealed that the results of the autopsies conducted on the bodies of Turkish activists killed last Monday by Israeli navy show they were peppered with 9mm bullets that were fired at close range.

At least 9 Turkish activists were shot to death when trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as part of an international aid convoy dubbed “Freedom Flotilla”.

The surfaced facts about the killings totally dismissed Israeli regime’s claims and its insistence that its troops just acted in self-defense when they opened fired on activists.

The report said the Turkish men onboard the Mavi Marmara have been shot 30 times in all and five of them were killed as the straight bullets hit them in their heads.

Vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, Yalcin Buyuk, conducted the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice.

He told the paper that a 60-year-old man named Ibrahim Bilgen was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back, while a 19-year-old boy named as Fulkan Dogan was shot five times from less than 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.

The Israeli regime has come under intense international pressure to allow an international probe into the killings of civilian activists.



The Gaza Blockade Is Illegal and the Flotilla Attack Was an Illegal Act of War
June 5, 2010, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Because the blockade of Gaza itself violates international law, Israel committed an illegal act of war attacking the convoy, regardless of who attacked whom first.

June 5, 2010 |http://www.alternet.org/story/147115/the_gaza_blockade_is_illegal_and_the_flotilla_attack_was_an_illegal_act_of_war

Israeli officials claimed that the IDF commandos who killed and wounded dozens of activists on a humanitarian aid convoy bound for Gaza this week faced a potentially lethal attack, and opened fire in self-defense. Eyewitnesses on board tell a different story, saying the special forces troops fired on the ships before boarding, weren’t in fact attacked and were unrestrained in their hostility. The question of who attacked whom is irrelevant, however, according to experts in international law. The blockade itself is illegal, and therefore Israel had no right to board those ships in the first place. It renders the argument over culpability moot. Israel committed an illegal act of war attacking the convoy, regardless of who tried to draw “first blood.”

Israeli officials claim that the Jewish state is at war with Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip. On that basis, officials say Israel has a right to intercept shipping in and out of Gaza under the law of war. In an opinion piece AIPAC has been pushing to reporters this week, Leslie Gelb, a former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote that “blockades are quite legal,” and compared the Gaza siege to the Anglo-U.S. blockades of Germany and Japan during World War Two. “Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs around the world would dispute this,” wrote Gelb sneeringly. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., echoed the World War Two comparison.

The parallel is entirely false. Gaza is not an independent state at war with Israel. Gaza is occupied by Israel, and, as such, an entirely different set of international laws apply. As UC Hastings legal scholar George Bisharat explained this week, the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the ground in Gaza is immaterial, as the area remains under Israel’s “effective control” — it’s a remote occupation but an occupation nonetheless.

Under customary international law that Israel accepts as binding … a territory is “occupied” when foreign forces exercise “effective control” over it, whether accomplished through the continuous presence of ground troops or not.

Israel patrols the territorial waters and airspace of the Gaza Strip, regulates Gaza’s land borders, restricts internal movements by excluding Gazans from a “buffer zone” that includes 46 percent of the strip’s agricultural land, and controls the Gaza Strip’s supplies of electricity, heating oil, and petrol. Together these factors amount to remote but “effective control.”

According to Bisharat, this is not a matter of dispute. “The Gaza Strip remains occupied,” he wrote, “as the United Nations, the U.S. government and the International Committee of the Red Cross have all recognized.” Hamas controls the ground within Gaza, but Israel controls Gaza.

There are two important ramifications to this. First, a blockade that restricts the local population’s access to vital goods violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which specifies that an occupying force has a legally binding duty to protect an occupied population. Bisharat explained it like this:

Israel has authority to halt arms imports into the Gaza Strip. But it also owes a general duty of protection to civilians under its control, and has specific duties to allow them access to adequate food and medical supplies, and to maintain public health standards – duties it has deliberately violated in imposing the siege on Gaza. Currently 77.2 percent of Gaza Palestinians either face or are vulnerable to hunger …

Moreover, collective punishment is specifically barred under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the objective of the blockade is to weaken the Gaza economy and undermine support for Hamas. That is a political, not a military, objective, and it is impermissible under international law to target innocent civilians to achieve nonmilitary goals.

The second point pertains to the attack on the Freedom Flotilla. As Bisharat notes, “Actions taken to enforce an illegal siege cannot themselves be legal.” The Israel commandos were transported 70 miles offshore, into international waters. There, they attacked a civilian vessel flagged to an allied state — a NATO member — and killed and wounded some yet unclarified number of activists whose journey was motivated by their opposition to the blockade.

It was not an act of “piracy,” because the Israeli troops were operating under the flag of a nation-state. Because the blockade violates international law, and Israel had no military justification for boarding her with special forces troops, it rather constituted an “illegal act of war.” Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, called the legal situation “very plain”:

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean … that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody’s territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

After perpetrating an act of war on Turkey, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, among the most extreme figures to serve in any Israeli government, said of the attack: “We didn’t start this provocation, we did not send bullies with knives and metal rods to Turkey… In this case, the entire blame, all of it, from beginning to end, is that of Turkey.”

They didn’t in fact  send “bullies” to Turkey armed with “knives and metal rods”; according to Craig Murray, they sent a heavily armed special forces team to Turkey — the deck of that ship represented Turkish “soil.”

A final point. Israeli leaders say they have no animosity towards the people of Gaza. Some of Israel’s defenders have suggested that it’s relatively easy to get goods in and out of the territory; that Israel simply wants to “inspect shipments for arms.” So it’s important to note just how deeply damaging the blockade has been for the people of Gaza.

Foreign Policy Magazine compiled a large volume of information from reports issued by the United Nations and various NGOs working in Gaza. Just a few highlights:

  • Electricity: In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza’s only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity…. The majority of houses have power cuts at least eight hours per day. Some have no electricity for long as 12 hours a day. The lack of electricity has led to reliance on generators, many of which have exploded from overwork, killing and maiming civilians.
  • Water: Israel has not permitted supplies into the Gaza Strip to rebuild the sewage system. Amnesty International reports that 90-95 percent of the drinking water in Gaza is contaminated and unfit for consumption.
  • Health: According to UN OCHA, infrastructure for 15 of 27 of Gaza’s hospitals, 43 of 110 of its primary care facilities, and 29 of its 148 ambulances were damaged or destroyed during the war. Without rebuilding materials like cement and glass due to Israeli restrictions, the vast majority of the destroyed health infrastructure has not been rebuilt.
  • Food: A 2010 World Health Organization report stated that “chronic malnutrition in the Gaza Strip has risen over the past few years and has now reached 10.2%. … According to UN OCHA: “Over 60 percent of households are now food insecure …
  • Industry:  A World Health Organization report from this year states: “In the Gaza Strip, private enterprise is practically at a standstill as a consequence of the blockade. Almost all (98%) industrial operations have been shut down.

Israeli officials are correct that the state has a right to defend itself. Every nation does. But it has no right to commit war crimes in mounting that defense. The European Union has condemned the blockade of Gaza as a form of  “collective punishment,”  a serious violation of international law. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia’s summary of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II… In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance… The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility.

Israeli officials often invoke the image of rockets reining down on Israel from Gaza as justification for their aggressive policies. While they represent a modest threat — fewer people died in rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in all of 2008 than perished in a few hours during the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla — they are terrifying and constitute a war crime. Yet punishing the population rather than the militants who fired those rockets is a war crime as well. Approximately half of the population of Gaza are under 18 years of age.

Matt Yglesias noted that Israel’s defenders have described the blockade “as some kind of narrow effort to prevent arms smuggling,” but adds: “this simply isn’t what’s going on.” “The objective,” he wrote, “is to make life in Gaza miserable.”

Yglesias linked to Peter Beinart arguing that, as far as Israel’s government is concerned, “the embargo must be tight enough to keep the people of Gaza miserable, but not so tight that they starve.”

This explains why Israel prevents Gazans from importing, among other things, cilantro, sage, jam, chocolate, French fries, dried fruit, fabrics, notebooks, empty flowerpots and toys, none of which are particularly useful in building Kassam rockets. It’s why Israel bans virtually all exports from Gaza, a policy that has helped to destroy the Strip’s agriculture, contributed to the closing of some 95 percent of its factories, and left more 80 percent of its population dependent on food aid. It’s why Gaza’s fishermen are not allowed to travel more than three miles from the coast, which dramatically reduces their catch.

Beinart concluded that the deaths on the Freedom Flotilla were not the fault of the Israeli commandos who boarded those ships in the dead of night (a position I’m not necessarily endorsing), but of “the Israeli leaders who oversee the Gaza embargo, and with Israel’s American supporters, who have averted their eyes.”

For more on the status of the latest ship to head for Gaza, the Irish vessel MV Rachel Corrie, click here.



Gaza Flotilla: National Demo Sat 5 June ( Britain )

Gaza Flotilla: National Demo Sat 5 June

http://www.inminds.com/article.php?id=10401

inminds
4 June 2010

Saturday 5 June: Assemble Downing Street, London at 1.30pm, March to the Israeli Embassy

Speakers at the demonstration rally:
• Sarah Colborne (flotilla survivor)
• Ken Loach
• Caroline Lucas MP
• George Galloway
• Kevin Ovenden (flotilla survivor)
• Kate Hudson
• Lowkey
• Ismail Patel (flotilla survivor)
• Salma Yaqoob
• Daud Abdullah
• Lindsey German
• Tarik Ali
• Jeremy Corbyn MP
• John Rose
• Yvonne Ridley
• Mohammed Kosbar
• Lauren Booth
• Keith Sonnett
• Sally Hunt

Called by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, CND, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Viva Palestina and Palestinian Forum of Britain



Israel ‘committing slow drip genocide’
June 4, 2010, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,
Palestinian woman holds photo of Rachel Corrie

Palestinian woman holds photo of Rachel Corrie

A Palestinian holds a poster of Rachel Corrie an American peace activist. Corrie, 23, of Washington DC, was crushed to death on March 16 by an Israeli army bulldozer in Rafah as she tried to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes.

The Co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement Greta Berlin says that Israel is committing slow drip genocide, ‘drip by drip, Palestinian by Palestinian, child by child’.

Berlin says the Gaza Strip siege has ‘totally impoverished’ the territory and that Israel is committing slow motion genocide.

She said in an interview with Press TV on Thursday that if governments do not “stand up” and do the “right thing” to prevent Israel’s “slow motion genocide”, the people need to “take initiative.”

The Freedom Flotilla, carrying humanitarian aid to the “impoverished territory” was attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters early Monday morning taking at least 20 lives.

Rachel Corrie, another Gaza-bound aid ship carrying medical supplies, construction material, educational material, and toys is scheduled to reach Israeli coast early Saturday morning, despite Israel insisting it will not be allowed to dock, the Guardian reported.

Now, Rachel Corrie is on its way to the beleaguered territory even more determined to “carry on with this mission,” despite the risk of a repeat of the recent “attack”, Bernama reported.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129025&sectionid=351020202



Rachel Corrie on Her Way
June 4, 2010, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Written by Free Gaza Team | 04 June 2010
Posted in Press releases

[Cyprus, June 4, 2010] The Rachel Corrie is 150 miles away from Gaza in international waters and on her way. They will arrive on Saturday morning. The 1200 ton cargo ship is the last ship from the Freedom Flotilla and is loaded with construction materials, 20 tons of paper and many other supplies that Israel refuses to allow into the imprisoned people of Gaza.

Some of the High-Profile people on board:

Mairead Maguire from Belfast, Ireland, a Nobel Peace Laureate (l976) and Co-founder of Peace People, Northern Ireland. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace and a nonviolent solution to the Ethnic/political conflict in Northern Ireland. Mairead went on the maiden Voyage of Dignity in October 2008, the second successful voyage for the Free Gaza Movement. She was also on Board ‘Spirit’ when Israel hijacked the Boat in International Waters, taking all 2l humanitarian passengers to Israel, where they were arrested, detained for a week in an Israeli prison and then deported.

Denis Halliday, from Ireland, a UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98. Appointed by SG Boutros Ghali, he served as ASG UN Human Resources Management in New York and in mid 1997 to end 1998 as Head, Humanitarian Programme in Iraq to support the Iraqi people struggling under the genocidal impact of UN Sanctions. Since resigning from the UN in 1998, Halliday has delivered numerous parliamentary briefings, provided extensive media inputs and has given public/university lectures on Iraq, human rights, and the UN, in particular its reform.

Matthias Chang Wen Chieh is a Malaysian of Chinese descent. He is a Barrister of 32 years standing and once served as the Political Secretary to the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He is the author of three bestsellers, “Future Fast Forward”, “Brainwashed for War, Programmed to Kill”, and “The Shadow Money-Lenders and the Global Financial Tsunami”, published in the US and in Malaysia.

Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria,Perak, Malaysia, MP Mohd Nizar bin Zakaria is a Member of the Malaysian Parliament.

In addition, there is a three-member camera crew on board from Malaysia TV3 and journalis Shamsul Akmar bin Musa Kamal.

The passengers on board the ship have stated, “Communication is difficult and sometimes impossible and there are many rumors out there started by Israeli authorities, but there is no way we are going to Ashdod. We are, for sure, on our way to Gaza.”

Contact: Greta Berlin, 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 6 38 38 09

Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
http://www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza



Nakba on the Potomac: Washington DC Nakba Remembrance
May 16, 2010, 8:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday, 16 May 2010 02:27

nakba remembrance in washington dc

Gael wrote:

Washington D.C. – Interfaith and peace organizations are sponsoring a commemoration on the Potomac River on May 15 from 4-5:30 p.m.

The event marks the 62nd anniversary of the “Nakba”; expulsion of
800,000 plus Palestinians from their homes and lands, and the
destruction of more than 500 villages to make way for the state of
Israel. The 1948 massive forced exile from historic Palestine is
referred to in Arabic as the Nakba, “Catastrophe.” More than 6.5
million Palestinian refugees still live in exile, many in deteriorating refugee camps, prevented by Israel from exercising their right to return to lands their families owned for generations.

sister ship to the "Rachel Corrie"
The event will begin at Georgetown Harbor on a boat that will sail the
Potomac for 50 minutes in an act of acknowledgement of the Nakba,
determination to persist and peaceful resistance in pursuit of peace.
The boat is symbolically tied to the “Rachel Corrie”, a boat filled
with humanitarian supplies that will attempt to break the siege of
Gaza on May 24, 2010 in commemoration of the Nakba. The boat is named for the 23 year old American student for peace who died as she stood between the destruction of a Palestinian home and the Israeli bulldozer that ran over and killed her.

we are all Palestinians. We are all Rachel Corrie.
The silhouette of a girl, Meiroon, is present on the boat sailing the
Potomac. Meiroon sails with braids “Blowin in the Wind” and her sail
forms Palestine. She is named after the town of Meiroon destroyed in
the Nakba of 48. Families will participate in a peaceful
commemoration and sing 60’s peace classics.

The commemoration will end with a gathering at 3000 K Street where Nakba survivors and their children will offer testimony. A full color 100 sq. foot mobile theater will display a video of the Nakba.

500 Palestinian villages obliterated in execution of Plan Dalet

Second and third generation Palestinian Americans will MC the commemoration. The commemoration will culminate with the reading of 500 names of villages and towns destroyed in the Nakba of 48. Witnesses will be on hand to offer testimony and will be available for interviews. An old diary recounting “Nakba”, Palestinian money, a metal key from a home destroyed in the Nakba, a Palestinian passport and two tattered deeds from villages destroyed in the Nakba will be on hand for the media’s
review.

ilan pappe's "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine"
The event is endorsed by The Washington Peace Center, Washington
Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, Codepink Women for Peace,
Gaza Free Gaza Movement, Gaza Freedom March and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

click tiny images to see hi-rez photos

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nakba remembrance may 15 2010, washington dc

Washington Commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba

LIST OF WITNESSES – EYEWITNESS TO ETHNIC CLEANSING

The speakers who will tell their stories at the Nakba commemoration on Saturday, May 15th. All speakers are eyewitnesses or their
descendants. These are the people of the Nakba, the violent
dispossession of people who had lived in historic Palestine for
generations…centuries.

Philip Farah was four years old when his Christian family, originally
from Gaza, was driven out of the Holy Land in February 1948. His
father, Gregory, kept a diary, from that day to the day he died. The
decades old diary will be on hand at the commemoration for the media’s perusal. Following is one of his entries:

2/12 – “I pray the Lord that peace may abide in this Holy Land. It is
so critical and dangerous here, but I pray the Lord for peace…..No
more safe to go to Bethlehem; buses are shot at daily from the Jewish colony, Ramat Rahel.”

3/29 – “A cloudy day. Critical situation ….and all the people
leaving the country. Turkey hatched today (17 chi chicks). I was busy
looking after them.”

*more dated entries are noted below.

Afaf Zalatimo from the old Jerusalem Zalatimo family will give first
hand testimony of her experiences and those of her family during the
Nakba.

Mohammad Oweiss from the suburbs of Acre will give an account of the expulsion of his family during the Nakba and their subsequent years of despair and hardship in the refugee camps of Lebanon.

The notable Dajani family, still prominent in Palestinian circles, was
eminent custodians of holy places in Jerusalem, where they have lived for centuries. Dr. Taher Dajani, who now lives in Virginia, is author of From Palestine to America. At age ten, he fled with his family from Jaffa in 1948.

Fadya Kerdasi and her large family were driven from the city of Haifa, leaving all their earthly possessions behind, as they had been told they would be able to return in two weeks. They never returned. They fled on foot to Syria, where they lived in a wretched refugee camp near Aleppo. Many of their fellow walkers died of thirst and hunger on the trek. The remainder of her family still lives in Syria.

More excerpts from the Diary of Philip Farah

4/20 – “People leaving Jerusalem. It is getting worse daily. It is too
late for us to go to Gaza. There is no benzine, no kerosene, people
are really suffering.”

4/24 – “Terror and war all over the country. Haifa was beaten by the
Jews. People are leaving the country and leaving their houses and
effects.”

4/29 – Took the Holy Communion…Oh my God, may by thy Grace and Mercy we be able to receive it every year on this same day. All government officials were paid three months with letter of termination.”

5/2 – “Easter. Such woes and Troubles. We were obliged to leave the
house suddenly under volleys of fire. Slept all in the Old City, while
Georgina and her sister slept somewhere; God knows where.”

5/15 – “This is “15”, the infamous day. Bombs, fire, and mines all
day. Oh God have mercy upon us, miserable sinners. Little Samir is
still ill and weak. May God heal him. Martha is not well….Cast care
aside; lean on your guide.”

Other Nakba related materials available to the media

A Palestinian passport; taken to refugee camps throughout the years
and now in the safekeeping of the son. Land deeds belonging to Palestinians dispossessed in the Nakba of 1948. Palestinian money still in the pockets of Palestinians that were placed in refugee camps resulting from Nakba 48; today in the hands of the sons.
Diary with dated entries during the time of the Nakba, 1948. Now in
the safekeeping of the son.
Key: many Palestinians left with keys to their homes fully intending
to return home. These keys can be found hanging on walls of homes in Palestinian refugee camps today.

For More Information on the Nakba:

www.IfAmericansKnew.org

www.PalestineRemembered.com

www.FreeGazaMovement.com

www.GazaFreedomMarch.org


Gael Murphy
CODEPINK
www.gazafreedommarch.org