Subject : ON SOCIAL THEORIES AND WORLD EVENTS.
15 December 2007
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In the words of Voltaire : "Men argue, nature acts." I believe it is a sound historical judgement to state that economic inequality and political dependency lead to cruelty and, yes, to sadistic pleasures. The idle rich seek to amuse themselves in various ways --occasionally by running experiments in which they are usually unmindful of, but sometimes delighted by, the harmful effects their actions have caused others.
C.L.R. James writes, for example, that the bored children of aristocratic slave owners in the 18th-century Caribbean colonies of France invented the delightful game of "firing the nigger," whereby they placed gun powder in the rectum of an old and useless slave, ignited it and watched him explode. This violent sport was tolerated by adult owners of capital --after all, it served a purpose, too, of ridding the plantation of unwanted burdens by reducing the number of unproductive chattel to feed.
In 1685 the Negro Code authorized whipping, and in 1702 one
colonist, a Marquis, thought any punishment which demanded
more than 100 blows of the whip was serious enough to be
handed over to the authorities. . . .
The whip was not always an ordinary cane or woven cord, as
the Code demanded.
[T]here was no ingenuity that fear or a depraved imagination
could devise which was not employed to break their spirit and
satisfy the lusts and resentment of their owners and guardians
--irons on the hands and feet, blocks of wood that the slaves
had to drag behind them wherever they went, the tin-plate mask
designed to prevent the slaves eating the sugar-cane, the iron collar.
Whipping was interrupted in order to pass a piece of hot wood on
the buttocks of the victim; salt, pepper, citron, cinders, aloes, and
hot ashes were poured on the bleeding wounds. Mutilations were
common, limbs, ears, and sometimes the private parts, to deprive
them of the pleasures which they could indulge in without expense.
. . . [A]ll the evidence shows that these bestial practices were normal
features of slave life.(The Black Jacobins, pp.12-13).]
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3
from Edward Herman :
Subject: vote the b*st*rds out
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007
These two articles on the two Democratic “leaders” in the House and Senate suggest serious questions about the potential of the Democratic Party in power as that Party is now constituted. Much food for thought here although the articles themselves are not good for one’s digestion.
The Unholy Trinity
Death Squads, Disappearances, and Torture --from Latin America to Iraq
by Greg Grandin
The world is made up, as Captain Segura in Graham Greene's 1958 novel Our Man in Havana put it, of two classes: the torturable and the untorturable. "There are people," Segura explained, "who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea."
Then -- so Greene thought -- Catholics, particularly Latin American Catholics, were more torturable than Protestants. Now, of course, Muslims hold that distinction, victims of a globalized network of offshore and outsourced imprisonment coordinated by Washington and knitted together by secret flights, concentration camps, and black-site detention centers. The CIA's deployment of Orwellian "Special Removal Units" to kidnap terror suspects in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and elsewhere and the whisking of these "ghost prisoners" off to Third World countries to be tortured goes, today, by the term "extraordinary rendition," a hauntingly apt phrase. "To render" means not just to hand over, but to extract the essence of a thing, as well as to hand out a verdict and "give in return or retribution" -- good descriptions of what happens during torture sessions.
In the decades after Greene wrote Our Man in Havana, Latin Americans coined an equally resonant word to describe the terror that had come to reign over most of the continent. Throughout the second half of the Cold War, Washington's anti-communist allies killed more than 300,000 civilians, many of whom were simply desaparecido -- "disappeared." The expression was already well known in Latin America when, on accepting his 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden, Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez reported that the region's "disappeared number nearly one hundred and twenty thousand, which is as if suddenly no one could account for all the inhabitants of Uppsala."
When Latin Americans used the word as a verb, they usually did so in a way considered grammatically incorrect -- in the transitive form and often in the passive voice, as in "she was disappeared." The implied (but absent) actor/subject signaled that everybody knew the government was responsible, even while investing that government with unspeakable, omnipotent power. The disappeared left behind families and friends who spent their energies dealing with labyrinthine bureaucracies, only to be met with silence or told that their missing relative probably went to Cuba, joined the guerrillas, or ran away with a lover. The victims were often not the most politically active, but the most popular, and were generally chosen to ensure that their sudden absence would generate a chilling ripple-effect.
An Unholy Trinity
Like rendition, disappearances can't be carried out without a synchronized, sophisticated, and increasingly transnational infrastructure, which, back in the 1960s and 1970s, the United States was instrumental in creating. In fact, it was in Latin America that the CIA and U.S. military intelligence agents, working closely with local allies, first helped put into place the unholy trinity of government-sponsored terrorism now on display in Iraq and elsewhere: death squads, disappearances, and torture.
Death Squads: Clandestine paramilitary units, nominally independent from established security agencies yet able to draw on the intelligence and logistical capabilities of those agencies, are the building blocks for any effective system of state terror. In Latin America, Washington supported the assassination of suspected Leftists at least as early as 1954, when the CIA successfully carried out a coup in Guatemala, which ousted a democratically elected president. But its first sustained sponsorship of death squads started in 1962 in Colombia, a country which then vied with Vietnam for Washington's attention.
Having just ended a brutal 10-year civil war, its newly consolidated political leadership, facing a still unruly peasantry, turned to the U.S. for help. In 1962, the Kennedy White House sent General William Yarborough, later better known for being the "Father of the Green Berets" (as well as for directing domestic military surveillance of prominent civil-rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.). Yarborough advised the Colombian government to set up an irregular unit to "execute paramilitary, sabotage and/or terrorist activities against known communist proponents" -- as good a description of a death squad as any.
As historian Michael McClintock puts it in his indispensable book Instruments of Statecraft, Yarborough left behind a "virtual blueprint" for creating military-directed death squads. This was, thanks to U.S. aid and training, immediately implemented. The use of such death squads would become part of what the counterinsurgency theorists of the era liked to call "counter-terror" -- a concept hard to define since it so closely mirrored the practices it sought to contest.
Throughout the 1960s, Latin America and Southeast Asia functioned as the two primary laboratories for U.S. counterinsurgents, who moved back and forth between the regions, applying insights and fine-tuning tactics. By the early 1960s, death-squad executions were a standard feature of U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Vietnam, soon to be consolidated into the infamous Phoenix Program, which between 1968 and 1972 "neutralized" more than 80,000 Vietnamese -- 26,369 of whom were "permanently eliminated."
As in Latin America, so too in Vietnam, the point of death squads was not just to eliminate those thought to be working with the enemy, but to keep potential rebel sympathizers in a state of fear and anxiety. To do so, the U.S. Information Service in Saigon provided thousands of copies of a flyer printed with a ghostly looking eye. The "terror squads" then deposited that eye on the corpses of those they murdered or pinned it "on the doors of houses suspected of occasionally harboring Viet Cong agents." The technique was called "phrasing the threat" -- a way to generate a word-of-mouth terror buzz.
In Guatemala, such a tactic started up at roughly the same time. There, a "white hand" was left on the body of a victim or the door of a potential one.
Disappearances: Next up on the counterinsurgency curriculum was Central America, where, in the 1960s, U.S. advisors helped put into place the infrastructure needed not just to murder but "disappear" large numbers of civilians. In the wake of the Cuban Revolution, Washington had set out to "professionalize" Latin America's security agencies -- much in the way the Bush administration now works to "modernize" the intelligence systems of its allies in the President's "Global War on Terror."
Then, as now, the goal was to turn lethargic, untrained intelligence units of limited range into an international network capable of gathering, analyzing, sharing, and acting on information in a quick and efficient manner. American advisors helped coordinate the work of the competing branches of a country's security forces, urging military men and police officers to overcome differences and cooperate. Washington supplied phones, teletype machines, radios, cars, guns, ammunition, surveillance equipment, explosives, cattle prods, cameras, typewriters, carbon paper, and filing cabinets, while instructing its apprentices in the latest riot control, record keeping, surveillance, and mass-arrest techniques.
In neither El Salvador, nor Guatemala was there even a whiff of serious rural insurrection when the Green Berets, the CIA, and the U.S. Agency for International Development began organizing the first security units that would metastasize into a dense, Central American-wide network of death-squad paramilitaries.
Once created, death squads operated under their own colorful names -- an Eye for an Eye, the Secret Anticommunist Army, the White Hand -- yet were essentially appendages of the very intelligence systems that Washington either helped create or fortified. As in Vietnam, care was taken to make sure that paramilitaries appeared to be unaffiliated with regular forces. To allow for a plausible degree of deniability, the "elimination of the [enemy] agents must be achieved quickly and decisively" -- instructs a classic 1964 textbook Counter-Insurgency Warfare -- "by an organization that must in no way be confused with the counterinsurgent personnel working to win the support of the population." But in Central America, by the end of the 1960s, the bodies were piling so high that even State Department embassy officials, often kept out of the loop on what their counterparts in the CIA and the Pentagon were up to, had to admit to the obvious links between US-backed intelligence services and the death squads.
Washington, of course, publicly denied its support for paramilitarism, but the practice of political disappearances took a great leap forward in Guatemala in 1966 with the birth of a death squad created, and directly supervised, by U.S. security advisors. Throughout the first two months of 1966, a combined black-ops unit made up of police and military officers working under the name "Operation Clean-Up" -- a term US counterinsurgents would recycle elsewhere in Latin America -- carried out a number of extrajudicial executions.
Between March 3rd and 5th of that year, the unit netted its largest catch. More than 30 Leftists were captured, interrogated, tortured, and executed. Their bodies were then placed in sacks and dropped into the Pacific Ocean from U.S.-supplied helicopters. Despite pleas from Guatemala's archbishop and more than 500 petitions of habeas corpus filed by relatives, the Guatemalan government and the American Embassy remained silent on the fate of the executed.
Over the next two and a half decades, U.S.-funded and trained Central American security forces would disappear tens of thousands of citizens and execute hundreds of thousands more. When supporters of the "War on Terror" advocated the exercise of the "Salvador Option," it was this slaughter they were talking about.
Following U.S.-backed coups in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, death squads not only became institutionalized in South America, they became transnational. Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, the CIA supported Operation Condor -- an intelligence consortium established by Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet that synchronized the activities of many of the continent's security agencies and orchestrated an international campaign of terror and murder.
According to Washington's ambassador to Paraguay, the heads of these agencies kept "in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which covers all of Latin America." This allowed them to "co-ordinate intelligence information among the southern cone countries." Just this month, Pinochet's security chief General Manuel Contreras, who is serving a 240-year prison term in Chile for a wide-range of human rights violations, gave a TV interview in which he confirmed that the CIA's then-Deputy Director, General Vernon Walters (who served under director George H.W. Bush), was fully informed of the "international activities" of Condor.
Torture: Torture is the animating spirit of this triad, the unholiest of this unholy trinity. In Chile, Pinochet's henchmen killed or disappeared thousands -- but they tortured tens of thousands. In Uruguay and Brazil, the state only disappeared a few hundred, but fear of torture and rape became a way of life, particularly for the politically engaged. Torture, even more than the disappearances, was meant not so much to get one person to talk as to get everybody else to shut up.
At this point, Washington can no longer deny that its agents in Latin America facilitated, condoned, and practiced torture. Defectors from death squads have described the instruction given by their U.S. tutors, and survivors have testified to the presence of Americans in their torture sessions. One Pentagon "torture manual" distributed in at least five Latin American countries described at length "coercive" procedures designed to "destroy [the] capacity to resist."
As Naomi Klein and Alfred McCoy have documented in their recent books, these field manuals were compiled using information gathered from CIA-commissioned mind control and electric-shock experiments conducted in the 1950s. Just as the "torture memos" of today's war on terror parse the difference between "pain" and "severe pain," "psychological harm" and "lasting psychological harm," these manuals went to great lengths to regulate the application of suffering. "The threat to inflict pain can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain," one handbook read.
"Before all else, you must be efficient," said U.S. police advisor Dan Mitrione, assassinated by Uruguay's revolutionary Tupamaros in 1970 for training security forces in the finer points of torture. "You must cause only the damage that is strictly necessary, not a bit more." Mitrione taught by demonstration, reportedly torturing to death a number of homeless people kidnapped off the streets of Montevideo. "We must control our tempers in any case," he said. "You have to act with the efficiency and cleanliness of a surgeon and with the perfection of an artist."
Florencio Caballero, having escaped from Honduras's notorious Battalion 316 into exile in Canada in 1986, testified that U.S. instructors urged him to inflict psychological, not "physical," pain "to study the fears and weakness of a prisoner." Force the victim to "stand up," the Americans taught Caballero, "don't let him sleep, keep him naked and in isolation, put rats and cockroaches in his cell, give him bad food, serve him dead animals, throw cold water on him, change the temperature." Sound familiar?
Yet, as Abu Ghraib demonstrated so clearly and the destroyed CIA interrogation videos would undoubtedly have made no less clear, maintaining a distinction between psychological and physical torture is not always possible. As one manual conceded, if a suspect does not respond, then the threat of direct pain "must be carried out." One of Caballero's victims, Inés Murillo, testified that her captors, including at least one CIA agent -- his involvement was confirmed in Senate testimony by the CIA's deputy director -- hung her from the ceiling naked, forced her to eat dead birds and rats raw, made her stand for hours without sleep and without being allowed to urinate, poured freezing water over her at regular intervals for extended periods, beat her bloody, and applied electric shocks to her body, including her genitals.
Inés Murillo was definitely a member of Greene's torturable class. Yet Greene was writing in a more genteel time, when to torture the wrong person would be, as he put it, as cheeky as a "chauffeur" sleeping with a "peeress." Today, when it comes to torture, anything goes.
Ideologues in the war on terror, like Berkeley law professor John Yoo, have worked mightily to narrow the definition of what torture is, thereby expanding possibilities for its application. They have worked no less hard to increase the number of people throughout the world who could be subjected to torture -- by defining anyone they cared to choose as a stateless "enemy combatant," and therefore not protected by national and international laws banning cruel and inhumane treatment. Even former Attorney General John Ashcroft has declared himself potentially torturable, telling a University of Colorado audience recently that he would be willing to submit to waterboarding "if it were necessary."
Things are so freewheeling that Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz -- who, at his perch at Harvard would undoubtedly be outraged if he were to be tortured -- thinks that the practice needs to be regulated, as if it were a routine medical act. He has suggested empowering judges to issue "warrants" that would allow interrogators to insert "sterile needles" underneath finger nails to "to cause excruciating pain without endangering life."
Pinochet, who didn't shy away from justifying his actions in the name of Western Civilization, would never have dreamed of defending torture as brazenly as has Dick Cheney, backed up by legal theorists like Yoo. At the same time, revisionist historians, like Max Boot, and pundits, like the Atlantic Monthly's Robert Kaplan, rewrite history, claiming that operations like the Phoenix Program in Vietnam or the death squads in El Salvador were effective, morally acceptable tactics and should be emulated in fighting today's "War on Terror."
But this kind of promiscuity has its risks. In Latin America, the word "disappeared" came to denote not just victimization but moral repudiation, as the mothers and children of the disappeared led a continental movement to restore the rule of law. They provide hope that one day the world-wide network of repression assembled by the Bush administration will be as discredited as Operation Condor is today in Latin America. As Greene wrote half a century ago, on the eve of the fall of another famous torturer, Cuba's Fulgencio Batista, "it is a real danger for everyone when what is shocking changes."
Greg Grandin is the author of a number of books, most recently Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. He teaches history at NYU.
from Information Clearing House :
15 December 2007
Subject: Hidden American Deaths in Iraq.
Here are the facts and a link to the government source to prove these facts: 73,846 US Dead and 1,620,906 Disabled :
Hidden U.S. Deaths Of Gulf Wars
by Peter Marshall E. Boomhower
from Edward Herman:
Subject: Haaretz (Amira Hass): Ecology in Palestine and Israeli Dictat....
Date: 12 December 2007
Another Amira Hass illustration of the mercilessness and deep racism of the occupation.
A Bad Odor
by Amira Hass
This is most definitely not a pastoral picture: Two village council heads are standing in front of the garbage dump of one of the villages, Beit Liqia, and
counting, one by one, all of the environmental hazards. The village's houses are 200 meters away. There are people who burn garbage (mainly to separate
metal from old cables or the iron from tires) and then black smoke forms and wafts around the windows of the crowded homes. Around the garbage dump are olive
groves. Nobody harvests the olives there any more. At the garbage dump in the village of Beit Anan they burn the waste. Though it is situated relatively far from
the village houses, it is also located among olive groves and alongside the narrow road. The smoke and the smell of burning plastic and organic waste
It is impossible to accuse the two council heads -Hassan Mfarja of Beit Liqia and Naji Jamhur of Beit Anan - of lacking awareness of the importance of
preserving the environment. They have participated in workshops and training courses, learned about advanced waste disposal sites in Japan, and know all there is
to know about sorting refuse and what happens to groundwater.
They had a dream: to open an orderly dump site far from the built-up area that would serve seven villages in the area and enable more stringent environmental
protection. But the Civil Administration blocked the route they paved to the site and confiscated the truck. This is Area C, they were told. And the Civil
Administration is the master in Area C (which is under complete Israeli control) and in those villages, which are close to the Green Line, 95 percent or more of the
lands are included in Area C.
Area C (60 percent of the West Bank, as determined in the Oslo years) is exactly the territory that Israel has its eye on in the hope of annexing a large piece
of it in the context of the "permanent status agreement." Palestinian development of the territory endangers its chances of becoming Judaized. Therefore,
Israel is not allowing Palestinians to build on their own lands, to expand the master plan (which explains why Beit Liqia looks like a refugee camp) or to
connect villages to the water grid.
For a period of four years, the Palestinians conducted exhausting negotiations with the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration over establishment of a
central and very advanced waste disposal site, with German funding, in the Ramallah district. Finally, the army and Civil Administration authorities agreed that
it would be established in a part of Area C that is not built up and not in Area B (under Palestinian administrative control and Israeli security control), right between the villages.
This site will not open before 2010, maybe even 2011. And what will happen until then? In the Ramallah district, an area of 960 square kilometers, there are about 85 similar waste dumps: authorized but unfriendly to the environment. Prior to September 2000, there were 45 local dump sites. The number has nearly doubled because of the multiplicity of roadblocks and barriers.
Getting to the overflowing dump in Ramallah, or the waste site in Al Azariyya east of Jerusalem, is financial suicide for the Palestinian local councils. Nearly all of them have no income (because of the prohibition on building in Area C and the absence of income from municipal taxes, due to the residents' accumulating debts, who default mainly on paying water bills, and because of the general impoverishment as a result of the closure policy).
Nowadays a local council cannot afford to pay for a garbage truck journey of more than 10 kilometers, says Mafarja. And this is without taking into account the fact that at least five military roadblocks in each direction ensure that the driver will not be able to make several trips in a single day. It emerges that the lust to take over Palestinian lands is even stronger than the logic of preserving the quality of the environment.
from Information Clearing House :
15 December 2007
Subject: Preparing for Nuclear War.
Israel's army chief of staff hinted Wednesday that the Israeli military may have to act itself to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, if the international community was unsuccessful in doing so.
Army chief: Israeli Military Preparing For Nuclear Iran Scenario
by Deutsche Presse-Agentur
from Olivier Kraif :
Subject: Message personnel à tous mes collègues de l'U3
Date: 1 December 2007
Chers collègues de l'Université Stendhal,
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave. On matraque des étudiants grévistes non violents. Qui plus est, ce sont des universitaires - nos propres dirigeants - qui font appel aux forces de l'ordre. C'est sans précédent. L'Université était un sanctuaire, un contre-pouvoir, un lieu d'échange et de discussion. C'est aujourd'hui un lieu de répression.
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave : en fait il ne se passe RIEN. La grande masse des personnels est absente. Les AG inter-U rassemblent quelques dizaines de membres du personnel. Comme si tout cela concernait une poignée de "bloqueurs" d'une part, et les forces de l'ordre d'autre part. Où sommes-nous ?
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave : une loi est en train de dessiner une AUTRE Université. L'Université de demain. L'Université de vos rêves - ou de vos cauchemars. Et tout ceci sans que vous ayez eu le temps d'y penser, sans que vous y ayez pris part - une loi votée comme ça, l'air de rien, un 10 août, pendant que vous tentiez d'oublier un peu votre métier pour penser à autre chose. Pendant que vous pensiez à autre chose, vos ministres eux, pensaient à vous. Ou plutôt : pour vous...
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave : votre métier est en passe de devenir un AUTRE métier. Vous pensiez avoir une mission : transmettre des connaissances à des étudiants - des connaissances générales, avec une valeur universelle, qui pourraient leur être utiles tout au long de leur vie d'adulte : en tant que professionnel, mais aussi en tant que citoyen, en tant qu'être pensant. Vous pensiez que ces connaissances - ou ces outils - sont la meilleure garantie d'une bonne insertion professionnelle, dans le long terme. Dans l'université de demain, ces connaissances seront finalisées, et leur valeur sera mesurée à l'aune l'insertion professionnelle. Or, celle-ci peut-elle être mesurée autrement que dans l'espace du local et l'intervalle du court terme ? La valeur d'une connaissance est-elle réductible à sa rentabilité économique immédiate ?
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave : l'AUTONOMIE des Universités ne sera bientôt plus qu'un souvenir. Les Universités étaient dirigées par des universitaires, et financées par l'Etat. Les universitaires n'avaient de compte à rendre qu'à l'Etat, en fonction d'objectifs qu'ils s'étaient eux-mêmes fixés. Elles seront bientôt dirigées, en partie, par des acteurs du monde économique, et dépendront, en partie, des subsides de fondations privées. Elles auront des comptes à rendre au monde économique. Elle n'auront plus qu'une seule autonomie : gérer la pénurie financière. Avec les partenaires de leur choix.
Ce qui se passe en ce moment sur le campus est très grave : la science n'y sera bientôt plus libre. La finalité première de l'activité scientifique était de faire progresser la connaissance. Demain elle sera de faire fonctionner l'économie de la connaissance. La mission première de l'Université était de diffuser ces connaissances. Demain elle sera de déposer des brevets pour les protéger. Dans un monde où certaines entreprises voudraient breveter le vivant, où seront les garde-fou ? Serons-nous contre-pouvoir, ou complices ?
*Que vous soyez pour ou contre la LRU, pour ou contre le blocage, pour ou contre le gouvernement, IL EST URGENT DE SE DONNER LE TEMPS de s'informer sur le texte, d'en évaluer les conséquences, de réfléchir sur ce que nous sommes et ce que nous voulons devenir. C'est une exigence démocratique. NOUS SOMMES LES PREMIERS CONCERNES. C'est pourquoi je me permets de vous écrire ce mail, en tant que membre de la même communauté.
Soyons nombreux aux AG des personnels, aux commissions de réflexion, mobilisons-nous !
Demain il sera trop tard. Bien trop tard, pour dire : nous ne savions pas...
Maître de conférences en Informatique
(Qui n'a aucune envie de devenir Maître de conférences en Certification Microsoft, ou Partenaire Intel, à l'Université Stendhal (TM))
from Nadim Rouhana :
Date 12 December 2007
Subject: Palestinians speak out in Israel.
The Annapolis peace talks regard me as an interloper in my own land. Israel's deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, argues that I should "take [my] bundles and get lost." Henry Kissinger thinks I ought to be summarily swapped from inside Israel to the would-be Palestinian state.
I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship--one of 1.4 million. I am also a social psychologist trained and working in the United States. In late November, on behalf of Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, I polled Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their reactions to the Annapolis conference and their views about our future, and how they would be affected by Middle East peace negotiations.
During Israel's establishment, three-quarters of a million Palestinians were driven from their homes or fled in fear. They remain refugees to this day, scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab world and beyond. We Palestinian citizens of Israel are among the minority who managed to remain on our land. Like many Mexican-Americans, we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us. We have been struggling ever since against a system that subjects us to separate and unequal treatment because we are Palestinian Arabs--Christian, Muslim and Druze--not Jewish. More than twenty Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews.
The Palestinian Authority is under intense pressure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is not a matter of semantics. If Israel's demand is granted, the inequality that we face as Palestinians--roughly 20 percent of Israel's population--will become permanent.
The United States, despite being settled by Christian Europeans fleeing religious persecution, has struggled for decades to make clear that it is not a "Christian nation." It is in a similar vein that Israel's indigenous Palestinian population rejects the efforts of Israel and the United States to seal our fate as a permanent underclass in our own homeland.
We are referred to by leading Israeli politicians as a "demographic problem." In response, many in Israel, including the deputy prime minister, are proposing land swaps: Palestinian land in the occupied territories with Israeli settlers on it would fall under Israel's sovereignty, while land in Israel with Palestinian citizens would fall under Palestinian authority.
This may seem like an even trade. But there is one problem: no one asked us what we think of this solution. Imagine the hue and cry were a prominent American politician to propose redrawing the map of the United States so as to exclude as many Mexican-Americans as possible, for the explicit purpose of preserving white political power. Such a demagogue would rightly be denounced as a bigot. Yet this sort of hyper-segregation and ethnic supremacy is precisely what Israeli and American officials are considering for many Palestinian citizens of Israel -- and hoping to coerce Palestinan leaders into accepting.
Looking across the Green Line, we realize that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no mandate to negotiate a deal that will affect our future. We did not elect him. Why would we give up the rights we have battled to secure in our homeland to live inside an embryonic Palestine that we fear will be more like a bantustan than a sovereign state? Even if we put aside our attachment to our homeland, Israel has crushed the West Bank economy--to say nothing of Gaza's--and imprisoned its people behind a barrier. There is little allure to life in such grim circumstances, especially since there is the real prospect of further Israeli sanctions, which could make a bad situation worse.
In the poll I just conducted, nearly three-quarters of Israel's Palestinian citizens rejected the idea of the Palestinian Authority making territorial concessions that involve them, and 65.6 percent maintained that the PA also lacked the mandate to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Nearly 80 percent declared that it lacks the mandate to relinquish the right of Palestinian refugees--affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 and reaffirmed many times--to return to their homes and properties inside Israel.
Palestinians inside Israel have developed a history and identity after nearly sixty years of hard work and struggle. We are not simply pawns to be shuffled to the other side of the board. We expect no more and no less than the right to equality in the land of our ancestors. Israeli Jews have now built a nation, and have the right to live here in peace. But Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic, nor can it find the security it seeks by continuing to deny our rights, nor those of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nor those of Palestinian refugees. It is time for us to share this land in a true democracy, one that honors and respects the rights of both peoples as equals.
Nadim Rouhana is Henry Hart Rice Professor of Conflict Analysis at George Mason University and heads the Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research.
from Fred Halliday :
Subject: The Future of American Power.
Date: 9 December 2007
en partenariat avec
Pour soutenir les droits culturels des enfants et des adolescents palestiniens,
et dans le cadre des mobilisations à l’occasion des 60 ans de la Naqba (expulsion
d’environ 700 000 Palestiniens lors de la création de l’Etat d’Israël), nous vous invitons à
Quatre heures pour le THEATRE DE LA LIBERTE
du camp de réfugiés de JENINE (en Palestine)
Le lundi 17 DECEMBRE 2007 à partir de 19h30 au STUDIO L’ERMITAGE,
8, rue de l’Ermitage 75020 Paris (M° Jourdain ou Bus 26)
Le Théâtre de la Liberté (Freedom Theatre) est l’héritier du travail d’Arna Mer Khamis, femme juive israélienne anti-colonialiste, avec les enfants du camp de réfugiés de Jénine lors de la première Intifada (à la fin des années 1980). Le directeur artistique est son fils Juliano, de père Palestinien et auteur du film « Les enfants d’Arna », documentaire bouleversant.
Depuis 2006 le Freedom Theatre promeut par ses activités une résistance culturelle exemplaire face aux violences et aux traumatismes dus à l’occupation israélienne : écoles de théâtre de plusieurs niveaux, activités de création artistique par informatique, engagement d’artistes de différents pays, spectacles multiples (68 spectacles jusqu’en octobre 2007), etc
Juliano Mer Khamis écrit : « L’objectif du Freedom Theatre est de présenter un modèle théâtral d’excellence artistique en Palestine et de s’appuyer sur un processus de créativité ayant valeur d’exemple pour un changement social.
Il est l’occasion pour les enfants du camp de réfugiés de développer leurs talents, leur connaissance de soi et leur confiance en eux-mêmes pour leur permettre d’affronter les réalités actuelles et de maîtriser leur futur.
(…) La liberté par l’art est un principe universellement reconnu, et identifié par beaucoup comme l’une des plus importantes composantes de toute lutte de libération ».
Le Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine est devenu un pôle culturel de référence pour tout le nord de la Cisjordanie et contribue à la survie de la Palestine.
Les locaux actuels étant provisoires, il est prévu de construire un nouveau théâtre.
Pour que ses activités puissent se poursuivre, nous devons manifester concrètement notre solidarité.
TSVP pour lire le programme de la soirée au verso
AU PROGRAMME DE LA SOIREE :
Nous vous présenterons 3 expositions : celle de Marie Ponchelet, plasticienne et membre des « Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine » (ATL Jénine) sur ses voyages en Palestine et notamment au Freedom Theatre, celle de Génération Palestine réalisée à leur retour de Palestine par des jeunes ayant participé au projet « Des Ponts au-delà du Mur » et celle de Jacqueline Sarda, psychologue et psychomotricienne, présentant et commentant des dessins d’enfants de camps de réfugiés de Palestine.
Et, après l’ouverture de la soirée …
ACTE 1 : Entrez dans le Freedom Theatre
Le Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine : ses motivations, sa politique. Pour commencer, Liliane Cordova Kaczerginski nous rappellera la vie d’Arna, par qui tout a commencé et qu’elle a bien connue.
Projection du récent court métrage de Juliano Mer Khamis sur le Freedom Theatre.
Des précisions sur les activités du Théâtre, puis débat.
ACTE 2 : Un contact direct
Réalisation d’un duplex avec le Freedom Theatre.
Au cours de cette séquence, interview d’un vieux réfugié du camp de Jénine.
ACTE 3 : L’histoire et l’avenir de la région
Lecture / interprétation par Chantal Vuillemin de « Jennine », récit de l’écrivaine libanaise Etel Adnan.
Intervention de Taher Al Labadi, de la GUPS (Union Générale des Etudiants Palestiniens) sur le 60ème anniversaire de la Naqba et sur la situation actuelle en Palestine.
Intervention de Nahla Chahal, coordinatrice de la Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple Palestinien (CCIPPP), sur le contexte international et les risques de guerre.
ACTE 4 : Témoignages
Jacqueline Sarda, psychologue et psychomotricienne, nous présentera son travail réalisé auprès d’enfants des camps de réfugiés palestiniens ainsi que leurs dessins, qui seront exposés ; puis débats avec elle.
Projection d’un extrait du film du spectacle « En marchant j’ai vu » présenté en juillet dernier au Freedom Theatre par la compagnie « La Grave et Burlesque Equipée du Cycliste » et témoignage de son directeur artistique, Mohamed Guellati.
ACTE 5 : Envol vers la liberté
Carte blanche à Marc Delouze, responsable de l’association « Les Parvis Poétiques ».
Danse palestinienne Dabké et/ou chorégraphie sur l’espoir, par la Troupe Sans Nom.
En conclusion : le chemin parcouru par les « Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine » (ATL Jénine) et les perspectives.
Pour nous contacter :