Bulletin N° 800
Subject : Up Against the Wall in the Gaza Concentration Camp: the freedom to choose how to be murdered by Zionists !
16 May 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
As the relentless, mechanical murders and mutilations in Gaza continue –revealing imperialist intents, cloaked in religious pretentions – the demonstrated urge for freedom among Palestinians has become contagious. What right do these self-identified Zionists have to take possession of this land and systematically murder its people? The criminality extends beyond the act of pulling the trigger; we are all implicated in this massive crime against humanity!
We have been recruited to collaborate, either actively or passively, with this “identity politics” run amok in a death trap. The stakes are now unbelievably high - nothing less than the extinction of our species!
We invite CEIMSA readers to look once more at the words of Etienne de La Boétie ( 1530-1563) from his famous essay, The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, to examine the nature of tyranny, servitude, and obedience, and the cultures that have historically reproduced this destructive phenomena.
[I]t is fruitless to argue whether or not liberty is natural, since none can be held in slavery without being wronged, and in a world governed by a nature, which is reasonable, there is nothing so contrary as an injustice. Since freedom is our natural state, we are not only in possession of it but have the urge to defend it. Now, if perchance some cast a doubt on this conclusion and are so corrupted that they are not able to recognize their rights and inborn tendencies, I shall have to do them the honor that is properly theirs and place, so to speak, brut beasts in the pulpit to throw light on their nature and condition. The very beasts - God help me! if men are too deaf - cry out to them “Long live Liberty!” Many among them die as soon as captured: just as the fish loses life as soon as he leaves the water, so do these creatures close their eyes upon the light and have no desire to survive the loss of their natural freedom. If the animals were to constitute their kingdom by rank, their nobility would be chosen from this type. Others, from the largest to the smallest, when captured put up such a strong resistance by means of claws, horns, beak, and paws, that they show clearly enough how they cling to what they are losing; afterwards in captivity they manifest by so many evident signs their awareness of their misfortune, that it is easy to see they are languishing rather than living, and continue their existence – more in lamentation of their lost freedom than in enjoyment of their servitude. What else can explain the behaviour of the elephant who, after defending himself to the last ounce of his strength and knowing himself on the point of being taken, dashes his jaws against the trees and breaks his tusks, thus manifesting his longing to remain free as he has been and proving his wit and ability to buy off the huntsmen in the hope that through the sacrifice of his tusks he will be permitted to offer his ivory as a ransom to his liberty? We feed the horse from birth in order to train him to do our bidding. Yet he is tamed with such difficulty that when we begin to break him in he bites the bit, he rears at the touch of the spur, as if to reveal his instinct and show by his actions that, if he obeys, he does so not of his own free will but under constraint. What more can we say?
Even the oxen under the weight of the yoke
And the birds in their cage lament,
as I expressed it some time ago, toying with our French poesy . . . . And now, since all beings, because they feel, suffer misery in subjection and long for liberty; since the very beasts, although made for the service of man, cannot become accustomed to control without protest, what evil chance has so denatured man that he, the only creature really born to be free, lacks the memory of his original condition and the desire to return to it?
There are three kinds of tyrants; some receive their proud position through elections by the people, others by force of arms, others by inheritance. Those who have acquired power by means of war act in such wise that it is evident they rule over a conquered country. Those who are born to kingship are scarcely any better, because they are nourished on the breast of tyranny, suck in with their milk the instincts of the tyrant, and consider the people under him as their inherited serfs; and according to their individual disposition, miserly and prodigal, they treat their kingdom as their property. He who has received the estate form the people, however, ought to be, it seems to me, more bearable and would be so, I think, were it not for the fact that as soon as he sees himself higher than the others, flattered by that quality which we call grandeur, he plans never to relinquish his position. Such a man usually determines to pass on to his children the authority that the people have conferred upon him; and once his heirs have taken this attitude, strange it is how far they surpass other tyrants in all sorts of vices, and especially in cruelty, because they find no other means to impose this new tyranny than by tightening control and removing their subjects so far from any notion of liberty that even if the memory of it is fresh it will soon be eradicated. Yet, to speak accurately, I do perceive that there is some difference among these three types of tyranny, but as for stating a preference, I cannot grant there is any. For although the means of coming into power differ, still the method of ruling is practically the same; those who are elected act as if they were breaking in bullocks; those who are conquerors make people their prey; those who are heirs plan to treat them as if they were natural slaves.
In connection with this, let us imagine some newborn individuals, neither acquainted with slavery nor desirous of liberty, ignorant indeed of the very words. If they were permitted to choose between being slaves and free men, to which would they give their vote? There can be no doubt that they would much prefer to be guided by reason itself than to be ordered about by the whims of a single man. The only possible exception might be the Israelites who, without any compulsion or need, appointed a tyrant*. [The reference is to Saul who in the Bible was anointed by Samuel.] I can never read their history without becoming angered and even inhuman enough to find satisfaction in the many evils that befell them on this account. But certainly all men, as long as they remain men, before letting themselves become enslaved must either be driven by force or led into it by deception; conquered by foreign armies, as were Sparta and Athens by the forces of Alexander** [Alexander the Macedonian became the acknowledged master of all Hellenes at the Assembly of Corinth, 335 B.C.] or by political factions, as when at an earlier period the control of Athens had passed into the hands of Pisistrates.* [Athenian tyrant, died 627 B.C. He used ruse and bluster to control the city and was obliged to flee several times.] When they lose their liberty through deceit they are not so often betrayed by others as misled by themselves. This was the case with the people of Syracuse, chief city of Sicily when, in the throes of war and heedlessly planning only for th present danger, they promoted Denis,* [Denis or Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, died in 367 B.C. Of lowly firth, this dictator imposed himself by plotting, putsches, and purges. The danger from which he saved his city was the invasion by the Carthaginians.]
It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point or regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation;, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement. It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to. This is why men born under the yoke and then nourished and reared in slavery are content, without further effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any other state or right, and considering as quite natural the condition into which they were born. There is, however, no heir so spendthrift or indifferent that he does not sometimes scan the account books of his father in order to see if he is enjoying all the privileges of his legacy or whether, perchance, his rights and those of his predecessor have not been encroached upon. Nevertheless it is clear enough that the powerful influence of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely, habituation to subjection. It is said that Mithridates trained himself to drink poison.* [Mithridates (135-63 B.C.) was next to Hannibal the most dreaded and potent enemy of Roman power. The reference in the text is to his youth when he spent some years in retirement hardening himself and immunizing himself against poison. In his old age, defeated by Pompey, betrayed by his own son, he tried poison and finally had to resort to the dagger of a friendly Gaul.] Like him we learn to swallow, and not to find bitter, the venom of servitude. It cannot be denied that nature is influential in shaping us to her will and making us reveal our rich or meager endowment; yet it must be admitted that she has less power over us than custom, for the reason that native endowment, no matter how good, is dissipated unless encouraged, whereas environment always shapes us in its own way, whatever that may be, in spite of nature’s gifts. The good seed that nature plants in us is so slight and so slippery that it cannot withstand the least harm from wrong nourishment; it flourishes less easily, becomes spoiled, withers, and comes to nothing. Fruit trees retain their own particular quality if permitted to grow undisturbed, but lose it promptly and bar strange fruit not their own when engrafted. Every herb has its peculiar characteristics, its virtues and properties; yet frost, weather, soil, or the gardener’s hand increase or diminish its strength; the plant seen one in spot cannot be recognized in another.
Whoever could have observed the early Venetians, a handful of people living so freely that the most wicked among them would not wish to be king over them, so born and trained that they would not vie with one another except as to which one could give the best counsel and nurture their liberty most carefully, so instructed and developed from their cradles that they would not exchange for all the other delights of the world an iota of their freedom; who, I say, familiar with the original nature of such a people could visit today the territories of the man known as the Great Doge* [The ruler of Venice.], and there contemplate with composure a people unwilling to live except to serve him, and maintaining his power at the cost of their lives? Who would believe that these two groups of people had an identical origin? Would one not rather conclude that upon leaving a city of men he had chanced upon a menagerie of beats? Lycurgus, the lawgiver of Sparta,* [A half-legendary figure concerning whose life Plutarch admits there is much obscurity. He bequeathed to his land a rigid code regulating land, assembly, education, with the individual subordinate to the state.] is reported to have reared two dogs of the same litter by fattening one in the kitchen and training the other in the fields to the sound of the bugle and the horn, thereby to demonstrate to the Lacedaemonians that men, too, develop according to their early habits. He set the two dogs in the open market place, and between them he placed a bowl of soup and a hare. One ran to the bowl of soup, the other to the hare; yet they were, as he maintained, born brothers of the same parents. In such manner did this leader, by his laws and customs, shape and instruct the Spartans so well that any one of them would sooner have died than acknowledge any sovereign other than law and reason.(pp.51-57)
The 4 items below include first a photo essay sent by Mark Crispin Miller on the current massacre of civilians in Gaza by Israelis along with an appeal for financial support for emergency medical care for the victims of this murderous Zionist campaign against Palestinians; then a film review by Chris Hedges of Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen's new documentary, “Killing Gaza”; then the latest edition of the If Americans Knew Blog, "Essential news about Palestine, Israel, and related topics from IsraelPalestineNews.org"; and finally Norman Finkelstein's three-part analysis of the Gaza massacre.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Here are photos from yesterday in Gaza. The first three show the relatives of Leila al-Ghandour, mourning that 8-month-old baby girl, who died of tear gas inhalation in East Gaza.
These pictures give us a much clearer sense of the atrocity of Israel's actions than we're getting the euphemistic, coldly "balanced" coverage by the US press, whose timorousness Joe Lauria nails in this piece: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/14/u-s-media-whitewashes-gaza-massacre/.
(On the other hand, the Gaza coverage is a model of unflinching honesty compared to the US press blackout on the endless Saudi slaughter in Yemen—"the world's worst humanitarian crisis," as the New York Times has called it several times, without actually reporting on it.)
In any case, the nurses dealing with the massacre in Gaza badly need our help. We're still trying trying to get those funds returned to those of you who generously sent them via PayPal. Meanwhile, GoFundMe appears to have suspended the nurses' account; and so the nurses have set up a new account elsewhere, as this latest email from Amal Arafa tells us.
From Amal Arafa:
closing our account the previous time and now closes the second account for us,
but without any losses or lack of contributions on the fundraising platform Yokarinq.
platform has been changed in a new way but work is still going on.
After a full month of murder and violation of human and children's
rights, and women's rights as well, after the killing of more than 110 people
in a month, and in particular 64 people in one day, May 14th, and more than
14,000 injured—most of them cases of amputation, and serious cases that need
intensive care—we need your help in raising more donations, as the number of
wounded doubled in one day. We established
a new campaign with high safety.
that our effort is not wasted.
Thank you for everything you do for us.
Thank you very much.
by Chris Hedges
by Chris Hedges
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Israel’s blockade of Gaza—where trapped Palestinians for the past seven weeks have held nonviolent protests along the border fence with Israel, resulting in scores of dead and some 6,000 wounded by Israeli troops—is one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Yet the horror that is Gaza, where 2 million people live under an Israeli siege without adequate food, housing, work, water and electricity, where the Israeli military routinely uses indiscriminate and disproportionate violence to wound and murder, and where almost no one can escape, is rarely documented. Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen’s powerful new film, “Killing Gaza,” offers an unflinching and moving portrait of a people largely abandoned by the outside world, struggling to endure.
“Killing Gaza” will be released Tuesday, to coincide with what Palestinians call Nakba Day—“nakba” means catastrophe in Arabic—commemorating the 70th anniversary of the forced removal of some 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 by the Haganah, Jewish paramilitary forces, from their homes in modern-day Israel. The release of the documentary also coincides with the Trump administration’s opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
● Starting Tuesday, May 15, “Killing Gaza” can be seen at Vimeo On Demand.
From: "IAK Blog" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, 16 May, 2018
Subject: Dozens killed protesting embassy move, Noura Erakat, Breaking the Silence/If Not Now, and more...
Norman Finkelstein on Israel’s ‘Murderous Assault on Nonviolent Protesters’ in Gaza
Watch - Real News - Broadcast May 11, 2018
Gaza’s non-violent protest, "The Great March of Return" threatens not Israel, but its occupation.