searching for hope in akka

tonight on al jazeera palestinians from akka were being interviewed. they told the reporter, david chater, that they were “fleeing” akka. it was no longer safe for them to be there. this after jews began their assault on palestinians for doing simple things like driving (which is not illegal yom kippur or not). somehow these israelis, who were supposed to be repenting took leave of that activity to revert to their normal violent selves. it seems that the irony is lost on them. but the conflict in akka is revealing some very interesting facts about palestinians in occupied 1948 lands. for one thing, olmert said today:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Arab Israelis have been discriminated against for years, while dismissing Arab calls to bring officials involved in the October Riots to trial.

well, duh! (sorry, my valley girl childhood sometimes get the best of me.) what was your first clue? but seriously, i hope that this shows the world that palestinians in 1948 are also occupied. it is just a different form of occupation. it looks different. it is the kind of occupation that leads the victim of the incident that started it all, tawfiq jamal, to say things like: “‘I am ready to sacrifice myself for forgiveness,’ he said, claiming that despite accusations, he was not drunk and was not listening to loud music in his car.” hmmm…wasn’t the point that the jews were supposed to be seeking forgiveness?

it is the kind of occupation that leads some palestinians to pick up arms and fight against their brethren in the israeli terrorist forces, for instance. there are various forms of internalized colonialism, as well as jewish racism against palestinians. violence against palestinians in akka is now taking the form of israelis throwing fire bombs into palestinian homes:

The angry mob burnt an empty Arab home located near the Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service) medical center.

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that yesterday Jewish rioters set fire to two houses, and on Saturday evening the rioters burnt the third house.

The Israeli police said that four rioters were detained after the Arab houses were torched; but two of the arrestees were released shortly afterward due to their young age.

note: palestinians who are of a “young age” spend their entire childhood in prison. and now jews in akka are threatening to boycott palestinian businesses.

the situation looks bleak, for sure. but at the same time in spite of the fact that some palestinians are fleeing, YET AGAIN, as a result of jewish terrorism, i feel a tidbit of hope. i feel hope because palestinians are resisting this and helping to amplify the situation of palestinian apartheid within the borders of the so-called democratic state.

and maybe this hope is a result of spending the last few hours writing about one of my favorite film for a chapter of my book. the film is called the fourth world war and it’s absolutely inspiring. it’s finally on youtube, so i posted the entire film below. it’s an amazing documentary, with the beautiful, poetic voices of michael franti and suheir hammad narrating (note: do not watch franti’s film i know i’m not alone. he sold himself out with that one, as he attempted to preach normalization between israelis and palestinians; it’s deeply offensive.). the film highlights several political struggles around the world: palestine; chiapas, mexico; south africa; buenos aires, argentina; south korea; quebec city, canada. it shows how these struggles are interconnected in the people fighting for their rights–for their land, against occupation, against globalization. the way that these scenes in the film are seamlessly woven together with music, narration, and images gives one such a hopeful sense of possibility. certainly, many of these struggles are localized, but they are all fighting the same powerful enemies–oftentimes the imf and the world bank. the scenes that take place in argentina are especially prescient right now as it illustrates protests in decmeber 2001 when the argentine economy was about where the global economy is right now. and what did the people in buenos aries do? they took to the streets! they attacked the banks! they could see who the enemy was and they fought it. if only americans were not so complacent and ignorant and they could take to the streets like that and fight the source of this problem and take back their country. if only.

one of my favorite parts of the film is when hammad narrates a poetic encapsulation about palestine:

Occupation. Curfew. Settlements. Administrative detention. Pre-emptive strike. Terrorist infrastructure. Attrition. Transfer. Their war destroys language. Speaks genocide with the words of a quiet technician. Occupation means that you cannot trust the open sky. Or any open street beneath the gaze of their sniper towers. It means that you cannot trust the future or have faith that the past will always be there. Occupation means that you live out your life under military rule and the constant threat of death. A quick death from a sniper’s bullet or a rocket attack from an F-16. A crushing, suffocating death beneath the rubble of a bulldozed building. A slow, bleeding death in an ambulance held for hours at a checkpoint. A dark death on the torture tables of an Israeli prison. A random, arbitrary death as their tanks spray a crowd with machine-gun fire. A cold, calculated death from malnutrition and curable diseases. A thousand small deaths as you watch your family die around you. Occupation means that every day you die and the world watches in silence as if your death were nothing. As if you were a stone falling to the earth or water falling over water. And if you face all of this death and indifference and keep your humanity, and your love, and your dignity and refuse to surrender to their terror and despair then you know something of the courage that is Palestine.

watch this film. be inspired. create a movement–one that is local and global. one that shows that these struggles are all interconnected and that we need a different world. (note: the hopefulness of this is me trying to channel rania a bit.)

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