Monday, July 13, 2009

Malcolm, Martin, and Gaza

"Viva, Fast, March for Gaza: Lennon, MLK and X

July 12th, 2009 10:39 AM

eileen fleming

A month after President Obama admitted the situation in Gaza is a “humanitarian crisis” Viva Palestina, "the largest ever US humanitarian aid convoy is now gathering in Egypt to head across the border into Gaza on Monday, July 13. Vehicles are coming from Alexandria, the medical supplies from Cairo and the advanced party of nearly 100 US citizens is heading for the staging post of Al Arish, just before the border with Gaza.

"That group, of four buses, has, however, been stopped from crossing over the Suez Canal and into the Sinai region, which leads to Gaza. The buses, carrying people, medical aid and bearing US, Egyptian and Palestinian flags in a spirit of international cooperation, have been held at a security checkpoint and given various, conflicting reasons for why they cannot proceed to their destination at Al Arish." -Kevin Ovenden, coordinator

Also this week, a global call to Fast for Gaza began with a few rabbis and people of conscience who are committing to a weekly fast in order to focus positive energy to bring an end of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza and for the flow of humanitarian and developmental aid to reach the 1.5 million. The focus is also on Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties - including Hamas - in order to end the blockade and vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.

On July 16, Fast for Gaza will hold a conference call with Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University who recently reported, "Gaza is an example of a society that has been deliberately reduced to a state of abject destitution, its once productive population transformed into one of aid-dependent paupers. This context is undeniably one of mass suffering, created largely by Israel but with the active complicity of the international community, especially the U.S. and European Union, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

"Gaza’s subjection began long before Israel’s recent war against it...The Israeli occupation—now largely forgotten or denied by the international community—has devastated Gaza’s economy and people, especially since 2006…If there has been a pronounced theme among the many Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals who I have interviewed in the last three years, it was the fear of damage to Gaza’s society and economy so profound that billions of dollars and generations of people would be required to address it—a fear that has now been realized. After Israel’s December assault, Gaza’s already compromised conditions have become virtually unlivable. Livelihoods, homes, and public infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed on a scale that even the Israel Defense Forces admitted was indefensible…There is no question that people must be helped immediately." [1]

Let's hope the people can hold out until January 1, 2010 for the Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza who have just begun to organize a global march of the "Long Mile across Erez checkpoint alongside the people of Gaza in a nonviolent demonstration that breaches the illegal blockade…We conceive this march as the first step in a protracted nonviolent campaign … If we bring thousands to Gaza and millions more around the world watch the march on the internet, we can end the siege without a drop of blood being shed...This march draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi…Those of us residing in the United States also draw inspiration from the civil rights movement."[2]

Organizer Professor Norman Finkelstein stated, "We want to send over several thousand people from around the world to march alongside several hundred thousand Gazans…If the likes of Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Bishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela are at the head of the march; if behind them are students holding high signs of the schools from which they hail - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge; if behind them are the ill and the lame, the young and the innocent of Gaza; if behind them are hundreds of thousands of others, unarmed and unafraid, wanting only to enforce the law; if around the world hundreds of thousands are watching the internet to see what happens - Israel can’t shoot."

Most likely, if they had not been shot, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X would have been doing something long ago regarding the misery and military occupation of Gaza Palestine.

The Palestinians have become the 'N's' of the world-meaning their human rights/civil rights have been denied-while in the '70's it was women:

We insult her every day on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb-John Lennon, "Woman is the "N" of the World"

In the '60's two black men in America; one a Christian and one a Muslim shared a similar dream with different philosophies and means to achieve them.

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. had "a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed... that all men are created equal."

Malcolm X's radical creed was, "Anything you can think of that you want to change right now, the only way you can do it is with a ballot or a bullet. And if you're not ready to get involved with either one of those, you are satisfied with the status quo. That means we'll have to change you."

Both men dreamed of a world freed from the bondage of prejudice and racism, a world in which their children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. King consistently advocated for a brotherhood of all peoples and persisted in only nonviolent actions to achieve it. Not until after a pilgrimage to Mecca, did X reject his separatist beliefs and begin to advocate for unity and a world wide brotherhood.

Both fully understood that there are "truths that are self-evident: That all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights;…[and] that, to secure [these] rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it."- The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776,

King and X engaged in the struggle to arouse people whose ears were not ready to hear, whose eyes were not ready to see and whose hearts had not yet been pierced to bleed for the least and oppressed of humanity. Both men were shot dead before either could see any of their dreams realized.

A few weeks before Rev. King bled to death on a patch of pavement in Memphis, he said: "Peace for Israel means security, and we stand with all our might to protect its right to exist…I see Israel as one of the greatest outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy."

King was murdered ten months after the beginning of the now 42 years of a brutal military occupation of what is claimed as holy land.

In November 2006, Father Manuel, the parish priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza warned the world:

"Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry...people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.

"Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles...Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate...Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.

"Gaza cannot sleep...the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!"

I wonder how so called Christian leaders of our world can sleep with themselves when Gaza hasn't slept in years.

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends...I believe that as soon as people want peace in the world they can have it. The only trouble is they are not aware they can get it. The struggle is in the mind. We must bury our own monsters and stop condemning people. We are all Christ and Hitler. We want Christ to win. We're trying to make Christ's message contemporary. What would he have done if he had advertisements, records, films, TV and newspapers! Christ made miracles to tell his message. Well, the miracle today is communications, so let's use it."-John Lennon

Viva Palestina, the Fast for Gaza and The Long Mile March for Gaza were all coordinated via the 'miracle' of the borderless World Wide Web. These efforts-and many more- have united people of faith with atheists and agnostics to do something to arouse the conscience of the world regarding the humanitarian crisis and misery in the Gaza Palestine.

"In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance. In this spirit, Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza. [3]

"This water-only fast will take place every third Thursday of the month, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to signing on to the statement above, participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to the the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near Eastern Refugee Aid (ANERA). This important relief campaign combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children through daily provisions of fortified milk and high energy biscuits.

On May 14, 1948, The Declaration of the establishment of Israel promised: "On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” -Isaiah 58:6

"Let JUSTICE roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."- Amos 5:24

"What does God require? He has told you o'man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord." -Micah 6:8

"The Peacemakers shall be called the daughters and sons of God."-Jesus




Eileen Fleming, A Feature Correspondent for The Palestine Telegraph and Arabisto

Founder of

Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"

Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"

Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again."-Tom Paine