I stand between my shame and relief
The missiles missed this time
Truth is, they didn’t’ miss entirely
Someone’s house is destroyed but not the house
I know so well
Someone’s family is grieving but not the one whose name I carry
I linger… between my shame and relief
I tell myself
‘this flesh, torn and scattered, is not flesh I have ever embraced’.
I soothe myself,
‘Nor are these small lifeless hands the ones with a crayon I’ve traced’
The missiles missed
those whose names are engraved on my lips
Samah Sabawi ‘The Confession’
These days, if you question the motives of rebels you are accused immediately of being a tyrant supporter and by implication, mad.
This is what happened to me in King George Square in Brisbane on Friday (1 April 2011) when I attended a speak out against foreign intervention in Libya.
The speak out was attended by about 10 people. Speakers were drowned out by music from National Youth Week in the square. Fluorescent & Adolescent radio ZZZ was celebrating their own brand of music without politics.
Being Friday night, workers, having knocked off for the week, were walking in their hundreds to the Brisbane ‘Boncos’ football game at Lang Park.
No one in King George’s Square seems to care what is happening to workers trapped in Libya while war rages around them. The US and its allies bomb indiscriminately, resulting in the deaths of many on both sides and many on neither side (foreign workers).
Reluctant Warmonger Obama (recession at home, war abroad) said the aim of the ‘No Fly Zone’ (code for bombing Libya) was to look after civilians.
If Obama is so concerned about the humanitarian crisis why haven’t the US and its allies done anything to help the 100,000 African workers stranded in tents on the Libyan-Tunisian border? Or is it only Libyan civilians they wish to look after? And which of these is Obama looking after when US planes indiscriminately bomb Tripoli, and Brega, and Misrata and so on?
There has been an increase in racist attacks against Africans since the US propagandists have been saying Qadhafi is employing black mercenaries to kill his own people.
I do not support Qadhafi because his regime did deals with the oil cartels in exchange for exploiting workers. Thus his brand of revolution was brought back into the imperialist fold (by Blair and Berlusconi to name only two, sic).
On 28 March 2011 Obama claimed Qadhafi said he would kill his own people. The first African president of the United States jusitified US bombing Libya in a prime time address to the world:
“Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people…Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
But please, someone, show me authentic arabic text where Qadhafi threatens to kill his own people? I will take silence to mean Qadhafi said no such words.
If Qadhafi never said this and Obama used it as an excuse to bomb Libya, so why should I (or anyone) participate in a conspiracy of silence?
In east Libya, there are reports of rebels who detain, insult, rape and even execute black immigrants, students and refugees.
In the past two weeks, more than 100 Africans from various sub-Saharan states are believed to have been killed by Libyan rebels and their supporters.
Does anyone care? Will the propagandists call this ‘collateral damage’ or do they intend it to be another Fallujah where US soldiers laid waste to a town killing the majority of its inhabitants regardless of who they were?
And still there is no call for a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Gaza despite ongoing Israeli airstrikes (since 2006) — using white phosphorous, shelling, burning, injuring and killing over 47 Palestinians in the past few days.
Waves of Israeli settler violence continues. 19 structures demolished in Area C; 51 people displaced, including 32 children. Yes there is retaliation by Palestinians using pathetic rockets that cannot even reach their target. Yes, there is an uprising in Gaza and the occupied territories against a military government (Israel) supressing its people.
So why no call for a ‘No Fly Zone’ over Israel from the imperialists? Can the protagonists for a ‘No Fly Zone’ explain to me why they have entered the US/Israeli camp. Or were they always there, ever gullible, absorbing selective ‘truth’, willing themselves to have the purity of siding with the powerful, the articulate? The propaganda war machine that gave us Al Jammasin, Jenin, Gaza, Fallujah, Miriabad, Chabra, Shatilla, Tel Aza’tar … and all the way back to Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yes, those wonderfully civilised Americans and Israelis have such a history of concern for civilians.
Meanwhile the focus of most in the west is on doing business. Will the rebels honour Qadhafi’s oil contracts or will they have them redrafted? Crude oil prices and the Libyan pipelines in the east of the country are of major concern to the imperialists. Italy gets 25% of its oil and 10% of its gas from Libya, so it is no surprise that Berlusconi has switched sides (he spent years courting Qadhafi in Rome) and is meeting in Tunisia with rebel leaders.
News has just come in that a new front for the imperialists has been opened up on the Ivory Coast, the stamping grounds of the colonialists in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Stories similar to Libya are emerging i.e. of rebel massacres. UN and French helicopter gunships are firing on the presidential palace (and hitting people) trying to rid the country of their last despot.
All in the name of protecting civilians.
The word Civilian goes back to the late 14th Century and is from Old French civilien, “of the civil law”. It was used to refer to judges, lawyers and other civil servants — Wikipedia.
Judge Richard Goldstone accused Israel of potential war crimes when it bombed Gaza relentlessly for three weeks beginning on 27 December 2008. Now Goldstone has recanted saying “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”
“These are not civilian villages, they are military bases”…“This [the Dahiye Doctrine] is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”
—said Major General Gadi Eiskenot
after Israeli Defence Forces laid waste
to apartment blocks in the
Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006
The Bombardiers have redefined the meaning of ‘civilian’.
Now, what price the silence of good men?
2 April 2011
Humanitarian crisis on Tunisian Libyan border – US, rebels and allies neglect African workers – no concern for the working poor –
Here is a typical report from Gaza – it could have occurred at any time in the past 5 years since Hamas won the elections.
Palestine Press News Agency – Martyrs, 3 injuries in Israeli strike on house in Tel Aza’tar area N.GazaPress-Three citizens were injured today evening after the Israeli Occupation troops fired a ground ground rocket towards the house of Salah Abu Okal , a resident of Tel Aza’tar neighborhood northern of Gaza Strip.
Chief of the aid and emergency department in the Palestinian Health Ministry Dr. Muawiyah Abu Hassanein , said that 40-year old Salah Abu Okal was martyred by several shrapnels that he received to his body, adding that his body was transferred to hospital cut to parts.
Hassanein added that two more citizens were wounded in the attack and were transferred to Kamal Odwan hospital in Jabalya northern of Gaza Strip.
For their part, eye witnesses said that the rocket landed on the house of citizen Salah Abu Okal and caused external damages in the house and the nearby houses.
Israeli Major General Gadi Eiskenot: What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our perspective, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.