We salute and mourn lost comrades. We mourn the loss of our young friend Mahmoud Al-Teety shot dead by Israeli apartheid forces who invaded his village.* We mourn President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who lifted millions out of poverty and showed that governments can serve people needs rather than corporate greed. We mourn Stephen Hessel, survivor of the genocides committed by the Nazis and a human rights defender who supported Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel and also helped spread ideas of universal human rights and rejected racist ideas of uniqueness and chosenness. We also commemorate ten years since the murder of our friend Rachel Corrie (US citizen, 23 year old) by Israeli soldiers in Rafah. May we always remember those who worked for human rights and against tyranny and oppression.
I just returned from my whirlwind tour of South Africa exhausted but energized. I met with hundreds of people including leadership of the trade union COSATU. The BDS movement is picking up steam in South Africa thanks to the effort of hundreds of local activists (facing a few rich racist Zionists). I need to digest some information before I write more about this experience (and already it will be useful for a chapter I am working on that talks about Palestinian future options/strategies). But in the meantime, actions speak louder than words so here are 6 actions YOU can take (at least select three for this week).
Action 1: During Israel Apartheid week kicks off in 250 cities wortldwide. One of the 95 events in South Africa was hosted by COSATU, and I spoke to labor leaders about the situation on the ground in Palestine. For more events and information and how you can help, see http://apartheidweek.org/
For South Africa http://www.bdssouthafrica.com/2011/02/israeli-apartheid-week.html
Action 2: (from Barbara W) It is clear from the number of elected officials who DECLINED to speak this year at the AIPAC convention (including Obama), that the power of their lobby is eroding. Code Pink built miniature settlements and a replica of the Israeli Apartheid Wall in front of AIPAC's convention center. See just a few of the colorful props, street theater, music and humor. http://www.ifpb.org/education/grassroots/2013/mobilizationphotos.html
Jewish Voices for Peace posted billboards all over the D.C. metro system saying, "We are proud to be Jewish and AIPAC does not speak for us". Obama is coming to the Middle East and he met with Arab Americans in the US ahead of his visit (we would like him to meet with Palestinian Americans living here and see life of dispossessed Palestinians instead of Presidential Compounds in Ramallah). There is a lot of work to do in the US as Congress is still Israeli occupied territory and even at state level Zionists infiltrated; Ohio (USA) state treasury used taxpayer money to support Apartheid http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/03/07/3121421/state-of-ohio-purchase-42-million-in-israel-bonds So US citizens should write and pressure their government officials to respect human righst and not support apartheid. The Council for National Interest provides resources http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/
Action 3: Palestinian Agricultural Organizations and Civil Society Networks Call for Ending International Trade with Israeli Agricultural Companies
Action 4: Marathon in Bethlehem April 21st
Action 5: Please Mark your calendar for Sabeel's Global Young Adult Festival July 1-6, 2013 http://www.sabeel.org/events.php?eventid=262
and Sabeel's 9th International Conference 19 - 25, November 2013
Action 6: Actipedia is an open-access, user-generated database of creative activism. It’s a place to read about, comment upon, and share experiences and examples of how activists and artists are using creative tactics and strategies to challenge power and offer visions of a better society. Actipedia draws case studies from everywhere: original submissions, reprinted news articles, snippets of action reports. We think that by learning from each other we can learn how to better change the world. Join us! Actipedia is a joint project of the Center for Artistic Activism and the Yes Lab. You can add your events http://actipedia.org
*Photos of the week: Israel killed a friend/peace activist near Hebron http://on.fb.me/ZK5gI8
La Luta continua
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD