Please, do something to save his life!
It is already 60 days that Khader Adnan is on Hunger Strike. With all the other burning issues around, it took us more than fifty days to start the solidarity campaign seriously. But now there were already two demonstrations in Haifa, on Saturday 11/2 and yesterday (Tuesday 14/2). And today those of us that are “lucky” to have no proper work, and whoever could take a day off, went to Safad in the northern Galilee Mountains to demonstrate in front of the Ziv Hospital where Khader is kept chained to a bed.
It was important because we knew that our message of support and solidarity went right through to Khader. There were very emotional moments when his father, his wife and his young daughter joined the demonstration. Arab patients that met him while having treatment in the hospital spoke of his resolve and high morale.
But the truth is that the goal for this struggle, on our side, is to save the lives Khader Adnan. And to do this we need the Israeli occupation rulers to abolish his administrative detention. Here we have a problem. Israel doesn’t give a damn to Palestinian public opinion or to the opinion of Human Rights proponents, or to anyone that tries to preach conciliation on them.
In fact in the racist Israeli public opinion being harsh on the Palestinians is the Joker winning card for every politician. Even pretending to think that Palestinians have rights is a pariah.
But it is not only the racist instincts that make Israel deaf to any plea of humanity, or logic, or conciliation. Khader Adnan is special in his Hunger Strike, but he is not special in any way in his status as political prisoner under Administrative Detention. Knowing that you were arrested without charge, with no way to defend yourself in court, with detention warrants that can be renewed indefinitely, people under administrative detention suffer extreme stress and frustration. If Khader Adnan will be freed, so goes the Israeli logic, hundreds of detainees may follow his example and struggle to be freed.
It is the same logic that guides the Israeli racist regime always in one direction only: toward more extreme oppression and belligerence. When there is no struggle, they have no reason to give concessions. When there is a struggle, giving concessions is just the receipt for inspiring more struggle to follow. In the end the Israeli colonialist project is navigating with its steering wheel stuck to the right. It is heading to the wall with no self correction mechanisms.
In this sense Israel is the anchor of the political impasse that jeopardized the Arab region under different autocratic regimes. Arab rulers tended to stick to their privileges and couldn’t let loose their grip of power unless the people will get rid of them. The need to keep Israeli superiority led the Western Imperialist Powers to oppose Arab democracy, even while dictatorships went out of fashion in the rest of the world. When the stress of oppression led to fatigue, all the rulers could do is steal more and eat fast to get some feeling of strength. The recent history proves that this accumulation of contradictions with no let-out could lead to popular revolutions toppling the eternal rulers…
This Israeli policy of showing no mercy, no hesitation, always using more excessive force, is not only putting in immediate danger the life of Khader Adnan – it is driving the whole region toward the next Big War. They will not let any refugee to return to his home because they know that millions are waiting for their right of return. According to the strategy of the Israel regime, the hope of the Palestinians that they may one day have their rights back is Israel’s worst enemy. And it is not only Palestinians’ hope that constitutes a danger to Israel. It is also the hope of the Arab people to be free, united, sovereign…
As stated so many times by Israeli military leadership, it is not enough for them to make sure that Iran will not have nuclear weapons. What they demand is to make sure that it doesn’t have the capability to have them. So, in order to keep Israeli superiority over 300 million Arabs and some extra millions of Iranians and Turks in the region, the people of the region should be kept not only hopeless but disabled and retarded. It is a big toll and now Khader Adnan is in the first line of fire. Certainly Israel can’t give up. The next step is to blow the region altogether. SOS.
Where you stand decides what you can see…
Mao Tse-Tung famously said that for the frog in the bottom of the well the world is a blue circle.
For example, there is this famous argument about torture. Some people say it is a necessity. In case you interrogate a prisoner it may be the only way to extract important information… Others say it is immoral. Still others say it is counter productive, as you may extract false confessions and fill the prisons with innocent people, letting the real villains roam at large.
Still all this argument, even its humanistic and pious side, is all from the point of view of the torturers. Try to think how this argument is held on the receiving end. “Well, I’m bored of the bullshit questions… when will they bring the electrodes?”
The problem with false consciousness is that most oppressed people often think in the terms of their oppressors. Just see the anti-tax fervor in the United States, where so many people believe that giving free medical care is succumbing to the Socialist Satan. They feel too well the hole in their pocket, and they escape the much more depressing feeling how it may be when you are homeless and/or can’t afford to treat the failings of your body.
The natural curiosity to understand how people think, and why they think so, becomes an urgent need as we all engage in this twisted argument about the Syrian revolution. How could so many decent people support such a nasty dictatorship? How come so many people deafen their ears to the screams coming from the bombarded cities?
The malaise is more prevalent with the political elite. Many, from Russia’s oligarch’s master Putin to hard struggling devoted freedom fighters, see the global game more than they think of the people in the receiving end. If you were ruling your country and you had some trouble with your people, would you like anybody to interfere?
When you see me running, and three policemen running after me, will you shout “stop that thief!” and join the hunt, or will you try to make a mess to let me reach a safe hideout?
When the revolution started in Tunis, everybody here was extremely happy. The Tunisian revolution developed so fast that we didn’t even wake up in time to make a supportive demonstration. All we did was to organize a celebration in the Haifa elGhad club after the toppling of the Ben-Ali dictatorship, with a festive musical program. The motto of the celebration was taken from Ahmad Fu’ad’s lyrics: “With every revolution we are cheerful”.
We learned from the experience and decided to be more active: we want to take part in the struggle and not only to celebrate its achievements. We had an immediate opportunity to practice this new insight by living daily the ups and downs of the Egyptian revolution. As the millions were gathering in Tahrir Square, we were gathering, few dozens of us, in elJabal Street, our miniature Tahrir, singing the revolutionary songs, shouting the slogans and waving Palestinian, Tunisian and Egyptian flags. When the news of Mubarak’s fall came in, within an hour we organized a festive march around the streets of Arab Haifa.
After the initial delight, there came a long period of confusion and silence. The Libyan revolution started as a popular apprising, but couldn’t win without the military support of NATO. Even though there is no much love for elKaddafi here, also nobody here is in a mood to thank NATO for anything they might do.
Things got more complicated yet with the Syrian revolution. It is hard enough that the daily slaughter, with no clear strategy for victory in sight, left no place for the delight of the initial fast victories. But what made things worse here is that many people became deeply confused. I would not relate here to the reasons why some Palestinians support the Assad regime, but it is important to mention that the position toward the Syrian revolution created deep divisions within each Palestinian party, each group and almost each family.
Now you may think that political divisions are the daily bread of political parties and activists, but this is not the case here. For the most part, the daily political life in Palestine 48 is all devoted to resisting Israeli Apartheid, Discrimination, Racism, Expropriation, Persecutions and whatever else might come daily from this regime… So there is not much discussion of “Pros” and “Contras”, only one long search for what you can do to defend yourself and the people around you. If we unite we can sometimes stop the Bulldozers… if we stand apart we are doomed.
We held some demonstrations in support of the Syrian revolution before. I remember at least two in Nazareth and two in Haifa. But it was basically a call of conscience – come to be counted, make sure that you are one of those that didn’t stay silent when our brothers and sisters in Syria were hunted and gunned down in the streets.
Tonight, Wednesday, 8/2/2012, it seems to be different. The event on Facebook was the center of interest, with many people inviting their friends, more than 250 joining the virtual demo and more than 50 “maybe”. On the event’s wall there were daily heroic battles against Assad Dictatorship’s trolls.
Now it was the turn of the youth activists that couldn’t bear to stay silent while the old leadership is unable to make its mind. They organized the event; they sang the song of the Syrian revolution just as we sang the songs of the Egyptian revolution a year ago.
Some 100 people gathered at 20:00 at the Haifa winter (admittedly dry and not very cold) night. Many were coming from other cities and townships from Yaffa in the south through Nazareth in the east till northern Galilee. Most were after a hard working day or students in the middle of their examinations period. Many of the participants are central activists in the youth movement of existing parties or in new “Herak Shababi” groups, the independent youth organizations that spring up all around Palestine as a local expression of the new revolutionary spirit.
There were four main slogans written on big canvas: “Stop the Massacre”, “Down with the dictatorship”, “Long Live the Revolution” and “Palestine Hails Syria”. The last two were painted with the colors of the new flag of the Syrian revolution, with the green line at the top and the black at the bottom – so everyone could know at first glance what we stand for. Above the demonstration flew some Palestinian flags, an Egyptian flag and some old Syrian flags – as people don’t see contradiction between the traditional Syrian patriotism and the new revolution… It is the regime that they accuse of betraying its patriotic pretensions by killing the Syrian people.
After more than half an hour of shouting and singing in elJabal, there was a spontaneous march through elKarmah Street and down the entertainment center of “Carmel Avenue”. Two police patrol cars, which apparently were not expecting the march, kept following the march without interference. If the political elites are divided over the Syrian revolution, the wide Arab public, as represented by workers and customers in the many coffee shops and restaurants by which the demonstration passed were apparently perfectly satisfied to hear the well known Syrian revolutionary songs. A group of youth that gathered to celebrate birthday gave a standing ovation. People that ordered a meal for 100 shekel couldn’t do more than wave their hands and say hello, but some youth that were satisfied with 10 shekel ice cream joined the marchers.
The last stop, in the middle of Carmel Avenue, was “The Prisoners Square”. It was given this name by the local activists in October 2011, when it was the center of hunger strike in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. There the activists gathered for open discussion of the next steps in solidarity with the Syrian revolution. It was agreed that from now on the struggle should continue systematically, taking the message to more places, educating as well as demonstrating.
Everybody was invite to take part in the next demonstration in Arab Yaffa, on Friday 10/2, at 18:00.
My bloging friends warned me before I started this blog: Having a blog requires high level of commitment and responsibility. You should lay a program and systematically work by it. It is not like that you just have a place to write to when you are bored. It is almost like adopting a dog – you should take him for is daily trip – no matter how busy you may be.
So I decided to post at least once a week, just to keep the blog from scratching my door. But before the first honeymoon month is over, I failed to stand by my promise. We were working to organize the Haifa demonstration in support of the Syrian revolution. Just as the initial decision to hold the demo on Wednesday 8/2/12 was taken (in an open activists meeting on Friday 3/2) the regime scaled up his attacks and started with full scale shelling of Homs’ residential areas. The event became a major political event, drawing in many activists and groups that didn’t even know of the initial initiative.
I’m used to take part in organizing events, much more than in writing about them. So the blog was an easy innocent victim of this intensified activity. Now that the demo is over, it may at least enjoy the urge to publish about the demonstration and get its share of the action.