Friday, January 30, 2009



She was born this morning at 5am at Wolverhampton Hospital. Kakak sent me an sms 12hours before she was born, asking every one to pray for her. At 5 am Malaysian time, I got an sms from Abang Azli saying that everything was ok.

Her name is Afwa Adeena. I picked her name 'Adeena' the moment I saw her pix above. Adeena in Hebrew means gentle, noble and delicate.

Every one is happy, it's just that we couldn't see her yet at this moment. Mak flew off to Wolverhampton 2 weeks ago and initially I was supposed to follow her. The original plan was, I resign my current job, take 2 months break, spend time with kakak and her newborn baby before applying a new job.

One day before we booked the tickets, new job dilemma thingy happened which compelledme to prioritize.

There's always a reason why things happen this way. By the way, Mak calls me almost every day and tells me that she buys me this and she buys me that. I'm happy!:)

and Adeena will call me Tita Fadiah. Tita in Tagalog means auntie. Isn't that cute?:P

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Death in Police Custody

Some people undermine the struggle of the activists in upholding human rights.See for yourself what has been happening around us. Death in police custody is nothing unusual, particularly to those who practice criminal law. Inquest after inquest, but the situation has never been better. These horrendous acts, inflicted on people who are defenseless are nothing but murder. A cold blooded murder.

Who gives you the right to rip someone off his life? Who gives you the right to inflict even a mild harm on someone else's body while being kept in your custody?

Seriously, can we sleep at night knowing that these things are happening and they are no longer a hidden secret?Can we just ignore this harsh reality just because it does not happen to us or our relative?

Just a month ago, a friend and h** family had to go through a traumatic experience as their loved one was severely beaten and tortured while in police custody.

"We know this thing has been happening, but we never knew it could happen to us".

We don't have to be doctors to know that something is definitely NOT right:-

check this pix out.

http://magickriver.blogspot.com/2009/01/another-victim-of-pdrms-ku-klux-klan.html.


Gaza and the Liberal Conscience IV: The Power of Boycotts
By Farish A. Noor

One of the best ways not to do anything and vegetate at home while watching DVDs and eating junk food is to say to yourself “well, what difference can I make? I’m just one person and one person’s actions will not save the world”. It is through passive indifference that authoritarian regimes thrive around us. Tyrants and despots rely on the passivity of their subjects to gain time and ground to spread their poisonous tentacles, and in our idle sleep we forget that our comfort zones are being eaten away bit by bit, inch by inch, til the day comes when the stormtroopers are standing at our doorstep.

Today the calls for the boycott of goods and services related to Israel and its hegemonic benefactor the USA are similarly being met by such casual disdain, by trendy liberals who think it is ever so cool to pretend that we are all powerless and that the rotten mess we see unfolding in Gaza at present is something we cannot do anything about. Wrong.

Let us re-visit some of the premises above and debunk them one step at a time:

First of all, boycotts work. They work, they are effective and if carefully planned, well co-ordinated and maintained for long enough a period of time they can make and break the fortunes of nations. Let us return to the days and months after the Danish ‘Muhammad cartoon controversy’. I do not wish to revisit the facts of that controversy, but rather look at its aftermath and the reaction of the major industrial powers to the international boycott of European products.

In a space of 12 months after the crisis broke out, I had written 2 academic papers, given 8 talks and took part in six international conference on the issue. Now let me recount one of these conferences in some detail. It was a conference held in an Arab country that was put together by an American-European business planning institute and present at the meeting were CEOs of some of the biggest players in the capitalist world. I am not at liberty to go into the details of the discussions we had due to the Chatham House rules by which we operated, but let me just say that one CEO in particular was at the helm of one of the biggest automobile companies in Europe.

This is what the CEO of the European car company had to say to me: “33 per cent of our exports go to the Arab world, and 15 per cent goes to the developing world. If a major global boycott of our cars is carried out, we can hold out for 6 months before retrenchments begin. After 12 months we close down for good, because we can never recover after such a thing.”

Now these were the words of one of the most important CEOs on the planet. Cognisant of the fact that their luxury cars are increasingly bought in Asia and the Arab world, he knew very well what a boycott of their cars would do. And the man was scared. Terrified in fact.

That the CEO of a company as powerful as this could tremble before the prospect of a clientele that exercises their collective will is instructive. I saw the same with the other CEOs and at all the business meetings I took part in during the 12 months after the Danish cartoon controversy. This proves several things, namely:

That boycotts work and that they scare the living daylights out of even the most powerful companies;

That boycotts have the power of equalising power relations between producers and consumers, and thereby restores power and dignity to consumers who should never be seen as passive sheep;

That consumers can dictate the terms of production and management in the same way that consumers have compelled companies to adopt environmentally-friendly modes of production and to halt unethical business and investment practices.

Now look at the successes we have had over the past few decades in terms of boycotts:

The environmentalist lobby – through threats of boycotts and consumer awareness campaigns – has forced companies to adopt greener modes of production and more ethical means of raw material procurement. (As in the case of fair trade coffee, etc.);

The anti-apartheid lobby has managed – again through boycotts – to compel communities and governments to isolate the apartheid regime of South Africa to the point where maintaining such a discriminatory regime was unsustainable in the long run; and managed to make them pariahs in the global diplomatic scene;

The ethical banking lobby – again through threat of boycotts – has managed to compel banks and financial houses in Europe to return stolen funds embezzled by Third World dictators; and has also managed to persuade banks to dis-invest from countries like South Africa.

So with all these examples to mind, why on earth would a boycott of American and Israeli goods not succeed in the long run if they are carried out in a well-co-ordinated and sustained manner?

Related to the liberals’ concern is the somewhat pathetic refrain that boycotts will also hurt local producers and local workers who may be working for these multinationals. We offer a three-pronged reply to this fallacious argument:

Firstly, it would be ridiculous to suggest that companies that invest in a colonial state like Israel actually care about the rights and dignity of their workers elsewhere. A company that has no issues or problems collaborating with imperialism and colonialism is a company whose directors have scant regard for human rights and dignity in the first place, including the rights and dignity of their workers.

Secondly, the closure of companies that invest and support the colonial Israeli state can be seen as a good thing in the long run as it will compel communities such as ours to seek real jobs and real livelihood for its citizens instead of flogging our people off to work as cheap labour for fast food companies and other such concerns. In places such as Kerala, India, where American fast food companies have not been given a chance to enter, we see the long term benefits of such a prudent move: the local industries are protected, Keralan citizens do not feel compelled to abide by lifestyle standards set by American consumer culture, local identities are protected, and overall the people have a stronger sense of identity and self-pride. Compare the streets of Kerala that still have their local character to the dreary streets of Kuala Lumpur where every other shop-lot has been taken up by some gaudy fast food company and you will see my point.

Thirdly we need to remember that we are also compelled to act morally even in cases where moral action does not necessarily bring immediate positive results. We do not tell the truth simply to score points with our friends. We tell the truth because that is the ethical thing to do. Moral action entails responsibility and we need to remember that even if we are not directly positively responsible for the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, we are nonetheless negatively responsible by our inaction.

To fail to act, to fail to make a stand now in the face of such overwhelming evidence, is to commit the mistake of negative moral responsibility via neglect. It would be akin to letting a blind man cross a street while a car was coming, and not warning the blind man before he is struck down. In such a case we are not responsible for running down the man, but we are responsible for not trying to warn him. The guilt remains with us nonetheless.

Therefore the liberals among us need to take their stand and do whatever is necessary to end the atrocities in Gaza now, in whatever ways and means they have at their disposal. To look the other way, or worse still to say that we are powerless, is to deny our moral and rational agency when we all know that we have it. We are not children, nor are we animals. To count ourselves as rational adult citizens means having to accept our capacity for moral judgement and our responsibility for moral action. To boycott the goods and products of those companies that actively support the colonial government of Israel is but one simple step to make our point. This act is as simple and mundane as it is necessary and obligatory upon us. To stall judgement and sit on the fence when people are being murdered before our very eyes makes us active witnesses of a crime we did nothing to prevent. In such a case, we would be little better than the colonialists and murderers themselves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gaza and the Liberal Conscience: Why We Cannot be Confused by History

(Part I)

By Farish A. Noor



The liberal conscience is a rather peculiar thing. Right now, as Gaza is being bombed to oblivion yet again, liberals the world over are wrestling with their own consciences instead. Faced with the reality of a colonial state that is bent on grabbing more land for itself and which has systematically aided and abetted the creation of illegal settlements all over the occupied territories, liberals are still unsure of what to do, what to say and what stand to take.



We see this happening around us all the time. In cyberspace one encounters the response of the liberals time and again: They say and write things like “Yes, we know that what the Israelis are doing is wrong, but doesn’t Hamas have rockets too?” or “Yes we know that Palestinians have been killed but haven’t Israelis too?” or “Yes, we know that Israel is expanding its territory more and more, but didn’t Israel exist in the past and haven’t the Israelis the right to rebuild their nation?”



Much of this confusion stems from a skewered and manipulated understanding of history and an misunderstanding about what history can and should do for you. So in an attempt to assuage the tender liberal conscience and to show just why these liberals need to take a stand now, let us revisit the history of the region and more importantly understand what the discourse of history is all about.



History is a record of facts and all the discourse of history does and can do is remind us of the paths that we have taken and the actions that have brought us to where we are today. A discourse that is forever recounted after the fact, history does not have the agency to compel, rationalise or justify our actions in the immediate present. I emphasise this for the simple reason that we tend to assume a continuity of historical agency over time and a continuity of responsibilities over time that is simply not there: A German child born today is simply not responsible for the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis of the past, and for no reason can any young German citizen today be held accountable for the past of his/her country; any more than a young Brit is responsible for the British Empire.



Yet Israeli expansionism – which is reality has been nothing more than systematic colonisation – has been justified precisely on the grounds of such historical continuity, as if an Israeli born today is entitled to enjoy the rights and entitlements of Jews who lived thousands of years ago.



Now one does not and cannot deny the historical existence of the historical Jewish kingdom of King Solomon and David. Nor would one want to deny the existence of the kingdom, for that would amount to a denial and erasure of history. But there has to be a clear distinction between the historical kingdom of Solomon and David and the present state of Israel that came into being in 1948. The historical kingdom of Solomon and David existed at a time when the very notion of the nation-state did not even materialise yet; while Israel is a modern nation-state that was created in the wake of World War Two, and which has been seen and cast by many as a result of Europe’s moral debt to the Jews who were annihilated by the Nazis and Fascists in the 1930s and 1940s.



This does not however alter the fact that the creation of Israel occasioned a terrible moral rupture among the Palestinians who were there and the fact that since its creation in 1948 the modern state of Israel has behaved in a manner no different from the colonial states of Europe in relation to its Arab neighbours and the people of Palestine in particular. Israel ’s record of colonising the lands of the Palestinians is a modern fact in the here-and-now, and not a historical fact residing in the ancient past. It is a living reality in the present and it has led to the brutal conduct of its troops in their own colonising efforts we see today.



To defend the modern colonising state of Israel on historical grounds would therefore be akin to saying that just because the Roman Empire existed then Italy today has the right to resume her former glory and conquer half of Europe and Africa . It would be like saying that just because the British and French empires existed then Britain and France also possess some historical right to expand their boundaries again.



Yet this fallacy has yet to be debunked for the rot that it really is. Should the extreme right-wing Zionist fundamentalists who currently run the Israeli modern state get their way, then their long term aim would be to re-create in modern times what was an archaic historical kingdom whose borders extend all the way into Jordan , Syria , Lebanon , Palestine and Arabia . The Liberal conscience that may have been persuaded by the bogus historical claims of Zionist propagandists and apologists should therefore see this for what it is: nothing more than a longing and justification for Empire and empire-building at its crudest and rawest form.



It is also the duty of the historian to remind all of us that we are not and should not be captives to history and the abuse of the discourse of history. The historical existence of the kingdom of Solomon has never been a matter of contention, for it is not the historical kingdom of Solomon and David that is sending jet fighters to bomb Palestinian schools and hospitals, sending tanks into the occupied territories and sending bulldozers to destroy Palestinian homes. These atrocities are being committed by the government of the modern colonial state of Israel , and it is the modern colonial state of Israel that deserves to be condemned for its colonial ambitions today.



End of part I.


.................

Gaza and the Liberal Conscience- The Question of Parity



(Part II)



By Farish A. Noor



As the death toll in Gaza mounts by the hour, there are still faint Liberal voices around us that bemoan the violence and deaths on both sides. We hear and read in the internet again and again about the violence of Hamas and the fact that there have been Israeli casualties in the fighting as well, as if the death of a dozen Israelis can be equated with the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and the wounding and maiming of thousands. At times such as these, liberals tend to demonstrate an acute lack of understanding of mathematics and seem to have trouble counting…



The most common refrain that we get from the liberals comes in the form of the argument: “Yes, but doesn’t Hamas have weapons too and haven’t the Palestinians killed Israelis?”



Here the moral dilemma of the Liberal stems from a misunderstanding of power-relations and parity. It is based on the idea that killing is wrong (which many would find difficulty in arguing against) and the idea that no attack on civilians is ever justified. Due to the fact that Hamas and other Palestinian groups have attacked Israeli civilian settlements, the conclusion they come to is that all Palestinians are equally guilty.



Let us clear up this confusion by raising a few questions ourselves and pointing to a few facts:



Firstly, let us remember that many of the attacks on Israeli civilian settlements were also focused on illegal settlements that have been universally condemned by the UN and practically every civilised country in the world. It is a foregone conclusion that no country on the planet would welcome the intrusion of any other foreign power, and that any nation that has been deprived of its territory would retaliate. (In fact, not to do so would be unnatural and illogical.) How then can those Israelis who have settled in illegal settlements, built on stolen land, expect to be left in peace? And how can these illegal settlers continue to wonder why they are being attacked? The incredulity of these illegal settlers is astounding, and akin to a situation where a thief wonders why his victim is fighting back…



Secondly, let us look at the question of parity. The fact is that there is NO parity between the trained colonial army of Israel and the irregular forces that have been assembled by the Palestinians. One can be in a genuine moral dilemma if both the Israelis and Palestinians possess the same military might and armed power; and we would be faced by a moral dilemma if – and only if – we see Palestinian jet planes bombing hospitals and schools in Israel; Palestinian tanks attacking Tel Aviv; Palestinian helicopters strafing the suburbs of Israel and Palestinian bulldozers smashing down civilian homes in Israel.



But tell me when did you last see a Palestinian jet fighter plane, attack helicopter, tank or bulldozer? The answer is there simply aren’t any because there is simply no parity between the Israelis and the Palestinians.



The delay with which the Liberal conscience acts is therefore unpardonable under the circumstances, when we are witnessing what can only be described as a totally uneven and unequal contest between an aggressive colonial state and a colonised people fighting back. But for Liberals to assume a neutral stance in the face of a decidedly un-neutral situation beggars belief, and points to the moral hypocrisy of liberals under such circumstances.



Finally there is the question of WHY the Palestinians (Hamas, Hizbullah, Fatah and other civilian groups) have been fighting against this Israeli colonial goliath despite the fact that they have been outgunned time and again. Well, the history of anti-colonial struggles worldwide will show that all nations fighting for freedom have gone up against Empires and Imperial forces infinitely stronger than them. During the Indonesian and Vietnamese wars of Independence , as well as the anti-colonial wars of Africa , local insurgent forces fought with all they had against modern western colonial armies that were better armed.



The record of anti-colonial wars in Asia and Africa shows that it was always the local insurgents who suffered the most. For every Dutch colonial soldier killed by the Indonesian freedom-fighters, hundreds of Indonesians were killed. Yet they fought on relentlessly til they won their independence despite the human costs they were forced to bear. Today the people of Palestine are fighting a war of national liberation against a colonial Zionist state that has the tacit backing of the most powerful hegemon of the planet, the USA . Yet they do so despite the odds because they know that to lay down their arms would be to capitulate to imperialism and colonialism.



So the confused liberal who cannot decide should consider this: Had the freedom fighters of Indonesia , Vietnam , Burma as well as their comrades across Asia and Africa not fought against the odds, would the colonial powers have relented and unilaterally given them their independence? If one is na├»ve enough to believe that the colonial ambitions of a state like Israel can be appeased by surrendering the struggle, then one deserves to lose one’s country!



End of part II.



................



Gaza and the Liberal Conscience- The realities of Colonialism



(Part III)



By Farish A. Noor



Consider the following scenario: A band of thieves break into your home while you are out, and help themselves to your property. When you return you find them comfortably installed in your home and enjoying themselves. Just as you are about to do the logical thing by doing whatever is necessary to kick them out, they say to you: “No, don’t attack us. We want peace. We want peace because we want to watch your DVDs on the DVD player; we want peace because we want to enjoy the food in your kitchen; we want peace because we want to sleep in your bed tonight.” Then as soon as you lose your temper, you are accused of being a terrorist, terrorising their peace!



It may sound ridiculous, but that is precisely the ridiculousness we are hearing from illegal Israeli settlers and Zionist propagandists who are telling the world that Israel wants peace and is the victim of Palestinian terrorism.



The realities of colonialism have been the same throughout history. Every imperial colonising power from the Romans to the Europeans have sought to justify, rationalise and normalise the realities of colonial expansionism by resorting to the discourse of peace. When the Europeans colonised Africa and Asia in between the 17th to 20th centuries, they did so on the grounds of ‘progress’, ‘civilisation’ and even the rule of law. Africa and Asia were to be colonised ostensibly to bring progress to the natives, to expand the scope of free trade, to establish modern governance. Yet colonies are never modern, free, democratic or progressive in the first place: they are little more than the expression of primordial greed, lust for power, hatred of Others, racism, bigotry, sexism and common prejudice.



The pathetic moral dilemma of the wishy-washy liberal is compounded by the invented dilemma of the colonialist who dreams to live in peace while residing on stolen land and stolen property. It is this double-hypocrisy that has to be addressed and exposed once and for all. The liberals among us are ever-so-sensitive to the plaintive emotional appeals of the Israeli settlers who claim that they have been victimised by the Palestinians, but at the same time conveniently fails to recognise the simple fact that no illegal settlement can ever be left in peace.



Once again we can turn to our own colonial history in Asia for pointers:



During the bad old days when the European Imperial powers were installed across Asia and Africa , there were incessant wars and rebellions when the colonised subjects rebelled to gain their freedom. It has to be remembered that the creation of modern post-colonial independent states across Asia and Africa did not come naturally or without pain and struggle. Thousands of Africans and Asians fought and died, thousands were imprisoned, exiled, tortured and made to ‘disappear’ by the colonial powers that refused to vacate their stolen colonies.



Today of course we celebrate these freedom fighters who fought and died as the martyrs and heroes of our respective countries and count them among the founding fathers and mothers who gave birth to our independent states.



Now during our own anti-colonial struggles, did we (or rather our forefathers) bother about the discomfort and fear of the colonialists whom they constantly and relentlessly opposed by all means necessary? Let us recount our own past with honesty. We did not negotiate or dialogue with imperialists: we opposed them, fought them, and when necessary attacked and killed them. Independence was not won in a game of cards or polite conversation. It came through years of guerrilla warfare, ambushes, assassinations, acts of sabotage, strikes and boycotts. That’s how we became free. And wasn’t that how the first Americans gained their independence from the colonial government of Britain too?



Now if that was the case for practically every country that has been colonised in the past, why doesn’t it apply today for the people of Palestine ?



Let us not, therefore, be taken in by the glib rhetoric and sweet appeals of the Zionists and their American backers. The modern colonial state of Israel today is a proxy for superpower interests and in its dealings with the Palestinians it has been nothing more than a violent, expansionist, colonial state bent on expanding its colonial possessions and territorial outreach. The modern colonial state of Israel has been at the forefront of working and collaborating with the most reactionary Arab pro-American regimes and helping them retard the development of democracy in their own countries.



The realities of colonialism are that any and every colonial state has been built on force, violence and coercion, and that their continued existence into the future rests on the continued use of such violence and coercion. But like the band of thieves who have stolen into your home and robbed you of your property, they cannot expect to be left in peace and they will never enjoy peace as long as they exist as a colonial power. Israel is no exception to this rule, for this was the lesson learned by every imperial power throughout human history: No colonial state has the right to safety and safe boundaries, as long as those boundaries are drawn on land that has been illegally and forcibly stolen on others. You will never have safe frontiers as long as your frontiers are drawn on the land of another.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Occupied Palestine : Take a stand!

Relieved, that I finally finished my submission.

Many things have been happening back to back for the last two weeks. One program after another. Can't look at the newspaper, it's too depressing to learn about the deliberate aggression of the Israeli military on Gaza. Have said NO to McDonalds, Burger King and the like. Realized that we can survive without those stuff, and the good news is, we get to live a healthier life.

People say, "what can a boycott do?".

For me, it's a matter of principle. If the International community can accept Economic Embargo as one of the sanctions that can be imposed on states that violate International Law, what stops us from doing more or less the same thing in our own personal capacity rather than waiting for an impossible miracle to happen from a puppet organization called the UN.

Excuses.

Tell that to the Palestinians who have been living in fear for over 60 years. Tell that to the Palestinian children who have no idea what the word "safe" means. Tell that to those who pledge their hearts and souls defending the Palestinians and their rights to their own homeland.

I had the chance to read the story of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall.

If we think that we have fought hard enough for the Palestinians, think again. By reading these stories, I just couldn't help myself from thinking how small we are compared to these people. They are the real heroes, the real fighters.

The living evidence of the highest degree of human nobility. They pledged their lives for a simple reason, that is humanity. They don't share the same religion as the Palestinians, they don't share the same history and origin as the Palestinians. The only one thing that they share with the Palestinians is just a mere fact that they are human.

When we talk about the Occupied Palestine, like it or not, there are still certain quarters who choose to neutralize the whole issue. Why is that so?

Only God knows what's on their minds.

Last week, we had the opportunity to organize a public forum on the myth and reality in the Occupied Palestine. I'm so glad that many people turned up at the public forum and it's good to note that many people who attended the public forum gave positive feedback as to the content and the diversity of aspects discussed by the speakers. The public forum managed to reveal the reality or rather the truth about the whole issues that revolve around the occupation.

Imagine, for the last 60 years, there have been constant and systematic attack targeteda t Palestinian people, so the question is, when they (the illegal state of Israel and its allies) talk about ceasefire, do they really mean it? For the last 60 years, houses of Palestinian people have been deliberately and illegally demolished, (evidence can be seen in Rachel Corrie's story), leaving Palestinians to become refugees in their own homeland. What ceasefire and diplomatic talk we are talking about here?

They (the illegal state of Israel and its allies) say Hamas started it. So, are they suggesting that Hamas, being a legitimate government should just sit and do nothing when Gaza was being put under siege and the people were dying? Are they expecting Hamas government to just sit back and relax while the People of Palestine are being systematically wiped out??

And they, at the same time (the illegal state of Israel and its allies) are so busy running around championing democracy and human rights.

And they expect conscientious people to buy their stories? Not in a million years.

These hard facts demand us, the conscientious people to take a firm stand. It’s time for us to take action to ensure that the inhumane act committed by Israel and its allies will not go unpunished.

Monday, January 12, 2009

INVITATION TO TEATER BILIK SULIT
(PENANG)

In conjunction with the International Human Rights Day 2008, the Bar Council in collaboration with Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) would like to extend an invitation to all of you to Teater Bilik Sulit which is going to be held in Penang on 17/1/09 & 18/1/09.

Teater Bilik Sulit is a play that features the untold true accounts of the nature of Police interrogation of the ISA detainees which are based on testimonials of those who used to be detained under the ISA.

Teater Bilik Sulit will be staged on these dates:

17/1/09 (Saturday) at 8.30pm

18/1/09 (Sunday) at 3.00pm & 8.30pm

Venue : The Actors Studio Greenhall (Penang), Ground Floor Zhing Zheng School Memorial Centre, 32, Lebuh Light, 10200, Georgetown, Penang.

For info kindly contact 012 520 3101/012 465 1671 @ fadiahnadwa9@yahoo.com

Reminder : space is limited, kindly RSVP via email or sms

Friday, January 09, 2009


TOP 5 LIES ABOUT ISRAEL'S ASSAULT ON GAZA

by Jeremy R. Hammond

Lie #1) Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Moreover, the people Israel claims are legitimate targets are members of Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for firing rockets into Israel. These rockets are extremely inaccurate and thus, even if Hamas intended to hit military targets within Israel, are indiscriminate by nature. When rockets from Gaza kill Israeli civilians, it is a war crime.

Hamas has a military wing. However, it is not entirely a military organization, but a political one. Members of Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Dozens of these elected leaders have been kidnapped and held in Israeli prisons without charge. Others have been targeted for assassination, such as Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas official. To kill Rayan, Israel targeted a residential apartment building. The strike not only killed Rayan but two of his wives and four of his children, along with six others. There is no justification for such an attack under international law. This was a war crime.

Other of Israel’s bombardment with protected status under international law have included a mosque, a prison, police stations, and a university, in addition to residential buildings.

Moreover, Israel has long held Gaza under siege, allowing only the most minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies to enter. Israel is bombing and killing Palestinian civilians. Countless more have been wounded, and cannot receive medical attention. Hospitals running on generators have little or no fuel. Doctors have no proper equipment or medical supplies to treat the injured. These people, too, are the victims of Israeli policies targeted not at Hamas or legitimate military targets, but directly designed to punish the civilian population.

Lie #2) Hamas violated the cease-fire. The Israeli bombardment is a response to Palestinian rocket fire and is designed to end such rocket attacks.

Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response by militants to the Israeli attacks.

Israel’s actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population.

Lie #3) Hamas is using human shields, a war crime.

There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as “human shields” in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.

Lie #4) Arab nations have not condemned Israel’s actions because they understand Israel’s justification for its assault.

The populations of those Arab countries are outraged at Israel’s actions and at their own governments for not condemning Israel’s assault and acting to end the violence. Simply stated, the Arab governments do not represent their respective Arab populations. The populations of the Arab nations have staged mass protests in opposition to not only Israel’s actions but also the inaction of their own governments and what they view as either complacency or complicity in Israel’s crimes.

Moreover, the refusal of Arab nations to take action to come to the aid of the Palestinians is not because they agree with Israel’s actions, but because they are submissive to the will of the US, which fully supports Israel. Egypt, for instance, which refused to open the border to allow Palestinians wounded in the attacks to get medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, is heavily dependent upon US aid, and is being widely criticized within the population of the Arab countries for what is viewed as an absolute betrayal of the Gaza Palestinians.

Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been regarded as a traitor to his own people for blaming Hamas for the suffering of the people of Gaza. Palestinians are also well aware of Abbas’ past perceived betrayals in conniving with Israel and the US to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government, culminating in a counter-coup by Hamas in which it expelled Fatah (the military wing of Abbas’ Palestine Authority) from the Gaza Strip. While his apparent goal was to weaken Hamas and strengthen his own position, the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East are so outraged at Abbas that it is unlikely he will be able to govern effectively.

Lie #5) Israel is not responsible for civilian deaths because it warned the Palestinians of Gaza to flee areas that might be targeted.

Israel claims it sent radio and telephone text messages to residents of Gaza warning them to flee from the coming bombardment. But the people of Gaza have nowhere to flee to. They are trapped within the Gaza Strip. It is by Israeli design that they cannot escape across the border. It is by Israeli design that they have no food, water, or fuel by which to survive. It is by Israeli design that hospitals in Gaza have no electricity and few medical supplies with which to treat the injured and save lives. And Israel has bombed vast areas of Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure and other sites with protected status under international law. No place is safe within the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


You are invited to attend this special public forum:-

NOT JUST ANOTHER WAR
MYTH AND REALITY IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE

The death of hundreds of people in Gaza brought into limelight once again the happenings in the Occupied Territories . But the final solution to the conflict evades analysts and political observers particularly those working within the Western media whose portrayal of the issue has always been on this assumption: that it is a result of competing national aspirations of the Jews and Muslims for their own state. In order to understand any issue, a knowledge of its origin and background is vital. The Palestinian conflict has been given the utmost coverage, only to cover the truths and give recognition to the myths surrounding its very nature.

So what is the nature of the conflict? Who are the interested parties in the Palestinian question? What are the pitfalls of the countless solutions coming out from Arab and Western capitals? Why have the continued killings of Palestinians generated so much passion among the Arab masses but only statements of regret from their governments? How does it differ from other contemporary wars between nations?

This forum aims not only to dispel the myths and false premises which have together created a flood of analyses on the so-called ‘Israel-Palestine’ conflict, but also aims to give an overview, historical and current perspective, on the issue.

DATE
(FRIDAY) 9 JANUARY 2009

TIME
8:00PM-10:00PM

VENUE

BAR COUNCIL AUDITORIUM, BAR COUNCIL BUILDING , JALAN LEBUH PASAR, KUALA LUMPUR (behind Central Market Annexe Building)


Speakers:

1)Dr Rosli Omar

2)Hishamuddin Rais

3)Dr Farish A Noor

4)Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar


Jointly Organised By

The Malaysian Bar
&
The Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI)
Cakap-Rakyat Group

Who are the speakers?

Dr Rosli Omar - was trained for his Phd at Imperial College London and is now an Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Malaya ’s engineering faculty. His areas of research are mainly on Artifical intelligence, global warming and environment etc. Even though not formally trained politically he has always been interested in humanitarian issues, especially those concerning imperialism and oppression. Due to his deep understanding and extensive reading, he had regularly contributed in various discussions and debates among fellow academicians and youth circles on issues such as globalization, global warming and the middleast conflict.

Hishamuddin Rais - He is still best known for his stewardship of the student movement in the tumultuous 1973-4 demonstrations on subjects like American imperialism and Israeli expansionism, plus the more local concerns of Kedah peasants and Johore squatters – “Baling incident”. Throughout his 20 years in self-imposed exile, he remained the Malaysian rebel with a series of adventures in Iraq , Palestine , India , Australia , Moscow , Belgium and finally England . Since his release from 2-year ISA detention during the reformasi era, Hisham is now busy writing, teaching and directing plays, films etc.

Dr. Farish Ahmad-Noor is a Senior Fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technical University (NTU), Singapore where he is Director of Research for the Research Cluster on Transnational Religion in Southeast Asia . He is also guest affiliated Professor at both Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (UMS) and Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University, Jogjakarta . He is the author of ‘Writings on the War on Terror’ (2006), ‘From Majapahit to Putrajaya’ (2005) and ‘Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of PAS’ (2004).

Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar – (to be confirmed) obtained tertiary qualification in law in King College , London and the University of Malaya . He is Barrister-at-Law, Middle Temple and a registered Advocate and Solicitor in Victoria New South Wales, Australia . He specializes in professional proactive and his current research interest includes many aspects of biodiversity law. He is professor at the Law faculty and the director of the Centre for Biodiversity Law. He has represented Malaysia and the legal profession at numerous international forums and meetings. He has published several books covering civil trial advocacy, indigenous peoples knowledge systems and drafting for lawyers.



Together with the Malaysian Bar, the 2 other co-organisers are:-

The Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI), a non profit organisation was inaugurated on 27 November 1959. The purpose of the institute was to produce and publish world-class academic scholarship.

Currently, MSRI continues in its efforts of humanitarian support for the downtrodden, especially for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon . With the help of caring Malaysians, MSRI’s programmes will continue to make a difference in the lives of some of the most unfortunate people in the world.

Among its key objectives is to promote an understanding and appreciation of Muslim and other communities in various parts of the world in pursuance of humanitarian rights and to conscientise the public and mobilize support for people struggling for self-determination and/or suffer from war or other forms of dispossession. Website: www.msri.org.my


CAKAP RAKYAT GROUP - is created on 1 December 2008 by a group of young Malaysians whose main objectives are to organize live discussions, debates and public forums in order to deepen understanding of various issues affecting societies, both at global and local level. Their main target audience are the youths of Malaysia - to promote and strengthen the intellectual capacity of young activists in dealing with various human rights and social issues.