Rising animosity toward African migrants in Israel has reached a boiling point. People were beaten on the streets, and their businesses were looted amid calls for the banning and deportations of Africans. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians have likened migrant workers and small businesspeople from Africa to a “cancer” on society. Outside a fire-bombed building where 18 people live, racists had painted, “Get out of the neighborhood.”
On May 14, nearly 2,000 Palestinian prisoners ended their historic mass hunger strike in Israeli jails, as prisoner representatives entered into an Egyptian-mediated agreement with Israeli prison officials. Israel agreed to limit the use of administrative detention indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial and said it would ease harsh restrictions on visiting.
Over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are currently engaged in a steadfast and open-ended hunger strike that launched on April 17, 2012, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. They are demanding an end to solitary confinement; access to family visits for all prisoners; and access to education and media. And they are demanding international solidarity.
October is Maafa Commemoration Month. The term Maafa refers to the Black Holocaust, that period when African people were stolen and traded in the greatest, most widespread cooperative economic venture to date, which resulted in the displacement of human beings as commodities. The Kiswahili term Maafa extends that definition of loss and trauma, that is, PTSD or post-traumatic slave syndrome – the flashbacks, both conscious and unconscious, reoccurring instances of the atrocities 150 years after the end of slavery which have direct association to the brutality of chattel slavery.
I want to start with the recent attempt by the Children’s Museum of Oakland to prevent Palestinian kids from showing their art. You wrote a very moving piece on your website. It was very personal. Could you just briefly outline what you wrote and your response to this censorship?
The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat expresses its deepest solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike in Pelican Bay, California, in the United States. These prisoners, inside the racist and brutal U.S. prison system, have also stood together on hunger strike to demand an end to abuse and the use of isolation against prisoners, particularly long-term isolation, to demand proper food, and an end to torture and abuse.
Why am I going on the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza? It seems to me that during this period of eldering it is good to reap the harvest of one’s understanding of what is important, and to share this, especially with the young. How are they to learn, otherwise?
Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human will be leaving from unspecified ports in the Mediterranean in late June to break the siege on Gaza carrying about a thousand journalists, teachers, students, attorneys, human rights activists, members of parliament and others from 22 countries.
I visited the residence of the Qaddafi family, bombed to smithereens by NATO. For a leader, the house seemed small in comparison, say, to the former Clinton family home in Chappaqua or the Obama family home. It was a small house in a typical residential area in Tripoli, surrounded by dozens of other family homes.
I am pleased to stand with my colleagues today who are outraged at Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama’s decision to wage war on Africa in Libya. At the outset, let me state that Libya is home to tens of thousands of foreign students and guest workers. The students come from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The messages I have received from concerned Africans state that these young, innocent people, inaccurately labeled by the U.S. press as “Black mercenaries,” have been trapped in hostile territory and are hated by the U.S.-allied Al Qaeda insurgents.
Bay Area journalist JR Valrey, the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and associate editor of SF Bay View, known as the Minister of Information, reports vital news about the struggle against oppression. In the 31 interviews in his new book, "Block Reportin'," he shows what he calls the "big gap between what is going on in the world and what is being reported. I want to inspire people to become their own media and to truly speak on behalf of the people." Meet JR at his first book signing Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m., at Marcus Books, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.
One year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, much of the promised relief and reconstruction aid has not reached those most in need. Less than 2% of the $267 million spent so far has gone to Haitian firms, the rest to "masters of disaster," big U.S. firms that hire Haitians to do the back-breaking work for $5 a day.