Yaba Yaba

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Posts Tagged ‘peace

Bassam – a Story of Hope: 12 July 2009, Theatro Technis, London

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A BENEFIT PERFORMANCE OF
BASSAM – A Story of Hope

by IDAN MEIR
Translated from the Hebrew by DANIEL WADE

Starring
NIYAF RASHID
Produced and Directed by
FRANCES RIFKIN

SUNDAY 12TH JULY 2009

16:00 AND 19:30


Theatro Technis
26 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TT
www.theatrotechnis.com

TICKETS FROM £15.00 AT THE DOOR
To reserve a SEAT please call
Theatro Technis
0207 387 6617

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND
DONATIONS TO THE FUND ENABLING BASSAM TO TAKE UP HIS MA STUDIES PLACE
should be sent to:
d 9126 Aramin Scholarship
Maxine Douglan-Smith
Finance Dept
University of Bradford, Richmond Road, Bradford. BD7 1DP

Bassam Aramin’s 10 year old daughter Abir was killed outside her school on January 16th 2007. Despite this appalling tragedy, Bassam has steadfastly and publicly maintained his belief in non-violence as the way to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is co-founder of Combatants For Peace bringing former fighters from both sides to promote this message; he coordinates sports in the West Bank for the Peres Centre for Peace; he is President of Al-Quds Democracy & Dialogue.

“BASSAM – A Story of Peace” was originally performed to acclaim at the Cameri Theatre, Tel Aviv.
All proceeds from the UK performances will go to the Scholarship Fund to enable Bassam to improve his knowledge and skills as a professional in conflict resolution. If you can’t make the performance, please make a donation.

In an interview with Haaretz only days after Abir’s death Bassam said: “I’m not going to exploit the blood of my child for political purposes… I’m not going to lose my common sense, my direction, only because I’ve lost my heart, my child. I will continue to fight in order to protect her siblings and her classmates, her girlfriends, both Palestinians and Israelis. They are all our children.”

Bassam Aramin is my personal hero and friend. A man I admire, a symbol of hope and an icon of the human spirit. For years Bassam has been campaining with the same unyielding passion and commitment for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for a just and honest enquiry into the death of his 10 year old daughter. Come and support him, and be inspired by his story.

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Written by yishaym

May 17, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Karma Nabulsi, Gerald Kaufman MP, David Rosenberg and me (feb. 11th)

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The Jewish Socialist Group has invited me to take part in a conversation on “After the war on Gaza: What next for the Palestinians? And how can Jews here and in Israel help bring about a just peace?”

I wouldn’t consider myself eligible to make any suggestions regarding the first question. The fate and strategic choices of the Palestinians are a matter for the Palestinians to decide. I may have my private opinions, but I have no business making them public. As for the second bit, well, again, I’m in a bit of an uneasy situation. I don’t feel comfortable sitting here, in London, and telling my friends in Israel what they should do. On the other hand, I never quite felt part of the British Jewish community.

So what exactly am I doing there?

I’ll try to post some notes closer to the event, but here’s a spoiler. I’d like to start by challenging the title. First, I argue that we need to reject the Israeli-Palestinian dichotomy. Yes, we are two peoples. But we have one land, one past, and only one future. Any discussion that positions Israelis and Palestinians as two sides is part of the problem, not the solution. Second, I urge anyone sincerely concerned with the human tragedy of the land to suspend the call for justice. I know that sounds cruel. But it is a necessary sacrifice, for one man’s justice is another man’s death. I have life, happiness and dignity on the top of my list of priorities. Justice is a bit further down the line.

Still, if I can’t speak for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the British Jews, who am I speaking for? Myself, for what its worth. I can tell you what I believe I would be doing if I was there, and what I think I should be doing here. I am a true believer in democracy, empowerment and hope. By this I mean that I truly believe that change will only come from the people affected taking actions of hope. If I was there, I would be working with such people. From here, the most I can do is support them in any way I can. I hope you will do the same.


Wednesday 11th February, 7.30pm

Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB

Public meeting – all welcome

After the war on Gaza

What next for the Palestinians?

And how can Jews here and in Israel help

bring about a just peace?

Speakers:  Karma Nabulsi,  Gerald Kaufman MP,

Yishay Mor, David Rosenberg

Karma Nabulsi is an Oxford-based academic who formerly worked as a PLO diplomat at the UN and in Beirut, Tunis and Britain.

Gerald Kaufman has been a Labour MP since 1970 and has been an outspoken supporter of a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Yishay Mor is an Israeli peace and social empowerment activist

David Rosenberg is on the editorial committee of Jewish Socialist magazine

Organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group www.jewishsocialist.org.uk

who’s side are you on?

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I had a long chat with Mark today, and with a few other friends. Cooled me down a bit, and helped me understand why I’m so angry. It has also raises a few questions.

When something horrible happens, we feel empathy with the victims. Since we usually do very little to help, we also feel guilt. When I observe the anti-Israeli reactions in Europe, I wonder: are you dealing with the issue, or are you dealing with your guilt? Its really quite simple to answer, all it requires is a bit of honesty. Just write down what you’ve done about the situation, and what are the probable consequences of your actions. Not what you would wish the consequences would be: what you believe is their real most likely effect. Don’t tell me, this is between you and yourself.

Remember one thing: however dire the state of affairs, there is always a course of action which offers a chance for positive change. This, for me, is the axiom of human existence. The circle of hope. Without it, we might as well all blow ourselves up. If the tally for your chosen action does not fall within the circle of hope, abandon it and look for a new path.

Mark was disturbed by people’s obsession with categorising fellow humans, for him (and for me) this is hard to understand, and the root of great evil. He said: I observe people all the time, always looking for the common. I recalled how history and science have shown that it is normal people who commit the greatest atrocities, and that the first step that enables this is xenomorphism (my term, don’t know what would be the proper one): defining a group as “others” who pose a threat. Once you divide the scene into “us” and “them”, and identify “them” as a threat, you can do anything to them. Resolution and reconciliation will start from breaking down this dichotomy. A Palestinian from Ramallah will not bomb Gaza, even if he opposes Hamas with all his heart. Likewise, an Israeli soldier will not shoot a setteler even if he sees him as the cause of all his troubles. You do not kill your own. Peace can only come from the acknowledgement that we have one land, one fate. It could be manifested in two states, that’s detail. But it has to rest on an appreciation of the common, and the unique.On an acceptance that all tears are equal, all blood weighs the same. If its all one bug Us,then violence is not an option.

That’s when I realised how wrong the protests, and the media coverage, are.

It doesn’t matter if you’re marching “for Israel” or “for Palestine”. Either way, you’re marching for the dichotomy. Reinforcing the image of two tribes. One good, one bad. I don’t care who’s the good and who’s the bad in your story. Its just a bad story.

Then there’s the issue of Hamas. The resistance movement. Even the BBC, which has been amazingly restrained and thoughtful in its coverage, often talks of Hamas’ “resistance”. This puzzles me. I thought “resistance” implies some acts of resisting the occupying forces. So where where the Hamas resisters when the Israeli army combed the streets of Gaza? Surely, if they would have offered any resistance, they Israeli army would have suffered more casualties. As I undestand it, most of the 10 Israeli soldiers killed where victems of accidents and friendly fire.

Yes, Israel has the right to protect itself, the Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation. Over the last three weeks neither right was exersiced.

Update, 21 Jan:

Bob from Brockley has a good roundup on the comedy of British anti-Israeli protest. My favorite is the chair of Sheffield Palestinian Solidarity tearing down a placard that reads “no to IDF no to Hamas”.

Written by yishaym

January 19, 2009 at 2:55 am

TUC Aid appeal for Gaza

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Regardless of what you think of British trade unions, regardless of who you think carries the blame in Gaza, it takes a cold heart to remain untouched by the scale of the human tragedy.

So here’s a chance to do something useful:

TUC Aid Appeal – Give for Gaza

How to donate:

You can make an online donation to the appeal using our secure online facility, provided by JustGiving.com. Select the amount and choose the “Give for Gaza” appeal from the drop down menu.

You can also donate by cheque. All cheques should be drawn in favour of TUC Aid – Give for Gaza – and sent to TUC Aid, EUIRD, TUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS.

Where your donation will go:

All proceeds will be forwarded through the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to support emergency humanitarian relief operations carried out by them in Gaza. All trade union relief operations are co-ordinated through Red Crescent in Jordan, Egypt and Gaza and focused on the identified needs of the people affected by the events. The first ITF-PGFTU humanitarian flight is due to leave for Gaza on 08 Jan 2009. The TUC supports an immediate ceasefire by both sides, and the pursuit of a political solution to the problems of the Middle East based on two states.

For further information contact Bandula Kothalawala on 020 74671257 or by e-mail bkothalawala@tuc.org.uk

(HT Mira)

Written by yishaym

January 12, 2009 at 2:42 am

who let the dogs out?

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As in any kindergarten row, both sides are shouting “he started!”. The sensible reaction is “never mind who started, now both of you stop!”

Of course, there’s a difference: here people are being killed. Which is why its worth looking for patterns, and trying to see if we can avoid the next round.

That’s exactly what Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer, & Anat Biletzki do on the huff:

Figure 2. For conflict pauses of different durations (i.e., periods of time when no one is killed on either side), we show here the percentage of times from the Second Intifada in which Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians (black), the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis (grey), and the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day (white). Virtually all periods of nonviolence lasting more than a week were ended when the Israelis killed Palestinians first. We include here the data from all pause durations that actually occurred.

Figure 2. For conflict pauses of different durations (i.e., periods of time when no one is killed on either side), we show here the percentage of times from the Second Intifada in which Israelis ended the period of nonviolence by killing one or more Palestinians (black), the percentage of times that Palestinians ended the period of nonviolence by killing Israelis (grey), and the percentage of times that both sides killed on the same day (white). Virtually all periods of nonviolence lasting more than a week were ended when the Israelis killed Palestinians first. We include here the data from all pause durations that actually occurred.

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a picture of “finger the baddies”. Hamas are evil bastards, baby killers and thieves. They are just as quick to kill and steal from their own people. If they would have invested half their efforts on reinforcing shelters and stocking hospitals the death toll would have been much lower, they don’t care.

What this picture shows is a plain and obvious stratigic directive for Israel:

…if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

Maths. It works, bitches.

Written by yishaym

January 7, 2009 at 3:02 am

“New Year, Same Old Vicious Cycle”

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Neta Osnat says:

The last days of the year 2008 are filled with blood tear in Gaza and in the south of Israel. These bloody times are a reminder to us all of how endless and vicious the cycle of violence is.
As Combatants for Peace we are sending our sincere regrets to all the people who have been hurt on both sides, and call all parties to cease the fire and look for a peaceful resolution through dialogue, instead of violence.
Please eco our voice, let other people know there is an alternative to the madness and that there are many who still support our way and believe in peace both in Palestine and in Israel.
For updates on our activities and in order to support us by donations, visit our website at: www.combatantsforpeace.org

Democracy Now interviews Yonatan Shapira and Bassam Aramin (

And two days ago:


Written by yishaym

December 31, 2008 at 1:58 am

TAFI UK on YouTube

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Seth Reynolds, aka coiled spring productions,  has done a great job producing a clip on the Abraham Fund Initiatives and its UK friends. Cheers, Seth!

Written by yishaym

August 15, 2008 at 3:18 pm