Saturday, May 9, 2009

In The Name of Mothers

It's been quite some time since my last post. I've been busy with my quiet and simple life, adjusting to our new home.
Besides the mosquitos, we love this place. The sky is bluer, the sun is hotter, the air is fresher and at night, the stars are brighter.

I guess I'll just post some great thoughts by some people for this time.

Mother's Day is celebrated on different days throughout the world.
It's on december 22nd in Indonesia, second sunday of May in US, and March 21st in Palestine.

Yesterday I found this letter in my mailbox.

Dear diah,

How will the terrible devastation in Gaza make us safer?

I write to you as a Jewish woman who is both American and Israeli. I have lived in Israel for over 50 years, and I can tell you that I have had enough of wars and insecurity.

America keeps on sending us billions of dollars in weapons every year. And yet, Israel has become the least safe country for Jews to live in (except for war zones such as Afghanistan, where no one is safe).

Nowhere else in the world since WWII have we Jews lived through 12 wars/battles/campaigns--all in less that 61 years.

Nowhere else in the world since WWII have so many Jews been killed in violence--over 23,000 since Israel came into being.

Nowhere else in the world have so many Jews been injured.

And yet, we have no security. 61 years of the use of force have not brought us Israelis one iota of security.

To make matters worse, those of us who are seeking peace find ourselves harassed by the Israeli police. A number of my colleagues have had their computers confiscated, been called to interrogations, or have been made to sign declarations forbidding them to talk with one another. To add insult to injury, the police actions were carried out on Israel's Memorial Day to send a subtle message to the public that our activism may compromise Israel's security.

Our crime? We dared to ask questions. We dared to ask whether militarism was the only way. We are undeterred. We will continue asking.

It is your time to ask too.

If you are an American, please take a moment right now to call on Congress to ask the question: what happened with your US tax dollars in Gaza?

If you live in another country, ask yourself whether your government is involved in this trade of weapons and destruction.

Here in Israel, we do not need more US weapons. We need you to help us achieve peace-real peace.

There can be no peace, however, until the Palestinians have justice. The Palestinian catastrophe since 1948 has included expulsion from their homes and lands, and for those who remained in the West Bank and Gaza, extra-judicial executions, land confiscations, no freedom of movement, nor the freedom to build homes and communities, Palestinians live always with the fear of Israeli military incursions. Since September 29, 2000 Israel has killed 6,248 Palestinians. 1,487 of these have been children.

Israel's Memorial Day is the saddest day in the year for me, not only because of those who are already buried, but because of all those who might be killed for generations to come unless you help us achieve a just peace.


A 77 year old grandmother who immensely wants her grandchildren and all the children in the area to have a future to look forward to.

And this morning I read this article, written beautifully by a mother.

In the Name of Mothers Around the World
by Jodie Evans

Women know that war is SO over. We know it in our hearts, in our guts, in our wombs. We know that the madness in Iraq and Afghanistan has to end, that we cannot keep sending our children to kill the children of mothers across the globe. Last month at an appearance in Turkey, President Obama himself said “…sometimes I think that if you just put the mothers in charge for a while, that things would get resolved.”

It is nearly 140 years since Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation, a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco–Prussian War. It flowed from her feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level. Every year since CODEPINK began in 2002, we have worked to remind the public and media that Mother’s Day isn’t really about Hallmark and Teleflora, but was a call for women to gather in “the great and general interests of peace.” Howe knew then what we know now. It will take women’s leadership to undermine what have become the USA’s greatest exports: Violence, Weapons and War.

They want answers. What they hear in the media makes no sense. Why are we leaving more soldiers and private mercenaries in Iraq and not getting out on the date promised? Why are we moving soldiers to Afghanistan when our military has told us there is no military solution? How can we end the violence and protect the women? How can we turn our back on the women and children in Gaza? Why is the military budget larger than under Bush (and that’s not counting another supplemental on Iraq and Afghanistan tacked on)? Why are we spending so much money on destruction, when Obama himself said in his inaugural address, “people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy”?


And the newest massacre in Afghanistan.

This article said it all.

Call it a Massacre, Not a Mistake
by Yifat Susskind

Yesterday, as many as 150 people were killed by US warplanes while they were huddled in their houses in Farah, Afghanistan.

So today, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with President Obama, US officials in Afghanistan are heading to the site of the latest US massacre.

That's not a word we often use to describe the mass killing of civilians by US forces. Instead, reports of Afghan civilian casualties are followed by a now-routine pattern of official denials, self-investigations and apologies.

Yesterday's killings are now in the self-investigation phase, in case you're wondering. The denial phase was short because villagers who survived the attack trucked about 30 mangled corpses of children, women and other non-combatants to their local governor's office in order to prove that civilians had been killed.

Soon enough we'll be hearing the official "regrets." I don't want to hear them. I'm sick of the twisted logic that allows the US military to drop bombs on people and then claim it was a mistake when the bombs land on people. You don't deliberately do something with a known outcome and then get to call the result a mistake.
A massacre is a large-scale, indiscriminate killing; which is precisely the known outcome of the US air strikes in Afghanistan. So let's call this a massacre. And let's work to end the air strikes before another Afghan family has to hear how sorry the US military is.

Yifat Susskind is MADRE's Policy and Communications Director.

Or these strong words by Robert Fisk.
And of course, the reason is quite simple. We live, they die. We don't risk our brave lads on the ground - not for civilians. Not for anything. Fire phosphorus shells into Fallujah. Fire tank shells into Najaf. We know we kill the innocent. Israel does exactly the same. It said the same after its allies massacred 1,700 at the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in 1982 and in the deaths of more than a thousand civilians in Lebanon in 2006 and after the death of more than a thousand Palestinians in Gaza this year.

And if we kill some gunmen at the same time - "terrorists", of course - then it is the same old "human shield" tactic and ultimately the "terrorists" are to blame. Our military tactics are now fully aligned with Israel.

The reality is that international law forbids armies from shooting wildly in crowded tenements and bombing wildly into villages - even when enemy forces are present - but that went by the board in our 1991 bombing of Iraq and in Bosnia and in Nato's Serbia war and in our 2001 Afghan adventure and in 2003 in Iraq. Let's have that inquiry. And "human shields". And terror, terror, terror. Something else I notice. Innocent or "terrorists", civilians or Taliban, always it is the Muslims who are to blame.


Happy mother's day...

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