THE LATEST GAZA SPOOFS BY LATUFF

All images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Obama’s Double Standard

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‘We have reached breaking point': UN official breaks down on air as the bloody horror of the Gaza conflict take an obvious emotional toll … REPORT
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The Grim Reaper of Gaza

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BOYCOTT ISRAEL NOW!

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NEW YORKERS REFUSE TO REMAIN SILENT ~~ PHOTO ESSAY

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The demonstration was organized by WE WILL NOT BE SILENT,  a group of artists and activists who take the name  from the words of the sister and brother anti-Nazi activists in Hitler’s Germany who formed the group known as the White Rose.  They were both captured and executed.  Scores of people met in Bryant Park, stood in a line while each wore the name of one of the people murdered in Gaza and a member of the group read some of the names of those killed.  At noon they began a slow walk of mourning in a single file to the Israeli Consulate. Once they reached their destination twelve members of the group staged a die-in  in front of the Consulate bringing traffic to a stop on busy 2nd Avenue.  They were arrested for this act of civil disobedience, a tactic frequently used by Dr. Martin Luther King.  This week there have been several such acts in New York and in other cities with some being initiated by Jewish  Voice for Peace but most others came about through people, in a state of anguish and rage, making connections on facebook and coming together to express their pain, their anger, and their need to say, not in my name.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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HUMANIZING PALESTINE

Salma Al-Radiya, 2 years old, was killed by shrapnel from an Israeli tank shell in Beit Lihaya, north of Gaza Strip on July 23, 2014.

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By Mazin Qumsiyeh,PhD*

The holiday at the end of Ramadan brings mixed feelings and we could sense this here in Bethlehem on the faces of our Muslim neighbors, friends and colleagues. They tell us of their sadness at the massacres of whole families but they also tell proudly of resistance, persistence, resilience, self help and help to other. It is still a month of blessings. I was at the bank of Palestine on Saturday and saw lines of people sending money to colleagues and friends in Gaza. We had cloth and food drives. Convoys bringing medical aid are finally being allowed to enter even as 150 bodies were pulled from under the rubble in one neighborhood alone. Israeli soldiers speak to Haaretz of large scale destruction of civilian neighborhoods in Gaza and surprise and fear at the resistance fighters. Most people understand that Gaza is a big crowded prison that is being subjected to a most ruthless occupation that destroyed its economy and means of livelihood. Yet, some Zionists want to convince people that somehow resistance should not come from within this population! But there are no winners in the latest conflict started by Israel even though both resistance forces and Israel claim victory. Israel can claim victory by destroying so many neighborhoods, killing nearly a thousand civilians (very few resistance fighters). This they hope will teach a lesson not to resist. That is a foolish dream for all this does is stoke hatred and call for revenge from the killers and not decrease support among the population for resistance. Israeli intelligence agents know this (see for example below interview with ex-head of the Shin Bet). Israeli leaders know that with every strike on “Arabs” as they like to call us, resistance actually grows in strength and supporters. Hamas and other resistance forces gain in stature and Netanyahu appeared tough and gained some voters from teh racist right quarters in Israeli politics. Yet, Palestinians lives are lost that are irreplaceable and faith in human dignity tarnished as western leaders were forced to defend a an ongoing genocide so that they can please their Zionist lobbyists.The price paid by all humanity is far too high.
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Let me start by actual pictures and names of those Israel murdered. They are not just numbers (1070 murdered so far including over 200 children). PLEASE take time to get to know some of them. (there were also at least 45 Israeli soldiers killed by resistance fighters and in some cases directly by Israeli forces; see below)

Now what is the real reason for the Gaza carnage? Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for taking three young Israeli settlers (colonial squatters in occupied areas). It turns out even Israeli police knew that Hamas leaders were not involved (even though the suspects were never apprehended let alone charged). Hamas itself said it was not involved. see

But maybe this is the real reason: Armed robbery in Gaza: Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s stolen gas.

Yuval Diskin was the director of Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet between 2005 and 2011 and he recently 24 July 2014 had an Interview with Der Spiegel/Reuters. He was asked ” Is Israel not essentially driving Palestinians into the arms of Hamas? He answered “It looks that way, yes. The people in the Gaza Strip have nothing to lose right now, just like Hamas. And this is the problem. As long as Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was in power in Egypt, things were going great for Hamas. But then the Egyptian army took over and within just a few days, the new regime destroyed the tunnel economy between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, which was crucial for Hamas. Since then, Hamas has been under immense pressure; it can’t even pay the salaries of its public officials.”

Diskin also Stated that “The army is now trying to destroy the tunnels between Israel and the Gaza Strip with a kind of mini-invasion, also so that the government can show that it is doing something. …It is in equal parts action for the sake of action and aggressive posturing.” But then he even reveals something that all Israeli leaders know but choose to ignore: “They [Palestinians] will never accept the status quo of the Israeli occupation. When people lose hope for an improvement of their situation, they radicalize. That is the nature of human beings. The Gaza Strip is the best example of that. All the conditions are there for an explosion. So many times in my life I was at these junctions that I can feel it almost in my fingertips.”

He goes on to predict accurately increased shifts to extremism in Israeli society and admitted that Israel deals with Palestinian terror different than it does with Jewish terror. Full interview hereHis observations while from a Zionist colonial perspective concords in predicting a pressure cooker about to explode with other observers for example see this from someone who lived in Jenin for a while: The Paper Thin Underpinnings to Peace: Occupation and Intifada in 2014.

Those of us who cut through the lies act. There were demonstration in over 100 cities including Tokyo, Paris, London, Chicago, New York, Washington, Cairo, Tunis, Rabat etc). Some had tens of thousands and some over 100,000 participants. Here are just some inspiring photos.
There was even a demonstration of a few thousand in Tel Aviv objecting to the slaughter in Gaza. Some Israeli soldiers and reserves refused orders to mobilize to Gaza. All these demonstrations had mixed groups of people (all ethnicities and all religions). The few demonstrations for Israel and in support of killing Palestinians were tiny and included only Jewish Zionists (the largest was as expected in New York with a few hundred particularly angry and racist ones). We must concentrate on doing more positive actions and publicizing them. “Lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness” as the old Chinese saying goes. I leave you with poignant note that a Church in Gaza is now home to dozens of displaced Muslim families. The pastor said that Islamic prayers in his church are welcome as Israel destroys mosques. That is the Palestine I love. That is the Palestine that will win. Decent Jewish citizens in the US were arrested as they demonstrated inside the NY offices of “Friends of the IDF” (a group supporting child killers tax deductible). That is the humanity that I love.

Let me end again with the pictures of Gaza Palestinians. Meet them and remember them.

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One neighborhood: Before and After the most moral army shelled it with US taxpayer funding

 

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Stay Human!

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#GazaUnderAttack ~~ THE NEW GUERNICA

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Is Bibi the new Picasso?

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The original

By Pablo Picasso

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PHOTOS OF ‘DIE-IN’ AND MARCH FOR GAZA IN NEW YORK

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The demonstrators made a short tour of financial institutions in midtown Manhattan that are supporting Israeli policies financially and aiding in colonization.  The demonstrators stopped at 2 banks and walked through the diamond district where many were glad to have a heavy police escort since the business owners appeared to become
agitated and threatening.  In front of one of the banks 6 people performed an act of civil disobedience by having a die-in after spraying the bank and street with fake blood.  Using passive resistance, the police were forced to lift  and carry them to the police van to arrest them.
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Photos © by Bud Korotzer
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The Die-In and arrests …
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And the march …
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In the afternoon several thousand people of every age, race, and ethnicity
converged on Times Sq. for a rally against the Gaza massacre.  Families came
with their flags, posters, and beautiful children.  After the rally everyone
marched across busy 42nd St. to the Israeli Consulate. They got considerable
support from people standing aside to watch the marchers pass.
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Diamond merchants seem to have a problem with the marchers … I guess zionism is their BEST FRIEND
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THE LATEST GAZA SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

No Happy Eid in Gaza today

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The bird of Prey is always faster than the bird of Peace

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REMEMBERING LOVE IN TIME OF CRISIS

As the madness continues, we must remember those that opposed it before it even started. Juliano Mer-Khamis was one of those …. For him, for his mother, STOP THE MADNESS NOW!
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Portrait of Juliano Mer-Khamis
Portrait of Juliano Mer-Khamis
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It matters not to me who actually pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Juliano. In reality, he was killed by the occupation that he so despised. An occupation that is responsible for the creation of monsters on both sides of the wall, monsters so full of hatred and venom that any one of them could be the guilty party. A part of all of us was murdered that afternoon in Jenin by that monster.
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Juliano was the embodiment of the anti occupation. He could not hate Jews because he was one. He could not hate Palestinians because he was one. He was genetically designed to love. But, obviously he was hated by some for being one or the other. It is sad that a man such as this did not live to see his dreams become a reality. Two nations sitting side by each in PEACE. It will happen dear Comrade…. this we promise you.
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Juliano and I shared a special bond, his parents were Communists as were mine, as are my son’s, as were his. This unique background establishes a very special relationship. This is a concept that can only be felt  by those who grew up in similar circumstances. I am not implying that we were a part of an exclusive fraternal order, but am saying that unless one actually wore the proverbial ‘red diaper’, one could not share the sentiments that I am speaking of. His death affected me personally as if a close member of my family died. In the terms I spoke of, in fact, Juliano was my brother.
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Juliano Mer-Khamis was mourned on both sides of the wall, in the two nations that he so proudly belonged to.  If you haven’t watched the following video, you must. You will get a good idea what a special man Juliano was, what a special woman his mother Arna was, and the love that both had for their people. You will see how evil the occupation is and how good those that oppose it are. It’s truly a special video about a special situation.
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PHOTOS ~~ THOUSANDS PARICIPATE IN COALITION MARCH FOR PEACE IN NEW YORK

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The demonstration and march, organized by a coalition of groups supporting justice in Palestine, began at Foley Sq. where the names of children murdered in Gaza were read.  Some in the crowd of approximately 2,000 were weeping.  Led by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra the mile and 1/2 march weaving west through the busy streets of lower Manhattan to the shore of the Hudson began.  It was a noisy chanting group carrying Palestinian flags and signs demanding an end to the U.S. funding of Israel, an end to the occupation, and a cease to the slaughter by Israel in Gaza.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Also see THIS report from the Forward

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Not in Our Name: New Yorkers rally against Israeli war in Gaza in lower Manhattan.

MARTYNA STAROSTA
Not in Our Name: New Yorkers rally against Israeli war in Gaza in lower Manhattan.

AS THE WAR EFFORT GROWS, SO DOES THE JEWISH OPPOSITION TO IT ~~ IN PHOTOS

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They say .. “The little boys who were blown-up by the IDF while playing soccer on the beach were there to hide a missile launcher so their blood is really on Hamas’ hands.”

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We say .. “Not another nickel, not another dime.  No more money for Israel’s crimes” and “Jews stand with Gaza.  End the occupation”.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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The home of the Friends of the IDF in NYC

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And their best friends …

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Watch here as they arrest 9 of the activists …. warning them in advance, not unlike the IDF that warns Gazans that their home will soon be bombed … (From Alex Kane at Mondoweiss)

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And the friends of humanity …

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MORE GAZA SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Blowing up the ‘terrorists’

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Shhh ….. Bibi and Obama at work

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FROM GAZA WITH PAIN AND DIGNITY

Forcing people out of their homes is a crime against humanity let alone bombing those who remain. But CNN and other western media run by Zionists interview colonizer leaders like Netanyahu who is a habitual liar and do not interview representatives of the victims or the resistance.

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By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

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It is hard not to cry watching the unfolding horror in Gaza, children with heads blown off, pregnant woman with body torn by a shell, babies with missing limbs, targeting of playing children, targeting hospitals, targeting ambulances, and even a handicap center killing two handicap children.  Israeli forces then ratcheted up their attacks committing large scale massacres in places like Shujaia and Beit Hanoun. 80% of the victims are elderly, women and Children (over 110 children so far). Though mainstream western media self-sensors to comply with the Zionist lobby, the truth is coming out and the videos and pictures are horrific. Our friends in Gaza issue desperate calls to us. Israel cannot absolve itself by saying we asked people to evacuate (110,000 are homeless already). Forcing people out of their homes is a crime against humanity let alone bombing those who remain. But CNN and other western media run by Zionists interview colonizer leaders like Netanyahu who is a habitual liar and do not interview representatives of the victims or the resistance.

Gaza is very heavily populated thanks to the ethnic cleansing done to create the racist colonial state of Israel. Two thirds of the people are refugees denied their basic rights including right to return to their homes and lands. Israel tries to dehumanize its victims while blaming the few people who resist as “the problem.” Unfortunately as I stated repeatedly before, colonization and ethnic cleansing are the violence, and resistance is actually part of the remedy. I repeatedly explained that Zionism lost and Zionists will get very violent here before they finally give up privilege based on racist ideology. They refused to abide by basic human norms and insisted that through money and military might they could achieve their goal of a racist ethnocentric chauvinistic state. I always held the hope that the elites among them will be able to step back and avoid this suicidal path. If only they admit the folly of their ways, and ask their victims for forgiveness. I always thought it is possible and is the only way to peace here. I always feared though the Zionist strategy would lead to a lose lose scenario. In this case, they will lose more since there are some hundreds of millions of Arabs and only at best 2-3 million Zionists. Many Jews did see this folly and became anti-Zionist or post-Zionists. But Zionists were influential and powerful and intimidated and silenced millions including some Arabs and Muslims (look at our “leaders” like Abbas and Sisi). The Egyptian government even denied medical relief convoys from entering Gaza. Spoiled Zionists used to privilege on the expense of others are acting mad since they can’t get their way to silence their victims. They decided to go all out and having failed to stop the resistance decided to take on civilians.

For those of us who have been through this many times, we feel there is something different this time suggesting that it maybe indeed the last Zionist tantrum. It is hard to imagine what else Netenyahu and his racist gang can try. They have tried to destroy Gaza and Lebanon before but in every round, the resistance only grows stronger. They even went into this bizarre idea that they can succeed to mobilize the world against Political Islam by training and funding killers through Arab regime puppets and sent them to kill people (christians, Shia, democrats, etc) to simply say “look they are horrible”. Instead of intimidating everyone, the obvious and now exposed game creates a backlash and awaken a lot of people to join the ever spreading wave of real resistance aimed at justice which is the only route to peace. Zionists are unleashing the only tool they have (their military) and whipping up even more frenzied racism among their people (e.g. Israelis cheering the slaughter in Gaza). Another sign of the endgame is the scurrying of western puppets around the world capitals to try and show their people that we are “doing something.” I think that explains Abbas in Cairo and Istanbul and his calling for a three day mourning period for the victims of last massacre while still working overtime to undermine resistance. Another massacre was committed and his police force prevented demonstrators in the West Bank and his spokesman tried to act as if Israel and Gaza are two children querreling and he is the grown-up. Our choice is certainly not between Western created Israel (and Arab puppets) and Western created fanatics beheading fellow Muslims and forcing Christians to flee for their lives! The steadfastness of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza is creating a ripple effect that could end this theater of the absurd for good. Maybe that is why both sides of Western creations are acting desperately (killing, butchering, and trying so hard to create fitna/division!). Maybe that is why we need not despair but instead focus on building some positive and credible movement for peace with justice. We need more actions for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). We need more demonstrations. We need more movement against quisling and weak “leaders”. We need to force mainstream media to stop their compliance. We need to ridicule and embarrass politicians who support racism and apartheid. We need to support the Palestinian people in their Sumud (resistance and resilience). But that is tomorrow.. today we need all to work to end the horrific slaughter of Gaza civilians by a fascist government. All of us need to turn off our computers and our TVs and go down to the streets (after we tell others to join us !)
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Mads with a patient in Gaza
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Below is a letter from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a physician working in Gaza.

Dearest friends -

Last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.
The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24hrs shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!
Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).
My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away…to be prepared again, to be repeated all over. More then 100 cases came to Shifa last 24 hrs. enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterdays hospitals.But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormous resolute.
And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!
An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made and paid in and by US.
Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?
I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.
I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.
Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.
The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.
Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.MadsGaza, Occupied Palestine
Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway

SEEGER FEST FOR PEACE

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At Lincoln Center – zillions of people came to celebrate Pete & Toshi.  It was like a hootenanny that went on for almost 4 hours with lots of performers singing Pete’s songs with the audience joining in.  There was one totally beautiful speech by Harry Belafonte who praised Pete’s dedication to humanity and added that when he sang Tsena, Tsena he never dreamed that the country would turn into the horrible spectacle of children’s destroyed bodies lying on a beach in Gaza.  He saw an opportunity to speak truth and he took it.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Pete Seeger brought the world together

Pete Seeger, who died in January, was a modern-day troubadour for social justice who was on the frontline of every key progressive crusade in his lifetime. Peter Dreier pays tribute to a great artist and human being.

‘TO everything, there is a season,’ Pete Seeger’s song, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, tells us. ‘A time to be born, a time to die.’

Seeger died on 27 January at 94. In the spirit of that song, he spent his time on earth planting, healing, laughing, building, dancing, loving, embracing and advocating peace.

Seeger brought the world closer together with his music. Every day, every minute, someone in the world is singing a Pete Seeger song. For over six decades, he introduced Americans to songs from other cultures, like ‘Wimoweh’ (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’) from South Africa, ‘Tzena, Tzena’ from Israel (which reached number two on the pop charts) and ‘Guantanamera’ from Cuba, inspiring what is now called ‘world music’. The songs he has written, including the antiwar tunes, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’, ‘If I Had a Hammer’ and ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, and those he has popularised, including ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’, have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and have become global anthems for people fighting for freedom. His songs are sung by people in cities and villages around the world, promoting the basic idea that the hopes that unite us are greater than the fears that divide us.

Seeger was a much-acclaimed and innovative guitarist and banjoist, a globe-trotting song collector, and the author of many songbooks and musical how-to manuals. In addition to being a World War II veteran, he was on the frontlines of every key progressive crusade during his lifetime – labour unions and migrant workers in the 1930s and 1940s, the banning of nuclear weapons and opposition to the Cold War in the 1950s, civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, environmental responsibility and opposition to South African apartheid in the 1970s, and, always, human rights throughout the world.

For the past decade, Pete has kept coming out of semi-retirement to do one more concert, give one more interview, write one more book, record one more album. His remarkable spirit, energy and optimism kept him going through triumphs and tragedies, but he outlived all his enemies and remained one of the greatest American heroes of this or any other era.

Several biographies of Seeger have been published in the past decade, including David King Dunaway’s How Can I Keep from Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger, Alec Wilkinson’s The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger, and Alan Winkler’s To Everything There Is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song. Six years ago Jim Brown produced a wonderful documentary film, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.

Pete, who was modest and self-effacing despite his remarkable accomplishments, never wrote an autobiography. But two years ago he published a collection of his writings, Pete Seeger: In His Own Words. The book presents Pete in his own voice. With Pete’s cooperation, Rob Rosenthal, sociology professor at Wesleyan University, and Sam Rosenthal, a musician and writer, dug through Pete’s extensive writings – letters stored for decades in his family barn, notes to himself, published articles, rough drafts, stories, books, poems and songs – to chronicle and illuminate Pete’s incredible life as America’s troubadour for social justice.

Making music for change

The son of musicologists Charles and Ruth Seeger, Pete spent two years at Harvard, where he got involved in radical politics and helped start a student newspaper, The Harvard Progressive. He quit in 1938 in order to try his own hand at changing society by making music. He worked at the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song, where he learned many of the songs he would sing throughout his career, travelled around with Woody Guthrie singing at migrant labour camps and union halls, and perfected his guitar- and banjo-playing skills.

In 1941, at age 22, Seeger formed the Almanac Singers with Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, later joined by Guthrie, Bess Lomax (daughter of musicologist John Lomax) and several others who rotated in and out of the group. The Almanacs drew on traditional songs and wrote their own songs to advance the cause of progressive groups, the Communist Party, the Congress of Industrial Organisations unions, the New Deal and, later, the United States and its allies (including the Soviet Union) in the fight against fascism. The Almanacs were part of a broader upsurge of popular progressive culture during the New Deal, fostered in part by programmes like the federal theatre and writers’ projects. Even so, the group was hounded by the FBI, got few bookings and was dropped by its agent, the William Morris Agency. After Seeger and Guthrie joined the military, the group disbanded in 1943.

The Almanacs cultivated an image of being unpolished amateurs. Guthrie once said that the Almanacs ‘rehearsed on stage’. Among them, however, Seeger was the most gifted and disciplined musician, with a remarkable repertoire of traditional songs. He carefully crafted a stage persona that inspired audiences to join him, a performing style that he perfected when he began working as a soloist. Every Seeger concert involved a lot of group singing.

Immediately after World War II, American radicals and liberals sought to reignite popular support for progressive unions, civil rights and internationalism. The left’s folk-music wing hoped to build on its modest successes before and during the war. In 1946 Seeger led the effort to create People’s Songs, an organisation of progressive songwriters and performers, dominated by but not confined to folk musicians, and People’s Artists, a booking agency to help the members of People’s Songs get concert gigs and recording contracts. They compiled The People’s Song Book, which included protest songs from around the world, sponsored a number of successful concerts, and organised chapters in several cities and on college campuses.

When Henry Wallace ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948, his campaign relied heavily on folk music. Seeger travelled with Wallace during the campaign, distributing song sheets at every meeting or rally so that sing-alongs, led by Seeger, could alternate with Wallace’s speeches.

By 1949 folk music’s popularity had grown, with performers like Burl Ives, Josh White and others gaining a foothold in popular culture, but the folk music of this period had lost much of its political edge.

For a brief period, as a member of the Weavers folk quartet, Seeger achieved commercial success, performing several chart-topping songs that reflected his eclectic repertoire. The group was formed in 1948 by Seeger and Hays (both former Almanacs), along with Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman. They exposed audiences to their repertoire of songs from around the world as well as to American folk traditions, but without the overt advocacy of left-wing political causes. Decca Records signed the Weavers to a recording contract and added orchestral arrangements and instruments to their music, a commercial expediency that rankled Seeger but delighted Hays. The Weavers performed in the nation’s most prestigious nightclubs and appeared on network television shows.

In 1950 their recording of an Israeli song, ‘Tzena, Tzena’, reached number two on the pop charts, and their version of Lead Belly’s ‘Goodnight, Irene’ reached number one and stayed on the charts for half a year. Several of their recordings – ‘On Top of Old Smokey’, ‘Kisses Sweeter Than Wine’, ‘Wimoweh’, and ‘Midnight Special’ – also made the charts. Their 1951 recording of Guthrie’s song ‘So Long It’s Been Good to Know You’ reached number four.

The blacklist years

But the Weavers’ commercial success was shortlived. As soon as they began to be widely noticed in 1950, they were targeted by both private and government witch-hunters. The FBI and Congress escalated their investigations. A group of former FBI agents founded the newsletter Counterattack in 1947 to expose Communism in American society; in 1950, the newsletter issued a special report, ‘Red Channels: the Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television’. It listed 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists and others whom it claimed were part of the Communist influence in the entertainment industry – including Seeger and the Weavers. Hollywood studios, TV shows and other venues blacklisted people on the list. A few performers, notably Josh White and Burl Ives, agreed to cooperate with the investigators and were able to resume their careers; others refused to do so, and some were blacklisted. The Weavers survived for another year with bookings and even TV shows, but finally the escalating Red Scare caught up with them. Their contract for a summer television show was cancelled. They could no longer get bookings in the top nightclubs. Radio stations stopped playing their songs, and their records stopped selling. They never had another major hit record.

Seeger left the Weavers to pursue a solo career, but he was blacklisted from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s. In 1955 he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss his political affiliations at a hearing called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, although he never spent time in jail. (The conviction was overturned on appeal in May 1962.) Many colleges and concert halls refused to book Seeger. He was kept off network television. In 1963 ABC refused to allow Seeger to appear on Hootenanny, which owed its existence to the folk music revival Seeger had helped inspire.

During the blacklist years, Seeger scratched out a living by giving guitar and banjo lessons and singing at the small number of summer camps, churches, high schools and colleges, and union halls that were courageous enough to invite the controversial balladeer. In 1966, on New York City’s nonprofit educational television station, he hosted a low-budget folk music programme, Rainbow Quest, that gave exposure to many little-known country, bluegrass and folk singers. The station had a limited viewership at the time, but fortunately the programmes were taped and are now available on YouTube.

Eventually, Seeger’s audience grew. In the 1960s he sang with civil rights workers at rallies and churches in the South and at the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. He popularised the song ‘We Shall Overcome’ in the United States and during his concerts around the world. In a letter to Seeger, Martin Luther King Jr thanked him for his ‘moral support and Christian generosity’. In 1967 Tom and Dick Smothers defiantly invited Seeger onto their popular CBS television variety show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. True to his principles, Seeger insisted on singing a controversial antiwar song, ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’. CBS censors refused to air the song, but public outrage forced the network to relent and allow him to perform the song on the show a few months later.

Role model

Seeger helped catalyse the folk music revival of the 1960s, encouraging young performers, helping start the Newport Folk Festival, and promoting the folk song magazine Sing Out! that he had helped launch. His book How to Play the 5-String Banjo taught thousands of baby boomers how to play this largely forgotten instrument. He continued to bring audiences songs from around the world, often sung in their original languages.

Tons of prominent musicians – including Bob Dylan, Bono, Joan Baez, the Byrds, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Morello and Bruce Springsteen – consider Seeger a role model and trace their musical roots to his influence. Many of his 80 albums, which include children’s songs, labour and protest songs, traditional American folk songs, international songs and Christmas songs, have reached wide audiences. Among performers around the globe, Seeger became a symbol of a principled artist deeply engaged in the world.

In 1969 Seeger launched the nonprofit group Clearwater, near his home in Beacon, New York, and an annual celebration dedicated to cleaning up the polluted Hudson River. The effort, at first written off as simplistic and naive, helped inspire the environmental movement. The Hudson, once filled with oil pollution, sewage and toxic chemicals, is now swimmable.

Through persistence and unrelenting optimism, Seeger endured and overcame the controversies triggered by his activism. In 1994, at age 75, he received the National Medal of Arts (the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the US government) as well as a Kennedy Center Honor, when President Bill Clinton called him ‘an inconvenient artist, who dared to sing things as he saw them’. In 1996 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because of his influence on so many rock performers. In 1997 he won the Grammy Award for his 18-track compilation album, Pete.

In the 21st century, some of the nation’s most prominent singers recorded albums honouring Seeger, including Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions. In May 2009 more than 15,000 admirers filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden for a concert honouring Seeger on his 90th birthday. The performers included Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dar Williams, Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco and John Mellencamp.

In 2012 Pete released two new albums. A More Perfect Union featured 16 original songs written with singer-songwriter Lorre Wyatt and includes duets with Springsteen, Morello, Earle, Harris and Williams. The two-CD Pete Remembers Woody honoured his friend as part of the centennial celebration of Guthrie’s birth. It includes reminiscences, songs and anecdotes.

In the past year, Seeger released the music video and single of ‘God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You’, performed with Arlo Guthrie at Carnegie Hall; shared the stage at New York’s Beacon Theater with Harry Belafonte, Jackson Browne and others to celebrate the life of Native American activist Leonard Peltier, and issued an audiobook titled Peter Seeger: The Storm King, Stories, Narratives and Poems (which was nominated for a Grammy).

Toshi, his wife of 70 years who helped manage Pete’s career, died in July. Despite the enormous loss, Pete kept on singing. He sang ‘I Come and Stand at Every Door’ on Democracy Now! on 9 August to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. He sang ‘This Land Is Your Land’ (adding an anti-fracking verse) at the Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs in September (joined by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews). In December, he performed at a concert in Nyack to benefit the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a peace group. He was scheduled to receive the first Woody Guthrie Award from the Guthrie Foundation and Grammy Foundation in February.

Probably no song reflects Pete’s indomitable spirit more than ‘Quite Early Morning’, the song he sang on the Colbert Report in 2012.

Don’t you know it’s darkest before the dawn

And it’s this thought keeps me moving on

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

If we could heed these early warnings

The time is now quite early morning

Some say that humankind won’t long endure

But what makes them so doggone sure?

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

I know that you who hear my singing

Could make those freedom bells go ringing

And so keep on while we live

Until we have no, no more to give

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

And when these fingers can strum no longer

Hand the old banjo to young ones stronger

So though it’s darkest before the dawn

These thoughts keep us moving on

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Through all this world of joy and sorrow

We still can have singing tomorrows

Pete’s fingers can strum no longer, but, thanks to him, people around the world can have many ‘singing tomorrows’.

 

From

#GazaUnderFire ~~ SPOOFS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Bibi and Obama LIKE the Gaza Status

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Business is business!

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Erdogan’s real intentions

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NEW YORKERS HONOUR THE MARTYRS OF GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

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Mock Funeral held for the victims …

We met in Bryant Park behind the 42nd St. library, read the names of the dead, and then began a silent walk, only the sound of a drum, across 42nd St to the Israeli Consulate on 2nd Ave. We carried signs, Palestinian flags, figures of people wrapped in white, and some wore blood stained shrouds.  People on the crowded streets stood aside and watched our long line pass.  Some took photos.  When we got to the consulate we chanted and after about an hour we went to the Egyptian Consulate and did the same there.

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IMAGES OF THE DAY BY LATUFF

Read THIS first ….

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The three wise Abbas’ …

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Now look at THIS … Abbas won’t

Horror on Gaza Beach: New York Times Photographer Witnesses Israeli Killing of 4 Palestinian Boys

NEW YORKERS CONTINUE TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR GAZA ~~ IN PHOTOS

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As the bombings continue, so do the demonstrations for Peace in Gaza. Here at the UN Building yesterday, New Yorkers (mostly young Muslims) stand (and drive) for Justice in Palestine.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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And tomorrow in New York …

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Emergency Vigil & Flyering – Friday, July 11 6 PM @ Union Square

 

Click HERE to see photo gallery

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Also planned …

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In the words of our beloved friend and the martyr Vittorio Arrigoni:

“Stay human”
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SPOOF OF THE TWO WORLD CUPS

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

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TODAY’S GAZA SPOOF

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

 

Bibi and Abbas love to watch the horror show together

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IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS DEFY THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND STAND WITH PALESTINE … NOT WITH ISRAEL!

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NY elected officials say that New York Stands with Israel? Let’s tell them where we stand!
Our elected officials including City Councilmembers Mark Levine and David Greenfield, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Assemblymember David Weprin are using their positions as representatives of the people of New York to lend support to Israel’s abuses and violations of international law.
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While the toll in Gaza climbs above 150 people dead and 1100 wounded, while Israel continues to attack and oppress Palestinians in its 67th year of dispossession and colonization, while the international BDS movement grows, we say these officials don’t speak for us!
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Other actions of support …
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From South Africa
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From Detroit
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From Israel itself

TODAY’S TOONS ~~ THE ROCKY HORROR GAZA SHOW

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

The Rocky Horror Show Called Israel …

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Blaming the victim …

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