AMERICA’S STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Moral:
You Are Known by
the Company You Keep

61WReP3-KQL._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_

Obviously oil is more important than Human Rights as far as Obama is concerned

Saudi Arabia overturns execution, sentences Palestinian poet to prison, 800 lashes

A Saudi court overturned the death sentence for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh on Tuesday, his lawyer announced in a statement the same day.

A Saudi court overturned the death sentence for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh on Tuesday, his lawyer announced in a statement the same day.

Fayadh was sentenced to the death penalty in November for “apostasy” and allegedly emitting “blasphemous statements” in some of his poetry.

The poet’s sentence has been changed to eight years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court of the city of Abha in southwestern Saudi Arabia.

Fayadh’s lawyer, Abd al-Rahman al-Laham, hailed the downgraded sentence, while maintaining that Fayadh was innocent on all charges.

Under the new sentence, Fayadh would be subjected to 16 sessions of 50 lashes each, al-Laham said.

The lawyer added that he would appeal in the coming days.

In May, the general court of Abha sentenced had Fayadh to four years in prison and 800 lashes, but the prosecution, which had called for the death sentence, had successfully appealed. The downgraded sentence effectively adds four more years in prison to the original sentence.

Fayadh has denied all charges against him, saying that another man made false accusations to the country’s religious police following a personal dispute.

Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice arrested Fayadh in January 2014 for poetry he had published in 2008.

Fayadh had previously been arrested in 2013 after a complaint was filed against him alleging that he spread “misleading ideas.” However, he had quickly been released due to lack of evidence.

In November, Human Rights Watch slammed the death sentence handed down to Fayadh, calling it “yet another indictment of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.”

According to the organization, Saudi Arabia executed 158 people in 2015, the highest number of executions in the Wahhabi kingdom in 20 years.

Source

MEET A REAL PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN HEROINE

The Case of Rasmea Odeh: A Palestinian Hero

Read all about her case HERE

With updates at #Justice4Rasmea

Image by Carlos Latuff

Cartoon of the Hour: #Justice4Rasmea A Palestinian Hero!

Cartoon of the Hour: #Justice4Rasmea A Palestinian Hero!

*

CZtCcR_WAAEopny

SAUDI TOONS GOING VIRAL

And we helped :)

One of Latuff’s recent contributions …. 

Does it Make Any Sense to Have Saudi Arabia as Head of UN Human Rights Council?

Does it Make Any Sense to Have Saudi Arabia as Head of UN Human Rights Council?

Cartoons taunting Saudi Arabia’s membership of the United Nations human rights council have gone viral on social media after the kingdom executed 47 people in one day. 

Cartoons highlight anger at Saudi Arabia’s position as head of key UN human rights panel

While the regime’s interior minister claimed most of the 47 executed had been involved in the deadly 2003 and 2004 al-Qaeda attacks, a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, was also put to death. He was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that flared up in the kingdom’s Eastern Province in 2011.

The U.N.’s top human rights official has strongly criticised the executions.  Zeid Raad al-Hussein says the killing of Sheikh al-Nimr was “a very disturbing development indeed, particularly as some of those sentenced to death were accused of non-violent crimes.”

He says international law only permits the death penalty in cases where the crimes committed are considered “most serious” and human rights bodies have consistently defined those as being “being restricted to murder and other forms of intentional killing.”

Shiekh Nimr often criticised the House of Saud and called for free elections in the oil-rich kingdom.

In retaliation to the state executions people on social media started sharing cartoons mocking the Saudi regime’s membership of the United Nations human rights council.

CXwFieOWwAAtN-7

*

Speaking to Reuters, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East director, said: “Regardless of the crimes allegedly committed, executing prisoners in mass only further stains Saudi Arabia’s troubling human rights record.” She added that Sheikh Nimr was convicted in an “unfair” trial and that his execution “is only adding to the existing sectarian discord and unrest.”
Iran’s supreme leader’s website, also posted a contentious image comparing the Saudi executions to the barbaric practices of the so-called Islamic State.
*
CXyPiIhWwAAc9i9

*

Leaked diplomatic documents published last year by the Guardian suggested that the UK and Saudi Arabia conducted a secret vote-trading deal to ensure both states were elected to the UN human rights council.
*
SOURCE

SUNDAY’S TOON ~~ THE IRONY OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Does it Makes Any Sense to Have Saudi Arabia as Head of UN Human Rights Council?

Does it Makes Any Sense to Have Saudi Arabia as Head of UN Human Rights Council?

*

Will POTUS release a statement condemning the recent executions in Saudi Arabia?

Will POTUS release a statement condemning the recent executions in Saudi Arabia?

*

FRIDAY’S SPOOF ~~ PALESTINIAN CHILDREN ‘CELEBRATE’ HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

IN ISRAELI PRISONS!

Image by Carlos Latuff

More Palestinian children in Israel jails!

More Palestinian children in Israel jails!

SPOOF OF THE HOUR ~~ REMEMBER THE GAZA SLAUGHTER

Image by Carlos Latuff

On This Human Rights Day, Remember the Gaza Slaughter!

On This Human Rights Day, Remember the Gaza Slaughter!

RAPE IN THE NAME OF GOD

howthreeholybookscompareonrapebiblequran

GO FIGURE

Submitted by Mahan Singh Khalsa *

    The ISIS soldier comes home from manning the check point. He lays out his prayer rug, kneels and prays. Then he fetches his captive, a young Yazidi girl, and rapes her. He was horny and wanted sex. Then he goes back to his prayer rug and prays. Furthermore he claims his sacred text approves it. What he has done is a Holy thing.

    The Zionist soldier rises and goes to his temple to pray. Then he and his fellow soldiers go into the occupied territory. They drag a young Palestinian woman and her children out of their house into the street and bulldoze the house. They are greedy and want the land. Then he goes back to the temple to pray. Furthermore he claims his sacred text approves it. What he has done is a Holy thing.

    Meanwhile politics in the United States are such that the ignorant ISIS soldier is considered evil and the ignorant Zionist soldier is considered noble. The United States bombs ISIS and gives bombs to Zionists.  GO FIGURE!

*  I am member of “Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land” which is a member of “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and Sabeel North America”. I am also a member of “Military Families Speak Out” which is for families who have members in the U.S. military and are concerned about overseas involvements and deployments.

IN PHOTOS ~~ REFUGEE CRISIS COMES TO NYC

AT UNION SQ. A DEMONSTRATION DEMANDING ACCEPTANCE OF MID-EAST REFUGEES TO NYC

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

SONY DSC

*

The German ‘solution’ ….

Refugees housed in German concentration camp

A small German town has begun housing the refugees at the Buchenwald camp, where 56,000 Jews were killed in World War two.

 

Full report HERE

RECENT VIDEOS ~~ A GLIMPSE AT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN PALESTINE TODAY

Nabi Saleh on Friday saw a remarkable confrontation when an Israeli
occupation soldier tried to kidnap a child (with arm in cast after an
earlier attack on him ended up with a broken arm) but his family came to
his aid and freed him. Watch these remarkable videos:





This is not the first time family members stick together. Ahed and her
younger brother challenged Israeli soldiers who kidnapped their older
brother earlier (the other older girl is cousin Marah Tamimi)





The Tamimi children of course are like any other children interested in
living their lives on their land and having access to their water spring
things denied to them by a brutal colonial racist occupation.  HERE ARE THE
CHILDREN helping us in studying nature and biodiversity in their beautiful
village:




Commentary and videos sent by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh,PhD

STAY HUMAN

MY FAMILY’S JOURNEY FROM BARCELONA TO AUSCHWITZ ~~ AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PARLIAMENT OF SPAIN

News such as the following was on the front pages of  every Israeli newspaper over the weekend … (Click on link to see report)

Spain passes law of return for Sephardic Jews

Applicants to be vetted by local Jewish community, face language and history tests before securing new passport

My response, as one of those descendants follows …

Descendents of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492 can now apply for Spanish nationality

Descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492 can now apply for Spanish nationality

Open Letter to the Parliament of Spain

It was of much interest to see that your government has passed legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of the Jews expelled from your country in 1492.

Jews leaving Spain in 1492

Jews leaving Spain in 1492

Allow me to fill you in on the ‘journey’ of my own family after the expulsion; Rather than going to one of the Muslim countries in North Africa, as many others did, they chose to go to Turkey. Those that went to North Africa received a much warmer welcome, which resulted in my family eventually going on to a new situation in Holland.

They found there that in order to succeed economically they would have to assimilate with the Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazim), a fate much less severe than the forced conversions to Catholicism for those who remained in Spain.

Again, after a number of years they once again moved on, this time splitting up, some going to Slovakia, the others to Hungary. Many of those in Hungary pursued their Jewish educations and became prominent members of the rabbinical community, included was Rabbi Shlomo Gantzfried, co-author of The Code of Jewish Law.

Those in Slovakia basically worked the fields to survive. My grandfather, Yisrael Mayer, whose name I bear, was a cobbler.

In both cases, in Hungary and Slovakia, the Jewish community was rounded up and sent to various labour camps. My family wound up in Auschwitz where they were brutally slaughtered by the nazi beast, with the blessings of your Francisco Franco and your Pope, Pius Xll.

My father was spared these horrors as he immigrated to the United States when he was still in his teens. Hence, I am here today to tell this saga.

I have one question of you before I continue, Why was this ‘offer’ not granted to the descendants Of the Muslim community who were also expelled by King Ferdinand?

In 1492, simultaneous to the discovery of the New World was the start of the Spanish Inquisition, a massive expulsion of Jews and Muslims.

In 1492, simultaneous to the discovery of the New World was the start of the Spanish Inquisition, a massive expulsion of Jews and Muslims.

Today, I reside in Israel, a country which in 1948 employed the same tactics against the Palestinian population when the zionist regime stole much of their lands. Close to a million people were forced to leave their homes and country. Over a million of their descendants still languish to this day in refugee camps.

Will they have to wait 500 years for an offer to return to their land as well?

Does this look familiar? See image posted earlier.

Does this look familiar? See image posted earlier.

Fortunately, that will not be the case. A growing number of Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora are involved in movements which daily expose the crimes committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians. Their day to day work in these matters will usher in changes much sooner than your government did.

There are many Jews of conscious throughout the world

There are many Jews of conscious throughout the world

Now, as for your ‘offer’, I will try to be as diplomatic as possible. Simply stated,this gesture is much too little and comes much too late. Therefore, I personally do not accept it.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Amsel (Yisrael Mayer)

PS …. despite all of the above, or perhaps because of it, ‘my thoughts remain free’ …..

PALESTINE ~~ STAGE OF A MODERN DAY GREEK TRAGEDY

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.

greek-tragedy-web-e1317381347339

 

Greek Tragedies

Mazin Qumsiyah, PhD

Life rolls on not in any monotony but in the crazy waves of ups and downs and scenarios reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies.  We take the punches, resist the evil acts of some, act to help where we can, accept the things we cannot change and try to change those we can.  That is life.  This week we lost several friends and neighbors (Advocate Judeh Shahwan, Professor Naseer Aruri,  Human Rights activist Kayla Mueller, Ihab Rishmawi) and we mourned atrocities committed in the US, Syria and Iraq .  The racist Zionist Debbie Schlussel wrote that she has no sympathy for our friend Kayla for being “anti-American” (actually anti-Zionist control of American Foreign policy) and called  Kayla other names so obscene to be mentioned here.  A brief on Naseer Aruri just to show you the quality of the many we mourn (all of them are candles in the darkness and remain so even after death; truly inspirational)

We were not surprised that the highest court in the apartheid regime rejected the well-documented evidence of the murder of Rachel Corrie and accepted the fascist soldier’s version that it was an “accident.” Western media ignored this travesty of justice. Time for the international criminal court.  In other news in the last few days, a hate-filled criminal terrorist killed three young Muslim students in North Carolina.  That is where I lived and worked for six years and knew intimately the Muslim and Arab community and I recognized many of the faces of the mourners at the funeral videos.  After significant protest, Mr. Obama made a brief statement but it was not even close to his statement about the Paris killings.  The media was even more hypocritical either ignoring the story or calling the executions as a parking altercation! (yes I know it is unbelievable).  See these videos about this incidence

*

*

We find the mainstream media so distorted, so biased; they are either run by Zionist racists or afraid of backlash from Zionist racists if they tell the truth.  Otherwise how does one explain the discrepancy of extensive almost round-the-clock coverage by American media of the hate crimes committed in Paris but little or no coverage of the crime in North Carolina.  What little coverage they did was distorted claiming the guy killed those three innocent young Muslims because of a “parking space” issue!  How else can we see that a story like the French police catching a Jewish Zionist who was spray painting cars of Jews as a false flag operation to increase emigration of French Jews to Palestine (transformed to the Jewish state of Israel). Why coverage mentioning this is in some obscure website not on mainstream media?  Here is a report mentioning this.

But here is the Times of Israel interested in getting Jews to migrate out of France telling us the police arrested the guy but not saying he is Jewish and that Israel expects 10,000 Jewish French to come join the land thieves.

Such hypocrisy, such lies and countless false flag operations (billions spent on psy-ops to brainwash common people), and such evil forces are all around us.  But then again I think of goodness.  I think of those who organized vigils in Bethlehem and other towns for victims like the Jordanian pilot.

I think of 14-year-old Malak (english Angel) Alkhatib.  She is a true angel who was incarcerated in Israeli gulags (fascist prisons).  She was finally released and the video of her reunion with family and supporters is touching.

ROLLING ALONG WITH THE OCCUPATION

The term apartheid does fit Israel

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

*

The usual business of occupation is indeed unequal separation. Itʼs separation between the citizens of the occupying country and the residents of the territory being occupied. Separate buses might be the bitter icing on an even more bitter cake. But thereʼs little new here. The business of occupation rolls along, as usual.

*

Separate Buses? That’s How Occupation Rolls.

By Mira Sucharov FOR

 *

Getty Images

As of next month, Israel will operate separate buses for Palestinian residents of the West Bank returning from jobs as day laborers in Israel, thanks to political pressure from West Bank settlers who donʼt want to ride on the same buses as “Arabs.” The question is: Should we care?

Settler leaders claim that the move was due to aggressive and uncouth behavior by Palestinian passengers, coupled with an overall concern for Jewish passengersʼ security. According to a report in Haaretz, one settler told a meeting of a Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, convened by MK Motti Yogev of the Jewish Home party, about having been sexually assaulted by a Palestinian rider. Another complained that his pregnant wife was not given a seat by Arab passengers. Others were worried that Palestinians on buses could lead to hijackings, or worse. But IDF officials insisted they did not see the Palestinian presence on board these buses as a security threat.

In a democracy, of course, an official report of sexual assault should result in an investigation and possibly individual charges being laid. An informal report — as this one was — might lead a municipality to intensify its safety and surveillance measures. But to collectively deny an entire ethnic group the right to travel on some buses would be collective punishment, rightly considered prejudicial.

Israelʼs rule in the West Bank, however, is far from democratic. Palestinian residents of the West Bank arenʼt Israeli citizens, which means that the normal democratic channels arenʼt open to them from the get-go.

Under the terms of the Oslo agreement, it is true that the Palestinian Authority rules over part of the West Bank (Area A). The rest is controlled either jointly (Area B) or fully (Area C) by Israel. And while most Palestinians reside in Areas A and B, Area C comprises over 60% of the West Bankʼs territory, and includes nearly 300,000 Palestinian residents.

Within the areas controlled by Israel, there is a system of roads dotted with checkpoints. Most roads are accessible to both Israeli citizens (including settlers) and Palestinian residents. But 65 kilometers of West Bank roads are accessible only to Israelis. (Whether this means “Jewish-only” roads is a matter of debate. Technically, Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal access. But in practice, given that some roads are intended for settler access, and settlers are Jews, some roads are de facto Jewish-only.)

As for the checkpoints — 99 fixed checkpoints as of February, plus hundreds of “flying checkpoints” — they control who gets to cross over the Green Line into Israel proper, thus helping keep Israelis secure. But, along with physical obstructions put in place by the military administration, they also restrict travel within the West Bank by subjecting Palestinians to humiliating searches and long lines. Add to this the so-called separation barrier snaking around the settlements, and Palestinian freedom of movement — even within the West Bank — is curtailed by a foreign power.

So about those separate buses: Should we care?

For my part, as someone who is concerned with human rights for both Palestinians and Israelis, I would say this: not really. The buses are simply a function of the overall system of occupation that inherently denies the Palestinians the basic human right of being ruled by the entity that represents them.

Recall that a Palestinian caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli military court. An Israeli caught throwing stones will be tried in Israeli civil court. Add to this that neither court — military or civil — contains officials representing the regime that Palestinians have elected, and we have an overall situation that is fundamentally unacceptable from a moral, political and ethical standpoint. (Itʼs worth noting that the Palestinian Authority is also to blame for not having held elections since 2006, partly owing to the Fatah-Hamas split.)

Itʼs no wonder that BʼTselem, the Israeli human rights watchdog organization, issued a 2014 report called “47 Years of Temporary Occupation.” Accordingly, the current head of the organization, Hagai El-Ad, told me in an interview last month that he is seeking to challenge the view of the occupation, in the minds of Israelis, as constituting nothing more than “business as usual.”

The usual business of occupation is indeed unequal separation. Itʼs separation between the citizens of the occupying country and the residents of the territory being occupied. Separate buses might be the bitter icing on an even more bitter cake. But thereʼs little new here. The business of occupation rolls along, as usual.

HELL NO, HE WON’T GO! ~~ OUR KIND OF HERO

pinkprotest_LargeWide

*

Ferera refuses to serve in the IDF, which he regards as an army of occupation, and is unwilling to ask for an exemption on mental-health grounds. “If you ask for an exemption for physical or psychological reasons,” he explains, “you are telling the army: The problem is me. But I am saying: The problem is you.”

“Refusal is my tool of protest. Whoever wants peace should not do army service. I am doing the most useful thing to change the situation: I am not going to be inducted. I want to show that there are people who think differently, who refuse to obey.”

*

A different brand of refusenik

Argentine-born, religiously observant Uriel Ferera has been in military prison seven times and is willing to go back – as long as his protest is heard loud and clear.

By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac FOR
*
Uriel Ferera
Uriel Ferera. Photo by Alex Levac
*

A few times during our conversation he burst into tears. Uriel Ferera cried when he recalled how he was forced to put on an Israel Defense Forces uniform in prison and then looked in the mirror. He couldn’t bear what he saw. He removed the uniform, sat on the floor of the cell and wept.

He’s crying again now, after serving months in Military Prison 6. Last week he finished his seventh term. He’s spent a total of 127 days in jail, and his story is far from being over. After Rosh Hashanah, he will report to the IDF induction center again, and will probably be sent back to jail for an eighth time.

When we first met a few weeks ago, during a break between prison terms, my impression was that Ferera, 19, was a sensitive young man suffering from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by his experience in jail. He’s become more resilient since then.

Ferera refuses to serve in the IDF, which he regards as an army of occupation, and is unwilling to ask for an exemption on mental-health grounds. “If you ask for an exemption for physical or psychological reasons,” he explains, “you are telling the army: The problem is me. But I am saying: The problem is you.”

Nor is he ready to make do with refusal to serve only in the territories – the entire army, wherever it is deployed, is tainted by the crime of occupation, he believes – nor with finding a way to avoid serving, without stating his intentions publicly. Ferera wants to his protest to be heard loud and clear, and is ready to take the consequences.

There are other refuseniks, too, but none quite like Ferera. Born in Buenos Aires, he is religiously observant; he’s growing a beard and his earlocks are pushed back behind his ears. The graduate of a high-school yeshiva who grew up in a poor neighborhood of Be’er Sheva, he has a profile that’s quite different from that of the usual refusenik. Maybe that’s why the army is so obsessed with incarcerating him.

When we met, several weeks ago in Tel Aviv (more recently, we have spoken by phone), he said he wanted to talk in an open setting – he dislikes closed places after so many months in prison. He would not eat anything after discovering that the café where we met is open on Shabbat and thus not kosher.

Ferera’s mother, Ruth, a photographer, immigrated to Israel with him and his sister for economic reasons; he was six. Ruth wanted to live in Jerusalem but they ended up in Be’er Sheva. In Argentina she had been active in a right-wing Jewish organization, but her views subsequently changed.

Uriel attended a state-religious primary school and then a Be’er Sheva yeshiva. His views were greatly influenced by his mother, he says. The rabbi at his yeshiva told him he’d never before encountered opinions like his.

“What made my mother reverse her opinions was the assassination of [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin,” Ferera says. “She’s convinced that peace is possible and that doing army service works in the opposite way. It’s all due to the occupation. If I do army service, I will be contributing to the occupation, even if I am not posted to the territories. Even all the office jobs in the IDF constitute collaboration, and I don’t want to have anything to do with the army.

“Refusal is my tool of protest. Whoever wants peace should not do army service. I am doing the most useful thing to change the situation: I am not going to be inducted. I want to show that there are people who think differently, who refuse to obey.”

Testimonies of soldiers compiled by the Breaking the Silence organization helped Uriel and his mother solidify their stand against the IDF.

“It is not a defense army,” he explains. “The soldiers who serve in the territories abuse people only to make Palestinians afraid and show them who’s in charge. The whole army hides behind [the concept of] ‘defending the homeland.’ But it’s not defense. Real defense means leaving the territories. The state is using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to hide the real problem: the social-economic situation.”

Ferera is ready to serve the state in the framework of a year of national service, as his sister did, “but the army doesn’t want me to serve the state, and the state doesn’t want me to contribute to it. All it wants is for me to serve in the army.”

His decision to refuse was made early, at age 14. Upon receiving his first call-up notice, he made his intention known to the authorities. He was in touch with New Profile and Yesh Gvul, NGOs that encourage refusal to serve in the IDF. He also posted a clip on YouTube, in Spanish and Hebrew, explaining his decision. His mother wrote proudly on her Facebook page: “My son is a refusenik.”

Ferera reported to the National Induction Center on April 27, 2014 – a day he will never forget. “I was really afraid of what was going to happen. I was afraid of going to jail. But I told myself: I am doing the right thing.”

Initially, he was incarcerated in an “irregulars cell” – where prisoners who present behavioral problems are held – at the center. That was the first “boom,” as he puts it. That afternoon he was sentenced to 20 days in prison.

At Military Prison 6, near Atlit, south of Haifa, he was placed in solitary confinement after refusing to wear a prison uniform – that is, an IDF uniform. The guards told him that because he was in isolation, he would not be permitted to attend a minyan (prayer quorum).

The prison guide put out by New Profile had prepared him for the worst. He wore his T-shirt, which bears a message of solidarity with another refusenik, the Druze musician Omar Saad; when he refused to put on the uniform a guard screamed at him.

“That broke me, when he started screaming,” Ferera recalls. “I had a panic attack. I sat on the floor, shaking. I was afraid I would go out of my mind.”

The guard was certain that Ferera was putting on a show, but Ferera went on weeping. A prison company commander who was called in was unable to calm him. The guard picked him up, and he was taken forcefully to the isolation ward.

Ferera: “I felt so helpless. I started to pray and recite Psalms. I shouted to God in Spanish: Get me out of here. They laughed at me. They said God would not listen to me, and would not get me out of there. They were robots. Not listening, not thinking. I was proud not to be like them. I thought: If this is how they belittle me and use force on me, imagine what they do to Palestinian youths. I told myself that I would come out crazy if I went on like that. I decided to put on the uniform, so I wouldn’t come out traumatized, to preserve my mental health.”

His fixes his gaze on the floor as he relates his story. He says the prison guards treated him as though he were a murderer. Letters from his mother, in which she wrote how proud she is, strengthened him, he explains. Other letters of support that were sent did not reach him, with the authorities claiming they were political.

As punishment for the initial incident with the uniform, he was deprived of his prison privileges for a few days. When he came home on his first furlough, his mother told him he had to try to preserve his sanity: “Reduce your pacifist pride, put on the uniform and don’t give them reasons to abuse you.”

In the meantime, Ferera has been in and out of prison, and this will continue until the IDF finally decides to discharge him as unqualified to serve. He is now aiming to get a hearing before the committee that makes those decisions.

Saad spent a total of 190 days in prison; another conscientious objector, Natan Blanc, was incarcerated for 175 days before being discharged. Ferera has been jailed for 127 days so far. After Rosh Hashanah, he is likely to be locked up, yet again.

In response to a request for commment, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told Haaretz this week: “The soldier in question did not cooperate with induction officials after an authorized body denied his request to be exempted from service on grounds of conscience. A request to convene a committee that will determine incompatibility to serve will be examined by relevant elements in the IDF…. In contrast with what was claimed, the soldier was not subject to any offensive treatment on the part of prison staff, and during his incarceration received the same, proper treatment given to other soldiers.”

Ferera followed the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip from his prison cell, surrounded by AWOL soldiers who wanted the army to pummel the Gazans even harder. He has an especially high regard for the refuseniks of Unit 8200 of the Intelligence Corps, who wrote a letter of protest against the occupation this week, because they come from inside the system. Ferera says he will not give up on the idea of doing a year of national service instead of being in the army.

“I will show them that I did not crack and that they wasted time in which I could have been doing National Service,” he asserts.

Is he sorry he immigrated to Israel? Ferera ponders this briefly, then replies: “No. Why should I be sorry? Even though I am not a Zionist at all, I did the right thing. By the same token, I know it is possible to leave Israel. I am not connected to the country, to love of the Land of Israel, but I am not sorry I came here. The truth is that I never even considered that question. The solution is not to flee, the solution is to try and struggle – and try to change things. I am fighting so that this will be a good country for all its citizens.”

HERE’S HOW PALESTINIANS WILL LIVE IN A ONE STATE SOLUTION

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

Annexation of West Bank=One State Solution

*

A must read for anyone who still supports that ‘solution …

*

The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

*

Israel’s discriminatory housing message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage.

By Jack Khoury FOR

*

Adel Kaadan

Adel Kaadan outside his home in the town of Katzir, which challenged his right to live there because he is Arab.Photo by Moran Mayan / Jini

*

Every time the issue of Arabs living in small rural Jewish communities arises, the same question arises: Would Arabs be willing to let Jews live in their small rural communities? The goal of this question is to throw the ball back into the Arabs’ court and portray them as the bad guys, who don’t want Jews in their villages, and therefore have no right to demand to live in equivalent Jewish communities.

But the people who raise this claim ignore several important facts in an attempt to justify a fundamentally racist and discriminatory policy.

First, all the Arab villages – without exception – existed even before the state was established, and the vast majority of their houses were built on privately owned land that the owners inherited from their forebears, not on land provided by the state. Most of the rural Jewish communities, in contrast, were built on state land based on terms set by the state, and according to the High Court of Justice’s precedent-setting ruling in the Kaadan case in 2000, the state cannot discriminate in allocating land on the basis of a person’s ethnic or national background.

Second, Arab citizens of Israel currently own only about five percent of the country’s land, because most of what was once Arab-owned land has been expropriated over the years since 1948 via a series of draconian laws and decisions. In contrast, the regional councils where most of the Jewish communities in question are located control about 70 percent of the country’s land.

The fact that Arabs are barred from living in these areas due to their ethnicity, while almost any Jewish citizen who meets the relevant socioeconomic criteria can live there, means that Jews have considerably more options than Arabs when it comes to choosing a place to live.

Both the Israeli establishment and the greater public have completely disregarded the dire statistics about the the Arab community’s housing shortage, which stems from blatant discrimination in the allocation of land, the expansion of existing communities’ jurisdictions and the approval of master plans. There is an urgent need for tens of thousands of houses for young Arab couples. “Where will we build our house and raise our children?” has become the problem that keeps such couples awake at night, and the options available to them are steadily shrinking.

Every young couple, even an Arab couple, is entitled to aspire to a decent standard of living in every area of life. But instead of enjoying their rights as citizens, striving to realize this aspiration and being able to talk about fair allocations of land and equality of opportunity, Arab citizens feel they are being pushed further and further into a corner. Arabs are searching for any possible solution, including the option of living in small Jewish communities, not out of a desire for separatism, but out of a desire to integrate.

The norms proper to a true democracy obligate the state to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and implement a policy of narrowing the gaps in land allocations. Instead, it has responded with a series of laws, including the one allowing small communities to set up admissions committees, that send the following unequivocal message: This is a Jewish state; Arabs out.

POST 9/11 ~~ THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS ON MY FATHER’S PRISON WALL

haha

*

Through my father’s story, I honor him. I bring back to light his unjust imprisonment, which has only grown more punitive 13 years after 9/11. This fallout has lead to a seemingly endless incarceration of my father who–in addition to remaining behind bars for his global humanitarian work–has to deal with his pictorial account being confiscated as contraband.

*

Remember the Photos on My Father’s

Prison Walls

By Noor Elashi*

*

Yesterday, on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, I received an email from my father saying that the photos affixed to the walls of his prison cell were ripped down and called “contraband” by the officer who took them.

My father is a political prisoner, convicted of terrorism charges in the vacuum of post-9/11 hysteria and incarcerated at a federal prison in southern Illinois–all under allegations stemming from his indisputable philanthropic work.

Until recently, the walls of my father’s 9-by-5-foot cell were covered with eleven photos of children from all over the world–children who were injured or killed during recent political events. My father wrote my family, heartbroken, to say that even though he had collected these images from The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and other publications, they were still seized–with no notice.

My father, Ghassan Elashi, is currently serving a 65-year-prison-sentence at the Communications Management Unit in Marion, Illinois for conspiracy to send Material Support in the form of humanitarian aid to charities in the West Bank and Gaza that prosecutors claimed were associated with designated terrorists; our biggest defense thus far (and the reason my father may be vindicated in due time) is that his charity, the Holy Land Foundation, used the same exact Palestinian charities that our own government agency –the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)–used to distribute its aid.

In his note, my father described the eleven photographs to me, images that we may have all seen during one time or another, images that we often glance away from because they are so hard to look at. My father brought back each photo to life in the order that he remembered it:

Image one. Afghan children, wrapped in colorful clothing, lay in rubble after their village was bombarded. According to news reports, they suffocated to death along with their mothers while attempting to seek shelter.

Image two. A young girl in Yemen stands on the street with a paintbrush in her hand. Behind her is a street graffiti drawing of a massive drone and a statement that reads, “Why did you kill my family.”

Image three. A Syrian toddler pulls away from the camera after being rescued from a building where his family once resided. The building was destroyed by a barrel bomb. The child, masked in dust, tightly hugs the man who rescued him.

Image four. Two preschool-aged brothers, also from Syria, sit on a bench with wounds on their faces. Inside a makeshift clinic in the war-torn town of Homs, the older boy cries while the younger one–despite his inability to comprehend his reality–attempts to console his brother.

Image five. Nearly 200 Uighur refugees occupy an asylum camp in the forests of southern Thailand. The camp, surrounded by a razor-wire fence and guarded by a local army unit, was created to help women and children flee oppression in China and immigrate to Turkey.

Image six. Two Palestinian children are captured at a Gaza beach a few weeks ago. One was running away from the shore and the other one’s body was strewn on the sand after being shot by an Israeli naval ship.

Image seven. Also captured recently, teary-eyed children from Gaza are crammed in the back of a truck after being displaced from their homes.

Image eight. A Palestinian child sits on a hospital bed, with his face burned and covered in white powder. He is weeping as he looks up at his mother who is beside him and also covered in white powder.

Image nine. A group of children from Myanmar (Burma) stand in a concentration camp, where they have been imprisoned for two years.

Image ten. A young man is injured on the streets of Egypt as a bulldozer moves towards him. A woman is yelling nearby, presumably pleading with the driver and pointing at the injured youth.

Image eleven. A Palestinian boy climbs the separation wall between Bethlehem and a Jewish settlement. The boy appears hesitant near the top, as he risks being shot by the guards in the towers.

These images covered my father’s prison cell walls until last Wednesday. After being away from his cell all morning, my father returned to his room to change into his exercise clothes. When he entered, he was shocked to find that all eleven pictures that he had carefully collected during the past two years were not on his walls anymore. When he learned that it was the prison guards who had confiscated the images, my father asked them to return them.

That is when a guard told him they are “contraband.”

“But they were newspaper clippings,” my father said. Still, the guard only repeated his claim, saying that it was too late anyways; he had already shredded them.

To my father, these images were more than just anonymous faces of damage and pain. He had photocopied each image while reading the news, he had plastered them on his wall, and as months passed, every child and mother became familiar to him. They became part of his confined space, characters from his abstract community –and a loud reminder that there were still so many people in the world in need of urgent help.

At the end of his email, my father told me that he wished he’d made two copies of each photo instead of one. It’s too late now, he admitted, but he reassured me that he will never forget their faces. The prison guard may have shredded the physical prints, but my father insists he could still see them and that they will forever remain imprinted in his heart. As I share his careful descriptions of them, I honor the people in these images for the world to remember.

Through my father’s story, I honor him. I bring back to light his unjust imprisonment, which has only grown more punitive 13 years after 9/11. This fallout has lead to a seemingly endless incarceration of my father who–in addition to remaining behind bars for his global humanitarian work–has to deal with his pictorial account being confiscated as contraband.

Noor Elashi is a writer based in New York City. She has written for McSweeney’s, The Huffington Post and other publications. With a Creative Writing MFA from The New School, Noor is currently writing a memoir chronicling her father’s decade-long prosecution.

SO MUCH FOR THE ONE STATE SOLUTION

Let’s start with only one official language 
*
Current Israeli law borrows from legislation from the British Mandate period, under which the government and local authorities must publish all announcements and forms in Arabic. The new bill would annul this stipulation, as well as the use of Arabic at government ministries and in the courts.

*

Right-wing MKs aim to make Hebrew Israel’s only official language

The legislators say such a law would ‘foster mutual trust in society and preserve the values of democracy.’

*
Road sign to Yitzhar settlement. Arabic blackened, "revenge" sprayed in Hebrew instead.

Road sign to Yitzhar settlement. Arabic blackened, “revenge” sprayed in Hebrew instead. Photo by Adar Cohen
*

Knesset members from Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi are pushing a bill to make Hebrew the only official language of the State of Israel.

Current Israeli law borrows from legislation from the British Mandate period, under which the government and local authorities must publish all announcements and forms in Arabic. The new bill would annul this stipulation, as well as the use of Arabic at government ministries and in the courts.

According to the bill, highway signs would still have Arabic, “and everyone has the freedom to use other languages in the private and public domains, to nurture them and teach them.”

The bill was initiated by MK Shimon Ohayon (Yisrael Beiteinu) and has been signed by two members of his party — David Rotem and Hamad Amar. High-profile right-wing MKs Moshe Feiglin (Likud) and Orit Strock (Habayit Hayehudi) are also on board.

“In most countries around the world the language of the country is the language spoken by the majority of the population. Therefore, in the State of Israel the Hebrew language has the status of the language of the country, which should be enshrined in legislation,” the MKs said in a statement.

They said such a law would “contribute to social solidarity” and help “build the collective identity necessary for fostering mutual trust in society and preserving the values of democracy.”

IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCH FOR JUSTICE IN STATEN ISLAND

 

"Do we actually have to say this?"*

Thousands marched in Staten Island today. They were protesting police brutality and abuse. They were demanding justice for the victims of that abuse. Eric Garner was placed in an illegal choke hold by a NYPD office several weeks ago. His crime? Selling illegal cigarettes. Despite his protestations and his repeated plea of “I can’t breathe,” despite the fact that he was already subdued, despite the fact that he was surround by cops, the officer continued to choke Mr. Garner. The result? Eric Garner died on the sidewalk, a victim, like so many others, of out-of-control police brutality. These police crimes are then followed by a disturbing lack of transparency and a failure of the justice system to indict, try and convict. Victims are invariably people of color.
The time has come for civilian control of the police forces and an end to the militarization of police departments around the country. The sight of tanks and long rifles being aimed at American citizens in American towns like Ferguson, Missouri by a police department in camouflage and armed with military weapons should frighten and anger everybody.

The thousands marching in Staten Island today were saying “Enough!” and demanding that democratic control of police become a reality.

*

Photos and commentary © By Matt Weinstein

*

""I can't breathe.""

*

"Complaints about police abuse."

*

bb2

*

"In front of the site of Eric Garner's murder by police."

*

"The group, Picture The Homeless."

*

"Javier and Danny."

GAYS YES! ~~ PALESTINIANS NO!!

right-of-return

*

“The gates of Israel will be open to every Jew and his family without any discrimination against his lifestyle.”

*

Still no to this ….

*

The Palestinian right of return (Arabic: حق العودة‎, Ḥaqq al-ʿawda; Hebrew: זְכוּת הַשִׁיבָה, zkhut hashivah) is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees (c. 30 to 50,000 people as of 2012) and their descendants (c. 5 million people as of 2012), have a right to return, and a right to the property they themselves or their forebears left behind in what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories (both formerly part of the British Mandate of Palestine), as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, a result of the 1948 Palestine war and due to the 1967 Six-Day War.

Proponents of the right of return hold that it is a “sacred” right, as well as an inalienable and basic human right, whose applicability both generally and specifically to the Palestinians is protected under international law. This view holds that those who opt not to return or for whom return is not feasible, should receive compensation in lieu. Opponents of the right of return hold that there is no basis for it in international law, and that it is an unrealistic demand.  

The government of Israel regards the claim as a Palestinian ambit claim, and does not view the admission of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel as a right, but rather as a political claim to be resolved as part of a final peace settlement.

Other disputed aspects include the issue of the territorial unit to which Palestinian self-determination would attach, the context (whether primarily humanitarian or political) by which the right is being advanced, and the universality of the principles advocated or established to other (current and former) refugee situations.  (from)

*

BUT this is OK

*

Right of Return Extended to Gay Couples

Interior Minister rules that Jews in same-sex marriages can immigrate to Israel – even with a non-Jewish partner.
*

Israel’s Right of Return also gives citizenship to spouses of the same sex when Jews choose to immigrate to Israel together, Interior Minister Gidon Sa’ar (Likud) decided Tuesday.

According to Sa’ar’s decision, gay and lesbian Jews married abroad wishing to immigrate to Israel could do so – even if one of the partners is not Jewish – and both would receive Israeli citizenship.

“The gates of Israel will be open to every Jew and his family without any discrimination against his lifestyle,” Sa’ar stated, in the precedent-setting decision.

Sa’ar penned a letter to the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption codifying the law, writing that “the business of the Law of Return is an issue of kibbutz galuyot, bringing the Jewish people from exile, and the purpose of the 1970 amendment to Right of Return was to allow the families of Jews to immigrate to Israel as well, as equals, to encourageimmigration in general.”

“I see no basis for distinguishing between heterosexual marriage married Jews, and Jews living abroad in same-sex marriages, according to the law,” he continued. “Both fulfill the purpose of the Right of Return, to ‘bring their children home’ .”

The landmark decision surfaces amid ongoing tension over what defines a “family” in Israel, and as debate rages over whether or not same-sex marriages should be recognized in Israeli law.

Gidon Sa’ar’s Likud has a Mizrahi and traditional voter base, but he and other members of the faction toe an extremely liberal line on family values that is no different from that of Meretz.

Currently, same-sex couples in Israel cannot legally marry, but they have recently started to receive limited recognition.

In June, Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) faced immense backlash after stating in an interview with Arutz Sheva that “it was the right of Israel, perhaps even its obligation, to tell same-sex couples that they could not be considered ‘families.’ However, we would grant them full economic rights.”

Piron, himself an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was later forced to backtrack slightly after enduring harsh criticism from liberals, for placing gay couples outside the definition of marriage, and from conservatives, for agreeing to give them full economic rights.

“There is a constant tension between religious belief and liberal society,” he told Channel 10 at the time. “All I said was that it was possible to debate the question of ‘familyhood’ for homosexuals. I will not allow anyone to disqualify anyone for that standing, or for anything else, but that does not mean that the tension is not there.”

When asked what he thought about “gay families,” Piron said that a same-sex couple “is, from a civil, social, economic, and cultural point of view a family for all practical purposes. Religiously there is an issue, and this is a problem that must be solved.

“What most bothers me about this incident are the feelings of the children and adults I have hurt,” Piron said. “I look at them directly and say ‘I am sorry.’ I am conducting an ongoing dialogue with the gay community,” Piron added, “unlike what any other religious leader is doing in Israel today.”

 

Source

BECAUSE OF YURI KOCHIYAMA ….

KOCHIYAMA-obit-master495

*Yuri Kochiyama, in 1999, hosted activists in Harlem.CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

*

Tributes continue to pour in for this remarkable giant of a woman ….

*

One regular reader of this Blog commented the following on my post about Yuri …

*

WHERE ARE THE REPLACEMENTS FOR THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE?  WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!!   

Jim Rivers

*

Such truth in so few words …

*

Tributes that are appearing on Tumbler …

Yuri Kochiyama (1921-2014) was a Japanese American activist who organized and fought for the liberation of all people. Her life & work continue to illuminate & inspire generations of organizers working for justice in the U.S. & around the world. This is how we choose to remember her & honor her legacy.

*

See all of the tributes HERE, and add your own as well …

*

This tribute FROM

*

Who was Yuri Kochiyama? A Tribute in Words, Photos, and Video

yurirally_vert-0c62c75e3b7214127057d0907da968c5be2c83b9-s6-c30

“Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.”  –

 

Through photos, videos, interviews and a timeline, BK Nation honors the life of Yuri Kochiyama, one of the most important activists of the 20th century. Once imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and later raising a family in the housing projects of Harlem, Kochiyama’s activist career was ignited by the Black liberation movement and her friendship with Malcolm X. In addition to her involvement with the Black liberation and Civil Rights movements, Kochiyama was an advocate for nuclear disarmament, Puerto Rican nationalism, and youth empowerment. In 1988, she and her husband Bill won reparations and an apology for Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II with the passage of the Civil Liberties Act. No matter her own ethnic background, Kochiyama joined the struggles of a diverse array of peoples. Her commitment to justice for any and all who faced oppression is truly remarkable, and she will always be remembered as an outstanding role model and courageous leader. – Ben Weitz, BK Nation Writer

TIMELINE: The Life of Yuri Kochiyama

VIDEOS

INTERVIEWS

YK4

Yuri Kochiyama at Malcolm X’s side after he was gunned down in 1965 at Harlem’s Audubon Hotel

YK

yk6

YK2

YK3

 

*

And from The New York Times

*

Her granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama confirmed the death.

Mrs. Kochiyama, the child of Japanese immigrants who settled in Southern California, knew discrimination well by the time she was a young woman. During World War II she spent two years in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in Arkansas, a searing experience that also exposed her to the racism of the Jim Crow South.

A few years after the war, she married William Kochiyama, whom she had met at the camp, and the couple moved to New York in 1948. They spent 12 years in public housing in Manhattan, in the Amsterdam Houses on the Upper West Side, where most of their neighbors were black and Puerto Rican, before moving to Harlem.

The couple had become active in the civil rights movement when Mrs. Kochiyama met Malcolm X for the first time at a Brooklyn courthouse in October 1963. He was surrounded by supporters, mostly young black men, when she approached him. She told him she wanted to shake his hand, to congratulate him, she recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1996.

“I admire what you’re doing,” she told him, “but I disagree with some of your thoughts.”

He asked which ones.

“Your harsh stand on integration,” she said.

He agreed to meet with her later, and by 1964 Mrs. Kochiyama and her husband had befriended him. Early that year Malcolm X began moving away from the militant Nation of Islam, to which he belonged, toward beliefs that were accepting of many kinds of people. He sent the Kochiyamas postcards from his travels to Africa and elsewhere.

One, mailed from Kuwait on Sept. 27, 1964, read: “Still trying to travel and broaden my scope since I’ve learned what a mess can be made by narrow-minded people. Bro. Malcolm X.”

The following February, Mrs. Kochiyama was in the audience at the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan waiting to hear Malcolm X address a new group he had founded, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, when there was a burst of gunfire. She ran toward the stage.

“I just went straight to Malcolm, and I put his head on my lap,” she recalled. “He just lay there. He had difficulty breathing, and he didn’t utter a word.”

A powerful photograph of her holding him accompanied an article about the assassination in the March 5, 1965, issue of Life magazine.

Mrs. Kochiyama was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara on May 19, 1921, in San Pedro, Calif. An outgoing student in high school, she played sports and wrote for the school newspaper. She said in interviews that she was mostly unaware of political issues until her father, Seiichi, was taken into custody by the F.B.I. shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Although ill, Mr. Nakahara, a successful fish merchant, was held and interrogated for several weeks before being released on Jan. 20, 1942. He died the next day. By the spring, the rest of the family was among the 120,000 Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps across the country.

In the 1980s, the Kochiyamas sought government reparations for Japanese-Americans who had been interned. In 1988, Congress approved a plan to pay $20,000 to each of the estimated 60,000 surviving internees.

Besides her granddaughter Akemi, her survivors include a daughter, Audee Kochiyama-Holman; three sons, Eddie, Jimmy and Tommy; eight other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another son, Billy, died in the 1970s, and a daughter, Aichi, died in 1989.

Her husband died in 1993. He had been interned in Arkansas before he joined the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became one of the most decorated units in American military history.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the sofa in the Kochiyamas’ apartment was regularly occupied by activists in need of a place to sleep. Years later, Mrs. Kochiyama helped organize campaigns to free activists and others whom she believed had been wrongly imprisoned, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and radio journalist sentenced to death in the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. In 2012, his sentence was reduced to life without parole.

Mrs. Kochiyama, who never graduated from college, read constantly and widely. On Tuesday, her granddaughter Akemi opened for the first time a journal of favorite quotations that Mrs. Kochiyama had collected and given to her several years ago.

“There were so many different writers and thinkers,” said Akemi Kochiyama, who is pursuing a doctorate in cultural anthropology. “It’s Emerson, it’s Keats and Yeats and José Marti. It’s political thinkers. It’s Marcus Garvey. It’s everything.”

Mrs. Kochiyama was an inspiration herself. For its 2011 album “Cinemetropolis,” the Seattle hip-hop group Blue Scholars composed a song about her. The refrain: “When I grow up I want to be just like Yuri Kochiyama.”

A BARELY KNOWN WOMAN OF VALOR PASSES ~~ RIP YURI KOCHIYAMA

BpFIdmiCMAEoC4c

*

Her name was never a household word to most of us, but it definitely should have been …

The life history of Yuri Kochiyama is the life history of the American Civil and Human Rights Movements.

Truly a Woman of Valor, she died on Sunday at the age of 93.

Her story follows … (FROM)

*

Yuri Kochiyama dead: Japanese American human rights activist and close Malcolm X ally dies aged 93

 In 1963, she became friends with radical Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X, who inspired her work on black nationalism. She was famously with Malcolm X at the very end of his life. He was shot by assassins during a speech in New York City on 21 February 1965. Kochiyama rushed towards X’s wounded body and held his head in her lap – a moment famously immortalised in black-and-white photograph (seen in the image below).
 The Nobel Peace Prize-nominated civil rights campaigner also fought for political prisoners, Puerto Rican independence and nuclear disarmament
*

Yuri Kochiyama, a lifelong champion of civil rights causes in the United States, has died.

The Japanese-American activist, who was with Malcolm X during his final moments, passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 93, her family have confirmed.

Kochiyama, who was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara in 1921, grew up in the small town of San Pedro in California. Her family were forced to relocate to an internment camp with thousands of other Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

It was at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas where she first met her late husband Bill Kochiyama, who served as a soldier in the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

They married after the Second World War had ended and moved to New York City to start a family together. It was living side-by-side with poor African-American and Puerto Rican families in the neighbourhood that initially inspired her career in activism.

In 1963, she became friends with radical Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X, who inspired her work on black nationalism. She was famously with Malcolm X at the very end of his life. He was shot by assassins during a speech in New York City on 21 February 1965. Kochiyama rushed towards X’s wounded body and held his head in her lap – a moment famously immortalised in black-and-white photograph (seen in the image above, left).

In the 1970s, she staged several demonstrations – including the takeover of the Statue of Liberty, to highlight the plight of Puerto Rican independence. She was part of a group who successfully demanded the release of five Puerto Rican nationalists who had been held for over 20 years.

She was also a prominent figure in the Asian American movement that gathered pace after the Vietnam War protests, and mentored scores of young activists in the art of protest.

In the 1980s, together with her husband, she pushed for a formal government apology to the Japanese-American internees and reparations through the Civil Liberties Act. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed it into law and $20,000 was awarded to each Japanese American internment survivor.

She also dedicated time to fighting for the rights of political prisoners and campaigning against nuclear disarmament.

Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize during the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005”.

*

Bella Ciao Dear Comrade


*

Watch a recent discussion with Angela Davis …

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,248 other followers