My heart was breaking this morning reading the report on Omar Khadr's decision to fire his lawyers in protest over the horrors he is being subject to in what he considers to be a rigged trial. "He is a young man who has lost all faith in the process," said Dennis Edney, one of his Canadian lawyers. And no wonder. Tortured as a teenager, imprisoned without conviction for years, the sole remaining prisoner in the disgraced Guantanamo Bay prison camp,
In my last article Israel is an Apartheid State, I explained the Israel was now cracking down on the leaders of the human rights movement in Palestine, non-violent protesters like Dr. Mazen Qumsiyeh. Early this week I received an email on a human rights list from Dr. Qumsiyeh. With his permission it is reproduced below:
Before Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) even began members of the Ontario Legislature and the Canadian Parliament are falling all over each other to denounce it. I can't remember another time when elected legislators formally denounced a student activity like this. Perhaps during the 1950's when McCarthyism was rampant but that was before my time.
I am old enough to remember September 11, 1973 and young enough that the terrible coup in Chile had a lasting effect on my life despite the fact that I was far away in Vancouver at the time. Hundreds murdered that day and thousands over all , killed, tortured, exiled and disappeared.
Every once in a while the act of an individual can make a big difference to a struggle. Yesterday, Toronto film maker and long-time gay activist John Greyson wrote an open letter to the directors of the Toronto International Film Festival pulling his short film Covered out of TIFF in protest of their spotlight on Tel Aviv. His courageous action and eloquent letter, reproduced below, is a significant contribution to the Palestinian solidarity movement and the Boycott Divestment and Sanction strategy that it has adopted to shine a light on the inexcusable aggression of Israel against the Palestinian people. Please read the letter below, watch the film and write to TIFF in protest of their decision email@example.com
The sun is slowly coming down in this northern West Bank village. We are really a few kilometers from Galilee just outside the green line. Around the city of Jenin and the nearby villages, a cluster of Israeli settlements remind us of the occupation, as well as numerous checkpoints controlled by Israeli soldiers.
"But the Afghan people do not just want to hear ‘sorry.’ We ask for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and a stop to such tragic war crimes".
What is going on in this country? First we have a major campaign from the coalition of mainstream Jewish organizations, the National Post and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (hereafter called Minister of Truth) to shut down Israel Apartheid Week. That failed. So now the same triumvirate is supporting the decision of custom officials to refuse entry into Canada to British MP George Galloway, a strong critic of Israel on the absurd notion that he is a threat to national security.
Today my Ryerson colleague Alan Sears and I have an article published in the National Post defending Israel Apartheid Week. As much as I don't like increasing traffic to the web site of this right-wing rag, I have to admit that they are willing to print oppositional viewpoints when they are engaged in one of their vicious campaigns. The last time they published a piece from me was during their unsuccessful campaign to deny Dr. Morgentaler the Order of Canada.
Bravo Naomi Klein. Standing up to the attempts of the pro-Israel lobby and many university administrators to suppress Israel Apartheid Week, Naomi Klein has joined Palestinian human rights advocate Omar Barghouti as a speaker tonight at Ryerson University.