Al Jazeera: Gaza children shatter world record
Posted by uscsjp on July 31, 2009
“It was an unlikely place to shatter a world record, but the beaches of the Gaza Strip were the venue for thousands of Palestinian children who flew the largest number of kites simultaneously from the same place.
The record that once stood at 713 has been broken, thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and about 6,000 kite-flying children.
The event is part of the Summer Games programme run by UNRWA – an activities and curricular programme set up for students during their break from the academic school year.
More than half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are under the age of 18 – so there is no shortage of potential record-breakers…”
–Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera English, 30 July, 2009
Did the PLO die in Lebanon?
“‘We have to fight the Israelis any place we can,’ says Mahmoud Taha. In 1972 he left his job as an electronics repairman in Saudi Arabia to join the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in Lebanon.
‘We brought the war to Lebanon,’ Taha, who today lives in the Bourj el Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Beirut, told Al Jazeera.
‘But I did not think for one day the war was against the Lebanese. We were obliged to fight the war inside Lebanon, but we didn’t want it.’
Others, however, might disagree.
The role the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – of which the DFLP is a part – played in the Lebanese Civil War is highly politicised. The accounts and reports of the events that happened are always incomplete, and often contradictory, depending on the personal interests and political affiliations of those recounting them.
What remains indisputable, however, is that by the time the war ended in 1991, hundreds of thousands of people had been killed, the vast majority of them civilians.
The PLO was an essential party to this tragedy…”
–Spencer Osberg, Al Jazeera English, 28 July, 2009
Israel defends Gaza war
“The Israeli government has said that its war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, that left up to 1,417 Palestinians dead, was ‘necessary and proportionate’.
The government also said on Thursday that it was investigating about 100 complaints of misconduct by its forces during the three week war that began on December 27.
‘Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas’s almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks,’ the report published by the foreign ministry said…”
—Al Jazeera English, 31 July, 2009
And finally, from CounterPunch
The True Height of Insecurity
“The War is With the Arabs”
By HANNAH MERMELSTEIN
I saw this sign as I was entering Nablus last week, again on my way to Ramallah, and again near Bethlehem. The phrase is printed in Hebrew, presumably by Israeli settlers, on huge signs throughout the West Bank. Israeli racism rarely shocks me anymore, but its blatant display still makes me stop and catch my breath as I translate it into other contexts. Imagine driving through the middle of a predominantly black neighborhood in a US city or town and seeing a enormous sign that says, ‘The war is with the Blacks’…”
–Hannah Mermelstein, CounterPunch, 24-26 July, 2009
The Broken Dreams of Wada Cortas
Memoirs of a Lost Arab World
By NADIA HIJAB
‘It was a trying time for dreamers,’ Wadad Makdisi Cortas wrote of the year 1935. She was 26 and ‘yearned to speak my language, to read Arabic books, and to foster Arab independence and solidarity.’ But she had just become the headmistress of a girls’ school in Lebanon that was a particular thorn in the side of the French colonial rulers.
As in their other colonies, the French imposed their language, insisting that the students at the Ahliah National School for Girls not only be taught in French but also use it at recess. ‘Students who insisted on speaking Arabic were to be singled out, and those who persisted were to be given detention,’ Cortas recalled. (Of course, as history marched on, English won the battle to become the global lingua franca.)
Cortas’ memoirs span the 20th Century: She was born in 1909 and died in 1979. She writes beautifully, with dry humor and with sadness, of living and travelling in a Middle East without borders and of the agony inflicted as frontiers were carved into a soil alive with friendships and family ties — agonies that continue to this day…”
–Nadia Hijab, 22July, 2009