via [ Democracy Now ] COP16 in Cancun, December 9, 2010
This was a bloody slaughter, a bloody slaughter with global implications for the relationship between each of us and our goverment, for the utter bloody impunity of government.
via [ Matthew Yglesias ]
Gaza doesn’t contain nearly enough arable land to support the Strip’s population as subsistence farmers. Which of course is true of many other places on earth. But the effect of the embargo is to make meaningful commercial activity in Gaza nearly impossible, pushing living standards down to what would be a below-subsistence level were it not for the trickle of aid that flows in. The Hamas authorities exercise some fairly rough justice over the area, extremist groups burn down summer camps and Israel launches airstrikes periodically sometimes injuring dozens sometimes hurting no one. The overall situation is incredibly bleak. Construction supplies aren’t allowed into the area, so it’s been impossible to rebuild since the war there from a couple of years back, and all the physical infrastructure is just degrading over time.
via Steve Clemons of [ The Washington Note ]
From a distance, what seems to be happening is that Israel is ratcheting up its test of what it can do in the confines of the US-Israel relationship. It is testing to see whether there exist any limits or conditionality on Israeli behavior at all. Israel believes that the Obama team is weak — and is pushing aggressively to compel the US to tolerate anything the State of Israel does as a signal to the rest of the Middle East that is itself clamoring for any sign that the Obama administration is willing to put some muscle and substantive action behind the President’s Cairo speech and other comments to the governments and people in the Arab world.
The flotilla may have been populated by peace activists who really did want to get humanitarian supplies to Gaza — but the leadership of this flotilla was trying to expose the “false choice” contradiction that the US and other powers were making between Israel’s interests and the interests of the rest of the Middle East.
This was a strategic flotilla — designed to elicit exactly the response that Israel gave. This flotilla knew which button to push to animate Israel’s military response. It is not dissimilar from what al Qaeda did by attacking New York and Washington and drawing the US military to intervene in the Middle East.
Israel, like the United States, showed itself incapable of nuance and of outmaneuvering this flotilla by resorting to means that would not have helped the activists succeed in their objectives. At the Doha Forum, I am speaking to Arabs, Jews and Christians who represent senior governmental and non-governmental organizations in their home countries — and no one here that I have found thinks that the Israeli government responded to the flotilla sensibly — even if one buys the argument that the blockade of Gaza is justified.
The U.S. really can’t afford to make the choice of Israel over the Arab world. There will be enormous geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences if it does
There is not doubt I tend to conflate the political economy on the southern shores of Lake Michigan with Israel’s occupation & settlement of Palestinian land. Granted there are significant limits to this comparison. Yet, it is clear the concentration of negative externalities attributable to our nation’s heavy industrial base seriously impairs our fence line communities and is very much a scar on the values of Democracy we hold dear. Simply put, Democracy does not exist here.
- Arguably the most polluted waters in the country – the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal (IHSC): The only waterway to fail all beneficial uses.
- Joerse Beach: most contaminated beach in the Great Lakes and third most in the country.
- Arguably the most polluted air-shed in the country – Lake county indiana’s air-shed ranks as the 9th most polluted in the country (of 3140 counties) with the sources of pollution attributed to the three big industries concentrated on East Chicago’s lakefront – BP, Mittal Steel, and U.S. Steel.
- A Gated Industrial Community with >80% of East Chicago’s land-use is dedicated to heavy industry – ~50% of these industrial lands are out of productive use and considered contaminated, e.g., brownfields
- 14% of East Chicago’s land-use is dedicated Residential – ~17% of these residential properties are apart of a superfund site.
When I look at the impact our nation’s heavy industrial base has had on the local populations, culture, land, air, water and biology in my community, I see a misapplication of rights and justice – environmental justice. This prompts me to identify the problems with the fragmented pattern of land use, populations, and the expression of political will seen in the mapping of Palestinian lands.
via [ Democracy Now ]
“What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?”
via [ Peter Miller ]
From the [ American Friends Service Committee ]
The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC’s work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.
AFSC’s work is based on the Quaker belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. The organization’s mission and achievements won worldwide recognition in 1947 when it accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with the British Friends Service Council on behalf of all Quakers.
The AFSC is directed by a Quaker board and staffed by Quakers and other people of faith who share the Friends’ desire for peace and social justice.