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Home arrow Blog arrow February 2011 arrow February 28, 2011: Hot, Loud, Angry and Political for Justice

February 28, 2011: Hot, Loud, Angry and Political for Justice
February 28, 2011: Hot, Loud, Angry and Political for Justice 


 

 

[Orlando, Florida] – It wasn’t just a hot one in O’Town on the last Sunday of February 2011, because the thermometer registered 83 degrees in the shade at Lake Eola during the first Arab American Cultural Festival, but because of the heat that emanated from voluptuous belly dancers, award winning Debkeh dancers, singers and passionate hip hop poets who energized the crowd of thousands and caused hundreds to dance in celebration of a culture that most of the non-Arab Americans in attendance had never experienced before.


Hip Hop artist, Omar Offendum is also “an MC/Architect hailing from the great nation-state-of-mind known as ‘SyrianamericanA’ where everything is connected and everyone is welcome.”

 

SyrianamericanA" is also the title of Omar’s first solo CD.

 

From center stage that was adorned with an American flag draped on top and flanked below with flags from the United Arab Emeritus, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Morocco, Tunisia, and other Arab states, Omar explained that hip hop is the modern incarnation of the blues, jazz, rock and roll, reggae and as over 60% of the population of the Middle East is under 30, Rap has become the music of The Revolution.

 

Inspired by the power of the people of Egypt that recently rose up, several notable musicians from North America teamed up to release a song of solidarity and empowerment, entitled "#Jan25" which commemorates the date the Egyptian protests officially began in Egypt, and its prominence as a trending topic on Twitter.






 

 

 

Omar Offendum, appeared on Al Jazeera to explains that this track is a testament to the revolution's effect on the hearts and minds of today's youth, as well as all who unite in the spirit of resistance in solidarity for justice for oppressed people:



 

 







 

Omar informed this reporter, “My family is Arab Syrian and I use Hip-Hop as a platform to express opinions of my community to make our struggle relate-able to the average American, as our struggle is the universal struggle for peace and justice.”

 

 

Remi Kanazi, is a Palestinian-American poet whose kinetic energy and unabashed poetry of resistance and searing indictments of the military occupation and ethnic cleansing of his homeland awed me.

 

Remi’s "POETIC INJUSTICE: WRITINGS ON RESISTANCE AND PALESTINE" is a collection of poems and includes a CD, highly praised by Pulitzer Prize winners, award winning journalists, drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Ronnie Kasrils, the former South African Government Minister and anti-apartheid activist.

 

Remi brought me to tears with "A POEM FOR GAZA" not because I am Palestinian or Arab, but because I grew up comfortable in Greenwich Village and on Long Island, but after my first of seven trips to Palestine beginning in 2005, I have not been able to look away because the injustice made me hot, loud, angry and political.

 

 


 

 

 





On September 29, 2009 the Goldstone Report was released and it accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.

 
Operation Cast Lead also injured over 5,000 Palestinians and 400,000 were left without running water.


Operation Cast Lead destroyed 4,000 homes and rendered tens of thousands homeless because of Israel's targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.


Operation Cast Lead's, 22 days of attack on the people of Gaza was enabled by US-supplied weapons and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America's Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.

America is the worlds largest arms supplier to Israel and under a Bush negotiated deal with Israel-which Obama signed onto during Christmas 2009, we the people who pay taxes in America will now also provide another $30 billion in military aid to Israel over the next decade.



For
Operation Cast Lead's assault on Gaza, "Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. [1]

In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.


"Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza," provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.


"Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.


"Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.


“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops," said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. "It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren't in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died." [Ibid]


 
During the 22 days of attack on Gaza, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called "self defense."



In November 2006, Father Manuel, the parish priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza warned the world:


"Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry...people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.

"Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles...Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate...Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.

"Gaza cannot sleep...the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!"

 

 





 



I asked Remi what is the one thing he wants non-Arab American’s to understand and he replied, "Fundamentally when people come together they can make a difference-not the cliché Barak Obama way-but in the Tunisian, Egyptian, South African and Palestinian way, which is an anti-apartheid struggle."

 

 

On July 5, 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, have a "right" to immigrate to Israel even if they have no historical ties to the land which is known as Palestine.

 

Israel’s very statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines Article 13:


(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

 

But ever since the state of Israel was established in 1948, they have denied that inalienable right to the indigenous people.

 

 

The following nine categories make up the necessary, sufficient, and defining characteristics of apartheid regimes: 

1. Violence: Apartheid is a state of war initiated by a de facto invading ethnic minority, which at least in the short term originates from a non-neighboring locality. In all main instances of apartheid most if not all members of the invading group originate from a different continent. The invading ethnic minority and its self-defined descendants then continue to dominate the indigenous majority by means of their military superiority and by their continuous threats and uses of violence. 

2. Repopulation: Apartheid is also a continuation of depopulation and population transfer. One example is seen in the obliteration of the indigenous Bedouins that Israel denies free movement to graze their herds and are silently transferring the Bedouins to new locales, such as atop of garbage dumps.

3. Citizenship: The indigenous people are often denied citizenship in their own country by the apartheid state authorities, which are ironically and irrationally, run and staffed by the recent arrivals to the country.


 4. Land: Apartheid entails land confiscation, land redistribution and forced removals, almost without exception to the benefit of the invading ethnic minority. Usually, members of the ethnic majority are forced on to barren and unfertile soils, where they must also try to survive under impoverished and overcrowded conditions.

5. Work: Apartheid displays systematic exploitation of the indigenous class in the production process and different pay or taxation for the same work.

6. Access: There is ethnically differentiated access to employment, food, water, health care, emergency services, clean air, and other needs, including the need for leisure activities, in each case ensuring superior access for the favored ethnic community.

7. Education: There are also different kinds of education offered and forced upon the different ethnic groups. 

8. Language: A basic apartheid characteristic is the fact that only very few of the invaders and their descendants ever learn the language(s) of the indigenous victims. 

9. Thought: Finally, apartheid contains ideologies or 'necessary illusions' in order to convince the privileged minorities that they are inherently superior and the indigenous majorities that they are inherently inferior. Much of apartheid thought is shaped by typical war propaganda. The enemy is dehumanized by both sides' ideologies, words and other symbols are used to incite or provoke people to violence, but mostly so by the invaders and their descendants. [2]



Also at the festival at Lake Eola, was Dr. Khaled Diab, whose life was the inspiration for my first book, KEEP HOPE ALIVE



Dr. Diab stated, “For those who say that it is not the right time to have a Festival when so many are dying in the Middle East, I say we celebrate the victories and the bright future that Democracy and Freedom will bring. We pray for the Martyrs who gave their lives to give us better life and future. According a verse from the Quran, ‘Wala tahsabanna allatheena qutiloo fee sabeeli Allahi amwatan bal ahyaon AAinda rabbihim yurzaqoona.’”

 

Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord -3:169

 

 

Dr. Diab continued, “Freedom and Democracy will come to all the Middle East Arab nations no matter how long it takes. I pray and support freedom and democracy similar to what we have and enjoy and not for the false democracies that sponsors Occupation and Dictatorships. I am also very certain that it will come to the Palestinians and they will be free from Occupation. Here is a manifest that is being circulated by the youth of Palestine.”

 

 

Palestine: Demands for a Unified Nation set for March 15

 

We call on the governments of the West Bank and Gaza to respond to the legitimate demands of the people:

1 - the release all political detainees in the prisons of the PA and Hamas

2 - the end of all forms of media campaigns against each others

3 - the resignation of the governments of Haniyeh and Fayyad to re-build a government of national unity agreed by all Palestinian factions representing the Palestinian people.

4 - the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization to contain all the Palestinian factions and get back to its initial aim: Palestine's freedom

5 - the announcement of the freeze of negotiations until the full compatibility between the various Palestinian factions on a political program

6 - the end of all forms of security coordination with the Zionist enemy

7 - the organization of presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously in the time chosen by all the factions.

 


Another manifest by Remi Kanazi - Coexistence



Truly audacious hope was understood by St. Augustine who wrote, "Hope has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are and the second is COURAGE to do something about it." 


And truly audacious hope also makes one hot, loud, angry and political for justice!




 

1. http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/9-us-arms-used-for-war-crimes-in-gaza/

 

 

2. Paraphrased from pages 71-73, Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.    

 

 

 

 

Learn More about Omar and Remi:

 

http://www.offendum.com/main.htm

 

http://www.poeticinjustice.net/


   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
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The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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