Saturday, March 14, 2015

For Rachel Corrie and Nan Freeman
“Quick eyes
Gone under earth’s lid”
-Ezra Pound 1921
 “La lucha continuara’/The struggle goes on and on”
-Rose-Redwoods 1972
Rachel, you had no way of knowing,
on that day, in 2003, US attacking Iraq, Israel
attacking Palestine, both
on a treadmill that goes
on and on and on, both
partway through an endless cycle of violence
You had no way of knowing, Rachel,
young girl with blonde hair
from Olympia Washington
your whiteness against the dark
of Palestine, no way of knowing,
back then,
that you too would be made
part of the treadmill, part of the cycle,
you too would be plowed
under the earth by war machines,
 like the “quick eyes”
of the young men of WWI,
like the body of Nan Freeman,
another student, killed in Florida
by other robbers of the earth, by their
machines that crushed soul and body,
in 1972,
no way of knowing that  you
would become  part of the struggle
That goes on and on, la lucha, al intifada
Que continua y continuara’,
No way of knowing that you too
Would be spoken of as a martyr,
Shahida, like scores of other people,
Breaking themselves against the war machine,
 lighting up the night
all over the world, from Germany
and Czechoslovakia  to America to Vietnam
to Palestine to Tunisia to Egypt to Syria
and back to Palestine
and back to your own
Disunited States of America
Year of Our Lord 2012,
9 years later, Rachel!
no way of knowing
when your name was given to you
In honor of the woman
of whom it is said
“Weeping is heard in Ramah, Rachel/Rahel
weeping for her children, and would not
be comforted,” and there is weeping heard, Rachel,
today in Ramallah and in Ramleh and in Jerusalem
and in Jenin and in Gaza and in Rafah
and in Damascus and in Halab and in Homs,
and in Cairo and in Tunis and in New York
and in Seattle and Portland and Oakland
Rachel weeping for her children
and cannot be comforted but you,
Rachel Corrie, you can be comforted!
You can be celebrated!   Mother of the revolution,
martyr to youth, wake up call
to us all, your body and soul
are planted seeds in the earth, seeds
of truth and light, which shall sprout
once more
into the Tree of Life, beacon for us,
inviting acts of light, acts
that keep the human race going forward.
Forward, people, together, Avanti popolo!
Let us harvest the seedlings of light!

Woodstock. January 23, 2012

Friday, March 13, 2015

To the International Brigades

“No pasara’n!” – La Pasionaria, 1937
Yet they HAVE passed, Dolores,
our secular lady of sorrows,
passed the frente de Jarama
and the frente del Ebro
and all the other fronts –
swept Europe with fire

then disappeared, only to surface
again in a new guise
in Palestine, wolves
in sheep’s clothing, burning
the flesh of Gaza and of Hebron
and Jenin with their hellfire missiles
and their gasoline, crushing

body with soul with tanks
and bulldozers, calling forth
the rising of our IBs once more!

As long as there are
eyes to see and ears to hear, 
we shall echo your call, time
after fearless time, until their ovens
burn themselves out, until
the wolves surrender to the lambs.
We shall shout until our voice gives out,

Long Island, February 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

The War Lobby

The pressure is mounting in elite circles for war both in the Middle East and in Ukraine, despite the trillions of dollars we have wasted on military adventures over the last decade, and regardless of how weary the American people have become of bombings, invasions, and torture being done in our name. Why the drumbeats for more conflict?

Our media won’t talk about the real players behind this call for war. One force is the rich and powerful weapons industry whose profits soar with each new bloodbath. Our defense budget of over half a trillion a year is maintained by armies of corporate lobbyists, who in turn bribe government officials with the potential of million dollar jobs in the private sector. Our biggest defense contractors sit on advisory boards right inside the Pentagon, plotting how to sell more obscenely priced killing machines. 

Even less talked about is the religious war lobby, an unholy alliance between right wing Christians and Jews. Working together in giant evangelical gatherings, they wave American and Israeli flags while fantasizing about a biblical holy war. Spewing Islamophobia, they pledge everlasting allegiance to the state of Israel, no matter how many thousands of Palestinian children it slaughters. 

Senators Gillibrand and Schumer are among the very top recipients of cash from the Israel lobby. Will they be willing to oppose America’s new militarism when the defense contractors and the fanatical Zionists start turning the screws? Will our two senators represent the people, or the well heeled war lobby?

Fred Nagel

Boycott Israeli Products

An effective way to motivate Israel to reform its policies toward the Palestinians is to boycott Israeli products. When Israel feels the economic pinch its leaders may be  inclined to end Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian territory that is leading to apartheid-like conditions.  Boycotts were key to ending apartheid in South Africa, and as part of a worldwide campaign they also can help in this case. This will benefit Israel as well as the Palestinians, because ending Israel's displacement of the Palestinians and its settlement of their land will give Israel the peace and security it needs.

So don't buy anything labeled "Made in Israel " or invest in securities of Israeli companies.  Brands to avoid include SodaStream, Teva prescription drugs, Leviev diamonds, Sabra, Tribe, Osem and Yehuda hummus and dips, CaesarStone countertops, and Checkpoint web security. AHAVA cosmetics are made in the Occupied Territories and should be especially avoided. Don't patronize cultural organizations like Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Israeli dance and theater companies, and teams like Israel National Basketball Team. Don't visit Israel and don't fly El Al, Israel's national airline.

Certain US companies also are legitimate boycott targets. Don't use the products of, or invest in: Caterpillar, Inc., whose equipment Israel uses to demolish Palestinian homes; RE/MAX Realty, which has franchises that sell Israeli homes built on confiscated Palestinian land; and Hewlett-Packard and Motorola, whose electronics Israel uses in its expansionist agenda.  Finally, don't invest in Boeing, whose jets and helicopters Israel uses to attack Gaza.

Gregory DeSylva