According to Mahatma Gandhi, nothing poses more of a threat to an oppressive regime than well organized, non-violent resistance. Mubarak Awad — some call him the Palestinian Gandhi — is a case in point.
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Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian politician and democracy activist. He and I sat down for an interview in August 2012 in his office on the outskirts of Ramallah.
The largest of Israel’s hundred or so checkpoints, Qualandia — between northern Jerusalem and the road to Ramallah — is a masterpiece in population engineering. Israeli Machsom Watch activists keep an eye on what happens there.
Jewish settlers in the Palestinian city of Hebron wear skull caps and carry Glock pistols. They have forcibly expanded their settlements, closed Palestinian shops, and expelled residents.
Palestinian rap is only about a decade old, but it has spread throughout Israel, Palestine, and now to Lebanon. The rappers look to Tupac Shakur and the socially conscious rappers, and reject the gangsta image so popular in the west.
Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley has produced wine for over four thousand years. That tradition continues today, with Lebanon boasting some world-class reds. But vintners have had to deal with fundamentalists, civil war, and invading armies.
Southern Lebanese farmers are in a bind. On the one hand, Israeli cluster bombs continue to pollute their fields. On the other hand, they’ve been abandoned by Lebanon’s political elite, who prefer to see Lebanon import its food.
Victoria, B.C. native Kevin Neish set off to Gaza at the end of May on the Mavi Marmara — and almost made it. He recalls Israel’s hijacking and brutalization of the Mavi’s passengers.
Israeli activist Jeff Halper came to Winnipeg at the end of January to speak about the current situation in Palestine-Israel, and about the work of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions.
Palestinian farmers face a myriad of challenges. In the “West Bank,” Israel’s so-called “Security Barrier” has walled them off from their olive and vegetable groves. Farmers in Gaza are liable to be shot by soldiers manning Israel’s “security” perimeter.
To comprehend the obstacles that need to be overcome if peace and justice are to be achieved in the Middle East, one must spend time in the West Bank and Gaza, listening to Palestinians describe their hardships. The Israeli occupation is particularly egregious for youth, who — like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — feel seriously misunderstood.