Palestinian Animal League

When you announce your vegan beliefs expect incredulity, perhaps not visceral, perhaps visceral. Make public your support of Palestinians to self-determination and expect raw nerves to flare — it comes with the territory. Or am I tilting at windmills? Why must Palestine be a verboten topic?

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Misunderstanding happens to “the least of these, my brethren” (Matthew 25:34). I mentioned recently that I am the green sheep in the family. Do I hold a lightning rod aloft, inviting impending doom? I guess.

I live in an area of the country noted for its borders — political, racial, climatic, geomorphic, social: there are others.  Our planet does not need more division and more rancor. Welcome the green, the black and the rainbow. Welcome the stranger.

 

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Sudfeh Vegan Cafe

Languages fascinate me intensely. Learning them lightens my spirit and dispels an illusory separation. We are all one. I lived and studied in Germany, a country that knows something of borders — their erection and their dissolution. Loving languages is a joy that requires patience, but it rewards that patience by several orders of magnitude. Or is it a waste of time, a conceit if you already speak THE international language — one dipped in the blood of imperious arrogance. Just saying. Colonialism is not dead. Were that it were.

 

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Berlin Wall

My intense interest in the Middle East began in 1967 when I began to seriously study its physical, cultural and religious geography. Study makes friends of pain and joy. I was living in West Germany in 1972, at the time of an ill-fated Olympics in Munich. Stasi was still going strong in East Germany. That same year I learned about Savak and the Shah of Iran from my fellow exchange students of the University of Tehran — a full seven years before the revolution in their ancient land, one with the longest continuous civilization in history, one that started with Cyrus the Great. Many cool people are Persian. Yes they are 🙂

Perhaps this is an overlong preface to my topic. I hope not, but please accept my apology if it is.

 

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Let me meld two curiously similar joys and pains — veganism and Palestine. Mix them together and you have The Palestinian Animal League. That kind group of animal activists knows that “acting like an animal” is an expression to deflect misbehavior of a specie with an overdeveloped ego that imposes their self-righteous “superiority” to the innocent fellow sentient beings possessing inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, though it be inexpedient to the self-described exceptional.

We’re not the top dog, we are the arrogant yapping selfish being that always takes advantage. Are we not a part of the cycle of life? Who made us the boss? What is the difference between cannibalism and meatism? I suggest that the difference between eating the flesh of your own and eating the flesh of an other is as trivial as the difference between apples and oranges — both are fruit. Human flesh and the flesh of any other sentient being — both are meat.

Let me now lighten the burden of writing. I yield the pen to The PAL. They know more about themselves than I. Expect joy.

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Arabic public art

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Palestinians Are Either in Exile or in Prison

 

 Hello.

 

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Today we look at two nouns rooted in  Palestinian history 

1948 a

1967 a

Languages based on a root system are dendritic — consider trees, rivers, fractals..

 

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Look at the two letters in blue  b (ب )  s ( س )

But now a word from our sponsor:

On the day of Nakba, 700,000 people were exiled from their ancestral homes.

Andrew Jackson’s illegal exile of the Cherokees began in 1838. Jackson may not have said

“Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it,”

but the result was still dispossession.

President Jackson drove the Cherokee Nation into an exile called The Indian Territories until they in turn became Oklahoma. Native Americans now live in rural areas served by Food Desert convenience stores — they get to stay there until a monied interest drops straight edge on a map and calls it an access pipeline, or the equivalent.

We return you to your regularly scheduled program, in progress.

In each case (Trail of Tears, Nakba) people took luggable items, including the house keys. The six days of Naksa happened in 1967 (imprisonment).

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Omar Chaaban defines these two  for Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.  I yield the words to Omar:

نكبة

…they chose the word Nakba which, in Arabic, refers to a supreme calamity that happens once in an eon. That is to say, this disastrous collective experience exacted upon the Palestinians is an unprecedented trauma that had to be referred to by a word that communicates to the entire world that nothing can happen that is worse than being uprooted in the manner they were in the events leading to and following Israel’s declaration of statehood.

نكسة

…the word Naksa does not really mean ‘setback.’ In classical Arabic, Naksa is used to describe an event where a thing is literally flipped upside down. The great Arabic lexicon Lisan Al-‘Arab — The Tongue of the Arab People — says that when a Naksa happens to a thing, its top becomes its bottom and its front becomes its back. It then goes as far as saying that in many cases a Naksa can be so bad that the chances of it being reversible are almost nonexistent and that no good can be found in it.

Arabic dictionaries sequence by root. Hans Wehr assembled the definitive dictionary organized by roots. Here are the roots I’ve generated in Aratools

nakba:

nakba

naksa:

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Arabic affixes a special letter to nouns of feminine gender. The grammatical term is “taa marbuta.” It’s also a handy way to create a new word in that language:

Maktab مكتب (office)

Maktaba مكتبة (library)

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Gender Observations

Coming real soon now: Mental Maps of Palestine

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Arabic: what gives?

Many posts ago a Palestinian pal (“pal” is twitterese for Palestinian) asked me to write about my adventures in Arabic. So here ’tis 🙂

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This pal o’ mine is a refugee of Nakba 1948. By various twists of synchronicity he found his way to one of my German classes, intent on reading a bit of the curious language.

What resulted?

A capital stroke of good fortune — a safari if you will. And so did it begin. I said “look my friend, if you are willing to learn some German I could at least learn some Arabic.”

Arabic script is daunting at first. I compare its foundation in the arts and sciences to the Roman alphabet: Arabic script is to the Latin alphabet what Arabic numerals are to Roman numerals.

A qualitative difference?

Take a Roman number. Calculate its root. Let’s take the most important number of all time 42 (XLII). Let me know when you have an answer. Show all work.

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Nevertheless, Roman civil engineers achieved the splendor of the arch and its keystone cap.

I bet you didn’t know Farsi from Arabic at first.

That is actually correct. I looked at Persian and thought the pairing would be simple — like switching to Dutch from German. Well, a well of Arabic words exist  in Farsi, but Farsi is not based on the root system, a method residing at the very foundation of Arabic. It’s closer to English that way. Rootless.

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Well well well. WTF is a root system?

Consonants that appear in a certain order to suggest meaning. The word ‘safari‘ has roots od SFR. Place some prefixes, suffixes and a few vowel sounds here and there. You’ll discover vocabulary treasures relating to ‘travel’ one way or another.

Why did your pal bleed from the ears?

Not just my friend — most of my students. Encounters with German involve a crazy  grammar that most German students to long for escape (The Great Escape). Though toddlers who drop every dread adjective ending perfectly every day — imagine tossing a deck of cards into the air and thinking them into well sequenced suits.

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What’s the deal with Arabic grammatical gender?

Look for a taa marbuta at the end of a noun — it’s that smiley face you see to the right, it’s easy to recognize too.

ta-marbuta

Arabic nouns are never neuter. There is no “it.” Just masculine and feminine. Wowser, that’s a 50% increase, from 2 to 3. There is no verb “to be” in the present, though there is a “was” in Arabic. The verb “to have” does not exist in the way of “haben” or “have” or “habeo.” Habemus Papam.

Did you know that it’s almost impossible to say anything in German without knowinf a noun’s gender?

Only a small exaggeration.

Herr Ziegler, can you craft a short sentence containing all four cases for us?

Let me grapple that in another post.  Gellerese anyone?

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Thanks for reading.

Another Billboard the Mainstream Media Can’t Quite Fathom

from: Fig Trees and Vineyards

Banksy is a gifted and prolific artist. He informs his audience with paintings that tear at the fabric of disinformation perpetuated by those who will perpetuate apartheid if not confronted.

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The Palestine Poster Project is another source for powerful portrayals of the Nakba, Naksa (the occupation of 1967). An abundant source for inspiration and resolve.

 

Fig Trees and Vineyards

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A TV station in North Carolina has published a report on a strange, new billboard that has cropped up in their area that some local residents, at least those who work in the media, are having trouble figuring out.

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Stanley Cohen: 2016 Person of the Year

Stanley Cohen was a bright silver lining in 2016 — and now in 2017. By simply being himself he bestows hope to the most fiendishly exploited  and he always buoys the spirits of his worldwide supporters.

I flip the calendar back to 2015 and remember when Stanley spent 11/12ths of 2015 in the Canaan PA prison ‘campus’ — down in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. Imprisoned without cause. His voice temporarily muffled, but he witnessed Prison America firsthand. And so his full-throated voice is back and he’s upped the volume 🙂 Certainly made my 2016 — and not just mine. Click More on Stanley for more on Stanley.

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Trumped up charges raised over the years by a convenient and expedient arm of federal government (IRS) repeatedly found nothing. Investigators found no basis for charges because none exist. So they sent him to Canaan (aIn’t the promised land) anyway.

Wait a minute you may say, this is America.

Read about Kalief Browder. Then discover how he died.

Did the IRS find Stanley Cohen’s secret rumored lucre?

No.

It’s what happens when you speak up for the über disenfranchised on this planet. People such as Palestinians.

See my blog category Palestine for complete details.

How does Israel get away with the longest occupation in modern history? You can stay up to date on that question by following Stanley Cohen on Twitter. He’s eloquent, he’s prolific, he’s been at it for 50 years.

A quick unrelated aside. Does white phosphorous demonstrate characteristic trails?  On Gaza for instance.

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Distinctive white-phosphorus trails in Gaza

Fortunately, Stanley’s Twitter-feed nourishes the humane soul daily. Click Caged but Undaunted. #UpTheRebels

Stanley Cohen is a dedicated, determined and honest human-rights attorney, a man of integrity — that rare endangered specie of homo sapiens known as Menschen. No vested interest has ever owned Mr. Cohen and none ever will. Truth guides him, honesty defines him.

Few even know that Stanley Cohen exists. Electoral results confirm insatiable ignorance.   

We teeter at the edge of impending dystopia. Thinking critically is passé. Unthinking is the more modern way. I find it curious that George Orwell is the antithesis of Orwellian, but in proper NewSpeak fashion, his very name now defines it.

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Oddly timely that my favorite  NewSpeak website is no longer available.

 

What is Winston Smith’s job. Where does he work? What does he do?

Winston Smith works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line.

Wikipedia

“To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken. — Caged but Undaunted 

Thanks for reading.

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Palestine Children’s Relief Fund: Cincinnati 2016

Yesterday I met a young mother and her infant child at the annual PCRF picnic 2016.
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I gazed into the eyes of that beautiful woman and her precious child. Let me just inform you that they are in Cincinnati because those who can help transcended borders and the powers that be, to bring them to Ohio. Helping the helpless. Something that defines Menschheit (the word for “humanity” in German and Yiddish). Mother and child are here because white phosphorous burns to the bone. And, yes, it happened in Gaza.
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Yesterday brought souls together to share inextinguishable joy in the very spite of every attempt to extinguish the spirit of a proud people, century-long family traditions in culture, history and charm.
Yes, they melted my heart, moistened my eyes.
The occupiers who uproot ancient olive trees wishes that these people would plant their ancient roots anywhere but along the paradise of a Mediterranean shore that has nourished Philistines (Filistina) for so long.
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The occupiers boast of residing in a land celebrated as mere desert waiting for miracle workers to bring seed to fruit. The evicted and exiled Philistine people have every right listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including a refugee’s right to return. The United States signed this document in 1948, the year of Nakba.
Yesterday I attended the PCRF picnic and enjoyed splendid company, warm smiles and genuine enthusiasm. Most importantly it was an opportunity to meet people who better our world by healing wounds, providing support for families and restoring hope that the youngest and most innocent among us may flourish.
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Such a delight and a privilege to speak personally with people who work miracles in the course of their daily lives. Cynicism and disillusionment are not support systems within PCRF: joy derived from mending deep wounds humbles the ego and makes room for love. 

Junior Chills: “Wake Up World”

Announcing a new music video from Junior Chills, a three-piece band in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They produce songs of strong feeling. This one is about the stupefying lack of media coverage on a marginalized, ignored, dismissed,  forgotten, unknown people.
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Many still know nothing of refugees who lost their homes, who are still denied a right of return guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They still possess that right denied. It’s another reason for following Junior Chills.
Did I mention that billions of people alive today are unaware that these people even exist. I am ashamed to report being a citizen of a country whose military and intelligence communities dump enormous taxpayer funds into weapon and security systems that stagger the imagination. Are we exceptional?  Is that not arrogance?
But the name of their occupiers is on the map, methinks the occupiers doth occupy too much. The population of Israelis in Israel-Palestine is approximately the same as the population of the Philistines (the name they actually give themselves) but would you know that from looking at the map below?

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Humiliation is the name of the game, but these people possess joy in the very spite of subjugation.  Prisons for the occupied are stuffed with dissenters. Children as young as 12 are imprisoned daily for throwing stones. Perhaps they throw them at low-flying F-16 fighter jets. Call them terrorists and toss them into prison. Then throw away the key. While you are throwing away keys, break into their grandparent’s house and throw away their family home they had to leave in 1948 (more on that in the next paragraph). So yes, I am complicit in this 68-year ethnic cleansing operation by the “only democracy in the Middle East.” But I don’t yield to those who actually believe that ignorance is strength.
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Wake Up World” is Junior Chills’ latest contribution toward bringing attention to the human rights of the people exiled from their homes in 1948. They are refugees to this day. 700,000 were forced from their land in that year alone. I was eight months old that year.
Many were cast from the paradise of a coast along the Mediterranean into a part of Palestine west of the Jordan River and into an open-air prison known as Gaza. They brought only what they could carry in 1948. House keys used to lock their doors on Nakba Day (the Arabic word for catastrophe).
Damien McGee  writes, sings and plays guitar for Junior Chills. Here is how he described the protest song in our recent communication:
 
“It is called simply Wake Up World. I am going to try my best to share it out there as widely as I can to help do my bit to raise awareness of the daily struggle in Palestine…I hope you like it!!”
 This is a very powerful musical and visual depiction of the massive injustice meted out every day. The bombs you see exploding in the video killed 2200 people in Operation Protective Shield (a lovely name for an excuse to spew death IMO), 500 were children. Just one of many “operations” that are all pretty much alike. One encouraging note for anyone looking to buy shares in corporations such as Halliburton: every round expended is a round for another round of expenditures. Revolving doors. dick cheneys.
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Lengthy prison sentences can be imposed in Israel for throwing stones
It gives the viewer pause and tears tears from your eyes. The violence depicted in the video is not gratuitous, but know that young innocents were not of concern to those who saw the exterior of the buildings in the crosshairs.




The streaming trails you see in the photograph below spew from two white phosphorous bombs exploding from a height, that height insures horrid deaths and agonizing injuries. Population density is very high in Gaza, there is no safe place. White phosphorous burns to the bone.
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Chris Hedges Interviews Stanley Cohen

I now report back on my favorite human rights attorney (bar none), Stanley Cohen. I am here to put his name forward. A good place to start is his blog: Caged but Undaunted. Chris Hedges interviewed Stanley on RT last month and it’s posted at On Contact.

So what’s new? Attica lives, written 4 days ago, is. Here we have a retrospective from 2016 on the prison riot of 1971.  This Friday, September 9, marks the 45th anniversary of the rebellion. Long penetrating read. Five stars.

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In Caged but Undaunted

You can tune in to @StanleyCohenLaw for live coverage and commentary first hand. I have not posted much on Twitter recently, but what I’ve written and recommended there is @billziegler1947

Possession of a human soul is the resource Stanley uses to represent super marginalized people (like Palestinians) trapped by powers that still be. His clients are people who speak truth to power, I recommend that muchly. 

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The IRS is still a go-to place in the federal government for expedient rulings requested by other arms of the federal government.  Their long arm searched for secreted funds but found nothing. That did not stop them from incarcerating Mr. Cohen in the Canaan PA prison-industrial facilities while they continued their search. By the way, they still haven’t found anything on him. 

No one touches the thief with multiple billion dollar caches and über high-level positions. Think large in this environment and expect things to come your way, such as the Presidency.

The idea was to silence him. Instead they gave Stanley Cohen insight into the inside. His witness is invaluable for all of us out there who believe that justice is not deferrable in a human society.

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Attica 1971

 

To paraphrase Joe Friday “Just none of the facts ma’am, just none of the facts.”

#UpTheRebels

Thanks for reading.

The Tyranny of the Majority

Majority rule is an expedient way to exercise authority over the unwanted and to marginalize unpopular ethnic groups, such as Native Palestinians in Palestine.

That guy on the $20 bill made the South safe for democracy. Somewhere in Jacksonian Democracy lies a lesson, one learned by 10,000 despots: if undesirables are out of the picture, they are not a problem. Future generations can safely and comfortably observe “mistakes were made.”

After the Trail of Tears, America was made safe for slaveholders again. Cherokees are for westerns or in teepees next to a Stuckeys. Have you heard this one: “I’m 1/24th Cherokee.” Really?

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Look up Nakba for a similar trail of tears.

America was great I hear. But them Indians got it made now, every tribe has a casino. Sad to say, they’re fat and lazy and coddled by Washington. Things never change, I guess. Wink. Nod.

Grocery stores near reservations are food deserts. If a vehicle becomes available a real supermarket is only 70 miles away. While you are 70 miles away from home you can stock up on health care services and relax a while at the local casino. Chill with your fellow ingrates.

Native Americans are number one in death by police.(The Counted: 2016) among all ethnic groups.

The Guardian compiles this database, but for some reason such information is not collected in the US.

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DJT is not a reader, but profound ignorance is no barrier to enormous wealth or monstrous feats of racism. Just a casual side note.

Ethnic cleansing silences voices of dissent.

Israel expelled 700,000 native Palestinians in 1948. Today the growth of settlements in the West Bank make population distribution look a lot like reservations in the formerly unoccupied American West.

NYT: All The News They Didn’t Print

I just read an article in  TimesWarp, a site that reports biased coverage in the New York Times of human rights violations in occupied Palestine. But never ever mention Palestine.

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Map provided in a brochure for a tour of the Holy Land in July 2016. Misinformation taken to the ultimate desired state.

Whitewashing Israeli War Crimes: the NYT Turns its Back on Survivors and Critics. It refers to bias on the part of Isabel Kershner in her New York Times article. It’s actually a pretty good textbook example of the fallacy of the middle ground. I think it is more than significant that her son is in the Israeli Army.

David Brooks may be the best known reporter for the Times. He is über well respected and considered a moderate and thoughtful writer. The guy has street cred. From his profile:

— David Brooks became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in September 2003. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday. He is currently a commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He also has a son in the Israeli army.  Do you think it might influence his reporting, well of course not. Why even bring it up?

Stories about Palestine are sanitized to remove any hint of a voice from a land destroyed in 1948 (The Nakba) and then further occupied in 1967 (The Naksa). It is still occupied as I write this. I was 8 months old on the day of Nakba (May 14, 1948), 19 years old on the day of Naksa (June 5, 1967).

Misinformation on Palestine has run rampant 24/7 for the last 24,943 days.

Journalists are rare and they seem to have left the building.

OK, let’s see how CAMERA.org views the New York Times. Here we have a monstrous and monstrously sized billboard below.

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CAMERA is an acronym for The “Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.” OK I’m dumbstruck by their understanding of Joseph Goebbels and Newspeak.

The NYT provides absolutely no reporting from within the occupied territories. Not good news if you are a reader of The Gray Lady, newspaper of record.

Last February Mondoweiss printed a parody of the New York Times that contained “all the news we didn’t print.”

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Map provided in a brochure for a tour of the Holy Land in July 2016. Misinformation taken to the ultimate desired state.

CAMERA explains the inaccuracies in the Mondoweiss parody. OK I’m dumbstruck again.

My humble gratitude to visitors identified on my WordPress analytics page as located in the “Palestinian Territories.” However, when I float an arrow cursor to find out where it is the names Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan pop up.  Hey, where in the world is Palestine? 

 

For freedom from misinformation know your sources.What about corporately sponsored media? …coming soon.

Thanks for reading.