"Ian Rankin once explained to an interviewer (the head of the Indian Communist Party!) that crime fiction is a way of talking about social inequality. Ron Jacobs applies that same maxim to the Sixties... in his wonderfully noir trilogy of those exhilarating and troubled times. And what Rankin does for Edinburgh, Jacobs amply illuminates for the Movement. Much much more than ripping yarns (though they are that too), from a master who's been there, done that, and lived to tell a tale or two."

--Ramsey Kanaan, Publisher PM Press/noir enthusiast

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rachel Corrie Lives-The Israeli Attack On the Aid Flotilla

Just when you think Israel can not do anything more to anger most of the world, it does. The attack on the aid flotilla of ships that includes the MV Rachel Corrie on May 31, 2010 was beyond the pale of conventionally accepted actions, even by Israel. It was the ship Mavi Marmara that was attacked and several of its passengers killed because they dared to physically challenge the tactics of the Israeli government in its campaign to isolate and eventually eradicate the idea of a Palestinian people. Like Rachel herself, the people on the ship were activists actively opposing the Israeli regime's decades-long crusade to dehumanize and destroy the lives of those who call themselves Palestinian. Realizing that the blockade of goods into Gaza has reached disastrous proportions, these folks worked with thousands of others around the world to gather food, medicines and a multitude of other goods forbidden by Israel to enter Gaza and bring the goods to Gaza.
Israel, seeing this humanitarian act as a threat to its control of events in Gaza and the West Bank, decided that this shipment of goods would not go through. After all, if Tel Aviv had allowed the flotilla carrying the goods to pass through on the flotilla's terms, that would mean that there truly was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In addition, it would also be a direct challenge to the forces in Israel whose goal is the eradication of Palestine and its assumption into a Zionist state where Palestinians are at best second-class residents. Apparently, it is not enough for Tel Aviv to take Palestinian land and ignore agreements it made with the Palestinians in Oslo--agreements that ensured Israel's dominance in the region despite the allowances they provided to the Palestinians. Like its partner in crime in Washington in the world, Israel insists that it will be the only power in the region to determine what happens to its subjects in occupied Palestine. No one can help them without being painted as a terrorist and anyone who does help them will be treated as such.
Washington's current doctrine (which it calls self-defense) provides it with its motivation to wage preemptive war or attack and occupy a nation where some members of a terror group trained. Tel Aviv's self-defense doctrine provides it with the self-justification to turn Gaza into an open air prison and attack it at will, arrest or kill Palestinians opposed to illegal Zionist settlements on Palestinian land, and divide families in two with a wall designed to keep Palestinians out of the ever-expanding state of Israel. That doctrine has now provided its misguided leaders with an excuse to illegally board a civilian ship in international waters and kill at least ten of its passengers. On the other side of the continent from where Israel undertook its act of mass murder on May 31, 2010 several nations are involved in capturing groups of pirates who attack and board ships carrying goods bound for other places. These pirates are considered international criminals and face the wrath of whatever navy happens to confront them. Their ships are often destroyed and the crews captured. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the IDF should face a similar justice.
Press releases from the Free Gaza Movement, which helped organize the flotilla, stated "Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep." Naturally, Tel Aviv tells a different story. Already, the Israeli media is painting the attack on the flotilla as one that was evenhanded. Left unmentioned in their reports is the fact that Israel attacked the ship in international waters and without any military provocation. Yet, if we are to believe the Israeli media, the best military force in the world--the IDF--was threatened by activists who may have been armed with some slingshots and baseball bats. Of course, this is the same IDF that sees boys with stones as mortal enemies and has killed many hundreds of those boys. There may be those outside of the Israeli power structure who will point to the fact that the activists on the attacked ship were armed with the aforementioned small weapons. Indeed, some Israeli politicians have already pointed to this fact as evidence of the flotilla members' evil intent and their role as members of something these politicians call"global jihad." This portrayal of the situation ignores the fact that Israel attacked the ship, not the other way around. What the activists on board were doing is defending themselves from the much greater weaponry of the IDF. That is the definition of self-defense, not the perversion of the concept used by the Washington and Tel Aviv to defend their crimes. Crimes that would be known as such if they were committed by smaller and weaker nations.

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