Political prisoner delegation meets with shunpiking magazine

HALIFAX (5 May 2006) -- On May First, the representatives of Palestinian political prisoners had an opportunity to visit different locales in Halifax to become acquainted with the historic city and its military-commercial port and shop for gifts for their children, as well as to meet with the editorial board of shunpiking magazine.

In an enlightening conversation, Ayed Abu Eqtaish and Adam Hanieh described the delegation's visit to the Six Nations Blockade at Caledonia near Hamilton, Ontario, as the highlight of their visit to Canada. The blockade has been set up against the illegal Henco Industries housing project at Caledonia, near Hamilton, Ontario, which has been encircled by a 50 sq. mile perimeter of 1000 OPP and 250 RCMP with the Canadian army at the ready. They were very impressed with the support being expressed by Canadians as well as the wisdom and experience of the the clan mothers of the Six Nations who forcefully and clearly presented the just stand of the Six Nations to reclaim the land of her people and within the historical perspective.

As with the indigenous people of Palestine, so too the indigenous peoples of the Americas were affirming and defending their hereditary rights, with a marked degree of support by the Canadian people. Both are waging a merciless struggle against colonization and its justice.

The just battle of the Six Nations to defend their sovereign territory has the unconditional support of all Palestinians.

(In fact, representatives of the Niagara Palestinian Association visited the site of blockade on 3 May. A Palestinian flag was presented to the Onkwehonweh clan mothers, chiefs, braves and solidarity community who are camped out at the blockade. The Palestinian flag was raised on the same pole below the proud Mohawk flag. Palestinian hattas or scarves, a universal symbol of resistance, and food were given as gifts. )

Ayed said that the Six Nations evidently represents an ancient, civilized and cultured people with a high level of historical democratic governance traditions. The people of Palestine are also a people with over 6,000 years of history, and are now starting to reject Eurocentric solutions and approaches, looking at developing new forms and interpretations based on their own indigenous thought material and traditions together with the most advanced international experience and thinking.

He also expressed a keen interest in the history of the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Afro Nova Scotians and the Gaelic-speaking peoples cleansed from the Highlands and Islands and Ireland by British armies, as well as the popular movement in Canada against US annexation and war.

Ayed expressed his sincere appreciation for the hard work of the shunpiking collective in publishing the Dossier on Palestine (2003) and the editorial board expressed its appreciation of the courageous struggle of the people of Palestine, a vital contribution to humanity's resistance to the offensive of imperial powers and the blackest reaction.

He stressed that, in the face of sophisticated disinformation by the Israeli state's propaganda machine, the cause of the Palestinian political prisoners must be served by increasing the quality, frequency and extent of their story, especially that of the youth and children. He explained that the modus operandi of Israel is not merely propagandistic and general; specific lies are manufactured and disseminated according to the concrete situation on the ground and its strategic development.

He explained that at the start of the Intifada in September 2000 when very few youth were involved, the streets being generally "peaceful" compared to what later unfolded, Israelis started disseminating as a "question" why Palestinian mothers would push their children into the line of fire and then weep over their dead bodies. For those ignorant of the conflict, the "question" might seem logical. but the timing was fortuituous and the premise pathological.

The terrain, he said, was being prepared to divert attention from the shooting by soldiers wounding and killing these children which was to be deliberately stepped up. Thus, between September 2000 and summer, 2003 some 22.5 per cent of the over 1,914 Palestinians killed were 18 years old or younger, 60 per cent were shot with live ammunition, and 85 per cent were civilians or not involved in any violent action or attack at the time they were killed.

Dossier on Palestine. A special Edition of ShunpikingIn many cases, snipers shot with pin point accuracy,as with the Palestinian boy, Fares Udah, aged 13, whose photo bravely confronting an Israeli tank stone in hand on the outskirts of Gaza City on 29 October 2000 is featured on the front cover of the Dossier on Palestine. Fares survived the encounter with the tank only to be shot dead by Israeli soldiers a week later on 8 November. By 9 October 2003 Israeli radio was publicly admitting that "new" rules of engagement stipulated that soldiers should treat stonethrowers (youth) on equal footing with fighters opening fire on Israeli force, meaning that soldiers should shoot-to-kill, a policy that had already been implemented.

Instead of people asking why these soldiers are wounding and killing Palestinian youth and children - or even what are they doing on Palestinian land - they are conflicted with the images of young hoodlums and devils, behind which is the racist stereotype of the Palestinian mother as a woman without human feelings for their children, as someone who is not really human or less than human, sub-human. Hence they should be treated as animals.

Time magazine, for instance, then portrayed "Israel soldiers firing rubber bullets at Israeli youth". Not only were the "rubber bullets" actually "rubber-coated steel bullets" but such shooting, as has been the case in Northern Ireland, is simply portrayed as a humane act to the reader.

Thus people should be very vigilant when each new and astonishing lie emerges; it is not idle nor borne from stupidity, ignorance or religiosity but created with an aim, to disinform people within Israel, in Palestine and on the world scale about whatever coming from behind the back against the Palestinians. To this end, the Office of Public Relations works closely with the international journalists assigned to cover the conflict, as well as visiting delegations hosted by the Israeli state and editorial offices abroad.

Tony Seed said that, on behalf of shunpiking, which is independent of any vested interest, the magazine and Shunpiking Online will continue to speak the truth, regardless of pressure, and create space for the voice of the Palestinian. The audio file from the speaking tour will be immediately posted on shunpiking.org so that people can hear for themselves this voice and make up their own minds as to the truth.

"We stand for conscience and principle, human dignity and justice," he said. In quoting from the Dossier's editorial, he added: "We will make every effort to frustrate the shameless attempts of these forces to blame and malign the victims for their condition."

In rejecting the mean-spirited stand of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister Peter MacKay to join the American-Israeli blockade of the newly-elected Palestine National Legislature, Tony Seed underlined that all peoples have the right to chart their own course, a modern principle the magazine defends in relations between peoples of the world, whether it is between Nova Scotia and Scotland, Canada and Palestine, or Canada and Cuba, so forth.

Comments to : shunpike@shunpiking.org Copyright New Media Services Inc. 2006. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. Copyright of written and photographic and art work remains with the creators.