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Saturday, 14 February 2009

americans harassing americans within america

It seems that students of Hampshire College of Amherst, MA in the States, who put forward a motion to said college to divest from companies with a strong interest in Israel and Palestine (the interest of which, aid and abet misery, whether deliberately or not), are being intimidated by forces far bigger than them. The college, following many British colleges and universities, did choose to take note of the students' petitioning and did choose to divest. Apparently it was the first college in America to divest from apartheid South Africa, in 1977, for which it should be proud. Along with the students, the college has also been pressured for its moral stance, which means that it, like the Church of England (which has recently disinvested - their word - from Caterpillar), has claimed that its reasons for divestment are financial or vaguely ethical, though the Church of England has now clarified its position, and says that divestment is due to:
[t]he majority in the Synod [being] clearly particularly unhappy with the idea of the church profiting from one specific and controversial security policy. The demolition of Palestinian homes [by bulldozing], in recent years has been a regular source of controversy, and raises moral issues of some seriousness. [Is due] to [a wish to] register our concern over this and to review whether we should or could continue with an investment policy which appeared to accept something with which we were deeply uneasy.
There is information of the intimidation here, and you can trace it back through the Mondoweiss blog. The students' action has the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, by the way.

Students at Cornell College who made a very peaceful protest, in that it didn't even involve people, by placing 1300 black flags around their college to represent 1300 Gazan deaths, and by putting up signs quoting United Nations and Amnesty International statements on deaths and war crimes in Gaza, had their flags uprooted and signs destroyed within the day. If one reads the comment sections on the newspaper article linked, it seems that some students (I wonder) were intimidated by the flags as they walked to their school. It's just as well they didn't have to face phosphorous or dime bombs then. I wonder what the sight of those would have done to them if flags could reduce them to babbling messes (okay, okay, I exaggerate on the babbling mess). Anyway.

Further developments and discussion can be found at the Mondoweiss blog. He provides lots of links within a post, so you can click back through them.

A lot bigger than Hampshire.

Three of 900 people protesting.
Have been wanting to add this letter from Antony Lowenstein's blog for a few days. 300 signatories. I will quote directly from the entry:

The following letter was endorsed by 300 participants at the meeting on February 6 and sent to federal ministers and Labor backbenchers.

from: Sydney Public Meeting*,
Politics in the Pub, Gaelic Club,
Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW
February 6th 2009


The Gaza Catastrophe: An Independent Australian Foreign Policy
The killing of over 1300 people in Gaza, a large proportion of whom were children, plus the devastation of homes and basic infrastructure prompts the question, ‘Where is the respect for human rights?’ This question also addresses Hamas firing of rockets which, during the long siege of Gaza, killed at least eleven Israelis.

In relation to the Gaza catastrophe, we ask that your Government cease the practice of treating Israel as an exceptional State, above international law , able to ignore UN resolutions, steal more land for settlements and able to kill at will. Please also find the courage to challenge Israeli spokespersons’ explanations and excuses for their brutality.

We also ask you and your colleagues to find the courage to develop an independent Australian policy which recognizes that peace with justice for the Palestinians, as identified by the rulings and principles of international law, would also provide security for Israel. Dialogue for a just peace, including meetings with Hamas, is the least costly, the most visionary and the only non violent way to address this decades old injustice.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Rees,
Chair, * Public Meeting, letter endorsed by 300 + participants on 6/2/09
Sydney Peace Foundation
Box 54, Holme Building, Univ. of Sydney, NSW 2006

I think a lot of Australians wish that the government, and members of government, whether in power or opposition - the members that they elected - could and would follow the above.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr