Saturday, 28 February 2009

Swedes prepare to protest Israeli tennis team

Scandinavia has a long tradition of supporting the Palestinian people. Norway probably witnessed the largest demonstrations of any country in the world, measured as a proportion of the population, against the Israeli massacres in Gaza.

Now the Swedes are preparing to protest against the visit of the Israeli Davis Cup tennis team due to play in Sweden next Saturday. Viva Malmo!
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Around 1,000 police officers will be on duty at the Baltic Hall in Malmo when Sweden host Israel in next week's Davis Cup first round tie, Swedish police said on Thursday.

The March 6-8 tie is being held behind closed doors due to security concerns .

Police said between 8,000 to 12,000 people are expected to hold a demonstration next Saturday against Israel's participation in the men's team competition...

...Last week Shahar Peer was denied entry into the UAE, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, for a women's tournament in Dubai. After worldwide condemnation, the Gulf state was forced to change its policy of barring Israeli athletes and said a special permit would be issued to competitors who had qualified for a tournament in its territory.

The Israeli Davis Cup team will arrive in Sweden with several security guards of their own, two of which had asked for permission to be armed. However, that request was turned down. more

Huge welcome for Viva Palestina convoy in Libya

5 days of hospitality in Libya

According to the newspaper Libya Elyoum, the program for the Gaza convoy is as follows:

Saturday 29-02-09
Welcome and reception at border point of Ras Ajdir
Head for the Scout' training centre in Joddaim.

Sunday 01-03-09
Leave for public rally in centre of Tripoli
Here a local convoy will be joining ours.
Press conference
Short stop at Khoms
Rally at Masrata and the inauguration of GAZA STREET.

Monday 02-03-09

Leave Masrata in the morning
Pass through Surt and Guardabia
Stop at Ras Lanouf for the night

Tuesday 03-03-09
Leave then stop at Akila
Rest at Barika for lunch
Public rally at Ajdabia next to Sport City
Arrival at Bengazi-Accomodation at the Touristic Village

Wednesday 04-03-09
Press conference
Local convoy joins ours
Rally and rest at the city of Marj
Rally at Al Bayda city and stop for the night

Thursday 05-03-09
Head for the town of Derna via Shahat Soussa
Pulic rally at Derna
Leave for the city of Tobruk
Public rally at Tobruk and overnight stay

Friday 06-03-09
Leave for the area of Amsaada
Ceremony and departure of convoy

Prepared and translated by Farid Arada

From the Tripoli Post
Libyans at the public and official levels are preparing to welcome the convoy with cheers and support for their noble undertaking that is devote to lift some of the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza caused by continuous Israeli crimes against humanity.

The convoy is expected to take the span of four days to cross Libyan territories and drive over 1,900 kms, in order to reach Imsa'id's border post with Egypt on Saturday 28 February. more

Viva Palestina convoy entes Libya

[UPDATE - 12.05 GMT - A welcoming reception for the convoy at the Libyan border. On the road to Tripoli - the desert awaits!about 1 hour ago from web -]

On Friday the Viva Palestina convoy was reported to be on the Libyan border following a rapturous reception from the people of Tunisia. But the police don't seem to have over come their paranoia. This from Farid Arada posted at
The police are having a job on their hands trying to contain the jubilation and excitement of the crowds and are even thinking of moving the convoy to the border crossing point of Ras Ajdir about 30km away (18 miles).
And that is indeed what they did with the convoy volunteers having to spend the night in their vehicles before crossing the border.

It seems, not surprisingly, that the convoy leaders have had to tread a delicate path in their journey through north Africa - something of a balancing act between securing safe passage and rousing the local populations' pro-Palestinian fervour. This is the only way to explain how it was that George Galloway could on the one hand be meeting with the Tunisian prime minister Mohammed Ghannouchi one day, while the next people are being arrested in what Greg Cullen, a playwright from Wales, described as 'a terrifying experience.

This balancing act can only become more precarious when the convoy enters Egypt as Greg rightly points out in his interview with the South Wales Echo, posted at Wales Online.
Greg said: “Who knows what will happen in Libya but the country we’re really frightened about is Egypt.

“They have a massive security force and a peace accord with Israel.”
You can follow Greg's journey on his Hamas has been following the progress of the convoy and the first report has gone up at the Palestine Information Center.
Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Ghannoshi welcomed Galawi [Galloway], who underlined, "We were shocked with what had happened to the Palestinian people [at the hand of the Israelis], and here we are now coming to extend a helping hand to those oppressed people".

"The convoy reflects the feelings of the people of the countries it passes through as we are always warmly welcomed in every place we pass", the lawmaker stressed.

Why Gaza plays take a stand for justice

Andrew Haydon has written an amazingly foolish piece at the Guardian Theatre blog on the recent crop of Gaza plays showing in the UK. The 10-minute Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill and now Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea by Justin Butcher and Ahmed Masoud (described as a multimedia verbatim testimony) both make no bones about highlighting the injustices - and death - being heaped on the people of Gaza by the Israelis.

But Haydon thinks it is 'worrying' that Churchill's play portrays 'the Jews (at least in part) as victim-turned-persecutor' and castigates Go to Gaza for presenting a 'parade of blameless innocents'. He concludes that both plays risk 'demonising a whole country - if not every single Jew on the planet'.

The problem with people like Haydon, who is quick to criticise the lack of social context in the plays, is there ignorance and reluctance to face the truth and the social context. So he finds the description of Hamas as the resistance troublesome. But don't Palestinian's have the right to resist occupation? He speaks of the 'suffering directly inflicted by Hamas' on the people of Gaza with reference to recent alleged kneecappings and extrajudicial killings of collaborators. But isn't high treason punishable by death in most countries? And what about the context - after all wasn't it the US and Fatah that launched a coup, that failed, against Hamas in 2006 in total disregard for the will of the people?

In fact Haydon lets the cat out of the bag when he reaches the end of his diatribe. He tells us that he basically doesn't like political theatre. But worse he claims the plays end up being an attack 'on every single Jew'. What he can't get his head around is the fact that not all Jews support Israel. Attacking Israel and zionism is not an attack on Jewish people as a whole. He pleads for playwrights to look 'at the situation properly'. But by 'properly' he means to look at it in a way that sees the victims as being equally to blame for their predicament as the real oppressor - Israel.

Haydon's review in TimeOut says Go to Gaza is 'moving on loss of life in Gaza. But I felt that it was also propaganda and specious justification for Islamist terrorism' because it concludes with one man joining the resistance. His view that Hamas is a terrorist organisation because it resists Israeli aggression is outrageous - by killing three Israelis as against at least 1,300 Palestinians - but is of course in keeping with the hypocritical foreign policy of western governments that fails to recognise the legitimacy of the Hamas election victory, described as the freest in the region by ex US president Jimmy Carter and the other observers on the ground at the time.

Does this man not know the real 'social context' of the Palestinian struggle to reclaim their homeland - that there used to be a place called Palestine upon which the Israeli state was built through a campaign of terror and ethnic cleansing?

Also see Caryl Churchill's Gaza play is anti-war not anti-semitic