Saturday, 27 July 2013

No evidence of “threats” that prompted The Animals’ Eric Burdon to cancel Israel gig

Eric Burdon, Jimi Hendrix and friends

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Eric Burdon, former lead vocalist of the 1960s British band The Animals, has canceled a scheduled performance in Israel amid claims of “threats” to his life.

But no evidence has emerged to substantiate the claims of threats, or accusations by a Jewish Agency propagandist that activists in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement made them.

Claim of “threats”

“We are under increasing pressure, including many threatening emails that we are receiving on a daily basis. I wouldn’t want to put Eric in any danger,” his manager, Marianna Burdon, wrote in a letter to Israeli members of Tislam, the band Burdon was scheduled to perform with, Haaretz reported on 23 July.

Burdon is currently on tour promoting his recent solo album Til Your River Runs Dry. The Animals’ best-known songs include hit singles “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “We Gotta Get out of This Place.”

Burdon’s song “Monterey” (see video above) is an ode to the legendary 1967 music festival in Monterey, California, which is remembered for some of the earliest major American appearances by iconic artists of the era, including Hugh Masekela, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and Ravi Shankar.

While other Israeli media, such as The Times of Israel website, have also reported that Burdon “caved to threats,” no details of the alleged threats have come to light.

The Independent reported, “The nature of the threats is unclear, but according to Israel Radio … Mr Burdon was not willing to risk his life to come to Israel.”

According to the blog Kadaitcha, Burdon’s cancelation came after an advocacy campaign by activists, including the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Don’t Play Apartheid Israel. more

The child workers who maintain Gaza's cemeteries

Mahmoud, a 12-year-old Gazan boy, spends more than nine hours a day between the graves of the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in the center of Gaza City. He stares at the cemetery gate, waiting for a grave visitor or funeral procession.

Mahmoud offers to keep the tombs of the deceased clean and planted with flowers in exchange for a small sum. He does this to avoid problems with his father, who beats him and threatens to kick him out of the house if he doesn’t collect enough money by the end of the day.

According to data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), “There are about 65,000 working children in the Palestinian territories, accounting for 6% of all children in the 5-14 age range. Some are paid, others are not.”

In its annual report issued in 2012, the PCBS said that 8% of children aged 5-14 work in the West Bank, while 3.1% of the same age group work in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, 7.7% of male children (aged 5-14) in the Palestinian territories work, while among females this rate is 4.2%. Mahmoud, who appears to be extremely tired, wanders among the graves, carrying a small bucket of water in one hand and a bouquet of roses in the other. He sprays water on graves and removes the grass from around the tombstone to plant flowers instead.

While spraying water on a marble tomb that appears to be new, he told Al-Monitor, “My father took me out of school two years ago. He told me I am only supposed to work, and forced me to come to this cemetery every day to ask visitors for money in return for taking care of the graves of their loved ones on a regular basis.” more

Factions denounce Hamas closure of media offices in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions on Thursday condemned the closure by Hamas of media offices in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas' attorney-general on Thursday ordered the closure of the Gaza City bureaus of Al-Arabiya and Ma'an News Agency.

"The Attorney General decided to close down Al-Arabiya and Ma'an offices in Gaza for distributing false news regarding the smear campaign against Hamas and Gaza about what's happening in Egypt," a Hamas official told AFP.

The order was relayed to Ma'an's bureau chief in Gaza by officials from the Hamas Ministry of Information and security forces, who visited the office to complain about a report that Muslim Brotherhood officials had been smuggled into Gaza.

Fatah's culture and media commission said the closures violated Palestinians' right to information. It called on Arab media organizations and human rights groups to act against threats to the media.

The Palestinian National Initiative called on Hamas to reconsider its decision to close the offices and to respect the rights to expression and stop attacks against the media freedoms. more