The Great Hunger

It’s such a sad song. Like most Irish ones. It’s set in the mid-19th century Great Irish Famine. The Irish call it the Great Hunger. The song tells of young woman standing outside a prison, calling out to her love behind bars. She tells him that he is going to be shipped off to Australia to work in British labor camps as punishment. His crime was stealing corn from an English settler and landowner so that their child would not starve to death.

   By a lonely prison wall
   I heard a young girl calling,
   “Michael, they are taking you away
   For you stole Trevelyn’s corn,
   So the young might see the morn.
   Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.”

The young man’s response pierces, unexpectedly, the hearts of listeners:

   By a lonely prison wall
   I heard a young man calling,
   “Nothing matters, Mary, when you’re free
   Against the Famine and the Crown,
   I rebelled, they cut me down.
   Now you must raise our child with dignity.”

The song ends with the young man being ripped forever away from his family, to face a life of slavery in the British prison colonies in Botany Bay, Australia. Mary watches him go, helpless, hoping for the impossible—that she might see her love again.

   By a lonely harbor wall
   She watched the last star falling
   As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
   Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray
   For her love in Botany Bay
   It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry.

A little background might fully paint the picture for you: The Great Hunger is commonly blamed on the potato blight that spread across Europe in the mid-1800’s. Before the blight hit, the condition of the Irish people was already bleak. By that time, the English had occupied most of the fertile land of Ireland. The Empire installed settlers, wealthy English landowners, who now reaped the rewards of the stolen land. The Irish were forced to work on these plantations—land which was once theirs and their fathers—as serfs (in actuality slaves would be a more accurate description—the Irish received almost nothing for their grueling work, were not allow to get an education, and often ended up paying their landowners to work). This state of affairs left the Irish in abject poverty, nearly a third of the population unable to find food or money enough to feed their families.

And then the blight began spreading across Europe in the 1840’s. England had ample enough time to counterbalance the infestation and thereby prevent any significant hardship for its colony in Ireland. Needless to say, England staunchly refused to help. Instead, like any good conqueror, they utilized this opportunity to the full—for, in English eyes, the blight was a blessing.

Travelyan, the landlord referred to in the song (he was also the Secretary of the Treasury for Irish Relief) said of the Famine that it was “a direct stroke of an all-wise and all-merciful providence” and “an opportunity to clear the land of surplus population.” To give an idea of the extent of the racism toward the Irish, the Prime Minister Lord John Russell, was an adherent of the renowned 16th century English poet Edmund Spenser’s views on Ireland. Spenser had written a genocidal pamphlet on how to deal with the “Irish problem.” In it, he recommends ways in which to cause famine and calculates “how far English colonization and English policy might be most effectively carried out by Irish starvation.”

The educational institutions of England propagated this bigotry on a popular level. One such Oxford professor of economics at the time lamented that the Famine “would not kill more than one million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do any good.”

We must allow this professor to be an excellent economist at least, for his estimate was nearly accurate. The Famine killed between 1.1 and 1.5 million Irish people. Over another million Irish were forced to flee to America, never to see their homes or families again. By the end of the five years of famine, the Irish lost over 25% of their population. 150 years later their population is only half of what it was before the Famine.

Over and above the 2.5 million deaths and departures, the Famine laid the groundwork for even more English repression of the Irish. Their increasing impoverishment during this time made it impossible for many to pay their rent. This gave an excuse to their English landowners to push them off their land (as if it were not enough that they were forced to work their land like slaves). The number is unknown, but hundreds of thousands of Irish were evicted, forced to flee to the barren tracts in the west of the country.

They destroyed the Irish language. Before the Famine the majority of the Irish spoke Irish (or Gaelic). After the famine—their culture broken, their history shattered, their future departing before their eyes across the sea, never to be seen again—Gaelic began waning and English became the number one language of the island. It still is today.

Starvation as Genocide

The Famine was, undoubtedly, a watershed event in Ireland’s tragic history. The political pretext of the Famine may have been the potato blight that spread across Europe. But nowhere else in Europe did starvation occur. An Irish political writer at the time, John Mitchel, said notably that “the Almighty, indeed, sent the potato blight, but the English created the Famine.”

That the Famine was really genocide has been (and continues to be) a hot political issue. But in cases like these, thankfully, history speaks for itself. Without a doubt, England could have prevented the famine completely. While potato was a main food for many of the Irish (being too poor and not having enough land to grow anything else), Ireland continued to harvest much grain and other food sources throughout the Famine—it is not called the Emerald Island for nothing—all of which was being exported to England by the settlers for a profit. Historian Cecil Woodham-Smith has said that it is an “indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation.”

The horror and violence of starvation as a means of genocide is recorded in the descriptions of the emaciated bodies of babies. English Quaker William Bennett recalled the scene of “three children huddled together, lying there because they were too weak to rise, pale and ghastly, their little limbs…perfectly emaciated, eyes sunk, voice gone, and evidently in the last stages of actual starvation.”

Law professor Francis Boyle (Urbana-Champaign) has said that “the British government pursued a policy of mass starvation in Ireland with intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnic, and racial group commonly known as the Irish people.” This, he said, constitutes an act of genocide.
Repetition in the Holy Land

Humankind has not changed much in the past 150 years or so. Genocidal starvation seems to be a favorite political tool for heartless oppressors, people infected with malignant arrogance. For nearly two years now, the Zionist Israeli government has been starving out the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza. It has set up a blockade against the area of Gaza, allowing nothing in and nothing out—an open-air concentration camp. Gaza is the most populous place on earth, and one of the most impoverished. Throughout the blockade, life saving medicine, food, gas and other necessities have been severely limited.

And then on November 5th the Israelis sealed off the borders completely, pushing Gazans to the brink of disaster. Banks collapsed, further dragging Gazans into poverty. Nearly 50% of Gazans at the time were unemployed and workers had not been paid since the 19th of November.

Richard Falk, a UN representative for human rights in occupied Palestinian territory has called this blockade of Gaza a crime against humanity. Falk was arrested upon landing in Tel Aviv in the third week of December. He was kept in a disgusting, crowded cell over night before being deported to his native California. He has reported, however, that about 46% of Gazan children suffer from acute anemia and 18% have stunted growth. 75% of all Gazans suffer from some degree of malnutrition.

The vast majority of Gazans depend on charity food providers, but because of the blockade the charities were forced to suspend their food distribution in mid December, only sporadically being opened after that. The vast majority of bakeries in Gaza have also shut down because they ran out of cooking gas. The lack of cooking gas has made it impossible for the people to raise chickens (the gas is needed to incubate the chicks), depriving the Gazans of their prime source of protein. Water is also short, many Gazans during this time had access to water for only six hours every three days.

They also were deprived of fuel to run the pumps for sewage systems and power for electricity. They spent at least three quarters of their day with no electricity. The effects of this were catastrophic—people could not cook, kids could not go to school, and hospitals were running out of fuel to run their generators. Because of the frequent power outages much of the medical equipment has been destroyed. And because of the blockade, medicine is scarce and, as most of the exit visas for Gazans have been revoked by the Israelis, people who needed outside medical help simply could not get it. 230 people died last year because of this, many at checkpoints waiting to cross.

The psychological and emotional scarring of this sort of violence against a population cannot be stressed enough. Over 50% of Gazan children under the age of 12 do not have the will to live. And a shocking 71% of kids interviewed said they want to be martyrs.

The Massacre

All this was before the 27th of December. That Saturday morning, just as kids left school to go home for their morning recess, the bombs started dropping. Panic spread through the streets of Gaza. By the end of that day over 200 people were killed and over 700 were injured (many critically). Within minutes hundreds of wounded people flooded hospitals—hospitals that already suffered from lack of proper equipment and medicine.

As I write, the third week of bombing is nearly over. Day twenty of the massacre has begun. Tanks pound to death unarmed Palestinians in the streets. Reservist soldiers shoot to kill during the dark nights. The skyline of Gaza, as I watch the news, looks like a scene of Hellfire. The deep night sky is lit up with shockingly massive bursts of flame, sparks flying everywhere, fireballs explode, and smoke shoots up like columns. The noise of drones overhead never ceases.

The Israelis ignore the UN call for a ceasefire and prepare for “phase three,” the letting loose of ground troops onto the shattered and blood-filled streets of Gaza. 13 Israelis have been killed (four by friendly fire). The Israelis have slaughtered more than 1,030 Palestinians (not including people yet to be found under rubble). They have injured more than 4,750. Forty-some percent of the deaths (according to the UN) are women and children. All are innocent—prisoners of the Israeli-run Gaza concentration camp. Each single death is a murder. Entire families have been killed in their beds, 2-ton bombs dropping on their houses as the sleep. Trapped children suck the toes of their dead mothers as they wait for days to be rescued.

At least 21 medics, clearly marked, have been shot and killed by Israelis. Ambulances have also been targeted. Because of the barbarous “security measures” taken by the Israelis, medics are prevented from going into many areas. In other areas they are not allowed to drive in, so they walk miles just to retrieve some of the dead and wounded. Israeli snipers have shot medics as they rush to retrieve dead bodies.

Nowhere is safe at all. Frightened people fled for refuge to UN schools. In cold blood, knowing the coordinates of the schools, the Israelis bombed two such schools last week. They killed three people in the first school. In the second, blood ran down the steps and across the courtyard as panicked and grieved people struggled to get the 43 dead bodies to the hospital.

It’s a truly horrific sight, watching the footage of Gaza, so close and yet so far away. Countless fathers weep over their still and bloodied daughters. Women raise their hands in the air, crying out for help from somewhere, anywhere. Somber young men sit on bits of rubble, amid debris that was once called home. Young girls cry in the streets, terror etched in their otherwise pretty faces.

One father asks, holding up his dead baby, a bullet in its head, “what did this child do to [Ehud] Barak? Did he throw anything at him?” He then asked, “what did these children do to Barak?” indicating two little boys with bullet holes in their chests, killed by Israeli snipers, “you did all this for the election, is this the way you treat children?”

The hospitals bear witness to the savage barbarity of the Israeli genocide. Infants covered with shrapnel scream as doctors try to hold them down and work on them with no anesthesia. Little boys lay, oddly still, but eyes wide with fright, tubes pushed through their nose and mouth. Ambulances, minivans, and cars rush—one after another—to the doors of the hospitals, young men jump out to drag out the bodies—some wounded, others dead. It’s mayhem. A young man here sobs like a child as he sees his bloodied friend die at the entrance to the hospital. A woman, hysterical, slaps her face repeatedly, wailing and shrieking as the medics tell her that her children are dead. And grown men rock themselves with grief, howling at the death of their mothers, their wives, and their babies.

People around them—their voices raw with emotion, their bodies shaking with rage and pity—try in turns to drag the mourners off the bodies of the dead, hold them up, and counsel them: say the shahada, “I bear witness that there is no god but God and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Shouts of the shahada echo through the pandemonium-filled hospital halls.

Every day in the past twenty days, an hour or so before dawn, the noise of the bombs exploding and the roaring of the planes overhead slightly hushed by the beautiful, melodious calls to prayer coming forth from the numerous mosques of Gaza. Over a dozen mosques have been blown to pieces. The people still pray in the rubble though. “If the Israelis want to deny it for us, we’ll worship despite the bombings,” said one Gazan. “God only strengthens our convictions after these attacks,” says another.” An imam said after the Friday prayer: “To the people around the world and in Arab and Muslim countries, I say your silence allows for this aggression to continue. And to those praying here, I say this is our mosque and I will pray here till Judgment Day. And we will rebuild this mosque even bigger.”

And throughout all this, the starvation continues. There is still barely any food. And even if there was, many fear leaving their houses to go out and scrounge for it. Still others venture out to find some. They risk their lives to feed their families. Yet others have no money to even risk their lives to buy food. And some who do have money cannot buy anything, for bakeries are shut or empty. Electricity is still out most of the time. So too is the water. And of that precious water, much of it is used to put out the fire created by the explosions (including the incendiary white phosphorus which is illegal to use on civilian populations as it is extremely flammable and very toxic).

The emaciated bodies of those yet living bear witness to this human catastrophe. Hell on earth, a UN aid worker called it. The UN aid ceased their programs for a couple days as the Israelis have repeatedly targeted (and killed) their workers (who are clearly marked).

I’ve seen women sobbing in shelters, demanding “what have our kids done?!” They hold their hungry, screaming babies—no more milk to feed them, “where is the world?!” they demand. “Is the world blinded?!” shouts an old man. “Why can’t we go home to our beds and eat and drink like everybody else?!” It’s heartbreaking to see these individuals driven mad by the terror and hunger this way. Some try to reason with the mindless violence, they scream in absolute desperation: “we have no Hamas here! There is not Hamas here!” some old women shout from their windows. They look as if they are on the brink of total mental and emotional derangement.

And yet, Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, has said, and everyone should note, that “the humanitarian situation in Gaza is exactly as it should be.” Just another indication of the harder than stone hearts of these butchers.

The Plan of Attack

Perhaps all this would be easier to stomach were this holocaust done on a vengeful whim. But the indigestible reality is that this was meticulously planned out for at least half a year. It was internationally coordinated as well. If you do not believe my loaded accusation then look at the facts yourself.

The Israelis, along with their cohorts in the US, the EU, and the Arab world, had their plan of attack worked out to the tee. Their extremely lame pretext ran something like this: We needed to attack Gaza because Hamas has been firing rockets into our city. Hamas broke the ceasefire in this way, so we were forced to attack.

This statement is a bald-faced lie. Hamas was very cooperative with the Israelis. They abided by the ceasefire even while the Israelis never lived up to their side of the agreement. The Israelis laid siege to Gaza breaking the ceasefire and Hamas still did not react. The Israeli soldiers killed several Palestinians breaking the ceasefire and Hamas still did not react. Israel then killed six people on the 4th of November breaking the ceasefire yet again. Only then did Hamas retaliate with rockets.

This reality has been convoluted and contorted by the Israelis and the US. Israeli Tzipi Livni, said, hours before the attack that “Hamas needs to understand that our aspiration to live in peace doesn’t mean that Israel is going to take this kind of situation any longer…enough is enough.”

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also said, “I’m telling them now it may be the last minute. I’m telling them stop it, we are stronger…there will be more blood there. Who wants it? We don’t want it.”

Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said, “We are sending [the Gazans] a message that the Hamas leadership has turned them into a punching bag for everyone. It is a leadership that has turned schoolyards into rocket launching pads. This is a leadership that does not care that the blood of its people will run in the streets.

They sound like typical wife-beaters, don’t they? Typical burly men who smash the living daylights out of their wives or girl friends: “I don’t want to hurt you, why don’t you just listen to me? Why do you make me do this to you?” And, as we all know, when the timid little wife decides she’s had enough, Wife Beater aggresses with even more force and violence. Many times he ends up killing her. These stories are sickening enough. But it becomes an outrage—a communal crime—when the entire neighborhood stands up for Wife Beater, condemning the wife and telling her to crawl back to her humiliating and harmful existence. This has been the role of the US and the governments of the world (most of them, the “ones that count,” anyway).

The US government and American politicians have defended, zealously, the holocaust in Gaza. President Bush said that he understands “Israel’s right to protect itself.” The White House spokesman said: “the United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself.” He also blamed Hamas for the massacre: “In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel…”

Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid has said: “What the Israelis are doing is very important…” The supposedly progressive Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Howard Berman and others all support Israel in this massacre, couching it in terms of “defense.”

For those who are waiting for January 20th for some sort of magical change, well, dream on. Obama has appointed for himself a rabidly Zionist administration—Rahm Emanuel, Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden are just a few. He has remained rather quiet about the Gaza holocaust, only making an extremely ambivalent comment. But his senior advisor David Axelrod said that Obama understood Israel’s urge to respond to Hamas. Axelrod also reminded the public about Obama’s statements while in Israel (on his visit he ignored the Palestinians completely) in July 2008 when he said: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” As Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah said in a recent article, “This allegedly post-racial president appears fully invested in the racist worldview that considers Arab lives to be worth less than those of Israelis and in which Arabs are always the ‘terrorists’.”

It’s quite reminiscent of the English reaction to the Irish Famine. And as Mitchel, the Irish political writer said of the British parliament that, despite their differences, “they agree most cordially in the policy of taxing, prosecuting, and ruining [the Irish].”

Our politicians may be content, for the sake of power, to comply with the lies of Israel, one such lie is that they sincerely try not to kill civilians. But, as Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, wrote after the massacre at the UN school that “every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night’s butchery on their hands.”

The UN’s impotence played out before the world when it, with a great flourish of blue paper, basically stated that it “hoped” for a ceasefire. That is to say, even though it called to a ceasefire (which is legally binding), it has done nothing to ensure that it is implemented. [Especially when the US abstained from the vote, basically nullifying it completely]. When masses of innocent people are being slaughtered every single day, “hope” from the world leaders is not enough. Nor is it acceptable at all that the UN views the holocaust in Gaza as a two-sided war. In this way it upholds the PR lie of the Israelis.

The Metaphor They Killed By

Namely that Hamas is the problem. We’ll blame it on Hamas. The world should buy it, right? After all, Hamas is labeled a terrorist organization. They’ve been firing rockets onto our colonial settlements. We can tell the world that we gave them water and electricity. We left their land two years ago. But they still fired rockets and actually killed a couple people.

It’s a crafty explanation, no doubt. But, like Swiss cheese, it’s full of holes.

First of all, Israel never left Gaza. That’s why they continue to control the water and the land passages in and out of Gaza. That’s why they have been able to sustain the blockade of Gaza. If Palestinian fishermen go beyond six miles out at sea they are shot by Israelis. Airplanes have been flying over Gaza and shooting missiles since they “left.” Israel never stopped occupying Gaza, they just changed the form of occupation.

In the past year alone (before this latest massacre) 546 Palestinians (76 of then children) were killed. Only 16 Israelis (most of them soldiers) have been killed. Israel is a nuclear power. Israel is the 4th largest military exporter in the world. Israel’s economy has been booming (due to its “dabbling” in security technology) while every other economy in the world has been crashing. Israel also receives billions of dollars a year from the United States.

How dare Israel—or the rest of the world—place Hamas on the same footing as a superpower of that caliber? Even Olmert admitted it saying, “we have enormous power, we can do things which will be devastating. And I keep restraining myself and I keep restraining my friends all the time and I tell them ‘lets wait, let’s wait, let’s wait. Let’s give them another chance.'”

If the Israeli government can do things that will be devastating, they obviously do not have a security problem and have zero need to defend itself. It is an insult to human intelligence to place these two groups on equal footing: the occupier and the occupied, the oppressor and the oppressed, the warden and the prisoner. And apt analogy would be equalizing a rapist with the one being raped. There is no equalizing in that situation. There is only an entity in absolute power abusing it to the absolute full and an entity in absolute weakness unable to effectively defend itself at all.

Hamas is an impoverished government (democratically elected) trying to scrap together some semblance of autonomy for the Palestinian people. It has set up hospitals in Gaza, the university and other civil services. Its people have been starved, deprived of the most basic aid and all of their dignity. The Palestinian people are a people were kicked off their land 60 years ago. They were brutalized, massacred, and forced to flee. Many of those who remained were shoved into the concentration camp called Gaza. The infamous rockets that Hamas has been firing have been landing on land that is rightfully owned by the people now crowded in Gaza. People forget, or try to ignore, the fact that 60 years ago most of the people in Gaza were living in the stolen “Israeli” settlements that Hamas is targeting.

That is why Gaza is so crowded, why the vast majority of Gazans are refugees (80%)—because they were kicked off their land which was then claimed by Jewish settlers who then christened themselves Israelis with the blood of Palestinians.

So before people ask why Hamas continues to fire rockets. Let them be brave enough to remember these facts. Let them remember the history of Palestine and the present conditions of Palestinians. Let them face the truth. The disgracing truth that 60 years ago something took place—you can call it a holocaust, you can call it ethnic-cleansing, you can call it establishing the State of Israel—whatever you call it, we stood by and let it happen.

And when a people have been humiliated to the extreme degree that the Palestinians have been humiliated just remember the words of Michael in the fields of Athenry: “Nothing matters, Mary, when you’re free. Against the Famine and the Crown I rebelled. They cut me down. Now you must raise our child with dignity.”

Human beings will do whatever it takes to retrieve their dignity. And even if they end up dying in the act, or getting shipped off to a life of slave-labor, they will do it for their children, so that they, at least, may live in dignity. And they will pass this grievance on to their children—their children who still suffer from the injustice of the same oppressors. And they will remember.

The Irish political writer, Mitchel, warned that the Irish did not attribute the Famine to the “rule of heaven as to the greedy and cruel policy of England.” He continued, saying that the people “believe that the seasons as they roll are but ministers of England’s rapacity; that their starving children cannot sit down to their scanty meal but they see the harpy claw of England in their dish.”

And the Irish did, indeed, remember England’s tyranny. The song I quoted in the beginning may have been set in the 1840’s, but it was written in the 1970’s when the Irish were, once again, being driven from their homes, beaten, tortured, imprisoned, and starved: “Against the Famine and the Crown I rebelled. They cut me down.” And they did it for the dignity of their children.

And people will never stop striving for this. For, with every crime of a transgressing power—whether it be first impoverishing and starving and then imprisoning an Irishman for attempting to feed his child, or whether it be first entrapping and starving and then killing a Palestinian for attempting to fight its occupier –people will always remember. Like Mary in the song, they will hunger for the loss of their inalienable, God-given rights. And nothing will satiate them except justice:

   By a lonely harbor wall
   She watched the last star falling
   As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
   Sure she’ll wait and hope and pray
   For her love in Botany Bay
   It’s so lonely round the Fields of Athenry.

          Low lie the fields of Athenry
          Where once we watched the small free birds fly
          Our love was on the wing
          We had dreams and songs to sing
          It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.

To listen to a nice version of this song please go here.

Marryam Haleem is studying Comparative Literature and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. Her blog is called Muddled Thoughts. Read other articles by Marryam, or visit Marryam's website.

56 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on January 17th, 2009 at 9:02am #

    the word “settler” is an european invention. people who steal other people’s land are thieves with intention of murdering indigenes if necessary.
    yes, people haven’t changed. we’ve had millennia to at least improve a bit.
    the latest raid against gazans proves that amers, europeans, ‘jewish’ cultists are no better than than nazi cultists were. thnx

  2. Michael Kenny said on January 17th, 2009 at 9:21am #

    I always say that European history is a lie Americans agree on! I don’t think I have ever seen a more pathetically absurd distortion of Irish history than in this article! It’s such utter rubbish, I’d have to write pages to correct all the errors, so let me limit myself to this.

    What is obnoxious and offensive in Ms Haleems’s article is the way in which she cynically hijacks the Irish and our history to make a cheap political point. We are not real people to her, just props she uses to make an argument which has nothing to do with Ireland. She thereby deprives us of our human dignity and in so doing she adopts, absurdly, precisely the same mentality as the Israelis have adopted in Gaza!

  3. Marryam Haleem said on January 17th, 2009 at 10:49am #

    Michael, thanks for your comment. However, I fail to see how I “cynically hijack” Irish history to make a “cheap political point.”

    What has happened in Ireland means a lot to me. I am Irish myself. And even if I wasn’t, when oppression happens in the world, it is up to people to come out and make statements about it. People are people, no matter what country they’re from, and we are entitled to comment on what has happened to people so that we may learn and make connections. Each country isn’t an isolated history.

    The main reason I connected the events in Ireland to the events in Palestine was, beside the fact that there are a lot of similarities (and there will be similarities to any story of oppression) is because my two lines of heritage are from both those respective places, Ireland and Palestine.

    I think its my right to look at what people/history have done to MY people and comment on it.

    So, tell me how I deprive the Irish of their human dignity? By exposing the wrongs that have been done to them by the English? I think not.

    And, I beg your pardon, but please do not compare me to the Israeli racist mindset.

  4. Gideon said on January 17th, 2009 at 10:59am #

    How Gaza, such a troubled place with limited resources has been so successful in outperforming these Middle East countries on major metrics?

    Gaza: population density is X64 times Jordan, X56 time Egypt, X40 times Syria, X11 times Lebanon

    Gaza GDP per capita is: 1/10 of these countries and 1/20 of Lebanon

    Yet, with 40 years of occupation, Gaza has
    Infant Mortality and Mortality significantly lower than all these countries but Jordan! and literacy higher than ALL of them.

    How Gaza, such a troubled place with limited resources has been so successful in outperforming these Middle East countries?

    Global Hunger Index ranks counties and regions in crisis. Regions in crisis exhibit death from malnutrition.

    How many people in Gaza have died from malnutrition between 1967 and 2006?

    War zone presents a Hunger risk! Humanitarian campaign will be needed to deal with the situation when cease fire will become effective in Gaza. International relief agencies are standing by to take action.

    Middle East demographics (source: Wikipedia)
    Gaza Jordan Egypt Syria Lebanon Israel
    Pop 1.5 6.2 75 19.6 4.1 7.3
    Age 0-14 44% 32% 32% 37% 26% 26%
    Age 15-64 53% 62% 63% 59% 66% 64%
    Age 65 – 3% 4% 5% 3% 7% 10%
    Pop growth 3.40% 2.40% 1.75% 2.30% 1.26% 1.80%
    Birth Rate 3.95% 2.01% 2.29% 2.83% 1.89% 2.08
    Inf Mortality 2.24% 1.56% 3.13% 2.95% 2.45% 0.689%
    Mortality 0.38% 0.27% 0.52% 0.49% 0.62% 0.62%
    Life Expectancy 72 78.7 71.3 70.3 72.6 80
    Fertility 5.19 2.63 2.83 2.73 1.92 2.9
    Literacy 92% 91% 71% 80% 87% 97%
    Pop Density 10,665 166 192 267 948 839
    GDP / Capita $600 $4,906 $5,495 $4,491 $11,279 27,146

  5. sheilanagig said on January 17th, 2009 at 10:59am #

    I don’t agree with Michael Kenny.

    In fact this article is a pretty fair expose of the Imperial Mindset of England and Great Britain and Israel. ‘We are entitled to take because we can.’

    This is right: while the Irish starved, thousands of tons of food were exported to England under their noses, crops the Irish had grown. Hunger was used as a weapon; and sadly still is.

    I find great sympathy in Ireland for the Palestinian cause. As with so many other countries raped and ruined by the British, we understand the will to fight for the very ground under our feet.

    Thank you for a well written article. I know Gaza is alone, but not unknown to those who have fought the imperial monsters.


  6. mary said on January 17th, 2009 at 11:24am #

    Gideon – Repetition! Repetition!

    Over a thousand Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured by the Israelis, sad statistics which cannot be refuted unless you happen to be Olmert’s spokesman, Regev, who unbelievably suggested on UK TV last night that Hamas have been killing Palestinian children!

    Suggest reading a copy of The Blood Never Dried by John Newsinger and you will find out what the British Empire actually got up to in all corners of the globe and which will corroborate the facts in Marryam’s article. The shame lives on in the British Isles about the likes of Trevelyan and the English landowners/landlords/exploiters. Their crimes against the Irish people lived on through the centuries until a kind of peace was reached recently.

    As we were chanting at a rally in Trafalgar Square today, ‘Stop the killing, Stop the crime, Free Free Palestine’.

  7. eileen fleming said on January 17th, 2009 at 12:30pm #

    The American-Irish dissident eileen fleming wrote in “KEEP HOPE ALIVE”

    Harold lifted his almost empty pouch of Crown Royal and exclaimed, “Let’s toast the man, and then I’ll tell you what my daddy told me when I was a kid, when my brothers and I would get out of hand. He’d say, ‘boys, you all are going the way of Cain and Abel, and you’d better quit. For one of those boys was filled with so much hatred and jealousy that he killed the other.’

    “Then my old man would be on a roll, and he’d tell us about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. And we loved to hear that part, so we’d quit our fight. You see, although Sarah was already menopaused, she still desired a child. God had even shared a laugh with her about it coming true, but just like a woman, she took the matter into her own hands, and refused to wait for the Lord to deliver.

    “So old Sarah decided to give her maidservant to her old man, and that chick and Abraham made a kid. Everything was fine when Ishmael arrived, but only for a very short while.

    “Now, although Sarah was a dried-up old crone, she, too, birthed a son, and named him after the laughter she had shared with God, but called the kid Isaac. Sarah had gotten very territorial and demanded Abraham cast out his beloved first son with his mama Haggar, into the barren wilderness, and Abraham did it! But, as God always hears the cries of mothers and sons, he promised to make a great nation from Ishmael’s descendants, too. And thus, the Arab nation was born.

    “By the sixth century before Christ, the conflicts in the land were already old news, and Jeremiah warned the people that all God could see was violence and destruction in the city. Sickness and wounds were all around. And then my old man would get tears in his eyes and softly recite,

    ‘for every misunderstanding, every condemning thought, every negative vibration, every tear torn from a heart, every time one grabbed and wouldn’t let go, and they only did it because they did not know. The Divine is within all creation and within all women and men.

    ‘And every tiny kindness you have ever done, every gentle word spoken, every time you held your tongue, every positive thought, every smile freely given, every helping hand that opens, helps bring in the kingdom. And the kingdom comes from above, and it comes from within. Imagine a kingdom of sisterhood of all creatures and all men.’”

  8. mary said on January 17th, 2009 at 12:49pm #

    Marryam – you must be very proud of your countryman John Ging who has stood up for truth and justice for the Palestinians in Gaza since 2006. It was very moving to hear him just now in a TV interview from the scene of the latest atrocity, the shelling of another UN school where hundreds were sheltering. I think he was near to tears. He speaks the facts clearly and demands justice. Already this week he has seen the UNWRA aid base and all the food stores destroyed by fire from white phosphorus shells. It is reassuring to witness his humanity in this horror hole .

  9. Gideon said on January 17th, 2009 at 1:16pm #


    Thanks for staying engaged.

    This articles is called: The Great Hunger
    with another sub title: Starvation

    Could you please stay on subject and try to answer my questions?
    Feel free to quote any of your verifiable sources and books.

    How Gaza with limited resources (1/10 GDP per Capita), highest population density and 40 years under Israeli occupation has been so successful in achieving lower Mortality, lower Infant Mortality, and higher Literacy than Egypt, Lebanon and Syria?

    How many people in Gaza died from Hunger?

    Maybe we can replicate this success recipe in other World troubled spots?

  10. Max Shields said on January 17th, 2009 at 1:37pm #

    You are a racist. We use to hear this from the White supremists here, the KKK and other regarding African Americans.

    But the Palestinians do appear to have a significantly higher intelligence than the Israelis. I understand the levels of retardation are quite high in Israel, particularly among the military elite and elected officials.

  11. Suthiano said on January 17th, 2009 at 1:43pm #


  12. Ryan said on January 17th, 2009 at 2:48pm #

    Brilliant article, Miss Haleem. Most informed read I’ve had in a long while, I commend you sincerely.

  13. bozh said on January 17th, 2009 at 2:48pm #

    in some slavic lands, patricians have not behaved better than the patricians in UK.
    in russia and bakan lands there was serfdom until just two hundred years. patricians of slovenia, croatia, serbia, and bulgaria have owned peasants. thnx

  14. Harry Rea. Cork. Ireland said on January 17th, 2009 at 7:45pm #

    This is a most informative and heart-wrenching read.

    It has caused me to wake up to the frightening ordeal the people of Gaza are suffering. I am ashamed to admit that I have taken no interest in what is going on there until I read your article but thanks to you I certainly will from now on.

    While I agree with all of your main points wholeheartedly there are a few observations I would like to bring to your attention.

    Firstly, the facts you state about the Irish Holocaust are not accurate – they are in fact much worse. Please look up a most shocking depiction of what exactly happened during that time at

    Secondly, we Irish have never actually managed to escape from Britain’s oppressive clutch. Irish courts are still conducted under the English Crown as much as we do not like to abmit it ourselves. The living proof is that the only religious book not provided for swearing on in Irish courts is the only bible officially accepted by the Catholic Church, the St. Jerome ‘Vulgate’ or original Bible. Strange that we are deemed to be a free Catholic country don’t you think?

    Lastly, you compared the victims in Gaza to battered ‘wives’. Perhaps you might be interested to know that married women are actually the safest, most physically secure of all. It is in fact women who chose to cohabit outside marriage who are the best examples to compare your horrific facts with. And guess what – in Ireland the state has subjected it’s people to the same population controlling anti-family tactics using anti-husband propaganda as it’s most successful ploy since the times you described so well. Please confirm what I say at

    May I finish by thanking you for your vital work.

  15. Gideon said on January 17th, 2009 at 8:56pm #


    You can do better than that!

    May be you have an idea how did they do it and can answer the question?

  16. Deadbeat said on January 18th, 2009 at 2:08am #

    The answer to Gideon question is simple. The people of Gaza has been eating Israeli bullets, depleted Uranium and White Phosphorous in place of food.

  17. Emma said on January 18th, 2009 at 2:30am #


    Can you please provide me with your source of statistics and I’ll check your figures out and announce on this site if you are right or wrong. I am a trained statistical analyst and would offer to give my impartial services for the interest of truth.

    I have in the past seen many figures twisted to represent a hidden agenda. Have you heard of the expression “lies, damned lies and statistice”?. It is only through prpoper analysis of data, checking out its source and interpreting it in its context that we can establish the truth.

    I have been reading your comments on this site and it appears that you have an agenda of your own. You do not want to listen to other people, but keep pushing your own one-sided views forward. I am neither an Isdraeli Jew nor a Palestinain but I have learned a lot about this part of the world and its history recently through reading the articles. It is a shame when someone like you enters it with the purpose of only shouting out your predetermined ideas and is not even willing to listen to what others are saying. The whole idea of having these debates is to learn from each other, keep and open mind, and be willing to change our views. Why are you wasting your time here if this is not your purpose?

  18. Emma said on January 18th, 2009 at 3:13am #

    Marryam, this is a great article. Thanks for telling us about your Irish history. I am of Indian origin, and my father tells me that the English Empire there was equally brutish. Many of the buildings in India had the sign put up “No dogs and Indians allowed”!

    Like other countries colonised by the English, India was exploited for the economic benefit of the English. They recklessly exploited India’s natural resources and drained the wealth of its citizenry through the imposition of excessive and unreasonable taxes. India was used as a rich export market for the growing Industries back in England, whilst the people of India were treated with contempt and humiliation. You might have seen the file “Gandhi” and how he was thrown out of first class because he was an Indian.

    Before the British came to Indian, it was not a united country, and like Italy in the past, was ruled by numerous kings and queens, known as Rajas and Ranis. The success of the English, who originally entered India on the pretext of doing trade, relied on their use of cunning political strategies that took full advantage of rivalries amongst native rulers and cynically exploited divisions arising from caste, religion, class and other sectarian loyalties.

    The English were helped by many greedy Indians colluding with them, just as we are now seeing Mubarak of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring Arab countries. This is the most shameful part. The English used this to their full advantage, using Muslim against Hindu, the rich against the poor and so forth. It was a policy of divide and conquer, just like what America and Israel is doing today.

    There were many uprisings against the English, but they were brutally crushed down. In one instance, the English troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators and killed 300 demonstrators. Just like the Israeli troops daily do to the unarmed Palestinians in West Bank. I this morning read that one Palestinian demonstrator was shot dead by Israeli soldiers. I felt sickened when I read this. It is as if Palestinian life has no worth. They are treated like insects.

    This is how all Empires flourish, through a ruthless disregard for the human life of the occupied. We all need to read our histories and remind ourselves of the cruelties of the previous empires, because nothing has changed. We still have dehumanising empires, it is just in different hands now.

  19. lloyd rowsey said on January 18th, 2009 at 6:58am #

    Thank you, Harry Rea. Cork. Ireland. I was in Dublin a couple of years ago, and wishing I’d flown to northern Ireland instead; I only had three days, and it was my first visit to the island. God what beautiful country, and the bus did take us near Cork.

    The Gazan situation is truly at a tipping point, to use an environmental metaphor, and the more vocal attention and protest directed against Israel’s insanity, and in support of the United Nations, the better. We’re still crossing our fingers in the U.S. but this resident doesn’t expect to hear anything constructive from Obama for more weeks.

  20. Barry said on January 18th, 2009 at 9:56am #

    Very well said Ms. Haleem. I’m in the middle of reading Naomi Klein’s ‘Shock Doctrine.’ Surely, what Britain has attempted (somewhat successfully) in Ireland over the centuries (especially the Cromwell period when the Brits slaughtered a quarter of the Irish population, and the period of the Great Hunger, when Britain permitted millions of Irish to starve – or leave) has strong parallels to what the early Jewish colony and Israel (British initiated, to be sure) was carrying out in Palestine (mass murder from 1947-49 and mass murder today). Both were (and are) full-scale attempts to remake indigenous society by destroying all institutions, all places of physical or emotional refuge, and any and all connection to a more wholesome and autonomous past. It is death-camp brainwashing through maximum violence – a pogrom. I have a good friend whose ethnic background is half Palestinian and a quarter Irish. She too is an activist and quite well understands the commonalities of both struggles (and the struggle to liberate Ireland is not over). My friend is one-quarter Lithuanian as well, and so has another historical example to draw on – only in this instance, Russian and Soviet occupation and oppression. Lithuania was, until the Soviet Union broke up, a ‘captive nation.’
    Which brings to mind a final point. Where did Israelis learn the cruel ways of their race-based state? It is not hard to trace. The founding fathers of Israel – and the founding mothers as well – virtually all grew up in early twentieth (and earlier) century Eastern Europe, a cauldron of racial politics – from the question of just where did Jews fit into Slavic Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution to the Reactionary questions of a growing Fascism with its emphasis on the essentialism of race as a basis for society. The psuedo-socialist kibbutz experiment aside, the founders of Israel learned the wrong lessons. And Palestinians pay dearly and daily for that.

  21. mary said on January 18th, 2009 at 11:12am #

    Yesterday in Trafalgar Square, this spirited Palestinian singer Reem Kelani sang Mawtani – My Homeland – which was written by the Palestinian poet Ibrahim Hefeth Touqan.

    English Lyrics:
    My homeland
    My homeland
    Glory and beauty
    Sublimity and prettiness
    Are in your hills
    Life and deliverance
    Pleasure and hope
    Are in your atmosphere
    Will I see you?
    Safe and comfortable
    Sound and honored
    Will I see you?
    In your eminence
    Reaching the stars

    My homeland
    My homeland

    The youth will not get tired
    Their goal is your independence
    Or they die
    We will drink from death
    But we will not be slaves to our enemies
    We do not want
    An eternal humiliation
    Nor a miserable life
    We do not want
    But we will return
    Our great glory

    My homeland
    My homeland

    The sword and the pen
    Are our symbols
    Not talking nor quarreling
    Our glory and covenant
    And a duty to fulfill it
    Shake us
    Our honor
    Is an honorable cause
    A raised flag
    O, your beauty
    In your eminence
    Victorious over your enemies

    My homeland
    My homeland

    Very stirring. About 4 mins in after her speech and a one minute silence for those who have been killed.

    PS Trafalgar is an Arabic word and so is Admiral. The statue of Admiral Lord Nelson stands on top of the column in the square. A British war hero was looking down on a crowd who were protesting about a war being waged on a captive people!

  22. mary said on January 18th, 2009 at 11:14am #

    The missing link – sorry.

  23. David said on January 18th, 2009 at 12:37pm #

    Ms. Haleem:

    Thank you for this emotional roller coaster ride.

    You have chosen to compare two sad events in human history that are 150 years apart. An examination of the sordid history and recurrence of similar tragedies contained in this 150 years or so should tip you off to something about our collective nature, that being that we are a pretty sad lot.

    Here’s a suggestion. Madison, Wisconsin, is close enough to Chicago (another ongoing tragedy) so that on a day trip you could go to the superb museums (free on Mondays) or attend a performance at one of the world’s better symphonies or opera houses.

    Doing so, I should think, might lift your spirits and provide you with a better perspective on what really matters in the brief time that each of us has on this Earth.

    Best of luck on your studies.

  24. DavidG. said on January 18th, 2009 at 2:54pm #

    Marryam, your article is fantastic.

    You know when the Israeli-apologists start attacking that you have succeeded in making a strong point, one that chips away at their extensive, manipulative propaganda machine.

    Israel should be immediately dismantled. It is a putrid disgrace that has no place in a civilized world.

    Israel, nuclear armed, threatens the very survival of our world. Its extreme fanaticism blinds it to its horrific, brutal reality.

    As the Palestinians continue to dig their women and children out of the rubble, I salute their bravery. And yours!

  25. sheikh yadik said on January 18th, 2009 at 3:49pm #

    for david g

    BRIEF FACTS ON THE ISRAELI CONFLICT TODAY…. ( It takes just 1.5 minutes to read!!!! )

    It makes sense and it’s not slanted. Jew and non-Jew — it doesn’t matter.

    1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

    2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

    3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

    4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.

    5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

    6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

    7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

    8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

    9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

    10 The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

    11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

    12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab la nds to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey .

    13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.

    14. The PLO’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

    15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

    16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

    17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

    18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

    19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

    20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

  26. DavidG. said on January 18th, 2009 at 5:20pm #

    Sheikh, your slanted, pro-Jew rant is of no interest to people who live in the world of reality in 2009.

    Most people in the world are interested in peace. They do not want to become involved the selfish ambitions of deranged religious fanatics.

    Religion is a divisive curse, one that has contaminated our world for 10,000 years and caused millions of deaths and enormous destruction.

    Religion belongs with the dinosaurs. It is superstitious nonsense.

    Get real!

  27. Lorraine said on January 18th, 2009 at 5:39pm #

    For those of you who are refuting Ms Haleem’s facts regarding the Irish famine, may I remind you that she has not ‘made up’ what she relates regarding Ireland’s history but has given attribution to Cecil Woodham-Smith’s book “The Great Hunger”. I read this book many years ago and still remember my disgust and anger whilst reading it.

    I have long equated the plight of the Palestinians with that of the Irish. As Ms Haleem rightly points out the similarities are too glaring to be overlooked by even an amateur student of history.

    For those who bring a discredited book full of fantasy, sex and violence into as argument in which the lives of men, women and children are daily being killed, starved and deprived of even the basic standards of hygiene and, thus, good health is beyond my ability to answer. Who the hell cares! Given that there MAY be some small historical fact in The Bible, what happened 3,300 years ago (if it did) has nothing whatsoever to do with what is happening today in Gaza.

    As for you, “Sheik and Gideon”, as I am 62 years-old. I don’t have to be polite to scum like you. I have met many such as you two throughout my life and I am always amazed that there are women who agree to cohabit with your sort thus enabling your nasty, lying philosophy to be handed-down to another generation.

    I can just see you both sitting at your respective keyboards giggling as you type! Believing in nothing and yet willing to sneer and jibe at those who do! Always willing to be the lackeys of the ruling class. Marx had a name for you…lumpenproleteriat…and lumpen you are. A great ugly lump on the backside of humanity!

  28. Hue Longer said on January 18th, 2009 at 6:12pm #

    All the above begs what a Jew is and how convenient it is to swap race for religion when it suits, but here is some more fun facts

    Fun Fact: King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and proceeded to defeat the Saxons with it…Tell me why someone would scoff at this and believe in King David

    And a Fun true Fact?: Santa Clausism is followed by more people than Judaism

  29. rg the lg said on January 18th, 2009 at 9:24pm #

    Overpopulation … whether Irish or Palestinian … when encouraged by racist policies (English Empire or Israeli) always ends in the death of masses. It is a sad reality.

    My only thought on all of this is that with a world-wide carrying capacity of about two billion, our earth wide famines, deaths and murderous behavior will only increase.

    The old Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm’ was transmogrified into ‘allow no death.’ So now there are just way too many of us. You think it is bad now?

    Just wait! You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet … and I’m not talkin’ the mythological end times … I’m talking simple population dynamics.

    RG the LG

  30. dk said on January 18th, 2009 at 10:39pm #

    and michael kenny is still an idiot

  31. Jennifer said on January 18th, 2009 at 10:39pm #

    Has anyone mentioned that Sir Trevelyan was a Labour party member – which translates to Democratic Socialist? Connecting the dots…

  32. Jennifer said on January 18th, 2009 at 10:49pm #

    And…have any of you actually read the Hamas Charter and do you understand that Hamas is short for “Islamic Resistance Movement”?

    Are you aware that they have received several tons of food donations and have in turn sold it to the citizens of Gaza? In other words, they get the food for free and then sell it to the population for what they can get at market value.

    I really do understand the outrage, but there is more information that presents another side. Please educate yourselves and think critically before drawing conclusions.

  33. Hue Longer said on January 18th, 2009 at 11:04pm #


    And Hamas was empowered by whom to fight Arafat?

    Open all the borders, sea and skies and you won’t get the Hamas version of the Clintonian fallacy that said it wasn’t the USA’s fault that Sadam wouldn’t feed his babies

  34. sheikh yadik said on January 19th, 2009 at 1:55am #

    for lorraine–i love it when you talk straight;i’m giggling now
    Sweet Lorraine I’ll never be the same
    She changed my life the day she came to town
    The day that Lorraine came down

    She lives upon a mountain overlooking Salt Kitty Ridge
    I see her every morning walk her dog across the bridge
    Her daddy’s got a shotgun and a whet firm keen-eyed aim
    Protecting never neclecting sweet Lorraine

    Sweet Lorraine I’ll never be the same
    She changed my life the day she came to town
    The day that Lorraine came down

    I’m filling at the filling station feeling down and blue
    Knowing she is out of reach and nothing I can do
    But momma always said she was raising a determined man
    I can’t give up I’ve got to see Lorraine again

    Sweet Lorraine I’ll never be the same
    She changed my life the day she came to town
    The day Lorraine came down

    I’m shakin’ like a jittery wet nosed day old pup
    Tonight I plan to climb way up to Kitty mountain top
    And even if I have to dodge her daddy’s shot gun blasts
    I’m gonna bring her down and make Lorraine mine at last

    Sweet Lorraine I’ll never be the same
    She changed my life the day she came to town
    The day that Lorraine came down

  35. mary said on January 19th, 2009 at 2:55am #

    Well said Lorraine. And Gilad Atzmon says it well too =

    The Unilateral People
    Gilad Atzmon, Palestine Think Tank

    They withdraw unilaterally
    They ceasefire unilaterally
    They invade unilaterally
    They win unilaterally
    They destroy unilaterally
    They massacre unilaterally
    They bathe in blood unilaterally
    They spread white phosphorus unilaterally
    They kill women and children unilaterally
    They drop bombs unilaterally
    They live on stolen land unilaterally
    They support their homicidal leaders unilaterally
    They love their ‘Jewish Only State’ unilaterally
    Their democracy is unilateral
    They love themselves unilaterally
    They are the unilateral people.
    Living behind walls of concrete, hatred and arrogance
    They are still united and lateral failing to love their neighbours


  36. sheikh yadik said on January 19th, 2009 at 5:15am #

    mary,i’m not impressed with this poem
    it doesn’t rhyme and it’s not a limerick

  37. Max Shields said on January 19th, 2009 at 7:47am #

    Please provide your sources for the comment regarding food and it being sold to Palestinians by Hamas.

    My understanding of Hamas, and this is not from pro-Hamas advocates, is that they were initially financed into power by Israel to undermine the PLO. It backfired on Israel. That’s the short story.

    Hamas consists of a political and military (militia) organizational structure. That is typical of any forming state-like entity and so we saw it with the IRA and Sinn Fein and Hezbollah. I’ve detected no significant deviation from this rather simple model. Additionally, with both Hezbollah and Hamas there is a strong social aspect which supports daily life such as medical and food services.

    Again, this is not something gleaned (though certainly supported) by pro-Hamas advocates but by general jounalist presentations.

    Jimmy Carter met with Hamas leadership who said they would recognize Isreal. Hamas is a legitimately elected government of the Palestinian people.

    Beyond that I really don’t know what you mean by “keep an open mind” when a people have been imprisoned into a narrow strip of land created the most dense mass of people on the planet, with little of the necessities coming in and movement restricted (air, water, land) by people who have continued to push them out, colonize and secure water sources and other vitals away from the indigenous (Palestinian) people. There are over 9,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons; a sizable number have not be brought to trial after years. There has been regular air-raids into Gaza and demolition of homes and confiscation of land by the Israeli government.

    What kind of reasonableness are you expecting from Hamas or the Palestininan people in general?

    Sources, please.

  38. Danny Ray said on January 19th, 2009 at 9:54am #

    I would like to respond to RG the LG,

    Thank you Thank you Thank you, Its about time some one stated the truth, Not everyone on this planet hasa rght to life.

  39. Gideon said on January 19th, 2009 at 12:13pm #


    Per your request

    Middle East demographics (source: Wikipedia)
    Gaza Jordan Egypt Syria Lebanon Israel
    Pop 1.5 6.2 75 19.6 4.1 7.3
    Age 0-14 44% 32% 32% 37% 26% 26%
    Age 15-64 53% 62% 63% 59% 66% 64%
    Age 65 – 3% 4% 5% 3% 7% 10%
    Pop growth 3.40% 2.40% 1.75% 2.30% 1.26% 1.80%
    Birth Rate 3.95% 2.01% 2.29% 2.83% 1.89% 2.08
    Inf Mortality 2.24% 1.56% 3.13% 2.95% 2.45% 0.689%
    Mortality 0.38% 0.27% 0.52% 0.49% 0.62% 0.62%
    Life Expectancy 72 78.7 71.3 70.3 72.6 80
    Fertility 5.19 2.63 2.83 2.73 1.92 2.9
    Literacy 92% 91% 71% 80% 87% 97%
    Pop Density 10,665 166 192 267 948 839
    GDP / Capita $600 $4,906 $5,495 $4,491 $11,279 $27,146

  40. Jennifer said on January 19th, 2009 at 1:41pm #

    I hope you aren’t saying Sadaam didn’t feed his people because of the U.S… Give me a break. I suppose you think the residents of Gaza cannot till soil and plant seeds with the billions of dollars they receive in aid?? They moved into a lush and fertile land which the Israelis developed out of sand and they have neglected it and allowed it to turn back to sand.
    When you go to Iraq and see how they really live, not because of the U.S. invasion or because of any political power, come back and tell me about how they can’t survive. They don’t have a desire to live better, but they’ll whine about it to the rest of the world. If you ask an Iraqi why they live the way they do, they will either blame it on someone else or they will say insha’Allah – “if Allah wills” or “it is Allah’s will”.

    We should be telling Gazans to get to work. If they can’t we should be pointing a finger at the government – HAMAS – and putting pressure on them to provide better infrastructure for their people.

    Or, maybe I misunderstood your comment.

    First of all, thank you for being courteous.

    Food donated by Qatar sold by Hamas From Palestine Press.
    Local sources: Hamas is selling flour donated by the people of Qatar for the sector for the amount of NIS 140 per bag.
    Gaza, Palestine Press — Local sources in the Gaza Strip said that Hamas is selling flour and humanitarian aid to citizens that was donated by the State of Qatar and which the Egyptian authorities allowed to enter the sector.
    The sources added that bags of flour sold by Hamas and made by Qatar as aid to the Palestinian people is valued at the amount of 140 to 150 NIS per bag, pointing out that the transaction is for the benefit of Hamas is evil and that [the Hamas movement is working against the public interest] .
    It is noteworthy that the State of Qatar has donated large quantities of food and medical supplies to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to help them in the face of ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip.

    This was originally posted on Gates of Vienna, which you may think is fanatical, but I checked the translation with Google translator and a couple other online translators, and it is correct. There were two other articles out a week or so ago, but I cannot find them now – both were from foreign sources, not U.S. or Israel.

    What I mean by educating yourself is to take all things into consideration. You are partly right about HAMAS. Middle East Web
    explains the acronym for HAMAS and displays the Charter. Please read it and see what you think.

    Yes, Israel allowed HAMAS to “take over” and the Gazans, not Palestinians, voted them in. (Most of the Palestinians do not live in Gaza) Maybe Israel hoped for a change and gave Gaza a second chance. Do you know what the PLO was doing? Suicide bombers with open borders…. HAMAS did the same thing so Israel closed the borders.

    Watch Al Jezeera. They have childrens’ shows in Gaza devoted to teaching children to die for Jihad. One of the latest episodes had the main character, an adult in a rabbit suit, die from an Israeli bomb – was taken to the hospital and died of wounds. Children shake their fists and pledge to “kill the Jews”. You can watch it all on Al Jezeera or MEMRI.
    Just look into both sides because there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground in this conflict. You can make up your own mind.

    Some things that forced me to consider the Israeli perspective:

    *why didn’t HAMAS stop shelling Israel during the (one of many) cease fire?

    *why doesn’t HAMAS build their hospitals underground, like Israel has done, if they are afraid of attack?

    *why hasn’t HAMAS built bomb shelters for it’s people if they are afraid of attack?

    *why has HAMAS been constantly shelling Israel if they don’t want retaliation? Are they serious? What are they trying to accomplish? You’d think they’d save their money and resources for something bigger and better to take out an Israeli military target, but they consistently fire upon civilians. Sderot?

    *demographics: Israel agreed to less land and a Two State solution, HAMAS refused. Why?

    *Why is Egypt firing upon Gazan refugees who are fleeing Gaza if they are supportive of Gazans? (one of many sources)

    *why don’t the Gazans vote HAMAS out of power if they are in opposition to what they stand for? Surely they have the world’s attention, they could request that HAMAS be removed.

    *why hasn’t the world expressed outrage over the use of human shields which anyone can see on YouTube?

    *why isn’t there such focus on the African countries which are literally being squashed by Islamic terror? Almost half the continent is not 90-100% Muslim….it isn’t by choice.

    As for HAMAS telling Jimmy Carter that Israel has a right to exist, that is nonsense. It is written in their charter that Israel can exist only until Islam rightfully destroys it and reinstates Muslim land to Allah. Have you heard the term “useful idiot”? Russia used this phrase to describe people who were naive enough to not suspect their intentions. Jimmy Carter fits that profile in the case of HAMAS. The Islamic hadiths also say that deception is OK in times of war. I don’t trust HAMAS. If their goal is to live in peace they have not behaved in a way which supports that goal. And Israel takes its wounded and treats them in underground hospital…

  41. Gideon said on January 19th, 2009 at 8:26pm #

    Israel’s Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

    1,365 truckloads of humanitarian aid that have been delivered through Israeli crossings into Gaza since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, including basic food commodities, medication, medical supplies, blood units and donations by various governments and blood units. [3]

    440,000 gallons (1.7 liters) of fuel conveyed through Israel’s Nahal Oz fuel terminal and Kerem Shalom goods crossing. [4]

    38 Palestinians evacuated to Israel for medical treatment (including two children). [5]

    980,000 leaflets disseminated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to Gaza civilians instructing them to stay away from terrorists and weapons storage sites [6]

    30,000+ telephone calls made to Gaza residents warning them of impending air-strikes. [7]

    33,580 tons of aid transported into Gaza at the request of international organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. The World Food Program informed Israel more than two weeks ago that it would cease shipment of food to Gaza because warehouses were at full capacity. [8] [9]

  42. Eugene Fitzpatrick said on January 19th, 2009 at 8:43pm #

    Thanks to Marryam Haleem for the article. I was particularly drawn to it by Ms. Halleem employing one of my favorite Celtic songs “The Fields of Athenry” as a foundation on which to build her thesis. I have tried to make the point with many that the Irish should consider themselves joined at the hip with the suffering Palestinians given the commonality of their histories, persecuted for terrible lengths of time by avaricious barbarians while the rest of the world sat on their hands and contributed the complicity of their silence.

    Incidentally, might I recommend to you out there to get a copy of “the Fields of Athenry” sung by “The Three Irish Tenors”.

  43. Hue Longer said on January 20th, 2009 at 1:05am #


    If blockades are so inconsequential, why did the US do it to Iraq and Why did Israel do it to Gaza? it’s not for keeping hand grenades out. Then incredibly you have the audacity to then blame the starving on Hamas (a reality because of Israeli backing). That elephant is starting to soil your broken couch and the neighbors are complaining of the smell, but you still refuse to notice him watching CNN with you.

  44. bozh said on January 20th, 2009 at 2:05pm #

    i hope you’re not serious about the iraqis wanting to be poor. but, of course, iraqis are poorer now than ever. the main cause for it being US aggression that also unleashed a civil war.

    regarding your assertion that gazans don’t want to cultivate land that israelis ‘settelrs’ illegally occupied, wld you use anything an occupier or israel used? no, you wld utterly destroy it; it standing for one’s reminder of pain and anguish.

    jennifer, in my experience, people love to work and especially if they’re not bossed or own own fields, shops, etc. have you ever seen children who were invited to harvest grapes, berries? wldn’t you have noticed how elated they were to go to work; provided they weren’t mentally harmed or injured?

    i wonder, are your rabbis telling you all this? are you a child, perhaps?

    to have no desire to live better one must be brain-injured or another specie. so which is it? are pals a subhuman specie?
    in all my life i have never come across even one person who did not want to live better than one did.

    even so, you are dwelling on peripheral issues and in your own scientific way. so, whether some of what you say is true, pales in comparison with israel’s many crimes against humanities. thnx

  45. Barry said on January 22nd, 2009 at 9:21am #

    For Sheikh Yadik – – Some real answers – in brackets

    1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, Two thousand years before the rise of Islam.
    [Not so. Israel was not a nation in any modern sense. It was more like a hilltop chieftainship such as one finds in New Guinea today. That this chieftainship predates Islam is of no consequence. Palestinians are Muslim, Christian, and secular – and their ancestors were living on that land thousands of years before Jews arrived or emerged out of that very same Palestinian population.]

    2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
    [No, people identifying themselves as Palestinian dates to the very latest to the turn of the LAST century, that is, 19th to 20th. There were NO Israelis then – an invention out of whole cloth that had to await until 1948. In fact, there was a political entity known as Palestine several decades BEFORE there was an Israel. And of course, even Jews called the region Palestine – as did every one else.]

    3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
    [Since you mention the Jewish conquest, then we are in agreement that there were non-Jewish inhabitants before the arrival of Jews. Jews gained dominion over varying sizes of land – and the chieftainship at is maximum lasted but 100 years – hardly the stuff of legend. So there were Palestinians and their ancestors in the region before the Hebrews arrived, after most Jews left, and when the Zionists arrived in boats from Europe at the turn of the 20th century. A continuous majority presence for more than 10 thousand years.]

    4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.
    [But you do admit there was Arab dominion. And Zionist dominion has lasted not much longer, at 61 years. Yet the question is not of dominion, but of inhabitation – and in that, Palestinians have always been there.]

    5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.
    [Thousands of years before Jerusalem was the Jewish ‘capital’ it was founded by non-Jewish Canaanites, likely Jebusites. When Jordan conquered the West Bank, its capital was in Jordan – where it remains. It is not relevant to the conflict whether Jordan made Jerusalem the capital or not.]

    6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.
    [Jerusalem is indeed mentioned in the Koran, but not often. The Koran is largely a philosopy and morays book. One would not expect to find info on auto repair in a gardening manual either. Further, Palestinians and their ancestors have maintained a continuous presence in Jerusalem since they founded it thousands of years ago.]

    7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.
    [Uh, dead wrong. King David only lived in Jerusalem, a city many thousands of years old when David was allegedly born. Mohammad did indeed come to Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock marks his presence there.]

    8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.
    [Muslims do not pray with their backs to Jerusalem. The number of Muslims who live between Jerusalem and Mecca is but a fraction of total numbers of Muslims. In fact, since few Jews bother to face Jerusalem, and Muslim numbers are many, far more Muslims face Jerusalem when praying than do Jews.]

    9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.
    [Way dead wrong. There is no evidence that Arab leaders encouraged Palestinians to leave. Quite the contrary – the official position was that Palestinians stay put – and they would be rescued from the Zionists. On the other hand, the terror leaders of the Zionist Yishuv threatened total havoc if Palestinians stayed. They backed this up via massacres carried out in many hundreds of villages and towns across Palestine. The rest (68%?? Ha, surely you jest with such a precise figure) fled in what was called by Zionist Chaim Weizmann: “the miraculous cleansing of the land” – the first recorded admission of ethnic cleansing.]

    10 The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.
    [Palestinians had nothing to do with Jewish migration from other Arab countries. After having stolen Palestine and violently evicted its inhabitants, relations between Jew and Arab deteriorated elsewhere. Israel used that to its advantage, bombing synagogues in Baghdad so it would be blamed on Arabs, and carrying out the infamous Lavon Affair in Egypt. So the partners in this episode are the Arab states and Israel – not the Palestinians.]

    11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.
    [The only connection between the some 700-800 thousand Palestinians who fled, and the Jews who migrated to Israel is that the Jews were given the houses, property and land that had belonged to the Palestinians. Then these newly arrived Jews were given guns to shoot Palestinians trying to return to their villages. All this while the Zionist founders lived in cities well removed from those they evicted.]

    12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab la nds to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people’s lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey .
    [Palestinians have never wanted to be integrated into the countries they were violently removed to by the Zionists. Nonetheless, where they have felt most comfortable culturally and politically, they have prospered. Palestinians are full-fledged citizens in Jordan. But most Palestinians strongly desire to return to their homes and property that is for now in Israel. In fact, the Palestinians still have the keys and deeds to their homes.]

    13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.
    [There are 22 Arab states – there is no state for Palestinians, though that would have been the logical outcome of WW1. The Palestinian state is in what is now called Israel. That is their homeland. Contrary to what Zionists think – Palestinians are not miscellaneous Arabs. Israel started ALL wars but one – the 1973 war which was an Egyptian/Syrian attack – not on Israel – but on land illegally occupied by Israel in Egypt and Syria. All other wars were blatant attacks by Israel on its neighbors.]

    14. The PLO’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.
    [PLO long ago changed its charter in all 3 languages. Israel now deals with PLO on a regular basis – in fact, the PLO acts as Israel junior enforcer. HOWEVER, Israel still submits itself to all as ‘The Jewish State’ – which means that the native population legally has second-class citizenship. As far as land goes, Israel has given the Palestinians nothing – not one acre. Truth is, Israel only takes land and even as you read this, Israel is expropriating land for Jews-only outside of its country. The occupation of the rest of Palestine – that is, the West Bank and Gaza, is illegal. Israel’s duty is to take its troops and settlers and go home.]

    15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
    [While I cannot speak of conditions under Jordanian rule – it is safe to say that both Christians and Muslim Palestinian sacred sites are routinely and repeatedly desecrated by Israel. Beginning with the Zionist war of ’48’ – ’49, Israel destroyed mosques and holy sites, then buried them under rubble. Israel builds parking lots on old religious sites, changes mosques into discos, bombs mosques when it makes war on Palestinians, and even recently built a museum of ‘tolerance’ (??) over what had been a Muslim grave.]

    16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.
    [The UN legitimately passed these regulations against Israel because with US cooperation, Israel has been able to function as a rogue state. Israel’s pariah status is 110% earned. Israelis should be thankful for the UN. There would be no Israel if it were not for the UN – and the UN has graciously (cowardly?) looked the other way at Israeli transgressions against civil society.]

    17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.
    [See 16 above. And its about time that Israel obeyed the well-considered judgment of the world. Stop killing, stop occupying, go home.]

    18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.
    [Don’t complain – Jordan is Israel’s little buddy. Jordan is paid a good deal of hush money by the US to be silent on Israeli transgressions. Maybe Jordan should ask the US to pay reparations to Israel on these alleged synagogues.]

    19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
    [Don’t forget that Israel was admitted to the UN under the express consideration that Israel take back the refugees it violently evicted in ’47 – ’49. UN has let Israel off the hook on that.]

    20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
    [Jews have historically been allowed or disallowed to visit the Wall – depending on the flow of political circumstances. After ’48, Israel managed to muck up relations with the Arab/Muslim world so badly that it is no surprise, that Israelis (replete with sabateurs) were not granted visitation rights into Jordan.]

    Speaking of Apartheid, just remember, there is but one nation in the world that practices Apartheid rule – and that is Israel. There is but one nation in the world that illegally occupies another – and that is Israel. And there is just now one nation that can commit mass murder and get away with it – and that is Israel.

  46. bozh said on January 22nd, 2009 at 11:02am #

    thnx for info and the debunking of a defender of isr’s crimes.
    there are always a few scattered facts and ‘facts’ in their posts but almost all are of anecdotal or of peripheral import to understanding the conflict.

    the first tsunami is either in toto omitted or denied; while always dwelling on palest’n ripples to which they have a right to anyway.
    we do need to refute their ‘facts’ and not because such people want a fair dialog but because of new readers. thnx

  47. Barry said on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:30pm #

    Gideon – Regarding supplies delivered to Gaza by Israel — Nazi Germany delivered supplies to the death camps too.

    Israel’s only duty is to get out of the way. End the occupation and siege of Gaza and the West Bank – and take is troops and settlers home.

  48. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 4:09pm #

    is it not a criminal behavior to permit a criminal state such as israel to deliever anything to gazans? do we not have UN? that means that almost all christian lands are partners in israeli crime against gazans.

  49. mary said on January 24th, 2009 at 2:31am #

    On 3rd January Ha’aretz reported Livni’s statement that ‘ there was no humanitarian crisis’ in Gaza. That was two weeks before the cessation of Vilnai’s shoah so ably managed by Olmert, Barak and Livni and before many more deaths and injuries and almost complete destruction of buildings and infrastructure.

    Today in the UK there is a big stink about the BBC’s refusal to give airtime to an appeal for humanitarian air for Gaza by the Disaster Emergency Committee which is an umbrella group for 13 charities. As I mentioned before on this site there will be a large rally today outside the BBC HQ in London, originally planned to protest their partisan reporting of the Israeli action. This latest heartlessness will add focus.

    Yesterday’s Guardian reported the BBC’s reasoning and other broadcasters are now following suit.

    ‘The BBC, which has been criticised in the past over alleged bias in its coverage of the Middle East, said it did not want to risk public confidence in its impartiality. A BBC spokesperson said: “The decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of [a] news story.”

    The DEC’s chief executive, Brendan Gormley, said: “We are totally apolitical … this appeal is a response to humanitarian principles. The BBC seems to be confusing impartiality with equal airtime.”

    DEC appeals have recently raised £10m for the Congo and £18m for Burma.

    An ITV spokesman said the broadcasters, after assessing the DEC’s needs, had been unable “to reach a consensus necessary for an appeal”.

    Sky said: “By convention, if all broadcasters do not carry the appeal, then none do. The decision was effectively made for us.” ‘

    The blood of these people runs colder than a reptile’s.

  50. Max Shields said on January 24th, 2009 at 12:01pm #


    Thank you for your patient history lesson to the young Gideon (the latter is purely a benefit of the doubt).

    Religion as you intimate is not the basis for the existence of villages/towns/city-states/nations.

    That Gideon confuses his case for Zionism with that of a religion in the Middle East is telling; in fact is down right tragic.

  51. Max Shields said on January 24th, 2009 at 12:04pm #

    Correction, it was not Gideon but his brethren, Sheikh Yadik who you were addressing. (Same difference)

  52. Lorraine said on January 25th, 2009 at 10:58pm #

    Barry, may I use bits and pieces as needed of your coherent and interesting rebuttal to the ‘lickspittles for Israel’ to send to my friends?

    Often one knows bits and pieces of the tragedy of the Palestinians but finds it hard to present it all so that others may understand.

    Others on this forum may find a bit of levity in the fact that when I was much younger I defended the Jewish people from bigotry and prejudice with the same fervour I now defend the people of Gaza and the west bank. Well, there is a time when we must all part with illusions. That the suffering of the Jewish people could be converted into Zionism, which has led to the murdering and dispossession of others, is a fine ‘cosmic joke’.

    Unfortunately, there are too many ‘jokes’ in this modern world!!

  53. Lorraine said on January 25th, 2009 at 11:02pm #

    ooops! I should have typed ‘irony’ instead of ‘levity’

    And some of my old lecturers would chide me for not using “post-modern” rather than ‘modern’. However, I loathe post-modernism!!!

  54. Barry said on January 26th, 2009 at 4:57pm #

    Lorraine – I understand. I grew up in NYC, and I now go way back. Like almost all New Yorkers of the time, I believed in Israel. I believed the propaganda that it was intransigent Arabs who have any Arab country to choose from and are refusing to make way for a oppressed and besieged people. I celebrated the ’67 Israeli victory and laughed at the anti-Arab racist jokes. In the early 70s an Egyptian co-worker challenged me to research my pro-Israeli position. I did, and have not stopped researching it since. I came to realize that Israel was a colonial enterprise – and the colonists were put there to displace the native population. And it has been that way ever since. So use the info as you please, and ask away as you please as well.
    cheers! Barry

  55. Marryam Haleem said on January 26th, 2009 at 6:54pm #

    Barry–those notes you typed up were excellent! Thanks a bunch. The world needs more honest and just people like you.

    Lorraine–I hear you about the post-modern stuff, I too hate it….there is simply nothing “post” about our all too modern circumstances.

    Another good website is:

    and I would advise EVERYONE to watch this recent interview with Professor Norman Finkelstein. It is truly wonderful:

  56. Alexanser said on May 12th, 2009 at 9:07am #

    hey, this is sad.

    somebody talk to me!