|Yasmin Tambiah and Joan Nestle, November 2013|
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Dear US Campaign member groups,
Below, please find three urgent items from our friends at the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs, UNRWA USA, and member group The Struggle, that you can forward to your membership to take action around the emergency situation in Gaza. Thank you for spreading the word.
1. State of Emergency in Gaza by Mohammed Omer
We decided to make this urgent report from Mohammed Omer into an action alert—Gazans need our help now!
Contact Secretary of State John Kerry:
Write: U.S. Department of State
2201 C ST., NW
Washington, DC 20520
Call: 202-647-4000; select option 4 and ask operator for the comment line.
202-647-6575 (Public Communication Division); select option 8 to leave your comment.
State of Emergency in Gaza
I want to thank all of you who have read the last posting. Little by little, we are changing what is allowed to be questioned, to be spoken, to be cared about.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
"44 days without electricity! New emergency schedule started yesterday, electricity hours r downsized to 3 instead of 6, per day! Leaving Palestinians in Gaza with a 21+ hours of power outage a day. Add to this the horrible weather, constant rain, floods, wind, thunder and lightening!" Omar Ghraieb writing from Gaza
Dec 13, 2013
" The Gaza Government's Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened dams just east of the Gaza strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory."
The blockade has taken its toll on every aspect of daily life in Gaza and now a natural calamity, a storm, the likes of which had before been seen in this part of the world , from which there is no place to run for these imprisoned people, the sea on one side and Israel and Egypt turning their hearts away on the other, destroys all comfort. How is this not genocide, asks Sherry. The deliberate making of life impossible.
|Photo by Oma Ghraieb, Dec 13, 2013|
"State of Emergency in Gaza"
Mohammed Omer, Dec 2013
"It is cold, there is no power and I am charging my computer using a car battery in order to get this message out. It is so cold in Gaza that every one has cold feet and a cold nose. A new storm is hitting this besieged enclave. There is no electricity and shortages of water, fuel, and vital services mean people just sit and wait for the unknown." Omar writes of no garbage collection for weeks, no way to flush toilets, rats being flooded into people's homes, sickness every where. "It makes me wonder if U.S. Secretary of State Joan Kerry is aware of Gaza's situation. Would he find it acceptable if Israeli citizens lived in the same condition? Or don't we in Gaza count as human?" As a Jew, whose history lies in the ghettos of Poland and Russia, I call out for the Diaspora to look into its soul--to stand by and watch the suffering of another people, while the "Jewish Nation" turns its back, makes life less possible--what has happened to us in the name of our safety?
From Fidaa Abuassi, December 13, 2013
"Gaza is drowning today. Houses are flooded by water. People are freezing there. No power. No water. No heat. No fuel. THIS IS A CATASTROPHE. A CATASTROPHE. I need to do something to help. I felt so helpless that I wanted to call 911, Red Cross or Amnesty International. Anyone! I want to tell the world that Gaza is living an unspeakable disaster and in need for your help. I cannot be silent. You cannot be silent!
Dec 12, 2013, the IMEU:
"Unlike Manhattanites, though--or, more to the point, unlike their neighbors in Sderot--Gaza'a refugees have nowhere to flee when heavy rains, flood their 25-mile occupied territory, blockaded by land, air and sea."
Once it was Jewish lives that were unmournable, so many did not care, did not value our lives and now, we have allowed in our name, and some even support, the entrapment, the forced affliction of another people. No nationhood is worth this ugliness of the human heart.
I know that the peace activists, the women of Women in Black and so many others in Israel will mobilize to help if the State allows it--and we must too.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
|Di, Oishik, Debolina, Joan, 2013|
As you might already know, on December 11, the Supreme Court of India upheld India's anti-sodomy law, which was decriminalised by the Delhi High Court in 2009. Oishik and I have been part of the queer rights movement in India and have been part of the legal process as well.
A global day of outrage is being planned all around the world to protest this judgement. We wanted to organise some kind of public action - most likely a silent stand in outside the Indian Consulate in Melbourne. We'd be very happy if you join us and also put us in touch with queer groups in Melbourne who we can contact to gather some publicity.
Please write soon with ideas.
Debolina and Oishik"
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I write and live surrounded by much beauty, moments touched by light, here in 4 Fitzgibbon Avenue.
|Sweet William (Luke Carroll) speaking with his son, played by James Slee|
On a stormy night in Sydney, we go to the Belvoir Theater in the Surrey Hills neighborhood of Sydney to see a new production of "The Cake Man," Robert Merrit's pioneer play about the "unseen" first people of this country. A joint production of the standing Belvoir theater ensemble and the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Australia's leading Aboriginal theater group, the play is just beginning its Sydney run.
"Back in the early 1970s, a group of pioneering indigenous theatermakers occupied a dilapidated terrace in Redfern and started the National Black Theater. The first full-length play they staged was Robert J. Merritt's 'The Cake Man.' A droll examination of white paternalism from a black point of view, Merritt's play kicked off a renaissance of art and performance that laid the foundations of contemporary indigenous theater."
After climbing up a steep hill in the pelting rain, we rush into the crowded theater, filled with damp excited theater goers. Down a few steps, and we find some seats and wait for the curtain time. More and more people, young dashing ones, energized couples, interestingly dressed older ones sipping their wines and beer, the place is filled. Much like a successful off Broadway launch it feels to me. Then the bell announcing it is time to go to seating, but it is too early for the stated starting time of "The Cake Man." Wow, I say to Di--this is really a wonderful turnout. People start rushing up the steps; a young man announces seating for "Hamlet" has begun. It is then that I discover this is a two venue theater--upstairs is the larger, more mainstream productions. The lobby empties out at a furious pace.A few of us are left waiting, and I get a sinking feeling.
"'The Cake Man is at once straightforward and complex. It is about the small details of life in a changing world. Jumping off effortlessly from a pre-invasion idyll to the hard scrabble of modern life on a mission in Western New South Wales, Merrit's virtuosic play pings with closely observed portraits of people doing what they have to do to get by. Tucked away inside it is an account of the roots of despair and of the beautiful means of overcoming it."
Once again the bell summons us, and we go further down deeper into the building's core and enter a small theater, with wooden rows serving for seats. Perhaps forty of us now have filled the space. Company members are there laying out the perimeters of the stage with white chalk, small black dolls sit on the floor, an actor walks to the performing space from the audience, Luke Carroll, who will hold us in his hands for the rest of the performance as Sweet William, the Black man who lunges against the confines of his life, who bursts with love for his wife, Ruby, and his son, lovingly called Pumpkinhead. See this play if you can. Sit and hear Sweet William turn to us and ask, "what do you want from me? What do you want me to be?" All of us sitting in that place as if we are in a small boat and can't escape our histories--those of us of the conquering class know, there are no answers that will save the indigenous dream of ownership of their lives, so complete is the rule of colonizing power. I think now of all those others sitting in the audience above us, listening to the Prince of Denmark looking into a similarly darkened space and asking his now so known existential question--to be or not to be, even in his despair, in total self ownership. When will the voice below the known histories, when will the stark and so clear voice of Sweet William pierce our cultural norms, "What do you want from me," as if we would give an answer that would end his dispossession. As if some lucidity behind our brutality would make all clear, allow his world to stand free and sweet as his love for Ruby and his son.
Performers: Sweet William, Luke Carroll; Civilian/Mr Peterson, Oscar Redding; Priest/Mission Inspector, George Shevtsov; Pumpkinhead, James Slee; Soldier/Mission Manager, Tim Solly; Ruby, Irma Woods
When the play ended, I sat thinking of Lorraine Hansberry, and her portrait of a Black-American family trying so desperately to do things the right way, I thought of Georgia, as if she was sitting there beside us, this is the theater that gave her life and I think, the writer victoriously found his way to make himself heard above the din of invisibility..
"Robert J. Merritt watched his first opening night under police guard: he was an inmate of Long Bay at the time."