I had hoped to send this out a week ago, but life—in the form of our Earth Activist Training and its twelve-hour teaching days—intervened. But I want to close off this series of narratives with some thoughts on what to do next.
Segregation in the south did not end because the civil rights movement won over the hard-core segregationists. Bull Connor and his ilk never dropped their devotion to racial supremacy. But the marches, the sit-ins, the jailings and beatings roused a larger public to become aware of the deep injustices of America’s own apartheid system, and they intervened to change the laws.
Along with their energizing though hard-on-the knees tradition of jumping up and down throughout a protest, the South African delegation brought us their experience with apartheid. When the international community woke up to the horrific injustices of apartheid, when they began a global campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions, apartheid fell.
The Cairo Declaration, written with their inspiration, calls for such a campaign. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions are the way the international community can tell Israel, “Stop! Friends don’t let friends commit genocide.”
You can sign on at www.gazafreedommarch.com.
Two campaigns are already underway. The first is a boycott of Ahava beauty products, produced on stolen Palestinian land at the Dead Sea.
The second is a boycott of Caterpillar, the heavy equipment manufacturers who make the house-crusher monster bulldozers, like the one that killed Rachel Corrie when she tried to prevent a home demolition in Rafah in 2003. I don’t know how many of my readers have occasion to purchase a backhoe or a tractor—but for you permacultural swale diggers and keyline plowers, there are plenty of other companies who don’t have blood on their blades.
The repression of the Gaza marchers was part of a general crackdown on nonviolent activists and civil resistance on the part of the Israeli authorities. Throughout the last months, Israel has arrested many of the leaders of the popular resistance campaigns against the apartheid wall in the West Bank.
Two of them, Jamal Juma and Mohammed Othman, have been freed by the Israeli courts, hanks to international pressure, after months of detention and interrogation with no charges.
But many others who are less known are still in jail. Abdallah Abu Ramah, a teacher and farmer from the village of Bil’in, has been a leader in organizing that community’s sustained resistance against the wall. For five years, villagers from Bil’in and nearby Nil’in, along with international and Israeli supporters, have staged a nonviolent demonstration every Friday. In the course of those protests, the Israeli Occupation Forces have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition. Nineteen demonstrators have been killed, nine of them teenagers, the youngest only ten years old. Others, like my own dear friend Tristan Anderson, severely wounded. Abdallah was arrested in December and continues to be held. To raise your voice in support of his freedom, go to:
Israel has also targeted leaders of nonviolent resistance movements in Nablus and other Palestinian cities. Wa’el al Faqueeh of Nablus has been detained without charges for over a month and faces trial on January 19. He also needs our support:
* To write to the American Consul General in Jerusalem, see
* To write to the High Representative of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, see
Obama and others have called on the Palestinian people to ‘adopt the tactics of Martin Luther King’—but ignored the tenacious, hard-pressed movement among Palestinians who do so, at the risk of their lives and liberty. Where is the Palestinian Martin Luther King? He’s being held in administrative detention by the Israelis, without charges or dates for release. His name is Abdallah abu Raman. His name is Wa’el Faqueeh.