But first, let me take a selfie.
Tumblr decidedly does not want to let me post photosets so you’ll get no updates on badass burmese punks and their glory, I will try again in the morning, I have receipts on nantajoong being a north korean spy, plus DK will be opening a “Bar In Lahore”, Lianne La Havas still has my heart, KakaoTalk is like the best thing ever if we’re a mutual and you have it hmu, I hope you’re all well, kalimehndi is still the prettiest and most heartwarming mashallah just someone please get her a decent phone and fund a trip to see each other for my eid/birthday, white people need to stop posting their faces in the Burma tag and (well-meaning) Muslims need to stop posting wretched images of dying, starving, grieving Rohinga with awful political analysis, and I’m about to sleep. Bye.
YANGON, 25 July 2014 (IRIN) - Landmine clearance in southern Myanmar’s Kayah State has still not begun despite a 2012 ceasefire between the main armed groups and the government. While negotiations between the ceasefire parties are ongoing, deep distrust remains, and there is little immediate prospect for the launch of clearance operations, experts and activists say.[http://www.mmpeacemonitor.org/peace-process/ceasefires ]
Kayah (also known as Karenni) State, Myanmar’s smallest, with a population of around 250,000, is one of several heavily landmine-contaminated areas of country.
Non-Technical Surveys (NTS), or “collecting and analyzing new and existing information about a hazardous area. to confirm whether there is evidence of a hazard or not”, are the first step in landmine mapping. However, despite a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding to begin such survey work in Kayah State, the process has not been launched. [ http://www.magamerica.org/blog/non-technical-survey-what-the-world#sthas… ] [ http://www.irinnews.org/report/96611/myanmar-demining-moves-a-step-closer ]
The powder extracted from the bark of a thanakha tree, shown above, is both ritual and remedy in Burma. Thanakha cools the skin, keeps facial wrinkles at bay, prevents sun damage, clears acne, and some claim it cures headaches and fevers when ingested.
But above all, to decorate the face with the miracle powder is a Burmese cultural institution among both women and men. With the opening up of the country, however, modern, Western cosmetics are challenging the relevance of thanakha as city girls prefer cosmetics over thanakha powder lest they be jeered as “villagers”.
I can imagine, young Hollywood actors flocking to the thanakha once its skin preservation qualities become global.
The last bit is likely accurate and I’ll be honest, it breaks my heart.
“The war neither began with us nor is it going to end with our lives.”
— Bhagat Singh
On April 13, 1919, in violation of a British colonial ban on meetings or gatherings, peaceful protestors assembled in Punjab, India to object to the recent killing of nearly 30 Indians in a previous protest. Unprovoked and without warning, colonial forces arrived and opened fire on tens of thousands of unarmed, defenseless Indians, mostly Sikhs, indiscriminately killing 379 men, women, and children. An estimated 1,200 were wounded.
The onslaught known today as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, or the Amritsar massacre to Punjabi natives, is said to have lasted 20 minutes. Yet, despite its brevity, for the move to action it spurred throughout colonial India it remains a seminal event in the fight for Indian independence. One man, 12 year old Bhagat Singh, was especially moved. The massacre planted in Singh’s young mind a longing for the freedom of his people that would propel him forward by any means necessary.
Eventually he would be hung by British colonial authorities for his propensity to fight brutal occupation with every method employed against the Indian people. In the wake of his death, for the majority of the world who does not know or care about the necessity of armed struggle, he has been forgotten. His story, and those like his, has been put on the back-burner while men like Gandhi have been memorialized as the embodiment of what oppressed peoples should do when faced with a conscienceless occupier.
Such is not far from the expectation of Palestinians in the wake of decades of Israeli apartheid and occupation: In one form or another the question has been asked, “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?”
Though, even if ridiculously, it could be speculated as to where Palestinian Gandhi might be — a thought to be revisited later — we ought to ask why anybody would pose this question at all. The reality is asking this question is a sinister method of delegitimizing Palestinian armed resistance and self-defense. It is a tactical ploy to remove the focus from the violence Israel continues to perpetrate against Palestinians in order to place the impetus for peace solely on those suffering most. It is, in its purest form, victim blaming. And it has been incredibly effective.
Gandhi: A Myth to Which We May Not Want to Aspire
“In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.”
— Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
Nonviolence played a significant role in Indian independence, absolutely; but the premise that under the tutelage of Gandhi it was the premier force driving the nation toward liberation is a cherry-picked version of history. It downplays into nothingness the fact that the post-WWII crown could no longer maintain the brute force and financial obligation needed to run a global empire. Indigenous American scholar Ward Churchill in Pacifism as Pathology dismantled the myth that nonviolence effectively acted alone or in a vacuum unto itself:
“…Gandhian success must be viewed in the context of a general decline in British power brought about by two world wars within a thirty-year period. Prior to the decimation of British troop strength and the virtual bankruptcy of the Imperial treasury during World War II, Gandhi’s movement showed little likelihood of forcing England’s abandonment of India. Without the global violence that destroyed the Empire’s ability to forcibly control territories (and passive populations), India might have continued indefinitely in the pattern of minority rule marking the majority of South Africa’s modern history, the first locale in which the Gandhian recipe for liberation struck the reef of reality. Hence, while the Mahatma and his followers were able to remain “pure,” their victory was contingent upon others physically gutting their opponents for them.”
At best Gandhi worship ignores — at worst it erases — the revolutionary actions of people like Bhagat Singh and others who galvanized the resistance movement in colonial India. It removes the context of fear created by armed struggle, a reversal of the fear that underpinned British control of a country where Brits were enormously outnumbered. George Orwell, the famous author of 1984, as a former officer in the Indian police noted:
“Gandhi has been regarded for twenty years by the Government of India as one of its right-hand men… It was always admitted in the most cynical way that Gandhi made it easier for the British to rule India, because his influence was always against taking any action that would make any difference. The reason why Gandhi when in prison is always treated with such lenience, and small concessions sometimes made when he has prolonged one of his fasts to a dangerous extent, is that the British officials are in terror that he may die and be replaced by someone who believes less in “soul force” and more in bombs.”
The material and philosophical reality of nonviolence is one of insufficient means dictating for itself an impossible end. The sectarian nature by which many proponents of Gandhian doctrine preclude or lambaste the use of armed resistance only helps doom a people’s fight for liberation because it effectively counteracts any positive gain they together might achieve. A truly encompassing liberatory praxis must recognize the use of armed resistance as a legitimate and necessary method of achieving liberation. The dismantling of the Gandhi myth is therefore of primary importance in attaining such a praxis.
But what about Gandhi the man himself, his political doctrines aside? Recently feminist writer and activist Arundhati Roy shared her own criticisms of the late nonviolent leader, saying:
“The story of Gandhi that we have been told, is a lie. It is time to unveil a few truths, about a person whose doctrine of nonviolence was based on the acceptance of a most brutal social hierarchy ever known, the caste system. Gandhi believed that a scavenger should always remain a scavenger. Do we really need to name our universities after him?”
There are, of course, more critical views of Gandhi’s personal habits — his methods for testing his resolve for celibacy for instance — but at the core of his legacy lies an irrational, one-sided lore of a man whose message and methods were inadequate, however helpful, and whose moral character was as flawed as anyone else’s. The real reason Gandhi is lauded while revolutionaries like Singh are diminished has more to do with what we do not know and why we are not taught it than with what we think we know.
In other words, if we were taught the truth that armed resistance does bring about significant change, we might be inclined to try it.
Reclaiming Resistance from Israel’s Tactical Propaganda
“Respect existence, or expect resistance.”
Knowing the pitfalls of Gandhi’s character/nonviolence, that in reality his methods could only be successful when buttressed with armed resistance and the bankrupting of Britain’s military and financial prowess, why would anybody ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi?” Well, it’s pretty simple really: If people buy into the idea that there ought to be a Palestinian Gandhi to do what the myth of Gandhi dictates, then if no Palestinian is successfully doing it the rest of the world can continue to blame Palestinians for Israeli initiated violence instead of holding Israel accountable.
More importantly, if Palestinians deviate from the doctrine of nonviolence and endorse armed resistance, Israel can portray itself as victimized, or at least only retaliating in an “equally” matched conflict. This is tactical propaganda. If looked for, it is openly visible in the current struggle for Palestinian liberation.
Mainstream media has constantly berated fighters in Gaza for using armed resistance in the face of overwhelming occupation. A principle mechanism of this berating has been the method of blaming-both-sides equally, regardless of the lopsided causalities of Israel’s current and past military offensives. Hamas, an entity ironically helped to prominence by Mossad as a counterweight to the PLO, has been dubbed the central objector to proposed ceasefires by Israel, Egypt, and humanitarian agencies despite the fact that Israel has far more frequently been the provocateur. After Hamas does reject any ceasefire terms, the question of Palestinian Gandhi is mouthed ad nauseam.
But there can be no great peace negotiator when every ceasefire calls for the continuation of Palestinian oppression. Such proposals are not negotiations — they are the demands of a wolf clothed in the rhetoric of the sheep to elicit international sympathy. Palestinians know this, and by majority they have claimed acceptance of such a ceasefire would be a condition of living death.
In the film Rang de Basanti,a historical fiction of Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ revolutionary actions, a group of young friends retrace and relive the struggle for Indian independence. In the course of their reenactment they discover the corruption of their own government through the death of a loved one and come to understand Singh’s motivations for armed struggle. When they attempt to nonviolently challenge the corruption that led to their friend’s death, they are met with brutal repression, another of them having been beaten into a coma.
They assassinate the Defense Minister of the Indian government, the man responsible, in response. As the Indian government attributes the assassination to terrorists, effectively martyring a corrupt official, in their last act the group seizes a radio station to finally tell the truth about the corruption they acted against. They, like Singh, willingly die for the people they love.
Whether or not their actions were warranted they did something far too many have not: They realized that in order for nonviolence to work, those trying to kill you have to care about you.
Israel’s Zionist government does not care about Palestinians. The so-called terrorism Israel says it is fighting, in reality, is the armed resistance created by the terrorism it commits. If Israel were really concerned with the alleged “terrorism” of Hamas, its most prudent action would be to immediately cease participating in the terrorizing of Palestinians. Such is the nature of cyclical violence, but by no means is it equivalent when one party has the 6th most powerful military in the world and the backing of United States military power while the other has rocks and homemade rockets.
But this is at the core of asking “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” to delegitimize Gazan resistance by decoupling the material reality of occupation from the right to self-defense. Jeff Sluka captured it well in National Liberation Movements in Global Context:
“The condemnation of liberation movements for resorting to… armed struggle is almost invariably superficial, hypocritical, judgmental, and unfair and tends strongly to represent another example of the generalized phenomenon of “blaming the victim.” The violence of the situation, the per-existing oppression suffered by those who eventually strike back, is conveniently ignored. The violence of the oppressed is a form of defensive counter-violence to the violence of conquest and oppression. In no armed national liberation movement I know of in history has this not been the case.”
After decades of war on Palestinians, Israel has threaded through itself a clearly defined and widely endorsed, yet often unarticulated, acceptance of violent oppression. It is a fully rationalized phenomenon for its government, with full confidence of Israeli Zionists and their sympathizers abroad, to carry out odious acts of state-sanctioned terrorism against Palestinians. Yet when those murdered, so clearly revealed in the scope of recent events, grow weary enough to fight against occupation, their resistance is totally fetishized, their humanity dehumanized.
As in the lived and cinematic experience of Singh’s life, getting past the Gandhi myth is essential to understanding the material reality of what is happening on the ground in Gaza today. This understanding must lay bare the conditions of occupation, colonization, and apartheid. When we fully grasp this we ought to remember a people’s natural right to armed resistance. Blaming Palestinians for fighting oppression from a racist, Zionist government is outright victim-blaming. It makes us tools of oppression.
If we really must ask “Where is Palestinian Gandhi,” we should realize they likely are buried under the rubble of an Israeli missile.
(Photo Credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA & AmericaWakieWakie)
The 48,000 march on Qalandia is a culmination of the efforts of all Palestinian parties and political groups in Ramallah and its neighboring villages.
We grouped up in front of the Am’ari refugee camp, and from the start it was obvious that this was massive. To be totally honest, we most likely did not reach 48,000 but it was massive.
The main goal of this march was an act of solidarity with Gaza, and to remind the occupation that we are one people. To remind the occupation soldiers that they will never be safe. We were supposed to break through the Qalandia checkpoint and march on Jerusalem. There is also a second point which makes the demonstrations tonight extra important.
I’m sure some of you are aware, that for us, tonight is Laylat Al Qadr, one of the holiest nights of the year for Muslims. It is also tradition that you should pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. So what did the only democracy in the middle east do? It closed down Al-Aqsa, and prevented most people from praying there.
There is usually around 500,000 worshipers in Al-Aqsa at Laylat Al Qadr, tonight, due to Israel, there is only 20,000.
The march itself was a sight to behold, you have people from every political group all walking together and chanting old Palestinian revolutionary songs. It was a point that nobody should bring any flags other than the Palestinian flag. There were so many, it was a sea of red, green, white and black. Everyone was swelling with pride as we poured towards Qalandia, around 6 KM away from where we began.
We ran into trouble very soon. I’m sure if any of you saw the Qalandia checkpoint, you’d know that it is a massive concrete fortress.
Before we even fully arrived at Qalandia, ambulances were already being heard. Israeli soldiers were shooting very very heavily in our direction. There was an abnormally high amount of hits in the waist and above. The first Martyr of the night, Mohammad al-Araj was shot in the head with live ammunition. They are shooting to kill and maim.
There are literally hundreds of injuries, a huge amount of them in critical condition. You will not believe the amount of ambulances buzzing by. You will not believe the amount of blood, the amount of gas, the amount of smoke. The Israelis were spraying bullets everywhere. There was nowhere for anybody to go.
We were unarmed. I repeat, nobody was armed. There was no threat at all to the soldiers. Unless having rocks thrown at their concrete towers and bunkers is what you’d consider “armed” resistance.
The clashes will continue unto dawn. Not only at Qalandia, brutal clashes have broken out everywhere. Especially Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Tulkarem. All of Palestine is rattling the chains of its shackles.
We are a people under military occupation. It’s our right, and our duty to resist. Gaza will never stand alone.
This’ll cover the basics, such as financial expectation, rental history, what to bring for the application process, etc.
First, Afro-Palestinian have always fitted in the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle for national liberation they participate in resistance and mobilizations against the occupation. The first Palestinian woman to organize a commando operation in “israel” was Fatima Bernawi and she is Afro-Palestinian.I don’t know where you got that Afro-Palestinians “don’t have the right to be on the land” they are indigenous to the land just as any Palestinian. I suggest you look at these links to resources i provided below to learn more about the community and their struggles and aspirations.
Article: Black, Proud and Palestinian
Photo Portraits: Portraits of Afro-Palestinians from Jerusalem and Jericho
Articles about Afro-Palestinians in Gaza:
Darg Team Palestinian Hip-Hop group group from Gaza that is made up of Afro-Palestinian members (The second article above talks about them)
This is a great article although Budour discusses Eritrean and South Sudani refugees in “israel” she also writes about Afro-Palestinians.
You can read about Fatima Bernawi here beginning on page 10:
Maybe put it on a canvas instead of someone’s property, and we can all be happy.
who paying for these canvases or the art programs so these kids can have that? Why should it matter if these run down buildings that never get fixed up anyway get graffiti’d?
Therein lies the issue. Art programs, both visual and performance based, are the first programs to be cut. Canvas ain’t cheap. Neither are the supplies. Much of the graffiti that takes place IS on buildings that are run down. The gov’t didn’t place any value on these properties and yet get pissy with dudes “vandalizing” their shit. You can’t have it both ways, ya dig.
My father was a garment contractor in LA. In the late 80s, he owned the building where he had his factory. He thought it would be a cool idea to commission local graffiti artists, usually young Black and Latino men looking to stay out of trouble, to paint murals on his buildings. After all, he runs a garment design/manufacturing company, and creative signage is great advertising.
One day, he showed up to the building and the city just painted over the murals without permission or notice.
First, the city told him he couldn’t have graffiti art on HIS building because it brought down property value. After he complained, then they said: ok you can do this, but you need a permit. After he got the permit, then the city said: ok, but you can only use these artists. Of course, these artists were all White graphic design students from USC, and of course they charged 3x more.
There is a prejudice against this type of art, and it’s racial. Banksy vandalizes folks buildings all the time, and folks treat him like the Messiah. He ain’t doing nothing new that Black and Brown folks haven’t done for decades.
This whole post…I just find it really interesting! And sad, too, but good thing to read.
I remember suggesting to my mom to hire local graffiti artists (particularly POC artists) to advertise for her company by having them design murals and logos all over town.
Re blogging for DK for banksy being a fuckboy. :D