we are history

As Israel’s assault on Gaza intensifies, it is not anti-Semitic to say: not in my name, by Laurie Penny, (emphasis mine):

It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that Israel doesn’t get a free pass to kill whoever it likes in order to feel “safe”. It is not anti-Semitic to point out that if what Israel needs to feel “safe” is to pen the Palestinian people in an open prison under military occupation, the state’s definition of safety might warrant some unpacking. And it is not anti-Semitic to say that this so-called war is one in which only one side actually has an army. […]

Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world marched to express their disgust at Israel’s air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip, and among them were swathes of Jews and Israelis. This is one of the few situations in which it makes a difference to stand up and say: not in our name. Not now, not ever again. Being Jewish, or having Jewish roots, doesn’t make you responsible for what is happening in Gaza, but it does mean that your dissent carries that much more weight. Not more weight than the grieving relatives of the families butchered in Shejaiya, but the kind of weight that hangs heavy on the heart, and that comes with the small but palpable risk of upsetting your family.

So here it is. I think my ancestors who were persecuted, tormented and exiled down the centuries for being Jews would be horrified to see what is being done in their name today.

newspost: photos from the protests in the Ukraine

Business Insider: Ukraine Protest Pictures:

“The crisis began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych snubbed a plan to sign an Association Agreement and trade pact with the EU after Russia persuaded the most populous former Soviet republic to stay in the Kremlin’s orbit.

Citizens subsequently flooded the streets and made Independence Square, aka Maidan, their base in central Kiev. The confrontations between the opposition and Yanukovych’s government have been escalating since.

On Wednesday, people poured back into Maidan to prepare for fresh clashes with police. (Here’s a Maidan live stream.)”

An anti-government protester gestures towards riot police during clashes in Independence Square in Kiev February 18, 2014.

Kiev streets have been burning throughout the protests. On Tuesday, the Maidan was particularly alight. Leading to some incredible fireworks admid the violence.

Protesters have used rocks, slingshots, catapults, and Molotov cocktails.
While crude, the mixture of flammable liquid inside the bottle of a Molotov cocktail has proven very effective.

An anti-government protester finds cover during clashes with riot police outside Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014.


via Scott:

Deaths in Iraq from January 2004 to December 2009. Blue is friendly/coalition forces deaths (3,771), teal is Iraqi government/military deaths (15,196), orange is Iraqi civilians (66,081), grey is insurgents and partisans (23,984). The lefthand chart is sorted by total, the righthand chart is sorted by date.

Source: 1 and 2

Randa just brought me back a keffiyeh from lebanon

Copied from spiderfarmer via James Grant:

Palestinian doctor has house shelled on Israeli news.

If you cannot see the subtitles do the following:
1. Play the video
2. Click the triangle button at the bottom-right corner of the video
3. Click the Turn on captions button that looks like the letters CC.

Israeli TV broadcast a father’s heartbreak Friday night when a Palestinian doctor living in Gaza made a frantic phone call to a newscaster saying an Israeli tank had shelled his home, killing three of his daughters and injuring other family members.

Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, who speaks Hebrew, worked as a gynecologist in an Israeli hospital. Even as the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel had largely been closed in recent months, he had traveled frequently from one place to the other. But he had remained in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began 21 days ago. He gave frequent interviews to the Israeli media on living conditions in the seaside enclave. He spoke of having tanks around his house and of passing through checkpoints; he told Israelis what it was like to be Palestinian.

Minutes away from a scheduled phone interview on Israeli TV 10 with newscaster Shlomi Eldar, Aboul Aish called Eldar’s cellphone, screaming and weeping in Arabic and Hebrew. The doctor’s home had been struck by a shell:

“Oh God, oh my God, my daughters have been killed. They’ve killed my children. . . . Could somebody please come to us?”

Sitting at his news desk for one of Israel’s main evening news broadcasts, Eldar held his phone up. For three minutes and 26 seconds, Aboul Aish’s wailing was broadcast across the country.

Eldar welled up. He put his head down. He looked at the camera. He looked at his phone. He made pleas for helpfor the family, but the doctor kept crying, his voice scratchy, like sand on paper, until Eldar took out his earpiece and walked off the set to try to arrange for help. The newscaster’s bewildered face seemed to capture a bit of pause in a nation that has largely supported its military campaign and prefers not to question its course.

News reports said there had been shooting in the area of the doctor’s house before the shelling. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israeli officials permitted ambulances carrying members of the doctor’s family to cross the border to a hospital.

Aboul Aish was a single father. His wife had died of cancer. He made his daughters sleep close to the walls of their home in hopes that would keep them safe if airstrikes or artillery collapsed the ceiling.

“I don’t know how this man will stand on his feet again after this tragedy,” Dr. Liat Lerner-Geya, an Israeli who worked with Aboul Aish, told the Hebrew-language news website Ynet. “He would come to Israel and sleep at friends’ houses for three nights. Even though he had all the necessary permits, they always gave him trouble at the crossings. But he believed there should be coexistence and practiced this in his work.”

After the newscast, Eldar met with reporters. He said the doctor told him that evening “that since his wife’s passing, the girls had been his entire life. He said his eldest daughter wanted to study at Haifa University. Just today another one of his daughters had told him she had gotten her period. ‘In the middle of a war you get your period. You are a woman now.’ ”

She and her sisters are dead. The news spread across Israel’s websites; the video of the doctor’s broadcast quickly made it to YouTube.

Eldar said of Aboul Aish: “It is simply surreal. He is part of this place yet not of it, belonging and not belonging.”

Even so, across Israel the doctor’s anguished voice kept playing over and over.

jeffrey.fleishman@latimes.com Sobelman works in The Times’ Jerusalem Bureau.

Photo from BBC News, Gaza, Early January 2009, via Warren:

come back to my spiders web of beautiful things

  • the conditions in Iraq for subcontracted workers under Halliburton.

    Doing sixty downtown, she’s going to be late for work, but the view reminds her of other cities.
    How the lights and by-ways of freeways work, how it’s strange now to see them in movies.
    I was there, she thinks, and that place, and that one. She can’t see a street she hasn’t walked on.
    The lights of the car behind them catch her eyes in the mirror and she turns her sight to the driver.

  • 85-year-old Seattle woman recruited by marines.

    A man in an orange hoodie picked up a sodden page of junk mail from the street and lay it across his shoulders like a cape, then rushed us. Dominique cried out, “hey look, there’s superman.” and I smiled, but didn’t feel like laughing. I was too tired, too worn by my day. I should have been home hours before, but the circumspection of social maneouvering left me outside. We had just been at a half-empty nightclub, trying to dance to eighties music. Dominique knew all the words. I didn’t. I barely recognized the music and none of the clientele. The rules of the dancefloor were strange, with not enough people to keep any cohesion to the space. Without warning, one might find themselves suddenly surrounded by the small group of japanese tourists or being threatened by the tiny elbows of the tottering girl in the corset who was trying very hard to be something. What, I couldn’t say. Only with Rick and Dominique was I comfortable. I sat on the side for a little while, watching everyone and feeling slightly too cliche to actually be doing what I was doing. I pulled out my book to write in, but decided instead to pull out my camera and threaten Rick with pictures. I shouldn’t be writing what my brain was trying to think.

  • U.S. Air Force testing new transparent aluminum armor.

    Vast layered conversations spanning six topics at once. She should find partners who speak like her.
    “I swore I wouldn’t do this again, but I think I’ve figured out why I’m going through with it.”
    She’s referring to three people. She’s referring to keeping a secret and possibly telling lies.
    She’s explaining why and who and when without them.
    “I wasn’t raised to believe in anything. I never expected to encounter something sacred.”
    Words, meanings. The resolution of a two puzzles pieces finding conclusion.
    He replies, “Religion was never something I had a use for, but sometimes the vocabulary is right.”
    Confirmation, a deduction of between the lines.
    The same path, but one person facing backward, one person blind.

  • U.S. finally gives up on upgrading missile defense.

  • Administrative Assistant

    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    The kitchen is clean. I am considering celebrating. Those of you who have visited recently know the implications of that statement. For those of you who haven’t been so unlucky, it seemed for awhile that my roommate was observing a strict regimen of experimentation, hypothetically breeding new species of super fruitfly. It was all for science. It had to be. That was too many of the little annoying gnats to be otherwise. Now that the kitchen has been cleaned, I will take on the bathroom in return. A serious exercise in scrubbing shall occur, oh yes. Time for the cool clean taste of bleach. I would still like to know where to get a carnivorous plant to placidly hunt down the remaining kamikaze insects, but for now, I am no longer living on the edge of a war zone of dishes. Insert the ticker tape parade here.

    As part of making the self a home, I want to map out my new body rules, examine minutely the fresh schematic I returned with, but I think they’re still in flux, still settling and finding their edges. I don’t like people casually touching me now. Arms around my shoulder, legs against mine when we’re sitting four to a couch, I’ve been avoiding it. Instead I sit apart. Family is exempt, as they usually are. Not the blood relatives, but the clan I’ve created with empathy adoption and matching personal mythology. It’s odd and unexpected, a new layer of adaptation to paste into the mental environment. I require space now, room for my skin to breathe.