Where have all the flowers gone?

By h. Gibrain

Not long ago I was standing in a veritable war zone amid the tear gas, rubber coated bullets and stun grenades looking at the little yellow flowers I was unfamiliar with and thinking about how the western main stream media portrays this particular conflict in the usual fairly unbalanced thought-bytes and the only lives that are ever considered are the human ones: some humans matter more than others but the rest of flora and fauna has, essentially, no representation in the media and apparently doesn’t matter at all.

We all know how important the environment is – ever since the word came to be in use – and, as a culture of refugees, colonialists, conquistadors and anything but the indigenous, we are indoctrinated in a culture of denial and disconnect from nature (the environment outside of your skin) and our minds and the language we think with does not contain the right sequences of words to express or question not only human rights and equality in the eyes of international law and human rights law (if that’s your thing), in the eyes of god (if that’s your thing), through a lens of your indigenous roots on Earth (regardless of where you’re from and all of the defining characteristics of your identity), but we never consider the impact of human conflict on the environment.

Trying to unravel the entangling alliances between state parties is as angrifying as actually understanding the often dubious relationships, based on economic and military power, which reak havoc on innocent people the world over. I’m specifically avoiding examples because there are so many to choose from I don’t want to single out one perpetrator over another and draw a chorus of “what about the others’ “. Besides that’s not my point. My point is that all of that is somewhat irrelevant – the behavior is basically universal in that people are making, selling, buying, and using weapons to kill innocent people and it’s generally not sanctioned by the respective civil societies of the nation-states doing the killing. The underlying issue, which gains absolutely no attention in the press, in social media, from political pundits and the politicians themselves, is the simple set of questions everyone should be asking themselves with their morning coffee, afternoon cocktail, dinner and a joint, is “Who is making all of these weapons? Who is selling all of these weapons? Who is using all of these weapons? And why are they being made, sold, bought, used and not regulated in any consistent fashion, let alone produced at all – when they have only one purpose?”

 

I’m not gonna answer that simple set of questions. I have my own thoughts and beliefs about why this is taking place. The once in a while that I can bear to think about it I just ask myself “why isn’t everyone talking about this and trying to do something about the way these forms of commerce take place?”

Generally, energy flows where attention goes so let us all put some form of attention to this issue. It can be in the form of prayer, mediation, poetry, music, dance, food, letters and phone calls and general lobbying of government officials and weapons manufacturers, letters to editors, peace journalists can participate in focusing their attention on this matter as well. Of course, there are more than one hundred and ninety-eight methods of non-violent armed resistance according to one Gene Sharp (If you’re reading this you know how to use a search engine). I can’t do all 198, but I try a few here and there in a way that doesn’t interfere too much with my white male American middle aged middle classed privilege. I’m asking you do something too. Few are guilty, all are responsible.

The United Nations: We won’t be fooled again!

Posted on 3rd January 2015 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Practice, Reflections, Self Determination

Perhaps the first seminal work on large scale brainwashing of a peoples was “A Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” by Paolo Freire: an essay published in or around 1970 in which he articulates the notion that when the language of a peoples, of a nation, is the language of the oppressor, the peoples themselves are sort of caught in an intractable relationship between oppressor and oppressed until they come to realize that their language is a sort of prison guard to their perpetual slavery and if they can change the way they speak, they can change the way they think and can therefor change the way the act and, ultimately change the nature of their circumstance: their oppression.

 

A recent example of this, it has been argued, is the Occupy Wall Street movement – which, for its potentially dubious origins, lack of organization and overall ineffectiveness did exemplify the potential power of a semi-organic movement coalescing, organizing and beginning to define itself. It was, in a sense, a parthenogenic disturbance: an unfertilized embryo destined to spontaneously abort with no potential of becoming viable. In any case, perhaps a better and more appropriate terminology to express the intent and sentiment of the occupiers would have been to call the movement “inhabit wall street” or “cohabitate wall street” indicating something more in line with what was being sought – equality and justice. This one word switcheroo is a total game changer and has profound implications, speaking volumes to the very fundaments and intentions of the collective and definitely redirecting the strategy. It includes all stakeholders as having a valid claim in a shared space and demands dialog, listening and, as Freire called it, a dialogical conscientiazation. It is, in essence, the knowledge that is gained and shared through learning about others’ capacities and interpretations of reality; it is learning empathy.

 

Similarly, the entire world has been duped into accepting the United Nations as a collective of states organized to contract and execute international norms regarding war and peace: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and others. That in and of itself is a seemingly noble cause save the fact that the United Nations is a collection of states and nations are collections of peoples of a common culture: an ethnic community (with a slightly political bent – a meaning the term has evolved to include). States haven’t been around that long historically. Before that it was empires, dynasties, monarchies and the like: colonialists at heart and in practice. The idea that states should represent the will, desire, expectation and needs of a nation is also a noble prospect yet, historically, this is not the case. To expect a United Nations of united states to carry out the will of a united nations of peoples is seemingly absurd. Perhaps this is why the United Nations is fundamentally dysfunctional. The representatives at the UN are not necessarily representing the will of the nations of peoples whom their respective governments send to deliver the message of the nation; that is, the message of the nation at the United Nations is the message of the state and even in the glorious western democracies the likelihood the will of the nation and the will of the state coincide is slim.

 

Let’s call it what it is or, better yet, create what it should be. A true United Nations of united nations of peoples coming together and doing what the states are unable or unwilling to do because they are inept or have dubious intentions. Those among us who have traveled to other lands and met other peoples – physically or astrally – understand that the common ground for our humanity is vast yet the establishment of the foundations for equality and peace are outside of the purview of many of the member states of the United Nations and, as a functional organism, the United Nations is incapable of carrying out its mandate because it is structurally compromised – as its name indicates.

The Zero State One Nation Solution: Terra Nullius

by H. Gibrain

A viable solution which would respect the human rights of all concerned and which would solve the problem of borders and resources, as well as demographics and the right to return for all peoples, Palestinian and otherwise, would be to declare the geographic boundaries defined by the Palestine Mandate as terra nullius – no one’s land.

Since this “disputed” land (annexed and occupied by the UN and Israel and the US and others by proxy) is really the last great colonial product of the British Empire – now perpetuated by the US and the other former colonized British states – let it be the first place on earth where there is no state control based on any discriminatory factor, where no one owns the land and where all people are seen as equal under the moral code of the nation as determined by what could be a stateless nation with a constitution (not defining a government structure, per se, but defining a moral code analogous to the Bill of Rights in the US and other international declarations based on equality, peace, justice, liberty, freedom, truth, dignity, trust and the rest of the virtues.

Such a move will require a great deal of courage from the United Nations organs and member states who are willing to uphold the law through their words and actions, an organized popular resistance from Palestinian civil society – and potentially the PA (as, say, exhibited in Abbas’ speech at the UN (in 2011 I think it might have been), and the international solidarity movement through BDS and other means of non-violent popular struggle.

The UN, in order to overcome the inertia of the security council and other organs that prevent the UN organizations – as an expression of its member states – to carry out its functions as prescribed by international law, the UN will likely need to change the structure since the current structure is not properly carrying out its function. The possibility and effects of a Second UN Charter convention should be seriously contemplated by the General Assembly and other appropriate bodies of the UN. Primarily, a restructuring or elimination of the Security Council, the veto, or how it can be used needs to be evaluated and the creation of some body representing civil society needs to take place – a people’s parliament.

In a Newtonian sense, when there are forces acting on a body creating a certain trajectory, in order to alter that trajectory and get it to go in the direction of an international law and human rights based system, the right actions need to take place from the right forces. In this case, as history has shown, there is no political will or skill from the main stakeholders to change the trajectory, so the Palestinian civil society and the respective civil societies of the world need to learn the principles and practices of non-violent popular struggle – which has shown, historically, to be a much more effective means of conflict transformation. It is not the military might that will win the struggle for legitimacy, it is the struggle for equality and justice from international solidarity with the Palestinians that will usher in a durable peace.

 

 

MSMBS Breaking News: Swiss Knesset passes Direct Engagement Law

Posted on 20th August 2014 in MSMBS, Nonviolence Resistance, Stories

 

The Swiss Parliament passed the “Direct Engagement”  law last week by a near unanimous vote. This new law requires arms manufacturers to train and deploy soldiers, militants, resistance and terrorists to fight with the weapons they sell to foreign governments. It is seen as both a victory for peace workers who believe that a neutral country, as Switzerland, can not maintain neutrality in conflict when it is, in fact one of the largest arms dealers in the world.

 

“How can we provide the means of war and still considered ourselves a neutral country. It is sheer absurdity to have such a belief that we do not engage in direct violence when we provide the world with the most sophisticated weapons on earth,” says Reudi Knopfler, a former parliamentarian from Bern.

 

Ironically, it is also considered a victory by arms manufacturers and the military. Since all men must go into the military, Switzerland’s defensive defense posture still makes it one of the most militarized countries in the world – up there with Germany and Israel.

 

“The very notion that we will be able to fight with and for our comrades in foreign lands, putting our training to good use and, finally, being able to utilize our sophisticated war machinery – which we are most certainly proud of – is a boon to all of our brave young men,” says General Sarmad Rossi one of the bills co-founders.

 

Still, there are many controversial issues surrounding the new law, yet with a majority of neo-nazi and national socialist groups now on the rise in Swiss parliament and the Swiss population at large, currently amounting to around 33% of the Swiss parliament, this sort of militarization was seen as inevitable by the left and more moderate members of parliament and civil society.

 

The new law has some rather peculiar features which are sure to raise red flags in the United Nations as they contradict some basic tenets of international law. However, the new law is crafted such that it treads in a sort of no mans land whereby a nations sovereignty supersedes certain aspects of international law when it comes to corporate personhood and the registration of international corporations on sovereign territory. One of the tenets, for example, forbids arms deals that will land weapons in the hands of children of those nations to where arms are sold. However, the bill allows for the training of Swiss children to go and fight as child soldiers under the flag of other nations since the skirts the issue of illegality of arming children of foreign nations. The first group of Swiss child soldiers is already set to deploy to South Sudan at the end of November after their basic training is complete. Protests in Geneva, Bern, Zurich and Basel were peacefully disrupted with tear gas canisters and rubber coated bullets sending a strong message that fringe elements of society will not control the destiny of a legitimately elected democracy.

 

Another battalion of resistance fighters are training in the alps to fight in Gaza as a result of a long investigation which traced arms sales from Dubai, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the US which finally ended up in the hands of Hamas resistance fighters in Gaza. The new law does not allow for the proxy sales of Swiss weapons to foreign nationals but it does allow for the direct engagement of Swiss civil society in conflicts throughout the world and, thus legitimizes the Swiss battalions intentions to go fight alongside their Palestinian brothers and sisters who would, ultimately, be using their weapons in some sense.

 

Similar regiments of Swiss civilians are in training to go fight US intelligence in Syria and Iraq as well as the Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan, and other conflict zones around the world that would ultimately see the equivalent of “made in Switzerland” printed on shells and other ordinance dropped and deployed in their countries.

 

Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Holland are considering similar legislation. One Dutch Parliamentarian argues, “it makes complete sense, why should we arm innocents and subject them to the brutality of our governments policies which are completely outside of their purview. We don’t see Palestinians voting in Nederlandischer Parliamentary elections, do we? So we shouldn’t see them being subject to our policies without their voice being heard and to that end I support similar legislation as the Direct Engagement law that Switzerland has pioneered. It puts the middle man back in his rightful place. Let out brave citizens fight for our agenda in foreign lands – the way we used to do it during our proud colonial days.”

MSMBS Breaking News: Israel puts travel ban on domestic and feral animals: Scorpion detained at border, Falcon shot down.

Posted on 3rd August 2014 in Animal Rights, Articles, MSMBS, Stories

In a latest decision by the Israeli Knesset, legislation was passed forbidding anyone born in the Palestinian Territories from entering Israel until they’re done bombing Gaza. While the new legislation does not explicitly prohibit the travel and migration of other than human animals into Israel’s walled off enclave, there have been numerous reports indicating that this legislation does not explicitly not ban cross border travel for other than human animals. Earlier this morning there was an incident reported at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem in which a Falcon, presumably Palestinian according to the IDF soldier, attempted to fly across the border into Israel.

“While there is no real way of telling if this is a Palestinian Falcon or an Israeli Falcon, we can’t take the risk. It is worth it to sacrifice one of our own for the sake of preventing… well, I’m not really sure but who cares. If it’s Palestinian, it has no right to be in Israel.”

At another less frequented checkpoint where most of the traffic are settlers going in and out of the illegal settlements in and out of Israel proper, a scorpion was detained, questioned and released back in the direction West Bank as it was attempting to cross the checkpoint. The same scorpion, it was presumed, later attempted to cross again and this time was shot by an IDF soldier.

“We will have none of this. This person was detained, questioned and sent back. At the second attempt to cross the border it was immediately considered a security threat and neutralized,” said the IDF soldier who asked to remain anonymous.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed a grave concern for such measures indicating a greater isolation for Israel among the member states to the UN Charter.

“While such measures do indicate that Israel is ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to extending the right of legal personhood to non-human species, we are concerned since these measures seem to be used only as a means to further isolate and discriminate against the indigenous population. However, seeing as we are the UN, based on our current structure we are powerless to do anything against this decision and until the UN has a second charter convention and gets rid of the security council you can expect that Israel will continue to act with impunity… oh, and so will the US, Russia, China, France, the UK and so on.”

Adam Roufberg interviewed by Activist Radio about his experiences in the West Bank and on The Jenin Freedom Bus

Posted on 22nd April 2014 in Interviews, Reflections, Self Determination

Fred Nagel of Activist Radio interviews Adam Roufberg – peace researcher, human rights activist and former radio host at WVKR (RadioActiveLunch), to discuss his experiences in the West Bank and on the Jenin Freedom Theater’s Freedom Ride. [the interview begins at 24:00]

  

Listen to the interview >>

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The Freedom Theatre
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