imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

LA in Palestine

by Tamara Tuesday, Jul. 09, 2002 at 10:32 AM

Part of an ongoing series of first person accounts from Los Angelenos working in Palestine.

The writing on the bullet ravaged wall said "If you destroy our houses you will not destroy our souls."

We spent four days in Khan Yunis and Raffa, the southern most city in all of Gaza, right on the border of Egypt. Everything there is more intense, the heat, the poverty, the devastation, and the spirit of the people. The people here can see the ocean, can dream of wading in the Mediterranean, but have not been able to reach the beach for over two years. The population of Raffa area is around 140,000 in 24 kilometers. The Israeli settler population is between 100-200 people.

To "protect" these settlers and settlements (many of which are nearly empty) the military has imposed grueling checkpoints and fences (a mother and her two very small children were shot in the head at the Khan Yunis checkpoint yesterday, which has no real security purpose

as nothing is searched and no id's are checked), has evicted hundreds of families, and has completely demolished over 250 homes and partially demolished a similar number. Every night we were in Raffa more homes were destroyed. We came to the Hai Al Brasil camp in the

morning to find nine homes gone (the only warning given was the first ramming of the bulldozer). Shoes, cleaning supplies, and sweaters were sticking out of the rubble, a fig tree uprooted with fruit still fresh and green. Families asked us to stay with them to help protect them from the shelling and the bulldozers. We alerted the media, and

made banners to hang from the windows announcing our presence and reminding the soldiers that "The Whole World is Watching."

However, when we arrived the families, without any history or knowledge of direct action and us being the first real ISM group in Gaza, changed their minds and felt we might attract more attention to them. It was really frustrating, as most things in Raffa were, but we are dedicated to following the lead of the locals and only doing actions with their approval and help. Most of our work in Raffa was just meeting with officials and laying the groundwork for future ISM groups. What we've found, particularly in Gaza where the ISM is new, is that it is really important to first build relationships with the people here, and then gain their trust before busting in to start direct action.

The Palestinians have a very specific way of doing things, a wonderful hospitality, but the pace is much slower then we pushy "Americans" are used to. We are so well fed right now. It contrast to the fear of hunger we experienced under curfew in Ramallah, the families here have been laying out spreads that would impress a king. We sit in rooms lacy with bullet holes and eat hearth warm pita, spicy fel fel, and lemon soaked tomato salads.

Everywhere we go they serve tea, coffee, and soft drinks before we barely sit down. One of our first nights in Raffa happened to be the 4th of July.

We had been invited to stay at an athletic center which was very very warm inside, so a few of the women opted

to sleep on the roof. Our host, Ali, smiled and said, "Ah...just wait you will be lulled to sleep by the music of Raffa." We were very confused until minutes later choruses of machine gun fire began. Ali assured us we were quite safe, and that this is an every night occurrence here. (We met several mothers who told us stories about

psychological and emotional affect this has had on their children. Two year olds crying out at night that the Israelis are going to come kill them, a three year old who stopped talking after his neighbors house was razed.)

The gunfire became more and more intense, and we

heard several explosions. We tried to relax and take the attitude of the Palestinian we have talked to who upon seeing our tears tell us.."This is our life. We don't get upset. This is just the way it is." But when we actually SAW the "rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air," we decided to head inside. It's unbelievable they live with this nightmare all the time.

At one point many of us felt like we were falling to pieces, like we couldn't keep it together at all. We were trying to get into Al Mawasi, a town near the ocean that has been cut off form everything for a long time. The soldiers wouldn't budge, and barefoot street children were swarming us. The boys were beating relentlessly on a

little girl, and for the first time I just began crying inconsolably. With the shrieking of the soldiers in the background, I could see so clearly that the behavior of these children was a direct result of the violence of the occupation.

When we stopped to rest I wrote the following stream of consciousness/list: too much to soak up, I can't hold it all, the poverty, the violence, the culture, the hospitality under dire conditions, dirt, bullet holes, graffiti, posters of martyrs, checkpoints, donkey drawn carts, barefoot children with grabbing hands, women in black hijab, houmos, pita, syrupy sweet sodas, glass after glass of sugar sweetened tea, blind begging men, cigarette smoke, ocean full of jelly fish, falafel stands, rotting teeth, the cut scarred faces of children, roadblocks,camouflage, the ring of machine gun fire, the swish boom of missiles,

the skepticism and the thank yous, women walking with bundles on their head through trash filled streets, the over wrapped sweating babies, the screaming soldiers, the heat, the stench, the fear, the desperation, welcome to hell, dotted with Israeli can I ever wear my star again? Fruit stands, watermelon, bottled water,

communal eating, affinity group, negotiations, trying to figure out how we can make it all go away.

We met with the mayor of Raffa, Said Zourob, he sits in a circle in the sand outside his home every day so that people in the community can come bring problems to him after office hours. He tells us 48% of those killed by the IDF in Raffa are under the age of twelve. He tells us the occupation has made things so bad that people are

struggling just to survive, they don't have time to think about resistance. But he warns us that the practices of the IDF are dangerous..."If you make us more is against the security of Israel." He shoos the women off to meet with his wife and children. His eldest daughters attend University studying majoring in economics and engineering. The whole family is bright and talkative.

The spill out their stories to us, while pushing bowls of hummus towards our mouths. Here in Palestine the elite and the working class have common experiences and a common enemy. Even in their elegant homes they upper classes are not protected from the horrors of the

occupation and the sound of gunfire at night.

We had the chance to meet with, Dr. Ghazi Hamed Hamed, a representative from Hammas. He is by far one of the most interesting and suprising people I have met here. Calm, well spoken, and very upfront. He spoke frankly, and gave us a picture of Hammas that we

would never imagine in the West. He told is about the organizing they do for those in need, the construction of schools and social service organizations. They also have a women's group, "some people misunderstand us. We do not discriminate against women and there is nothing to prevent them from being leaders." He also said that

although he supports the Palestinian right (as detailed in

international law) to armed resistance, he does not personally support suicide bombings. However he reminded us that many people feel that is the only way they can fight against the occupation. "Bush is stupid. He's acting just like Sharon," he told us,"Pushing the war machine, which will create a million Osama Bin Ladens."

After meeting with Ghazi we visited the Children's Parliament. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed. Children gathered together to voice their concerns and vote on ways to address the problems. These children were very small some only around 8 years old, but they spoke with great understanding and maturity.

They spoke of the problem of being shot at on the way to school. Little children learning to process and respond in democratic ways that I've never seen in the USA. One of the littlest girls had been in the car when her father, and several siblings were killed by an Israeli missile. The only survivors were herself and her mother. She got up without prompting and sang a song, with clenched fist and closed eyes, about her father. She sang, Where are you my daddy..when are you coming home. I know you are not coming back, but I understand. You were a fighter, doing what you must to fight for our land, to fight for the freedom of Palestine.



Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
you are really naive Marsha Monday, Jul. 15, 2002 at 9:27 PM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy