Natalie Imbruglia, Please Don’t Make a Big Mistake

Natalie Imbruglia, Playing Apartheid is a Big MistakeDear Natalie,

We are writing to you to ask you to please reconsider your performance in Israel, scheduled for the 1st March, 2017. We understand this will be your first appearance in Israel and would like to inform you that playing there will be in breach of the Palestinian call for artists to respect the cultural boycott of Israel until it adheres to international law and Palestinians have their civil and political rights which they are currently denied by the apartheid Israeli government. [1]

Like Aboriginal people in Australia before 1966, indigenous Palestinians who live in Israel are prevented from enjoying full citizenship in that state. Full citizenship is available only on theocratic grounds, to people who are defined as Jewish by the State. Furthermore, Palestinians in Israel are subject to more than 50 laws discriminating against them – de facto apartheid.  Palestinians who reside in the Occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza which Israel seized and occupied in 1967 cannot vote at all in Israeli elections. These Palestinian people subsist in segregated bantustans isolated from each other by apartheid walls and fences with their movement controlled by over 500 checkpoints, preventing them from attending universities and hospitals, and seeing friends and relatives – many families have been separated for years due to this system of apartheid. Indeed the International Court of Justice declared Israel’s apartheid wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory illegal in 2004 – further international law that it ignores.

Palestinians persecuted by military occupation naturally wish to live freely with rights in their own ancestral lands. However, illegal Israeli settlements continually expand and encroach upon those lands, despite several United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Most recently, on 23 December 2016, the UNSC passed another resolution unanimously against expansion of the illegal settlements, and again affirmed their illegality under international law, yet Israel refuses to recognise these resolutions.  Israel has now declared de facto war on the resolution’s sponsors, including New Zealand [2] and also intends to withhold UN dues [3]. Since the resolution Israel has accelerated its demolition of Palestinian homes to four times its 2016 weekly average, making hundreds of people homeless.

Nearly 800,000 Jewish people now reside illegally on Palestinian lands, enjoying full political rights while Palestinians languish, brutalised by military occupation and without rights. Palestinian refugees driven out in the 1948 Nakba from the areas which Israel claimed comprise the second largest refugee population in the world and again, despite the requirements of international law, Israel refuses to permit these Indigenous people to return to their homes. In many countries Palestinians are stateless, living in squalid refugee camps for decades, never giving up hope that their right of return will be realised and they can return to their Indigenous home and heritage which has been usurped and colonised.

Zionist colonisation of Palestine follows a similar trajectory to British colonisation of Australia, where Indigenous Australians were forced into isolating missions and reserves, slaughtered and dispossessed of their land and culture, while Palestinians too are subjected to extreme violence and forced into refugee camps and bantustans  We understand you have experienced the end results of these genocidal colonial crimes during your participation in the First Contact SBS programme and are sympathetic to the plight of Aboriginal people in Australia consequent to white colonisation. We ask you to consider also the distressing situation for Palestinian people and the importance of support for their struggle for liberation and justice. Because the international political community has refused to act to support their rights, Palestinians called in 2005 for cultural boycott and asked people of conscience like yourself for solidarity with their movement by refraining from performing in Israel.

By respecting their call, you will also be supporting the women of Gaza who suffer from breast cancer, another area where you have shown empathy. Israel prevents breast cancer sufferers, and indeed most cancer sufferers from obtaining appropriate treatment, due to its collective punishment of two million civilians which it has incarcerated in the largest prison in the world – Gaza – since 2006.

Dozens of female cancer patients in the Gaza Strip have launched a protest against Israel’s refusal to allow them to cross into Israel to seek medical treatments in hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The women say the ban or delay of their treatments is a “premeditated death sentence.” [4]

Due to Israel’s military attacks on Gaza and its illegal, immoral siege which prevents the import of fuel supply and parts, sickness is common there since the water supply is contaminated by dysfunctional sewerage treatment plants and electricity supply is currently down to a mere four hours per day [5]. Physicians for Human Rights comments on Israel’s deprivation of medical equipment:

There are no syringes, no bandages and no tubes. When one of our surgeons asks for a specific scalpel or bandage during surgery he’s told that there aren’t any available. When we train a local doctor and teach him techniques and procedures he has nothing to work with.” [Ibid.]

The UN has estimated that without major reconstruction, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. [Ibid.] Should you play your concert in Israel, be aware that this crime against humanity is being perpetrated just miles from you.

Certainly, Israel will continue to carry out its injustices against the Palestinian people if we are silent and do not act. We implore you to recognise your performance in Israel cannot create bridges over apartheid, oppression and suffering, merely obscure it so Israel can continue to pretend that its crimes are “normal” and blame Palestinians for their own plight. This is clearly not the case any more than the myth proliferated by white supremacists that Aboriginal people in Australia are responsible for their own immiseration.

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of boycott appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land. We really hope you can’t see yourself doing this and you join Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Sinead O’Connor, Cat Power, Massive Attack and thousands of other artists who have refused to play in Israel – in Ireland over 540 artists have pledged to boycott the state, as have over 1,190 in the UK, and many more all over the world.

Please respect the Palestinian call to boycott Israel – you can make a real difference here and help tip the moral scales toward justice.

DPAI

We are a group, of over 2000 members from many nations around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

Palestine Support Network Australia (PSNA)
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA)
Australian Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Campaign for Palestine (BDS)
Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP)
Sydney Staff for BDS
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Samah Sabawi, Palestinian Australian playwright and Al Shabaka policy adviser
Kollaps, Melbourne band
Candy Royalle, Writer, Performer, Activist, Educator
Amy McQuire, Indigenous Writer
Penelope Swales, Musician
Sara Dowse, Writer
Trish Nacey, Videographer and Musician
Walbira Murray, Indigenous Research Officer
Ken Canning, Indigenous Playwright
Jeff Sparrow, Writer, Editor and Broadcaster
Marcelo Svirsky, Writer

Notes:

  1. https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi/cultural-boycott-guidelines
  2. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-israel-should-fear-new-zealand
  3. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israel-halts-6m-protest-unsc-settlements-vote-170106205417524.html
  4. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763355
  5. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.763280

Salute to the Alexandrov Ensemble

The devastating loss of 64 choristers, orchestra members and dancers from the Alexandrov Ensemble as well as 9 journalists in a tragic plane crash over the Black Sea reverberates its shock back to my early years. The first time I heard the Internationale, it was sung by the Red Army Choir, the precursor of the Alexandrov Ensemble, on a record of my dad’s. Being a bass singer and chorister himself, my father found the rich timbre and brilliance of the Red Army Choir irresistible.

As a confirmed voter for the Australian Labor Party whom Lenin had described accurately and disparagingly in 1913 as “a liberal-bourgeois party”, my father would not have appreciated perhaps the sentiments expressed in the USSR official anthem, though he loved the passionate Slavic feel of the music. Few things would bring a tear to his stolid Scottish eye, yet this rendition was one.

Somewhere packed away, this record still survives, along with those he brought back from South Africa during the apartheid years, like “Wait a Minim!

Here’s the Red Army Choir in 1993 with the Leningrad Cowboys in Helsinki performing Rolling Stones and many other covers.

And more recently, the Alexandrov Ensemble perform a “heppy” version of “Happy”!

Predictably, bloodthirsty apologists for AQ/Nusra/JFS and affiliates (who in concert with depraved patriarchal oppression of women regard music as “wicked and immoral“) and other obfuscators of US/GCC/NATO contras’ belligerence gloat at the deaths of Russia’s iconic musos.

The enemies of music are enemies of their own humanity.

The Imperial Bourgeois Rag

Hieronymus Bosch- - '"A Violent Forcing Of The Frog."
Hieronymus Bosch – ‘”A Violent Forcing Of The Frog.”

My principles are lofty,
my politics so cool,
and if you dare to disagree,
I’ll push you in the pool.

I follow only brightest bulbs
who shine the truth for me,
and if you don’t embrace them too,
I’ll string you up a tree.

Ch:
Black and white,
left and right,
walk in bourgeois footsteps
or vanish in the night.

You insignificant naive prawn,
you’re at my beck and call
and if you don’t worship me
I’ll eat you, tail and all.

There’s only one way to look at this
despise me if you must,
and if you fail to follow me
I’ll throw you under the bus.

December 2015.

Partly inspired probably years ago by Red Gum’s classic “Beaumont Rag”

A Ballad for the Grabbit – Tony Silvertongue

George the Goanna

TONY SILVERTONGUE

Do not denigrate our P M
He leads this fair and precious land
And speaks his mind into the ether
Maybe sometimes he leaves his teeth there!

Do not denigrate or call him names
Like Phoney Tony, Flash or James
For princely ears deserve respect
Yet growing debt is what we get.

Chorus
O Tony who art thou that leads us
Can we trust thy tongue to please us
Can we trust thy silver tongue
Oft times the laird, oft times the merde!

In shiny lycra, dashing knight
Keeping fit in skinny tights
You are our hero of the day
Please make the bad things go away!

Do not denigrate our Prime Minister
Or rhyme Abbott with Grabbit – it’s too sinister
Ruling the unruly mob
He may be the best man for the job …..
Tony Abbott may be God!

Chorus
O Tony who art thou that leads us
Can we trust thy tongue to please us
Can we trust thy silver tongue
Now the journey has begun.

Copyright Gabrielle Shootingstar 2013

Everything Old is New Again

With Abbott’s opportunist, imperialist kowtowing march to war in the Middle East, legislative attacks on civil liberties to “balance” security needs, governmental hate-preaching racism, fear and McCarthyist terror-baiting the garrulous tenor of the day in Australia, Redgum’s classics resonate. Have you ever been a member of “Team Australia”? answer, quick, no obfuscations or context.

Aamer Rahman satirises Danny Nalliah and Australian bigotry against Muslim women:

Related Links

Fears escalate as more young Australians enlist in overseas terror campaign
As a Muslim, I condemn Ebola.

Tony Abbott apologises to Alan Jones for not acting on ‘hate preachers’ – Under this Grabbit Law, would the dogwhistling settler Grabbit himself have been admitted to Australia?

‘“By all means let Australians who want to say stupid things to say stupid things but there’s no point importing troublemakers from overseas to stir people up.”

Grabbit is also being disingenuous as under one part of his proposed new police state laws currrently before Parliament:

‘As well, a person would only have to be ‘reckless’ as to whether words could cause a person to engage in terrorism, which is far less than the requirement of ‘intends’ under the existing incitement law.

For example, statements supporting armed resistance to the Assad regime could be caught by the proposed law.’

Terrorists under the bed? TAB has the answer

JDL Australia & NZed #JSIL stalkers & promoters of violence now active again on FB

Orientalism and the ISIS spectacle.

‘The ISIS-led insurgency currently gripping the western and northern regions of Iraq is but a continuation of the imperialist-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria. The state actors responsible for arming and funding said insurgency hold the same principal objectives in Iraq as those pursued in Syria for the last three years, namely: the destruction of state sovereignty; weakening the allies of an independent Iran; the permanent division of Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines establishing antagonistic “mini-states” incapable of forming a unified front against US/Israeli imperial domination.’

ISIS: An expression of imperialism in Iraq

A War for Power

”How much death and destruction would American terror warriors have to cause before their ostensible opponents rejected their claims of noble intent? During the thirteen years of the “war on terror,” actions of the United States government have consistently and predictably strengthened anti-American terrorist groups. To chalk this all up to stupidity — rather than unstated imperial imperatives — is to choose ignorance.”

The Role of Proxy Terror

What is needed is a language to address this dilemma, that of the respective imperial uses of Islamophobia and religious ideologies, and in that sense takfiris, although sometimes derided as a sensationalistic term, is very much an exact term. What is not needed, what is downright pernicious, is a frightened language. A direct language must be fully prepared to address the awesome magnitude of the violence and cruelty and, it must be said, terrorism of this latest phase of imperialist repositioning in the region. A failure to do so will result in the victory of the Internet spectacle.

Always worth a reread at these times is Seymour Hersh’s Redirection article from 2007.

There are No Moderate Syrian Rebels

‘The Obama administration’s new plan hinges on Saudi Arabia’s support for the training effort, including an offer to host training camps on Saudi soil. The Saudis are in no way a reliable partner for the U.S. in the Syrian conflict. Even discounting the fact that Saudi-purchased anti-tank rockets somehow found their way into ISIS’s hands, the Saudis have a notorious history of supporting unsavory groups in the Syrian conflict, including Salafists in the Islamic Front. The greater Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the training program is, the greater pressure there will be for Islamic Front fighters to receive U.S. arms and training. After Congress balked at the Obama Administration’s request for $500 million, the Saudis offered to fund the training and arming of the Syrian rebels. This means that there is a large chance the U.S. will directly support groups who work closely with Jabhat al-Nusra.’

A Secret Betrayal — Kurdish Refugees in Iran

After Iran and Iraq signed a border agreement, Iranian support to Barzani stopped and the revolt collapsed. Barzani told the CIA that, “Complete destruction [is] hanging over our head…We appeal [to] you…[to] intervene according to your promises.” Despite this, “the U.S. refused to extend humanitarian assistance to the thousands of refugees created by the abrupt termination of military aid.” Kurds then fled en masse to Iran, where many applied for refugee status in the U.S.

However, few people at Embassy Tehran were aware that the U.S. government had made a commitment to the Kurdish people.