love and survival by any means necessary
May 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
[Istanbul, Turkey – 22 May, 2010] Amid cheers and waving of Turkish and Palestinian flags, the second ship to join the Freedom Flotilla left Istanbul this afternoon. Sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the ship will carry 600 passengers to Gaza as part of the ‘blockade busting’ flotilla. It joins eight other boats coming from three other countries carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the Palestinian people, supplies that have been denied to them by Israel.Boats will meet in the Mediterranean, then turn toward Gaza to arrive at its beseiged slice of beachfront by the end of May. Free Gaza Movement’s MV Rachel Corrie is already on her way from Ireland and is presently off the coast of Portugal loaded with cement, paper and supplies for school children and medical equipment.
Said John Ging, Head of United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip since 2006 said, “We recommend the world send ships to the shores of Gaza, and we believe that Israel would not stop these vessels because the sea is open, and many human rights organizations have been successful in previous similar steps, and proved that breaking the siege on Gaza is possible.”\
1. so theresa, who i think is on the irish boat, is off the coast of portugal.
2. i get excited thinking about how bringing ‘material aid’ is not just used as a symbolic action, or as a depoliticized event, but shows how the impoverishment of gaza is a political action of the israeli govt and military. how this flotilla throws a spotlight on connection between the israeli ‘defense’ force’s (idf, as they call themselves) defense of their borders and the idf’s clear investment in making sure that gazans dont receive basic goods to survive. the connection between borders and poverty.
3. thinking about the steel walls that egypt is building to stop the flow of necessary goods through the gazans tunnels. palestinian resistance is fierce.
Palestinian tunnel-diggers are using welding torches to cut through a steel wall Egypt is building to block the smuggling of goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip, a tunnel operator said yesterday. “Even if the Egyptians installed 10 walls, we would find ways to cut through them,” said tunnel builder Abu Nimer. Abu Nimer told Reuters it took the operator of an oxy-acetylene torch, a commonly-used industrial welding and cutting tool, a day to carve out a hole 1.5m in diameter. After shoring up the breach, tunnellers resumed their work and “business is going well”, Abu Nimer said. Abu Nimer said several hundred tunnels were operational.
4. which brings me to a blog post i read yesterday that had the commonly heard argument that violent resistance is not effective because the government always has bigger guns. as if guerrilla fighters havent shown decade after decade that necessity is the mother of invention. that knowing and loving your community and your landbase is not a power that has defeated state armies.
5. my great grandfather and his kinsmen had to defend their land in northern south carolina against the kkk. they lined up on the edge of the land with rifles in their hands, staring at klansmen lined up in front of them rifles pointed at them. telling my fam that we were not allowed to live on our own land. and my papa and his kin stared them down until the kkk turned and walked away. i wouldnt be here if ancestors had not insisted with rifles in hand, their right, my right to exist. to resist. we still own that land to this day. the land that my indigenous ancestors lived on who intermarried with recently freed slaves and bought back a piece of the land that had been stolen from them.
6. i think it would be helpful if we disconnected the words ‘nonviolence’ from ‘peace’. then we could stop talking about how an absolute position toward using nonviolence tactics fulfills the mandate that a ‘peaceful end can only come through peaceful means’.
7. i wrote this as a comment to a blog post yesterday about endgame and derrick jensen’s ‘defeatism’ and it has stayed on my mind (i should say that while i have not read the endgame, i have read probably every internet source (words and video) for part of the endgame. i am looking forward to reading the book, and i think i have a pretty good handle on his tenets):
hmmm…i havent read the endgame. although it is on my list. i am trying to understand the arguments for non-violence and boycott. i guess part of my confusion is that i dont understand how violence can only lead to bigger problems than it solves. i havent seen that in my life. stopping rape, stopping abuse w violence did not lead to bigger problems in my life. it saved my life.
to me violence and nonviolence are not good or bad in themselves. they are just tools to be used when the situation calls for them.
i also dont see where boycotting as a primary tactic to transform society is effective. if corporations own the government, and thus have more military power than ‘us’. then, boycotting the system seems to be magical thinking, because corporations also have more economic power than ‘us’. yes, i see that creating alternative socio-economic systems is useful as a part of a larger strategy, but not as a primary tactic.
but, in the end i think this comes down to the fact that i am not interested in converting others to my way of being. ‘if only all of us would’ follow jesus christ, tend our own gardens, let go of our egos, etc. then true change would happen, also seems like magical thinking. people will come to their own self in their own time. and i can do what the situation calls for, use what tools and tactics are available and most appropriate right now.
selah. (blessings) you have a lovely space on the internet that allows me to think through these questions. thank you.
8. i am thinking about this because it is difficult for me to classify the flotilla action as ‘non-violent’. the boats themselves are a weapon, like a battering ram, like a blowtorch through steel walls. or maybe said nonviolence vs. violence is a false dichotomy.