Find Evegen Online

Like most of us in America, find evegen online I was raised on certain beliefs which, find evegen online as I've grown older have come to realize such beliefs simply didn't match the reality I was living then, find evegen online or living now. While such thoughts as a child provided a sense safety and comfort for me, find evegen online I remember constantly guarding them so as to insulate them from any light that could reveal they weren't real and weren't what I observed to be true in life. Find evegen online   (Santa Claus comes to mind**, find evegen online although I do think that belief was a very lucrative one, find evegen online at least for a while.)    As I have grown I've also realized that while we may wish to distance ourselves from the real world, find evegen online it's seems to be where the real freedom and experience of living reside. It's pretty ironic Americans and probably most individuals worldwide today, find evegen online  are conditioned via technology to seek a kind of reality through fantasies and mythical entertainment which consumes our time and brain space, find evegen online not to mention dulls our senses, find evegen online whether its through television, find evegen online computers or whatever. Find evegen online   These days I as I'm sure a lot of us are, find evegen online I'm in a process of trying to find out exactly where one fits in a world where manufactured myth making (and pretty dysfunctional myths at that*) and superficiality seems to dictate our culture.   My friend thinks we all are existing in a low grade depression right now because most feel a lack of true purpose.  I can understand her point of view. And, find evegen online like so many others I love this wonderful, find evegen online magnificent planet of ours which seems as though its being treated like the goose laying golden eggs, find evegen online who's being beaten into a state of exhaustion by not performing and producing at a fast enough rate.  One thing I have come to understand, find evegen online is when we overlook the unpleasant realities on the horizon and problems coming down the train track, find evegen online  it's actually a good time to take note and pay attention. Find evegen online   We need to at least be aware and not avoid them altogether, find evegen online because situations of need never go away until they are confronted or until it's too late to confront them.  I will add I'm as shortsighted as the next person, find evegen online especially when it comes to projects/issues that don't interest me.  I came across Ewa while keeping up with the Free Gaza aid Fleet, find evegen online with whom I know a few of the brave activists who attempted to break the Gaza blockade.  I found this interview with her and I thought I'd share it. Find evegen online   Like others who cared enough to set sail for Gaza, find evegen online to me she is an example of extraordinary compassion and courage. Find evegen online "We are all complicit": an interview with Ewa Jasiewicz Frank Barat, find evegen online The Electronic Intifada A year ago, find evegen online Israel launched its invasion of Gaza. Find evegen online It is difficult if not uncomfortable to consider situations in other parts of the world where people are treated as targets and as in many cases less than human. Dubbed "Operation Cast Lead" by the Israeli military, find evegen online the invasion started on 27 December 2008 and finished on 18 January 2009. Find evegen online During those 23 days, find evegen online more than 1, find evegen online400 Palestinians were killed including more than 320 children. Find evegen online More than 5, find evegen online000 Palestinians suffered serious injuries. Originally from England, find evegen online Ewa Jasiewicz was one of a handful of "internationals" on the ground. Find evegen online A human rights activist, find evegen online union organizer and journalist, find evegen online Jasiewicz has spent years working in occupied Palestine and Iraq with oil workers, find evegen online refugees, find evegen online paramedics and community groups. Find evegen online She is a coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement and part of the editorial collective of Le Monde Diplomatqiue Polish Edition. Find evegen online Her book Gaza: Getto Nieujarzmione (Gaza: a Ghetto Unbroken) will be published in Poland by Ksiazka i Prasa in March. Find evegen online A year later, find evegen online she reflects on those bloody days with The Electronic Intifada contributor Frank Barat. Frank Barat: You were in Gaza a year ago during Operation Cast Lead. Find evegen online Why and how did you and other activists go to the Gaza Strip? Ewa Jasiewicz: Myself and several solidarity activists from Lebanon, find evegen online Spain, find evegen online Canada, find evegen online Australia, find evegen online Italy, find evegen online UK, find evegen online Ireland and Greece managed to get into Gaza aboard the Free Gaza Movement's (FGM) Dignity boat. Find evegen online FGM has sailed five successful missions to Gaza from August to December 2008, find evegen online bringing in human rights workers to build political solidarity activism, find evegen online to break the isolation of ghettoized communities and directly confront Israel's illegal and brutal siege. FGM's missions are political -- we know Palestine is not a charity case, find evegen online and that the solutions to a 60-year policy of ethnic cleansing, find evegen online apartheid and militarized ghettoization are not extra bags of flour, find evegen online medicine, find evegen online new tents and millions in aid, find evegen online but political will and direct action. Find evegen online This is currently unforthcoming from governments around the world, find evegen online so our actions are about directly applying international law from the grassroots up because it isn't being respected and is being violated, find evegen online daily, find evegen online from the top-down -- the siege of Gaza and occupation of Palestine is international, find evegen online the states supporting it either with their silence or direct complicity in economically supporting Israel are co-occupiers and collaborators in war crimes against the Palestinian people, find evegen online along with Israel. FB: Previously you spent some time in the occupied West Bank during various Israeli operations (more particularly in the Jenin refugee camp). Find evegen online What were the main differences between the two places and what did you expect to see in Gaza? Did you expect the attack? EJ: I didn't expect the attack -- but people in Gaza and the Hamas authority did expect an attack because the ceasefire had expired and Israel was saber-rattling, find evegen online threatening to eliminate, find evegen online as always but with greater intensity and focus, find evegen online resistance leaders -- military and political -- and their supporters. Find evegen online There was an increase in unmanned aerial vehicles flying 24/7. Find evegen online I had experience of smaller operations in the West Bank in Jenin and Nablus following Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. Find evegen online Operation Defensive Shield was massive, find evegen online hundreds of Palestinians were killed, find evegen online the heart of Jenin refugee camp was bulldozed and dozens of civilians massacred in the process. Find evegen online By the time I came, find evegen online all the ruins and trauma were still very fresh but the worst of the destruction and killing had subsided. The smaller invasions were carried out under curfew, find evegen online involving hundreds of troops, find evegen online carrying out house-to-house searches, find evegen online and mass arrests with every man aged between 15 and 50 rounded up, find evegen online interrogated and beaten. Find evegen online A typical operation, find evegen online with groups of children throwing anything they can at tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) in the street -- and often getting shot at for doing it. Find evegen online There would be sporadic resistance at night from fighters, find evegen online but many of the most experienced had been killed at that point. Find evegen online Troops would carry out collective punishment like home demolitions using bulldozers or explosives and civilians would be used as human shields. Find evegen online What was different at that time in the West Bank was that a lot of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) infrastructure and military infrastructure of the resistance -- fighters and leaders -- were destroyed during Defensive Shield by F-16 fighter jets. Find evegen online Israel was executing its cyclical strategy of having decimated the leaders of the armed and political resistance of major political factions, find evegen online moving on to target the social infrastructure -- community leaders, find evegen online social activists -- and continuing to arrest relatives of the "wanted" and trying to bait out and kill the younger, find evegen online more inexperienced fighters. Because of the tunnels, find evegen online fighters in Gaza have had access to more sophisticated and threatening weaponry than their West Bank counterparts, find evegen online so Israeli aggression has been more intense in Gaza and heavily reliant on aerial bombardment. Find evegen online Since the withdrawal of the colonists and military bases [in 2005], find evegen online this has increased. In the West Bank, find evegen online activists could be much more mobile and confront and dialogue with soldiers. Find evegen online In Gaza 2009 that was impossible. Find evegen online I only once saw soldiers -- a special forces soldier trained his gun and apparently shot at our ambulance. Find evegen online In the West Bank we were often between tanks and APCs and following and observing soldiers close-up. Find evegen online If you got close to soldiers in Gaza they'd kill you -- that is what everyone kept telling us. FB: What did you plan to do there? Did your plans changed once the invasion of Gaza started? EJ: I planned, find evegen online as had other activists, find evegen online to work with Palestinian partners -- civil society groups, find evegen online unions, find evegen online farmers and fishermen, find evegen online local campaigns for the right to education and to end the siege. Find evegen online My role was going to be to coordinate and guide visiting delegations coming aboard FGM boats along with [Irish human rights activist] Caoimhe Butterly. Find evegen online Once the invasion started, find evegen online it became immediately clear that what we needed to do as foreign activists was to fulfill our role of witnessing and reporting, find evegen online mitigating the risk to those most likely to be attacked -- which during invasions are the medical services. The Israeli occupation forces killed 16 rescuers in 22 days and injured dozens more. Find evegen online By volunteering with medics we attempted to deter attacks on them by informing the media and our embassies that we would be accompanying all services -- 13 of the medics killed were from the Civil Defense services. Find evegen online We did not differentiate between "independent" and "government" services; all must be protected under international law. Find evegen online Also, find evegen online we didn't just sit in the ambulances, find evegen online we physically carried the injured and dead and tried to assist where possible Secondly, find evegen online we could remain mobile -- ambulances were the only vehicles moving around 24 hours; we needed to be able to document and report on the attacks as fully as possible. Find evegen online Thirdly, find evegen online in our mobility and proximity to the front line we could witness the effects of the bombardment on civilians in their homes, find evegen online and take testimonies from families and Palestinian human rights workers inside hospitals. FB: Could you describe a day in Gaza during the invasion? EJ: The constant sneer of surveillance drones, find evegen online repetitive bombing and crashing sounds, find evegen online some close some further away, find evegen online muted panic, find evegen online empty streets, find evegen online rubble everywhere, find evegen online ambulance sirens wailing endlessly, find evegen online screaming relatives coupled with the groans of the bloodied and dust-covered crushed and injured, find evegen online medics praying and smoking, find evegen online heart-beating perpetual ratcheted-up adrenaline, find evegen online a constant readiness for the next strike and yearning for it to all end, find evegen online endless stream of bodies and blood-soaked stretchers, find evegen online cyclical dread, find evegen online pierced with fresh-surges of shock and horror unabsorbed, find evegen online and a deep fear of the night and whether we would make it through and whether each ambulance run might be the last. Find evegen online None of the fear paralyzed us but nevertheless it was present. Find evegen online But we all early on accepted we could die, find evegen online and took on the risks because it was worth it, find evegen online the Palestinian people are worth it. Find evegen online We wanted to save lives and I know I let go of my attachment to mine, find evegen online inspired and encouraged by the bravery of those around me, find evegen online and their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of others. FB: What was the feeling of the population on the ground? How were they surviving and responding? EJ: Everybody was terrified but defiant. Find evegen online The feeling on the ground was that anything could happen, find evegen online all the red lines had been crossed. Find evegen online Not just with this operation, find evegen online we have to remember that Operation Cast Lead was only an intensification and a drastic one at that, find evegen online of an existing policy of massacre and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, find evegen online but in [the northern Gaza refugee camp of] Jabaliya, find evegen online many of us were expecting another Sabra and Shatila with all witnesses banned from seeing the worst and with media being attacked, find evegen online and tanks moving in closer and close, find evegen online we felt that the atrocities already happening signified more could come and on a much wider scale. Find evegen online [Editor's note: Sabra and Shatila were Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where a massacre occurred during Israel's 1982 invasion. Find evegen online Israeli forces surrounded the camps and allowed and supported the militia of the Lebanese Phalange Party to conduct the massacre inside the camps.] FB: What was the most useful thing you think international volunteers were able to achieve and contribute? What did Palestinians in Gaza think of your presence there? EJ: The community were glad we were there and kept telling us, find evegen online "Please report what you see, find evegen online we cant even believe this is happening to us, find evegen online let the world know, find evegen online it's your duty to speak out about what you witness." And that's what we did, find evegen online through TV and radio interviews, find evegen online our own written reports, find evegen online some of us wrote books too: for example, find evegen online Vittorio Arrigoni (Italy) Gaza, find evegen online Stay Human, find evegen online Sharyn Lock (UK) Gaza Beneath the Bombs, find evegen online myself Gaza: A Ghetto Unbroken. Find evegen online Some of us made films, find evegen online like Fida Qishta and Jenny Linnel, find evegen online and documentaries on the phosphoric bombardment of Khoza. Find evegen online Alberto Arce and Mohammad Rujailah produced To Shoot an Elephant. I think we contributed to the testimony of the Palestinian community that white phosphorous was being used, find evegen online that civilians were deliberately being targeted, find evegen online that hospitals, find evegen online schools, find evegen online emergency services were being targeted. Find evegen online And that counteracted Israel's propaganda. Find evegen online Also, find evegen online I know for a fact that we lifted the spirits of the medics we worked with; they felt they had a witness with them in case of their death, find evegen online and a possible small bit of protection against Israeli attack. Find evegen online Everybody needs a witness when they're going through hell -- wherever and whatever that hell is -- it's a form of solidarity, find evegen online of verification, find evegen online that the unbelievable really is happening to you. Find evegen online Also, find evegen online we were urging people on the outside to step up their protests and direct actions and advocacy for boycott, find evegen online divestment and sanctions. Find evegen online Getting that narrative out was important too, find evegen online peoples' eyes were opened and many people wanted to get involved and deepen their activism. FB: Could you recount one event that truly shocked you during the invasion? EJ: There were so, find evegen online so many. Find evegen online Probably the bombing of a house by an F-16 just a few feet away from four of our ambulances. Find evegen online I was in the passenger seat with my hand on the door, find evegen online my friend and driver told me just wait, find evegen online wait a little, find evegen online and suddenly there was this enormous explosion -- everything went bright fire orange and rubble and debris showered our ambulance. Find evegen online One of our drivers was injured and needed to be carried out on a stretcher. Find evegen online Our exit route was blocked by rubble, find evegen online a family was screaming and gathering their belongings and getting out, find evegen online we were stumbling with our casualty and surveillance drones were thundering above, find evegen online and we feared a repeat strike, find evegen online more casualties, find evegen online and losing four ambulances when every single one was vital. Find evegen online We cheated death that night. Find evegen online The Israelis saw us and our lone movement in the streets of Jabaliya, find evegen online and bombed a house less than 10 feet away from us -- this is a criminal, find evegen online reckless use of force. Another was the bombing of the Beit Lahiya Elementary School with white phosphorous. Find evegen online We arrived in our ambulances after evacuating dozens of residents suffering from phosphoric inhalation and after the school had taken a direct hit. Find evegen online I was masked up but the stench and smoke was still penetrating, find evegen online and when we got there a second round exploded above us, find evegen online I was frozen to the spot and could see these burning blobs raining down next to me, find evegen online I had to be screamed at to move and find shelter. Find evegen online The refugees in the school were screaming and crying under a flimsy metal shelter in the school yard. Find evegen online The third floor of the school was on fire. Find evegen online We brought Bilal Ashkar, find evegen online aged seven -- just this limp boy -- into our ambulance. Find evegen online He'd been hit by the phosphorous shell and thrown down the stairs of the school by the force of the explosion. Find evegen online He was dead on arrival. FB: A ceasefire was declared on 18 January 2009. Find evegen online Did things change much after this? What did Gaza feel like and look like after the ceasefire? EJ: The Israeli occupation forces flew F-16s over people returning to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives in Ezbet Abed Rabo [neighborhood near Jabaliya], find evegen online drones continued to sneer above us every night. Find evegen online There was this hollow humiliation and undigested horror, find evegen online and loss, find evegen online such a profound sense of dislocation and loss -- of lives, find evegen online of the loved, find evegen online homes, find evegen online whole communities, find evegen online streets, find evegen online mosques, find evegen online shops, find evegen online gone. Find evegen online People literally felt physically lost in their own neighborhoods. Find evegen online It was like another Nakba [the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 when Israel was created]. Find evegen online People felt mocked by the international community. Find evegen online "They're laughing at us, find evegen online the whole world doesn't care, find evegen online they're mocking us, find evegen online" was what we frequently heard. Find evegen online It felt like a tsunami had hit. FB: Many reports coming from UN bodies, find evegen online aid agencies and human rights organizations came out very quickly in the months following the invasion. Find evegen online Most of them agreed on the fact that war crimes and possible crimes against humanity were committed during the Israeli attack. Find evegen online Did you ever witness actions that for you were crimes of this magnitude? EJ: Absolutely. Find evegen online The targeting of civilians and civilian areas, find evegen online the reckless and wanton destruction of property, find evegen online the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, find evegen online seen with the bombing of the Beit Lahiya School, find evegen online the Samouni family massacre, find evegen online the F-16 bombardment of the Hamdan children in Beit Hanoun, find evegen online the utter disregard for our ambulances, find evegen online the blocking of access to the injured resulting in hundreds of deaths, find evegen online the extrajudicial killing of Sayed al-Seyam and Nazar Rayan and scores of their family members. Find evegen online We picked up so many shredded men (and some women too) axed by heavy-duty bombs released by surveillance drones -- these can carry a 150 kg payload and are sophisticated enough to detect the color of a person's hair. Find evegen online According to the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, find evegen online proportionally, find evegen online most people killed [during the invasion were] by UAVs followed by F-16s. FB: A few weeks ago, find evegen online 16 aid agencies issued a report saying that the international community had "failed Gaza." On the ground things have not changed at all for ordinary Palestinians in Gaza but have gotten worse. Find evegen online Keeping this in mind, find evegen online what do you think is the role of popular resistance or citizen activism? EJ: Yes, find evegen online the international community facilitates and pays for Israel's occupation, find evegen online and pathologizes and de-develops Palestine in the process. Find evegen online Ordinary citizens have a responsibility not to fund or politically support [an] industry which hides a relentless project of ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine. Find evegen online [Instead, find evegen online citizens have a responsibility] to build a critical mass of political pressure by all means available -- through BDS and direct action -- to bring about sanctions against Israel and to enforce international law by targeting the companies that violate it with respect to Palestinian human rights, find evegen online and to expose Israel in the same way [apartheid in] South Africa was exposed and eventually brought to an end. FB: What in your opinion is most urgently needed in Gaza? What can people do to help and change the status quo? EJ: Palestinians in Gaza should answer that, find evegen online but what many say, find evegen online is that what Gaza needs is the rest of Palestine. Find evegen online People living in camps in Jordan, find evegen online Lebanon, find evegen online Syria and the West Bank want to be reunited with their families and homes. Find evegen online The inalienable and legal right of return for Gaza's and all Palestinian refugees needs to be enacted. Find evegen online The Israeli tactic of divide and torture, find evegen online of chopping up the Palestinian community, find evegen online is a long-term tactic designed to break down the strongest weapon against ethnic cleansing that Palestinians possess -- memory, find evegen online community, find evegen online family. Find evegen online As long as you have a people who remember their homes and lands, find evegen online and know each other, find evegen online refer to one another as cousin, find evegen online uncle, find evegen online sister and brother, find evegen online and can ask, find evegen online "Which home/family are you from?" then the struggle can never be alienated or abstracted. Find evegen online Palestinians in Gaza need to have the means to speak and act for themselves and not be spoken for, find evegen online and to have access to the rest of the world -- twinning relationships and projects between schools, find evegen online mosques, find evegen online universities, find evegen online hospitals, find evegen online youth groups, find evegen online initiatives -- these are all means to break the isolation inside and build a more intimate and motivated solidarity movement on the outside. Find evegen online Aid is not the answer. Find evegen online Solidarity is. FB: A year after the war, find evegen online people marched in hundreds of cities around the world to "commemorate" those horrific events. Find evegen online What do you think of those demonstrations? What type of effect do they have on Palestinians in Gaza? Are they useful at all in your opinion? EJ: The rallies are a focus point; we do need collective mourning, find evegen online remembrance and action in our streets. Find evegen online But its also important to target companies violating international law and which are key in perpetuating Israeli apartheid, find evegen online which we must always remember is not limited to Gaza -- the West Bank is 15 times larger than Gaza and is full of mini Gazas -- Bantustans surrounded by Israel's apartheid wall. Find evegen online Companies like Veolia, find evegen online Alstom, find evegen online Caterpillar, find evegen online Elbit Systems, find evegen online CRT Holdings and Carmel-Agrexco could be charged with aiding and abetting war crimes of ethnic cleansing and illegal colony-building. Find evegen online The boycott, find evegen online divestment and sanctions call from Palestinian civil society needs to be responded to and supported -- actively, find evegen online daily. Find evegen online We are all complicit in the reproduction and reinforcement of the occupation -- it is an international occupation, find evegen online it is an international issue, find evegen online and international solidarity for Palestinian human rights can create the conditions for a local solution. FB: Will you ever go back to Gaza? EJ: I am going back! I only meant to leave for a month, find evegen online I deeply miss Gaza. Find evegen online It became like a home to me, find evegen online I miss my friends and "family" there. Find evegen online Like so many activists that go to Palestine, find evegen online what we witness never leaves us. Find evegen online We learn from and are humbled by the people that we work with, find evegen online and it's an honor and a privilege to participate in this struggle. Frank Barat is a human right activist and coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Find evegen online He lives in the UK.Original article can be found at: