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Like most of us in America, no rx lisinopril I was raised on certain beliefs which, no rx lisinopril as I've grown older have come to realize such beliefs simply didn't match the reality I was living then, no rx lisinopril or living now. While such thoughts as a child provided a sense safety and comfort for me, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril   (Santa Claus comes to mind**, no rx lisinopril although I do think that belief was a very lucrative one, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril  are conditioned via technology to seek a kind of reality through fantasies and mythical entertainment which consumes our time and brain space, no rx lisinopril not to mention dulls our senses, no rx lisinopril whether its through television, no rx lisinopril computers or whatever. No rx lisinopril   These days I as I'm sure a lot of us are, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril like so many others I love this wonderful, no rx lisinopril magnificent planet of ours which seems as though its being treated like the goose laying golden eggs, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril is when we overlook the unpleasant realities on the horizon and problems coming down the train track, no rx lisinopril  it's actually a good time to take note and pay attention. No rx lisinopril   We need to at least be aware and not avoid them altogether, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril   Like others who cared enough to set sail for Gaza, no rx lisinopril to me she is an example of extraordinary compassion and courage. No rx lisinopril "We are all complicit": an interview with Ewa Jasiewicz Frank Barat, no rx lisinopril The Electronic Intifada A year ago, no rx lisinopril Israel launched its invasion of Gaza. No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril the invasion started on 27 December 2008 and finished on 18 January 2009. No rx lisinopril During those 23 days, no rx lisinopril more than 1, no rx lisinopril400 Palestinians were killed including more than 320 children. No rx lisinopril More than 5, no rx lisinopril000 Palestinians suffered serious injuries. Originally from England, no rx lisinopril Ewa Jasiewicz was one of a handful of "internationals" on the ground. No rx lisinopril A human rights activist, no rx lisinopril union organizer and journalist, no rx lisinopril Jasiewicz has spent years working in occupied Palestine and Iraq with oil workers, no rx lisinopril refugees, no rx lisinopril paramedics and community groups. No rx lisinopril She is a coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement and part of the editorial collective of Le Monde Diplomatqiue Polish Edition. No rx lisinopril Her book Gaza: Getto Nieujarzmione (Gaza: a Ghetto Unbroken) will be published in Poland by Ksiazka i Prasa in March. No rx lisinopril A year later, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril Why and how did you and other activists go to the Gaza Strip? Ewa Jasiewicz: Myself and several solidarity activists from Lebanon, no rx lisinopril Spain, no rx lisinopril Canada, no rx lisinopril Australia, no rx lisinopril Italy, no rx lisinopril UK, no rx lisinopril Ireland and Greece managed to get into Gaza aboard the Free Gaza Movement's (FGM) Dignity boat. No rx lisinopril FGM has sailed five successful missions to Gaza from August to December 2008, no rx lisinopril bringing in human rights workers to build political solidarity activism, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril and that the solutions to a 60-year policy of ethnic cleansing, no rx lisinopril apartheid and militarized ghettoization are not extra bags of flour, no rx lisinopril medicine, no rx lisinopril new tents and millions in aid, no rx lisinopril but political will and direct action. No rx lisinopril This is currently unforthcoming from governments around the world, no rx lisinopril so our actions are about directly applying international law from the grassroots up because it isn't being respected and is being violated, no rx lisinopril daily, no rx lisinopril from the top-down -- the siege of Gaza and occupation of Palestine is international, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril 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). No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril threatening to eliminate, no rx lisinopril as always but with greater intensity and focus, no rx lisinopril resistance leaders -- military and political -- and their supporters. No rx lisinopril There was an increase in unmanned aerial vehicles flying 24/7. No rx lisinopril I had experience of smaller operations in the West Bank in Jenin and Nablus following Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. No rx lisinopril Operation Defensive Shield was massive, no rx lisinopril hundreds of Palestinians were killed, no rx lisinopril the heart of Jenin refugee camp was bulldozed and dozens of civilians massacred in the process. No rx lisinopril By the time I came, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril involving hundreds of troops, no rx lisinopril carrying out house-to-house searches, no rx lisinopril and mass arrests with every man aged between 15 and 50 rounded up, no rx lisinopril interrogated and beaten. No rx lisinopril A typical operation, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril There would be sporadic resistance at night from fighters, no rx lisinopril but many of the most experienced had been killed at that point. No rx lisinopril Troops would carry out collective punishment like home demolitions using bulldozers or explosives and civilians would be used as human shields. No rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril Israel was executing its cyclical strategy of having decimated the leaders of the armed and political resistance of major political factions, no rx lisinopril moving on to target the social infrastructure -- community leaders, no rx lisinopril social activists -- and continuing to arrest relatives of the "wanted" and trying to bait out and kill the younger, no rx lisinopril more inexperienced fighters. Because of the tunnels, no rx lisinopril fighters in Gaza have had access to more sophisticated and threatening weaponry than their West Bank counterparts, no rx lisinopril so Israeli aggression has been more intense in Gaza and heavily reliant on aerial bombardment. No rx lisinopril Since the withdrawal of the colonists and military bases [in 2005], no rx lisinopril this has increased. In the West Bank, no rx lisinopril activists could be much more mobile and confront and dialogue with soldiers. No rx lisinopril In Gaza 2009 that was impossible. No rx lisinopril I only once saw soldiers -- a special forces soldier trained his gun and apparently shot at our ambulance. No rx lisinopril In the West Bank we were often between tanks and APCs and following and observing soldiers close-up. No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril as had other activists, no rx lisinopril to work with Palestinian partners -- civil society groups, no rx lisinopril unions, no rx lisinopril farmers and fishermen, no rx lisinopril local campaigns for the right to education and to end the siege. No rx lisinopril My role was going to be to coordinate and guide visiting delegations coming aboard FGM boats along with [Irish human rights activist] Caoimhe Butterly. No rx lisinopril Once the invasion started, no rx lisinopril it became immediately clear that what we needed to do as foreign activists was to fulfill our role of witnessing and reporting, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril We did not differentiate between "independent" and "government" services; all must be protected under international law. No rx lisinopril Also, no rx lisinopril we didn't just sit in the ambulances, no rx lisinopril we physically carried the injured and dead and tried to assist where possible Secondly, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril Thirdly, no rx lisinopril in our mobility and proximity to the front line we could witness the effects of the bombardment on civilians in their homes, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril repetitive bombing and crashing sounds, no rx lisinopril some close some further away, no rx lisinopril muted panic, no rx lisinopril empty streets, no rx lisinopril rubble everywhere, no rx lisinopril ambulance sirens wailing endlessly, no rx lisinopril screaming relatives coupled with the groans of the bloodied and dust-covered crushed and injured, no rx lisinopril medics praying and smoking, no rx lisinopril heart-beating perpetual ratcheted-up adrenaline, no rx lisinopril a constant readiness for the next strike and yearning for it to all end, no rx lisinopril endless stream of bodies and blood-soaked stretchers, no rx lisinopril cyclical dread, no rx lisinopril pierced with fresh-surges of shock and horror unabsorbed, no rx lisinopril and a deep fear of the night and whether we would make it through and whether each ambulance run might be the last. No rx lisinopril None of the fear paralyzed us but nevertheless it was present. No rx lisinopril But we all early on accepted we could die, no rx lisinopril and took on the risks because it was worth it, no rx lisinopril the Palestinian people are worth it. No rx lisinopril We wanted to save lives and I know I let go of my attachment to mine, no rx lisinopril inspired and encouraged by the bravery of those around me, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril The feeling on the ground was that anything could happen, no rx lisinopril all the red lines had been crossed. No rx lisinopril Not just with this operation, no rx lisinopril we have to remember that Operation Cast Lead was only an intensification and a drastic one at that, no rx lisinopril of an existing policy of massacre and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, no rx lisinopril but in [the northern Gaza refugee camp of] Jabaliya, no rx lisinopril many of us were expecting another Sabra and Shatila with all witnesses banned from seeing the worst and with media being attacked, no rx lisinopril and tanks moving in closer and close, no rx lisinopril we felt that the atrocities already happening signified more could come and on a much wider scale. No rx lisinopril [Editor's note: Sabra and Shatila were Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where a massacre occurred during Israel's 1982 invasion. No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril "Please report what you see, no rx lisinopril we cant even believe this is happening to us, no rx lisinopril let the world know, no rx lisinopril it's your duty to speak out about what you witness." And that's what we did, no rx lisinopril through TV and radio interviews, no rx lisinopril our own written reports, no rx lisinopril some of us wrote books too: for example, no rx lisinopril Vittorio Arrigoni (Italy) Gaza, no rx lisinopril Stay Human, no rx lisinopril Sharyn Lock (UK) Gaza Beneath the Bombs, no rx lisinopril myself Gaza: A Ghetto Unbroken. No rx lisinopril Some of us made films, no rx lisinopril like Fida Qishta and Jenny Linnel, no rx lisinopril and documentaries on the phosphoric bombardment of Khoza. No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril that civilians were deliberately being targeted, no rx lisinopril that hospitals, no rx lisinopril schools, no rx lisinopril emergency services were being targeted. No rx lisinopril And that counteracted Israel's propaganda. No rx lisinopril Also, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril and a possible small bit of protection against Israeli attack. No rx lisinopril Everybody needs a witness when they're going through hell -- wherever and whatever that hell is -- it's a form of solidarity, no rx lisinopril of verification, no rx lisinopril that the unbelievable really is happening to you. No rx lisinopril Also, no rx lisinopril we were urging people on the outside to step up their protests and direct actions and advocacy for boycott, no rx lisinopril divestment and sanctions. No rx lisinopril Getting that narrative out was important too, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril so many. No rx lisinopril Probably the bombing of a house by an F-16 just a few feet away from four of our ambulances. No rx lisinopril I was in the passenger seat with my hand on the door, no rx lisinopril my friend and driver told me just wait, no rx lisinopril wait a little, no rx lisinopril and suddenly there was this enormous explosion -- everything went bright fire orange and rubble and debris showered our ambulance. No rx lisinopril One of our drivers was injured and needed to be carried out on a stretcher. No rx lisinopril Our exit route was blocked by rubble, no rx lisinopril a family was screaming and gathering their belongings and getting out, no rx lisinopril we were stumbling with our casualty and surveillance drones were thundering above, no rx lisinopril and we feared a repeat strike, no rx lisinopril more casualties, no rx lisinopril and losing four ambulances when every single one was vital. No rx lisinopril We cheated death that night. No rx lisinopril The Israelis saw us and our lone movement in the streets of Jabaliya, no rx lisinopril and bombed a house less than 10 feet away from us -- this is a criminal, no rx lisinopril reckless use of force. Another was the bombing of the Beit Lahiya Elementary School with white phosphorous. No rx lisinopril We arrived in our ambulances after evacuating dozens of residents suffering from phosphoric inhalation and after the school had taken a direct hit. No rx lisinopril I was masked up but the stench and smoke was still penetrating, no rx lisinopril and when we got there a second round exploded above us, no rx lisinopril I was frozen to the spot and could see these burning blobs raining down next to me, no rx lisinopril I had to be screamed at to move and find shelter. No rx lisinopril The refugees in the school were screaming and crying under a flimsy metal shelter in the school yard. No rx lisinopril The third floor of the school was on fire. No rx lisinopril We brought Bilal Ashkar, no rx lisinopril aged seven -- just this limp boy -- into our ambulance. No rx lisinopril He'd been hit by the phosphorous shell and thrown down the stairs of the school by the force of the explosion. No rx lisinopril He was dead on arrival. FB: A ceasefire was declared on 18 January 2009. No rx lisinopril 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], no rx lisinopril drones continued to sneer above us every night. No rx lisinopril There was this hollow humiliation and undigested horror, no rx lisinopril and loss, no rx lisinopril such a profound sense of dislocation and loss -- of lives, no rx lisinopril of the loved, no rx lisinopril homes, no rx lisinopril whole communities, no rx lisinopril streets, no rx lisinopril mosques, no rx lisinopril shops, no rx lisinopril gone. No rx lisinopril People literally felt physically lost in their own neighborhoods. No rx lisinopril It was like another Nakba [the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 when Israel was created]. No rx lisinopril People felt mocked by the international community. No rx lisinopril "They're laughing at us, no rx lisinopril the whole world doesn't care, no rx lisinopril they're mocking us, no rx lisinopril" was what we frequently heard. No rx lisinopril It felt like a tsunami had hit. FB: Many reports coming from UN bodies, no rx lisinopril aid agencies and human rights organizations came out very quickly in the months following the invasion. No rx lisinopril Most of them agreed on the fact that war crimes and possible crimes against humanity were committed during the Israeli attack. No rx lisinopril Did you ever witness actions that for you were crimes of this magnitude? EJ: Absolutely. No rx lisinopril The targeting of civilians and civilian areas, no rx lisinopril the reckless and wanton destruction of property, no rx lisinopril the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, no rx lisinopril seen with the bombing of the Beit Lahiya School, no rx lisinopril the Samouni family massacre, no rx lisinopril the F-16 bombardment of the Hamdan children in Beit Hanoun, no rx lisinopril the utter disregard for our ambulances, no rx lisinopril the blocking of access to the injured resulting in hundreds of deaths, no rx lisinopril the extrajudicial killing of Sayed al-Seyam and Nazar Rayan and scores of their family members. No rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril According to the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, no rx lisinopril proportionally, no rx lisinopril most people killed [during the invasion were] by UAVs followed by F-16s. FB: A few weeks ago, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril Keeping this in mind, no rx lisinopril what do you think is the role of popular resistance or citizen activism? EJ: Yes, no rx lisinopril the international community facilitates and pays for Israel's occupation, no rx lisinopril and pathologizes and de-develops Palestine in the process. No rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril [Instead, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril but what many say, no rx lisinopril is that what Gaza needs is the rest of Palestine. No rx lisinopril People living in camps in Jordan, no rx lisinopril Lebanon, no rx lisinopril Syria and the West Bank want to be reunited with their families and homes. No rx lisinopril The inalienable and legal right of return for Gaza's and all Palestinian refugees needs to be enacted. No rx lisinopril The Israeli tactic of divide and torture, no rx lisinopril of chopping up the Palestinian community, no rx lisinopril is a long-term tactic designed to break down the strongest weapon against ethnic cleansing that Palestinians possess -- memory, no rx lisinopril community, no rx lisinopril family. No rx lisinopril As long as you have a people who remember their homes and lands, no rx lisinopril and know each other, no rx lisinopril refer to one another as cousin, no rx lisinopril uncle, no rx lisinopril sister and brother, no rx lisinopril and can ask, no rx lisinopril "Which home/family are you from?" then the struggle can never be alienated or abstracted. No rx lisinopril Palestinians in Gaza need to have the means to speak and act for themselves and not be spoken for, no rx lisinopril and to have access to the rest of the world -- twinning relationships and projects between schools, no rx lisinopril mosques, no rx lisinopril universities, no rx lisinopril hospitals, no rx lisinopril youth groups, no rx lisinopril initiatives -- these are all means to break the isolation inside and build a more intimate and motivated solidarity movement on the outside. No rx lisinopril Aid is not the answer. No rx lisinopril Solidarity is. FB: A year after the war, no rx lisinopril people marched in hundreds of cities around the world to "commemorate" those horrific events. No rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril remembrance and action in our streets. No rx lisinopril But its also important to target companies violating international law and which are key in perpetuating Israeli apartheid, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril Companies like Veolia, no rx lisinopril Alstom, no rx lisinopril Caterpillar, no rx lisinopril Elbit Systems, no rx lisinopril CRT Holdings and Carmel-Agrexco could be charged with aiding and abetting war crimes of ethnic cleansing and illegal colony-building. No rx lisinopril The boycott, no rx lisinopril divestment and sanctions call from Palestinian civil society needs to be responded to and supported -- actively, no rx lisinopril daily. No rx lisinopril We are all complicit in the reproduction and reinforcement of the occupation -- it is an international occupation, no rx lisinopril it is an international issue, no rx lisinopril 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, no rx lisinopril I deeply miss Gaza. No rx lisinopril It became like a home to me, no rx lisinopril I miss my friends and "family" there. No rx lisinopril Like so many activists that go to Palestine, no rx lisinopril what we witness never leaves us. No rx lisinopril We learn from and are humbled by the people that we work with, no rx lisinopril 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. No rx lisinopril He lives in the UK.Original article can be found at: