Friday, June 4, 2010

Morocco, Chefchaouen--Palestine, Gaza /2

June 1, 2010

I slept on news from Gaza and wake up on the news from Gaza. Al Jazira is all I got in the hotel room, and it is covering the events very adequately. As expected, the UN came up with a lame statement.

I chair a long morning session on the terroir and ecotourism. I will post later in more detail about that, including the text of my talk. Meanwhile, the Gaza flotilla takes all my time: I organize small informal sessions of information for the participants about Gaza to those who know nothing among the participants of the conference. There is a tremendously strong positive response.

I manage to access my mail briefly for the first time in 3 days. Among the huge number of backlog messages in my mail box, this release from Via Campesina Europe

*European Coordination Via Campesina
Press Release Brussels, May 31^st , 2010
*Attack on Gaza humanitarian flotilla: The EU must act*

Last night Israeli army commandos stormed an international humanitarian
fleet on its way to Gaza to deliver medicines, medical equipment,
building materials and food. The people of Gaza lack these materials due
to the blockade imposed by the state of Israel. Civilians were killed
and others wounded.

The attack occurred in international waters. It is therefore in terms of
law, an act of piracy.

The European Coordination Via Campesina is shocked and outraged. It asks
that Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs
and Vice - President of the European Commission, acts without delay and
as representative of the EU

- Condemns this violation of international law

- Provides humanitarian assistance to participants in the flotilla

- Calls for the urgent establishment of an international commission of
inquiry into the attack

- Suspends trade agreements between the EU and Israel

- Acts to lift the blockade of Gaza

The European Coordination Via Campesina, an organization of European
farmers, is in solidarity with the thousands of farmers whose lands are
occupied in Gaza and the West Bank.

Now Via campesina is in principle a radical social justice movement. Their stance on the global food regime is nothing less than revolutionary. They take very strong positions on corporations and on agribusinesses. And look at this lame statement, something any government could have come up with. The problem is Zionism and the usurpation of land and the replacement of a people by another people: colonialization and apartheid. Whether in international water or out, Palestinians ahe the rights to enter their country. The problem is not that the attack happened in international waters, the problem is Israel and the fact that it is allowed to attack. What if it was in Palestinian waters? Would it be OK? And look at this series of requests: humanitarian aid, trade sanctions, ACT to lift the blockade: this is soft Zionism.

I have little faith in international civil society movements. They are locked in their small self perpetuating logic and cannot really take radical positions on social justice anymore. If they took as strong a position on Israel as they take on Monsanto, their statement would be extremely different. What a shame. They are increasingly spineless and it looks as if they are just dying to be acknowledged and recognized as partners by international organizations and the UN system...

I have also received emails from everywhere calling for demonstrations of solidarity. Of course this is excellent and it is a show of support for the cause and an indication of the waning of Israeli influence. But I believe this would not have happened if this was not a humanitarian convoy, and if there were no foreigners among the dead and wounded. If this were Palestinians fighting to liberate Gaza, people would have probably blamed them for their own death. I am starting to worry that the struggle will get locked into a Ghandian logic, and this has always been a demand of the West and of the local "lovers of life-on our knees" who repeatedly ask for armed resistance to be dismantled. This is how we become a charity case rather than a liberation movement. But for now, lets keep the pressure on the Zionists up to lift the siege on Gaza. 

No comments: