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Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Standing up for the Palestinian people

Yesterday was the emergency demonstration in San Francisco to protest the Israeli assault on Gaza; you can see more pictures here and here. Unfortunately none of them shows the full extent of the crowd (500-700 pro-Palestinian demonstrators, and a dozen or so Israel supporters) nor conveys the spirit which was present.

Will this demonstration, or any other, stop the course of the Israeli (and U.S.) government? Certainly not. But there are times you have to stand up for what you believe in, even when the struggle is guaranteed to be a long one, and the prospects for success are slim. If nothing else, just giving the Palestinian people the knowledge that they are not alone in the world, and that there are people in the world, even (or perhaps especially) in the United States, willing to stand up for their rights as a people, makes the effort worthwhile.

And speaking of standing up for the Palestinian people, and trying to stop the murderous course of the Israelis, last night after returning home I finally got around to watching a DVD I had bought at some previous solidarity event - Rachel, An American Conscience. Although ostensibly about Rachel Corrie, and framed by her life and death and including a number of interviews with her well-spoken parents, the movie actually has a much larger scope, encompassing the work of the International Solidarity Movement and more, and features interviews with many solidarity activists and others.

And although I've now used the word "interviews" twice, the film is much more than talking heads. For me, perhaps the most powerful footage was scenes of the absolutely immense bulldozers which the Israelis use to knock down Palestinian houses (with scenes of tiny people next to the towering "separation" (apartheid) wall a close second). Truly a case of a picture being worth a thousand words.

You can read a full review of the film here, and purchase a copy of the DVD here (it's not available through Netflix). It's not a great film, but it is a very good one, and definitely worth seeing, or showing to your local solidarity group.

Stand up.

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