Sunday, November 12, 2023


I saw THE MARVELS Friday night.  Wish I'd waited.  Stan's "THE MARVELS" went up while  I was watching the movie.  It's not worth it.  Brie Larson is great as Captain Marvel but the film is disappointing as hell and seems to be like a 72 Chevy with a busted head or two trying to go up a steep hill, you feel like it's moving but it never seems to get anywhere.

For years, my favorite comic book heroes were Logan and Jean -- Wolverine and Phoenix.  And Carol Danvers.  After Ms. Marvel, I'd given up on her.  But then they brought her back.  She was an X-Man, an Avenger, she had her powers stolen by Rogue . . . 

THE MARVELS is really bad.  They need to get someone who knows how to make a movie to write the script and to direct next time.  The only reason to see it is Brie Larson and she deserved so much better.

I came out of the theater disgusted.  And I'm even more mad that MARVEL's kicking CAPTAIN AMERICA back to 2025.  The films feel old and tired already.  Now they're moving the completed CAPTAIN AMERICA to 2025 when it was supposed to be released in 2024?  It's going to seem even more out of date by 2025.  

Here's a review of THE MARVELS.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 10, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues. 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there have been some “issues” getting aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

At a briefing, the agency said the crossing had been designed for pedestrians, not trucks.

Only 65 trucks carrying food, medicine, hygiene supplies and water, and seven ambulances, crossed from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday, it said, adding that none of that aid can reach northern Gaza.

“We cannot drive to the north at the current point, which is of course deeply frustrating because we know there are several hundred thousand people who remain in the north,” said OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke.

“If there is a hell on Earth today, its name is northern Gaza,” he said. “It is a life of fear by day and darkness at night and what do you tell your children in such a situation, it’s almost unimaginable — that the fire they see in the sky is out to kill them?” he said.

"If there is a hell on Earth today, its name is northern Gaza."  CNN notes:

“Demands for civilians to relocate to an Israeli Defence Force designated ‘safe zone’ are also very alarming,” Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said during a news conference in Amman, Jordan.
“A so-called ‘safe zone,’ when established unilaterally, can heighten risks to civilians, and raises real questions as to whether security can be guaranteed in practice. At the moment, nowhere in Gaza is safe, as bombardments are being reported in all parts of the Strip.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Israel and the United States are continuing to reject calls for a ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll from Israel’s bombardment tops 10,500, including over 4,000 Palestinian children. Tens of thousands of Palestinians in northern Gaza have evacuated their homes on foot as Israeli troops attempt to forcibly seize control of the area. The U.N. estimates 1.5 million Palestinians have been displaced in Gaza — that’s 70% of Gaza’s population. Many Palestinians fear Israel will never allow them to return to their homes.

On Wednesday, the top human rights official at the United Nations, Volker Türk, traveled to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, where he accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes.

VOLKER TÜRK: The Rafah crossing has been the symbolic lifeline for the last month for the 2.3 million in Gaza. The lifeline has been unjustly, outrageously thin. These are the gates to a living nightmare, a nightmare where people have been suffocating under persistent bombardment, mourning their families, struggling for water, for food, for electricity and fuel. … On the other side of this gate is Gaza, already described as the world’s biggest open-air prison before 7 October, under a 56-year occupation and a 16-year blockade by Israel.

The atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups on the 7th of October were heinous. They were war crimes, as is the continued holding of hostages. The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: In Gaza City, Israeli airstrikes have hit areas near Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital. Meanwhile, most operations at al-Quds Hospital have been halted due to dwindling fuel supplies and daily Israeli attacks on areas around the hospital. Most roads to the hospital have been destroyed. The hospital is run by Palestine Red Crescent Society, which is part of the International Red Cross.

We go now to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where we’re joined by Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Thanks so much for being with us. If you could start off by talking about the state of the hospitals in Gaza right now? And what hospitals are you being told that you must have evacuated? And what is the response of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Nebal?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

The situation now in hospitals is dire. Almost 18 hospitals out of 35 in Gaza Strip have been — have gone out of service, either due to bombardment or because extreme shortage of — they are running out of fuel and medical supplies. The rest of the hospitals are operating under extreme difficult situations. They are having extreme shortages of medical supplies and medicine, as well as almost running out of fuel.

For example, al-Quds Hospital, yesterday we had to reduce all services and operations in al-Quds Hospital to the extent that the major and main generator in the hospital has been turned off, and now we are only using the small generator. The hospital’s surgical ward has been shut down, as well. The hospital’s oxygen generator also has been shut down, and now we are using oxygen cylinders. According to the information, we are only now for 24 hours, and we will be completely shutting down, because we will be running out of fuel. Basically, up to this moment, none of the aid has been allowed to get into al-Quds Hospital.

This is the fourth day, and al-Quds Hospital has been under intense bombardments, along of all roads that lead to al-Quds Hospital are closed. Because of the bombardment, the roads are closed. Our emergency medical services team, they are also inside the hospital, so they are unable to go out of the hospital to arrive the wounded people in the area. They can see from where they are inside the hospital that there are many wounded people very close to the hospital, but, unfortunately, they feel helpless. Because of the intense bombardment, it’s so much dangerous. So they even can’t go out to arrive those wounded people and save their lives. And the area where the hospital is located now became so much dangerous. As highlighted, all roads are closed, so nobody can get into al-Quds Hospital.

Unfortunately, none of the aid has been allowed to get into al-Quds Hospital. Two days ago, we were waiting for aid to come in through ICRC. However, the ICRC convoy was targeted by Israeli occupation forces. And unfortunately, they were unable to deliver the aid to al-Quds Hospital.

So, now the situation, not only the problem is the fuel; we are barely having food or water for our staff and our patients and for over 14,000 civilians who are currently sheltering inside the hospital. Because of the continuous bombardments, all the windows have been falled down — I mean, the glass. So they are literally open. And at nighttime, it became so much cold, even for families who are lying and sleeping on the ground. You can’t imagine the picture of children who are feeling so much cold and don’t even have a blanket to warm them up. So now we are in urgent need for everything, for blankets, for food and water. Those children, they even have a very minimum amount of food. As I mentioned, we barely have even food for the staff or for the patients. This is the third day all Gaza City and the north is out of bread, because all bakeries have already run out of fuel. So none of Gazans who are now currently in Gaza and the north are able to get any piece of bread.

There’s still in Gaza and the north almost 500,000 civilians who are still now sheltering in schools and hospitals in those area where Israel forced its people to evacuate. It’s not easy to say just “evacuate,” because intense bombardments are just taking place all over, and it’s not safe to evacuate yourself, taking into consideration that, as you highlighted, many people have to do that on foot under intense bombardment. There is no transportation. There is complete destruction of the road and infrastructure. And simply an ICRC convoy was targeted while it was on its way from the south to the north. So, how it would be safe for civilians to evacuate themselves to the south?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Nebal, so if you could respond to the fact that Israel has said, either evacuate from al-Quds Hospital, or the Palestinian Red Crescent is responsible for any deaths? And then, also, you know, you’ve said that oxygen generators have now been shut off, you’re relying on oxygen cylinders, that fuel is running out. I mean, what do you — how will this go, if you don’t have access to fuel? What do you fear will happen to these patients who are dependent on oxygen, not to mention all of the other medical supplies that are dwindling, if not have entirely run out?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Yes. We have announced repeatedly that we have around 500 patients inside the hospital. Many of them are connected to life support machines. They are in the intensive care unit. We have babies in incubators. We don’t have the means to evacuate them safely. Evacuating them means killing them. Taking into consideration that already intense bombardments are taking place, so there will be no even any way to evacuate the staff, along with 14,000 civilians who are currently taking shelter because, simply, they have nowhere, no way to go to.

Hospitals, healthcare personnel, healthcare facilities should be protected under international humanitarian law. There will be no justification for Israel targeting al-Quds Hospital, although — even the WHO has announced that evacuation orders against hospitals are impossible to implement. They constitute a death penalty for patients. Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers should not put in an option to choose either to lose your life or risk your life or even turn back — turn your back to your patients and just go away. This is not acceptable.

And this situation, to be under intense bombardment, under constant fear and panic of losing your life, it’s also unacceptable. As I said, for over at least a week, now two weeks almost, intense bombardments are taking place in a very close area of the hospital, to the extent that most of the buildings in the surrounding area of the hospital has been damaged. Airstrikes are taking place even 15 meters away from the hospital. It has resulted to at least 16 people were injured during these bombardments, to the extent that a patient in the intensive care unit was also injured. This should not be acceptable.

I can’t describe the situation now inside the hospital, when I’m talking about 14,000 civilians — most of them are children and women — just sleeping on the hospital’s ground. Every single corner in the hospital, there is internally displaced people, who have no other option. This is the last choice for them. It’s just seeking shelter to a place they thought they will be in a safe place. Unfortunately, this is not the case, because Israel, it looks like it’s absolutely over and above the international humanitarian law.

Unfortunately, as a humanitarian organization, we have completely run out of all of solutions. Over three weeks now we have been calling on the international community to intervene immediately to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and including fuel. We have warned repeatedly, “We are running out of fuel.” We have already run out of fuel a week ago. So, we managed to get some fuel from some gas stations who had some left over. Unfortunately, because of the continuous blockade on Gaza, particularly, and the north, it’s now an impossible mission to find one liter of gas, one liter of fuel in Gaza and the north. We have come to an end. We have already reduced all of our operations, all of our services, in order just to manage to take care of those patients who are now inside the hospital. And although we have taken all of these measures, we are only for 24 hours. At that point, the hospital’s small generator will shut down, and then the lives of those who are connected to life support machines, they will lose their life. And we even — we even can’t imagine the situation we will be in. As a humanitarian organization, we feel helpless. We feel helpless.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Nebal, your response to Israel saying, if you don’t evacuate al-Quds Hospital, your organization, the Palestinian Red Crescent, is responsible for any deaths?

NEBAL FARSAKH: As I said, international humanitarian law is clear: Hospitals, healthcare worker, healthcare facilities, civilians should not be a target. If an attack or whatsoever happened for al-Quds Hospital, this will be a responsibility of Israel, the responsibility of the international community, who are, up to this moment, fail to stand up for humanity, fail to pressure Israel to ensure the protection of civilians, healthcare personnel and healthcare facilities. Up to this moment, four colleagues were killed during conducting their humanitarian role, trying to save other people’s life. Twenty-two other paramedics were injured. At least eight ambulances completely went out of service due to Israeli bombardment and targeted for ambulances. This also should be stopped. Under all circumstances, in all conflicts, healthcare workers, healthcare personnel, healthcare facilities and hospitals, along with civilians, they should be protected. Unfortunately, 70% of the victims, of thousands of people who were killed in Gaza, are children, women and elderly people. This war crime should be stopped.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Nebal, I mean, if you could talk specifically about the situation of children, over 4,000 killed, countless others thought to be under the rubble? But apart from that, there’s a new acronym that’s been in use in Gaza hospitals: WCNSF, wounded child, no surviving family. If you could say something about that, Nebal, whether you’re witnessing that, how much you’re witnessing it in hospitals there, al-Quds included?

NEBAL FARSAKH: Unfortunately, because of the intensive bombardments that is taking place on people’s residential buildings, houses, without even any prior warning, that has resulted to wiping out whole families. And unfortunately, many children who are survivors now, they don’t even have any family member.

We have saved a 12-years-old girl. She was under the rubble for almost 30 hours. Unfortunately, she has lost all of her family. And now she is currently sheltering inside the hospital. Our psychosocial support team try as much as they can to support her, but no words can describe the traumatized situation that this 13-years-old girl, along with other children in Gaza, are living because of this intense bombardment.

Even those who didn’t lose anyone, simply being under intense bombardments day and night, and hearing strong bombardments with complete darkness because of the cut of electricity, is just so much horrifying and panic among those children who are living unprecedented situations that no child in this world, we wish, is be living.

AMY GOODMAN: Nebal Farsakh, we want to thank you for spending this time with us, spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent Society, joining us from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Coming up, we’ll speak to the Palestinian American poet and physician Fady Joudah. Israel has killed dozens of his family members in Gaza in just the past month. Stay with us.

Nebal Farsakh stated, "As I said, international humanitarian law is clear: Hospitals, healthcare worker, healthcare facilities, civilians should not be a target. If an attack or whatsoever happened for al-Quds Hospital, this will be a responsibility of Israel, the responsibility of the international community, who are, up to this moment, fail to stand up for humanity, fail to pressure Israel to ensure the protection of civilians, healthcare personnel and healthcare facilities."   Nidal Al-Mughrabi (REUTERS) reports this morning, "Israeli air strikes hit Gaza's biggest hospital, the Al Shifa, on Friday, killing one person and wounding others sheltering there, Palestinian officials said, one of several hospitals reported struck at dawn as Israel battles Hamas in the heart of the enclave."  An hour ago, ALJAZEERA noted:

Gaza resident Motei Ibrahim says the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, is “totally overwhelmed by people who have evacuated their homes”.

“People are living inside the corridors,” he told Al Jazeera from the hospital. “The situation is so dire and so difficult,” Ibrahim said.

“The repetitive scene here is the people who are targeted by the Israeli air strikes frequent the road to the hospital and their relatives and beloved ones come to bid a farewell to them and carry them to their last destination,” he added.

“The grief is overwhelming.”

It's amazing what people can lie to themselves and justify.  And it's worth noting that once they lie like that, the behavior gets easier and easier.  ALJAZEERA notes, "Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra says Israel has bombed al-Shifa Hospital buildings five times since Thursday night." The Israeli government is openly targeting hospitals now.  Gone is any effort to argue that it wasn't them.  It matters less and less, the war machinery keeps grinding on.  And we can thank the feckless leaders like Joe Biden who have refused to address this issue in a rational manner. Andre Damon (WSWS) reports:

On Thursday, as he was leaving for a campaign event in Illinois, US President Joe Biden again categorically reiterated his opposition to a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Asked, “What are the prospects of a Gaza ceasefire?” Biden replied, “None. No possibility.”

Biden’s comments made clear that the United States is actively instigating Israel’s genocide in Gaza and working to inflame a wider war in the Middle East. They came just two days after White House National Security spokesman John Kirby stated again that the United States has no “red lines” on the number of civilian casualties it will accept.

Biden’s remarks sparked worldwide outrage, with clips of his statement viewed or shared by millions of people on all social media platforms. He was met in Chicago by thousands of people demonstrating against US support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza. The crowd chanted, “Genocide Joe” and “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

While Biden was speaking in Illinois, he was interrupted by a protester who yelled, “10,000 Palestinians have been killed. Half of them are children.”

Before Biden left for Chicago, he was asked whether Israel’s “retaliatory airstrikes” were working, he replied, “Yes,” adding, “they’re hitting the targets they’re seeking.”

So targeting hospitals is working?  Good to know.  Good to know how low Joe is willing to go.  He's a War Criminal.  

Ooh you're slickYou investors in hateYou Saddams and you BushesYou Bin Ladens and snakesYou billionaire bulliesYou're a globalized curseYou put war on the masses while you clean out the purse
And that's how it's done war after warYou old feudal parasites just sacrifice the poorYou've got the cutting edge weapons But your scam's still the same as it's been since the RomansIt's the patriot gameIt's the war racket
You twisters of languageYou creeps of disguiseYour disinformationLike worms in your eyesYou privileged bankersYou gambler thievesYou profit on warThere's less money in peace
That's how it's done time after timeCountry after country, crime after crimeYou pretend it's religion and there's no one to blameFor the dead and impoverished in your little patriot gameHoney, that's the war racket

-- "War Racket," words and music by Buffy Sainte-Marie, first appears on her album MEDICINE SONGS.

Amnesty International has called for a cease-fire. ALJAZEERA noted earlier this week, "The leaders of 18 United Nations agencies and non-profit organisations (NGO) have called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war, expressing 'shock and horror' at the mounting death toll from the conflict."  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

  As Israeli troops neared the hospital on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on social media that "with ongoing strikes and fighting nearby, we are gravely concerned about the well-being of thousands of civilians there, many children among them, seeking medical care and shelter, including people on life support, those who lost limbs in air strikes, and burn victims."

"Videos from inside al-Shifa's compound, verified by HRW, show hundreds of people in a courtyard next to the [emergency room], including sheltering civilians, medics tending to patients, emergency workers collecting dead bodies, and journalists. Satellite imagery shows many tents there," the group said. "Videos and photos taken in recent days show civilians and emergency workers bringing hundreds of injured and dead people to the hospital day and night, by ambulance, by car, on foot, and by donkey cart. People regularly walk in and out of the hospital's main entrance."

CNN’s Zeena Saifi reports, "Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) called for an end to the war in Gaza and the end of the 'forced displacement' of Palestinians."  Mithil Aggarwal (NBC NEWS) notes, "Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed news that Israel would formalize daily humanitarian pauses but said that 'more needs to be done'."  More needs to be done?  Well you're an abject failure so clearly it won't be accomplished by you. 

There’s no question that US aid provides a substantial share of Israel’s war costs. A rough sense of the overall importance of US aid to the Israeli war effort can be developed by comparing the $14 billion in military aid proposed by the Biden administration with an estimate by the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist, first reported by Reuters. Calcalist estimates that the conflict in Gaza will cost Tel Aviv roughly $50 billion if it goes on for eight to 12 months.

If the Calcalist estimate is on the mark, that would mean that if the $14 billion in proposed US aid is approved and disbursed over the next year, it would account for just over one-quarter of the total cost of the war to Israel. About half of the estimate—$25 billion—represents direct military costs, with the additional costs related to negative economic impacts of the war, compensation for businesses, and reconstruction. If US aid is compared only to the estimate of direct military costs of the war, it would amount to more than half of relevant expenditures. No estimate made in the midst of an ongoing conflict will be entirely accurate, but what we do know suggests that US tax dollars are a major factor in sustaining the Israeli war effort.

The role of US-supplied weapons may be even more important than the question of how much of the costs of the war would be paid for with American tax dollars. The United States has been Israel’s principal arms supplier since the nation’s inception—supplying military aid to the tune of $124 billion over that time period before adjusting for inflation. Washington is currently in the fifth year of a 10-year $38 billion military aid commitment to Tel Aviv, or $3.8 billion per year. This annual figure will be dwarfed by the $14 billion in military aid contained in the administration’s pending emergency aid request. The types of weaponry in the package include large quantities of bombs and tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells that can be put straight to use in the Gaza war.

Joe makes all Americans complicit in these War Crimes.  Gabriel Black (WSWS) notes:

On November 2, Will Lehman, the Mack Trucks worker who ran as the rank-and-file socialist candidate for president of the UAW, issued a video statement demanding the immediate cessation of production for equipment and munitions used by the Israeli military. At the time of writing, his statement has been viewed over a hundred thousand times, particularly on TikTok where it was widely shared.

In his statement, Lehman endorsed the call of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions asking workers around the world to “refuse to build weapons destined for Israel … refuse to transport weapons to Israel … [to] take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege.”

Lehman noted, however, that the leadership of the UAW “has ignored the appeal by the Palestinian trade unions,” with UAW President Shawn Fain—the backed candidate of the DSA—inviting President Joe Biden to Michigan “to posture as a friend of working people.” At the time of writing, the UAW leadership remains silent on the call of the Palestinian Federation of Trade Unions to shut down the production of bombs, missiles, and other equipment for war.

More than 1,100 General Dynamics workers in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania were set to strike on October 22 but the UAW announced a last-minute deal to prevent a walkout at the giant defense contractor, which supplies weapons to Israel.

The American weapons being used by the IDF to destroy Gaza

Over ten thousand Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In just one month of bombing, the IDF has killed 4,000 children. Responding to the slaughter which has been made possible by Biden and the imperialist powers in Europe, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres described Gaza as a “graveyard for children” on Monday.

The vast majority have been killed inside their apartments, tents, or place of shelter, as bombs fired by Israeli warplanes either kill them on impact or collapse the infrastructure around them, in which case they are crushed to death or suffocate beneath the rubble. Civilians hear the whistling of the bombs for several seconds before the bombs land on their homes and explode. On-the-ground footage from independent journalists, such as Motaz Azaiza (Instagram) and Eye on Palestine (Instagram), shows Palestinian civilians desperately trying to free their relatives and loved-ones from the rubble every day—hoping for signs of life beneath the concrete.

The IDF has one of the more advanced militaries on the planet—funded, almost exclusively, by billions of American tax-dollars. The US has spent over $130 billion on supplying Israel with weapons since the country’s founding in 1948.

The IDF fires bombs on Gaza from a fleet of American made war planes. Cross-referencing information from Reuters, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Al Jazeera suggests this fleet consists of:

  • 40 F-35 advanced Lockheed Martin stealth warplanes (Reuters reports that a total of 75 have been ordered)
  • 196 F-16 multi-purpose planes made by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin
  • 83 F-15 fighters designed and produced by McDonnell Douglas (which is now Boeing)

These warplanes are equipped with bombs, missiles, and guidance kits largely manufactured in the United States. 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: As we continue to look at Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, we’re joined in Houston, Texas, by Fady Joudah. He’s an award-winning Palestinian American writer and poet, as well as a physician. He has translated several collections of poetry from Arabic into English, including work by the renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Dozens of his family members have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. His recent piece for LitHub is titled “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.”

Fady Joudah, welcome to Democracy Now! First of all, of course, our condolences on the loss of your family members. If you could say a little bit about those family members and how you and your family here in the U.S. are keeping in touch with people who remain in Gaza?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Thank you.

We have had more than 50 or 60 people in our extended family killed by Israeli airstrikes. Some of them are in-laws of one of my cousins, and others are different families. Others were also killed by the dozens in one strike. One particular story is of a woman I knew since when I was a child in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And her brother’s grandkids were killed because Israel bombed the house next to them, and in the bombing, one of the walls — one of the walls of their house fell off on them. And they were sleeping, and it killed the three grandchildren and the parents. And only the grandfather survives. So this is also a different spectrum of what we hear about the children being the only survivors in entire families. There are also stories of elderly people who have survived 1948, the Nakba, and/or 1967, and they’re the only ones who are surviving or who have survived their families.

We try to keep in touch with some family members through social media or WhatsApp or what have you, but you know there’s no guarantee that there is regular access or regular communication. You can send a message and maybe get a response the next day. In the beginning of the war, we could get a few phone calls in. But the stuff now is just very difficult to access many people.

The situation is unspeakable and will remain unspeakable, I think, for generations and decades, has been a culmination of the Palestinian experience for a hundred years, since the British Mandate and the beginning of settler colonialism with Zionist immigration into Palestine. It is really beyond words to describe what it means to be a Palestinian in this moment, the accumulation of multigenerational trauma and memories that activates in each one of us previous memories we’ve tried overcome with hope and a flair for life and for freedom, only to find that there is always some horrific episode that reminds us that we are on this Earth in this time, liable to be massacred and lied about. It is —

AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of which, Fady — we’re speaking to Fady Joudah, who is an award-winning Palestinian American writer and poet and physician. As you speak to us from Houston, we’ve spoken to so many Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, as well, but you are here in the United States. And the United States is so important when it comes to how Israel deals with Palestine, because of the amount of aid, to the tune of billions of dollars a year, and is now asking for much more. Can you talk about how the media here covers this issue?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Well, it’s how the media doesn’t cover it. I think that I’ve written in the piece there — and I’ve written in other pieces before — there is a collective psychosis in the mainstream language of U.S. media and administration, that is bizarre to the point of ghosting Palestinians, permitting their erasure, year after year, decade after decade.

When we say, for example, Israel has a right to defend itself, we’re also saying that Palestinian lives are not equal to any other lives that we deem superior to them. And I think that we have not repeatedly asked the question in American media and culture: Do you believe that Palestinian lives are equal to Israeli lives and to Jewish lives? There are many, Jewish people among them, who believe the answer is yes. But there are many more who haven’t even entertained the question honestly. And I think the importance of the question is to go beyond the moral lip service reflex of saying, “Of course, yes,” because to say “yes” means that you have to believe in the equal humanity of Palestinians as a political condition for freedom. When we hear about all the stuff from Blinken or Biden, it is really a language that says, “We believe that the Palestinians have rights when we decide that they have equal rights. We will put it on the back burner.” Always on the back burner.

And what I say is that we have reached a point where the murder and the destruction of Palestinian lives has reached a point of every time it reaches, it goes up higher, escalates in what is permissible about destroying Palestinian lives. We are not just talking about the numbers of the dead. We are talking about 2 million people who are living a life worse than death, and they have to overcome that and the trauma, that is unspeakable. And I do not expect the U.S. media and mainstream media or politics to even care about this. The ghosting continues.

Yesterday in The Washington Post, they published a racist cartoon, in — which they took down because there was an immediate back — I mean, lashing out at the racist cartoon. It is unimaginable to think that this — and it shouldn’t be imaginable — to think that this would be directed at Jewish lives or Israeli lives, but it is permissible to dehumanize Palestinians, until it has become part of the accepted feeling within the American psyche or consciousness on the whole. And so, everyone, I think, on the whole, except pockets here and there, is really complicit in the permissibility of the destruction of Palestinian lives, that has reached an unprecedented level in our hundred years of being massacred, displaced, dehumanized.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Fady, I want to ask you about a point that you raise in this beautiful essay that you’ve written, “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.” In the essay, you cite Aimé Césaire, the renowned Martinican poet, very important anticolonial thinker, who wrote one of the canonical texts on colonialism, A Discourse on Colonialism. You cite him saying, “Neither America nor Europe seem able or willing to solve their colonial addiction, their civilizational motif. Israel is a translation of that failure, a prized Western desire. But Israel has agency in mechanizing this desire.” Could you explain, elaborate on that?

DR. FADY JOUDAH: Well, I think that, for some of us who know, or don’t know, that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was a response to the Zionist movement in Europe by a Jewish people in Europe who had suffered a lot of oppression. But to overcome that oppression, they chose to side with the colonial aspect, the domineering aspect of the culture that dominated them, and export that as a mode for success and triumph into a Palestine, without much recognition of the racism involved in dehumanizing what they call the Arab population of Palestine.

And since then, it has been in the interest of the West and the U.S. to prop up Israel as an outpost, so to speak, for further domination of the Middle East for various reasons. But the problem is that this kind of propping up has really gone mad at this point. And, you know, I think we’ve reached a moment — and others have said it — where the degree of colonial viciousness that exists now in Israeli society, and is supported by the West, sends us back to 19th century barbarism, really, colonial barbarism. And then, obviously, Israel is interested in affecting this kind of behavior within the U.S. through major lobby influences and also cultural influences.

As I said, I — or let me say it this way. It would be an amazing achievement if Zionists in the U.S., and outside it, would actually say to a single Palestinian, “I am sorry.” Just once. This has not happened in a hundred years. It has happened, of course, on an individual level. I have Jewish friends and colleagues who have said it, because we are all human, and there is no monolithic collective anywhere.

But I think that one of the things we need to do is to begin to shift the language that speaks of the Palestinian and to allow for more Palestinian presence in the American consciousness, beyond death and dying. It seems to me that Palestinians in the West are only alive when they are dying, and that is abhorrent and unacceptable. And that is part of a settler colonial mentality that only humanizes its subjects when they are limp, near dying, completely helpless, obedient. Any sense of resistance or rise toward freedom or liberation is denied them through dehumanizing language and, you know, manipulative approaches and processes.

AMY GOODMAN: Fady Joudah, we want to thank you so much for spending this time with us, Palestinian American writer, poet, translator and physician, speaking to us from Houston. Dozens of his family members have been killed in Gaza since October 7th. We’ll link to your recent piece for LitHub, “A Palestinian Meditation in a Time of Annihilation.”

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