Saturday, July 19, 2014

Norwegian surgeon witnesses Israeli war crimes in Gaza Mads Frederick Gilbert Middle East Monitor July 15, 2014

Norwegian Professor Mads Frederick Gilbert is utterly shocked as he checks the corpses of martyrs and the bodies of the wounded as they continuously arrive in the Shifa Hospital in Gaza on the seventh day of the bloody Israeli onslaught on the besieged Strip.
Gilbert, 67, a surgeon, murmurs as he walks in the Intensive Care Unit: ‘This is outrageous, horrific and unbelievable... what's happening is no less than premeditated killing and genocide.’
In an interview with Safa News, Gilbert says the Israeli occupation deliberately uses internationally forbidden destructive weapons in its continued onslaught on Gaza.
‘Israeli bombs cause injuries that cannot be immediately seen via x-ray,’ Gilbert said, ‘After a period of time, the injury starts to bleed.’
‘The material used in these bombs is uncommon, which explains why we cannot cure the injured parts, and in some cases doctors are forced to amputate them,’ he says.
Gilbert arrived in Gaza on Thursday via the Rafah border crossing after Israel barred him from entering Gaza via the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing.
The Norwegian physician has been to Gaza a number of times, the last was during the Israeli offensive in 2012.
An internationally renowned activist and member of the Norwegian socialist party the Red Party, Gilbert specialises in anaesthesia, and heads the Department of Emergency Medicine at the North Norway University Hospital.
‘I feel as though I moved from a colourful world, where people enjoy freedom and peace, to the world of Gaza where life, peace and security are simply non-existent,’ he says while examining all cases that arrive in the hospital
He adds that his visit to Gaza this time is different. ‘The entire Gaza Strip has become a military target for Israeli warplanes; there is no safe place here. You can hear the air raids everywhere and see fear and anxiety on the faces of all the people and children.’
More than 178 Palestinians, including 35 children and 24 women, have been killed by Israeli raids on Gaza since last Monday, July 7………..
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Indigenous Australians in wartime: it's time to tell the whole story

It would be inconsistent to celebrate Indigenous Australians' service in Imperial armies while ignoring the frontier wars. Naidoc's mission to tell the whole story is commendable
Paul Daley July 7, 2014

Douglas Grant (left). Photograph: /AWM
Australia is finally telling the stories of the Indigenous soldiers who have served in our wars and conflicts. This year’s Naidoc (National Aboriginal and Islanders Observance Day Committee) week, which began yesterday, is fittingly celebrating the theme ‘serving country – centenary and beyond’.
It is heartening to see that Naidoc is taking a broad approach by honouring ‘all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country ... From our warriors in the Frontier Wars to our warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe’.
Heartening, because it would be intellectually and historically inconsistent to ignore the many Indigenous warriors who fought colonial troops, paramilitaries and raiding parties on the one hand while celebrating those who served in the Imperial and Australian forces on the other. All were, of course, fighting for country.
There has been a long argument behind the scenes at the Australian War Memorial over whether to commemorate frontier violence that killed at least 20,000 Indigenous Australians and 2,000 settlers, police, soldiers and paramilitary members. The argument simmers on, between historians formerly and currently associated with what is effectively Australia’s secular shrine, its present director, Brendan Nelson, and those of the past………….
Naidoc’s mission to tell the whole story this week is commendable. Australia has been gripped by Anzac mythology since the late 1980s. But only recently have our cultural and political institutions begun to focus on the experiences – especially in the two world wars – of Indigenous personnel. The memorial and the Australian National University are, laudably, leading the way.
So perhaps now is an appropriate time for official monuments to the Indigenous diggers and for the warriors of the frontier wars – such as Pemulwuy, Jandamarra, Wyndradine, Durelle and Kanabygal.
Shane Mortimer, an elder of the Ngambri – custodians of the limestone plains on which the Australian Capital Territory has been imposed – says there should be a memorial to Indigenous diggers on Anzac Parade, already lined with various military monuments, and another to the frontier war fighters at the Aboriginal embassy across the lake………..
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Time to settle on justice for indigenous people

Editorial The Age July 7, 2014
Words are powerful. They can drive reform that improves many lives. And they can derail positive change.
So this newspaper is, well, unsettled that Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday evening said Australia was ‘unsettled’ before the British arrived. We hasten to add that Mr Abbott, who was responding at an event in Melbourne to a question about foreign investment, immediately adjusted his comment and said the nation had been ‘scarcely settled’.
There might be many who feel our Prime Minister was stooping to the sort of dog-whistle politics he has used to demonise asylum seekers, some of the most desperate, vulnerable and marginalised people on the planet. We would be loath to think any portion of the community might seize on Mr Abbott's comment to undermine efforts to increase fairness in our society for indigenous Australians, for his words hark unfortunately to terra nullius. This legal notion that no one owned the land before the British claimed it was rejected and discredited by the High Court in 1992 when it ruled, in the Mabo case, that native title exists……….
We believe the Prime Minister deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one, as we have no doubt about his personal commitment to improving the lives of indigenous Australians………
We believe the Prime Minister's comment is an opportunity to underline the importance of adjusting the constitution to properly acknowledge the first Australians and to remove from our founding document elements that discriminate against indigenous people…………
We believe fairness and decency compel a change in the constitution……….
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Friday, July 4, 2014

The Disproportionate Coverage of Israeli And Palestinian Killings

Media Lens July 3, 2014
Israeli deaths matter much more than Palestinian deaths. This has long been a distinguishing feature of Western news media reporting on the Middle East. The recent blanket coverage afforded to the brutal killing of three Israeli teenagers highlights this immutable fact.
Channel 4's Alex Thomson offered a rare glimmer of dissent:
'Curious to watch UK media living down to the Palestinian claim that 1 Israeli life is worth 1000 Palestinian lives.'

Major broadcasters, such as BBC News, devoted headlines and extended reports to the deaths, and included heart-rending interviews with grieving relatives in Israel. The Guardian ran live coverage of the funerals for more than nine hours. But when has this ever happened for Palestinian victims of Israeli terror?

A reader challenged the Guardian journalist leading the live coverage:
'@Haroon_Siddique Did I somehow miss @guardian's live-tweeting of Palestinian victims' funerals & eulogies?'
Several nudges elicited the standard display of hand-washing:
'I'm not an editor so don't take decisions on future coverage.'
An extensive list of news stories and video reports appeared on the BBC website describing how Israel is 'united in grief', alongside stories titled, 'Netanyahu: ‘Wide and deep chasm’ between Israel and enemies', 'Thousands gather for Israeli teenagers' funerals', 'Grief and anger after Israel teenager deaths', and 'On road where teens vanished'.
These all strongly, and rightly, expressed the broadcaster's empathy with the fact that something terrible had happened. But when has the BBC ever expressed this level of concern for the deaths of Palestinian teenagers?
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