Palestinians Who Have Saved their House Keys

I spoke to Palestinians who still hold the keys to homes they fled decades ago – many are still determined to return

June 14, 2018

Voices

Most of them were convinced – or thought they knew – that they would come back after a week or two and re-open those front doors, and walk back into the houses many had owned for generations

Israel’s Absentee Property Law of 1950 denies the return of any Arabs who fled their property during the Israeli independence war ( Duraid Manajim )

Keys must always be the symbol of the Palestinian “Nakba” – the “disaster” – the final, fateful, terrible last turning in the lock of those front doors as 750,000 Arab men, women and children fled or were thrown out of their homes in what was to become the state of Israel in 1947 and 1948.

Just for a few days, mind you, for most of them were convinced – or thought they knew – that they would return after a week or two and re-open those front doors and walk back into the houses many had owned for generations. I always feel a sense of “shock and awe” when I see those keys – and I held one in my hand again a few days ago.

It was a heavy key, rather like the big iron keys for big iron locks that Britons and Americans used more than a hundred years ago, with a long wide shaft, a single bit and a bow – where you hold the key – with a slight double-curve at the bottom so that you can grip it firmly between two fingers and thumb.

The farmer who owned this key lived in the Palestine border village of Al-Khalisa and locked up his home – built of black basalt stones – for the last time on 11 May 1948, when the Jewish Haganah militia refused the villagers’ request to stay on their land.

Israeli and Palestinian historians have agreed on the history of the village. Today, al-Khalisa is the Israeli frontier town of Kiryat Shmona, and the few refugees who remain alive in the squalid camps of Lebanon can still see their lands if they travel to the far south of the country and look across the border fence.

Few camps could be more vile than the slums of Chatila, where Mohamed Issi Khatib runs his equally shabby “Museum of Memory” in a hovel adorned with ancient Palestinian farm scythes, photocopies of British and Ottoman land deeds, old 1940s radio sets and brass coffee pots – and keys. Just three of them. One, without even a proper bit, was probably used for an animal shed.

The ‘Museum of Memory’ in Chatila (Duraid Manajim)

The Khatib family lost their own key (the one I held belonged to the grandfather of a refugee called Kamel Hassan). Mohamed was born in Lebanon, just after his parents fled al-Khalisa, and a few days before the independence of the new state of Israel was declared.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 says the Arabs should return to their homes; hence the continued Palestinian demand – justified but hopeless – for a “right of return” to their own lands, which are now part of Israel.

Israel’s Absentee Property Law of 1950 denies the return of any Arabs who fled their property during the Israeli independence war. Many Israelis agree that the Arab dispossession was unjust. But as the fine and liberal Israeli scholar Avi Schlaim once told me, Israel was admitted to membership of the UN in 1949. “What is legal is not necessarily just,” he said.

This is not an argument you can put to Mohamed Khatib, who worked until his retirement 10 years ago as a doctor for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, set up in 1949 to look after Palestinian refugees from the “Nakba”, and later for those who fled or were driven from their homes in the 1967 Middle East war.

It cares for around 5 million Palestinians – many of them children and grandchildren of the 1947-8 refugees, born in exile, almost half a million of them in Lebanon

Khatib’s museum of wretchedness smells of cigarette smoke – not everyone there was abiding by the Ramadan fast before I arrived (which they cheerfully admitted), and there is a faint odour of rust and old paper.

Mohamed Issi Khatib worked until his retirement as a doctor for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Duraid Manajim)

The documents and brown passports are familiar to me. Over the years, I’ve read through similar papers, land deeds and passports, usually surmounted by the crest of Mandate Palestine’s British “protectors”, that familiar crown, lion and unicorn, and the imprecation honi soit qui mal y pense – “may he be shamed who thinks badly of it”.

But shamed we Brits were by all this nonsense. Khatib blames us for the Palestinian disaster, and points to the keys. “You did this,” he says, smiling in complicity because we all know the history of the 101-year old Balfour Declaration, which declared Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but referred to the majority Arab population as “existing non-Jewish communities”.

But when I ask Khatib if he will ever return to his “Palestine” – a consummation which many Palestinians have in reality abandoned – he insists that he will, and explains his belief with a long and disturbing and quite chilling argument: that Israel is a “foreign body” in the region which cannot survive, which was implanted from outside.

He sounds, I tell him, like the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – a crackpot of Trump-like proportions in my view – and I conclude

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Why Our Young Don’t Fight

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8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

By Bruce E. Levine / alternet.org Aug 4, 2011

Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.

How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

1. Student-Loan Debt. Large debt—and the fear it creates—is a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt.

Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. While average undergraduate debt is close to $25,000, I increasingly talk to college graduates with closer to $100,000 in student-loan debt. During the time in one’s life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt. In a vicious cycle, student debt has a subduing effect on activism, and political passivity makes it more likely that students will accept such debt as a natural part of life.

2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. In 1955, Erich Fromm, the then widely respected anti-authoritarian leftist psychoanalyst, wrote, “Today the function of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis threatens to become the tool in the manipulation of man.” Fromm died in 1980, the same year that an increasingly authoritarian America elected Ronald Reagan president, and an increasingly authoritarian American Psychiatric Association added to their diagnostic bible (then the DSM-III) disruptive mental disorders for children and teenagers such as the increasingly popular “oppositional defiant disorder” (ODD). The official symptoms of ODD include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” “often argues with adults,” and “often deliberately does things to annoy other people.”

Many of America’s greatest activists including Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would today certainly be diagnosed with ODD and other disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Heavily tranquilizing antipsychotic drugs (e.g. Zyprexa and Risperdal) are now the highest grossing class of medication in the United States ($16 billion in 2010); a major reason for this, according to theJournal of the American Medical Association in 2010, is that many children receiving antipsychotic drugs have nonpsychotic diagnoses such as ODD or some other disruptive disorder (this especially true of Medicaid-covered pediatric patients).

3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy. Upon accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990, John Taylor Gatto upset many in attendance by stating: “The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.” A generation ago, the problem of compulsory schooling as a vehicle for an authoritarian society was widely discussed, but as this problem has gotten worse, it is seldom discussed.

The nature of most classrooms, regardless of the subject matter, socializes students to be passive and directed by others, to follow orders, to take seriously the rewards and punishments of authorities, to pretend to care about things they don’t care about, and that they are impotent to affect their situation. A teacher can lecture about democracy, but schools are essentially undemocratic places, and so democracy is not what is instilled in students. Jonathan Kozol in The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home focused on how school breaks us from courageous actions. Kozol explains how our schools teach us a kind of “inert concern” in which “caring”—in and of itself and without risking the consequences of actual action—is considered “ethical.” School teaches us that we are “moral and mature” if we politely assert our concerns, but the essence of school—its demand for compliance—teaches us not to act in a friction-causing manner.

4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” The corporatocracy has figured out a way to make our already authoritarian schools even more authoritarian. Democrat-Republican bipartisanship has resulted in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, NAFTA, the PATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, the Wall Street bailout, and educational policies such as “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” These policies are essentially standardized-testing tyranny that creates fear, which is antithetical to education for a democratic society. Fear forces students and teachers to constantly focus on the demands of test creators; it crushes curiosity, critical thinking, questioning authority, and challenging

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NFL Cheerleaders Demand Fair Treatment

NFL cheerleaders march on the NFL bosses

Attorney Gloria Allred stands among former Houston Texans cheerleaders, from left, Ashley Rodriguez, Morgan Wiederhold, Kelly Neuner, Hannah Turnbow, and Ainsley Parish, right, while holding up a shirt printed with $7.25, the amount she says the former cheerleaders where paid per hour, at a press conference Friday, June 1 in Humble, Texas. | Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle via AP

Let’s talk a bit more about football (I can’t help myself).

Trump’s “Celebration of America” event was absurd and laughable at best—let’s leave the Fourth of July in place. White House staffers had to fill in empty spots in the crowd, a few proud Eagles’ fans showed up, one guy took a knee, and the “ultra-patriot” president couldn’t remember the lyrics of “God Bless America.”

That’s all I’m going to say about that event.

Today, I want to talk about a group of NFL employees who are taking direct, collective action against the low pay, hostile work environments, and discrimination that league bosses and owners conveniently ignore: NFL Cheerleaders.

Four former Houston Texans cheerleaders marched into

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Trump Correct on NAFTA, Despite Gaffes

Donald Trump was right. The rest of the G7 were wrong

George MonbiotJune 13, 2018

He gets almost everything wrong. But last weekend Donald Trump got something right. To the horror of the other leaders of the rich world, he defended democracy against its detractors. Perhaps predictably, he has been universally condemned for it.

His crime was to insist that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) should have a sunset clause. In other words, it should not remain valid indefinitely, but expire after five years, allowing its members either to renegotiate it or to walk away. To howls of execration from the world’s media, his insistence has torpedoed efforts to update the treaty.

In Rights of Man, published in 1791, Thomas Paine argued that: “Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.” This is widely accepted – in theory if not in practice – as a basic democratic principle.

Even if the people of the US, Canada and Mexico had explicitly consented to Nafta in 1994, the idea that a decision made then should bind everyone in North America for all time is repulsive. So is the notion, championed by the Canadian and Mexican governments, that any slightly modified version of the deal agreed now should bind all future governments.

But the people of North America did not explicitly consent to Nafta. They were never asked to vote on the deal, and its bipartisan support ensured that there was little scope for dissent. The huge grassroots resistance in all three nations was ignored or maligned. The deal was fixed between political and commercial elites, and granted immortality.

In seeking to update the treaty, governments in the three countries have candidly sought to thwart the will of the people. Their stated intention was to finish the job before Mexico’s presidential election in July. The leading candidate, Andrés Lopez Obrador, has expressed hostility to Nafta, so it had to be done before the people cast their vote. They might wonder why so many have lost faith in democracy.

Nafta provides a perfect illustration of why all trade treaties should contain a sunset clause. Provisions that made sense to the negotiators in the early 1990s make no sense to anyone today, except fossil fuel companies and greedy lawyers. The most obvious example is the way its rules for investor-state dispute settlement have been interpreted. These clauses (chapter 11 of the treaty) were supposed to prevent states from unfairly expropriating the assets of foreign companies. But they have spawned a new industry, in which aggressive lawyers discover ever more lucrative means of overriding democracy.

The rules grant opaque panels of corporate lawyers, meeting behind closed doors, supreme authority over the courts and parliaments of its member states. A BuzzFeed investigation revealed they had been used to

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This is Embarrassing

Domino’s Pizza unveils U.S. infrastructure project filling potholes

Aarthi Swaminathan Finance Writer

Domino’s Pizza ($DPZ) is filling in potholes in towns across the U.S. with a new ‘”Paving for Pizza” initiative. The American pizza chain announced on Monday that it will help “smooth the ride home” for deliveries by making pothole repairs in towns nominated by their customers.

Domino’s is offering to fill ‘cracks, bumps and potholes’ to smooth road conditions. The initiative is aimed at ‘saving pizza.’ Picture courtesy of Domino’s Pizza.”Have you ever hit a pothole and instantly cringed?” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA explains, stated in a press release. “We know that feeling is heightened when you’re bringing home a carryout order from your local Domino’s store. We don’t want to lose

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Big Pharm Invents Diseases

Malady mongers: How drug companies sell treatments by inventing diseases

Michael Walsh Reporter

Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty

The pharmaceutical industry’s image has been significantly damaged in recent years as the public discovered the role its aggressive marketing played in fueling the opioid epidemic. But the American people are still largely in the dark about what may be pharma’s most effective tactic for pushing drugs — marketing diseases.

There’s a substantial body of medical literature dating back to the early ’90s about the practice known as “disease mongering.” Pharmaceutical companies regularly pathologize everyday experiences, convince doctors that they are serious problems, tell a hypochondriacal public it needs help and offers the cure: a new drug. Against the onslaught of billions of dollars in marketing campaigns each year, however, researchers’ warnings about these tactics have gone largely unheeded.

To be clear: Pharmacology has helped countless people recover from illness or lead more productive lives. But the number of patients receiving any given drug is often greater than those who would benefit from it, and often includes people it could harm.

The United States was still the largest single pharmaceutical market in 2017, generating more than $450 billion of revenue. In contrast, all of Europe accounted for roughly $214 billion. U.S. pharmaceutical spending alone is double the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug.

Adriane Fugh-Berman, a professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical Center, said the pharmaceutical industry medicalizes normal life by positing that a vague, highly relatable, everyday condition is

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Technological Transmissions Electromagnetically Interfering with Natural Systems

Article is better than the title.  Wat

Smart Phones Make Dumb People

May 3, 2018

This morning our yard was abuzz with a chorus of songbirds.  Summer tanagers, vireos, orioles, indigo buntings, goldfinches and cardinals had joined the resident bluebirds, woodpeckers, Virginia creepers, nuthatches, titmice and sapsuckers to complete the ensemble.

Many had come in flocks, which was unusual before a few years ago.  We live in a remote area, far from any cell phone towers.   As these towers have become more ubiquitous the flocks of birds coming here increase.  Others in urban areas say their songbirds have disappeared altogether.  Many urban people are also reporting a massive decline in insect populations.

With the discovery of the Schumann resonances in 1952, it became apparent even to mainstream scientists that the earth was an electromagnetic living organism that constantly emits extremely low-frequency (ELF) waves.

Birds and insects use these frequencies as a compass when migrating.  Many studies have demonstrated the adverse effects which the spike in artificial ELF waves have had on birds and insects.  Colony collapse in honey bees has been connected to these same ELFs.  Hundreds of species of birds and butterflies will soon be extinct.  These are the canaries in the coal mine for a coming mass extinction event.

Human health is also being severely damaged by this explosion in radio waves.

The earth’s electromagnetic field surrounds and protects us, operating at an average natural frequency of 7.83 Hertz.  Solar winds, lightning and other