....LMB: "Garrick in Palestine pt. 2"....

July 01, 2002

Another report from L.A. activist Garrick Ruiz in Palestine:

Hello all,

Sorry for the abrupt ending to my update yesterday. My access to email has been sporadic and the group was leaving and I didn't realize it untill the last minute. I will try to add some stuff I couldn't get in the last message but first I want to tell you about today. I'm back in Jerusalem now but we had a very eventful day in Ramallah. We had planned a trip which has now been postponed untill tomorrow. Instead, we heard that the Israeli army was rounding up men in the Al-Amari refugee camp in Ramallah. We walked over there from the Ramallah hospital, about a 10 minute walk.

I've heard about this practice, I've even seen pictures, but nothing prepares you for seeing it first hand. I've come to the conclusion that the IDF must look to the nazis to inform their actions. A refugee camp, a place where people have been refugees from their homes in what is now Israel for 54 years and never allowed to return home. And in this camp we witnessed the army going from house to house rounding up every man between the ages of 15 and 50. Simply arresting all of them and taking them to a field where they were held for hours. Some had shade but others did not, and it is hot here in the middle of the day. At least 90 degrees. Supposedly they had some water and a little bit of bread but they were held there for hours and hours waiting to be interrogated for no other reason than that they lived in the camp. We were not allowed to get close enough to actually talk to the prisoners and check on their status. Some of our group did manage to talk to a few at about 2:00 pm who said they had been in the field since 5:00 am waiting. They did not manage to communicaate with anyone who had been interrogated so we do not know what means the Israelis were employing but it was not likely to be very pleasant. One of the soldiers fired in the air a few feet away from us to scare us. Bastards! We later heard the explosion as the army blew up a grocery store in the camp. I've never heard such a loud explosion before. Luckily the kids in the camp warned us so most of us had our ears covered and avoided any possible damage to our ears. Apparently a food store is a threat to Israeli security. The soldiers absolutely refused to give us their names or unit number or any other type of information and had none of this on their uniforms (which is a violation of international law [as if simply being an occupying military force for 35 years was not a violation of international law]). We asked them if they weren't doing anything wrong why wouldn't they tell us who they were. They had no answer. They also really didn't like us taking pictures, again if they weren't doing anything wrong whats wrong with taking some pictures? The worst part about it is that one of the people who we were with who lives here told us that as far as these types of situations go this was not that bad. To me it was one of the most horrible scenes I have ever witnessed personally.

After we left the camp (which was extremely hard to do not knowing what was going to happen to the hundreds of men we saw) we caught a ride back to Jerusalem and are preparing for another excursion tomorrow. I am working with an affinity group of 10 people, All from the US except for 1 Canadian. I think we are actually majority Jew which is really excellent. It is really good to know that there are so many Jews who oppose the racist, fascist policies of Israel.

If people would like more info on what's happening here please try the Palestine Independent Media Center or the International Solidarity Movement Website.

Once again I need to cut this short. Just so all of you know I'm not communicating either by phone or email what our plans are for future travels because we don't want either to be intercepted by the military and have that not allow us to get to our destination. I will get another update out as soon as I am able.

I urge everyone, particularly those of you in the US to fight back against Bush's agenda. We heard about his speech calling on the Palestinians to elect new leadership. There are many problems with Arafat and the PA but only Palestinians can determine a leadership for Palestinians, he has no say on the subject. Tell him that. Organize demonstrations, letters, phone calls, whatever. But untill the flow of weapons from the US is cut off things will not change here. There is very little hope that Israel will stop its fascism without pressure.

As I learned before the Palestinians are an amazing people where else would a woman invite us all into her house and offer us coffee while soldiers are going door to door in the refugee camp she lived in and probably her husband and sons had already been rounded up (We had to decline). Where else would a people so opressed by Jews be so happy to see Jews here in solidarity and understand so well that Israel despite its claims does not represent the Jewish people as a whole. Hope all is well. Interesting times here and many more to come I'm sure. I have many other stories, hopefully I will report them soon.

Love, rage and solidarity from occupied Palestine,

Garrick

Posted by Jake at 12:27 AM
Comments

Garrick,

I can't believe I'm emailing you. We used to know each other. I've gone through some tough times these last few years, so, for now, I'd like to remain anonymous. Don't try guessing. I seriously doubt that you would figure out who I am.

Two years ago, I saw you on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. I was impressed to see how committed you were to standing up for what you believe in. Very few people have the intellectual curiousity or the courage to do what you do. Although, I don't agree with all your politics, I know that you genuinely care about people. That is so rare in this world.

One time in high school, I was feeling really depressed, and no one seemed to care. But I remember that you asked me what was wrong and showed that you cared. It really helped me, and I never forgot it. I wish I would have been a better friend to you. I know that I wasn't, and I'm sorry. You are unique and exceptional.

Please be careful wherever your passion takes you.
And if you get a chance-- write back. I'd love to hear from you.

An old acqaintance form Alhambra High School
Email Rascal1919@aol.com

Posted by: An Acqaintance from Alhambra High School at September 24, 2002 10:28 PM

Get out of palestine israeli bastards

Posted by: at April 28, 2003 01:39 PM

Good luck God bless Palestine keep up the just war
ask our God for help too all good people's God's
are Palestine was Jesu's country do please ask him to liberate palestine to the native peoples
with love, miceal

Posted by: at October 6, 2003 07:32 PM

We Indians are with Palestinian friends. Keep up friends fight these israeli bastards.

Posted by: harpreet at October 7, 2003 12:30 AM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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