Monday, June 14, 2010

A Poem

The following written prose is a gift from activist Joemae Santos,

The pride of the nation

The time you had privileges and had food was when others were suffering
The pain of the hot sun attacks our skin
as our flesh burns
along as gasoline burns
and the black smoke lands on her face and
it’s the word itim that enters others mouths
cause it’s best to be white
be embarrassed of
your skin
her skin
his skin
our skin
because it’s ugly
not nice to look at so
go back to working in the streets with a mile to walk
for decent cup of water
that’ll be empty before you get where your going
because it’s the heat like a net caressing our population
increasing the sweat that nurtures our land
ang lupa hiniram, NO “this land is your land” stuff cause
ever since Rizal’s time we’ve been tough
with nothing but the clothes on our backs
we worked till the rich were happy and satisfied with our pain
we are strong we fight for survival and die for necessities this is the
Filipino the ones who fought with pride
against others cause a fight was what they provoked
the joking matter of death spoke spoke
spoke like a speech that will never be forgotten
don’t ever forget the blood that drizzled
as the cold hearted hearts of our enemies beated
alongside the cries for help that pinoys and pinays
asked for back then
back then in history we were discovered
but lapu lapu sparked our defensive attitude
towards the many islands that can say
Salamat Ninoy at Cory for you made change that was greatly needed
we need to be given our needs
our lives at stakes with rain water at our knees
the houses that tremble and stand on nothing but a stick
with the protection from our trope from the scary scary man
that looks at me up and down and the
gossip that’s always being murmured from ear to ear and
the disgusted look people give you if you are poor rich
as to who
who huh will be accepted
but it’s the bone breaking
up person that walks through this land
like life is as easy as the gravel is like fire
while their feet sizzle like coal underneath Jollibee’s grill
but the child waits outside for maybe
just maybe someone will throw their half eaten burger
it’s starvation the lack of money is to much to
bear cause the cardboard bed beside the mango tree is painful
insects are easily feeding on me but I won’t
repeat that WON’T die off these islands without
a meaning cause it’s the meaning of pride
we have learned to carry and pass on to others because as a
Pinay my history will live
thru the children who beg
thru the jeepney that runs
thru the teen that works graveyard
thru the palenke that smells
thru the elders that protest
thru the land we have lived on and
No we will never give up on ourselves because
they are
we are
I are

Filipinos are worth dying for

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Isreal Assault Leaves Several Dead, Continues Injustice in Gaza

After Israel assaulted a humanitarian aid ship bound for the Gaza strip, many have stood up to speak about this completely unnecessary act of brutality.

The question is, how does this influence the Middle East peace process, and where does this act lie in the continued struggle for justice in the Gaza strip?

Coverage of headlines from Democracy Now!

Flotilla Survivors Deported from Israel
Survivors aboard the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip have begun to provide their accounts of the Israeli assault that left at least nine people dead and sparked an international uproar. Israel has begun deporting the 682 people seized from the ships during the assault. Many have challenged Israeli military claims that soldiers acted in self-defense after repelling onto the Mavi Marmara. Some say Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the vessel. Passengers on other ships in the flotilla say they were threatened at gunpoint.

Aid Ship Continues Gaza Trek as New Flotilla Planned
Despite the assault, another aid ship has set sail for Gaza intending to challenge the Israeli blockade. The ship is named after Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in March 2003. The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, meanwhile, has announced it’s planning a flotilla of even more ships than the first to set sail for Gaza in the coming weeks.

US Maintains Refusal to Condemn Flotilla Assault
The Obama administration has refused to condemn the Israeli assault. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined the US stance in Washington.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "The United States supports the Security Council’s condemnation of the acts leading to this tragedy, and we urge Israel to permit full consular access to the individuals involved and to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately. We urge all concerned countries to work together to resolve the status of those who were part of this incident as soon as possible. We support, in the strongest terms, the Security Council’s call for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation. We support an Israeli investigation that meets those criteria."

Ban: Lifting Gaza Blockade Would Have Prevented Flotilla Deaths
All the permanent members of the Security Council except for the United States have called for Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted. On a visit to Uganda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his demand for an end to the blockade.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Had the Israeli government heeded to international calls and my own strong and urgent and persistent call to lift the blockade of Gaza, this would not have happened. Therefore, it is again very important and urgently required that Israelis would immediately lift this blockade of Gaza."

Thousands Worldwide Protest Flotilla Assault
Global protest, meanwhile, continues to grow in the aftermath of the assault. Tens of thousands of people turned out in rallies across the world Tuesday, from South Africa to Greece to Lebanon to England to cities across the United States. Here in New York, a large crowd marched on the Israeli consulate.

Remi Kanazi: "I think anybody, a person of conscience, should be here today to stand in solidarity with the Gaza boats, with the aid boats, with the people of Gaza. I mean, as an American citizen, my tax dollars are going to fund every single Israeli bullet, every Apache helicopter, Hellfire missile, cluster bomb, white phosphorus, and I think we need to stand up. It’s important to educate, but it’s also important to take action. And being in the streets or engaging in boycott, divestment and sanctions, we need to be engaged in the community, we need to be part of the grassroots, and we need to be moving things forward and standing in solidarity with Palestinian society."

US Student Loses Eye After Israel Fires on West Bank Protest
Meanwhile, an American college student has lost her left eye after being shot in the face by an Israeli tear-gas canister during a protest against the flotilla assault in the occupied West Bank. The student, twenty-one-year-old Emily Henochowicz, underwent surgery in a Jerusalem hospital on Tuesday. The Israeli peace activist Jonathan Pollack witnessed the attack.

Jonathan Pollack: "It was a spontaneous and quite small demonstration against the atrocious violence on that ship coming to Gaza, a hundred people at its largest at the beginning. And at the time Emily was shot, there were about, I don’t know, twenty people at most there. Emily was standing aside from where things were happening, and at some point the border police officers just started shooting indiscriminately, shooting directly at us tear-gas projectiles, one from a very small distance of about twenty, ten to twenty meters. Emily was hit in the face by one of those, and it was intentionally aimed towards us. There could have been no mistake, the small distance and the place where she was standing at."
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