Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slavish Devotion

Can't quite work out why, but these words of Malcolm X just sort of floated into my mind:

"There was 2 kinds of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with the master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself. They would give their life to save their master's house quicker than their master would... If the master's house caught on fire, the house negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would... On that same plantation, there was the field negro. The field negro, those were the masses. There was always more negros in the field as there were negros in the house. The negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house, they ate high up on the hog. The negro in the field didn't get nothing but what was left in the insides of the hog. They call them chit'lins nowaday. In those days, they called them what they were, guts! That's what you were, a guteater. And some of you still are guteaters. The field negro was beaten, from morning til night. He lived in a shack, in a hut. He wore cast-off clothes. He hated his master. I say, he hated his master... When the house caught on fire, he didn't try to put it out, that field negro prayed for a wind. For a breeze. When the master got sick, the field negro prayed that he died... I'm a field negro." The House Negro vs The Field Negro

Now, down to business. ABC Radio National's Fran Kelly interviews Marrickville Council's deputy mayor Sam Iskander - with fascinating results:

FK:... But this wasn't just a Greens boycott. The Labor councillors in Marrickville supported the boycott as well, and I can reveal to you earlier this year Labor's left faction in NSW also voted in favor of the international boycott. The Labor Party deputy mayor of Marrickville is Sam Iskander. He's been interested in these issues long before he was elected to council. In 1977 he fled to Australia from the Lebanon civil war. He joins us now. What will happen tonight when Marrickville Council meets to vote on this issue?:

SI: "We are expecting the whole issue will be buried because we discovered after receiving a report from our staff saying it's gonna be very costly and it can't be in any way benefiting our residents. That's why we will kill it."

Hm, pretty strong language for someone who'd voted for BDS before the deluge.

FK: What about if the mayor... Fiona Byrne puts up a motion that's an in-principle support for the boycott so it doesn't bear any cost? Would you support that?

SI: "Well, we really need to go to the meeting in open mind but I don't see what does it mean in practical. I would really like to go and listen to the debate, but definitely the boycott against Israel is not a goer and since we rule that, and she is ruling that, what principles mean after that? It means nothing clearly. If it's going towards supporting morally the Palestinians to have their rights and to really be supporting for justice in their occupied territories, we all stand for that. Even Israel recognise that the right of the Palestinians to establish their own state it's legitimate. All the issue that really came from the BDS is to support the peace initiatives and the resolution been passed by the UN to establish 2 states and give the Palestinians their rights to live as human beings."

Israel recognises the right of the Palestinians to establish their own state? Oh really? And BDS is all about supporting the so-called peace process?* OH, REALLY? And what UN resolution are you on about, man?

FK: So you say the BDS campaign, which you voted for in December, is a general campaign to support the peace initiatives. Why then would you be backing away from it now?

SI: We are backing off because we can see that it's not something we can do as a council. It's not for us, it's for the federal [government] to decide, and we've been really under a lot of stress from the new-elected premier of NSW which he sent us a letter saying in 28 days we have to respond to his letter asking us to stop the boycott.

What do you know, just what the Israel Lobby and its creatures in the Murdoch press have been saying! And that fiercesome Bazza... oh shit, I've just soiled my pants!

FK: You say it's for the feds to decide. Has your local federal MP, Anthony Albanese, put pressure on the Labor councillors to back down on this?

SI: Not really. We've been communicating and we've been always in support of the 2 states, the Israeli state and the Palestinian state, and, as you know the international community are supporting them so he didn't put any pressure on us, but he always put us on the very clear vision to how can we do it if there is any chance to do it, but there is no chance to do it at all.

No, he didn't put pressure on us, he just sharpened our minds wonderfully.

FK: If there was a motion tonight that expressed solidarity with Palestinians, saying Marrickville Council remains symbolically, though not financially, opposed to the occupation, are you saying you wouldn't support that?

SI: We will definitely oppose the occupation. Definitely we will call for the rights of the Palestinians to establish their own state which the Israelis are working for it. The Jewish community they are very happy to support any peaceful relationship between the 2 sides and to encourage the Israeli government and the Palestinians to achieve the peaceful solution which leads to 2 states. That's what I think the best way to solve all these problems.

The Israelis are working for... whaaat?** The Jewish community are doing... whaaat?

FK: So you agree with Anthony Albanese who said you don't have to be anti-Israel to be pro-Palestine, that's your view. I'm just wondering if you think that will be evident in some kind of motion voted on tonight.

SI: It's not like that really. It's about the BDS, and the BDS to us, it's not a goer, it can't be done in our capacity as Marrickville Council. That's why all of us, we will vote unanimously, that's what I'm expecting, against the BDS. (Marrickville Council Israel boycott under the spotlight, 19/4/11)

Gives the term party animal a whole new meaning now, doesn't it?

[* Iskander clearly has no idea what BDS is all about. To quote from Omar Barghouti's new (2011) book BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights: "The BDS Call, anchored in international law and universal principles of human rights, adopts a comprehensive rights-based approach, underlining the fact that for the Palestinian people to exercise its right to self-determination, Israel must end its 3 forms of injustice that infringe international law and Palestinian rights by: 1. ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands [occupied in 1967] and dismantling the wall 2. recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality 3. respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in UN resolution 194." (p 6)]

[** Those interested in taking a cold, hard look at the reality of the so-called peace process might like to read another new (2011) book, Israeli Rejectionism: A Hidden Agenda in the Middle East Peace Process by Zalman Amit & Daphna Levit: "This book... argues that there is no peace between Israelis and Palestinians after 62 years because Israel never wanted to achieve peace with its Palestinian neighbours. In recognition of political expediencies and political realities, Israel has consistently proclaimed its commitment to peace, but its consistent strategy was to sabotage any real possiblity of peace. It did so because its leadership has always been convinced that peace is not in Israel's interest. We argue that this began even before the establishment of the State of Israel. Indeed, one can detect this conviction even among the early Zionist leaders such as Herzl." (p 11)]

PS 22/4/11: Compare MC's final resolution (passed 8-4) with Barghouthi's 3 'forms of injustice' above: That Council: 1. Resolve not to pursue the GBDS against Israel in any shape or form as called for in the December 14 resolution; and 2. Remains concerned about Palestinian human rights and calls on Israel to end the occupation of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; ensure the fundamental rights of Palestinians to full equality; and respect, protect and promote the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties. Supported by Clrs Hanna (Ind), Iskandar (ALP), Macri (Ind), Olive (G), O'Sullivan (ALP), Phillips (G), Tsardoulias (ALP) and Wright (ALP) It's a bastardized version of Barghouthi, lacks teeth (without BDS), and flies in the face of Iskander's nonsense above about the 'peace process'. What a rabble! Only Clrs Byrne, Kontellis, Peters (Greens) and Thanos (Ind) came out of Tuesday night's meeting with any credit.


Anonymous said...

With such "friends" why would the Palestinians need enemies?

Anonymous said...

Let Marrickville Council chambers now be known as UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.

"Tom's Methodist hymn-book, which, in his hurry, he had forgotten, he now held up and turned over.
"Humph! pious, to be sure. So what's yer name, you belong to the Church, eh?"
"Yes, mas'r," said Tom firmly.
"Well,I'll soon have THAT, out of you. I have none O' yer bawling, praying, singing niggers on my place; so remember NOW,mind yourself," he said, with a stamp and a fierce glance of his grey eye directed at Tom.
"I'm your church now! You understand - you've got to be
as I say"

Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" 1852.

"One of the first cases of flogging which I saw, and which greatly agitated me,was the whipping of a woman belonging to Col. Lloyd, named Nelly. The offence alleged against Nelly, was one of the commonest and most indefinite in the whole catalogue of offenses usually laid to the charge of slaves, viz: "impudence." This may mean almost anything, or nothing at all, just according to the caprice of the master or overseer, at the moment. But, whatever it is, or is not, if it gets the name of 'impudence,' the party charged with it is sure of a flogging. This offence may be committed in various ways; in the tone of the answer; in answering at all;in the expression of countenance; in the motion of the head; in the gait, manner and bearing of the slave...She was whipped - severely whipped; but she was not subdued, for she continued to denounce the overseer, and to call him every vile name. He had bruised her flesh, but had left her invincible spirit undaunted. Such floggings are seldom repeated by the same overseer. THEY PREFER TO WHIP THOSE WHO ARE MOST EASILY WHIPPED. The old doctrine that submission is the best cure for outrage and wrong, does not hold good on the slave plantation. HE IS WHIPPED OFTENEST, WHO IS WHIPPED EASIEST; and that slave who has the courage to stand up for himself against the overseer, although he may have many hard stripes at the first, becomes, in the end, a freeman, even though he sustain the formal relation of a slave. "You can shoot me but you can't whip me," said a slave to Rigby Hopkins; and the result was that he was neither whipped or shot.If the latter had been his fate, it would have been less deplorable than the living and lingering death to which cowardly and slavish souls are subjected."

Frederick Douglass, "My Bondage and My Freedom" New York 1855.