UFPJ-DVN Protest
Philadelphia 17Jan09


United for Peace & Justice - Delaware Valley Network (UFPJ-DVN) met at the William Way Friends Center at 1315 Spruce St (A few blocks South of City Hall) where we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and raised a ruckus about the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and recently, Gaza.

more speech
Some "fun facts" about Gaza (The current war there began December 30th), there's a video out on the web wherein people at a pro-Israel rally in New York City attempt to justify the Israeli attack on that small patch of land. They claim that Israeli forces are taking great care to minimize civilian casualties and that thy warn people before they bombard an area. Wel-l-l-l, that may be so, but the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza have roughly 667 citizens per square kilometer, which makes them number 11 in population density worldwide. Keep in mind that these territories, unlike Hong Kong & New York City, don't have a lot of skyscrapers.

Not surprisingly, after 19 days of combat, Israelis are winning the military war, but are losing the propaganda/PR battle as Palestinian casualties climb.

The war has left 1,140 Palestinians dead, over 300 children, and over 5,000 wounded including many women and children, as well as 13 Israelis (4 of them civilians killed by rocket fire).

One particularly horrible story:

Israel pursued its attacks on Friday and on Saturday morning, killing 55 Palestinians, including a houseful of girls, daughters and a niece of a physician working in Israel who was being interviewed on Israeli television when the news reached him. AFP writes:


At least 55 Palestinians were killed on Friday, including at least 10 people who died when a tank shell slammed into their house in Gaza City during a funeral wake, according to Palestinian medics . . . In the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the territory, three daughters and a niece of a Palestinian doctor working in Israel were killed in an Israeli air strike. "They were girls, only girls. I want to know why they have they killed them. Who gave the order to fire?" the children's sobbing father Ezzedine Abu Eish said on Israeli television. Palestinian militants meanwhile fired over 20 rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel on Friday, wounding five people, the Israeli military said. Over 700 such projectiles have been fired since the start of the war.

The father of the dead little girls, Dr. Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, appears to have been a sort of an Arab "Dr. Sanjay Gupta" who came on Israeli television frequently. He was about to do an interview on Israeli television when the word reached him of the atrocity against his family. His wife had earlier died of cancer, so his children were all he had left. He commuted to Tel Aviv from Gaza and told the girls to sleep near the stone walls to stay safe in his absence.

The Israeli anchors put his anguished lamentations on the air for over 3 minutes, which I take to be their own little protest against Olmert's Butcher Shop. The physician is heard repeatedly crying out, "Ya Rabb, ya Allah" (O Lord, O God!) as the image of the mangles small bodies invades his mind.

Celebrating MLK
Some popular myths about the Iraq War. Conditions for Iraqis have not improved, despite their having traded in a dictatorship for a democracy, the agreements reached between the US and Iraq are not victories for the US and the "surge" of US troops into Baghdad was not irrelevant to the following reduction in violence, but neither was it the sole cause of that reduction. Very disturbingly,

9. Bush went to war in Iraq because he was given bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In fact, the State Department's Intelligence & Research (I & R) division cast doubt on the alarmist WMD stories that Bush/Cheney put out. The CIA refused to sign off on the inclusion of the Niger uranium lie in the State of the Union address, which made Bush source it to the British MI6 instead. The Downing Street Memo revealed that Bush fixed the intelligence around the policy. Bush sought to get up a provocation such as a false flag attack on UN planes so as to blame it on Iraq. And UN weapons inspectors in Feb.-Mar. of 2003 examined 100 of 600 suspected weapons sites and found nothing; Bush's response was to pull them out and go to war.

I must say that it greatly bothers me to see Bush (and his enablers) claiming that "Aw c'mon guys, gee, going to war in Iraq wasn't my fault, the intel was bad!" This particular evasion of responsiblity is extremely harmful to any sort of democratic, ballot-box accountability. How are citizens supposed to hold politicians accountable for their actions when politicians don't admit their own culpability? No matter where the intel originated from, it was Bush's responsibility to check it out thoroughly and to make 100% sure that it was solidly reliable.
In picture - dramatic poetry reading.
We ended up the demonstration in front of the 30th St railway station around the time that our President-elect Barack Obama, arrived in town for a whistle-stop arrival and departure. We decided beforehand that we believe that Obama wants to end the wars, but we can't hang up the protesting paraphernalia yet. We've still got a ways to go to make the victory permanent.