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Eva Bartlett In Gaza
Eva Bartlett In Gaza offers views of Palestinian life in Gaza under siege. Eva sailed to Gaza in November 2008 with Free Gaza and stayed on with the ISM till June 2010. She has recently returned to the Strip.
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The photo of Alan Kurdi has been a centre of social-media attention, with well-intentioned people sharing the tragedy he, his family and countless other Syrians (who were fleeing the violence of NATO's death squads) suffered. A photo of an innocent dead child always hits the heart more than reading about the thousands of dead children martyred by the same NATO/Saudi/Zionist death squads' within Syria.
Twenty-six distinct photos in black and white. Scenes of a ravaged city and the human beings within struggling to exist, let alone to find hope for the future. Gravestones of rubble. Homes looted, trashed. Civilians defending their country. Children aged beyond their years by the horrors they've lived.
Hagop Vanesian, a 44-year-old Syrian-Armenian photographer from Syria's largest city, Aleppo (Halab), was meticulous in his choice of photographs for the exhibition, "My Homeland," which opened at the United Nations Headquarters on January 8 and closed January 16.
On January 8, in his sparsely furnished New York City office, the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja'afari, sat down with Eva Bartlett for an interview. The veteran diplomat, who has held his position at the UN since 2006, and lives restricted to a 25-mile radius of New York City, has much more to say than the half hour allowed. Defiant as always, he discussed the challenges he faces at the UN, explained why he thinks the organization has lost its way, and censured Western states and media for their hostility toward the Syrian government.
In a different area of Lebanon, I meet another Syrian, this time from the Aleppo outskirts. He is wiry, with grey hair though not yet 50, and a bright face, his presence emanating peace and calm...in spite of what he has gone through and lost.
He and his wife and children have been here about a year, leaving behind their home and his work as a tailor. Here, he cleans the simple lodging where I'm staying.
He is a Kurd, from the Syrian village of Ifreen, and while he says he says he would like to have Kurdish taught in schools, he insists that his area was never supportive of the insurgents, nor with the west's manufactured "revolution". (An interesting aside, but Armenians in Syria have founded public institutions to teach their language.)
Who outside of Syria knows the names Yara Abbas, Maya Naser, Mohamed al-Saeed? The corporate media has inundated us with news of the two American journalists allegedly beheaded, the first of whose execution video has been deemed faked. But what of the non-Western journalists and civilians beheaded and murdered by ISIS, al-Nusra, and associated terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, as well as the ruthless Zionists in Palestine?
While I don't follow organized sports, when I got the opportunity to meet the only rugby team in Syria and see them practice, I jumped on it. I found the fact that these men still meet, train and compete -- in spite of the many obstacles which should prevent them from doing so -- fascinating. What follows are observations and conversations from a morning with Syria's Zenobians:
Note: since submitting this article for publication, terrorist-mortars have rained down on Damascus, with a reported 30 mortars on Wednesday-killing 8 and injuring at least nine -- and another at least seven mortars on Thursday -- killing two and injuring at least 20 people, according to the Damascus-based monitoring group, "A Mortar's Diary" (see their Facebook page).
I live in a very small community, two neighbouring towns with a combined population under 30,000, many of whose families have lived here for generations. Not very diverse, and many are not very politically aware.
This morning a friend of mine, a teacher in my town, and I went to a park in the neighbouring town where every Saturday there is a farmer's market.
We brought my Palestinian flag, a couple of enlarged photos I'd prepared, and engaged with passersby on Gaza and Syria.
25,000 were reported at Toronto's Al-Quds rally Saturday, "the largest in our history…and they were calling for a Free Gaza, Free Palestine. One hundred per cent free...no pathetic smoke-and-mirrors, Swiss-cheese "Two State solution."
The global Al-Quds Day demonstrations occur annually. According to organizers, in Toronto's history this was the largest, and the most pluralistic, including not only the usual Canadian Peace Alliance, Palestine House, Independent Jewish Voices, and other core affiliations, as well as numerous faiths, but new faces. Many of them, and many from all walks of life and ages, so-said a Cuban solidarity activist who has been standing for justice for over a decade, if not more.