Thursday, April 19, 2018

“With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” ..Nikki Haley.



Nikki Haley next President of USA? In 2028? 2024? 2020? Even sooner?
Or will she end up getting fired?
By Gulamhusen A.Abba


Nikki Haley is a smart, tenacious and ambitious woman. She shot to the national stage when she, as Governor of South Carolina, took down the Confederate flag. She moved a step higher when Trump appointed her as the US Ambassador to United Nations.

When she, in that capacity, appeared at the 2016 annual convention of AIPAC, she played to the hilt to the gallery, stating that in their company she felt like she was among friends. And she, instead of blowing kisses to the audience, wafted her heart to them. She clearly was the star of the show, eclipsing even the Jewish Democratic leader in the Senate Schumer, and got a thunderous applause.

The moderator almost blurted out, “Here is your next President of the US.”!!!

I posted about this and remarked that she was clearly positioning herself for that post.
However, it seemed for a time that she became overconfident and crossed her limits.

In the UN she has hit Russia hard. According to New York Times, Trump is upset over Nikki’s strong rhetoric on Russia and he has grown suspicious of her ambition, convinced that she was angling for Secretary of State Tillerson’s position and increasingly wondering whether she wants his own. Trump reportedly does not like such people. He particularly does not like people who pre-empt him, especially when they work for him.

Though Trump is reportedly looking to avoid levying new economic sanctions on Russia in response to a suspected chemical attack by Syria, Nicki Haley on Sunday, in Face the Nation program, announced sanctions would be unveiled on Monday, designed to send "a strong message" denouncing Russia's backing of the Syrian government. She did this reportedly before Trump had approved the sanctions.
According to the New York Times, he grew angry and yelled at the TV during Haley’s appearance, as he believed he hadn’t approved any new sanctions.

This led to the White House publicly backpedaling Haley's statement on Monday. When asked about the discrepancy between Nikki’s statement in the interview and the official White House statement, a White House official said there was “internal confusion” about the plan.

The situation escalated. On Tuesday afternoon, chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow denied that the misstatement was the result of “internal confusion” in the White House, and suggested it was solely Haley’s blunder. Here is what he said: “She got ahead of the curve. She’s done a great job, she’s a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that,” he told reporters.

Nikki shot back. “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” she told Fox News’ Dana Perino, in a statement that was read on-air Tuesday evening.

There was speculation that this might lead to her undoing. Trump, already upset with her and suspicious of her ambitions, might take this opportunity to cut her to size. But it turned out to be otherwise,
Kudlow called Haley to apologize and admitted he was mistaken in a statement to the New York Times. “She was certainly not confused,” Kudlow said. “I was wrong to say that — totally wrong.”

This attests to Niki’s confidence in herself and to the position she holds in the White House....for now.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

DEFYING SILENCE: ‘Palestinian Gandhi’ welcomed with a hail of Israe...

DEFYING SILENCE: ‘Palestinian Gandhi’ welcomed with a hail of Israe...: Another Nakba awaits? By Gulamhusein A. Abba For years Palestinians have been taunted with “Where is a Palestinian Gandhi”...

‘Palestinian Gandhi’ welcomed with a hail of Israeli bullets.


Another Nakba awaits?

By Gulamhusein A. Abba



For years Palestinians have been taunted with “Where is a Palestinian Gandhi”? It has been an unwarranted and uncalled for question. The real question was and continues to be, “Why is Israel not being compelled to vacate its long lasting and brutal occupation of Palestinian land – an occupation internationally recognized as being illegal.

A few months back a social-media activist in Gaza started the idea of a mass non-violent protest. Hamas adopted it and organized the protest.

The plan envisaged 45 days of protests along the border with Israel, starting on March 30, which Palestinians observe as Land Day, and leading up to May 15, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel, the day Palestinians observe as Nakba or catastrophe.

The plan required setting up camps between 700-1000 meters from Israel’s border fence, outside the Israeli army’s unilaterally imposed buffer zone, where anyone who enters is liable to be shot.

Tents were pitched to accommodate the protestors.


To a casual observer it might seem rather callous on the part of Palestinian leaders to plan this action, knowing fully well that the Israelis are bound to respond with brutal force.

Let it be remembered that no one was dragged by their hair, or at gun point, to participate in this sit-ins and march. If thousands came it is because the international community has, through all these years, turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to their suffering, to their cry for justice

This is no terrorist attack or incitement to violence. This suicidal march is their last hope to awaken the conscience of the international community. It is a testimony of the hopelessness of the Palestinians and the blindness and deafness of the international community.

If it takes the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of innocent, unarmed, nonviolent martyrs to make the world take notice, the indomitable Palestinians are ready to pay it.



The leaders of the protest took pains to emphasize that this was going to be a nonviolent, peaceful march. The participants would carry no arms, not even stones.  Al-Kurd. one of 20 organizers of the planned march, reiterated again and again that the protest will be completely nonviolent, contrary to how it is being described in Israeli media.

Israel immediately dubbed it as a Hamas organized event designed “to wipe Israel off the map”! This in spite of the fact that the flag waved was not a faction flag but the Palestinian flag. Introducing Hamas into the equation serves as a justification for Israel to employ violence against them

On its side, while the Palestinians were pitching tents and preparing for the march. Israel deployed a large contingent of armed forces, including several infantry brigades, along the border, with orders to shoot to kill. Israel Defense Forces warned that it would open fire on anyone who tries to breach the border fence and enter Israel or even come into the unilaterally imposed buffer zone imposed by Israel inside Gaza




On March 30 the opening day of the protest, an estimated 30,000 Palestinians gathered at the border.18 protesters were killed by IDF and hundreds injured, making this the deadliest day of the ongoing conflict since the 2014 Israel Gaza war

With the stage set for an imminent massacre, Kuwait requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss “grave concerns at the border” in Gaza, reaffirm "the right to peaceful protest", express the council's "sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives" and call for an "independent and transparent investigation" of the violence.

A closed meeting was held late evening on March 30. On March 31 the United States Representative to the UN dismissed the Palestinian March as “bad actors, who use protest as a cover to incite violence and endanger innocent lives.”

The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mandsour, explained what happened on the Gaza border. “Those who wrought the violence and the killing are the Israeli armed forces. Our people in the Gaza Strip, raising, not a banner of faction but the Palestinian flag, demonstrated peacefully, peacefully, peacefully and they were attacked by the Israeli armed forces. It is a massacre by them.” 

UN Secretary General and the EU diplomatic chief called for an independent investigation but Israel’s Defense Minster rejected the idea.

Israel has said it will not soften its response to the Hams-led demonstrations and may target militant groups within Gaza

On April 7, 9 Palestinians were killed, 293 shot, over 1,000 wounded. This makes it at least 30 killed since the protest began last Friday. All for no other reason than demonstrating non-violently on their own land.

“March of Return” could end in Palestinians attempting to cross the Gaza border on May 15, the last day of the protest and the anniversary of the 1948 Nakba.  This could well be their second Nakba 


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Gale Courey Toensing


Tribute to an icon
By Gulamhusein A Abba
 On Monday, February 5, 2018 Gale Courey Toensing, after a tough battle with Parkinson’s disease, died peacefully, surrounded by family members, She was born on April 7, 1946 in Montreal, the daughter of Mae (Kenmey) and Philip Courey. She emigrated to the United States and became a citizen and received her MFA from Norwich University. She is survived by her husband Craig; her daughter Liz and husband Ethan, of West Cornwall; her son Seth and his wife Beth, of Somerville, MA; her brother Jeffrey Courey and his wife Myrna and their two children, of Mississauga, Canada; and her niece Jennifer and her husband, of NYC. She was predeceased by her sister Joyce

In Palestine, Mazin Qumsiyeh and his colleagues planted a tree in Gale’s honor and money was donated to a museum in her name.   

A celebration of her life will be held in the spring and will be announced once plans are finalized
                                                    ************************
Gale Courey Toensing

With Gale’s passing away, all those who support Palestinians and their cause, Native Americans and their cause, truth, justice, freedom and equality, those who oppose tyranny, oppression and inequity, those who know the remarkable Gale Courey Toensing -- all of us have suffered a grievous loss.

She was a writer, journalist, a gifted poet and fearless and passionate activist, a champion for the rights and welfare of the common people.

For the Palestinians, she published on her web site The Corner Report forceful articles and opinion pieces. She put not only her talents, time and work for them but put her life itself where her mouth was and was on one of the ‘aid to Gaza’ ships. It was intercepted by Israel in international waters. The entire crew, including Gale, was taken into custody by the Israelis.


Gulamhusein Abba when he, along with Andrew Ziegler, visited  Gale

As for Native Indians, she started reporting for Indian Country Today since May of 2005. In addition she regularly contributed articles covering the array of issues in Indian country, publishing more than 100 articles per year on a variety of subjects. demonstrating mastery of the complexities of issues in Indian country.

Among her articles were:
What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale
It gave a better understanding of what really happened 401 years ago at the first Thanksgiving, and what Wampanoags do today.

Indian-Killer Andrew Jackson Deserves Top Spot on List of Worst US Presidents

Schaghticoke Tribal Nation’s $610 Million Lawsuit Against CT Inches Forward. It reported that
the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation alleges that the State of Connecticut sold off its land without paying; it's suing for $610 million.

Keith Harper on Obama, Trump and Global Human Rights
In this article attorney and Cherokee citizen Keith Harper, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, opens up about global issues.

First Wampanoag-Pilgrim Treaty Signed on April Fools’
The first Wampanoag-Pilgrim Treaty was signed by Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag Nation, and the leaders of Plymouth Colony on April 1, 1621.

Expand Your Reading List With These Seven Books: 2016 Hot List
About a long list of promising titles covering the full range of reading tastes.

 ‘No Diplomacy with a Hungry Lion’: Native Leaders Look Ahead for 2016
Five tribal leaders were asked to revisit last year’s thoughts and look ahead to what they expect or hope for in 2016.

Sonny Skyhawk Bringing His War Bonnet to Oscars, Fighting for His People

In an eulogy to her, Christopher Napolitano, former Indian Country Today Creative Director,      wrote: “Toensing was working as a reporter in Connecticut when her curiosity and nose for injustice was alerted by state-level skullduggery aimed at repealing the federal recognition of an obscure Native nation in nearby Kent. Her first article on the subject for Indian Country Today, a precursor of many more pieces to come, appeared in May 2005, “Schaghticoke Status Attacked.” The fight of the Schaghticoke was never far from view for Toensing; a dozen years later, when her health was failing but her determination to investigate and publish the truth remained firm, she came through with her last piece (pre-hiatus for the fully-staffed ICTMN)—an excellent summation of the case so far—on September 3, 2017: “Schaghticoke Tribal Nation’s $610 Million Lawsuit Against CT Inches Forward.”

She did not just write about them. She attended annual NCAI, NIGA and USET conferences and worked in Washington DC to provide coverage of issues facing tribal leaders and federal policy
She even went to their Pow Wows!


Andrew Ziegler when he went with Gulamhusein Aba to meet Gale
One of her friends,  Pat Mechare has written,“Some might not know that Gale’s interests were broad. She sought justice for the Native Americans and worked for a prestigious Native American Journal. There she focused on current litigations involving the Native American community. She traveled several times to the Middle East to see first-hand the struggles of the ordinary people in those regions and was another voice of support for them. She became a part of several groups in the area who worked for peace there and found lifelong friends.

“She loved to garden and see the blooms of the flowers she grew. She loved reading, debating and family and was so very proud of her children, Liz and Seth. She had a gentle and wry sense of humor. We owe her a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. We extend our sympathies to her family, especially her husband, Craig, who lovingly cared for her during her illness, with the reminder that her deeds and the person she was will not soon be forgotten.”

Gale was also an accomplished poet, having earned an MFA in poetry from Norwich University in Vermont. She wrote evocatively, tenderly, lovingly. Here is an example of her poetry, her remembrance of her mother

Personal Belongings.
My mother’s nightgown lies furled at the back of the drawer,
flimsy like a shadow someone forgot to pack.
I stashed it there unwashed five years ago,
death cells still clinging to its fibers. I want to take it out
and shake it, run it through the washer by itself
on gentle cycle, small load, dry it with a sheet
of Bounce and fluff it back to when she was a paradox,
a five-foot giantess, reliquary of bad advice.
I remember her pitying stare, poised dressed-to-kill
and dripping jewels on the living room sofa,
her daily exhortations, flipping through fashion magazines—

You look like death warmed over in those black clothes.
Why don’t you make yourself glamorous?
Go get a permanent and learn how to cook,
don’t show how brainy you are, show some cleavage,
that’s the way to catch a man—and the night her own brain,
hooked by a random ruby red hardening of blood, cleft itself
into smooth-surfaced planes between clearing
the dinner dishes and serving the tea, how her body
slid to the floor, fluid as a silk negligee tossed off a creamy shoulder,
the porcelain cups tinkling into shards like the memories
she tried to piece together the next four years, and never could.

I’d enter her room from the coded elevator
and she’d say my name, then Sister! Or, lost somewhere between
Intention and expression, Blue! as she waved the only hand
she could still move to flaunt the diamond rings my father
had given her through the years, until she grew so small they slid
over the bones of her fingers and fell into the safe
deposit box at my bank where I keep them with her gold bracelets
and emerald necklace and other sparkling things,
in a rectangle of steel as dark as the coffin she was buried in
or the drawer where her nightgown lies,
so I can tell her shimmering from mine.
–Gale Courey Toensing (1997)

Though Gale has left us physically, she continues to be with us in spirit and will forever inspire us.
                                                       *******************************

A personal note: Gale and I had been friends for a long time. We started exchanging views, opinions, personal news and feelings from February 2006 and wrote to each other pretty regularly

We had hoped to meet on June 15   2016. This would be the first time she and her husband Craig and my wife and I would be meeting together “to break bread” and chat. She was very happy about this and looked forward to it. On that day, after keeping a medical appointment with Craig’s doctor, they were on their way to pick up my wife and myself. Half way through, Gale’s illness started acting up and they had to return home. She called to let us know. I told her not to worry about it and that we will meet soon,” Inshallah”. Here is what she replied; “Dear Gulamusein  My mother used to say "inshallah" when I asked if I could do something she didn't want me to do but didn't have a good reason to deny my request. Then when something happened to prevent whatever it was I asked for she could say "It was God's will." I never believed her. But now I find myself longing to understand and accept Allah's will. I'd very much like to talk to you about that, if that's possible. I will try to call you tomorrow around 1pm after I return from physical therapy. I was so exhausted when we got home that I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up 10 minutes ago -- just in time to go to bed 🙂 I think tomorrow will be a better day -- inshallah! Talk to you then. Good night...”

Unfortunately her illness prevented her from making a trip to Danbury again. I too became too ill to go out.  Besides I had no transport. But I was determined to find a way to go and meet her. I tried very hard. Ultimately my good friend, Andrew Ziegler offered to take me there and look after me all the way. And so, armed with a urinal and assisted by my friend, at last visited her on Saturday, December2. 2017 to pay our respects to her, express our appreciation and thanks for all that she had done, and do what she loved—'break bread’ with her!. As usual, in spite of limitations due to her illness, she went about being a perfect hostess, flitting about in her wheelchair from the dining area to the kitchen area, bringing food, getting the dishes, setting the table, lovingly putting food onto our plates: “You must taste this. My husband specially made this”!! She ignored our pleas to forget about being a host and the food and just sit and talk with us. That is what we had come for, we told her. We did manage to have some conversation with her and promised to come again, bringing food with us. But that was not to be. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Gandhi’s 70th.death anniversary


By Gulamhusein A. Abba

On this day, January 30, in 1948 Gandhi fell to the ground, shot by a young Hindu extremist, Nthuram Godse, while he was walking, at about 5 pm., to his prayer meeting in the lawn of Birla House, New Delhi


 


Painting by Anis Hamadeh

 That event is very personal to me. I had seen Gandhi, attended a couple of his prayer meetings, was at a large public meeting being addressed by Gandhi at Chowpaty, Bombay and heard his speeches live on radio. That is not all. I actually met him, not as an admirer but as an antagonist. I greeted him but not with a Namaste. Instead I stuck my hand out for a handshake and he graciously responded. And I bluntly asked him why he hated us Muslims and why was he opposing our getting a homeland of our own within India. He patiently explained.

I was alive and in India when he undertook his fast unto death in Noakhali to end the massacre between Hindus and Muslims, and again when he undertook his last fast, after the partition of India, to compel the government of India to pay to Pakistan its share of the assets left behind by the British and which were in India’s control.

I started out as an antagonist but ended up being an admirer, albeit with reservations on certain issues.

On the day of his death I, along with my friend Mehboobali Khan, was at the Strand cinema in the Fort area of Bommbay. watching a Rock and Roll movie. The screening was stopped before the movie ended. The audience was informed that Gandhi had been shot dead and that curfew had been imposed in the whole of Bombay. We were told to go home as soon as possible and by the safest route we could find. It was a long and frightened journey home that day.

Initially the news was that he was shot by a Pathan, a Muslim. It signaled a bloody massacre of Muslims. Fortunately, it was soon confirmed that the assassin was a Hindu.

It was chaotic and frightening for some time, Even as the nation mourned it was puzzled and dazed. A pall settled on the country.

It listened with rapt attention as Jawaharlal Nehru rose to the occasion and delivered his now famous “The light has gone out of our lives” speech.

If there is a national day of mourning for Indians, wherever they may be, today is the day.



 Here are some pictures that stir up memories



The trinity; Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sadar Vallabh Bhai Patel

Gandhi's famous visit to Jinnah at his house. He went there to persuade him to give up his demand for Pakistan. He even promised him that the Congress would accept him to be he head of the Indian governmen when it attained its independence

Gandhi's body laid out after his death


Gandhi's Samadhi



Modi paying his respects



  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

*A Republic of Inhospitality: India, January 26th

January 27, 2018 by Vinay Lal

India has just finished celebrating Republic Day, and as the chests of millions of Indians swelled with pride at the thought of our immense diversity and imagined military prowess, it is well to reflect on what kind of Republic the country has become.  We may begin with some elementary if often forgotten meanings of the word “republic”:  a republican form of government is not merely one in which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch; rather, the modern republic rests on the idea that sovereignty resides in the people, and that the will of the people, as expressed through their representatives, is supreme.
What has, however, been critical to the idea of the ‘republic’ everywhere is the notion of inclusiveness, even if this does not form part of the word’s typical dictionary definition. In this respect, the stories that have been coming out of India in recent years tell a tale that is chilling to the bones, a tale which leaves behind a stench that no amount of sloganeering about ‘swacch Bharat’ or even something more than a symbolic wielding of the broom can eradicate.  If inclusiveness is the touchstone of a Republic, what is characteristic of India today is how increasingly large constituencies are being excluded from the nation. Muslims and Dalits have been hounded, garroted, and lynched; the working class is being trampled upon; the Adivasi is nothing more than an obstacle course for a mining company.  None of this is news, some might argue; perhaps things have only become worse.  Such a view is profoundly mistaken, because whatever India may have been in the past, it has never been, certainly not to the extent it is today, a Republic of Inhospitality.
There are other ways, too, of understanding the pass at which we have arrived.  On his last day of office some months ago, the Vice President, Hamid Ansari, warned that Muslims were feeling increasingly insecure in India and that there was a corrosion of Indian values.  His successor, Venkaiah Naidu, was dismissive of these remarks and shot back, “Some people are saying minorities are insecure. It is a political propaganda. Compared to the entire world, minorities are more safe and secure in India and they get their due.” The Prime Minister, who appears a model of graciousness when he is in the company of foreign dignitaries but has been glaringly contemptuous of political opponents and previous occupants of his office, could not resist taking a dig at Mr. Ansari.  The veteran politician, Mr. Modi suggested, had spent too much time in the company of Muslims—at Aligarh Muslim University, as a member of the Minorities Commission, and as a representative of India to West Asia—and his sympathies did not really lie with India.  One should, of course, not expect anything else from this Prime Minister, What Naidu and the Prime Minister failed to understand was Ansari’s unease at the fact that India no longer seemed a hospitable place to him. India does not even remotely feel like a hospitable place to the Africans who have been set upon by mobs or to those from the Northeast who been humiliated and killed since they seem too much like the Chinese—aliens all.


African students injured in mob attacks in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, April 2017.  Source:  http://www.sikhpa.com/sikh-group-condemns-racist-mob-attack-against-africans-in-india/
More than anything else, India has long been a land of hospitality.  I use the word hospitality with deliberation and with the awareness that our present crop of middle-class Indians who study hotel management and business administration with gusto will assume that I am speaking of the ‘hospitality industry’.  There is a different story to be told here about how some of the richest words in the English language have been hijacked for the narrowest purposes.  I use hospitality in place of tolerance since both the right and the left have demonstrated their intolerance for ‘tolerance’.  To liberals and the left in India, all discussion of Hindu tolerance is merely a conceit and at worst a license to browbeat others into submission.  Surprisingly, but perhaps not, the advocates of Hindutva are equally unenthusiastic about proclaiming the virtues of ‘Hindu tolerance’.  It was Hindu tolerance that, in their view, made the Hindus vulnerable to the depredations of foreign invaders.  ‘Hindu tolerance’ is only for the weak and the effete.
.

A delegation of students protesting the death of 19-year old Nido Taniam, a student from Arunachal Pradesh killed in the south Delhi colony of Lajpat Nagar.  Photo Source:  Press Trust of India.
What, then, does it mean to speak of the culture of hospitality that has long characterized India and that is eroding before our very eyes, turning this ancient land into a most inhospitable place not only for foreign tourists, African students, and the various people of northeast India, but even for the greater majority of its own citizens?  We may take as illustrative of this culture of hospitality three narratives that are humbling in their complex simplicity.  There is a story that is often told about the coming of the Parsis to India, although some doubt its veracity.  As they fled Iran, so the story goes, they were stopped on the border as they sought to make their way into India.  The Indian king already had far too many people in his dominions and could not accommodate any more refugees.  The cup was full.  The Parsis are said to have responded, ‘We shall be like the sugar that sweetens the cup of tea.’
ParsisInIndia

Parsis outside their Fire Temple, Mumbai.
Those who wish to make the story plausible will offer dates and there may be mention of the political dynasty that prevailed in Western India in the 8th century with whom the first batch of Parsis would have come into contact.  The story may well be apocryphal, though if that is the case it is wholly immaterial:  its persistence suggests something not only about the tenor of those times but the continuing attractiveness of the idea that those who came to India have each, in their own fashion, sweetened the pot and added something to the country.  But there may have been many other registers of hospitality in India, as Tagore sought to explain to his audience on a visit to China.  The Mahsud, a Pathan tribe inhabiting the South Waziristan Agency in what is now the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) in Pakistan, were being bombed from the air.  A plane crash landed in one of the villages; the pilot was desperately trying to extricate himself from the plane which was already on fire.  Though the villagers had been plummeted by this very pilot, they ran to the plane and lifted him out of the cockpit; he was wounded, but they nursed him back to health; and some weeks later he made his way back to England.  It was a culture, indeed an ideal, of hospitality, and their notion of dharma, that made the villagers act as they did; however, as Tagore tellingly adds, their behavior was “the product of centuries of culture” and was “difficult of imitation.”
Though Nehru shepherded the country after independence, it was Mohandas Gandhi more than anyone else who was committed to the constituent idea of the Republic, that is inclusivity and what I have described as hospitality.  It is, therefore, fitting that my last story should end with him.  Gandhi was a staunch vegetarian, but he often had visitors to the ashram who were accustomed to having meat at nearly every meal.  He took it upon himself to ensure that they were served meat; and he also adhered to the view that if he had insisted that they conform to the rules of the ashram and confine themselves to vegetarian food, he would be visiting violence upon them. Although reams and reams have been written upon his notion of ahimsa, little has been said of how hospitality was interwoven into his very notion of nonviolence.  And, yet, it is in this very India that Muslims and Dalits have been killed on the mere suspicion of eating, hoarding, and transporting beef.  On this Republic Day, at least, Indians should ponder on precipitous has been the decline of their country into a Republic of Inhospitality.
The above is from Vinal Lal's blog at:https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/a-republic-of-inhospitality-india-january-26th/
[A slightly shorter version of this was published under the same title in the online edition of The Indian Express, 27 January 2018.]


Monday, January 1, 2018

A slap that reverberated around the globe


By Gulamhusein A. Abba

One fine day, Friday, December 15 to be exact, a teenaged girl, 16 years old, saw two fully armed soldiers, in battle gear, with guns in their hands, standing in the front court of her house. She did not want them there. She went up to them and asked them to leave. They did not budge. She started prodding and pushing them. There was a scuffle. At this point the mother of the girl came out of the house and intervened to calm the situation. Then the teenaged girl, acting with the recklessness typical of teenagers, did something unimaginable. She slapped one of the fully armed soldiers! The scuffle escalated. The mother pulled the girls away and pacified the soldiers. The scuffle ended. The soldiers stayed where they were. The incident was closed.


However, five days later, on Tuesday 19, the soldiers came back. This time they did not just stand in the front court. They soldiers burst into the home and dragged the grl out of bed. They placed her in handcuffs and put her in the back of their military jeep and drove off

Ahed Tamimi
 It did not stop there.  The next day, her mother was arrested at the police station trying to find her daughter. The following afternoon, her 21-year-old cousin was taken into custody.

On Monday 25, the court refused to allow bail for her and on Tuesday Dec.26 it extended her detention for a period of 10 days ,

Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman Tamimi
Arrest a teenager for slapping a soldier? And the mother who intervened and pulled away the teenager? And why days after the slapping incident? And why were there armed soldiers in the front court of a private house?

First, why the arrest took place days after the incident?. It turns out that the teenager was a Palestinian girl, 16 years old, named Ahed Tamimi and the soldiers were IDF soldiers. The whole scuffle between the teenager and the soldiers, including the slap, had been videotaped. It was put out on social media and went viral

There was a furor. The Israeli public and the politicians were demanding that this chit of a Palestinian girl be punished. Words like “castrated” and “impotent” were bandied about to describe how they felt when they saw one of their soldiers, with his helmet and his body armor and his gun, being slapped by 
this chit of a Palestinian girl. There were calls for her being raped. Joining them was an Israeli journalist.

Why were the soldiers in the front court of Ahed Tamimi’s house?

On the day of the slapping incident, Friday Dec.15, there was the usual Friday protest by the villagers at Nabi Saleh against the confiscation by Israeli settlers of the al-Qus spring and other village-owned land. The spring lay in the valley between the village and the settlement of Halamish, and Nabi Saleh had joined a handful of other villages that chose the path of unarmed resistance, marching to protest the occupation every Friday, week after week. These peaceful demonstrations have been held from December 2009.

Ahed’s cousin, Mustafa Tamimi, had already been killed, shot in the face with a tear-gas canister. Her mother’s brother, Rushdie Tamimi, was killed In November of 2012, shot in the back by an Israeli soldier just down the hill from her house. But the tiny village didn’t stop. They kept marching, every Friday, to the spring. The soldiers kept stopping them with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. The army came during the week too, “making arrests, searching houses, spreading fear”

Mohammed Tamimi lying in a medically induced coma in a hospital to which he was rushed after being shot in the face  shortly before Israeli Occupation Forces went to Tamimi residence and it led to Ahed slapping one of them
At the December 15 demonstration 14-year-old Mohammed Tamimi was shot directly in the face by an IDF soldier with a rubber coated steel bullet.  The boy was rushed to surgery and had to be placed in a medically induced coma. Moments after the shooting, armed Israeli soldiers came to Ahed Tamimi’s house.

Why did Ahed “foolishly” slap the IDF soldier? It was not just the trespassing by the soldiers. It was all that had gone before it. The Tamimi family has been repeatedly targeted by Israeli forces because they refuse to stand down in the face of their invaders. 

Billboards of Ahed have been posted at bus stope and train statins in London
Despite attempts by Zionist media to downplay the story of her arrest, it has drawn international attention. She has made news in Pakistan, India, and Singapore, and her face can now be seen on billboards at bus stops and train stations in London.