Fulbright or McCarthy for Palestinian students? By Fidaa Abed, 17 August 2008

As a young Palestinian from Gaza, I had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to study at the University of California San Diego on a Fulbright scholarship. The chance to escape Gaza’s confines and immerse myself in an American education was deeply thrilling. With Israel controlling Gaza’s border exits, air space and sea access — notwithstanding its “pullout” of 2005 — I imagined the long, open roads of the United States and its people’s unchallenged freedom of movement.

I love my people and my homeland, but a young person needs opportunities. These are far more abundant in the US than in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Last week, I landed in Washington, DC, brimming with optimism. Upon arrival, I was whisked into a separate room. An American official informed me that he had just received information about me that he could not reveal. However, it required him to put me on the next plane home. I was shocked. And I was taken aback at the cruelty of snatching away my educational dreams at the last possible moment.

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Sailing into Gaza By Huwaida Arraf August 25, 2008

Source: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880825045

On Saturday, after 32 hours on the high seas, I sailed into the port of Gaza City with 45 other citizens from around the world in defiance of Israel’s blockade. We traveled from Cyprus with humanitarian provisions for Palestinians living under siege. My family in Michigan was worried sick.

They are not naïve. They knew that Israel could have attacked us — as Israeli forces did in 2003, killing nonviolent American witness Rachel Corrie (Editor’s note: Corrie, also of the International Solidarity Movement, was run over by a bulldozer operated by Israeli Defense Forces during a protest against the destruction of Palestinian homes; an Israeli military investigation ruled the death accidental) and Brit Tom Hurndall (an ISM representative who died nine months after being was shot in the head in Gaza by an IDF sniper; the sniper was convicted of manslaughter) as well as thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians over the years.

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GazaFriends – Gone Fishing 25 August, 2008

I sat at the front of the fishing boat, one of six that went out this morning. They are old wooden boats, outfitted with bits and pieces of mechanical parts, rope twisted together and fishing nets. Israel has refused to let Palestinians fish in their own waters for the past 15 months. Even before that, they restricted Palestinian fishermen to around 6 miles. Now, they shoot holes in the boats and in the fishermen if they are caught farther out than about a kilometer.

So today, 19 of us were going along to break a different kind of siege… the denial of Palestinian rights to fish, something every other country bordering the Mediterranean has. Only Palestinians are told they can’t fish for their livelihood, provide for their families and contribute to their own economy. We decided that, since we sailed into Gaza (one fisherman told us we were the first boats to come into the port in 35 years; they have been forced to buy everything from Israel, who charges them exhorbitant fees to buy their own fish back).

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GazaFriends – Mary’s report from Gaza City 25 August, 2008

It was a day of smiles and a day of tears for me here in Gaza City.  Another early press conference, followed by a visit to the hospital which has seen most of the carnage created in Gaza by Israeli bombs and rockets.  The doctor related some of the difficulties faced by the population of Gaza.  That 50 chldren have died because Israel refused to let them enter Israel for treatment.  The reason given by Israel?  The mothers were under 35 years old and could be terrorists.  So the children died.  He told us that so far 242 people have died during the siege because of Israel’s refusal to allow them to get the treatment they need.  And that there have been 300 deliveries at checkpoints, resulting in 69 babies dead.

Next we visited a room whose walls were filled with horrific photographs of injured and dying and dead children and babies.  On the table was a collection of fragments of Israeli artillery — rockets, bombs, shrapnel, bullets…

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Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution… By William Bowles

26 August 2008

Can a revolt of ‘consumers’ spark a revolution?

“The Middle Class Proletariat — The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.” — ‘UK Ministry of Defence report, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036’ (Third Edition) p.96, March 2007

Prescient words indeed, so given the dire straights of capitalism as the effects of rampant speculation and an economy based upon the illusary creation of wealth bite, does this analysis by the MoD have any substance?

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