Ken Loach open letter to the Edinburgh Film Festival

Mardi 26 mai 2009 – Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Ken Loach open letter to the Edinburgh Film Festival
Following an open letter from the Israeli film maker Tali Shalom Ezer (see below as well), here is Ken Loach’s full reply.

This was sent to Sunday Times but the newspaper never published this in full.

Dear Tali Shalom Ezer

From the beginning, Israel and its supporters have attacked their critics as anti-semites or racists. It is a tactic to undermine rational debate.

To be crystal clear: as a film maker you will receive a warm welcome in Edinburgh. You are not censored or rejected. The opposition was to the Festival’s taking money from the Israeli state.

The call for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions comes from many Palestinians: writers, artists, journalists, lawyers, academics, trades unionists, teachers. They see it as ‘a contribution to the struggle to end Israel ’s occupation, colonisation and system of apartheid.’ Who are we, that we should not heed their call? Your counter arguments were used against the South African boycott yet that proved eventually to be successful.

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Palfest closed by armed Israeli policemen BY BRENDA HEARD

26 May 2009 – Palestine Think Tank


British author Michael Palin at the Second Annual Palestine Festival of Literature

When Right Succumbs to Might

“The only democracy in the Middle East.” It has become a cliché amongst supporters of Israel, a phrase as common with parliamentarians as it is with propagandists. These supporters excuse themselves from turning a blind eye to Israeli violations of international law by claiming that they are not taking sides, but that they are defending the very principles of democracy. They are ostensibly defending one of the basic tenets of democracy—the freedom of a people to think and speak for themselves.

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Video: Shell on Trial: Landmark Trial Set to Begin Over Shell's Role in 1995 Execution of Nigerian Human Rights Activist Ken Saro-Wiwa

26 May, 2009 – Democracy Now!

A landmark trial against oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s alleged involvement in human rights violations in the Niger Delta begins this Wednesday in a federal court in New York. Fourteen years after the widely condemned execution of the acclaimed Nigerian writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, the court will hear allegations that Shell was complicit in his torture and execution.

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U.S.: “There’s No Way I’m Going to Deploy to Afghanistan” By Dahr Jamail

26 May, 2009 – Inter Press Service

MARFA, Texas, (IPS) – “It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with,” Specialist Victor Agosto of the U.S. Army, who is refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, explained to IPS. “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong.”

Agosto, who returned from a 13-month deployment to Iraq in November 2007, is based at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

While in Iraq, Agosto never left his base, located in northern Iraq.

“I never had any traumatic experiences, never fired my weapon,” Agosto told IPS in a phone interview. “I mostly worked in information technology, working on computers and keeping the network functioning well. But it was in Iraq that I turned against the occupations. Through my reading, and watching what was going on, I started to feel very guilty.”

Agosto added, “What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it.”

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