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La resistencia contra el régimen sirio continua en Madrid

9 January 2012
Manifestación frente a la embajada siria en Madrid

Manifestación frente a la embajada siria en Madrid (Daniel F. Rivera)

Ayer, desde aproximadamente las 12 de la mañana, un grupo de activistas tanto sirios como españoles se congregaron a las puertas de la embajada siria en Madrid en protesta por los constantes abusos y torturas que lleva realizando el régimen desde que el levantamiento popular comenzase en Siria en contra el gobierno dictatorial y déspota del partió Baath, liderado por Bashar Al Assad.

Esta no fue una manifestación aislada sino un manifestación más de la campaña que desde el verano pasado un grupo pequeño de jóvenes y activistas comenzasen a manifestarse continuamente cerca de la embajada de Siria. Este grupo en la actualidad ha crecido y se conoce en la actualidad como la Asociación de Apoyo al Pueblo Sirio (AAPS)

Las constantes amenazas del régimen no sirvieron para que este grupo de jóvenes cejaran en su empeño, y a partir de un grupo pequeño, minúsculo diría yo, hoy en día podemos asistir a un movimiento de protestas que cada día incluye más gente, mayores, pequeños, jóvenes e incluso familias enteras; un síntoma claro de que hay cada vez más gente siria viviendo en nuestro país que están perdiendo el miedo.

Un hecho que me llamó la atención durante la manifestación de ayer fue la asistencia de algunos activistas sirios que han tenido el coraje y la valentía de abandonar Siria y venir a España en busca de protección y asilo. Estas personas han tenido que vivir una gran cantidad de peligros y dificultades para poder llegar a nuestro país; y solo espero que consigan la protección y la ayuda que se merecen del Estado español.

La resistencia continua de modo pacífico todos los domingos desde las 12:00 hasta las 14,00 en frente de la embajada siria en Madrid, en la calle Plaza Platerías Martínez, 1, muy cerca del metro de Atocha. Activistas y defensores de los derechos humanos han prometido reunirse en este enclave para protestar contra el régimen y pedir la expulsión de la misión diplomática siria en Madrid. Así el portavoz del movimiento AAPS declaró a Europa Press ayer su más profundo: “desprecio hacia unos representantes que deberían de proteger y no disparar contra el pueblo por mantenerse en el poder”. Según los manifestantes, lo único que reciben ellos y sus familias son amenazas. Viven en una situación de miedo constante en la que el mensaje es que “no es tiempo para revolucionarse contra el régimen”

MareVostrum

Musa Amer Odeh Discusses Crucial Issues at the Core of the Negotiations with Israel.

5 December 2011
Palestinian Ambassador in Madrid Musa Amer Odeh

Madrid, October 15th, 2011.

The Palestinian attempt to be recognized as a state by the UN could be seen by many as a pointless bid if we take into consideration that the Security Council is the only body in the United Nation capable of granting or vetoing any initiate of this characteristics. The Palestinians knew that Israel was against such an initiative, and they were also aware that a crucial member of the Security Council, the United States, would veto such petition.

The membership application forwarded to the UN by the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas regarding a Palestinian state comprised of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with its capital in East Jerusalem is expected to fail despite the wide support that the Palestinian request has among UN members. This became clear after the UNESCO officially approved the Palestinian bid to become a full-fledged member, gaining 40 votes out of the 58 member nations of this body. This was just a symbolic step, and the petition still needs the approval of at least two thirds of the General Assembly on October 25. Not an easy task but definitely not impossible if we consider representative UNESCO’s approval.

The divisions within UNESCO are in line with the positions and ideas we heard from the Israeli’s and Palestinian leaders in the General Assembly. Mahmud Abbas’s speech highlighted the idea that peace will come after a Palestinian state is created while Netanyahu’s stated that peace should come first before any state recognition is considered.

This is the reason why I wanted to meet the Palestinian Ambassador in Spain, Mr Musa Amer Odeh to discuss the Palestinians initiative as well as other issues that at the international level could have a crucial effect on the Palestinian cause. For instance, it is quite relevant, the position adopted by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jimenez that had been interpreted by Israeli media as de facto recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish State and the repercussions that the Arab spring could have on the peace negotiations with Israel.

Good Morning Mr. Ambassador. You have been living in Spain for more than six years now. How would you describe your experience in this country?

Since I arrived to Spain we have received constant support from the Spanish people and, we are thankful for this. We share a common history with the Spanish people. Spain has been and, continues to be the closest country in Europe to us, and the Spanish support for the Palestinian’s cause has become a State policy and therefore regardless of the government that is in power, the Spanish State always supports the Palestinian people. I believe it’s a reflection of the will of the Spanish people in general. Although the Israelis argue that, they (Spanish people) are only in favour of Palestine, I believe that it’s not because they are just in love with Palestine, it’s because the Palestinian cause is about justice, human rights, self- determination…etc. principles that Spain upholds and identifies with.

¿How do you think the coming Spanish elections will affect your relationship with the State? If the current opposition, the Popular Party (PP) wins the election as many polls are stating, do you think there will be any change in policy regarding Palestine?

We hope not, because we do have good relations with all political parties, and the support of the bases of all political parties, because our cause is a just cause.

Since I arrived here, I have always been dealing officially with the Socialist government. However, at the same time, when our president comes to Spain, I always arrange meetings for him not only with the current government but also with the leader of the opposition, for instance, Mr. Rajoy. This is a democratic country, so whoever is in power today may not be there tomorrow… Our interest is to have good relations with all political parties and for example, regarding our initiative [state recognition at the UN], I had the opportunity to visit all political parties and explain our initiatives, including syndicates.

And with whom did you feel more comfortable? Who do you think was more supportive of your cause?

Indeed, we have received strong support from all political parties. In July, the Spanish parliament decided to request the government to recognize Palestine, and none in the parliament opposed this.

What is your opinion about the last speech of Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Sra. Trinidad Jimenez in front of the General Assembly that for many people in Israel meant recognition of the Jewish character of Israel?

She did not, and if you go back to the speech you’ll see that Spain did not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Mrs Jimenez was referring to the past when Israel was created as a homeland for the Jews but she did not recognize Israel as a Jewish State and, in the same paragraph, she mentioned that “our commitment is to the State of Israel” not to the Jewish State of Israel. In fact, Mrs. Jiménez was the first authority in Europe to support our initiative in the United Nations.

So, it is actually the opposite?

She has supported our initiative in front of the United Nations and she said that we have the right to go to the United Nations whereas Israel was saying that it was a unilateral action.  She, on the contrary, argued that Palestine has the right to be there and she also supported the recognition of the state of Palestine. She said that this is the right time to recognize the State of Palestine and that this was not a unilateral action […]. In the forties, Israel went to the United Nations for the same reason, looking for recognition, so why not the Palestinians. The right of self-determination is a fundamental right and the Palestinian people should not be excluded from this.

We are grateful to the Spanish people for this position and we talked with the authorities at Ministry of Foreign Affairs where they told us that they are not recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, and that they are not asking us to recognise Israel as a Jewish State and finally that they have already recognized Israel as it is. And we too, the Palestinians recognize Israel as it is from 1993. It is a provocation is to ask Palestine to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is mainly for political reasons, and it affects the rights of the one and a half million Palestinians who live in Israel, whodid not come to Israel but Israel came to them, they are the native people of Palestine. Also, they want to finish the refugee issue before we even begin the negotiations, so we refuse this, and we won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state but we recognize Israel as a country for all its citizens including for those of Palestinian origin.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued in his last speech at the UN that the Palestinians are those who are cleansing the land, and they are the one that would never allow Israelis to live there. What comments do you have about this position?

It’s not true; he was referring to Ma’an Erekat, our Ambassador to the US.  What he meant was that we won’t accept any Israeli soldier in the Palestinian State. We’re ready to accept a third party to be responsible for security, in order to guaranteesecurity for both Israelis and Palestinians, but we won’t accept the presence of any Israeli soldier. We have a Palestinian community that is Jewish. The Samarians in Nablus are the first Jewish community in the world, and they are Palestinians, and we are very proud of them; they are part of our culture, so we cannot and we are against bringing religion to the conflict. It’ll complicate the conflict in a terrible way. It’ll be a catastrophe for Israel, Palestine and for the region to make this conflict a religious one. This conflict is a colonial one, not a religious conflict, and for us Judaism is a religion like any other one such as Christianity and Islam. And we used to live together in peace always, there were never clashes within the Palestinians society between Christians, Jews and Muslims, we never had a problem. The International Community has to give a lot of attention to this because all of us we’ll pay a heavy price if religion is brought into the conflict.

We’ll have a democratic state with respect to all believers from wherever they come. Any believer who comes to Palestine would be able to exercise his/her religion freely as long as he/she doesn’t infringe on the rights and freedoms of others.

Therefore, we are talking about a secular democratic state or perhaps you are closer to Islamic state?

Not at all, Palestine is the holy land, the land of Jesus Christ, we cannot hide from the reality that Christianity was born in Palestine, while Judaism and Islam came to Palestine, thus Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. Palestine is not a Jewish, Christians or Muslim country. Palestine shall be for all Palestinians regardless of their beliefs or religions.

Now, going back to the negotiation with Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned in his last speech that peace negotiations should come first before recognizing the state of Palestine. Why Palestinian cannot follow this path?

We believe in negotiations, we have negotiated with the Israelis for twenty years ago, starting in Madrid until now and we’ve got nothing. We’ve got more settlements, more settlers and the construction of a wall. Also the number of checkpoints has increased and there are more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, more trees uprooted from our territories, and more Palestinians have paid with their lives as part of the Israeli genocide against our people. We believe in negotiations, we are ready to go back to the negotiation table but we want to change the methods, because we tried to talk with the Israelis for 20 years and, we tried to achieve a final agreement with them that would lead to the end of the suffering of the Palestinian people but we failed. Not because we don’t want peace, but because there is no people on earth that can stand an occupation for such a long time. We want to be free. The Israeli policy is violating our rights as well as international law, and UN resolutions.Israel argues that we are taking a unilateral step, but who is taking a unilateral step here? Is it the one who is going to address 193 countries or the one who is expanding the settlement activity inside the occupied Palestinian territory, which according to the 4th Geneva Convention is a war crime (i.e. to bring the citizens of the occupying powers into the territory under occupation) […]

Thus taking land by force is prohibited and not accepted, and it’s illegal. Settlement activity is illegal, and we have the right to control our natural resources, including water and gas. […]. So there is an international opinion, the International Court of Justice advisory opinion of July 2004, there are UN resolutions and there are agreements that we signed with the Israelis. In this regard, the presence of the Israeli (military) in our territory is illegal, it is an occupation, and occupation must end. We are not looking for a new confrontation with the Israelis or with the Americans, and we are not interested in this. Our interest is to have peace with the Israelis, and we accept them as a reality in the region, and we are ready to make peace with them based on equality. They have their state, we have our state with full respect from their side to us and from our side to them but we cannot have this with their continuous occupation because we want to be equal, and we are not equal now, so the arguments used by the Israelis are not true, they talk always about security, who needs security more? Is it the Palestinian side, which does not have an army or the Israelis who have the 5th biggest army in the world? Israel is a nuclear power, and it has the United State’s unlimited support. Security is not only an Israeli need, it’s a Palestinians need too, so we are ready to negotiate with the Israelis but with a third party involved, for instance, the presence of the United Nations or may be the EU too, Russia, and NATO could also play an interesting role, but not a single Israelis soldier must be in our territory.

-Also, after the UN speeches, the Vice-president and high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, called the parties and the negotiation Quarter to prepare for what she described as negotiations for peace but and yesterday we found in the news that Israel started to build again in East Jerusalem. Would you accept Catherine Asthon’s invitation to re-initiate the negotiations?

Yes, we do. We would like to go back to the Quartet because Catherine Ashton represents the EU members and for us this is very important. We want to go back to the road map that was approved by the Quartet and the International Community. Resolution 1515 talks about this and there are obligations that Palestinians and Israelis must comply with […]. From our side, although we are under occupation, we implemented all our obligations but the Israelis did nothing. The first obligation for them was to freeze settlement activity in our territories, including natural growth, but they did not. We told the Quartet that we need the Israelis to respect the will of the International Community and that this is not a condition that we have, but an obligation. […]

We are against putting conditions, the one who is putting conditions is the Israeli side, and after 20 years of negotiations with the Israelis this is our right. We want the negotiations to have clear terms of reference. Every new Israeli government rejects the agreements we have reached with the previous government and we have to begin from zero, […] so we need a reference for the negotiations and this is not a condition. The reference for us should be based on international law and UN resolutions. We need a timetable; negotiations cannot go on forever.

There is not cause in history that was negotiated for 20 years without getting any result; we need a timetable, because we need to agree within one year. We need the Israelis to recognize the Palestinian State based on its 1967 border. It is not a condition from the Palestinian side and while the International Community supports the two state solution, the Israeli side continues to swallow our territories every day with their settlement activity. Now, it’s impossible to implement the two state solution with the current policy of Israel, it is impossible.  With our step in the UN, we are trying to protect the two state solution. The Israelis did not accept a democratic state in historic Palestine where Israelis and Palestinians can live together, equally in peace. However, the International Community accepted the two state solution, so let us bring the right conditions and the right atmosphere for having two states in historic Palestine. We recognized Israel in 1993 when we signed Oslo with the borders they have, and now we want them to recognize our territory, which was occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. It is very simple.

-Could be considered the one state solution a death option?

The Israelis are refusing this option. We put it on the table in 1968 but they refused it, and because we are practical and realistic, we looked for another option and we found that the two state solution was an option accepted by the Israelis, so we did too, but we cannot live only with their acceptance in words, we want to see something on the ground, we want to see a change of behaviour from the Israeli government, but unfortunately their behaviour is against the two state solution and they know that settlement activity is an obstacle for havingpeace. […]

It’s peace what guarantees security, why Israelis or Palestinians have to sleep in fear. There is not logic in this, only in the absence of peace. […] But if there is peace and justice, the Israelis will have the right to have business in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries. Also they have the right to go to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and we are supposed to have the same right, meaning to go to Israel and everywhere. […] Peace is the guarantee for the security of Israel and the security and stability of the region.

If we take into consideration your position that Israel is not ready to make peace what do you expect from Israel regarding the Palestinian’s petition to the UN?

The Israelis are not part of the Security Council but the United States will use their veto power and, unfortunately they will use it in the wrong place. The Security Council was created with the aim of promoting security and stability of the International Community, and in this regards, it is not helping to implement security and stability in the region. It is supporting the aggression of one nation against another nation allowing Israel the occupying power to remain above the law […].

We believe that changing the status of the Palestinian people as a people under occupation it is very important. However, we know that even if we achieve the recognition we are looking for with the support of all nations including Israel and the United States, once we go back from New York, we’ll have to go back to our people that would still be under occupation. We need to negotiate with the Israelis, we need to do so, but we need to negotiate as a state with another state, not just as a people under occupation negotiating with a state. Israel considers the Palestinian occupied territory disputed land, which is not true. In accordance with UN resolutions and the terms of International Law, they are in fact occupied –not disputed– territoryand there is a big difference between these two status.

Now, shifting our attention to other areas in the region, what are your thoughts about the recent developments in the Arab world? The so-called Arab spring, how do you think, this is could affect the negotiation between Palestine and Israel?

We are with the will of the people but we don’t intervene in the internal affairs of any other Arab countries; this is our policy since a long time. […] We are with the will of the people, peacefully, and we are against using violence against the people. They have the right to demonstrate and to demand changes based on their constitution and fundamental right. These changes will be in favour of Palestinians although many regimes in the Arab world have supported our cause in the past because it’s a just cause. Now, we believe we will receive more support because the support to our cause does not depend on the opinion of one single leader. It depends on the will of the people and the will of the people is stronger than any leader. We wish the best for all Arab countries. We are sorry for the victims and we hope that if there is going to be change it will be done peacefully […].

And, what about Palestinian’s internal affairs? The relationship with Hamas seems that have improved since the PLO reached a unity agreement recently. How do you think the relationship with Hamas will develop in the future? Will Palestine stay together?

This is our goal, to unite the Palestinian people. Division inside our community has harmed our people and image outside. This division is a dark page in our history and we hope that this kind of situation never repeats again in our or any society. As you know, we have signed a reconciliation paper with Hamas in Cairo, and we are very serious about this issue. We have suffered a lot and we’re still under occupation and therefore it is not in our interest to have this kind of division inside the Palestinian society.

We have a plural system, right, left and middle in politics, we are very proud of this.  Every one can exercise their right and express their opinion freely. All political rights are guaranteed, including Hamas’s, with whom, the Palestinian Authority, doesn’t agree onmany political and ideological positions, but they are part of our people, and they have the right to believe in whatever they think is right, as long as they respect the will of the people, and the laws and rules in Palestine.

We have agreed to form a technocrat government that would prepare for elections and torebuild Gaza, which was destroyed by Israelis, in one-year time. We have billions of dollars promised by international donors but they have refused to disburse the money to through Hamas, but they would be willing to deal with a technocrat government. This money is needed to cover the daily needs of the Palestinian people. This government is not responsible for the negotiations at all. The PLO is responsible for negotiations and Hamas is not a member of the PLO yet.

President Abbas said that we want Salam Fayat as a Prime Ministers because he is not considered to be either Hamas or Fatah. He is a professional and a technocrat and we want him to stay. Unfortunately, Hamas doesn’t want him but we want to avoid any conflict with them that would lead to a new siege on the Palestinian people. […]

We agreed with Hamas that we will have free elections, and when we say free elections, we mean it. We want the presence of international observers and whoever wins will assume power, we can guarantee this as we did before in 2006 when Hamas won the elections. We transferred the power completely for 15 months and they were not able to deliver, why, because the International Community did not accept them and soon after, we were all under siege. This is why we went to Mecca and made an agreement with them […] and within three months we had a national unity government […] I am sure that Hamas has realized that what they have done is wrong, we have realised that internal divisions are against the interest of our people. We have to look for common understanding, there are a lot of things that we can find as bases to work together though there’re issues that we find impossible to agree with but we believe in a plural system, and we hope that the International Community will accept the reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO, because if we are divided, the Israelis will use this as an excuse to reject any agreement with the Palestinians; they argue: now with whom are we going to sign an agreement with Hamas in Gaza or the PLO in Ramallah.

Now, we want to reunify the Palestinian people but Israel is saying that we are dealing with a terrorist group; so we are not accepted when we are divided and we are not accepted when we are united. This is a bad game in politics. They [Hamas] are part of our people although I don’t agree with them. […] We are very serious about the unification of our people and Salam Fayad stated that this is a priority from him. We hope that Hamas won’t oppose anymore Salam Fayad as prime ministers.  He is a professional; he has done a great job in his office. He reformed the financial and administrative system in Palestine, his work and team have satisfied us, we are grateful for this, and we want him to continue. When we have elections within a year whoever wins the elections will nominate a new prime minister. If Hamas wins, they have the right to nominate the prime minister they want but right now, we ‘re in need of Salam Fayad who has the confidence of the donors

Now, going back to the negotiation with American and Israelis, what do you think they are waiting for? What do you think they need to accept the Palestinian petition?

At the end, the Israelis need to accept us and we also need their recognition. First, there is a duty for the International Community to recognize that enough is enough […] and that the Palestinians have their rights, second, the Americans have threatened us that they will use their veto power(at the UNSC). We hope that they will not. But even if that is the case, we will try again to go to the Security Council, for a second, a third and even a fourth time if we need to because this is our right.

We shall keep working for our membership in the United Nations, this is a fundamental right, and we’re qualified to have a state. We are one of the most ancient people on earth and we have developed the highest level of education, we have a great country, and though our people have suffered a lot in the past, they can forgive and forget and look ahead for the future, […], We only want to learn about the past, but we don’t want to remain in the past. We are looking ahead for a bright promising future, we are practical and we need a prosperous future for them and for us and for the whole region but they have to end their occupation not only in our territory but also in Syria and Lebanon. Now we are in the twenty first century and they need to realize that our world has changed with the Arab spring […]

Would like to add anything?

I would like to repeat the same message that we started sending more than 2000 years ago. The (Nazareno Palestino) Jesus Christ who carried his message from Palestine, tierra santa to the world. The essence of Jesus Christ’s message is justice, peace and love for humanity at large. This is what we want and what we need but we cannot enjoy justice, peace and love under the Israeli occupation. We are prevented from these three basic things. We hope that the peaceful message of Jesus Christ will prevail in the land of Jesus Christ. What we need is justice, peace and love, the same principles of our Lord. We welcome the International Community to visit our land and we hope also to bring more attention to our cause and suffering. We determine to put an end for the suffering of our people. So we need a solid position from the International Community. We are not asking anyone to start a war against Israelis, but the International Community has a duty to end Israeli occupation and to recognized independent democratic state of Palestine.

Daniel F. Rivera.

Alia Mustafa al-Tabbaa desafía al régimen sirio con una huelga de hambre

26 September 2011
La señorita Alia Mustafa al-Tabbaa realizando una entrevista.

La señorita Alia Mustafa al-Tabbaa realizando una entrevista.

Estimados Amigos,

Hoy me gustaría compartir con vosotros la lucha-aventura que una mujer sola y casi sin la ayuda de nadie ha comenzado en Madrid. Me refiero a la mujer de origen sirio llamada Alia Mustafa al-Tabbaa, que desde el pasado 16 de septiembre, ha decidido comenzar una huelga de hambre en el Paseo de la Castellana, justo en frente de la Embajada Siria en Madrid.

Desde que conocí a Alia no he dejado de sorprenderme por su simpatía, coraje y valentía a la hora de afrontar esta difícil prueba. Alia está convencida de que debe hacer algo para protestar contra lo que está ocurriendo en su país. No puede quedarse sentada viendo como cientos, o quizás miles de sus compatriotas están sufriendo, son detenidos, torturados y en muchos casos asesinados mientras la comunidad internacional hace muy poco para detener a este régimen, déspota y cruel como lo describe Alia.

Cuando la pregunté porque había decidido realizar este huelga de hambre me respondió: “Una vez viendo la cadena de televisión Al-Jazeera vi como un compatriota explicaba como una mujer siria había sido detenida y torturada solo porque su hermano se había manifestado contra el régimen. Ella y su hermano fueron asesinados, y sus cuerpos fueron descuartizados y entregados en una caja a su familia. Así, con mi acción, pretendo solidarizarme con su sufrimiento y comunicar a todo el mundo lo que allí esta ocurriendo. Es un esfuerzo pacífico y así continuaremos hasta el final, hasta que no tengamos otro remedio que actuar de otro modo.

Además con esta acción pretendo llamar la atención de la gente. Yo se que las personas están ocupadas con sus cosas y cuando los medios de comunicación no cubren suficientemente lo que está ocurriendo en el país, la gente comienza a pensar que no pasa nada, que todo está bien, a pesar de que la situación allí es muy grave. Pero creo que se puede hacer algo, creo que podemos conseguir la atención de la gente, y presionar al Estado español para que presioné al régimen y expulse a su embajador y así romper las relaciones diplomáticas con el régimen “.

Alia y un grupo de compañeros que están colaborando con ella están decididos a presionar todo lo posible a los diplomáticos sirios para que abandonen la embajada y salgan del país cuanto antes a pesar de que en numerosas ocasiones han recibido amenazas de algunos diplomáticos sirios que se han acercado para amenazar e insultar a esta activista. Por ejemplo, Yamal, sirio kurdo de origen, la acompaña diariamente desde que comenzó esta aventura me comentó:“no tengo papeles y he pedido el asilo político en España, me lo han denegado y no puedo volver a mi país, solo puedo decir que quiero que mi país haga algo por nosotros y no continúe torturando a nuestro pueblo. Estaré aquí hasta que consigamos que el embajador sirio abandone este país“. Por otro lado Ali, activista y colaborador en la campaña añadió: “no sé si conseguiremos nuestros objetivo de echar al embajador porque todavía la voluntad política en Europa y España es muy débil. Las relaciones entre Europa y Siria son más simbólicas que otra cosa y, a pesar de que las relaciones con Siria son mínimas, la decisión de echar a un embajador tiene un carga simbólica muy fuerte que todavía no están dispuestos a asumir “.

Retratos de torturados, muertos o desaparecidos en Siria

Retratos de torturados, muertos o desaparecidos en Siria

Alia permanece sentada en una silla durante la mayor parte del tiempo y dedica todos sus fuerzas a conversar con algunos compañeros que la ayudamos, y todo aquel o aquella que se acerca a este campamento improvisado en el Paseo de la Castella. Alia está dispuesta a charlar con todo el mundo y animo a todos los madrileños que se acerquen al Paseo de la Castellana y conozcan a esta valiente mujer que lo único que busca es hacer justicia para con su pueblo y contra un régimen que parece haber perdido el norte.

Por último, os dejo con un video de la última concentración este domingo en frente de la Embajada siria en Madrid. Todos los domingos un grupo de activistas sirios y españoles nos reunimos en la Embajada para protestar en contra del régimen. Os animo a participar y a colabora en esta noble causa.

Western Influence over the Arab Revolution, Reality or Just Conspiracy?

5 September 2011

Dear friends,

Since almost a month or perhaps two I have been away from my blog and my writings about the Arab revolution. I had too much work with my thesis and I just couldn’t find enough time and effort to keep the blog updated with info about what I see and I received from many friends in the Arab world.

However, I had to break my silence after watching a great short documentary about the influence of foreign powers and Western NGO’s in the Arab revolution. This is not a joke.

The documentary is called the Revolution Business and it was produced by Journeyman pictures, a New York Based independent production company founded by Paul S. Mezey (Maria Full of Grace, 2004).

The piece is short but correct. However, the more I think about the Arab Spring or revolution, the more I am convinced of its originality and honesty despite of what happened in Libya with NATO and other arguments exposed in this documentary.

The film bases its thesis on the premise that the so-called Arab Spring is not an organic uprising of frustrated youth as the media continues to report. The film defends the ideas that the Revolution was carefully planned and well executed by a series of Revolutionary experts and consultants from the Serbian organizations such as Optor (Revolution in Serbian) and CANVAS.

Poster used by the organization OPTOR  during their proterst in Belgrado

Poster used by the organization OPTOR during their proterst in Belgrado

Former students created these organizations during the uprising against the Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in 2002 and since then they have worked hard and in more than 50 countries teaching and giving work shops to the youth about how to organize no-violent protest and revolutions. Tina Rosenber at Foreign Policy published an article where she interviews former members of CANVAS Ivan Marovic who said some years ago before all this happened in the Middle East:

 “Revolutions are often seen as spontaneous,” Ivan Marovic, a former CANVAS trainer, told me in Washington a few years ago. “It looks like people just went into the street. But it’s the result of months or years of preparation. It is very boring until you reach a certain point, where you can organize mass demonstrations or strikes. If it is carefully planned, by the time they start, everything is over in a matter of weeks.”

What we know so far about these organizations is that they have helped political activist to organize students in North Africa into a more efficient force and they have developed various strategies usually based on the ideas of Boston retired professor Gene Sharp and his books: From Dictatorship to Democracy: a conceptual framework for liberation (2004) and Nonviolent Action: A Research Guide (1997).

However, there are authors that have a very different approach to what happened with Milosevic. Michel Parenti mentioned in his article The Demonization of Slobodan Milosevic (2003) some of the strategies and propaganda used by US officials to discredit Milosevic:

“The propaganda method used to discredit many of these governments is not particularly original, indeed by now it is quite transparently predictable. Their leaders are denounced as bombastic, hostile, and psychologically flawed. They are labeled power hungry demagogues, mercurial strongmen, and the worst sort of dictators likened to Hitler himself. The countries in question are designated as “terrorist” or “rogue” states, guilty of being “anti-American” and “anti-West.” Some choice few are even condemned as members of an “evil axis.” When targeting a country and demonizing its leadership, U.S. leaders are assisted by ideologically attuned publicists, pundits, academics, and former government officials. Together they create a climate of opinion that enables Washington to do whatever is necessary to inflict serious damage upon the designated nation’s infrastructure and population, all in the name of human rights, anti-terrorism, and national security.

There is no better example of this than the tireless demonization of democratically-elected President Slobodan Milosevic and the U.S.-supported wars against Yugoslavia. Louis Sell, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer, has authored a book (Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, Duke University Press, 2002) that is a hit piece on Milosevic, loaded with all the usual prefabricated images and policy presumptions of the U.S. national security state. Sell’s Milosevic is a caricature, a cunning power seeker and maddened fool, who turns on trusted comrades and plays upon divisions within the party.”

The similarities between Optor’s campaign and the propaganda lunched by the US government led us think there was a close relationship between these movements and foreign actors in uprising against Milosevic’s regime. Moreover, what it seems clear is that Optor and Canvas were very much involved in Tunisia and Egypt as the video explains. However, the weakest point of the films is the director’s attempt to link the Bush doctrine with the Arab Uprising and the work of these organizations on the ground.

Optor Venezuela

Optor Venezuela

When George W. Bush initiated the War on Terror in 2003, he predicted that the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan would create a domino effect that would democratize the Middle East. After more than eight years, the strategies and plans adopted by the US military had been a total fiasco and both countries are going through serious problems due to a raising corruption, embezzlement and sectarian conflict (more often that not provoked by the occupiers).

So far so good, a civil resistance embodied mainly by the youth, trying to peacefully overthrow a nefarious character such as Milosevic. Things change when we see similar operations in Venezuela, Bolivia and in our country (Argentina), where elected governments by popular vote are subject to destabilization processes that respond to soft manual Albert Einstein Institute.                                                                                                                                                                                                       Charlie Boyle

Poster of the Syrian Revolution

Poster of the Syrian Revolution

 Optor and CANVAS are not the only US founded NGO’s working on the Middle East that are promoting democracy and non-violent actions. The US and the EU have been since years founding organization and NGO’s that were supposedly trying to promote democratic values and ideas but their results and achievements were certainly poor. Why the US did not take this strategy from the beginning? Why expending millions of dollars and sacrificed thousand of soldiers if it could fund NGOs to start a democratic revolution?

 The answer to this question is that Bush or other US president before him never wanted to spread democracy in the Middle East. Figures such as Hosni Mubarak, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Muammar el Gaddafi played a paramount role in the status quo that the United States had helped to create in the region (Gaddafi was more important for the European than for the Americans). The US and EU wanted to see change in the Middle East since decades but never really had the determination and will to carry out it. Why now?

This is not the first time that pro democracy movements start massive protests and demonstrations denouncing the abuses and corruption of the political elites. For instance, in Egypt we find the Kifayah (it’s enough) movement that has organized demonstration since almost a decade against Mubarak and in 2005 Lebanon started a non-violent and pacific movement called the Cedar Revolution after the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri. Therefore, there must be certain economic and social conditions that have helped to start this revolution such as extreme poverty, youth unemployment, the perception that people have about the regime (authoritarian and corrupted élite), the spread of social networks in Internet and the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables in Internet as well as years of warfare, intervention and occupation in the MENA region.

Having said that, this does not mean that the revolution is free of foreign intervention and manipulations. NATO’s intervention in Libya is a good example but there are many other examples orchestrated by the media and intelligence officers around the Middle East. Since the revolution started various well-known and prestigious Public Relations firms in the US such as Qorvis Communications and Brown Lloyed James have been hired by current dictatorships in the Middle East to improve their reputation and counter-balance what they consider a Western media attack against their figures. In this regard, Rosanna M. Fiske, Chair and Chief Executive, Public Relations Society of America, New York, NY, US said about Brown’s public relations adventure with Muammar al Gaddafi:

“Ethical public relations places an emphasis on counselling reputable organisations and individuals in developing and maintaining beneficial relationships with concerned stakeholders. Given that Colonel Muammer Gaddafi showed no inclination to embrace this fundamental concept, despite BLJ’s efforts, we question the value the firm offered the American public in its attempt to reveal a more nuanced picture of the Libyan government. Most disturbingly, the work has insulted the very freedoms that allowed BLJ and similar firms to engage in such questionable services in the first place.”

Rosanna’s emphasis on ethical public relation it seems to me an odd argument if we consider what have happened in the market place since the financial crisis started in Wall Street around 2007. Western government has been caught off guard, in the middle of huge economic crisis and between the dilemmas of abandoning its quest in the Middle East or continuing with the current strategy that only has helped to create a weak democratic systems ruled by corrupted and limited political leadership. Also, we cannot undermined the influence of the strong and powerful pro-Western lobbies in the Arab world such as the Saudi Lobby over the US and EU policies adopted in the Middle Easy.

Documents with photographs and details of people wanted by the Libyan External Security office are seen in the abandoned office where Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief and foreign minister Moussa Koussa was based in Tripoli

Let’s not forget that Western positions about the spread of democracy in the Middle East was based on the assumption that radical Islam would take over democracy if elections would be hold. This approach to MENA region politics has encourage Western democracies and Arab dictators to justified their authoritarian and brutal methods against any political opposition.

Having said that, this does not mean that the revolution is free of foreign intervention and manipulations. NATO’s intervention in Libya is a good example but there are many other examples orchestrated by the media and intelligence officers around the Middle East. The West in general has been caught off guard, in the middle of huge economic crisis and between the dilemmas of abandoning its quest in the Middle East or continuing with the current strategy that only has helped to create a weak democratic systems ruled by corrupted and limited political leadership.

In this occasion what I can see is how the EU and the US are in a hurry trying to catch up with a train that left without them when one year ago from Tunisia. This revolution comes in handy and Americans and European would be stupid if they wouldn’t take advantage from the situation. The problem lies here will the West repeats its mistakes or they would do it right this time. What kind of intervention can we expected from Western governments?

MareVostrum

La Segunda Flotilla Española a Gaza

30 June 2011
Manuel Espinar y Laura Arau

Manuel Espinar y Laura Arau

Esta mañana nos hemos enterado de que probablemente Israel esté detrás de las averías o sabotaje en el eje que mueve las hélices de uno de los barcos que forma la flotilla a Gaza que tiene pensado, una vez más, desafiar a las autoridades israelíes y romper el bloqueo excesivo, injusto e ilegal que mantiene el estado hebreo sobre la población palestina de Gaza.Este incidente es un claro ejemplo de lo que puede ocurrir en esta ocasión y de las grabes dificultades y riesgos que conlleva este proyecto. Las autoridades españolas se han desentendido públicamente de este proyecto y desaconsejan a cualquier persona española viajar a Gaza, la Ministra de Asuntos Exteriores Trinidad Jimenéz declaró que:”no protegerán a la flotilla” ya que “no puede garantizar la protección de estas personas y que su actuación se limitará a un “seguimiento diario de los acontecimientos”. Además la ministra anadió que había solicitado “contención” a Israelíes y pidió “prudencia” a los participantes en la Flotilla pero por otro lado, tenemos conocimientos de que la policía española y fuerzas de seguridad han monitorizado todos los movimientos de los organizadores hasta el punto requisar parte de sus documentos e interrogar a sus participantes sin dar más explicaciones. ¿A quién esta protegiendo el Gobierno a sus ciudadanos o Israel?

“Así es necesario recordar que este asunto es extremadamente sensible ya que amenaza la estabilidad de las relaciones entre Israel y España. Un desenlace dramático y violento como el del año pasado pondría a España en una posición muy incómoda ya que debería defender los derechos de muchos de los participantes españoles que participan en este proyecto. La posición de sus participantes es clara y rechazan cualquier utilización e la fuerza y la violencia para romper el bloqueo. Así en una entrevista en Al-Jazeera un activista declaró: ‘nuestro objetivo es ‘ir en paz‘ y además añadió:

“Nos horrorizan las acciones israelíes, y su propaganda de que tenemos armas y ácido y que vamos a atacar a soldados israelíes, cuando estamos todos dedicados a la paz”.

“No arrojaremos objetos ni los atacaremos de ninguna manera”. “

He recibido un email muy interesante sobre la Flotilla a Gaza donde el movimiento expone sus intenciones y objetivos. Creo que es necesario conocer este proyecto antes de juzgarlo apresuradamente ya que en definitiva, esta flotilla internacional, es un intento de la gente por realizar un acción humanitaria por encima de cualquier consideración política y económica y ayudar a un pueblo que vive bajo el rigor de un bloqueo que sobre los límites imaginables por cualquiera de nosotros; infórmate.

Salvemos a Gaza de la miseria del bloqueo.

El grupo de activistas de Rumbo a Gaza emprende la primera etapa del viaje que le llevará hasta la Franja de Gaza

Las más de 40 personas que embarcarán en el ‘Gernika’, el navío del Estado español en la Flotilla de la Libertad, han partido hoy del aeropuerto de Barajas

En el grupo se encuentran también el eurodiputado Willy Meyer, el actor Willy Toledo y la diputada autonómica valenciana Marina Albiol

Madrid, 22 de junio de 2011.- El grupo de activistas de Rumbo a Gaza que participará en la Segunda Flotilla de la Libertad han partido hoy del aeropuerto de Barajas, iniciando así el viaje que les llevará hasta la Franja de Gaza. Además de la brigada de activistas, también viajan hoy personalidades como el eurodiputado Willy Meyer, el actor Willy Toledo o la diputada autonómica valenciana Marina Albiol, quienes forman parte de la delegación española que, junto a una gran coalición internacional, intentará romper y poner fin al bloqueo de la Franja de Gaza a finales de este mes de junio.

La expedición española –una de las más numerosas a nivel europeo de cuantas componen la Segunda Flotilla de la Libertad– se embarcará en un puerto del Mediterráneo a bordo del ‘Gernika’, el navío que Rumbo a Gaza aporta a la Flotilla. La expedición también aporta una ingente cantidad de ayuda humanitaria, especialmente material sanitario, educativo y de construcción.

Además de las personas de la campaña Rumbo a Gaza y de las personalidades representativas de ámbitos culturales y políticos, también viajarán en el ‘Gernika’ periodistas de los principales medios de comunicación nacionales, así como de otros países.

La mayoría de los y las activistas viajarán en el barco que Rumbo a Gaza aporta a la Segunda Flotilla de la Libertad, que supera en navíos a su antecesora. Precisamente, el 31 de mayo se cumplió el primer aniversario del abordaje a aquella expedición: el Ejército israelí asesinó en aguas internacionales a nueve activistas, hirió a más de 50 y secuestró al resto de las 750 personas que formaban el convoy.

Se trata de 40 activistas que suponen una representación fidedigna de la pluralidad de la sociedad española, tanto a nivel de territorios –hay personas de, entre otras comunidades autónomas, Andalucía, Asturias, Castilla y León, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana, Galicia, Madrid, Navarra y País Vasco– como por edad, profesión, procedencia social, etc. Las personas que componen la delegación española han sido seleccionadas de acuerdo a un riguroso protocolo en el que se ha valorado su experiencia en cooperación internacional y movimientos sociales, su conocimiento de Oriente Medio y de la situación de Palestina y su capacidad de trabajo en equipo.

La iniciativa Rumbo a Gaza tiene el absoluto convencimiento que los más de 40 hombres y mujeres seleccionadas constituyen un equipo de una inmensa valía, unido por la determinación de romper y poner fin al bloqueo ilegal al que el Estado de Israel somete desde hace más de cinco años al millón y medio de personas que vive en la Franja de Gaza.

Campaña Rumbo a Gaza

La Campaña Rumbo a Gaza surge de la sociedad civil del Estado español con el objetivo de aportar un barco, un nutrido grupo de activistas y un cargamento de ayuda humanitaria a la Segunda Flotilla de la Libertad, además de sensibilizar a la opinión pública sobre la dramática situación de la Franja de Gaza y, por extensión, del pueblo palestino.

La Campaña Rumbo a Gaza se define como una iniciativa no violenta amparada por las legislaciones española e internacional, no adscrita a ningún partido político español, europeo, palestino o internacional y cuyo fin último es coadyuvar a la búsqueda de una solución al sometimiento del pueblo palestino que sea justa y acorde con los Derechos Humanos.

Tras casi un año de intenso trabajo, Rumbo a Gaza ha logrado la meta inicial de aportar un barco, activistas y ayuda humanitaria  a la Segunda Flotilla de la Libertad. Este logro demuestra el gran respaldo que la sociedad civil española ha dado a la campaña y equipara Rumbo a Gaza con otros grandes movimientos de solidaridad internacionalista que han tenido lugar en las últimas décadas como la Plataforma del 0,7 o el movimiento No a la Guerra o su sintonía con el amplio movimiento social del 15-M que ha eclosionado esta primavera en todo el Estado español.

Para más información:

Alejandro Fernández
Rumbo a Gaza
Tel.: (+34) 678619913
comunicacionprofesionalcyl@gmail.com
http://www.rumboagaza.org

Cristina Ruiz y Aleyda Domínguez
Acerca Comunicación
Tels.: +34 918316940 / 911289771
mov: +34 672 300 896 / 672 300 897
info@acercacomunicacion.org

Una parte del grupo de activistas

Una parte del grupo de activistas

Gracias a Rumbo a Gaza y a todos aquellos que ha comparido la información,

MareVostrum

Interview with the Popular Movement to Save Iraq.

12 June 2011
demonstration against a lack of basic services near Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011.

Demonstration against a lack of basic services near Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011.

I just have received from Ali Issa a great interview with Uday al-Zaidi, the brother of the brave Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe to former president George W. Bush during a press conference not so long time ago. Ali Issa had just conducted a very interesting interview with him that has been recorded on video produced and edited by Joyce Wagner, and can be found at Ali Issa´s blog Al-Jadaliyya (جدلية).

Nouri Maliki’s Government and project are against the ropes. After 8 years of occupation, Iraq is moving too slow for a population that does’t understand why there is still such shortage of basic services and products or as Uday al-Zaidi argues “services are still going from bad to worse, security and safety have gone never to return, and the stench of treachery has spread. This has shown us once and for all that terrorism and the government are two sides of the same coin”. 

Udays is leading a growing movement in Iraq called The Popular Movement to Save Iraq. In this video he explain what are the aspiration and aims of the movement that seems to be gathering more and more people around a coalition. The Movement is trying to organize civil demonstration and sit-ins in all over Iraq with the help of other groups and association to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister and his government:

“we are not returning to our homes until Maliki’s steps down, the occupation leaves, corrupt politicians are held accountable, face trial and the parliament is disbanded”.

 Uday point of view is that the sectarian political system is not helping to improve Iraq’s politics, economy or society. The current political élite is too corrupted and influenced by regional and foreign entities to really help the country get on its feet. People has lost hope in their political élite and they believe they are unable to restore Iraq’s dignity and freedom.

According to Uday’s words we are about to witness a considerable increase in civil demonstration and protest in many provinces of Iraq. Maliki’s management failure in addition to his petition to expand the foreign occupation could be the spark that initiates the flame of revolution that we are seeing in many countries in the Arab world.

MareVostrum

Spain’s ‘Real Democracy Now’ movement

30 May 2011
Plaza de Sol

Plaza de Sol por Daniel F. Rivera

Hello friends,

Today, I would like to share with you my new piece in Al-Jazeera English. This time I focus on my beloved country Spain and how our people is bravely reacting to this crisis that is threating to change everything we know in this country.

I hope you like it. Here I leave you with part of the text and the link that takes you to the original article. As always, I am looking forward to hear your comments.

Anger, irritation, annoyance and even rage are some of the most common adjectives used by protestors camping at Plaza del Sol in Madrid. The massive series of demonstrations that started on May 15 gathered people from all classes and ages. Mothers came with their children; professors and lawyers gave improvised speeches at every corner of the plaza, protesters started building tents and other facilities.

The 15M movement or “Real Democracy Now – DYR” – started as a public outcry denouncing political corruption and unemployment that has soared to unprecedented levels. Some 25 per cent of the labour force can’t find a job and almost 50 per cent of young people are unemployed.

They united against what they see as an outrageous situation produced by bankers and politicians. Nerea, an active demonstrator with some physical disabilities, put it this way: “Right now we have political corruption, banks that are abusing our people, there is not access to housing and we can’t find proper jobs. I’m a graphic designer and I’m studying advertising and the only job the administration offers me is to become a teleoperator.”

Nerea’s views are just one of many similar claims that we find among protesters in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and other major cities. People also began to demonstrate in front of the Spanish embassies in Berlin, New York, Egypt and Ecuador.

Joan, a Spanish demonstrator, protesting in front of the Spanish Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, commented: “This is not a demonstration against the socialist government of Rodriguez Zapatero. The problem is that democracy does not care about the interests of the people anymore. Powerful people, banks and corporations have sneaked between us and the politicians.”

“We know how to do it; we know how to organise ourselves. This is a way to demonstrate to our politicians that the people are smarter than they think.”

Now some pictures I hav from the Plaza:

Plaza del Sol

Plaza del Sol, 15M, Daniel F. Rivera

Plaza del Sol

Plaza del Sol por Daniel F. Rivera

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