“WHERE YOU FROM?”

In December 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took the first ‘Blue Marble’ image of the entire planet Earth as they traveled back from the Moon with the Sun behind them illuminating our world.

In December 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took the first ‘Blue Marble’ image of the entire planet Earth as they traveled back from the Moon with the Sun behind them illuminating our world.

I was conceived in India.

I was born in Edinburgh.

I had six homes by the time I was 10, from London to Calcutta.

I immigrated with my family to Australia at 11.

I have lived in three Australian states and two of its Territories.

I have two options on passports, Australian and British.

I consider myself Scots, but thats really kidding myself.

I don’t need a visa to enter many countries around the globe.

I was born into the dominant white anglo culture.

I don’t have to think about my nationality that much.

My husband is Palestinian

He was born in Libya

He was registered with UNRWA as a refugee baby

He was raised in Damascus Syria

He came to Australia by way of a smuggler to seek asylum

He was detained (imprisoned) in the ‘outback’ for over 3 years

He was ‘removed’.

He lived in Thailand for 3 years

He returned to Australia as a permanent resident.

He has an Australian Passport. He is an Aussie.

He is first and will always be a Palestinian

He has an outdated Gaza Travel Document (They don’t have passports as such) and he has never lived there, nor is he ever allowed to visit even on this document.

His ‘family home’ is in Lubya, Palestine. It is his homeland where his family lived there for more generations than they can remember. He can name most of 5 generations of his forefathers and their respective families.

Lubya, Palestine no longer exists as a named place as it is now part of Israel. The landscape of Lubya was drastically cleansed of any evidence of Arab habitation. In mid-July 1948 it was “forcably depopulated” by the Israeli military units, during what Israeli Nationalists call ‘The War of Independence’ and Palestinians call ‘The Naqba’ (The Catastrophe). Any physical remains of Lubya were completely destroyed within two weeks of its people being killed and exiled.

The land where Lubya stood is now called South Africa Forest. It is a pine forest and leisure park in the Lower Galilee, Israel and part of a larger forest called Lavie. It is likely called South Africa Forest as it was established by the Jewish National Fund and funded by contributions from its South African chapter.

A moving video documentary has been made on this theft and occupation: Israel/Palestine – The Village Under the Forest (HD) – 55′ min (31 October 2013) “The real story of how the Palestinians were driven from Israel in ’48” -The trailer is free to watch. see here

When I have talked with Palestinians in the diaspora they are proud Palestinians though they cannot return. Theirs is a Cultural rather than nationalistic pride. It’s one of family, food and friends, ways of doing things and ways of not doing things, music, literature, art, dance, and camaraderie. One Palestinian friend said something once that I will never forget, “you always know and feel you are Palestinian, you know who you are, you drink it from your mother’s breast.”

The Zionist fear of the ‘right of return’ of displaced Palestinian diaspora is baseless other than it is based on Israeli Jews knowledge of their own ‘return’ to a land that was never theirs for at least the last 3000 years. The fear of the breeding Palestinians and of being overrun by Arabs is purely based on the fear of again being a minority.

Jews have gathered in Israel from many parts of the Globe, from places where they were as we are constantly told, systematically oppressed as in Eastern Europe or what was Nazi Germany. Of a Jewish population of around 5.8 million in Israel, almost half are said to have come from Middle Eastern countries, Russian and Eastern European Jews make up about 1 million, Ashkenazi Jews mainly European and American make up the majority of the rest of the Jewish population, a small percentage of African and Asian Jews and Christians from Palestine make up the rest and around 20% of Israel’s total population is Palestinian Arab. These figures are simplified from a census information that provides confused historical backgrounds that do not ‘add up’. see here. At the end of WWII the Jewish % of the population was around 30%,

Interestingly when Australia conducts a census, being a land of many homelands over the last 2 generations, this ‘background information is recorded. Israel is happy to memory hole the national backgrounds of parents and grandparents of Israelis, to bury the fact that the Jewish people in Israel are primarily immigrants, and their children and grandchildren have heritage elsewhere, much like we are in Australia. Israels history is one of wholesale slaughter and expulsion of the indigenous population just as Australia’s history is with colonists and our first peoples, But Israel did the bulk of it over 20 years through the Nakba and the 67 war. (We however poisoned, shot and evicted ours over 200 years with the additional crime of stolen generations of children removed from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families – read “Blood on the Wattle” by Bruce Elder, you will cry sorrowful tears of white shame.)

Israeli fear is the basis of their State policy where adherence to the Jewish religion is enough to get you full citizenship, in the only place in the world to do so based purely on religion. Ben-Gurion’s vision of a national language was to allow Jews from different parts of the world to communicate with each other. An important element of the Zionist policies and the development of nationhood,  the invention of a National language through literally re-birthing a dead language, brought Hebrew (which was primarily used for religious texts before this decision) as the lingua franca of Israel, with most Israeli’s initially having to learn the language.

In Australia particularly in the North the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will always introduce themselves by telling you where they are from. “Hey I’m from Tiwi, where you from? Or “I’m Larrakia where you from?” Place, home, mob, is who you are, it defines you.

My favourite Map of Australia showing the Aboriginal homeland areas of Indigenous populations, by 'community'.

My favourite Map of Australia showing the Aboriginal homeland areas of Indigenous populations, by ‘community’.

When in Thailand my husband and I went to Koh Tao for a honeymoon. I was unaware of it being an Israeli Army tourist holiday destination. We were in a bar, full of what I thought were ‘westerners’. A woman from the large group of travellers approached us and honing directly in on my husband asked him straight away “Where are you from?” she said she was asked by a male in her ‘group’ to ask him this. The obvious ‘Arabness’ of my husbands face was the reason for her bold and tense inquiry. She instinctively knew and was completely disarmed to find a Palestinian on her ‘holiday’ Island. I believe she asked because she was asked to by an ever vigilant IDF member concerned for the groups safety. “Thailand is a popular budget destination and jumping off point to other nearby countries for young Israelis after completing their compulsory military service. It is estimated that about 120,000 Israelis visit Thailand annually.” see here And no, he wasn’t there for an ‘operation’.

So how different am I? How different are you, from this ‘connection’ narrative?

I know I am far away, I call myself variously, Scots, British, Australian, but mostly I think of myself as from planet Earth. This is what most defines me for my own purposes. I am human, from Earth. This response is way too far removed from my fellow Australian Aboriginal and Islander compatriots experience and they find that difficult to fathom. It is also way too far removed from my Palestinian friends and way too far removed from most white Australians, who variously say they are from where they predominantly have lived or worked.

It is a view that equally flies in the face of current calls for outright genocide of populations to service greed racism and the money tree of capitalists is a frightening twist in the recent examples of land disputes tearing apart our planet. Two recent and foul examples of humanity lost to nationalism are occurring now in Ukraine and Gaza. We need to challenge these narratives.

Ukraine: see this site for full text example:

Hromadske TV is legitimizing the genocide of the population of Novorossiya, this mouthpiece of Ukrainian genocide, is financed directly by US and Dutch embassies.
“It’s perfectly simple. You need to kill 1.5 million people in Donbass”
Translated from Ukrainian by Valentina Lisitsa
Bogdan Boutkevitch: Ok, you ask me “How can this be happening?” Well, it happens because Donbass, in general, is not simply a region in a very depressed condition, it has got a whole number of problems, the biggest of which is that it is severely overpopulated with people nobody has any use for. Trust me I know perfectly well what I am saying.
If we take, for example, just the Donetsk oblast, there are approximately 4 million inhabitants, at least 1.5 million of which are superfluous. That’s what I mean: we don’t need to [try to] “understand” Donbass, we need to understand Ukrainian national interests.
Donbass must be exploited as a resource, which it is. I don’t claim to have a quick solution recipe, but the most important thing that must be done – no matter how cruel it may sound – is that there is a certain category of people that must be exterminated.

Gaza: see this site

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] faction in the Likud party and a new member of Knesset said amongst other offensive things……
On Sovereignty – “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.”

and this site
A recently published then removed Times of Israel article “When Genocide is Permissible” by Yochanan Gordon. Who issued an apology for the comment on its withdrawal.
“I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

and finally this because I am making myself very sick!
Jerusalem Post :Into the fray: Why Gaza must go
Martin Sherman: 07/24/2014 23:37 on the ongoing Israeli bombardment and incursion rounds in Gaza or ‘Mowing the grass’
It is an open question just how many more rounds of “mowing” the residents of southern Israel will endure before losing confidence that the government will provide adequate protection and choose to evacuate the area.

No, periodically mowing the lawn is not a policy that can endure for long – it simply will not cut it. The grass needs to be uprooted – once and for all.”

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To Conclude:
Most of us are removed from indigenous cultural connections to land and community, To fill any void we are being indoctrinated with Nationalist fervour not least in the form of Militaristic celebratory National days like Australia’s Gallipoli remembrance and trips to the Kokoda Trail or Gallipoli itself (the scene of a tragic WW1 defeat where the Brits as Colonial masters are reviled for their dishonest use of Aussies as cannon fodder for the Turks, who we are told see us as gallant adversaries). The best we can hope for is that more multicultural engagements of shared plates and music and arts and dance will engage us in a planet of celebrating our ‘difference’ and of acceptance of the colours of humanity.

The indigenous ‘connection’ is not one that separates it is one that connects, it is one where sharing the wealth of country is measured against what country means and how it should be respected. We would do well to absorb and listen to this story finding contemporary value and similarities. We are all cousins! We only have one planet. We live in a human family that desperately needs to see its integral connection to the planet rather than the tribe or the fake tribes of Nationalist fervour that are wrenching communities apart and inciting hatred and promoting genocide through propaganda.

‘RUNNING ORDERS’ Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s Powerfully Moving (please excuse that pun) Gaza Poem

My thanks to Jonathan Cook for sharing this moving piece………..

Running Orders by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Run.

– See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-08-02/poem-from-gaza-you-have-58-seconds-to-run/#sthash.R93eInrN.dpuf

Canberra, Australia- Politicians Gaza Declaration condemning Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza

Some Canberra politicians have done something decent!

Their names are below.

Noticeable by their absence – Any Liberal/National current members (Liberal by name only). Special award to Malcolm Frazer (X PM) who’s epiphany on decency since leaving parliament years ago can only give everyone hope.

It is a healthy change to see the terms ‘invasion; rather than incursion and ‘collective punishment’ used in relation to Gaza.

Speak to your local member if their names don’t appear, keep them informed.

Parliament House Canberra. Australia's Capital City and home of Australia’s Parliament.

Parliament House Canberra. Australia’s Capital City and home of Australia’s Parliament.

The Canberra Declaration on Gaza

We the undersigned members of Australian federal and state parliaments, call on all Australian politicians to condemn the ongoing Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza.

We call on Australian politicians to support an immediate cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire deal which includes an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the blockade of Gaza.

We call on all Australian politicians to also support the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to launch an independent inquiry into purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Over 1200* Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, since Israel started its military attack on Gaza three weeks ago. The United Nations says at least 75 percent of the dead are civilians, including an estimated 168 children. In the last two days, Palestinian children have been killed at a rate of one per hour.

The rockets fired from Gaza are not in any way justified and insofar as they threaten and harm civilians are illegal under international law. However, these imprecise rockets cannot be compared with the broad-scale bombing of Gaza by Israel which has one of the world’s largest military forces.

Collective punishment is not permitted under the Geneva conventions and is a war crime.

Hospitals, places of worship, and a centre for people with disabilities have been among the Israeli military’s targets.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is providing shelter to more than 102,788 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The international community including Australia has a vital responsibility to put pressure on Israel to end its current military attack on Gaza and broker a solution of justice and peace.

*updated 30 July 2014

Signed by –

  1. Maria Vamvakinou MP, Labor
  2. Melissa Parke MP, Labor
  3. Laurie Ferguson MP, Labor
  4. Alan Griffin MP, Labor
  5. Sharon Claydon MP, Labor
  6. Adam Bandt MP, Greens
  7. Barbara Perry MP, Labor
  8. Andrew Giles MP, Labor
  9. Paul Lynch MP, Labor
  10. Jamie Parker MP, Greens
  11. Lynda Voltz MLC, Labor 
  12. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC, Labor
  13. David Shoebridge MLC, Greens
  14. Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, Greens
  15. Dr John Kaye MLC, Greens
  16. Jeremy Buckingham MLC, Greens
  17. Jan Barham MLC, Greens
  18. Senator Claire Moore, Labor
  19. Senator Nick Xenophon, Independent
  20. Senator Christine Milne, Greens
  21. Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens
  22. Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens
  23. Senator Larissa Waters, Greens
  24. Senator Janet Rice, Greens
  25. Senator Richard Di Natale, Greens
  26. Senator Penny Wright, Greens
  27. Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens
  28. Senator Scott Ludlam, Greens
  29. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens
  30. Senator Sue Lines, Labor
  31. Tammy Franks MLC, Greens
  32. Graham Perrett MP, Labor
  33. Senator Anne Urquhart, Labor
  34. Terri Butler MP, Labor
  35. Julie Owens MP, Labor
  36. Lisa Chesters MP, Labor
  37. Senator Gavin Marshall, Labor
  38. Senator Anne McEwen , Labor
  39. Senator Carol Brown, Labor
  40. Senator Doug Cameron, Labor
  41. Cassy O’Connor MLA, Greens
  42. Senator Jan McLucas, Labor
  43. Lynn MacLaren MLC, Greens
  44. Jill Hall MP, Labor
  45. Jackie Trad MP, Labor
  46. Malcolm Fraser, former Liberal Prime Minister
  47. Shane Rattenbury MLA, Greens
  48. Yvette Berry MLA, Labor
  49. Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Labor
  50. Tony Piccolo MP, Labor
  51. Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent
  52. Senator Lisa Singh, Labor
  53. Khalil Eideh MP, Labor
  54. Lee Tarlamis MP, Labor
  55. Johan Scheffer MP, Labor
  56. Katrine Hildyard MP, Labor
  57. Janine Freeman MLA, Labor
  58. Amanda Fazio MLC, Labor
  59. Mary Porter MLA, Labor
  60. Ian Hunter MLC, Labor
  61. Stephanie Key MP, Labor

Any Australian politician who would like to add their name to this letter may contact the office of Melissa Parke or Senator Lee Rhiannon: melissa.parke.mp@aph.gov.au or senator.rhiannon@aph.gov.au.