By KIM PETERSEN*
(July 19) – On Friday afternoon July 18th in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hundreds of people gathered in front of the building which houses Canada’s state media, the CBC. An article in the CBC of the same day explains why the people of Halifax were disgusted; its subtitle quotes United States president Barack Obama: “’No nation should accept rockets fired into its borders,’ Obama says of Israel’s ground push.”
How should the nations where the United States carries out drone missile attacks respond to such an utterance from Obama? How should Korea which never attacked the US feel about the barrage of US rockets that obliterated so many Korean lives from 1950-53?1 How should Viet Nam, which never attacked the US, feel about the devastation of its people under rockets and chemical weapons? How should Iraq, which never attacked the US, respond to such a frivolous utterance from Obama?2,3
Of the Israeli rocket barrage into Gaza killing many children and mostly civilians, Obama portrays it as Israeli self-defence. Israel is the occupier, the dispossessor, the oppressor; hence, it can never be acting in self-defence.4
This ignores the fact that Israel is the occupier; Israel is holding Palestinians under a state of siege; Israel is dispossessing Palestinians of their territory; Israel is the ethnic cleanser; Israel is the outlaw state in defiance of several UN resolutions; Israel continues to defy international law with its war crimes.
The main title of the CBC article states, “Obama reaffirms U.S. support for Israel’s Gaza incursion.”
If nations enjoy rights to self-defence, than that must apply equally to Palestine. These rights must also extend to the Original Peoples of Turtle Island.
Would Obama deny the following?:
No nation should accept occupation. Palestine has been occupied ever since 1947 when the UN denationalized over half of Palestine and handed it over to people from another continent. The same can be said of Turtle Island whose denationalization project began in 1492.
No nation should accept annexation. Israel continues to erect and expand colonies (“settlements”) in the Occupied West Bank.5 Would Americans accept colonies built on its” landmass? In fact, much of the US has been acquired through annexation; history reveals that a large chunk of what was formerly Mexico6 as well as the Hawaiian Islands7 were annexed militarily.8
No nation should accept living under siege. A siege is an act of war.9 The entirety of the Gazan population is considered to live in the world’s largest open-air prison. Israel controls what comes in and out, forcing Gazans to build tunnels as a measure of freedom. Gaza is under siege. Thus Gazans have the right of resistance and cannot be construed as an aggressor to which Israel is acting in self-defence.
No nation should accept its borders, airspace, and seas being controlled by another nation. This is a no-brainer. If a nation does not control its own territory in all dimensions, then it is not truly independent. It is in a subaltern relationship with another state which controls its territory. This is a system of domination, anathema to freedom-loving people everywhere.
No nation should accept its people being slaughtered. In 1989, the US invaded Panama over the killing of one US citizen.10 Was this worth shelling out millions of dollars and killing thousands of Panamanian in retribution, with further loss of American life?11 Curiously, Israel escaped such a violent response when it strafed the USS Liberty with its warplanes in 1967 killing 34 American crewmen.12
All in all, it was another typical piece of CBC propaganda that I usually never read. Why should I? I know its reporters do not operate independently, and I know the reporters adhere to the CBC line, which toes the Canadian government line, which kowtows to the US and Israeli line. Yesterday I walked with approximately 400 Haligonians13 to protest the Israeli occupation and violence at the CBC buildings. It is a futile gesture as far as getting any change in the quest for justice for the Palestinian people; I know that. However, it shows solidarity against violence, racism, and occupation, and it beats sitting impotently on a couch, shaking one’s head at CBC’s imperialist-supporting propaganda about world events.
If only all people of conscience would rise off their keesters and say no to Israeli killing and occupation and stand firmly behind the boycott of Israel.14 I have to assume there are plenty of people not acting according to their conscience, otherwise this augurs poorly for humanity.
1. See Korean Truth Commission, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea: 1945-2001 (New York: 2001).
2.See Kim Petersen, “Genocide in Iraq: The Numbers Tell the Horrific Story of a Lying Government and Complicit Corporate Media,” Dissident Voice, 16 October 2006
3.Abdul Haq al-Ani and Tarik al-Ani, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States (Clarity Press, 2013). (review).
4.See also Kim Petersen, “Israel Is to Blame for the Violence,” Dissident Voice, 13 July 2014.
6.Howard Zinn, “We take nothing by conquest, Thank God,” in A People’s History Of the United States, 1492-Present (Perennial Classics,1999).
7.David E. Stannard, Before the Horror: The Population of Hawai’i on the Eve of Western Contact (Honolulu: Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawai’i, 1989).
8.The entirety of Turtle Island and down is one big genocide and annexation exercise. See David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (London: Oxford University Press, 1992).
9.See Tom Gjelten, “Siege,” Crimes of War.
10.“Fighting in Panama: The President; A Transcript of Bush’s Address on the Decision to Use Force in Panama,” New York Times, 21 December 1989.
11.See Noam Chomsky, “Chapter 5: The Post-Cold War Era” in Deterring Democracy (South End Press, 1991.
12.Rand Clifford, “Liberty, Freedom, and the Attack on the USS Liberty,” Dissident Voice, 22 June 2012.
13.This is conservative. I derived the estimate by noting that the march was over 100 meters long and was at least 4-5 people across.
14.Difficult because that would point to a certain hypocrisy among Canadians, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, and other nationalities that live on land wrought through the dispossession of another people.
*Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice and a former contributor to Shunpiking Magazine. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.