First came an explosion in the street outside. Then the sound of a single rifle bullet slicing through the sky in a sharp crack and into the apartment directly above the home of Raed Abu Saif, the same apartment into which his young daughter Safa had just gone. It was Saturday afternoon, about 4pm.
Abu Saif hurried upstairs and found, lying on the floor of the front room, Safa, aged 12. There was a hole in her chest where the bullet had entered and a hole in her back where it had exited. It took her three hours to die.
Outside in the district of Zimmo Square, at the eastern edge of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip, there was by now a heavy Israeli military presence, with tanks and troops and the sound of fighting raging. It was too dangerous for ambulances to reach the apartment and too dangerous for Abu Saif to head out on foot with his daughter. Instead, he fetched bandages, closed the wounds as best he could and held her in his arms as she bled.
“She said she was in pain, that she couldn’t breathe,” he said. “A few minutes before she died she told me to stop squeezing the wound, she couldn’t breathe. I was just touching her hair. Then I saw her eyes roll up. I felt her heart. It was not beating.”
From a piece of cloth the family fashioned a white flag, which Abu Saif’s mother carried. His wife, Samar, went with them out into the street carrying Safa’s corpse. An Israeli tank was parked a little way off and shone its lights at them. Twice the tank fired in the air over their heads, they said, until eventually they gave up and turned back for home to spend the night in the flat, the family and six other children and Safa.
Only yesterday morning did Abu Saif finally manage to cross safely out of the fighting and to a hospital morgue, where his daughter’s body was prepared for the funeral. But Safa’s mother and siblings were still in the house, surrounded by fighting and unable to join the mourners. The roofs of nearby buildings were still dotted with Israeli soldiers. It was from there the bullet that killed Safa was fired, the family believe.
A few questions;
- Q: does the IDF understand that when you fire indiscriminately into civilian buildings there are almost always innocent casualties?
- A: I think they know full well what they are doing.
- Q: are they infected with an American-style bloodlust?
- A: apparently they are.
- Q: does Israel live in a solipsistic fantasy world?
- A: the evidence would suggest it does.
- Q: do they really think that anyone believes they have anything other than the annihilation of the Palestinians as their goal?
- A: yes, they really do believe (see above).
Later on the article continues;
There is no doubt that many of the Palestinian dead were indeed militants, some involved in launching rockets towards Israeli towns. Several Hamas fighters were visible in Jabalia in their black fatigues, some armed, one carrying what appeared to be a detonator.
But the number of civilians, including children , among the dead and injured was inescapable.
The definition of inescapable from the Free Dictionary;
Impossible to escape or avoid; inevitable
One final question;
- Q: does the Guardian, like Israel, think that the massacre of civilians, including children, is impossible to escape or avoid?
- A: well, lets see now…
“I think we’re lied to about a number of things,” the Paris-born 32-year-old is seen saying in French.
“We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned?” she asks. “There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours.
“It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [in New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed.”
The Twin Towers, she claims, were a “money sucker” that would have cost much more to modernise than to destroy.
The actress goes on to cast doubt on the Moon landing of 1969. “Did a man really walk on the moon?” she asks.
“I saw plenty of documentaries on it and I really wondered. In any case I don’t believe all they tell me.”
Seriously though, does anyone still believe the official Moon landing story? And as for November the 9th…
The report, published by the Pew Centre using data partly supplied by the US Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons, acknowledges that the increase in the incarceration rate coincides with steep declines in violent crime, but questions whether the correlation between the two phenomena is direct.
It says that nationwide there are now 1.6 million people in prisons, translating into one in every 99.1 adults. It has never been so high and can be traced back to a surge of prison sentences handed down through the 1990s, although the rate has continued to trend upward since 2000.
The findings also underline America’s position as the most prison-heavy country in the world, far outstripping China, which has the second highest rate of imprisonment as well as Russia, ranked third.
For minority groups the picture is especially bleak. One in every 36 Hispanic adults is currently behind bars, while the number for African American men is one in 15. More stunning is the rate of imprisonment for black men aged 20 to 34, where one out of every nine is now serving time.
Welcome to Prisonland.
The US troops in Iraq have shot dead a civilian who approached their patrol near the town of Miqdadiya, north of Baghdad, the military said.
One report quoting the military said it the man had a cast on his broken arm under his jacket, which troops had mistaken for an explosives vest.
He had ignored instructions to stop and a warning shot, the military said.
There have been a series of bomb attacks in the Muqdadiyah area, which the US has blamed on al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Iraqi police said the man was elderly, hard of hearing and suffering from mental disabilities, although the US military could not confirm this.
“There was nothing suspicious found on him but the incident is under investigation,” said military spokesman Maj Brad Leighton.
“It was a mistake… an unfortunate incident,” he added.
An American soldier makes a mistake and an innocent civilian dies. That’s a high price to pay for incompetence.
This is not, then, pure neocon ideology at work, says Stiglitz: “Ideology of convenience is a better description.” It is an ideology illustrated even more clearly in another fact that Stiglitz can’t believe – that Bush put through tax cuts while going to war. In Stiglitz and Bilmes’s reading, this was downright underhand. Raising taxes, and resorting to the rhetoric of shared sacrifice used in the world wars, for example, would have made Americans more aware of exactly what the war was costing them, and would have provoked opposition sooner. The solution was to borrow the money, at interest of couple of hundred billion dollars a year, which, by 2017, will add up to another trillion dollars or so. This government will be gone in nine months; subsequent administrations, and generations, will have to pay it off.
At the same time, Stiglitz and Bilmes argue, the Federal Reserve colluded in this obfuscation, because it “kept interest rates lower than they otherwise might have been, and looked the other way as lending standards were lowered, thereby encouraging households to borrow more – and spend more.” Alan Greenspan, by this account, encouraged people to take on variable-rate mortgages, even as household savings rates went negative for the first time since the Depression. Individuals were taking on unprecedented debt at the same time as a long housing bubble made them feel wealthy (and less concerned with derring-do abroad) – a scenario echoed on this side of the Atlantic.
On one occasion, a house east of the Jabaliya refugee camp was struck – two children, a brother and sister, were killed.
Later, a 15-year-old girl and her 16-year-old sister were also killed.
In another attack, a mother was killed as she was preparing breakfast for her children, medical workers said.
“We are in the middle of a total war. We hear the rockets and the explosions everywhere… we cannot leave our homes,” a Jabaliya resident, Abu Alaa, told the AFP news agency.
“They’re shooting at everything that moves.”
Mother making breakfast for children; militant. Sisters (15 and 16 years old); militants. Children (brother and sister); militants.
An Israeli government minister warned yesterday that increasing rocket fire from Gaza would bring Palestinians a Shoah – the Hebrew word normally used to denote the Nazi Holocaust inflicted on Jews during the Second World War.
Mr Vilnai declared: “As the rocket fire grows, and the range increases – and they haven’t yet said the last word on this – they are bringing upon themselves a greater Shoah because we will use all our strength in every way we deem appropriate, whether in air strikes or on the ground.”
Israel’s project nears it’s final phase; the final solution of the Palestinian problem. And the rest of the world watches.
While presidential libraries are usually seen as a coup for any university, bringing with them prestige and tourists, the Bush library has provoked anger among academics and religious leaders.
A number of academics at SMU and elsewhere in the US believe the war on Iraq and the president’s views on issues such as gay rights and torture made the university an unsuitable location.
Alarm has also been expressed over the independent institute that will fund research promoting Bush’s ideas and vision. Academics have also said that an executive order, signed by Bush, which gives presidents and their families more control over presidential papers, could result in material being censored.
Benjamin Hufbauer, an associate professor of art history at the University of Louisville, said the agreement at SMU was “totally different” to that of other universities hosting presidential libraries, reports the Inside Higher Ed website.
“Academics everywhere should be concerned about this. Clearly this goes against the idea of dispassionate inquiry, of looking at things on the basis of fact and merit. If it’s ideological, that’s opposed to the mission of a university,” Hufbauer said.
The Rev William McElvaney, a professor emeritus of preaching and worship at SMU’s theology school, added: “As long as that executive order is in place, it’s really a censored library. What self-respecting university would accept a censored library?”
The religious thinktank Ekklesia said some Christians believed Bush’s views were against church teachings, and reported that those opposed to the library would continue their fight in court.
The Rev Andrew J Weaver, a united Methodist pastor and SMU alumnus who has led a petition against the library plan, said: “SMU has signed something that is totally out of bounds, and it’s only a matter of going to court with them. It will be David vs Goliath, but David won the first time.”
Announcing the decision on Friday to house the centre at SMU, which counts the first lady Laura Bush among its alumni, the university’s president, R Gerald Turner, said it was a “great honour to be chosen as the site of this tremendous resource for historical research, dialogue and public programmes”.
The library will contain documents and artefacts from the Bush administration, while the museum will house permanent and travelling exhibitions. Both will be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The institute will be run by the George W Bush Presidential Library Foundation. It will have its own board and at least one seat will be allocated to the university. Joint programmes may be run between SMU and the institute.
In a letter to the university, Bush said: “I look forward to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our nation has faced during my presidency – from economic and homeland security to fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy.”
It must be such an honour for the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.