Thursday, January 27, 2011

As the Arab masses rise

These are exciting days as the masses of workers and the poor take to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and, most likely, soon, in other countries as the revolutionary fervor whose explosion has been building for so long spreads across national borders. Repressive regimes aligned with imperialism have held down the struggle in most countries of the Arab world for decades now. That situation, contrary to the fantasies of the ruling classes, both comprador and imperialist, was never going to hold forever. Now breaks the dam. There's no telling how far this will go.

One thing all the Arab masses hold in common is their devotion to the national liberation struggle of Palestine. There's no doubt that these current upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa are providing tremendous strength and encouragement to the Palestinian people—and fomenting equally tremendous fear and trepidation in Washington and Tel Aviv. It's a great time, then, to share the news of a new book that makes a significant contribution to building solidarity with Palestine inside the United States.

The book is Gaza: Symbol of Resistance. The editor and driving force behind the book is Joyce Chediac, a Lebanese-American and longtime Palestine solidarity activist and journalist who has traveled to and reported on Palestine and Lebanon. In Chediac's introduction and in articles by her and more than a dozen others—covering the 2008-2009 U.S.-backed Israeli war on Gaza, the aftermath and the current situation—the book documents Israel's war crimes in the Gaza Strip and narrates how Gazans withstood siege and war, refusing to give up the right to choose their own government.

The book is intended as an organizing tool, and, as noted on the back cover, it's special because:

• It gives a comprehensive and lively narrative of the recent history of the Gaza Strip which does not assume previous knowledge.
• It provides hard facts from the UN's Goldstone Report on Israel's 2008-9 war on Gaza.
• It contains eyewitness testimony from participants in three Viva Palestina humanitarian convoys, which broke the blockade of Gaza and delivered aid.
• It reviews a history of African-American solidarity with Palestine.
• It explains why the Egyptian government enforces the Israeli blockade of Gaza while the Egyptian people oppose it.
• It gives voice to Palestinian forces censored out of the establishment media, including Hamas, and Palestinian activist groups that explain how best to support their cause.
• It incorporates statements from Jewish people who oppose the torture of Gaza, including Israeli soldiers who fought in Gaza, Israeli military resisters and Jews from the U.S.
• It gives the facts on why the giant U.S. media conglomerates won't give the Palestinian people fair coverage and are actually tied in with arms makers who make huge profits off Israel's aggression.

It's a great book, the first of its kind. (Full disclosure: I helped a little with proofreading, and have a small piece in it, but if I hadn't I'd still be thrilled about its publication.) You can order it from, or on the book's own website, where you can also read more about it.

Long live Palestine! Victory to the Arab revolution!