Abir Kopty's Blog مدوّنة عبير قبطي

You will never be free until you respect the freedom of others


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A Middle Eastern Take on Trump’s Election

Dear American people, Congrats for the new president! There are 59 Million of you who are celebrating this. Let me tell you how things look like from the other part of the world, the Middle East.

Some people here are happy as you are, but for a different reason. They see Trump as representing the true face of America: white supremacy. He does not try to beautify racism, elitism, xenophobia behind rhetorics, he says it as it is. They think for what America has done in the world, this is what suits it best. Others wary his deeds as a president, internally and towards the outside. However, both camps agree on one thing: He is a very bad choice. And he is no different from the leaders we are fighting to overthrow here.

Not that they see Hillary as a better choice. The contrary. In fact the Middle East’s bon-tone was that these elections are about the lesser of evils. So make no doubt.

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Now that you know you have made a bad choice in the eyes of the rest of the world, regardless if you think it’s right, and regardless if it was through free elections, let’s recall history. What happens if the US is not happy with people’s choice in the rest of the world?  Continue reading


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In the name of “leftism”!

This week I came across an event that I can’t stay indifferent about:

An Israeli guy is organizing this cultural Arabic event in Berlin:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1252952224729814/

and you may also be interested in looking at this event too: https://www.facebook.com/events/1639583686369554/)

Why? because he can, because it is Berlin, because Arab culture is profitable and trendy now, and because why not?

When I tried to explore more, I got the answer that he is a “leftist” Israeli who moved to live in Berlin.

So being a “leftist” – which I’m not sure what does that exactly mean- becomes a “ticket” for cultural appropriation, nice!

The only way I can think about it is that he left a colonialist state but did not leave the colonialist practices, under the subtext of being a leftist and he is now in Berlin where everyone should live in peace and forget about reality and politics.

Even though the intentions can be purely money making. I suggest we look deeper. In my opinion this is about colonialist practices moving with someone from a place to another, taking different shapes. To put it simple, for me, there is a mentality of “occupier” that stays in someone that has not fully rejected his supremacist privilege which he was granted by a system of colonialism. When he/she claims to be “leftist”, this mentality makes him/her believe that as a privileged (leftist), he can do whatever.

Secondly, the Israeli occupation has controlled all our spaces, including cultural spaces. So when you are in Berlin, you think that finally you can have a space away of this control/domination. But no, someone will make sure to intrude on these spaces.

Lastly, this is not only a cultural appropriation, but also a type of whitewashing. The image that many Israelis who move to Berlin try to create; of Israelis and Arabs getting along together and, hence, life is great, is exactly what an Israeli “leftist” should be avoiding doing.

I really hope people do not make it a superficial debate on “freedoms”. This guy is free to organize this event. I can’t prevent him and I won’t. But I can criticize his practice and call people to make conscious decisions when they decide to attend/not attend such events.

Berlin is not an utopian place. Berlin is a great and rich city of diversity. But it has lots of stories about refuge, lost homelands and lives. Those who have experienced these tragedies, would not want them to be whitewashed by a party.

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The Israeli Military is grateful to the NYTimes

It is really hard to ignore New York Times’ headline for the story on the disturbing video of the execution of the young Palestinian Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, (21). Al-Sharif was executed along with Ramzi Kasrawi, (21), in Hebron on Thursday, March 24th.

I know it’s NYT after all, and pointing it out, like we did in hundreds of other cases, might not change anything, but still one can not and should not skip such outrageous journalistic practices.

The NYT chose this headline Israel Soldier Detained in Shooting of Palestinian” to cover a crime that was filmed (otherwise would go unnoticed), showing two disturbing scenes, both are equally severe (and painful): An Israeli soldier executes a motionless and injured young Palestinian man in Hebron, by a bullet in the head from point zero, the other soldiers carry on as if nothing happened, and second, Israeli medics and soldiers, ignore the injured Palestinian (before he was shot the second time), and leave him lying on the ground like he was a piece of trash. 

 

The problem though is not only with the headline, the 900 words and 18 Paragraphs article, gave the major weight for the military propaganda. Continue reading


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Teaching us how to conduct our struggle must be a tiring job

I have few comments on Larry Derfner’s article in Haaretz:
Firstly: I found it absurd when an Israeli journalist want to teach us how to do the ‪#‎BDS‬ correct! I mean, I know you know better than us what to do with us, but bekhyat.
Secondly: It’s amazing how many Israelis (who claim to be for Palestinian rights) always resort to (and hide behind) “the concern for Palestinian labor” to argue against #BDS.
This is a demagogical and shallow argument.
The Palestinian labor rights are violated ultimately and constantly by the occupation, in so many ways. Not only their social rights are violated, the colonialist project impedes any natural- independent economic development, wants to keep Palestinians (including workers) as subordinates, and profit from that.
Palestinians are not being employed by Soda Stream (or other companies) because Soda Stream is against the occupation and wants to promote Palestinian rights or workers’ interest. They are employed because they are simply cheap labor, and because Soda Stream wants to use them as an argument to legitimize its complicity in the occupation.
It’s that and more that we are concerned for and fight against by using #BDS.
Thirdly, the argument is also propagandist: Palestinian workers should turn against their Palestinian counterparts if they lose their jobs. Blaming the occupied again. Israelis love that.
And lastly, I’m always worried about those who need to think for us, then write manuals for us and explain things to us. It must be a tiring job.


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The problem with collective apology on Cologne

However much has been said and written about the sexual harassments in Cologne at the New Year Eve, the discussion has not faded away yet. So I take the opportunity to contribute, even if a bit late.

It was significantly disturbing to watch how the debate over sexual harassment against women was hijacked by national and racist discourse. It needs to be highlighted that the conservative groups claiming to defend women’s ‘honor’ and ‘rights’ are the first to attack women’s rights, especially their sexual and reproductive health and rights, via their neoliberal and conservative policies.

Women’s bodies are once again being used as a weapon. Those itching to bully refugees are using them, those who yearn to attack the government are using them, those who desire to distinct themselves from the other refugees are using them and those who are Islamo-phobic or Arabo-phobic are using them. The space left for comprehending the pain of those women was very little.

According to a statement by feminist activists, the German Federal Police count more than 7,300 reported rapes and sexual assaults in Germany per year, amounting to more than 20 every day. This was absent from the discourse. And hence, one understands why the German society was “too” shocked of the Cologne incidents. If sexual harassment does not happen in such a massive, public way, it does not exist.  Continue reading


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Israel to Shut Down the Only Palestinian Theatre in Jerusalem

The Palestinian National Theatre “Al Hakawati” published today an appeal to Jerusalem institutions and businessmen in the city to save the theatre from closure during the next 48 hours.

According to the theatre’s statement, director Amer Khalil, received a phone call on Thursday morning 11/26/2015 from the Israeli Enforcement and Collection Authority (ECA), responsible for debt collection and law enforcement, notifying him on the intention to complete the seizure of the theatre building in 48 hours.

The statement also added that two weeks ago the Israeli ECA seized the bank account of the theatre and handed a notification on the building seizure to the director.

Since then, the management tried to appeal to many bodies seeking financial support in order to be able to cover its amounting debt to the Israeli authorities (including the municipality, National Insurance and electricity company), so far for no avail, according to the statement.

photohakawati

From Al Hakawati Facebook page

To many this could be seem as a normal procedure of a state collecting debt from citizens, however, in Jerusalem’s complex situation and the vulnerability of Palestinian institutions under the Israeli occupation and oppression machinery, the issue becomes political par excellence.

Al Hakawati theatre is the only remaining Palestinian theatre and one of the few remaining cultural institutions in Jerusalem, after prolonged Israeli  destruction of Palestinian cultural and political life in the city. Located in the center of Jerusalem, the Palestinian National Theatre ( founded in 1984), became an important pillar and a center for Palestinian culture and art. Continue reading


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Media coverage- welcome refugees. Let’s talk power structure.

We can’t ignore the rising interest by the media to report about the so called “migrant crisis”. There are mushrooming reports about their plight, particularly the Syrian refugees, and lots of reporting about the warm welcome by Europeans. This was not the case two weeks ago. Some people believe that two events marked the shift: the suffocation of 71 refugees in a truck in Austria, and the photos of the little child found dead on a Turkish beach.

Migrants pass through the border from Greece into Macedonia. Photo by AFP

Migrants pass through the border from Greece into Macedonia. Photo by AFP

Mainstream Media’s reports about refugees are flooding our screens, welcoming refugees’ initiatives intensifying, they spread all over Europe and voilà, Political decisions are announced to ease the reception of refugees in Europe.

If we want to think politics, these are not coincidences. There must be a political interest/agenda that we do not hear about in the media.  Continue reading


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List of events in commemoration of the Nakba 2015.

List of events to commemorate the #Nakba on May 15th, 2015, in Palestine and elsewhere:

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 Beit Jala: 12-15th May, cultural events, film screenings and exhibition.
بيت جالا: معرض وفعاليات ثقافية وعروض افلام.
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Nablus: March May 14th, 7:30. مسيرة يوم الخميس الساعة السابعة والنصف مساءً تنطلق من أمام الكنيسة الأرثوذكسية

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Film screening, “The Stories of Land”, May 14th, Kufr Qassem.
عرض فيلم “حكايا الأرض”، يوم اخميس ١٤ أيار.

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“I won’t remain a refugee” Camp in Al-Ghabisiyya uprooted village. 14th-16th May.

معسكر لن ابقى لاجئ الثال في الغابسية

https://www.facebook.com/events/1465350100422421/

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Film screening, “When I Saw You”. May 15th, Sakhnin.

عرض فلم ” لما شفتك ” – عن النكبة والعودة

https://www.facebook.com/events/426060834232672/ Continue reading


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Call for action: Save Yarmouk Camp (English and Arabic and more)

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English

Save Yarmouk

ISIS has invaded Yarmouk refugee camp in cooperation with Al Nusra front after clashes that lasted for a few days. This happened after two years of continuous siege imposed by the Syrian regime and its collaborators. The camp is completely ignored and neglected by both official and non-official bodies, leaving  the inhabitants of the camp and its defenders without any support.

Residents of the Yarmouk camp are still showing a steadfastness as they have done during the years of the siege, but, as the camp is transferred into  an open battle field, the risk for murder, expulsion and arrest is acute, especially after ISIS has demanded the residents of the camp to hand over their sons who have fought against ISIS, and after ISIS has initiated a kidnap campaign of tens of them.

We are standing today, the Palestinian people and those in solidarity with the Palestinian cause all over the world united as one people in solidarity with Yarmouk, to take action to rescue whatever is left to rescue there, and to support the residents of Yarmouk in their battle right now to liberate the camp.

We send our appeal to all media in general and the Palestinian media specifically to cover the news of Yarmouk, and we call everyone to start organise protests in all forms, to support Yarmouk refugee camp and call on the world’s obligation to protect it.

Continue reading


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Knesset elections prove again and again that a change from within is not possible

So the Israelis have made their choice, they voted for Netanyahu, please respect their choice (for the fourth time), and stop dreaming for a change from within. Voters chose a Prime Minister who so blatantly incited against 20% of the state Palestinian citizens by saying: “Arabs are heading to the polls in droves. The rule of the Right is in danger.” They chose a Prime Minister who said clearly: “If I’m elected, there will be no Palestinian state.” 

Some people had illusions that replacing Netanyahu’s will be a positive change! But replacing it by whom? mmm. another right-wing party. Yes, I’m talking about Herzog’s Zionist Union. I’m sorry, Zionism and leftism do not MIX.

From a Palestinian standing point, the only difference between Netanyahu’s and Herzog parties is the wording they use. Netanyahu is very straight forward, Herzog party uses less ugly words. Logically, it’s much better to deal with a straightforward politician.

Stop dealing with the symptoms. Things will not be better if you replace a leader or party, and it is not about some racism that needs to be eliminated. Racism is a very natural result of a colonial regime. Address the roots.

So, in case you had doubts, the Knesset elections’ results prove again and again that a change is not possible from within. So it’s about time International players stop pouring your money and efforts for “dialogue” and normalization, it’s about time you stop pleading a colonial state to give crumbs to Palestinians. It’s about time you join Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and Isolate the colonial state.

This is not pessimism, this is realism.