Rio de Janeiro at dusk by Pablo Moltedo
Here’s some excellent archival research by NPR’s Code Switch team (with help from NPR librarian Katie Daugert on blacks passing as East Indian or using “exotica” to navigate the Jim Crow South. This perspective complicates the conversations trending on the Internet about cultural appropriation.
"I was Jim Crowed here, Jim Crowed there, Jim Crowed all over the place. And I didn’t like being Jim Crowed." —- Jesse Routté, who pulled off what historian Paul Kramer calls the “turban trick.”
At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. But a few meters of cloth changed the way some people of color were treated.
As civilian casualties mounted on Monday in the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military reminded the world that it had warned people living in targeted areas to leave. The response from Palestinians here was unanimous: Where should we go?
United Nations shelters are already brimming, and some Palestinians fear they are not safe; one shelter was bombed by Israel in a previous conflict. Many Gaza residents have sought refuge with relatives, but with large extended families commonly consisting of dozens of relatives, many homes in the shrinking areas considered safe are already packed.
Perhaps most important, the vast majority of Gazans cannot leave Gaza. They live under restrictions that make this narrow coastal strip, which the United Nations considers occupied by Israel, unlike anywhere else.
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2010 called Gaza “an open-air prison,” drawing criticism from Israel. But in reality, the vast majority of Gazans are effectively trapped, unable to seek refugee status across an international border. (Most are already refugees, those who fled from what is now Israel and their descendants.)
A 25-mile-long rectangle just a few miles wide, and one of the most densely populated places in the world, Gaza is surrounded by concrete walls and fences along its northern and eastern boundaries with Israel and its southern border with Egypt.
Even in what pass for ordinary times here, Israel permits very few Gazans to enter its territory, citing security concerns because suicide bombers and other militants from Gaza have killed Israeli civilians. The restrictions over the years have cost Palestinians jobs, scholarships and travel.
Egypt has also severely curtailed Gazans’ ability to travel, opening its border crossing with the territory for only 17 days this year. During the current fighting between Israel and the Hamas militants who control Gaza, only those with Egyptian or foreign passports or special permission were allowed to exit.
Even the Mediterranean Sea to the west provides no escape. Israel restricts boats from Gaza to three nautical miles offshore. And Gaza, its airspace controlled by Israel, has no airport.
So while three million Syrians have fled their country during the war there, more and more of Gaza’s 1.7 million people have been moving away from the edges of the strip and crowding into the already-packed center of Gaza City.—The New York Times, "Havens Are Few, If Not Far, for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip"
#GazaUnderAttack update from the ground (Sunday 20 July 17:00)
The current death count is 425, including 112 children. These include Maaly Aby Zayed, who was killed by an Israeli air strike as he distributed aid, eight members of the same family (one who was six months old), and over 40 in just the one neighbourhood of Shaja’iya in east Gaza.
- "Deliberate massacre" in Shaja’iya due to "indiscriminate" Israeli artillery shelling" of civilian homes last night [source #1, source #2]. Entire families were wiped out by the random shelling, and fires spread as a result of the shelling. A UN school was heavily damaged. Footage taken on the ground “resembled Sabra and Shatila”.
- Even though ambulances found it hard to reach the wounded, there was still around 1 a minute getting to Shifa hospital. The hospital morgue ran out of fridges to contain the dead. Doctors say they’d never seen an assault like it: of the 40 bodies that arrived at night to Shifa hospital, 17 were children, and many bled to death because the hospitals were so overwhelmed. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon in Gaza, said the Israeli army is treating Palestinians “like animals” and asked Obama to spend one night in Al-Shifa hospital [source].
- The Red Cross asked Israel to cease attacks on Shaja’iya to send in medics, but Israel refused. The truce eventually almost happened, but was broken by Israel. Some medics held back for safety, but others still went in to help the living and collect the dead, doing so under Israeli fire [source]. At least one ambulance was totally destroyed (photo above), and at least two medics were killed. One medic, Abu Khames Shaath, went to a bomb site to find his family among the dead [source].
- Israel found to be using “flechette shells” in Gaza, which explode in the air and rain down thousands of tiny darts over distances of hundreds of metres. Not the weapons of an army that’s trying to protect civilian life.
- The UN agency that looks after refugees in Gaza, is almost out of money. They are now supporting over 85,000 people [source], well over the peak number from the 2008/09 Gaza assaults [source], and were worried yesterday they were going to run out of food, medicine and mattresses.
- Despite the constant fear, the Palestinian spirit doesn’t seem broken. “People here are supporting the resistance, which is obvious in all areas, despite our suffering,” says Mohammed Joudeh, a father of five. “This situation cannot continue, or return as it was 11 days ago - under Israel’s 8-years-long siege - where life was equally, if not worse, long-term” said Amnah Odeh, 66, in Rafah refugee camp. [source]
- Elsewhere in Palestine: Palestinian activists cut off electricity to illegal Israeli settlements in retaliation for the power cuts and recent assault on Gaza [source]; Israeli settlers attack and injure five Palestinians in Hebron, whilst Israeli soldiers nearby did nothing to intervene [source]; Israel refuses to buy bomb shelters for Palestinian villages in modern-day Israel [source]
- In Europe: on Friday, our activists occupied the Cabinet Office to demand an arms embargo against Israel [source]; close to 100,000 people marched to the Israeli embassy in London yesterday [our protest report], with the focus shifting to an arms embargo to Israel from others [e.g. in a letter to the Guardian from many celebrities, and an e-petition calling for a total trade embargo against Israel from the UK with over 30,000 signatures]; protesters in Paris defied the ban against pro-Palestine demonstrations, with “large crowds” [source]
- Internationally: protests in Chile, home to the largest community of Palestinians outside the Middle East, has suspended its trade negotiations with Israel, and is considering withdrawing its ambassador in Tel Aviv [source], a move which Ecuador actually did.
- Balance and Objectivity at the Expense of Accuracy?, by Deanna Othman and Roqayah Chamseddine.
- Weapons to Israel and the upholding of false narratives, by Ramona Wadi.
- Israel’s brutal war on Palestinian children, by Mohammed Suliman.
- Israel’s oppression of Palestinians supported by 100 British volunteer soldiers, by Joana Ramiro
- “Death toll disparity doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s true. Even if it was 50-50, the key context is still Israel’s colonial occupation.” [@benabyad]
- The ‘This Is Not Jewish’ tumblr wrote a piece about how to criticise Israel without being anti-semitic, which makes some valid points (but also some less good ones, as pointed out by this LPA member).
“Incendies” is a horror movie, a love story and a mystery, each thread of which is so expertly interwoven into the larger narrative that it is impossible to separate any one strand from the other. In the end, the effect of the sinuous, snaking drama — which elegantly traces a timeline stretching from contemporary Quebec to war-torn Lebanon of the 1970s and back — is like a tripwire. It knocks you off your feet and leaves you shaken.
—Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post (x)
Final weeks to see Alibis: Sigmar Polke. The New Yorker says it’s “the most dramatic museum show of the century to date. It may also be the most important.”
[Installation view of Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, The Museum of Modern Art, April 19–August 3, 2014. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar. All works by Sigmar Polke © 2014 The Estate of Sigmar Polke/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany.]