Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Power of Money vs. Love, News

Is it love or is it money that makes the world go round?

This week money appeared to be winning as the Greek government was congratulated by Israel's PM Netanyahu on helping to extend the blockade of Gaza around the Mediterranean.

As quoted by Barak Ravid in Ha'aretz (via Mondoweiss):
“The flotilla organizers did not take into account that Greece of July 2011 is not the Greece of May 2010...and now they are paying the price,” said a top Israeli official that worked intensively in the past few months to prevent the Gaza flotilla mission from taking place.
The reference, of course, is to the economic collapse of the Greek national economy at the hands of international bankers. The threat of defaulting on loan payments, and the pillaging of public coffers once used to feed penshioners, has spawned austerity measures on top of belt tightening, plus resistance in the form of demonstrations that continue unabated.

The irony of a seafaring nation like Greece enabling sabotage of seagoing vessels – vessels ironically languishing in port on the pretext that they need to be inspected for safety! It will be topped only by the irony of a nation, supposed to have been the cradle of democracy, caving to bullying by oligarchs dangling purses fat with gold. ("Netanhayu has become Greece's lobbyist to the E.U.," Ha'aretz reported an Israeli diplomat commenting on the situation.)

As for who will pay the price, it may be that PM Papandreou of Greece does not believe in the Hindu concept of karma. That is his prerogative, certainly. But in the short term he may find himself one of the unlucky ones who ignore history and then are forced to repeat it. The last head of state who had the curtain pulled back to revealed his complicity with the U.S. and Israel in enforcing the siege of Gaza – ex-president Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

The Gaza Freedom March, as you may recall, followed Operation Cast Lead, Israel's brutal attack on the population of Gaza and its schools, hospitals, and water treatment infrastructure. An international effort, the GFM brought various delegations to Cairo to plead with Mubarak's government to allow them to cross by land at Rafah and bring relief to the blockaded people of Gaza. Rafah remained closed except to a token few, but the effort focused attention on Egypt's complicity in enforcing the blockade – very much againt the will of its own people, and those of surrounding nations.

The last Freedom Flotilla sailed but was attacked in international waters as it approached Gaza. Israeli naval commandos boarded the ships; they opened fire on the Mavi Marmara, killing nine people outright and wounding many more. (Eyewitnesses report they ground women's faces into broken glass on the deck of the ship.) Much bad press followed, and international Boycott Divestment & Sanction (BDS) efforts to pressure Israel increased.

This year's Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human has revealed intense pressure by the U.S. and Israel to prevent the delivery of, among other relief cargo, thousands of letters to Gaza. Pulitzer prize winning author Alice Walker anticipated that a promised attack by Israel's military on the US boat “ Audacity of Hope” would be akin to biting the mailman.

No one is surprised by Israel or U.S. bullying. When your own government threatens you with harm and announces in advance that it will fail to protect your safety and human rights in international waters, you know you have passed the stages of being ignored or ridiculed. At that point your activism is starting to threaten the success of manufacturing consent, and they will fight you.

But there has been some surprise that the current regime in Greece has now become complicit in mass punishment of Gazans.

Demo outside Greek embassy in Ldn, for preventing #flotilla2 ... on Twitpic
Demonstration at Greek Embassy in London: let the flotilla sail!

And that is why the flotilla organizers have already succeeded in their quest to shine a light on the dark underside of the siege of Gaza. Whatever they decide in their big meeting today – set out for Iceland, scrap the effort and declare p.r. mission accomplished – they have brought some truth even to those who receive all their “news” from corporate media sources.

Because sometimes money isn't enough to silence the voices of love.

No comments: