Tag Archives: Israel

First Dog on the Moon: Meanwhile in Gaza …


First Dog on the Moon (Andrew Marlton) is an Australian Walkley Award winning political cartoonist and satirist. His cartoons appear regularly in The Guardian.

First Dog on the Moon also has his own website, which you can check out here.

This cartoon first appeared in The Guardian’s online edition on 21 July, 2014



Solidarity with Gaza and Palestine


french protest smoke colours   French activists in Paris release smoke in Palestinian colours in solidarity with Gaza

Dear friends,

I have not had a lot of time to post on Red Butterfly Effect this month due to Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza, which has now claimed the lives of more than 1050 people – the majority of whom are civilian, including hundreds of children. As a result, my focus has primarily been on the Gaza/Palestine solidarity campaign, including regularly updating my Palestine blog, Live from Occupied Palestine. with updates about what is happening in Gaza and the rallies in support of Gaza and the Palestinian people have been taking place both in Australia and Internationally. 

If you are interested in being updated on the situation in Gaza and the Australian and international solidarity campaign, you can check out Live from Occupied Palestine by clicking here.

Here are some direct links to photo essays of the Gaza solidarity rallies in Melbourne, around Australia and internationally.

Photo Essay: Melbourne Rally Against Israel’s Brutality in Palestine – 12 July 2014

Video & Photos: From around the world – Protests for Gaza and Palestine against Israel’s aggression.

Melbourne stands with Palestine: No to Israel’s war crimes in Gaza – 19 July 2014

Photo Essay: Australian rallies for Gaza against Israel’s war crimes – 19 & 20th July 2014

Melbourne stands with Gaza: Thousands stand in solidarity with Palestine, call for the Australian govt to break ties with Apartheid Israel

I have included below just some of the tweets from journalists and Palestinians in Gaza on the situation there (click on image to enlarge). 

in solidarity, Kim

B1 saftawi 8 laragaza scape

laz5 reuters2un4un51cnnFireShot Screen Capture #330 - 'Twitter _ MMVickery_ This is #Gaza_ Plumes of smoke ___' - twitter_com_MMVickery_status_492035542264328192shajiyacnn1FireShot Screen Capture #248 - 'Twitter _ JFXM_ #Gaza medics breaking down ___' - twitter_com_JFXM_status_490996797096349696larsim2reuters3childrenp2  FireShot Screen Capture #328 - 'Twitter _ millerC4_ #c4news #Gaza A uni prof who ___' - twitter_com_millerC4_status_491522733864669184FireShot Screen Capture #433 - 'Twitter _ AFP_ Gazans dig dead from rubble ___' - twitter_com_AFP_status_493061854286323713kel1kelFireShot Screen Capture #441 - 'Twitter _ sheikhNB_ One by one, members of the ___' - twitter_com_sheikhNB_status_492961620448919552




“Checkpoint”: exposing Israel’s apartheid through music



Why I Wrote the Song “Checkpoint” and Exposed the Apartheid I Witnessed in Palestine

by Jasiri X: Black Youth Project: January 29, 2014

DelegationaIsraeli soldiers checking my passport at a checkpoint in Hebron 

I honestly had no intention on writing a song based on the trip I took to Palestine and Israel recently as part of a delegation of African-American activists and artists, sponsored by the Carter Center. I’m still having a difficult time processing what I witnessed. I spent much of the trip trying to get my head around how one group of human beings could be so inhumane to another group of human beings. I still can’t understand. By day 4 of our 7 day trip I wanted to come home. The mental intensity of what I saw that the brutality of the stories I heard had taken a toll on me to the point where I had enough.

In one of the few light moments of the trip writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton joked that I would have a song and video out a few days after we landed in the United States, because I’m known for doing topical videos in a short period of time. I remember laughing and telling her my only plan when I got home was to rest, but Dream got the last laugh. Her suggestion actually caused me to think, if I did a song what would it sound like and how would the video look? And, although I had taken hundreds of pictures, the only places I recorded video were the checkpoints.

We as a group decided to walk through the infamous Qalandia checkpoint because our guide, who was Palestinian, could not ride through the checkpoint with us. Even though she had a permit and a passport, because she was Palestinian, she had to walk through the checkpoint on foot. I decided to record this journey, not because I had the idea to shoot a video, but because of the ridiculous amount of Israeli soldiers with machine guns surrounding the checkpoint. Being a victim of Stop and Frisk in places like New York City, I have gotten in the habit of videotaping any encounter with those in “authority” when I think there could be danger . In this particular situation, I thought it was best for the safety of our guide and our delegation.

When we were stopped at a checkpoint in Hebron, I began recording again, and I also was recording when armed Israeli soldiers boarded our van to check everyones passport and visa. Realizing the checkpoint footage was the only video I had, I started to conceptualize the song “Checkpoint”. I felt like checkpoint really summed up the apartheid conditions I witnessed in Palestine. That’s why the first line of the song I wrote was, “If Martin Luther King had a dream of the checkpoint, he’d wake with loud screams from the scenes at the checkpoint”. I truly believe if Dr. King was alive and saw the discrimination and oppression we saw, he would breakdown and cry.

At that point all that was left for me to do was find a beat that captured the emotional intensity of walking through a prison like checkpoint guarded by heavily armed soldiers. Thankfully, I had a beat from Agent of Change, who is producing the album I’m currently working on called P.O.W.E.R. (People Oppressed Will Eventually Rise).

Looking back on the trip, I’m thankful I was able to go and see the occupation of Palestine firsthand. I thought I knew what was going on, but I had no idea. I believe everyone who is able to should go and see for themselves the colonialism our tax dollars are funding. I remain inspired by the resistance of the Israeli, Palestinian, and African organizers we met. I hope my song and video helps contribute to the growing movement of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. When asked about my trip on Twitter I responded, the people are beautiful, but their reality is heartbreaking. The truth must be told.

The Art of Resistance in Palestine


Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it, so the quote often attribute to Bertold Brecht goes.   The place in which this often can be seen most clearly is in relation to resistance art.  In Palestine, cultural resistance to settler-colonialism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid has always been part of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice.   In the 1920s and 1930s, Palestinian poets and musicians wrote poetry and songs depicting the struggle in opposition to British imperialism and Zionist settler colonialism revealing that writers, musicians, poets and song writers and other cultural artists have always played a role in the national liberation struggle.

In the last 6 decades since the Palestinian Nakba, some of the best known resistance artists have include Ghassan Kanafani (writer and political activist) , Mahmoud Darwish (poet and political activist) and Naji – al- Ali (political cartoonist and writer).  However, Palestinian cultural and art resistance is everywhere in Palestine – it can be found not only in the form of traditional plays and dance (dabke) performances, but also at Israel’s checkpoints, on the apartheid wall, on the music of Palestinian youth and in the villages and towns of Palestine.  It can be found in murals, paintings, poetry, creative art displays, songs, visual art and much more.  Here is just a small sample of some of the art of resistance today by Palestinian artists and activists.

A Masterpiece of Resistance — The Artists of Palestine  by LAYLA QURAN

Art of resistance: Palestinians plant flowers in Israeli tear gas canisters by RT News

Global Street Art  – Palestine: Art in the Streets

Wall art video by PalestineIsraelLove

Palestinian art uses humour to resist – SBS News report

Palestinian hip hop group Dam with their song, Born Here – a protest song about the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Our cultural heritage is not your natural resource


One of the great things about “multiculturalism” and globalism is that for the first time, many of us have had the opportunity to experience cultures which are different to the one we were born into. We get to enjoy a variety of cuisine – Italian, Indian, Korean, Thai, Chilean, Ethiopian etc etc, as well as to experience different music, art and traditional folklore amongst other things. There is, however, a difference between sharing and experiencing each others cultural heritages and what is known as “cultural appropriation”.

Cultural appropriation is basically the adoption of some specific forms of a culture – music, dress, dance, language, art, foods, folklore, social behaviour, religious iconography -by a different cultural group with the cultural form assimilated by the later group. This adoption and assimilation is usually done without permission and sees the cultural artefact removed from their original indigenous cultural context, stripped of its history and cultural meaning and often take on a meaning devoid of the original cultural expression.  In many cases, the artefact is misrepresented, commodified and even sexualised. As such it becomes an expression of colonialism, Orientalism, racism and “othering”.

Cultural appropriation reflects, in most instances an imbalance of power – often between a colonising and imperialist force and those being colonised and oppressed or exploited. This imbalance of power relations and structures under capitalism is why cultural appropriation matters.

Recently, an Israeli dance company engaged in just such cultural appropriation with their production of “Israeli dabke”. Dabke is a traditional Arab folk dance, which is common in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. The world “dabke” means “stomping the ground” and is said to originate from the communal compacting of dirt floors in traditional Arabic houses.

In the promotional material around his production of “Israeli dabke”, Zvi Gotheiner of ZviDance states:

“As a child and teenager growing up in a Kibbutz in northern Israel, Friday nights were folk dance nights, This tradition continues today. One of the most beloved of these dances is a Debka, albeit an Israeli rendition of the Arab Dabke. The Israeli Debka and the Arab Dabke are linked historically. During the first decades of the 20th Century, Jews migrated from Europe to Palestine in large waves. The leaders and intellectuals of this movement made a deliberate effort to create an authentic Israeli culture that differed from the old world image of European Judaism. No longer the meek, the victim, the wanderer, these Jews were viral, masculine, and rooted to the land. Although forever in territorial conflict with their neighbors, the Israelis borrowed elements from Arabic culture that captured the sound, color, taste and rhythm of the Levant. Dabke is a case in point”.

While Gotheiner’s promotional material accurately reflect the appropriation of Palestinian culture by early Zionists, it also whitewashes the settler-colonial nature of Zionist immigration to Palestine. During the British mandate period, while many Zionist settler-colonialists adopted Palestinian dress, food and dance, they also were active in displacing Palestinians and ethnically cleansing them from their homeland. During the Nakba in 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed and more than 500 Palestinian villages destroyed by Zionist forces, this cultural appropriation and erasing of Palestinian culture took on new dimensions.  As hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were being ethnically cleansed from their land, Zionist militias such as the Haganah and later the newly formed Israeli military, either systematically “collected” and/or destroyed tens of thousands of volumes of priceless works of Palestinian literature, including poetry, fiction and works of history. Today, these volumes are designated “absentee property” and held within Israeli libraries and universities.

In the decades since the creation of the Israeli state, Palestinians have witnessed the Zionist cultural appropriation of both their dress, cuisine and folklore. Traditional Palestinian and Arabic food, such as olive oil, falafel and maftoul, have become “Israeli”, with such items being promoted and sold internationally as such. In all such cases Israeli cultural appropriation of Palestinian cultural artefacts has involved the whitewashing of Zionist settler-colonialism, occupation, war crimes and oppression of the Palestinian people.

In response to ZviDances latest cultural appropriation of Dabke, Palestinian dancers in New York  have made a video explaining how Gotheiner’s production whitewashes Israeli apartheid and occupation. While recognising that “culture is fluid”, the Palestinian dancers point out that “so long as there is inequality, there can be no cultural exchange” stating:

“While you [ZviDance], and other Israelis have appropriated Dabke for your own purposes, and no one restricts your free cultural expression, Palestinians have been arrested for dancing Dabke by the Israeli military. Their right to free expression is limited by the Israeli military occupation that governs their lives”.

They go onto note: “We all know that under Israeli law, Israelis and Palestinians do not have equal rights. Like it or not, by appropriating dabke, and labeling it Israeli, you further the power imbalance”.