Tag Archive for Field Arabs

Voices From The Field: Abbas Hamideh

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Abbas Hamideh at #SupportPalestineInDC2016

[Ikhras Note: Ikhras was inspired by the Arab-American and U.S. Muslim “activists” and “representatives” that hijacked our collective community name, issues and causes for their own self-aggrandizement and in furtherance of personal ambitions unrelated to our communities’ agenda, interests, and well-being. As such, we have focused on exposing, ridiculing and holding accountable House Arabs and House Muslims in the US, to borrow Malcolm X’s expression. Although you will never see them in U.S. mainstream media, enjoying a White House “Iftar”, or groveling in front of pro-Israel U.S. politicians, we do have many Field Arabs who are genuine, principled activists committed to social justice and the liberation of Palestine. Palestinian-American activist Abbas Hamideh is one of these Field Arabs. Hamideh is a co-founder and leader at Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition and a tireless activist. We found the following entry on his FB page which we are republishing with his permission. We call on all activists within our community to adopt this model of activism.]  You can follow Hamideh on twitter @Resistance48 and on his Facebook Page.

When Hezbollah was determined to liberate southern Lebanon they weren’t waiting for an American political miracle to do it for them they did it themselves. They finally rose up and took what was there’s. We have a few examples of Arab liberation from Algeria and so on. I want some Arabs particularly in the west to stop feeling this apathy and stop having such colonized minds. Don’t settle for crumbs and false hope. Start believing in yourself and your people and believe that you are more worthy than whatever “solution” is thrown your way. Don’t give up and don’t give in. You don’t have to accept temporary lip service or a trend that’s giving you a “glimmer of hope.” No one is going to give us anything. Spare me the crumbs, spare me the “what choice do we have?” Did Malcolm X give in? Did Martin Luther King give in? Some of you quote these great leaders without understanding their message. Don’t be afraid to want what’s yours and to claim it without any reservation. As a Palestinian you don’t have to apologize to anyone about demanding your full inalienable rights. I know I won’t.

Roqayah Chamseddine Confronts Donald Rumsfeld

Ikhras’ friend and guest contributor Roqayah Chamseddine bravely stood up to mass murderer Donald Rumsfeld (she is the second activist in the below video). The day any of the House Arabs and House Muslims confront a war criminal this way, or at least stops collaborating with imperialism and Zionism, Ikhras will be happy to stop writing about them on its pages.

Michigan Human Rights Activists Face Nearly a Decade in Prison for Anti-Imperialist, Anti-War Protest

Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar are both facing felony federal assault charges for their roles in an anti-imperialist, anti-war action that took place during a Democratic Party meeting in Big Rapids, Michigan on August 16, 2010. At the meeting, which was attended by Senator Carl Levin—Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate—Max Kantar, 23, stood up and denounced Sen. Levin for his complicity in and support for U.S. war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Middle East. After Kantar was finished speaking, Ahlam Mohsen, 23, pushed an apple pie into Levin’s face.

Rally in support of Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar

Mohsen and Kantar now face up to EIGHT YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON for speaking out against U.S. atrocities and mass murder against the peoples of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

Mohsen and Kantar’s legal defense team is in IMMEDIATE NEED OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. Please make checks payable to the Campaign to Free Ahlam and Max C/O MECAWI and mail to MECAWI at 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202. For questions, please contact the Campaign to Free Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar via email at campaignforfreedom@gmail.com.

The CAMPAIGN also calls on all freedom- and justice-loving people to respectfully demand that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan drop all charges against Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar. Assistant U.S. Attorney HAGEN FRANK is prosecuting the case.

ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, HAGEN FRANK330 Ionia Avenue, N.W.Suite 501Grand Rapids, MI 49503Fax: 616-456-2408

Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar appear on the left, minutes before protesting Carl Levin (right)

Senator Levin played a CRIMINAL ROLE in supporting the U.S.-led SANCTIONS on IRAQ during the 1990s which killed in excess of 1,000,000 people, including some 500,000 CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE due to the denial of food, medicines, and water sanitation items. In addition to receiving more PRO-ISRAEL lobby money than virtually any other member of the Senate, Levin has also been a major proponent of U.S. DRONE BOMBINGS in PAKISTAN which have killed mostly civilians, including thousands of men, women, and children. Levin has always voted without fail to fund and sustain the murderous and dehumanizing U.S. OCCUPATIONS of IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN—unjust wars which include vast amounts of U.S. torture, murder, imprisonment, death, and destruction. The full statement (with sources) read by Kantar to Senator Levin can be accessed here: http://www.mecawi.org/Ahlam.statement%20and%20sources.pdf or http://freeahlamandmax.blogspot.com/2011/02/statement-read-to-senator-levin-in-big.html.

For more information, or to find out how you can help, visit the website of the CAMPAIGN TO FREE AHLAM MOHSEN AND MAX KANTAR at http://freeahlamandmax.blogspot.com/ or contact us via campaignforfreedom@gmail.com.

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST AHLAM MOHSEN AND MAX KANTAR! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

<End of announcement>

Related Ikhras articles:

Ahlam Mohsen Rocks!

Interview with Ahlam Mohsen’s Middle School Teacher

USPCN Stands Stands Against Repression

Received from Brother Musa today:

The United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) strongly condemns and denounces the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s political repression of 19 anti-war, Palestine solidarity and Palestinian activists. The USPCN calls for the immediate suspension of the federal government’s grand jury prosecution of these activists, and an end to the FBI’s harassment of our communities.

Since September 24, the FBI has raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of activists and has served a total of 19 federal subpoenas across the Midwest. The targeted citizens are outspoken community organizers and students critical of U.S. policy in Colombia, Palestine, and the Middle East.

The grand jury and FBI are seeking evidence that connects the 19 activists and their “potential co-conspirators” to U.S.-designated “terrorist organizations.” Five of the nineteen activists being targeted are Palestinian-Americans whose only crime is working tirelessly to inform fellow citizens of the realities of Israeli occupation. None of the 19 has been charged with a crime, and all deny providing material support, including money, to any foreign organization. These activists are shining examples of courage and fortitude, ordinary citizens doing the extraordinary work of building knowledge and support for justice and a common humanity

Federal harassment of our communities and associational life has grown precipitously during the last decade, as Arabs, Muslims, and their allies, continue to be persecuted for their lawful and necessary civic engagement. This suppression of civil rights and free speech seeks to criminalize and quell civic activism undertaken in support of Palestinian and other oppressed peoples’ struggles against U.S.-funded occupation and war. This harassment must stop.

The United States Palestinian Community Network stands in full support of our brothers and sisters unjustly targeted by the federal government.

We assert our determination and commitment to challenge our government’s policies, both here and abroad, and will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians, our allies, and all those struggling against oppression. The USPCN upholds the constitutional right of Americans to dissent without fear of persecution, and the rights of peace and justice organizations to organize, educate, and assemble, free and unbridled.

We call upon all USPCN local chapters, members and fellow citizens, to join existing local and national efforts organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Please visit: http://www.stopfbi.net

Do not be intimidated, we struggle together. Continue to speak your conscience, continue to educate, and continue to organize. Justice will prevail.

December 16, 2010

US Palestinian Community Network
Web: http://www.palestineconference.org
Email: uspcn@palestineconference.org
Twitter: http://twitter.com/uspcn

Interview with Ahlam Mohsen’s Middle School Teacher

In our August 16, 2010 article Ahlam Mohsen Rocks! we wrote about Ahlam’s bravery throwing a pie at the Zionist Senator Carl Levin. Among her many supporters is her 8th Grade teacher who says Ahlam began to show her leadership skills at a young age. Ikhras recently had the good fortune of hearing from Mechelle Schneider.  In this exclusive interview, Ikhras asks Mechelle Schneider about the young Field Arab who stood up for justice.

Ahlam, left, minutes before she pied Carl Levin, right

Please introduce yourself.  Where do you teach? Which subjects? For how long?

English teacher Coldwater Community Schools 30th year; Baker College Adjunct English instructor 5 years.

How did you come to know Ahlam? You’d mentioned in a comment on ikhras.com that Ms. Mohsen was an “intelligent, dedicated student” in your class and had “strong convictions”. Could you give us more insight about her personality and activism?

Ahlam was my student in CCS in 8th grade. She moved from regular English to an Honors English class where she was an excellent student. She was also our student council president. I was her student council advisor. During Ahlam’s presidency, our student council was awarded the Michigan Association of Student Council’s Award of Excellence. We attended several leadership conferences that year. It was also the year of 9/11. A very emotional time for us all. Ahlam had family scheduled to fly that day out of Detroit (that flight was canceled). With our Arabic population in Coldwater there was concern about the community reaction to what happened. Our student council arranged a moment of silence in our school in which every student and staff member joined hands making a huge circle of 900 (approx.) people. Our purpose was to promote peace and understanding, tolerance in our community etc. A month or so later, on a Saturday, I took Ahlam and two other Arabic girls to a seminar sponsored by the United Methodist Church in Battle Creek. At this seminar we were addressed by an Albion College professor who had an expertise in Afghanistan, a religion professor (also from Albion College), and an Imam from Dearborn. The discussion was about what should a religious person’s reaction be to the events of 9/11. The United States had not yet invaded Iraq at that time. All three girls listened, took in much, and had many questions that day. I believe that year she was already clearly showing her leadership skills and dedication to activism. I know later she was involved in a protest of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the earlier episode of the sit in at Carl Levin’s office.

You say Ahlam showed leadership skills early on, did you also notice an interest in politics from her early on?

Definitely so. In writing, she selected serious topics. After 8th grade she visited Yemen, her homeland. That visit also had a serious impact on her perspective and world view.

Would you say Ahlam was politically aware at a young age?

Again yes. A student is not as intensely involved in organizations such as student council and not have an interest in politics. I know we discussed George W. Bush at times. She was not a supporter of Bush. Interestingly, I remembered being censored that year for making the comment that Bush did not seem to have the level of intelligence that some of our U.S. presidents have had. I was told not to say anything negative about Bush by the administration.

You feel strongly enough about Ms. Mohsen to write to Senator Carl Levin to request that the charges be dismissed. Why do you feel her action deserves support?

I wrote to Levin because I believe her actions were being twisted. People can easily dismiss her as a “terrorist” or other nonsense. I think her Arabic heritage could easily be held against her. I think she is a sincere person of peace. I believe throwing a pie was a mistake, a serious risk for her. I would hope that her future protests remain more peaceful, but I believe she is still today essentially the person I saw ten or eleven years ago.

Do you think Ahlam has set an example for your students? What would you tell your students about Ahlam? Have you discussed her with your current students?

Yes, I do think Ahlam has set an example. I did write to her this week to caution her about becoming infamous and not famous! What would I tell people about Ahlam? I would tell them that she is sincere, believes deeply in her convictions, and voices those convictions. I have not discussed her with my students (school is still in recess), but under the right circumstances, I might. I also will defend her when her situation is talked about!

We have seen many other politicians pied, or had tomatoes thrown at them.  In Ahlams’ case there is talk of felony charges, do you think Ahlam is being treated more harshly?  If so, why?

Carl Levin is a well known senator with a long career in politics. I actually vote for Levin, but I am a consistent Democrat. In Ahlam’s case, I do believe that her Arabic heritage is type casting her. Levin’s heritage and Ahlam’s heritage are part of the clash. Many people are unaware that Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all have their roots in the same God. I believe we need to focus on our common ground and not accentuate differences or use those differences against people. You are right; the conduct at Tea parties is often more suspect or threatening than I can believe of Ahlam.

US Palestinian Community Network announcement

An announcement we received from the US Palestinian Community Network:

Join Palestinians in Washington, DC on Thursday, Sept. 2 for a picket outside the US State Department to say: Palestinian National Rights Are Not For Sale!

As the direct negotiations begin at the US State Department, it is critical that our voices are heard saying that the Authority does not speak for Palestinians and that we will not allow Palestinian national rights – particularly the right to return – to be bargained away.

Please join us at 9:00 AM – when the negotiations are scheduled to begin – on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, outside the US State Department at 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC. Please email nonegotiations@gmail.com with any questions. We call on all Palestinians, Arabs and supporters in the D.C. area to join us to make a visible presence against these direct negotiations.

Click here to sign Arabic-language petition to the Authority leadership.

Click here to sign English statement against the negotiations

The press advisory is below: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2010

PRESS ADVISORY

SEPT 2: PALESTINIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY REJECTS FUTILE NEGOTIATIONS IN WASHINGTON, DC

Palestinians in the United States say that renewed negotiations do not represent the will, or the rights, of the Palestinian people

Palestine is not for Sale

WHAT:

Protest and Press Conference by Palestinians in the United States to say “No” to Washington Negotiations

WHERE:

Outside the US State Department, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC

WHEN:

9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010

*Press contacts will be available in both English and Arabic.

On Thursday, September 2, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepare to meet in Washington, DC for a new round of direct negotiations, the Palestinian American community will convene at the State Department to demonstrate their support for Palestinian collective rights and reject the ongoing negotiations that marginalize and undermine them. The US Palestinian Community Network, a Palestinian community based organization with members and affiliates in over 20 states, says that these negotiations present a threat to Palestinian rights, including the right of return, and that the Palestinian Authority leadership has not represented the Palestinian people, especially the seven million Palestinians living in exile and throughout the diaspora.

Well before the expiration of its electoral mandate last year, the Palestinian Authority has not defended the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, equality, and return but instead has negotiated for little more than the ownership of disconnected Bantustans in the West Bank.

USPCN Coordinating Committee member, Monadel Herzallah comments, “The Palestinian Authority has failed to establish national unity, has failed to steadfastly demand the end of the Gaza blockade, has failed to dismantle the Annexation Wall. Rather than enter into direct negotiations with Israel–in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, the flotilla massacre, and increasing aggression against Palestinian resistance, the Palestinian Authority should hold Israel to account by suing them in third party jurisdictions, raising their violations before UN treaty-making bodies, and supporting a grassroots international movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. Refusing to do so and entering negotiations under duress affords Israel the veneer of diplomatic engagement as it continues to inflict structural violence and racism against all Palestinians the world over.”

Palestinians from Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. will gather outside the State Department to say that “Palestine is Not For Sale”, present a petition to the Palestinian leadership demanding they end these nonsensical negotiations, and declare that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority representatives cannot represent Palestinians, whom it has shunned throughout its leadership.

Ahlam Mohsen rocks!

Ms. Ahlam Mohsen threw a pie at Zionist senator Carl Levin. Ms. Mohsen had no regard for future job prospects, proper appearances or “strategy.” Like Muntadhar Zaidi, she put justice above concern for her own wellbeing. We congratulate Ms. Mohsen for setting a fine example for antiwar activists everywhere.

Ms. Ahlam Mohsen

With a solid record in sacrifice and courage, this was not the first time she was arrested for standing up for justice. She’d been arrested while protesting the Gaza massacre last year.

At only 23 years of age, Ms. Ahlam Mohsen was wise to observe Democrats’ complicity in war crimes. Commenting on why she pied Levin:

“We wanted to target Levin today to send a message that liberals and Democrats are just as implicated in the violence (of war) as the Republicans.”

Your message received loud and clear, sister Ahlam, and heard in the mountains of Afghanistan, on the Tigris’ shores and Palestine’s hilltops. Thank you for your selflessness and your dedication to resisting the wars. While mainstream Arab and Muslim American organizations may fail to support you or even condemn you, their voices do not matter next to the millions of occupied Arabs and Muslims who will recognize your heroism.