Posts Tagged 'Palestine'

Tearing down the wall, musically

Founder-member of English rock band Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, talks to Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan about his stand on the physical and political wall that separates Israel from Palestine’s West Bank. The activist-musician is very much affected by what he sees as a horrendous injustice imposed on the Palestinians.

More than 30 years ago, Waters wrote the band’s famous album, The Wall. Give it a listen below.

 

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Palestine-awareness: calling all Malaysians?

The Star reports:

KUALA TERENGGANU: All Malay­­sians must come forward to raise awareness and generate a pressure group in aid of the Palestinians, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said the drive to raise awareness about the Israel-Palestine conflict was not about instilling hate towards the Jews but to advocate a peaceful means to end the conflict.

But that’s exactly what those people at the anti-war vigil, organised by the Anti-War Coalition, did the previous night at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. And what did they get as a result? The crowd was asked to disperse and some 21 people got arrested by the police!

According to Malaysiakini, the vigil was meant ‘to show support to the victims of war and aggression in Palestine and Sri Lanka’, an initiative that is worthy of praise and support by the authorities and fellow Malaysians.

Surely the concern for the welfare and dignity of the Palestinians (and other victims of war and agression elsewhere in the world) is not the preserve of selected politicians and groups. Why, recent worldwide protests against Israeli assault on Gaza had witnessed the participation of people from various ethnic, religious, class, gender and ideological backgrounds.

Set against this backdrop, some people may wonder, rightly or wrongly, whether this invitation to raise awareness about the Palestinian issue is only meant for the consumption of the Kuala Terengganu constituency in the run-up to the polling day.

‘Blockade’ in Malaysian Parliament

The Edge Daily reported that Malaysian Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee had rejected an all-party motion to discuss Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza that has left many Palestinians starving and facing humanitarian crisis.

Kiandee argued that the Malaysian government had already made its stand on this, and therefore ‘the issue is not urgent and need not be discussed here’.

Perhaps Kiandee needs to know that it would have made a great difference and political impact had parties from both sides of the political divide in the Dewan Rakyat be given the opportunity to come together and register their common stand pertaining to the Israeli blockade.

Moreover, what does it take to make this issue REALLY urgent in Parliament? Does one wait very patiently until a substantial portion of the Gaza population gets wiped out by hunger, military atrocities, etc?

Many a time, the sense of urgency, or lack of, displayed by the Speaker and/or his deputy boggles the mind.

Besides, this all-party stand on the Israeli blockade is one of the rare moments when ordinary Malaysians are ‘saved’ from the ghastly occasions of racist and sexist remarks and puerile antics exhibited by certain Parliamentarians.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Members of parliament (MPs) from both sides of the bench stopped their usual bickering and crossed partisan lines yesterday to support a motion tendered by Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (Batu Pahat-BN) to discuss Israel’s ongoing blockade of the Gaza.

In rejecting the motion, Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee said the Malaysian government has made its stand known to the world on the matter through a statement in October when it asked for strict action to be taken against the Israeli regime.

“I am satisfied that the issue is not urgent and need not be discussed here,” he said, drawing protests from both sides of the House.

Mohd Puad said in his motion that Israel has shown disrespect towards the demands of the international community and United Nations resolutions, which had called for the conflict in Palestine to be resolved peacefully and Palestinians to be given the right to form their own government.

“Israel again had used the blockade tactic and closed all border crossings so that the Palestinians in Gaza were left starving and faced with humanitarian crisis. The regime also has no respect for the Hamas government, which has been chosen as the rightful government during a democratic and fair election,” he added.

Datuk Mohamad Aziz (Sri Gading-BN) who protested Kiandee’s move said the big powers must be alerted so that they can make the Zionists withdraw the blockade.

Salahuddin Ayub (Kubang Kerian-PAS) then asked whether the House could call for those in favour of the motion to stand up but Kiandee said there was no need for that as he had made his decision.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh-PKR) said it was a good opportunity to show that the BN and PR MPs could unite to agree on an important issue, irrespective of their political stand.

At this juncture, Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan-BN) asked Kiandee to reconsider his decision. Kiandee explained that he rejected the motion after discussing the matter with relevant parties who were satisfied with the government’s stand.

N Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai-PKR) told Kiandee that the parliament is different from the government, so it needs to take a stand of its own.

Anwar, when met in parliament lobby, said: “I’m upset because this was an opportunity for us to debate this matter. There is a big difference between a government decision and the parliament’s stand.

“A parliamentary stand includes representatives from all the parties. The act of halting food supplies to the Palestinians by the Israeli government is too much. If this had happened to an African nation, it would receive a lot of international criticism. But because it’s done by Israel, it’s seen as trivial.

“The question of supporting Palestine does not come up as this is about humanitarian matters concerning blockade of food.”