30 April 2010

I am fine. I have one week left before I go home. As you have read in the papers things are getting hot here at the moment. Only around 20% of the attacks are reported in the press.
There is a change in tactics by the Taliban to hit the NGO's and the organisations that are tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan. It is clever tactics as these/my organisations are integral in redeveloping Afghanistan after the military bomb them. With the ISAF forces pushing in and around Kandahar the shadow Taliban government which controls Kandahar will be under pressure. It may just wait it out with the regular car bombs to keep the ISAF forces alert or it may target the civilian companies and any Afghans working for them. Which has happened in the last week, with the deputy Mayor and a female worker shot execution style.
On another note that book Time off to Dig (by Sylvia Matheson) looks really good. I am very interested in the artifacts here and have seen some lovely old terracotta bowls that were thousands of years old, for sale in the markets. They are not valued here and if they are not Islamic they may be destroyed by some people. So I feel like buying them just to safeguard them. These items are banned from leaving the country but the Taliban destroyed many items during their reign.
Anyway got to go, have been full on lately and have to organise handover and pack room getting ready for trip back home.
Photos and text Mr Mwezi

An Extremely Precarious Day in Bangkok
I almost met a violent and nasty end in Bangkok today. No, I didn't narrowly miss being hit by a stray bullet (although that happened to me once or twice here in Thailand back in the ‘bad’ old days).. nor did I almost trip over a sharpened bamboo spear (although I came close to lots of them during the day)... 
No, I was happily chatting away to my taxi driver about the state of Thai politics (not much else to talk about these days) on our way to the Villa supermarket on Sukhumvit to pick up some goodies for my old friend Charles who I was visiting in hospital.  
The driver suddenly braked abruptly and let out a very un-Thai shriek and swerved to take cover under the Mass Transit Railway bridge immediately to our right. I looked up ahead of us in horror to see a massive crane bearing a huge slab of concrete falling towards us... In a missed heart beat it stopped. Utterly inexplicably.  Just hanging there in the air right ahead of us at a very distressing angle. My driver recovered quickly and drove past, while I pulled out my camera and started snapping wildly as we drove away from the near catastrophe.  
Later in the day I drove back along the same route and realised that what had saved us all from being obliterated beneath multiple layers of concrete was the good old Miami Hotel (where my friend, Gayle, who I am staying with right now, spent her first night ever in Thailand back in 1981...). The massive crane, with its load still in place, had miraculously come to rest and was leaning cosily against the top of the hotel thereby avoiding a horrible tragedy...
Bangkok doesn't need any more tragedies right now, as Thailand passes through one of its most difficult moments on the rocky road to democracy. My innocent travels across town today passed by the now, well-known Red Shirt encampment in the centre of Bangkok. For the past 6-7 weeks, piles of car tyres, barbed wire and more recently the bamboo poles have cut off access to one of the capital's most upmarket shopping and hotel areas. Billions of baht have been lost and tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs as the city waits, and waits, and waits, in the burning heat and first violent monsoonal rains...
Tomorrow is May Day. As night falls on this last day of April, countless busloads of red, yellow, pink, multi-coloured and no-coloured supporters from across the country are heading to the capital.  I hope and pray another miracle will be forthcoming to help all of us get safely though what promises to be a very sticky day.
Photos and text Chris Mougne

On Wednesday, Cheryl Roussel for the Independent reported 10,000 cereal farmers with 1,300 tractors were hitting the streets of Paris and demanding government help for their industry. These farmers had spent two days driving their tractors to Paris. We live in the heart of rural agricultural France. I see how hard these farmers work. Often at midnight, they are still driving their machines in the fields. Day after day. Evidently they want government tax breaks.. I think driving to Paris is not something they would idly do. It is time the farmers, the environmentalists and the financiers go together and talked things over. It’s time for change. Too many pesticides. Too many situations causing serious depression. Too many people with cancer. These things are linked. Now it’s time for the different people involved to be linked up, so they can make adjustments and find satisfactory solutions.
Joselyn Morton

Film review
Beneath Hill 60.
Went to the Country last weekend as its a long weekend on account of Anzac Day falling on a Sunday. (We do something similar for the Queens birthday. Like she's had it already but we don't get the holiday till June 14 and that’s too close to the Anzac day holiday. Good isn't it? Lately there is a lot of flag waving by drunken ignorant youth in our cities on Anzac day. I even ran into a huge group of happily drunken young Aussies and 'kiwis' (!!!!!)  I hate the term, in Istanbul around Anzac day. They were of to 'the cove' to rise hungover on the 25th to hear freeloading politicians withtheir wives rabble on about mateship and dying for the flag even if it was
invading a sovereign country half-way round the world. Now there is a beaut new movie for this young crowd. This movie shows us what great blokes Aussies are, and how they liked to play practical jokes on young girls and it is showing at the local cinema. Beneath Hill 60 - top title eh? A bunch of miners from Queensland go to the trenches in Europe to help the hopeless Brits out, with their 'ingenuity' by draining the water out from around the explosives. TheBrits and a nutty Canadian to save the day. They achieve this despite a British officer in charge being bloody awful to them. Guess what? They get to blow the hill to bits although they have
to kill one of their own in the process. So exciting - the really good bit was the note on the screen just before the end-credits saying that the Germans recovered what was left of the hill soon after. Once again brave Aussies wasted their lives and drinking time, for the weak-as-piss Brits although they were very brave in doing it. The major sponsor for this project (in addition to the taxpayer) was a pub in Townsville. A XXXX to them for their largesse. A brave effort form the noted actor/director Jeremy Sims who has now has his credit as 'Jeremy Hartley Sims'. Talented Aussie Actor Brendan Cowell, who is the flavour of the year in daggy guy movies, is at his romantic best in the scene when he puts salt in his 16 year old girlfriend’s tea. I missed his Hamlet but I guess there was plenty of motivation for Ophelia in that production.
Stephen O’Rourke

Full of mothers
in old cars
with bald tyres
while the fathers
park the brand-new,
interest-free, turbo-charged,
male symbol in the
office carpark
all day.
by Joselyn Duffy Morton ©

Last Sunday, 25th April, London's Hammersmith Apollo was packed with an audience of over 3,000 fans of Humphrey Lyttleton, attending a memorial concert to celebrate the life and work of "Humph" who died two years ago on 26th April.
It was a fund-raising event to launch The Humphrey Lyttleton Royal Academy of Music Jazz Award, and his son, Stephen Lyttleton, introduced starry guest musicians, including Courtney Pine, Elkie Brooks, Jools Holland and Acker Bilk, plus a host of comedians who had worked with Humph on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - the regulars, Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Rob Brydon, Jeremy Hardy and Tony Hawks to name but a few.
It was a unique celebration, quoted as "more like a party than a concert, but that's what it was meant to be". The concert was recorded for broadcast on Radio 4, and will be scheduled at a later date.
I was not one of the audience, but on Monday this week, I attended a smaller event - the Royal Television Society Veterans' lunch.
Now I cannot claim to be a television veteran, but I was there to see Denis Norden who, at 88, had been tempted back to take the stage for an ‘in conversation’ interview with the mere youngster, Barry Cryer. As a script-writer, and long-time professional partner of Frank Muir, Denis helped to modernise post-war comedy, with the influential radio show, Take It From Here being their first venture.
It was a fascinating interview, which, unfortunately, was not recorded.
However, I hope to persuade Denis to come along to the Radio 7 studios to continue his ‘conversation with Barry Cryer’ - and this time it will certainly be recorded!
You can catch Take It From Here on Tuesday at 8am, 12pm and 7pm.
Mary Kalemkerian, Head of programmes, BBC Radio 7

Cover picture by Mr Mwezi in Afghanistan

23 April 2010


Brooke Lyndon-Stanford’s back-story
I was caught under the wheels of a truck while cycling to work in June 2005
(He completely didn't see me, and hit me from behind…).
Initially I had three operations over the course of a week to save my leg, and I was given a 50/50 on each operation. The doctors stabilised the wound, and told me that I would need new knee as I had lost half of my original knee (it was ground off…), this would involve no sports again, so no running or cycling etc.
Amazingly I grew back the missing part of my knee, which the doctors said was a medical first. Slowly I learnt how to walk again, first on crutches for a year and a half… then some pretty good limping action - I was registered disabled until the spring of last year (2009). Now I can cycle again and I feel pretty good about that, so I felt I needed a challenge and a way of celebrating this.
After the accident I became aware (i.e. removed my head from the ground) of the very high probability of man made global warming. So as a rampant traveller I thought it would be good to try zero emission ways of travelling. I embarked on some wonderful go-slo holidays (cycling, taking trains, sailing) and managed to give up flying for nearly a year and a half. I felt it would be great to tie in this kind of travel with my challenge, and decided that I would aim to get as far as I can down the zero meridian with zero emissions.
So please please sponsor me - even if its just a little amount - the direct link for sponsorship is www.justgiving.org/00 . All proceeds are going to save Rainforest,
The challenge is called 'Double Zero' because I will always travel on the very closest road to the Greenwich Meridian (the Zero or 'Prime' Meridian), and produce no emissions on my way (ok, i will exhale...) I will accomplish this by cycling from Greenwich to Newhaven Harbour (the nearest harbour to where the Meridian leaves the UK), then sailing to Le Harvre (the nearest harbour in France), then cycling the whole way to just south of Denia in Spain, where the Meridien leaves Europe south to Africa. The only exceptions I will make is that I will avoid motorways, and I will not go backwards (except where impossible not to) to stay on the closest road.
Twitter excerpts
17 Apr 1000: Massive breakfast & check map 4 Pyrenees ascent. Is fitting we in Lourdes as will need bloody miracle to get over mountains.
1100: Joined by Henry Bateson whos driven fr Paris, sporting new racing bike & red German skintight Lycra branded GUT. Looks large red jelly.
1600: 81 yr old cyclist actually catches up w Conny who 2b fair is slow on Brompton. He joins party for 3 hrs until Ibos, south of Tarbes.
1900: We arrive Lourdes. Nearly thru France. Strange town w. many many catholics hovering. Find 4* hotel, shower eat and go 2 a bar. A bar!!
Midnight: Go clubbing in Lourdes w Henry/Conny. Forgotten what nightlife was all about. Feel strange & out of place & it isnt just the lycra
Apr 18: Wake early to say bye 2Conny who has adventure of own 2make UK 4monday meeting overland. Henry stayed in club till 5 & has hangover.
1600: Above Mountain village Argeles-Gasost sign says Col d"Aubisque (1709m) closed! Conny/Henry find hard 2hide relief. Back down 2 Lourdes
1500: After organising travel plans very late start. Bye 2Francis who has work on monday. Man who nearly cycled whole of France will Bmissed
1400:Conny found out has business meeting London Monday. no flights due2 volcano has 2leave sunday. Can only start Pyrenean adventure. Damn.
Apr 19 1200: Go shops. Cant find new inner tube 2replace puncture yesterday eve. Beg in village. Kind man finds 1. Saved. Now 4mountains..
1200: Set off alone for first time. Henry's headache 2much & cant cycle. Brand new bike sits on back of car as he offers 2b support vehicle!
1500: Encounter Henry in car on route. Also has remembered business meeting in Paris Monday & must go. Amazing what sight of Pyrenees does..
1800: Arrive Larons via alternative route. Find hotel & prepare 4attack on Pyrenees pass Col du Portalet 2Spain tomorrow, alone 4 1st time..
Apr 20: Wake inSpain. In garage. Comfy tho & had hot shower last night. Say bye2 cycle fans Pedro&Catia after breakfast & continue downhill
1600:Hah these pyrenees are easy. Half way up the 30km straight climb and i still have both knees. Stop to buy some local cheese as its made
1800: Ok they´re not easy. The climb is much steeper now. I can hardly breathe due to altiutude, and its now pissing with rain and very cold
1900: Going v slow. Above snow line. No cars on road. Have 1st flashes of horrid death frozen on bike. No idea how far 2go. Gets dark v soon
1930: Have made the top!! Tired but exhalted. Now i know why they call it Poory-Knees. Met Portugese couple: photos of me,& place to sleep.
2000: Cycle down 2local ski resort in Spain where couple work.Stopped by Spainish police suspect I may be terrorist! On bike! Pannier bombs?
Apr 21 1400: Again uphill. Another steep mountain. Hate 00 route at moment. Could b following river in next valley. Water worryingly short
1400: 20km downhill! What goes up… Sadly find out that Spanish side of Pyrenees MUCH more severe. Go up again, another 20km up. Then down…
1900: Follow exquisite river 4 many miles down towards Broto town. Make camp by river. Alone in dark foreign land. My senses are electric.
Apr 22 1300: Arrive Barbastro. Cafe in main square w wifi. Eat, buy food, get nu inner tube. Enjoy cute Spanish town. Back into the wild...
1600: Wilderness. Totally empty roads. Find spring near top of mountain. Water! God is there for me. Get puncture at spring. God has giggle.
1900: Down thru empty lands. Spain unpopulated compared 2 France. A few crumbling ruins. Vast forests & dazzling views. Camp w. Pine trees


Photos and captions by Mr Mwezi in Kandahar
From the top Museum, shrine, Chilzina rock-cut chamber,
destroyed houses caused by bomb damage.


Photo: Chris Mougne
As Chris explained, “We can only thank the volcanic eruption and the red shirts for giving us this totally unplanned beach holiday! And Gayle for choosing the right spot!”
The ‘right spot’ is Koh Samed.
In Bangkok itself there are formidable barricades of truck tyres containing hundreds of sharpened bamboo sticks. The military troops are just across a wide busy road from the demonstrators. The red shirts support  the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. He brought in cheap health care – hence their loyalty and devotion.  Their posters read ‘We Love Democracy’. They appeal on red shirt radio for donations to get demonstrators to the rallies. They claim to be a movement for social change. Some 5-star hotels are refusing bookings to tourists. 
Joselyn Morton


His wife

“What would you say if I told you
I was in love with a forty-one
year old?” my eighteen
year old asked me.
I’d say, ”He’s probably married
and his wife
and his children would hate you
for the rest of your life.”
by Joselyn Duffy Morton

BBC Radio 7

Possibly the most distinctive, rich and resonant voice which brought both warmth and authority to commentaries on great state occasions, was that of the distinguished Scottish actor, writer and director, Tom Fleming. In 1953, it was Tom who graced the BBC radio airwaves with his commentary on The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
From then on his commentating skills guided listeners through such occasions as the Queen's Silver Jubilee, the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the enthronements of two popes, and funerals of such luminaries as Viscount Montgomery, Earl Mountbatten, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother.
Throughout 44 years Tom's informative and mellifluous presentation brought us the annual coverage of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with another annual duty being commentator for the Ceremony of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.
Passionately committed to Scottish theatre, he was also one of the finest British actors of his generation, on stage, screen and radio, whether playing in King Lear, Macbeth, Julius Caesar or in the title role in Jesus of Nazareth (this was the first time Jesus had been portrayed on television).
Tom Fleming died, at the age of 82, last Sunday 18th April. His last work for BBC Radio, two years ago, was in a dramatisation of Sir Walter Scott's The Heart of Midlothian, in which he played Davie Deans. (Tom was actually President of The Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club).
As a tribute to Tom, we will be broadcasting the Heart of Midlothian (produced by Bruce Young and dramatised by Gerda Stevenson) in the last week of June, on the anniversary of Tom's birth, plus a 2004 dramatisation of The Master of Ballantrae, in which Tom also appeared.
Radio Producer Patrick Rayner tells me that Tom featured in "a substantial and unusually villainous role" in two episodes of McLevy, series 4 - Sins of the Father and The Devil's Disguise. We will be repeating those programmes at a later date.
This Sunday thousands of runners will be pounding the streets of London to raise money for charity by running in the 29th London Marathon. I will merely be a spectator, but I do know of one radio colleague who is taking up the challenge. My offer of borrowing a Bob the Builder outfit from Cbeebies was, alas, turned down, but I will endeavour to make it to the route to hand out jelly beans and wine gums in the spirit of stamina-support.
Good luck if you or your friends or colleagues happen to be taking part in the London Marathon.If you are unable to be there in person, I hope you'll be tuned into BBC television and cheering the runners on from the comfort of your armchair.
Happy listening!
Mary Kalemkerian
Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7


Are you listening yet?

I’ve tried so hard to ease you into it,
Gently show you the way…
But you just don’t hear me…or won’t
So here it is…
Handed to you on a tray
Of volcanic ash
This is what I’ve been trying to say
This is what the world will be like if you carry on with your mischievous play
Anna Morton

Towards a Jewish State

Part Six. 
Divisions between different Jewish groups have always existed. The Ashkenazi (nazi???) Jews (from Northern Europe) dislike the Sephardic Jews (from the Orient and the Mediterranean) but they especially hate the Yemeni Jews (brought into Palestine to replace Arab workers) because they were Arab Jews (go figure).
The term “Ashkenazi” actually comes from the Hebrew word for ‘Germany’ reflecting the fact that many Ashkenazi Jews settled in Germany and along the Rhine Valley. Over time, the Ashkenazim were pushed back into Eastern Europe.
In Sydney we have the Jews who are sick of the ‘survivor Jews’; the Jews from Europe hate the ‘suburban’ South African Jews and they all hate the Russian Jews who arrived most recently. This is normal in the Jewish community. Argument is normal – the old Jewish joke goes ‘If you have two Jews you will have three sides of an argument.  My daughters reject their Jewish heritage because of Israel.
The majority of Zionist officials who held power from the 1920’s through to the 1970’s came from Eastern Europe and are thought to be descendant from the Khazar people who converted to Judaism. The Khazars originated in the Caucasus, not in Palestine and therefore had no part in Hebrew history and are not Semites.
The Khazars were a potent military force in Eastern Europe till about the middle of the 11th century, their last power base being the Crimean peninsula. In the 7th and 8th centuries, they defeated the Eastern Caliphate in several key battles, thus halting the spread of  Islam north of the Caucasus mountain range, much the same as what the Carolingian rulers did to the Western Caliphate at the Pyrenees. (Ironically, these Jewish converts made Eastern Europe safe for Christianity.) The Khazars gained control over major waterways such as the Caspian Sea, the Volga River, and the Dnieper River. The Khazar kings collected tribute from many of the East Slavic tribes as well as from traders traversing their country. Large garrisons were stationed at hill-forts located at strategic points throughout the kingdom (e.g., Kiev by the Dnieper, Sarkel by the Don, Samandar by the Caspian) to guard against enemy invaders.  
The king of the Khazars learned the Torah with the assistance of the Jewish preacher Isaac Sangari, whose existence has recently been verified (by the discovery of poems authored by Sangari in the Firkovitch collection of manuscripts). In the 9th century, the Khazarian kings and nobles officially converted to Judaism. Surrounded by the Islamic Eastern Caliphate of Persia and the Christian Byzantine Empire, the Khazars may have chosen Judaism as their state religion to avoid being religiously (and hence politically) dominated by either empire, so that they could avoid being labelled as heathens while at the same time remaining independent of their powerful neighbours. By the start of the 10th century, Judaism gained a stronghold among the common Khazar people, and the Hebrew script came into use in Khazaria. However, most of the soldiers in the Khazar army were Muslims, and the non-Khazar ethnic groups within the Khazar Empire (such as the Slavs, Bulgars, and Goths) did not adopt Judaism but rather remained pagans, Muslims, and Christians.
Shlomo Sands in[i] his book The Invention of the Jewish Nation has a chapter titled ‘Realms of Silence’. He quotes the well-known Jewish author Arthur Koestler, a Zionist pioneer in his youth.  Koestler [ii] ;
writing about the Khazar wrote… ‘genetically they are more closely related to the Hun, Uiger and Madyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Shlomo comments ‘Koestler was not certain, in the 1970’s whether the non- Ashkenazi Jews were descendants of the Judeans, and if the Khazar conversion was an exception in Jewish history. At the end of his book Koestler covers himself by saying “[iii]
Israel’s right to exist is not based on the hypothetical origins of the Jewish people, nor the mythological covenant of Abraham with God; it is based on international law - i.e. on the United Nations’ decision in 1947 ….  Whatever the Israeli citizens’ racial origins, and whatever illusions they entertain about them, their State exists de jure and de facto, and cannot be undone, except by genocide.
Shlomo continues;
… In the 1970’s Israel was caught up in the momentum of territorial expansion, and without the Old Testament in its hand and the ‘exile of the Jewish’ in its memory, it would have no justification for annexing Arab Jerusalem and establishing settlements in the West bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan heights and even the Sinai Peninsula. …. the Zionist was entirely caught up in the mythology of an eternal ‘ethnic’ time.[iv]
From the end of WWI the Zionist leadership concentrated on mobilising its community towards one clear goal - the construction of an infrastructure for a Jewish State in Palestine. Eastern European Jews who had arrived in the second aliya produced the first strata of leaders and formed the core from which the political elite was drawn until the 1970’s. This system of quasi alternative Government was in full operation by the 1930’s.[v]
Ilan Pappe, who in 2004 taught both Israeli and Palestinian students in Haifa, writes
‘The Zionist leaders had a holistic approach to their role, which permeated every sphere of their communal life with force and determination, just as it (Zionism) invaded every neglected or empty space in the land it could reach.’[vi] 
The Zionists greatest success was in extracting the Zionist community from the British colonial state in significant spheres of life.  One of the earliest examples of this was education.
The Zionist educational unit founded in 1914 was an essential tool in creating a new reality. [vii]  The most surprising act by the British colonial government was to appoint several Zionists to the general directory of education, which was responsible only for the Palestinian, i.e. government, schools.[viii]
Unfortunately the Palestinians leaders, it seems, were ready to leave the social and economic life of Palestine to the British.  
The Palestinian leaders, semi-feudal in the countryside and authoritarian in the cities, were unable to transcend the narrow world of the politics of notables. In a situation where political elites fought each other vehemently, this narrowmindedness was tantamount to paralysis and stagnation.[ix]
Palestinians were dispossessed in many ways including the Zionists fully exploiting the (mostly Ottoman) ownership laws to take over lands that had been cultivated by the same families for centuries without ownership. Another common method was to purchase land from absentee landlords and then evict the tenants.
Jacqueline Rose quotes Hannah Arendt as having predicted with uncanny prescience the future of the new nation after its victory in the coming (1948) war.
‘The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded inside ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defence to a degree that would submerge all other interests and activities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would centre around military strategy; economic development would be determined exclusively by the need of war.’ [x]
In November 1947 a proposal was put forward in the United Nations proposing a partition of Palestine. It would create two states. Maps, including the failed 1937 partition from the Peel commission, available at
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/israel_hist_1973.jpg  show the suggested partition - but maybe more interestingly are the ‘pre biblical’ maps, which seem to give a detailed geographical location for the periods 930 BC to 142 BC. I guess they were drawn up and placed into the dead sea scrolls or something – there is no reference to where they come from. That they exist as a record in an institution such as the Texas library demonstrates the depth of reach that the Zionists and their supporters have had.
The world’s two biggest powers; both holders of veto power; the British and US Governments were Israel’s major backers with their support for the 1947 partition. Although these Governments had a long record of supporting the Zionists’ work over many decades it appears that the German Holocaust against the European Jews, and others, was the clincher behind the UN decision to give Palestine to the Jews – not that Palestine or Germany were related in any way.  Palestinians immediately opposed this decision made by foreigners over their lives.  They attacked Jewish settlements and so began the ‘official war ‘that lasted from May 1948 to January 1949.  The Zionists’ planning since 1946 for this battle gave them the edge over Palestinians who lacked the logistic and planning skills experience and faced a better-equipped Jewish army.
Palestinian military strategy was undermined by a secret agreement between the Jordanians and the Zionists that the Jordanians would fudge their army’s support so that it would be ineffective. The armies of Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon proved to be grossly ineffective against the well trained Jewish soldiers. 
The ethnic cleansing began in March 1948,[xi] two months before the State of Israel was declared. Extreme violence was used including the murder of whole Arab village populations (eg Dir Yassin April 1948).  In some villages only males between 13 and 50 years old  were slaughtered. These murders were mostly accompanied by the total destruction of the villages.  In preparing for the possibility of not winning total victory the Zionists had studied the geographical importance of each village and lists of villages designated for obliteration were handed out to army commanders. About half of the 1000 Palestinian villages, established for centuries, were so destroyed.
70,000 of the large landholders in Palestine and the Palestinian ‘notables’, had left the country by January 1948[xii], having botched their responsibility for the political negotiations.
The British Government, which abandoned its legal and moral responsibility for the Mandate, fled home by the middle of May 1948 after the ceasefire. Pro- Zionist British officers gave one of the Zionist gangs, the Hagana, control of essential services and military bases while pro-Palestinian British officers were unable to contact the Palestinians. Bank accounts in Britain holding money accumulated over 30 years from Palestine were handed over by the British to the Jews.[xiii]
In 1947 Jews possessed only 6% of the land, had a population that was just 30% of the total Palestinian population - with the vast majority of that 30% having been in Palestine for less than five years. 
In 1948, 750,000 Palestinian people were dispossessed of their land, farms, houses and businesses and forced into exile by the Zionists. This of course radically changed the numbers as this 750,000 represented ‘90% of those living in what had been designated to be the Jewish State’[xiv]. This vile, desperate situation of the Palestinian exiles festers to this day.
The three books written by Jewish authors (Ilan Pappe’s A history of Modern Palestine, 2004, Jacqueline Roses’ The Question is Zion, 2005 and the recent book by Shlomo Sand The Invention of the Jewish People, 2009) are essential reading for a fuller understanding of this subject but it is to a book written by a Palestinian that I will now turn to, to close this brief, clumsy attempt to share some of the story of the theft of Palestine from its people in the process of the creating a Jewish State - The Question of Palestine by Edward W. Said[xv]
Page 69 (condensed extract)
            …. although it coincided with an era of the most virulent Western anti-Semitism,
Zionism also coincided with the period of unparalleled European territorial acquisition in Africa and Asia, and it was as part of this general movement of acquisition and occupation that Zionism was launched initially by Theodor Herzl………
Zionism never spoke of itself as a Jewish liberation movement, but rather as a Jewish movement for colonial settlement in the Orient. To those Palestinian victims that Zionism sought to displace, the fact that the Zionists had been victims of European anti-Semitism, cannot have helped their understanding of  Israel’s continued oppression of Palestinians. Palestinians could see quite clearly that, once victims themselves, Occidental Jews in Israel had become oppressors …. (the fact that) no sizable segment of the Israeli population has as yet been able to confront the terrible social and political injustice done to the native, is an indication of how deeply ingrained are the (by now) anomalous imperialist perspectives basic to Zionism. The fact that no Palestinian has as yet been able to reconcile himself to Zionism suggests the extent to which, for the Palestinian, Zionism has appeared to be an uncompromisingly exclusionary, discriminatory, colonialist praxis (accepted practise).
Page 72  One needs to repeat that what in Zionism served the no doubt justified ends of Jewish tradition, saving the Jews as a people from homelessness and anti-Semitism and restoring them to nationhood, also collaborated with those aspects of the dominant Western Culture (in which Zionism institutionally lived) making it possible for Europeans to view non-Europeans as inferior, marginal, and irrelevant.
(Something to think about when Israel celebrates the sixty-second anniversary of its‘creation day’ this May eh)
Stephen O’Rourke
Bethmann, Erich W., Decisive Years in Palestine, 1918-1948, American Friends of the Middle East, New York1957
Davies, Norman, A History of Europe, Pimlico, London, 1997
Elston, D.R., No Alternative-Israel Observed, Hutchinson, London, 1960
Kimmerling, Baruch, Zionism and Territory, University of California, Berkeley, 1983
Mendes-Flohr, Paul & Reinharz, Jehuda (compilers and Editors), The Jew in the Modern World – A Documentary History. (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, New York, 1995
Pappe, Ilan, A History of Modern Palestine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004
Parkinson, C.Northcote, East and West, John Murray, London, 1963
Rabinowicz, Oskar, K., Fifty Years of Zionism, Robert Anscombe & Co, London, 1950
Said, Edward W., The Question of Palestine, Vintage Books, New York, 1980
Said, Edward W., Orientalism-Western concepts of the Orient, Penguin Books, London.1978
Sands, Shlomo, The Invention of the Jewish People, (Translated Yael Lotan) Verso, London, 2008
Segev, T., One Palestine, Complete – Jews and Arabs under the Mandate, (translated from Hebrew by Hain Watzman), Metropolitan Books, London, 1999
Shafir, Gershon, Land, Labor and The Origins of The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1996
Shapira, Anita, Land and Power- The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948, Stanford University Press, Stanford C.A., 1992
Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine, Vintage, New York, 1979
Simons, Chaim, International Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895-1947,
Ktav, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1988
Spiro, Rabbi Ken, http://www.aish.com/jl/h/48960501.hhtml
Stein, Kenneth W., Quotes from-The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939, University of North Caroline, 1984, http://pnews.org/art/4art/Landquestion.shtml pages 1-10
Stein, Leonard, The Balfour Declaration, Vallentine-Mitchell, London, 1961
Sternhell, Zeev, The Founding Myths of Israel, translated by David Maisel, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998 (Electronic book version)

[i] Sands, Shlomo, The Invention of the Jewish People, (Translated Yael Lotan) Verso, London, 2008, pp 239
[ii] Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth tribe, Hutchinson, London, 1976, pp17
[iii] ibid, pp 223
[iv] Shlomo Sands, Ibid, pp239
[v] Pappe, Ilan, A History of Modern Palestine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, pp 89
[vi] Ibid  pp88
[vii] Ibid.
[viii] Ibid  pp89
[ix] Ibid, pp87
[x] Jacqueline Rose, ‘The Question is Zion’, (quoting Hannah Arendt, from her article” To save the Jewish Homeland- there is still time”,  May 1948 in The Jew as Pariah p187.)Princeton University Press, London, 2005,pp
[xi] Pappe, Ilan, A History of Modern Palestine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, pp137
[xii] Ibid, pp 130
[xiii] Ibid, pp 135
[xiv] Ibid, pp 139
[xv] Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine, Vintage, New York, 1979


Roger Morton
For days our television screen was filled with images of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull and the ash-filled, thick cloud skies.

16 April 2010


Photos: Mr Mwezi
Captions: 1) Gateway to Kandahar at an intersection of Kabul, Pakistan Highways;
2) Kandahar Arch 3) Afghan goats 4) street scene

Interesting how the 3 main political British leaders avoided mentioning Afghanistan in their first televised political debate. I think the budget for the war in Afghanistan is £4.5bln each year. Quite a tidy sum. If they pulled the soldiers out, they could reallocate that money to health, education, housing, transport, pensions. All those areas need money – they are not looking after their citizens properly. They lack education, they can’t afford proper health care. Many die needlessly from neglect or lack of correct treatment. These citizens also lack a sense of well-being, of hope, of community spirit. They are violent and unemployed. They weren’t born like that.
How can a British government justify spending those billions in Afghanistan when their own citizens are so poorly off?
It was sad to note that the Green Party were not asked to participate in the debate. I think their leader, Caroline Lucas would have done justice to her party. I read their manifesto today. It made good sense. It was straightforward and it looked as though they did know how to balance their sums. They are not just intellectuals, there are many practical and environmentally sound members in their midst. I just don’t know why they are not seizing the moment when the other parties are in such obvious disarray.
Joselyn Morton