❶ Civil society groups join forces to protect freedom of speech
❷ Occupation forces arrest Prominent Palestinian writer and political scientist Ahmad Qatamish
❸ BACKGROUND ARTICLES
- “Freedom of Expression and Social Media in Palestine.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture
- Mohammad Sabaaneh’s dangerous cartoons
- Hamas cracks down on Gaza journalists
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS JOIN FORCES TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF SPEECH
May 13, 2017
Representatives from over 30 civil society organizations gathered on Friday in Nazareth for the founding conference of the “Council for the Protection of Freedoms.” The council was established to fight back against the feeling among various organizations that their activities and freedom of expression are at risk. The goal will be to protect these freedoms from both the government as well as various tendencies among both Jewish and Arab society.
___ The conference organizers pointed to various examples in which these freedoms are being limited, including the nation-state bill, the cancellation of three events organized by left-wing NGO, Zochrot, the government’s new initiative to prevent left-wing NGOs from filing petitions to the High Court, the attacks on B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence, etc. On Saturday, following pressure from a right-wing student group, Hebrew University cancelled an academic conference focusing on academic research on Palestinian prisoners.
___The initiative is being organized by I’lam Media Center, which works to protect and promote the rights of Arab journalists and media institutions, and the Van Leer Institute. MORE. . . .
❷ OCCUPATION FORCES ARREST PROMINENT PALESTINIAN WRITER AND POLITICAL SCIENTIST AHMAD QATAMISH
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
May 14, 2017
Prominent Palestinian writer and political scientist [Professor at Al Quds University] Ahmad Qatamish was arrested in a pre-dawn raid by Israeli occupation forces today, 14 May 2017. Mr. Qatamish was arrested from his home in Ramallah and has been taken to an unidentified place. Addameer strongly condemns Qatamish’s continuing detention, as it suggests that he is still being targeted for his writings and activism. . . . .  he was arrested once more . . . and was subjected to torture and ill-treatment during 100 days of interrogation, an experience which he vividly exposed in his prison notes entitled I Shall not Wear Your Tarboush (fez) MORE . . . RELATED . . .
❸ BACKGROUND ARTICLES
- AbuZayyad, Ziad Khalil. “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN PALESTINE.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 2, Nov. 2015, pp. 40-42.
[. . . .] According to Saed Karzoun, a well-known Palestinian activist and digital media expert, 67.5% of Palestinians use computers, while about 24.3% of them use the Internet on a daily basis. There are more than 1,039,700 Facebook users in Palestine. About 49% of youth in Palestine do not read any newspapers or magazines, while 87% watch television daily, and about 27% of Palestinians listen to radio shows daily. . . . Palestinians have witnessed great success on several occasions when social media was used to organize political or social events. . . . ___The greatest challenge that Palestinians face while trying to use social media as a tool for freedom of expression is the change in Israeli policy toward those who dare to express themselves on Facebook or Twitter. Recently Facebook posts have been used as grounds for possible imprisonment when used to express political opinions. Israel has sent dozens of Palestinians to jail for several months, asserting that they expressed extreme points of view on Facebook . . . . many countries, including Israel, justify their control of the flow of Internet content by stating that this is done for national security and high-priority national interests. MORE . . .
- MOHAMMAD SABAANEH’S DANGEROUS CARTOONS
The Electronic Intifada
May 4, 2017
Palestinian culture is in itself a dangerous act, a reason to be caged.
___So suggests a cartoon in a new anthology of work by Mohammad Sabaaneh. The panel shows a group of men and women in traditional dress dancing the folkloric dabke while shackled together. A checkpoint cuts through the line dance, and Israel’s wall stops them short.
___Here, the message seems to be, even celebrations are fraught with obstacles brought on by the Israeli occupation. White and Black: Political Cartoons from Palestine, published by Just World Books, offers a rare opportunity for English-language readers to become familiar with Sabaaneh’s stark black and white images, printed in newspapers across the Arab world.
___These political cartoons are foremost a form of solidarity with ordinary Palestinians in their daily struggle for survival and ongoing battle for justice. MORE . . . RELATED . . .
- HAMAS CRACKS DOWN ON GAZA JOURNALISTS
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Abu Amer May 12, 2017
Gaza City — On April 26, the Ministry of Interior in Gaza launched a crackdown against what it described as “propagandists.” During this unprecedented move, 17 Palestinian journalists and activists were arrested for several hours before being released after pledging not to publish news about internal Palestinian affairs before verifying it with official sources. MORE . . .
“TO THE READER,” BY MAHMOUD DARWISH
Black tulips in my heart,
flames on my lips:
from which forest did you come to me,
all you crosses of anger?
I have recognized my griefs
and embraced wandering and hunger.
Anger lives in my hands,
anger lives in my mouth
and in the blood of my arteries swims anger.
don’t expect whispers from me,
or words of ecstasy;
this is my suffering!
A foolish blow in the sand
and another in the clouds.
Anger is all I am –
anger, the tinder
– – – From WHEN THE WORDS BURN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN ARABIC POETRY: 1945-1987. Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988. Available from Amazon.