It Looks Like Apartheid Because It Is Apartheid

B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad on Democracy Now and in The Washington Post:

It’s not proportional. It’s not temporary. It’s not legal. It’s not equal. And it’s not complicated: Believe your eyes. Follow your conscience. The reason that it looks like apartheid is simply because it is apartheid.

The bittersweet feeling of the West finally realizing we are dealing with, and financially backing, a settler-colonialist apartheid regime but at a tremendous cost of more and more Palestinian lives (and yes, a much smaller number of Israeli lives) makes me ache.

Galician-Palestinian Solidarity Rallies

This year will be the year that the world finally wakes up to the absolute reality of Israeli apartheid.

But it is not a given. Governments still continue to fund Israel. Yesterday, in full view of the asymmetric warfare that kills massively more Palestinians, The Biden administration approved a $735 million deal for precision-guided weapons.

With all the documentary evidence of this apartheid; live videos, firsthand testimonies, Instagram stories, etc., ostensibly “liberal” media outlets like La Sexta and the New York Times knowingly distort the situation.

My tolerance for bullshit is very low these days. Israel and IDF social media accounts make memes and use rocket emojis, trying to convince us that what we’re seeing isn’t really what we’re seeing. Or the Arabic account incorrectly citing Qur’anic verses. Or it’s too complicated. Or this is another incident in the tit-for-tat Middle East conflict and “they’ve been fighting for thousands of years”. Or it’s a religious conflict. If you find any of these excuses resonant with you, perhaps you can start by listening to a Citations Needed podcast episode debunking the 5 most common Anti-Palestinian talking points.

Without a seat in parliament or congress, without financial or political capital, there’s very little I can do. Except use my voice, however small or insignificant.

The Galician Committee of International Solidarity Mar de Lumes, along with many other organizations such as BDS Galiza and Asociación Galaico Árabe Jenin, put out a manifesto for the integrity of Palestine:

Palestinian occupation began formally in 1947 and is to the day a capital crime. A crime against the people perpetuated with military force which constantly ignores international condemnation. The occupation of Palestine is also a crime against humanity. It has direct culprits that don’t even try to hide the weight of their bloodshed. This is why it demands a clear and staunch position, a frontal condemnation.

This evening, we will fill the streets and plazas of over two dozen Galician towns and cities to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Palestine to say “No More! Basta Ya!” To show our neighbors and our governments what is happening to civilians in Gaza, in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem, and in the diaspora. One day, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

Letras Galegas: Xela Arias on Rosalía de Castro

Source: Real Academia Galega and Xulio Gil

Happy Día das Letras Galegas! Poet, writer, and translator Xela Arias will be honored. Since I’m (currently) a non-Galician speaking galegophile and this blog is in English, here’s a section of her poem A de Quen Comprende translated courtesy of Canadian poet and translator Erín Moure.

The 17th of May brings a new personality and figure for us to get to know. I hope next year, with a better understanding for Galician, I can dive more into the original writings of both Xela and next year’s homage.

That of the one who realizes is no
glad word.
That of the one who transmits is
terminology, useful.
If every day its blast
does not detonate stupidity into shatters
what use are intelligence and feeling.

They made you immaculate. You were needed.
They make you inmaculate. You initiate the long trail.
Look how they crop you,
throttle to the last your right to detonate.
Nothing new, immaculate Rosalía.
It’s how women are always shut into the construction
of others,
you realize:
your own weapon turned against you.
That of the one who realizes is no glad word.

Spanish Thatcherism in Madrid and Tomorrow’s Regional Elections

I never thought I’d be as interested in Madrid politics as I have been for the last month. Basically, the Trumpian Madrid president, Isabel Ayuso, is trying to capitalize on some unstable political alliances throughout the country between her Partido Popular and the centrist/center-right neoliberal Ciudadanos. Ayuso handled the first wave of the pandemic terribly, but has leaned in to this hands off approach by calling it freedom, as opposed to the evil, tyrannical left-wing coalition of PSOE and Podemos in the national government.

She called for elections and to everyone’s surprise, Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos and one of Spain’s vice-presidents, announced his resignation from the national government to run for president of the region (comunidad) of Madrid.

Since then, there has been political violence at rallies, envelopes woth death threats and bullets sent to prominent politicians, a multitude of references to 1930s Spain and the civil war, as well as a normalization of the fascist party Vox and their ideology by the media.

Madrid has been a PP stronghold for 25 years while being known for corruption and privatization.

Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín in the Nation:

For the past quarter-century, politics in the Madrid region have been spectacularly corrupt. All four of Ayuso’s predecessors have been investigated or indicted on corruption charges. Meanwhile, the region has become a laboratory for neoliberal economic policies. — Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín in the Nation

Brendan Boyle from his article in Jacobin last year:

Ignacio Sánchez-Cuena of the Catalan-based daily La Vanguardia believes that Madrid is a relative outlier in terms of capital cities across Western Europe. London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels have long been viewed as bastions of diversity and progressive thinking, but the substantial vote in Madrid for the far-right Vox (16 percent) bucks this trend. “The capital city is today the epicenter of an uncultured and exclusionary Spanish nationalism,” he says. “With the security and arrogance that economic well-being produces, the dominant discourse of the right wing in Madrid states that the capital represents modernity and globalization, as well as a proud, liberal, universalist Spain.”

Tomorrow is the election. The left parties (PSOE, Más Madrid, and Unidas Podemos) only stand a chance if participation from traditionally non-voters in the southern working-class cities and districts of Madrid is very high and they gain enough seats to outnumber Vox+PP and form a coalition.

Meanwhile Ayuso has much better odds but will probably need Vox’s support. I’m seeing the Bernie problem again: the only way to change things up is more voices but those voices are small and at a whisper.