When I was little, I played with Stickle Bricks. One day, when I was in the second grade, I took a few bricks with me to school. I liked having them in my hand. It just so happened that Stickle Bricks were also among the toys we had in our classroom. They were very popular in the 1970s.
At the end of the day, as I was about to go home, my teacher Miss K saw the bricks in my hand. I wasn’t hiding them. She came over and said that I could not take the bricks home. They belonged to the school. I explained to her that these bricks did not belong to the school. They were my bricks that I had brought with me from home. Miss K got quite cross. “Don’t fib!” she said, and she took my bricks.
Although I haven’t thought about it recently, this incident stayed with me for many years. I remember distinctly that it was the first time I had ever heard the word “fib.” I knew the word “lie,” and I wasn’t lying. I must have worked out the meaning of “fib” from the context.
From that day, I lost all trust in Miss K, and thankfully I only had her as my teacher that year. The following year, I had Mrs. M, whom I had had in first grade and liked much better.
I don’t think I ever told anyone what happened, because I was sure I would get in trouble.
I remembered this today when listening to the voices of people on the BBC – now adults – who were victimized by the late BBC star Jimmy Savile, as much a fixture of my 1970s childhood as Stickle Bricks. Savile sexually assaulted hundreds of children over six decades, often targeting the most vulnerable in hospitals or residential schools.
A recurrent theme was that children did speak up and time and again were not believed; they were accused of fibbing. The earliest report of Savile’s offenses occurred in 1955, and the most recent in 2009, according to the official police inquiry released today.
As I listened, I remembered how upsetting it had been to be accused of lying over something as insignificant as a few Stickle Bricks. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live with what these and so many other victims had to endure because no one believed them or they feared no one would.
Thank you for reading my blog at Posterous, a rich record of my activities, talks, reportage, media appearances and other experiences over the past two years.
For the past few weeks I have started blogging at The Electronic Intifada: http://electronicintifada.net/blog/ali-abunimah
Please bookmark that blog and join me there.
I will certainly keep this blog here as an archive and may at some point post personal stuff to it.
On Land Day, Budour Hassan (@Budouroddick on Twitter), visited Lifta, the village where my mother was born, just outside Jerusalem, and planted an olive tree in honor of my mother and me, as the photo shows.My mother and her family, along with all other Liftawis were forced out of the village due to Zionist attacks during the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48. The village still stands, however, Israel has never permitted its people to return solely on the racist grounds that they are not Jews. Now, Israel plans to demolish what's left of Lifta and turn it into a Jews-only luxury condominium complex, compounding the crime of 1948. Lifta's people are now engaged in a new struggle to save the village. (See "Suspended in time, Lifta under threat," The Electronic Intifada, 25 March 2011). Thanks to Budour, and to her friend Amal who took the photo, for this very touching gesture. I hope that all Liftawis will have the chance to return one day, and see this tree grow tall!
Israel remains one of the world's most negatively viewed countries alongside Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, according to the latest annual survey of global opinion by the BBC World Service. But most significantly, according to full results of the survey:
While overall views of Israel have not moved substantially over the past year , there have been significant increases in negative views of the country among Americans (negatives rising from 31% to 41%) and Britons (from 50% to 66%).
In total 28,619 citizens in 27 countries, were interviewed face-to-face, or by telephone December 2, 2010 and February 4, 2011 by the firm GlobeScan on behalf of the BBC.The poll does not give reasons for why this shift has taken place, but this erosion of support for Israel is no doubt due to a combination of factors: Israel's brutal massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in winter 2008-2009, the ongoing siege and the massacre aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last May, as well as the general aura of extremism and intransigence conveyed by the country's actions (continued settlement in the occupied West Bank, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, racist laws against Palestinian citizens and so on). The reality of Israel is can no longer be hidden by slick hasbara. The world is waking up to smell the apartheid.
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
sponsored by the Princeton Middle East Society, Interfaith Network for Understanding.
Main Lounge in Mackay Campus Center, Princeton Seminary March 3rd , 201, 7 PMTemple University , speaking together with Julia Hurley.1801 North Broad Street, Conwell Hall 103
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6096 March 4th, 2011, 7 PMRiverside Church, NYC
490 Riverside Drive New York, NY 10027-5788
(212) 870-6700. Subway: 116 St - Columbia University March 5th, 2011 from 11-4PM
Stony Point CenterAllison House 142 W. Main St. Stony Point, NY. (reservation required, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb firstname.lastname@example.org)This event is co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace Westchester,The Fellowship of Reconciliation and The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.
Toward Palestine's 'Mubarak moment'The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself, as it is acting in Israel's interest, writer says.
By Ali Abunimah Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 16:25 GMT
New elections will not give Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the credibility he needs, writer says [Reuters]
The slow collapse of Palestinian collective leadership institutions in recent years has reached a crisis amid the ongoing Arab revolutions, the revelations in the Palestine Papers, and the absence of any credible peace process.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction has attempted to respond to this crisis by calling elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the PA presidency.
Abbas hopes that elections could restore legitimacy to his leadership. Hamas has rejected such elections in the absence of a reconciliation agreement ending the division that resulted from Fatah's refusal (along with Israel and the PA's western sponsors, especially the United States) to accept the result of the last election in 2006, which Hamas decisively won.
But even if such an election were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it does not resolve the crisis of collective leadership faced by the entire Palestinian people, some ten million distributed between those living in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, inside Israel, and the worldwide diaspora.