As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, Cleveland Peace Action calls upon the United States and Israel to immediately end the blockades or embargoes that they have imposed. It is critical that badly-needed medical supplies and personnel be able to enter all nations in order to treat people and families suffering from the virus. End the blockades and embargoes now!
*****In Iran, there are almost 70,000 confirmed cases of the virus with almost 5,000 deaths. The US maintains sanctions against this country after the President Trump tore up an arms control treaty negotiated by the Obama Administration.
*****In Gaza, Israel maintains a 13-year-old blockade of this tiny strip of land that is home to more than 2 million people. With many hospitals destroyed due to Israeli bombing and medical supplies kept out by the blockade, the people of Gaza face a grim future as the virus begins to spread in this densely-populated land and there are about 60 ventilators.Read More
As the COVID-19 pandemic rivets our attention, imagine how 1.8 million Palestinians feel, living in Gaza, densely populated and mostly cut off from the outside world. With our freedom and security under siege by pandemic, we can begin to appreciate life there. Palestinians in Gaza are used to such confinement and danger, living under Israeli-Egyptian military siege since 2007. The USA’s $5 billion annual contribution of weapons, military equipment and technology helps maintain it.
On March 22nd, the first two COVID-19 cases were announced in Gaza. They are two Palestinian men, aged 30 and 40, returning from Pakistan, now quarantined in Rafah on the Egyptian border. As COVID-19 spread in neighboring Egypt and Israel, the Hamas-led government began quarantine of travelers into Gaza. Given the limited capacity of Gaza’s healthcare system due to the blockade and three Israeli offensives over the past 12 years, an outbreak would be catastrophic. For example, Gaza has fewer than 200 test kits and about 20 available ventilators.Read More
Cleveland Peace Action endorses: Vision & Policy Demands for Justice from Palestinians in the United States
- SEE US, HEAR US: Justice Requires Palestinian Self-Determination
- RETURN IS THE FUTURE: Justice Requires Our Right of Return
- LET’S GET FREE: Justice Requires Freedom for All Palestinians
- SAFETY FOR ALL: Justice Requires the Freedom to Thrive
- STRUGGLE WITH US: Justice Requires Our Right to Resist for a Better World
Meghan Donovan, is chair of CPA’s Advocacy Committee. She discusses war and militarism’s impact on women and girls; rape as a war crime; military sexual trauma; why permitting or requiring women to serve in combat is not a feminist act; and how women have been part of peace movements throughout history.
My friend and fellow peace activist, Don Bryant, who helped organize a peace rally on Market Square across from Cleveland’s iconic West Side Market on West 25th Street this afternoon, asked me to speak to the assemblage, comprised of around 25 people,including a few Iranian immigrants. Here’s what I said while wearing my 53-year-old U.S. Army field jacket and holding my peace flag:
“Happy Chinese New Year!!…the Year of the Rat…seems appropriate, considering who’s in the White House. Some people have said to me, ‘Where are the stars? There are supposed to be stars on that flag.’ And I said, ‘The stars are in hiding. They’re in hiding. They’re ashamed, embarrassed and disgusted with all the death, destruction, instability and chaos we have caused in the Middle East. Millions upon millions of refugees, and it all started with us.
“Some people have said to me, ‘Your flag disrespects the American flag…desecrates the American flag.’ And I said, ‘I have a different perspective. I was in Vietnam for a year and from my perspective it doesn’t disrespect or desecrate the American flag. It respects peace….respects peace. People who have not been in a war–have never experienced the bitter taste of war–will never ever respect peace to the same degree I do. It just can’t happen. It’s impossible..not even come close.’
“Some people have said to me, ‘We have to have war before we have peace.’ And I said, ‘If we never had war, wouldn’t we always have peace?’ Makes sense to me. Seems pretty obvious. As you know there is a flagpole on top of the White House with an American flag flying at the top. If I had my way I would put my peace flag on that pole, but I would fly it above the American flag. Thank you.”