Summer of Resilience

This summer, the world watched Israel set the clock back in Lebanon twenty years and replay its greatest hits in the south with another massacre in Qana. With great irony, we marveled at Israeli airplanes littering Lebanese skies with “civilian evacuation” leaflets only after bombing Beirut International airport and all major roads leading to Damascus and the mountains in northern Lebanon. While the media was focused on Lebanon, the assault on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza continued with full force. Even as the world was crying out to cease the bombardment of innocent people, the US was transferring millions of dollars in cash and in-kind to aid in the attacks.

In the five years since 9-11, more than 45,000 Iraqi civilians have died, hundreds of detainees continue to languish in Guantanamo Bay without charge, and millions of Palestinians continue to live under the humiliation of a 58-year colonial occupation. If we hold these statistical truths to be self-evident, it is clear that the last five years of the war on terror have only produced more terror (see the 24 September 2006 New York Times article, titled, “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat”). We are aware that these incidents are neither isolated nor new phenomena. They are direct or indirect manifestations of US imperialist adventures masquerading as wars against “terror” or acts committed in “self-defense.” This edition of SAMAR includes works that actively transform how we think about political violence, state oppression and modes of grassroots resistance.

These articles expose the imperialist tendencies of the US and its proxies the world over as well as ways to challenge them- from bombed-out Beirut to a South Asian youth center in Queens… from the Great Wall of Palestine to chain link fence prison cells in Guantanamo Bay… from a soccer field in Qatar to a world of defiant Muslim women artists and activists. Meena Jagganath, a Columbia graduate student who was evacuated from Lebanon this summer describes blogging as the latest manifestation in grassroots media activism. Zachary Wales, a regular contributor to Electronic Intifada, recounts the story of Palestinian occupation through a father’s story of resilience in a village south of Hebron and in a review of the poignant film Goal Dreams, Tawfik Jamjoum analogizes the plight of a Palestinian soccer team qualifying for the World Cup to a people’s struggle to achieve statehood.

Closer to home, Muntasir Sattar looks at how South Asian American Muslim youth at SAYA are negotiating identity in a highly politicized post 9-11 world of Islamophobia. Priti Patel and Avi Cover, two attorneys from Human Rights First, provide a first-hand account of their experiences visiting the infamous detention center as well as observing the egregious military commissions and discuss the implications of the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Supreme Court ruling as possible paths out of a downward cycle of severe human rights violations. And finally, a book review of Sarah Husain’s anthology Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith, and Sexuality, a compilation of poetry, prose, and art, shatters stereotypes of how Muslim women are imagined by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities. We live in extraordinary times. And our hope is for this issue to not only raise awareness on the atrocities committed in our names, but also to encourage our readers not be silent on these injustices- even if it prevents you from boarding a Jet Blue flight!

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