Important info about my friend and Green Councillor colleague Peter Offord.
Please help, if you can!!:
GAZA FREEDOM MARCH – BREAKING NEWS
PETER OFFORD DETAINED IN EL ARISH, EGYPT
As some of you may know Norwich Stop the War President, Peter Offord, is
one of the international delegates travelling to Gaza to take part in the
Gaza Freedom March. With him he is taking in art supplies to assist the
Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza. He and his colleagues were hoping to
enter Gaza through the Egyptian border.
However we have learned today that the Egyptian police are stopping
international delegates from travelling to the Rafah border, where they
intended to cross into Gaza to take part in the March. Currently Peter is
around 40 kilometres from the Gaza border, which has been closed.
This evening he has forwarded the message printed below explaining that he
was among those detained in El Arish, to which the message refers.
We must do all we can to ensure that the march is allowed to proceed and
materials are delivered..
PLEASE CONTACT THE EGYPTIAN CONSULATE CALLING FOR THE BORDER TO BE OPENED
AND INTERNATIONAL DELEGATES AND AID TO BE ALLOWED TO ENTER GAZA.:-
The Consulate General
2 Lowndes Street
London SW1X 9ET
Tel: 020 7235 9777
020 7235 6562
Fax: 020 7235 5684
Frank M Stone
Convenor Norwich Stop the War Coalition
Egyptian Security Forces Detain Gaza Freedom Marchers in
el-Arish and shut down Gaza Memorial in Cairo
What: Egyptian security forces detain internationals in el-Arish, break up
memorial actions in Cairo
When: Sunday, December 27, noon: the Egyptian security forces detained a
group of 30 internationals in their hotel in el-Arish and another group of
8 at the bus station. They also broke up a memorial action commemorating
the Cast Lead massacre at the Kasr al Nil Bridge
At noon on 27 December, Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30
activists in their hotel in el-Arish as they prepared to leave for Gaza,
placing them under house arrest. The delegates, all part of the Gaza
Freedom March of 1,300 people, were Spanish, French, British, American,
The Egyptian security forces eventually yielded, letting most of the
marchers leave the hotel, but did not permit them to leave the town. When
two younger delegates, a French and Japanese woman, attempted to leave
el-Arish, the Egyptian authorities stopped their taxi and unloaded their
Another group of eight people, including citizens from American, British,
Spanish, Japanese and Greece, were detained at the bus station of Al Arish
in the afternoon of December 27. As of 3:30 PM, they were still being
Simultaneously, Egyptian security police broke up a commemoration of the
Israeli invasion of Gaza organized by the Gaza Freedom March at Kasr al
Nil Bridge, one of the main bridges connecting Zamalek Island, in the
middle of the Nile, to Cairo. As a non-violent way of commemorating the
more than 1300 Palestinians killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza that
began a year ago on December 27, 2008, Gaza Freedom Marchers tied hundreds
of strings with notes, poems, art and the names of those killed to the
"We're saddened that the Egyptian authorities have blocked our
participants' freedom of movement and interfered with a peaceful
commemoration of the dead," said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, one of the
Benjamin added that the Gaza Freedom March participants are continuing to
urge the Egyptian government to allow them to proceed to Gaza. They
visited the Arab League asking for support, various foreign embassies and
the Presidential Palance to deliver an appeal to President Mubarak. They
are calling their supporters around the world to contact Egyptian
embassies and urge them to free the marchers and allow them to proceed to
Corrected version of Peter’s piece in the OBSERVER last week. Sad, but inspiring reading.
Let him be given a peerage!…:
The incident took place last month in Tanarú, an indigenous territory in the Amazon state of Rondônia, Brazil, but the news has only just emerged.
It is not known whether the Indian was in the direct line of fire or whether the shots were designed to scare him away. Ranchers in the area oppose government efforts to protect the man’s land, and are the most likely perpetrators.
Officials from FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs department, discovered that its protection post had been ransacked and found empty shotgun cartridges nearby in the forest.
The police have investigated the incident, but nobody has been charged for illegal entry.
Altair Algayer, a FUNAI official, said, ‘This is a serious situation. The Indian’s life is being put in danger by the interests of the ranchers’.
FUNAI believes that the ‘Man of the Hole’ has survived the attack.
This name refers to the deep holes he builds to trap animals and to hide in. It is believed he is the only survivor of a tribe massacred by ranchers in the 1970s and 1980s.
The only known images of the ‘Man of the Hole’ were fleetingly captured by filmmaker Vincent Carelli in his film ‘Corumbiara’ which documents the genocide of the Akuntsu and other tribes in the region.
Stephen Corry, director of Survival, said today, ‘His tribe has been massacred and now the ‘Man of the Hole’ faces the same fate. The ranchers must allow this man to live out his last days in peace on his own land, and the authorities must do all they can to protect it’.
-- Rupert Read Green Party Councillor, Norwich. http://rupertread.net [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on email@example.com]
Liberality points toward societal disintegration. A more caring society, more capacity to think and imagine yourself into the shoes of others, points toward societal integreation.
You can see where I am going with this… I strongly welcome the support for gay rights, and for abortion rights; but I hope that in an important sense this does NOT mean that Britain is becoming a more liberal society. A society that leaves people free to do whatever they want so long as it doesn’t directly harm other autonomous people. Because that way lies nemesis. For society, and the ecosystem…
And that brings me to religion. I find Unity’s preconception that we ought to welcome the reduction in religious belief unwelcome. I worry that what this reduction actually involves is a rise in materialism, and a drop in community engagement, in fact less of most of the things we actually need…
Religions such as (to take a few for instances) Quakerism, major forms of Buddhism, much of the C of E nowadays, liberation theology, Gandhian Hinduism, Creation Spirituality, the ‘Creation Care’ movement, the Mennonites, the Catholic Worker movement, the Bruderhof, and much paganism… Progressives and those who care about caring ought not to wish these groups away.
So: I hope the conspiracy is working, as it were – it looks like it is. But I hope that ‘it’ isn’t …liberal…
What we actually need is a genuinely communitarian and egalitarian conspiracy. And real communities welcome positive, caring, life-affirming religious organisations.
An important piece of work that my friend Anat in Israel has done, that she asked me to help spread:
16 December 2009
Coalition of Women for Peace to Tzipi Livni:
“Cooperate with any international investigation against you”
This morning (Wed. 16/12/09), the Women’s Coalition for Peace sent a translation of the Goldstone Report to Knesset Member Tzipi Livni (head of the opposition and Foreign Minister during the “Cast Lead” offensive), who received notice of a warrant for her arrest in Britain this week. In a letter attached to the report, Coalition members wrote: “we are convinced that if you refer to the report you will understand why British citizens and organizations have turned to the courts with a request to issue a warrant for your arrest.”
The report directly refers to remarks by senior political figures in Israel which encouraged indiscriminate attacks on civilians, in contradiction of international law. It is in this context that MK Tzipi Livni is quoted as saying, on 13 January 2009, that “we have proven to Hamas that the equation has been altered. Israel is a state that, when its citizens are shot at, will respond insanely. And that’s a good thing.”
Furthermore, runs the letter, “the Goldstone Report details a long list of indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations [ ] In addition, the report surveys the extent of the damage to industrial infrastructure, food production, water facilities, sewage infrastructure and residential buildings; the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields and the targeting of medical staff. The testimony of Israeli soldiers corroborates the allegations made in the Report that during Cast Lead heinous war crimes were committed.
“The attention of the Goldstone Commission was drawn to the way the military operations affected women particularly adversely. The responsibility of women towards their homes and children forced them to deal for a period of weeks with extraordinary difficulties caused by impossible conditions which denied them of the means of sustenance including access to food, water, heating supplies and protection against the rain, shelter, intentional attacks on civilians, destruction of infrastructure and denial of medical attention. Women suffered most of all from the attack which you helped lead, and for which you served as the international spokesperson.
“As a feminist organization active in Israel, we consider that only a process of legal investigation and prosecution of war criminals by the international community has the power to bring a measure of justice to the women and men of Gaza. In our opinion the correct reaction on your part to the Goldstone Report would be a coming to terms with the wholesale murder with which you collaborated freely as a senior minister in the Israeli government as part of an election campaign. We call on you to cooperate with any international investigation that may be opened against you and to counsel your colleagues in the government and military to do the same.
For more details:
Please contact Eilat Maoz, General Coordinator, Coalition of Women for Peace
“This is a ridiculous half-way house decision that satisfies nobody. Building only part of the route undermines any claim that the road is a bypass: the NDR can never again be called the ‘northern bypass’. It will result in gridlock in North East Norwich, especially if the road building is accompanied by large scale housing growth and a failure to invest massively in improved public transport.
“It is no wonder that the route has been dubbed a ‘road to nowhere’. It is an utter waste of taxpayers’ money. The Government really should have made a clear decision about the priority for investment. £67.5million would make an enormous different to Norwich residents if invested in creating a first class public transport system to enable people to get around the city in an efficient and affordable way”.
in Copenhagen tonight, Tuesday 15 December, to join the UN conference on
President Morales arrives with an unprecedented mandate from the Bolivian
people after his landslide re-election with 64% of the popular vote. He also
has a strong moral standing on the international stage for his rejection of
the economic system that has caused the crisis, and his advocacy of rights
for Mother Earth and economic and social development based on Buen Vivir
(‘living well’ in harmony with all humans and the planet) which is inspired
by indigenous principles.
During a summit of ALBA country members in Cuba held this week, Evo Morales
explained he was traveling to Copenhagen to defend a “culture of life” and
to try and save the planet from “a culture of death” caused by the current
“I have heard many debates in the UN where presidents condemn climate
change, but never say what causes it. We say clearly that it is caused by
“We send a message to the world to reflect deeply and to the presidents of
the capitalist system to change their economic model which is destroying the
environment and planet earth. Capitalism and imperialism are forms of
industrial development without limits. We need industries, but there also
have to be limits. That is the debate,” Morales asserted.
Morales called on the rich countries to pay their climate debt to developing
nations, and on all countries to recover traditional forms of ecological
production. He also said that rights had to be given to nature and Mother
Earth. “The planet can live without human beings, but we can never live