| Friday 27th
October 2006 | Issue
WAKE UP! IT'S
YER PREPARED TO GO HUNGARY
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Attack | Buda-Pest Control | Rue-Mania
| Baristards | Stop The
Haw Coalition | Party & Protest |
A SchNEWS correspondent reports after a visit to the Occupied
Following the humanitarian disaster in Iraq during the 90s caused
by UN sanctions, Palestinian society continues to be torn apart
by the sanctions regime imposed by the US and EU and the crippling
Israeli occupation (See SchNEWS 544).
The US stopped all bank transfers to the Palestinian Authority from
the outside when Hamas were elected in January. All US and most
EU aid has remained frozen and Israel is refusing to pay the customs
duties required on goods being imported to Palestine through Israel
(and there is no other route for imported goods).
The US and Israel are intent on pushing Hamas out of government,
to the extent of supporting the rival Fatah faction. The US have
promised to sponsor Fatah to the tune of $42 million in future elections.
Spurred on by international pressure on the democratically elected
Hamas government, the Palestinian president and head of Fatah, Mahmoud
Abbas - originally foisted on Yasser Arafat by the US - is threatening
to force new elections at the start of 2007.
Violence and tension is increasing. In early October, eight people
including a child died after Hamas security forces fired on a Fatah-backed
demonstration in Gaza. A few days ago Hamas Prime Minister Ismael
Haniyehs convoy was attacked, missing him but destroying a
Meanwhile, state employees have not been paid since the elections
due to the sanctions. Palestinian workers continued to work for
several months without pay, knowing the role they were playing in
holding society together, but most have now been forced to stop.
Palestinian schools have been closed since the summer. Health workers
have also not been paid and have been withholding all but emergency
services for over a month.
There has been a general strike in Palestine for the past five
weeks which, on particular days of action, has shut the majority
of shops in the West Bank and Gaza. Many of the strikers simply
want to protest at the withdrawal of their wages and the international
sanctions but the strike is also being used as a weapon by Fatah
to weaken Hamas. The strike has sometimes been enforced with violence;
Fatah gunmen shot a strike-breaker in Jericho in early October,
and teachers in Salfit, who were teaching a bare minimum of essential
lessons, reported that gunmen had threatened to harm them if they
did not stop work.
Throughout all of this, Israels illegal occupation continues.
The Israeli army last week mounted new operations in Rafah in the
Gaza strip. Over the last three months at least a hundred civilians
have died per month at the hands of the Israeli military. On Monday
23rd October, Israeli forces killed Palestinians and wounded thirty
in an invasion of Beit Hanoun, in the Gaza Strip. Over Ramadan,
Israeli border police have been out on the streets of the West Bank
to do routine checks, suspiciously close to the time
Muslims break their fast, delaying people getting home to eat for
NO WALL FLOWERS
The village of BilIn has been resisting the confiscation
of the majority of its land for nearly twenty months. The Israeli
army is building a section of the Apartheid wall which has isolated
60% of the villages agricultural land beyond an eight-metre-high
fence, flanked with barbed wire and patrolled by the Israeli army.
Technically, residents are supposed to have free access to their
land, but the gates in the fence remained shut throughout the Jewish
holiday of Sukkot earlier this month and can be closed on the whim
of the soldiers policing them. When residents are allowed through,
they have their photos and ID numbers taken by the Israeli soldiers.
Laith Yassin (19), a university student from the village, and schoolboy
Mohammad Barakat (17) were arrested two months ago for allegedly
cutting the annexation barrier. Both the boys family lands
are behind the barrier, their olive trees have been uprooted, and
are earmarked for the expansion of the illegal Israeli colony of
Modiin Illit. It is sadly ironic that the boys alleged
crime is to have damaged a structure - Israels Apartheid Wall
- that was itself ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice
in The Hague in 2004.
On 19th October, a Judge sentenced Laith and Mohammed to six months
and five months respectively in Israeli prison, in addition to the
two months theyve already served. The judge gave the families
the option of paying 1500 Shekels for every month they have been
sentenced - amounting to 9000 Shekels for Laith (£1200) and
7500 for Mohammed (£1000).
1500 Shekels is the equivalent of one months salary for Laith
and Mohammeds families. Neither Laith or Mohammeds fathers
have received any salary since international sanctions were placed
on Hamas. Laiths father, a local schoolteacher, told international
volunteers working in BilIn how his family had been crippled,
first by the loss of access to their lands, then by the loss of
their salaries and now the loss of its sons. The families cannot
afford to pay the Israeli fines and are appealing to the solidarity
movement to help free Mohammed and Laith. (Details of how to
make a donation to their legal fund are at www.palsolidarity.org)
While the two teenagers have been locked up, the villages
struggle against the annexation barrier has continued. Protests
are held every Friday and remain a focus of non-violent resistance
to the Israeli occupation. After a demo on October 6th, Israeli
border police, who had invaded BilIn firing sound bombs and
tear gas, arrested Reuters cameraman Emad Bornat for assault
on an officer. He is currently in detention at Ofer Prison.
Emad had been invaluable in refuting Israeli accusations against
villagers because of his filming of countless arrests, including
those of Laith and Mohammed.
Two weeks ago villagers marched to the site of the annexation barrier
with a banner displaying a picture of a camera and the words Their
eyes will not stop recording Israeli war crimes, in protest
at the Israeli police and armys attempt to silence the media.
Last Friday the barrier was breached and villagers broke through
on to the settler-only road close to their confiscated lands. Today
(Oct 27th) a huge demo is planned to mark the end of Ramadan, and
the upcoming hearings of three petitions on the illegality of the
annexation barrier in BilIn, at the High Court of Justice
* November 12-16th is the International Week of Action against
the Apartheid Wall in Palestine see www.stopthewall.org
for details, for UK actions see www.palestinecampaign.org
History repeats they say, and almost 50 years to the day the streets
of Budapest are again rising up to burn out police cars and demand
for the government to be sacked. For the socialist government and
its international investors its business as usual, but for the majority
of Hungarians who now face serious economic belt-tightening in order
to keep Western creditors happy, things are getting worse. A new
budget means that people will be charged for seeing a doctor and
will have to start paying for university education. Big increases
in energy prices are on their way and the whole set of measures
is likely to cost the average Hungarian a months wages. Rather
than telling the corporations where they can stick their loan repayments,
the government is to meet their demands in an attempt to reduce
the a debt that is worth almost twice as much as the countys
entire economy. The government spends half of its cash on social
security but international investors are not willing to sit idly
by and let people get free hospital treatment...
Things began to kick off when the Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany,
told a private party in May that he (and heres the shocker)
had lied to the country to win the last election! Just like his
pal Tony Bliar, the millionaire Gyurcsany is disliked by his socialist
party colleagues for having both a dodgy personality and dodgy policies,
but hes been tolerated because he keeps winning elections;
this year was the first time that a left of centre government had
won two elections in a row. But since the speech, the right wing
Fidesz party has teamed up with the far right in their attempt to
boot out the so-called socialists.
Fidesz used to be the youth party, where it was not possible for
someone older than 30 to be a member. That is until more and more
of its leaders reached their 30s...and decided to change the constitution
to let any old codger in. Theyve teamed up with the murkier
Party for Hungarian Justice and Life, Jobbik and 64 Peoples
Committee. Just this week, such groups have been reminiscing
the Citys Nazi past by busily plastering Jewish homes with
the Star of David. High on the agenda for many is the usual false
paranoia about foreigners, although this time most of the foreigners
are actually Hungarian. 5 million ethnic Hungarians live outside
the country, mostly in neighbouring states, the legacy of the carve-up
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, when the country
lost two thirds of its territory. There are probably 2 million Hungarians
in Romania, 600,000 in Slovakia, 400,000 in Serbia and 370,000 in
Back in 2005, the World Federation of Hungarians, a group dedicated
to the protection of Hungarians living abroad, managed to get the
200,000 signatures required to force the Hungarian parliament to
pass a law to allow anyone who claims Hungarian ethnicity to be
granted citizenship. The government decided to call a referendum
which narrowly voted in favour of the new law, but did not have
the required 50% of voters to make it a valid decision. There are
around 10,000 citizenship requests submitted each year, and the
racist right just cant stand to see more than half of these
end up in the hands of people from foreign places like Romania.
The government is keen to portray all the recent trouble as a purely
right-wing protest despite the fact that fascists are in a clear
minority. In order to prevent the anarchist student movement, Hallgatoi
Haloza, from holding a meeting on Budapests university campus,
the authorities closed down lectures for the day. Very educational!
Meanwhile, riot police resorted to tear gas grenades in the efforts
to stop some anti-government protesters who managed to nick a Russian-made
T-34 tank from an exhibition of the 1956 revolution last Monday
(amazing that it still worked really; cmon everyone, lets
hit Duxford and get Spitfires for the next anti-war demo!)
Anger had broken out after police prohibited protesters from getting
closer to the Hungarian Parliament building where top foreign politicians
were celebrating the 1956 anniversary. Last year, an old socialist
pioneer shopping mall was squatted with a cultural centrum
for autonomous movements as more and more Hungarians are realising
that theres just no difference between left and right; both
just love those corporations - its merely that the latter wish they
werent owned by foreigners. And on that subject its
worth remembering that as the tabloid press in the UK stoke up fears
about hoards of Romanian plumbers coming to our shores, 50 years
ago this week, we welcomed refugees from Hungary with open arms.
Check out www.hungary.indymedia.org/index.shtml?&cat_name=English
for more info.
* For the socialist historian contingency, theres a public
meeting on the Hungarian revolution on 2 November at 5.30pm at Room
143, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, London.
Staying in vampire country, we notice that pride of place, next
to their posh knickers picture sensation, The Sun this
week has a lambasting rant about eastern Europeans this week, warning
readers of the impending doom that could see 1,000s of Romanian
and Bulgarian plumbers flooding into the country. Welcoming Home
Secretary John Reids proposals to limit immigration from the
two new members to the European club, the newspaper has joined much
of the right-wing press warning that these two hubs
of organised crime threaten our very survival.
Its not surprising that in Bulgaria, where one in ten workers
is on the dole, people want to come to the UK to earn a few quid,
filling our labour shortages in the process. And the minimum wage
in Romania is £40 a month, forcing many to seek work abroad
to make ends meet. But while globalisation is all about controlling
the movement of people particularly hoards from poor or war-torn
countries entering The West, of course the same doesnt
apply to money, which can move as freely as you like. The flip-side
of Eastern Europeans coming here is that property prices have shot
up by 50% in places like Romania in less than two years, as international
property speculators flog the country off by the square metre to
moneyed Brits, and others, who didnt manage to get on the
French village / Spanish villa bandwagon ten years ago. Oh, its
all too complicated blame the immigrants!
(21st) around a dozen activists from the Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign
staged a vigil outside Starbucks in New Street to protest
against the fact that the multinational leaves no stone unturned
in its quest for a profit theyre only too happy to
have branch in Gitmo. After all, there must be nothing like
a refreshing frappuccino at 4 in the morning to keep you pepped
up when youre busy beating a confession out of a terrorist
Cops turned up
around lunchtime saying that there had been an allegation that the
entrance to the shop was being obstructed. After all, Saturday shoppers
have a right to a cup of coffee; all that rampant consumerism can
be a tiring business. Unsurprisingly, it would appear that the manager
of the shop himself made the complaint, and coppers obliged by dishing
out a few threats of breach of the peace in the ensuing debate with
Why not ask Starbucks
when theyre going to stop flogging espressos to the torturers
of Guatanamo - you can find your local branch by looking out yer
nearest window or visiting their website: www.starbucks.co.uk/en-GB/_About+Starbucks/Contact+Starbucks.htm
STOP THE HAW COALITION
Cops in Parliament Square were suspiciously prepared during their
latest arrest of Brian Haw, the anti-war demonstrator whos
been camped outside parliament since 2001 (See SchNEWS 543). Just
after 5am last Saturday morning (21st), a woman turned up and started
trashing his camp, but it was Brian who actually got nicked under
the Public Order Act for threatening behaviour.
Despite the early hour and unexpected nature of the
attack, keen cops were on the scene within minutes in three cars,
two vans and several on foot, to boot. Whether it was a stitch up
or not, the response time was pretty impressive, and its nice
to see such a high level of commitment which sees several community
support officers, a handful of sergeants and an inspector working
so hard at such an early hour. Brian was released on bail after
a pleasant five hour stay at Belgravia police station, meanwhile
the custody sergeant confirmed that the woman who attacked the display
was released with only a caution. For the full story and more about
possible agent provocateurs in Parliament square see www2.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/10/354016.html
See also www.parliament-square.org.uk
Party & Protest
- This weekend is the No More Fallujahs protests
marking two years since coalition forces devastated the Iraqi
city. On Saturday (28th) there is a march from the UKs military
nerve centre in Northwood to the Peace Memorial in Tavistock
Square (via U.S. Embassy). Meet 11am, Northwood tube station (Metropolitan
line tube), finish 4pm, central London. On Sunday (29th) is the
Unauthorised 24-hour peace camp in Parliament Square,
London - assemble 12 noon. For more call 0845 458 2564 or see
- 30th - Noise demo against a Military Nanotech conference
on 30-31st Oct, at 53 Haddon Gardens, London. Meet 12pm at
Farringdon tube in frankenstein/cybermen fancy dress theme.
- Not to be outdone for fashion, the 31stt sees the Spooky
Halloween Demo at EDO MBM, 4-6pm, Home Farm Rd, Brighton.
Come masked Up! For more see www.smashedo.org.uk
- November 4th - National Climate March - part of a Day
of International Climate Protest. Events start with a bike ride
at 10am - meet at Lincolns Inn Fields. Rally at the US embassy
at 12pm, marching to Trafalgar Square. Be prepared to rub protesting
shoulders with all types! www.campaigncc.org
- For full listings see www.schnews.org.uk/pap/index.htm
Dick the Sith Cheney kindly tipped us off this week
that some of his fellow countrymen (and women, Stan) suspect he
is really that dark evil wanna-be overlord of the galaxy, Darth
Vader. The revelation came during an interview on that most liberal
and venerable civil society media platform, the Fox News channel.
He rasped, Of course, (huh-phrr, huh-phrr) I have my view,
and people will say, Well, thats just Cheney. Hes
the Darth Vader of the administration, always taking the dark view,
This helped us discover that there are many online parodies, like
which catches him in full rubber-fetish life-support suit.
Cheney also discussed the bloodshed terrorists could cause if they
used a nuclear, biological or other dangerous weapon on an American
city, adding that he was feeling strange disturbances in the force,
and all resistance must be crushed now before it becomes more powerful
than we possibly imagine.
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will keep you fully occupied, honest.
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