Photo (From right to left): Dr Firoz Osman – Executive Member of Media Review Network, Dr Abdul Malek – Programme Director of the Conference, Sabir Abo Maryam – Spokesperson for the Palestine Centre in Pakistan and Palestinian delegates.

The Media Review Network (MRN) was privileged to be invited to a conference in Beirut, Lebanon. A Beirut – based NGO, Al Awdah, convened the gathering under the theme “Global Campaign to Return to Palestine”, to which NGO’s from around the globe were invited. Thirty-three (33) countries represented by 100 delegates attended. They included participants from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Senegal, Ghana, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Britain, Russia and the USA.

As the Zionist state blatantly reveals its lawless, apartheid nature, civil societies from around the world are waking up and standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice. Activists, academics, journalists, unions and ordinary people are confronting the lies of Zionist propaganda, interpreting the Zionist description as weak and its genocidal, colonial agenda transparent. To illustrate the point, Dr. Firoz Osman of the MRN, in his presentation, indicated that 200 000 demonstrators filled the streets of Cape Town during one of many Pro-Palestine solidarity marches held in South Africa.

Photo (Right to Left): Dr Paul Larudee – USA, Dr Firoz Osman, Eva Bartlett – Canadian,  Dr Abdul Malek and Sabir Abo Maryam

Delegates bemoaned the fact that Palestinians in the diaspora and in refugee camps in the region are living under deplorable conditions as a result of the creation of the settler colonial apartheid state called Israel. They called for unity among all solidarity formations around the world and particularly in the region.

The challenges faced by Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem are the same as in Gaza and West Bank. There are 11 checkpoints around Al Quds, health and municipal services favour the Settlers, taxes and traffic fines are deliberately imposed on Palestinians. Drug peddlers from the immigrant settler communities are paid by the Zionist authorities to destroy the lives of the Palestinian youth. This forms part of the Zionist agenda of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Destruction and demolition of homes occur on a daily basis. Is this reverse xenophobia? The Judaisation of Jerusalem and all of occupied Palestine goes ahead unabated.

The West Bank is 100% controlled by the Zionist military apparatus. The Oslo Accords and the security agreements between the Palestinian Authority and the Zionist regime is a stumbling block in the road to “peace”. Delegates were informed that if changes do not happen then the assurances given by the so-called “leaders” will ring as hollow as the words after the Gaza massacres. Mahmood Abbas, who was recently feted in our country, was referred to a toothless bulldog. The sooner Abbas and his cronies realise that salaries and cars will not buy freedom for the Palestinians the better.

Photo: African delegation led by Sharif Mballo (Thrid from left)

Archbishop Attalah Hanna addressed the symposium via satellite link from Jerusalem. He called for unity among the Palestinian leadership. He noted that the conspiracy against Syria was serving the interest of Zionism and called for Arabs to unite in defending Palestine. This link between Syria and Palestine was particularly interesting because it shed light where media and propaganda shed darkness.

Former Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniya, (via satellite from Gaza) and Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah, Shaikh Naeem Qassem also spoke. Both praised the Palestinian Resistance and the resilience of the Palestinian civilians during the recent Gaza massacre.

Reporters and analysts seem weary and circumspect and sometimes even refrain from writing about the misdemeanours of the Zionist colonialist state. Some even shake in trepidation when faced with the truth of the illegality of Zionist actions and become terrified to comment on the facts.

Photo: Delegates from Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines

Who are we kidding?

Delegates had no fear or doubt of the morality and the truth of what they were reporting. They were convinced of the extreme crimes of Zionist colonialism and racism. In the meanwhile the Middle East crises rage on, burn, flicker and disappear and the hapless Palestinians continue their miserable existence in an open prison. Legions of second rate people with no heart for the fray, creep off into their stained sunsets, dollars stuffed into their greedy pockets and dripping bloody hands held behind their backs. Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, et al.

Speaker after speaker spoke of the global struggle of the people of occupied Palestine. It is here the Israeli elite smile all the way to the bank from injustice while the occupied suffer. It is here where western hypocrisy must be exposed. Rhetoric about democracy and liberty in Syria and Iraq is stripped naked when people see Western supported colonialism, racism and subjugation in Palestine. Here is where western taxpayer money is used to destroy life while enriching land thieves and war criminals. Here is where morality is shed daily because of paranoia and superiority complexes.

Photo: MRN delegation meeting Ali Hweidi (centre) of the Palestinian Return Centre (UK)

The last day of the conference was spent visiting a museum in Southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley to be precise. We were reminded of the occupation of Lebanon by the Zionists since 1982. In 2006 the only nuclear power in the region, supported by the United States and her European Allies  were finally crushed and expelled from Occupied Lebanon. Israel suffered its greatest defeat since 1948 and that at the hands of a well- disciplined group of resistance fighters. The planning, resilience and strategy used by Hezbollah to inflict this humiliation is still admired with awe by analysts.

Built in three parts, indoors, outdoors and inside an adjacent forest, the Museum shows the captured military hardware from the Zionist occupiers, from small arms to artillery, tanks and helicopters. The tunnels and bunkers used to outfox the enemy are preserved in their original state for posterity’s sake. This Museum was the brain-child of the leading resistance fighter and second in command to Hassan Nasrullah, Imad Moghniya, who was assassinated by Mossad and the CIA in 2008 in Damascus. This was indeed a classic “David and Goliath” scenario.

To quote Arundhati Roy, the Indian writer and Political activist: “Another world is not  only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Written by:

Ibrahim Vawda

Senior Researcher: Media Review Network

Ibrahim Vawda

Ex educator and spent the last 14 years in education as headmaster. A proud Muslim and keen internationalist. Passionate about human rights issues. No respect for politicians.