Michael Riordon

the view from where I live


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After bowing to public pressure and reversing their ban of the Our Way to Fight video, apparently Shaw TV executives are now in face-saving mode.

Linda Taffs of Pasifik.ca sent this update:   “They have suddenly decided that we can no longer have our regular Saturday prime time of 8:30 pm, but have instead given us times that are not so good:  Tue 1:30am, Tue 7am, Tue 2:30pm, and Sat 12:30pm.  We think losing our Saturday evening show is unfair, and we are asking the CRTC [Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission] for direction.  Thanks once again for your support.”

If they can’t silence us, at least they can push us deeper into the margins.

I see the change as corporate face-saving, and a sharp reminder to know our place: They are the gatekeepers, we are the sheep.  On the other hand, I also see it as proof of impact.  The sheep are getting uppity.  These days, forces that count on us seeing them as omnipotent are feeling threatened.  It’s hard to believe, given all the weapons of mass destruction/distraction at their disposal.  But the 1% want, demand, need total control.  Total control is hard to maintain at the best of times, and for the 1% these are not the best of times:  on all sides they see challenges and threats.  To them, any perceived loss of control is intolerable, and the violence of their reaction is directly proportional to how vulnerable they feel.

So far in our little skirmish with a branch of the Canadian megalo-media, judging by their reaction it would appear that the people who run Shaw TV are only feeling a little threatened.

The Israeli regime is another matter altogether.  Who knows whether or not it believes the image of constant, overwhelming paranoia that it markets to its own population and, via the always helpful mainstream western media, to everyone else.  What really matters is the devastation it causes, and justifies, and gets away with, in the name of this image.

Two current examples follow.  Each includes a plea for action.

1.  Khader Adnan, dying of Israeli ‘administrative detention.’

Now in the 57th day of a hunger strike since the army invaded his home on December 17, Khader Adnan is protesting his violent arrest, multiple interrogations and continuing detention without charge or trial.  A standard weapon of the Israeli and other military occupations, administrative detention violates the right to a fair trial as guaranteed by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  At age 33, this is the seventh time Khader Adnan has been detained.

According to information provided to his Israeli and Palestinians lawyers by the Israeli Security Agency, Adnan was interrogated almost every day from January 18 until January 29, and on some days twice.

Alleged to be a leader of Islamic Jihad, he has not been charged with any crime.  One of his Israeli lawyers, Tamar Peleg-Sryck, comments:  “It should be made clear that he is alleged of political opinions and political activities – without a hint of any sort of violence.  However, the army accepted the Shabak [the Israeli secret police] claim that he ‘endangers the security’ and should remain in detention.’

On January 10 an Israeli military court sentenced him to four months of administrative detention, due to end May 8, but Amnesty International said that it could be renewed indefinitely, which is the usual practice.

Physicians for Human Rights – Israel concluded its public appeal with this demand:  “Based on the fact that Israel uses it [administrative detention] in a sweeping manner toward Palestinians, and its vast violation of human rights – including preventing fair trial, it should be rejected and Khader Adnan should be released.”

In a recent statement, Amnesty International reports that Khader Adnan’s life is now in imminent danger.

People around the world are joining a hunger strike in solidarity with Adnan.  It can be followed on Twitter, using the hashtag #9febHungerStrike.

Several petitions are also circulating, desperate attempts to save his life.  The latest is directed to the International Committee of the Red Cross:

“We are writing to express our frustration at your slow acting in regards to the Palestinian detainee, Mr. Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike since 17 December 2011.  Mr. Adnan is protesting his being held under administrative detention by the Israeli occupation forces.  Adnan’s detention is based on military order with secret evidence that he and his attorney are not allowed to review.  According to the order, he was sentenced to jail for a six month period that may be renewed without limitation.  His detention is continuing without trial or charges.  According to International Humanitarian Law, it is the responsibility of the ICRC to take active steps to save his life by applying pressure on the Israeli government to release him.”

Please click here to sign the petition.

2.  Terri Ginsberg, fired for criticizing Israel.

From Muzzlewatch comes this story of another kind of assault, in this case on freedom of speech at a US university.  Muzzlewatch is a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, ‘tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy.’

“A visiting film studies professor at North Carolina State University, Terri Ginsberg was dismissed after sharing views critical of Zionism and the state of Israel.  (You can read prior coverage of her case in Muzzlewatch, the Electronic Intifada and Ha’aretz).  She filed a grievance with the university, which denied her a hearing – three times. So she took her case to the courts. Two lower courts have decided against her, and she is now appealing to the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

“This case has implications on multiple levels: it is an issue of academic freedom, in which the university dismissed an instructor because they disliked their politics.  It is also a case of employee protections, or lack thereof, because it was Ginsberg’s politics, and not her performance, that led to her dismissal.

“The news here is that Ginsberg is NOT giving up.  The university has admitted that they objected to her views on Israel and Palestine.  Ginsberg has lost her job and countless other job opportunities because of this experience, and young people in North Carolina and at other schools are missing the opportunity to study with this courageous scholar.  But Terri Ginsberg is fighting back.

You can support her.  Please sign this petition.”

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

One thought on “Control

  1. Press Release – update on Ginsberg vs. NCSU – Supreme Court decision:

    Click to access press-release-supreme-court-petition-decision.pdf


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