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Scars show as Gaza’s children endure third war (via AP)

The children of the Attar clan have lived through three wars in just over five years, each time fleeing their homes as Israel bombarded their neighbourhood in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

They live in Atatra, a neighbourhood in northeastern Gaza, just a few hundred meters from Israel. Residents of Atatra fled their homes in Israel’s three-week military offensive in the winter of 2008-2009, during a week of cross-border fighting in November 2012 and again over the weekend.

After Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets over Atatra on Saturday warning residents to leave, sisters Mariam and Sada Attar bundled a few belongings into plastic bags and rushed out of their homes. They had 10 children in tow, as well as Mariam’s husband Omar, who she said suffers from stress-induced psychological disorders and can no longer function normally.

Their psychological scars show. Some act out, others cling to their mothers or withdraw, like 12-year-old Ahmed who sat by himself on a bench in the courtyard of a U.N. school where his family once again sought shelter.

"They bombed very close to my house," said the boy, looking down and avoiding eye contact. "I’m scared."

Experts said it will be increasingly difficult to heal such victims of repeated trauma.

"For the majority of the children (in Gaza), it is the third time around," said Bruce Grant, the chief of child protection for the Palestinian territories in the United Nation’s children’s agency, UNICEF. "It reduces their ability to be resilient and to bounce back. Some will not find their way back to a sense of normalcy. Fear will become their new norm."

The families sought shelter in the same U.N. school where they stayed during the previous two rounds of fighting. In all, 20 U.N. schools took in more than 17,000 displaced Gazans, many of them children, after Saturday’s warnings by Israel that civilians must clear out of northern Gaza.

Members of the Attar clan took over part of the second floor, with more than 40 people sleeping in each classroom. Mariam, Sada, Omar and the children were squeezed into one half of a room, their space demarcated by benches. Another family from the clan stayed in the other half of the room. A blanket draped across an open doorway offered the only measure of privacy.

In the classroom, the scene was chaotic, with children pushing and shoving each other and mothers yelling at them to behave. There was nothing to do for children or grown-ups, except to wait.

Mariam Attar, 35, said they spent the night on the hard floor for lack of mattresses.

She sat on the floor, her back leaning against a wall, and held her youngest, 16-month-old Mahmoud. She said her older children have become clingy, some asking that she accompany them to the communal toilet.

Recalling the latest bombings, she said: “We felt the house was going to fall on top of us and so the children started to scream. I was screaming and my husband was screaming.”

Her 14-year-old son Mohammed said the family cowered on the ground in the living room during the bombing to avoid being hit by shrapnel. He said the time passed slowly because they had no electricity or TV.

Mohammed and Ahmed, who is from another branch of the clan, said they and other children often play “Arabs and Jews,” fighting each other with toy guns or wooden sticks as make-believe weapons. Arabs always win, the boys said.

Rasem Shamiya, a counselor who works for the U.N. school system, said many of the children show signs of trauma, including trouble paying attention, aggressive behavior or avoiding contact with others. “They are very stressed,” he said. “Since these children were born, they have never known peace.”

According to figures released by the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 80 percent of the fatalities caused by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip have been civilians. More than 20 percent were children. The organization also estimates 25,300 children are in need of psychosocial support.

The children’s fears are very real and parents in Gaza are increasingly unable to reassure them, said Pierre Krahenbuhl, who heads the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees.

"Today, we met with families who shared with us that they have simply no more answers to give when the children ask them why are the homes shaking, why is there so much destruction," he said.

Sada Attar, 43, said she worries her children and others in that generation will come to see violence as normal.

"These disturbed children are not going to be good for Israel’s long term interests," she said. "The child will naturally rise up and confront the Zionist enemy with the stone, with fire, with everything in their power."

Photos taken by Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra on July 14, 2014 at the New Gaza Boys United Nations school, where dozens of families have sought refuge after fleeing their home in fear of Israeli airstrikes.

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sustainableprosperity:






Published on Thursday, July 10, 2014 by Common Dreams

'Escalating Resistance' in Detroit as Residents Block Water Shut-Offs

'The issue of whether water should be a commodity or part of the commons raises the question of what kind of future we want.'
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer



Detroit residents on Thursday launched a direct action to halt the city’s mass shut-off of water to thousands of households, physically blocking a private corporation from turning off the tap.
Carrying a banner that read “Stop the Water Shut-offs,” ten city residents nonviolently obstructed the entrance to Homrich Inc.—the private company that was handed a $5.6 million deal from the city to shut off water services to residences that are behind on their bills, according to the protest organizers. They were surrounded during the civil disobedience by a crowd of over 40 supporters chanting “If the water don’t flow, the trucks don’t go.”
The protesters held the entrance for more than an hour and a half before all ten were arrested, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, a Detroit pastor who was among the arrestees, told Common Dreams. “We feel that it’s really time to intensify and escalate the resistance to the water shutoffs and emergency management,” Wylie-Kellermann declared.
"The only reason they are getting away with this is because this is a majority black city." —Sarah Coffey, People’s Water Board Coalition & Water Rights Hotline
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced in June that it is escalating its disconnections of water services to residences that have fallen behind on their bills to 3,000 a month. In a city devastated by unemployment and foreclosure crises, nearly half of all residents are unable to pay, and the city’s continual increase in water rates is not helping. Thousands of people have already had their water turned off, including many who were disconnected long before this June escalation, and tens of thousands more are next.
Concerned organizations say that the shut-offs have so far unleashed a human rights crisis that devastates low-income communities of color. UN experts agree: in response to a complaint from a coalition of organizations, a UN panel condemned the city last month for violating the “human right to water,” with the UN expert on the right to adequate housing warning the shut-offs “may be discriminatory” against African Americans.
Sarah Coffey of the People’s Water Board and Water Rights Hotline put it succinctly in an interview with Common Dreams: “The only reason they are getting away with this is because this is a majority black city.”
According to Coffey, the disconnections are likely part of a plan, driven by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, to get rid of bad debt in order to privatize the DWSD. Orr’s rush to declare bankruptcy for the city, impose austerity, and gut public services including schools—all backed by republican Governor Rick Snyder—has left many residents convinced the water shut-offs are just one more step in a plan to displace Detroit communities and gentrify the city.
Coffey said that the Thursday morning protest was met with a “spirit of solidarity” from supporters yet violence from the police, who injured two of the arrestees, who hail from organizations including the People’s Water Board, Michigan Welfare Rights, Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, and the Detroit Water Brigade. All of those arrested have since been released.
This is not the first protest of its kind in Detroit. Wylie-Kellermann credited Charity Hicks, long-time Detroit organizer for food, water, and racial justice, for ‘sparking’ the protest and said the action was “in her honor.” Hicks, who passed away this week, was arrested this spring for resisting the shut-off of her home’s water.
Wylie-Kellermann said he is hopeful mass protests will grow from here, including a July 18 rally expected by organizers to draw thousands of people from across the state and country. “We are hoping this is really just the first step in a series of nonviolent direct actions that intensify and broaden the resistance,” he said.
According to Coffey, the outcome of the struggle for the “human right to water” has broad implications because “Wall Street is using Detroit to create a blueprint for future cities.” Coffey added, “The issue of whether water should be a commodity or part of the commons raises the question of what kind of future we want.”
The Detroit Water Brigade released a video of the Thursday’s protest:
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Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/07/10-5

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Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

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“The fact that, in the United States, there are people serving ten-year prison terms for growing marijuana plants in their backyards while Wall Street racketeers, who have defrauded millions of people and destroyed the global economy, walk free is a kind of bizarre hypocrisy that boggles my mind.” .. (attributed to Mark Haskell Smith) .. (story here)

cartoonpolitics:

“The fact that, in the United States, there are people serving ten-year prison terms for growing marijuana plants in their backyards while Wall Street racketeers, who have defrauded millions of people and destroyed the global economy, walk free is a kind of bizarre hypocrisy that boggles my mind.” .. (attributed to Mark Haskell Smith) .. (story here)

(Source: gocomics.com)

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POWERFUL PORTRAITS LOOK DEEP INTO THE EYES OF HOMELESS MEN AND WOMEN http://bit.ly/1nuWiX8
Photo: Lee Jeffries

featureshoot:

POWERFUL PORTRAITS LOOK DEEP INTO THE EYES OF HOMELESS MEN AND WOMEN http://bit.ly/1nuWiX8

Photo: Lee Jeffries

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"America has decided to punish Harrell if she fails to acquire full-time employment; her employment does not provide her with adequate child care; and the community punishes her for failing to live up to unobtainable middle-class child-care standards. There are many perpetrators in this story. Debra Harrell was not one of them."

Mom Arrested for Letting Daughter Play Outside (via azspot)

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"In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester’s tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work—or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education. The cost of an MSU credit hour has multiplied since 1979. So has the federal minimum wage. But today, it takes 60 hours of minimum-wage work to pay off a single credit hour, which was priced at $428.75 for the fall semester."

The Myth of Working Your Way Through College - Svati Kirsten Narula - The Atlantic (via infoneer-pulse)

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"How did we get to a place where the Supreme Court is guilty of science denial while listening to and valuing the opinions of clerics and wizards?"

Vincit Omnia Veritas (via azspot)

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"Humanity is capable of extraordinary progress if it really acts together."

— Simon Anholt, Which country does the most good for the world?   (via ted)