cease the fighting

Pablo Picasso: Guernica 1937 (from artquotes.net)

I rarely write about politics and wars here yet I must say that I’ve been unable to put out of my mind the humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Mainstream and alternative media are full of varying opinions, understanding and sometimes truthfulness. I struggle to understand the complex history and struggles of the region with some compassion for all sides. I’m helped in the task by looking at artists who portrayed war, learning about artist activists and of course, reading many eloquent and well-informed bloggers. Through some of them I’ve learned of some petitions for peace that I have then signed, even as I wonder if it will help. One voice, many voices…what’s that quote I’m trying to recall?

As many know, some of the most famous art about the horrors of war are Picasso’s Guernica, Goya’s Disasters of War, and works by several German Expressionist artists such as Otto Dix and Max Beckmann…. even K├Ąthe Kollwitz who lived through two world wars. There are of course many contemporary artists who speak up against war through their work and activism such as the Artists for Peace in Vancouver.

I could not begin to list all the many bloggers I’ve read who have written well on this subject, so I’ll limit my short list of articles that moved me the most to a few by those who are Canadian or live in Canada.

1. Beth Adams of Cassandra Pages, an American writer living in Montreal, wrote this most eloquent and heart-wrenching post Every One Precious.

2. Taina Maki Chahal of northshorewoman, a Finnish-Canadian PhD student and university lecturer living in Thunder Bay, writes on a variety of subjects such as Finnish culture and First Nations and Sami issues. Now she has been writing passionately and knowledgeably every day about the Gaza crisis. Do check out all her articles, for starters I recommend war is a friend of binarisms (an eye-opener for me) and Canadian government votes against human rights. This latter includes a plea to write an objection to Harper and the party leaders.

3. Naomi Klein, a well-known Canadian, award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, author and speaker wrote this very powerful message: Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

4. Alison of Creekside, a Canadian political blogger living on Bowen Island near Vancouver, also writes a lot on the subject, such as Gaza: “an eye for an eyelash”, another thought-provoking article. She includes the Amnesty petition which I hope you will all sign.

Speaking of petitions, here’s another via care2

Last but not least and not Canadian is today’s article in Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat, Destroying ghettoes in Gaza by Olli Kivinen. For me, he seems to summarize clearly and briefly the major issues on both sides, concluding with this:

One dimension was offered by the Israeli Ambassador to Helsinki, who asked in a television news interview how Finns would feel if rockets were fired into our cities.

It is difficult to answer that question, because Finland does not occupy any foreign territory, and has not created a ghetto of a million and a half people next to it, where people live in extreme misery, and which is bombarded, and isolated from land, sea, and air, and where even now people are dying not only of bombs and bullets, but also as a result of a shortage of medicines, difficulties experienced by hospitals, and of weakness caused by cold and a shortage of food.

In the past, ghettoes were places where Jews were oppressed and annihilated.

Added later: the Gaza Call For Peace Petition organized by the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW)

Even later: I almost forgot the excellent Avaaz.org and their petition. Please sign and share with friends and family.

Added Jan.16th, 2006: Beth’s post today has more reading for us in the links to some excellent articles.

January 14, 2009 in Blogging, Current Events, History by Marja-Leena