Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'I didn't see any of my girls, just a pile of bricks'

Israeli air strike kills five daughters from one family as Gaza death toll passes 300 |
World news |
The Guardian

The family house was small: three rooms, a tiny kitchen and bathroom, built of poor-quality concrete bricks with a corrugated asbestos roof, in block four of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. There are hundreds of similar homes crammed into the overcrowded streets, filled with some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the Gaza Strip.

But it was this house, where Anwar and Samira Balousha lived with their nine children, that had the misfortune to be built next to what became late on Sunday night another target in Israel's devastating bombing campaign of Gaza.

An Israeli bomb struck the refugee camp's Imad Aqil mosque around midnight, destroying the building and collapsing several shops and a pharmacy nearby. The force of the blast was so massive it also brought down the Balousha family's house, which yesterday lay in ruins. The seven eldest girls were asleep together on mattresses in one bedroom and they bore the brunt of the explosion. Five were killed where they lay: Tahrir, 17, Ikram 15, Samer, 13, Dina, eight and Jawahar, four.

They were the latest in a growing number of civilian casualties in Israel's bombing campaign. At least 335 Palestinians have been killed and as many as 1,400 injured. On the Israeli side, four people have been killed by Palestinian rockets. Israel's military offensive continues and may yet intensify.

Imam, 16, lay in the room with her sisters but by chance survived with only injuries to her legs. She was eventually pulled free and rushed to hospital. "I was asleep. I didn't hear anything of the explosion," she said yesterday as she sat comforting her mother. "I just woke when the bricks fell on me. I saw all my sisters around me and I couldn't move. No one could see me from above. The neighbours and ambulance men couldn't see us. They were walking on the bricks above us. I started to scream and told my sisters we would die. We all screamed: 'Baba, Mama. Come to help us.'"

Her parents had been sleeping in the room next door with their two youngest children, Muhammad, one, and Bara'a, 12 days.

Their room was damaged and all were hurt, but they survived and were taken straight to hospital even before any of the older girls were found.

Imam eventually recognised her uncle's voice among the rescuers and she shouted again for help. "He found me and started to remove the bricks and the rubble from me," she said. "They started to pull me by my hands, the bricks were still lying on my legs."

Her mother, Samira, 36, had seen the pile of bricks in the girls' bedroom and was stricken with grief, convinced they were all dead. Like all the family, she was asleep when the bomb struck. "I opened my eyes and saw bricks all over my body," she said. "My face was covered with the concrete blocks."

She checked on her two youngest children and then looked in the room next door. "I didn't see any of my daughters, just a pile of bricks and parts of the roof. Everyone told me my daughters were alive, but I knew they were gone."

She sat on a sofa surrounded by other women at a neighbour's house further along the street and struggled to speak, pausing for long moments and still overcome with shock.

"I hope the Palestinian military wings retaliate and take revenge with operations inside Israel. I ask God to take revenge on them," she said.

Her husband, Anwar, 40, sat in another house where a mourning tent had been set up. He was pale and still suffering from serious injuries to his head, his shoulder and his hands. But like many other patients in Gaza he had been made to leave an overcrowded hospital to make way for the dying. Yesterday his house was a pile of rubble: collapsed walls and the occasional piece of furniture exposed to the sky. He spoke bitterly of his daughters' deaths. "We are civilians. I don't belong to any faction, I don't support Fatah or Hamas, I'm just a Palestinian. They are punishing us all, civilians and militants. What is the guilt of the civilian?" Like many men in Gaza, Anwar has no job, and like all in the camp he relies on food handouts from the UN and other charity support to survive.

"If the dead here were Israelis, you would see the whole world condemning and responding. But why is no one condemning this action? Aren't we human beings?" he said. "We are living in our land, we didn't take it from the Israelis. We are fighting for our rights. One day we will get them back."

Friday, December 26, 2008

alt facebook status update #1

Matthew glugs a tax collector's fill of shame and belches a stinking burp of redemption.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sketches of winkle

well she danced like a floozy in a hot tub of guava
eddy ran the sceen you know he's hip to her mantra
he was a meditative fucker all strung out on sinatra
sketching van winkle like there ain't no tomorrow
i saw van winkle show up on the scene
i bled from my elbows when i saw that he was doing all those
sketches of winkle, crying to the heavens in a fit of rage
skethces of winkle, keeping little cupids locked up in a cage
sketches of winkle, i think i love her but she don't love me
skethces of winkle, i thought she loved me dude
well she drained all the fluid from the sink in the kitchen
eddy wanted veggies all he's doing is bitchen
steve and sandy went out and bought a new pair of mittens
mean ween cut me and he said he was kidding
rip van winkle
rip rip rip van winkle

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

thod speaks

"""There was a time when almost everyone worked the land. Now we produce more food than ever with only a tiny fraction of the people. So we have 1 man producing as much as 100 used to, what are the the other 99 to do now. Well we still have the food, so they have gained 100% leisure time. Of course the one that still has to drive the tractor resents them. But you don't see him offering to cut his work hours and share the labor around. He wants to earn more than everyone else. This is the basic problem, too many people are working too hard. The factories are the same, the robots can do what 10 men used to do, we still get the same amount of product. We are just going to have to stop working so hard and spread the work around more. Make it illegal to work more than 20 hours a week. Those that want to prove they are better than everyone else because they work harder are going to have to find other ways to play their oneupmanship game.

We could start classifying the workaholics as anti social in that they deprive other men of their jobs. Or we could classify it as a mental illness. Still most people are happy to let them be the mugs and put in all the work hours. Just so long as they get their share. All you hear about is complaints from those mugs that they get taxed, thats because they are so dumb they cant see the big picture. They cant see anything but defining themselves in terms of work and money. So we encourage their psychosis. We don't need their labor it can all be made by a few hours a week from each person.

In the future it will all be done by robots. There will still be guys going out trying to play a game that isn't there anymore. """