By Ed Mead
First of all, I would like to share the situation and some of the thoughts of a former Palestinian prisoner, a man who was only recently released after having served l7 years in Israeli prisons. His name is Ali Mohammed Jiddah, and he was born in Jerusalem in 1950. Shortly after his release, Ali traveled to England, where he talked openly about unfolding events in the Middle East. In an interview in the British leftist newspaper FRFI, he was asked to comment on the character of Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein. I am quoting a large portion of his response because I think it is important for our American readers to hear the Palestinian reasoning behind their support of Iraq during the recent war. Here is part of what Ali had to say:
"On this issue there is a great deal of misunderstanding of the Palestinian position. We were strong and open supporters of Iraq, but not because we are adherents of Saddam Hussein. We do not approve of what he is doing to the Kurds and to the progressive forces inside Iraq itself. Being an occupied people ourselves we cannot approve occupying another country by force.
"Our support for Iraq came from our deep knowledge that this war had nothing to do with democratic rights, human rights-all this is the hypocrisy of the imperialists. The war was a war of the six big oil companies. It aimed to establish the fact that in this world there are superiors and inferiors. The Americans and British were saying - we the imperialists are the superiors and you, the poor nations, are the inferiors and never try to change this. Otherwise you will suffer the same destiny that we gave to Iraq.
"As Palestinians we have an interest in fighting the imperialists everywhere. And Iraq, at that moment, wasn't only representing itself. It was representing the Third World in general against imperialism. This is the view of the majority of our people.
"Nevertheless when we called on our people to support Iraq we ... said to them, 'Don't forget that we have our own contradictions with the Iraqi regime. Today he is playing such a progressive role in fighting the imperialists but tomorrow he will turn back against his own progressive groups inside Iraq and against us, revolutionary groups inside the Palestinian arena."' On his return to Palestine, Ali Jiddah was subjected to systematic Zionist harassment, and is now due in court where he faces very serious charges. Having been attacked and beaten by Zionist soldiers he was charged with attacking them with the aim of stealing their weapons. Please send letters of protest to Roni Milo, Minister of Police, P.O. Box 2001, Jerusalem 91020.
In a brighter item of news, a group called 127 House (P.O. Box 11481, Knoxville, TN 37933-1061) has chosen Prisoners' LegaI News as the focus for its first international compilation benefit tape. All profits from the sale of this tape will be sent to the PLN. The final tape will be accompanied by a booklet, too. If you have audio contributions on Type II cassettes or better, especially electronic, industrial, collage, punk/KC, or spoken pieces, send them to 127 House. Mail them a SASE and your material will be returned to you. All contributors will receive two copies of the finished product. The deadline for submissions of recordings is September 1, 1991. Spread the word.
Maybe Paul and I should call this column "The Begging Corner," as it is from here that we are always driving on you for donations. Well, here we are once again, asking you for money. The response to our call in last month's issue was a good one (it about covered our cost of production), but the contributions came mostly from outside readers rather than prisoners. I would like to see our base of support on the inside take on more of the obligation for our financial support. So please, you women and men behind bars, send us some stamps or a few bucks from your commissary account. We are trying to be here for you; try to be there for us. As always, we like getting your articles, artwork, and related newsletter materials, too.
That's it for this month. Be sure to pass this paper on.
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