January 4, 2009
Reference: Christina Hilo, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator, email:
Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine
Filipinos in New York City yesterday joined thousands in a long march from
Times Square to the Israeli Consulate on Second Avenue in opposition to
the continuing military offensives of the Israeli government on the city
of Gaza, already claiming over 400 lives and wounding thousands more
Palestinians, including women and children. Under the banner of the
Filipino-American alliance known as BAYAN USA, members from Filipinas for
Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, and the New
York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) expressed
solidarity for the Palestinian people's 6-decade long struggle against the
Zionist occupation of their ancestral land, otherwise known as the state
"The Filipino people are in complete and unconditional solidarity with the
Palestinian people's struggle for national liberation," stated BAYAN USA
Secretary-General Berna Ellorin from the rally stage in Times Square, in
front of four packed city blocks of protesters, many of whom were
Palestinian immigrants, who cheered in response. "In Manila, the capital
city of the Philippines, the Israeli embassy is already the site of
massive protests of Filipinos against the US-Israeli attacks on Gaza."
Ellorin also expressed the alliance's respect for the Palestinian people's
right to choose any form of struggle to defeat their oppressors, including
armed struggle. "The massacre of the Palestinian people by the US-Israeli
pact is historical and systemic. The Palestinian people not only have
every right to defend themselves, but to assert their claim over their
occupied homeland," she also exclaimed from the loud speakers.
During the rally and march to the Israeli Consulate, BAYAN USA members
painted "Free Palestine!" on their faces and learned pro-Palestinian
chants in Arabic from Palestinian youth. They also drew connections
between the Palestinian people's struggle and the Filipino people's
continuing struggle for genuine nationalism and democracy in the
Philippines, free from US government intervention in economic and
political affairs through US-puppet Philippine governments such as that of
Protesters also sharply criticized US President-Elect Barack Obama's
silence and inaction on the Gaza attacks. Meanwhile, Israel remains the
largest annual recipient of US economic aid in the world, billions of
which are used to supply the weaponry, ammunition, and technological
capabilities being employed in the Israeli military offensive on the
Palestinians. US foreign aid is funneled from US tax dollars.
January 3rd marked a national day of protest across the United States
against the continuing US-Israeli attacks in Gaza that began as air
strikes and have now evolved into ground attacks.
BAYAN USA is an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines. For more
information on BAYAN USA, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
www.bayanusa.org. To view pictures from BAYAN USA's participation in the
rally in New York City, visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33986988@N07/sets/72157612153269952/ . ###
Statement of the President of the 63rd Session
United Nations General Assembly
On Gaza airstrikes
Headquarters , New York, 27 December 2008
The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of
wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it
Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to
be rightly accused of complicity by omission.
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive
violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva
Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and
in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include:
Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the
crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one
of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most
densely populated area of the Middle East.
Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only
destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government,
but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike
reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home
from the university.
I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to
be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population
facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless
of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all
Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United
Nations system, to move expeditiously not only to condemn Israel’s serious
violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for
the Palestinian people.
The Israeli military is
doing the US government’s dirty work! Stop the ongoing massacres in Gaza
December 29th, 2008
Contact: Berna Ellorin
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA
The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of
12 Filipino organizations in the US, vehemently condemns the US
government-sponsored bloodshed that is currently ongoing in the city of
Gaza, in the Palestinian territories. As of the writing of this statement,
the Israeli military air strikes in Gaza have killed over 300
Palestinians, and nearly 1000 more are critically wounded, including women
and children. The death toll from the last 72 hours alone in Gaza marks
the highest in the decades-long so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
Israeli state officials claim the siege on Gaza is a response to the Hamas
government’s continued “violent retaliation” in the form of rocket
To understand the so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” more
comprehensively, one must see it in the context of US imperialism’s role
in dividing and plundering the Middle East to serve its economic and
political interests. The state of “Israel” still serves as a strategic
access point for US-imperialism to plunder the entire region’s most
profitable resources– black gold and oil.The state of “Israel” is a US
surrogate state that has long been funded by Washington DC to do its dirty
work and uphold its interests in the region. This includes the ethnic
cleansing of millions of Palestinian families who were violently forced to
flee from their ancestral lands beginning in 1948 with the forceful and
violent Zionist occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the state
of “Israel”. The establishment of Israel and its systemic massacre and
displacement of the Palestinian people is one of the greatest offensives
of the US government in the Middle East, that duly serves the interests of
US imperialism to control the region.
Israel-US government relations remain tight and intimate in this campaign.
Israel is the largest recipient of direct economic and military aid from
the US government since World War II. This means the Israeli military’s
continuing offensives on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are
made possible with generous funding from the US government. The
hard-earned tax dollars of the people of the US are fueling these
continuing attacks of the US surrogate government of Israel against the
Palestinian people. At the same time, the global economic crisis is
hitting the people of the US hard with massive job lay-offs, foreclosures,
evictions, and budget cuts to health care and education.
In light of their historical oppression, the oppressed Palestinian people
have every right to resist and determine their form of resistance in the
interest of their national liberation. It is understandable that this
heroic resistance includes armed struggle. The Palestinian people have
suffered the most horrific crimes of war and massacre from US imperialism
at the hands of the Israeli government.
In the same light, the
Filipino people are suffering from attacks from the same enemy. If the
state of “Israel” is considered US-imperialism’s front door to the rest of
the Middle East and Asia, then the Philippines would be the back door. For
almost 110 years, the US has forcefully imposed its control over the
Philippines, directly and indirectly, for the sake of maintaining this
strategic geo-political and economic post in the Asia Pacific region. One
of the first colonies of US-imperialism at the turn of the 20th century,
the Filipino people suffered great losses. More than one-sixth of the
Filipino people were massacred with the first few years of US occupation.
Like the US surrogate
government in Israel, the US surrogate government of Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo is also performing the same dirty work in the Philippines
to advance US imperialism’s control over the country. While Israel is the
largest annual recipient of US economic and military aid in the world, the
Philippines is the largest recipient in Asia. But US economic aid to the
Philippine government is not used for economic development of a very poor
nation. Instead the Arroyo administration directs US economic aid towards
beefing up the Philippine military, which has been responsible for the
gravest human rights crisis in the country since the period of the
US-backed Marcos dictatorship, and deepening corruption by buying the
loyalty of corrupt Philippine politicians. The Philippine military is also
responsible for the massive displacement of millions of Filipinos from
their lands, especially the Muslim and indigenous communities.
Here in the United States,
oppressed and working people have the responsibility to cripple the state
terrorist machinaries of the Israeli and Philippine governments by
demanding the withdrawal of US direct economic and military aid to both
countries. As the global economic crisis continues to awaken the people in
the US to the rotten character of US imperialism, we must strengthen our
solidarity ties to national liberation struggles abroad, including
Palestine and the Philippines. By intensifying our struggles and
resistance against US imperialism in all parts of the globe, we can weaken
our common enemy.
Furthermore, President-Elect Barack Obama’s swift appointment of Rahm
Emanuel as his Chief-of-Staff foreshadows continued Zionist oppression of
the Palestinian people. His father, Benjamin Emanuel, is an ardent Zionist
militant who has been infamously quoted as bragging that his son will
ensure the incoming Obama administration’s pro-Israel agenda, and
offensively remarked that Arabs in the White House are usually relegated
to cleaning floors. We must therefore remain vigilant and maintain no
illusion that the incoming US presidential administration can effectively
or even has the intention to restore peace in the region.
In condemning the attacks on Gaza, we demand justice for the Palestinian
people. This means we demand the US-Israeli occupation of the Palestinian
people’s ancestral land end, and that the right of the Palestinian people
to return to their homeland be globally respected and recognized. Without
justice, neither peace nor democracy can be realized or practiced in the
Middle East or the Philippines.
STOP THE ATTACKS ON GAZA!
JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN VICTIMS OF THE US-ISRAELI ATTACKS!
WITHDRAW US ECONOMIC AID TO ISRAEL!
WITHDRAW US ECONOMIC AID TO THE PHILIPPINES!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!