Revolution #204, June 20, 2010
Prisoner Writes on Palestine:
"Their country is literally a prison"
The following excerpts are from a letter written by a reader who is in prison:
The situation in Palestine and Israel has been one of violence and death for as long as most people have been alive. Now that technology has taken off we now see images on the American mainstream media of Israeli troops mostly walking nonchalantly through Palestinian neighborhoods or the common "money shot"—Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli tanks, these were the images I had in my mind all my life so if I was in conversation about Palestine or Israel those are the images that would always come to mind. Most people know that Palestine is occupied by Israel but not all understand to what degree this occupation entails.
The Prison Ban on Revolution Newspaper is Inhumane and Unconstitutional
Overturn the Ban!
Imagine you are in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of a prison, locked in a solitary cell for 23 or more hours a day, every day, year after year. Your lifeline to the world is a newspaper and all of a sudden prison officials decide that you cannot read it anymore. As a prisoner wrote: "I've been getting the Revolution paper for about 8 years and can't imagine being in this dungeon without it."
In February 2010, prison officials at California's Pelican Bay State Prison declared that Revolution newspaper was banned from their institution. The ban must be OVERTURNED.
Many people from all sections of society who have listened to these prisoners' voices have been struck by the power of their words and their moral vision for transforming society. Now it is up to those on the outside to make sure this lifeline is not cut off and these voices are not muffled, or worse, silenced.
For important developments in this struggle, see "Pelican Bay State Prison Feels the Heat - Prison Officials Attempt a Cover-up of the Ban on Revolution Newspaper - Mobilize to Say: NO WAY! " in Revolution #203.
I was recently able to receive Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories by Anna Baltzer...It was a beautiful book of struggle against unbelievable cruelty. Witness in Palestine had vivid photographs on almost every page, photographs that show the bitter-sweet life under an occupied armed force. The constant repression is excellently recorded in these pictures that gives one the feeling of being there at the checkpoints and home demolitions, yet these pictures also show the children raising the Palestinian flag or the people with barely enough to eat offering platters of food to their International visitors.
Being a prisoner housed in a California Security Housing Unit (S.H.U) which is a control unit, I can empathize with the Palestinians being imprisoned for what basically amounts to "thought crimes," and Palestinians are imprisoned, their country is literally a prison with prison walls and guntowers, yet the situation facing the Palestinians is much more than that; it is a slow genocide they are experiencing...
The situation we have of the U.S. funneling taxpayers' money to Israel for weapons or "security," i.e. the prison wall, "settlements," which are basically suburban like gated communities on Palestinian land or any other "projects" Israel sees fit, this is no different than when Israel assisted the South African Apartheid government with weapons, "security," etc. It amazes me how all the U.S. supposed "liberal democrats" do nothing to stop the billions going to finance this Apartheid regime in Israel. The Apartheid conditions are blatant—paved highways for "Israeli only" folks, the neighborhoods for "Israeli only" folks, and the shanty towns for the "Arab only" folks, the list goes on but people from the U.S. particularly will notice the unbearable resemblance to the Jim Crow South in pre-civil rights America. Meanwhile, the U.S. media leaves the people of America blind to the atrocities committed upon the Palestinians. Ask anyone on an American street if they heard of Israel's "citizenship law," and you will probably get a blank look. The "citizenship law" prevents Palestinians who marry Israelis from becoming citizens of Israel; even kids born to a parent from Israel and a parent from Gaza or West Bank must move out of Israel at age 12!...
I became angry and passionate at times reading Witness in Palestine, and at the same time there were some warm stories of the Palestinian people full of love, courage, and undying self-determination. I remember one picture in the book of a drawing by a Palestinian child who drew in crayon a scene of Israeli soldiers with tanks aggressively pursuing Palestinians with guns...
The methods being employed on the Palestinians to break their will to resist an illegal occupation are used in all levels of Israeli society, from the prison wall, military raids, flying roadblocks, of water and livestock, even schoolchildren are constantly reminded of their threat of attack from walking to and from school seeing the Israeli graffiti of Star of David and "Death to Arabs," to Israeli schoolchildren and teachers singing taunts to the Palestinian children walking by! I have even seen on T.V. here in America on a news program about vendors in Tel Aviv where a shop sold T-shirts stating such things as "save a bullet and shoot a pregnant Palestinian." So this anti-Arab sentiment is openly displayed through all levels of society in Israel/Palestine. The situation is a very racist one, the attempt to exterminate a people can be found in history of America, South Africa and Nazi Germany and now in Israel. The dialectic aspect to these horrors is of Baltzer and other people like Baltzer of Jewish descent who see the atrocity in occupied Palestine and go past just recognizing the atrocity but using her Jewish privilege in Israel and Palestine to not only make a huge difference locally but Internationally as well...
I salute you, Anna Baltzer, for your revolutionary stance in unity with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, and I salute the Palestinian people for their courage and fighting spirit for what is absolutely their right to self-determination and humanity. After reading this book I, a Chicano prisoner held captive in a control unit, am also a "witness to Palestine." With that said, I would like to end with the following words—If necessity is the mother of invention, then repression is the mother of resistance.
Funds Urgently Needed!
Donate to the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
All donors will receive the PRLF newsletter.
Your gift can be earmarked for a specific purpose. If you only want your gift to go to fighting the censorship and overturning the ban then please specify on your check or when you make your donation online and we will honor your request.
The Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund is in affiliation with International Humanities Center, a nonprofit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501[c](3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Send your checks to
Make checks to:
Make tax deductible checks to: IHCenter/PRLF
(“International Humanities” will appear on your credit card statement),
To volunteer with or contact PRLF:
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.