Nov 112013
 

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By Nancy-Leigh, Co-Founder, Existence is Resistance

On October 20, 2013 I spent a traumatic and humiliating night in the San Francisco County jail. I was finally released on a $56,000 bail. While protesting a gala held to raise millions for the Israeli army, an armed force accused by the United Nations and international human rights organizations of crimes against humanity, I was physically assaulted by an attendee. The person smashed by bullhorn into my mouth, requiring me to retaliate in self-defense. In the end, I was the one who was held culpable, forced to spend a night in prison, while my assailant walked free.

Some context on the events in question: I was invited by many comrades to take part in a demonstration against another IDF fundraising Gala here in San Francisco. The demonstration was confined to the sidewalk and we were forbidden to enter the paved area which led to the doors of the Intercontinental Hotel where the fundraiser was being held.

The San Francisco police were posted in front of each door of the hotel as well as 6 or 7 more standing by their patrol cars. They told fellow protesters that they would be arrested for trespassing if they set foot on the pavement outside of the hotel. One of our protesters who had arrived earlier innocently entered to use the bathroom, unaware that the police were threatening arrest for “trespassing.” On her way out she was immediately pounced on by three police officers. A videographer who attempted to document her arrest was accosted and brutally dragged by police to a waiting squad car. Another was violently pushed and forced into the police car by 3 officers who kicked her repeatedly, leaving bruised and in searing pain.

When a group of four IDF dinner attendees emerged from the event to taunt us at close range, members of the SFPD looked on with blithe smiles. Suddenly, a woman accompanying the group of IDF supporters approached me and smashed the bullhorn I was holding into my face with the full force of her fist, causing the my lip to gush blood. I turned to her and swung both my arms to repel her attack, a clear act of self-defense.

When a SFPD officer approached me, I told him, “You were just watching, did you not just see her hit me first?”,

“Yes” he answered, “we just need you to step over to the side for a moment”

When I complied without argument, two other officers helped him grab me, handcuffed me, and dragged me to a waiting squad car. I asked what I was being arrested for and I was told, “Causing a Public Disturbance”.

As the same officer who saw the incident unfold entered the police car with me, I asked him, “How can you arrest me when you saw what happened, you told me you saw her hit me first?”

“No, I didn’t,” he claimed, contradicting the statement he made earlier. I informed him that the entire incident had been captured on videotape.  ”well I was confused, it was chaotic”. I was in utter disbelief that they let my attacker walk away and return to her dinner. Later on, when I watched the video of the incident, I was shocked by the image of her winking, smiling and waving at her fellow attendees in a show of triumphalism as she sauntered back into the gala.

Upon arrival to the police precinct, I was forcibly led from the parking lot to the back door of the precinct by the same officer who was witness to the assault on me. I asked him why he felt he had to push me when I was fully in compliance with his demands.

“I’m not pushing you,” he claimed, throwing me into the glass doors of the entrance. I assumed this was his way of demonstrating his absolute dominance without regard for the law or internal police code of conduct.

For the first four hours in jail my seven requests to numerous officers to use the bathroom were ignored. I was told the videotape would be reviewed, leading me to believe that I would soon be released. I was the victim of the assault, after all. Instead, after 5.5 hours I was sent to county jail under a trumped up but incredibly grave charge: “Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon” and “Public Disturbance.” It was hard to describe my sense of despair as I was marched off to San Francisco County Prison with $56,000 bail.

At 12.30PM on the following day, Monday Oct 21, 2013, I was bailed out. I retained legal representation on Tuesday Oct 22 and by 10am Wednesday Oct 23 when my attorney and DA reviewed the footage it was clear as day who the aggressor was and who was the victim.

ALL charges against me were immediately dropped and dismissed.

Despite being completely exonerated, various pro-Israel zealots have attempted to exploit the incident to smear me and incite hatred against me in online blogs. As well as false SFPD statements stating I “entered the hotel and attacked hotel guests with a bullhorn”. My attorney will be requesting retraction of these false statements; should they fail to comply, legal action will be taken.

The fact that I cooperated during the rally, was viciously attacked, thrown in jail and treated like a criminal then stuck with paying thousands in bail is outrageous.

Existence Is Resistance is an internationalist organization determined to promote non-violent resistance through cultural arts. In our work we use the arts as a means of expression and liberation of marginalized peoples throughout the world with a focus on connecting to the situation of occupied Palestine. E.I.R. believes that liberation is self-determined and to obtain freedom without violence, the arts are an outlet of communicating struggles globally and efficiently. E.I.R is not a charity; our projects implement human talent for inspiration and empowerment in the face of oppression. E.I.R. is open to people of the human race, all cultures religions/non religion, ethnicities, socio-economic positions, genders and sexual orientations. Existence Is Resistance believes that if even one human is bound, we are all bound to the freedom of that human.We are a grassroots organization with no ties to ANY political parties.

Oct 112013
 

Existence is Resistance will be attending this great event.  We will have our t-shirts for sale and linking up with other activists in the movement.  Check it out.

Life_is_Living_Poster_2013_web

A FREE Celebration Of Urban Life Through Hip-Hop, Intergenerational Health, And Environmental Action.

We are gearing up and getting excited for our 5th Life is Living in Oakland. Every year keeps getting better than the next and this one is sure to exemplify the greatness of the people of Oakland.

Music Concerts featuring:

Dead Prez

Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Dynamic, Rico Pabon, YGB GOLD,

The 6th Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle: Tribute to Mic Dream

The Hood Games Skating Exhibition in Town Park

The Food Justice STEMposium – Health Fair and Food Justice Exhibition ft. Peoples Kitchen, SOS Juice, thebiggerpicture.org, and special guests

Reflections of Healing Mural Project Installation ft. Brett Cook

The Oakland Bandits Girls Softball Clinic and Exhibition

The Cipher ft. Do Dat, Tommie Sheppard and 30+ Bay Area MC’s

Kids Zone ft. Youth Activism, Youth Performances, the West Oakland Read-in and other special guests and activities

Art Engagement with renowned Bay Area Artists including: Favianna Rodriguez, Keba Konte, K DUB, Karen Seneferu, and many others

Vendors, Food, Health Screenings, Barter Town, Swimming, and moreLil Bobby Hutton Park

Oakland, California 94607
 
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Nov 302012
 
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Thursday December 6, 2012 from 4pm – 11pm.

Existence is Resistance presents Hands Off Gaza (Part 2), a fundraising benefit event to raise medical aid for Gaza.

Film Screening, Panel Discussion and Performances from 4pm – 10pm – People are welcome to come anytime – this is a fundraising event and all proceeds raised will go directly for medical aid in Gaza. Complimentary refreshments will be available.

 

4PM – 6.30PM

FILM SCREENING: “Hip Hop Is Bigger Than The Occupation”
Followed by a Q&A panel of artists and organizers featured in the filmThe documentary revolves around a ten day journey of artists traveling through Palestine, teaching and performing Non Violent Resistance through the arts.The tour included M1 of Dead Prez, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of Soul Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Trinidad, Brandon and Lavie from the South West Youth Collaborative/University of Hip Hop Chicago. Staying in the heart of Balata Refugee Camp @ the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus the group witnesses night raids, toured places like Hebron where there are roads for the Arabs and roads for the Jews, they meet families of shaheeds as well as young Palestinians who have been jailed, shot, humiliated, the group visits Bi’lin where they get shot at and tear gassed and experience first hand what it felt like living under occupation.
7PM -8.30PM
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Hip Hop, Resistance and Palestine – Views from Global Community”
Panel of Artists discussing global resistance through the arts, especially hip hop and making the connections from the Ghetto to Gaza…some of these artists have been to Gaza and the West Bank.
The panel will include:
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE
M1 OF DEAD PREZ – Traveled to Gaza in 2009 and the West Bank in 2010
MAINO
HASAN SALAAM
MAZZI (SOUL PURPOSE) – Traveled to Gaza in 2009 and the West Bank in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
JASIEL- Traveled to the West Bank in 2012More to be announced9PM – 10PM
LIVE PERFORMANCES
Some of the artists from the previous panel will perform as well as poetry from Tahani Salah and DJ Vega Benetton on the Turntables.
NO AGE RESTRICTIONS
$20 SUGGESTED DONATION
PLEASE EMAIL EIR.NYC@GMAIL.COM TO RSVP AND/OR ENDORSE – PLEASE PUT “HANDS OFF GAZA PART 2″ IN THE SUBJECT LINE.HANDS OFF GAZA PART 1 CAN BE SEEN HERE:http://vimeo.com/9003712
Feb 062012
 

Photo by Zach Roberts © 2011

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK – Jersey Takes Initiative to Limit Vulture Funds – EIR and Friends of the Congo Applaud Effort

New York City, NY, February 6th, 2012 – Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, announced plans to outlaw vulture funds that have been using court systems to capitalize on the economic vulnerabilities of poor nations.  Senator Gorst explained that this initiative “demonstrates Jersey’s commitment to play its part in the global effort to support measures which assist the world’s most heavily indebted poor countries.”

 

This announcement comes as welcome news to advocates for debt-relief who have been crying out and campaigning against predatory vulture funds, a practice where international debt speculators buy the poorest country’s debts and then sue for 10 to 100 times the amount of purchase, driving countries further into debt and stalling development that would enable them to recover.

 

Targeting companies that do business with heavily-indebted nations, fund holders attempt to claim profits on the basis of debt collection.  The Democratic Republic of Congo, ranking last at 187 on the United Nations Development Programme 2011 Human Development Index, has been a victim of this practice since 1996. The collections are aimed at companies but ordinary citizens clearly bear the cost of economic stress and stalls in development.  According to the 2011 Global Hunger Index by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Congo has the highest proportion of undernourished people – about 70 percent of the population – and one of the highest child mortality rates in the world.  Vulture funds exacerbate the conditions that entrench a struggling nation further into debt and dependency on international aid.

 

New York-based hedge fund FG Hemisphere Associates LLC, owned by Brooklyn Financier Peter Grossman, is currently suing the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) for $100 million in the Jersey courts. The claim is based on a $30 million loan given 30 years ago to Zairian dictator Joseph Mobutu by Yugoslavia’s (now Bosnia) Energoinvest for a failed hydro-electricity project. Energoinvest sold its Congo debt to FG Hemisphere (now FG Capital Management Ltd.). According to the BBC, The Guardian, Democracy Now, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Peter Grossman’s hedge fund purchased the loan from Bosnia’s former Prime Minister and former director of Energoinvest, Nedzad Brankovic, for only $3 million. The Bosnian Chief of Financial Police claims that Brankovic acted illegally in selling the debt, which was owned by Bosnia, but sold personally, and has recommended Brankovic be charged.

 

Since 2005, FG Hemisphere has tried to seize Congo’s assets in the Bahamas, Europe, Hong Kong, South Africa and the United States. In 2009, FG Hemisphere brought the case against Congo to the island of Jersey in the United Kingdom. In December of 2011, the Jersey Court awarded FG Hemisphere $100 million. Senator Ian Gorst’s plan to outlaw vulture funds in Jersey will save the Congo from losing $100 million to FG Hemisphere. The final appeal in the FG Hemisphere vs. D.R. Congo case is expected to be heard in the next few months.

 

Jersey’s efforts are laudable and have been praised by advocacy groups like Friends of the Congo and Existence Is Resistance, who have undertaken a continuous protest since the end of November to expose the players behind the pilfering of the Congo. Encouraged by Jersey’s initiative, members of these groups are calling for more people to join them as they gather every Sunday at 5 PM at Peter Grossman’s residence in Brooklyn at the corner of Dekalb and Washington avenues in Brooklyn, NY.

 

About Friends of the Congo and Existence is Resistance

The Friends of the Congo is a grassroots advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.

Existence Is Resistance is an internationalist organization determined to promote non-violent resistance through cultural arts.

 

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:

Kambale Musavuli, 646-571-8312, info@friendsofthecongo.org

Ryan Green, 917-284-5343, questions@existenceisresistance.org

Dec 192011
 

 

Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements:
Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
December 19, 2011

Endorse the statement here.

In recent days, protesters demanding civilian rule in Egypt have again been murdered, maimed and tortured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Interior Security Forces (ISF).

The conspiracy, being brutally implemented in Egypt, is part of a global conspiracy to suffocate mass movements for socio-economic justice and is being done with direct assistance of the American government and the private interests which direct that government. We have word from friends in Egypt that SCAF, ISF and their hired thugs — armed by ongoing shipments of $1.3 billion in weapons from the U.S. government — plan to execute one by one all the leaders of the revolution, and as many activists as they can.

Accordingly, we need to ensure that people and organizers in the US and internationally are involved in closely monitoring the events unraveling in Egypt. By keeping track of the atrocities committed by SCAF and ISF, keeping track of those detained, tortured or targeted, and continuously contacting officials in Egypt and the US to demand accountability, cessation of the atrocities and justice, we can add pressure on SCAF, ISF and the forces they represent. In this way we may be able to play a role in helping save the lives of our Egyptian brothers and sisters.

Evidence of the conspiracy to execute the leaders and participants of Egyptian freedom movement, includes in very small part the following:

  • Sheikh Emad of Al Azhar was killed by a bullet entering his right side from short range. This was seen at first hand by witnesses known to members of our coalition. Sheikh Emad was one of a small number of Azhar Imams issuing decrees in support of the revolution. His murder was no accident.
  • Sally Tooma, Mona Seif, Ahdaf Soueif, and Sanaa Seif, all female friends and relatives of imprisoned blogger and activist Alaa abd El Fattah, and all known internationally for their political and/or literary work, were detained, and beaten in the Cabinet building.
  • A woman protesting against General Tantawi, head of SCAF, was detained and then tortured by having the letter “T” in English carved into her scalp with knives.
  • Detainees are being tortured while in courtroom holding pens. Two men (Mohammad Muhiy Hussein is one of them) were killed in those pens.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.

In every way, Egypt’s fight is our fight. Just like us, Egyptians are the 99%, fighting for social, political and economic justice.

The same 1% that arms the Egyptian dictatorship commits systematic violence in this country against the Occupy movement; antiwar and solidarity activists; and Arabs, Muslims, and other communities of color.

As the US Palestinian Community Network recently observed, “the same US-made tear gas rains down on us in the streets of Oakland, Cairo and Bil`in.”

Because of Egypt’s key strategic location, the fate of its revolution echoes across the world. Its success will bring us all closer to achieving economic and social justice. But its defeat would be a major blow to social justice movements everywhere, including Occupy.

In short, Egypt is key to the continued success of the Arab Revolution, and movements she has inspired.

For all these reasons, we ask Occupy and all U.S. social justice activists to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters by immediately organizing mass convergences on Egyptian embassies, missions, consulates, and at U.S. government offices, to demand:

  • Cancel all US aid and shipment of military and police materiel to Egypt!
  • Stop the murders, tortures and detentions!
  • Release all detainees and political prisoners!
  • Immediate end to military rule in Egypt!

Issued by (list in formation):

Ad Hoc Coalition to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Egyptian Association for Change- NY
Existence is Resistance
International Socialist Organization
Jan25 Solidarity for Democracy Network
New York City Labor Against the War
Labor for Palestine
Raha Iranian Feminist Collective
Siegebusters Working Group
6 of April Youth Movement America
Socialist Action
United National Antiwar Coalition
US Palestinian Community Network

Please endorse and circulate this appeal widely. Please send statements with these demands to the bodies listed below*

www.defendegyptianrevolution.org and defendegyptianrevolution@gmail.com

IMMEDIATE ACTIONS:\

TUESDAY

Call/write-in to Egyptian government.

Ministry of Defense
Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman
Phone: 24008000
Fax: 22916227
E-mail: mod@idsc.gov.eg
Website: http://www.mmc.gov.eg

Dr.Kamal El Ganzory, Prime Minister
Phone: +202-2793-5000
Fax: +202-2795-8048
E-mail: pm@cabinet.gov.eg
Website: http://www.cabinet.gov.eg/Cabinet/Prime_Minister.aspx

WEDNESDAY

2:00pm until 7:00pm
Protest against SCAF in NYC
Egyptian consulate, 1110 2nd Ave # 201 New York, NY 10022-2093
https://www.facebook.com/events/260847190641653/