political writings

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Silvia Cattori
Interview with US Ambassador Samuel F. Hart
Those who are able have an obligation to stand up against the oppression of the weak
25 July 2011 | Samuel F. Hart, 77 years old, retired US Ambassador, looks much younger than his age. With intense and calm blue eyes, discreet, friendly, he smiles warmly at you and tells you what every honest politician or well informed diplomat should be able to tell you, but does not usually. It was very surprising to meet in a modest three stars hotel in Athens this distinguished man who was waiting with three hundred others participants in the “Freedom Flotilla II” for the Greek government to let them leave for Gaza. We want to thank him warmly for having responded to our questions in a very respectful manner, without any restraint or hesitation.

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara will continue to challenge the Gaza blockade
Huseyin Oruç: Whenever the Palestinians need it, the Mavi Marmara will go
21 July 2011 | In mid June, Bülent Yıldırım, chairman of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, declared that the “Mavi Marmara” ship, which was hard hit in the Israeli raid, could not take part in the “Freedom flotilla II” but will “definitely set sail for Gaza when it completes repair and maintenance works.” Was it a realistic decision for the flotilla organizers to set sail without the “Mavi Marmara”? Huseyin Oruç, deputy of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation explains his position in this interview.

Israel’s denial of entrance to Palestine
Message sent by EasyJet to a Swiss passenger
8 July 2011 | Israeli authorities sent hundreds of names to airline companies telling them to deny travel to individuals on the list. Hundreds of people on the list who had booked flights were sent letters by airline companies cancelling their reservations based on a request from the Israeli authorities.

Freedom Flotilla 2
There are too many headwinds to take to sea but the struggle continues
5 July 2011 | Under pressure from Israel and the United States, the Greek government has prohibited the Freedom Flotilla from sailing to Gaza from its ports. But for its organizers, the fight has just begun and Israel will remain under pressure by civil society who will continue to denounce the illegality of the blockade, and to fight to go to Gaza. Dimitris Plionis, one of the Greek spokesmen for the flotilla, responds here to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

Something important is changing
Gilad Atzmon : “I have zero respect for the mainstream media”
3 June 2011 | Jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon has a blog where he denounces the policy of his country of origin, Israel. He is not afraid to bluntly tell what he regards to be the truth. He is impervious to the concept of self-censorship. He tells here how little respect he has for the Western press. (*)

An Interview with Gilad Atzmon
Israeli occupation: Calling A Spade A Spade
25 February 2011 | Gilad Atzmon is an outstandingly charming man. He is often described by music critics as one of the finest contemporary jazz saxophonists (*). But Atzmon is more than just a musician: for those who follow events in the Middle East, he is considered to be one of the most credible voices amongst Israeli opponents. In the last decade he has relentlessly exposed and denounced barbarian Israeli policies. Just before his departure on a European Spring Tour, “The Tide Has Changed “, with his band the Orient House Ensemble, he spoke to Silvia Cattori.

The message of a committed musical legend
Roger Waters, a Man and an exceptional Artist
8 February 2011 | In a world where, from Palestine to Iraq via Afghanistan, so many innocent people are brutalized by barbarian armies, humiliated, bereft of hope, freedom, and human dignity, the voice of artists with the integrity to lend their talent and signature to say no to savagery, is a beacon of hope.

An Interview with Swiss MP Jean-Charles Rielle
A "Swiss Made" Boat for Gaza
1 November 2010 | Meeting in Geneva in early October, representatives of the International Coalition to Break the Siege on Gaza (people from Britain, Switzerland, Greece, Sweden, Malaysia, Turkey, United Sates, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Algeria, Kuwait, Jordan as well as other Arab countries) have confirmed their determination to break the maritime blockade imposed by Israel on the population of Gaza.

Interview with Kevin Ovenden
From London to Gaza
28 September 2010 | Subjected to an Israeli-imposed inhuman siege and, as a result, threatened of asphyxiation since that day of 2006 when they had voted massively in favour of the Islamic movement Hamas, the people of Gaza have resisted, thus incurring huge sacrifices, and have not bowed to the threat of famine used as blackmail. The British militant, coordinator of the 5th convoy Viva Palestina (*), which left London on 18 September on its way to Gaza, replies in this interview to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

Interview with Hazem Jamjoum
Through piracy, Israel has revealed its true nature to the world
9 June 2010 | The extraordinary brutality of the army that abusively describes itself as “the most ethical army in the world” has ended up in exposing to everyone the true face of Israel. It must be noted that such brutality would never have been possible without the complicity of Western political circles and media. Hazem Jamjoum, 28, a Palestinian scholar who passed through Geneva on the same day as Israel’s deadly storming of the Freedom Flotilla, replies to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

May 15 : A Day to remember
Palestine 62 years after the NAKBA
15 May 2010 | On May 15, 1948, the day following the proclamation of the State of Israel by David Ben Gurion, began a war of dispossession that would drive Palestinians from their land and that they called the Nakba: The Catastrophe (*). To commemorate this painful anniversary, here is a brief excerpt of an interview with Gilad Atzmon, and two moving videos.

A flotilla to break Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza
Arafat Shoukri: “Conditions are ripe to make this flotilla the ‘tipping point’“
23 April 2010 | A coalition bringing together a number of organizations is preparing to send in May 2010 a relief flotilla of more than ten ships and cargo-boats to Gaza. Dr. Arafat Shoukri, president of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) will participate in this spectacular convoy with his Campaign, which is an NGO. He has spared no effort for three years to lead delegations of European parliamentarians to allow them to see on the ground the untenable situation in Gaza and to encourage them to call on the Member States of the European Union to exert pressure on Israel with a view to ending its suffocation of the people of Gaza. Dr. Arafat Shoukri responds here to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

The Strangulation of the Population of Gaza by Israel
An international flotilla of Gaza aid
20 April 2010 | The population of Gaza is victim of the greatest scandal of our time. Gaza is dying not because of a natural catastrophe, but because of a disaster carefully organized and executed by Israel. An international coalition, which brings together many organizations and movements, is preparing to send a fleet of ten boats to break the illegal Israeli blockade that is asphyxiating Gaza. Paul Larudee, a California participant in this bold enterprise, answers questions from Silvia Cattori.

A dangerous moment in Palestinian History
Khalid Amayreh: “As an oppressed people our certainty is to be free”
9 March 2010 | Khalid Amayreh (*) is a journalist who lives in Hebron, a city brutalized and bloodied daily by armed Jewish settlers who are driving the authentic inhabitants by force. He is what might be called a true Palestinian; a man of integrity who was never seduced by financial rewards and prestige; a man standing who has remained with his martyred people in order to witness every day the atrocities he suffers at the hands of the Israeli army, but also, and this is the most painful, at the hands of the palestinian authorities of Ramallah. He himself has been imprisoned, savagely beaten without knowing why, by this Palestinian police to the training of which Bernard Kouchner is so pleased to have participated.

Israeli repression in Palestine is escalating
Mazin Qumsiyeh: “The Israeli army wants me”
2 March 2010 | The Israeli army invaded Mazin Qumsiyeh’s neighborhood in Beit Sahour, a suburb of Bethlehem, on 2 March in the night, waking up his mother, wife and sister. Heavily-armed soldiers blocked roads during "the operation". When his family opened the door, they demanded to see Mazin Qumsiyeh (*). They were told that Mazin already left to the US. He replies here to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

Interview with Doctor Thabet El Masri
Gaza : A Death Camp ?
14 October 2009 | Thabet El Masri, is the Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the Shifa Hospital, a public institution in the Gaza Strip. He replies here to the questions of Silvia Cattori about the recent increase in the number of babies being born with birth defects.

The scandal of the United Nations’ black lists
Youssef Nada’s name removed from the UN Security Council’s blacklist
26 September 2009 | Youssef Nada, wrongly accused of “terrorism”, was held hostage for eight years by the government of Switzerland due to being blacklisted by the UN Security Council. The engineer left no legal stone unturned to seek redress from allegations that he had funded Osama bin Laden or any other terrorist organization. The United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee reversed its initial ruling on September 23, 2009: Mr Nada’s name and the name of his businesses have at long last been taken off the list of 400 persons and entities suspected of connections with terrorism. Despite this important victory restoring his honor and putting an end to his humiliations, his fight against the cabal whose accusations weighed heavily against him is far from (...)

Sami El Haj creates the Guantánamo Justice Centre
30 July 2009 | On 29 July 2009, we had the privilege of meeting with Sami El Haj, an Al Jazeera journalist and cameraman who was imprisoned in Guantánamo for more than 6 years and who was passing through Geneva, on which occasion he told us about the foundation of the London-based humanitarian organization « Guantánamo Justice Centre" which he chairs, as he will formally announce at the press conference taking place in that capital on 30 July 2009. This NGO will be steered by the former British prisonner, Moazzam Begg, in his capacity as Secretary-General and will have branches in Geneva and Paris.

Insights into the Durban Review Conference
Four Palestinian voices
30 April 2009 | Why Israel’s Racism and Zionism cannot be honestly questioned? The UN Review Conference which took place from 20 to 24 April 2009 in Geneva to assess the progress made since the 2001 “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance” held in Durban, was the theatre of the division orchestrated by the countries that refuse to describe Israel as a racist, apartheid state, and the countries and organisations which do not accept an open debate about Israel’s racist laws and policies vis-à-vis non-Jews.

World Conference against Racism: From Durban to Geneva
Abdel Bari Atwan: “Israel was exposed despite the protection of Western countries”
28 April 2009 | Abdel Bari Atwan, well known Palestinian journalist and editor in chief of the London-based daily newspaper Al-Quds Al Arabi, was interviewed by Silvia Cattori on the Durban Review Conference. The interview took place in Geneva on 23 April 2009.

Palestine: what kind of solidarity?
More political action outside Palestine!
26 December 2008 | This year, the Jewish state of Israel celebrated its 60 years of existence. An existence built on the theft of Arab lands, massacres and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians which started in 1948 and are continuing till now. On this sad and humiliating anniversary, the Palestinian people find itself in the most dramatic situation of its dark history.

Youssef Nada victim of illegal sanctions
Swiss Diplomacy on Trial
12 October 2008 | Since Mr. George W. Bush declared the "war on terrorism", and since the imposition of completely arbitrary sanctions by the Security Council of the UN, tens of thousands of innocent people - primarily of the Muslim faith - have been either imprisoned and subjected to torture, or wrongly registered on "terrorist" lists and deprived of their assets and their freedom of movement. The case of an Italian businessman, of Egyptian origin, Mr. Youssef Nada, largely unknown to the public, has drawn our attention because, it is emblematic of this unjust policy of sanctions, which deprives people who have done nothing, of their freedom and their means of living, and unfortunately Switzerland continues to take part in this.

Sami El Haj, Al Jazeera journalist, tells his story
30 July 2008 | Standing straight and tall, an impressive and deeply introspective man, Sami El Haj walks with a limp and the help of a walking stick. Neither laughter nor smiles light up the refined face of this man, old before his time. A deep sadness pervades him. He was 32 years old when, in December 2001, his life, like that of tens of thousands of other Muslims, became a horrific nightmare.

US and European Union grant unlimited powers to police and secret services
The Incredible story of Youssef Nada
17 June 2008 | Under the cover of the « war against terror », the United States and the European Union have granted unlimited powers to secret services and police. Emergency measures which were introduced on a provisional basis in 2001, outside any judiciary control, have become permanent. Since September 2001, at least 80,000 people, mainly Muslim, would have been kidnapped, kept in secret prisons, and tortured by CIA and FBI agents. Hundreds of others have been put on the UN « black list ». That’s what happened to the businessman Youssef Nada, 77 years old, an Italian citizen of Egyptian origin, accused by U.S. President, G.W Bush of financing Al-Qaeda. Two judiciary investigations resulted in a non-suit, but Mr. Nada didn’t get his name deleted from the UN « black list » (*). His assets remain frozen; he is barred from travelling to or transiting in any country. He can’t go outside the tiny enclave of Campione - an Italian enclave inside Swiss territory - where Silvia Cattori went to meet (...)

An Interview with Aharon Shabtaï
Israel, “guest of honour” in Paris and Turin, does not deserve to be invited
25 February 2008 | When the announcement that Israel would attend the "Fiera del libro" of Turin, (*) came out, an immediate wave of protest arose in Italy; and many personalities supported the boycott call, made by the Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian Writers’ Associations (**). In France, strangely enough, the same invitation, to the "Salon du livre" of Paris, did not make much noise. Alone, the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtaï has refused to participate in these events, contrary to the 39 Israeli writers who accepted to be part of the Israeli delegation to these two exhibitions. Aharon Shabtaï explains here why these events –which he qualifies as "promotion of propaganda" for Israel-, must be boycotted, as well as any cultural event where this apartheid State is (...)

An interview with Hedy Epstein
"What is the lesson to be learned from the Holocaust?"
11 January 2008 | Hedy Epstein, is a German Jewish Holocaust survivor, born in 1924, whose parents were sent to Auschwitz in 1942, where they perished. In 1948, Hedy Epstein went to live in United States. In 2003, she decided to make a trip to Palestine. Shocked by the oppression that the Israeli government is imposing on the Palestinians, she is, since then, devoting herself to make it known to the world. In the interview she gave to the Swiss journalist Silvia Cattori, Hedy Epstein speaks, with her gentle and mild voice, about her last travel to Palestine after a moving visit to one of several concentration camps to which her parents were deported. And she said: "I would like to dedicate this interview to the children of Gaza, whose parents cannot protect them or send them away to safety as my parents did when they sent me to England in May 1939 on a Kindertransport” (...)

Israel does not respect anything
They cancelled Christmas in the Holy Land
20 December 2007 | Seeing the little town of Bethlehem surrounded by walls, hideous new colonies and look-out towers, cut off from its villages, from its biblical vistas and dispossessed from its Christian heritage, makes it impossible not to react.

Check points
Bethlehem : Showing the cruelty of the Israeli occupation
20 December 2007 | It is a gesture of resistance for the Palestinians who must go to work, exit and leave their cities and try to live their lives in spite of the innumerable obstacles they face.

No to the apartheid Two states solution
Omar Barghouti: No State Has the Right to Exist as a Racist State
6 December 2007 | Omar Barghouti belongs to a new generation of Palestinians who never adhered to the solution of « Two States, Two peoples ». They are advocating, instead, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel as well as a «secular, democratic state» solution, where Palestinians and Israelis would share equal rights, after historic injustices are redressed and the refugees are allowed to return.

An Interview with Hedy Epstein and Greta Berlin
“We Are Committed to Sailing to Gaza – Ahoy!”
12 August 2007 | Hedy Epstein and Greta Berlin, two among other personalities promoting the project, "Sailing a boat to Gaza" explain, in the interview they gave to Silvia Cattori, why the boat "Free Gaza" will not sail this summer as initially planned, but next spring.

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