Why not make public transport free? »« Why the π?

Medea Benjamin’s terrible experience with airport authorities

Long-time peace activist Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK describes the terrible experience she had in Cairo while trying to get to Gaza to attend the International Women’s Day celebrations there as part of a 100-member international delegation that included “representatives from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Canada and the United States” and “who ranged in age from 18 to 84, included Nobel Peace Prize winners, doctors, writers and students.”

She was treated brutally by the security authorities at Cairo airport, denied medical treatment after they dislocated her shoulder, did not receive any consular help from the US Embassy in Egypt, and was summarily put on a plane leaving the country. Fortunately for her, an orthopedic surgeon was on the plane and with the assistance of the flight attendants, he treated her shoulder though, of course, without anesthetic.

She poses three questions:

  • Why didn’t the US Embassy in Egypt ever help me during this 17-hour ordeal, especially when I made it clear I was in danger?

  • If the Egyptian officials were so brutal to me– a petite, 61-year-old American woman who has dedicated her life to peace–what are they doing to their own citizens and others languishing in their prisons? And why is Secretary Kerry considering a resumption of US military aid to this brutal regime?
  • Did Israel put the pressure on Egypt to do a last-minute about-face to keep us out of Gaza? In the end, only 17 of our members made it into Cairo (but not to Gaza) and the rest were deported from the airport.

Good questions.

Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    As usual, blame Israel. Apparently, Ms. Benjamin is unaware of the fact that the Hamas government in Gaza is on the Egyptian shit list for supporting former President Morsi and giving aid and comfort to terrorists in the Sinai Desert who are busily ambushing and murdering Egyptian soldiers and policemen.

  2. says

    As usual, blame Israel

    It sounded to me like she was blaming Egypt. And the US Embassy.

    Presumably you’re not saying that if Israel was behind it, it’d somehow be OK to treat travellers like that?

  3. colnago80 says

    Re #2

    Apparently the Pennsylvania poopy head didn’t read the lady’s third bullet. An no, Israel’s treatment of certain travelers at Ben Gurion IAP isn’t much better.

    Re #3

    The Vancouver varmint is a putz.

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Gotta say she’s incredibly brave to try and get into Gaza. So are the others. Very brave but not very smart.

    I wonder why anyone would willingly go there at all given the choice. Especially given the cases of Islamists capturing and murdering Westerners there – even ones’ who naively go in to try and support the Palestinian / Gazan cause such as BBC journalist Alan Johnston (abducted in 2007 and eventually freed months later) and, most recently that I know of, Vittorio Arrigoni kidnapped and butchered in 2011 :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vittorio_Arrigoni

    Incidentally, what Colnago80 notes in #1 is true I gather and attacking the messenger doesn’t provide any reason to doubt its veracity.

    Mano Singham :

    She poses three questions: Why didn’t the US Embassy in Egypt ever help me during this 17-hour ordeal, especially when I made it clear I was in danger?

    Well, 17 hours isn’t that long really especially in expecting diplomacy to work is it? I get the impression diplomacy will take a while even in the best of times and places of which Egypt right now is not-so-much I think.

    I imagine it felt like an eternity to her at the time but being detained and roughly treated in Egypt or Gaza was hardly unforeseeable, quite the reverse, given the political realities here and shows it wasn’t a bright idea to begin with. Not blaming her (I admire her foolhardy courage), just, well, there was this risk and she would’ve known she was taking it surely?

    If the Egyptian officials were so brutal to me – a petite, 61-year-old American woman who has dedicated her life to peace – what are they doing to their own citizens and others languishing in their prisons?

    Lots of really horrible, nasty stuff no doubt. The Egyptian military aren’t soft and cuddly folks and do some dreadful things to people who oppose them. Again, this is already well known. All the more reason to stay away from there and not put yourself at their mercy when you are their political enemy or allied with their enemies such as Hamas. A group which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists who the Egyptians and pretty much the rest of the planet is fighting for very good reasons.

    Going to Gaza as an unauthorised NGO “peace” delegation could be seen, *will* likely be seen as supporting Hamas de facto if not de jure.

    And why is Secretary Kerry considering a resumption of US military aid to this brutal regime?

    Because bad as it may be it is much better than the alternative options? We live in the world as it is, not the world that we wish it was. The Egyptian military rulers = not nice people. The Muslim brotherhood terrorists = far worse and more dangerous people.

    Did Israel put the pressure on Egypt to do a last-minute about-face to keep us out of Gaza? In the end, only 17 of our members made it into Cairo (but not to Gaza) and the rest were deported from the airport.

    Which may have saved their lives given the fate of Vittorio Arrigoni and other Westerners even pro-Muslim ones who have previously been held hostage and murdered by the very people they try and help. I guess some gratitude towards Israel *if* that was true is too much to hope for. It wouldn’t be the first time Israel cared more and realistically did more to prevent its enemies from being killed or hurt than they themselves did.

    I think the initial plan of going to Gaza and putting people at the mercy of Hamas has to be considered a really bad one.

    It does NOT in any way justify physical abuse or mistreatment or the like – that was completely wrong and deserves to be condemned and should NOT have happened to them.

    However, Medea Benjamin and her colleagues would’ve been aware of the risks and the generally not-very-goodness of their plan and the risks that came with it all along. If they weren’t aware then they were responsible for their own lack of research and planning.

    This – or far worse -was always going to be a likely possibility and Gaza is not somewhere Westerners should visit whilst under Hamas rule without very strong precautions.

  5. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    If people want peace then the best thing they can do to get it is boycott Gaza and Hamas and linked groups and pressure them into talking peace or eventually being replaced by those Gazans and Palestinians more broadly who are willing to be partners for peace.

    I think the peace activists such as this group may well have the best of intentions but their tactics such as sending these unofficial delegations and in previous cases NGO aid to Gaza are at best misguided and at worst really counterproductive and playing into the Hamas playbook.

    As long as Hamas and similar Islamist groups (Hebollah,Islamic jihad, etc ..) think they can manipulate some Western nations through misinformed peace activists into forcing Israel to do their will they won’t be willing to make the painful concessions for peace that will make peace really possible and will keep on hoping and trying to slowly destroy another sovereign if very small nation and the diverse, democratic compassionate Israeli culture -and another six million Jewish individuals.

    When Hamas finds the whole world has turned its back on them – even the most soft-hearted, open-minded Western activist -then they will either see sense at last or in time be replaced by those who will.

    The way to achieve peace is not through letting Hamas and the like, organisations whose raison d’etre is genocide and enforcing theocratic Islamist rule get their way.

    Let’s never forget before the pro-islam faction here starts replying that Israel has already offered some incredibly generous peace terms and surrendered hard-won land.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. To those pro-islam anti-Israel commenters who will no doubt soon be attacking me for pointing out stark reality – can you at least have the decency and honesty NOT to put words in my mouth or straw-monster me?

    I know this means you lose your argument if you have to make it with what I’ve actually said not what you mis-interpret me as saying but, c’mon, have some flippin’ integrity for once.

    Convince me, or convince others, use logic, use my words in context and quoted accurately and without key omissions if you think that helps but don’t just demonise me or make me out to be something or someone I’m not.

    I shouldn’t feel like I need to say this but from past experience I’m sad to say I do.

    PPS. Also has it ever occurred to you to try and imagine how the other side, say the Israelis or the secular will-be-democratic Egyptian government perceives the situation? Have you ever put yourselves in their metaphorical shoes? Try it. Seriously.

  7. says

    I see that the liar and the sociopath are at it again.

    Saying that Israel must be held to the same standard as every other country is not a call for genocide, regardless of how often that blood libel is uttered.

    Saying that Israel has to obey the same laws as every other country is not “anti-Israel” no matter how many times that lie is repeated.

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ chigau (違う) : Neither of us are “pages” in any metaphorical book, Chigau.

    We are both real separate living and breathing human individuals who think individually and differ in our views from you – as well as each other on occasion. I don’t agree with Colnago80 on everything but I do agree with him on some things when he is right – as I think he is in this particular thread so far.

    Also, I note your comment above has no real substance or argument and merely focuses on how us two commenters here are in agreement – thus implying what?

    I gather that you disagree with us and think we’re wrong and, worse, somehow view us both as bad, eeevil, nassssty people for disagreeing with you on a few issues like Israel’s right to exist and defend itself? (Because, gee *that’s* unreasonable ain’t it! Sarcasm.)

    If so then why?

    If not, then please correct me.

    @8. left0ver1under :

    I see that the liar and the sociopath are at it again.

    Unsupported, inaccurate and unfair name calling on your part is duly observed and noted.

    I don’t consider colnago80 to be a liar or a sociopath – and I *know* that I am neither of those things. Nor have you provided any evidence or reason to believe those insulting, abusive and false extraordinary claims of yours here.

    Why do you have to insult and bully those you seem to disagree with? I say “seem to” because, apart from anything else, you haven’t actually addressed any of the points raised by colnago80 or myself in these comments.

    Saying that Israel must be held to the same standard as every other country is not a call for genocide, regardless of how often that blood libel is uttered.

    Um, where exactly did I say otherwise? Hint : I didn’t. Did not say anything of the kind in fact. Fact that can be proven if people go and read my comments right above this.

    Yeesh. I asked you not to put words in my mouth, warned against you straw-monstering my views and pleaded based on past experience that such conduct be avoided and yet here it is. Same old stuff from the pro-Islam, anti-Israel lobby on FTB.

    Saying that Israel has to obey the same laws as every other country is not “anti-Israel” no matter how many times that lie is repeated.

    Again, I don’t see where I or anyone else have said anything here to contradict that claim or even raised the issue. Its an irrelevant non-sequiteur on your part. It also seems to be implying that Israel is in violation of international laws and norms therefore NOT already obeying the same laws as other nations* which is at best a highly dubious claim.

    * Y’know which nation is currently violating international law? Russia. Syria too. Why single out Israel? What is the world’s only Jewish nation doing that is so much worse than, say, the Chinese occupation of Tibet whose people are NOT after all conducting regular terrorist attacks? When Syrians and Iraqis and Indonesians occupy and brutalise people why do you overlook their crimes and focus so singularly on Israel and when the UN law (& whole “organisation” generally) is so useless at preventing global violence in, oh, say all these examples, and then more, why do you demand Israel alone be persecuted so much and the others overlooked eh?

  9. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @8. left0ver1under : I forget, were you the one on another FTB blog’s thread who openly admitted inyour own words that you wanted to see Israel “thrown under the bus” or not? Or was that someone else?

    Either way, *that* is what sounds “sociopathic” to me.

    PS. Yes, I am aware of Colnago80’s previous comments about nuking Iran – comments he has since retreated from and no longer argues for. I don’t think that makes him a sociopath as some here would claim – although I also don’t condone such comments. I have also admitted saying a few things in the past when i was tired and emotional that were venting feelings of rage rather than expressing actual considered opinion. I have subsequently apologised for and clarified my stance on these comments. So what’s your excuse assuming it was you as I think I recall?

  10. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Let’s never forget before the pro-islam faction here starts replying that Israel has already offered some incredibly generous peace terms and surrendered costly hard-won land.

    Funnily enough, it does seem like they have – yet again – forgotten that. Hence quoting this as a reminder of reality for them.

    Israel keeps offering peace and the Palestinians* a reasonable state of their own on extraordinarily generous terms -esp when considering 2/3rds of the original mandate was carved off to make Jordan as a designated Arab state earlier. But Hamas, Arafat and co keep turning that down.

    Sheesh, maybe someday the self-proclaimed “peace activists” and even our local pro-Islam anti-Israel mob here might take the Palestinians* at their word?

    If what the Palestinians really wanted was just a nation of their own and NOT Israel’ extermination) then they’d already have it by now.

    * The Palestinians who are famously and for very good reason described as having “never missed the opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.”

  11. Silentbob says

    @ 12 StevoR

    You’re just parroting debunked Israeli propaganda to a better informed audience. I suggest reading these two posts to get better in touch with reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>