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Activist Critically Injured in Demonstration Against Israeli Wall

Reposta | 17.03.2009 15:59 | Palestine | Social Struggles | World

On March 13th, 2009, Tristan Anderson, from Oakland, California was critically wounded in the village of Ni'lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a high-powered tear-gas canister. Tristan is a dedicated activist and reporter who has long been committed to social and environmental justice in the U.S. and abroad in places such as Oaxaca, Iraq, and Palestine. Tristan has posted his reports to Indybay since 2001.

Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | Video | International Solidarity Movement

Recent Indybay Coverage By Tristan (he also posted as "Eric Blair" and "Cricket"):
Four Demonstrators Shot and Wounded in Ni'ilin, Palestine | Last Four Oak Grove Tree Sitters Forced Down | Reclaim The Streets SF | March 19 - A Day of Many Actions

More Of Tristan's Indybay Reports Over the Years.

As a result of his injuries, Tristan Anderson, 38 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and had been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a serious injury to his forehead where he was struck by the canister.

"Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500 meters," reports Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) with the International Solidarity Movement. "I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed."

Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni'lin's land. Another resident from Ni'lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition. Several other demonstrators against the wall have been killed or rendered brain dead as a result of IDF use of rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition in the villages of Ni'ilin and Bil'in.

Other ISM activists killed or injured by Israeli forces: Rachel Corrie, killed by a bulldozer in March 16th, 2003; Brian Avery, shot in the face in April 2003; and Tom Hurndall, who died in a coma in 2004 after being shot in 2003.

7141 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since September 2000.

On Monday March 16th, hundreds of people crowded the sidewalk and part of the street outside of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco before marching to take over the intersection at 5th and Market Streets. After marching back to the consulate, police attacked protesters and as many as six people were arrested. Other solidarity events are being held all over the world.

Global solidarity events: In Tel Aviv a protest was held outside of the ministry of defense on March 15th. The same day there was a protest in Chicago (Photos). On March 16th, a demonstration was held in solidarity with Tristan in New Haven, CT. Mazin Qumsiyeh and others spoke. On March 17th, people will gather outside of a Friends of the IDF Gala Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. There will be a solidarity event in London on the March 18th at the Israeli Embassy. Another is reportedly being planned for March 20th in New York City. Dozens of activists from Anarchists Against the Wall have called on police to refuse to participate in war crimes and the killing of demonstrators. United for Peace and Justice will hold a number of vigils.

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Tristan Shot in the West Bank

18.03.2009 08:45

As I write, my friend Tristan lies hovering between life and death in an Israeli hospital, shot in the head, hit with a tear gas canister at a nonviolent demonstration in the West Bank town of Ni’lin, protesting the wall the Israelis are building to isolate the West Bank.

Tristan is—I say ‘is’ because I don’t dare slip into ‘was’ for I fear that his hold on life is so tenous, a shift into past tense might tip the balance--Tristan is always there, at every demonstration, every mobilization, every fight for justice. He has always seemed fearless to me, with that young man’s confidence in his physical body that I now envy. He’s not so young—thirty-eight, still, I have twenty years on him and he seems young to me, strong, hardy, willing to sit in a tree for months to protect a grove of oaks at UC Berkeley, willing to camp out and show up early to clean out the convergence space, to eat bad pasta and dumpster-dived vegetables for weeks on end. Tall, slim, with dark eyes and olive skin, and a sharp, aquiline nose that starts off in one direction, then changes its mind and heads in another, he comes regularly to our rituals as well as actions, and helps build the North altar every year at the Spiral Dance. Softspoken, unassuming, more than anyone else I know he embodies a certain ideal of rigorous equality, never pulling rank nor trumpeting his considerable street cred, never asking for attention, simply showing up again and again and pitching in to get the work done.

Why don’t the Palestinians adopt the tactics of Martin Luther King or Gandhi? And the answer is simply this—they do. For the last six years, they have mounted an ongoing campaign of civil resistance against Israel’s apartheid wall, which snakes through the West Bank, confiscating Palestinian farmland without compensation, destroying the life and livelihoods of whole villages, literally setting in concrete the fractured geometry of Israel’s incursions, her illegal settlements that eat away the integrity of any potential Palestinian state. In the spring of 2004, when the army was just beginning to bulldoze olive orchards and scrape land bare, the villagers of Mas’Ha set up a peace encampment on the wall’s route, inviting support from internationals and Israelis of good will. I’ve written elsewhere about what it was like to be there, encamped in one remaining grove under a full Passover moon, the despair of the bulldozers and the slim hope watching young Palestinians and Israelis sit together around a fire, sharing smokes and stories. Here are links to those page:'ha.html and'ha_last.html

For six years, the movement has moved, from village to village, following the path of the wall. Six years of sparse and tiny victories—here and there, the route of the wall pushed back a few meters—but in Palestine, even the smallest victory stands out because it is so unusual, so different from the expected course of events. Like starving people who survive on crumbs, Palestinians nourish their determination to survive on even the smallest grains of success.

Mostly, I think, the movement survives because, in the face of horrific injustice, people need to do something. The vast majority of Palestinians do not want to strap on a suicide belt or pick up a gun. Contrary to all the stereotypes and racist assumptions, they don’t want to kill, or be killed, for that matter. But they want to do something.

So they come to the wall. Children carry signs, women sit in front of bulldozers, men chant slogans and pray. Supported by a few internationals and a few determined Israelis, mostly ignored by the world’s media, they face tear gas, rubber bullets, real bullets, arrests and beatings. And if the demonstrations have not yet stopped the wall nor won over the hearts of Israelis, they have at least given strength to the hearts of Palestinians and those who continue to hope against hope for some ultimate justice.

For that, many have died. Tristan, young though he seems to me, has had more of a life than Arafat Rateb Khawaje, who was shot in the back by Israeli forces at a demonstration in Ni’lin on December 28, 2008, when he was only twenty two. On the same day, Mohammed Khawaje, aged twenty, was shot in the head with live ammunition. Brain dead, he lingered for three days until he died in a Ramallah hospital. And they, so young, still had more life behind them than Yousef Amira, only seventeen, shot with rubber-coated still bullets on July 29, 2008. And yet they, too, seem ancient compared to Ahmed Mousa, only ten, shot in the forehead with live ammunition on July 29th, 2008.

And that is just the body count of one village, one year. I grieve for Tristan because he’s a friend. I know him, I have marched with him shoulder to shoulder, sat in meetings with him, shared laughter and gossip and disbelief at the amount of liquor those British activists could put away. I feel for him in a way I should feel, but can’t, for those who are just names on a list to me.

But I know that others do. Some mother grieves for Ahmed Mousa and will never fully recover from his loss. Some brother mourns for Khawaje, some father cries and rages over Yousef Amira’s grave. Multiply that grief a thousand, thousand times and it explodes in rockets and suicide bombs. Yes, I also grieve for the Israeli victims of those bombs and rockets. But they cannot be stopped by walls, by land grabs and humiliations and injustice piled upon injustice, nor can they be silenced by the shrill voices who brand every critic of Israel an enemy.
Only justice can end the violence and bring peace and security to Palestinians and Israelis both. And it is time—it’s long past time—for the clamor of international voices to demand real justice, for the continued violence now jeopardizes all of us.

So, here’s what you can do:

* First, if you like most people are confused by the whole issue, educate yourself. Read a book—like Jimmy Carter’s Israel: Peace, Not Apartheid which is about as fair and balanced a recent history as you’ll find anywhere.

* Read my own website,—on the Palestine page.

* Read the Israeli peace bloc—, or the reports from the International Solidarity Movement at Or read “Start here” on the Jewish Voice for Peace website

* Speak out: Contact your representatives and demand a full, impartial investigation not just of Tristan’s shooting but of the ongoing Israeli violence against unarmed demonstrators. But more than that, speak out on the issue. We have a new administration in office, a man who I believe is a genuinely good man with a nuanced understanding of the issue. But Obama is also a pragmatist who is not going to sacrifice the rest of his agenda on the rocks of this issue. For him to intervene effectively, to demand real concessions from the Israelis and push for a true resolution, we need to build a clamor that is too loud to be silenced by the pro-Israel lobby. So—write him a note. Go onto his web page and send him a note. Do this often!

* Support groups working for justice and peace—like the International Solidarity Movement, like the many groups working on campaigns for divestment or boycotts of Israeli goods. Jewish Voice for Peace always has a good list of things to do. United for Peace and Justice has taken good stands on the issue and often has campaigns to join.

Al Awda is a national Right to Return campaign:

Oberlin Students for Justice in Palestine has a great page of links:

We’re in a new era now—and public pressure may actually do some good. It’s time for all of us to stand behind those who stand unarmed at the wall. If we do, even the small things that we can do with little risk, they will mount up like grains of sand until they shift the scales and bring about real justice, true security, and honest peace.

-- Starhawk

via Starhawk
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