Haifa Zangana, political activist: “To alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza we must stop selling weapons to Israel” | Ideas | EUROtoday

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Haifa Zangana (Baghdad, 73 years outdated) is a veteran of political activism. She has spent nearly 50 years defending numerous causes, from justice for her fellow Iraqis after the devastating conflict (2003-2011) to the rights of Tunisian and Palestinian political prisoners. Her work, made up of greater than a dozen books, arises from these struggles and her experiences, corresponding to her time within the notorious Abu Ghraib jail as a member of the Communist Party of Iraq or her exile to London, the place she has been established for the reason that seventy.

Journalist and former columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, Zangana visited Madrid to boost consciousness about his most up-to-date combat: the atmosphere. Specifically, concerning the destructive results of the conflict in Gaza on the well being of the 1000’s of people that have been dwelling below the bombs since October. “In Gaza, a genocide of people and an ecocide of the environment is happening,” she says in a room on the Arab House. A scenario that – based on her – Iraq additionally skilled, with severe penalties till in the present day.

ASK. You examine what was skilled throughout the conflict in Iraq with what is occurring in Gaza. Because?

ANSWER.We are seeing the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza, buildings that when destroyed launch every kind of chemical compounds and poisonous substances corresponding to asbestos, which stays within the earth and within the sand they stroll on and within the water they eat. [los gazatíes]. That's not counting the chemical compounds launched by the bombs, corresponding to white phosphorus, and the waste they depart behind. It is identical factor that occurred in Iraq, within the metropolis of Fallujah and within the southern a part of the nation throughout the conflict. Twenty years after the US invasion we’re seeing a rise within the variety of circumstances of most cancers and malformations in newborns. There are nonetheless ladies who refuse to get pregnant, and even give start, as a result of they worry that their infants will probably be born with horrific deformities.

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P.That is to say, there’s extra loss of life and devastation, even after the tip of the battle.

R.The crimes are documented. The coverage that the United States established in Iraq brought about the loss of life of lots of of 1000’s and a few estimates increase the determine to as much as 1,000,000; many died after the conflict from the chemical compounds utilized in bombings and from toxins discovered within the air after burning army waste. The identical troopers [estadounidenses] They additionally acquired sick, they had been respiration the identical air because the Iraqis. And but nobody was held accountable, which supplies an concept of ​​the type of worldwide regulation we’ve got.

Haifa Zangana, at the Arab House in Madrid on November 21, 2023.
Haifa Zangana, on the Arab House in Madrid on November 21, 2023.Claudio Alvarez

P.And do you suppose the identical will occur with Gaza?

R.Yes, as public opinion we overlook in a short time and that fits the responsible folks. A few years after the invasion of Iraq, it turned much less and fewer attention-grabbing and I feel it was an enormous mistake to let it go. At first, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demand a ceasefire, however everybody ended up returning residence as a consequence of a phenomenon that I outlined as “Iraq fatigue.” Arab international locations and the worldwide south had been working in direction of the objective of liberation and all they wanted was the solidarity of Western international locations, however that help quickly ended.

“International law is a joke. It only applies to Arab and African leaders, for Westerners it is flexible”

P.Is Israel committing genocide in Gaza?

R.Yes, undoubtedly. And not solely is a genocide of individuals taking place, but additionally an ecocide of the atmosphere. It is just not one thing that’s solely taking place now, however for 17 years [con la Operación Lluvia de Verano, que dejó a más de 400 palestinos muertos]. I used to be within the West Bank on a number of events, with out having the ability to enter Gaza, and I communicated with physician mates on the bottom who already informed me that they acquired sick from ingesting water, and that was when it was nonetheless out there. I feel these are the one phrases to explain the scenario.

P.What can the worldwide group do to alleviate this humanitarian disaster?

R.It is straightforward. We should cease supplying weapons to Israel. It isn’t just about supporting the inhabitants of their statements, we’ve got to cease giving cash and sponsoring Israel, and never simply due to what has occurred since October 7. There has been a continuity of violence for 75 years [en la Nakba o éxodo] and it's time for the world to open its eyes. It was not the Palestinians who subjugated the Jews within the Holocaust, it was the Europeans. It is your duty, not ours.

P.Is there a double customary within the software of worldwide regulation?

R.You ought to have seen what occurred within the UK when Russia invaded Ukraine. Everyone opened their arms and their houses [a los ucranios] and the media condemned the invasion every day with justification. But we didn't see that with Iraq and we don't see it now with Palestine. It is claimed that Israel has the precise to defend itself, however nobody is saying that the Palestinians do too. The clearest instance of double requirements is the UN Security Council, the place any decision suggesting an finish to the killing is vetoed by the US. International regulation is a joke. It solely applies to Arab and African leaders. For Westerners it’s versatile.

“In countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan, occupation, resistance and imperialism prevail over the gender issue”

P.I wish to ask you concerning the different axis of your work: ladies's rights. Has the Western feminist revolution reached Arab and Muslim ladies?

R.It landed many years in the past within the Arab and Muslim world. With one distinction: ladies needed to alter their methods primarily based on the scenario on the bottom, particularly in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan, the place occupation, resistance, civil conflicts, oppressive regimes and imperialism prevail. on the gender problem. In the final 15 years, ladies's teams in Arab and Muslim international locations have begun to establish themselves as “Islamic feminists.” It is a time period additionally utilized by Muslim ladies who’ve emigrated to the West.

P.Precisely in Western international locations like France there have been nice debates concerning the prohibition of abaya within the colleges.

R.Prohibiting using the veil might violate the precise to non secular freedom. Societies that defend human dignity and equality for all should respect and have fun variety. The French Government's ban is nothing greater than a hostile act towards ladies, thus proscribing their equal and efficient participation in cultural, non secular, social, financial and public life.

P.Do you take into account your self a feminist?

R.I’ve to confess: I don't know. I'm uninterested in labels. In this 5 years, feminism has turn into extra of a model than a motion for equal rights and duties that seeks to finish all types of segregation and oppression. Feminism, and I imply American and European feminists, has did not problem both patriarchal regimes or imperialism, particularly in terms of ladies's rights in postcolonial international locations. So far, though not very removed from feminism, I choose to be described as an activist and humanist.

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