Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's New in Chicago: Connecting the Dots - US Aid, Boeing Weapons, Gaza Massacre, Chicago Complicity

(This post provides the background for dozens of groups protesting on August 16 at the Chicago Air and Water Show.)

"Gaza Resists"
(Photo: Sarah-Ji Fotógrafa)

In Chicago, on August 10, another massive demonstration took place against the killing in Gaza.

The public is doing their job: bigger and more diverse expressions of outrage, week after week.

At the same time, I'm concerned about whether members of the political class are doing theirs.

Unfortunately, it's possible to look at photos like this . . .

Chicago March Against World Silence on Gaza Massacre, August 10, 2014
(Photo: Matt McLoughlin)

 . . . and imagine conversations like this:

OBAMA: Anything happening in Chicago I should know about?
EMANUEL: Here? No, everything's quiet here . . . . 
OBAMA: Really? Good - you can't imagine how much criticism--
EMANUEL: Chicago loves you, Mr. President.  

Contrary to what some people are probably saying, however, something is happening in Chicago.

Number one: with each passing week, I'm noticing a growing diversity in the crowds that are coming out in public to protest against the Israeli terror that the U.S. is sponsoring in Gaza.  Sure, the core still consists of a huge Palestinian contingent. But clearly people are joining this movement who weren't here three weeks ago.

Number two: people are placing more and more emphasis on the responsibility of the U.S. for what's happening in Gaza. It's all being done with U.S. money, U.S. weapons, and U.S. encouragement.

"No U.S. tax $$ for Israel's Occupation."
"Jews oppose Israel's war on civilians and the seige of Gaza."
(Photo: Ayesha Durrani)

Number three: today at the conclusion of the march, the event's sponsors made a direct connection to the role of Chicago-based Boeing company in supplying the weapons that are being used to carry out the killing in Gaza.

"Glenn Tilton of JPMorgan Chase, Rick Stephens of Boeing,
Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel
announce new City/State Partnership"
(Source: US Export Import Bank)

Number four: protest leaders also told Chicago people that they have a special responsibility to "connect the dots" -- including by supporting protesters who face a court hearing on Tuesday for their protest at Boeing headquarters, and also by taking their Gaza protest to the the event where Boeing will be showing off its military hardware to Chicagoans next week, the Chicago Air and Water Show.

A million spectators will line the Chicago lakefront over the weekend
of August 16/17, 2014, to see the performers in the Air and Water Show,
including Boeing F/A-18 aircraft piloted by the Navy's "Blue Angel" team.

In other words, the protests in Chicago are growing in local relevance and impact, connecting US aid, Boeing weapons, the Gaza massacre, and Chicago complicity.

When Chicagoans fully succeed in fully connecting the dots -- especially to the crimes being committed in their name with their tax dollars and the weapons produced by their favored corporate citizen, Boeing -- I think there will be some new and different phone calls taking place . . .

OBAMA: Hey - I thought you said everything was "quiet" in Chicago!
EMANUEL: . . . f*@k  . . . ! ! !
OBAMA: (Ah, finally . . . the real Rahm!)

(Lots more images of the August 10 Chicago march are on the Facebook event page: Chicago March Against World Silence on Gaza Massacre)


Wednesday, July 16 - Five activists were arrested in an act to expose the Boeing Company’s complicity with Israel, when they entered the Boeing lobby wearing blood-soaked t-shirts to oppose the company's ongoing provision of weapons to Israel to bomb and shell civilians in Gaza. (See full set of pictures of July 16 protest.)

Friday, July 18 - The day after Israel announced its ground invasion of Gaza, about thirty members and supporters of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) converged at the Israeli Consulate in downtown Chicago to lament the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and denounce Israel’s indefensible violence. (See CPTers lament Palestinian deaths; two arrested at Israeli consulate)

Sunday, July 20 - Estimated crowd of 10,000 marches in Chicago in solidarity with the people of Gaza. (Watch the Youtube video "Protest in downtown Chicago on 7/20/14" )

Saturday, July 26 - Estimated crowd of 13,000 marches in Chicago in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Wednesday, July 30 - In an event initiated by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice, and endorsed by Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace . . . a call is made for the City of Chicago to drop Boeing as a sponsor of the Chicago Air and Water Show due to its provision of the weaponry being used in the massacre in Gaza. (Full set of photos and related links at No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show)

Sunday, August 10 - Chicago March Against World Silence on Gaza Massacre

Chicago Sun-Times: "Palestinian backers march in Loop, demand U.S. end support to Israel" by Jon Seidel

Tuesday, August 12 - Cook County Court appearances: (a) charges dismissed against arrestees in the July 18 protest; (b) one arrestee in July 16 protest pleads guilty and receives 1 year supervision, and one other arrestees plead not guilty and request jury trials. (One July 16 arrestee was previously sentenced.) Watch related press conference:

Press conference - part 1
Press conference - part 2

Coming up next:

Saturday, August 16 - Stand with Gaza: Protest Boeing's Death Machines at the Air and Water Show - Protesters assemble starting at 11:00 on west side of North Avenue Bridge: Join the Facebook event page and invite friends. American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Chicago Islamic Center, Islamic Community Center of Illinois, Mosque Foundation, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, and United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), the main conveners of the mass marches for Palestine over the past month, have endorsed this protest.

Related posts

Can communicating with people via Twitter help relieve the feeling of terror and despair one feels as the war jets roar overhead in Chicago and we think of the people suffering because of us around the world?

(See #GazaInChicago)

July 2014 - Many organizations from across the city joined the call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice: Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza: Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!

(See No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show)

Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

(See Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem)

When you think "terror" and "gaza," think "Boeing, Lockheed, General Dynamics."

(See USA: Proud Sponsor of T E R R O R in Gaza!)

Something keeps jarring me as Israel focuses on the tunnels in and out of Gaza. At first I disregarded it, but when I noticed again and again that Benjamin Netanyahu keeps bringing the discussion back around to the tunnels, I started to think, "I don't think that means what he thinks it means."

(See One Man's "Terror Tunnel" is Another Man's "Great Escape" )