Al-Aqaba

Al_Aqaba

A man of Al-Aqaba, a village in the Tubas region of Palestine, shows us the demolition orders for the school, nursery, clinic and mosque that he helped to found.

If the orders are not challenged in court, which is a lengthy and expensive process, then all the buildings in the village will be razed by Israeli military bulldozers.

I should add something personal here to help the reader digest this, but honestly, I don’t know what to say.

Image and text © Josh Jones 2008.

Father

Father

A man of the village of Furush Beit Dajan stands before the mud brick structure that he and his family were forced to live in after their home was demolished. Having destroyed their home, the Israeli civil service have prohibited the family from making any repairs to the dilapidated farm buildings they now have to inhabit.

He told me how one of his sons, aged five, was recently bitten by a poisonous snake while he slept. The snake had entered through one of the many holes in the building. The father rang the hospital but on hearing his location, the person on the end of the phone said, ‘Sorry, no Arabs.’

The father attempted to drive his son to the nearest emergency hospital, at Nablus, but was blocked at an Israeli military checkpoint and forced to return home. His son died later that night.

I cannot imagine how someone can retain their sense of humanity after such an incident. As we sat over sweet Palestinian tea, the father told me he did not want retribution. ‘All I want is the right to build, and access to water and electricity’, he said.

Out there it seemed to make sense, but having returned to Britain I am more and more bemused by the stoic humanity of the people I met in Palestine.

Image and text © Josh Jones 2008.

Precious

Precious

Woman and her grandchild, in a small Bedouin tent in the West Bank, Palestine.

The soldiers from the nearby Israeli settlement use the crop fields around these tents for live-fire exercises. I spoke to a woman in the next tent who had been shot in the head by a rifle bullet while picking herbs in the middle of the day. She had survived with fifteen stitches.

I asked the woman pictured if she or her family had had a similar experience. ‘The bullets fly over our heads’, she said, ‘but so far, God has been kind.’

Image and text © Josh Jones 2008

London G20 Protests Demand Real Change

Graffiti on the Bank of England reads ‘People will stop robbing banks when banks will stop robbing people’
Photo © Josh Jones

1st April, 2009: Thousands of protesters gathered in London today to demand real results from this week’s G20 summit. Organisations including Stop The War, Climate Camp, CND and several Anarchist groups were joined by a huge number of non-affiliated UK citizens in protests across The City, London’s financial centre.

Continue reading “London G20 Protests Demand Real Change”

The database with your name in it: Police, protesters, and the press

A new report by The Guardian discloses what campaigners and peaceful protesters have known for decades: that the UK police are keeping details of thousands of peaceful protesters, whether or not they have been involved in illegal activity. It also shows the deliberate targeting of journalists and photographers by police surveillance teams.

Phototerrorism in the UK

Attacking a police oficer II
At last week’s Free Education protest, London.
Image © Josh Jones.

6th Mar, 2009: A new law has been passed which allows UK police to arrest individuals for photographing police officers, and confiscate their equipment. Section 76, introduced this year, makes it illegal for anyone to take or distribute photographs of Police or armed forces ‘which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.

This comes as alarming news in the context of the UK police force’s abuse of anti-terror laws every year since 2001. In Brighton, Sussex police enacted a widespread suppression of a peaceful protest, using anti-terrorism laws to make arrests.

The laws also allow police to further suppress democratic journalism. Last year, Somerset & Avon police had to apologise for the the violent arrest of a plumber who photographed a police van going the wrong way up a one way street. Now, such an apology would not be necessary, and the onus would be on the plumber to prove that he was not going to use the image for terrorist purposes.

Free Education Demo takes London

USSU at Free Edu Demo BW 25-02 - Josh Jones
Sussex University students take up the call to action.
Image © Josh Jones.

27th Feb, 2009: Over a thousand students gathered in London this week to protest against the UK government’s controversial ‘top-up fees’.

Since 2006, students at universities in England and Wales have had to pay over £3,000 a year for their courses, while international students pay around £9,000 a year. The government is now considering raising the maximum price for top-up fees to £6,000 a year for domestic students.

The demonstration brought students from around the country together to demand that the government scrap the fees altogether and reinstate free education for all. Delegations from universities as far and wide as Essex, Manchester, and Sussex travelled to the capital armed with banners, slogans, and high spirits. The march ended outside the London School of Economics, recently home to one of the thirty student sit-in occupations taking place across the country.

The march brought parts of London to a standstill, but the biggest effect that I perceived was on the protesters themselves. While police lines prevented the march from protesting outside Parliament, the sense of unity and common purpose among those present served to strengthen the resolve of the movement. It seems this was only the start of what is set to be a long and determined campaign.

Students maintain occupation of Sussex University

Press and Publicity working groups
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25th Jan, 2009: After five days of occupation, the students at Sussex University have entered negotiations with management. Meanwhile, other occupations across the country are sending their support and swapping advice and information.

Sussex Students hold Occupation for Gaza

23rd Jan, 2009: Students of Sussex University, UK, have made a symbolic occupation of lecture hall Arts A2 to show their support for the sufferers in Gaza and to call upon the University to take positive action.

The occupation started on Tuesday evening and has continued to hold a peaceful presence, allowing lectures to continue with minimal disruption. The demands that the occupiers have agreed on can be read on the facebook page or the blog.

It comes at a time when similar occupations are being held at Universities across the UK, including Warwick, Essex, Oxford, Manchester Metropolitan and others.

See the facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46788527758

Regular updates can be found on the blog:

http://sussexoccupation.blogspot.com

London Calling for a Free Palestine

Protesters in London demand UK action.
Image © Alex Mannion-Jones.

10th Jan, 2009: Protesters in London heard a diverse range of speakers call for peace in Gaza today. Leaders at the Muslim Council of Britain stood alongside Jews for Justice, Amnesty spokesperson Annie Lennox, and dozens of other UK-based social, religious, and human-rights groups, in the capital’s biggest mass demonstration since 2003.

UK citizens show solidarity with Palestine: Gaza demonstration in London attracts 50,000 protesters

The Palestinian flag waves outside the houses of parliament.
Image © Josh Jones.

3rd Jan, 2009: Thousands gathered in London today to protest the Israeli bombing of Gaza. Speakers demanded that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown use all our nation’s diplomatic and economic leverage to ensure Israel’s assault on the Palestinian territory ends immediately.

After a bill of rousing speakers, the protest officially ended, but thousands more marched to the Israeli Embassy to continue their protest. Fights broke out as police pushed back the crowd, but otherwise the day passed peacefully.

The number of protesters was almost overwhelming, and their passion encouraging. I only hope we have made a difference by coming out in such numbers; I only hope our government will listen to its people.

Metropolitan police arrive in great force to protect the Israeli Embassy. Image © Josh Jones.

Interactive online map of Smash EDO protest in Brighton

Weeks of intensive research have culminated in the launch of an online, interactive multimedia map. It documents events surrounding the Smash EDO demonstration in Brighton on October 15th. Clicking on markers brings up raw evidence, such as photography, eyewitness reports, and video footage.

The map makes for harrowing reading. It shows how police invoked anti-terror laws against suspected protesters. It also describes how one disabled observer was arrested and denied access to a doctor, and how peaceful protesters were attacked by police dogs.

Disabled student arrested under anti-terror laws whilst filming protest

While assembling the interactive online map of the Smash EDO demonstration, I came upon several harrowing stories. This was by far the most distressing. The student writing the letter is still under bail terms.

Hi Josh,

I am happy to tell you about what happened to me on the 15th.

Continue reading “Disabled student arrested under anti-terror laws whilst filming protest”

But what really happened? SMASH EDO protest in Brighton, 15th October 2008

My experience of the protest was quite tame. Anti-war protesters marched towards town but were blocked by a barricade of vans and police in riot gear. A few scuffles between protesters trying to break through and the police. But nothing too serious. This is Brighton, after all. This is a nice town.

But the more I talked to people, the more scary it got. One friend of mine attacked by a police dog. Protestors trapped in a ‘kettle’ – a brickwall of police – for over 45 minutes, right in the North Laine where gentle Brighton folk like to go shopping. And at least a dozen arrests, most of them under Section 60AA – an anti-terror law passed in the wake of 9/11.

When police are using anti-terror laws to make arrests of peaceful protesters, something is going seriously wrong. I have spent the last two weeks compiling evidence of various forms – photographic, video, eyewitness reports, official documents – and will soon be releasing it as an interactive, online article. Hopefully it will shed some light on what really happened in Brighton on October 15th. My greatest wish is that by raising awareness of the event, it need not happen again the way it did.

Profile: Lange Captures America’s Unwanted

Dorothea Lange made her reputation photographing the victims of the Great Depression in the US, and the exploitation of US farmers that followed. Her most famous photograph, Migrant Mother, shows the strength and torment of a migrant worker, surrounded by her three children.

Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother

February/March 1936

I am reminded of the raw devotion to family and humanity that is expressed in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. When times are hard, it seems, the best side of people can emerge; their stoicism, their determination to stick to their values against all the odds. Such times also expose the darkest side of capitalism, that two-headed beast that feeds us when times are good, and consumes us when they are bad.

Continue reading “Profile: Lange Captures America’s Unwanted”