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By the time I put it down, my copy of Gaza: Beneath the Bombs is creased up with a kennel’s worth of dog-ears. I folded over a corner for each passage that, in capturing the abject horror and amazing humanity of Gaza under Israeli attack (during December-January 2009 and beyond), was a must-recall for making The Case for Palestine.
Sharyn Lock entered Gaza as an International Solidarity Movement activist on a Free Gaza Movement boat. As a volunteer with the Red Crescent, she was at the centre of that horror and humanity. The medical services epitomise the pile-up of pain in Gaza. Already under strain from siege, they then have to contend with an insane and impossible mass of casualties; and as they do so, themselves come under direct attack by bullets, missiles and white phosphorus.
Being a blog-to-book enterprise, Gaza: Beneath the Bombs has its drawbacks. Entries jarringly alternate between tenses and it lacks an overarching narrative to pull the reader from page to page. This is not to suggest that Lock’s priority should be distilling Palestinian suffering into an easy literary experience but that readability is a key means to a vital end here: these stories so deserve and need to be read, and read widely.
The drawbacks are, however, a reasonable price to pay for the blog-to-book benefits. Lock kept her diary on a near-daily basis. She didn’t have time to step back and embellish; she simply tells us what she saw and what she heard that day. The spare adjectives, the spare emotion even (in a state of shock, Lock doesn’t cry over the corpses of children; she is without fear in terrifying circumstances), strips away the author and places us, the readers, in Gaza.
We fill in the adjectives, we feel the emotion. We also get lovely quotidian details, little asides that reveal big Palestinian generosity and Gazan humour. And so significant are these details when Israel’s actions rely on (and perpetuate) the dehumanisation of Gazans.
Pick up this book, read it, fold over the pages that tug and go re-tell those tales.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns