[Marxism] Diana Johnstone's disgusting "spin" on the Bulgariannurses

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Wed Aug 31 17:34:26 MDT 2011

Thanks for publishing this absolutely heart-wrenching story, and I'm sorry
that it has to be punctuated with the absolutely reprehensible apology for
the Libyan government's crime offered by Diana Johnstone. Her motivation in
doing so is clear from her own words (not to mention reputation): 

>system.  Secondly, it became clear that this was not a case of 
>"the dictator Gaddafi" persecuting innocents.

I remember the twists of this news story over several years (though they
never reported on the awful torture described here!) and I think it was
obvious to every thinking person that these people were innocent victims.
And I ignorantly assumed that in any such high profile international
diplomatic incident there would be some full-time apparatus on the side of
the western governments that were calling for the release of the doctor and
nurses. (Surely that's what Diana Johnstone must have imagined, as a part
of the evil imperialist plan to "demonize" Gaddafi!)

Then in 2007 I believe, at one totally unrelated meeting concerning
Palestine (a small event attended by less than 20 people) a Palestinian
family with 2 or 3 children showed up and (my memory is poor for
details.... ) threw a few reading items (nothing glossy or professional) on
a small lit table and humbly engaged with the meeting participants after we
had finished. It turns out that they were the family of this Palestinian
doctor El-Hajouj, and had been able to obtain residence in the Netherlands,
in a small town from which they travelled to this meeting. They were
obviously not well connected (I don't believe they had been present at
larger Palestinian support events) and had just stumbled on this little
meeting seeing that it related to Palestine. They didn't really ask people
to do much in particular and seemed more to be seeking moral support, to
not feel so alone and seeking perhaps just a little bit of the solidarity
that activists were expressing around the larger issue of their country,
Palestine. They realized the enormity of the struggle for Palestine and
didn't want to interfere with that, but just not to feel totally forgotten
in the shuffle.

Now I've been to hundreds of meetings talking about international
solidarity with this or that people in the abstract and indeed referring to
great suffering by large numbers of oppressed people, and all kinds of
angry talk about what we're going to do to correct these injustices.....
But that had hardly prepared me for this very personal meeting with these
very humble people pleading to be heard, after these children's father (I
believe they were his children, that wasn't clear and I didn't have the
heart to ask) had been on and off of death row in Libya at the whims of
Gaddafi playing great power politics with their father as a pawn. It was
exactly the opposite of the well-funded snazzy campaign that you might
imagine the EU governments would be waging, using this family of the victim
also as pawns in a diplomatic struggle between great powers. Their
literature was meager, but they gave me the address of their website.

When I went to the website, again instead of some fancy
"imperialist-funded" operation, I found just a couple pages of plain text,
basic information and a plea for support. No fancy web gadgets, no "click
to donate by pay-pal", not even a list of links. But yet more startling was
that it was written in very broken English, that was understandable but
clearly had never been proofread by someone reasonably proficient in
English. I was going to offer to do that, but then the news came that a
deal for the doctor's release had been agreed on and this poor family's
nightmare was over. Although especially now having read the account of the
doctor's torture, I know that it won't be a nightmare that he has totally
left behind.

- Jeff

P.S. In case you wanted to read my words for Diana Johnstone, they are not
fit to print. :-(

At 11:04 31/08/11 -0400, Louis Proyect wrote:

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