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Fifth Estate # 333, Winter, 1990

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Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust by Alon Raab is a thoughtful personal account of the struggle to save an old Portland community from demolition and “development.”

“These words are written with rage, sorrow, and amazement. They are brought forth with a fervent desire for a world without ‘developers,’ priests, landlords. They are written with a yearning for a world where a culture of death is replaced with one of life and love.”

There is much here for other despairing urban dwellers to relate to.

For Detroiters, it recalls the destruction of Poletown, the demolition of block after block for another freeway or an expanded airport. People protest, making impassioned pleas along with both creative and practical human demands. But the developers almost always win out and the process is usually extremely frustrating and debilitating, spirits are broken, community fragmented or totally destroyed. Yet in Portland, they managed to hold onto something: “On the land where once houses stood, there is a big open gap. People have left dozens of candles, flowers and notes. An unofficial art gallery was created in one of the remaining houses. In the razed block, much destruction has taken place, but also much that is life-affirming and life-sustaining. This celebration of life must continue. A garden, a park, an oasis. A continuous rebirth of living green creations.”

For more information or a copy of the pamphlet, write: The Albanian Poodle Press, PO Box 40112, Portland, Oregon 97240.

Ansar III, Camp of Slow Death reports on the intolerable and inhumane conditions of the Ansar III concentration- camp (referred to by Israeli officials as a “detention center”) for Palestinian detainees, located in the middle of the Negev desert. Men, women and children are often awakened in their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli soldiers, kidnapped, beaten and taken to several interrogation centers, military compounds and prisons. “There are no charges presented, no Miranda rights read to them. There are also no answers given to the anxious relatives who wait, day in and day out, in front of the gates of those centers, searching for the whereabouts of their loved ones. After weeks of searching, they may receive word that the person in question has been sent to Ansar III detention center.”

In blatant violation of the rights and privileges of inhabitants of “occupied territories” as stipulated in the Geneva Convention, the over 3,500 “detainees” are kept within a barbed wire enclosure in rows of tents filled beyond capacity. Health and sanitary conditions are appalling. Prisoners are subjected to countless humiliations and tortures. Some have died due to the poor conditions; others have been killed. The prisoners are made to stand in the hot desert sun for head counts three times a day for anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. They are totally cut off from the outside world. Families who have managed to discover their whereabouts are not allowed to visit them.

The number of Palestinians who have passed through Israeli prisons is unconscionable. According to this report, nearly every family has one or more of its members in prisons.

For further information, contact: ROOTS/Friends of Palestinian Prisoners, 703 G Street S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.

Late Bookstore Arrivals

Live Wild or Die, No. 2, excellent radical ecology tabloid, $2. Recommended.

The Sexual Revolution: Toward a Self-Regulating Character Structure, Wilhelm Reich. Orig. $10, now $5.

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