Monday, May 31, 2004

For those who care, I can be heard live or on-line on Democracy Now tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5:05AM (Pacific Time) 8:05AM Eastern Time. The topic is Saudi Arabia.
From a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (my translation):
"Oh, ye homeland, repeated
in massacres and songs
Point out to me
the source of death
Is it the dagger
or the lie?"
From Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish's poem A State of Siege (my translation):
"...He says at the edge of death:
I have no footstep for loss,
Free I am near my freedom
and my future is in my hands...
and I shall enter, soon,
my life
and will be born free
without parents,
and will choose for my name
letters from sapphire*...
here, at the hills of smoke,
on the steps of the house,
there is no time for time,
we do what those
who ascend to God do:
we forget pain"
*This is the precious stone known in Arabic as Lazaward. I am not sure what it is in English. There is a poem by Yeats in which he uses it, but did not have time to look.
(thanks Ema for the suggestion)
US women lag in elected office
And who brought democracy to Afghanistan? The US of course, why do you ask? Karzai is alleged to have given cabinet posts to warlords in exchange for support in upcoming vote.
THIS IS ZIONISM: 111 Palestinians killed by Israei army in May alone
Nobody likes the House of Saud, but they are rarely criticized
And who brought Democracy to Iraq? US did, of course. Why do you ask? Bremer threatens to veto Iraqis' choice of president
This is very cool: An A-Z of the Iraq war and its aftermath, focusing on misrepresentation, manipulation, and mistakes
Western media talk about this as if there is no domestic violence in the West: Saudi guilty of assaulting TV presenter wife
Economic reforms mean: Russia's poorest face huge cuts in benefits
This ignorant and prejudiced writer in Slate.com thinks that the racist and ignorant author of the Arab Mind is sympathetic to the Arabs. He is writing a book on Arab culture too.
I'M EXPLAINING A FEW THINGS by Pablo Neruda
(tr. Nathaniel Tarn)

Treacherous
generals:
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.
And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!
Brenda has written the following poem culled together with words from the comments' section of this site:
COLLABORATION (?)
-taken from comments on a politically charged blog

Somehow the suffering and death
and all their fat American asses
hurt your feelings
if there is a country
sabotaged
stripped
we are being locked up
hard to find good
destruction, war and hatred
America is much more
than the government
it thrives
rich and poor
many languages
attack things
drop bombs
this nonsense
Fuck your hate.
You're an idiot
I don't know
feed people
force for good
makes you feel better
around the world
innocent
free
before you speak
the face of the earth
Greatest place
what I love
I am a human being
and the planet is my home,
and the human family
is my people
all people include
good and bad
Here's an opportunity
for people to behave
like human beings
the god of the world.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

From the poem Traveler without Luggage by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
"...under the sky
without hope
inside me the self dies
like a spider
my self dies
and on the wall
the light of the day
absorbs my years,
and spits it out in blood
the light of the day
Never for me, was this day
the door is shut!
the day never was
Never for me was this day
I will! Futile,
I will always be from nowhere
Without a face, without a history
from nowhere."
"TIME has obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official...that raises questions about Cheney's arm's-length policy toward his old employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office."
Jobless in Sao Paulo
Pathetic Yaser `Arafat (who sends millions to the account of Suha `Arafat while Palestinians starve) has no shame: he now begs Sharon for a meeting.
A good summary and critique of the lousy book 'The Arab Mind', which is read by US neo-conservatives.
Maxime Rodinson, un marxiste face à l'islam: Auteur de nombreux livres qui ont marqué la sociologie de cette religion, l'historien est mort à Marseille dimanche 23 mai, à l'âge de 89 ans.
Torture, or 'Good Old American Pornography'?
"Hundreds of Iraqi prisoners were held in Abu Ghraib prison for prolonged periods despite a lack of evidence that they posed a security threat to American forces, according to an Army report completed last fall...General Ryder, the Army's provost marshal, reported that some Iraqis had been held for several months for nothing more than expressing "displeasure or ill will" toward the American occupying forces."
The Things Bush Didn't Say in His Speech (By ROBERT FISK)
This is YOUR president: he is keeping Saddam's pistol in his office.
I find him to be one of the most interesting actors.
From a poem (He Died Tomorrow) by Sudanese poet Muhammad Miftah Al-Fayturi (my translation):
"He died...
Not a single drop of rain was sad over his death
And no bunch of faces of people frowned
And the moon did not turn up
one night over his grave
and no lazy worm did bend
and no stone split
he died tomorrow...
dirty in his corpse..
forgotten in his shroud
like a dream..
--and the people awakened--
like a filthy tornado!"
Iraqis snap up CDs of abuse images
Chalabi Photo Album
Opposition Growing to U.S. Exemption on Global Court
Exiled Allawi was responsible for 45-minute WMD claim

Saturday, May 29, 2004

News from "liberated" Iraq: Unchecked Lawlessness Strains Iraqi Society
Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would play down the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia.
I get extremely bored on the plane. I never now travel without this. It is great; 1000 times better than an i-pod. Yet, I wasted my time on the way back from DC reading James Mann's Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet. If you have been reading the books on the administration and the neo-conservatives, there is nothing new here. After 425 pages, I only learned that: Rumsfeld interferred with a Gallup family member to favor Nixon in the 1970s (in Gallup polls at the time) (p. 17); that Richard Armitage may have been involved in the Phenix "program" during the Vietnam war [that was reported before] (p. 45); and that Wolfowitz was the first to recruit that awful Dennis Ross into government service (p. 80). The New Yorker always has fawning profiles: yet the profile of Aaron McGruder (creator of The Boondocks) in the April 16th&26th issue was mean and nasty.
Iraqi democracy in Action: So a new puppet prime minister has been appointed in Iraq. Iyad Allawi was a former Saddam Ba`thist and member of Saddam's intelligence service. His group (the National Accord) comprises former Saddam's henchmen. Yet, the profile of Allawi in NYT today left out that important fact and merely said that Allawi had "joined the [Ba`th] party's youth branch." Youth Branch? He was into his thirties in the party and in Saddam's secret police, and may have engaged in "dirty tricks" on behalf of the regime in London in the 1970s. The silly Washington Post had the most ridiculous allegation: that "Pick Appears to Catch Bush Administration Off Guard". Off guard? In fact, notice this account of NYTimes: "Iraqi council members said the council unanimously endorsed Dr. Alawi. L. Paul Bremer III, the chief American administrator here, then entered the room to congratulate Dr. Alawi." And as the Guardian reports, "UN sidelined in choice of Iraqi leader"
Ban child brides!!
This is Zionism: Bulldozers crush Gaza children's dreams
Make no mistake about it: The rulers of Sudan are war criminals: killing Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims.
How dare she not glorify US torturers? "After displaying a painting of U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners, a San Francisco gallery owner bears...a black eye and bloodied brow delivered by an unknown assailant who apparently objected to the art work."
I shall update when I arrive home later tonight. You cannot walk without bumping into a WWII in DC. War, war, war, and more glorification war. And Tom Hanks who passes as an actor in US, and Tom Brokaw, who passes as a journalist in US, are on hand. You have to give credit to this nation: there is a commemoration of WWII, while wars are being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and John Kerry is going around telling us (to the tune of 34 times a day) how much he loves telling us about his Vietnam war experience. My friend Mary told me yesterday: that she used to find the naivete of her fellow Americans cute and charming, but that she now finds it dangerous. A new survey shows that prayer is by far the most favorite "alternative medicine" by Americans. Please, dont pray for me...Micronesia.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Several surveys appear to show that Russians prefer authoritarian order to democracy. One poll found that 53 percent of Russians opposed democracy, while 22 percent favored it.
For Iraqi women, Abu Ghraib's taint
Does anybody care about those poor? International rescue workers rushed to a remote Haitian border town yesterday where as many as 1,000 people are feared dead following the flash floods that hit the region last weekend.
Having helped found the Islamic Republic of Fallujah, Bush is now heralding the emergence of the Islamic Republic of Najaf and Karbala'.
US soldiers in Afghanistan are endangering humanitarian aid operations by operating in civilian clothes and vehicles, the EU warned yesterday.
Briton says he was held in Israeli dungeon. What is wrong with dungeons, asks John Kerry.
U.S. Allies Also Accused in Prison Abuse (The Micronesian soldier in Iraq cleared)
U.S. agencies collect, examine personal data on Americans. American patriots demand more invasion of their privacies.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

There is an important article on Fallujah in the recent issue of Harper's. Can somebody find a link?
"I want them to hit everything," he said. "I want them to use the big planes, the small planes, everything they can that will help out there, and let's start giving them a little shock."
Humane colonization: Bush promises Iraqis "a humane, well-supervised prison system." Iraqis immediately take to the streets to celebrate and rejoice.
Full text: The Kissinger Telcons: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 123 (thanks anonymous)
Times admits flawed pre-war coverage: Reporters over-relied on Iraqi exiles'
claims
Iraqis say U.S. soldiers steal during house raids (Israelis used to do that too in South Lebanon).
The peach season is about to begin. 2 % of Angry Arab's earthly pleasures (and atheists have only earthly pleasures to contend with) is derived from the peach season.
How Public is Public Radio? A study of NPR’s guest list
UN fury over Bush attempts to install PM: Bush cannot understand why Iraqis would not like Paul Wolfowitz as their Prime Minister
Make no mistake about it. On Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central you hear much more wise, insightful, daring, and informed critique of US policies than you do on the "mainstream" respected news channels. This although I often hear obnoxious antiArab/anti-Muslim comments on the show. I heard that Stewart was a socialist in High School.
U.S. military arrests war's 'bargaining chips': Rights groups say practice holding people to pressure wanted relatives to surrender violates laws (good article Mohamad)
Bush administration has used 27 rationales for war in Iraq, study says. 347668 rationales to follow.
Did the Washington Post create Ahmad Chalabi? I thought it was Judith Miller and Bernard Lewis.
I heard several news media outlets saying rather casually that the US is low looking for terrorists who "do not look like what we think terrorists should look like." Just like that. Once in a discussion after a movie on the Palestinians at Colorado College, a member of the audience asked me politely and casually why the Palestinian in the movie did not look like the stereotypical terrorist. I asked him how does a stereotypical terrorist look like. He said: "without being rude, like you." (I had short hair and a moustache back then.)
Amnesty: 'Bankrupt' war on terror is world's most damaging conflict in 50 years
OK. I am willing to compromise on the Larry King matter. He can get to keep his show, and even extend it to 2 hours a day. Just put him on another channel. He would be great on the Potato Cable Channel. What do you think?
For those of your are fans of torture: Prison Interrogations in Iraq Seen as Yielding Little Data on Rebels
I am sad. Amer just informed me that French Orientalist Maxime Rodinson has died. He was a huge influence on my thinking, although I never met him. I learned so much from his books and articles, and always made an effort to read everything he wrote. I find it ironic that the best biography of Mohammad was written by this French Marxist atheist. Maxime Rodinson.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Islamic Republic of Fallujah: brought to you by George W. Bush (the guy who promised to bring a glowing secular democracy in the Middle East).
Only for those who think that torture is a violation of human rights: "An official US army overview of the deaths and alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan has revealed a wider scale of mistreatment than has so far come to light, it was reported today."
For those wondering about the results of Bush's "War on Terrorism": "The occupation of Iraq has provided a "potent global recruitment pretext" for al-Qaida and probably increased worldwide terrorism, a leading thinktank said yesterday."
This (former) Arab (Fouad Ajami) loves to tell the master race that Arabs indeed are inferior. Here he is trying to explain himself, having assured Dick Cheney that Arabs--not only Iraqis--would welcome US troops with fries and flowers. He now explains why the Iraq colonization was a failture; it is because "a culture of terror had taken root in the Arab world", he says. End of story.
Tom Brokaw is not the only shallow and ignorant US journalist. Of course not. But he is bothering me with his "Greatest Generation" industry. Why? Is this not the generation of lynching, segregation, Jim Crow, white supremacy, homophobia, Strom Thurmond, and blatant and violent sexism? And are the Germans or Russians who fought fiercely in WWII also part of the "Greatest Generation"? The record of the US in WWII (Dresden and Hiroshima are only two example plus the one night of bombing over Tokyo which killed 100000 civilians) is not that glorious, not to mention FDR's inaction during the Holocaust when he knew what was happening. Read the book War without Mercy: it talks about US soldiers making letter openers and key chains from ears and bones of Japanese. I became acquainted with NBC News back in the late 1980s when I served as a Middle East consultant. Once after a bomb exploded in a TWA flying over Athens, the big-wigs at NBC called me on a conference call to ask for my opinion. They wanted to know the identity of the culprits. Sitting in my apartment in Arlington, VA: I said I have no idea. They pressed me to speculate. Only after insistence, I said: "If I were to speculate, I think that it may be group X..." Lo and behold, I was watching NBC News that evening, to see Brokaw begins the newscast with a visual of exclusive and explosion and Beirut. And the newscast began as follows: (I kid you not): An exclusive Lebanon sources has confirmed to NBC News that the group behind the TWA bombing was group x: and followed that with a 3 minute report over the content of my phone conversation. Thus was my lesson in the world of respected US TV News.
Why does John Kerry (who has the charisma of a tomato and the human rights policies of Ariel Sharon) insist on telling us that he went to Yale Univeristy in every political ad I have seen by him? Is this elitism now popular with American patriots?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

...off to Chicago and then Washington, DC. Will return Saturday night. Will try to update. (For friends and media: my hotel number will be left on my home answering machine.)
(Some have written to me regarding technical glitches with the site. Some have even expressed concerns over Big Brother/Sister). I have not had a problem. But if you encounter problems, just yell: NEAL! NEAL!).
A laser scan of Michelangelo's David
Angry Arab in La Opinion: “Muy pocos árabes van a creer que EU verdaderamente tiene un plan específico para Irak”, expresó el profesor As’ad Abukhalil, profesor de ciencias políticas en la Universidad Estatal de California en Stanislaus y catedrático visitante en Berkeley, refiriéndose al discurso del mandatario. “Aun a los estadounidenses está resultando muy difícil convencerlos en vista de las escenas de destrucción, mutilaciones y devastación que ven día a día”.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Salon.com printed those comments of mine in reaction to Bush's speech (you can get a free one-day pass to the site):
"George W. Bush is certainly concerned about his reelection. His plummeting popularity in the polls explains his need for "a major" speech on Iraq. He may have sounded convincing to those in the U.S. who know little about Iraq and who do not follow foreign affairs closely. But for Iraqis (and Arabs in general) Monday's speech will go down as yet another desperate effort to be added to the series of U.S. propaganda campaigns that followed Sept. 11 and the two subsequent U.S.-led wars.
The major problem with how Bush's rhetoric plays in the Middle East is that it assumes that Arabs and Muslims can easily be manipulated by empty words about "freedom." Will Iraqis really care that Bush has now decided to demolish the Abu Ghraib prison? Will that erase the horrific crimes of Saddam -- and those of the U.S. occupation that followed -- behind the prison's walls? The pictures of U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib will stay in the Iraqi and Arab collective memory for a long time to come.
Bush insulted the intelligence of the Iraqi people with his latest speech in more ways than one: He talks about free elections, freedom and democracy, when all Iraqis, including children, know full well that an Ayatollah who has not left his house in six years (ali-Sistani) insisted on free elections, while the leader of the Coalition Provisional Authority fiercely opposed them. He tells Iraqis that they will have full sovereignty, and yet assures the military audience before him that he will send additional troops if they are needed, and that all troops in Iraq will serve under U.S. command. What kind of sovereignty is that? Bush says that American "technical advisors" will stay in key ministries; Arabs will surely take note of the thousands of American "advisors" that were in Vietnam.
Bush and neoconservatives still foolishly refer to a "free Iraq" as a model for the region. They may be right -- if other Arab populations are eager to incorporate into their lives daily car bombs, shootings by soldiers at checkpoints, torture of prisoners by liberating armies, the rise of fundamentalist groups and violent militias, clerical control of political affairs, and many empty promises of democracy. Colonization does not work in the 21st century, and the Iraqis who suffered under Saddam will settle for nothing less than full independence."
salon.com
(PS: I learned a lesson. I should have asked to approve the edited version. I feel that I was toned down; the original was much more strident and "angry.")
From a poem by Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi (my translation):
"...their child is born an old bat
where is the one who can
dissolve, revive, and bring back
who can create him a new child
and wash him with oil and sulfur
off stink of rust
where is the one who can
dissolve, revive, and bring back
who can create the fledgling of eagles
from the ancestry of slaves
the child has denounced his father,
his mother
he has no resemblances from them
why is our house being split into two
and the sea runs between old and new
a cry, and the tearing of wombs
and the cutting of veins
how can we stay under one roof
when seas separate us, and a fence
and the desert of cold ashes
and ice."
From Bush's speech. Achievements of liberation: "Iraqi oil production has reached more than two million barrels per day, bringing revenues of nearly $6 billion so far this year.."
This is Zionism: 13-Year-Old a Victim of Israeli Offensive
Iraqi poetry (in English) (thanks Brenda)
New wedding video fuels suspicion of US account
Please add this to Kofi Annan's resume: "Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering."
War returns with a vengeance as allies fail the Afghan people
Afghanistan, the war the world forgot
Very wide image of Michelangelo's David
What Zionism (and New York Times) does not know: Palestinians hold funerals too
This is Zionism: Israeli Bulldozers threaten Gaza 'school of hope'
That is a new version of how we got into war. Not Kidding. So the Iranian government, prodded the Iranian intelligence service, which in turn influenced and manipulated Ahmad Chalabi, who in turn prodded his intelligence chief, who in turn influenced and manipulated the neo-conservatives in Washington, DC, who in turn influenced and manipulated George W. Bush, who in turn influenced and manipulated the American public. Does that make George W. innocent?
'Its best use [for this lousy book] is as a doorstop' (thanks Elie)
A piece on an Arab-American writer. A story on Arabs that does not deal with violence. How rare is that? (nice article Diana)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

On the occasion of the Arab Summit (of presidents, kings, princes, etc), I wish to quote Iraqi poet Mudhaffar An-Nawwab (my translation):
"...and the sun could rise setting
due to our sadness,
hunger speaks since our birth
and death and sand grow old with us
foreigners no matter how much we fight
and the eunuchs-rulers are the true Arabs
a ruler whose stature and dignity
are beneath this shoe of mine
..."
From a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (my translation):
"Oh, my proud wound
my homeland is not a briefcase
And I am not a traveler
I am the lover, and the land is my beloved!
...The archeologist is busy with stone analysis
he is looking for his eyes in the burial of myths
to prove that I am:
a passerby in the path,
without eyes!
Not a letter in the sojourn of civilization!
And I plant my trees, slowly,
and about my love, I sing!"
A military intelligence unit that oversaw interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was also in charge of questioning at a detention center in Afghanistan where two prisoners died in December 2002.
While world attention was focused on the scandal at Abu Ghraib prison, two Marines were court-martialed May 14 for abusing an Iraqi prisoner with electricity, it was disclosed yesterday.
After bombing an Iraqi wedding, US military says that there is no evidence of wedding: Wedding Party, Aftermath Of Attack Seen in Videos
THIS IS YOUR LIBERATION AMERICA: "More than 5,500 Iraqis died violently in just Baghdad and three provinces in the first 12 months of the occupation, an Associated Press survey found."
freedom of torture in Eritrea
This is Zionism: Israel would not even let Palestinians bury their dead
"...patriots are defined as those with unconditional respect for armed might and for the necessity of maximal domestic surveillance..." (from a piece by Susan Sontag)
Family's fury at mystery death of distinguished Iraqi chemistry professor.
"...The copy they got after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's testimony on May 7 was a thick document with 106 annexes, and it was quickly arranged into separate binders. Only later did the committee stack up all the pages, compare them with a ream of 6,000 blank pages and decide that at least 2,000 pages were missing..."
"AN ISRAELI minister threw a cabinet session into uproar yesterday when he said footage of an elderly Palestinian woman sifting through the rubble of her house in Rafah Refugee Camp reminded him of his grandmother, who was a Holocaust victim."
Not with "sweets and flowers".
I want to recommend a new book I have just read: Adam Shatz, Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Zionism and Israel. It is a great collection of important and "prophetic" essays, and even though I had read them before (as essays), it is great to have them all in one volume (like that great book Zionism Reconsidered). As I told Adam, only an essay by Maxime Rodinson is missing, and deserves to be in the book. The books is a lesson for Zionists and for anti-Semities alike: that Zionism does not speak for all Jews. (thanks for the book Adam).
On the movie Troy. Brad Pitt as Achilles is as convincing a casting, as George W. Bush is as as Albert Einstein. Of course, you cannot rely on Hollywood for historical accuracy, or for gender sensitivity. Achilles is essential for Homer's Iliad, but you cannot even be sure that the movie writers and director read the CliffsNotes version. Achilles appears right in the beginning of Iliad: "Divine Muse, sing of the ruinous wrath of Achilles, Peleous' son, which brought ten thousand sorrows to the Greeks..." The Trojan War covered the span of 10 years, transformed by Hollywood into a few days of war. NOT in the movie is Zeus saying: "How foolish men are! How unjustly they blame the gods! It is to their lot to suffer, but because of their own folly they bring upon themselves sufferings over and above what is fated for them..." And I hated the liberal message of the movie: typical liberal malarchy. On the one hand, war is rejected and portrayed as destructive and horrific. And yet, military might and physical male strength is promoted as the foundations of heroism. That is American liberalism par excellence: inability to stand on firm foundations. This IS Kerry: for troops and for more troops in Iraq, but opposed to Bush's version of war. He promises to be better at colonizing Iraq. And he may be better at colonization if you only give him a chance. And then the sexism. Achilles tries to strangle his best friend, and he strangles and pushes the woman (with whom he was supposed to be in love). And the movie includes that "acceptable rape" scene that is common in Hollywood movies. You can even see it in Gone with the Wind. When the man forces himself on a woman, and she says no and struggles, and the next scene entails the two enjoying passionate "sex" or they are in bed the next morning having breakfast. In the movie, Pitt rapes the woman, and yet we are supposed to believe that they subsequently enjoyed a love affair. It can only be rape because she was enslaved. That is why I get enraged when people talk about Thomas Jefferson's rape of his slave Sally Heming as if it was some romantic love affair. When the woman is a slave (or a prostitute) she cannot give her consent of her free will. That is why every "sex" with a slave or a prostitute is not "sex" but rape. It can only be rape. And there was no mention of homosexuality in Greece. In fact, in ancient Greece, men and boys were the primary object of sexual desires by men, NOT women. But Hollywood cannot broach that, of course. The best source on Greek sexuality is without a doubt Hans Licht, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece. The rich book was so explicit in its time when it was published that the author released it under a pseudonym. And if you have read the The Iliad the words in the movie have no poetry or eloquence. When Pitt was mobilizing his forces and edging them on, he sounded like coaches before games. Silly.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

From a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (my translation):
"We shall meet in a little while
in a year
in two years
and a generation..
..I sip the kiss
from the edge of knives..
I am the one in whose skin
chains are carving
a shape of the homeland."
Feminists Stand By Their Man (no thanks to Brandy)
US 'too heavy-handed', says UK Foreign Office memo
Working...And Poor
A Justice Department memo proposes that the United States hold others accountable for international laws on detainees—but that Washington did not have to follow them itself.
This American general is wise, and he knows the Middle East. He says:
'They've Screwed Up'
"The actors seem unsure of their roles. The audience is becoming restless with the confusion on stage. But the scriptwriters keep trying to convince the crowd that the ending they imagined can still, somehow, come to pass."
MPs Were Told To 'Rough Them Up'. Should that not become a patriotic catch-phrase?
"...The president will open a tightly orchestrated public relations effort in a speech..."
"A military lawyer for a soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib abuse case stated that a captain at the prison said the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq was present during some "interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse." "
"'The Independent on Sunday' has uncovered proof of US troops deliberately and indiscriminately shooting civilians. Here we examine new evidence that suggests the lawlessness in the American military was never confined to the prison camps and torture rooms but extended to the streets and homes of Iraq."
This is Zionism: Rawan was the 11th child to be killed by the Israeli Defence Force since Operation Rainbow began last week.
A victory for all of you supporters of War Crimes: British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state.
I am more likely to watch Larry King Live if you replace Larry King with a tomato. I promise to watch the full hour if you do that. Would you? Please?
Mr./Ms. Potato head will not be a worse leader for the Palestinian people than Yasir `Arafat (who has not sent millions to the account of Suha `Arafat in two days).
From Lebanese poet Amin Rihani's poem Revolution (my translation):
"...It is Revolution and its awesome frowning day
Brigades wave as windflowers. Inciting those who are far,
bightening those who are near.
Drums repeat the echoes of a bizarre hymn
horns call on whomever is within earshot
and the eyes of people throw flames
And fires ask for more
And a sword that responds. And awe that greys
Woe then to the oppressors,
woe to them from mean rebels
From stubborn seekers of righteousness
Woe to those with false safety
Woe to the oppressors
It is Revolution and its barefooted sons
And its tough manly boys
And its proud strong men
And its tigresses women
And its eloquent male and female orators
And its mutinying male and female leaders
Woe then to the oppressors
Warn them of chains and flames
Of bombs exploding and difficult day
A day when they do not order or lead
And they do not get freed and they flee
Woe then to the oppressors."
Only a Few Spoke Up on Abuse as Many Soldiers Stayed Silent
From a poem by Egyptian poet Amal Dunqul (my translation):
"Glory be to Satan...Worshipped by the Winds
He who said "No" in the face of those who said "Yes"
He who taught humans how to tear down absurdity
He who said "No"...and who did not die;
stayed a spirit with eternal pain."
How fascism starts
Celebrate American victories in War. GI: Iraqi boy mistreated to get dad to talk. What heroism.
US unrepentant over killings at Iraq wedding
U.S. admits to secret interrogation site in Baghdad
Shi'ite Muslims in ME rally against US
Tortured to death? The Army has looked into at least 37 detainee deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior military official said Friday
This is Zionism: A three-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by an Israeli gunshot to the head in the Rafah refugee camp Saturday
American patriots will be amused by this. Abu Ghraib: inmates raped, ridden like animals, and forced to eat pork
A hero in my eyes is a coward in American patriots' eyes: A US Serjeant jailed for peace practice
In pictures: Rafah under fire
Westerners may have more sympathy for Palestinian animals than they may have for Palestinian people. The day the tanks arrived at Rafah zoo: Among ruined houses, a haven for Gaza's children lies in rubble
Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq, issued an order last October giving military intelligence control over almost every aspect of prison conditions at Abu Ghraib with the explicit aim of manipulating the detainees' "emotions and weaknesses".
Punishment and Amusement: Documents Indicate 3 Photos Were Not Staged for Interrogation

Friday, May 21, 2004

From Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi (my translation):
"That light in his eyes has certainly died,
Heroism will not rescue him, nor will the humiliation of prayer."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

From Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani's Bread, Hashish, and Moon (my translation):
"In the nights of the East when...
the moon reaches its fullness..
The East is stripped from any dignity
and struggle..
And the millions which run without shoes...
and which believe in four wives...
and in the Day of Judgment..
The millions that do not meet bread..
except in imagination..
and which inhabit at night houses
from cough...
They never knew the form of medicine..
they become corps under the light..
in my homeland.."
My dear friend Joseph's article Imperial mementos
From a poem by Egyptian poet Amal Dunqul (my translation):
"I die in bed...the way donkeys die
I die, and the horn..
is blown in Damascus..
I die in the street: in the prefumes and fashion
I die, and the enemies
trample on the face of righteousness.
Not a spot on my body does not have a spear's wound
..without a spear's wound.."
A Patriotic Star: An evangelical US general played a pivotal role in Iraqi prison scandal
Even America's favorite puppet/embezzler (Chalabi) says: "My message to the CPA is 'let my people go. Let my people go free.' "
SEXUAL DOMINATION IN UNIFORM: AN AMERICAN VALUE (thanks Julie)
Bulldozers crush hope in Rafah camp
'US soldiers started to shoot us, one by one'
Iraqis Provide New Details of Abuse
Videos Amplify Picture of Violence
I went to Stanford yesterday to watch the showing of the documentary About Baghdad. (thanks for losing my car Nirvana). I was delighted to introduce my friend Sinan, who is one of the directors/producers, along with my friend Bassam. The movie chronicles Sinan's return to Baghdad after years in exile, and it focuses on living (and dying under Saddam), and living (and dying) under US occupation. I have talked about the documentary before, and have seen parts of it before it was put together in its final form. Having seen it in full yesterday, I can very strongly and enthusiastically recommend it to all of you. If I always say that you can not understand Iraq without reading Hanna Batatu's book, The Old Social Classes and the Rrevolutionary Movements of Iraq, I now can add that your understanding of the Iraq mess will be substantially expanded and enhanced by watching this important documentary. I really hope it will get a mass release; they are now in negotiation with PBS. They do not provide a selective potrayal of Iraqi public opinion; you see Iraqi public opinion in its diversity, richness, sophistication, and eloquence. They let the Iraqis speak for themselves, and as both Sinan and Bassam are gifted story-tellers, the narrative is extremeley skillfully woven together. It is shown to the background of excellent Iraqi traditional music in the backgroud, and the CD is available through the website (I would not be plugging this if it is a commercial enteriprise--it is not. It is not for profit--unlike Bush's colonial enterprise which I do not plug on the site).
Excellent photo collage by Nico: GAZA UNDER SIEGE (thanks Nico) May disturb people with hearts.
From Egyptian poet's Amal Dunqul's Ending (my translation):
"Oh...who will stop the windmills in my head?
Who will remove the knives from my heart?
Who will kill my poor children...?
In order that they do not...grow up in the red
furnished apartments..
servants..
catamites..
pimps...
who will kill my poor children?"
About 200 American and international advisers will continue to work at 26 Iraqi ministries as consultants after the June 30 transfer of authority to Iraq, Bush administration planners said Wednesday. At the oil ministry, some 58577930030 American advisors will help advise.
Women Missing from CNN's View of World
Anti-American sentiment rising in Asia
Donald Rumsfeld on the whereabouts of Usamah Bin Laden: "We do know of certain knowledge that he is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."
The stories sound familiar: Muslim prisoners beaten and sexually humiliated by American guards. But it happened in Brooklyn, not Baghdad. (thanks for the article Michelle). You can get a free one-day pass for Salon.com
Many in Baghdad decry what they see as a light sentence for the abuse of prisoners. They contend the case was designed to serve U.S. interests.
"Pentagon records provide the clearest view yet of the U.S. tactics used at Anu Ghraib and elsewhere to coax secrets from Iraqis. Brutal interrogation techniques by U.S. military personnel are being investigated in connection with the deaths of at least five Iraqi prisoners in war-zone detention camps, Pentagon documents obtained by The Denver Post show. The deaths include the killing in November of a high-level Iraqi general who was shoved into a sleeping bag and suffocated, according to the Pentagon report. The documents contradict an earlier Defense Department statement that said the general died "of natural causes" during an interrogation. Pentagon officials declined to comment on the new disclosure."
"Military intelligence officers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq directed military police to take clothes from prisoners, leave detainees naked in their cells and make them wear women's underwear, part of a series of alleged abuses that were openly discussed at the facility".
Why American patriots are proud of their "boys": Wedding party massacre
Israeli forces fired tank shells into a peaceful Palestinian protest
Palestinian doctors despair at rising toll of children shot dead by Israeli army snipers

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"A U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party early Wednesday in western Iraq, killing more than 40 people, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military said it could not confirm the report and was investigating."
Patriotic torturer: "I love the army. I love that flag." If this is not touching, nothing is.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

From Egyptian poet Amal Dunqul's Death in Bed (my translation):
"Blood before sleep
we wear it..a garb
blood has become water
spilled every day...
blood in the pillows
with its dark color
and hot milk
is sold by newspapers...
spoiled milk
spoiled milk
spoiled milk"
From the poem Homeland by Syrian poet Adonis (my translation):
"To the faces that harden under the mask of melancholy
I bow down; to the paths where I left my tears behind,
to a father who died as green as a cloud
with a sail on his face
I bow down; and to a child who is sold
in order for him to pray and to shine shoes
(We all in my country pray, we all shine shoes)
and to a rock where I carved with my hunger
that it is rain that rolls down under my eyelashes, and lightening
and to the soil of a house which I transported in my loss
I bow down--all that is my homeland, not Damascus."
The commander of Guantánamo Bay, sacked amid charges from the Pentagon that he was too soft on detainees, said he faced constant tension from military interrogators trying to extract information from inmates.
The Israeli army killed at least 20 Palestinians, including children. (thanks anonymous)
Bush White House checked with rapture Christians before latest Israel move (thanks Yun)
U.S. forces beat three Iraqis working for Reuters and subjected them to sexual and religious taunts and humiliation during their detention last January in a military camp near Falluja.
‘Definitely a Cover-Up’: Former Abu Ghraib Intel Staffer Says Army Concealed Involvement in Abuse Scandal
Pervasive Abuse Alleged by Freed Detainees, Red Cross
Death of Prisoner Detailed in Testimony
To the person who left me an annoying message on my office's answering machine, you are quite annoying; to "Angry American", I have not, and will not, change my opinions; and to all those who keep sending me (polite and impolite) invitations and requests to leave the US, I am not leaving the Land of Chicken McNuggets. I get all the love and affection that I need and deserve right here.
From Syrian poet Adonis' The Traveler (my translation):
A traveler who has left my face on
the glass of my lamp
My map is a land without a creator
Rejection is my bible.
This is an important development in the US war and occupation of Iraq. Hasan Nasrallah (the secretary-general of Hizbullah--the Party of God) just gave a speech in Lebanon. It was carried live (in part) on AlJazeera and (in full) on Al-Manar TV. I watched it. I have noted before (in an article I had written in Arabic) that Hizbullah does not seem to have a clear and specific policy towards developments in Iraq. It appeared hesitant and perplexed in the past. But US troubles in Iraq seem to have galvanized US critics and enemies. Expect Syria, Iran, and Hizbullah to get more and more emboldened with growing evidence of US failures. Nasrallah first focused (not on the WMDs bogus claims) but on US promises of "democracy" and "human rights" and how they are far from being established in US-run Iraq. He also made an important distinction between what he called "crimes" of some elements in Iraq, and what he called "resistance" in Iraq. He basically said that "resistance" is confined to attacks on US occupation, and made a point to say that "resistance" is not necessarily confined to military activities, but includes political, economic, and cultural matters. He also stated that it is up to Iraqis to determine the styles and modes of resistance. He seems to be implicitly criticizing vulgar Arab nationalists and remnants of Ba`thism in the Arab world when he railed against "the criminals" who perpetuate suicide attacks and car bombs in Iraq. He stressed that those criminal elements in Iraq should not be considered "resistance." He called them "agents" (of US and Israel presumably). This is in contrast with popular trends in some Arab circles where one notices glorification of all manners of violence in Iraq provided it is perpetuated in the name of "anti-American resistance." Every speech by Nasrallah (I have noticed) has a theme and a purpose. And while he sometimes improvises, I think that he prepares in advance what he wants to say. I once asked him to clarify something he had said in one speech, and it was clear to me that he had thought the words through beforehand. The purpose of this speech seems to be two-fold: 1) a message to US that Shi`ites (and specifically Hizbullah) will not tolerate a continuation of US troop presence in Najaf and Karbala', and certainly will not tolerate a takeover of the cities. He stressed that these are not only holy for Iraqis, but for all Shi`ites; 2) to mobilize Shi`ite and Arab popular opinion against US military actions in Southern Iraq, without identifying with Muqtada As-Sadr per se. He clearly does not seem eager to expand the popularity of As-Sadr, or even that of Sistani. He steered away from the issue. He also spoke of "response" by Hizbullah to US actions in Southern Iraq although he refused to be specific (he said: "days will show"--an Arabic saying). He has also called for major demonstrations for next Friday. I view this as a major development in the course of US occupation of Iraq, and expect US failures and troubles to increase. All this, however, does not change the fact that: Bush is still making progress in Iraq. (After writing this, I cannot believe how many people asked me what I meant by the last sentence. I was being ironic. IRONIC, OK???? And I refuse to put smiling faces at the end of sentences, no matter what).
They are not really human, so they will not feel the pain, by ROBIN TOLMACH LAKOFF
"An American soldier refers to an Iraqi prisoner as "it." A general speaks not of "Iraqi fighters" but of "the enemy." A weapons manufacturer doesn't talk about people but about "targets." Bullets and bombs are not the only tools of war. Words, too, play their part. Human beings are social animals, genetically hard-wired to feel compassion toward others. Under normal conditions, most people find it very difficult to kill. But in war, military recruits must be persuaded that killing other people is not only acceptable but even honorable. The language of war is intended to bring about that change, and not only for soldiers in the field. In wartime, language must be created to enable combatants and noncombatants alike to see the other side as killable, to overcome the innate queasiness over the taking of human life. Soldiers, and those who remain at home, learn to call their enemies by names that make them seem not quite human — inferior, contemptible and not like "us."..."

Monday, May 17, 2004

I was in the mood to inflict pain on myself. So I was debating whether I should pull out 3 or 4 of my teeth, or drive a screwdriver through my left ear, or staple my nose to my big toe, or listen to House Majority Leader (Tom De Lay)'s speech at the annual convention of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Unfortunately, I settled on the latter. If somebody finds the text of the speech, please forward to me to share with the rest. It has some nuggets of hilarity.
From Palestinian poet, Mahmud Darwish's Ahmad Az-Za`tar (my translation):
"...and rising toward the convergence of the dream
seats shrink under my trees, and your shadow...
those who climb on your wounds like seasonal flies disappear
and those who watch your wounds disappear
So remember me before I forget my hands!
And my interpretations to the butterflies
and the rocks are my letters on earth
my house is not Trojan
and my time is not a pillow
and I rise from the dryness of bread and the confiscated water
from a horse that got lost on the way to the airport
and from the wind of the sea, I rise
from the shrapnels that got addicted to my body
and I rise from the eyes of those coming to the sunrise of the plain
I rise from the vegetables' crates
and the strength of things I rise
I belong to my first sky and to the poor in every alley
[who are] chanting
staying steadfast
and staying steadfast
and staying steadfast
...Oh, the name of eyes and the marble echo
Oh, Ahmed who was born from stone and Thyme
you shall say: No
You shall say: No"
A former member of the Iraqi puppet council (appointed by the US) said this: "I also resigned because the Americans have indiscriminately attacked Iraqi cities with helicopters and aircraft, because they have behaved inhumanly during house searches, because they have stolen and taken away the dignity of human beings. It became clear to me that the Americans were not interested in resolving problems peacefully. Instead, they were truly obsessed with using military force to deal with all kinds of difficulties."
US FAILURE HELPS REVIVE THE OLD PAN-ISLAMIC PROJECT (by Juan Cole) (thanks Omar)
Life Sentences:Denying Welfare Benefits To Women Convicted Of Drug Offenses
A FORMER Scots soldier last night revealed how gruesome souvenir footage of Iraqi battlefield deaths is being swapped by Coalition troops.
Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government'
'There were rockets, shells. It was war. Then bulldozers destroyed everything'
I have received tons of complaints by visitors and friends about the comments' section. Many are urging me to close it down entirely. Is it naive on my part to urge people to express their views without vulgarities, obscenities, bigotry, and death threats against one another? Let me know what you think. As I do not want to play a role in banning people from comments' section, I was thinking if it is feasible if offenders can be banned if one offensive comment is followed by 10 (different) readers's protest, if you know what I mean? (But based on the few comments to this, I should hasten to add that I am more on the side of those who wish that I keep it as it is, as disgusting as some of the comments have become--from opposite sides, I should say). (Also, due to technical errors, some people may have had problems getting into the comments' section. Just let me know.)
From Washington Post: "the suicide car bomber who killed the head of Iraq's Governing Council on Monday gave shape to a feeling among Iraqi and U.S. officials and common citizens that the country is almost unmanageable." Look at that language. A country is unmanageable? Is that not like old colonial discourse? If occupation by the "White Man" is not working, then the country must be unmanageable. What about self-management? Is self-determination a dirty word in the US?
Military lawyers advised Pentagon two years ago to protect prisoners: But JAGs say Pentagon political appointees had a harsher agenda.
The State Department said 573 Palestinians and one foreign national were killed by Israeli security forces in the past year. It calls on Israel to try harder next year in its war on "terrorism."
Israel likes to celebrate its anniversary with a bang, literally. Amnesty International: Israel razed 3,000 homes since intifada began
Where are your President, vice-president, department secretaries, congresspeople, Senators, governors, etc? Well, surely they must be here.
UN backs GM crops despite concerns that benefits do not reach the world's poor
From Sunday's New York Times: "The events at Abu Ghraib are hardly morally equivalent, because the prisoners were humiliated, not killed (although there are reports that some died of torture)." (thanks Andrew)
UNRWA: Alarmed at Planned Israeli Demolitions of Palestinian homes (thanks Naseer)
I was thinking. You know that Spain had its own horrific version of Sep. 11, where hundreds of innocent people were killed. Yet, Spain did not invade other countries, did not designate itself the "beacon of freedom," did not arrange for the wholesale arrest of scores of Spanish Muslims, did not have one case of vigilante violence against Spanish Muslims, did not rush through the legislature a version of the Patriot Act, and they did not--not to my knowledge at least--send Geraldo on a search for bad guys. What does that say about Spain? Or more importantly, what does that say about the US?
Rev. Billy Graham (Syrian intellectual Sadiq Jalal Al-`Adhm calls him Ayatollah Billy Graham) fell over the weekend, and he subsequently released a statement to the press saying that "he was resting comfortably." Is the expression "resting comfortably" not redundant? Can one rest "uncomfortably"? And do the American masses really care to know whether the esteemed Rev. Graham, who never met an American war that he did not bless, and who used to sit with Richard Nixon and engage in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (read Haldeman's diary in the DC-Rom version of the book), and who was banned from the White House by Harry Truman because he told the press details of how he prayed with Truman, is "resting comfortably"? I am now resting uncomfortably, in case you need to know.
Feminism's Assumptions Upended: A uterus is not a substitute for a conscience. Giving women positions of power won't change society by itself, by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Israeli Democracy in Action: Supreme Court says Palestinian houses can be razed as part of military operations.
Iraqis, desperately seeking detainees, meet frustration
Segregation by income
Bangladesh has approved a new law creating 45 new parliamentary seats reserved for women.
The Roots of US Torture
"Thousands of men, women, the elderly and the very young ­ have been killed or maimed with far less fanfare. No one knows how many. They are Iraqi civilians, and the Americans and the British do not bother to keep count of the people they have "liberated" and then killed. This is not usual in modern warfare. In most past conflicts, attempts were made to keep a tally of civilian losses. Legal experts say that, particularly in the case of Iraq, it is the duty of occupying powers to do so under the Geneva Conventions."
Colin Powell, said in a television interview he expected that the Iraqi defence minister and generals would put their troops "under the direction of the multi-force commander, who will be an American".
The comments' section has been going down hill steadily; it has degenerated into a "festival" of obscenities, vulgarities, bigotry, and even death threats against one another.
Lyndie England, the Right and Feminism: Equal Opportunity Torture (No thanks to Brandy)
Sinan is a dear friend. I will be there.
Between Iraq and a Hard Place:
A Film, a Talk, a Workshop
FILM, About Baghdad ,a documentary film shot in Iraq in June 2003. One of the directors, Sinan Antoon, will be present to discuss it.
Date: Wednesday, May 19th Time: 8-10 PM Place: Stanford University, 200-205
"During the same 31/2-year period, Israeli military bulldozers have crushed 1,218 houses along the northern edge of the border between Gaza and Egypt, pushing back the city of Rafah and the adjacent refugee camp. A mile-long swath of broken concrete, splintered wood and twisted metal is all that remains of what Azizah Abu Anzah and others say was a close-knit community built by families and neighbors who gathered here a half-century ago in a cluster of U.N. tents."
From Syrian poet, Adonis: (my translation):
"Who are you, who do you select, Oh Mihyar?
Wherever you go, God or the pit of Satan
A pit that comes, or a pit that goes
and the world is a choice."
"Neither God, nor Satan I select
Both are a Wall
Both close my eyes--
Do I replace a wall with a wall..."
Sunnis and Shias Uniting Against U.S. (thanks Julie)
Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future (thanks Larry)
Iraqi Silence Indicts U.S. Occupiers: A lack of surprise at the prison abuse scandal is a symptom of the people's discontent, experts say.
THE BUSH MONEY MACHINE : Fundraising's Rewards
The question is: Are they sane? Christian Missionaries Battle For Hearts and Minds in Iraq
Saudi royal guards (headed by Crown Prince `Abdullah--"permanent friend" of "Bush")'aided al-Qa'ida' in Riyadh bombings that left 35 dead
'They tied me up like a beast and began kicking me'
US guards 'filmed beatings' at terror camp
People in US (especially the ones who do not know Arabic but insist on evaluating AlJazeera) do not know the extent to which AlJazeera goes out of its way to cover every utterance by every US official, LIVE. I, in fact, told the Chairperson of the Board of AlJazeera in Qatar in February that they are overdoing it to please the US administration, even when the coverage is not newsworthy. Another criticism of AlJazeera: since I started watching it, I certainly noticed that one of their correspondents, Taysir `Alluni (who was their correspondent in Afghanistan during the Taliban) was quite sympathetic to Bin Laden and Taliban. He was the most biased correspondent that I have seen on the air. Worse, he once lied on the air: he denied having interviewed Bin Laden, and it later turned out that he in fact had interviewed him more than once. He is now under investigation by the Spanish government for links to Al-Qa`idah. I think that AlJazeera should put him on a paid leave pending the end of his trial. Yet, he is still appearing on the air.
U.S. Military Hit by Another Afghan Abuse Charge. Bad apple or bad crates of apples?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

SEYMOUR M. HERSH (III): "The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld." (Merci Salih)
Az-Zaman newspaper in Iraq (the most widely circulated newspaper published by Sa`d Al-Bazzaz, a former chief propagandist for Saddam-turned propagandist for US occupation) came out with an editorial calling for the resignation of Rumsfeld. You shall notice that they brought up the issue of Rumsfeld's relationship with Saddam in the 1980s, which bothers Iraqis, but not many Americans.
May 15th, 1948: Birth of Israel. May 15th, 1948: Destruction of Palestine.
My translation of Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish's poem titled, Passport:
"They could not recognize me from the shadows that
absorb my color in the passport,
My wound was exposed for them,
to a tourist who loves to collect pictures,
They could not recognize me, Oh, do not leave
my hand without a sun,
because the trees know me...
and so do all the songs of rain,
Do not leave me pale like rain.
All the birds that
chased my hand at the gate of the distant airport,
all the meadows of wheat,
all the prisons..
all the white tombs,
all the borders...
all the handkerchiefs that waved,
all the eyes,
were with me, but they excluded them
from the passport!
Naked without a name, without identity?
On a soil that I raised with those hands?
Job yelled today toward the sky:
Do not make me a lesson twice!
Oh, gentlemen,
Oh, gentlemen, the Prophets
Do not ask the trees for their names
Do not ask the valleys about their mothers,
from my forehead, the sword of light is split
and from my hand, the water of the river springs,
My nationality resides in the hearts of all the people,
so go ahead and remove my passport!
For those who care (and are in the area): I wil be giving the speech (6:30PM) at the Arab Cultural Dinner tonight at Marriott Hotel in Burlingame.
Cheney and Kerry on Israel. Cheney: ""We will continue working closely with Prime Minister Sharon to confront terrorism in all its forms." Kerry: "I will never force Israel to make concessions that cost or compromise any of Israel's security. The security of Israel is paramount." I thought about Kerry's ignorance of Israel's long record of torturing Arabs last night. AlJazeera interviewed Mustafa Ad-Dirani (a Lebanese) who spent 10 years in Israeli jails, and was tortured and sodomozied (with a stick). He also--I noticed--spoke about Israeli emphasis on stripping Arab prisoners naked to "humiliate" them.
Vatican Warns Catholics Against Marrying Muslims.
Torture at Abu Ghraib followed CIA torture techniques that have metastasized over the past 50 years.
Israel takes bloody revenge in Gaza for killing of soldiers
Guantánamo abuse same as Abu Ghraib, say Britons
I detest the New York Times. Yet, I read it daily--as a homework--(and even save copies when I am traveling) but only to know what the US government is up to. I often yell out Arabic obscentities when I read it. I get angry at their ignorance and at their biases. Take today. There is a picture on the 1st page of an American soldier inside a mosque (he is "guarding" the mosque says the Times), and above the door "three Muslim saints are pictured," says the Times. In fact, you can easily know that one man (`Ali Bin Abi Talib) is in the three pictures. I do not like that picture of `Ali: he looks like the European Jesus in it. Inside the paper, there is yet another picture of an Israeli funeral for one Israeli soldier. This is how propaganda is planted in readers' minds.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Some people were worried about Sunni-Shi`ite conflict in Iraq. I do not see evidence of that, or not yet anyway. But I certainly see evidence of Sunni-Shi`ite frictions--if not conflict--in the larger Arab world. Many Shi`ites feel that Arab Muslims have been largely silent about the plight of people in Najaf and Karbala'. There is that perception out there regardless whether it is true or not. Just today I saw on TV Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah (the highest religious authority in Lebanon and who has influence among Shi`ites in Kuwait, Iraq, among other places, and whom I had interviewed in the past, and who has moderated his views over the years and now does not get along with Hizbullah at all) in his Friday sermon wondering why there was such a Muslim outcry over Fallujah in comparison with what he saw as silence over events in southern Iraq. In other news, a Friday preacher loyal to Muqtada As-Sadr (`Abdul-Hadi Ad-Darraji, Director of "the Office" of Muqtada As-Sadr) in Baghdad was openly recruiting suicide bombers (males and females). This gloomy reality of Iraq reminds me of a poem written by one of the greatest Iraqi poets--some of the greatest Arab poets are from Iraq, why Sinan?--, Badr Shakir As-Sayyab in the 1960s:(my translation)

"Death in the streets,
barrenness in the farms
Whatever we love dies.
Water has been restricted inside the homes,
And streams are running out of breath from drought.
The Tatars* have come,
a hemorrhage looms over the horizon,
our sun is blood, and our provisions are blood.
And Muhammad, the orphan, was put on fire,
and the night is brightened from his fire,
blood has boiled out of his feet, his hands, and his eyes,
and god was burnt down in his eyes.
...Is this my city, these potholes?
these bones?
Darkness emerges from its houses,
and blood is painted with gloom,
to erase its traces, so no passer-by can see..
Is this my city? With injured domes?"
*[a reference to those who sacked Baghdad in 1258 AD]
You know how much the US has damaged its own cause in the Middle East when you read one of the most vocal (and sophisticated) Arab neo-conservatives, Hazim Saghiyyah of Al-Hayat (who had a stint last year at the pro-Likud Washington Institute for Near East Policy)talking about US behavior in Iraq "combining Sadism and racism." (from his column in Saturday's issue). (You probably know that Sadism is derived from the name of the notorious The Marquis de Sade, on whom there are two new good biographies. The longer one, I remember, is better than the other. It is interesting (disturbing?) that Simone De Beauvoir edited a book of de Sade's writings.)
I was getting ready to grade some papers (I have graded none so far), when a familiar voice from the TV blasting outside came on. It was the Saudi Crown Prince's advisor on National Security, `Adil Al-Jubayr, who resides in Washington, DC. Now imagine if "Bush"'s National Security Advisor resides in Paris, France. That is hilarious. He was on MSNBC's Hardball (how much Mathews hated me the one time he had me on). He took it upon himself to lecture the US about humane and civil treatment of prisoners. I kid you not. Now `Adil and I go a long way back. He took some classes with me at Georgetown and Angry Arab had some fun at his expense in a few classes. At one point, in one IR class, I had to turn to him and say in front of the class: "You really do not have to propagandize for the House of Saudi IN CLASS. Do that outside of class." It was incredible. And this Al-Jubayr was telling the American audience today about the civilized methods of interrogation in Saudi Arabia, where beheading of lovers still takes place, and where women are still stoned, and where people who enjoy their drugs are executed, and where the prisons of Prince Nayif are run like medieval dungeons with routine torture, and urination over the heads of inmates. And the propagandists of the House of Saudi are now allowed to preach tolerance and humane treatment on US TV?
For those who care, an article about my talk at Merced College. (thanks Brian)
"Paper or plastic?" is what US soldiers ask Iraqi prisoners before they cover their heads for no more than 72 hours (not 73 or 74).
To "John." You have illegally obtained access to my friend's email. She and I know that you used her email address to send me that disgusting message, and we know your IP address. You will be denied access to this site, and will take legal action against you.
Kerry showing his ignorance of Israeli torture of Arabs: "I also think, when you look at what Israel has done for years, where they've faced terror for far longer than we have, that they don't engage in that type of activity. And they specifically decided not to, because they want to keep the moral high ground." (thanks Michael)
So a member of Congress yesterday was asking an American official what would happen if the new Iraqi "government" became so incensed by American conduct in Iraq that it asked American forces to withdraw. "Mr. Grossman at first said that this could not happen because any government would recognize the importance of keeping American forces on hand. Finally, when pressed, he answered "yes" — American forces would have to leave. He was then contradicted by Lt. Gen. Walter Sharp, director of strategic plans and policy for the military's joint staff, who said that such a request would only be valid if made by an elected government — something that would not exist until next year. Mr. Grossman then said that General Sharp "perhaps did a better job than I did" in answering the question." (thanks to Layla)
From an exchange between Sen. Reed and Paul Wolfowitz yesterday:
"Sensory deprivation, which would be a bag over your head for 72 hours. Do you think that's humane?"
"Let me come back to what you said, the work of this government——"
"No, no. Answer the question, Mr. Secretary. Is that humane?"
"I don't know whether it means a bag over your head for 72 hours, senator."
I know American patriots worship their military, but maybe you need to know this: "Spec. Charles A. Graner Jr., the military policeman photographed with a big smile as he stood behind a pile of naked Iraq prisoners, was a target of abuse allegations long before he was singled out by an Army investigator as the worst of the guards in the Baghdad scandal. His ex-wife once accused him of dragging her by her hair and trying to throw her down stairs during a fight over their breakup. At the Pennsylvania prison where he worked as a low-level guard in civilian life, the Army reservist was accused in two lawsuits of brutality. In one, an inmate said Graner planted a razor blade in a plate of potatoes." But make no mistake about it: he was fighting for "freedom" in Iraq, like every other member of the US armed forces. Salute the troops, NOW.
"THE United States prison guard holds a snake up to the camera: "This is a sand viper," she says. "One bite will kill you in six hours. We’ve already had two prisoners die of it, but who cares? That’s two less for me to worry about." "
Rules of "engagement" with Iraqi detainees. Some are illegal under the Geneva Convention, but they are consistent with the "spirit" and "ghost" of the Geneva convention. They include: "SENSORY DEPRIVATION, Using blindfolds, earmuffs and other materials. The field manual states this can be done for no more than 72 hours." It is not as bad as you think; because it does not allow the bag over the head of the prisoner to be left for more than 72 consecutive hours. Hail the humane empire.
Israel to raze hundreds of houses in Rafah; "Bush" and Kerry plead with Israel to raze more.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

I have noticed that Arabic newspapers (Friday's issues) are reporting about Rumsfeld's visit to Abu Ghrayb's prison. They noted how he moved around in an armored carrier, and when he went through the halls, prisoners gave him the thumb down gesture, were very unfriendly, and some reached for their little versions of the Iraqi flag. US TV "News" media reported the visit in a very different light.
This is getting bizarre. Is Fox News out to punish Nicholas Berg's father for his opposition to "Bush"'s war? Fox News is now linking Berg to...Al-Qa`idah!!
Full text: Report by California Senate Office of Research on the Impact of Sep. 11 and Patriot Act on Muslims in California. It summarizes "instances of cruel and illegal treatment of Muslims by federal authorities."
"Four out of five Iraqis report holding a negative view of the U.S. occupation authority and of coalition forces, according to a new poll conducted for the occupation authority. In the poll, which was taken just before the April uprising of the militia led by radical Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr, a large proportion of Iraqis from the central and southern parts of the country said they backed him, with 45 percent of those in Baghdad saying they support him, and 67 percent in Basra."
"Oil companies have won favor with the Dos Santos regime by steering contracts to Angolan insiders and by giving millions of dollars to foundations controlled by the ruling family, internal oil company reports reviewed by The Times show. The Bush administration has sought to strengthen ties to the Dos Santos regime despite allegations of widespread corruption. The two presidents met Wednesday in the Oval Office to discuss "issues of common interest." And the administration recently declared Angola's record on corruption and transparency sufficient to make it eligible for a trade program that eliminates duties on its oil and other exports."
"The first soldier who will be court-martialed in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has told military authorities a harrowing tale of how a group of guards led by Cpl. Charles A. Graner joked and mocked the Iraqi detainees as they stripped them naked, struck and kicked them, and, in the crudest of humiliations, forced them to hit each other. In an interview with Army criminal investigators, Spc. Jeremy Sivits said that Graner was always "joking, laughing, pissed off a little, acting like he was enjoying it," according to documents obtained today by the Los Angeles Times."
Rumsfeld to the troops: "the United States is the last best hope of humankind". Please spare us that hope.
Can somebody please find me the link to the transcript of Wolfowitz at the Senate today? He had an interesting exchange with Sen. Reid. Also, we need the transcript of Sen. John Kerry on Fox News (Hannity on his own). Kerry was asked about the pictures of torture from Iraq. He urged that "we" learn from Israel, how the that state does not allow torture in order to maintain its moral highground. I am kidding you not.
"In its latest report to the US government, the International Committee of the Red Cross has again complained abut conditions at Guantanamo Bay, where some 600 people, most captured in Afghanistan, have been held for two years or more in total isolation, without charges and access to lawyers." International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the most disgraceful NGO worldwide. It is a mere arm of US Dept of State. Imagine that they knew as far back as last spring about torture in Iraq and sat on the information, covering up for the US.
The toppled dictator of Adzharia (a province in Georgia) had this bad habit. All those who opposed him were called "terrorists" and put in jail and tortured. Did I say Adzharia??
Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers, and Israeli missile strikes on a Palestinian refugee camp today killed at least 11 people, injuring 29 others.
World Bank Corruption May Top $100 Bln
Two Danish paramedics have reported seeing the results of abusive treatment inflicted by British soldiers on two Iraqis, one of whom was said to have died as a result of injuries sustained during questioning.
Angry Arab flattered. Angry Arab's Plan for the Rescue of Iraq (see below from Wednesday's post) has already been translated into German and posted here. (And very accurate translation, don't you think so Gabriela?)
In several American newspapers, and on US TV "News" shows, I keep encountering the view that Arabs have not condemned the horrific beheading of the American civilian in Iraq. And such views are often held by the same people who comment on Arab news and evaluate AlJazeera's coverage without knowing any Arabic. Those people believe that Arabs should express themselves in English and on Oprah for the views to count. Well, in one newspaper today (a newspaper that is quite critical of the US, As-Safir in Lebanon)there are two columns (by Wisam Sa`adah and Samir Abu Hawwash) against the video and the murderers, and a respected Arab politician (Salim Al-Huss) and even Hizbullah, among many others, came out strongly against it.
George W. Bush: Pornographer-in-Chief
Excerpts from MAUREEN DOWD's column this morning: "The administration's demented quest to conquer Arab hearts and minds has dissolved in a torrent of pornography denigrating other parts of the Arab anatomy. George Bush, who swept into office on a cloud of moral umbrage, now has his own sex scandal — one with far greater implications than titillating cigar jokes....Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell said some photographs seemed to show Iraqi women being commanded to expose their breasts — such debasement, after a war that President Bush partly based on women's rights."

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. In the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today, Sen. Feinstein (whom I cannot stand) caught Donald Rumsfeld in a (yet another) lie. You see, last year, when Rumsfeld was asked about the "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator", which is a nuclear device that would penetrate into underground bunkers, he said that Pentagon is only conducting a study of RNEP. RNEP design (not to be confused with mini-nukes) has a yield up to a megaton, or around seventy times the force used on Hiroshima. Serious physicists (not Angry Arab) believe that you cannot detonate RNEP without causing a nuclear fallout. This is a scientific article about it, while this is by a group working against it. It turned out that the Pentagon is planning to spend more than $400 million for the "study of RNEP." Brace yourselves.
People in US regularly criticize Palestinians for engaging in suicide attacks that kill Israeli civilians (Angry Arab opposes suicide bombings but blames the Israeli state for the phenomenon). For the last two days, Palestinian groups have attacked Israeli MILITARY targets. And what does Israeli do? Bomb Palestinian refugee camps. Does that outrage you?