Wednesday, August 31, 2005

If Sa`d Hariri was not born rich, he would still be struggling in 1st grade.
The Road in the Forest, c. 1890-c. 1893, Degas.
"Richard A. Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism in the White House under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said yesterday that there were twice as many attacks outside Iraq in the three years after the 2001 attacks as in the three preceding years."
"An Iraqi-born U.S. resident who was arrested in Baghdad in April after a mortar attack on American forces has been detained for months despite a finding by a military tribunal that he had nothing to do with the attack"
THIS IS ZIONISM: "Families of Israeli Arabs shot dead on a bus in Galilee are not considered terrorism victims because their killer was Jewish, the defence ministry says (thanks Kefraya)
"Prominent Mideast analyst says he’s U.S. official in case of ex-AIPAC men"

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Penn's arrogance slighted talented filmmaker host":
"Editor -- Would someone please tell Sean Penn that it is the height of arrogance to interview a world-renowned filmmaker without first becoming familiar with his work ("Sean Penn in Iran," Aug. 24)? For Penn's information, Abbas Kiarostami has won awards at Cannes and other film festivals for "Taste of Cherry" and "Where Is the Friend's Home?" and is a leader in an Iranian industry that has produced such other masterpieces as "The Cyclist," "The Circle," "Children of Heaven" and "The White Balloon." Copies of all those films should be available in any video outlet in Penn's neighborhood. By the way, just who is Penn -- director? Actor? Gaffer?"
US media will shed tears over this: "Israel Relocates 'Collaborators'"

Commitment to Development Index, 2005. You may celebrate: "U.S. Ranks 12th Among Richest Nations for Foreign Aid"
Dictatorship you like and adore: "Uzbek activist held in mental hospital"
Ignored Oppression: "Turkey's Kurds languish in poverty"
"The Palestinian Authority's assets in the United States have been frozen; [t]he order has made it difficult for the authority to keep its office in Washington going, according to Hasan Abdel Rahman" (and that is a bad thing, Rahman?)
The percentage of non-Jews in Israel is comparable to the percentage of non-Arabs in Iraq, and yet the US government objects to the affirmation of the Arab identity of Iraq, while it has committed itself (officially under Bush) to a permanent Jewish identity of Israel, with all what that commitment entails in terms of support for ethnic cleansing in case a demographic change occurs due to natural fertility differences between Arabs and Jews in the state.

The Holiday Inn in Beirut. Salih's father, Ja`far Agha, used to say that I know that the Lebanese civil war has ended when this building is fixed and repaired. It has not.
For those who care, I shall discuss Iraqi developments on Forum radio show tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 9:00 AM (Pacific Time). You may listen live.
"The nation's poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year, the fourth consecutive annual increase, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The percentage of people without health insurance did not change. Overall, there were 37 million people living in poverty, up 1.1 million people from 2003."

This is Zionism: Palestinians are made to wait at a checkpoint...on their own land by Israeli occupation army.
"As the going gets tougher for the U.S. military in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region, one ally has stepped up despite a recent straining of ties: France. Paris has significantly boosted its military presence in Central Asia and Afghanistan, plus in nearby seas, as both it and Washington nurture their budding rapprochement after a bitter falling out over the Iraq war." (thanks Tara)

Prophetic Tomato? According to Hariri newspaper, Al-Mustaqbal, this tomato was found in the ground with the word "Muhammad" on it.

Iraqi Constitution.
"Bush accused of Aids damage to Africa"
"Fiddling while Baghdad burns"
For people to miss somebody like Saddam, things must be really bad: "For Basra's Christians, Hussein era the good old days Shiite-dominated city's minorities say repression on rise."
This headline says: "Bush Abandons Iraqi Women" as if he was ever for Iraqi women, his administration's exploitation of women's issues for the purpose of promoting wars notwithstanding, aided by Feminist Majority.
From Denmark: "The law contains curbs on free speech that are remarkable in a country famous for tolerating all points of view. It illustrates how democracies across Europe are adopting tougher measures in an era of rising extremist violence, despite protests that civil liberties are being sacrificed in the process."
Bush's progress in Iraq: "Sadr's Disciples Rise Again To Play Pivotal Role in Iraq: Freed Aides Join Newly Robust Movement."
Leading the world: "The value of military weapons sales worldwide jumped in 2004 to the highest level since 2000, driven by arms deals with developing nations, especially India, Saudi Arabia and China, according to a new Congressional study. The total of arms sales and weapons transfer agreements to both industrialized and developing nations was nearly $37 billion in 2004, according to the study....The United States once again dominated global weapons sales, signing deals worth $12.4 billion in 2004, or 33.5 percent of all contracts worldwide."
"U.S. warplanes launched strikes in western Iraq on Tuesday which the U.S. military said killed an al Qaeda militant named Abu Islam among other fighters, and which a hospital source said killed at least 47 people....A hospital official in Qaim, near the Syrian border, told Reuters at least 47 people died in the U.S.-led strikes. Mohammed al-Aani said 35 people died in one house and another 12 in a strike on a second house." And according to the US press, every single one of those killed was a terrorist who deserved to be killed, along with members of his/her family. Enjoy "liberation", ye people of Iraq.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Archeological ruins in downtown Beirut near my favorite Cafe (Casper and Gambini) at 1:30AM.

The uncle, left, and father of Waleed Khaled, a soundman shot Sunday by US troops in Baghdad, wept over his body. (Have any military investigations of such shootings EVER produced results? Have they ever held a soldier responsible?)
"The France aviation authorities (DGAC) published a blacklist of airlines that are not allowed in France. They are Air Koryo (North Korea), Air St. Thomas (USA), International Air Service (Liberia), LAM (Mozambique) and Phuket Airlines (Thailand)." (Lebanonese patriots, who like Lebanon to be on every list, complained that Lebanon did not make the list. And by the way, why does the Lebanonese Airlines still carry the pretentious name of Middle East Airlines?)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"The [UK] government was under attack from development charities last night for allegedly wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on aid to Malawi by paying it to American consultancies."
"Iraq took a historic gamble yesterday when the ruling Shia and Kurdish coalition bulldozed over the objections of Sunni Arabs to finish a new constitution."
"Birth, death, balls and battles"
"Andrew Sullivan, who does not have Luke Baker's experience on the ground in Iraq, bizarrely believes that the carbombings, bodies floating in the river, assassinations, ethnic militias, poisoned watermelons, bomb-scarred ice cream shops, shuttered video and liquor stores, and Swiss cheese architecture of Iraq present a "tantalizing" prospect of "success." It should be remembered where the word "tantalizing" came from. Odysseus describes a scene in Hades in Homer's Odyssey..."
"President Bush on Saturday asked Americans to be patient with the U.S. military mission in Iraq." He said that all will be well by 2079. OK.
This blogger was editor-in-chief of Daily Star, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, and Al-Hayat in the past. He is now a columnist for Al-Hayat. Enjoy: "Although King Fahd was sick and hospitalized, the announcement of his decease was a shock to every Arab citizen, who knew and loved him like we did, and to every Saudi citizen who enjoyed the security, peace, and prosperity under his rule."
US press just amazes me: the "news" of "people believed to be backers of" Chavez throwing rocks at foes of the regime gets more coverage than the news of Israeli murder of Palestinians in Tulkarm. Where are the standards? No, what are the standards?
Politics aside, have you noticed that Christopher Hitchens (as a writer and speaker) gets more boring with every step he takes on the path of Bushism?
Fadi Ghandur: I just read that Aramex purchased LebanonPost. Make sure they deliver the mail, ON TIME. And please ban the delivery of any mail containing praise for the King of Jordan (as rare as they will be).
I can tell you this: when Hariri functionaries took over the security posts in the Lebanese government, they immediately began eavesdropping on Hizbullah's communications.
The corrupt Muhammad Dahlan of the Palestinian Authority complained about back pain. His office said that he worked so hard for the staged Israeli withdrawal from Gaza that he got ill. Upon hearing that, the Hijazi King of Jordan, `Abdullah, sent a private plane to bring him to a Jordanian hospital. Is that not nice?
Frank Zappa, Lebanonese? The TV of the Lebanese Forces right-wing sectarian militia, LBC-TV, runs short promos before the evening news broadcast in which they profile Lebanonese figures around the world. Yesterday, they profiled Frank Zappa as a "Lebanonese." I kid you not. Tomorrow, they will profile another Lebanonese, Jimi Hendrix.
I like Jonathan Curiel and admire his work. He is one US journalist who has specialized in writing about non-violent Arabs and Muslims (and they exist in large numbers lest you are wondering), and about arts, music, and literature among Arabs/Muslims. And he is now undertaking a very interesting book project. But his article today bothered me. I mean, Jonathan, of all the people you can write about, of all the Arab/Muslim feminists who do great work OVER THERE, you settled on Manji? Don't get me wrong. I have since my teens admired the courageous free thinkers and atheists in the Islamic/Arab civilization: people like Ibn Al-Warraq, Ibn Al-Rawandi, Ibn Al-Muqaffa`, Al-Ma`arri, Al-Hallaj, Abu Yazid Al-Bistami, etc. These were people with brilliant minds who challenged and defied conventions and religions. But the thing about Manji is this: 1) she is embarrassingly unknowledgeable about Islamic and Middle East matters, but that does not come apparent to those Western journalists who interview her. This is why she is not "controversial" as is often written about her in the US press, because she is not known, and when people who know read her or listen to her, her lack of knowledge comes through. 2) I am in favor of all challenging religions and pushing for gender equality (and I unlike Manji prefer to do it AGAINST religion (all religions) and not WITHIN religion). But she is very conveniently (in the US context where is he promoted) silent on Judaism and Christianity. A true unbeliever or even free thinker is somebody who speaks out against all religions and against all kinds of misogynistic and intolerant practices and ideas. It is important to speak out against Bin Laden AND against zealot Christian and Jewish and Buddhist crackpots. All. It does not take courage to attack Islam or Muslims in America, just as it does not take courage to attack Judaism and Jews in some Muslim countries. Do you see my point? I will accept somebody's credibility about reform in Islam if they are free of the selective "secular" and selective "feminist" standards that are often employed. This is akin to hear TV Christian envangelists in the US speaking about the need for gender equality in....ISLAM. 3) The most troubling thing about Manji (unlike Nomani who is featured in the article and who strikes me as sincere and credible) is that she sounds so lacking in credibility and honesty. And whenever I hear her or read her, I get the impression that she is making things up as she speaks. She never fails to tell an anecdote about some Muslim somewhere threatening her. I will not be surprised if she will soon tell the "story" about how Bin Laden came up suddenly from behind the beer counter at 7-eleven in Toronto to threaten her. Just read this story: does anybody really believe that a Muslim Arab man would dare in 2005 at an AIRPORT in a major city, for potato's sake, threaten a woman? And if this is true, why did she not call security or alert the police at the AIRPORT for potato's sake. And those Muslims who are threatening her at AIRPORTS, how do they know who she is. I mean she has been made famous, but that famous? And let me tell Curiel this: nobody in the Muslim or Arab worlds really knows who she is. When she talks about ijtihad for example (and how it all stopped in the 15th century (?) ), you get the urge to urge her to read a book or two lest she sounds too lacking in basic knowledge. But then again: if you want fast fame and some speaking fees in post-Sep. 11, just yell out: "I am a brave Muslim and I am being threatened by fanatic Muslims. Hear me sound so Western and so "free." Yippee.
Meet the new Saudi ambassador in the US. Mr. Ambassador, what do you think of Bin Laden: "he was a very shy person, very self-effacing, extremely sparse in his words and generally a do-gooder, someone who brought financial and medical and other support to the Afghan mujahedeen."
That secretary-general of the League of Arab States: `Amr Musa has not said a word about the suffering of Iraqis for the last several years, and yet he is now speaking out loudly but only about that article of the Iraqi constitution that refers to the identity of Iraq. What priorities.

Now this one is Bank `Awdah in Hayy Sursuq in Beirut (no?)
"EVEN though President Bush keeps saying American forces won't leave Iraq until its forces can fight on their own, the United States isn't rushing to give the Iraqi military heavy weapons."

Since Lebanonese like to rank.
"They beat me with a hose pipe all over my body," says Vimala, a Sri Lankan [maid in Lebanon], between sobs. "When they started cutting my hair, I begged: 'Beat me more, but don't cut my hair.'" (thanks Elie)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Palestinians are labeled terrorists for any act of resistance against occupation, even if directed at Israeli military targets. Israelis, on the other hand, can even brag in the US press about partaking in a terrorist occupation. Just look at this propaganda piece: would a US newspaper, any US newspaper, publish a Palestinian when bragging that he is proud of "Fath" or "PFLP" or "Hamas"? You answer.
"The Photos Washington Doesn't Want You To See"
'What elections?'
"The first poll, conducted by phone among a nationwide sample of 1,004 Americans between June 1 and June 13, reveals that the public's response to U.S. foreign policy is not uniform. Although Americans are sharply divided on some questions, other issues garner powerful majorities either in favor of or opposed to the government's policies. The effects of outsourcing on the U.S. job market are causing widespread concern, for example, even if they have not yet galvanized the public into demanding significant policy changes. Illegal immigration, U.S. relations with the Muslim world, and the war in Iraq are also becoming hot-button topics. American opinion is coalescing around them, concern is spreading and deepening, and the public's desire to hold the government accountable is mounting. We believe these issues are reaching a "tipping point": the moment at which large swaths of the public begin to demand that the government address their concerns. Pundits and policymakers would do well to start listening to the grumbling."
"What We Know"
I really like the Syrian dialect of Arabic. Gulf Arabic is also close to the standard Fusha (classical) Arabic.
"A Tale of Two Wars In Baghdad, I Hear Echoes of Saigon in '67"
"Now Showing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Americans
Exporting the Wrong Picture"
"Iraq reconstruction shows 'limited progress': Need for extra security, money lost to corruption, hinder rebuilding efforts."
"Iraqi activist taken up by Bush recants her views"
It is official now: "Iraq takes yet another step closer to civil war." (But Bush is still making "progress", no?)

A house in Jummayzah in Beirut. I liked the green in the windows.

Two Palestinians near the massive Israeli racist barrier. Is it not amazing that the state that is constructing this in the 21st century to lock up occupied populations is still lauded and praised in the US (and Micronesia)?
"The Bush administration is replacing the director of a small but critical branch of the Justice Department, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to play down newly compiled data on the aggressive police treatment of black and Hispanic drivers."
Bush meets the press: "And later, a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wait. I thought that the Shi`ites in Iraq are the lynchpin of the Bush Doctrine, no? "One hundred thousand Shi'ites protest Iraq charter."
LA Times just noticed that things are not working well for Bush: "Deep divisions in Iraq over the country's draft constitution carry seeds that could finally destroy the Bush administration's beleaguered strategy for turning the strife-torn country into a unified and stable democracy.More than any single act, Bush's telephone call to Shiite leader Abdul Aziz Hakim early Thursday in Baghdad underscored how important the constitution is for the administration. Even if American pressure forces the Iraqis to reach a deal, few who have tracked the negotiations expect that it can hold. Critics of the constitutional process now include some of those Sunnis the Bush administration has been able to count on in the past, such as Ghazi Ajil Yawer, one of Iraq's two vice presidents. Respected Middle East specialists, including some who have served the administration in Iraq, worry about Sunni bitterness."
Just leave: "Uzbekistan's senate voted unanimously yesterday to expel the U.S. military from a base that it has used to support missions in Afghanistan, a strong public statement that backs a recent government decision to oust U.S. troops."
"Revealed: How Bra Wars devastate world's poor"
It seems that stealing land is still highly popular in Israel: "The population of West Bank settlements grew by 12,800 people over the past year, a government official said Friday."
Do you know that in the "liberal" Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which is thought of so highly among many US leftists, they give far more extensive coverage to Israeli victims of car accidents than they do to scores of Palestinian victims of Israeli gunfire. At least they know their priorities.
It is frustrating how there is sometimes little understanding or ignorance of the US in Arab media despite the over-coverage of the US. The other day, there was a lengthy interview on New TV with the kook Lyndon H. LaRouche. I hear that many Arab governments subscribe to his publications, and Saddam's regime, I heard, thought highly of him. They probably liked his theory that Kissinger and the Queen of England were behind the drug trade in the world. But this interview was less painful than the interview with David Duke that aired on Al-Jazeera 2 years ago.
Make Him Stop. Please. Within weeks after Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal (Nasser's chief propagandist) officially declared his retirement from journalist writings, he reached a deal with Al-Jazeera to babble for an hour a week. It is painful. He so likes to show that his memory is still very good at the age of 81 or so, his hour is mostly an anthology of little details. It goes like this: "....and I met the Minister of Potatoes, and I remember that he lived at the house at the end of Muhammad `Ali avenue. No, it was in the middle of the avenue. And he was wearing a red shoe. No, it was purple. No, I remember now: it was a pink shoe. Yes, it was pink." And on, and on, and on. Help! I can't take it anymore. Send him on a cruise, please.
The only Arab leader that is criticized in the Arabic press is Mu`ammar Al-Qadhdhafi. This was only due to his disagreement with the Saudi government. Yet, when US began its honeymoon with the Libyan dictator, the Arab media ended their criticisms. Let me tell you this: the Saudi-funded Arab media are worse, much worse, than Fox News. Fox News does not claim that it is "liberal" and "enlightened."
A former detainee at Guantanamo gave an interview to a Muslim publication in which he revealed that the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah were initially given to prisoners. Somebody must have later realized who those authors were, and took them away.
I am skeptical about whatever I read in the US and UK press about Zimbabwe.
And you are surprised? "Fox TV is accused of overseeing and airing shows that were produced by writers who endured intolerable working conditions, being forced to skip meals, submit fake time cards and work more than 80 hours a week in cramped and overheated offices."
What is going on in Iraq. The situation is so out of control of US hands, and I am not even referring to the security situation. The crowds that turned out for As-Sadr yesterday tells a story that is missing from much of the US coverage. Much of the US media as you know dismissed As-Sadr as "finished" when US troops went to battle against the Mahdi Army. Yet, despite his lack of religious rank, and despite his lack of charisma, and despite his fanatical recipe of governance, he seems to continue to enjoy a following especially among the poor in Shi`ite areas. I had predicted, praise be to me, a few weeks ago, that As-Sadr will be a major political figure in post-occupation Iraq. I simply watch developments in Iraq, and see what resemblances there are to South Lebanon under Israeli occupation, and who rose and who sank when Israel was kicked out of most of region. His very careful cultivation of ties with Sunni groups will prove crucial in post-occupation Iraq, and that does not apply to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq--with a name like that, you wonder how the brilliant US neo-cons failed to notice the religious factor in Iraq. Yesterday, a Sunni group known as Mujahidi Al-Anbar and Fallujah issued a statement in which they "saluted the heroic stance" of As-Sadr, and said that "our lands and blood are for you." Also, I never thought that Iraqis would ever declare sympathy for Saddam after his overthrow, but the US occupation seems to bolster the stance of Saddam among some Sunnis. Yesterday, thousands demonstrated in Sunni areas, and among the slogans was: "Bush, Bush, listen carefully; we all love Saddam Husayn." (It rhymes in Arabic). I personally think that the sooner the US (and Macedonia) leaves Iraq the better, and I never understand those US "liberals"--not to mention others--who wonder in artificial concern, about the status of Iraq without US troops. They wonder whether Iraq would descend into instability and chaos without occupation. Two things on that. First, we have to support the principle of independence and self-determination for all people, and those who urge that we accommodate a "transitional" period are reviving colonial arguments, without even knowing it. Secondly, I say this: could Iraq be worse off than what we see today? Lastly, I noticed that the US occupation suddenly has released 1000 prisoners from Abu Ghrayb prison. Just like that. No trial, and no due process. And I hate to be picky, but help me in this. Did the US not "surrender sovereignty" to Iraqis last year? Imagine if the US hosts Chinese army troops on its territory who run their own prisons in US, holding American citizens? Would Americans consider US sovereign in that scenario? Would that puppet Annan declare an end to Chinese occupation of US by mere paper declaration? But that only proves that Americans accepts the US occupation because most believe that different standards should apply to people, on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, and political orientations. And if the US occupation authority has stated that those 1000 Iraqi prisoners did not commit violent crimes, why were they incarcerated in the first place? The US does what it wants hoping that that not-observed deadline of the puppet constitutional process will be kept to help Bush's political fortunes. After reading the last article (see yesterday) by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, and having confirmed that the US government manipulated the results the last Iraqi elections, I now will consider that whatever government that came out of that "process" to be illegitimate, even if American manipulations and frauds did not succeed in bringing victory for former Saddam's henchman/car bomber/embezzler-in-Yemen/and former US chief puppet prime minister in Iraq. So Ibrahim Al-Ja`fari shall be officially called the puppet prime minister, holding the same dubious honor held by his predecessor. This does not mean that the Shi`ite parties would not have won in a really free election. They would have, and in much larger numbers, and `Allawi would have enjoyed less than 1%.

A house in Jummayzah in Beirut (it should be transliterated as Bayrut, but those early colonial officers who decided on matters of transliteration did not know Arabic in most cases).
A Palestinian, trying to stop Israeli theft of Palestinian lands in the West Bank.
"Three...Two...One...and Action...Cut...Now, let us do that again, but I want more "anguish" from the soldiers, ok? Also, send Amos Oz to the US: he is good at talking about the "anguish" of Israeli occupiers to American liberals. They really love him at the Nation magazine."
"F.B.I., Using Patriot Act, Demands Library's Records" (Oh, and they would like to know what beverage you prefer)
"The address was his, but the name on the credit-card offer took Sami Habbas by surprise: "Palestinian Bomber." "I thought it was a joke or something," said Habbas, 54, a Palestinian American who served in the U.S. Army. Habbas opened the letter, and the salutation read "Dear Palestinian Bomber.""
This George W. Bush seems to have very strong feelings about the Iraqi constitution. Is George Sunni or Shi`ite Iraqi?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I came across this news item from An-Nahar newspaper in June, 1970. In the Palestinian National Council meeting in Cairo, it was revealed that none of Jordan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen fulfilled their financial obligations toward the PLO. Iraq made vague promises about "reconsidering" their obligations.
For those who actually believe that Bush is supporting free elections and democracy around the world: "Nonetheless, in the same time period, former military and intelligence officials told me, the White House promulgated a highly classified Presidential “finding” authorizing the C.I.A. to provide money and other support covertly to political candidates in certain countries who, in the Administration’s view, were seeking to spread democracy. “The finding was general,” a recently retired high-level C.I.A. official told me. “But there’s no doubt that Baghdad was a stop on the way. The process is under the control of the C.I.A. and the Defense Department.”...A Pentagon consultant who deals with the senior military leadership acknowledged that the American authorities in Iraq “did an operation” to try to influence the results of the election. “They had to,” he said. “They were trying to make a case that Allawi was popular, and he had no juice.” A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon’s civilian leaders said, “We didn’t want to take a chance.”...On Election Day, voters had been handed ballots for the national assembly and for the provincial councils. Allawi’s slate ran provincial lists in only eight provinces and received a total of 177,678 provincial votes in those areas. In the same provinces, Allawi’s national list received a total of 452,629 votes—almost three times the number of provincial votes." (thanks Vali)
"Iraqi culture was reborn when Saddam fell, only to die again. A report from Baghdad's fear-haunted literary cafes."
It is cute: puppet governments can only express "disappointment" toward the US: "The Afghan government said Wednesday that it was disappointed with the "unexpectedly lenient" sentences U.S. military courts have imposed on American soldiers convicted of abusing two Afghan detainees who later died."
This is Zionism: "Israel said Wednesday that it had ordered the seizure of land owned by Palestinians to build a separation barrier that will encompass the West Bank's largest Jewish settlement."
These are dictatorships that the US finds cute and adorable: "Uzbek authorities have jailed hundreds of people and forced them to confess to links to radical Islamists to justify the army crackdown on peaceful demonstrators last May that left 500 people dead, The Independent has learnt."
"The US vs The UN"
This IS Zionism: "A 6-percent increase in infant mortality was registered this year among Israeli Arabs, compared to a 13 percent drop among Jews, according to an annual Ministry of Health report published Thursday."
"Is Iran the True Victor of the Iraq War?"
"Universities and the war on terror" (thanks Zeina)
"Poll: Most Israelis say country is 'hurt and pained' by evacuation" (How many of them feel "hurt and pained" by what happened to the Palestinians in 1948 and 1967, and beyond?)
"Dante in English"
"Slavery in America: Black and white—and red all over"
US State Department spokersperson on the Israeli murder of Palestinians in Turlkarm:
"MR. MCCORMACK: Is that about what happened in Tulkarm?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we think that -- right now, we're trying to get a clearer picture of what happened in Tulkarm. Certainly we, as we have said before, Israel has a right to defend itself. As I said, also, we are trying to get a clearer picture of what actually happened in Tulkarm."
My article in As-Safir ("Muhsin Ibrahim and the Repercussions of Self-Criticism: So as Not to Unfairly Criticize Thy Self")

Either Bank `Awdah in Hayy Sursuq or Sursuq Museum in Beirut.
"Pentagon plans for 'long war' on terror" (Brace yourselves)
"Israel kills 5 Palestinians in raid" (US Congress may declare that a contribution to the "peace process")
Thus spoke the foremost expert on international affairs and geography: "Bush: 'We Will Stay, We Will Fight'. Faced With Rising Criticism, He Says Goals Are Being Met."
"Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration"
Dictators you like: "He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now the authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching. President Saparmurat Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday."
"Olmert calls on Palestinian Authority to disarm militants." (And who will disarm the militancy that is Israel?)
"India moves to spread wealth: A $9 billion plan guarantees the country's rural poor 100 days of work per household every year."
For the record, the Israeli government "has offered to re-unite pets wearing an identification tag with their owners" but adamantly refuses Palestinian family unifications.
"As Iraq's transitional National Assembly prepares to approve a new draft constitution as early as today, legal experts and some political leaders warned Wednesday that the charter's explicit endorsement of Islam could give religious hard-liners a tight grasp on a country that was once one of the Middle East's most secular."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The seat of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Hayy Sursuq (you know how I feel about the Sursuq family now) in Beirut (or is it in Furn An-Nafidhah?)
A reposting of my plan for Iraq from last year.
"In Iraq Jail, Resistance Goes Underground: Escape Tunnel, Improvised Weapons Showcase Determination of Inmates"
Will be sent to Abu Ghraib: "Chinese Detainees Are Men Without a Country: 15 Muslims, Cleared of Terrorism Charges, Remain at Guantanamo With Nowhere to Go"
"Israel has asked the U.S. for two billions dollars to fund housing arrangements for the evacuated settlers as well as for the development of the Negev and the Galilee."
"Bush tells Sunnis they must compromise to end deadlock over Iraq's constitution" (Sunnis ask Bush if he wants French Fries with that)
"Olivia Newton-John has pleaded for information about the mysterious disappearance of her long-term boyfriend who went missing from his boat during an overnight fishing trip." (She insisted on singing and he fled for his life)
"Palestinians can play the Israeli game"
More Israeli contributions to the "peace process": "Israel Military Industries won a tender Tuesday for around $300 millionto supply the U.S. army with ammunition. IMI said this is their biggestammunition deal with the U.S. army to date." (thanks Marc)
"The Matisse we never knew"
"Iraq is serving the same purpose as Afghanistan and Bosnia before it."
Only in Lebanon: New TV is reporting that a rooster in Ba`albak laid eggs. The Lebanonese "nation" is quite proud and happy.
And this from NYT: "Americans continue dying in Iraq, but their mission creeps steadily downward. The nonexistent weapons of mass destruction dropped out of the picture long ago. Now the United States seems ready to walk away from its fine words about helping the Iraqis create a beacon of freedom, harmony and democracy for the Middle East. All that remains to be seen is whether the White House has become so desperate for an excuse to declare victory that it will settle for an Iranian-style Shiite theocracy."
Gary Milhollin , the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, is a man without credibility. He spends sleepless nights worrying about an Iranian nuclear threat that does not (not yet at least) exist, and yet he wants you to really find Israeli WMDs to be pleasurable and enjoyable. Once he was asked about his inconsistency, he snapped: "Can't you tell that Israeli WMDs are cute and lovely"? If there is a Nobel Prize for Moral Cowardice, I would give it either to him or to Annan.
Sara Roy on Gaza Disengagement (thanks Beshara)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How do thinkers and intellectuals fare in jail, especially when subjucted to rough treatment and torture? It varies widely by individual, I was thinking. Michel `Aflaq, the Ba`th founder trembled so much in jail, and wanted to get out so fast that he quickly issued a humiliating statement, that Ba`thists would never be able to recover from it. Bakunin's confessions to the Tsar were less damaging, but that is a long story to tell. `Aziz Al-Hajj, the Iraqi Communist Party leader was another embarrassing case: he even appeared on Iraqi TV ("interviewed by none other than loudmouth Muhammad Sa`id As-Sahhaf, a junior Saddam propagandist in those days in the early 70s) and praised Saddam's regime. (Now he is a democracy advocate. Who is not these days?--I am not, I guess). Ibn Hanbal: that man was tough. But what does that say? Does it take a mere physical quality to endure torture and physical humiliation or is it more than that? And what about Al-Hallaj? They were slicing parts of his body while he was yelling out his courageous defiance. Al-Hallaj: if only all his writings survived.
Lebanonese self-praise: I should have a regular feature titled Lebanonese self-praise. Today in An-Nahar, Samir `Atallah said that the Lebanonese people are one of the "most intelligent people there is". Apparently, the same international commission that crowned the King of Potato restaurant owner in Hamra Street in Beirut as the "King of Potato" also declared the Lebanonese people as "one of the most intelligent poeple there is."
Beware of "liberal" propaganda: What is this liberal commotion about Pat Roberston's statement. One should be careful to avoid being dragged into media-generated, not-so-subtle "liberal" outrage which easily serves non-liberal purposes, and may not be all that inconvenient for the Bush administration. This is my point: which is more damaging and dangerous: Robertson's words or Bush's deeds?

An old house somewhere in Beirut (Furn Ash-Shibbak?)

Monday, August 22, 2005

I have commented before about the Lebanonese propensity to rank everything, and to claim the use of the best of everything. Today in the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, Faris Khashshan said that the Lebanese demonstration on March 14 was "the biggest" in the whole world. Well, we at least know that Lebanon managed to make the biggest Tabbulah too (see below).
For those who asked me about my opinion regarding Juan Cole's exit plan for Iraq. I don't have time to elaborate, but: I agree with one--although it does not suffice, partly agree with 2, and disagree with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
In his classic The Arab Cold War, Malcolm Kerr famously commented how Arab politics was "fun" in the 1950s and 1960s. It was no more fun, he lamented. I just read in my CD archive issue of the Lebanese right-wing An-Nanahr daily in January 1966, that the Syrian government organized fund-raising campaigns around the country to help fund the overthrow of the Jordanian government. You know what I mean?
Al-Arabiyya broadcaster was talking about the origins of the croissants, and how the Viennese were inspired by the shape of the crescents left by Ottoman armies after the failture of their attempt to occupy the city in the 16th century. She made several references to Ottoman occupation of Vienna. Of course, the Ottomans tried twice to enter Vienna but failed.
Correction. I yesterday mentioned that the Zionists did not own more than 10% of Palestine, when I should have said that they did not even own 10% of Palestine. They owned 6 % of Palestine from land sales. (thanks Joseph for alerting me)
And George Will wrote this: "Last December The Weekly Standard, a voice of neoconservatism, noted Syria's involvement in infiltrating foreign fighters and weapons into Iraq and suggested bombing "Syrian military facilities," occupying the Syrian border town "which seems to be the planning and organizing center for Syrian activities in Iraq" and going "across the border in force to stop infiltration." About the first two: U.S. forces already have quite enough bombing and occupying chores. About the third: Our imperial difficulties will not be diminished by expecting to have more success sealing Syria's eastern border than we have had sealing Arizona's southern border."
"Saddam: I'll be a martyr for my Iraq" (Angry Arab: OK, Saddam: be a martyr for Iraq, NOW)
I am sure that Elie Wiesel will not find this troubling: "On the eve of the evacuation of the northern West Bank settlements of Sa-Nur and Homesh, settlers before dawn on Monday vandalized property in at least eight Palestinian villages in the region, Palestinian witnesses said.In some instances, settlers reportedly marched through the villages with the aim of infiltrating Sa-Nur and Homesh, areas that have been sealed by security forces in the lead up to the evacuation. In other instances, the settlers reportedly entered the Palestinian villages with the sole aim of vandalizing property." But I am sure that he will feel tremendous sympathy for the "anguish" of the attackers. How sweet.

Israeli colonial settlers in the West Bank destroy a mosque on the land that they stole from the Palestinians.
Ever since I stepped foot in the US 22 years ago, I am always annoyed when I see or hear references to Israeli "doves" and "hawks." Do you know what that bogus distinction imply? It implies that until 1977, all Israeli wars, conquests, and massacres were in fact perpetrated by "doves." Tell that to the residents of the Palestinian refugee camps.
Al-Arabiyya TV has been boycotted by Israeli officials since last week. The station, which renders immeasurable services to US Empire, is very sorry. And the editor of the station said more than once that the interruption of a live interview with an Israeli official was due to a "misunderstanding"--as it happened, an Arab guest refused to speak on the same program with the Israeli propagandist in question. The station obliged, to the consternation of the Israeli government. How dare they? Perhaps to make up for it, Al-Arabiyya TV has been featuring Israel's favorite Arab, the Iraqi Mithal Al-Alusi, a huge admirer of Israel and an advocate of normalization with Israel. He accepted an invitation to a "terrorism" conference in Israel last year--what are his credentials, you may ask? No credentials, really, but as you all know, in Israel and the US, any fanatic admiration and love for Israel qualifies one to be an expert on terrorism. So if you are a fanatical Zionist you are in fact a "terrorism" expert, even if you did not know. What do you think make US terrorism experts experts? And what makes US congresspeople such "good" terrorism experts? An Al-Lusi was kicked out of the politically insignificant Iraqi National Congress. So we are talking about somebody more politically insignificant than Ahmad Chalabi, who expelled Al-Lusi after his Israeli pilgrimage. But why would Al-Arabiyya treat Al-Lusi as if he is a leader of Iraqi public opinion (have you read what Hegel had to say about public opinion?) when he heads a small party of three members--one member actually, as his two sons were assassinated last year).

This is exactly the kind of "freedom" that Bush has in mind (thanks Nir who took the picture in Karachi).
Have you noticed that in every country where Bush supported "freedom" there is a real threat of civil war: Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Afghanistan. Join me in urging George W. Bush to end his "freedom" campaign, please!
Al-Arabiyya and AlJazeera interviewed people and quoted people in the last few days who underlined the theatrical and propaganda nature of the coverage of the partial Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and the gentle escorting out of some actors and illegal colonial settlers (who broke the heart of Elie Wiesel--is he not nice and sweet?) from Palestinian homes and lands there, and yet they followed the pattern of Western media coverage, thereby providing free services for Israeli propaganda. Enjoy (media) globalization.
Who killed Steven Vincent, and Why? I received an email from a US correspondent in Iraq who knew Vincent, and he confirmed the account that I posted yesterday. The correspondent does not wish to be identified and he said (about Vincent): "he told me over a year and a half ago that he had fallen in love with an iraqi woman in basra and was going back to write a book about it."
Another "mission" that was accomplished by Bush: "This year is already the deadliest for American soldiers in Afghanistan since the war of 2001, and the violence is likely to intensify before the nation's legislative elections on Sept. 18."
23 % of Americans support the option of "threatening to bomb Mecca".
"Yesterday, in a restaurant at Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem's Yemin Moshe quarter, a group of Kach activists attacked world renowned musician Daniel Barenboim, calling him a "traitor" for giving a performance in Ramallah on Tuesday. (His wife responded by throwing vegetables at the activists)."
The instability that we see in the world (especially in the Middle East) today is nothing compared to what we will witness a few years from now when the repercussions of the Bush's doctrine will really sink in.

In Hayy Sursuq in Beirut. (I am not a fan of the Sursuq family because they had sold lands in Palestine to the Zionists in the pre-1948 period. As absentee landlords, they just did not care. But before you rush to buy Zionist propaganda to the effect that Zionists bought the lands of Palestine fair and square just remember that they (Zionists that is) did not own more than 10% of Palestine in 1948. They got the land by armed conquest).

In Jummayzah in Beirut.

I have never ever seen pictures of Muslims praying in a mosque while sitting on a chair. But the King of Saudi Arabia and the senior members of the royal family get special privileges from God.

Palestinians watching their homeland, occupied.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bush had wanted to make Iraq as an exemplary Middle East state. He has. "British officials are seriously concerned about the level of corruption in the Iraqi defence ministry, after the embezzlement of vast amounts of money earmarked for the country's security forces. Officials from the British Ministry of Defence had already warned US and Iraqi authorities against the squandering of money - and have been proved right, on a catastrophic scale. A report compiled by the Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit has concluded that at least half, and probably more, of $1.27bn (£700m) of Iraqi money spent on military procurement has disappeared into a miasma of kickbacks and vanished middlemen - or else has been spent on useless equipment."
Bush had promised to restructure the Middle East: he has. "The United States has eased its opposition to an Islamic Iraqi state."
"Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel"
I don't understand the Saddam personality cult that still afflicts some sectors in Jordan. Al-Quds Al-`Arabi is reporting that pictures of Saddam are sprouting at Ba`thist meetings there, and even the father of the Jordanian soldier who died from the bombing in `Aqaba two days ago was a senior leader of the Ba`th Party. There is so much money being spent in `Amman, my friends tell me, which pushed real estate prices sky high, to use a cliche. Apparently, the Jordanian government recently urged Saddam's active daughter Raghd to cool it. A friend told me that in many quarters in Jordan people can not express opposition to Saddam. Which reminds me: did you see the text of the letter sent by Saddam to the "beloved people of Jordan"? It has the typical Saddam's style that works better than the strongest of sleeping pills. But I get most annoyed when I read Saddam's references to Palestine. Do people still remember how Saddam was sending messages of "good will" to Israel in the late 1980s during his honey moon relations with the Reagan and Bush administrations?
In her silly introduction to her silly show, Gizelle Khuri today said that Lebanon is "full of geniuses." She did not explain what kind of Lebanonese geniuses. Did she mean geniuses in civil war savageries and brutalities?
Do you want to know the secret of the commercial formula of success for LBC-TV, the TV of the Lebanese Forces militia--and it looks like the release of LF war criminal Samir Ja`ja` will return ownership back to LF command? Well, it is simply a Lebanonese melange of vulgarism, sleaze, misogyny, tackiness, and bad taste. Lebanonese nationalists are really good at all that. So much so, that the US occupation apparatus hired LBC-TV to train the staff of the Iraqi puppet TV station.
Why was US journalist, Steven Vincent, Shot in Iraq? The Iraq correspondent of the Hariri newspaper Al-Mustaqbal has the most comprehensive and detailed account of the kidnapping and murder of US journalist Steven Vincent. It is based on an interview with a human rights activist in Basra, and it confirmed what we have heard before. That his murder was not political, but that it was based on the clannish traditions of "honor"--how much I hate that notion, even in Hegel's Philosophy of Right--lest you think that it is some Eastern or Arab thing--where he says in the note to Section 164: "On the relations between a man and a woman, it should be noted that a girl loses her honour in [the act] of physical surrender, which is not so much the case with a man, who has another field of ethical activity apart from the family. A girl's vocation [Bestimmung] consists essentially only in the marital relationship"--and about the love affair between Vincent and Nur (his Iraqi interpreter). Apparently, Nur did not know that Vincent was married, and he apparently did not tell people in Iraq that he was, because Nur started to introduce him lately as her fiance. And both Vincent and Nur were kidnapped and shot, and Nur told the local police the reasons, but some in the British troops wanted to politicize it for obvious reasons. Oh, and please before you rush to fetch your nearest copy of The Arab Mind remember that "honor" crimes occur here in the US too, even though they are not categorized as such. Between 40 to 60 % (nobody really knows) of female victims of homicide in the US are killed by a husband or boyfriend.
Al-Hayat newspaper is reporting that US investigators are interrogating the detainees in Jordan. Also, do you know that the Jordan state convicted a person in the attack on the US diplomat in Jordan 2 years ago, while Lebanon (in a different trial for the same case but with a different scenario) convicted another person in the same attack? Not to be outdone, Libya, which does not want to miss an opportunity in the festival of try-to-please-the-US-government competition, plans to convict a third person in the same attack. OK. (The real culprit is probably still at large).
Senior Hariri advisor told me this: when Fu'ad As-Sanyurah was forming his cabinet, he went to see Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri. He told Birri: "I plan to close down the Council of the South." Birri said: "Only if you close down the Fund for the Displaced People." (Both of them have become cash machines for sectarian leaders, Birri and Jumblat).
A major Lebanese political leader was asked by a well-known journalist (who told me this story) about the status of his alliance with the Lebanese Forces. The leader said: "very good, as long as they remain under my shoes."
This passes as balance in the New York Times. First, you have the poseur Elie Wiesel who, every time he opens his mouth, insults the memory of the victims of the holocaust for the way he has commercialized and exploited the holocaust, and who lies here when he claims for the first time that he has actually seen Palestinians cheering Saddam, and then you have a token Palestinian who wants the Palestinian people to be moved at the sight of the "gentle" escorting out of Israeli armed colonial settlers from Palestinian lands. OK, Mr. Kuttab: can you now jump? This is just amazing. According to American political standards, the Palestinians not only have to forget about their national aspirations, but they also have to sympathize with their occupiers. Is this unique or what?
In Jummayzah.

Inside `Imad's 250-year old house in Jummayzah.
Angry Candidate? No way. I had made a cryptic reference to this. Peter Camejo of the Green Party asked me 2 weeks ago to consider running for the US Senate in 2006 against Sen. Diane Feinstein. Today, I sent him this letter:

"Dear Peter: I owed it to you, and to the progressive movement that you are a strong part of, to give the most serious consideration to a very flattering offer, although I never ever thought of running for any office, not even for the local district Commissioner of Potatoes. There were undeniable temptations, especially on a ticket of the party that is closest to my views and ideas. There would have been a great platform, and an opportunity to go against a demagogic and highly ambitious establishment senator, whose views on domestic and foreign policies are anathema to mine. I also would have liked to have contributed to the progressive movement in California that the Green Party, and you personally, has energized especially in recent years. But then there were the negatives: I have had an aversion, since childhood--if not before--to any signs of outside influences, control, and management of my person and my views--particularly in the way that I express them--even from a party that is as progressive as the Green Party. And this control and management are inevitable in a campaign--small or big. I also could not with a clear conscience go around the state asking people for their votes knowing that I myself would not vote for myself, or for anybody for that matter. I probably at some level also feared that appealing to people's support may change me, or moderate me. That would be scary, for me. Furthermore, I do not, as an anarchist, believe in the American political and electoral systems, and thus do not harbor hopes, or illusions, of change "from within" so to say, although I remain optimistic of the prospects for progressive change on a global scale, affecting us here in the US. For this reason, and others, I will kindly decline the offer but hope that we manage to maintain contact and dialogue, and to cooperate on future projects. Greetings to all, and I express my gratitude for thinking of my name. I shall continue to play my small and modest role, from the very outside of the system, as an angry contrarian and counter-contrarian and counter-counter-contrarian.

PS. I wish to thank all those who offered to work on my campaign, and wish to thank the woman from LA--I misplaced your phone number--who called my office to volunteer her fundraising expertise.

A Palestinian watching as the armed occupiers leave his land.

Mega-Tabbulah: Maybe I have been too harsh on Lebanonese political culture. I have mocked Lebanonese casual and bizarre references to a "Lebanonese civilization". But this changed my mind. Here, Lebanonese in one Lebanonese village (Juba`), make the biggest Tabbulah ever (sufficient to feed 2000 people they say), in the hope of getting into the Guinness book of world records. Is this not a sign of a high and very sublime "civilization"? Muhammad Ra`ad, the head of Hizbullah's parliamentary bloc, spoke at the proud event.
News from Israel: "Worshippers found a pig's head Friday in the yard outside the Hassan Bek mosque, between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Mosque employees alerted the police, and officers launched an investigation. The pig's head was wrapped in a keffiyeh with the word Mohammed written on it."
"Italy's wealthy north plunders south's ancient olive trees" (Zionists have been specialists in plundering olive trees)
Let me say this nicely to Daniel Barenboim: it is not better music that the Palestinians are after. They want their homeland, OK?
When US officials speak about Lebanon in their efforts to disarm Hizbullah and Palestinians there, they often feign outrage: "there is no state that allows armed groups within its borders," they often hectre. Oh, no there is. Iraq: "Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines."
"Rather than producing security, our continued massive military presence has helped fuel continuing violence. Rather than producing liberal democracy, our meddling in Iraqi politics has exacerbated political dysfunction. And by signaling the importance that it attributes to satisfying the core interests of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds alike, Washington has encouraged all three factions to increase their demands."
Bush, who is accused by Arabs/Muslims of being anti-Islam, is trying to create an Islamic republic for you. Just give him a chance: "Kurdish politicians negotiating a draft constitution criticized the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Saturday for allegedly pushing them to accept too great a role for Islamic law in his drive to complete the charter on time."
Four More Years.
"Soldier 'instructed' to abuse Abu Ghraib prisoners"
This is just incredible. The leaders of the Bush administration are still under the crazy impression that the problem is not their message, but how it is presented. They keep trying to "refine"--and they sound less and less intelligent with every attempt at refinement--their message hoping that it will end all their problems among Arabs/Muslims.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I read this piece by Salman Rushdi. Did not think much of it. It is the kind of editorials that I have been reading in the New York Times regularly since Sep. 11. But Rushdi here mentions that "Christ, in the Koran, is born in an oasis, under a palm tree." In fact, the Qur'an only mentions that "وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انْتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا" (Relate in the Book Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East); and then "فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَى جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ " (And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree). That is all.
Since I don't know Arab "liberals" in my personal life: ask them this for me. How do they reconcile their ostensibly liberal advocacy with, say, their obituaries for King Fahd. Let me know.
Touching: you know what is most touching? How all the neo-cons who write on the Middle East know one another, praise one another, and they just can't stop quoting one another.
Anarchism is NOT Comparable to Al-Qa`idah: I still consider the Economist the best magazine there is. Nothing comes close, not even US weekly. I wait for my issue with the same anticipation that I reserved for the arrival of Superman issues when I was a child. But while the Economist succeeds better than any US publication in keeping the opinions separate from the articles, sometimes "mistakes are made" as guilty US presidents always say. I just read the special report titled "For Jihadist, read anarchist" in the new issue. It was such a weak and failed argument, and the author(s) knew it, I felt. I cannot see how one can even compare the Bin Laden kooks with the Anarchist movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. First and foremost, Anarchism was notably an intellectual-philosophical movement, known more for its ideas (and later reputation). There is no intellectual movement behind the Bin Laden movement. You cannot name one intellectual guru for Al-Qa`idah--except Ibn Taymiyyah of course, and the writings of Dhawahiri are either tedious memoirs or rehashing of past Muslim writings. Anarchism was able to appeal to workers and intellectuals from around the world, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or nationality. Al-Qa`idah is a very narrow movement that appeals to a narrow segment of the fringe of the fringes of the Muslim fundamentalist movement. To be sure, there were acts of violence committed by Anarchist individuals (and not by some Anarchist Higher Power), just as there were acts of violence committed by individual adherents of every conceivable idea, religion, and movement. To strain the argument, given the difficulty of the task, the author of the article had to provide an anthology of Anarchist assassinations. But these were assassinations of public officials, and that should not be compared to the aimless and indiscriminate violence by Al-Qa`idah. Realizing that the argument was getting sillier and sillier, the author of the article then had to invoke the name of one Emile Henry who "had left a bomb in the cafe at the Gare ST.-Lazare." I never heard of Mr. Henry. That cannot pass as evidence. This was not the pattern of anarchist violence, as irregular but discriminate as it was. And instead of Mr. Henry, why not evaluate the works and career of the philosophical founders of the Anarchist thought. In that regard, I refer to the best source to date on that: Woodcock's classic Anarchism. He says on (on William Godwin): "Godwin stands with Tolstoy, and to an extent with Proudhon, among those who place more persuasion and passive resistance above violent and active resistance. He does not actually deny active resistance. But he counsels extreme caution in its use. Force is no substitute for reason, and its use by people who seek to establish justice does not make it any better. It should never be used without the prospect of success, and even then only "where time can by no means be gained, and the consequences instantly to ensue are unquestionably fatal." Violence, then, is the last, desperate resort of just men." (p. 79). And you think that these opinions are comparable to those of Bin Laden? And when the Economist talks about Bakunin they descend to the level of street and police stereotypes about Anarchists and Anarchism. They, of course, had to cite Bakunin's "the passion for destruction is also a creative urge." Bakunin was certainly not talking about destroying buildings. He wrote that line early in his anarchist career when he fell under the influence of the Young Hegelian Arnold Ruge. Bakunin, after Ruge, was standing Hegel's dialectics on its head, and demonstrating that this dialectics can show that Revolution is real, and that radical change is continuous. In that very important essay where that line is found he also describes his utopia as: "There will be a qualitative transformation, a new living, life-giving revelation, a new heaven and a new earth, a young and mighty world in which all our present dissonances will be resolved into a harmonious whole." And you wish to compare that to Al-Qa`idhah's threatening and fanatically dogmatic brochures and manuals? Can the author of that article argue that Anarchism, or even anarchists because movements do not act by themselves they need men and women to carry them over, was responsible for more violence than say Western democracies or Socialist Soviet-style governments? If anything, it can be argued that as we enter a new century, we can look back and see how prophetic (don't like that word) anarchists were because they were the early voice of critique and dissent against Soviet-Marxism-Leninism (and even orthodox Marxism prior to that, real Paul Thomas on that), and yet they never wavered in their critique of capitalism. If anything, the world owes a debt to Anarchism because of its principled opposition to the main sources of injustice in the 20th century, in the state and in society. Anarchism did not have false prophets or gods, and they never struck lousy alliances. They never bet on the wrong horse, because they do not bet on horses, and don't bet at all. I think that you can say that Al-Qa`idah is comparable to any fanatical movement or regime that absolutely disregards civilian lives, and in that the comparison to Anarchism was fallacious and simply sensational. I think that we can compare the specter of Anarchism that haunted Western governments in the 19th century and early 20th century, with the current specter of Islamist fanatical violence haunting Western governments. But that does not prove that Anarchism and Al-Qa`idah are thus comparable, unless one has no exposure to the introductory basics of logic. But I can compare the movement of Al-Qa`idah with the nihilism of Sergei Nechaev. That analogy I accept, and Nechaev was no Anarchist.
I just saw a footage of Sayf Al-Islam Al-Qadhdhafi. When I was a child, we had to deal with our contempt for Arab leaders. Now we have more: we have to deal with repugnant Arab leaders, and their (always gifted) sons.
A member of the Hariri parliamentary bloc told me this: two years ago, Hariri parliamentary deputy, Walid `Idu, who was a militia leader in the thuggish Murabitun militia under the code name of Wajih Sa`adah, hosted a dinner party in honor of the chief of Syrian intelligence in North Lebanon. When the guest of honor arrived, `Idu gave him the military salute. As you (who follow Lebanese politics) know, this `Idu is now a loud voice in favor of "sovereignty" and "independence."
This is Zionism: Since the last cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians in February of this year, the number of Israeli violations is 10, 393 according to one study. During that period, Israel "managed" to kill 75 Palestinians, to injure 696, and to arrest 1850. Israel constructed 2203 checkpoints, and stole 34,703 dunums of Palestinian lands. There were 93 acts of uprooting of Palestinian trees. There also were 340 terrorist attacks by Israeli colonial settlers against Palestinians.
If you read An-Nanhar newspaper (the right-wing sectarian Christian Lebanese daily) you would think that the US government spends more time on Lebanon than on US and Iraq combined. Also, An-Nahar seems to be particularly concerned over the plight of one of Saddam's henchmen: Tariq `Aziz.
Since 2000, three-times the number of Israelis who were gently escorted out of Gaza were forcibly kicked out of their homes from Gaza alone. And did the US media notice?
OK, it is still bothering me. The weather broadcaster on the Saudi Al-Arabiyya TV is regularly ending her weather reports' segments by `Allahu A`lam (And God is Most Knowing). If you are still afraid to sound as knowing as the all-knowing, then just don't do the reports. If you think that your reports are inferior to God's weather reports, just ask God for his/her weather reports and air them. OK?
More, much more, than wanting to know who killed Rafiq Hariri, I want to know what did the employers of Sushal Rosky do to her to cause her to kill herself by hanging.
`Imad's 250 year-old house in Jummayzah.
`Imad's 250-year old house.

On my way to the atelier of `Imad and Nicole in Jummayzah. The picture was taken by Eliane. I should have mentioned that some of the pictures in Jummayzah were taken by Lebanese filmmaker Eliane, but I don't know which were which. I am sure that they are the better pictures. `Imad, by the way, is the only Lebanese I met who went to both, the demonstration of Hizbullah on March 8th, and the demonstration by the right-wing Hariri opposition on March 14th.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I was thinking about this analogy: to compare Amal and Hizbullah in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation, with Muqtada As-Sadr and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq under the American (and Macedonian) occupation. I would not, have not, underestimated the political skills of the demagogic and fanatical cleric, As-Sadr. But I would argue that he will be ascending politically, especially as US intentions to withdraw--of which I am certain--become known. As-Sadr, unlike The Supreme Council, maintained good ties with all Sunni groups (with the exception of the Zarqawi gang of course) and even allowed his representatives to meet with Iraqi Ba`thists in Lebanon this month. The demonstrations by his men today against Federalism will also enhance his standing especially as he seems closer to Sistani on that than Al-Hakim. The Council, like Amal before it, will adjust by simply moving politically to adjust to the changing political environment. (Just occurred to me, that all those people are clerics. It is funny because I am certain that when US was planning this war on Iraq, they really, REALLY, assumed that the major personalities involved in their "liberated" Iraq would be Chalabi, `Allawi, and Pachachi.)
First I was surprised to see that the Nation magazine has asked a Palestinian to write about Palestinian affairs. But when I read Bishara's praise for Palestinian puppet president Mahmud `Abbas' PA I uderstood.
Where were the international media when the Israeli occupation forces forcibly and not gently removed and not "escorted" thousands of Palestinians from their homes in the last year alone?
Anything to Please the US: the Syrian government seems to be increasing its pressures on Palestinian organizations based in Syria hoping to please the US. I noticed the other day that the military commander of a major Palestinian organization based in Syria (and who has not been permitted to engage in any military activities there for a decade or so) has changed his title in the group from the military commander to "chairperson of the political department."
I was reading the statement by the `Abdullah `Azzam Battalions of Al-Qa`idah in Bilad Ash-Sham. I noticed that the statement contained threats against King `Abdullah, but none of the Arab media made a reference to that. What caught my attention is a phrase in that statement that said: "...we are closer to you than your umbilical cord." I wonder what that means. Are they referring to royal family squabbles? Infiltrations? I noticed that the former Crown Prince Hamzah accompanied the king on his visit to Russia. Also, I heard somebody say this on one Arab TV the other day, and it is so true: how Al-Qa`idah specializes in killing everybody around the world, civilians really, but they seem to avoid throwing even a rock at Israeli military targets. I really believe that this is one of the reasons, among many, why many in the Arab world are either suspicious or hostile to Al-Qa`idah and its kooky wars.
"Will Withdrawal Make Gaza a Frontier Ghetto?"
"Give Iranian Nukes a Chance: In a mad world, the logic of MAD still works" (By Slavoj Zizek) (While I like Zizek's style, Zizek is like everybody in the West these days. He insists on being a Middle East expert. `Amir was mad at this quote: "Iran is the only large Arab state which not only doesnot diplomatically recognize Israel, but resolutely denies its right toexist as a state." OK, Zizek. Don't be like Friedman (an expert on every region of the world).
This is a news story in a Lebanese newspaper about 18-year-old Sri Lankan Thushara Delrokshi, who killed herself by hanging (see post below). Notice how the Lebanese state simply accepts the "explanation" giving by the employers. How typical.
"A woman in Singapore is facing trial on 80 separate counts of physically abusing her domestic maid, in a case highlighting the mistreatment domestic servants suffer across much of Asia at the hands of their employers."
Now that is impressive. (Upon hearing the news, George W. Bush expressed desire to move to France).
A Hariri block member of parliament told me this: two years ago, Hariri member of parliament Muhammad Qabbani planned a dinner party in honor of Syria's chief of intelligence in Lebanon, Rustum Ghazalah. Ghazalah, told Hariri about the dinner invitation, and Hariri was not pleased. He called Qabbani and told him to cancel the dinner party, and that it may unwittingly indicate prime ministerial ambition on his part. Qabbani was devastated. He told Hariri that people were invited, and that the entire community learned about it, and they felt proud that their deputy Qabbani was being honored by Ghazalah's attendance. In today's Lebanon, Qabbani is one of those who shout the loudest about the "independence" and "sovereignty" of Lebanon.
The new Iraq: the new Director of Arab Affairs in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry is none other than`Awad Fakhri. This Saddam henchman was linked in the 1994 assassination of Iraqi dissident Talib As-Suhayl in Beirut.
Musician Marcel Khalifah is very talented and original in his compositions. His latest works are even more impressive than his earlier more popular work: Tasbahun `Ala Watan is one of the best pieces of Arabic music in recent memory, I think. . I just wish that he would not talk; he annoys me when he does. He sounds so contrived and so affected; there are even traces of the old Khalid Bakdash in his discourse.
Two Clowns in Palestine: So Palestinian puppet president Mahmud `Abbas, former holocaust-denier-turned-ally of Israel, was giving a speech at the (closed) Gaza airport yesterday. Standing next to him is the super corrupt Palestinian major puppet Muhammad Dahlan, whose corruption is revealed in various incriminating documents sent to Angry Arab by anonymous Palestinian sources. The two men did not know that the microphones, were picking up their side conversations between `Abbas speechmaking. Al-Arabiyya was covering the event live, and the audience were treated to the most condescending and mocking comments made by Dahlan and `Abbas about the Palestinian crowd gathered. It was also revealing how Dahlan was telling `Abbas what to say. At one point, Dahlan told him to "mention the martyrs." `Abbas mentioned the martyrs. Then Dahlan told `Abbas to speak while placing his middle finger in his left ear. `Abbas then spoke to the crowd with his middle finger in his left ear. It just makes it clear what those two think of the Palestinian population who they will try to oppress.
Israeli Kindness to International Media: have you noticed how kind and accommodating the Israeli military has been in the last week in allowing the international media to go unintruded wherever they wanted in Gaza to cover the "painful" but gentle eviction of Israeli occupation colonial settlers from Palestinian lands? It makes you wonder why the Israeli military is not as accommodating to the international media when they want to cover Israeli killing of Palestinians, Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes, and Israeli uprooting of Palestinian trees.
Angry Arab cited in Guardian (not because he cited me, but I think that Whitaker, whom I don't know, is one of the best reporters who write on the Middle East). (thanks to those who sent it to me)

His (Palestinian) father was shot to death by an Israeli colonial settler.
King `Abdullah's son, Husayn, examines a fighter jet at a Moscow military show.
I am not making this up: "[Fareed] Zakaria refuses to infect his show with glitziness. Movie star Natalie Portman recently appeared on Foreign Exchange to riff on her pet cause, microfinancing in the third world."
In a poll conducted in Iraq by an Iraqi group (on which I know nothing), it is revealed that 65% of Iraqis prefer considering Islam as "one of the sources of legislation" while 26% prefer considering Islam as the "sole source of legislation." 89.4 % of Iraqis support a quota for women's representation in parliament (25% or more of all seats).
"This was the most glaring scandal of all UN sanctions destroyed Iraq but no one will be tried for the crime": ...Nor should we forget the tens of millions of dollars misappropriated by the international community via the UN compensation committee in Geneva, which was largely manipulated by Washington. On the pretext of compensating those who suffered as a result of the Iraqi invasion, the committee creamed off up to 30% of Iraq's oil revenue to "reimburse" impoverished victims, such as the Kuwaiti Oil Company. A payment of $200m was made as late as April this year, two years after the fall of Saddam, when Iraq was begging for loans...."
"By most accounts, [Saudi King] Abdullah is devout, principled and uncorrupt." Anthony Shadid, whom I respect, should not use this language.
"BBC Worldwide has concluded its first deal in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Under a one-year deal with US-financed Iraqi broadcaster Al Hurra, the channel will get 45 hours of BBC news, current affairs and history programming, including titles like Ghengis Khan, Auschwitz, Islamic History of Europe, and editions of Panorama, This World and Correspondent." (via Abu Aardvark)
"A senior Israeli official who spent years closely associated with Likud leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Israelis long had little respect for Palestinians as fighters, but that had changed. "The fact that hundreds of them are willing to blow themselves up is significant," he said. "We didn't give them any credit before. In spite of our being the strongest military power in the Middle East, we lost 1,200 people over the last four years. It finally sank in to Sharon and the rest of the leadership that these people were not giving up.""

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Are they not kind and nice? Tell the truth. "Israeli Army Uses Gentle Force to Remove Gaza Protestors."
"The White House on Thursday praised Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip as a bold move that will strengthen ties between Israel and the United States." You can sleep better now. Good night.
"U.S. Diplomat Is Named in Secrets Case". Arab diplomats and officials who dealt with him often complained about his hostility and arrogance in dealing with Arabs. In order for the New York Times to abslove him in the scandal that involves passing secret information to AIPAC, it had to rely on "neutral and objective" observers. It basically interviewed the two most fanatic pro-Israelis to ever serve in the US government.
For those who care, this is a review article (The Islam Industry) that I had published in The Middle East Journal last year. It is reprinted in this site (I do not endorse the site).

Sushar Rosky--lest she dies namelessly--is a Sri Lankan maid who killed herslf by hanging early morning yesterday in Sidon in Lebanon.
The Ugly (real) Face of Lebanon: This is the real Lebanon: the real Lebanon is a place of hate, sectarian animosities, and blatant racism deeply rooted in delusions about non-existent grandeur. The real Lebanon is a country where people shamelessly oppress the poor and the destitute, and then have the temerity to brag about an imaginary Lebanese “civilization.” This a country where people shamelessly express contempt for those who work for them, especially if they are darker in skin, and then have the chutzpah to think that Lebanese are superior to other Arabs. This is a victim that will not be mentioned in Lebanese news bulletin, and her death will go unnoticed. Not even an investigation is warranted because the victim is a poor maid from Sri Lanka: her name for the record is Sushal Rosky (b. 1987), and she killed herself by hanging early morning yesterday. The lousy Hariri rag (Al-Mustaqbal) even mocked her death: they said that her love of her country has killed her. Her death must have looked hilarious to Hariri followers for some reason. But then again, I never understand them, and they never understand me. Nobody knows what her employers have done to her, to lead her to this. This is not an isolated incident: this is part of a long pattern of Lebanese “excellence” in the abuse of maids, especially those dark-skinned workers from Sri Lanka who come to Lebanon with no rights, and have their passports confiscated. Whenever you see images of the right-wing opposition, and whenever you see the images of “telegenic” Lebanese who so impressed Western reporters even at left-wing publications—don’t get me started here—remember that those same people who can converse with western reporters in their western languages, and who are keen on emulating the latest in Western fashion before they even see it in their silly fashion magazines, those same people go home to subject their Sri Lankan maids to unspeakable abuse, harassment, and mistreatment. This is the Lebanon that no Lebanese flag, and no silly Rahbani songs can hide. This is the Lebanon that can really explain the longevity of the Lebanese civil war: place boiling with hate and with deep-seated complexes that are responsible for the most self-deluded "culture" that I know. The body of this maid will be flown back to her country—I hope—and the Lebanese state will not conduct an investigation of her death. Why would they? The employers told the press and the police that, oh, she was simply homesick and that is why she killed herself, BY HANGING, using pieces of clothes in the early hours of the morning. The afore-mentioned Hariri rag thought that this was very funny. Hariri followers will probably be exchanging jokes about her, and Lebanese Forces chat rooms will now circulate their own “humorous” versions of her death. Jubran Khalil Jubran once commented about that society observing that inside the mouth of that “nation” are “rotten teeth.” Don’t expect the US State Department to comment on her death, the freedom loving president of yours will not call for an investigation, and Kofi Annan, who had no clue about the massacres in Rawanda and about the corruption of his own son, will not call for a special meeting of the Security Council. This foreign domestic worker was not a billionaire, and her death will go unnoticed. When the billionaire Hariri was killed, the silly organization known as the Socialist International (what would Marx, Bakunin, and Proudon think of that outfit, one wonders) sent a special delegation to mourn Hariri. They will not be mourning her. The Nation magazine which could not get a hold of itself when Hariri-An-Nahar journalist, Samir Qasir, was assassinated will not publish special tributes to her. No western government will express alarm about her plight. This will be a death that will be added to the many deaths that go on regularly in Lebanon without any fanfare or press releases: these are the deaths of people who have no lobbies behind them, and no powerful government. Her death will be added to the deaths of scores of poor Syrian workers who were victims of a movement that shouted slogans about “freedom” and “democracy” and “independence”—Bush’s version of that, to be sure. No songs will be composed to mourn Sushar Rosky, and Lebanese and Arab singers will not rush to sing her praises the way they do when Hariri or King Fahd died. Arab satellite stations will not send a team to interview her family in Sri Lanka, and no Lebanese newspaper (I hope that Doha Shams of As-Safir will be the exception—I know that she will) will send a team to investigate the circumstances behind her death. This death in a just world would, and should, open the file of the horrendous abuse of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon. Let us face it: slavery has been banned in Arab countries, but forms of slavery exist in every single Arab country. I once asked an Asian worker in Qatar whether the treatment of Asian workers in Gulf countries was akin to slavery. “Semi-slavery” he corrected me. Western human rights organizations which scrutinize even the utterances of the Palestinian people will not utter a word in her memory. Life will go on, and the Lebanonese nationalist people will go on bragging about hey they are better than everybody else around them, how they are superior in their very genetic makeup. If they only know; if they only know how pathetic they sound, and how clueless they are about their very existence. I will not post nice pictures, poetry, or art today. I will not post anything today. Let this picture stands as a testimony to the cruelty of people, and to the injustice in the world that goes on every single day, with little if any press attention. This image will stay with me. And if US media are not busy covering the “anguish” of Israeli occupation soldiers and the “suffering” of Israeli colonial settlers, will they find the time to cover her death?